It has been quite some time since I last posted here. Part of it was life getting in the way, but ofcourse that is only because I let it. And though I feel guilty over it, at the same time it has enabled me to discover something I have never seen before.
When I gave my life over to the Lord, last November, I knew it wouldnt be good times and roses all the time. I knew eventually I was going to slide back into old habits and patterns of thinking. It has happened before and ofcourse it would again. Because I am not nearly strong enough to handle what temptation, sin and pride have waiting for me.
But this time, it is different. Because I felt out of place instead of comfortable. Empty instead of happy. Lonely instead of being held. And reminded of His love instead of abandoned.
Because over the course of just little over 6 months, He has worked in me. Changed me from the inside. And that reflects in the very things I used to use as distractions!
I used to frown upon all those religious posts than came along on my social media and raise an eyebrow over the “Blessed Christmas” cards we sometimes got.
But my oh my, things have changed!
I sent out Christmas cards with baby Jesus, last December.
On my Facebook I find regular posts from “Desiring God”, I am glad to be member of a group called “People Sharing Jesus”… And every sunday evening I get the opportunity to follow a live stream of a Vineyard service.
In my e-mail inbox I find several blog updates from fellow WordPress Bloggers who are more loyal in posting regularly than myself, about their journey in faith… and I receive regular emails from pastor Rick and Lifeway for women.
On my Pinterest account, amidst of all the crocheting and cardmaking stuff, there are scripture quotes, Bible journaling examples and those cute little memes from the Little Church Mouse.
And when I turn on music to listen to while I am making cards, doing household chores or crocheting, it is worship music from Mercy Me, Zach Williams or the Casting Crowns instead of the drinking and cheating songs that country music is built upon.
So even when I am not actively searching for God in my life, He is present. EVERYWHERE !
And tonight I just had to share that with y’all. Because I never would have believed it, if anyone would have told me a year ago, that He would be so present in my life. I still am amazed at how faithful He is, even when I am not! Even when I don’t visit Him in His House, He wants to live in me.
I know, I am nowhere near an experienced Christian. I know, I have a lot of work to do, roads to travel. But that doesnt scare me or discourage me anymore.
Because I don’t have to work alone. I used too understand the lines Marty Stuart sang…. But now I FEEL it!
“I am a lonesome pilgrim, far from home
And what a journey I have known
I might be tired and weary but I am strong
Because pilgrims walk but not alone….”
Marty Stuart – The pilgrim
Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Weakness “Flawless” am I
MercyMe sings my truth in their song New Lease On Life:
“The enemy knows where I call my home,
but he’s still trying
to mess up my life in the meantime,
so Lord remind me.”
I love listening to MercyMe, because they manage to address the tough patches in life without losing hope. They tell me that being a Christian, and being a “good” one, isn’t always the easiest of choices. But they also tell me that I am never alone, and that no matter what, God loves me, and has always loved me. As I am. Sin and stupidity and vulnerabilities and all. Their entire album ‘Welcome to the new’ is like that. It was the best album I could have bought as a newly reborn child of God.
So whenever I am feeling like a total failure, whenever I realize that I have lost the fight against the enemy again… I need music like theirs. Yes, I read my bible, of course. But one of my personality traits is that I am usually focusing on what I could do better, what I could improve, and what goes wrong. And reading in the Bible of how Jesus was perfect, without sin and strong always, telling us what we need to be or do to be with Him in Heaven, it triggers me to think of myself as ‘insufficient’… ‘not enough’… a ‘loser’ or ‘weak’. And I know I am. It is not because of my own strength that I can be a light on the mountainside, salt of the earth… or anything more than weak. Without God I can never be one of those things.
But through listening to songs like the afore mentioned ‘New Lease On Life’ or ‘Flawless’ or ‘Greater’ I am reminded of the fact that He still loves me. Enough to give his only Son for me, to be saved from all of that, by His blood. MercyMe is one of the ways that God reminds me…
“No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless”
Over here in the Netherlands MercyMe is not widely known, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but if you haven’t heard from them before, you can find MercyMe on their YouTube channel
What gives you hope?
My blogname mentions “Stumbling” for a reason. Those baby steps on my way out of darkness sometimes barely resemble steps at all, and at days like today it feels like I am stumbling backwards instead of ahead…
Tired. Lost. Alone. Sad yet indifferent. I put on my smile for the world to see, but there’s a darkness still inside of me. I thought these days would be gone now, my pain would have fled, but somehow I cannot move much and just want to hide in my bed. That’s depression’s claws tugging at my brain, the tug I thought I would never feel again.
