Tag Archives: Bible

Surviving The Valley

It’s been so long since I’ve used this space I almost feel like an intruder….lol. I feel like I should give an explanation as to why I’ve been away for so long but if I begin to delve into the details; multiple deaths in my family, moving to Jamaica, starting my Masters degree, etcetera, etcetera, I might be here for an insanely long time and may never get to share what’s currently on my heart. So with that being said, I’m back. Whether for a moment or for good this time is still to be discovered, but I’m glad that I’m in a space where I can communicate openly about my life and encounters with God again!

Today, after a long period of searching and reassessing my life and my relationship with God, I was reminded of a key principle in understanding who God is and reaching out to Him. I’ll go back a little before telling you what that principle is, so you don’t feel out of the loop and I don’t seem like I’m rambling on about everything and nothing in particular.

Have you ever hit a really low place spiritually, where you feel like you’re no where close to God and you’re praying that you’d have even a slight encounter with Him again so you can keep going? Now, this feeling may not be a result of sin or wrong doing, but simply a result of feeling drained by the stresses of life and literally having to take life one day at a time and dealing with each crisis in the moment. It may resemble waking up each day and praying, all the while not being certain if God is even listening or hearing you. Maybe you’re trying to worship and you just can’t find the right words or the right song and it’s as though you’re occupying an empty space and reaching out in futility. In such a moment, have you ever asked God “Where are you?” or “Why won’t you talk to me?” or even “Why have you forsaken me?”. If you’ve been here at any point in life, welcome to the club.

That was me for the past couple months. I woke up each day and I grappled with praying and worshipping and many days I felt abandoned by God. I wanted so badly to hear His voice or feel His presence or at least get some form of confirmation that I was still within His will and plan for my life. And for months I battled, and doubted, and cried because it felt like I was grabbing at straws. I felt like at some point, God got fed up and just couldn’t be bothered to meet with me anymore. I can’t begin to tell you how empty and painful that was for me. To go from being in God’s presence daily and feeling Him close to me, to feeling like there was a wall between us and trying to figure out how to get past it. Of course during this time I kept seeing those memes online that say “the teacher is quiet during the test” and “God has promised not to leave you or forsake you”. These, while comforting momentarily, never proved to be enough to sustain me and definitely didn’t renew my peace. I needed something more, something solid, heck, I needed God!

Then today happened. Today I woke up and was reminded of John 1:1 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I know, this is a serious “what?” moment because it’s such a simple verse to combat all the drama I was facing. But, as simple as it seems, that one verse gave me the breakthrough I was so desperately looking for. You see, I’ve been reading my bible, but only because I’ve been taught to read it. I’ve been told time and time again that reading my bible should be part of my daily routine and so in my low place, I read because of religion and not relationship. What that means is, I wasn’t reading my bible because I wanted to know more about God or because I wanted to apply it’s principles to my life, I was reading it because it became a part of my routine, a chore almost. When I felt drained I cast the bible aside and believed that its words could not offer the comfort I needed, because it wasn’t God speaking directly to me – and ultimately, that’s what I wanted.

This morning though, I was reminded that interacting with the bible is one of the most intimate ways of interacting with God. It gives us insight into the heart of God, the principles and standards He operates by, His thoughts towards us and His promises which He is faithful and true to uphold. This morning, I was reminded that when I feel like I have no emotional connection to God, I still have direct access to Him through His word.

So, what now? What happens now that I’ve rediscovered the truth and simple answer to knowing God and maintaining my relationship with Him? Well, it’s simple, now I move from living out my Christianity as a chore to truly embracing all that God has to offer me through His word. Now, I read with purpose and I live in faith understanding that when God says he’ll never leave me nor forsake me, He means it. Now, I work on my relationship with God and not my christian religion. I’m going back to basics, seeking God’s truth daily through His word and living them out as much as possible every day.

