Breathe In, Breathe Out

Life can sometimes be overwhelming, can’t it? There are always things that seem to pop up when they are the least expected, and the least wanted. Why can’t things ever be easy? Why don’t more things go right? The car quit working and to get it fixed is going to cost, I’ve stalled out on my weight loss, sometimes I just want to eat gluten even though it makes me very ill, some people have given me the cold shoulder, it hurts and confuses, I have friends that are going through difficult circumstances and my heart breaks, dogs and cats that poop and puke and make a mess for the umpteenth time, my muck boots have a tear in them (yuck), and my work schedule has been thrown off. I’m just plain old, tired.

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After going through my laundry list of all the wrongs in my world, I am reminded of something one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, wrote in her book, One Thousand Gifts. She talked about how often we see the holes in this fabric of life. Our eyes so often concentrate on the empty…..we neglect to see the full. (my paraphrase) I will admit, I am so guilty of this. I know better….I know what it is to be thankful, and yet I allow myself to fall into the “if only” mentality. If only I did this or that, if only I had this or that then everything would work out and life would be great.

The Great Deceiver whispers in a quiet voice, a voice that chokes and smothers. One that taunts me about all there is to not be thankful for. All the things that are not good. All the ways that Christ lets me down. Fear creeps in through the cracks, and he smirks. Fear. Fear of all the what if’s, the if only’s, the pain, the misunderstandings, the exhaustion, the Father of Lies doesn’t retreat….he presses in harder. He wants to break me. That is what he is all about. He wants to come to kill and destroy, but I know The Truth. Christ has come that I might have life and have it to the full.

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

Will this life ever be perfect? No. We live in a broken, sin cursed world. Oh, but sweet friends, there is still so very much to be thankful for. Right in this moment, with the very breath that fills our lungs with life giving oxygen. Breathe in. He loves us. Breathe out. He cares. Breathe in. He lives. Breathe out. Forever.  Amen.

God’s Story

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Life has joy mixed with sorrow. Incredible highs punctuated with incredible lows. Births and marriages. Smiles and friendships, scattered amongst deaths, chronic illness, financial challenges and broken promises.

There are so many people that I know that are going through difficult times. People that are hurting because life has handed them situations that seem almost impossible to handle.

*Family members that continue to fight through treatments to rid their bodies of cancer. Their bodies are tired.

*A friend whose husband has to face early onset Alzheimers in his 40’s…and she has to watch it.  It seems so unfair.

*A friend of a friend who woke up yesterday morning to find her teen had passed away during the night. And a mother’s heart breaks.

*A woman from my home school group who said goodbye to her husband one morning in early November, he died hours later in an accident. And she is lonely.

* A mother who has three children and all three children are on the autism scale. She feels overwhelmed.

*Friends whose hearts are broken because of divorce. And they feel like failures.

*Financial devastation. Lost jobs. Foreclosures. And they are scared.

It’s easy to love God when life is going well. When the bills are paid, the house is warm, and the family is safe. How do I feel about Him when life is hard and seems unfair to me? I thought I wasn’t supposed to get more than I could handle? WHERE IS GOD?!

Not being able to get pregnant again after my only child. A first husband who died from a chronic illness. A father who chose to take his own life. A second husband who lost his job of 22 years. Pain. Broken dreams. Confusion. Scared. I have been there.

Life isn’t fair. I said it out loud. It tastes bitter in my mouth. I gag on the pain of saying it. And yet it is true.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to both. It really doesn’t make any sense by itself.

Each of our lives must be looked at in the scope of eternity. Each of our lives is but a chapter in God’s great story of redemption. When we just “read” our chapter, most of the time it doesn’t make sense by itself. It seems jumbled and confusing. And not fair. It is impossible for us to fully understand how we fit into the story…how our chapter is interwoven with others.

But God does. He knows. His story began before time. He is an exceptional and deliberate writer. He sees each smile, and marks every tear. As He penned the story He already knew how it would end. Each of us is a part of His grand story of redemption. In light of His son, Jesus Christ, everything begins to make sense. It is Jesus that makes this story special. And real. And alive.

It is He, that is the main character in God’s story of redemption. The reader begins to see the central theme of God’s story is love.

Love for a hurting and dying world.