Monday, May 13, 2013

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This has been a questions that addressed many times by many people. Not necessarily well known authors or speakers but I think every single person has had this question at least once in their life. I'm sure many more.

Recently a friend of mine has been pre-diagnosed with a disease that would affect her for her entire life. This woman is an extraordinary person. Rarely do you hear her complain, she loves Jesus, is a great teacher, and supports everyone in so many ways. Due to this disease she would have to live with pain, weakness, and the inability to be able to live her life the way she has. The disease will progress until she is unable to live on her own, hopefully that won't be for many years down the road but we honestly never know.

Another friend lost a loved one recently in an accident that never should have happened. Someone decided to go out and drink until they were impaired and drive a car that hit and killed him. His family, my friend and his significant other were obviously very impacted by his death and they are all kind people.

I'm sure everyone has examples of good people who have bad things happen to them. Loved ones lost too soon, diseases, cancer, car accidents, so many things. It's when these things happen that we question why would God do this to us? We try so hard to live our lives the way that he wants us to yet these tragic things happen.

Or it could be something as simple as bad things aren't happening but there just doesn't really seem to be anything really good happening in our lives. We go through the daily routine but we don't have a significant other, or we can't get a good job, our friend is moving away. Little things like that and we wonder why. You look across your street to your neighbor who has never said a nice word to you, ran over a cat the other day, and curses like a sailor yet they seem to have everything. Awesome car, amazing job, and somehow a person who loves them like crazy. We know we shouldn't compare and be jealous of what they have but since we're human we are and we wonder... Why them? Why not us?

Now I never claim to have the answers, I never really claim to do anything more than write the random thoughts in my head. I can only hope that these thoughts aren't coming from just my head but God using me to express them. I pray that is what happens.

Anyway today I was thinking that these "bad things" or "lack of good things" can only happen to strong people. I'm a firm believer that God never gives us more than we can handle. It may be more than we can handle alone but when we accept him into our hearts we never have to. When bad things happen I feel that he's using it to bring us closer to him. Not only that but that he using us as an example. Not only are we being drawn closer to him but other people will get to see that happen. 

There is a girl who I went to high school with who was diagnosed with cancer. She was always healthy, great shape, had graduated college and was working as at teacher which she loved. Shortly before being diagnosed she had started her job and it seemed everything came crumbling down. Imagine how she must have felt, to have just been given a great opportunity and have it fall out from under her. There are many paths she could have taken and I am amazed at the one that she chose. Instead of crying and saying "why me?" she prayed, read her bible and was constantly optimistic about her prognosis and how she was recovering. I found I always looked forward to her facebook messages because she was raising me up in what she was saying.

I can't imagine that God gave her cancer as a mistake or as a punishment. He loves us. He was only using her as a way to spread news about himself. I'm happy to report that this girl is now in remision, engaged, planning her wedding, and teaching again. How cool is that? While she was fighting cancer her future husband met her. Before being diagnosed she was going to meet this man for a blind date, after finding out she had cancer she didn't think he'd want to meet but he did. Went with her to treatments, appointments, stayed in the hospital and they have a loving relationship from it.

To me this story is proof that bad things happen to good people for a good reason. They make us stronger, more in love with Christ if we truly believe and let it all go. I mean look at Job from the bible. He was dealt a really hard hand. If you're ever looking for a tough read check it out. You'd think God gave him more than he could handle but he just took it and formed a strong relationship with God.

So whenever you're having a bad day, bad things seem to keep happening or it just doesn't seem like there's a lot of good things happening, lean on Him. Our creator who loves us and doesn't back away when he gives us hard stuff. I think really he scoops us up and carries us along. I like to imagine the "Footprints" poem (link attached at the bottom) where it states that at the toughest points of our lives when we only see one print in the sand it was then He carried us.

Yes it may seem that bad things happen to good people, and good things may even happen to bad people, and that's okay. There's always a plan, there's always a reason, and more importantly there is always Christ with you if you believe. He'll carry you when you're too weak, and walk beside you when things are tough. "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What is Next?

