God Doesn’t Miss Turns (Part 1)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,

“This is the way, walk in it…”

Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)



You know those moments in life that seem super insignificant but are actually really important to your growth as a human being and also as a Christian? Yeah, I had one of those moments last month during Spring Break 2019.

Let me start with a brief geography lesson to make sense of what I’m going to write. There are approximately 1500 cities in Texas. For the most part, people mainly know about Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. When mentioned to outsiders, most of the other towns are clumped together with their nearest big city. Three of San Antonio’s small towns are Helotes, Bandera, and Boerne (pronounced Burn-ee). I live in Helotes which is west of San Antonio. Bandera Road, aka Highway 16, cuts straight through San Antonio and Helotes, while leading northwest into Bandera City (and county). If you turn north on Scenic Loop from Bandera Road, then you’ll drive toward Boerne.

Last month, my best friend, Shelby, and I planned a day trip to Boerne during Spring Break. I had been there a few times, but almost exclusively for volleyball and basketball games and tournaments in high school over six years ago. I was familiar with where it was, but not entirely sure of exactly how to get there without a gps. As usual, Shelby was the driver for our trip. While we drove down Bandera Road, I noticed she kept driving northwest toward Bandera instead of turning north on Scenic Loop toward where I thought Boerne was. It seemed odd, but like I said, I wasn’t totally familiar with getting to Boerne, so I didn’t say anything. I figured I was wrong and thought, “Eh, she knows what she’s doing.” Except, I wasn’t wrong and she had missed the turn. She realized this five or so minutes later at about the same time I realized we definitely were headed toward Bandera and not toward Boerne. When she admitted we went the wrong way, I laughed it off and admitted I thought she had, but didn’t say anything because I trusted her. She took the first turnaround she could and we were back on the right path toward Boerne. All was well until it wasn’t.

Almost immediately after Shelby turned around, I noticed something incredibly flawed about my thinking. I was so quick to trust Shelby even when my concern about going the wrong way was valid, and I’m so often even quicker to doubt God when my concern about going the wrong way is always so invalid. Shelby is human. She can be and was wrong. Our conversation had distracted her and she missed the turn for where we were going, but I still trusted her without any doubt in my mind. God is perfect. He is never wrong. He always takes me exactly where I need to be, but I often feel doubt, if not front and center, then almost always at the back of my mind. How could this be? How could I trust a God-made human, and doubt God Himself? Needless to say, I was feeling super convicted and have continued to think about that moment regularly since the second Shelby turned around.

I think the reason for my faith in Shelby’s driving versus my doubt in God’s planning is because I can see Shelby. I can audibly hear her voice. She is present in a very real and very tangible way, while God isn’t always, or really ever, like that. I can’t physically see God. I can’t audibly hear His voice. He isn’t physically and tangibly here beside me. And yet, I know, even if I don’t always act like I believe it, that God is very real and always here. So, how can I remember this when I feel concerned that He missed His turn and we’re now going in the wrong direction? I have to remember God never misses a turn.

The fact that I was with Shelby when she missed her turn to Boerne is proof enough that this is true. If God hasn’t always taken me where I’ve needed to be, then I wouldn’t have been sitting in the passenger seat of Shelby’s blue Ford Escape to miss a turn in the first place. I spent a long time praying for God to give me a friend like Shelby and not two months after I journaled my prayers, God sent me to Compass Church where He not only gave me Shelby as a best friend, but also gave me countless other people to pour love, life, and laughter into my soul. God led me to Compass at exactly the right time and He always sends me to the right place at exactly right time because God doesn’t miss turns.

So, now as I sit here writing this post in between worrying about about if and how I’ll have enough money to pay my bills during summer break when bus drivers like myself don’t work, that’s what I have to remember. God doesn’t miss turns. He is always going the right way and when I’m sitting in His passenger seat trusting He knows where He’s going, I’ll never have to worry.

