Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Perched

 

 

This is a letter to myself. A letter to myself that I am sharing with you in hopes that it might help you as it is slowly helping me.

 

Today I was at my wits end. Recently I have been struggling with intense overcast feelings to the extent of not wanting to leave my bed and feeling as one without hope. I blamed these feelings that I felt on many circumstances that I was drowning in. External pressures, external loss and disappointment. I was a victim of my circumstances. And I couldn’t overcome it. As a Type A personality I do very well at burying my feelings and emotions under work. I schedule my days to leave no time to think, reflect… or to breakdown. My mind is always moving, always achieving. But I couldn’t shake the cloud that had been following me. It was persistent, vigilant, shaking its hand at every ray of sunshine that tried to lighten my way.

 

Then something happened that took me from sitting under a cloud, to sitting under a cloud, as it began to downpour. With no coat or umbrella, I felt like shaking my hands at God. Was I not low enough? How well was I handling the cloud, that made you decide now was the time to bring the rain!

 

During this pity party, which was hosted and attended by me and myself alone, I came to the realization that my perception of the intensity of my circumstances stemmed from one issue. I tried to quiet all of the external voices for one second and the only voice left was my own. And I was screaming one thing. “God why have you discarded me! You have left me!”

 

The only reason my circumstances were drowning me was because I no longer believed that I had a lifeguard watching over me, ready to dive in and buoy me up. I felt that God was absent, uncaring, and un-invested. I felt like I was fighting a battle myself when I should have been letting God fight for me. But how could I sit back and let God fight for me if I didn’t believe He was on my side? Or even if He was on my side maybe He was unfeeling. He didn’t have anything to lose in this game! When I am doubling-over in pain that’s just me hurting, me alone. Why should I let him direct me if I have to face the aftermath by myself? When Job had sores on his body (Job 2:7) and his breath was putrid. God was unaffected!

 

I shocked myself with my thoughts. I pride myself on being pretty well read biblically. I could have quoted to you: Isaiah 49:15, which says “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Or Lamentations 3:32, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

 

But the problem was the Bible is just a book, unless you believe in the power of the words there in. In my pain I reached out to someone, which in and of itself is incredibly unlike me. But I needed someone to remind me of those words. But not just the word, the power behind those words. I needed someone to tell me those words and hear in their voice that they believed that which they were saying to be the truth. Like a match to a candle I was reminded of what I had long sought.

 

Romans 8: 38-39; “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

I wish I could tell you I am equally as persuaded as Paul was when he was writing this verse; after facing beatings and imprisonment. I am not there yet, partly because I haven’t been tested on that level. I don’t want to be to you like Peter who swore twice He would not deny our Lord and Savior, only to deny him thrice (Luke 22:54-62). But I will tell you that though I still remain perched under my cloud, the rain has slowed and when I reach out beside me I recognize that I am no longer alone.

 

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A letter to myself

Lose sight of perfection, and get lost in the journey. Be okay with falling, failing. Be okay with scars. Be okay with never being quite good enough. Be okay if the finish line moves with every step you take. As you improve so do the expectations placed on you. As you go high, anticipate harder falls. But when you fall, don’t stay down. Don’t stay defeated.

 

Don’t let sadness engulf you or misery define you. When people criticize you take whatever you can from it, but do not internalize it. Hear it, listen to it, learn from it, and let it go.

 

Don’t let the sadness of a previous day follow you for the rest of the week. Don’t hide yourself from hurt. Allow it to hit you like a wave, then wash it away. Wake up every day and try your best. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and be grateful for another day.

 

Let perspective find you, let joy lift you up. Find a shoulder to cry on, and if none appear, tell your troubles to Jesus. He has the kindest ear, the softest heart, the biggest smile, and a light that brings cheer.

 

You are okay, if not, you will be. The weight you carry will grow lighter as you become stronger. Believe in yourself the way you believe in others. Have faith, love, and hope. Be kind, and don’t forget to smile.

 

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Condemnation

 

Today I take the power away from you to tear me down with your words. To shake my confidence. To make me feel like I am a failure. I won’t let you or anyone else have that power. Not anymore.

 

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10)

 

When you derive your sense of worth from anything outside of God, it can easily be taken away. The same people, person, institution that builds you up can tear your down in a single instance. With a single word. Even if you derive your worth from your sense of self, one day you will inevitably fall short even by your own standards.

