Passing Through the Storm

If you’re in one, I hope you see Him trying to ride it out with you because you will not arrive on the other side the same. You cannot. Survivors never do. If they’re inevitable, I don’t want to go through one alone. I have before. It’s not the same without Him. The changes that storms cause, are irreversible, but when He’s there, they are beautifully meaningful and so it’s good that they are permanent. If you can remember this when the weather changes and you begin to realize one is coming, you will know to make Him your Shelter and your Strength. It all sounds so pat and religiously easy. It’s not. Seriously,  if there’s any way I can go around them, that’s what I’m going to attempt. But  forewarning is not a guaranteed characteristic of every storm, so you may not even notice until it’s full on. That’s happened to me and in my human mode, I’m trying to power up internally.  It’s not always enough and you get exhausted. If you have people in your corner,  they’ll come through, but I’m telling you, it is still not sufficient without God because what He does is so off the chart in those times that you can believe and have peace in the very eye of the storm. Phil 4:5-7  This faith is not based on the hope that He will subdue it, though, that can happen. No, it’s a trust that makes zero sense from a logical standpoint, but it’s rooted in the Love He has for me. I’m convinced regardless of how bad it looks because I know that the storm cannot destroy me if He is there. I’m going to pass through and who I am when I get to the end, will be a better version of me, because He loves me.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-8. TM

Isaiah 25:4-5 “For You have been a strong-place for those who could not help themselves and for those in need because of much trouble. You have been a safe place from the storm”

“You are strong, Lord, and always faithful. You rule the stormy sea. You can calm its angry waves.” Psalm 89:9

Love Always

 

Mistakes 101

That quote is mistaken.  The Creator of All is the Greatest Teacher. But that doesn’t mean that mistakes are not a part of the curriculum.  I know because it feels like I have a degree in it.  I’ve learned and I’ve changed because of all the wrong turns I’ve made.  But recently, I thought and thought about some of the more recent mistakes  or perceived mistakes that I’ve made.  I think I wanted to understand if they really were mistakes.  If they were, what did I learn?  If they weren’t, then what were they?  I can’t even answer my own questions.  I do think that there was a lesson in all of it.  I am certain God takes advantage of each teaching moment.  I believe this because none of the Gospels declare Jesus as a preacher. He is constantly teaching.

“He was teaching daily in the temple” Luke 19:27
“during the day He was teaching in the temple.” Luke 21:37
“Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.” John 7:14
“He sat down and began to teach them” John 8:2
“Every day I was with you in the temple teaching,” Mark 14:49
“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues ” Matthew 9:35

On and on…

He’s been an instructor but He is also a very attentive tutor.  Sometimes, I even feel like He intercepts in order to help me not fail. He has provided all the information I need in His written Word.  I can’t say that I don’t have access to it.  When the Word talks about itself, it reaffirms it’s divine capability. Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16.  I’ve relied on it to assist me in so many areas of my life.  But- but there are moments I’ve wanted what I desired more and so disregarded the knowledge he’s given me. Then, I’ve had to rely on the follow-up lesson of Grace.

-“the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” 1 Titus 2: 11-12

To be candid, I currently have areas in my character that even Grace hasn’t affected change because I am not learning the lesson. But I believe, if I stay faithful, I can change. His Love/Grace ignites repentance and He will not let me fail.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 27:23-26

I am meant to retain what I’ve been taught, but continue to progress in learning as I move forward.

“… I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind (mistakes) and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3:13

When I look at what I’ve just written, I still do not know if some of the decisions I made from the last year were complete mistakes.  Maybe I’m just trying to redeem some value from what occurred.  I feel this way because I engaged my heart full on and looking back, I don’t want to believe it was in vain. There’s a unexplainable freedom in giving your heart to someone or to an ideal even as you’re standing on the edge thinking there’s no way out.  I want to believe that those risks were worth it.  I wish I could see and understand if it had any goodness in it.  That would make me feel better about having taken the chance despite the possibility of making a mistake.  The chances are, I’m probably never going to know completely. The only thing I know with certainty is that I’m not getting out of Mistakes 101.  I’m just going to keep learning and hopefully get an education.

Love Always ???

Make Love Affordable

This statement is somewhat controversial. Here’s why: currently our social atmosphere is pushing for self love, in every form. From Body positivity to appreciation of our unique individuality. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:39 So, you need to love yourself in order to love your neighbor. BUT- this is where it gets prickly: loving people costs and no one wants to devalue themselves for the sake of another. That’s kind of what happens when you love others. Well, maybe not reducing your worth, but giving of yourself in a way that takes from you. It isn’t cheap. Even so,  I believe T.D. Jakes is saying don’t make it so that the intended recipient of your love can’t afford it because you’re unwilling to absorb any cost. I know this is why my natural inclination is to hesitate out of self protection. I want to hedge my bets. I don’t want to lose any of my value and I also don’t want  to risk another break in my heart.  YET- that kind of risky, potentially harming to the heart, selfless love is exactly the kind He gave me. He did not gamble on a person with high odds of return. Now He commands me to do the same. A Christian cannot parcel out their love according to their expectation of reciprocal payment. It’s supposed to be liberally distributed. I’ve said before, not stupidly. You don’t necessarily facilitate being mistreated. I’m not pushing for letting people treat you like s$%#.  Yet, there’s “turn the other cheek” and then this:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34  How did He love us?  He straight up, just handed it all over. His Life for us. So, this means prayer, advice, humility in order to love like Him, wisely. But also a willingness to be a sacrifice in His Name. Don’t ask me how you do this perfectly.  I seriously don’t know. But, I’m thinking, it’d be better to overlove than the alternative. That’s pretty much what He did. So, how do YOU deal with this dilemma?  (I really would like to know how you deal with this. To be truthful, I’m not necessarily a fan of “pop” Christianity,  but this quote showed up in a friend’s feed and I left my take on it as a comment. She and I don’t 100% agree, but it’s worth the dialogue)

 

Love Always