If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT)
June 17th was my 26th birthday. I have spent my birthdays in some of the least desirable places and in the least desirable state of mind. When my birthday comes around now a days, I am so grateful for being free, both physically and spiritually, that I could really be doing anything and I would be happy. So much so that a couple years ago I picked up at couple of shifts at the restaurant I was working at and worked a double.
The week leading up to my birthday was probably the hardest week I have had since the day I was in my accident. It started off with getting a crippling migraine. It was so bad that I threw up a couple times and made me delusional amongst other things. I have only gotten a migraine once before and I knew that they are not very pleasurable. It really took me out of commission and the effects or the migraine lasted a few days. My week continued to get harder. I don't want to get into a long list of every little thing that happened. I want to stay away from self-pity as much as possible. Things continued to go wrong. My body continued to act up. I was having issues that I haven't had in months. Relationships were strained and there were a lot of confrontational conversations that offenses were taken.
Things added up. It felt like I was being hit with a barrage of "fiery darts" from the enemy. To be honest I was growing extremely weary, so much so that putting on the armor of God was becoming tiresome. I didn't think I could fight one more day, I wanted to tap out, but such is life. I can't just tap out or say to the devil, "this is getting pretty hard bud. Do you think you could just give me a break for a couple days and we can get right back to this spiritual war, thanks". All these thing accumulated into me sitting in my living room with my parents weeping. To be honest my mind was asking The Lord questions like, "where are you? I thought you were supposed to be my protector? Why all this God? Isn't being in a chair enough." Since i have gotten hurt i have never came to the point where I was asking him questions like this. I don't know if they were always there and that week brought them up or if it was a new battle I was in. My heart however, knew the truth. That he is faithful, unconditionally faithful. My mind would ask these questions and m heart would answer with experiences that God had remained faithful through this accident. My heart was hurting because I was asking God, my creator and savior, these questions in my head. It had been a battle all week and I was in the middle of an epic one. It would be a turning point in this spiritual war I am in. My parents and I cried, prayed, and declared truth that we knew in our heart of hearts.
I am so grateful that I was able to express with God the gut-wrenching honesty of where I was at. I have learned that that is so important. I went to bed that night with not a lot of answers, but I felt lighter. I went to bed, after I cried all my tears and vomited all my feelings and emotions to God, deciding to believe truth, his truth. I have written before about not letting circumstances or feelings control me and how they are facts and sometimes facts get in the way of truth. This night was a very intense opportunity to practice that.
The next day was my birthday. It was a beautiful day and my heart was in a totally different place. My birthday was full of amazingness, ha. I wont list everything but the quicker run down of the day started with one of my best friends having the day off and being able to come over in the morning to hang. My hospital bed was delivered. IT RECLINES!!! I went to St. Luke's for my first pool session. I grew up hanging out on the lakes and not being able to get in the water and a boat was in the front of my mind when I got hurt. If felt soooo good being in water again! I got a great cardio workout, which is hard now. I learned a ton of stuff about being in the water, both recreationally and to workout. It was great and gave me a sense of being more independent. After, I went kayaking with a few of my closest friends. Again on water in the most beautiful area on earth, the promise land, ha. I came home to have a little BBQ with friends and my new car had the hand controls installed. So great and not hard to get used to. I have been driving around since, I could write an entire book with how great it is, the sense of independence, and how grateful I am. The BBQ was great! I had a lot of the people I really love there and some I haven't gotten to spend time with in a long time. The day was amazing. I couldn't have asked for much to make it better (only Erika being here would have made it perfect. I at least got to talk to her all through out the day and share in my day with her). Since my birthday there have been a lot more great things and not so great.
