Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Me

Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Me,

I know. I know your world is shattered, but I promise you, things will get better. I know that right now it doesn’t feel that way, but it’s true.

You’re going to cry yourself to sleep so many nights. You won’t always.

You’re going to wonder if your heart will ever heal. It will.

You’re going to wonder if there is anyone else out there for you. There is.

You are going to come out of this stronger.

Because you are not defined by your relationship status. Your life does not revolve around another human being. Your world will be put back together when you start wholly trusting in the One who created it. Don’t settle because you’re lonely; don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Live your life. It gets better.

Photo credit: unsplash-logoOlaia Irigoien

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Even If You Don’t

“I know You’re able and I know You can/
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand/
But even if You don’t/
My hope is You alone/
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt/
Would all go away if You’d just say the word/
But even if You don’t/
My hope is You alone”

-“Even If” by MercyMe

I find this song and the message in it so beautiful. As a believer, things happen that I don’t understand. It can be so frustrating sometimes when I know that God could do x, but it doesn’t happen. I think this is particularly the case when it comes to health. We know God can bring healing – there’s several accounts in the Bible of God’s healing power as well as several accounts of it happening today – but sometimes He doesn’t. Why? I don’t know. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

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Even so, it can be so incredibly hard when you’re amidst a terrible situation, and the miracle you’re praying for doesn’t happen. It can make you fall on your knees and scream why until your throat is raw. It can make you doubt. It can make you angry. But can it also be well with your soul?

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Recently I was talking about how while I pray for miracles, I also pray for God’s will and for the strength for whatever happens to be well with my soul. I started thinking about it this way: When you see someone whose illness or injury has been healed, it inspires awe and praise of God. But have you ever heard a story about someone with a serious injury or disease that, though they haven’t been healed, they are one of the most faith-filled, joyous people you’ve ever heard of? I don’t know about you, but that inspires just as much awe and praise in my heart! It brings me to tears when I hear stories of people in terrible circumstances that can praise the Lord more than someone like me! How great is their faith!

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You bet I pray for miracles – but I also pray for strength and for God’s will. The things that happen on this Earth are bigger than me and the way that I would like things to happen. We live in a fallen world of sin, death, and disease. Bad things happen. Sometimes God steps in, but sometimes He doesn’t. I don’t know why, but all I can do is cling to the Rock that is higher than I, and as the song says, “[pray that You] give me the strength to be able to sing, ‘it is well with my soul'” and allow the miracles that don’t happen to strengthen my faith and my empathy towards others who are in similar situations. When the miracles come, I praise the Lord. When the miracles don’t come, I praise the Lord. It is well with my soul.

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Photo credit: Ben White

Journaling Through Life

Tonight I got home, got into bed, and settled in to read my Bible and to journal before watching Netflix.  I’m moving through Job (admittedly the hardest book of the Bible I’ve read) and tonight I was on chapter 38 which is God’s first response to Job and his friends.  After I read it I was journaling about how humbling the chapter was and my thoughts about it (I may do another post about it, but ya’ll should read it).  I was going to blog about it but my computer was taking for-ev-er to turn on, so while I was waiting I flipped through my journal.

I started this journal November 30 of last year – almost a year ago exactly! Admittedly, I’m not a very faithful journalist so my entries tend to be rather spread out, but as I got to looking through it I’ve seen how God has moved in my life this past year: terrible heartbreak, a whole different kind of heartbreak over losing my Papa and my Granny,  moving sermons, my first time leading someone to Christ, my change of heart about teaching, lessons in love being a decision and not just a feeling, the fact that my handwriting is hardly legible a majority of the time, healing God has brought over the heartbreak and losses, God opening new doors in my life, miracles, breakdowns, praise, choosing joy.  The list goes on and on, and all of this in under a year!

Though I’m not the most religious journalist, God has definitely used this journal to show me how He has healed me, changed me, and grown me over the past year, and that is one of the biggest blessings I think a person can receive.  On an ending note, here’s a quote I found in my journal from a man who came to speak at my school:

“Start journaling your journey and watch God.” -Dr. Bobo

Until next time, lovelies.

 

 

Hope in the Healer

As Christians we sometimes find ourselves refusing to show God’s love to people because of the right we have seemingly given ourselves to cling to our pain.   Someone hurts us and we cling to the brokenness inside us rather than to God; we turn the brokenness into an idol.  When we refuse to forgive those who have hurt us, when we refuse to show mercy and grace to those who we have unjustly declared unworthy, we are depriving people of the chance to see the character of God. Instead, we are showing them the selfish, sinful nature of ourselves.

This doesn’t just apply to when other people hurt us, this applies to every kind of brokenness. God wants to take our brokenness and turn it into a powerful testimony to further His kingdom, but how can He do that when we are hoarding our pain?  We hold onto the pain, opening the wound again and again, to remind ourselves of how untrustworthy people are or to drown in our little pool of self-pity.  By doing this we are saying that Christ’s death wasn’t needed, we don’t need healing, we are perfectly fine in our state of brokenness.  But we are called to live a much bigger life, we are called to be free from the chains of sin and the hurt that comes with it, but we won’t have that if we cling to pain. But if we let go, if we stop being selfish, God can close the wound, He can sew it tight with His hand, and it can turn into a beautiful scar, a sign of His healing. He turns the darkest of nights into a beautiful sunrise and then we can show our scars to those with wounds and give them hope in the ultimate Healer.

When we allow Him to heal us, we find we can forgive others, we can be merciful and graceful to them, because we have let go of our selfish ambitions and our focusing on our Creator and His beautiful creation rather than ourselves. It is then when our stories being to glorify God, it is then when we can then love them like God does, see people through His holy eyes rather than our sinful eyes, we can see the brokenness in others and point them to the cross rather to themselves, to the way of healing, because by HIS wounds we are healed, not ours.
Please share. Someone in your life may need this message.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5