Heaven

As I was laying in my room tonight, I was debating whether I should read or watch tv and ultimately decided to read. I just got a new book “As it is in heaven,” by Greg Laurie and was sort of hesitant but excited to read it at the same time. Not really knowing much about it I opened it and began to read. One of the first verses that was referred to was the Lord’s Prayer which in itself has reduced me to tears ever since my grandpa passed away. Laurie asks have you ever thought of what it actually means to do the Lord’s will on earth as it is in heaven? He continued by focusing on what God’s will for our lives actually is. Romans 15:32 “So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.” One of God’s many wills for us is to be surrounded by fellow believers and be refreshed by his spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” One of the main reasons for our existence pointed out within the book is to bring God glory and pleasure. Revelation 5:12-14 “In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”  The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” If we praise God in all that we do on earth we will surely be completing his will on earth as he has done in heaven. Later on Laurie pointed out how we are all immortal and will live forever but with the need to answer the question where will we live forever; heaven or hell? He goes on to say how when Christians die they go straight to heaven. This reminded me of one of the last conversations I had with my grandpa while we were alone in his hospital room. It was just him and I in the room and he looked at me and asked me if I had ever wondered what crossing over into heaven would be like and I told him I had never really thought about it. I proceeded to ask him if he had ever thought about what it would be like crossing over into heaven and he replied I think it would be fun.

As I continued to read I was encouraged by these passages:

Psalms 42:3-6 “My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.”

1 Peter 4:12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. “

John 16:33 “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.”

Romans 5: 3-5 “Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

and,

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Everyone grieves differently but find hope in God and things will get easier.

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Reflecting on memories while grieving

I know I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but grieving is so complex. I was cleaning my room today and as I was, I came across so many sentimental objects. As I was cleaning I was listening to music and “back to December” by Taylor swift came on. Around the time that my grandmother passed away was right around Christmas time and that song always took me back to happy times with my grandma when she was feeling better. 5 years later and I still can’t listen to that song.. So I skipped it and proceeded to clean. As I’m dusting my DVD player, I pulled out the shelf to clear it off, and found a copy of my grandpas obituary. It took all I had by that point to not lose it. Got through that and proceeded to dust the top of my dresser which mind you was from one of my great grandmas friends houses and as I’m dusting it I found a card from her. Fast forward to when I went to the store with my mom, we were looking at the meat and saw turkey necks and instantly I thought about gee gee again. Going back to thanksgiving I believe one year in high school not quite positive though, I had gone to my great grandmas to help her get ready for the meal. She always had a thing for putting turkey meat in the stuffing and used the necks for that. I helped her get the meat off and once my grandma and dad mind you the same grandma mentioned earlier picked me up she had called my mom while we were on our way home and she had said that I beat her with turkey necks, and my mom darned near reamed me. I explained to her that I got the meat off of them faster than she did I didn’t physically beat her with them. 

Needless to say today was just a day full of memories and some days might be harder than others but in the end focus on the good more than the bad. 

Stereotypes among women


I’ve been thinking a lot today about women and the standards we are held to in society today. We are always expected to be strong, hiding our true feelings. Case in point: the DayQuil and NyQuil commercials on tv, it bothers me that the dads take NyQuil and the moms take DayQuil I mean in conventional society we see families portrayed where it is frowned upon for the moms to work, most of the time it’s the dads. I think when we as women conform to stereotypes conveyed in television shows and on social media it takes our focus off of what we really need. I’m reminded of Romans 12:2 ““Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We are often expected to be clothed in strength but when we aren’t it’s frowned upon. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like a lot of times when women are emotional men run the other way rather than supporting us. 

I’ve been struggling to stop questioning why I feel certain ways when I do. Just feeling okay with where I am is hard for me to do and I won’t be the first to admit it. I’m learning how to be more independent and focus on what I feel I need when I need it. So tonight I decided to put miracles from heaven in and sit and watch it knowing that it was probably going to make me cry, I was okay with that. I’ve been reminding myself a lot today to just let go and let God take control and I think at one point or another we all struggle with that. Someone said something to me today that really stuck in my mind, when you walk into a room with a pile of junk in it you can’t question why it’s there, where you’re going to put it, how you’re going to handle it you just have to put it aside sometimes and move on. Whether that means laying in a dark room alone crying, running to a friend for comfort, or just putting on a movie to relax yourself don’t let junk get in your way. It’s not going to get you anywhere. 

I was reminded tonight of the worship song “Your words” by third day and hope that these lyrics will encourage whoever reads this post! “Let me hear Your words Above all other voices  Above all the distractions in this world Let me hear Your words Above all of the voices  Above all the distractions in this world For Your words bring life And Your voice speaks promises Lord, Your love offers more Than anything else in this world Your words give us life that’s never ending Your words bring us love that never fails Everything else will fade away But what will remain Are Your words!” 

