Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Humanity of Christ

One Sunday evening a group of people from my church, who recently took a trip to Israel, shared their experiences with the congregation and a couple of people spoke about their visit to the Garden of Gethsemane.

I’ve spent a great deal of time contemplating the humanity of Christ on that evening before his death, and recently noticed the parallels between Christ’s time alone in Gethsemane and a situation that a friend of mine may be facing in the very near future.

Now, let me be very clear on this: my friend’s situation is nowhere near the literal life and death situation that Christ faced. Instead, my friend’s challenge is around something they may be asked to do (for someone else) that will prove to be extremely emotionally difficult for them. In fact, my friend shared that they have basically been praying the same prayer that Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 ESV)

And that’s the focus of today’s blog … The Humanity of Christ.

“… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV)

That’s where the humanity of Christ amazes me: Christ willingly submitted Himself to be crucified on a cross: the most degrading kind of execution that could possibly be inflicted on someone at that time. Additionally, not only did He do it for those who were believers (and for those who would become believers), but He also did it for all those who laughed at Him and scorned Him to His face. Can you imagine?

And the part of Christ’s humanity that touches me the most is this: In His “humanness” He asked His friends to be with Him, and to support Him, on the night before his crucifixion because He was in a great deal of emotional pain:

“He said to them, ‘My heart is full of sorrow, to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.’” (Matthew 26:38 NCV)

Yes, in His humanity, even Christ was not immune to emotional pain. None of us are! And yet what did His friends do? They fell asleep!

The interesting thing about my friend’s situation is that ever since they shared it with me, the thought that keeps crossing my mind is “what a great gift” they may be given! Now while my friend may not see it that way, the reason I see it as a gift is because it will be the last opportunity they will have to do something for this other person. Yes it will be emotionally difficult for my friend, just as Christ’s time alone in the Garden was painful for Him …

“Being full of pain, Jesus prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44 NCV)

However, because every experience that God allows to take place in our lives is for the purpose of accomplishing His will and bringing Him glory, I would like to encourage my friend to remember that this situation is not about them; it’s about Him … and ONLY HIM!

And if this situation does come to fruition, it will provide my friend with an amazing opportunity to literally be used to bring glory to the One Who gives life to all, knowing that:

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11 NIV)

How cool is that? No matter how difficult the situation may be on my friend, God will give both the words to speak and the strength to serve, so that in the end He Himself will be glorified!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Lonely Place of Solitude

“That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:32-35 ESV)

During my time as a Hollywood agent, I worked with another agent who had an extremely gifted daughter. This young lady (now a young woman in college) was one of those kids who was good at everything she tried, and as a result was involved in activity, after activity, after activity. She sang in the choir, played in the orchestra, was on the soccer team, got straight A’s, and basically (in my opinion) had no childhood, at all.

Please note that with regard to that last statement, it’s just my opinion. She may have loved being so busy and active that both she and her parents were on the go from morning till night. Granted, I’m not a parent. But when I see something like that I often wonder how they do it!

How do you have a quality life when you’re constantly on the go? How do you have a quality relationship with your kids when they’re involved in everything under the sun? How do you have intimacy with your spouse when you’re running your kids everywhere? And, even more importantly, how do you have a quality relationship with God that’s more than just “ten minutes here and there," whenever it's convenient to fit Him into your life? Truth be told, I’m worn out just thinking about it! Of course, that may be because I’m still exhausted at the moment.

This morning I read a book entitled Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen, and I want to share some of his writings that really resonated with me:

“I have the sense that the secret of Jesus’ ministry is hidden in that lonely place where he went to pray, early in the morning, long before dawn …

In the lonely place Jesus finds the courage to follow God’s will and not his own; to speak God’s words and not his own; to do God’s work and not his own …

It is in the lonely place, where Jesus enters into intimacy with the Father, that his ministry is born.”

One of the things I’ve learned is that “busyness” is often nothing more than a way to avoid pain. Whether it’s used to avoid the reality that I hate my job; I’m in an unhealthy relationship that needs to end or things in my life just aren’t working and I need to make some changes (been there, done that, on all three accounts!), it is far easier to keep myself busy than to face the things I need to deal with head-on!

