march has come and gone

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
-Oscar Wilde

It’s hard to believe that the month of March has already come and passed. What a wild ride it was where I painfully realized that I still had so much more to learn regarding trust and understanding God’s sovereignty in every aspect of life. God has been patient with me, though. Revealing to me, bit by bit, how I need to grow and how I need to be applying the truths that I know to my life and my daily walk.

Beautiful days were spent with people I love discovering that mochas enjoyed at the coast and pineapple ice cream shared with a friend are pretty much the most wonderful things ever. Moments were spent sitting and waiting at the hospital while others were spent singing hymns around a bonfire at the beach.  It was a month in which I got far too little sleep and ate chocolate with a friend in the airport. I’ve had to face my insecurities and confront issues that I’ve ignored for too long. My flaws and inadequacies have overwhelmed me, and the prospect of impending loss brought me to my knees. All of those painful and glorious moments reminded me that life is an incredible and daring adventure and through the mountains and the valleys, God is good and is holding the entire world in His gracious hands.

Day after day,
We’ll find the will to find our way.
Knowing that the darkest skies will someday see the sun.
-Next to Normal

Talking about Jesus, and sanctification, and life, and the past, and the future … it all brought about a sense of grand discovery where I realized why I was close to the friends that I loved the most; because they point me to Christ and encourage me to continue to run after Him when I feel weak and discouraged. It is because their love and focus is on the same Savior that mine is on.

Seriously. God is so amazing. He knows what we need far better than we think we know for ourselves. His timing is perfect and He knows what situations we need so we can be in an opportunity to glorify Him most with our lives. Who are we to complain about His timing or what He divinely choses to give us or take away from us? It’s like a friend told me once, we must hold everything with an open hand. Open so we are available and willing and thankful to receive what God gives us, but also willing to allow Him to take those things away as well. We cannot be closed off to His blessings, but we also can’t hold onto them with clutched fists either, unwilling to let go.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
-C.S. Lewis

God is just so good. And life is hard and beautiful and confusing and wonderful and there are moments that make you want to cry for no reason at all, but it’s moments like that where I can just thank God for what He has done for me in the past, where He has me now, and what He is preparing for me in the future.

reflections on philippians

…and this is how Wednesday mornings look for my life-long friends, Hannah and Emily, and me. Ever since the beginning of the year we have been working through a Bible study on Philippians and have been meeting early on Wednesday mornings to discuss our answers and what we’ve learned and how we’ve been convicted to change. Because we’ve known each other for so long and are so close, we are able to open up and have real genuine conversations about our struggles and our triumphs and how God has been molding us into women who are more like Christ. Today our lesson was on how God works in us and it was the most helpful study and time of reflection that we have had yet.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
-Philippians 2:12-13, ESV

Isn’t it remarkable to know that God is working in us to conform our wills to His? He is guiding not only our actions, but our desires as well so we can do the works for Him that He has prepared beforehand for us to walk in (to borrow the words of Ephesians 2:10.) Being in subjection to the cross requires spiritual discipline and perseverance and daily effort, but I can think of nothing else as worthwhile.

Everything in our lives should be “worked out with fear and trembling” as we seek God’s will above our own and view each sanctifying situation as a blessing rather than a trial. He is with us and holds our lives in His hands and will empower us to honor Him through every situation He puts in front of us.

What a wonderful truth that I am so thankful for and was so glad to be reminded of this week.

words for today

In my devotions yesterday and this morning, I decided to once again pick up my copy of Spurgeon’s Mornings and Evenings. The readings were especially poignant and I am sharing excerps here in the hopes that these words can be as much of an encouragement to any of you who are reading this as they were to me.

 

Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain His company, for only in His presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide.

Let us recollect the frail tenure upon which we hold our temporal mercies. If we would remember that all the trees of earth are marked for the woodman’s axe, we should not be so ready to build our nests in them. We should love, but we should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons upon separations. Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and the hour when we must return them to the lender’s hand may be even at the door. The like is certainly true of our worldly goods. Do not riches take to themselves wings and fly away? Our health is equally precarious. Frail flowers of the field, we must not reckon upon blooming for ever. Beloved reader, set not your affections upon things of earth: but seek those things which are above, for here the moth devoureth, and the thief breaketh through, but there all joys are perpetual and eternal. The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!

We were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!