IF this week: I can ascend too.

Amazing week studying the Nicene Creed with IF:Equip on the IF app. (See my post about how to get the app, it’s free!)

This week has “hope” written all over it! Hope is what I need. What do you need? You can find it in Jesus.

Knowing that Jesus chose to become fully man, and experience what I experience is amazing. Given the choice, would I do the same? Probably not, if I’m honest. Life, especially now, is hard. Keeping my focus on Jesus literally sustains me throughout the day. If not for Him, I don’t know how I could be me. I don’t know how I did it for 3+ decades without Him. I almost didn’t; choosing to give up too many times. Thank God I finally found Jesus. God has a purpose for me.

Jesus ascended into Heaven after conquering death. I can apply that to my daily life. I now know that through His strength, I can ascend above the trials of my day. I can ascend above pain, I can ascend above fear, I can ascend above worry and doubt. He is forever with me, in every situation.

Yesterday, after a bad morning I changed my attitude by literally thanking God for everything I could think of! (Thank you, God, that I can walk, thank you that I have clothes, thank you that the lamp turned on, thank you for my coffee, my job, my husband, my dog…. Thank you God.)

What a blessing coming to Jesus has been for me. After nearly ending my life years ago, to be saved by Grace is the most amazing feeling. To be forgiven my sins, all those things that haunt my mind daily; amazing. To be given a renewed dose of hope, grace and mercy each day, to be sustained through Christ Jesus; amazing.

I don’t even mind waking up too early, like today, because it’s just more time to spend with my Savior. Good morning Jesus!

And, even though there’s hope, if I were a betting girl, I know the odds are there will be difficulties today too. But I’m not alone anymore in my dark moments. In those moments, I draw near to Jesus and seek His face, God’s Word made flesh, to get me through. Amazing.

Sunflower grown from a single seed. Ascending toward Heaven, taller than I’ll ever be. Perfectly imperfect, just like me. Radiating beauty to all who see.

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Part 4: Coming out of the dark.

When I ended Part 3 of this story, a few posts ago, I was losing myself and didn’t know how to stop. My life had been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Not just downs, but pitfalls. Deep dark ones. Pits impossible to climb out of alone. I was stuck in the darkness I’d created for myself and I was terrified. I didn’t know what was happening to me mentally or physically. I was so scared and alone, or so I thought.

The year 2014 wasn’t just difficult, but deadening. I’d experienced a series of hardships that, at the time, I would have called tragedies. Today I recognize them as necessary. Perhaps one day I can write about them. Certainly they were life-altering, and something had to give.

What gave was me. I gave up.

For almost three decades I’d tried to do life on my own, without a spiritual reference point, but there I was completely lost and hardly able to breathe, let alone imagine how I’d take my next breath. Just making a decision to get out of bed, eat, or brush my hair was nearly impossible.

Then the unimaginable, unimaginable for me, happened. I gave God a chance. God, who previously was not a blip on my radar, suddenly became my sole focus.

So why God? I couldn’t tell you that. All I know is that I had no other ideas, nowhere else to go. I’d exhausted all other possibilities. I guess I was depressed. But I’d been depressed before and this was so much more.

I wasn’t just depressed, I was disappearing.

I didn’t grow up in church. I’d never read the Bible. In fact, all my life I’d said the Bible was just a fiction story written by men. I knew nothing about faith or Jesus. But I thought maybe, just maybe, I was missing out on something. If there was a God, maybe he would help me.

So how was I, the depressed atheist, going to find out about God? I wasn’t going to scrape myself up off the floor of my life and just go to church looking for Him. And so I thought about Sarah.

I knew Sarah in middle school and high school, and I knew her father was a pastor. In school we were best friends, though we hadn’t spoken in 20 years. I found her contact information on Facebook.

Then the night came, where in the darkness of my hotel room and the darkness of my mind, in between giant tears and great gasps for air, I called Sarah out of the deep dark blue.

She answered. She had time to talk. And I had one question. The second-best words I’d ever say;

“Tell me about Jesus”.

The first best words I’d ever say were yet to come. But as soon as I asked Sarah about Jesus the door to my heart was unlocked. The walls I’d built so high and impenetrable around me started crumbling. And soon, so soon, I would find a comfort like no other. Not in a friend, not in a family member, but in a Savior.

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Categories God