After my birthday and the past couple days I have been asking The Lord about the week leading up to it. He was the same God during the suck week as he was during my birthday and the same God today. What was the deal then? I know that being honest with God about what i was feeling made it possible for revelation and clarity to come. He knows everything and I can't keep anything from him. It's for myself that I need to be honest with him. If I am not, he only has so much to work with because I am unwilling to give him all of myself. What I have been starting to see is that those questions I was asking The Lord are totally normal questions if my hope is in this world. The Lord reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:8-18 :
We are pressed on every side by troubles, BUT WE ARE NOT CRUSHED. We are perplexed, BUT NOT DRIVEN TO DESPAIR. We are hunted down, BUT NEVER ABANDONED BY GOD. We get knocked down, BUT WE ARE NOT DESTROYED. THROUGH SUFFERING, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has RESULTED in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. ALL OF THIS IS FOR YOUR BENEFIT. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we NEVER give up. Though our bodies are dying, OUR SPIRITS ARE BEING RENEWED EVERY DAY. For our present troubles are SMALL and WONT'T last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that VASTLY outweighs them and will last FOREVER! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, WE FIX OIR GAZE ON THINGS THAT CANNOT BE SEEN. For the things we see now will SOON be gone, but the things we cannot see will last FOREVER.
My hope is not in this world. These promise show no matter how much the enemy attacks or "life" happens I will survive. This passage gives me purpose, shows me what it's for. One of the hardest things during, what I now call "suck week" was "why?" It's for, by his grace, his glory can be shown brightly to everyone and the good news can be proclaimed. My life is not my own, it is his. I don't believe for a second that Jesus did all those hurtful things to make himself look good. It's just when those things happen, and they will, He is there to carry us through. I just need to keep my gaze on him. That's it! That's what it is about, keeping my gaze on him. No matter what the enemy tries to pull or what life tries to throw at me to take me down,,I KEEP MY EYES FIXED ON HIM. It's so simple but not necessarily easy. I was questioning God's faithfulness when in fact I was the one who was loosing faith and not being faithful "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT)"
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For WE ARE NOT fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor SO THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RESIST THE ENMEY in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be STANDING FIRM. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. (Ephesians 6:10-20 NLT)
I feel like this passage is a good example of the battle of "truth and facts", not of flesh and blood-circumstances or life, but on things in heavenly places- promises and truth. The battle is hard but we have the answer. Keep our gaze on Jesus and put on the ENTIRE armor of God.this passage often says "stand". Don't give up, stand firm, fight to keep your eyes on Jesus. In the ESV, verse 13 says, "Therefore take up the WHOLE armor of God, that you may be able to WITHSTAND in the evil day, AND HAVING DONE ALL, to STAND FIRM". During this battle we are in there are going to be times where it will feel easy to keep our gaze on him and there are times where we are going to "have to do all".
Thank you all for all your support and prayers. As you can read, I need it. Thank you for taking the time to read my heart and what God has been teaching me, in spite on length ha. I hope this in some way has encouraged you. I know there is more revelation The Lord wants to give me. Just like with everything with him, there is more.
It has been a while since I have posted anything and I have really missed it. The past couple months God has been showing me a lot of new and powerful things. I feel like he was taking some things from my head and transferring them into my heart. That process hasn't been easy. I have had to learn a lot from failing. I have been so blessed through this whole thing with so many people who pray, support, follow, and encourage me. God has given me a opportunities that I could have never imagined. I have been blown away by all that He has been doing to carry me through this whole thing. My life has been changed forever, not just physically but he has been shaping me into who He created me to be. A process that doesn't always look the way I thought I would or feel great.
I have written before about how pride has been a hard lesson for me to learn and I have been blessed with the opportunity to learn, by experience, even more about it. The Bible says the His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I have this crazy ability to take the gifts God has given me and make them mine. When I do that I have found that they are impossible to keep and maintain. God has given me influence, through this, to speak into peoples lives. Somewhere along the lines I took that gift and made it my responsibility and my job to do. It became hard and heavy, not like what the Bible talks about. All of a sudden there is pressure to live up to an expectation. I started to do things on my own strength. It is impossible. Thoughts of worry, to not screw up what God has given me and feeling like I needed to control everything started to creep in.
