What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Purpose: Chosen For a High Calling

I seem to be drawn to 1 Peter these days. There is a lot to be said about being chosen especially by God and for God in the first few chapters of it. Today I read 1Peter 2:9 – 10 in The Message and really liked the purpose it gives me for continuing to live.
“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night and day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
I need a sense of purpose in spite of the way I feel. Today is one of those days where I am not quite sure what to do. I’m not feeling well and cannot isolate any specific cause. Waiting to hear results from doctors’ tests make the days seem to go on without meaning. But the truth is there is meaning, a significant purpose in keeping about the activities of the day. I’ve been chosen by God for a high calling of work. What is this high calling?
To be holy, devout, God-fearing, spiritual for the purpose of having others notice God. To be an instrument that God can use to do His work (which is having others notice God). Another part of the high calling is to be a voice for Him, to speak out for Him, to tell others of Him. This should be easy because the message I have to share is a message that says I am night and day different than I used to be and it is all because of what He has done for me. God made me night and day different. I used to be confused, lost, lonely, misunderstood and misunderstanding of others, sad, uncertain of goals and purposes, and so many more things that could cause a lack of peace and calm in my life. Now only a couple of things matter: He’s made me something from nothing and has turned around rejection into acceptance.
That’s worth living for and it’s worth serving Him and speaking out for Him. No matter how I feel today, physically or emotionally, there’s a purpose for my existence. That’s worth celebrating this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. I wanted to write a cheery, holiday message to say all is well, but I can’t say that in the physical sense. But, there is so much more to life than the physical and eventually, with a God as big as mine, all is fundamentally well.
So, no matter how you feel this morning, be assured that God is at work in and around you, helping you, calling you, wanting you to be a part of His life. He wants this so badly that He provided His Son for us. Born in a manager, yes. Born to rule in the spiritual world, yes. Born to bring us into a right and good relationship with God the Father, yes! That’s the point of Christmas and every other day.
I’m wishing you a Christmas Day filled with the love of Christ and the glory of God.
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2012

God's Work

Today I read Ephesians 2:10 in The Message. It says,
“[God] creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”
Lately, as I’ve been feeling ill with weird symptoms, too numerous to explain at this point, it seems like it is impossible to be about any work whether given to me by God or just the day to day tasks. But, the key is that God has given us work He has ready for us, work He has planned out uniquely for us to be doing. So I asked myself, what is the work He has planned for me today? What should I be doing regardless of how I am physically or mentally feeling? So I’ve been pondering those questions today.
I feel like yelling at God and telling Him that it’s too much to expect me to carry on when feeling sick with these vague symptoms that come and go without warning. The reality is there are important jobs for me to be doing even when feeling ill. Some of those are true everyday and can be done regardless of how I’m feeling and others need to be done especially when I’m feeling ill.
Job #1: PRAYER. I can pray no matter how I am feeling. I’ve been trying especially hard this week to pray for those who may also be suffering from some unexplained illness or heartache. There are lots of people in my life right now suffering from cancers, accident recovery, mental health issues, and so much more. Some of those people I know about, some just come to mind for no apparent reason. But, my job, my work is to pray for each one of them. Maybe due to my own physical symptoms right now I understand more acutely how much they need prayer. I pray God will find a way to encourage them in the midst of their struggles. That’s what I’m praying for myself, too.
Job #2: ENCOURAGE. I can try to write encouraging emails or notes or make a phone call to those who may need a kind word. I try to do that every morning by writing at least one email to my friend in Minnesota. I don’t always know what to write or what she needs to hear, but I write anyway. God knows what she needs and she seems to get something out of my notes. I have other friends I try to write on a somewhat regular basis and whether they live in Michigan, Minnesota, or Idaho I pray before I hit the send button that the note will encourage the recipient in a special way.
Job #3: WRITE. I write this blog. I view it as part of my job, the work God has for me on this earth. I don’t always know what to say or where the writing may take me, but nonetheless I write. I know that God has given me a talent to write and not using it would not be doing the work God has specifically prepared for me to do. And, as it says in Ephesians 2:10, it’s work I had better be doing.
I’m sure there are other jobs, other work, God has prepared for me to do and I will continue to contemplate what those jobs might look like. In the meantime, I know I have these three jobs to work on and I can do them no matter how I feel if I do them with God and for God.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Decision 2012