Dear Demi

This is a letter addressed to Demi Lovato, but it’s for anyone struggling with addictive and or self-destructive habits and behaviors. To listen to this letter/watch the open letter video, click here.

Dear Demi Lovato,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you. In many ways, I feel like I do sometimes, but I know I only know what you let the world see. It’s likely that I will never know you, but please know that whether I will or won’t ever know you, I will always love you. You are loved by so many wonderful people. Your friends and family. Most, if not all of your coworkers. Your fans–the Lovatics. We all love you. More importantly, God loves you.

I know you grew up in the church. Or at least you used to say you did when you were a young Disney star. I know that at some point, whether you do now or not, you claimed to be a Christian. As I am neither you nor God, I can’t know if you are or are not a Christian. I do know that you believe in God and often credit Him for your successes. I also know that you know how easy it is to struggle with faith and God when you keep falling into the same traps and or have countless struggles hurled your way all at the same time.

I’m sure you also know how it feels to feel like God is abandoning or ignoring you in your time of need. It sucks. If you truly believe in Him, as it seems you do, then somewhere in your heart and mind, you know that’s not the case. You know God does not leave or forsake His children. You know that He hears your every prayer. Yet, you still feel like He has, even though you know He hasn’t.

That’s what causes and results from addictive and self-destructive habits. You feel isolated and alone. You feel like no one cares, like no one sees you, and like no one understands. To a certain extent, no one does. Every struggle is unique and every story is new, but you’re never alone. Somewhere deep inside you, you know that, even in the struggle, but it’s hard to believe it because you can’t see the light. All you can see is darkness. And it’s even worse when you’ve come out of the darkness only to see and follow the shadows again. Even through healing, the pain never fully goes away. There’s always an ache and there are always scars. There’s always another wrong move, another misstep, and another challenge threatening to push you back over the edge. Just when you think you’ll stay strong and keep fighting, something jumps out at you and threatens to turn out the lights. I know this, because I’ve been there. I’ve never struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol, but I have been addicted to self-destructive thoughts and habits.

When I was 17, though it really started long before that, I struggled with thoughts of self-destruction. I considered and nearly tried self-destructive eating habits. I considered and sometimes tried self-destructive workout habits. What stuck was self-harm. In the darkest and lowest point of my life, I gave into self-mutilation and injury. I entertained the thoughts of death, major self-harm, and disappearance. I was depressed, anxious, and in loathe with myself. I hated myself and everything about me. I felt alone, unseen, and unheard by God, by my family, by my friends–even though I felt like I didn’t have any friends–and by everyone else around me. It was exhausting, heartbreaking, and draining. Then, I slowly started to see the Light through various people, various works of art, and various other things.

In my darkest times, “Open” from your EP became my anthem, because “I felt like I was screaming my mouth shut when it was really open.” As time progressed, “Believe In Me,” “Skyscraper,” “Unbroken,” “Firestarter,” and nearly every other one of your songs–and several other songs–became my anthems. I wanted to be like you. I wanted to be strong and beautiful and successful. When I felt like I would never be like you, MTV aired your special, “Staying Strong.” Then, I saw that I was like you, but not in the ways I wanted to be. We were both struggling with self-harm, depression, and general self-hate. You were struggling with other things too… some things I had thought about at one time or another. At that moment, I was afraid to be like you, but more than anything, I still wanted to be like you. I was afraid of becoming so much like you, that I’d have to go to rehab. Though I was proud of you for going, I didn’t want to go. I did, however, want to be like you in the sense that you shared your struggles, you confessed you needed help, and you reached out for assistance. I wanted to do that too, so I did.

First, I kept my struggles to myself. I prayed a lot and I did everything I could to stop hurting myself. It was surprisingly easy to stop physically hurting myself, but it was a lot harder to stop mentally and emotionally hurting myself. I prayed a lot, found refuge in music, and clung to stories and testimonies of female celebrities who had fought battles and won or were fighting battles and trying to win. You, Demi Lovato, were one of those people. When I was in my darkest days, God used you, your music, and your transparency to lift me out of my lowest point and raise me to a place of healing and restoration.

