It doesn't matter- He's there.
It doesn't matter where you are, where you've been, or where you're going. It doesn't matter what you've said, what you've wanted to say but bit your tongue, or what you will say In the future.
He's in the wind, the trees, the sunrise, the sunset. He's there with you when you have your morning coffee, when you're sitting at your desk at work, when you're traveling near and far.
He's in the moment of your biggest regret, He's in the moment of the most joy-filled experience you've been through. He's in the belly laughs, he's in the heartbreak and tears. He's been there, whether we like it or not, every moment of every day of every one of our lives. He's never left.
It might have felt like He was surely missing through parts of it-
Where was He when the shooting happened at school?
Where was He when my friend lost his battle to cancer?
Where was He when the accident took innocent lives?
Where was He then?
We see what's going on around us. We see the turmoil, heartache, pain, destruction, and chaos that this world possess. We see the crimes, the job losses, the broken families and marriages, we hear of the recent groundbreaking story, we see the fear imprinted on every heart that turns on the news. Where is He in it all? He's there.
It's easy to focus on the negative, because it's mostly all that surrounds us. It's easy to talk about what we don't agree with, what should be different, about who did us wrong, about what was unpleasant about the day. It's easy to complain. It's easy to create lists of things going wrong, but when we flip the perspective and someone asks what was good about your day, about what God has been faithful in your life, isn't it sometimes tougher to create a list for that?
In the craziness of the holiday season, it's easy to get wrapped up in stress, last minute shopping, parties, presents, and time spent with family and friends. Our minds can slip past the goodness of this season, of the true meaning of it all- that Jesus came. Jesus walked this Earth that we walk. He healed. He loved. He baptized. He carried a heavy cross on His back and then died on that very cross. And at every moment, through every single second in history, He has never left. He has always been, and always will be.
No, we can't see it. We can imagine it, but we won't ever be able to go and see it for ourselves. We can't see the love He had for us. We can't even imagine it now- we can try, but we will never fully grasp that fierce and deep love that He has for us. The love that caused Him to take on the pain of dying on the cross, just so He could save us.
We couldn't see what He went through, we can't see physical proof of the miracles He performed, and sometimes we forget that we can't see all that He's doing right now. We see what's going on around us, we experience the pain and heartbreak that comes with daily life, and we forget that even though it might not feel good, that He's still in it. In your highest highs and your lowest lows, He's never left your side.
Maybe all you see around you Is bad. But, that's not how we have to live, that's not the perspective we have to share, not the focus of the words that come out of our mouths. Sure, it might be bad, but God's still in it. Look for the good that He is weaving into the story, no matter how messy it is. Speak those truths. Speak the good. Be the good.
We've been singing "Waymaker" in church lately, and I love the verse where it says, "Even when I can't see it, you're workin'. Even when I can't feel it, you're workin'. You never stop, you never stop workin'." It's been such a heavy reminder on my heart that even through circumstances that I don't understand, even through years of what seem like unanswered prayers, even through the things that pain my heart the most, that God is still in it. He's never stopped working, and He's not going to stop until His purpose for it is complete. He's not stopped working for you, either.
So no, we cannot focus on what's around us. We cannot forget the love that Jesus has for us, the love that was born in a few short days over 2000 years ago. As 2 Corinthians 4:18 says: For what Is seen Is temporary, but what Is unseen Is eternal.
What's around us will eventually be gone. Each and every one of us will be gone. What we see now, we won't see in the future. But what remains the same is this: It doesn't matter where you are, where you've been, or where you're going. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter how messed up or how great you think you are, He loves you the same.
Always has, always will, and in this ever-changing world we live in, you can be certain of this one thing: that His love will always stay the same.
It doesn't matter- He's there.
October is here and the best time of year (FALL!) is here. The leaves are starting to change and harvest beginning. Everything to do with fall reminds me year after year that change is good, that change is necessary to keep growing. This fall, let's focus on changing the beliefs we have engrained in our mind from society, from family, from friends, maybe even from strangers on the street, from this generation that we currently live in.
You'll never be good enough to get into that college.
You'll be able to slow down and enjoy time with your family once you get a promotion at work.
You'll be happier once you earn more money and can buy that new furniture piece, that new purse, that new phone, that new wallet, that new car, that you've had your eye on.
You'll feel better and bigger about yourself if you put that person down and make him feel small.
You're going to miss out on so much if you put your phone down and engage in true conversation, if you take a break from social media for awhile.