 

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. (John 8:11)

 

You may not feel worthy, or deserving, or even good. But God doesn’t shun you in your brokenness. Jesus doesn’t kick us when we are down; He extends His hands to lift us up.

 

Be lifted up oh my soul. You are a child of the King.

 

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Running from pain

We are always running.

 

Okay, let me try this again.

 

trapped

 

I have spent most of my life running. Running from suffering. Avoiding loss. Trying not to get hurt. Afraid.

 

But Jesus wasn’t afraid of suffering. He embraced it on the cross for us. For me. He lived His entire life knowing how and when it would be over. He knew that He would be separated from all those dear to Him. That no one would fully understand Him, or His purpose. That though surrounded by disciples and the multitude, He would still be alone because they couldn’t fully understand His struggle. Only He knew that He was going somewhere they couldn’t follow.

 

I’ve been so afraid of losing that sometimes I held on to things more tightly than I should have. I lived trapped in a box of fear. Always afraid of getting a text, a phone call, a message that spelled doom for myself or my loved ones.

 

But to live in fear of suffering, loss, sickness, or death, is to prevent yourself from fully living. Negative circumstances and pain is unavoidable. But we don’t have to let hurt change and cripple us. All we can do is pray for strength.

 

Recently I went to go watch a movie that displayed the relationship Jesus has with those of His children who are suffering. In this movie the protagonist not only got to meet Jesus but he got to meet God as well. He began to accuse God of leaving Jesus when He (God) let Him (Jesus) die on the cross. But then God showed the protagonist of this story, His (God’s) own nail-pressed hands. God too was wounded by Jesus’ sacrifice. God told him (the protagonist) that He (God) never left Jesus. Just like He (God) never leaves us.

 

Yes you will face overwhelming circumstances, but God will never leave you. Jesus will never turn His face from you. There is no one better to have on your team. God is more than a mother or a father; he is also a brother, a sister, and a friend. He has your back. He will carry you when you are weak. When you forget Him He will still remember you. I have turned away from God. I felt like He had deserted me. But even as I turned from Him: He kept me, protected me, and He drew me back to His side.

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Sleep

I am encased by this deep fear.
Night after night sleep evades me.
I seek peace but I cannot reach it.
An enemy chases me that I cannot see.

I call out to my Father, but I don’t know if He hears me.
I am wandering this dark forest alone with no one to guide me.
I ask for direction and all I hear is silence.
I seek love and help from those who dwell on this earth with me,
but their aid is lost just as quickly as it was found.

The journey overwhelms me. I fall, and there is no one to catch me.

I call to my Father in hope that He help me.
That He heed my plight.

I want to give up on hearing His voice.
To claim that He isn’t there,
that He doesn’t care.

But I know He is there.
Standing quietly,
looking on lovingly.
Telling me that the night doesn’t last forever.
That light and relief come with the morning.

So I bide my time and wait.
When I can no longer form words,
and a cry is on my lips,
I just call His name,
Jesus, Jesus,
and I find the peace I need to sleep.

To be condemned…

I sat in church. Second row from the front. Different week, same routine.
But I desperately wanted to leave. The tiredness of everything the week had brought hit me at that very moment, and I was so tempted to just get up and walk away. I had a ride to church, but at that moment I seriously contemplated walking the 30mins back home. But somehow.. I decided to stay.

I’ve started realizing that the moments when I most want to get up and leave the presence of God are the times that I need to sit and stay the most.

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The preacher started speaking. His general topic: “the attitude of gratitude.” ‘Cute,’ I thought to myself. I settled in for the long haul, but my ears picked up as he slowly focused in on his point.

My eyes followed him as he spoke. He had a deformed hand, so whenever he spoke I always made a conscious effort to focus in on him and not his hand. The first time I had heard him speak, I couldn’t hear his words. I was staring. His deformity was all I could see. But I no longer let myself see him by what he was outwardly lacking. That day he spoke about how he lost so many fingers. I realized people around me began to stare at what was left of his hand. But my eyes never left his face. He talked and talked. At this point he had stepped down from the pulpit. He paced back and forth in front of the church, and then he reached out and touched me, with his hand that wasn’t whole, and I didn’t flinch. I only smiled and looked straight into his eyes.