I hope now, as I write this letter, if you ever read it, that you might find healing and restoration through my prayers and the prayers of others. I hope that this battle will lead you to God in a way you’ve never seen Him before and that He will heal you totally and completely. I pray that not only will you finally overcome the addiction and temptation, but also that the temptation will go away altogether. I know that’s a big ask. I know scars and aches don’t often go away. I know that temptation is always creeping at your door, waiting for you to be weak. I do get it, maybe not in the same way, but I do understand. If I’m honest, then I must confess I was tempted to give in to the darkness a few days ago. Not only was I tempted to drown myself in drink–just this once–but worse than that, because that’s not my personal demon, I was also tempted to hurt myself again–just this once. Just to make the pain go away. Just to feel something other than the stress and looming depression. I didn’t, but I almost did, and I think that scares me more than if I had done it.

Anyway, I’m praying for you, Demi Lovato. I’m fighting for you through prayer and supplication. I am thanking God for you and your life. And I’m praying for His miraculous healing over you. I believe He can heal you, but sometimes He only heals us if we believe for ourselves that He will. Please believe Demi. Please believe that He can and will heal you. Please believe and remember that no matter what you feel, you are never alone. Please know and believe that your true friends, your true family, and your true fans–the Lovatics–are always here for you in spirit and prayer with support and love. Please stay strong and when you can’t, let us stay strong for you! ❤

 

Sincerely,

A fan. A friend. And a supporter.

What Happened to Me?

I shared my last blog post with the friend who asked me what to say to and how to be there for someone who inflicts self-harm. She’s one of my closest friends, but we haven’t ever talked about my “abyss of fire” in detail before. She knows that I inflicted self-harm and that God used her and a few other people to bring me out of the darkness. Beyond that, I realized that I haven’t told her much else about my darkest hours. Nor have I told her much about how I came out of it. Her specific question was a two-part question. What did you begin to believe about God and yourself? What was the process like of God changing your heart? I explained to her that it’s a long story, but that it’s another great topic for a blog. That’s why I’m writing this today.

What did I begin to believe about God? What did I begin to believe about myself? What an interesting question that is. It’s funny actually. Not like, “Funny, Ha. Ha,” more like funny interesting. On my eighteenth birthday, I laid in bed crying like I had many nights before. I cried until after midnight, so maybe for half an hour. Then I started writing a letter to my future boyfriend or husband. That’s why I was crying actually. I was eighteen and still single. My dream was to have true love. I didn’t just want a boyfriend, I wanted a husband to marry and do life with. When most of my friends, even those younger than me, had boyfriends, I turned eighteen and was still single. Halfway through writing my letter to “someone” I started over and wrote a different letter. Over four years later, I still have that letter and this is what I wrote:

Dear Me (Eighteen Years Old)

Here I am now. It’s been four years, four months, and three days since I wrote that letter and I’m still single. You know what I’m not though? I’m not lonely anymore. You know what I am? I am confident. I love myself and I feel beautiful more often than I don’t. My relationship with God could always grow stronger, but it’s so much stronger now than it was when I was eighteen. My insecurities about being single were only a small part of my “abyss of darkness” though. I had much more deeply rooted problems.

What was the process like of God changing my heart? That’s an interesting question too. I was still depressed after writing that letter. I was still hurting myself. Soon, everything changed though. Demi Lovato aired her show “Stay Strong” on MTV and I learned what could happen to me if I didn’t stop hurting myself–I could have ended up in rehab. Then I started listening to BarlowGirl, a Christian girl band. I watched several interviews with of BarlowGirl and learned that one of them—the one I had always thought was the prettiest—had had an eating disorder because she had the same depressed and lonely feelings I had. Learning about Demi Lovato’s stay in rehab for depression and self-harm, among other things, scared me into changing and learning about how God was able to redeem Becca Barlow after she had an eating disorder gave me hope for myself. I didn’t change overnight, but the Lord did start to change my heart a little bit at a time. He gave me Demi and Becca as examples of how it is possible to overcome the darkness. He gave me songs to remind me I wasn’t alone. He also gave me new friends who showed me what true friendship is like.

