Faith Is…

Do you know what faith is?

Have you ever wondered what faith looks like? Yeah, you probably can recite the definition of it. The first verse in Hebrews 11 even gives us this definition of faith; “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” But what does that look like other than just a definition?

The other day I was having another rough day. But in the midst of the pain I was feeling I kept thinking about faith. And I kept thinking about what faith looks like in the midst of hard seasons. It’s one thing to understand the textbook definition, but it’s a completely different thing to live it out. And I needed to know, in the moment I was in, what it looked like for me to live out my faith. This is what I came up with about what faith is…

Faith is taking a step forward, not knowing where you are going. It’s when you don’t know where the path is going but you know it’s the path you need to be one so you take a step forward. It’s a step forward into an unknown future while following a known God.

Faith is moving forward, even when it hurts and when all that is inside you wants to turn the other way. It’s choosing to move and not stay still because you know that God’s calling you somewhere new. It’s moving forward with a hope fully trusting in God.

Faith is taking it one day at a time, and trusting with all your heart that God holds the future and His plans for you are good. It’s is such a beautiful and hard thing to do. It’s believing that in the end there will be God’s blessing even though you don’t feel it in the moment.

Faith is hard. It’s not easy. To truly live out faith amidst all the trials and hardships of life takes so much strength and pure trust in God. But I find comfort in this; Faith is simple. When you really think about you’ll see that it really is pretty simple. It is not about a certain set of complicated rules to follow and turns to take. It’s simply about trusting God. And it’s when we are in the midst of trials that our faith truly is tested and has the potential to shine.

So today, I am simply reminding myself that faith for me is looks like taking just one more step in the right direction and choosing to follow God. When I think about it this way I feel better. I feel like I can keep following God and not get overwhelmed. Because I’m choosing to not focus so far ahead but instead to focus on the moment I’m in and what following God looks like for today.

This is what faith is! It’s simple and you can do it too. It’s less about the definition and more about the simple act of trusting God. So whatever your facing, just keep following God’s call on your life one day at a time and you’ll begin to see what faith is.

Content

Today I feel content

It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt this way. And it’s strange. Nothing changed in my circumstances. I’m still in the same place, still not sure what God is going to do. But I it’s as if my whole outlook on things has been flipped around.

Only a few days ago I found myself consumed by stress and worry. I was having so many overwhelming feelings of despair and sadness. I actually began to be seriously worried about myself because of how depressed I was getting (I was having little panic attacks, and I never, ever, have panic attacks). But last Sunday, in the middle of those painful feelings, I decided to reach out to a few people. I asked for prayer. Then I went outside and rode my bike. I found a quiet place, I talked to God. I could feel all the inner turmoil inside me. I saw all the plans I had in my heart and I saw that I was holding onto them so tightly. I knew I had already surrendered these things to God, but somehow I found them once again in my hand. And I had a deathgrip on them.

But as I prayed and shared with God my heart something began to happen. My hand began to loosen up. I began to realize that it doesn’t matter how much I want certain things to happen in my life. God is the one who orchestrates all things. No amount of me wanting it can make it happen if it’s not in God’s will. And no amount of me worrying about it can stop it from happening if it is a part of God’s plan. God is the one who has brought me to this hard place I am in now. He was been with me all this time and I know that He will continue to be with me. I finally realized that I had to let go…again.

And the next day you won’t believe what happened! I woke up with such supernatural peace! I swear I was a different person. All the fear and worry I that I was drowning in the day before was suddenly gone. As I went about my day I started to get this new feeling. A feeling of “I’m content.” I’m content to stay here in this place. I’m content to keep waiting until God shows me where He is going to lead me. I wasn’t depressed anymore. Instead I was happy and I felt overwhelmingly content with the life I have right now. It once again clicked in my head that this is where God wants me to be right now and I can rest in Him.

