Sunday, January 20, 2013

Behind the Picture

Note: This should really say December 31, 2012 as that is when the majority of it was written.

Lately as I look through the many recent pictures on my iPhone, Facebook, and Instagram, I've been struck by how crazy I am (not that that's anything new!). Another thing that really stands out to me, is how happy I look. Because my life is not happy right now. I'm fighting anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, fear, etc. like I haven't fought in a long time. (And honestly, after the year I've had, that's saying something. Just being real here.)

When I look at these photos, I can't help but think about everything "behind" the pictures.  The things very few people know about and even fewer see firsthand.

Being crazy is one way I deal with the trials of life. There are SO many moments where I either have to laugh or cry (and trust me: I do PLENTY of crying too!).  

Looking at all these pictures makes me smile. I can't help it. These are the moments that keep me sane, that keep me going, that keep me from giving up.

And yet there are times that I wish I knew how to give a more honest view of my life. When I share my random craziness with people, I'm sometimes tempted to take it down because it somehow feels like a lie.

I know it's not a lie, it's just not the whole picture. These fun images are just moments captured in the midst of hours, days, and weeks of daily struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

They are the moments of laughter, the precious gifts from my Father, that brighten up this journey of life and lighten the heavy loads.

In a way, it would be just as much of a lie to not share them. They are just as much a part of who I am as the pain, trials, and hurt.

At the end of each day, I'm just thankful my life is in God's hands and He alone knows what is best for me. I can't imagine having to decide what mixture of happy craziness and painful growth was best. There are times I feel like telling Him that He's a little heavy on the painful. But I know each bit of pain has a purpose.

And I am SO thankful that the crazy fun of these pictures is as real as the pain behind the scenes of them. God knows we need laughter and humor and a "merry heart". 

A merry heart does good, like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. (Prov. 17:22)

Another very real picture: a tear-stained page in my Bible and notepad
 covered in verses I scribbled from memory on an extra hard day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hold on to the Promises

Promises by Santus Real

It's the end of another very rough day. One of those days that has me sobbing and ready to give up. 

One of those days.

When I was driving home tonight (and crying), this song came on the radio. It was just the reminder I need. It's hard to hold on to God's promises when I can't see Him keeping all those promises in the details of my life.

I know He is. I know it. But keeping faith in those promises is something I have to fight hard for during the dark times. From my human perspective, it looks like He's not holding up His end of the deal. Yet I believe that He is always working on behalf of my good. Even when it sure as heck does not feel good. 

"He holds back nothing that will heal you, even His own Son." Wow. Those words hit me square in the chest. I desperately need His healing emotionally, relationally, and physically. These words powerfully remind me that He offers everything I could ever need for healing. His love is unending; His mercies new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

As I wrestle, as I cry, as I fight to keep choosing life and joy, I'm so thankful that none of what I'm facing or will ever face, can separate me from my God and His love. Praise Him!

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against' God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 

'For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' 

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor li fe, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)