You don't stand a chance with her- she's way too good for you.
You deserve the pain you're going through, you've made enough mistakes in your life that it's all catching up with you.
Do you personally feel you can relate to any of the above statements? Have you fallen into the trap of believing it? Like the leaves changing, lets change our thinking habits about these topics.
You can get into that college. You've worked hard and it might not be an easy journey, but you can do it. If that's not the one you get into, there are plenty of other options out there. Don't be so focused on just one. Wherever God intends for you to be, He'll open and close the doors necessary and if it's not the one you had dreamed of going to since childhood, don't be upset. His plans are greater than ours ever are. Maybe it's different than you anticipated, but He has quite the ride planned for you. Embrace it! Jeremiah 31:3-4 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
You're working crazy hours, but at what expense? Have you sat down with your spouse, friends, or children lately and had a true conversation with them without any distractions? Once you get that promotion, there will come new responsibilities. Remember to take the time today, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow. There will always be something that needs to be done. Be sure to make those you care about a priority now and stop putting it off until tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. James 4:13-14 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
More money doesn't mean more happiness. Money is the root of all evil. You can buy that thing you've had your eye on, but chances are, once you have that, you'll start longing for something else. Nothing on this physical earth will ever satisfy us. You can buy all the things you want, but that doesn't mean you'll be full of happiness. Chances are, you might feel even more empty once you have "everything," and the pursuit of money might have even ruined relationships with those you care about. Shift your focus from earthly possessions to the greater above- generosity, kindness. Chase goodness and peace instead of dissatisfaction and more, more, more controlling your every thought. 1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
You might have power over someone, you might be able to crush them with a single sentence. You might, but should you? Instead of using your tongue for threats, lies, gossip, let it be for nothing but love. When you want to be critical, be kind. When you want to make a comment about something, let it be laced with gentleness. Love others. You have no idea what a single kind word could do for someone. You never know what they're going through. Let it be your words that shed some light into their day. Proverbs 18:21 Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose.
Social media. Put it down. We waste SO MUCH time mindlessly scrolling through our phones. Chances are right now, theres a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, friend, niece, grandma, someone in your life that is dying for some attention from you. Stop hiding behind your phone and engage with them. Sure, you might miss out on a tasty recipe or baby announcement, but does that really matter? You're missing out on your actual life. Sure, it's necessary for some, it's fine for a bit, but consistently sitting on it hour after hour, day after day? Your days are flying by and sure you might be caught up on everyone else's life, but isn't it time you actually started living yours? Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
No one is ever "too good" for you. We're all created equally, beautifully and fearfully and wonderfully made. You were created in the image of God. You might have made mistakes, but guess what? We all do. You might have a broken family, but guess what? We're all broken. You might have big regrets, but guess what? We all have moments we aren't proud of. Who you are is enough. Who you are is amazing. Who you are is the best. If that person you've been hoping to date or marry isn't returning the feelings, don't get down on yourself. God has someone He created exactly and just for you. Have patience and be strong and faithful in the waiting, it's worth it. Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
We all go through difficult seasons, things we don't understand, pain, heartbreak, uncertainty, tragedy. It's not because we deserve it, it's not because God is mad at us or punishing us. Bad things happen, and we won't always understand it. There won't always be a reason and for some, we'll never know on this side of heaven. God is a forgiving and merciful God. He isn't bringing it upon you because you cheated on your math test or because you stole your sister's sweater. We're born into a fallen world full of sin. There will be times that nearly break us, but He is bigger than our problems, He can fight our battles for us and with us. He surrounds us through it all. He never leaves our sides. John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Next time you find yourself falling into the lies society is convinced of, see if you can be like a leaf and change, change the situation- look at it with optimism, hope, love, look at it through the eyes of Jesus. You're as beautiful as the changing leaves, and God has such great plans for you, and you can fall for that truth, day after day, season after season. It will never change!
Do you ever have those moments or even those days where you're just like "Hello, God.. Where are you in this?!" Nothing seems to make sense. You've heard over and over that God is in it, but you tried seeing it with your reading glasses, a magnifying glass, and the jumbo print version of the latest self-help book, but still cannot seem to see Him in it, at all.
I think sometimes society in 2019 falls into the trap of believing the lie that the person we see across from us has it all together- that our coworkers have much more impactful and exciting lives, that our friends are more successful, that the stranger in the grocery store probably has no problems, that the person on vacation in your newsfeed has all the money in the world, and problems, what are those?
