It’s 11:15 on a Saturday

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It’s March 1, the day after my birthday. It’s also (wait for it) the first day of March and (wait for it) 20 days away from the first official day of spring.

Winter, it was fun and it was real, but it’s over. It’s time for you and your cold weather to go home. Don’t overstay your welcome.

And yes, it is Saturday, 41 minutes away from being Sunday. I got a few more Facebook birthday well-wishes today, which always makes my day better. Such fun.

Anyway, God is still in control. He’s still got a plan for me and He hasn’t abandoned me or forgotten about me. He still knows the plans He has for me and I can’t wait to see what they will turn out to be.

That last bit was just me reminding myself of a few things. Take whichever of these you need as helpful reminders in the event that you get anxious or discouraged. All of the above are true and all apply to you, too.

That’s all I have for tonight.

Those Times

I’ve been living my miracle. I’ve been counting my blessings and finding joy in the everyday minutiae of life. But sometimes . . . .

You know the feeling. It happens when you’re tired or hungry or by yourself– or all three. 

You feel like your friends will all eventually abandon you. Little things, like someone not responding to a text or someone else who usually liked and commented on your posts not having done so for a few days, seem like proof that you’re not really wanted or desired.

You find it’s much easier to wallow in that old mire of self-pity and entitlement than to fight for the joy and to consciously bring to mind the blessings. Sometimes it does feel good (but not in a good way) to feel sorry for yourself and believe that no one truly understands or cares about you. Lies are sometimes easier to believe and more comforting than the truth. Well, most of the time.

It’s at those times when you want to lean on what you’re feeling as a gauge for how you’re doing. It’s times when you want to use your understanding as a crutch for figuring out your life at that particular moment.

But just remember this familiar verse:

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“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding [or feelings]. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6. Amplified)

I added that part about feelings, in case you wondered. But it’s implied in the Hebrew. 

Trust God, not in how you feel or what you think. Those things (thoughts and feelings) aren’t always trustworthy. But God is.

And I know from experience your friends aren’t nearly as ready to abandon you as you think they are. Sometimes, they just get caught up in life, their own pain, crazy work or school, etc. They haven’t forgotten or left you.

Remember even if one or two has left you, God never will. He’s promised with an oath as sure as Himself to be with you, no matter what, not only up to the end, but beyond.

That should help you get past those times.

 

I See You

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I am your friend and I see you.

I see you when you think no one else does. I see you at your worst moments when you’ve made poor decisions and chosen based on fear and greed rather than from faith and love.

I see you when you broke another promise to a friend, to a parent, to yourself, to me.

I see you when you feel most alone and abandoned by everyone you thought cared the most for you.

I see you when all you can see is heartache and pain and all the broken pieces of your wrecked life.

I see your future when you can see only a past filled with regrets and a present with no end in sight.

I see you whole and healed and radiant and beautiful and desired and wanted and chosen.

For I am The Lord your God. I am your Maker, your Redeemer, your Father, your Lover, your Friend, your All.

I have been a Witness to every moment of your life. You have never ever been alone or forsaken. You have never been out of my sight or out of my arms or out of my heart.

My love for you is the same as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. It is complete, perfect, passionate, healing, and life.

You are forever mine and I am forever yours.

You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.

i will sing and dance with joy over you every night and hold you in my strong embrace every day. You belong to me.

Ghosts

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I was feeling burdened about some issues, so I stepped inside one of my favorite places on earth, St. Paul’s Espiscopal Church, a very old church building located in the heart of downtown Franklin. Being in that place always brings me peace and I can be still and silent and just be.

I pulled out one of the kneelers and got on my knees and unburdened myself before God. I let it all go. I don’t know if it will work out like I want it to or not, but I do know that I felt a peace about it for the first time in a while. Then I simply listened.

It may have been the creaky floorboards settling, but to my romanticized imagination, it sounded like echos of past worshippers. Ghosts of people who came to this place and found their own peace.

I felt that I was not alone. Not because of ghosts, but because I knew that God was there with me.

I know now that I have to let my situation go. I can’t fix it. As much as I try to “help” God out, I would only make things worse. So I have to back off and let God do what only God can do. It’s completely in his hands now.

I don’t know how long I knelt there, listening to the noises around me. I left my phone in my pocket the whole time.

I love the fact that God didn’t wait until I got my act together to come to me. He found me, broken as I was, and is loving me to wholeness. Even though I sometimes still live out of fear and doubt, he never once has abandoned me. In those times I felt most alone, he was closest of all.

That’s what I love about God. Every other religion is about how to get to God, but Christianity (not the religion, but the relationship with Jesus Christ) is about how God came to us and found us before we even thought about looking for him.

I’m so glad he found me.

 

Something Good to Remember on a Monday

Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

I’ve read past that a thousand or more times. I’ve rushed past those words to get to the Sermon on the Mount, the good stuff. But I think I’ve done myself a disservice by not paying attention to this verse, particularly the first three words: “Seeing the crowds.”

Did you catch that? He saw the people who came to see him. He didn’t see bodies. He saw faces lined with pain. He saw heartaches and anxieties and unrest. He saw people just trying to get through the day.

Just as he sees you and he sees me.

Do you ever feel unnoticed? Do you ever post on facebook and no one responds? Do you ever comment on someone else’s post and he or she responds to everyone else but you?

Do you often feel invisible in a crowd? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that no one would miss you if you were suddenly not there? Or like George Bailey, do you think the world would be better off if you’d never been born?

You may not feel like anyone knows you or the secret shame and pain you carry. Jesus does.

You may think that you don’t matter to anyone. You matter to Jesus.

You are not alone. You have an advocate, someone who is on your side, who fights for you, who roots for you, who won’t abandon you in the dark or in the storms. His name is Jesus.

I didn’t come up with this, but it’s still true: if you had been the only one lost and in need of a Savior, Jesus still would have gone through every bit of the cross just for you. He loves you that much.

If your Monday’s been awesome, that’s great. God rejoices with you. But if your Monday was horrible and couldn’t end soon enough, this promise still holds true.

This is from a ragamuffin who needs daily reminders of the goodness of God as much as anyone else. God is faithful, even when it seems he is absent. He is good, always.

 

Not Forgotten

Do you ever sometimes feel like your friends have forgotten that you exist? Does it seem that they can make time for other friends but not for you? Do you feel ignored?

First of all, know that you are not alone. Many people have felt this way from time to time (including me).

Second of all, remember that it’s probably not a good thing to overthink it, especially late at night, because when you’re tired, you don’t think as clearly and things seem worse than they really are. Innocent remarks can take on sinister undertones at 2 am.

Third of all, God has not forgotten you. When you seem most alone, God still knows who you are and where you are. He knows your name, your true name, that no one else but he and you know. You are still on his mind and there is not a moment that goes by where he doesn’t think of you and love you and root for you.

So, if you’re having trouble sleeping tonight (like me), try some warm milk. Meditate not on what feels like the abandonment of your friends, but on the promises of God for you which are as good as done.