Real quick, I want to make a interesting observation here. There is something strange I’ve noted that always happens to me right before I receive some sort of direction or answer from God. I find myself overwhelmed with so many feelings. I cry and tears flow down my cheeks in a steady stream (which isn’t normally how I cry). I can tell that these tears are different. Usually I’m in the process of doing what I know God wants me to do and I am crying because it’s not an easy choice. My whole body, and especially my arms shake (which is also not normal for me at all). The last time my body was in a distressed state like this was the first time I surrendered my situation to God. And the day after I surrendered I also was filled with the same kind of peace. I just find it so interesting how my body reacts noticeable different the day before God leads me to do something involving surrender and how it’s always followed by peace.

Anyway, as I try to bring this post to an end, I just want to say how thankful I am to God for the new peace He’s given me. I know it comes only from Him. But I also want to tell you that even though I have this peace, I still have my hurts and my desires didn’t completely go away. I still have days where I’m sad and I miss my ‘old’ life. I also understand that the hurt and sadness I experience is normal and only time can take it away. We live in a world full of sin and sadness and I’m realizing that until we are in heaven with Jesus there will be pain and hurt in our lives. But I no longer feel like I need things to happen my way anymore. I feel like I can rest now in knowing that whatever happens will be the path God wants me to take.

This new place I’m in right now is a good place to be! Honestly, I never thought I’d get to this place, especially after such a rough few days. But here I am and how Good is our God! After so much fighting and crying, my heart welcomes this peace and rest. God has finally shown me how to be content right here ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

A New Spring

Today is the first day of Spring

I don’t know why, but this brings so much encouragement to my heart. Spring is a time a new beginnings. New starts. New life. Flowers start to bloom again after being dead for so long. The sun comes out and warms up the earth. Life returns from the dead and the world once again is full of so much beauty. This is the kind of message that I need.

I need to be reminded that there are new starts, new beginnings. A broken life can rise up from the dead and be beautiful again. After a winter of hurt and heartache, there is hope for joy again. God doesn’t leave us in the cold dark winter forever. Spring always follows winter. Spring reminds me of the hope I have in God.

Now that spring is here, I am suddenly filled with new hope. I am ready for this winter in my heart to be over. I can’t help but wondering, what does God have planned for me as I walk into this new spring? How will new life appear in my life? What beauty will God bring out of the brokeness in my life?

We serve a God who has the power to restore what was lost. Our God uses every season we walk through for his good purposes. Even the seasons of hurt and pain have a reason in God’s plan. God allows us to go through hard winters so that when we finally get to spring there will be much to celebrate. When I finally get to my spring, I know there will once again be much joy in my life. Even more joy than there was before.

This is why Spring makes my heart so happy. As I walk into spring, I am anxious to see what beautiful things God will do for me and reveal to me. I know that in due time my brokeness will be made beautiful! My life will be restored and filled again with joy. God will get glory for all the great things he was doing during my rough winter.

So today I am thankful. I am thankful for Spring.

Still Obey

When the feeling is gone and life is hard, we must still obey

I came across this quote the other day from C.S Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters:

“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I read The Screwtape Letters in high school. I remember it being a very interesting book about how satan’s demons are working hard to attack Christians and make their walk ineffective. When I read the book I didn’t come away thinking wow, that book really spoke to me. But fast forword to now and finding this quote has really spoken to my heart and encouraged my soul.

It’s probably because I can relate so much to the truth in this quote. When the all the good feelings are gone and you still choose to obey God and keep following God; choosing the hard path and forsaking pleasure. That is the place that the devil and his demons see as dangerous. Because once you reach that place where you feel forgotten and forsaken but still choose God, that is when you have reached the place where you will forsake anything for God. The devil is no longer able to lure you away with the pleasures of this world and he doesn’t like that.

I appreciate how the in the quote from C.S Lewis’s book he mentions how the Christian is questioning why he is forsaken by God, but then still obeys. I have cried out to God questioning Him and saying “Why?, Why this? Why me?”. But even though I cry out and at times feel forgotten by God, I still choose to walk down this hard path that leads me away from the pleasures I long for. It makes the verse in the bible about denying yourself, and taking up your cross to follow Jesus a lot more real when you have to walk away from pleasure in order to follow Jesus.

