God in my living…

Loving through the pain

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43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5

I haven’t read my bible in a while (and maybe that’s an understantement) but that’s just an aside. I come across a whole bunch of scripture thanks to all my cyber friends and a few months ago, I stumbled across this one. It was in a post written by Kate Andre. In it she talks about this lady who was praying for someone who has deeply hurt her. And you know how when we’ve been wronged, we try and justify ourselves, and in our anger want to be vindicated, we seek justice, we ask God to right the wrongs that have been committed against us? We never really take the time to pray, I mean take ourselves out of the situation and really pray for that person. Ever since I read that post, that is what God has been calling me to do and I guess it was all leading to this moment, when I’d have to pray when it hurts the most. When the pain is most unbearable and you just want to cave in and give up. I have no clever way of ending this post except…

Do it anyway. Pray. Because you understand grace and you know what it is to love…

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Yep, old dogs can be taught new tricks!

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Its funny how struggling with something for a period of time takes away so much from you. Just thinking back to a time when I was so consumed with this one thing that I couldn’t enjoy life generally. Now I realise that the things that we meditate upon and the things we give a place to fester in our minds, those are the very things that determine where we’re at emotionally and how we react to certain situations. They have the ability to consume us and you find yourself in a place where you feel like your life is centered around this one thing. So yesterday as I lay on my bed, thinking, it hit me. Almost like how Paul asked God to take away the thorn from his flesh, 3 times even and God said to him:

“My grace is sufficient for you…”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Ok so like constantly thinking of problem, for example you’re a varsity student and you dont know where your fees are going to come from or you’re struggling to forgive someone who’s hurt you. What will keep you from moving forward is constantly thinking “but this thing that they did really hurt me, I cant believe they did that” and such things. “If you try not to think about it then doesnt that mean you’re kinda running away from the problem?” you might ask. I don’t think so. I think its important for us to constantly focus on things that build us up, looking to Jesus to help us in the things we struggle with. Brings a certain scripture to mind:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”
Phillipians 4:8

It takes a conscious deliberate rerouting of brain thoughts from all the negative stuff to, as the Word mentions, things that are pure ect. Its not the easiest thing though because our minds sometimes wonder so easily. Its like our minds are old dogs, to old to learn new tricks so they consistently go back to their old ways of doing stuff because that’s what’s comfortable, its a tried and tested sort of thing. But I guess I’m challenging you (and me) to get out of that comfort zone and not hide behind “this is how I am”.

Let’s teach our minds new tricks.

On the bus…

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I sat on the bus alone the other day and the tears started streaming down my face. I scooted closer to the window, looked away, fearing that someone would ask me what’s wrong, see the turmoil inside. Thats when it hit me. Hard. As I realised what I’d done, I sought to put God where He belongs in my life. The center of everything. and He said to me “I love you, still”…

Amidst the doubt, confusion and fear of the unknown, I remember today… I am His. Isaiah 43…

Reality check….Phew!

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So about an hour ago, I had a conversation about my future plans with mom. Funny really, when I think of it and just how the years seem to have just rushed past before my eyes. I’m now in my 3rd year of study, my little sister is varsity this year and in the not so distant future, I’ll join the working class. Wow! But I’m only turning 20! Just feeling really afraid and fearful hey. Haha and to think that for so long, I’ve wanted to be financially (and otherwise) independent of my parents and now, when it comes to crunch time, I’m so overwhelmed. Just got reminded now of Jeremiah when he said:

“Alas, Sovereign LORD,I  said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”  – Jeremiah 1:6 (NIV)

and thats how I’m feeling really. And its even apart from the whole me going out into the “big bad world” but more of sensing like God has so much more for me to do for Him this year and like Jeremiah, i’m scared. Maybe because people wont listen to me or I think myself inadequate for the task but boy does God know how to reassure us. Just knowing He’s there, He’s known from the beginning…

But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD – Jeremiah 1:7 (NIV)

I guess its just a matter of me trusting. I have no clue what He’s got up His sleeve concerning my life this year and although being human, we’ll always have these little (big?) fears, ultimately I know what is true and that is that God’s got me. All I want to do is to be plugged into Him and stay there…

Hmmm… as an after thought, I saw on the news recently a story about this girl whose rope snapped while she was bungee jumping and am now just thinking, thats kinda like how trust works and in a funny way, I’ve got this faith that God will catch me no matter what happens or maybe, like the girl, give me strength to swim out….

Photo from http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/world-fwire/australian-woman-survives-terrifying-fall-after-bungee-cord-snaps-176510.html

Storm…

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Have you ever felt hopeless in life, like nothing is going right and you feel like you’re drowning in the sea of disappointments, past hurts, almost like you’re in self-destruct mode? As someone who’s been there, done that and sometimes still wears the t-shirt, when you’re in the thick of it, it seems like nothing really gets you out of that place, no amount of consolation from friends, sweet words or encouragement get you out. I guess for me, I’ve realised over my 19 years of existence that it is only God who gives peace and I might try to find that sort of refuge from an array of things but He’s the only one who can rescue you from the storms of life. I remember a scripture I stumbled upon a few weeks ago and it spoke volumes for me…

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

He quiets storms and gives rest for the soul…

Stepping Out…Scary.

