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Hoping for Light

Hoping for Light

MRI’s can be difficult for anyone, but imagine a busy, fidgety 10-year-old boy, and said MRI predicted to last 2-3 hours. Ugh! It just sounds impossible. It felt like everything was riding on this test though. We needed the results to be clear. We needed answers and having experienced a very similar situation previously, we knew sooner rather than later was vital.

We tapped every resource for prayer to help Garrett get through it successfully. This is one of those times I am grateful for social media. We shouted our SOS as loudly as we could and the response was overwhelming and powerful.

He amazed everyone with how well he handled himself during the test. They were able to complete everything they needed to in just under 2 hours because he did so well.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Praise you, Lord, for empowering him with self-control for this moment!

Testing was on a Wednesday. I anticipated hearing from the doctor Thursday and planned on calling in the early afternoon if I hadn’t because I know many of his doctors take Fridays off.

When my phone rang at 6:20 pm that Wednesday night and the caller id indicated it was from the hospital, fear shot through my body causing my limbs to feel numb and tingly. They’d only be calling this quickly if it were bad news, right?

Wrong. The MRI was clear, “showing no marked change compared to the previous one – post recovery from the previous surgery in 2009”. Relief and confusion flooded my mind. If not this, then what? Grateful, but fearful of the unknown.

In these moments, we have a choice. We can allow ourselves to be overcome by our flesh and emotion or we can cling to the promises and truths of God. In the past, I have chosen flesh and emotion. My present choice is Truth and I pray it will forever be so.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16 NLT

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 NIV

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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Faith, Family

 

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Not That Girl Anymore

Our church starts a new series tomorrow.  I am part of the creative writing team responsible for the weekly devotional The Journey.  I thought I’d share the intro video and what I wrote for this week’s devotional here.

Dude don’t be that guy: Lovesick guy from Heartland Community Church on Vimeo.

As a young woman I felt desperate for a man’s love. In order to receive this love and affection, I pretended to be whatever I thought would attract and keep his attention; occasionally compromising myself because that seemed easier than compromising the relationship. Accepting less than ideal treatment became all too frequent if I felt that he “loved” me. Internalizing these situations, I asked myself what I could have done to inspire better.

Growing up I didn’t have an identity in Christ. I suffered from low self-esteem and felt that my relationships and achievements formed the foundation of my identity. I truly feel this caused me to constantly try to fill my life with those things.  Due to my desperation, I found myself in undesirable places, with undesirable people, doing undesirable things.  Partying, underage drinking, and older men were used in an attempt to fill the large void I felt in my life.

Even after finding the love of my life, I was still high-maintenance.  I required a lot of time and attention. When this didn’t happen, I felt abandoned, and even betrayed. The expectations I placed on this relationship defined unrealistic.  I thought it was my significant other’s job to please me, fulfill me, to make me feel loved. Boy, lookout if this seemed unimportant to him!  Because I equated my own self-worth to the status of my relationship, I experienced great emotional breakdowns.  I would suffer the emotional equivalent of a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.  I also had about the same thought processes as a two-year old during those times.  I was inconsolable.  Life seemed hopeless.  He didn’t love me; and if he didn’t love me, then all was lost.

As I matured and our relationship matured, things improved some, but not much.  I still felt desperate for his time, attention, and craved his affections.  These things did not seem important to him.  I learned what I thought were better ways of coping.  Communicating my needs, suppressing my needs, and even finding others who could satisfy my needs, but none of these filled the hollowness I felt.

Our relationship suffered breakdown and, in spite of our love for one another, it looked like we were headed for divorce.  We sought out counseling, which helped immensely with my issues.  The desperation I felt seemed to lessen as we worked through our differences and our desires for each other and our marriage. But nothing helped quite like finding my identity in Christ Jesus. The exploration of my self doubts encouraged me to examine my spiritual doubts.  With a supportive church and mentor I pressed into these issues and found new ways to define myself. With the solid foundation and security in His love, I found the same in my husband’s love.  I’m no longer “that girl.”  Praise the Lord!

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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Obedience from Faith?

“Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” -Romans 16:25-27 (NIV) emphasis mine

I mentioned the other day that our church is doing a series titled “Exit Interviews”.  As a church we are looking at the reasons people give for leaving the church and/or God.  Many site that the people, churches, and practices seem hypocritical to the teachings in the Bible.  Unfortunately, there are many instances where this is true.  The above verses are just one mention where obedience to scripture is something we do as a sign of our faith, other verses indicate it’s a sign of our love for Jesus.

It should go with out saying, but just to be on the safe side…

“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” -Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NIV)

But do you continue to try?  Or do you grow lazy in grace?

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1

Are you following?  Could others follow you?  Would you be pleased if your children followed your example?  Who would benefit if a co-worker followed you?

What do your words and actions say you base your life on?  What do they say is important to you?  How are you spending your time, talents, money?

Because we’re human and struggle with sin in our attempt to be an example of following Jesus, we need to continually examine the lives we live.  We need to be examples of humans resolved to respond because of our faith.  You never know who may choose to follow us, and shouldn’t we be leading them to Jesus instead of further away?

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:14-16

Father, May the spirit in me move me to increased obedience.  Show my sins and help me resolve to respond because of my faith in you!  Help me to be an example for my children, for all of your children.  My hope is that my life would bring glory to you.  In His Sweet Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Faith, Family

 

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Church

Since our family found a church home, we frequently find ourselves trying to describe what we love about it. More importantly, what we feel makes it different, what has created not just the desire to continue going, but the need to immerse ourselves in the community there.

Throughout my life I have experienced many different churches, church going people, non-church going people,  believers, and non-believers – and many combinations of these.  One uniting experience everyone seems to share is that of a Christian church and/or a people who say one thing and do another.  Those who have made us feel unwelcome, judged, and “less than”.  Those who give because it makes them look good, but do not themselves sacrifice or get dirty.  Those that make us feel like we have to pretend to be something we’re not.

Today the differences seemed obvious: our church follows the teachings of Jesus and it attracts people who are trying to follow Jesus.

I wasn’t trying to follow Jesus.  I was really only trying the “church thing” again to humor my husband, with the slightest hope we might find a community offering healthy family centered social opportunities.  But upon entering the building I felt something flutter and during the service there began a shift deep within me.  I knew I would be back, I wanted more.  Everyone in our family had an experience that first day.  My husband and our boys were beaming with joy from the experience.  We went back the next Sunday and the next.  Missing a Sunday never entered into our minds.  I realized the depth of change going on inside of me when my husband was called out of town for work and I did not use that as an excuse to skip church.  I not only had begun following Jesus, I was falling in love with Him!

Let me say right here:  Yes, that sounds strange to me!  However, falling in love with Jesus is not comparable to falling in love with another human.  As much as I love my husband, he is human.  Part of what is meant when we refer to everyone being a sinner – we all make mistakes!  Love between humans still leave us wanting more, we work on our relationships, reading books to improve our communication, etc., but being human means we aren’t perfect!  Sometimes we’re going to act selfishly, our pride will get in the way, and we must learn forgiveness.  Jesus is perfect!  He loves us all  just the way we need to be loved, no matter which “love language” suits us.  He is always there when we need Him, attentive, protective, guiding, and He encourages me to question Him and my faith.

Our church Heartland Community Church not only helps guide those who are trying to follow Jesus, but seeks to show the world who Jesus is by example.

 

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Faith, Family

 

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