The past couple weeks have been rather trying for me. My fiance' has been struggling with some health issues, issues that might be relatively minor OR issues that might completely alter life as we now know it ... and as we ponder all the "what ifs" and "maybes" that these issues encompass, it is all too easy to focus on and worry over the "worst case scenarios" rather than on the positive ones. What is UP with that?! We know a God who loves us, who is bigger than all of these things, who has gone before, who knows the end of the story, who is working even these things for our good, who sent His son so that we WILL one day live with Him forever in an Eternal "Best Case Scenario"!
Today, I want to remember that when we are faced with uncertainty and with struggles, with rain clouds and tears and sleepless nights and heartaches and questions that have no answers ... we do know a God who will love us NO MATTER WHAT ... and who cares and tends to us in our need, knowing always what we are needing, and being good to provide for us. We know a God who is the Answer to the unanswerable. Praise God that we can access His Love ANYTIME!!!
Paul asks the question, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" (Romans 8:35) The answer is one that I receive with great joy, "No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39) What more do we need to know?! I mean, really?! He loves us.
I find it all too easy to slip into an attitude of fearfulness when presented with uncertainty, the unknown, change. I want to KNOW what's gonna happen next! I want predictability and stability and certainty. Arghhhh! Not KNOWING scares me! It is at these moments when I see fear knocking at the door of my heart that I have a choice to make. I can let it in, or I can send it packing! Scripture tells me, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7) As a daughter of the King, I possess the power to rebuke Fear. The trick is remembering to do so! When I do remember, it is not always pretty ... but it is always effective. In fact, if you were a passenger in my car a few weeks ago, you might have thought me a raving lunatic as I shouted over and over, "In the name of Jesus, I rebuke you, spirit of fear and of shame. You have no place here! In the name of Jesus, I rebuke you, spirit of fear and of shame. You have no place here!" I tell you what, though. When I had ranted on and on for some time, I felt the Spirit replace my fear with an outpouring of peace and love, and I am reminded, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." (1 John 4:18)
After my oldest son was born, I suffered from terrible, crippling post-partum depression. As part of my recovery process, I kept a gratitude journal in which I ended every day by recording at least 5 items for which I was thankful that day. Sometimes, I stopped at number two. Sometimes, I would struggle to even get started. I'd think, "I guess I could write, 1) I am alive." ... but then I'd think, "Nah ... I am NOT thankful for that today." Grrr. What a dark place. Always though, I'd come up with something ... one example from my journal ... "1) My cats who love to be near me. 2) 230 ct. sateen cotton sheets. 3) 2-minute downpours. 4) People who support our business. 5) My mom." I discovered that it became easier to come up with things as this became a habit. Approaching life with gratitude is a discipline for me ... it is not natural. Thank goodness, that as Paul noted in 1 Timothy, God has given me a spirit of self-discipline. I can, in fact, do what is unnatural to me when I am in Christ. In fact, Philippians 4:13 tells me that "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
So, this morning, I am beginning the day with an attitude of gratitude. I am blessed. God has given me two jobs that I LOVE, friends who care for me, two boys who know and love the Lord, a man who thinks the world of me, a roof over my head, sunshine this morning and dew on the grass, and unlimited access to Him through His Word and the Spirit. *sigh* Blessed, indeed. My prayer is that, as I walk through this day, my eyes, ears and heart would be open to seeing, hearing, and responding to the blessings He has certainly already placed in my path.
"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
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