Sunday, September 14, 2014

On Orange, Happiness and Surrender

I began the summer studying Esther with Beth Moore so it is very fitting I ended my summer with the final week on our vacation at the beach.

I wanted to finish my final day at the beach, wearing orange. Why orange? It has always been and will forever be my favorite color. Orange simply makes me smile every time I see it and after a year of plenty of tears and turmoil, I wanted to wear orange and be happy. Having never been one to decorate with or wear orange, I found the perfect orange dress and bought it immediately.



"We often speak of happiness as a less noble term than joyfulness because the former is circumstantial and the latter less conditional. I won't argue with that, but when God intervenes in our circumstances and we get a chance not only to know we're blessed but feel blessed, nothing is more appropriate than seizing the happy moment. 'A time of happiness' can come like a shot of B-12 to the soul to boost your system when darkness spreads once again like a virus." ~ Beth Moore, Esther (week 8, day 5)

The story God has penned into my life is complex and at times difficult. I'm sure the story of your life is the same. There have been circumstances over the last 6 months that have tempted me to throw my hands in the air and give up. My study this summer taught me that giving up is not the answer, surrender is. The challenges of our lives are unknown to us and the cost of surrender is great. The great news though is that God knows us by name and He wants to write our story.  Through surrender I am able to open the pages of my heart to be written and rewritten by the Author and Perfecter of my faith. A challenge? You bet it is, but there is no other way. So I will continue to learn and relearn how to surrender and God will faithfully craft His story in my life. He will do the same for you. Will you let Him?

Blessings!

Edisto Island, SC 


Monday, June 2, 2014

God's Pen

"When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, he will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending. And not just in spite of those catastrophes. Often because of them. Don't just wait and see. Live and see." Beth Moore ~ Esther



Those words jumped off the page at me this morning at the close of my day one study of Esther (Beth Moore ~ Esther, It's Though Being a Woman). As the author and perfecter of my faith (see Hebrews 12:2) God is writing my life into His story. I find both freedom and the space to dream within that truth. Freedom that my life has great meaning but at the same time I'm not required to have it all figured out. Dreams are awakening in me again, dreams that haven't had space to develop in quite some time.

My prayer this morning reads, "Lord, I pray for this new day, this week, this season. My weaknesses will abound and surface everyday. I am aware of this in myself and those I live with. With your help I won't get stuck condemning myself or those I love for these weaknesses but instead I will choose to lean on You despite them."

At the start of this summer I am not afraid to take inventory of the events of the past year. I'm not shying away from the emotions, fears, struggles and pain that have been written into my story. I will never attain health by denying, ignoring or escaping reality. I truly want to "live and see" the unfolding story of God's grace and love in my life and the lives of those around me. Today, I am holding on to God, His truth and His love. The story He is writing is worth living out and I am clinging to Him and the "grand ending" His has in mind.

The new David Crowder song "I Am" has been my declaration as of late. I am holding on.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Useful

For a period of three years we had a broken dishwasher. It sat there taking up space but being entirely useless. Not wanting to have a huge hole in the kitchen cabinets while simultaneously not desiring to spend money on a new one led to the decision of keeping it around. The purpose the appliance was created for went unfulfilled. Tonight I remembered that broken dishwasher while helping the girls with their Bible memory verse.

"God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right." (2 Timothy 3:16 NIRV)

Did you catch how this verse specifically shares four purposes of scripture?

1. Teaching what is true.
2. Correcting our mistakes.
3. Making our lives whole again.
4. Training us to do what is right.

I don't know about you, but I sure could use some help in all those areas and in my current season, a life made whole is very appealing. However, if I don't take time to read , study, reflect on and ponder what is laid out in the Bible I cannot benefit from it. "God has breathed life" into the Bible. Life that I need. With all of life's uncertainties and heartaches of this I remain sure, God's Word will meet me there. You can be met there as well. 

In her song The Word, Sara Groves states it like this,

"And I think it's very odd,
that while I attempt to help myself
My Bible sits upon my shelf
With every promise
I could ever need"

The messages of hope, restoration, healing, forgiveness, grace, joy, love and so many other encouragements resound throughout scripture. I'm not saying that taking steps to carve out time or to work through the emotions that may keep you from opening the Bible will be easy but it will always prove beneficial.

The Word is useful. It is useful in my life and yours. I encourage you to discover or rediscover just how useful and powerful the Word can be in your life.

Blessings!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A challenge and a reminder

"But God!?!"

Anytime those words creep into my soul I know God is pressing in to teach me something. Perhaps it's something I've never learned before. Maybe it's a reminder of things forgotten. It's even possible it will lead to conviction and change. Whatever the reason, I know God is up to something.

Most recently I felt these words in my heart as God impressed upon me this familiar verse,

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

"But God!?! I am weary. I am tired. I just need time, space, refuge. I need a break from, from...everything!"