And because there is so much pain in this world, and because God never promised us an easy road, it’s no wonder that we fill our lives with so much “stuff,” and so many activities, that we often don’t know whether we’re coming or going! (Again, I know whereof I speak ...)

Then, just when we think we’ve got it all under control, it all comes crashing down around us and we’re forced to pay attention! Or, we’re forced to take a break in order to spend time in solitude with the One Who knows us better than we know ourselves:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body … All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.” (Psalm 139:13,16 NCV)

My prayer for today is that I will find intimacy with Christ, as I rest in the loneliness of solitude. May it be yours, as well.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Time for Everything

When I was in college I went to Florida for Spring Break (no, not that kind of Spring Break!) to see my grandmother. The first night I was there I slept for 36 hours.

Years later, during my travels with Up With People, I slept for 24 hours one day, and did the same thing again a couple of times during my years as a Hollywood talent agent.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself (as an extremely creative person) is that I burn the candle at both ends and then collapse in the middle. And when that happens, I need to take time off to rest and recuperate.

Yesterday, after I broke down in tears due to complete exhaustion, I knew I’d hit the wall yet again. So today I made several decisions: (1) Cancel the 10-day business trip I was supposed to leave on tomorrow; (2) Take the rest of this week off, and (3) Spend today resting (which I did – sleeping and reading).

The interesting part of all of this is that I actually had no qualms about canceling my trip (which is not what I would have done in the past). And, even more importantly, God confirmed that I made the right decision this afternoon.

Just as Christ took time to be alone, rest and pray, I know it’s one of the best things I can do for myself right now. Tonight I read this Living Insight by Charles Swindoll and it says it all perfectly:

“We are to be diligent to enter into rest. That doesn’t mean we adopt a lazy, irresponsible lifestyle full of indolence and inactivity. No, this is first and foremost a mental rest, a quiet confidence in the living Lord. A refusal to churn, to fret, to strive.”

That said, it’s time for bed … Good Night!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jesus Wept

"Jesus Wept." (John 11:35)

So glad to know that Jesus wept because I am so far beyond the boundary of exhausted that it's about all I can do right now (i.e. cry)!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Intimate Revelations

Last week I read this quote in a book by Beverly LaHaye and Janice Crouse, which I absolutely love:

“The possibility for us to be in a relationship with the awesome Creator of the universe exists because He chose to reveal Himself to us in ways that we could understand.”

So as God continues to reveal Himself to me – in His own time and in His own way – I wanted to share with you some of the Bible verses that have been touching my heart lately, along with my thoughts as I’ve read them:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” (Matthew 10:29 NIV)

• God’s will – not mine

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NIV)

• Time alone with Him is the only answer

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10 NIV)

• Thank God or I’d really be in serious trouble

“Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:20 ESV)

• Even during all the times when I reject Him or fail to love Him

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:15 NIV)

• There’s definitely one area in my life that needs improvement

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

• There is a place for my talents in this world, even though I sometimes doubt that fact

And one final Living Insight from Charles Swindoll, based on Psalm 8:

“Ask the Lord to help you catch a new vision of who He is … what He demands … and what He can accomplish in and through your life as you trust in Him.”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thoughts to Ponder

Still reading Randy Alcorn's book, "If God is Good," and read these beautifully written sentences the other night:

"Any affirmation of God's love that fails to acknowledge the demands of his holiness distorts God's character and truth, undermines the gospel ... If in our eyes his holiness contradicts his love and his justice conflicts with his mercy, then that is our problem, not his."


"The almighty God who created us is the same holy God who condemned us as sinners and the same loving God who went to extraordinary lengths that we might go to Heaven."

