I need encouragement in a bad way tonight. My typical reaction to discomfort or frustration is to isolate and retreat. I refuse to allow those habits to destroy me tonight. So, this post really isn't intended for anyone else but me to read, but what do you know? I posted it anyway. :) I guess I just need the easily accessible reminder that this part of my life is a season, feelings will come and go, but God's promises will remain true forever. Bedtime woes have become a battle too many nights in a row and I am feeling defeated. Instead of focusing on the way I feel tonight, I really want to sit back and focus on what I am instead. I know the feelings of defeat, weariness, frustration and failure are just that - feelings. They are not life bearing. They are death, and luckily, I know they are not true. At some point, if I say it and write it enough, it will get through my thick skull and I will believe it. Tonight, I am determined to believe it and walk it. Not just think it through, but really accept myself for the person God sees me to be. Here goes...
I am loved. This one is so easy to prove, not so easy to believe. So many places show of God's amazing love for us. Deuteronomy 23:5 states how God can turn a curse into a blessing, because of His love for us. 1 Chronicles 16:34 shows that His love is faithful and endures not just for today and tomorrow, but for eternity. Psalm 118 tries to beat his love into our brains, stating repeatedly God's love for us never quits. So, when the Bible says it over and over and over and over (need I really go on?) that God is love, His love is forever, His love will never quit, we can do nothing to stop God from loving us, why do we struggle so deeply to accept that love? In my personal walk, my past experiences keep me from really understanding it, and for me, understanding something is necessary before I can really believe it. So, my past experiences have become strongholds. First, my earthly father hasn't expressed his love for me in a seriously long time. I miss it. I struggle with my heavenly father's love because I do not understand what it is like to know the ways a biological father loves his children. I do not understand what makes some Dads really come in and love their kids, while others seem as though they couldn't care less about them. And, honestly, it frustrates me. Secondly, people hurt you. Man or woman, it doesn't really matter. Truth of the matter is, those we love are bound to cause us some form of pain at some point or another. So, to try and comprehend how much God really cares and loves us is impossible. We have nothing to compare it to. But, that is the truly amazing part. While on earth, we have nothing to compare God's love to. We can say we understand his love when we become parents. To some extent, this is true. But the Bible (Message) clearly says, "You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?" But really, we have nothing to compare the amazingly, incredible way God really loves each of us. So instead of thinking about it, just accept it. Don't try to understand it. Just accept it and be thankful. This for me is a daily fight. It isn't always easy. I know God sees me for who I am. His word says He loves me in spite of who I am, so I just need to accept it and allow him to use it for His glory.
I am strong. I love reading out of the Message version. Just when I think I can't possibly feel any weaker, I am reminded of something so vitally important to my well-being: "Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become (2 Corinthians 12:8)" I was given part of this verse a few weeks ago. Weakness is such an interesting word. Weak is defined as not strong; liable to yield, break, or collapse under pressure or strain; fragile; frail (www.dictionary.com). So, to put this correctly, when I am not strong, Christ's strength comes through. When I am liable to yield and collapse, His strength is what I need. When I am fragile, frail, getting ready to break into a thousand tiny pieces, his strong hands will be there, to hold me together. It is when I am empty that He can come in and fill me up. In my weakness, He makes me strong. And then, his glory shines through. The weakness I am so terrified of others seeing is really the biggest blessing in disguise. In that weakness, Christ's strength comes forth, showing others what He can do for them, too.
I am protected. 2 Samuel 22:31 states, "God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection." Psalm 91:4 says is perfectly, "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." I am such a girl. I will totally admit to laying in bed hearing the house groan, creak and shift and wondering if it was just the house or... The little girls often come to me in the middle of the night with bad dreams, and instead of me scoping out their room, shining the light under the bed, and showing them there are no monsters, I pull them in bed with me. I am a chicken. I am afraid the boogie man will pop out from under their bed, and grab my feet. Well, not really, but... I often find myself pulling them into bed, and asking God to protect their dreams from evil. I find these promises so incredibly encouraging. He will protect those that ask for protection. He wants our dependence on Him. It isn't a weakness. It isn't because I can't flip lights on and check out the situation. It is just as easy and even more comforting to pull them in bed, hold them for a little while and pray with them. God is our protector. We just have to let Him have the job.
I am victorious because "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory." ~Exodus 15:2. I have to remember that the silly struggles I see in the daily madness are really nothing. God does have a plan of prosperity. He knows what is going to happen today, long before my feet even get out of bed. He has given me victory. That said, just because he has given me victory doesn't mean I have accepted it. I have just begun to realize that although he is so ready and willing to fight the battles and show me how to be victorious, when I do not ask for or accept his help, he will not help me, not because he isn't able to help, but because I won't let Him. I have to allow him control so that the victory is truly his, and not mine. I have to ask and be ready to follow his instruction so that my defeat does not happen.
I am waiting for that still small voice. There are so many situations I just want to jump into with both feet right now. I want to do what Cil wants to do, instead of waiting for God's direction and wisdom. A friend of mine reminded me today (which was really weird, because the comment wasn't directed at me, at all) that waiting for what God has planned will always be worth it. The verse, "Be still and know that I am God," goes around and around in my head. I pray often. It is amazing, because I find myself talking to God when I don't even realize I am talking to God. Someone crosses my mind (or stays put there for days on end...) and it becomes this constant prayer. But, the whole being still part? Yeah, that is not me. I struggle. I wait for that tiny voice. I try and be still. It is so incredibly difficult at times. And yet, I know that the second I stop and wait, calming every distraction, I will hear from God. Maybe not what I expected at that exact second, maybe not the answer to all of my deepest desires and prayers, but maybe just a song that plays, reminding me of His love for me, His plans for me, or showing me that He heard me and that I am never alone. Such a blessing to wait it out. Not feeling the need to rush ahead and fix things. Wait, okay, feeling the need, but not acting on it. We all know me, and I am not a patient person. The feeling is there, but I am getting so much better at silencing the urges! :)
I am determined. I am excited. I am happy. I am seriously in this race for life. Call it a marathon, call it a sprint, whatever. I am excited to see God's hand over me, leading me, gently nudging me where I need to be. Sometimes, it is a not so gentle shove, too. Anyway, I am so incredibly happy. I would never have imagined feeling such contentment and peace less than a year after divorce. I am honestly thankful for those rocky roads I went down, because they have led me so much closer to God. I realize that if He can bring me out of all of that, He really can do all things. It is amazing how easy it is for me to read God's word, but until I have an experience that proves it still is true, I tend to doubt or wonder whether all of it still applies. I am grateful for the friends who have stuck by me throughout this crazy path, and grateful for the ones I am just now getting to know. God has such a funny sense of humor when he places people on the same path. One can really never tell just what God is up to.
I am tired and relaxed. The girls really are all asleep now, and I am, once again, blown away by how soothing jumping into the Bible really can be. I am not saying I have it all sorted out, or that I know what God is thinking, but I do know that He isn't going to take me down any path He isn't willing to drag me out of. Really amazed at how fortunate I feel tonight. God is really something amazing. :)