Overcoming hardships

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” 1 Peter 5:7-9

Do you ever have those weeks where you feel like the world and practically everyone in it is against you? Okay, maybe that’s a little overdramatic but still, those weeks where you’re trying to be optimistic and stay positive but you feel like the enemy is against you. I have been thinking of this song I have this hope by Tenth Avenue North

“As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go

I know that life is a series of great unknowns and the anxiety comes when you don’t know what will come next. Arguably I might be being too optimistic about a current situation ending well and that’s okay to an extent I mean I would rather it end well but on the off chance that it doesn’t that’s okay too. You know those situations where every hypothetical ending you play out in your mind just brings up so many feelings? Yeah its been one of those weeks. I get that at any given time we are all in different seasons of our lives and our priorities are different but don’t turn against each other just because of one thing that was said even if it was super uncalled for. I hope that eventually we can move past victimizing one another for one comment that was made under the influence of alcohol.

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for our soul..” Continue reading

Politics and God

WARNING: This post is going to be different than any other post I’ve ever written. I’ve been thinking tonight a lot about the new “Trumpcare” that was just passed by the house of representatives and researching the preexisting conditions that will inhibit the process of receiving healthcare. Some of these include from what I’ve read, diabetes, rape, glaucoma, domestic violence and even obesity. Do you know how many people are affected daily by these conditions that he is listing as a condition that can block someone from getting healthcare?!? I find it just agitating everything he is considering that can block the life saving care that someone might need I mean to leave it up to the insurance companies to sign waivers saying yes this person can legally receive care even with the said preexisting condition… it just annoys me. I mean something as simple as a migraine or anxiety can inhibit someone’s ability to receive medical attention?? Where does this even seem right? To me it almost feels like we are losing the ability to openly share about the physical ailments we may experience from day to day and get answers relating to each. It just doesn’t feel right…

By now if you’re still reading thanks that was more like a rant than anything… Now you might be wondering why is the title of this post politics and God it’s been more politics than anything, yes that’s true but can you imagine in the days when Jesus was alive if he were to refuse a relationship with someone on an intimate and personal level because of leprosy or blindness. That just wouldn’t make sense God doesn’t turn anyone away really no matter what background so why should it be that a health insurance company is obligated to refuse coverage to someone that needs it?!? God doesn’t refuse a relationship with someone that comes to him why would a doctor feel okay doing that.

Speaking of doctors and healthcare policies, why is there no funding for childhood cancer? On facebook I follow many children like Lily Bumpus, Fighting For Delilah, Team Mateo, and prayforbailey. Just this week one of the little girls Delilah passed away from cancer and Lilly who is 4 posted a video tribute to her today and it dang near made me ball my eyes out. With all these little kids fighting diseases such as cancer and God only knows what else, how is the healthcare policy going to affect them? Lilly is so young and has already lost two of her best friends to cancer yet she manages to smile and have fun and speak wisdom and gentle reminders into my life with every post. I can’t imagine how it feels for her knowing about death and heaven at such a young age but I pray that as she grows up she continues to share positivity and wisdom with the world.

Hurricanes of Emotion

We take our shame and guilt and give it to Jesus to grow in love with Jesus everyday. This is definitely something I’ve been struggling with lately. To be honest I haven’t been taking my struggles to god lately I’ve been trying to cope on my own with anxiety, feeling alone and just struggling in general. Through many experiences lately I’ve realized that god is calling me back to him whether I realize it or not. Some of the things that god wants me to do aren’t always going to be easy but if I trust in him fully I know great things will come from it. I heard a quote today that said being brave doesn’t mean that you’re not scared its that you’re scared but you still do something, and I stopped and thought about it and that’s what God often calls us to do is to step out of our comfort zone and do new things. You know how sometimes you just get lost in reflection over everything happening in your life and where God is leading you to go? That’s been me a lot this week and he’s pulled me many different directions that all lead me back to Him. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really struggling through this. I’m building so many new relationships and its honestly straining me trying to find a balance between helping others and taking time out for myself. Today in chapel during worship, I darn near broke down into tears singing “Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me Rushing in to meet me here Your love is fierce Like a hurricane
That I can’t escape Tearing through the atmosphere Your love is fierce.” This was just so powerful to me just feeling like I can’t escape the hurricane of emotion that God is bringing me to. It’s been so frustrating honestly but through it I’ve definitely learned a lot. Definitely realizing how important it is for me in this season to put myself first some. Just gotta take a step back and enjoy the view.

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.

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. 

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!