I don't know about you, but for me the depth of this sentence is going to keep me thinking for a long time! And tonight I came across these verses in Psalm 77, which seem to fit perfectly with the idea above:

"You are the God who works wonders ... With power You redeemed Your people ..."
(Ps. 77:14-15)

The more I struggle to make things make sense, the more I realize that He is, indeed, a God who works the kind of wonders I will never understand this side of Heaven!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Light for Others

So grateful He's in control because I'm really tired of trying to do it all myself! Of course, you'd think I'd know better ... But then again, you'd think we'd all know better!

That said, here's what really struck me during my quiet time this morning:

"You are the light that gives light to the world ... Be a light for other people."
(Matthew 5:14,16 NCV)

Oh, how I long to be a light for others right now ...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Microwave Society

The other day during a conversation with one of the pastors at my church, he made the comment that we are a “microwave society,” meaning that we want everything quickly and easily. That is so true!

As I spent some time thinking about the depth of truth that lies in his comment, I will readily admit that based on all of the growing pains I’ve been going through over the last 10 months, I’m ready to be done! I want out of all the pain, anguish and sadness I've been experiencing because, quite simply, I'm exhausted! You see sitting in this place of pain, and allowing myself to actually feel it, takes an enormous amount of energy. More energy than I believe I have at the moment.

Of course, this is probably the perfect time to call upon the words of Matthew 11:28 (NIV): "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” but I keep wondering how I’m supposed to do that when I literally don’t feel like I have any time at all in which I can take a break and “rest!”

One of my favorite new authors is a gentleman named Henri Nouwen, and I just started reading his book, "The Inner Voice of Love."

Based on where I am at the moment, and after reading his introduction to the book, I knew it was something I wanted to dive into headfirst, as here is part of what he writes:

“This book is my secret journal. It was written during the most difficult period of my life, from December 1987 to June 1988. That was a time of extreme anguish, during which I wondered whether I would be able to hold onto my life. Everything came crashing down -- my self-esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing, my trust in God ... everything. Here I was, a writer about the spiritual life, known as someone who loves God and gives hope to people, flat on the ground and in total darkness.

What had happened? I had come face to face with my own nothingness. It was as if all that had given my life meaning was pulled away and I could see nothing in front of me but a bottomless abyss.

The strange thing was that this happened shortly after I had found my true home. After many years of life in universities, where I never felt fully at home, I had become a member of L'Arche, a community of men and women with mental disabilities. I had been received with open arms, given all the attention and affection I could ever hope for, and offered a safe loving place to grow spiritually as well as emotionally. Everything seemed ideal. But precisely at that time I fell apart -- as if I needed a safe place to hit bottom!

All of this was triggered by the sudden interruption of a friendship ... But this deeply satisfying friendship became the road to my anguish, because soon I discovered that the enormous space that had been opened for me could not be filled by the one who had opened it ...

Intellectually I knew that no human friendship could fulfill the deepest longing of my heart. I knew that only God could give me what I desired. I knew that I had been set on a road where nobody could walk with me but Jesus. But all this knowledge didn't help me in my pain.”

While I don’t know about you, I can relate to everything he shared about his own struggle. In fact, the one comment he made that really hit home with me was that his world came crashing down after he had found his "true home;" that he seemed to need “a safe place to hit bottom.” I can totally relate to that idea because that's exactly how I feel about living in Montana; like I've finally found the place where I belong -- a "safe haven" in which I can heal mentally, physically and emotionally.

Additionally, I can relate to the fact that he also experienced a "trigger" which sent him into his abyss (which is also what sent me into my own spiritual crisis), and that he knew the only thing that could fill the hole in his heart was Christ, which is exactly how I feel and something I mentioned to my pastor.

They say “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” and that’s exactly how I’m feeling these days as God is slowly starting to reveal Himself to me once again, and for that I am truly grateful!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Cry of My Heart

"How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and everyday have sorrow in my heart?"

(Psalm 13:1-2 NIV)

The superficial pain of LA was so much easier to deal with than the true pain I'm finding myself in now, and yet ...

"[But] I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me."

