The View from the Snowy Covered Road

DSC_0105It was a cold, snowy day and as I looked out my front window to see what the road looked like, it was easy to see that there was some clearing, but it wasn’t until I walked out there and stood on the road that I seen how truly icy and snow-covered it really was.

Sometimes as we go through life, it’s easy to stand back from the window and see something from one perspective, but it’s not until we’re the ones walking that road that we can see what it’s truly like. This is a lesson that my husband and I have learned over the last several months during his unemployment.

Every road looks different from a walking view because that’s when we can see every rock, every piece of broken glass, every obstacle, and in this case every inch of snow and ice. It’s when we’re out there walking with bare feet in the trenches that we can appreciate the protection of not only shoes, but the window that we’re sometimes able to look through. We never realize how treacherous the roads really are until we’re the one walking it.

We are firm believers that God allows everything in our lives for a purpose, and we believe this because we have seen some of His purpose through everything that we have faced to some degree. He may not cause it to happen, but He will use it for our good and His glory. Though the last several months have been challenging, our eyes have seen a different view of many things, and our hearts have been filled with more compassion and love than they have ever been.

We are seeing more and more everyday why it’s so important to seek God’s word and face when we’re looking for truth. Staying in His word gives us the strength we need to face what’s splashed on us by the passing cars that can’t possibly see what we can. We don’t blame the drivers for not seeing what we do, instead we pray that they won’t ever have to walk this road to see it for themselves. We can never fully understand what something feels like or what someone is facing until we too face it, but we can toss out what we think we see and reach out to them through love and compassion.

Sure, as we’ve been walking we have been soaked by tires hitting the puddles as they keep on going believing what they hear, but we have had far more drivers stop and ask us how they can help and that has been such a blessing to our tired feet. Life out here isn’t what it seems to be from the windows, no, it’s quite different from the picture that’s been painted and fed to all the world. But life out here has taught us many valuable lessons that we are packing and taking with us while we wait on our God to pick us up and place us where He wants us next.

Sometimes the way God chooses to use us may not be how we would choose but once we are right in the middle of where He allowed us to go, we begin to see He had purpose and that’s where we can reach out in love and compassion. We don’t have to wait for what we believe is our destination to make a difference, He’s looking for us to make a difference where we are on our journey. 

God is faithful, and just as His word says we don’t have to fear because He goes before us and He never leaves us! We often look for a room with a view and think that’s where we’ll see what’s breathtaking, but we’re learning what’s truly breathtaking is the view from the road!

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

Learning from broken pieces on a stained carpet

shatteredIt seems God is reminding me at every angle lately of the once vicious cycle I found myself in of trying to find something that I knew was missing in my life. It’s now becoming a story that I can’t seem to tell enough.

I was a christian who was saved from going to hell but I don’t think I fully understood what I was saying yes to that day on my knees after church when I was eleven years old. I understood that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I needed a Savior, but knowing the depth of His love didn’t come into my life until many years later at the age of thirty-one when I encountered Him personally through my own struggles.

With my face to the floor, I experienced love like never before, a love that has changed me from the inside out and to the very core. I thought I needed so many different things in my life, I thought I knew what this whole “christian” thing was all about, and I found out that day I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. When He wrapped His arms around me and embraced me, I knew I wasn’t alone in a house where no one else was but me. The idea of being alone died that day along with who I once was.

As I went down in tears who I was died, but when Jesus lifted my desperate heart from the fibers of that carpet, I was risen as a new person in Christ who experienced His love in the depths of my needy soul and empty heart. He showed me that the fullness of His immeasurable love was enough for me, even at a time in my life where I felt like I wasn’t loved by anyone, when I felt left behind and not cared about. His love filled me in a way that has left me forever transformed and has changed how I now look at everything!

It seems so hard to put into words what happened on my bedroom floor that day, but yet so easy to put it into tears. Never in my life have I had the death, burial, and resurrection of My Savior feel so real to me through my own life experience. No matter what this world tries to offer and no matter all of its empty attempts to steal my heart, it has found its home in the hands of its Creator. Only He knows what I need and only He can provide it, something I am reminded of daily, and grateful for.

Coming to a point in my life where I realized I didn’t have it all together, that I didn’t know all that I thought I did, and that I couldn’t do life in my own way through my own strength became a turning point that set me on the path that I was made for. I may have died that day but the girl who He wanted me to be was born. There have been many opportunities to turn back but it’s only through His grace I have been able to keep looking forward. What I have realized is that all I have ever needed was His love, and when I have His love, I am complete and with purpose. It’s His love that carries me, sustains me, moves me, and compels me to keep walking forward everyday in faith no matter what’s coming against me. The beauty….Nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:35-39)!

Our painful trials may threaten to break us, but I say what if they do?! It was when I was broken into pieces, tear-stained face to my floor that I became new and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not been broken and shattered and though it may not be far from where I was, it somehow feels like a safe distance because I’m in the safest hands that I could ever be in covered in His love.

 

In the Moment

gracious wordsIn the moment we can feel a whirlwind of emotions. In the moment we can speak words that once they leave our lips, we can never retrieve. In the moment we can express anger more than love. In the moment we can choose being right over making a difference. In the moment we can change our lives instantly.

We’ve all been in those fast flying moments that we wish we would have said or done something different. I know in my life I have experienced many. There were times that I let my anger have such a tight grip on me that my mind couldn’t possibly keep up with my mouth in order to slow it down or shut it up.

There have been countless times that I chose being right over making a difference. I don’t know why it seems that we have this overwhelming need to be right about something and not see the opportunity that we can have to make a difference in the moment. Those moments always left me feeling empty and guilt ridden afterwards, and they didn’t want to be packed up and shipped out. Those feelings ended up being some of my biggest and most fierce fights within!

Oh, how I wish I could sit here today and say that I have never let my emotions get the best of me in the moment, but I can’t. When some of those memories come flooding back in I have to remember that I have surrendered them to Christ and He forgave me, and I need to forgive myself.

God has taught me a lot about those “in the moment” reactions, and though I still haven’t mastered it, He has helped me tremendously to learn to slow down so that I can think before I speak, press pause so that I don’t speak out of anger but instead have time to choose to speak out of love, and that no matter what, choose love above all (1 Peter 4:8).

Is that always easy? Absolutely not! It is very difficult when words have been said that pierces my tender heart, when actions have been taken against me that opens a wound and adds salt or even cuts a fresh wound, but I have learned that it is possible to change my reaction to words and actions based on the words and actions of Christ.

I have also learned it’s a daily walk, and I do believe that’s what He wants, a daily dependence on Him for all of my needs. 2 Corinthians 3:5 says “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” It is only through Him that I can do anything, He’s the all-sufficient One, not me, and I know that full well.

Our lives can change instantly in the moment, and the greatest change that has ever taken place in my life in the moment is the moment that I surrendered my all to Christ and let Him tear down what needed to be tore down so that He could make me new like only He can. I am still a work in progress and I do believe I will be until the day He calls me home. But, being in the progress with Him is one of the best in the moments that I get to experience every hour of every day and what challenge and joy it brings!

Christ in every moment changes everything!

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)