Weekend Encouragement; God’s Love For Us

I have not been on my blog a much as I would like. I love blogging, and I love reaching out to others and hearing back from you all through comments and emails is one of my favorite things. I love having the community of encouragement that I have found through my blog.

I have been back and forth sick, and it has put me “behind” on all my goals. I am very hard of myself sometimes (or always) and I start feeling like a failure.

And just like that it all came crumbling down on me. Every negative thought and every insecurity of a difficult past just waiting for a weak moment to prove themselves to me again.

A whirlwind of sadness and all of the sudden a bunch of issues I should have sorted through a long time ago consume me. With God’s help I am digging through the muck now.

I am needy. I am in need of truth (and He is truth). I am in need of the love of my Savior. I am in desperate need of Him, and it is scary to depend on someone else, but when I look in His word it reminds me of His faithfulness and love.

I was studying this week and I came across this word in Hebrew; Hesed.

I read it is the most common word in the Bible to describe God’s love toward us; toward people.

It is often used in Ruth, but my favorite verse I need right now is in Lamentations.

There is no direct translation (as I understand it) of Hesed in the English language. There is no one word that describes it as completely as the Hebrew word. I find it most often translated as mercy and loving kindness in the King James Bible.

I liked this definition best so I made it pretty to encourage me:

Hesed Hebrew word for gods love toward us; The consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of God.

This is perhaps my favorite definition that I have found, (and gently tweaked to include the word mercy).

Constantly pursuing.

That just overwhelms me. He pursues me.

It’s true. The Holy Spirit speaks to us. God desires a personal relationship with all of us. The enemy uses sin and shame to separate us from Him, in our minds only though, for we know that nothing can separate us from Him, not even death.

lamentations 3:22-23 kjv It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulnessIn the above verse from Lamentations the word mercies is translated from that Hebrew word Hesed. When I am feeling so low and separated from Him, like the weight of what I am facing will utterly consume me, and I have nothing left, I cry out to Him.

He is so faithful and loving to me that He shows me His “hesed” love when he answers to me.

His mercy will sustain me. Because of His consistent, ever-faithful, merciful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love I will not be consumed.

I don’t know about you, but I love reading this verse in Lamentations 3:22 this way!

Wow!

And so when I asked the Lord, “How?”

“How will I ever get through this?” I felt his reply was “with my hesed (love) toward you”

Unmerited, undeserved, merciful, pursuant love of God.

Let that get you through your difficult time my friends.

He loves us more than we will ever deserve, like the love of a (good) parent toward their child.

Recently I have begun to think of faith and trust in this way:

Without the ability to navigate, you find yourself in the deepest of forest at the darkest of night. You will surely be lost forever, yet in faith and trust you calmly relax when you could be naturally terrified of certain death and danger. In this place where everyone would understand if you were to despair, you stop and you pray and listen for God to lead you through. For without Him you will be utterly lost. His help is the only thing to lead you.

It will still be dark and it might be scary at times, you might stumble, but what else can you do, but trust Him? You can never get out of the dark place without Him.

*Sigh*

Isn’t He wonderful you guys?

I struggle with my trust of Him, and it is unfair to Him. I  am human. I am flawed. I am a work in progress. It’s okay, I’ll keep working on it, surely I am not the only one.

Love is the answer. Trust is the answer. Faith is the answer.

As my pastor often says. “Easy preaching; hard living.”

Have a great weekend you all, and be patient and kind with yourselves as He is with us, okay?

Love to hear from you all, please leave a comment, or if you have something that encourages you, you’d like to share I’d love to hear it, thanks!

 

To the Families of Child Cancer Patients on Cancer Awareness Day

It’s late at night and I was thinking about some friends of mine on this National Cancer Awareness Day. Friends and acquaintances of mine whose children suffer from cancer.

I was going to write a Facebook post, but it occurred to me that I had much to say. I hope they read this, but it is okay if they don’t. These are just my thoughts. I know that there are more than children suffering from cancer, and I am aware that it is always devastating for the families no matter the age, but as a young mother I find the cases where children are involved just stay with me each day.

So here are my thoughts. To my lovely friends and to those lovely strangers going through the same battle.

open letter to the families of child cancer patients on cancer awareness day

I go on social media, most every day. I feel like in this way I am checking in on people I love. Every morning, just making sure everyone is okay. As I have reached the age at which myself, and most of my peers have become parents, I have watched them post pieces of their lives on social media.

