Life Isn’t About Finding…

Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about discovering who God created you to be. ~ Author Unknown

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Is God Good All the Time? (Confessions of a former widow)

This blog is written by Heather who describes her struggle with God after she lost her husband early in their marriage. She tells her story with such honesty describing her doubts and anger with God. Is God really good? This is the question she wrestled with for some time before she came to the answer. Such powerful testimony!

Dancing On My Ashes

by Heather Spring {Gilion}
(Blog post originally appeared on JCaro.com.)

I cried through most of my twenties.

Who am I kidding? I’m still crying in my thirties, but for very different reasons.
Thirteen years ago, dreams were coming true. I had my college diploma in hand, the handsomest fellow by my side, and a wedding ring on my finger!
“God is good!” said the preacher. “All the time!” said the congregation.

I grew up in a church that said it a lot. We were taught when anyone from the pulpit said, “God is good…” in response, the congregation should echo back with exuberance “All the time!” 

As my life of ease and dreams was on its way to “happily ever after”, I easily joined the echo: Yep, God is good… all the time! (Even if I didn’t chant it out loud, I gave the pastor a good head nod.)

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How To Run A Luggage-Free Race

I like to go for walks at the park in my town that has a lake. I walk on the road that winds around the front of the park til it winds back to the main entrance. I park my car and then walk the whole rode.

There are trails that go all the way around the lake, but that is a little too ambitious for me at this point. Since I injured a nerve in my hip, my left leg is not able to withstand long walks, so short walks it is!

Many of the locals, however, do take the long trail around the lake. I see them all the time. God bless ’em! They pass me sweating, but breathing as if they were merely walking. Sometimes I see them in groups, other times it’s a couple running side by side, and sometimes it is only one person running.

English: A ultramarathoner running the 32 Mile...

English: A ultramarathoner running the 32 Mile Wyoming Ultramarathon in the Bighorn Mountains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s wonderful to share this time of exercise with someone else when you can. You can push each other and cheer the other on.

What happens when the other person you are running with decides to go in a different direction than where you want to go? Eventually, you are going to have to part ways.

Dating is kind of like looking for a running partner. You want to find someone who will run the race of life with you, the race that God has placed before you.

If your running a race, not just any partner will do. You want someone who will be able to keep up the pace with you. You want someone who will not be a weight hanging on you and holding you back from the goal.

There’s been a few times where I made the mistake of choosing the wrong partner. What happened? I either slowed down hoping my partner would catch up or I turned off the path completely because the direction my partner was going pointed in the opposite direction. Either way it kept me from reaching the goal.

I met a man who I thought was everything I wanted except he wasn’t a Christian. Then I met another man who I thought was a Christian only to find out we had some very vast and different ideas of who Jesus was.

Here is what I learned: Run the race and if a man catches up with you and stays with you then he will make a great partner. If a man will not catch up with you, then don’t slow down for him. If a man tries to steer you in a different direction, then leave him in the dust! That’s right! Let him taste the dust from your racing feet! No man is worth leaving the race. When we have Jesus as our prize, why would you?

In the book of Hebrews we read this,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

If you ever find a weight holding you back from the work God has for you, strip it off. If there is a weight dragging you down, making it difficult to move into the promises of God, strip it off. This is how you run a luggage-free race. Let go of the luggage!

Ever tried running a race with luggage strapped to you? If you’ve ever tried running through an airport to get to your gate, you know how difficult that is!! There’s a whole lot of huffing and puffing, and very little movement toward your destination!

My message to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are looking for running partners is this: choose your running partners wisely. If your partner turns out to be a weight that is dragging you down, holding you back, or steering you to a different race, strip it off. Make a commitment to yourself before God that you will run alone until the right person catches up with you and is able to keep the pace because the prize at the end of the race is too valuable to lose.