On some level, haven't we set an expectation of perfection amongst ourselves? We feel the pressure to appear as if we have it all together because God forbid someone know that we truly are struggling with something on the inside.
It's an unhealthy lifestyle that traps handfuls of people. It leads to anxiety, depression, overworking ourselves, stress, and unrest. We become afraid to stand out, to be different, to speak what's truly on our mind, to pursue what we're passionate about because we're afraid of what other people will think, to forgive and forget because sometimes holding a grudge is easier than showing grace, and we wouldn't know how to live without that anger we've held on to for so long. We continue on living this way, afraid of what would happen if we stepped into what we believe God has been calling us to, what we think about and wish we could do daily, what it'd feel like to not have to live with that hurt anymore. As a result of living a life that we know is contrary to what God wants of us, we begin to resent where we are, the way things are, and begin to question God.
"If you're so good and always work things out for our good, then where are you in this?"
I won't try to pretend with you guys. I have those days, and I think if we're all honest, we could all agree. I have those moments where I try to understand, try to make sense of things, and question where God is in it. If i'm brutally honest, I had one of those nights a few nights ago, and as I went for a run, that's all I could think about. I've been wrestling with it on and off for awhile, and it's been a consistent prayer of mine for close to probably five years. Has this situation improved? Not hardly. It's only progressed, causing deeper pain than at the beginning of it all, making less and less sense.
God knows what I long for, what I've craved my entire life, yet this one prayer seems to only become foggier and messier. In those moments, I search myself and wonder where I went wrong. Don't we do that sometimes? Try to put the blame upon ourselves for something that has nothing to do with anything we said or did, that's completely out of our control? I know the truth, I know who am I in Christ, but yet, the devil tries to creep his way in, convincing me that in some way, it is my fault. In John 10:10, we read: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
As I stopped for a few minutes to just close my eyes on the path surrounded by cornstalks, I knew that in those moments of questioning, that's what the devil was trying to do. To steal my happiness, to kill my thankfulness, to fog my mind with thoughts that were completely contrary to what He believes of us. I just listened to the wind, the corn blowing, the birds chirping, to let my mind slow down. The sun shone right through the top of the corn, a ray right on my shoulder, my face.
"I'm right here, Hil. I'm all around you. Trust me."
As I flipped open my Bible later that night, it opened to Job. A man who went through the ringer.. His children died, employees were murdered, his animals were attacked and stolen. He went through some incredibly hard things, all at once. He could have let that overwhelm him and curse and question God, but what did he do? He praised God. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
If Job could praise through those trials, can't we do the same when we go through things? Shouldn't I be able to trust Him with whatever I go through?
Trust me. Two words, easy to say, hard to grasp, sometimes hard to practice. As I looked back at those years and reflected more on what I read, I might not have gotten my prayer answered how I would have liked, but rather, in ways completely different than I could have imagined. Even if it hurts in some ways and I try to make it make sense, I know that some things I will just never understand on this side of heaven and that's the way it is. I know it's not without purpose, I know God is working in and through it, and looking back, there are so many other ways that the Lord opened up and closed doors and brought people into my life, people He knew I needed, that have poured into me and loved me in ways that I never knew possible. An answer to the same prayer, but in a completely different avenue than I would have anticipated.
The thing is, sometimes our prayers might not be answered, but what if you truly had every prayer answered that you have prayed? Our lives would probably be a wreck. Sometimes they'll be answered in different ways than you had hoped or anticipated, but trust Him. I know it's easy to say that, and so much harder to live, but just have faith that He is indeed working everything together for your good, in His perfect timing, in the perfect way. In our microwave, instantaneous culture, it stinks to have to wait for things. But I would much rather wait for His perfect plan, than trying to devise a plan of my own.
Trust Him. Trust His timing. Trust His process. He's in it. He's all around you. He's in your pain, your heartbreak, your uncertainty, your stress, your problems. He is our one constant that never leaves. When we're weak, He is strong. When we don't know what to say or how to pray, all we have to do is say His name. He's the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, the smile from the stranger passing by.
He died for us. He loves us. He knows each and every one of our hearts. He died so that we could have life, and not a life where we pretend that we have it all together, that we don't hurt, that we don't go through things that we don't understand, because we all will have those things we go through. But, He is there each and every step of the way, and He can bring fullness, redemption, restoration, hope, peace, and love to the fullest to even the darkest of times. Trust Him.