I celebrated with them as they announced their engagements and waited in anticipation to see wedding photos. For many of you I drove a great distance so we could celebrate together.

Later I shrieked at my computer screen and went running around my house to tell anyone who would listen that my old friend just posted that she and her husband were expecting a child, and then again, I waited. I waited to see pictures of tiny babies. For many of you those pictures never came, and I watched you struggle with that heartache, but for most of you, I watched as you posted pictures of your new baby, your eyes gleaming with…love.

smartphone checking phoneI enjoy opening up my app every morning and scrolling through cute pictures and silly stories. I love seeing photos of play days and Christmas cards, recitals, and haircuts.

And then every so often comes one of those post I have to read so slowly, and so carefully. It usually says something like “We took him to the doctor, it is cancer and treatments start next week.” For some of you it’s not cancer, but a terminal illness diagnosis. For some of you, you’ve left the doctor knowing your child’s life expectancy, or that in a matter of years they would lose the ability to walk.

I can’t know what that is like. It is not my journey, but perhaps I can give you a glimpse into what it is like for me over here on the sidelines.

I want you to know that when I heard your little child was sick, I cried. Everything in my world moved in slow motion as I thought “Oh, no God, please heal this baby.” I probably stopped everything I was doing to excuse myself from my children and sob as my heart breaks at the overwhelming news. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years or we only met briefly.

add you to the saddest prayer list quoteI remember how you prepared for that little baby, who is now sick, and I add you to the saddest prayer list I never thought I would have to make, and then I tell as many people as I can about you, hoping that they will join me in praying.

As the startling news starts to sink in and I’ve taken all the time I can away from my daily tasks, I return to my “normal day” with a heaviness weighing on me, as I grieve with you at this news.

The next day when I check in again, I’m reminded of the gravity of the situation as you post a photo update of your poor little child in a hospital bed.
I will probably put some money in a passing offering plate or an online giving account, but what I really want to give you is a hug. Also I want to give you, your space, so I part with money you need more than I do, and hope that it does indeed help your family.

I watch you be stronger than anyone should ever have to be, and I am encouraged and inspired by you. I know that you probably cry when no one is around and that you probably haven’t slept much, and that is okay. It is okay to be human through this. However you go through this, it is okay. (I know you don’t need me to say that, but in a world where everyone is making anonymous social media accounts to leave cruel discouraging remarks. I completely support you.)

encouraged and inspired quoteI watch you post about the good days and the bad days. I see as people clamor around you to support and encourage you and I am so glad, even if you won’t remember in years to come, that I can in some way be one of them.

For some of you I see from my spot on the sidelines as your child becomes friends with other children in the pediatric oncology center. And I am happy for them to make a connection with someone that seems “just like them” in a world where they probably feel very different. The next thought I have is wondering how many people have kids on that floor of the hospital and why it has to be a thing. What if we lived in a world where there was no pediatric oncology center?

I’m happy to hear about your good days and sad when you share about your bad days. I am reminded that there is still so much life to be had, and amazing memories to be made, even if you have cancer. When you shared those photos of your child’s make a wish trip I was happy for your child that they were able to have a really great day, but my heart still ached a little for what you are going through.

I am thrilled when you say that your little one is in remission and you don’t have to go back for months to check and maybe you can move on from this darkness. Though I imagine that for many of you, there is always some fear there. Even when they say “cured”, even when they say “remission,” it must still be nerve-racking at every follow up appointment and round of testing.

I have seen some of your children have the cancer come back and then the whole thing starts all over again.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am so sorry I do not know just what to say, so I talked too much and said the wrong thing. I hope for the best, and even if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I prayed for you, because it is something I can do when I feel so helpless. Also I pray, because I believe in its power.

national cancer awareness day with leukemia ribbonToday is National Cancer Awareness day, and I want you to know, that for me at least, I never forgot about you. I appreciate you keeping us informed in whatever way you choose to do it and I totally understand if you just don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As a young woman I remember looking around at my group of friends and wondering who we would marry or how many kids we would have or where we would live. I knew the world was full of possibilities, but I didn’t imagine any of the heart aches we would go through. I certainly never imagined cancer. I’m glad it wasn’t a heaviness that I had to carry with me in my youth, also I am glad no one interrupted my wandering thoughts with logic and reason that perhaps even the happiest of lives have some dark days in them.

