Beautiful Hardships

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 11.14.29 AMToday as I sit trying to get a good picture of our year as a church… I begin to take inventory of some of our music. August to August… I start marking the recent service dates by the hardship that was occurring when we chose these songs together.

Sadness filled me as I thought, “Oh this song was picked through many tears…”, “This one happened when, _______…”.

But these times of hardship as church- marked in the annals of our software- have taught me something about God’s love.

He was there then… and we got through it. One foot in front of the other, as a church. He is here now as I write and reflect.

As I gaze over these dates, songs, prayers, lighting and audio notes… I realize that back then, something amazing happened. People on differing sides of arguments agreed to disagree. We ALL held hands during “the Lord’s Prayer”… and even hugged and cried together.

We all bowed the knee at the altar together.

Why can’t our software depict these moments?

As I make my list…. I just had to stop and remember this major monument to God’s grace and goodness in our lives. FBC… I treasure this year with you. I treasure the things God has done, the times we hit the ground in prayer together, shaken by hardships. These are beautiful hardships… because God is found there.

God never said we would always agree. He never said the entire Bible is black and white… our theology may sometimes not line up, leaving frustrations and questions. Relationships were never easy in Bible times, and they’re not now.

But we know in our future, we never have to go it alone…. God will be there in the future just like He is now.

The only difference will be that our FAITH will be bigger next time around.

We can smile and have joy, through tears, knowing God never changes.

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Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

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Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

Apologies

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Apologize. That word always sits in my throat like an egg, I can hardly force my vocal cords to want to verbalize “I want to…. Ap – ol – o – gize.”

Why is this such a forgotten concept in our culture? No one ever wants to apologize because maybe, just maybe it means they are wrong. {Tweet this Quote!}

Although I know deep, deep down that I am wrong- saying it out loud puts me in such a vulnerable place that I feel like I’m giving a speech naked in front of 1,000 people.

But I am on a long journey of asking God’s Holy Spirit who I am designed to be, instead of who I am currently acting as. {Tweet this Quote!} If God wants us to strive to be holy and perfect, although we know as human beings we’ll never attain it… shouldn’t we try? Philippians 3:12, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”

I read one of those cutesy life change quotes yesterday. It said, “Do something every day that scares you.” Well I think besides the zombie apocalypse or giving a speech in my birthday suit, apologizing to someone I’ve hurt is my #1 fear. Check that off my daily to-do list for like… a whole week, son.

Can I tell you something though? Each time you apologize to someone who deserves it- it gets easier. Not easy, just easier. Even as a minister, I’ve used words that have cut down and wounded others; whether I meant to or not. Once you speak a word you cannot get it back. It’s a done deal.

Good thing Jesus dying on the cross for the eternity of harsh words is also a done deal.  {Tweet this Quote!}
Can I tell you something else? That feeling you get each time you pick up the phone to call and apologize, or the laptop to type… that feeling that says:

  • “You’re being so doofy.”
  • “You can’t apologize now, it’s too late.”
  • “They don’t even remember. And even if they do, they won’t forgive you!”
  • “You’re making a bigger deal of this than it really was…”
  • “They hate you for what you did.”
    or the biggest, “What you did is etched in time. You can’t fix it now. There’s no hope.”
  • Those feelings are all lies from Satan himself to get you to harbor that original bitterness and keep your apology shut in your head, never to restore a relationship. Never to become more like Christ by admitting your wrongs.

    Those are the things satan wants. Good thing he has no power where God’s Light shines! Good thing the Light of Christ lives within each of us who believe and follow Christ. Good thing it is for freedom we are set free! Good thing Jesus already died on the cross for those harsh words you spoke, those deeds you did. {Tweet this Quote!}

    So be free. Pick up the phone. The pen. The laptop. Make it right. Swallow your pride, Brittany.

    Jesus was so relational, that He laid down His life for His friends. Let’s be willing to at least lay aside our pride for ours. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” {Tweet this Quote!}