Archive for January, 2015

Through the Lens…

2014 was a ROUGH year. Maybe I blame this prayer. But, it will go down in history as one of the most challenging years of my life. I never believed (at least for any length of time) that I wouldn’t make it through, but, dang…it took a LOT out of me. But, truthfully, there was a LOT that needed to come out of me…selfishness, judgment, jealousy, pride, arrogance, anger, selfishness (I know I already said that one , but there was a LOT of selfishness). I have new life in and through Christ. With eyes fixed on the cross. What the enemy meant to destroy, gave me a new appreciation for the resurrection of Jesus…he defeated death and hell…for me.

But, oh, death where is your sting? Oh, death, where is your victory?

What could have destroyed me, changed me. Now, as I look at people, life, and the future, I view it all through the lens of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned. I view it all through the amazing, complex work of God in and around me.

I noticed one day that the sky actually looks prettier with these sunglasses on, than without them. At first, I was a little disappointed, honestly, because I LOVE the sky…I think it’s beautiful already. But, through these lens’, this altered view, it was even prettier. Then, I realized that’s what Jesus does for us–He takes our lives, and makes them even better through His love and sacrifice.

See?!  Doesn’t the sky look even more amazing through these sunglasses?!

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“Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”Phil 2:1

It is because of the encouragement and comfort I have received from being united with Christ, that I want to LOVE people in a whole new way. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I have experienced the incredible power of God at work and I KNOW that he has done greater things than this.

Here’s to 2015…the year of Love.

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Fasting 2015

You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it. J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Every year for the past 5 years or so, I have, with my church, committed to a 21 day fast at the beginning of January as a way of seeking God for direction and intimacy and being intentional with where we want to go and what we want to do for the year.

As it draws to a close, I can’t help but think about sacrifice in a broader sense.  Giving up certain foods for any amount of time is a sacrifice and I’m embracing that feeling of emptiness and need–the longing for more.  I want to feel that way about Jesus–longing for more of His presence and more of His word.

Even more than that, fasting is practicing “dying to self” as per the bible.  If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up this cross daily. Luke 9:23 and if my verse of the year says to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13 that more than implies sacrifice, it demands it.

What does that mean for the rest of the year?  I don’t know. Choosing to put God and others before my self, my desires, means daily sacrifice. To what extreme? Is there an extreme? Is extreme what is asked for in John 15?

 

Not today.

Some days, I feel completely sound. On top of things. Like I can manage all the things in my life. Maybe even take on more.

Other days…not so much. I feel overwhelmed. Apathetic. Hopeless. Drowning.  Always on the verge of tears. Ready to run. To escape.

Today is one of those days. The off days.

I’m consciously putting off things I know that should wait till a better day. Avoiding opening my mouth, texting anyone unncessarily. No doing performance reviews today. Or making big plans or decisions or commitments. At the same time, trying to figure out WHY.  Why does my mind let me down (or bring me down) some days? Is it circumstantial? Chemical? Hormonal? Spiritual?

The best thing about today is that I KNOW.  Instead of just feeling crappy, I know it is “temporary”.  I know that today is one of “those” days and that tomorrow might be better…clearer.  And I TRY.  I try to replace the lie with truths.  I try to think on “these things”…things that are true, lovely, right, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy. I try not to hurt people with my words or lack of words.

Know. Try. Figure out Why. That’s what I’m doing today.

Love one another

 ♥ LOVE  

It’s my word of the year for 2015.  Love. All things love.  Actions that show love.  Words that speak love.  Thoughts that lead to words and actions that love. Love when I don’t feel like it. Love when its not “deserved”. LOVE. Overflowing, unselfish, sacrificial LOVE.

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This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15: 12-13