As the year is ending, and a new year begins, my life continues….and so does yours. This past Christmas season has been a tough one for me, to say the least…for now. While children were excited to make wish lists … Continue reading
(I wrote this blog post for a women’s ministry site I used to write for a couple years ago and just felt the need to re-post it again here. Although it was written in 2013, I have been doing a … Continue reading
When the earth moves beneath my feet and the mountains (threaten) to fall into the sea. (Psalm 46)
I gotta have faith.
That happened. No really, but the earth did move beneath my feet while on a recent mission trip to Nepal. By now it’s all over the news and for some people it is just that – news. They have moved on and are now addressing the “next big deal”. But for some of us, it is still a big deal because not only has it changed our hearts forever, but because people we served with and love very much are still digging out from the rubble and doing their part to continue serving others who are suffering the ongoing effects of this tragedy.
I was in CrossWay Community Church in a church service when this life altering experience took place. We had just experienced some of the most exhilarating tear-filled time of singing, worship, and prayer minutes before. The Holy Spirit was so present. My heart was overflowing with praise to God for the amazing 2 weeks of ministry in East and West Nepal that had ended the day before.
I was getting strengthened for what was next and my heart was open to the LORD for His leading.
Pastor Arbin Pokharel began preaching on Acts 1&2, beginning a new series on “Discipleship” and the importance of it in the life of a believer”. I wrote in my notes that day, “God has given us the keys to the Kingdom”. I don’t remember if he said that, or if that’s what the Holy Spirit was telling me as a result of the message he was speaking on.
Then the lights went out – typical Nepali fashion – so no one seemed concerned. Within seconds everything shook. (As I recount this story, I continue to feel that shaking. The triggers are still strong and unpredictable). It was as though we were all in a doll house and the (giant) child outside was shaking it. We scrambled and some screamed. My teammate fell and I grabbed her to pull her up. I was not about to take another step before making sure we were all safe. In doing so, I wrenched my back, only to find out later that I pulled my trapezius muscle and popped a couple ribs. Ouch.
After huddling by a wall and praying fervently we were encouraged to exit the building because there were cracks on the opposing walls and it wasn’t clear if they would topple at any second.
So much was uncertain.
You see, when the earth moved under my feet, I experienced an immediate sense of loss. Loss of balance, loss of understanding, loss of direction, loss of time, loss of reality, loss of safety, loss of nerves. But all the while, I was certain that God was with me every wobbly step of the way.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. I was trying to be still alright. It was a little hard, physically, because the force of the tectonic plates shifting the earth beneath us was more than my body could sustain. My soul however, remained still amidst the encroaching fear. As a team we had celebrated the night before the reality of God’s obvious presence during the previous two weeks. Now I was in a valley of uncertainty. BUT I was determined to claim this same truth. He was present. How did I know? Because His Word says, “I will never leave you or forsake you…” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). I chose to put my trust in Him and His Word.
I was certain of God and His Promises.
We all made it safely to the clearing on the outside of the church building. It was like running out of someone’s basement and onto their front lawn. Once we arrived there, we experienced another 6.9 scaled quake. Without having time to recover from the 7.8 in the church, the emotions just piled on.
While on the front lawn of the church it felt like we were standing on a wobbly card table. Not cool.
Over the next few hours we sang, we prayed, and I journaled what I could. I took some pictures because I didn’t want to miss out on what God was going to tell me later about those moments. Yet, taking pictures felt a little awkward because I wondered if I was violating a sacred experience somehow.
As a result of this experience, I am more sure that the keys to the Kingdom are Faith, God’s Word, and Prayer. Do you have them?
To be continued……..
What elements of faith do you hang on to in the midst of crisis?
Are you in a crisis right now? Where, to whom or to what are you running to?
Thank you for journeying with me
As much as this blog is NOT completely about me, I have experienced many of the moments described below!!! I chose to write this piece because of how God has healed me from my brokenness and He can do the same for you. We need to learn to live WITH each other and not AGAINST each other.
These statements, although birthed as a response to the racial tension in this country, can be applied in many other situations as well.
You look at me and smile so now I think I am accepted.
You look at me with fear and judgement and I realize I was only tolerated.
You look at me and you wonder where I am from and wonder how did I get here.
You look at me and reach out with your heart but then don’t understand when I share.
You look at me and question my motives and the fear I see keeps me trapped in mine.
You look at me and size me up so as to question my presence.
You look at me and ask me my story and I reluctantly invite you in.
