Not For a Moment.

After all, You are constant.
After all, You are sovereign.
Not for a moment will You forsake me.

This song resonates so much with me right now.
After finding myself with an untimely and disheartening break from being an intern for the time being, its been incredibly easy to feel defeated and to feel abandoned.
This song serves as a beautiful reminder that I haven’t been.

This post is one that I started working on back in October, long before this break came to pass. It’s funny how the Spirit can prompt us to write or read something that doesn’t make sense in the moment.

Have you ever felt alone?
Like absolutely alone.
Abandoned.

The isolated feelings that can come from facing challenges and life sometimes leave me feeling like I’m in some tremendous void that no one even remotely understands.

And in those moments, it becomes incredibly easy to forget about God.
But He has not forgotten about us.

Are you currently, or have you ever gone through some really difficult situations?
Situations where you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Situations that leave you speechless.
Situations that make you feel like God is as far away from you as He possibly could be.

Where it didn’t matter how much or how hard you and others were praying, you felt like God was completely silent.
Where your emotions get the best of you and loneliness and abandonment start to set in.
You know deep down that none of this is true, but you still can’t shake it.

Reading in Psalm 77:7-9, the writer was at the end of his rope and pleading for God to intervene.
He asked why God had rejected him.
Did God even care about what he was going through?

Maybe right now, God seems so far away and you start to wonder if He’s forgotten you.
We’ve all experienced moments like these.
There are countless reasons in this world that leave us feeling rejected and broken.

But when we feel like God is the one rejecting us – it really hurts.
When we have these feelings of being forgotten, we have two choices: We can either turn away from Him in anger and frustration. Or we can allow His truth to motivate us to recognize His sovereignty, and to continue to trust Him, even in the midst of our difficulties.

If we’re feeling rejected, we need to turn our focus upward rather than inward.
Instead of mulling over all the ways God hasn’t changed our current situation, we should praise Him for the many times He’s shown faithfulness to us in the past.

It’s difficult to offer our praise when we feel forgotten by God, but it is in our faithfulness that we will find His.
It’s in our brokenness that His glory is made known.
Sometimes we have to step outside ourselves and simply trust.
It’s in those quiet and still moments of complete surrender, that we find Him.

He has not forgotten us.

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Celebrating One Year

Two weeks ago I celebrated a milestone that I honestly thought I would never reach.
One year of recovery from self harm.

This is a road that I’ve been on since 2005.
That’s a long time.
And while I don’t by any means think that I’m fixed now or that I’ll never struggle with this again, I’ve fought harder than I ever have to reach this goal.

And I wouldn’t have made it without a group of incredibly wonderful people that have had my back in more ways than one over this past year.

I am part of the most incredible body of believers that I’ve ever had the privilege of worshiping with.
They welcomed me in and made me feel like I had always been a part of their family.
Being a part of the same church for twenty years, it was incredibly scary and difficult to walk away from all of that and into unknown territory.
But it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I’m so thankful for every person that has poured into me since I’ve been there and am thankful for the opportunities to pour into others and to share my story.

I have an incredible best friend that is more like a sister to me than a friend.
Her and her family have never made me feel like anything less than an extended part of their family.
She has been by my side through every triumph and every setback and has provided many laughs along the way.

My struggle with depression and self harm will never go away.
They will always be a part of me, but they no longer control me.
Will I still have bad days? Of course.
Will there still be moments where I would rather run and hide than deal with what’s going on? Absolutely.
But I am stronger because of each of those moments.
Every time I choose not to cut, it’s a victory.
Every time I choose to stay and fight, it’s a victory.
Every time I fall, but get back up, it’s a victory.

And with the potential opportunity to serve alongside the organization that has saved my life in more ways than one, I am thankful for every struggle that I’ve had.

There is a part of me that wishes I would have never started cutting when I was 16.
There’s a part of me that wishes that struggle hadn’t continued for as long as it has.
There’s a part of me that wishes there weren’t forty plus scars scattered across my body.

But because all of those things are a part of me, I have the opportunity to pour into the lives of young people that feel like those are the only options they have and remind them that there is hope. That there will be a day when it gets better, but that they have to be alive to see it and to celebrate it.
We are living, breathing stories still being written.
Our time is now.
We are the only ones that can tell our stories.
Stories of pain.
Stories of brokenness.
Stories of hope.
And stories of redemption.

I choose to take my story of pain and brokenness and turn it into a story of hope and redemption.

I’ve been redeemed.
I have hope.
I have a purpose.
I have a story, and it’s not finished yet.

Chapters are still being written.
There are characters that haven’t shown up yet.
There are pages left to be filled.

If you find yourself written into the pages of my story so far, know that your part has been written in permanent marker.
It cannot be erased.
You cannot be erased.
If you don’t find yourself in these pages, it’s my honest hope that we can change that.
After all, I have a whole cup full of permanent markers of all colors.
You choose the color.
We write the story.

Much love to you. 

Obligatory Love.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love you because the bible tells me I have to” or “I forgive you because Jesus tells me I have to”?
Have you ever said that to anyone?
Maybe out of anger or frustration.
Maybe because you don’t agree with what they are doing.
Regardless, these words can be extremely detrimental in my opinion.

I mean, could that be any more of an empty and meaningless couple of statements?
You: “I love you, but only because I have to.”
Me: “Uhh, thanks? I think.”

As followers of Christ we are called and commanded to love, so that statement is biblically true.
But as followers of Him, we shouldn’t love someone because we have to.
We should love them because we get to.
We get the privilege of loving each other.
We are called to live Christ like lives.
Christ was- Christ is, love, in the purest form.
We get to love people.

See how different that comes across?
Instead of, “I love you because I have to,” it becomes “I love you because I get to!”

There’s nothing worse than feeling like someone is obligated to love you.
In fact, that does nothing but make me feel like I’m a burden to that person or that I’m just another chore on their to do list.
“Let’s see, what’s on the agenda today? Ah yes, pay bills, love people, buy groceries,pick up dry cleaning.”
What an awful thing to be compared to.

We should be excited that we get to love people, because love can change the course of history.
We were, and still are, loved so much by our Creator that he gave us the ultimate gift- himself.
And he was the ultimate example of love.
And because of that love, we can have an intimate relationship with the Father.
That love bridged the gap between us.
That love changed everything.

Christ chose us.
He chose love.
And because he chose us, we get to share that love with others, and we should do that because we get to, not because we have to.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Much love to you.