Weakness am I

MercyMe201602Weakness “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?

G.

Two steps forward, one step back…

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.  

 

G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God is awesome

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!

G.

Journey or Destination

 

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!!!

G.

Rain

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.

 

G.

Gratitude

So here I am, miserable and sick with a case of stomach flu and an even worse case of self-pity. In bed, able to keep only a few things down, sleeping most of the day.

But deeply hidden in my heart was a little question-mark that would not shut up.

Aren’t you supposed to give thanks, even now!?
But how!!!? What for!? This hurts and there’s not much I can do!?” I asked.
Since there was no answer that I heard but the question wouldn’t let go of me, I asked my longest online friend on Facebook  “How to be thankful while having a case of the flu 🤔”. His response:

It could be worse“.

It could be worse. Four words that sent my mind spinning and put an end to my self-pity. Yes it could be worse. A lot worse.

Like for my sister in law, who has been feeling like this for over 30 weeks now because of her pregnancy. She has four kids to worry about already, to raise and care for. And still quite some weeks to endure what others think to be a blessing… but to her it comes with a cost. My flu will be gone in a few days. Already I have spent 12 hours without throwing up so the worst is over now. I Thank God!!!

Or…

I could have to do without the support and care of my husband. Without him to look after our daughter, take her to school, feed her, clothe her, take her to a friend to play have fun… and without him making me soup and hot tea or to take over whatever needs to be done in and around the house, what would I have done?! It is because of his care that I get to migrate between couch, toilet and bed undisturbed, that I can rest and let this bug run its course without worry. I Thank God!!!

Or…

I could have to do without my little girl, who is bringing me drawings, kisses and hugs, who crawls in to bed with me and offers to stay the night… if that would make me better. She doesn’t nag or whine, she understands why mommy cant read her a book now, or put her to bed. Thank God!!!

Or…

I could have to still show up at work to either have enough money or even keep my job… But no! First of all, I have a job, and one I love doing. That alone is something to be grateful of! But mine comes with compassionate coworkers and paid sick-days! I Thank God!!!

Or…

I could be homeless and without a bed to hide away in until this is all over. Cold and lonely out on the street, no warm blankets,  no fresh towels, no extra set of clothing when this one gets dirty… Instead I have a warm bed in a safe house with a warm shower, clean towels and new pj’s to wear if I should mess these up. And then another blanket on the soft couch downstairs where I can sit and sip tea and watch my family… I Thank God!!!

For almost two years now, there is a saying on our wall. One that my husband put up there for me, to remind our family of this daily: “Dankbaarheid is de kortste weg naar geluk“, which is Dutch for “Gratitude is the shortest road to happiness“. Yet I needed a friend from an ocean away to remind me today.

I Thank God he did!!

Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us.
Psalms 68:19 GNB
http://bible.com/296/psa.68.19.GNB

G.

100 Happy Days

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Sometimes I need to remind myself that taking baby steps is important to me. It goes against my nature of enthusiasm and high expectations… But my “all or nothing” mentality has been exactly what has gotten me in to this dark place called depression in the first place. For I am not able to keep up “all” for very long, so I ended up with nothing.

Baby steps to me means lowering my standards to more healthy, and let’s face it, more realistic expectations.

I cannot expect to be happy every day, all day. I used to, but it was such a high expectation that made reality seem like a disappointment. And the very thing that got in the way of reaching my goal!

Understanding this was key to my change. In the darkest of days when my treatment was insufficient to say the least, I accepted the 100 Happy Days challenge. And a challenge it was! Up front I made myself a promise to allow myself to miss a day and not consider all lost. I had nothing to prove to anyone, least of all myself, it was not a game to be won or lost. It was a means to shift my focus to the light, instead of the darkness.

And it worked! Every event in my life asked for my attention, to decide whether it was something that made me happy or not. If so, the designer in me would ponder on how to make it in to a picture that would tell the story.

Don’t misunderstand me here; it was not at all easy and to find happy moments was near impossible some days. I soon learnt that it was best for me not to post the first happy picture I took in the morning, because I would lose focus on happy stuff if I did.



What did help was the positive comments I received on the happy moments. Several people said they were awaiting my posts daily. With most if not all of my Facebook friends knowing of my depression, it helped them to worry less, perhaps.

I even received a text message on my phone once, asking “no happy picture today”?  It was 10 minutes ’till midnight and it made me smile. My mother in law is such a sweetheart.



When I started out, it seemed like a huge number, 100 days. But I took one day at a time, that was the only way for me to deal with reality. And before I knew it I was on day 25… day 38… and so on. Hard as it was to find happy pictures some days, when I was getting closer to day 100 I knew I was going to miss it, in a way, after it was done.

I ended up making a photo book of the pictures, along with the captions I used. I still look at it when I am not feeling too good, to help me remember that it is the little things in life that make it good.

If you are interested in taking this challenge as well, you can find a link to it on my Links -page!

G.