God knows that. He knows that I am weary and tired. He sees me and knows the pain going on and the raw emotions I am dealing with and yet, the pressing continues. It's a real challenge to look at God's Word, understand that it has power to penetrate and divide soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12) but when the personal challenge comes, it's so easy to become defensive. To claim that God couldn't possibly be saying that to me. Thankfully, scripture is much more immense and more holistic than one verse. As much as I know God is pressing upon me the challenge of living out Gal. 6:9, I am just as quickly reminded of these verses,

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)


I sported this verse on my Bible cover through most of my high school days. I enjoyed the rhythm of the verse and clear picture of soaring eagles.  God brought these verses to my mind as a reminder that God is my strength. The weariness I feel is not beyond His knowledge or His power. Do I not know? Have I not heard? God is at work in this world. My eyes see tragedy, not just in my life but in the lives of others I know and even some I may never meet. This tragedy is enough to overwhelm and confuse. However, the truth of Gods Word meets me there. It can meet you there as well. 

Allowing God to teach me how to press on when I a feel like quitting. Opening myself to see there is a harvest to come when my eyes can't focus on more than what is required today. This is not natural, but it is necessary and it's where God has me. Perhaps there is a challenge God is pressing into your life right now. And perhaps there is a gentle reminder right alongside that challenge. A reminder that God is with you, He sees you, He cares for you and He desires for you to trust Him more. 

Blessings!


 

Friday, April 25, 2014

This thing called grief

"I think I need more hugs" I confessed to Justin earlier this week. I recognized this need inside myself after being offered a hug at church. In response to the question "How are you doing?" I replied with my typical "Okay". I'm honest enough with myself and those around me to not lie. I'm not doing great, I'm doing okay. I'm making it through. After that response I was offered a hug, a hug that was much needed. Want to know my initial response to the offer of a hug?

No.

Really Megan!?! For whatever reason the offer of a hug brought out emotions I was not prepared for in that moment and I felt if I received the hug I would lose it. Taking time to reflect on my unwillingness to visit my emotions at that particular moment I spent some time thinking it through on my own since then.

Grief is a completely new thing for me. My childhood never brought about chances to learn about it or experience it firsthand. When my grandfather died 5 years ago I experienced it a bit but not it the fullness I am experiencing it currently. As I consider the challenges that have come into my life in the last year and the loss of not just my mom, grandma and grandma-in-law but also the grief that accompanies the loss of close relationships in my life, I've come to recognize just how many emotions there are to sort through.

By deflecting the hug I was choosing to distract myself from what I was really feeling in that moment.That's not a great way to live. While distracting and deflecting emotions may be necessary in abusive and life threatening situations, it is not necessary in my grief process.

"When we do not process before God the very feelings that make us human, such as fear or sadness or anger, we leak. Our churches are filled with "leaking" Christians who have not treated their emotions as a discipleship issue." Peter Scazzero

I desire to live an authentic and honest life in all areas and right now, I am grieving. I am not going to deny my emotions or believe that they mean I don't have faith. That couldn't be further from the truth. The same author quoted above also says this, "Turning toward our pain is counter intuitive. But in fact, the heart of Christianity is that the way to life is through death, the pathway to resurrection is through crucifixion."

So this is what I am learning about the grieving process for me. I need more hugs. If you offer me a hug I will allow myself to cry if that emotion overcomes me. I will be attentive to the emotions as they come and I will present each one (sadness, fear, anger, doubt) to God as an act of worship. I will embrace my limits.  I will allow myself to process without feelings of guilt and I will come out of this season forever changed. 

Be blessed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hope of Easter

"Some people believe Jesus came to do sweet, pleasant things, like turning bad people into nice people. Not so. As someone once said, our Lord and Savior came to turn dead people into living ones - and there's nothing sentimental about that." Joni Eareckson Tada

The hope of Easter lies in the fact that Jesus came to give life, to turn dead people into living ones. I myself am so grateful that death has been conquered, that it has no hold on me. I am also grateful that the offer of eternal life, true life, is available in the here and now.

Though not a completely typical verse for Easter, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 has always been a favorite of mine:

Death has been swallowed up in victory.
55 Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?
56 Now the sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!


Victory of sin and death belongs to those who place their faith in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ! That is the hope of Easter.

Blessings!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Finding my voice

So yeah, things have been pretty silent on the blog for a long time. (Is it even possible to re-engage in a blog you've neglected for the better part of a year and a half?) In part that's because life is being lived. The other part is that the past year has brought a great deal of pain, trials and difficulties into my life. In some ways I feel like I just sort of lost my voice. 

I'm beginning to find my voice again. With the help of God's amazing presence and the support of many people who love me, I am beginning to share what God is teaching me. He is teaching me about Who He is, what He has done for me and how He wants to transform my life. I am being stretched in very uncomfortable ways, yet God is gentle with me during the transformation process.

As I look to God for strength and allow Him to work in whatever ways He sees fit, I know I am in the right place. I want to be where the Spirit of the Lord is, for in that place is freedom.


17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:17-18)

I desperately want to be transformed into the image of God, to live my life in cadence with Him. As I continue to learn and regain my voice, you can expect me to start posting more about what God is teaching me. So, thanks for reading, and if you like, stick along with me and maybe we can learn something together.