Monday, February 29, 2016

Not Worthy of Love?

I feel the need to open my heart and share a lesson God shared with me. For years, I have fought low self-esteem and a poor body image. Having family members tell me that I need to lose weight has never helped. I would love to lose weight but because of dislocating knees, I have always been very limited. Allergies prevented me from wearing most braces for years because they contained latex. Because of many numerous health issues, I have repeatedly been placed on various steroids and other medications, which cause weight gain and bloating. Now, because of the swallowing and stomach issues, I am not able to eat most fruits and vegetables and higher fiber grain breads that are healthier for my body. I crave them and miss them immensely.

Today, I received a rude comment on my profile picture on Facebook from someone I don't know. I removed the comment because I don't need the drama. Basically, this stranger told me I needed to lose weight so my nurse could find my veins. My nurse was insulted on my behalf and confirmed what I knew: Losing weight would not guarantee that my veins would hold. be deep, or not roll.

Before I began to see myself through God's eyes: a daughter of the One True King, whose love is not conditional on my outward appearance but upon the inner beauty of my heart and soul, I would have been extremely upset by such an insensitive comment. Now, I can see how far God has brought me. I am confident of who I am in Him. While I would love to lose weight, I know that these infusions come with heavy doses of prednisone and my stomach issues will never go away. Instead of fretting upon what everyone's ideal of beautiful is, I have learned to let go and trust God right here in this moment.

What I learned is that His love is more than enough! His grace far exceeds sufficient! Resting in His grace places my heart at peace and my life is filled with His joy rather than doubt.

If you struggle with self-image, if someone has told you you aren't good enough, if you think you are unworthy of love, I want you to know that there is One whose love is so deep, so wide, so high, and so far that it knows no end. He sees your worth through eyes of unconditional love: right where you are at this exact moment, just as you are: flaw and all. He is the only One who can fill that hole, that void that feels like it needs approval and love. My sweet Momma can attest that it took years and many prayers for me to reach this point but the contentment His love brings is such a priceless treasure! Know that I am praying for you to feel that love, that worth, that peace, dear one!

Mirror by Barlow Girl

Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Reflection on Love

As we celebrate Valentine's Day, let us reflect upon love. There are many types of love: love between a husband and wife, love between a parent and child, love between siblings, love between family, love between friends, and the greatest love between God and His beloved children.

Love is putting others before ourselves. Love is taking the time to truly listen. Love shows mercy and forgiveness. Love renews hope. Love makes time to really know another person. Love does activities that will bring joy to someone else. Love is investing a portion of ourselves in the lives of others. Love takes chances. Love protects at all costs. Love isn't reserved just for Valentine's Day but should be lived in every aspect of our lives in each moment that we live. Dare to love richly!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Luv Is a Verb by DC Talk

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Really, God? Seriously?

Have you ever had one of those days when you find yourself asking, "Really, God? Seriously?" Well, you aren't alone, my friend.

I'm reminded of a cousin who as a toddler needed to pee. Being at an outdoor flea market, the only bathroom available was a port-a-potty. Upon seeing this new contraption, she flung her arms and legs out wide and screamed, "Nooooooooooo!!!!" at the top of her lungs.

Sometimes, we are like that toddler: kicking and screaming, telling God: "Noooooo!!!!!" at the top of our lungs.

Today, I find myself preparing for today's five hour IV infusion, facing meltdowns from my teenage son who has a diagnosis of Aspergers (high functioning Autism), dealing with my father's dementia that causes his patience to run thin and his frustration to run high, and listening to our dog who feels the need to yap through it all. Sometimes, Mom and I feel like we are living in a blender. The reality is that life can be downright hard and unbearable at times. Our human flesh is weak, which makes us prone to asking, "Really, God?" Yet, God is standing there offering us His love, His mercy, and His grace.

It is at these precise moments that we see His grace working at its best because in His great love for us, God is fighting our battles for us and He longs to fill our lives with what is good and just even when we are reluctant because we don't have the strength to persevere. Guess what? We don't have to rely on our own strength! He will carry us through!

Life can be downright hard and unbearable at times for all of us: broken relationships, betrayals, lies, distorted self-images, chronic illness, chronic pain, mental illness, watching loved ones suffer, abuse (verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical), death of loved ones, loss of income, loss of home, loss of family and friends.

God never promised us that life would be like walking through a rose garden on bright sunny days. However, He did promise to be with us, to be in us, to be for us, and to be fighting for us. No matter what you are facing today, you are not alone. Even when we ask, "Really, God?" He continues to work in us and through us, fighting our battles for us, and simply loving us through whatever the day brings.

Rest in His love, dear ones. Trust in His grace. Look for His blessings in the simplest of places. There is always hope!

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." John 14:18,20 (NIV)

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 (NIV)

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Who Am I by Casting Crowns

I Am a Friend of God by Phillips, Craig, and Dean


Monday, February 1, 2016

Sometimes, Life Simply Stinks!

The reality of life is simple: some days just stink.

Being a follower of Christ doesn't exempt me from the hard things. We all face trials during our life's journey. These trials can either break us down or refine us.

This week, I started a new journey due to my health. I now have a new lifetime change that requires monthly infusions. Truthfully, it isn't something I was excited to embrace. However, experience has taught me that I can choose to let life run me over and drag me through the mud and muck or I can choose to rest in God's promises and allow His peace to carry me through the stinky days in life. God, in His loving faithfulness, not only continues to refine and strengthen me through these trials but He also wraps me in His blessings. Today's blessing, which was the first day of my IV infusions, was a nurse who is a sister in Christ. What an amazing blessing! I was able to share how we had prayed for her prior to her arrival. We talked about Christian books, listened to Christian music, and simply enjoyed a time of fellowship. God knew my need. He provided!

Sometimes, it is difficult to see the blessings when you are immersed neck deep in the stink of life. Other times, we feel alone in a desert thirsting for water and wondering why He sent more sand instead. Yet, this is the moment when we must make a choice to trust in our Father God and in His love for us. This is when our faith gets real and our lives get messy but blessed. Be blessed, dear ones. Our Father loves you! Our God is mighty and true!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)

More Thank Conquerors by Rend Collective Dedicated to Kristen- You are a blessing! God is working in and through you to show His love when people need it most. Keep letting His light shine brightly through you, sweet sister!

Me on 1st Infusion Day #LifeIsAFaithJourney