Today you get to hear from a girl I met through house church. She has become a great friend that often encourages me and I have never met someone who is so in touch with what God is teaching them. She is being very transparent today. Please enjoy!
When I first started to think about this "love story," I was kind of struggling a bit. Many times, God will be teaching me about something by way of bringing certain themes into my life seemingly everywhere I look. For example, the idea of this world not being our "final destination," but that we are citizens of heaven. And we should be working toward an eternal purpose and not focusing on things that will not matter from the eternal perspective. I mean, it's something I thought I already knew, but I think God wanted to apply it to me in a new way. So, at the time of this particular hot topic about our real citizenship, it seemed like so many things that I heard on the radio, read in the Bible or devotional book, heard people talk about about at church, or answered questions about from my kids had to do with that topic. Obviously God was placing these things in my path so I could pick up on them. This seems to happen every so often, and when I notice it, I figure I better listen up because God is trying to teach me something! Well, lately I haven't really noticed ANY themes, otherwise I probably would've written about that. It's sort of been a yucky couple months, because we have had so much sickness in our house. And so we haven't done too much besides take my son to school and pick him up (if he isn't the one who is sick). We had one weekend where everyone was healthy and we were able to visit family... by God's grace. Otherwise, we have pretty much been trapped at home, dealing with germs. And now I think I am able to clean our humidifier in my sleep! :) I figure this has been a test, and it's one that I haven't really done too well at. My attitude has been bad, I have complained, I have struggled with feeling sort of depressed, I have snapped at my kids and my husband, and I have been useless a lot of the time, just because of how I feel mentally. Oh, and I have plopped myself in front of the TV to veg out for hours because it's easier than dealing with how I feel and it's "easier" than actively seeking God's help and strength (I can be very stubborn). So I really don't feel close to God at all right now. Sure, I have read the Bible here and there and I listen to Christian music all the time, but my heart has just not been in it. You are probably wondering where this is going and whether I have forgotten about the "love story" theme! No, I haven't forgotten, and yes, I have been SO unfaithful to God. BUT, HE is still faithful, He knows what I need and gives me the grace I need, and I know He is there always and that He cares. His faithfulness, grace and presence are three things that NO MATTER WHAT I am going through or what kind of state I am in spiritually, I can bank on those things. So I guess these are my "all the time" themes. :)First, His faithfulness... He is a perfect God. If He promises something, He is faithful to complete that promise. If He says He is going to do something, He does it. This is so encouraging in a world where you count on people and many times they will let you down. It's bound to happen, because we are human and far from perfect! But to be able to rest assured that God is in control and will do what he says he will do is sooo great. 1 Thess 5:24 - "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." Not, "he might do it," he WILL do it. Love that! And also, Philippians 1:6 - "...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." It's so great to know that He will be faithful to complete His plan for us, and that he doesn't give up on us, even when we screw up. What kind of love is this?!Second, His grace. I don't know how many times I have just stepped out in faith (or in "partial faith," but wondering what the heck was going to happen) and God has come through with just the grace I need. It's not necessarily more grace than I need, but it's enough to get me through whatever I need to get through. He will never put you in a situation that is too big for you or that He cannot get you through. I have really leaned on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 so much the past few years. It says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." A lot of things have come up in the past few years that have been struggles for me. When I first started working out of college, I had a job where I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. And it was very demanding. Soooo many times, I could see things fall into place with my work that absolutely had to have been God's power and not my own! It was great, because I KNEW I couldn't have done what I did, so it had to be all God. And that is just a prime example of how He has worked in my weakness. And He deserves the glory! One other example... We have one son who is almost 5, and two daughters who are 3 and 1. The girls both have hearing loss and wear hearing aids. When we first found out about our first daughter having hearing loss and that it was a genetic cause, we were so surprised and shocked, since neither of us had any family history of hearing loss. And I remember just feeling so bad for her and so helpless while we were in the process of figuring out how severe the hearing loss was and wondering what all we were going to have to do for our daughter. And wondering if it was even a situation we COULD do something for. Each step in the testing and diagnosis process seemed to take FOREVER. But we just placed her in God's hands (we kind of HAD to), and we were reminded about how much God loves her and that He in control of her situation and will make sure she will get what she needs. He loves her even more than we do! He gave us the grace to get through that whole process, and He has graciously allowed her (and her sister) to get her hearing aids and do very well with speech. At age 3, she is right on track with speech and should need no special services in school! Praise the Lord! He knows what we need and gives us just that. It may be a hard thing to go through, and WE may not even know what we need. But He knows and will always provide just what we need.And finally, His presence. I grew up in a Christian home and everything came pretty easy for me. I had a lot of friends, my family was great, was relatively good at a variety of things, and I really didn't struggle at all... until I moved away from home for my first job. Then started my struggle with loneliness. It was really hard. But at the same time, it was good that that happened, because it really got me into the Bible more than I had ever been before, and God really began to seem "real" to me. But ever since then I haven't really stopped struggling, at least from time to time. I ended up moving again, a year and a half later, to a new location because of the job situation. So that began a new place of trying to make friends and feel comfortable. That's where I met my husband, who is in the air force. We have since been moved here to Ohio and have been here several years. And while we have met some really great people here, I still find myself struggling with loneliness sometimes. Yes, I have my husband and kids, and yes we have some really great friends from church. But it's still really hard for me being so far from family and friends who have known me for many many years. I knew that was how the military life would be, and most of the time I am okay with it. But sometimes it does get lonely! But thankfully those are the times where I can remember that God is always with me. So I am never really alone. One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." That just sums it up! Any time I am scared or lonely or discouraged, I can remember that God is with me. And he is El Roi, which means "The God Who Sees." This is by far my favorite name for God. He sees what you are going through! Your suffering is not for nothing! And even if other people don't seem to care or don't know what you are going through, it doesn't matter. God does, and He is the only one who matters anyway. I try to have an attitude of thankfulness for these struggles, because I know God allows them for my own good. And I am not just saying that. I know I pray more and get into the Word more when I "hit bottom" and have nowhere else to turn. I know I grow more as a child of God and learn more about Him when these struggles and trials come. So they are good. And like I said before, He will never give you more than you can handle. Our God is indeed good and I am so thankful to be His child! And I am thankful for friends like Amy and our other house church brothers and sisters, who are also on the journey of following Christ. Because had it not been for sitting down to write this today, I wouldn't have been encouraged by God's truths as I have been!
So thank you, Amy, for giving me this "assignment!" Thanks, everyone else, for reading and I pray you are also encouraged. Glory to God!
P.S. Just one more testament to God's grace... All three of my kids have just napped for almost THREE HOURS at the SAME TIME, allowing me to write this and do a couple other things. That never happens! This is clearly what God had in mind for today.
Talk about God working! Thanks Kylee!