I am so very aware of cancer. I am aware of you, and I am in awe of you.

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Be Blessed

When My Life is Like A Storm
Thought of the Day

A couple weeks ago South Carolina experienced so much rain that we experienced unprecedented flooding.

I always feel like it is easy to find out what was destroyed, but not so easy to find out how people are recovering afterward. I have spent a lot of time praying for the businesses that have been closed and the people who have been displaced, and burdened with repairs.

I keep hearing the same lyrics as I think of those affected.

when my life is like a storm rising water all I want is the shore you say - addison road lyrics“When my life is like a storm, rising waters all I want is the shore. You say I’ll be ok and make it through the rain. You are, my shelter from the storm.”

Really I love this whole song by Addison Road, but this particular part of it seems to be imprinted in my mind lately.

It’s one of those funny adages that has no biblical roots “God will not give you more than you can handle.” I think many of us can testify that saying is completely inaccurate.

Although I do love that song with Chris August “He Said.” Which has a similar testament. You know, on the off chance you got that message from God during your time with Him and He did in fact say anything similar to those lyrics, plus it has a good beat.

It’s funny how when spending time praying for others, I came out feeling better about my life and my burdens. I don’t have it altogether, (except for my outfits – those are on point you guys) much the opposite, but whatever my lot, I always praise Him.

whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say it is well with my soul

Perhaps the Lord has given this to me for comfort because of my absolute refusal to pray for myself. Most often, I just, want for nothing so badly I feel like it is worth bringing it up to the Lord. I simply feel like I have everything, and I am so grateful for what I have been given. I desire to be better at everything in my life, and I do that by serving Him in even the small moments with my family. I instead use my prayer time to pray for others, especially my children. I feel like God has me taken care of, and if that changes or I need prayer for a specific matter, I will pray for myself, and ask for the prayers of others, but that just isn’t where I am right now.

It is true that He may, at times, give me much more than I can take. However, what I find most important to remember in those difficult times, is that God has a plan for me, God is ever with me, and the Lord strengthens me.

So a couple new pretties for my Pinterest board, hope they are an encouragement to you as well.

 

 

My 10 Favorite Christian Running Songs

Over the summer I started running, it was a rocky (and sometimes painful) start, but I stuck with it and it turns out I love – it a lot. There are so many aspects of running that I enjoy, including having an opportunity to listen to music without interruption. At home I have tried to listen to music at different times throughout the day, but with the kids around it is just too noisy. I play music for the kids during homework time, but I just connect with the music in a different way when I am running.


I always keep one ear bud tucked into my shirt so I can hear traffic or people approaching (or dogs). Still, most often when I run it is quiet and peaceful, and I am focused on my pace, and my form, and the words in the song. When running becomes muscle memory there is time to really hear the words, and I love that. I don’t only listen to Christian music when I am running; my whole playlist is a bit varied. I do, however, really look forward to the songs that praise God; they make me all happy and grateful when I am running. I love getting all in praise mode when I run, then I come home feeling all uplifted. (As well as sweaty and sore)


I am always impressed by my ability to hear the music in a meaningful way while simultaneously running, checking for traffic, and obstacles on the road ahead, keeping my form and my turnover and being mindful of my pace during my intervals.
I know some runners that love to run with no music, just listen to the sound of their feet hitting the ground and their breathing. That’s beautiful and I do that sometimes as well, but I really look forward to listening to music when I run.

10 christian running songs by female artist
Maybe when I run I am all girl power, but I just prefer to listen to all female artist when I run. So on my run list you won’t find any male artist (sorry boys). I try to keep it light; I don’t want to become overcome with emotion when I run (or in public – ever). I also want to be encouraged and inspired, I want to hear words that will give me motivation to keep going. I rotate a lot of songs on and off of my playlist, but these ones have stuck with me. Some songs are newer than others, but really as far as realease dates, they’re all new to me, and good music is definitely timeless, so if you see something you don’t recognize, give it a shot.