If you feel forgotten and forsaken, take courage. When you keep obeying God even when you don’t feel like it, that is when you cause those demons to shutter. That is when God is looking down on you and smiling. You bring God great joy when you choose to still obey him through the deepest of waters and forsake the pleasures of the world. And remember, God is always with you as you follow Him even when you don’t feel him. Cry out and talk to Him. Let Him know how much you love Him and how much you need Him and keep on choosing him.

Then Jesus told his disciples, โ€œIf anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

Perspective

Do you need a perspective change?

The past week was harder for me for some reason. I had many emotional days. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry. Multiple times I did just that. And I was feeling so good the week before. I was finding more joy in the simple things and not finding myself as sad. So why did I all of a sudden take a few steps back into despair and start feeling sad again?

I think I have figured some of it out. On Sunday it all made sense to me. After worshipping the Lord on Sunday and spending time praying and journaling, I realized a sudden change in my attitude. Nothing changed in my circumstances, but I suddenly felt more joy and I had a peace that I didn’t have before. What did I do that made me start feeling better? I simply stopped thinking about me and started thinking more about God.

I’m actually a bit ashamed at how me-focused I let myself become the past week. I didn’t feel good and I missed him so much. I know that it is normal for me to have these feelings and I know that I’m not going to ever stop missing him. But I was letting myself narrow in only on how I felt. I was focusing on my feelings and my hurt so much that I found myself paralyzed by the pain. I was no longer able to see the bigger picture or God’s promises to me.

That wasn’t a fun place to be. I’m so thankful that Sunday came along. On Sunday, worshiping brought the blinders of my eyes and I saw again of God’s goodness to me. It was refreshing for my weary soul to focus on God and being able to find rest in God. For the first time in a while, God’s joy returned to me.

This experience reminds me that when I focus on myself and my troubles, that is all I will see. When I ignore God’s goodness and choose to give into my worries and fears, I find myself trapped in a cycle of damaging emotions. I need a perspective change in order to be set free. I need to be living my life with eye’s that are focused on God. When I look to God, the hurt is still there, but I can finally see it in its proper perspective. I see how my pain is nothing compared to God’s goodness towards me. I see that God loves me so much and has good things instore for me. I see that God is going to work all things out for His good.

Where in your life do you need a perspective change? When you begin to feel overwhelmed, stop and look to see where your focus is. Is it on you or on God? It’s amazing how the simple act of shifting our focus back to God can encourage and return us back to joy. As we go through life, looking to God is the only cue to our hurting and weary soul. We need less of us and more of God.

He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30

Also before I end this post, one last little tip I’m learning that really helps get the focus back on God is listening to worship music. To often I just let my playlist play. It will play christian songs and some songs that aren’t christian. But when I start playing worship songs in the car and while I’m working it helps my heart stay focused on God. So try jamming to praise music when your feeling down and see where it takes you ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Song and A Poem

Two things today that encouraged my heart.

One, during church we sang a new song about trusting Jesus that I have never heard before. Well, it actually wasn’t a new song, just one that was new to me. The song was called “I Will Trust My Saviour Jesus”. The song had a similar feel to the well known hymn “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”, but the lyrics seemed to go a bit deeper. As we sang the song the lyrics spoke to my heart and I saw my own story reflected in the song. The song encouraged me to keep on trusting Jesus through the unknown days ahead of me. However hard the days may be, I know I can trust my Jesus. I’ll attach a video of the song at the bottom of this post so you can listen to the sweet words of the song too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Secondly, I went on a nice long walk today and brought my journal. While I was outside taking in the peaceful views I began writing some things down that were in my head. Of course, since I had heard the song about trusting Jesus earlier, the idea of trusting Jesus was still in my head. Before I knew it I had jotted down a little poem about trusting God.

