Rescuer

There comes a point when you lose sight of the shore.

When you have been treading water for much too long and the waves begin to overtake you.

When you’ve run out of energy and are prepared to let yourself sink to the depths.

Giving up.

Drowning.

Letting go.

—-

In life, we are consistently faced with a choice in our struggles. It’s a choice to sink or swim. A choice to keep treading water or to give into exhaustion and let go.

The fact is, I am not aware of anyone who has not experienced a moment where they feel as though they are drowning. And that’s okay. We weren’t promised a carefree life. If we were, we wouldn’t really need Jesus, would we?

I noticed something today in the song Oceans, by Hillsong United. In the pre-chorus we hear “And I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves”.

It’s not a cry for the Lord to swoop in and lift us out of the water. We know that our Savior can walk right over that ocean like it’s nothing, but that’s not what the song cries out for.

It’s a call for just enough strength to see over the waves. Just enough to make it through.

Just enough.

God is more than capable of rescuing from the depths of the ocean, He is capable of infinitely more than we can ask or even imagine.

But sometimes, having to trust Him for just enough strength to make it through the storms of life is all we receive. Does that mean that God is unable to draw us out of our struggles? Not at all.

Does it mean that He is, in fact, unfaithful? Also no.

The thing I have noticed about life is this: this struggle will not last. There is an end in sight, but there will be other struggles and other painful moments to follow. Sometimes, it will seem never ending, but looking back there is so much growth that happens in difficulty. There will be point after point in life where you are pulled to the right or to the left, and are left with a choice. 

Do you allow yourself to be pulled under the waves?

Or do you trust the Lord of the Universe to give you the strength to tread water just a little longer?

 

More Than Gold

Where does your value come from?

Do you find it in your job? In relationships? In getting good grades?

In school? Family? In trying to love the image you see in the mirror?

In finding love?

In finding happiness?

Is it from being wanted or needed?

In always seeking something better?

Do you rely on the possessions you own or those you hope to own someday, because those will finally make you happy?

In the car you drive? The phone you use? The shows you watch on Netflix?

In what others think of you? In fitting in?

Where does your value truly lie?

Because I can tell you wholeheartedly that you can never find your importance in anything this world has to offer you.

It will never, ever come close.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I keep coming back to Psalm 139, where these verses come from. It’s really beautiful scripture and every word just hits me over and over.

You are so loved.

You are so loved.

You are so loved.

And then I forget it, every time.

But sometimes God makes his incomprehensible character visible to me and I think I get to just catch a glimpse. He knows me so well, that it is always in something beautiful like a sunset, in unconditional love from a friend or in a song, and it brings me full of tears to my knees.

And I am reminded again, “You are loved.”

Each and every once of us wasn’t just some mistake and every part of us was perfectly placed just as it is. Knitted, I love that word, knitted, in our mother’s womb starting day one, but planned from the beginning of time.

I am fully convinced that if we truly understood how much God cares for us, we would be crushed by the magnitude of His glory and grace. Crushed.

Yet our measly little human brains just don’t get it.

So we go back to forgetting where our value comes from and we find it in everything but Christ.

Yet when God created the Universe, He knew right then and there that in 2017, the world would need one of you. Reading my ramblings on your computer or phone, right where you are.

Broken pieces and struggles, accomplishments and all.

I guess what I am trying to get at is this:

What is the point in finding your worth in all the things of this world when you can find it in something so much better?

What does it matter if you have everything you could ever want on this Earth if you never know how loved you are by the Lord of the Universe?

What’s the point?

Maybe it’s just because I needed a reminder myself, but I hope you remember this now and always… You are worth more than you will ever comprehend to someone who died to know you. Because what matters isn’t the superficial things we try to fill the voids in our hearts with or try to find our value in.

What matters is Christ.

You are worth more.

Think Again

If you read nothing else on this page today, I want you to read this: without Jesus in it, life is hopeless and empty, even if it doesn’t seem to be.

I got a taste of this first hand this a few months ago.

On my dad’s side of the family, I have two cousins – a brother and sister who are close in age to my brother and I. We have basically grown up together, although more recently have moved apart a little and seen one another less because of busyness.

When given the choice between a family event and a retreat for Cru, I wanted so badly to choose the latter. I would have built relationships, had intentional time with God and just have had fun. But ever since I realized that both of these events fell on the same weekend, I knew where I was supposed to be, and that was Middleton, WI, with my family.

My cousin has apparently gotten in with some bad friends, friends who encourage her to party and in turn her grades have slipped. Who knows what else she has done! She has become cold, cruel and painfully disrespectful to her family. As a recent high school graduate, she wants nothing more than to get out of the house and have the “college experience” – not taking into account that going to an out of state school will leave her in deep debt.

She’s never been much for conversation, but now things were even worse. There were so many things I wanted to say to her, but I just couldn’t find the words. Her parents obviously had a strained relationship with each other, not to mention their relationship with her.

I’m not really sure why God wanted me there instead of enjoying quality time with my Cru family. I hurt more after this weekend in May than I had for a long time. All I know is that I was there for some reason, whether or not I ever see the fruit of that.

