when you feel like you are failing

Today, I am bringing back this post from last August. While we are walking through Psalm 142 and learning how to pray in times of distress, I find that often our faith is put to test right after. This is the time the discouragement comes in, and we feel like we are failing beyond hope now. So here, beloved, take courage. Know that God loves you just the same, no matter what you have done or will do, where you have been or are going now.

Original post found here.

In the middle of nowhere is my favorite place to be.

Sometimes it takes looking at your failures to understand how faithful God is to carry you through. Sometimes it takes seeing just how wrong you have been to finally see how right He can make things. Sometimes it takes losing so very much, maybe what feels like losing it all — to realize that it is only in Christ that we have anything. Sometimes it takes coming to the end of your rope to finally be able to let it all go, and let the Lord work in and through you.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:2-4)

This is the thought I am trying to wrap my mind around: when God created me, He already knew my sins and my failures, and still He redeemed me worthy. He knew the broken heart and the messy relationships. He knew the irrational fears and the ugly failures. He knew my impossibilities, rebellion, disobedience, and stubbornness. Still He chose me, and this perfect love goes beyond my understanding.

Sometimes it is the hardest thing, to trust His love and grace in order to accept that you have been redeemed. It is so much easier to lose hope, to give up on yourself and think that He has too. Yet, we know that there is redemption in Christ. Our God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

So when you are failing, and think you are beyond hope? When you are sure there is no coming back now, that you botched things up too bad? When you look around and all you see is darkness?

Lift up your face and look to God, because His mercies are new every morning. Trust God and trust His Word, because in Him we have redemption. He knows the messy and the ugly parts; He has seen the brokenness and hurt in your heart. Bring all of you to Him; the good and the bad, the weak and the weary. Thank Him for His goodness. Thank Him for His faithfulness. He is here with you, and He is making you new.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

10 Scriptures for finding rest for your soul

in Venice Summer, to me, is a season for finding rest for my soul. It comes with these years of studying, I am sure, where study life tends to be hectic and semesters push me to my limits. So when school — or now, University — breaks for summer, it is the perfect season to “reset” my soul and be serious about finding rest.

That is the difficulty, I believe. To find rest for our souls, we need to be serious about seeking it — about seeking the Lord, because only in Him do we find peace and rest. It is too easy to get trapped in this world and its enticements that swift in like a waft of wind. It is too easy to let our minds muddle and our souls get unfocused, loosing our grip on what truly matters in eternal perspective. The good news for those of us restless and prone to wander — is that rest can be found, given to us by our good and gracious heavenly Father.

Matthew 11:28-30 — “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:9-11 — “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”

Numbers 6:24-26 — “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

Psalm 28:6 — “Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications!”

Psalm 29:11 — “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”

Philippians 4:8-9 — “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things arejust, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 37:5-7a (NLT) — “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”

Mark 6:30-31a — “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.

Exodus 33:13-14 — “Now therefore, I [Moses] pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.””

Isaiah 30:15 — “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Linking up: Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Coffee for Your Heart, WholeHearted Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, Word Filled Wednesday

seeing ourselves with God’s eyes

In awe of God's beautiful creation

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”

Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’” (Judges 6:12-13a)

I can relate to Gideon so well on so many levels. The Lord Himself appears to Gideon in human form and I wonder, how many times do I react like Gideon does. How many times do I doubt that the Lord is with me, asking to see His miracles now? Just how many times do I find myself meeting with the Lord and instead of listening to the words of grace that He speaks to me, I focus on what is on my mind, on getting things to go the way I would like them to?

Sometimes — or maybe often, if you are anything like me — we want to see God work in our lives, changing a current circumstance and we want to see it all happen right now. We ask and we insist of the Lord; we want, and we want it now. Yet we forget to reflect on the faithfulness of our Lord in the past, trusting that He will make a way for us now as well.

“So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15)

I wonder, how many times do I react like Gideon does. The Lord comes and tells to Gideon that he is the one to save Israel from the Midianites. God tells Gideon that He has sent him, and can we not be sure that God is walking right next to us when He sends us anywhere? Later on, the Lord even assures Gideon that He will be right there with Gideon.

But I wonder, how many times do we react like Gideon does. How many times does the Lord send us, gives us a calling and a purpose — and we doubt His words? We tell Him that there is no way we could ever do such things, that we are not able to do such things — and at the same time, we doubt His abilities to make us able to do what He has called us to do. We look at ourselves and see only our flaws and our failings; forgetting that God sees us washed clean with the blood of Jesus, now righteous before Him.

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25)

When there is a battle in front of us, often it is easier to see our failings and flailings instead of choosing to see ourselves and our purpose with the eyes of God. It is easier to run the other way because following Jesus means taking up our cross on a daily basis. Crucifying our flesh means to utterly destroy the power of our flesh and its passions and desires, and this is not easy.