I have already read this little poem to myself a dozen times and I want to share it. I hope you’ll enjoy it and find it encouraging. I should warn you though that when I write poems, I don’t follow any sort of rhyming rules, I kinda just write what flows and call it a poem. With that said, here it is:

I will trust you God
Even when it's hard
When with all my heart
I wish to go the other way

I will trust you God
Down every path you lead me
Because I know deep in my heart
Yours is the way that's best

I will trust you God
Everyday and for all my life
And if ever someone asks me why
I'll say it's because I love you most

{Poem written by me, 3.7.21}

I rarely get inspired enough to write a poem so I am quite happy with this little creation I just made. Truly, it was my heart speaking as I was writing. This poem is my reminder that I am choosing to trust God not because the road is easy but because He is my heart’s deepest desire and He truly is what I crave the most.

Doing Nothing

I went on a walk and I talked to God a bit.

I was thinking of all the possible ways that God could be working things out for me in my situation. I thought about what my heart wanted and the different ways God could restore it all back to me. I thought about the little bit of news that I do know and the little ways in which I do know that God has been working. But for how long I spent thinking about it, I also realized that there really is only one thing I can do. All I can do right now is do nothing.

Let me tell you, doing nothing isn’t easy. Doing nothing is the hardest thing ever. I really want to know what God is up to so I can offer my assistance somehow. I don’t like being in the dark. I hate being in this place of not knowing what God is doing in his life. But I also know that it’s not my place right now to know what God is doing. Nor is it my job to help God as he’s working.

I am confident that God is working. I don’t know how to explain to you all this feeling that I have, I just know that God is working and doing mighty things for me. But with a reluctant heart I have to admit to knowing that if I want God to keep working I need to do nothing. When I do nothing, then I can be fully assured that God is the one working. Doing nothing is the only way to show full dependance on God in my situation.

All the great characters of the Bible, when they were in times of hurt and mistreatment, they did nothing. When I read my Bible I can see how God was working for them. I see the outcome of their struggles, but I also need to remember that they didn’t see the answer. They probably felt a lot like me, in the dark about God’s plans for them. And what did they do? They did nothing so God could work. I imagine it must have been hard for them, as it is hard for me, but they knew it was necessary.

I let out a strangely relieved sigh as I finished my walk. Doing nothing is what God has called me to do right now. Doing nothing may be the hardest task God has ever asked me to do but I know he has given me the strength to do it. Doing nothing is what I am choosing to do right now and somehow that brings a sense of peace to my heart. I choose to do nothing so God can work and get all the glory.

Somedays

Somedays hurt more than others

Somedays I just want to lie in bed a forget about everything. Forget about how lonely I am. Forget about all the memories that are no longer a part of my life. But how can I forget all these memories when I still want to have them.

Somedays I wonder how I can feel so happy and full of hope one day and then the next depression hits me. I miss him everyday, but today I miss him more for some reason. Nothing triggered it. I just miss him. And all I want to do is lie on my bed and dream about the past and make up a new future.

I don’t know what good this does to me. But I do know that somedays the hurt is too much and I can’t make myself do anything else. And those days are okay. Those days are a part of life. Those are the days I need to cry out to God for strength. Those are the days that I learn to truly rest in my Savior’s arms.

Today has been one of those days.

The only thing that is getting me through today is the promises I know God has for me. I came across this letter I wrote to myself from God two years ago, on February 5, 2019. It speaks to my heart today and gives me the strength I need to get up and out of my bed. How did I know two years ago that this letter I wrote would still be speaking to my heart today.

My Child,

I can see that you are confused.  I donโ€™t give you the things you ask for because I have something better for you.  You canโ€™t see the whole picture yet.  There are some things I am doing that you wonโ€™t understand in your life.  But you can know that I am always working for your good.  My plans are always for you because I love you.  One day it will all make sense, but not yet.  I know all your heart’s desires and I want to give you more, in my perfect timing you will see.

Your Heavenly Father, God

Choosing to Rest

How important is rest?