I've learned that when you graduate college, live at home with your parents, and work multiple part time jobs you get asked quite a few times what's the next step? Are you going back to school? Are you going to get a new job? My favorite though comes from my grandfather and that's; How's your love life?  In response to my grandfather... nothing, the same answer I've given him since I was 7 and that question was asked. Actually when I think about it my answer to most questions would really be I don't know. I'm not quite sure why people think that I would know. I'm in my early twenties, I graduated with a degree I need to go to grad school for and I really enjoy one of my jobs. To be honest, most of the time I'm content with my life.

The question I have for these people who ask me questions though is, Is content what I should want? I mean as much as I tease my parents I don't want to live with them forever. They're nice people and all but there comes a time when it's time to move on. Then however it comes down to how do I move out. I love my job but there's no way I can afford to move out with the job I have. So then what do I do? Quit my job? Mainly I've just learned that the 20s are full of more questions than answers.

Side-note for a minute. When I was younger there was a poem by Shel Silverstein that I loved. It was called Whatif. I'll attach the link at the bottom but really is was just about a kid laying in bed and having a lot of whatif questions run through their head. At times I feel that way, there are so many questions running through my head when will they stop. The end of the poem finishes "Everything seems to swell and then, the nightime whatifs stike again!" I'm sure many of you at a crossroads in your life have felt this. The great news that I have to offer is not that you will never have them again, or all of the answers will come quickly and easily, the great news is we're not alone!

When the nighttime whatifs strike we get to pray to a God who will listen, we just often seem to forget this. We think that we can handle it. Just last week we might have failed and had a problem after trying this but that won't happen this time. Nope we will get it figured out on our own this time. I have to say for having a book written for us to help us through life and a God who wants to be active and help us through our lives we really don't take full advantage of the awesomeness that is! Luckily God is all for happy little reminders.

Currently I'm training for a bike race. I've been trying to ride 10 or more miles a day and so far it hasn't been too bad. When I get halfway through I love to stop at this place along the river. I've been a water fan my whole life so it's a great place where I can reflect and catch my breath. Today I came along that spot and decided to have a little one on one time with God. I listen to music while I ride so I have my iphone with me and of course I have the bible app. They have that verse a day part that shows up right when you click on it and the verse was from 1 John and it read " This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin."

You know those times when you feel like someone is trying to tell you something and though you hear it you choose to ignore it and then they get in your face and scream at you while shaking your head and then you finally get it? Then you look at them and you're like kind of waiting for them to just yell DUH!!! but they respectfully just smile and welcome you back. That's kind of how I felt. See God has been trying to tell me this and I think I kind of pulled away for awhile but this was the verse that I needed. Also the song Stand by Rascal Flatts was playing and it was just adding to it. I just kind of sat there staring at the river getting chills and thinking alright God. This may reminder 108432523908412 that you've given me to remind me that you're here but thank you again!

Fear of Death

This is a topic that if very hard for me to discuss. What I'm going to say throughout it probably won't make sense to some people who read it. They may also think that I'm crazy or don't really trust God for feeling this way and maybe that's true. I just know that it is something I have struggled with my entire life and really am open to any suggestions people may have.

Death has always scared me. I don't know if it's the actual dying part I'm afraid of but really the fear of the unknown. I know that throughout my entire life I have been told that when I die if I believe I will go to heaven and that is something that I truly believe. I am a Christian, I have accepted Christ and I look forward to spending eternity with him. What I can't comprehend is the eternity part. When I die then forever I am going to live in heaven but does forever end? I just can't comprehend it. Maybe as humans we aren't supposed to be able to, that's part of God's wonder and awesomeness but I just don't know how to understand it. I want to, and I want to not be fearful of it but I just don't know how.

As I write this and I think about eternity I feel such anxiety and fear that I have to constantly stay away from thinking about it. This has been true ever since I was a child. Thankfully I no longer dwell on it but I used to. I was so fearful I wouldn't sleep, I was afraid to fall asleep and not wake up. The only way I was able to find comfort was to pray to Christ. Luckily this made my relationship with Christ grow even more but I have been unable to get over this fear and I don't know how to do so. I feel like I'm not as strong of a Christian for feeling this way. For questioning that this amazing and almighty God can take care of little old me for an eternity. In reality my fear isn't that he won't be able to take care of me just what happens next? What happens next?

I understand heaven happens next but is there something that happens after that? Do we ever come back to earth? Do we see earth? What happens when Christ comes back and we're in heaven? Are more people created to live in heaven? There are so many questions that I know cannot be answered and some that may be answered the more I read my bible and learn but I just can't get past this fear.

