The Things That Matter

First thought this morning, as I opened my puffy, swollen, tear-stained eyes…I can’t believe I have to get up and go to Knoxville today. In the car on the way there, the driver and passengers all complained about the bad driving of others, the absurdity of the lights the government is putting up. In training, heard co-workers fuss about the work of gathering needs assessments in our counties. Tonight, I heard raised voices complain about having to suffer through a cold shower…when another family member had been throwing up and took the same cold shower. The difference…the sick individual didn’t complain, just answered “I’m okay, just taking a cold shower” – the healthy one…was very upset about the injustice of having to take a cold shower. Now, let me just say…I don’t like taking a cold shower and as of late we’ve had more cold showers than not at my house. But with 8 people on one hot-water tank, you either space showers out…or shower cold.

But as I listened to the rant about having to shower in cold water, God hit me. I am so ungrateful. On a large scale, we…all of us…are so ungrateful. I got the news yesterday that a beautiful, vibrant, young woman breathed her last breath. Alongside her husband and little girl. In one moment, their lives were gone.

Molly, Nick and Harper...went to be with Jesus on May 16, 2015.

Molly, Nick and Harper…went to be with Jesus on May 16, 2015.

The family is left to pick up the pieces and move on with an ache in their heart. I cannot even begin to comprehend the agony they must be going through. I worked with Molly…never realized she was only a couple months older than I was…and in a moment, she is no longer with us on earth. It’s sad, but my heart can rejoice because the neat part – she and the loves of her life, all got to meet Jesus…hand in hand.

Tonight, it hit me. Why am I complaining?

Lord, I am THANKFUL to be able to open my eyes.  Thankful to have a job to go to. I am thankful to have to travel so far and see new places and experience new people. I am thankful to know the pain of life…it means I’m alive. I am thankful for the tears…it means I can feel. I am thankful for sickness – because it makes me depend on you. I am thankful for cold showers…I can be clean. I can feel the cold sting of the water as you gasp from the cold. I am alive. Thank you for life, Lord. I can talk to my Dad, I can hug my Mom, tell my siblings “I love you”. I can laugh with friends. I can drive with the windows down and feel the wind across my face. I can feel the rumble of the thunder, get soaked from the side-driving downpour. I can revel in the beauty of a double rainbow…God’s promises. All too often, Lord, I focus on the negative. Forgive me. I need to learn how to be thankful. Grateful. For there are some that may never experience that again. I need to be thankful. I have so much to be thankful for.

Life is truly but a moment…one minute here, the next we’re gone. So, be with the ones you’ve got and be thankful for them. Remember you may not be able to tell them you love them. Do we want our last interactions with someone to be angry, hollered words or words of affirmation and love? It doesn’t matter if we realize they love us…do they hear it? We never know when we’ll get our last words. Our last hug. Don’t wait for that one chance to say it someday. Hug them today. Be thankful for them today. Be thankful for life…today. Right now. You may not have it later. Don’t waste our precious time being unthankful for what we “don’t have”. Rejoice for what we do have. The life. The love. The friends. Be in the present and live each day, each moment as if it was truly your last.

Where Healing is Found

Sometimes I have lots to say, and sometimes I just sit quietly when I go to spend time with Jesus. Over the last few weeks, these verses and quotes have been sinking into my heart and mind. I’ve done a lot of meditating on these truths. There’s a part of me that really enjoys blogging and opening up some of my thoughts, but I’m typically a very private person so I don’t like sharing everything I’m thinking and learning…too personal. 🙂 At least for the internet…so, some verses and then I’ll get to the quotes.

I was in Hosea (chapter 5 & 6) a while back and years ago, I was probably around 16 or 17 when I wrote this. So this is right before I graduated high school and went off to college, lived and learned, had successes and made mistakes, but I wish I would have known how true this verse would be. “I will go and return unto my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up….Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord

In the margins of my Bible, I wrote in pencil that God heals ALL hurt and damage. Even after doing wrong, with forgiveness we can live Holy with Him. Do we seek a relationship with Him? Do we desire God more than ANYTHING? Is God#1? Do you truly love Him? Oh the heartbreak and trials I could skip if I remembered this truth! Keeping God first…is so vital to everything else going a WHOLE lot smoother and easier. I’m getting a little better about this…but there are still days when it’s easy to slip into old habits that are destructive. When we allow the distance to grow between us and God, He remains in His place and we are left denying, or trying to justify our actions to Him. We can often cover our faults to others, but God knows. We can’t lie to Him, and by not being honest with God – we are placing distance between us. Sadly, God realizes it often takes affliction for us to return to Him. Over and over in history we see Israel being miraculously saved by God, turning their backs on Him, being enslaved, crying out to God…and then it repeats. I used to be amazed at how they would continue this pattern. My mind cried “Don’t you ever learn!?” But then God strikes my heart and goes “Will you ever learn, my daughter?” *shame* I got the message…I do the same thing. Maybe it’s different. Maybe I’m not a physical slave to harsh rulers…but I’m a slave to fears or a slave to bad attitudes, or a slave to others’ opinions, etc.

But then GOD swoops in, as I (finally) turn to Him for answers and goes “I was here all along. Here I am. I will save you.” This is usually followed by me spending time with God a lot more consistently. I do find that the wounds we are afflicted with…either in God’s pulling us back to Him or in our own sin that damages us – God doesn’t care where the wounds come from. He heals them. Cares for us. Binds up our broken pieces. Creates beauty in a broken vessel. The forgiveness and grace found in Jesus is incredible. Does it take away the pain? Some…over time. Other pains will linger forever in the recesses of our mind because of mistakes we made, the scars will always be there. But the healing does come WHEN WE SEEK GOD! 🙂