“Child of God! …

Cover of "Andrew Murray (Men of Faith)"

Cover of Andrew Murray (Men of Faith)

“Child of God! Listen to your Teacher! He tells you that when you go to private prayer your first thought must be that the Father is waiting for you there in secret. Don’t let a cold and prayerless heart keep you from the presence of the loving Father. The Lord is concerned about you the way a father is concerned about his children. Do not think about how little you have to give to God, but about how much He wants to give to you. Just place yourself before His face and look into it. Think of His wonderful, tender, concerned loved. Tell Him how sinful, cold, and dark everything is. The Father’s loving heart will give light and warmth to yours. Do what Jesus says. Just shut the door and pray to the Father in secret. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to go alone to the infinite God? Just look up and say, ‘My Father!'”  ~ Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer

Through His Eyes

What did Jesus see looking down from the cross? A couple of soldiers gambling for his clothes while the other soldiers mocked. His mother Mary, another Mary, and John not far from the foot of the cross looking up to him in dismay. Passersby shaking their heads in derision as if he were a common criminal.

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as t...

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as the King of the Jews, Luke 23:36-37 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is from this view that Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

The view from the cross sure wasn’t pretty, but the Son of God looked down from this state of the worst suffering at the hands of man and had pity, even compassion on those down below who were not suffering the same fate.

If you’re like me, you go through seasons where your view seems to be a little skewed. The view is not pretty from your vantage point. Looking in the mirror and seeing your faults makes you depressed. Life is not going as you planned it. Feelings of worthlessness come in and your soul is reeling, trying to find some footing before you fall into a pit of despair. You pray, “Lord, help me see myself through Your eyes.”

This was me a few days ago.

I found myself in great need for God to just say the words, “I love you.” I started to pray an old prayer I used to pray, “Lord, give me a small token of Your love and remind me that You love me.” Which means, “Show me or give me a small gift that just lets me know that You see me and still care.” There have been times God answered that prayer by many different means. Sometimes I received a small gift from someone. Other times it was seeing the beauty of a butterfly or a hummingbird. However, I stopped in mid-sentence before I finished the prayer and a new thought began to pop up in my mind that reminded me of the greatest display of God’s love: The Cross.

But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

I cried, “Lord, how can I forget how You died for me? You already showed me the greatest way any man can show love through self-sacrifice.”

This vision of the cross snapped me out of my funk. I saw myself through His eyes from the view of the cross. His love and compassion is overwhelming.

We can look at ourselves in the mirror and not like what we see. We see our faults better than anyone else. Those lines. The acne scars or the acne. I thought adult were not supposed to have those! I digress. 🙂 The dimples where there shouldn’t be dimples. You know what I’m talking about! The gray hairs. You know I heard the opposite sex actually find gray hair attractive? It’s true. I mean, hello! George Clooney! Even men find gray hair attractive on women. Sorry, I digress again. We know our own weaknesses. Sure, people can point them out to us too, but we know them better than anyone else, if we’re really honest.

English: Woman at mirror, circa 1930s Item 780...

But OH! If we could only see ourselves the way God sees us. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are His works and this our soul needs to know! See Psalm 139:14.

We need to look into God’s eyes and see what He sees. We are the apple of His eye. In Deuteronomy we can see how God felt about Jacob a.k.a. Israel the nation. What God felt for them, He feels for us, His adopted children who have been grafted into the family of God.

“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” Deu. 32:10.

Most of us have heard this phrase before, “the apple of his eye”. Apple in the Hebrew is referring to the pupil of the eye, the very center of the eye. Think about how when you are real close to someone, looking into the eyes of the one who is looking at you. What image do you see in the apple of their eye? It’s you. You are the center of God’s vision. His eyes are on you. He is focused on you, watching you with love and compassion. Does that not make you go weak in the knees?

Beloved, anytime you doubt your worth and can’t remember who you are, look into His eyes and see the love He has for you. Here is the view through His eyes: He sees you as beautiful. You are loved, the apple of His eye. He loves you so much He paid to have you spend eternity with Him.

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I had to throw in a George Clooney picture. Enjoy, ladies. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, gray hair is attractive. And I as soon as I believe that I won’t have the urge to color my hair whenever I see my gray hairs.

English: George Clooney at the 2009 Venice Fil...

English: George Clooney at the 2009 Venice Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)