Friday, December 23, 2011

The Magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in HIS Presence...

As I sit in the chair in the living room of my house drinking tea at 2:00 in the morning on Christmas Eve Day, I'm beginning to realize that this life, it has always bee about JESUS, not me. It has always been about what He has done and will do- not about what I can do to change myself, my life, or others. No, because I can't. The only thing I can do is surrender myself to Him, everyday, and let Him do His wonderful work in me, my life, and the people around me. Only Jesus can turn this person into a living image, and proof of His power, love, and grace.

Last night I was up reading through my journal from Uganda. It is crazy to think that that was almost five months ago, it feels years away from me and yet like it was just yesterday. In one of the entries There is quote from a man named Larry Tomczak that says this; "You are the only one being in the universe that can cause defeat in your life. Wholeheartedly decide by the grace of God and the power of His Holy Spirit, to please God. All demons in and out of hell, all the people in the world, all your apparent weaknesses, short comings, inadequacies, adverse circumstances and unfavorable surroundings cannot prevent you from having glorious victory! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!" When I read this last night, I felt like I had been punched in the chest and I started crying. Is it crazy to think that God knew me writing this down on July 22nd of this past summer would need this quote more than ever on four months later on December 23rd. Most likely He knew, and He knew what I was going to go through and what I've been through. That I haven't been me since returning home and to school. That I don't feel like me, the radical me. I've noticed, others have noticed I'm sure. I'm hardly reading the Word anymore, I'm more likely to do stupid things, and I hardly ever speak about God the way I used to.

I can pretend to be okay up in my bubble at school, but people see, they know, they don't ask, but they know. Nobody REALLY wants to talk about feelings. Which is okay, because I don't want to talk. I'm much better at writing things down, my mouth doesn't get in the way. But when I come home, I feel it even more so, things are different, I am different. I am defeating myself in this walk of faith. and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't struggling, there is no way a person can be a Christian and not struggle, not stumble. They can have the best outward appearance and say all the right things, but only they know what is going on inside. Only them and God.

Words cannot express the apologies I have to offer to people for the person I returned as. I returned changed for the better, when I stepped off that plane from Uganda back onto the Iowa soil, but being silence by the enemy the moment I got into my mothers car, I felt defeated. And that feeling never went away. Because I felt like I had no outlet, nothing important to share, everyone else lives moved on while I was overseas, everyone else had their own stories, their own summers. And mine was just another nonchalant answer to an uncaring question. But I do apologize. They may not read this, or may not know, but I know and God knows and I am sorry, I know my word probably doesn't mean very much to anyone after things I said and did. But those apologies go unanswered if I don't apologize and ask for forgiveness to the One who I've hurt the most. Every moment I've turned my back and let the enemy silence me, I've hammered those nails in deeper, I've dug myself deeper into a pit. And that pit, no counselor, no friend, not even family could help me out of. Only God could get me out of that. Corrie Ten Boon put's it perfectly "There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still."

So what to do, but to remember what God has done, is doing and will do. Tis' the season to celebrate the life of the Savior, the One who sacrificed everything so that I could be here in this moment, alive, and in love with Him and only Him. To realize that I need to return to Him and only Him. To not put my hope or faith in man, but in the Son of Man. to go back to the joy of my heart where I find reassurance, to go back to writing love letters, to singing love songs deep from my heart. To not caring what people think about the fact that I love this Man, this Jesus. to remember that He has forgiven me and to know that He washes me clean as snow and as He forgives me, I must forgive myself. His grace abounds over so many things. And that is not only the magic of this season, but everyday I wake up with a chance to choose to live my life for Him. To remember His presence, His glory, His honor, His strength and power. The only one that I will have for ETERNITY.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73: 25-26.

In the Love of our RISEN LORD,

HIS and yours,


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rest for the Weary

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." -Matthew 11-28-30.

This is pretty much my life verse. Especially since coming to college. It's been four years and I would imagine by now that I would remember how stressful these weeks leading up to and the week of finals are, but it seems every year I am more surprised by the amount of stuff the professor pile on us, thinking that their class is the most important and only class we are taking that semester. Sometimes I just want to say "Um, excuse me, you do realize that I am taking four other course and yours and they are equally as strenuous." It seems sometimes that the PhD's just go to their heads and they forget that they were once like us, lowly undergrad students just trying not to drown in the ginormous ocean of school and work and relationships.

I feel bad at this time of the year, every year, cause I know I get short with people, because of the level of business and stress that just piles itself onto my shoulders. It seems to that this time of the year every student is competing with everyone else to see who has the most to do. To me it's not much of a competition I'd rather be the student taking two naps on Sundays then the one that skips church and ever other social activity just to make sure they can get one of there seven 20 page papers done. But what can I say, it's my last year with this type of work, but before I know it, life is going to speed up and I will be running around at a job trying not to stress myself out with that. Is there ever a time where we won't be stressed?

Haha. I laugh when I ask that question. The truth is, I think there is always a little stress in my life, I think it is good. but too much can probably drive you nuts. But God offers such and amazing peace and balance, and a huge life raft when we feel like there is no where else to go but down, and we begin to sink. He calls us out of the deep waters and into His arms. Because He can give us the rest we need. He can help us walk on the water, instead of drown in it's depths. I don't particularly have solution to the copious amounts of homework that professors give, or the eighty hours you might work a week just to pay the bills, or your family that may be failing and falling apart, or the friends that seem to be disappearing left and right. I have no solution for that. I myself am still trying to figure out what this all means and what God is doing and why I am here.

But in all honesty, that's what helps me get through my days. not just every other day or most days, but every single day. It is knowing that all this stress all this work it's part of a bigger plan. a better plan. I think about it like this. if I would not have taken that extra Soc class, I wouldn't have worked in an awesome group and met an amazing person, who i consider a great friend now. Think about all the things you've done that may have caused stress on you, but you come out of those things a better person. Stronger, Wiser, Awesomer (that's not a word... but it is now) :) God can bring us through anything and when we feel like we can't stand He says to us "come to me all you who are weary and burdened. all you who are stressed and restless, those lacking sleep and I, I will give you peace." He takes our burdens upon Himself.

Words cannot explain the amount of joy that I will have next week friday when I am driving home for CHristmas break. But as of right now, words cannot express the amount of peace that God has blessed me with. Yes I've had two panic attacks in the past week, but God has taken over and I know that in Him I can do all things. In Him I can overcome the stress, the homework, the broken things. And you can too. He can help you. He is the only way. Surrender it to Him. Those things that weigh you down. The failing family, the work load, the struggles with friends at school or siblings at home. And remember that He is growing you, He is making you stronger. Because when you get through this you'll not only come out a better person. But you will come out with a stronger Faith, a deeper Love, and a Knowledge that the Almighty can do anything, when you open you heart and welcome Him in.

You are all in my prayers. I may not know you by name, but God does. Through it all He is near, He is here. Even if it does not feel like it. Just open your eyes, your heart, and Surrender. Blessings to all who read this on this glorious Sunday.

In Christ's Peaceful and Rest giving Love

HIS and yours,