In December 2010 and January 2011, I wrote a couple of articles about thriving vs. surviving. (See 12-26-10 and 1-2-11 posts) When December 2011 came around I did not renew those decisions and the consequences have been a year of inner turmoil and anguish.
Today I announce that I’m going to remake the decision and see if the rest of my life will be better for me emotionally and mentally. There’s already a sense of relief knowing that I won’t have to deal with thoughts of self-harm on a regular basis. For now, and for once for all, such behaviors are not options for me. This includes suicidal ideation. That has been the hardest behavior to put aside because it has been the alternate plan, the ultimate back up plan, for many, many years.
In coming to this decision, I came across 1 Peter 1:3 – 5 in The Message. It says, “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.”
I’m counting on the part that says we “have everything to live for . . . and the future starts now!” I’ve decided to memorize this passage from The Message to remind myself daily that there is life worth living and it starts today. I’ve decided that life is an adventure with both good and bad stressors coming at us daily, but the adventure is worth living if we have God at the center of it. I can trust Him. I just have to decide to do so. Daily. Minute by minute. Sometimes second by second. But ultimately we will have it all – life healed and whole, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I can wait for that to happen in God’s timing and not have an ultimate back up plan or escape plan. I may only be planning to escape before I see the miracle happen.
I choose to wait for the miracle.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Recalling What God Has Done, Part 2

As a teenager, I would find myself in dangerous situations. I usually put myself in these dangerous situations. But, God was there. Something prevented me from being severely hurt. I think that something was God. The situations could’ve left me physically hurt, even dead, emotionally hurt, mentally scarred, or spiritually broken. But they didn’t. God was there to protect me from situations I could not even guess. I made decisions to run from God, ignore Him, and deny Him. Yet God did not let me get too far away from Him. He kept bringing people into my life that knew Him and directed me back to Him. He brought people into my life that didn’t know Him, but they accepted me and cared about me. They tried to help me. I was helped in spite of myself by the people God put in my life.
As a young adult, God drew me to Him. He used the Christmas season as a time to bring me into a relationship with Him like I never knew was possible. He used the people on my college dorm floor. He placed each one there to make sure I knew them and would through them, come to know Him. God timed everything out so that I would be in the right places, the right college, the right dorm floor, and the right dorm room next to the people He wanted me to know. In two weeks, this will have happened 34 years ago.
God didn’t stop there. He put the right people in my life to help me learn more about Him and learn how to develop a relationship with Him. Some of those people are still friends today, still challenging me to walk with God. God brought me into contact with Christian groups on campus that helped me grow stronger in my relationship to God. After college, God allowed me to find churches and people in those churches to help me grow. As my relationship with God grew, so did my ability to make decisions based on the Bible and that led to various jobs and people at those jobs.
God was at work to bring me into a relationship with my husband. I did not always make the best decisions when it came to this area of my life, but ultimately God was there, picking up the pieces. I believe God led my husband to love me, in spite of my many flaws. My husband was diligent in his courtship and diligent now in his love for me. And, I’m not always easy to love. But, God knew what I needed and brought my husband to me and keeps him loving me.
I’ve seen the miraculous births of two precious children. My pregnancies were anything but normal as I had to deal with my insulin-dependent diabetes throughout both of those time periods. My children were born and live healthy lives today. My high-risk pregnancies have not left any lasting effects on my children. God was there throughout, providing for as normal pregnancies as possible. It is not unusual for diabetics to have multiple miscarriages. God spared me that experience.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve struggled in many ways that I never would have predicted. Yet in spite of my screwed up thinking at times and the multiple desires to end it all, I’m still here. God did that, too. I know He’s been protecting me from myself and from the attacks of evil in my life. There have been so many times when a thought would come to me that was not from within me, thoughts about the legacy I’d leave for my children or the legacy I’d leave for my friends and family. I did not want to leave this world a quitter.
This is only a sampling of the things God has done in my life. The recalling of God’s work in my life has renewed in me a desire to know Him better. As I get to know Him better, I will see His unconditional love for me and be better able to trust Him to fulfill His promises in my life. As this happens, I will learn to trust Him even in the midst of my struggles. I can choose to serve Him until the end of my days as a result. That’s what I want for my life.