This blog is simply a list of questions that maybe other people have. I just wonder if I should be questioning these things? I question if I should question? Oh the irony. Anyway I just had to write this. People may think I'm crazy or strange and it's okay. Maybe someone will have answers someday.

It would be awesome if when we get to heaven we get a one on one meeting with God. We can ask him whatever questions we might have. I know that my meeting would be quite long. Hopefully full of more answers than questions. Well I'll end my rambling for now.

Have a blessed Sunday on this beautiful day!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Waiting for Mr. Right

I haven't written a post in awhile but I had some down time today which always allows me to think which normally leads me to write a post, so here it is.

Lately I've been going to quite a few weddings. I feel blessed and honored to be invited but it makes me wonder why haven't I found Mr. Right for me. I'm not saying I want to be getting ready to marry someone right away but why have I not at least started down the trail. It almost makes me feel like I'm driving on a highway in the middle of nowhere and I pass a sign that says Mr. Right 2000 miles ahead. I don't mean to complain while writing this but it allowed me to think about what I'm hoping to find and what can I do to try and find it.

The nice thing about the internet is the fact that you can search anything, I would just suggest being careful as to how you phrase things. Anyway I decided to search how to make a guy like you. Turns out there are quite a few ways to make that happen, not all of which I was willing to try. There were suggestions such as; dress to impress, be yourself, make good eye contact. They are all valid but they're also common sense. If there's someone you really like you're not going to dress in your oldest clothing, you wouldn't even do that if you didn't like someone. Eye contact is a must to make any conversation flow and make you seem interested.

Being yourself however is one that we can often get stuck on. It makes you really think who am I? Society today tries to mold us into who we think we should be or in this case who we should be to find our Mister Rights. It can be hard to withstand the pressure and not fall into thinking that we're not good enough because we aren't who society tells us to be. Recently I was able to watch a commerical made by Dove that really inspired me. It's a simple commercial with such a great message. I'll attach the link to this post so feel free to watch.

Women are brought into a room with a forensic sketch artist who can't see them and the women are told to describe themselves to this artist. He draws the picture and tells them to leave without seeing them. After he finished all of the initial pictures the women are brought in again and told to describe another woman who they were sitting in the room with and he drew their picture on the same paper. They are then brought around to see both pictures.

When the women look at the picture they described of themselves they all look sad and unattractive because they described themselves so poorly. The picture described by the other woman however is beautiful. We are often our hardest critics and yet we can't understand why we can't find Mister Right.

The old saying you have to love yourself before someone else can love you is really true. I know I struggle with it and I probably always will. I'm working on it though. The greatest thing is that we don't have to struggle alone in any of this. We have our amazing awesome God. He created us in his image and made us to be who we are and he loves us. Like that commercial when we see ourselves looking ugly and sad he sees us in the way the other woman does, beautiful and happy. So full of life and as we go down the path he has planned for us we will find who we are supposed to be with. So while it may be hard at times to find that person and we may feel alone we never are. We have God the greatest love we can ever have.

There are times I've thought of settling, just finding someone who I could stand to be with but then what's the point. If I say that I'm in love with Jesus Christ and I love him then when I was saying I was in love with Mr. Not-so-Right it would almost be as if I was belittling my love for Christ. In the English language we only have one word for love and though Christ will always be my first love and who I love the most I don't even want to venture to use the word love for someone I don't feel that way for.

I know this is a long post, full of rambling but this is just a hard topic for me to talk about. I hope that you enjoyed it and feel free to comment. This life is a journey, at times full of excitement, struggle but always full of love if you believe.

Peace and Love

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What's your story?

It's not common when you're in your twenties to think about what your story is. I mean in my mind I'm thinking that I'm just in the first couple chapters, barely past the table of contents and introductions. However, I'm starting to think that it's something I really need to consider. I've gone to two different churches and yet had two sermons which have made me start to evaluate my life and where I'm going. What type of story am I leading now? When I look back at the age of 80 will I think I lived out my twenties in a productive way?