Realistically, I won’t ever be fully healed, because I’ll always have a scar. Yes, scars make are signs that we survived something that made us stronger, but scars are also wounds that are more easily opened than unharmed skin. Once you give into the darkness, one negative thought or one mistake could put you at risk of going back, but that’s the beauty of healing. It’s also the beauty of grace. For me, God gave me friends and a playlist of songs to remind me that I don’t have to give into the darkness. It’s a beautiful reminder to know that I have people in my corner so that I don’t ever have to fear sleeping into the darkness again. If I do though, I know that it’s okay. Falling doesn’t mean failing. Failing is falling and not getting back up. With the people I have in my life, I don’t think I could ever fall and not get back up, because God knew and still knows that that’s what it takes for me to stay strong. It takes a group of friends who will always help me back up.

CRAZY–Discernment, Guns, and God’s Protection

When I’m nervous, anxious, and or afraid, I write. This morning, I’m still feeling some nerves from one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me in the, two weeks short of, 22 years I’ve been on this earth. Therefore, I’m going to write about it and share about it on my blog, because my God is awesome and like Kari Jobe sings in “Keeper of My Heart,” “From the first to the last breath I breathe, the Lord watches over me.”

According to Merriam-Webster, discernment is the ability to perceive (feel, sense, or become aware of) and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently. Generally speaking, I have very strong discernment, and unfortunately, my discernment was spot on this morning on December 10, 2015 at approximately 12:15am at Walmart.

My coworker, Anna, and I are friends and we like to have dinner together on Wednesdays. When we’re not busy and working the same shift, we like to go to Walmart together. This morning, a light-skinned man with thick facial hair, who was dressed in all black walked into the store while we were walking out. He had a very series look on his face that troubled me, but he also wasn’t bad looking, so I made a passing comment to Anna, once he was out of earshot, that he was attractive in a dark and brooding kind of way, but also kind of mysterious and creepy. She laughed, I laughed, and we walked out to our cars where we stopped and had a nice a heart to heart conversation that was long overdue.

About fifteen minutes after we passed each other, the man we passed on our way out came running out of the store with a couple of employees chasing after him yelling. Anna and I recognized him and noticed that he had at least two guns on him—rifles, possibly assault rifles, idk if those are even sold at Walmart though? Anyway, scared beyond belief, Anna and I stopped in the middle of our heart to heart conversation, and I told her we needed to go home. Before we got in our cars, I told her to text me when she got home.

When we pulled out of the parking lot, Anna went first and turned right out of the parking lot, which was in the same general direction that the man ran toward. Already scared, I almost began to freak out, but my heart knew better and started to cry out to the Lord, so instead of listening to Justin Bieber like I had been planning to before the incident, I turned the radio on to the Christian radio station and listened to like-minded people praise the same God who saved me and Anna from potential danger.

When Anna and I were both safely home, we text messaged each other a few times and realized it might have been a good idea for us to have stayed and talked to the employees in case they needed us since we were eye-witnesses, but as young 20-somethings, we also realized we were too terrified to think clearly enough to have thought about doing that. I did however try to call them to see if we should have stayed, but since it was 1am, they didn’t answer.

I normally work until 1:15am, so I typically do my shopping at 2am after work, because it’s easier to do it then than to wake myself up to do it before work, so Anna and I had talked earlier that night about how I was going to go to the Walmart closer to my house after we separated, because I needed to buy a couple things that I didn’t find at the Walmart closer to work. So she asked me, “You are home already, right,” too which I answered, “Absolutely! I’m not gonna watch a guy run out of a store with at least two guns and not go straight home! I’m crazy, but not that crazy!” A couple of text messages later she said, “That’s crazy because you noticed him out of everyone at the store and said he looked creepy… you noticed something wrong before it happened.” This gift of discernment sometimes means that I feel like something is going to happen before it actually happens, not in like a supernatural, “I can see the future” kind of way, but in a very strong sense of “what if” kind of way.

