Monday, October 28, 2013

The Blue Screen of Death

My laptop is about to die...because I'm about to hurl it through a window...

Ok not really, but it IS irritating the heck out of me.  I keep facing the blue screen of death.  Sure, it reboots and works again, but I never know when the next crash will occur. 

So I'm typing away on a droid touchscreen phone...good times.  I'm praying a factory reset will restore my laptop's sanity! 

Now I'm off to do laundry...because THAT is how exciting I am.  Was there a purpose to this?  Not really, but this IS my place to ramble out loud...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Priceless Love

I almost didn't participate in the blog hop this week.  I struggle with depression, and today isn't great. 

That's just the reason I figured I should go for it!  It may be short, but I will push through this.  I will at least share what God has showed me this week...

This book keeps touching me in many ways, but this part stopped me in my tracks.  It hit me so hard I actually had to go back and read it again....and tweet about it...and post about it on Facebook.  This is me, every second of every day. 
I don't even know where to start:
  • I like my house until I see how much nicer everyone else's is...and then I realize I'm not providing enough for my family.
  • I am proud of my children, but when they make mistakes I feel like I wasn't a good enough parent.
  • I love my lifegroup (small group at church), but I see how they all have more willpower and success and money than I feel like a huge loser. 
  • I enjoy writing my blog, but since I don't much of a following sometimes I want to give up. 
  • Everyone says I am pretty decent at photography, but then I see how amazing others are and realize I will never measure up.
  • I love my husband, but I don't feel like I'm a good enough wife to him.
  • I'm struggling to find the right job, so I am a failure in my career.
I could go on all get the idea.
I default to self-loathing.  I'm stuck on that setting.  It's like auto-correct on your phone that always goes straight to the same word.  In my case, that word is "loser". 
Sometimes it makes me work harder and harder to please others or get a promotion or have more people read my blog or whatever...other times I just want to give up.  It's exhausting, and I feel like I will never measure up.  Because the truth is, if I'm basing my worth on things or titles or people I never will! 
If I get that job I can call myself a _______.  Then I will be enough.
If I get _______ followers on my blog I can call myself a writer.  Then I will be enough.
If my kids graduate with honors from college and get that perfect job, then I will be enough.
If I manage to keep the house perfectly clean and arrange my furniture a certain way and decorate like a magazine picture, then I will be enough.
If I get a better house and stick to a better eating plan and workout more and make more money and and and....then I will be enough.
Guess what?  My job will never be enough.  I will always want to improve myself.  I will always want to keep knowing more people are interested in my words.  My kids will always do their own thing and make their own choices.  No matter how new my furniture is, once we live in it a few weeks there will always be something better out there.  There will always be someone skinnier.  There will always be a bigger house. There will always be others that will be "more" than me. 
God's love is priceless.  He loves me no matter what.  The problem is that I can't seem to love myself.   
I have to learn that I am worthy because GOD SAYS I AM.  
And if I can't receive that and let it be enough, nothing else ever will be...


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Unpacking a Verse: Isaiah 49:23b

Then you will know that I am the Lord;
those who hope in me will not be disappointed.  Isaiah 49:23b

I've decided that for this week's blog hop in Proverb's 31 "A Confident Heart" Study, I will "unpack" Isaiah 49:23b.  See: Verse Mapping 

I considered all the other topics, but since doubt and depression are huge issues for me I didn't feel ready to write about them.  Maybe I will get there...for now, Isaiah 49:23b.
The first thing I did was personalize...

Then Heather will know that I am the Lord; when Heather hopes in me she will not be disappointed.

I need to remind myself that He speaks directly to me through His word. 

Next I thought about the word "know".   It doesn't say Heather will speculate or guess or says "know".  That is tough for me.  I want no doubts.  I want to be sure with everything in me that He is Lord and what He says is true.  Theoretically I get it, but I still question Him all the time.  And then it hit me...He is assuring me that I will know.  I will get there. 