(Psalm 13:5-6 NIV)

Mourning the loss of my friend, George Steinbrenner, and sending my prayers out to his family, friends, colleagues and all members (both past and present) of his beloved New York Yankees.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Growing Pains

The first time I went to ballet class I discovered that my hips were uneven and that one leg was slightly longer than the other. I was four years old and my ballet career was already over!

Eight years later I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters disease, which sounds much worse than it actually is! Quite simply, it’s a very common cause of knee pain in children and young athletes. The condition occurs in active boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18, and coincides with periods of growth spurts and a high level of sporting activity. At 5’9", I was too tall to be a ballerina, but my height was perfect to be a competitive swimmer, which I was for ten years.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing easy about growing up – physically or mentally – even when you’re an adult, because it seems like the older we get, the more "growing pains" we go through, whether we want to or not!

Here’s an example of what I mean: One of my biggest personal challenges is when the people in my life die. So far I’ve lost about 25 people, including 18 very close family members, as well as friends, my favorite boss who died while I was on vacation (thank God the studio waited to have her memorial service until I returned), and my voice teacher, who dropped dead of a heart attack after seeing a Broadway show in New York (he was like a father to me and I still miss him to this day). Needless to say, I do NOT handle death well!

As I was speaking with one of the ministers at my church about this the other day (in relation to a woman at our church who is currently sitting in “God’s Waiting Room,” as my grandmother used to call it!), we both agreed that while the glory that awaits those who are called Home is far better than anything we can possibly imagine, the pain that awaits us after they depart is something we all want to avoid simply because, in our selfishness, it’s so easy to make their death about us. (At least it can be for me!) Of course, that realization still doesn’t take away the mental, and sometimes physical, anguish I feel after a loved one has left my life.

So what does all of this talk of death have to do with “growing pains?” Here’s what I’ve discovered so far: it’s the things that are the hardest to experience that enable us to grow the most. And let me tell you, I feel like I’ve done more than my share of “growing” in the last 10 months and I’m about ready for it to be over!

One of the books a few people in my church are reading right now is Randy Alcorn’s book, “If God is Good.” Here’s one of the things I read tonight that really made me think:

“We often define love in superficial and trivial ways, setting us up to question God’s love in hard times … We cannot see the end God has in mind. If we could, we would likely see that the hardships God allows prevent even more debilitating hardships – the by-products of the diminished character that results from a life of ease.”

And, here’s where it really gets good …

“Our problem is not that we make too much of divine love, but too little. God does not love us on our preferred terms, but on his own. His infinite wisdom ensures us that he gives to us a higher love, not a lower one.”

Isn’t that awesome?!!

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this sentence: “God does not love us on our preferred terms, but on his own.” Even more importantly, I need to find a way to remember it on a daily basis – especially when things aren’t going the way I think they should and I struggle to understand what God is doing in my life, or when I don’t like what He’s doing and try to take control of the situation myself (i.e. put myself back on the throne of my heart!).

As I was looking up the word “pain” in my Bible tonight, I came across this verse in First Peter:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 ESV)

And here’s Charles Swindoll’s Living Insight (NIV) around this verse, which I really needed to read, as well:

“When we have responded as we should to life’s blows, enduring them rather than escaping them, we are given more maturity that stays with us and new measures of wisdom that we can draw on for the balance of our lives.”

Just as we’ve heard that we cannot “out-give” God, I have no doubt that we cannot “out-love” Him, either. Therefore, as I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, while my life has been turned completely upside down and inside out, and every safety net I ever had in place has been destroyed over the last few weeks, I can honestly say that I’m extremely hopeful that this is only the beginning of a new and stronger relationship with the One Who loves me more than I will ever know or understand … or possibly love in return.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Who’s On the Throne?

I have a confession to make: I have an ego! And, sadly, it’s far bigger than I ever realized. So much so that for the last two years I have pretty much not let God anywhere near the throne of my heart because my life has been all about ME!

