Tag Archives: Hope

What’s Saving My Life Right Now

9 May

Last night our worship service was on Romans and The Gravity of Grace. My favorite book from the Bible. I know it so well, and yet sometimes I am surprised by how new the words can sound when I need them most.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

My friend Katie wrote on her blog this week about what is saving her life right now. It’s a great read, go over and take a look. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Wasn’t that great? What would the world be like if we asked “what is saving your life?” instead of “how are you?” It got me thinking about how I would answer. How would I answer, now, when I need a little bit of saving?

Right now I’m holding onto hope, which we are promised does not disappoint. God promises that going through suffering will produce perseverance, which produces character, which leads to hope, which will not put us to shame. I’ve been through this before, all four stages, time and time again. So I know that His promise is good, just like Him. So when I find myself in one of those states, I can have hope. Because I know it is coming. Suffering produced hope, as promised, and that’s what I hold on to when the struggle still has hold of me.

His word is good, just as He is good.

“And we boast in the hope   of the glory of God. 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.”

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay  and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit,   groan   inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.   Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God   and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God  that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amen.

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Friendship (And Other Concerns)

11 Jan

Have you ever had a moment where you’ve gotten a glimpse into a simple truth from a completely random source? A funny thing happened to me the other night. Not funny “ha ha,” but funny “huh.”

photo from alison tyne photography on etsy

A few of my girlfriends decided to form an impromptu virtual book club because we’d all been tweeting about how awesome The Hunger Games are. We were sitting around discussing the books, having a great time, and decided that the club needed to keep going. For that to happen we needed another book. We were all throwing out titles of books we’d read or heard were good, and Lady D. brought up a book she’d been thinking about reading: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. And something funny happened. As soon as we heard the title, every lady at that table said with one breath “oh my gosh, yes!” No, we weren’t saying we were into reading the book (though I have read it since then, and it is very funny), we all had the same reaction because at one time or another – probably more often than we care to admit – we’ve had that fear.

To be honest, I was completely shocked. I’d thought that was my fear. I looked around the room at all these beautiful women, women who I look up to, who have struggles and fears, sure, but who always seem to have it all together. Women who have fabulous tailored wardrobes and don’t struggle to find the right balance of accessories. Women who don’t call their friends after they’ve had too much wine to say how much they love them because they’re worried that no one cares. Women who look like the type of girl who could get a handful of friends together at a moment’s notice because everyone wants to hang out with her. And they all worried that everyone was hanging out without them, like I do? Shocked.

Not long ago I decided to get some wise counsel because I was feeling insecure. I realized that, after years of work and study, I’d learned to accept love from God and I learned that I was worthy of the love of my husband. But for some reason, I still felt like having friends was a fluke. Not all the time, but sometimes, I feel like an imposter who is living someone else’s life, and as soon as I do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing people are going to realize their mistake and won’t want to be my friend any longer. It’s a horrible insecurity for a 99% secure person to have, and I needed some help to get my mind to go somewhere positive when I started feeling insecure. My wise and wonderful therapist gave me some great advice, but nothing drove the stupidity of my insecurity home more acutely than seeing all these amazing women exclaim as one because they recognized themselves in a clever book title.

On New Life Live the other day, Dr. Henry Cloud told a caller with a question about excessive worry something along the lines of “you can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from nesting in your hair.” So simple, so Philippians 4: 6-8. It’s what I did when I was learning to love God, refused to entertain the persistently knocking thoughts that said I’m not good enough for Him to love me. It’s what I did when I learned to love A, brushed away the thoughts that clung like cobwebs, saying that I didn’t deserve the love he was offering. So here are thoughts that I will work on letting fly over my head, like a nasty sea-gull that I would never dream of holding on to long enough for it to build a nest:

If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.

It’s A that people want to hang out with, I’m just the tag-along.

My friends are hanging out and I’m not invited. Do they not like me? Are we really friends? (This one is has been especially popular lately, thanks to twitter.)

People don’t get my humor and think I’m weird.

I’m too much sometimes, I need to be more like everyone else. (That one makes me laugh when I think about it, I love being uniquely me! But it still rears its ugly head sometimes…)

If I didn’t call/text/reach out to people no one would ever hang out with me.

No one really cares.

Fly away, crazy thoughts. You make no sense, you make me sad, and in the light of day you aren’t real. I won’t let you steal my joy. I am loved by many, and even if I wasn’t, I am loved by God. And that’s more than enough.

Do you ever let thoughts you know aren’t true get you down? There’s healing in sharing, my friends. Say it out loud, and know you’re not alone.

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