But the next part of the verse speaks to that. 

Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

When Heather hopes in me she will not be disappointed. 

According to Merriam-Webster, "hope" means...

: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

So if Heather wants to know He is the Lord and thinks it could be true she will not be disappointed! 

If I want to "know" and think it can happen it will.

Lord, please help me grow closer to you each day.  Give me such a thirst for you that I make the time to spend with you each day, regardless of anything else going on around me.  Give me the faith to hang on when I feel uncertain and lead me to a place where I have no doubts.  Remind me that my feelings can be deceptive, and I can choose to believe even when I don't "feel" it.  Thank you, Lord, for what you have already done in me!  And thank you for what is to come!

This makes me think of a song that speaks to my desire to know Him more so I thought I'd share.  Be blessed and thank you for reading!

"Desert Soul" by Rend Collective



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Excited Newbie

And we are off on a new adventure...

As some of you know, I am jumping into an online study for the book "A Confident Heart" by Renee Swope.

You should check it out!  Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies

Anywhoo...I've struggled with low self-esteem, self-doubt, self-loathing, and any other negative self-whatever-you-can-think-of for as long as I can remember.  I drive myself (and often everyone else around me) crazy with it.

I am begging and screaming and praying that God will use this to heal some seriously broken junk within me....not through my power but HIS.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Actually, God tells us that in his Word MANY I'm holding on to that truth for dear life!

Please keep me in your prayers as I delve into this head first.  Thanks.  Love you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Because life is just hard...

Life is hard. Not “my life is hard” or “your life is hard”. Life is just hard.

I know it may not be an epiphany for some of you, but this is where I work out the thoughts in my head. Hear me out. 

Last night, I watched the Glee episode where they said goodbye to Finn. The actor, Cory Monteith, died from a deadly combination of heroin and alcohol. He had gone to rehab more than once, but addiction ultimately claimed his life. He was only 31. He was rich and famous and had a beautiful girlfriend (some rumors say fiancĂ©e). His story is one of a kid who got wrapped up in drugs, dropped out of school and was headed nowhere. In a “rags to riches” story straight out of Hollywood, the kid without a future auditioned for a role on Glee and made it. He didn’t get a little bit part either. Cory’s character, Finn Hudson, was the core of the group. In fact, I’d say Finn was what made Glee great. He was the dopey jock that actually cared about people. He was the nice kid that just needed a little encouragement to stand up for his fellow man. He was the cute football player that actually cared enough about the dorky drama chick to go out with her, regardless of what his friends thought. He was that guy you couldn’t hate for his success because he was just so darn sweet. He was the guy who gave you hope when you felt like an outcast. I loved Finn for all that. I loved Cory because he seemed like a genuine nice guy to everyone.

None of that was enough. I think about the struggle he must have fought within himself. I think about how much self-loathing he must have felt when he picked up a bottle or a needle, knowing his girlfriend and family believed he was healing. I think of how he may have felt knowing the whole world was talking about his addiction. I think about the pressure celebrities are under. I think of a sad soul who destroyed his life. Because life is hard.

I read a blog post today from a missionary in Cambodia who helps victims of sex trafficking. It broke my heart. I thought about all those broken people living in slavery, subjected to horrible situations. I thought about a culture where it’s ok to sell your daughter to feed the rest of the family. I thought of girls who volunteer to prostitute themselves to help out. I thought of government officials and police who overlook things because girls aren’t valuable enough to care about. Because life is hard.

Then I thought about my stepmother who died last week, our dog that died Monday, and the fact that I’m still waiting for a job. I remembered crying together as a family. I remembered my ongoing struggle with depression. Because life is hard.

When I get down and feel that emptiness inside, people tell me to focus on my blessings. They remind me of how much worse my life could be, and I get it. The problem isn’t just me. I am broken for this world. I can’t wrap my head around someone that takes joy in hurting another person. I hate thinking about “how much worse” life can be because I weep for this fallen world.   