The first time I realized I had an ego was back in 2002 when I woke up one morning and realized that I was utterly miserable in my job as a “Hollywood Agent.” However, the more I thought about giving up access to all of the actors, writers, directors, producers, studio executives and network executives with whom I spoke on a daily basis, the more I realized that no matter how unhappy I was, I wasn’t ready to walk away quite yet. I liked feeling important and I liked being seen as someone important in the industry (regardless of the fact that all of my friends were only “friends” because of what they thought I could do for them and for their career). And so I chose to remain on the throne of my life by staying in the job for two more years and as a result, I also chose to remain miserable!

Now for those of you who may be saying to yourself, “Well if I were her, I would never have made that choice,” I want you to think about the game of “Musical Chairs.” Did you ever play it as a kid? If so, then I’m sure you remember how it’s played, but for those of you who may not be familiar with the game, here’s how it works:

Chairs are placed in a circle and there is one less chair than there are players. So if there are ten players, then nine chairs are placed in a circle. Next, someone turns on some music and everyone walks in a circle around the chairs until the music is turned off. At that time, everyone scrambles to sit in a chair and the player who ends up without a chair is out of the game.

The game continues like this until there are only two players left and just one available chair. After that it’s a fight to the finish as both players race to be the last person standing (or “sitting” as the case may be), in order to be declared the winner.

Now let’s take this “two-person, one-chair” scenario and apply it to our relationship with Jesus Christ, only here’s the kicker in this equation: He will NOT run around a silly chair to battle us for the “privilege” of sitting on the throne of our heart. Instead, He stands in the background and waits for our invitation.

Remember this verse from Revelation 3:20? I like The Living Bible’s translation the best:

“Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.”

See, here’s the deal: God is NEVER going to try to force Himself into our lives. That’s not to say I wish He had done so a few times in my own life, as it certainly would have made things easier for me – especially when I chose to remain in my job. However, because we were created to be dependent upon Him, and not the other way around, we are the ones who need to get up from the throne of our own hearts and offer Him a seat. The good news is that as soon as we ask Him to sit down He will gladly do so. The bad news is that it’s usually not until we’ve gotten ourselves into some kind of trouble that we actually stop and do it. (At least that’s what happens in my own life!)

So trust me when I tell you that if you also struggle in this area, you’re not alone, as it is something I have to do on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis. Particularly these days when everything in my life is topsy-turvy and the temptation to “go it alone,” in order to make (force!) things happen, is very great. Fortunately His Word reminds me that during those times when I think I can do a better job with my life than He can ...

“[He] is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.”
(Numbers 14:18 NIV)

Thank God!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Faith Unadorned

Did you know that the actor Cary Grant was actually born with the name Archibald Leach? When people asked him how he “became Cary Grant,” here was his response:

“I have spent the greater part of my life fluctuating between Archie Leach and Cary Grant, unsure of each, suspecting each … I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, and, finally, I became that person. Or he became me.”

So as I struggle to regain my footing, that’s kind of how I feel about my faith right now: child-like, simple and unadorned. With that in mind, Charles Swindoll’s Living Insight probably best describes the work I trust He’s doing in my life right now:

“God is committed to the task of conforming you and me to the image of His Son. Not physically – He’s not making us look like Jesus looked physically – but inwardly: in character, in patience, in gentleness, in goodness, in grace, in truth, in discipline. He’s committed to conforming our lives to the inner character of His Son.”

P.S. The good news is that while I did wear my sunglasses several times today, they were actually worn for no other reason than to block out the sun! (-:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Moment of Grace

So very grateful to have experienced a moment of His grace this afternoon, however I’m still wearing my sunglasses as I struggle to understand His plans. In my head I know that no matter how I may see things, He has a better view! In my heart, I’m trying very hard to take Him at His word:

"For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

False Expectations

It’s amazing to me how na├»ve we (I) can be at times, when it comes to our (my) expectations of God.

Truth be told we’re entitled to NOTHING, and yet we still believe that if we “do something for God,” He will do something for us … As if sending His Son to pay the penalty for our sin wasn’t enough!

Case in point: As I mentioned in my first blog, I’ve been living in a spiritual desert for the last 10 months. However, in reality, I actually started “taking matters into my own hands” (i.e. taking control of my own life!) about 5 years ago, and have been especially good -- or bad(!) -- at it over the last two years.