You look at me and shake your head because I don’t look like you.
You look at me and turn your nose up because you need me to think you are better than me.
You look at me and shudder at the thought that your world is different because of me.
You look at me and wonder what your friends and family might think if they saw us together.
You look at me and wonder that maybe, just maybe, it’s not my fault I look this way.
You look at me and begin to realize that the same Jesus who died for you, died for me.
You look at me and realize that forgiveness is for both of us.
You look at me and accept that there is enough Grace and Mercy to go around.
You look at me and ask if we can really be friends.
You look at me and share your heart, your fears, your shortcomings.
You look at me and ask if we can walk and maybe even dance in reconciliation.
You look at me and no longer tolerate me, but you accept me with all your heart.
And now, because of the healing power of Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross for us….
…..You don’t just look at me anymore….You see me.
How about you?
In your life, are you feeling tolerated or truly accepted?
Do you look at people you don’t know with intrigue or suspicion?
There is a difference.
Where do your blurred lines lie?
What will you do to become a difference maker?
For those who know my story…..thank you for seeing me.
2 Samuel 22:5-7 says,
“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears.”
I have been wading through some rough waters lately – waters of parenting teenagers, doing my part to help our daughter deal with adoption pain, rough waters of communication struggles in our marriage, loneliness in leadership, and the racial tension we are facing in this country – just to name a few.
Sometimes I feel that if I don’t stay engaged with the above mentioned situations, then I will be taken over by them. I know, I know, sometimes that only makes things worse. However, at times I felt like I was drowning. Have you ever felt like that?
I debated about giving this blog post the title, “It Takes A Village”, to quote a famous politician from several years ago. Her message really was “it takes a village to raise a child”. She is right. It does take a village to raise a child. However, my world is bigger than that of parenting and I imagine yours is as well. Learning to navigate rough waters in every aspect of life is normal. From work to relationships to health and illness. I believe anything that has the potential to be impacted by the world, the flesh, or the devil is a great place to foster rough waters. As I go up and down with every swell of waves, I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. I need someone to throw me a life ring. I just want to close my eyes and sleep.
And then it happens…….
I am reminded in Jonah 1:4, “But the LORD sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up”. I know God allows these things in my life and as I feel like I am in danger of breaking up / aka: crashing, I know the Truth that God is holding me right now. “Nothing touches my life without going through His fingers first”.
In Job 37:1, I am told, “The storm makes my heart beat wildly”, almost making me want to throw up. BUT GOD calms my spirit with His.
When Psalm 48:7 says, “…like ships tossing in a furious storm”, I am sensing dread but am reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind”. These rough waters are crazy!!!! Back-and-forth-back-and-forth, I feel tossed.
Because God is a keeper of promises, I choose to trust that He will do what He says He will do in Psalm 107:29, “He calmed the raging storm, and the waves became quiet”….and I can trust Him because He has done this for me before and will do so again. At other times He has calmed my inner spirit so as to strengthen me for a particular storm in my life.
Proverbs 10:25 also says, “Storms come, and the wicked are blown away, but honest people are always safe”. I can be safe. I am safe. Are you?
We are in the throws of the Christmas Season right now. Just a couple of days away in fact. As much as I have enjoyed the hustle and bustle, to some extent, I have found myself often close to tears, physically tired, and sometimes even clenching my teeth.
So I let the tears flow and I cry out to Jesus. He hears me. He reminds me of His love, peace and presence and that He is sending His Son as a baby in a manger as a greater reminder of things to come. God is my Rescuer. My disappointments and struggle lead me to believe that I only need a village. Yes, I do need others. But first I need Jesus to strengthen, heal and help me surrender the pain some situations and some people are causing along the way.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the storm will go away, but for me it means He will give me His peace and His joy. The rough waters need to run their course, as the LORD shapes me to look more like Him. In the meantime…..I hang on for dear life and perhaps look around for what village He is calling me to be part of.
I want to close with this truth from 2 Samuel 22: 17 – 20.
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”
My comfort in these weeks has come from saying,
“I CHOOSE joy. I CHOOSE peace. I CHOOSE Jesus!!”
He is seeing me through my storm and He wants to do the same for you.
Will you trust Him for that Peace and Joy you crave deep in your spirit?
Whether you are in the swells of the rough waters or diving into the depths of the struggles. My prayer is that you will finish out this year well and know and believe that you have a Rescuer Who hears you.
Christmas blessings to you and yours,