Invisible. Frightening. Paralized and feeling weak. The peace of Jesus gone for now, slipped away but I don’t know how. Back to rock bottom, is that where I am headed? Is this powerful enough to destroy me if I let it?
A readingplan. A song of worship and a prayer. Lord, help me out of this pain and loneliness. Lord, beat these feelings that turn me into such a mess. Your Son told me I could cry out to You, so here I am. Would you please take me by the hand?
One step, two steps, but the second was just me. So ofcourse I fall right back, to learn, to see. I don’t have the power, never had, never will. Through one step back, my pride now is still.
Will you please walk with me and guide my way, so that I can go ahead to the next step, the next day? You know what is there, You have already been there before me. So help me close my eyes, trust in Your Way and Ability to restore me.
These are perfect pictures of how great God is… He is the Masterpainter and in the past few days He has shared all of this beauty with us.
It has helped me remember and realise that He is aware of every little detail, every little snowcrystal and the way it grows… As much as He is aware of every detail in our life.
If we let Him, He will make a masterpiece of our life as well…
I pray for the patience, the courage and the faith to let go of my plans and dreams and let God do what He thinks needs to be done. He is Awesome!
I would like to start off with wishing you a very happy and blessed 2017 in this first post of the year!! I know I have been quiet over the past few weeks and it wasn’t just to celebrate the festivities in the end of the year.
I have been writing a story in the past few weeks. A story of how I found my way back to God, long ago. A story of pain, confusion, and worry, but also a story of friendship, faith and Mercy. My dear friend Jack, currently blogging at www.jesuschristexalted.com, helped me in more ways than I imagined possible, and he has now published the first part of my story on to his blog.
I hope you will give his blog a visit, to read Journey or Destination Part 1, The Star. Oh, and while you are there, don’t forget to check out his beautiful poetry!!!
Yesterday at work I had an unexpected but very inspiring conversation with one of my clients. He has suffered a stroke and has a lot of challenges, like remembering, organizing and low energy to deal with, while raising his teenage daughters. We talked about quality of life and he told me that, as long as God is with him, he feels he will be fine, no matter what happens. This simple yet strong declaration of faith was the start of a short but meaningful talk on how God can help people through hard times, His Strength compared to our weakness and finally, on Christmas being too much of a commercial party instead of the celebration of Life it should be. We came to the conclusion that without Jesus, there is not much left to Christmas… or life.
Up to now, faith has had no real place in my workplace, though I know a couple of clients are religious. We don’t talk about it though. But this spontaneous conversation was the second time this week that God showed up at work.
Earlier this week, during the coffee break chatter, someone asked me what the reason was for my wearing my necklace with cross pendant. If it was just for show or did it have a special meaning to me. My reply was that it held special meaning to me, which resulted in the obvious question “what meaning?” I have had this questions asked before. In many places, by many people. I usually tell them “I believe in God”. This time my answer was different. I heard my voice say “It means that I believe that God sent His only Son for us to die on the cross for our sins to be forgiven”. I have never been that open about my belief before at work in front of clients or coworkers. Yet I felt compelled to be very specific this time. And it felt good!
This morning, I drove to work and when I got close to my work, I noticed it started to rain. Or actually, I realized that “It” didn’t start to rain, but I was moving and my journey took me to a place where clouds were letting go of their liquid cargo. Usually I think of rain as something that just shows up and goes again. Something I have little to no influence on, because I am in a fixed position, at home, or at work, perhaps. So when I am in need of rain, I can not make it rain, and if I want the rain to stop, I cannot make it stop. This morning I realized that, by moving from my fixed position, I can influence whether or not I am getting rain. I can drive towards it or from the clouds, depending on whether I want to get rained on or not. I don’t generally want to, of course… but I could!
And then it dawned on me: this is exactly how my faith has been part of my life, all my life. Like rain. It comes and goes. It almost feels like God just shows up and glides over my current position… sometimes short, sometimes longer, and then He goes again, with little influence from my side on it. But like with the rain… that is NOT how it has to be! God is always present. I don’t have to wait for His Love to rain on me until He finds me. I can move from my fixed position towards Him!
I think, since I have been trying to be more like Jesus wants me to be, I have been moving towards Him. Instead of waiting on Him to just drop by, I actively look for God’s presence in my life and He is there, with me… moving along with me to where my life takes me, places I never saw or felt Him… places like my workspace!
I am not fond of rain. So I try to avoid it when I can. But I do love God being in my life… and so I have to keep moving towards Him. Because I have learnt that, when I do, He keeps raining down His blessings upon me.