At church today the pastor was talking about how we as a society view time on a clock, a circle, it never ends. We view time as endless which it really isn't. Jesus tells us in the bible that he's coming back and the world will end. So really we should be viewing time like a hour glass. Time starts and when the sand runs out our time is up end of story. So how will I live my hour glass of time? What kind of story will I write? I don't know yet but I'm sure hoping there's some action and it's not a boring documentary. More on that soon!

Peace and Love!

Just Thinking

So today in my quiet time with God I read the Girlfriends in God devotion. It was another fantastic devotion that began to make me think. It was all about sharing and encouraging people who are going through difficult times by sharing difficult times that you yourself have gone through. This is a fantastic idea and concept that many people strive to do. For instance in this devotion it talked about a young girl who had cancer at the age of 11 and had to go through chemotherapy and have her leg amputated from the knee down. At first this was a great struggle for her and she very seldom let anybody know that she had a prosthesis until she felt God's calling to go and help those in similar experiences. She began going to the hospital weekly and encouraging other people going through a similar experience by sharing what she had gone through.

This story really got me thinking about my own life and what I'm willing to share with people. God has blessed me with the ability to know when someone is struggling and to approach them. Whether with a funny remark or a long and deep discussion I have often found myself talking to many people about a wide variety of circumstances going on in their lives, whether I myself have gone through them or not. I'm not sure why just one of those gifts that  I should thank him for. However due to the fact that many people come to me to share experiences I feel that this is a gift that I must continue to share and hopefully bless people with. I need to reach out and find those people who need me and even when I feel scared or afraid to step out of my shell and feel the comfort of my savior's arms around me using me to his will. I am going to challenge myself to do this and hope with the Lord's help I am able to.

Peace and Love!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Dentist

A few days ago I had my 6 month appointment with the dentist and to be honest I truly dislike going to the dentist. (That's really besides the point.) Anyway, I came home from work and began my usual cleaning procedure which I'm sure many of you can attest to doing so yourself. I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth really well, making sure to follow all the rules about which way you brush and how long. From there I moved onto mouthwash, and then I brushed my teeth again, just in case I missed anything. After that I flossed my teeth (and to be honest, I rarely do that any other time of the year) and finished up with another quick brushing. I'm going to guess that it all must have worked b/c I walked out without a cavity this time.

As I was doing all of this though it really got me to thinking. I mean honestly I know the fact that I brushed my teeth really well on that day a hour before I went to the dentist was not what caused me to have a good visit, cavity free. Obviously it was the fact that I brushed my teeth daily and didn't eat bags of candy every day.  However it's funny to me that every time I have a dentist appointment I go through this ridiculous procedure.  I must really think that this last minute brushing has some effect on my results and while it's nice b/c the dentist won't smell my stinky breath when I go in, it's really just a last minute attempt to make myself seem half presentable. In some ways I think many Christians try to do this as well, me included at times.

We try and do a quick last ditch effort to make ourselves seem presentable to God. For instance we'll go to church once a month or a couple times a year and think that qualifies us as Christian's in a deep relationship with Christ. Now I'm not saying that whether or not you go to church is what makes you a Christian, but if you're just counting a few visits here and there without any reading on your own, or one on one time with God that's not really doing what God asks us to do. Trust me I know life can get busy and it can seem as though we don't have time but that's when we cut out the time spent doing useless things. Cut out that extra hour of tv and spend it reading the great and exciting book that's really better than any show that's on tv. God can see our entire lives, he knows what we have or will do. He's even better at picking out our flaws than a dentist is at picking out our cavities. Unlike the dentist who may miss one or two God's never going to miss one and he's easily going to see through that quick effort we do to polish ourselves up.  Plus with a God as awesome as the one we have why would we want to just polish up for him, why wouldn't we want to take care of ourselves daily, learning to grow and become closer with him. In reality wouldn't that make dentist visits a little more pleasant as well. If we actually met with our dentist more than twice a year and were able to develop a relationship with him so he would know us and we would know him I'm willing to be the visits would be a lot better. However that's really not the point of my blog at all so I'm going to move on.

Don't just spend a hour here and there trying to get to know our amazing God. We need to stop just trying to settle for mediocre in our relationship with him on our part and strive to get as close as humanly possible as we can to him. I know I struggle with this as well but I want to make a stand and truly start trying to grow closer.  Stop polishing and start diving in and growing with him b/c he's waiting for us. So let's go!