Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Taking a Break to Blog

"You are now ready to get started on the most challenging and difficult part of the course."

I was finishing up a segment of my online courses and moving on to the next and I read the line above. Way to pump me up considering I have thought the whole course has been really hard and challenging! Starting in the seventh grade I began running cross country and track year round. We had some MAJOR hills in the town of Trussville. We would run what was called the "Cherokee" named after a street and it was uphill ALL THE WAY. One of our practices in running was to encourage each other as we ran. I can remember people meaning well (with their encouragement) while my calves were burning, my side was aching, and I was out of breath running up that hill. They would yell "it's all uphill, only 1/2 a mile more." Yes half a mile more of p-a-i-n thanks for reminding me. That kind of encouragement would always make me focus on how much of the hill I had left to get up and in my mind all I could do was think about how bad I was hurting. One thing I practiced doing (I still do this) was to look at the area right in front of my feet and not up at the giant hill that I had to climb and I would zoom right up it and catch my breath at the top. This is sort of my approach now and also in life in general. If I get ahead I will completely freak myself out, get overwhelmed, and quit. A couple of verses come to my mind regarding this:

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

Matthew 6:33-34
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As far as His word being a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path we are all on a path here in this life. Some of us a path of darkness and others one that is lit by the light of His word. Thinking back in the day where they had to use actual lamps at night (or torches)...think about how much you could see in the darkness with that lamp. Probably only several steps. Matthew 6:33-34 tell us to seek Him first and that we should not worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of its own. In other words don't get so far ahead and worry yourself to death. Jesus is already there in your tomorrow. All of this leads me to the place where I am tonight. Not just with my online courses but with some MAJOR challenges in general....some major mountains to climb. I have been very open when I teach about my life and testimony this far. I grew up and had a lot placed on me at a very young age. I dealt with abuse for years and my real dad was never a part of my life. There was a time when I was in my teenage years that I really wanted to die and I contemplated suicide. I really thought at other times that I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I was too much of a chicken to end my life and all the while the Lord placed hope in me (that is even my middle name). Running was such an outlet for me that is for sure. I had a lot of anger and a lot of insecurities. I most always felt shame and I never felt a sense of belonging. I kept thinking that one day things would change and that I would leave that life and trade it in for a new one (oh and the day will come when I will leave this earth and shout out like Job that I know that my redeemer lives and at the end He will stand upon this earth and that when my flesh is destroyed I shall see God! I myself and not another oh how my heart yearns within me). I can tell you that if I did not know Jesus I do not know where I would be. I would have probably ended it a long time ago. As I was walking with Morgan tonight I said Lord I thought things were going to be different. Life just hurts and it is hard it's not turning out like I thought. He reminded me all today that He knows the plans He has for me...plans for hope and a future...even though I have been through a lot of stuff. It is so easy for me to be like yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone and their Jeremiah 29:11 quotes. But the Lord gave that to me 3 times today so I know He wanted me to take it to the spiritual bank. It is a daily struggle for me right now to walk by faith and not sight or better yet "feelings". I think something in all of us asks the same question: Lord is this it? Is this life?
I think the reason that we ask that is because there is so much sin in this world and we long to have true fellowship where it is broken. We long to be loved fully when we have been rejected by others. We long for true intimacy when this world offers so many counterfeits. Still we keep searching and we keep trying to fill that need in us. Take the national average of debt in the US. We are literally burying ourselves trying to be happy or complete. I can tell you that I am so thankful for all that I have been through because if I had not been let down over and over and over I would not know what Christ's unfailing love is. We long to be made perfect and that day will come when Jesus comes and makes all wrongs right. When He destroys the final enemy which is death and gives the enemy his rightful place in the lake of burning sulfur where he is doomed forever (that felt really good to type). Until then there will be difficulty and crisis war and famine. But we can still have peace. I was at the store tonight and I had been in the middle of a constant conflict with someone. I was so full of anxiety and all of the sudden unexplainable peace washed all over me. I may have some screaming fits at times and feel hurt and discouraged but when I continually lift my head to Jesus deep down I am okay. I know that I can endure and that through Christ I can do all things. That does not mean that I don't experience the pain of life. It just means that I have perspective to my pain and that it is not wasted.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


twinkle said...

Don't you think Paul could have asked these same questions about is this all there is? I mean he was beaten and left for dead. He was jailed and sentenced to die. He could have decided God was against him but NO WAY! God stripped him the bone...and Paul proclaimed one thing he still had. One precious thing. He had kept the FAITH!

Let's sing some praises while we are imprisoned here on earth in these natural bodies. We have kept the FAITH, precious one, and God sees that! In fact, He is bragging on you right now to your enemy...the deceiver, the thief, the destroyer, the death creature.

I can see God right now looking down and picking you out among all the people and Him saying, "There, that one, my daughter, Jenny...she has kept the faith!" No matter what happens, fight the good fight with Christ as the light of your path.

Dana said...

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Hope to see you around the site soon!
- Dana

Teri said...

Really great insight Jenny! I am so glad peace came in the place of the anxiety. I can't stand those times...but I love when the peace comes!