Sunday, June 24, 2018

Are We Walking With God, Or Walking With Fear?

We let life consume us.  We try and fail, try and fail again.  We weep bitterly over our failures. Forgetting to see the successes.

It seems we are so good at seeing what worries us.  We concentrate on all of the ways we fall short. We focus on our flaws. 

We wave away compliments.

WE.  That’s what we focus on. Ourselves.

Oh, how I see how the depression can settle around us like a cloud. Oh, how I feel the frustrations, the stresses, and the disappointments cling to us like they are our best friends.

We walk with them. We talk with them. We let them loop themselves around our days - our moods. Our thoughts.

God is there too. But we push Him a little further out. We let our fears and worries stand closer to us. We listen to them… more.

Why? Why is it so easy to think we don’t have value? Why is it so easy to think we don’t measure up?

Why do we choose to walk with our fears — instead of walking with God? 

Why do we choose the darkness as our friend, instead of choosing the light?

God has so many blessings in store for us. He seeks to help us with our burdens. He wants to walk with us, talking to us, and delighting us.

He wants to rescue us.

But we don’t let Him.

Life IS full of hardship. That is a guarantee. It’s full of curves, turns, ruts, and plummeting descents.

There are many tough hills to climb.

But there are also beautiful valleys. Meadows that go on for days. And breezes that make us feel free.

Will we walk in those, too? Or will we just choose the unforgiving paths? The ones that make us feel unwanted?

It IS our choice. 

And it’s time to choose the brighter way. The better way. The way that God has paved ahead of us.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Because I Love You Enough

Sometimes I don’t want to be a warrior. I don’t want to be “tough”.  I don’t want to be better or stronger than what I was before a challenge or hurdle in life.

Oh, I’m always thankful once I’m on the other side of a hurt. I’m thankful for what I learn through tough times. But I sure don’t feel that way when I’m walking INTO them.

I want to run.
I want to hide.

It can be so easy to look out at everyone else and feel like their lives are beautiful. We can see the smiles, the dreams that come true, and the blessings that come their way…. And we can feel like they live charmed lives.

When all we feel like is “hope deferred” is our theme.

Yes? C’mon. You have the moments. I have those moments.

We wander through the muck, and we wonder, “Why, US, Lord”?

I can try to fight against the storm that I feel rages against me - but it’s always more powerful.

That’s because without those times, I wouldn’t lean on my God. I wouldn’t run to Him. I wouldn’t SEE how HE sees when all is said and done. I wouldn’t have a glimpse of His tenderness. I wouldn’t peek in on His strength, His goodness, or His vision.

I would only see mine. And mine can be so selfish. So limiting.

It doesn’t matter what we go through, or where we’ve been. It doesn’t matter how far we try to run. God will find us. He will pull us out of the shadows, and push us through the storm - the weeds - the desert (or whatever it seems to be for you.)

Because He has a bigger agenda in mind. 

Because He wants us to see ourselves as the warriors we fear we are not.

He wants us to feel the tears, the pride, and the gratefulness that come with “hope realized”.

So, when we call out and question why He picked on us, let us be still long enough to hear His reply…. “Because I love you enough to do what is best for you in the long run. I love you enough to to give you what you NEED, and not what you WANT. Because I love you enough, to make you better, stronger, softer, and wiser.

Because, I love you … ENOUGH”.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Go Ahead, Thank Him

It was Bible Study night. 

I shared a prayer request.

And then later on, we were discussing some content in our study and someone looked at me and said, “And I think this is what you should do. Thank God in advance for answering your prayer.”

It stuck with me.

Thank Him in advance. 

Boy, that takes a great deal of faith, doesn’t it? To praise God and thank Him for something you do not have the answer to, yet? 

It means you have to swallow the doubts.

You have to forget about the “when” and the “where.”

You just simply have to trust. And thank Him, knowing in ADVANCE, that He is going to bless you with His answer.

It’s not an easy thing to do.

I started out trying it in a round-about way.  I thanked God for giving me HIS perfect answer. I did this, because it avoided having to thank Him for answering exactly the way my heart wanted.

It left room for my doubt. And if I left room for my doubt, then I couldn’t be mad at God for answering in a different way, right? HIS way?

But the thought kept prodding my heart.

Thank Him in ADVANCE for what He is going to do.

Thank Him in ADVANCE for answering your prayer.

Faith. Great faith.

Do I have it? 

Do you?

Are you afraid, like I was? It’s okay you know. He knows we’re afraid. But He wants us to trust Him. Not halfway. Not just a little bit. But completely.


So pray.  Ask away. And then thank Him. Thank Him now. 