We make it sound easy, denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily. But this figure of crucifixion, means that the destruction of our flesh is attended with intense pain. Sometimes, denying ourselves means giving up the lies and thought patterns we like to hold on to — and choosing to see ourselves as with the eyes of God. Sometimes, it means extending grace to ourselves and others when we would rather give in and give up. And sometimes, following Jesus means just that — becoming His disciple, and joining God in seeing the world and His people the way that He does.

Linking up: Coffee for Your Heart, Tell His Story, WholeHearted Wednesday, Wednesday’s Prayer Girls, Coffee and Conversation, Works for Me Wednesday, Shine Blog Hop

why love is worth the fight

There's a blue sky just beyond the gray.

Those words stayed with me long after I read them — love is always worth the fight.

These spring mornings, I wake up early enough to be waking up with the sunrise. These spring mornings, I watch the light play in the curtains as the first rays of sunshine make their way in. It is a gentle light, like a warm touch to wake up my heart. And it is in those moments with the soft beams of light pouring grace into my soul, that these words keep coming back to me.

Love is worth the fight.

It is in those quiet moments, this tender touch of grace prompting my heart — that I need to challenge myself. Do I see the reason why love is worth the fight?

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11)

The love that is worth the fight — is the Love that died for us while we were yet sinners. We rejected and rebelled. He reached out to us. We sinned and slandered. He walked the long road to the Cross and prayed for us. We hated, we murdered, we broke hearts and ended relationships. He died for us so that He could be with us for eternity, and He holds us up with those same scarred hands.

Why love is always worth the fight, I know not if I have the answer. But when we look to Jesus, we can say with certainty that His love thought us worth the fight, that we were worth dying for. This Love made a way for us in the dark world when we did not yet know that we were lost. He made a way; He came to rescue us and give us life. The why cannot escape us either: because He delights in us.

“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters. He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me.” (Psalm 18:16,19 NLT, emphasis mine)

These days I am learning that this is as far as we need to go.

We can look to the perfect Love that casts out fear and say — I believe. Through the valleys and through the dark of night. We can trust this love to carry us. When the waves of despair roll in and when hurt overwhelms like a raging storm. We can trust this love to bring us to a place of safety. When we are being pushed and pulled, His love is a steady foundation beneath our feet.

All because He delights in us.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

I might not understand why He loves me so. I surely have not given Him any good reason to love me. But this we know, that He loves us — because He delights in us. That alone, makes love worth the fight. Not what we have done or have not done. Not our feelings or our experiences. Not who we are or are not. God loves us because He Himself is love.

He loves us and His love makes us worthy. His love also makes love worth it. And that is why love is worth the fight, always.

How has God shown you His love this week?

Linking up: Grace at Home, Shine Blog Hop, Everyday Jesus, Grace & Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Faith and Fellowship, Titus 2 Tuesday

when it is time to let go

white tulips

“Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:2-3)

It never fails to surprise, the light that comes with the spring sunshine. This sunshine that shines through to our souls and makes hearts sing. This sunshine that brings life, and transforms the world from dark into a world of light and greenness. Yet, this light that finds its way through the cracks in our hearts — also finds those fears in the dusty corners of our souls and the fragile pieces we have left in the dark.

It never fails to surprise, how the light pierces through to this broken heart that won’t mend. Finds these locked up pieces of deep hurt, with edges sharp enough to cut through souls — ours and others’. Aching memories or words that cut too deep. Shame that we carry, regret that weighs us down, or promises broken too many times. Whether it is what we have done or what was done to us — these tend to call for attention when we let go of the winter of our hearts and move unto spring and choosing new life.

That is the thing, though. Every time, we have to choose to see when it is time to let go — of the winter, of our hurts, of our shame, of our past. Every time, we have to choose to come to the One who makes all things new, who gives us a new heart. We can hold on to the promise that Jesus makes us new. The old is gone and all things have become new.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I know, sometimes it is the hardest thing to let go. In our moments of weakness and hardships, it can be difficult to lift our eyes and put our hope on the better future we are promised. But here is the thing we can be certain of: that when we call upon the Lord, He will answer. When we seek Him with our whole hearts, He will answer.

So no matter how hard it is to let go. No matter how difficult it is to let that light shine into our hearts and trust that better days are ahead. We can trust that He will hear when we pray. That He will answer when we are on our knees and beg for something more, something different. His scarred hands will hold us up, and He will carry us through.

“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me” (Psalm 55:17-18a)

When we come to Him — broken and beaten, wounded and fragile — we can rest sure in the assurance that He will hear our voice and if He hears our voice, we know He will answer. Sometimes the situations and circumstances do not change and we remain in that battle. But even then we know, He has redeemed our soul in peace.

Maybe this time, we can draw a map to home with these scars on our broken hearts.

Linking up: Coffee for Your Heart, Tell His Story, Word Filled Wednesday, Coffee and Conversation, Works for Me Wednesday, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Everyday Jesus, Growing in Grace, Fellowship Friday, Faith Filled Friday, Grace & Truth, Titus 2 Tuesday, Woman to Woman