Then he turned to me and said. “God is not going to bless you because you are good.” I almost cried. That was it. Those were the words. That was the message.

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As I grew in my Christian walk, it became less about how much time I spent with God, and more about how much I could do for Him. But the more I did, and the more I grew. The more I felt the weight of my sin.

I sought to be good. But word after word, action after action, thought after thought, condemned me. I recognized my self as a sinner, not a saint. I was so aware of my shortcomings, failures and burdens. I was consumed the knowledge that not only was I disappointing God, I was also disappointing myself. I was called to a higher standard. But it seemed like I could never reach it. Should I just give up? Should I accept defeat? Was it even possible to reach that perfection?

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Precept after precept, law after law. The bible. It condemned me. Shouldn’t I be struck down? Why would God even bless me?

I realized over time that I could never accept God’s forgiveness, if I couldn’t also subsequently forgive myself.

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His banner over me is love.

The law has seen me fall short time and time again, but his love always seems to lift me up.  Yes. It is indeed discouraging to fail in your walk with God, but never even trying to live God’s purpose for your life is akin to slavery. You become a slave to your every whim, want, and desire. No higher calling. No greater mission. No moral compass. You become consumed with pleasing yourself, and soon realize that self is never satiated.

The most amazing thing is that the people around you, those who proclaim to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, will judge you, condemn you, and rebuke you. But Jesus speaks in love, and tells you to go and sin no more.

I often wonder at the magnitude of the sin of the woman at the well. What a burden she must have felt to never sin again. How hard was it for her to leave her current husband, one that she probably loved, though she had no legal claim to him? How did she support herself without a male companion? Did her whole lifestyle change overnight, or was it a gradual process? Did she wake up the next day, a saint? Perfect in all her ways?

Somehow I know in my heart that after Jesus told her to go and sin no more, it was just the beginning of her transformation. That though she daily found new sin in her life, she daily went back to the source that not only convicted her, but continually cleansed her. The battle is not for the faint of heart. But how comforting to know that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.

Wake Up


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“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5

I sit silently. Here in the pouring rain. Happy at last.

I’ve found it.
Or maybe it found me.

A true covering for this pain.

Now I cry, and the world cries with me.

It seems fitting.

On this long journey I searched for one thing. Validation. Proof that I was intelligent, worthy, capable, valued. For years I was stumbling in the dark for words of praise I never found. My efforts were in vain—my cries were in vain. My self-induced misery was for naught. I was beside myself with grief. Yet, I myself, created the hell I lived in.

My hope hardened. It resigned itself to a mere existence of should-of, would-of, could-of… but didn’t. I lost myself in despair, until to despair itself was the norm. But one day, I woke up. The nightmare was self-perpetuating, and I realized that I, myself, was not powerless. Sleep could only hold me for as long as I let it. So, I woke up.

But still that thing I longed for was beyond reach.

I scrambled for crumbs.

I stood idly by like the woman in the bible. Nameless.

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Jesus withdrew to Tyre.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out,
“Lord, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus answered her not a word.

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
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Misery is no respecter of persons. Jesus came first to the Jews, and she a Gentile, sought Jesus at an inopportune time in an inconvenient place. There were people with greater burdens than her own. Her issue—not insignificant, but at such a time—impertinent.

Yet, like Jacob wrestling with the Angel, she fought with Jesus. She cried out to him in a loud voice. In her distress, strength filled her voice. It was her daughter. And as a mother, the pain could not have been greater than if it was she herself.

Yet Jesus answered not a word.

We are so fond of thinking of God as unhearing and unfeeling. But His silence speaks louder than words. What is He trying to tell you?

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“…Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
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Even she, a Gentile. Unworthy, sinful, desperate. Yet she knew of her condition. She did not bow down in shame. She did not seek the validation of the Jews. But she came to the one person who could look past all outward appearances and conditions to examine her heart. Jesus read her need. He saw her struggle. He saw her faith. And when no one else would validate her—Jesus did.

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Jesus’ disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
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Jesus spoke to her, “Woman. You have great faith! Your request is granted.”

And at that moment, her daughter was healed.
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Despite her struggles, pain and burdens, In Him she found her help.

She found relief.

Wake up. Your help is here. He is here.