Monday, August 25, 2014

Trust, Fear, and Grace

I like to think I can trust God.  I certainly believe in His power, goodness, and presence through good and bad.  I believe that he has a Big Plan and that someday I will understand it.


It's easy to trust God when things are going great.  Right?

But I've also begun to realize that when life goes haywire--for whatever reason--it's harder for me to trust God. To truly trust Him.  I've thought a lot about this recently and I think I finally understand why--it's because I don't trust myself.  I tend to blame myself for things that happen.

If my child has cavities it's my fault for not making certain they are flossing perfectly.  If my teen has friend problems it's my fault for not teaching them how to navigate relationships properly-- and probably my fault for not fulfilling all that they needed in relationships in the first place.  If my child gets sick I at least partially blame myself--even when Joe had cancer I couldn't help but remember that when he was a baby we were living in Europe in the path of Chernobyl.  Perhaps I could have done something different to protect my child? 

And my own trust issues go even deeper than guilt.  The last few years have had times of intense pain.  I learned that even if I called out for desperate mercy it might not come.  My loved one might not be healed.

In the last 7 years we have lost our precious son, my husband's brother, my husbands sister, my husband's mother, my father, and our one-year-old nephew. Most recently, we even lost our dog to cancer.  The grief sometimes seems never ending. 

One of my children said it's almost like all we can do is just wait for the next bad thing to happen. 

And the fact that my child thinks that way breaks my heart. 

But I get it.

God never said life was going to be easy.  It certainly wasn't for his very own Son.

With all of that, trust can be hard.

But what I have to hang onto is that even in the midst of pain there has been MORE joy.  In the past 7 years we have added three incredible children, a beautiful daughter-in-law and grandchild, and many nieces and nephews.  Life has tears but also so much joy and LOVE!  I always trust that at some point in the future there will be more happiness.

And I really do believe that God has a master plan.  I might not always like it, but I HAVE to trust it because if I don't then my faith will soon be non-existent.  And what I'm realizing is that even if I don't trust myself to get things right--even if I do unintentionally mess God's plan up--then He is going to somehow make it all okay. I'm learning to give myself grace--I can only do my best.  I can only keep praying for guidance and turning toward Christ and then keep working my hardest to proceed in the direction I believe God is leading me.  And if I feel no lead I must make my best guess.  My job is to keep a solid connection to Christ both in good tines and bad so that I can listen for his guidance.  And to remember that God is truly in control even if I don't understand everything on this side of heaven.

And recognizing all of that helps me release my fears.  Which brings a peace that surpasses all understanding.  I can only do my best.  God will do the rest.  Trust. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Light of the World Forever Reign

It's been a long, crazy summer.  There have been really great parts and some really challenging parts.  One of the most difficult aspects of blog writing is that I can't always write about the challenging parts. Life can be hard sometimes, and I keep just trying to remember that God is in control.  When you haven't heard from me on the blog it usually means we would appreciate some prayers!  
Speaking of prayer, I wanted to share some beautiful pictures from Lan Lan's baptism.  She has such a deep faith--the true faith of a child.  She has the most amazing dreams that revolve around her faith and Jesus--I love to imagine all the ways God will use her for his greater glory! 
Each child who was baptized chose some special words to be read.  Lan Lan had a vivid dream that included the song Forever Reign, by Hillsong:

 I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus