Miracle of Nature

I’m really lucky/blessed.  I’ve never really had to struggle with doubt; faith is almost as natural as breathing for me.  It’s a blessing, but it’s also because I see God’s majesty, might, and touch all around me all the time.  Nothing makes sense without God to me.

I see You in the stars above

I feel You in the earth below

In waves that swell, in winds that blow

Laura Story’s “O Love of God”

 

I look around and I can’t understand how anyone could think there couldn’t be a god.  How all of this could just be a matter of chance, adaptation, and survival of the fittest.  I don’t think science and faith are mutually exclusive.  (See this recent article for an example.) Everything I have ever learned from science supports what I know and believe about God.

When you look at delicate ecosystems, biodiversity, and the breadth of our lack of knowledge on everything to do with nature and space, and still consider how it all works.  It all has worked for all of time.  How can there not be intelligent design?  The miracle of nature is a constant reminder.

The world just doesn’t makes sense to me without a Creator.

-S

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One Heck of a Week

It’s been a heck of a few days. Excruciating pain- leading to ER visits – leading to being sent home with the diagnosis of gout.photo 2.PNG

And zero pain relief due to the blessing growing inside.

I should also mention I meet zero risk factors and already eat a gout friendly diet.

So this was pure bad luck… or

God has a way of humbling us. Quickly.

It’s day 3 of severe pain and zero left hand function (3-10) days is typical; healing time without drugs. And let me just say 2 hands are needed for 99% of everything toddler related.

That being said, most of it I can figure out (suffer through) one handed. (Also, changing a poopy/teething diaper with a rolling 1 year old with one hand deserves an award.)

That being said, God sure does shine in His helpers.photo 1.PNG

This morning I was feeling very depressed. I need so much help right now.

Why is that depressing? Especially when I have friends and family willing to lend a hand.

Is society, am I, so arrogant that needing help sends me into a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing?

Is needing help really all that bad?

Truth be told, I don’t think it’s the help that has me down. It’s the not knowing when I’ll be healed and two handed again.

It’s the not knowing coupled with the help.

Yes, God can be very humbling.

“Whatever mess I’m in, I can exhale relief: I have a messiah who meets me in it, wont leave me in it, will carry me through it” Ann Voskamp

Meets me in it: with helpers and stamina for sleepless painful days/nights

Won’t leave me in it: everyday I get more adept with with my right hand

Will carry me through it: encouragement and strength for the moment

Notice I wasn’t naïve enough to say “will take away my pain immediately because that would be ideal and convenient”

Maybe I’m being melodramatic about the pain (which I can attest I’m not, I have a high pain tolerance and it intolerable)

But, I think the take away is this: not knowing and needing help (although frustrating) is an ok spot to be in when I can rest in the assurance that no matter what the time frame I will be carried through it.

Sidenote: thank you to everyone who has helped and dealt with my crabbys through the past few days.

– J

Celebrations of Guilt

I have a problem with guilt.  You can ask any of my family members.  I always feel guilty for things people shouldn’t feel guilty.

I am generally content with my life…but then the guilt starts to creep in.  What right do I have to live a life of contentment when they are so many who suffer?  What right do I have to be so blessed by no work of my own, but by the gifts of God.

There is a fine line here.  God blesses us.  We are not promised happiness, but when He gives us these gifts, we should be thankful.  I have the right to celebrate and be content in my amazing Father who grants me blessings.

Sing, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, O Israel!

Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,

O daughter of Jerusalem!

-Zepheniah 3:14

However, I also have the obligation to help those in need.  So, while I don’t need to feel guilty for my blessings or happiness; I do need to use my many blessings and gifts to help others in any and all ways that I can.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms         – 1 Peter 4:10

It’s a fine line I’m still trying to master.

-S

Consistently Uncomfortable

“love take these words that I’m speaking

love take these thoughts that I’m thinking

love take me over

love fill up all of my spaces and

love stand right here in my space”

Steven Curtis Chapman’s Love Take Me Over

God has this habit of calling me to do things I’m severely uncomfortable doing…

I can’t count how many times I’ll be (or have been) sitting alone in a crowded room wishing I could disappear, putting a brave smile on, while praying “God why am I here, again?”

“What haven’t I learned?”

“Did I misread a sign? do You even want me here?”

What is this awkwardness I’m in and why must I be here with the hormones?

Maybe it’s not about me though (shocked face, I know).

Maybe I’m in this crowded room for someone else. Maybe my un-comfortableness isn’t about me learning a lesson or gaining some insight or growing closer to my Lord.

Maybe it’s simply about extending some love to someone I may not even know…

Maybe I will never even know I touched them.

I answered in faith when I got myself good and uncomfortable. So, in faith I must stay consistent and trust God will handle the rest despite my hate of the situation…

And despite the consistent awkwardness on my part.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. – 1 Peter 5:2

-J

Act in Love: Pt. 2

Pigging backing off of my last post…some more musings on love. (Valentines’ Day is one of my most favorite holidays after all)

A key part of acting in love (for me) goes back to 1 Corinthians 13:4

… love keeps no records of wrongs…

I have a great memory, and, honestly, somewhat enjoy hashing out peoples’ wrong behavior with those I’m closest too (yes, that’s otherwise known as gossiping…and keeping my fire of hurt and anger going)

And for what?!

acting in love 2I’ve hurt people, I’ve let people down- I pray they don’t talk about me and never let it go- even if my mistakes are repetitive.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says it beautifully:

Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words ~

This is critical to living a life of love. It is also one of my personal goals for 2015, to let the bad things go. To let the hurt and disappoint, and expected let downs go. To not discuss it repeatedly with my sister or mull over how frustrated I am.

To give forgiveness freely, and to step it up and then act out in love towards that person. Not because I feel like it, but because afterwards I will feel better and they will feel God’s love in my life and now theirs…and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

And I’m just a fool if I have such solid advice and do not take it, if I choose to hang onto the bitterness. Sometimes I good memory is a curse, choose to let it go. And not repeat it outloud. Not even once (yes I am reminding myself.)

– J

Glorify in Everything

I’m trying to be better about glorifying God in all my actions.  Particularly with all of the little things at work.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

I’m good with big projects and high stakes plans and their implementation.  It’s those little things that get at me.  So, I’m trying to hold myself accountable and make sure I am glorifying God in the little things (and my attitude while doing those things).

So what does this mean?

-Doing this with positivity and without grumbling

-Doing things when they should be done and not procrastinating

-Giving every project/task, no matter how small, my best effort (even if I know a mediocre job would be acceptable)

So, now it’s time to go off and do some of those little things.

-S

Act in Love: Pt. 1

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

It’s one of my favorite verses, and also one of the hardest directions (love others). It goes into further details…how to love.

Note, it’s not a direction on how to feel love or loved, but how to physically act out love.

Love is a choice to action – much bigger, and harder, and longer than a mere feeling.

And we are called to actively love everyone, not just the lovely or kind or those who make our hearts beat fast.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6: 27-36

acting in loveThis part is hard. I spent a little over a year seriously trying to muster up feelings of love towards some family members I wasn’t the fondest of.

I wasn’t successful. I was going about it all wrong. You can’t create feelings that don’t exist (at least I can’t).

I can make a choice to love them though, to actively show them love. Even when they don’t deserve it (in my opinion). After all, I so don’t deserve the many mercies and blessings tossed my way.

And here’s the strangest thing of all – with every act of love I give away, I grow a little less bitter. A little less frustrated…and maybe, just maybe, the feelings of love are beginning to grow a little too.

-J