Thank Him for what He’s about to do.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Some Things Just Mess With Your Head

I’ve mentioned before, how I ran away from having braces for 15 years.  I dreaded going to the dentist, because the issues of my bite would always affect me at my appointments. And I switched dentists a couple times with some moves we made, and inevitably they would say, “Have you ever thought of getting braces?”

My heart would plummet each time.

I tried to ignore that issue. I had already had braces in high school and I certainly didn’t want them as an adult.

Finally, FINALLY, when my jaw started popping, I knew I could not run away from the issue anymore, and I sucked up the courage to go to an orthodontist. I was not only told that I needed braces, but potentially, jaw surgery, as well.

You should have seen the color drain from my face.

It terrified me.

I think it took me a couple more months, to mentally adjust to that news, and come to grips with it all.

I started the braces process, and everyone has just been so gracious to me, as I deal with the “self-conscious” issues around my smile and appearance. 

About a year into it, I knew would be “surgery time.” And that time came about February. 

My ortho told me I would most likely need ‘upper jaw’ surgery.

I went in to the surgeon, and was told ‘lower jaw' surgery. I was surprised at the change in news, and had to mentally shift my thinking for a different type of surgery. It encompasses a different kind of healing, and different adjustments/risks.

A month or so later, things switched again, and I found out my surgeon, (after looking over my records, impressions, etc) did indeed agree with my ortho…. And I needed ‘upper jaw’ surgery.

Another shift in my thinking, as I switched back to emotionally preparing for an ‘upper-jaw’ procedure. 

In my research, I found a jaw surgery support group on facebook. (Yes, there is such a thing!) I’ve done a lot of research on what to expect, and it helps to have a support group of people who understand the emotional process - as well, as the physical. So, I have shifted from ‘lower jaw’ emotional preparedness, to ‘upper jaw’ emotional preparedness.

Then, came time to submit my case to insurance. We had chosen a surgeon a few hours away, simply, because they were “in-network” for our insurance.  I got my approval letter about a month later, and was as thrilled as I possibly could be. After all, this was surgery. But the fact that insurance would cover it - was really, really good news.

Then, a few weeks later, I got another letter. After a change was submitted by my surgeon to insurance, they denied my surgery and I was informed that the initial approval, was a mistake. After some long phone calls, numerous talks with the surgeons insurance department, and my ortho, we discovered that our insurance plan, was denying me coverage. The way they classified my surgery, they said that I had to be under 19 to have it.

Whatttt??? That is just so ridiculous to me and confounding. 

Jaw surgery is not cosmetic.  It’s necessary. At any age it’s discovered.

It has all been stressful and frustrating. 

I ONCE AGAIN, have had to mentally adjust to what I am hearing. And it’s been tough.  Something that initially terrified me, something that I finally came to terms with, and reconciled myself to, I was now being told I could not do it. 

And it left me in a state of despair.

Some things just really mess with your head. And I won’t lie. This whole process has really kicked my butt, emotionally.

It’s hard for those who don’t have to go through it, to understand. To understand why something you are scared of doing, has become so important to you. How you have (through conversation, research, and council) come to discover, is necessary.

It’s hard to explain, how, in some strange way, you are still very anxious about it all, yet desiring it at the same time.

I heard someone say that God doesn’t respond to fear or anxiety, He responds to FAITH. That hit me about a couple months ago, as I began the process of waiting for an appeal to come through with my insurance.

Only God knows the outcome of this whole process. And He has always been faithful to me. So, I have decided to walk the rest of the way in FAITH. 

God has His reasons for things. We certainly don’t understand them, sometimes. But I know He wouldn’t lead me this far, and just drop me. He is my Heavenly Father and He loves me.

As I sit here, I am still waiting to see if our appeal is approved. I certainly can’t change my age. And I can’t change the fact, that my jaw and bite need to be realigned for me to eat properly.  I can’t change the fact that I have to wear braces longer, as I sit and wait for insurance to make a decision.

But I CAN change how I walk through this process. 

Is my faith-walk a little wobbly as I continue through this journey? Yes. The human side of me is realistic; not expecting a “yes” from insurance, but internally, still hoping for one. 

Whatever happens, I know I don’t walk alone. And I am going to summon all the belief I have, to remind myself, that God has paved a way ahead of me. One that is in my best interests.

So, although some things in life do “mess with our heads”, we don’t have to let things stay that way. We can mentally adjust, reaffirm our path, and rise above our circumstances.  

We WILL make it through, and get to the other side. Even if it takes longer than we’d planned.

We just have to have FAITH.