In no particular order

  1. The Sun is Rising – Britt Nicole
    Lines that motivate me –
    “You’re gonna make it; you’re gonna make it. The night can only last for so long…there’s a promise for the ones that just hold on”
    • “In the moments you’re so weak you feel like stopping, let the hope you have light the road you’re walking”
  2. Beauty From Pain – Superchick
    Lines that motivate me –
    “After all this is past, I still will remain (because sometimes the run is a struggle)
  3. Not For A Moment (After All) – Meredith Andrews
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “Not for a moment do you forsake me, after all here you are constant, after all, you are only good, after all, you are…
  4. He is With Us – Love & The Outcome
    Lines that motivate me –
    “We can trust our God, he knows what he’s doing, though it might hurt now, we won’t be ruined” (I squeal a little in excitement when this one comes on, can’t help it!)
  5. Sweet, Sweet Sound – Sarah Reeves
    Lines that motivate me –
    “I am an instrument of the living God”
    • “I live to glorify my king”
    • Hear the song of my life; let it be a sweet, sweet sound. ..I raise this anthem high…”
  6. The Broken Beautiful – Ellie Holcomb
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful”
  7. He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “I’m not meant to just stay quiet. I’m meant to be a lion, I’ll roar beyond a song with every moment that I’ve got”
  8. You Carry Me – Moriah Peters
    Lines that motivate me –
    “Feels like it’s been miles and miles, feels like it’s an uphill climb. Sometimes I get weary on the way. But when I look back at where I’ve been, when I look back I’m sure of it. I was right there in your arms” (Yes, I always pretend she’s singing specifically about running when she sings that line)
  9. Fireflies – Jessa Anderson
    Lines that motivate me –
    “Caught up in the mystery, I can’t deny; Everything around me, reflects your light”
    “I am running with an empty jar, I’m chasing after your heart”
  10. Who I Am – Blanca
    Lines that motivate me –
    • “I’m running to the one who knows me, who made every part of me in his hands”

So if you’re looking to pretend you are in a music video next time you go running, I think you’ll have some awesome moments with this list.

I can be serious sometimes you guys, but this is just more fun.

Click on the song titles to buy them on Amazon (affiliate links), quite a few of these are free to add to your library if you are an Amazon Prime member, so definitely worth checking out, or of course there is always Spotify.

After a thorough preview on Spotify I try to purchase a few of my favorite songs so I can go ahead and host my private concert on the way to the store to run errands. :) Hope you like something here.
If you’re looking to copy and paste here is a cleaner version of the list
1. The Sun is Rising – Britt Nicole
2. Beauty From Pain – Superchick
3. Not For A Moment (After All) – Meredith Andrews
4. He is With Us – Love & The Outcome
5. Sweet, Sweet Sound – Sarah Reeves
6. The Broken Beautiful – Ellie Holcomb
7. He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli
8. You Carry Me – Moriah Peters
9. Fireflies – Jessa Anderson
10. Who I Am – Blanca

I admit that this song list does not appeal much to my husband, he seems to never be in girl power mode when runs. Seriously thought, he is just not as interested in running as I am, (fine with me) but none the less I do need to find some more music by male artist to add to my get fit list so we can share. I think my husband might appreciate a little praise music on his way to work. He has a lengthy ride to work each day, but he is more of a talk radio guy so he’s not likely to come across any songs he likes that way. I guess it is up to me. One day I will have teenagers and they will do things like this for us, right?

Do you ever listen to Christian music when you run? Please feel free to leave your favorite song in the comments I’m always looking for new music to run to!

Remembering to Trust Him

Job 1-21 - Job 1-21b - the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taketh away blessed be the name of the LORD.Yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. It certainly did not end in a way I ever could have anticipated. And as I am trying to decide how I feel about all the craziness that made up the day I find myself thinking of this verse and all the people it has helped before me.

Now don’t worry, no one died, and I know that this verse is often used to comfort people who are grieving. However, there are more things to grieve over in this world than death. Though perhaps none quite as difficult. I prayed and prayed and was sure I had my answer to prayer, and then in an instant things completely turned around.

the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21) What is happening in my life is minor of course compared to what poor Job is going through hear. Nevertheless these words will comfort me throughout this time of adjustment. I hope that reminding you of them now will help you to remember them when you are faced with difficulty.

Have a wonderful day