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So today we’re celebrating National Women’s Day and i spent my day with beautiful ladies from church, at a ladies day event that addressed the issue of the scandals in our lives and just how God loves us and wants to use us despite those scandals. I think the one think that struck out for me was when one of the ladies was sharing her testimony with us. Ok before i go on, I must confess, I have this habit of zoning out during some preaches and I find that God would be addressing something in my life that most likely isn’t even related to what the sermon is about. sorry to all the pastors I’ve listened to out there hihihi 🙂 So back to today. So I guess for me, God was just reminding me of something that has been on my heart for quite a while now. Just how I should show or shine out His love, like I have this passion for people and this care for them that I feel has been dampened by past friendships and relations with people that have left me hurt all because I was always seeking reciprocity and I never got that and now somehow, God is just resurrecting that in me. So just stepping out, trusting God you know, laying all my fears aside. Not the easiest thing I tell you. God is always reminding me in small ways that I should never place my hopes too high in people because they disappoint just like I disappoint sometimes but that my contentment should be in God. I thank God for just how patient He’s been with me, when I’ve just been on some “I cant do this” tip He’s still there, pursuing me and taking me in steps which is pretty cool.

So this week marks the beginning of me stepping out, laying my reservations aside and really trusting God and letting Him lead me into what he has called me to do in this season. Just to end off, its amazing how God uses the most reluctant and the people who think they aren’t worth it. Never think God can’t use you because He can and He will 😀

A long walk…

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You know the saying “A picture says a thousand words? Just been taking a trip down memory lane, some good memories, some bad but just thinking of far God has taken me. I’m currently listening to a song by Fred Hammond called “All things are working” and just thinking back to some of the turmoil I’ve come out of, situations I thought I’d never get out or break free from and today, I’m standing because of the grace of God. I remember a couple of weeks ago I heard someone say that most times, people seem to think they only need the grace of God when the going gets tough and when you’re really down and out and need a sort of “pick me up” in life.  We seem to forget that it is the grace of God that keeps us standing even on the good days when we have nothing but smiles on our faces…

The title is just something I thought of just now. You know how life seems to be like this long walk and there are lots of pit stops, detours, dead ends and u-turns along the way but ultimately a destination at the end. ( Hahaha random thought: I remember this other day I was walking with a friend of mine and I didn’t know how long it would take to get there and I kept asking “Are we there yet?” I think I’ve asked God that question countless times) A smile surfaced on my face. Knowing that I’m not walking alone, God is with me like literally every step of the way and when I get tired, He’s the one lifting me up, being my strength. I think the thing now, for me is being sensitive to God’s voice, hearing Him when He’s like “slow down” or take notice of the little things He’s showing me along the way or even if maybe there’s rain and a storm is approaching and I’m beginning to be afraid, how He reassures me to trust Him.

Isn’t God awesome? 🙂

Living…

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You know you sometimes kind of wish that you could get back one of those good characteristics that you once had? I think foe me, the ones that stands out the most  are sensitivity and that deep sense of care and love for people. I guess all of us (well i definitely have) have used life and bad experiences as a scapegoat to explain or rathaer justifysomething we know we should’nt be doing. A classic example of this would be: “I’m sorry I acted that way. Things is I’ve been hurt before so i’m protecting myself”. Sound familiar? Then we expect the other party to understand and just let it go. Not to say we aren’t making a valid point but for me, for someone who wants to be like Christ, I am now asking God for grace never to use my past hurts and disappointments as an excuse not to care, to hurt people or treat them badly just because I’m “protecting my heart”. I guess for me, thats always an indication that I haven’t really gotten over stuff, really sorted out the root of the problem. Reminds me of this song I’ve been listening to quite alot over the past week and I felt it speaking to me. Its a song called Its the only one you’ve got by 3 Doors Down. I hope it speaks as much to you…

Memories have left you broken
And the scars have never healed
The emptiness in you is growing
But so little left to fill
You’re scared to look back on the days before
You’re too tired to move on
And now you think that you’re the only one who doesn’t

Have to try
And you won’t have to fail
If you’re afraid to fly
Then i guess you never will
You hide behind your walls
Of maybe nevers
Forgetting that there’s something more
Than just knowing better
Your mistakes do not define you now
They tell you who you’re not
You’ve got to live this life you’re given
Like it’s the only one you’ve got

God’s purpose over our plans…

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Last night was pretty unusual for me but it brought back a lot of memories. Over the past few months, I’ve had regular sleeping patterns and it was rare for me to sleep after midnight (I use to be such an owl not so long ago!). But yesterday was different. For some reason, I started reflecting on my life, where I’ve been, mostly in terms of my relationships with people. You know how when you’re in the midst of serious relationship and you start making promises to your partner about how you’d never leave them, that even if you did, life would never be the same. Funny how life pans out and things don’t go according to your set out plan. Yesterday, for the first time, I can actually say that God gave me peace about things that have occurred in my life outside of my “plan”. Failed relationships (well only one so far. I actually think thats a blessing), unrealised dreams like my aspiration to become a doctor and impacting people’s lives in that way and so many other things that haven’t gone my way. I know God’s got a purpose for me (although I’m not too sure what it is at the moment) and somehow, last night as I was brooding deeply, I was glad that my life and all that happens in it is up to God. Just going to end of with a scripture that a friend of mine reminded me of

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19: 21 NIV