So now that I’m clear on the battle I’m fighting and have begun the reconciliation process with Him, today I found myself thinking: “I thought things would be different then they are!”

What I mean by that statement is that now that I’m trying very hard to let God run my life (instead of me trying to do it), I thought things would start to get easier; not harder. And yet, I’m continually finding the rug being pulled out from underneath my feet!

“I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me? I am worn out from sobbing. Every night tears drench my bed; my pillow is wet from weeping.” (Psalm 6:3,6 NLT)

As I said earlier, while I know in my head that He literally owes me nothing, my heart hasn’t quite caught on to that fact, and instead I’m still finding myself in need of those sunglasses!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Mile in Job's Shoes

Someone once told me that if there are 100 steps between God and I, He'll go the first 99, but He'll wait for me to take the last step.

I thought I had, but as I experienced the rug being pulled out from underneath me yet one more time this afternoon, perhaps I had not. And while the purpose of this blog is to encourage and inspire, and although I'm trusting the fact that Jesus is taking this journey with me, I don't even want to speculate on how much further down I can go because I'm just not sure I can handle it right now! Instead, I feel a lot like Job at the moment, when God kept allowing Satan to take things away from him, while Job kept believing in the goodness of God.

Remember this verse:

"The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord."
(Job. 1:21 HCS)

While the Lord has most definitely "given" in my life, I feel like I'm now in the place where He's definitely "taking away," and the only prayer I can offer is from Mark 9:24

"I do believe! Help my unbelief."

P.S. Remember the sunglasses I mentioned in my first blog? Well, they're definitely coming in handy this afternoon ...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Nowhere to Run

Have you ever tried to run away from God? While not proud of that fact, I must confess that I have. Or at least that’s what I thought!

Don’t get me wrong; I did push God aside. Actually, it was more like I “showed Him the door!” The good news, however, is that He never left. I just didn’t realize it until tonight.

As I was sitting in church this evening I found myself thinking about how far I thought(!) I had run from God, when all of a sudden I got this very clear picture of sitting on a rock in the desert (where I’ve been for the last 10 months) and Christ sitting on a rock across from me. That’s when I realized "the joke was on me,” as these verses from Psalm 139 came to mind:

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute – You’re already there waiting! (Psalm 139: 7-10 / The Message)

Although I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve read these words, this was the first time when I really, truly realized that no matter where we go, God is literally right there beside us. And while this thought can be a source of great comfort in times of trial, it can also be a source of great pain during those times when we choose to walk down the path of sin.

Therefore, if you think you can run away from God I would seriously encourage you to guess again! For while you may think He's nowhere to be found, the truth of the matter is that He's standing right there beside you waiting for you to come home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Coming Out of the Desert

For the past 10 months I have found myself living in a spiritual desert unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Truth be told, it has actually been more "crisis" than "desert" and I have cried thousands of tears along the way. (Thank God for sunglasses that hide puffy eyes!)

However, God in His sovereignty provided for my every need during this time (even when I couldn't/wouldn't see it) and I will always be extremely grateful to one of the ministers at my church who has graciously traveled alongside me throughout this trial, and who has answered question, after question, after question with kindness and compassion (and without judgment), as I have struggled to find my footing through all of this.

Two weeks ago, I finally discovered the core of my struggle, and I am now fully aware of the depth of the battle that lies ahead, and in all honesty, it is proving to be one of the most difficult roads I have ever traveled. However, I am so grateful to be able to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And while the foundation upon which I had built my life has been completely destroyed and all of my "security blankets" have been stripped away (be careful what you ask Him to do!), I am taking Him at His Word:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So, as I begin to walk this dusty road of reconciliation with the One who has said "I will never leave you or forsake you," (Hebrews 13:5), I pray that you, too, will find hope and encouragement from these musings, for you are not alone in your pain.

No matter what you may think or how you may feel, you can trust that right now, Jesus is standing beside you with open arms, waiting to dry your tears. All you need to do is ask ...