More importantly than my gift of discernment though is the protection I have from God who according to Psalms 121:7-8, “keeps me from all harm, watches over my life, and keeps watch over me as I come and go, both now and forever.” For a passage that was written thousands of years ago, those words “keeps watch over me as I come and go,” seem to be strikingly specific for the situation Anna and I faced this morning.

If you’ve ever watched an action flick or show, then you’ve seen at least one scene in which the bad guy runs out of a building with guns, notices someone who could be a witness to his crime, and shoots them to avoid being caught. I can’t help thinking of those kinds of scenes tonight as I think of just how blessed Anna and I were to have been so close to this man not just as he walked into the building, but also as he ran out with at least guns, and are now safely in our beds physically unscathed by what could have potentially been a deadly situation had this man been like the thieves in movies and crime shows.

Now, I don’t know why God saved Anna and me from the potential danger of a man crazy enough to steal large guns, but we are safe and sound and to me that says God isn’t done with us yet. It says, God wants to use us and our lives for at least another day. Maybe He’ll even use this post for His glory and to be something positive in someone else’s life. Idk, but I do know, I’m here because God kept me and Anna from harm and He has a plan for our lives just like He has a plan for everyone else’s life.

I just wanted to share this crazy story with the world before going to bed, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep without writing about it, and also because the world needs to know about how awesome and protective my God is! Like for real! I can’t think of any other reason why I would feel such a strange feeling about a man I’d never met, only to have him run past me with at least two stolen guns fifteen minutes later without caring that the two girls who looked him straight in the face were standing in front of him yet again, unless it were to praise God for His love and protection in a situation that could have been very dangerous, especially considering the society that we live in!

What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

About thirty minutes before we got out of work tonight, my friend and coworker asked me a very important question. Have you ever thought about walking away from it all? It all refers to my faith. As I drove home from work, I thought about the profoundness of such a simple question. Have I ever thought about walking away from my faith, or more importantly, my God? I was quick to answer no, absolutely not! In my answer I quoted Britt Nicole’s song “All This Time” and said, “A line from one of my favorite songs says, ‘People ask why do I believe what I believe. Well, I’m not the same me and that’s all the proof I need.’” While that’s true, I realized while I was driving and thinking that it’s not quite as simple as that. As I thought about having never walked away from my faith, I thought about another question she asked. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Thinking of this question made me realize what my answer to the other question is: I’ve never considered walking away because of what I do when I don’t know what to do. What do I do? I cast my cares, concerns, worries, and anxiety upon the Lord. I do this because He takes care of me, He carries my burdens, and He cares about me.

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.

He will not permit the godly (those believing in God) to slip and fall.”

Psalm 55:22

Jesus Takes Care of Me. How do I know He will take care of me? I know, because He has proven it on more than one occasion—three that I remember more distinctly than any others.

1)                  Years ago, when I was still a very young driver, I accidently locked my keys in the car. This was terrifying for me, because it was the set of keys that we had. I knew that we had a “clicker” for the doors inside, but I also knew that it hadn’t worked for years. Desperate to get the keys out of the van though, I ran inside and found the clicker in a basket in the kitchen. I tried clicking it a few times, but it didn’t work. Then, I started frantically praying, begging God to let the clicker work “just this once.” After a few more tries, it did actually work. The doors came unlocked and I was able to get the keys out of the car. After I got the keys out of the van, just like before, the clicker didn’t work again.