God is the only source. God asks us to initiate and he empowers through His Spirit. But taking God's calling and making it my own responsibility and something to live up to, isn't His plan. On my own there is no way, it is possible to live up to the calling. I need him to fulfill it. It takes the pressure off, makes the yoke light, and gives freedom. I found it interesting when I found out that in the Old Testament that the same word used for blessing is also used for curse. I believe that God gives us things and we can receive them, turn them into something that is ours and through that it becomes a curse. It adds pressure and a standard we can not achieve on our own.
Me working in me doesn't do anything. But God working in me does everything. I am not my own. I boast in my weakness because He is made strong. All these thing I try and remember when I am starting to take the gifts He has given me and make them my own.
"If you want the promise, you need to enjoy the process." I heard that once in a sermon and it really stuck with me. To me it means that in the process of receiving promise, is when I can experience the true goodness of God and see His character so bright. It's in the process where I get taken from glory to glory, start to look more and more like Him, gain the character that matching the anointing, endure, and so many other things. I have have experienced that so much during this whole ordeal. Every day there are new battles to conquer as well as the old ones that have yet to have been defeated. After each hurdle there is another one. Some days it really feels like I am "jumping out of the frying pan and into the furnace." God's promises over me and this situation are so amazing. Healing and platform to speak into peoples lives are just a couple of the many things He has said over me. Not to mention spending all of eternity with my God and savior, all the things in heaven I am storing up, forever being in His glorious presence, and the inheritance the Bible talks about. All of these are available for all of us, crazy I know. I feel so blessed because I can see some of these things starting to manifest in my life. It is a true honor and blessing. The process of getting there is hard. My original assumption was that I face something, God helps me through it, I get the promise, and then everything is all good. I have come to find out it isn't really like that. "The Lord ’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified SEVEN times over", Psalms 12:6. In my experience I have found that after each victory there is a new battle or purification process. Not to say that God doesn't bless us along the way. He is how I get through each battle and furnace experience. He has been my sustenance through every fight. I have tried to do it on my own but I have fallen short. Any time I have been victorious it has been because of Him. I have really started to see how I have tried to formulate how this thing works. For every furnace experience there is a break through and for every break through there is promise waiting wrapped in a pretty bow. Nice and simple, easy, and something that I can put into a nice equation. But what I am realizing now, is that God's promises over me are pure. I want to be used by Him so badly and often ask to be. I don't think I really knew what I was praying for. What I don't realize is that in order to receive those pure promises over my life, I need to be fully purified. Just because I am going through something hard doesn't mean that another battle isn't coming and it is coming wether the first battle is over or not. I am starting to understand that I can't formulate how God works or how His promises do. I want His promises and to be used by Him in fullness and don't want it half way. And in asking that, I am asking to be purified, not just half way. Purification, battles, struggles or whatever a person might want to call them don't always play nice. They aren't bound to having to take turns or go easy on me because the last one was hard. Ive' found if all I focus on during this time is the promise I won't make it. I have tried that and have gotten frustrated, distracted, and upset with God. The same preacher where I heard about enjoying the process said this, "Don't chase the promise, chase the promiser". I have seen how that is way easier and better than just focusing on the promise. When I do that I stop asking the "why" and "when" questions and am not so complacent. It easier to stay on path and focused on what is right in front of me today. He is how I withstand the purifications and battles. He is the one who gave me the promise, and He is the promise.
