Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Let the Waters Rise"

As I sit here today, I have a heart that is full of His love, His promises and His teachings - He is working in my life in many different ways, but my heart is also heavy.  People I love are suffering, people I love are going through major health issues, people I love are waiting on news that could be devastating and I find myself praying constantly for love and peace to flood their lives - for Him to open the hearts and let those who do not believe - BELIEVE, for healing and for the ones who are hurting to just be touched with grace and love...

I am part of a Beth Moore study called "Believing God" and it is rocking my world - I recently heard another amazing song by Mikeschair called "Let the Waters Rise" and I find it very applicable for this study, for the things that I am seeing go on around me, for the trials mentioned above...

I know that even in the times that I feel empty, unloved and deserted by Him, that it is just not true - and I think that it has really come clear to me through this Bible study, my own time spent in the Word and learning through hard times, that I should embrace those times because following Him is not always easy - but if I trust Him and follow Him, He WILL never be out of reach...and those will be the times that there may only be one set of footprints in the sand, but being carried by Him is a blessing and a gift. His love is enough to pull us through - and embracing the raging sea, with the waters rising is faith in knowing that He will bring us through it.  It is accepting His times of sifting us to bring us closer to Him, His will and desire for our life and it allows us to grow.  In our last session, there was a focus on Ephesians 1:3-8 (ESV)

...Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has BLESSED  us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as He CHOSE us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for ADOPTION as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the FORGIVENESS of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight...

In this verse, we can know that: "In Love, I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgive....I am believing God."

So as I see what it going around me, as I hurt for the ones I love, as I pray for healing for the ones that need His healing touch - I know that some of these things will be answered in ways that will hurt or cause loss, some will be answered in ways that may bring joy and peace - some may sit in questioning times for awhile...the raging seas are upon me and I say let the waters rise if You want them too because I am following You, I am believing You and I know that You have never left me before and won't leave me now.  What we must realize as believers and for those who are nonbelievers is that His LOVE is enough to pull us through.  That He came here to die, out of LOVE and He LOVES us still.  Our God is a God who performs and He will fight for us, comfort us, love us and bring us through any raging sea that is set before us - we just need to BELIEVE.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How He Loves Us

As I begin another "official" year of my life, I find myself reflecting a lot on the past year - and as Aaron and I are only 25 days from graduation, reflecting on the past four.  It is hard to believe that we have been in Chattanooga for almost four years - that four years ago, only by faith, we packed up our belongings and in tears (well I was), left our families in IN and MI and moved on to a new place and start.  

Moving here was one of the hardest things I have done...and as much as I know that leaving family and being away from them has been hard and painful, I know that this is where we belong.  Aaron and I (and the kids) have been stretched in our faith in ways that I thought would break us, we have been slapped in the face with serious reality checks, we have been broken down and rebuilt and then broken and rebuilt again ----and through it all, we have come to a new understanding of what it means to LOVE JESUS and LOVE PEOPLE, how much religion is not what we desire to follow, but relationship is where the heart and soul is....Jesus is the way, He is what matters, following His will and His desires for our life (which may be different from yours) is the top priority  

I am so grateful that I have been pushed into corners that have shattered me - broken me - made me question everything that I believed about Him and even doubt His grace, His sovereignty, and even made me question His love for me - the past few days, I have really seen the blessings in the pain, the growth in the brokenness and the grace that I know that I need to be given everyday - God has shown up for us in such huge and faithful ways...I am in in utter awe as I watch His plan unfold even as I type this...HE LOVES US....I love Kim Walker's (Jesus Culture) version of the song He loves us - particularly the one that I am posting below...the lyrics are full of truth and love and the beauty of what we are to Him...

...He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me...

...We are his portion and he is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking... 

...He loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how he loves.... 

I am so GRATEFUL that He loves us, that He loves me, that He loves and desires those who reject Him, that He chases after us when we are running from Him....I am so blessed to serve a God who loves and who pursues... Someone asked me recently if we would do it again, move here by faith, now that we know that we would go through things that we have and I said we would...when they asked why I said we would, I told them that because in all the bad - nothing but good has come of it - the things that made no sense, the things that hurt us - all of them came to the same conclusion and that was that something better was given to us, in the healing we drew closer to each other and Him - in the end, we knew even more how much He loves us...For every door closed He has opened a bigger one, for every broken moment, He has blessed us with more....

God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do and there is nothing that I cannot handle as long as I have Him to hold me....as we celebrate His death and resurrection, remember the LOVE that is all came from...

 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to   condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.            John 3:16-17(ESV)

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10 (ESV)

Earlier I said that I was grateful for the shattering, the breaking, the doubting and I say that because I know now that it is what was necessary to grow my faith and love for Him...It helped me understand LOVE.