Jul 26, 2010

Dear Journal,

It's been such a long time since I've written anything.  There's so much going on inside my head and my heart, I feel like I can't get a grasp on any one thing to make a good journal entry about it. My "friendship" study is not going anywhere and I feel like my Bible reading is pretty aimless right now.  I want my heart to be full of praising God for all the good he has done, for all of his provisions and protection, for the beauty of his creation and so on. Instead, while I do praise him and thank him, my heart is full of questions, weary from waiting, wondering at his plan. I guess I need to start practicing what is taught in the Psalms to get my soul out of the dumps. I need to start "rehearsing everything I know of [him]." (Psalm 42:6) So, here we go, my list of what I personally know of God (and can put into words).
  • God created this earth and I am continually enthralled by the beauty of his artistry.
  • God is in control over everything and nothing goes unnoticed by him.
  • God loves me and in his love, he disciplines me 
  • God never pushes me past the limit in any test or temptation I face.
  • God chooses better for me than I choose for myself. Even if it doesn't always feel like it at the time.
  • God gives good gifts - just what we need, just when we need it
  • God listens to my heart, knows what I am feeling, and provides answers and encouragement through conversations with fellow believers, through songs on the radio, through sermons at church and through my quiet time with Him.
  • God has spared my very life on multiple occasions. He knows how long I will live.
  • God provides people to love me the way I am and gives me love for people, just the way they are.

There is so much more but this is a good list for me to repeat to myself for the day.

    Psalm 42:5-9 MSG
    Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
    Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
    He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.
    When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
    everything I know of you,
    From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
    including Mount Mizar.
    Chaos calls to chaos,
    to the tune of whitewater rapids.
    Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
    crash and crush me.
    Then God promises to love me all day,
    sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer.
    Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
    “Why did you let me down?
    Why am I walking around in tears,
    harassed by enemies?”

    Jul 9, 2010

    Being Thrown For A Loop.

    About once a month (ahem) I struggle with keeping my emotions in check. I'm fairly certain that this is a very common struggle among women. This month seemed like even more of a struggle for me since there were a couple more compounding circumstances than usual.  On Monday, our less than three year old refrigerator died and needs a costly repair. After a long day of not knowing if we could afford the repair, God totally provided and the repair will happen.  However, the earliest appointment we could get was a week and a half from then, this coming Wednesday.   The next day, I spotted a leak in our ceiling right under where our laundry closet is on the third floor. Lovely. It is not a leak from our washer, it's actually from our dryer vent. So now THAT needs to be fixed too.  Yay - owning a home is fun! Any other day these things would definitely seem minor and I know that I would be able to roll with the seemingly never ending punches. This week, not so much. So, I've been grumpy, downcast, annoyed at little things, and generally feeling defeated. 

    This morning is when everything started to catch up to me: circumstances, hormones, etc. etc. and I started to feel like I was coming apart at the seams.  Then I realized that I had let my quiet times with God lapse. I had still been praying, but not as often and not as in depth as I had been before. So, as hard as it was, I opened my Bible and prayed for comfort. Two verses came to mind and so I concentrated on reading those and praying through them.

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 ESV

    I certainly was feeling heavy laden and was in desperate need of rest from the frustrations of this world.  So, I went to Him, I continued to read and pray through verses that had given me comfort before, such as Romans 8:24-28. I was starting to feel better, more controlled. I was just about to finish up with my quiet time and another verse floated through my head with a melody that I had learned a long time ago. The funny thing is I could only remember the first part of the verse and it got me thinking...
    Let not your hearts be troubled. 
    Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1 ESV

    Over and over again in my head, I was hearing "Let not your hearts be troubled, let not your hearts be troubled..." And then it dawned on me. This is an ACTIVE command, "LET NOT your hearts be troubled. BELIEVE in God, BELIEVE also in me." I have a responsibility to not let my heart become troubled with everything that is going on! I have always considered this a passive, encouragement from Jesus. But I now think that it is a command to turn off the voices of worry and woes and choose to believe in God, choose to believe in Jesus. Instead of letting my emotions run crazy and my hopes and dreams plummet to the floor to be trampled, I need to pick myself up and not "let these things throw [me]." as the Message version puts it. So, I wiped my tears from my eyes and determined to move on, believe in God and trust His plan for my life.