Dwelling in the Past 

20 years ago my life was altered. It was shattered into tiny pieces, some getting lost along the way. My Poppop died 20 years ago after a battle with leukemia.

I remember where I was when I heard the news, alone. I was downstairs trying to hold it together. I swollowed the sadness and held it in, even though I wanted to just run away or even die myself.  My life was ruined. I was only 10 years old. 
You see I walked the journey with him. I held his hand has he fought the cancer. I went to most doctor visits and always was there with him in and out of the hospital. If no one was allowed to go, I was the exception. Yet, I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t fight it for him as much as I wanted to. 

I saw every up when the cancer would go into remission and he acted like himself again. I got so hopeful every time. And every time I would be heartbroken when I saw him getting worse. I remember being so angry at God for not healing him. 

I saw every low when his flesh became so pale, his skin so cold. I remember seeing the look on his face when he knew we would never see each other again. I remember that last hug he gave. I didn’t want to let go. 

Poppop died a few days after I last saw him. We were taken out of town to see other family. Honestly, it probably was on purpose so we didn’t see him die literally before our eyes. 

I still remember thinking his death was my fault. I took the blame and shame onto myself. “If only I…” just kept repeating in my head even though I knew I couldn’t stop the cancer.

Today I went back to a place where he underwent his cancer treatments. It was a very freeing experience. I wasn’t there for mourning, I wasn’t there to have the memories flood. I was there for a friend. I was there because it’s where God brought her to undergo observation and where God ultimately led me to. It’s no coincidence that God brought me back to where I lost myself over 20 yeas ago.  

God always has a plan, even if the outcome isn’t in our best interest. My Poppop might have died. I might have lost myself in that and defined myself by that, but it makes me no less of the person I am today because of that.  

I wouldn’t be who I am if I never went through the storm. So I can sit here and try to say a part of me died that day but really it was God ultimately using that to define my path and my story.  God’s not done with me. He’s not done with you. 

Meeting you at the point

In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.

God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.

But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go. 
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful. 

God’s Grace is Sufficient

Part of me doesn’t want to write this. Then another part tells me, I really need to and then I battle with why do I need to, no one needs to know…

I take this struggle and I mask it. I don’t want people to see because I’m ashamed of who it makes me or rather who I classify myself as with it.

Lately, I’ve been in, still am, in a deep depression. I have no motivation, ambition, willpower, love of my jobs or life, confidence, or anything. When I’m in this I tend to believe silence is better than talking. So I isolate.  

In isolation negative thoughts  over power any good. They dictate my value and my worth. I have sat in tears. I’ve laid in bed barely being able to move. Yet I refuse to let anyone close enough to know what’s going on. Then I convince myself no one cares. Yet I refuse to open my mouth. I refuse to let anyone inside. I refuse to show my weak side.

I think I can deal with it. I think I can make it on my own.  It’s like I’m in a pit but it’s too tall to get out without help, but yet I keep jumping attempting to reach the top to get out and I just exhaust myself. So with every failed attempt I just isolate into the corner of the pit more and more. I beat myself up calling myself a failure and worthless even though I will always fail by myself.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 talks about Paul’s thorn in his side. After Paul begging the Lord to remove it, the Lord said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 9a) It goes on to Paul’s response of acceptance, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (v. 9b)

You see I can jump and jump and get nowhere. I can exude all my energy on my own effort. I can allow myself to accept my failures, my inabilities, my feelings. I can pretend this depression is not there. I can pretend that this thorn in my side by covering it up and masking it. But the Lord doesn’t want that. The Lord wants me to uncover it, to face it so that His grace can cover it.

Paul talks about boasting in weakness, why? Because like the Lord said, “my power is made perfect in weakness” meaning that I will never be cured of depression, regardless of medication, it will always be a battle, the thorn will always be there. But the question in the end is what is stronger? The Lord’s grace or my depression?  If I battle depression with the Lord, I am strong but if I battle with myself and isolate myself, I am weak. 

We are not meant to do life alone. We are not meant to battle things alone. We are not meant to isolate ourselves. Yet we all do it from time to time. 

The Lord is with us. God doesn’t abandon His children nor does He forsake them. We all have battles of different kinds. We all have thorns in the side. But we shouldn’t bask in it and just accept it. The enemy is sneaky and conniving. He will use your battles to keep you away from God. So don’t be silent. Don’t keep everyone out. Allow others in. Allow God in. Allow God to cover you with grace. Allow God to give you strength in your weakness.

Depression is real and it’s hard. If you battle it, seek help from others. Seek counseling. Seek medical help. You are not weak because you can’t battle it alone. You are strong because you admit where you are weak. 