One thing that The Lord has really put on my heart through this whole thing is faith. I could not do the things I have through this whole thing if it wasn't for faith. When God spoke to me on the hill side, I have said before, I have an everyday choice to believe what He said was true and He will remain faithful or not. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the substance of things unseen, Hebrews 11:1. I can't always see what or how God is going to take care of everything but that's where faith comes in. I have been reading Hebrews 11 a lot lately. It is such am encouraging chapter on faith. A few things have really stuck out to me. I admit that they aren't new and have always been there but they have been striking my heart in a totally new way than the ever had before. I have been experiencing how the Word is truly alive. I can't count how many times I have read that chapter and it always touches me different. In vs. 6 it says it is impossible to please God with out faith. In Romans it says we cannot please Him operating in the flesh. When I am operating in faith, I am operating in the spirit. Faith is the doorway into walking in the power of the Holy Ghost. Walking in the Spirit, as a Christian, is something I have always wanted and longed for. It has had this allure to it, like walking in the Spirit is this tangible feeling of tingling and fire. But walking in the Spirit and in faith isn't always like that. Circumstance and this world screams in opposition to that and it is a decision to ignore that and believe God with or with out the feelings to go along with it. Hebrews 11 gives us example of many great men and women of God who were full of faith. It strikes me that it wasn't what they did that God counted as righteous, it was the belief, faith, in what He had told them. Faith propels us to action but the action in and of its self isn't it. We can act with out faith. Faith is recieving what He has promised and "walking as if". God gives us promises and faith is believing that that is true. Seeking Him and acting as if that's all that matters. It's not our job to understand the process our obstacles. The L ord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? (Proverbs 20:24 NLT). All the examples of faith in chapter 11 had moments where it didn't look like God was fulfilling His end of the promise. But they all believed Him when everything else said He wasn't there. Faith takes our weakness and turns it into strength, vs. 34. Having faith doesn't mean our lives will go smoothly and nothing bad will ever happen, we read that in the last few verses of the chapter. But through it all we have something to hold onto in the midst of the storm
To be totally honest before my accident I wasn't in my Word everyday :/ I know terrible. I have excuses for days but it's just how it was. Since I have been injured, God has reignited a passion for His word. It's by no means is a religious duty, just it has been so alive and every day it changes my heart. I am currently reading in a lot of different places but what has been rocking me lately is Psalms. I just see the raw and real state of the human heart. It is such a perfect picture of, if everyone was honest, the fickleness of the human heart. One day we are happy the next feel the depths of despair. Even sometimes the same strong emotional shift in the same day, hour, or even moment. I can really identify with every chapter. As I read through the book, I see chapters about loneliness, intimacy, victory, defeat, emptiness, and prosperity. As I started to once again read through Psalms, The Lord started giving me a new prospective in reading them. In a lot of the chapters it talks about an enemy surrounding the writer, people fighting against him, The Lord taking vengeance, and being in the shelter of The Lord in the midst of such attacks. I have always viewed that as the struggles or battles I face. For example, me trying to battle addiction, or trying to overcome sin and the people who might tempt me to fall back into sin. I guess I always presumed those to be character flaws, sin issues, and people who try and bring me down with them. Those things helped me at very crucial points in my life. In this part of my life I am seeing that I have new enemies. What I have begun to see is how circumstance and the world's standards are my enemy today. In Psalm 35 David writes about his enemies assaults against him and The Lord being his justice. Vs. 4 says, "Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me." Life and circumstance come to try and take me out. He works out all things for good to those that love him the Bible says. God takes those circumstances that look so terrible and like there is no way out and he disgraces and humiliates them by turning them into good. He demonstrates His power by using the foolishness of this world, on paper...me, and confounds the wise. Vs. 7, "I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me. I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me." These things can come with out justification. It isn't like I deserve to experience this accident and not walk. My enemy, circumstance, has dug a pit for me. Vs. 8-10, "So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me. Then I will rejoice in the Lord . I will be glad because he rescues me. With every bone in my body I will praise him: 'Lord , who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?'" He rescuer and I will forever praise Him! In another Psalm it talks about preparing a meal in the midst of enemies. I am not demanding that my circumstance change but rather declaring who He is. He will take care of me and no matter what I face, even if I make my bed in hell His love would find me there. Who He is and His promise will prevail; "Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long." (Psalms 35:28 NLT)