Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Overwhelmed by God's Grace

My friend Kate and I have been memorizing different scripture passages since this summer, so far we have memorized Romans 12, Isaiah 55 and are currently working on Romans 5. Memorizing scripture has been my saving grace over the past few months. These passages are all that I have had to hold onto at times when God felt so far away and at times when I have felt too unworthy to even speak His name because of the choices and decisions I have made in my life and continue to make when I know they are not the best for me.

Most people would consider me an "outgoing" and "social person", but lately I have felt the need to withdraw from that part of me and take some time for me. Time to reflect and reconnect with who am I and with the one who made me. Too often I get caught up in what others think about me, getting it right, and making the most of my life. I have come to the realization I apply these same thoughts when approaching God...what does he think of me? Oh no I screwed up again. Am I doing enough quiet times? Am I learning enough? What is my purpose and am I living up to my fullest potential?

Memorizing scripture has helped me to truly meditate on God's word and has reminded me of all that God has done to prove that He loves me and accepts me as I am. He has gone above and beyond. I am only 8 verses into Romans 5, but cannot get enough of these 8 verses....

 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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.  6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Look at all that he has done for me, for us! So I sit here tonight, I still don't have everything figured out, but I do know that I have a God who is at peace with me, who have given me grace, who pours love into my heart, and who died for me while I was a powerless sinner!

I encourage you to find a friend and memorize scripture. It's great accountability, easy to do, and God will continue to reveal himself more and more to you if you choose to let him!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The "Me" in Meaningless

 Words pondered in this morning's quiet time...

' “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.“Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors, at which they toil under the sun?' Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

"I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees" Ecclesiastes 2:4-6

I have not been sleeping well lately and know it's due to anxiety. Anxiety over work, relationships, finances and me and my character. I decided to pick up a book that I have been reading all about thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way "Bittersweet" by Shana Niequist...highly recommend it. The chapter I opened up to this morning focused on anxiety and how to overcome it. We all know the verse well...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

But sometimes it's easier read than done! In the book Shana talked about presenting your requests over and over and over and over to God. All of your anxious thoughts keep praying about them until you truly reach a point where an unspeakable, powerful, transcending peace that passes all understanding consumes your soul.

As I continued to lay in silence pumped to use my new "how to get peace" strategy, God revealed to me that the things I worry about are meaningless. Everything but me!

Me, my God loves Me, He cares for Me! Whoa! Job, Houses, Things, Friends, Dates, Boyfriends, Future Husband, Future Children=Meaningless

Now I am not saying that it means nothing to be married or have children, what I mean is that it is meaningless to worry about all of those things. On the day I stand before my Savior most of those things will be meaningless. My God will be looking at Me.

So as I go on with my day holding onto a little sliver of peace. I will take comfort in the fact that my God cares for Me and I am not meaningless to Him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Running the Race

Running...a word I used to cringe at when I heard it. So many people here in Charlotte run, run, run, run, run. Well, I have finally been bitten by the running bug! I am currently training for a 10K in April and dare I say "running" is becoming something enjoyable?!?

I have much more respect now for people who train and run races. I never realized how hard it is to get started, the aches, cramps, pains and sweat are hard to get through those first few weeks. However, somewhere in the midst of all that pain is that you are working towards a goal and becoming stronger with each step taken, joy in God's beauty that is displayed all around, joy in the realization that life is a lot like running and you are not alone.

Every time I run now I think of the passage found in Hebrews 12:1-3

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

So I am still running, but not just to complete a 10K. I am running because it brings joy to my heart, it reminds me of my God and how much he loves me and that he is right there beside me running the race marked before me. Life is not always easy, it brings on a lot of pain, aches, cramps and sweat, but I know what I am pressing on towards and I know what my eyes are fixed upon...the author and perfecter of my faith!

So get out there and RUN!