I’ll be honest, a part of me wants to say that this is basic stuff and chastise myself for forgetting it, but I’m more inclined to indulge the part of me that’s grateful for my valley experience because it reminded me that my walk with God is not an emotional one. It’s not about feeling warm and fuzzy inside and being brought to tears every time I think about God. It’s about being sober minded, and living a principled life that’s pleasing to God. My Christianity is about having faith that God is with me always and trusting Him to be my guide even when I don’t “feel” like He’s close.

As I continue to seek God and walk in His ways I’m grateful for the reminder that I have access to Him always even when I “think” He isn’t there.

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Daily Dose – Unchanging

Why-Should-I-Trust-God

Psalm 19:89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens

The word of God never changes. The Father’s command do not alter, and neither does Jesus, the Word made flesh or His promise of salvation.

Those who trust in him are secure as the Lord Himself, for he does not change and none of His promises pass away unfulfilled.

The eternal Lord and all He commands stand firm.

To gain eternity, simply receive Christ as your Lord and Savior; then trust him.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Read the Directions – Mary Southerland

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I am an average cook and a below average baker. Consequently, I am of little value in the “cookies from scratch” department. Our daughter, Danna, however, loves to bake and is very good at whipping up three-dozen cookies or her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I will never forget the day Danna baked her first batch of cookies from scratch.

It was a Saturday morning, and Danna had a “craving” for cookies. Not cookies in a package or from a store, but real cookies she insisted. Watching her gather all of the necessary ingredients, I asked which recipe she was planning to use. With a smug look of disdain, my competent daughter turned to her pitifully incompetent mother and explained that she didn’t really need a recipe. After all, she had made hundreds of slice and bake cookies, not to mention the dozens of brownies from a box. How hard could it be? I decided to watch.

The kitchen counters quickly filled with various bowls, a tub of butter, flour, vanilla and milk. Tossing an occasional gracious and confident smile my way, Danna mixed differing amounts of each ingredient and stirred vigorously. Satisfied that it “looked right,” she fished a cookie pan out of the cabinet, sprayed it with oil and began carefully spooning out the cookie dough. I was truly impressed. After setting the timer, she cleaned the kitchen, while waiting for the delicious results.

When the timer went off, Danna quickly pulled the cookies out of the oven, sliding them off the pan and onto a plate. They smelled good and looked good to me – but a skeptical frown met my encouraging words, warning of danger just ahead. Pinching off a bite, Danna popped the cookie into her mouth. Now keep in mind that my daughter does have a flair for the dramatic, but I was totally unprepared for the culinary eruption that followed. Bits of cookie sprayed the kitchen counter and appliances as Danna coughed, choked, and strangled her way to the announcement that those cookies were “disgusting.” Grabbing the plate, she deposited her project in the garbage, and fished the cookie recipe out of a kitchen drawer, studying the magic formula. When I asked what went wrong, she explained through a sheepish grin, “I thought I knew how to make cookies on my own. So I didn’t read the recipe and left out the eggs.” One of the qualities I most admire in Danna is her persistence, which compelled her to begin again. The second time around, following the recipe resulted in scrumptious results. God’s plan is much the same.

God’s has a unique plan or “recipe” for each one of us. God reveals His plan through the Bible. It is the instruction book of life, the blueprint for life construction, and the road map for the journey. When we saturate our lives with God’s Word, it will naturally lead us and guide us according to His plan. Our greatest opportunity for success is to live that plan. God tucks into our very soul a discontentment with anything but His life “recipe.” If we approach each day searching for His handprints in every situation, choosing to walk in obedience to His Word, we will surely find ourselves smack dab in the middle of God’s amazing purpose and plan.

The awesome truth is that more than we want to know His plan for our life, He wants us to know it and stands ready to guide us to and through that plan. The more time we spend with the Plan Maker, and the more we choose to obey His plan, the clearer that plan grows. God always reveals His plan to an obedient heart. Just as surely as Danna left the eggs out of her first effort, we leave Him out of our plans, and go our own foolish way. Still, He waits. When the results are disastrous and we have made a mess of it all, He stands ready to begin again. We could save ourselves a lot of pain and futility if we simply read and follow the right set of directions.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

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