As an outsider looking in, all I could see was how empty and broken this home was, and I felt the weight of those things too. At one point during the weekend, I cried in the bathroom; at another, I went downstairs to blindly watch my brother and other cousin play video games. I felt like more of a “broken vessel” than I could have imagined. All I could think about was how my cousin had found her worth in something that wasn’t Jesus, and how much I wished I could change that but felt helpless to do so.

By all worldly standards, my cousin was doing great. She fit in and I would describe her as popular based on the people she knows and hangs out with.

But to God? Hmm.

I’m not saying a life without Jesus in it can’t be somehow good. By some stroke of luck, one can spend their whole life never seeking the Lord and be perfectly content. For some people, its not the life struggles here that cause them to seek God, but the eternity in hell that poses a problem.

Maybe those who turn to partying and friendships that lead them astray truly are happy in life. Maybe families who are all breaking a little at the seams manage to be okay without Christ.

I wouldn’t know.

But, I do know this. Whether or not you feel like you need God, you do.

I’ve seen it time and time again, not only in my own life, but in the lives of others.

God takes lives who are lost, people who have turned to partying or substance abuse, people who have depression or anxiety, those who are questioning their identities, those who have turned to relationships and sex to fulfill them, families that are falling apart; He can take every last broken piece, even in those who don’t know their own brokenness, and make them wholly and entirely His.

 

It’s not about religion, but a relationship. And like any relationship, it takes a little work.

But its worth it.

Because we ALL need Jesus.

 

 

The photo above was taken by my friend Desmond, whose photography I now have permission to use on my posts – talented guy!

Finding Rest

Just some thoughts from quiet time today…

Truly my soul finds rest in God;

my salvation comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2

Can one allow their soul find rest in God alone? Not in searching, in wondering about the future or regretting the past; in losing themselves in friendships, work or school, relationships, but in Him alone? Yet our souls can reside there, in Him alone and not in all of those other distractions.

Our salvation comes from Him.

Through the cross we are saved.

Redeemed.

Beloved.

Not because of anything that we did, but because of what Christ did for us. Even though we are each in our own way unworthy of such a sacrifice, still it was freely given.

So now I can sit here, in awe, because He is my salvation.

And every time we hit what can only be called rock bottom, there he is.

The rock at the bottom.

Unmoved, unwavering, and waiting patiently for us to run back into his open arms.

A fortress surrounding us.

Protecting.

Defending.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, can penetrate the ultimate protection freely given to us by the ultimate protector.

No storms of life, no trials, NOTHING can separate us from God’s love, and because of that we cannot allow ourselves to be shaken from where we stand.

Oh sweet soul, you have been wandering for much too long. Allow Him to be your protector, your salvation, your fortress, your rock…

And most importantly,
just rest,
you are beloved. ♥

Be loved, beloved

There are, arguably, four types of people when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

One, the couples who celebrate this holiday. They’re the ones who post photos of flowers or chocolates from their significant other, or a photo of the both of them. They might have a romantic meal, or give a card to one another. They at least try.

You know what I mean.

Next are the rest of the couples, who don’t really do anything for the holiday. Maybe they have been together two long to care anymore, or they have mutually decided that ‘Valentine’s Day is stupid’ and refuse to participate.

There are also those who mourn or miss past relationships on this day, reminiscing on what could have been even if the relationship ended for good reason and often claiming that they hate this holiday.

Can’t say I blame them…

Lastly, there are those who have never celebrated what is known as Valentine’s Day because they have never had a significant other to celebrate it with. Yeah.

Maybe there are more than four, in fact I’m sure there will be people who don’t fall into these groups. But I’m sure you get what I am trying to do here, bear with me.

I count myself in the last category. 

But unlike a majority of people who find themselves as chronically single as me, I don’t dislike Valentine’s Day. As I have grown in my faith throughout the years, I have found that I can often see God and His love in ordinary, every day things.

And yes…even in Valentine’s Day.

February 14th begs the question: what is love?

Love is not measured by boxes of chocolate, cards or bouquets of flowers. (That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with buying your girlfriend flowers, those couple dollars spent really will make her day. But still.)

It’s so much more than those little things.

Love is only one thing, one word, one name…. (drumroll please!)

Jesus Christ.

Here’s the deal:

You have been loved by Christ from day one, loved so much that he would willingly suffer and die so that you and I can have life. 

He loves you when you are happy. He loves you when you are sad. 

He loves you on those days when you look in the mirror and hate what you see. 

He loves you on the days you feel beautiful. 

He loved you all those times that you didn’t measure up to the world, and all those times you succeeded too. 

Every promise that the Bible gives us, every beautiful thing we have been given, and through every heartache and every blessing we are constantly reminded of the enduring love that our Savior has for us.

God’s love is often referred to as agape, which translated from Greek is most closely ‘unconditional love’. If you need a quick refresher on what this means, here you go.

It’s easy to forget all this, I know. No matter how you feel about today’s holiday, there is a love that tops everything we could possibly experience here on earth. I want to remind you to consider this love that you are so freely given.

So, beloved child of God, be loved today – and every day. You are worthy. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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 fails1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

 [Photo found on picmonkey.com]