Relying on God instead of yourself

“I am the Lord all powerful, so don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my spirit.” Zechariah 4:6

“May the Lord of peace himself give your peace at all times in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

When the going gets tough it is hard not to rely solely on your own strength. I feel like a lot of Christians often struggle with this when things get hard we tend to question God as in why are you putting me through this, where are you?.. etc. From experience I know that when you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s easy to get caught up in questioning. As I was doing my devotional tonight, I was reminded of the song God is God by Steven Curtis Chapman. “And the pain falls like a curtain
On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don’t know And the questions without answers
Come and paralyze the dancer
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move
Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must
On this truth that my life has been formed from the dust God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all
For only God is God”

I think more often than not we try to make sense of a situation on our own before taking it to God, at least I do. I found myself feeling convicted when I read that verse from Zacariah in that I know that I’ve been relying on my own strength more than God’s. I saw a quote last night on pinterest that has been stuck in my head “Note to self: I am allowed to cry. I am allowed to scream. But I am not allowed to give up. It will all get done somehow just breathe.” For me this was a crucial reminder, that it’s okay to feel beat down just don’t give up. Whether it be finding peace and strength through God, listening to your favorite song over and over or whatever it may be, don’t let things get you too far down when the going gets tough. As I was thinking about a topic to blog about tonight, I was listening to Human by Christina Perri and just found comfort in the lyrics. I can do it But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human, yeah”

It’s okay to fall apart every once in a while. Don’t let anybody tell you differently!

 

Letting God be in control at all times

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, my ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2

“And he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’ve been struggling lately to feel at peace with where I am right now. These verses connected tonight to me almost as a reminder to just stop and let God take over. The other night I found myself questioning God over why when we grieve do we suppress some of the best times we had with our loved one to focus on how we will never have that again at least not for a while. Case in point: The other night I was talking to my cousin about the last conversation we each had with our grandpa and how our uncle was jealous of that. The divide created between my family has been jealousy oriented more often than not but that’s besides the main point. Anyways I proceeded to think about one of the last conversations that I had with him. I remember it vividly, I was sitting by the sewing machine in the bedroom at their house as he was on hospice, and was holding his hand. He looked at me and said “hug, hug” as in wanting me to hug him. It was one of the best hugs just felt really good especially because that was right around the time that he stopped talking. It brought tears to my eyes just thinking about that moment, don’t get me wrong it was wonderful and comforting but looking back it’s one of the most emotional moments my grandpa and I shared. Oh how I long for another one of those moments but I know that for right now finding peace and strength when I feel weak like that in God is what my grandpa would want me to do.

I don’t know why that crossed my mind the other night but ever since I’ve been feeling pretty emotional. Granted it could be because his birthday would’ve been yesterday and we went out to the cemetery again but it’s been on the back of my mind ever since. Like it says in Isaiah Gods thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts, which is hard for us to let go and trust god all of the time but in due time it will be revealed why this has been on my mind so often lately. God’s thoughts and plans for us may be different than what we want for ourselves, but in him all things will work out for our good so long as we find grace and peace through him during the hard times.

Coping

One of the hardest things for me to do whether it be with grief or anxiety or stress is to cope. I tend to push my feelings down until I can’t handle it anymore. Not the best coping mechanism but hey it works for a while. I know it’s not healthy for me to do that but sometimes it just feels easiest, just like tonight when I got frustrated and thought it was a good idea in the heat of the moment to jam my knee into the kitchen drawers rather than just taking a few deep breaths. The bible says that “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:25-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬.  I’m finding encouragement in that although right now I don’t feel strong but I have faith that God will refresh me in due time. 

Keeping the faith through trials is one of the hardest things to do but one of the most important nonetheless. The days leading up to the birthdays, significant holidays and anniversaries are undoubtedly some of the most difficult moments when it comes to grieving. I was reminded last night of one of the last conversations I had with my grandpa and with his birthday being today I’m feeling comforted in remembering the last time he asked me for a hug and the time that I was able to hold his hand and sing oceans to him. What I wouldn’t give for one more day with him but for now reflecting on these memories is helping quite a bit! 

Praise God in all times

Praising God when it feels hardest to praise him is beginning to become so important in my life. From realizing that all through these trials I should have been thanking him for the strength will be used in the future to realizing that others actually realize how important it is to praise God when you feel stuck. Lately I’ve been struggling with feeling defeated when trying to encourage others or just look to a friend for advice. I’ve just felt stuck in this whirlwind of life. As I was spending time reading my Bible and the many devotional books I read tonight I stumbled across many points that changed my perspective.

” Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off.” Acts 16:25-26 NLT I’ve never really stopped and thought about that verse quite like I did tonight. While imprisoned Paul and Silas were ministering to others and sharing God’s love with those who didn’t know God personally. Quite a few nights this past week I’ve found myself crying until I fall asleep and reading this and how to use it to refresh my soul really stood out to me. “Prison comes in many forms, one of them being when our hearts seem locked up and we feel totally paralyzed by pain. Many times we feel there is no escape from the hurt our hearts feel. These are real feelings, and the key to freedom is not to pretend pain is not real. The key needed to unlock a hopeless heart is praise.”  Whether it be through prayer, music or reading the word always praise God for he is the one that will bring you through all trials. It may not seem like it especially when you are where I am right now but God sees your tears, he will use them to encourage someone along the way. “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. You may feel defeated and discouraged but God hears every prayer and sees every tear. He will grant you the strength that you need to continue, just run to him.