For a Moment

For a moment I am in this moment,
One moment following another and another moment.
Too many moments on my mind and I become stressed,
But with so many unknowns and so much to do, how can I rest?

In the noise of the day, He still calls me to come and be –
Here, in this moment, for a moment, to taste and see.
Not to worry about what has been or what will come,
But to rest and remember where my hope comes from.

Just.
Be.

Be still and be in His presence.
To be in awe of His love and omnipresence.
For though He is outside of time and I am bound by it for now,
He chooses to meet me here in this moment somehow.

With His grace that abounds, He covers me,
For this moment and all of my moments that will be.
And though my mind inevitably wanders and goes astray,
He doesn’t leave me but faithfully, He stays.

In this moment He tells me to just be still,
To listen attentively and learn of His will.
In my doubts He reassures me,
That He is sufficient and in Him I’m free.

And as one moment with Him turns to another,
My anxiety begins to lose its great, overwhelming power.
He reminds me that these moments will someday be a memory,
And I will be with Him for all of eternity.

All the moments of this life together do indeed overwhelm me,
But that is not all there is to this story.
This life shall last but for a moment and that moment is short,
But I will cherish it each day until He welcomes me to His courts.

Until that day, He is with me for this moment,
And for the next moment and every other moment.
Too many moments on my mind and I become stressed,
But by His grace and power, I can rest.


Listen to a spoken version below:

Circumstances

For so long I’ve been complaining about circumstances, especially circumstances related to living a life of faith.

I live in New England…which although it’s beautiful, it certainly isn’t the Bible belt. I’ve been here in Massachusetts my whole life. I go to a very secular college. There are very few people who even consider themselves Christians. At Bible Study, we’re lucky if we have 4 students come. I haven’t been feeling really comfortable at church for various reasons. In addition to all of this, I’m dealing with friend problems, anxiety, and other struggles of life.

No matter where we reside, growing closer to God is hard. Satan attacks us with all he has. Sometimes it feels impossible for me to grow closer to Him when the places I spend my time are so far from Him. But still, I am here and I’m obviously here for a reason. I need to stop blaming my circumstances. I’m living in a dark place but that doesn’t mean that God’s light is extinguished. God is still here. God is in every dark place where one of His children calls upon His name.

I’m here for a reason. I’m in this state, at that school, at that church for a reason. I don’t plan to be in this state or church for the rest of my life but I’m here now. I want to make the best of it. I want to learn what God wants me to learn. I want to grow closer to Him even in the darkness and be a light in this dark world. God’s got a plan. I don’t know it yet, but I know He has one for every moment of my life.

Being Thankful for the Blessings in Disguise

I believe in being thankful for the blessings masked as curses. I believe in searching for the blessings behind the difficult, stressful and mundane things in life. I am thankful for the warm shower I take at some way too early hour of a chilly morning. I might be exhausted and want to do nothing but sleep but I have the access to what some consider a luxury. I am thankful for the chaos that I recently survived (finals and the end of the semester). At least I have the opportunity to go to school and get an education. Now I have a much needed break and can enjoy the Christmas season. I am thankful for the chaos in my life that keeps me from being bored and makes the moments of fun even more enjoyable. In the midst of a hectic schedule, I am thankful for those short and rare meetings with friends that perhaps mean so much more than if I saw my friends all the time. I enjoy their company and their support. I am also thankful for my family. Perhaps that seems lame but it is true. Despite the stressful circumstances that my family has been going through, we always have each other’s backs.

Life is not always peaceful and enjoyable. There are thorns among the roses everyday. If those thorns did not exist, neither would the rose. Both the thorns and the roses are a part of the bush. Both the good and bad are a part of life. But I believe in being thankful for the good and the bad, for both come from God and are a part of His master plan. Sometimes the things we perceive as bad are actually simple blessings in disguise.

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it”

God is faithful. God never leaves us. God helps us get through the tough stuff in life. I’ve known this for a while but the past couple weeks have been strong reminders of these facts.

