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.

More Than Conquerors

When studying the Bible, or talking about love, the infamous chapter is I Corinthians 13. This chapter is one of my favorites, one of these days, I’m planning to write a post (most likely it’ll be in parts or just very, very long!) about the things I learned about love from being in a relationship. Because let me tell you, being “in love”, bring to life the idea and imagery of what it may be like with God. Just imagine it a thousand times better with God – because He doesn’t have selfish motives, He doesn’t ever break His word and He loves us completely and fully ALL THE TIME.

Continuing in Romans, I rediscovered the promises and the wonder of Romans 8:35-39. But there’s also some great stuff earlier in the chapter! 🙂

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 thy sake we are  killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isn’t that promise just beyond comforting? Troubles, persecution, lack of food, being naked, danger or death…just to name a few…none of these are going to come between the love God has for us. They cannot rip us from His hands or take us from His care. We may be, in the world’s eyes, easy prey. Many view Christians as weak, but if you look into the history of Christians – they are some of the strongest people you’ll ever meet. Nothing can overcome us, because we are in Christ and He has conquered death. Which means…we have overcome and conquered death. 🙂 Pretty cool, huh? Dying or living, spiritual beings, government, current circumstances or the “scary” unknown future…no matter how high or low you are, nothing can separate us from God’s love. It is always there. Always with us.

Always. That is such a beautiful word.

When we’re covered in Christ’s love, we have nothing to fear because we are more than conquerors in Him. Nothing can separate us from Him. Not what others do or say to/about us, not what sins we do, not how bad we think we are. He loves us, He has conquered everything and we can stand under His wings and find protection and love.