The Brick Wall

There’s a wall. I can’t tell exactly what put it there or when it got put up. I haven’t been able to journal in a long time. I can write posts or do a quick journal but to dig deep, I can’t even get passed it. It’s like road block.

I put on a mask without even realizing I’m doing it.  I pretend that I am who I am on the outside of the wall. Everything is surface level, including most, if not all, of my relationships. I don’t even know what’s behind the wall.

Maybe it’s my heart, my trust, that I locked away because every time I tend to get close to someone, we end up parting ways not on good terms. Maybe it’s my past that I haven’t fully moved on from and that past addiction that keeps haunting me. Maybe it’s because I isolated myself from the world because I don’t want to admit that I’m extremely broken and that I need Jesus every moment of every day. Maybe I’m hiding from fear; fear of failing, fear of being inadequate, fear of  judgement.

In service Sunday we were taking communion. As I began to ask God what I needed to ask for repentance for a full list of things started popping in my head. I was taken back by it but as I repeated them I remembered them. It was a game changer. 

It has allowed me to get back up on my feet and move forward. Even if it means  it’s a slow removal of the wall brick by brick. God knows why the wall is up, even if I have no clue. The best thing I can do is hand him the papers to it so he  completely knock it down. Otherwise, all I can do is fight the wall, and the wall will always win because I don’t have the strength on my own to fight it. 
 

Refusing to Fall to the Sword

In Numbers 13 God talks about how the leaders of the tribes of the Israelites went out the promise land, but they came back with a bad report. They came back not believing God would see them through. They stated in Numbers 14: 3,  “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”. Here’s the problem, they already fought the battle in their head and assumed the outcome however, they did not take God’s power and promises into consideration.They simply lost faith because they were too weak in their own ability.

Today, when we hear from God, do we act on it or do we lose faith and walk away because we think we can never accomplish it. If God tells us to do something we should see it through because we can only accomplish it with Him. Stop seeing an obstacle in your life and assuming it’s a dead end. Prayer is a powerful tool, use it. The Word of God, read it. God will see you through. You just have to hold on and be obedient.

There are aspects in my life that I don’t think I can overcome. That I mentally and physically cannot do it. That the effort it takes to do it is not worth the benefit that it reaps. So what if I have this soft spot in my past that I cannot overcome? So what if there’s this health issue that I have to battle, but I don’t have the strength to do it. Here the thing, I’m not suppose to have the strength, if I did, I wouldn’t need God. I wouldn’t need to get on my knees in prayer.

The Israelites simply surrendered their own defeat and their promise Land was not given to them because they refuse to see God through and allow Him to do the work for them. If we put ourselves in control of our own lives we will not have the promises of God in our lives. However, there are aspects of ourselves we refuse to let go control over. Whether it be finances, time, even obstacles and challenges, anything that is keeping you from serving the Lord.  I cannot speak for you, but I can speak for myself and I have to let go . I have to let go of the reigns of my past and my health issues. They are not mine to control. The only thing I can do is be obedient in prayer, seek God, read the living Word of God and allow him to speak in to my life to be able to give me the strength that I need to overcome. These battles are not mine.  The battles the Israelites were to face were not theirs. I refuse to fall to the sword without first seeking God.

Straggler

Are you a straggler? I was. 

Everyone knows the Old Testament stories of the parting of the seas.  But what people don’t know, is there were people who were full of fear, full of anxiety. They didn’t expect God to move for them. They were the stragglers.

I used to sit the side lines of life and waiting for God to call my name that it was my turn. I saw God moving abundantly in other people’s lives. I never felt good enough. I never felt that God was going to move in my life.  That I was unworthy of God. I stopped belittling myself. I stop thinking that I wasn’t worthy. Because I am.

So are you. You are worthy of everything. If you see God moving in others life, stop filling yourself with fear. It is written in Deuteronomy‬ ‭31‬:‭6‬ – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”  God will never foresake you. If he can move in other people’s lives, He can move in yours.

God will and can move through you.  But it is up to you. You are either full of fear of God not coming through, maybe because He did not come through in the past. If you want something, does not mean God wants you to have it or to do it.  Don’t take your past and try to say God did not come through, because He has. He has always been there, and He will continue to be there, He will not abandon you.  

So it is up to you to decide if you are going to be the straggler or will you have enough confindence in the Lord, will you have enough faith in the Heavenly Father to trust that He knows what He is doing. Let go of control. Stop holding up the walls you refuse to let down and breaks the chains of your past and trust in the Lord. 

Don’t be the straggler awaiting for something to happen. Be the faithful one and walk with the Lord not by fear but by confindence.