2)                  Another time when God took care of me was when I locked the keys in the car again (I did that more times than I’d like to admit) in the church parking lot on a Sunday morning. This time, the keys were left in the ignition with the engine running. I don’t know how I managed to leave the keys in the running ignition and also lock them in the car, but I did. One of the men at church didn’t live too far away and he knew how to force the window down so we could unlock the car. This should have eased my anxiety, but it didn’t, because I knew that the gas tank was low. I started praying for the Lord to make the car not run out of gas, because I had just enough left to get to the gas station. When we ended up opening the car, I looked at the gas indicator and I was shocked to see that the arrow was showing more than it had been showing earlier. One might say the scare made me forget how much gas was in the tank, but I know that isn’t true. I always know exactly how much gas is in the tank, so that I know when I need to get gas.

3)                  Toward the end of 2014, I was driving in the rain. The rain was heavy and the road was slick. I was getting ready to take an exit when I drove over a wet spot. My car spun out of control in three spirals until I hit the railing facing the opposite direction as traffic. Before I could realize what was happening I turned my car around and exited like normal. In the short amount of time it took me to spin out of control and at the speed the other cars were going, I should not have been able to turn around and keep going without getting hit by another car. It happened though and it’s because, as the words to song the Kari Jobe song that was playing as the accident took place say, “From the first to last breath I breathe, the Lord watches over me.” There’s more to me not being injured though. When I got home and inspected the damage to my car, I saw that the only damage was a broken taillight. What!? I knew I hit the guard rail much harder than that! I felt and heard the impact! God not only takes care of me, but He also takes care of my belongings.

Then Jesus said,

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,

And I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

Jesus carries my burdens. I’ve written before about how I once had so many worries and concerns that I became so overwhelmed that I ended up hurting myself in an attempt to relieve myself from some of the pain and burden of it all. I’ve written about how truly miserable and depressed I was during that time. I’ve also written about how God is the one who got me out of the dreadful time in my life. He picked me up, held me in His arms, and carried me in His arms until I could walk on my own again. Since that time, when I let go of my burdens and gave them to the Lord, I come against times when I had to face my stubborn self in the mirror and remind myself that if I don’t open up and share my burdens with the Lord and His daughters whom He has placed in my life to help me live this life, then I will fall back into the “Abyss of Fire” that I analogically wrote about in The Light of Life. Since I gave my burden to the “Light of Life” that first time, I haven’t asked for them back, because I know if He carries them, then I’ll be okay!

Give all your worries and cares to God,

For He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

Jesus cares about me. I can’t tell you how many times I used to cry myself to sleep because of the harmful things I’ve thought about myself and about the world around me. It’s been a while since I’ve done that though, because I know the Lord is watching over me and He cares about me. When I feel sad about something, it’s almost as if I can physically feel Jesus’ arms wrap around me to hug me and tell me everything is okay. Sometimes, I even hear Him whispering in my ear, telling me that everything is going to be okay, when I’m scared and worried about something in my life. Sometimes, He shows me He cares though by placing certain people in my life. 1) He shows me He cares by putting people in my life who remind me that He cares for me and watches over me. The three main people who do that in my life are the three people I mention in almost every post—Allie, Holly, and Shelby. 2) He shows me He cares by putting people in my life who I can pour into and show that He cares about me and them. Some of those people are my coworkers, including the girl whose question prompted me to write this post. Other people are the people whom I send somewhat regular scripture text messages to, and other people are those who read this post, my other posts, and who will hopefully one day read the book I’m writing called “The Mask; Her Aid.”

What do I do when I don’t know what to do? Have I ever considered turning away from it all? I cast cares upon the Lord, because He takes care of me, carries my burdens, and cares about me, and that is why I have never considered walking away. I have thought, “What if I walked away, but I’ve never auctioned considered doing it, because I’ve seen in the lives of others what it’s like to walk away from faith—it’s miserable and heartbreaking—and I’ve felt in my heart that life is so much better when I’m clinging to the Lord, giving Him my worries, and letting Him take care of me!