The victim of sex trafficking.

The child who is forced into the army.

The girl with the smile on her face that is contemplating suicide.

The homeless person sleeping under a bridge.

The loner who has been bullied and is scared to walk into school.

The weird kid who has trouble making friends.

The rape victim who is disowned by her family.

The rich kid who has money but is ignored by his parents.

And I could go on…

The point is that hearing how much better I have it than others makes me incredibly sad. It also makes me realize that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. Life is hard. There will always be someone who appears to have it better or worse, but they struggle too. You may not see it, but everyone is dealing with something. So try to understand and be a little nicer to each other…

If this world is so messed up why are we here? I have contemplated that and prayed about it. We spend years and money and talents searching for our purpose, but I believe it is simple. 

We are NOT here to criticize, abuse, and cast stones. We are not here to beat people over the head with legalistic doctrine. We are here to be a light in the darkness. We are here to be Jesus to a lost world. We are here to be living examples of His love.

For you were once darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

If we know Him we are blessed beyond what can be seen in this life. This is not my home. 

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going."  Thomas said to him, "Lord we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.   If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him."  John 14:1-7

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This world is a mission field, and I am a visitor. Thank you, God! The more I remember that and look to Jesus, the more peace I will have while I am here. 

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

Because life is just plain hard, but God's got this!

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28
So I choose to look to Jesus for my hope and comfort.  He makes this hard life bearable...and I am so thankful my future is not in this world.  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The faith of a mustard seed...

I’ve been hiding in my room a lot the past few days.  I tend to do that when life gets overwhelming.  It may not be the healthiest way to cope, but it works as long as I don’t stay there too long.  Introverted by nature, sometimes I just have to step away from everything.  I read.  I pray.  I listen to inspirational music.  And sometimes I just sleep…

Yesterday my stepmother went to be with Jesus.  So I’m in one of those phases today.  I will be ok.  I just need some alone time. 

One positive that comes from me hiding out is I tend to write more, and writing is therapeutic for me. 

Today I am in a weird place.  I’m hiding out, but I’m restless.  Having exhausted all the usual mind-numbing habits (checking facebook, flipping through channels, etc) I decided to open the Bible.  I realize that should be the first thing I do, not the last.  However, today it just is what it is.  I’ve had it next to me on the bed.  I have looked at it several times.  I just haven’t brought myself to open it. 

Why do I do that to myself?   I’m not angry at God.  I’m not being lazy.  (Well, I am being lazy, but not about that…)  So what then?

Something I read in “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope keeps coming back to mind.  She said “He’s led me beyond believing in Him to really believing Him by relying on the power of His words and living like they are true no matter what my feelings tell me.”  Wow.  I read that a few days ago, but I can’t let it go.  It struck a powerful chord in me.  I think that is why I have such a hard time reading the Bible.  That is why I make progress in my walk but slide back downhill.  I struggle daily to believe Him.  I believe IN HIM, but that isn’t the same thing. 
I believe in a lot of people, but I don't necessarily believe what comes out of their mouths.  Belief in a person just means they exist.  I believe Hitler existed, but I certainly don't believe in the things he said.  I believe in the existence of politicians, but get the point...
But there is someone I should have no doubts about!   I mean just think about it.  Jesus made some pretty powerful promises.  So why do I live in fear and doubt?  It boils down to a faith problem.  So I am praying for faith.  I want to be secure in the knowledge that my Father’s got this.  I want turning to God to be as natural as breathing.   I want to kneel at the altar and KNOW that He hears me.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20 

Lord, you know my heart.  Open my eyes to your truth and give me the faith to believe everything your Word tells me.  Grow my relationship with you so that I recognize your voice above all others.  Help me be secure and confident in you.  Thank you, Lord, for the changes you have already made in me and the ones that are coming.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.