I feel like I have been running nonstop. I desperately need a break but I just keep going. I’ve been busy, so busy, and I hate to admit it, but I’m finding that I’m getting addicted to this busyness. When I keep myself busy it numbs the pain. I don’t have time to think about how much my situation hurts and the wounds that are still bleeding inside of me. So staying busy has become my answer.

But last night, I felt tired, physically and spiritually worn out. I spent some time alone in my room journaling and enjoying the stillness. And I realized that I need things to change, I need stop this go, go, go mentality, I need to take a break and slow down. When I am busy, I forget to spend time with the Lord. I begin to create habits of ignoring God in the still moments of my day because of the fear that in those moments I will also awaken more hurt. To be honest, now that I write it out, I am actually quite ashamed that I have let myself get so busy that I don’t seek out God’s voice like I was doing about a month ago.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that staying busy is good. When your heart is heavy and hurting it is not good to lie around doing nothing. Staying busy has been my therapy and it keeps my mind focused on moving on and off of the past. There is even a proverbs about how idle hands breed trouble. But being busy can also be dangerous if we don’t balance it out with rest. If we don’t have the proper mix of resting in the Lord and being still and quiet then it won’t be long before we begin to feel overwhelmed.

Why is rest important? Rest is important because rest is how we recharge and refocus our lives on God. It is in the times when we are quiet and still that God speaks to us and tells us what his will is for us. Rest keeps us on track with God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes we need physical rest from the weight of the world and other times we need spiritual rest. Spiritual rest can be found when we take the time to slow down, read God’s word, talk to God, and seek his presence in the stillness.

I have decided that even though I often don’t want to, I need to make an effort each day to spend time in quiet with God. Even if it’s as simple as spending ten minutes of quiet with God in the morning before my day starts, or quietly journaling before going to bed. It may even be going on a long peaceful walk and talking to God as I walk. Having these habits of rest in my day will help me to stay focused on God and keep me from getting burned out.

I will admit to you all that I’m not looking forward to the pain that I know will come back when I slow down. But the only way to heal is by giving that hurt to Jesus and I can’t give it to him until I learn to truly rest in his presence every day. So here’s to making rest a priority in my life again. To slowing down and taking moments in my busy life to seek God’s presence in the stillness.

Moving Day

Moving day is has come

These past few weeks have not been the easiest for me. Not only have I been in such an emotionally hard place, but I have been in the midst of moving. I have been packing up my room in boxes. I can’t help but feel that as I pack up my things I’m packing up my old life. I’m packing up all my pain, all my mistakes, all my insecurities. All my good memories and all my bad memories too. All of me is getting packed away.

I have walked through some waters to rough too stay in. As I pack, I realize I don’t want to stay here in this place with all the memories. Packing away all of these things is almost in a way therapeutic. Packing them all away reminds me that I don’t have to let these bad experiences and my broken heart define me. I’m packing them away so I can start anew somewhere else.

Well, moving day is here. I finally can begin the process of unpacking. It is now the time to start over. But as I open up the boxes, there are boxes I’d rather leave unopened. Past pain and hurt that still threaten to consume me. The past is always gonna be a part of me and I could choose never to open those boxes again. To shut out all the hurt and memories. But there is also good things, happy memories and hope that I want to hold onto and remember. Maybe it would be better if some of these boxes waited a little longer to be opened?

I see two choices before me. Refuse to let go and hold onto the past, or let go and embrace the new opportunities before me. I want to step into this new season ready to follow God and ready for whatever he has for me in this new place. Even though I don’t know how long I will be in this new place, It may be a long time or a short time, I want to choose to make the most of this new season while I wait.

As I unpack the last box in my room, I realize that I’m actually a little bit excited. Excited about exploring a new place, excited about meeting new people, excited about learning more about myself. Excited about this chance for a new start. Yes, I finished unpacking all the boxes, even the ones with all the pain. The hurt will always be a part of me, it’s what brought me here. But I think my heart is finally ready to embrace this new season now that moving day is here.