My God Cares about the Little Things

            I believe in a God who still performs miracles. The first miracle I ever remember directly happening to me was something small, and one might say insignificant, but for me, it changed my life! When I was seventeen years old, I accidently locked my only set of car keys in the minivan my parents designated for me to drive. I knew my parents, especially my mom, would be irritated with me if she found out I locked my keys in the car, so I did the only logical thing I could think of doing. I went inside and got the clicker (car remote) to unlock the doors. There was only one problem though. That clicker had not worked in the two or so years that we owned the used vehicle and I knew that, but I was desperate, so I tried it anyway. I clicked it a few times, but it didn’t work, so I started praying, begging God to let it work, just that once. I clicked a few more times as I begged for God to make it work, telling Him that I knew He could and asking Him to prove to me that He cared even about the little things. After five or so clicks, I heard the doors unlock. I opened the door and got my keys out of the van. It never worked before then and it hasn’t worked since. One might say that was purely coincidental, but I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God honored my faith in Him and chose to perform a little miracle for me. That was about three years ago, I’m twenty now, but I still remember it like it was yesterday, because it proved two very important things to me. First, God does still perform miracles. Second, I really do serve a God who cares about every detail of my life, even the little things.

            Another small and insignificant part of my life when I remember God proving to me that He cares, even about the seemingly unimportant things—those that are essentially ineffective in furthering His kingdom—was when my friend/coworker and I traded shifts at work. She had asked me to take her evening shift, so she could take my morning shift and hangout with her friend who was visiting from out of town. I didn’t think I had anything planned that day, so I agreed to trade shifts. Almost immediately, another friend reminded me about a previous engagement that I had. So, I texted my work friend and asked if there was any way she could find someone else to take her shift. For a good half hour, she and I thought that neither of us would be able to participate in the events we wanted to go to, but then someone asked her if they could take her shift and it all worked out. I truly believe that was God working things out for my friend and I, because from the moment I knew I needed to take my shift back, I had started desperately praying that God would make it so that she and I could both do what we wanted to do. God answered my prayer the way I asked Him to and proved to me once again that He really does care about the little things!

            Tonight, He proved to me once again that He cares about silly things. One of my goals for 2014, because I failed to accomplish it right after graduation last year like I wanted to, is to eat healthier and exercise more. I’m so serious about this that I’ve written it down on my prayer notecards and even asked some of my friends to pray for me to stay disciplined. Tonight while I was at work, I planned on getting a peppermint milkshake while we still have them, but when I got home, I realized I forgot to get it. I immediately had this feeling that it was God looking over me and helping me to stick to my commitment of eating healthy. I could have remembered to buy that milkshake, but I didn’t, and I firmly believe that it’s because, as long as it doesn’t go against His commands and commandments, God cares about the things I care about. He knows that I’ve been trying to be healthier and He knows that I’ve been praying to Him, asking Him to help me to stay disciplined. He honored my attempts to better my life and answered my prayers.

            I know those three things are kind of silly and to you I might look like a crazy person for getting excited about things that are so trivial, and quite frankly, kind of shallow, but I don’t care. God is something to get excited about and He’s the reason I’m still excited about things that happened a few years ago, a couple of years ago, and just today. When I think about these three occurrences in my life, I can’t help but think of the passage in Luke when Jesus talks about the sparrows. Even though the passage is talking about not fearing about things that might happen in life, I believe Luke 12:6-7 is very relevant to a lot of other aspects in life.

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?

Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 12:6-7 (NIV)

            God cares about the sparrows which are of no value even on earth, why would He not care about the little details in my life? In the past, I have heard many people tell me that God doesn’t really care about every detail in your life. All He really cares about is that you’re following His rules and commandments, but I don’t buy that! Why would He count the hairs on my head and collect my teardrops in a bottle* if He didn’t care about every single detail of my life? That theory just doesn’t make sense to me! I know my God cares about each and every detail in my life! He cares about whether or not I go to college; He cares about what career path I take in life; He cares about who I’m going to marry and how many kids I’m going to have; and yes, He even cares about whether or not I eat the delicious peppermint milkshake whose several hundred calories would pretty much negate my efforts to be healthy.

