Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Peace of God Will Guard Our Hearts

There's a little piece of my heart that always hurts.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of my dad.  Not a day goes by that I'm not overwhelmed by a deep sadness.  Sometimes the overwhelming sadness only lasts a few seconds, sometimes just a few minutes, but nevertheless, it comes every day.  Every. Single. Day.  And when it comes, I feel like my heart is being squeezed so tight, and it just hurts.  It aches. 
If I had another chance... the things I'd do differently.  Oh boy, would I try to be a better daughter.  I'd be more. It breaks my heart that my time with him is up.  Has been up for over a year.  It breaks my heart that Cohen will never know him.  Even over a year later, I'm still so shocked that I'll never see him again.  I'm not even kidding.  It's surreal to me.   
This year has definitely had its fill of stressful times, and I'm so quick to become wrapped up in anxiety. It's a major weakness for me.  In the back cover of one of my dad's Bibles, he has written, "Anxiety is mark of spiritual insecurity."   Ouch. But so true. I've covered my desk at school with Bible verses, and one of those verses is Philippians 4:6-7, " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  This is one of my favorite sets of verses.  The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts.  Those words are full of amazing comfort.  As I was reading the verses tonight, I was drawn to the verses below it.  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  I love these verses.  May I set my mind on the pure, the praiseworthy, the lovely.  May I find the good in everything I do, in everyone I encounter. May I dwell on the good, sweet, loving memories of my daddy.   May I give second and third and fourth chances, with a forgiving heart and a loving attitude. May I find the light of Jesus throughout my day.  May my whole life be about Him.  Finding Him throughout my day. Finding Him on good days, and then searching for Him relentlessly on the bad days.  For He is good.  He is right.  He is pure.  He is admirable.  He is lovely.  May I be like Him. And then, through these things, the peace of God will surround me. 
Easy to write about, easy to want to be like this, but hard to do. So, so hard to do.  And I will fail.  But luckily, He is forgiving.  Full of forgiveness. 
Burn bright. Shine. As Cohen is so fond of saying these days, that's our only choice.  Just shine.  I pray that I allow God to make me more like the verses above.  Mold me, create me, help me, and forgive me for falling short over and over again. 
I miss my daddy.  As I wrote the words at the beginning of this, I could feel God tugging at my heartstrings, gently reminding me that although my earthly father is no longer here, He is.  He's here, willing to give me another chance, and another, and another... to do things differently.  To be more. To be more like Him. 
All of me.  He wants all of me. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

To Be Like Noah...

It has been raining for hours.  Nonstop.  Cohen ran to me saying, "Mommy, we need to build an ark like Noah."  :-)  It got me thinking about ole Noah.  Noah, a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time.  And he walked with God. (Gen. 9:1)  I wish those words could be said of me. Noah's faith is astonishing to me.  Hebrews 11:7 states, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."  So Noah was basically just amazing.  He followed God, trusted God, witnessed to the people around him about God, he lived for God.  And he raised his family to follow God as well.  His wife was there helping, along with his sons. 
God invited Noah into the ark.  Genesis 7:1, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation."  And just like God saved Noah from the flood, He saves us today from the darkness of this world.  The Bible starts out in Genesis with an invitation to be saved, and it ends with an invitation to be saved.  Revelation 22:17 says, "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"  And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." 
This invitation is for anyone.  That verse says WHOEVER wishes.  We all need Him.  We need a Savior.  We need Jesus.  And those of us who have Jesus already, we need to be little Noahs in this dark world.  Living for Jesus, walking with God.  Warning the people, just as Noah did.  Doing God's work, in the midst of ridicule and cruelty.
Our world today couldn't be much different than the world that Noah lived in before the flood.  It's full of evil.  We need God to be our refuge.  As I was flipping through my dad's Bible tonight, the verse about God being our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble, was on my mind.  I looked at where the bookmark was in his Bible, and it was on the page of Psalm 16:1.  He had marked a little * next to this verse, "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge."  This is a true story, too.  I had been praying, asking God for a glimpse of my dad today, and He provided.  I love how God works.  I love it.  And I'm so glad He's my refuge.  My hiding place. 
I pray that I will be more like Noah this week.  That I will walk with God more.  That I will be a wife of faith, a mom a faith, a teacher of faith, a friend of faith.  I pray that I will be what God desires me to be.  All of me.
I'm reminded of this old spiritual:
"I want Jesus to walk with me
I want Jesus to walk with me:
All along life's pilgrim journey
I want Jesus to walk with me

In my trials He'll walk with me
In my trials He'll walk with me
All along life's journey
I know that Jesus (Jesus walks with me) will walk with me ."