It all started about two weeks ago. We had to put one of my cats down. (I know he was just a cat but after basically spending as long as I can remember with him, it was a very sad day). That was also the last week of classes and therefore quite hectic. Then towards the end of that week, we got a call saying that my mormor (grandma) was deteriorating fast. The doctor said that she may only have hours or possibly days left. Although she had been suffering and battling poor health for a long time now, those were still hard words to swallow. We spent a fair amount of our Friday and Saturday by her side even though she basically just slept. (She was under the influence of pain medications). She finally died in the early hours of the morning last Sunday. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep that weekend nor did I get much studying done. This past week was the dreaded finals week. I started studying for both of my Monday exams on Monday. Not the ideal situation but that’s what happened. Although all my grades probably won’t be back until next week, I learned today that I got an A on at least one of them. I also saw good final course grades in several of my other classes already posted.  God got me through those finals and the stress and the sleep deprivation. There is no other explanation. I firmly believe that He has been helping me with all the college stress since the beginning. I may not know what I want to do after college, but I know that I can and should trust Him. Today (Friday) was the funeral and it was tough. I pretty much lost it towards the end and started bawling. I was extremely close to my mormor. I miss her terribly. I am of course thankful that she is at rest and that she is reunited with my grandpa after 25 years of being separated by death. Selfishly though, I miss her. God has been helping all of us through this though. One of my high school friends went through the effort to travel back to our hometown from her dad’s house quite a distance away just to be with me. She went to the wake and funeral even though she never knew my mormor. God has seriously blessed me with an amazing friend. My other friends (real life and Twitter) have been understanding as well. You guys are God-sent. Our pastor has been really supportive and helpful too. I know that is part of his job but he has gone above and beyond. He’s even accompanying us to the cemetery next week (which is over two hours away).

These weeks have been crazy weeks but God has seen me through. As never before I see the truth behind the saying “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” The crazy thing is, my prayers have been far and few between this past week. I feel bad about it but I have also been reminded of something very important. God knows our needs better than we do. We don’t have to beg Him for things, He knows what we need. Even though my prayers were short and few, He was faithful to me all week. And He will continue to be faithful. This I know.

 

 

The Tulip Tree

God is with us every moment and always takes care of us. For some reason however, we often seem to forget this. He does not hide but rather He reminds of us his presence through everything that he has done. Too often though, we do not recognize Him or appreciate what He has done. Instead, we often take advantage of what we have. We get caught up is hustle and bustle of everyday life. We let stress, worries, and fear gnaw at us. For some reason, we lose sight of the One who always takes care of us and who wants to comfort us. We are all guilty of this at some point. I know that I fall in this trap more than I would like to admit.

Lately I have been freaking out about the fact that I am now a high school graduate. Seriously, I have no idea where senior year, or high school for that matter, went. I worry about starting college in the fall. My friends are all going to different schools. College costs a lot of money. The campus is huge. My worries seem endless. And then there are other concerns that lurk in my mind. Worries about my grandma (who has a multitude of health concerns), my mom (who is very stressed out with various situations), my cat (who could possible have cancer). Amidst all this, sometimes I simply do not feel good about myself. I’m sure that everyone feels this way at some point or other. The list does not end there of course, but you get the idea.

The other day, I noticed something that made me stop my worrying and think for a moment. Out of the jagged edges of a tree limb stump, new shoots of stems and leaves had sprung up. This plant, a tulip tree, had taken a severe beating during the freak October snow storm of 2011. During the storm, a large portion of its branches cracked and broke under the weight of the heavy wet snow. Once we removed the broken limbs and some of the snow, the full extent of the damage became clear.

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The tree appeared thin, uneven, and misshapen. It had always burst with gorgeous flowers in the spring but now it appeared bare and sullen. Most people would have just cut it down thinking that it would never recover its former beauty. It may have been considered a lost cause. For some reason though, we decided to keep it, at least for a couple years to see what would happen. If no improvement was apparent by then, we would consider cutting it down. Come spring 2012, the remaining branches produced flowers but the tree still looked bare. Though the broken branches were long gone, the jagged stumps from which they were ripped from remained as a reminder of the stormy year prior. A late spring frost quickly turned the flowers brown and limp. The tree was far from a sight of beauty. Soon the dead flowers fell and green leaves took their place like all the years before. Then, a few days ago, my family noticed the new green shoots coming from the branch bases left behind. It will still be a while before the tree is restored to its former wonder but the tree is definitely on its way. It was broken but is on the road to recovery.

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These little shoots gave me a sense of comfort and hope. No matter how broken and battered our situations are, we can recover with the help of God. We can grow even when broken. There is no problem that God cannot fix. We are not lost causes even though we may occasionally feel that way. Good can come from the roughest and most stressful part of our lives. It may take time but anything is possible. We all need second chances just like this tree. The good news is that God does NOT give up on us after one fall or mistake. Instead, God gives us these second (and third, forth, fifth and so in) chances. He has a plan. He helps us rise from the grime of everyday life and stress. We can live knowing that our heavenly Father does not give up on us. Even when our path seems unclear and our lives appear to be messed up, there is hope. God cared enough to help these little green shoots grow from a broken tree. He cares many more times for you.