 

My God cares about the little details; if your God doesn’t, I suggest you read your Bible and find that He really does care! J

 

*Psalm 56:8

I Am Not Worthy!

“I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant.”

Genesis 32:10

 

            Have you ever felt worthless? Have you ever felt like you don’t deserve to live? I have! There have been moments in my life when I have seriously questioned God about why He has given me life. Not in the servant-minded way because I was looking for my purpose in life, but because I didn’t feel like I deserved to live. Have you ever felt unworthy? Have you ever felt like you don’t deserve any of the good things you have in this life? I have! There have been many moments when I have felt like I don’t deserve the blessed life God has given me!

            There is a difference between feeling worthless and feeling unworthy! We should never ever feel worthless! We are of so much worth that the only thing worthy of buying us was the precious blood of a perfect Man named Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, who always was, always is, and always will be God Himself! I think we should feel unworthy, though! We should feel like we don’t deserve the blessed life we live, because we don’t deserve it! Every good and perfect thing in our life is given to us by a God who loves us and wants us to be happy, regardless of the fact that we are so undeserving! That’s called grace!

            I don’t deserve the house I’m in right now, the bed I’m sitting on at this moment, the cell phone on the bookshelf next to me, or the laptop I’m typing with right now! I don’t deserve the loving friends and caring family I have! I don’t deserve to live in a country where I have the freedom to worship God without risking my life! I don’t even deserve to be breathing right now.

I AM NOT WORTHY! YOU ARE NOT WORTHY! NONE OF US IS WORTHY!

            God loves us anyway though! He loves us with an unfailing love! His relationship with us is unfailing! He blesses us every single day! And, He daily drenches us with His grace. You may not be able to see the blessings and honestly, the blessings may not be anything more than breathing some days, but God blesses us EVERY day! You have loving friends! You have a caring family—blood, church, or adoption. If you don’t have loving friends or a caring family, then you’ve at least got me and Jesus! You might be reading this and I might not know you, but I care about you! You are worth the sacrifice of Jesus’ life and because of that, I choose to care about you, even before I know you!

More importantly than that, Jesus cares about you! He gave His life for you, even though you don’t deserve it! You might be a murderer/hater, so was Paul/Saul! God loves you both anyway! You might struggle with fornication (sex before marriage), so did Rahab! God loves you both anyway! You might have a big mouth, but so do I and so did Peter! God loves us anyway! You might be a liar, cheat, and or thief, so was Matthew, but God loves you anyway! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you struggle with! God loves you anyway! I am not worthy! You are not worthy! None of us is worthy!

BUT GOD LOVES ME! GOD LOVES YOU! GOD LOVES EVERYONE!

            It’s time to stop feeling worthless and start feeling unworthy! When we know we are unworthy, rather than worthless, we realize just how much we are blessed!

            “I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness” God has given me, but He gives it to me anyway! I’ll be honest with you; my life has REALLY been dragging me down lately, especially for the past two days, but I can see the blessings God has given me! I am a very mouthy and opinionated person, so I get myself in trouble a LOT with opening my mouth and inserting my foot! I disrespect my parents and dishonor my grandparents. In fact, for the sake of being authentic and honest, not five minutes ago, I disrespected my mother by yelling at her, but God still chooses to bless me anyway! My parents and grandparents love me. I have best friends who shower me in godly encouragement and constant reminders of God’s promises ALL THE TIME, and I don’t deserve that! I deserve to have friends who discourage me and tell me how awful I am for treating my parents, grandparents, and siblings the way I do, but God loves me so He has blessed me with friends who encourage and love me! I can sleep easy tonight, because, God shows His love for me in that while I am still a sinner, Christ died for me!

 

 

            For someone to talk to about something you might be struggling with or to ask questions of any kind, whether related to this post or not, send an email to daretohope12@aol.com.