trusting during the pain

Nearly 12 years ago, my aunt Kate went through the most difficult experience of losing her husband, my uncle Bruce. He left the house on October 25, 1999, not knowing that that would be the last time he saw his wife and children on this earth. He died in a learjet accident later that afternoon.

I just saw this video of my aunt Kate telling the story of her pain in an interview with a pastor at her church. I love what she has to say about trusting God through the pain and the heartbreak. It reminds me that it really is a daily choice to rely on God and trust in Him, no matter how difficult the circumstances. I am so proud of my aunt and how faithfully she has relied on God these past 12 years. This interview shows just a glimpse of the woman of faith she is. I hope that you are encouraged by her story.

come thou fount

Psalm 116:7 – Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

As I drove in to town this evening (yes, we country folk call it “driving in to town”), I looked up at the night sky. The stars have always fascinated me and I have always loved looking at them. It doesn’t matter how bad my day might have been – if I look up at the stars, my day ends well. Sometimes if I am lucky, I will see a shooting star or I will be able to pick out a few constellations.

Tonight my heart was filled with expectancy and joy as I looked at the stars. I was reminded of Christ’s love for me and how much I had missed being with Him. This past week was rather crazy and distracting and I said numerous times that I needed to get away for some alone time and be in the Word. Finally tonight, I am getting to do just that and I am realizing just how rejuvenating it is to be with God.

Today in church, nearly every song we sang was about relying on Christ, surrendering to Him, spending time with Him, giving Him all our thoughts, plans, ideas. Everything in church spoke to me about just how much God cares for me and how much He loves to be with me. I was reminded that God is pursuing me, no matter how much time I do or do not spend with Him. THAT, my friends, is real love.

Today I am blown away by Christ’s pursuit of me. Today I am a blessed woman.

I Surrender All
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above.

P.S. As I am writing this, I am drinking a very disappointing salted carmel mocha from Starbucks…come on people, what are you raving about? It’s lame.

breathe free

Tonight I went out with two of my sisters and it was just great to get out for a bit. Great to chat. Great to catch up. Great to have real espresso.

I have noticed myself having more opportunities to sit back and look at my life and see where God has placed me. And I have been amazed at the ways God has been blessing me in recent times. Friends, family, job. Moments like tonight.

God has been so glaringly obviously in conversations and life situations. And let me tell you friends, it is so refreshing. After a year of feeling so distant from God, it is so wonderful to feel so near to Him.

And I know that God has been right there the entire time, but it is great to finally see it. To feel it. To know it.

I feel like I am able to breathe deep and free. Maybe it’s that I am finally allowing myself to breathe again. Whatever the case, I have the refreshing breath of God filling my lungs tonight.

A little plug for One World Cafe - you make real espresso and a not half-bad cappuccino, and for that I thank you.

NICU Crib

Ok. For anyone who works in the NICU, this makes complete sense and is absolutely hysterical! For everyone else, it may be funny, but I don’t know if you can fully understand the hilarity of this video. It’s just wonderful.

the four loves

One of my all-time favorite books is The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. I read this about a year and a half ago for a class and Lewis’ words spoke deep into my heart. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. In fact, I challenge you to read it because it will, if you let it, change your perspective on love.

Lewis speaks about four loves: affection, friendship, erotic love, and love of God. The friendship-love section spoke so profoundly to me that I marked up most of the chapter and constantly find myself going back to it.  This book is a quick read, but if you read it, I suggest reading it slowly.  Read it intentionally. Think about Lewis’ words. Discuss the book. Pray about the thoughts Lewis discusses and the thoughts brought into your mind.

Here are some of my favorite passages from the book:

“Friendship, then, like the other natural loves, is unable to save itself. In reality, because it is spiritual and therefore faces a subtler enemy, it must, even more whole-heartedly then they, invoke the divine protection if it hopes to remain sweet.”

“But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. Christ…can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’ It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others…[Friendships] are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as revealing.”

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly by wrung and possibly broken…Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness…We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets…Hence, true Friendship is the least jealous of all loves”

“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest…and which, until that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden)…”What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

“In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative love is, I think , often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels, in his secret heart, humbled before all the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company…Life – natural life – has no better gift to give. Who could have deserved it?”

like mariah carey

Whenever I drive home from work knowing I have a day or two off, I get super excited and really energetic. It doesn’t matter how long my day was or how tired I am – I am always pumped. So tonight as I drove home, I turned up the music loud and belted it out. And as I sang, I was suddenly laughing at myself, laughing so hard I was nearly crying.

This weekend, a good friend of mine got married and I was blessed to be a part of the weekend. The reception was at an old family barn and the dance session was…ridiculous. I must admit that I cannot dance. I am terrible, and I know it. So instead of sitting the dances out or being super self-conscious, in recent months I have decided to just let it all out and look like a fool. I dance super awkward and goofy and I just look dumb. It was like flipping a light switch because one minute I would never voluntarily step foot on the floor except for the Cupid Shuffle and suddenly I’m out there looking really dumb and enjoying having people laugh at/with me.

But the main point is that I enjoyed myself. I think there is something good to be said about being able to laugh at yourself. I think it clears your mind and just plain ol’ makes you feel better. I remember getting a Dove chocolate wrapper once that said, “Laugh uncontrollably – it clears the mind.”

Try that today. Just start laughing; you don’t even have to have something to be laughing about. And I just bet that your day will get a little brighter and your mind a little clearer. After all, laughter is the best medicine, right??

se-lāh

I stepped outside expecting it to be a normal, chilly October day.  Instead it was an abnormally warm October day with a hint of a breeze.

Deep breath and feel the sun on my face.

I sat down and felt the warmth and the chill rush over me.  I sat there and waited.

Listening.  Waiting.  Feeling.

And then I heard it: “God and God alone…”

Psalm 62:
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation
My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.
He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my defense and my Fortress. I shall not be moved.
He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness.
Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us.

Selah
(pause, be silent, wait)

This post is inspired by a post my friend recently wrote here.  She has inspired me to read more articles, so here’s a few I’ve run across:

Such truth in what she has to say in this post…  http://laurennicolelove.blogspot.com/2011/06/sex-faith-men-what-i-never-knew-about.html

This is so funny…yet so true. Thoughts I’ve had for sure!  http://modernreject.com/2011/06/dont-say-to-singles/#more-1249091702

Just a beautiful, honest letter.  Wonderful to know that there are men who do this…http://seeprestonblog.com/2011/06/to-my-future-wife/

fellow bloggers

Don Miller’s blog: http://donmilleris.com/2011/09/13/what-to-do-with-pain/
My favorite quote is from the end: “But if we avoid pain, it will chase us down until we finally accept the gift it has to offer.”

Anne Voskamp’s blog: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/09/the-very-best-place-to-really-hope/
I love what she has to say about hope.  Really, I love nearly all her posts.  She write so simple, yet so poignantly. It’s beautiful.  She writes nearly everyday (I think) and every day I am encouraged by what she has to say.

P.S. OCTOBER?! Crazy! Well, hello October 1st : )