Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letter From God

After all (most) of this Ashley stuff went down and I was feeling blue (btw, those were the first Letters to God I had ever written), I was sent a Letter From God.  They were handed out at my church.

Mine says this:

Dear Bria,

Before I created the universe, I had you in mind. You were exclusively created and I love you more than you can imagine. It brings me great pleasure to see you fulfilled and enjoying life. I love it when you write.

I know life isn’t always easy, and at times you’ve found it tougher than you expected. Some of the dreams you’ve had, like being a teacher now seem silly, impossible, or too late. Don’t give up. Life isn’t over yet…I know the plans I have for you.

I know you’re disappointed about Hannah. But don’t worry-I’m greater than that frustration or anything you’ll ever face. Since death can’t hold me, then you know I can overcome your hurts, disappointments, and failures. Trust in me.

So here is what I want to say to you. Come to me and I will carry you. I really mean it. You don’t have to do this on your own.

Through the sacrifice of my one and only Son, your past failures can be forgiven, and your future can be different-for all eternity. The empty tomb serves to remind you that nothing is impossible when you put your trust in me. If you’re ready, I’m ready. Just let me know. I love you more than you can imagine.

The God Who Does the Impossible

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Failed, and We Laugh

I am in advanced precal. I’m a junior in high school. This is 2 years above what most juniors at my school take. And precal has been EASY. Like I-am-practically-falling-asleep-in-class-because-I-don’t-have-to-pay-attention easy. This is what I have told everyone when they have asked about school. “Every new class of precal is the most boring day of my life” and “I finish my homework before the class is even over!” have been my favorite phrases lately.




They were oozing from every word I spoke.

Yesterday we had a pop open response. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. Except for the fact that everything I knew flew from my head. I stared at the paper and nothing came. I didn’t know how to answer 2/3s of the question. …Yup.

Basically, I typed some things on my calculator and made it look like I was working. I hoped I would find an answer that clicked, something that just made sense in the problem. Nope.

And I think God was laughing. As I am now (even though I’m pretty positive I failed that open response). That situation served to not only make me see my sin(s), but made me repent and change my ways quickly. I was wrong. Yes, I still believe precal is easy, but now it is a simple this-is-my-easiest-class easy. Yes, I still believe it is boring, but now I realize that nothing is an excuse to let my attention wander. And I have definitely learned to not boast about it. That will just make me look stupid (again).

Plus the Bible says:

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
an outsider, and not your own lips.
-Proverbs 27:1-2

Therefore, as it is written:

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
-1 Corinthians 1:31

To sum this up: God has a sense of humor; I’m sure He was laughing. Don’t be prideful because He will knock you off your ledge in an instance, therefore bringing you back down to the level of humility you should be at. Which is the humility level of a servant (Philippians 2:7) or a slave (Romans 6:22).

This (humility) is something I am particularly bad at. So, Lord, help me have humility. Thank You for striping me of my current cockiness. Make my current state of humility last. Amen.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

God, Forever Reign

God is amazing! I realized that AGAIN today. I love it when this happens. All of the joy and overwhelming thankfulness fills me and I just LOVE. Then I remember everything (well, some things) that God has done for me. And often, I start to sing. We were singing the following song at Bible Study/Worship.

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me.

While singing this, God reminded me of grace. I remembered when I was disheartened, when I was angry at myself, when I was sorry, so sorry; and I remembered when God told me it was okay, not that it was okay I had sinned (Romans 6:1-4), but that He forgave me.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. –Ephesians 2:1-5

You are love, You are love
On display for all to see

And I think of this: 

God gave us flowers. Why? So bees had something to pollinate and fruit was made and we could eat fruit or we could eat animals that ate fruit, etc. God gave us flowers for an obvious reason. Now, why did God make flowers pretty? Yes, He made them colorful to attract bees better. But making them colorful and making them pretty are different things entirely. I have seen plenty of things that are colorful, but ugly (especially outfits. Too many colors!).

And God gave us the sky. The beautiful sky. Why? Because He loves us. He wants us to be happy, and beautiful things like the sky and flowers make us happy and remind us of His presence. Yes, I see the sky and think God. 

You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in

And this makes me think of those dark moments. I have had some real dark moments. Within myself and outside of myself. I have been so angry that I am scared of myself, of my very thoughts. I have yelled at myself to shut up and I have curled into a ball and wept. I have felt the crush of darkness, the suffocation that accompanies it. I have seen the darkness take hold of me, I have seen myself so ready to act on it. But I am here to type this and say that God pulled me back. Most of the time, I prayed in those situations, I cried out to God. But I remember a time that I didn’t pray, that God broke through the blackness of my soul anyway. And so, I can sing that GOD IS LIGHT. He has saved my life.

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. -1 John 1:5

You are my lamp, O Lord;
The Lord turns my darkness into light.
-2 Samuel 22:29

You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin
Knowing Jesus is knowing hope.

…that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. -1 Timothy 4:10

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling

In the same moments that God has pulled me from darkness, He has given me peace. He has silenced (not quieted, but silenced, like blowing out a candle) my crying, He has cut off my tears, He has muted my mutinying thoughts, He has made a peace settle over me. It is incredible. To go from weeping in a corner to drying my eyes and seeing how beautiful the sky is and how much God loves me is miraculous. I can’t do that on my own. It is God. God is my peace.

The Lord is my light and my salvation –
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life –
of whom shall I be afraid?
-Psalm 27:1

You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering

Sloth is one of the deadly sins in the Catholic church. Sloth is laziness obviously. But I think it’s more than that. I have heard it described as spiritual apathy, a spiritual laziness rather than a physical one. I have periods of time in which I have put off praying: “I’ll wake up early tomorrow morning to pray and read the Bible,” “I’m too tired to talk to God right now; it would just be garbled sentences and mush,” etc. This never ends good; I never pray the next day. Instead, I go a week or even two without reading the Bible or talking to God. This is my wandering. I have put off God, but He has never put me off. He is always there when I want to talk (and when I don’t).

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. –Deuteronomy 7:9

You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing

Why does the thought of God – and the very presence of God! – fill me with joy? Because He is INCREDIBLE! He made the universe (Genesis 1) and He made you (Psalm 139:13). Do you see the contrast there? He made the universe, which is big and important and HUGE and awe-inspiring and awesome and HUMUNGO! And then He made you. You are little (the average human is 5’7”) and your life is a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:4) and you feel like nothing (maybe), but you are important. More important than the universe with its galaxies and stars. You are more important because Jesus died for you.

For God so loved the world that He gave His ONE and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. –John 3:16

This is amazing. Really. This is why I sing.

You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Oh, I'm running to your arms,
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

I wish I could hug God. Like legitimate physical hug. That would be awesome. That’s what this part of the song makes me think of.

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say

I cannot express God in words. God is everything awesome all packaged into ONE and I can’t express that; it’s impossible. Of course, I am a writer, and so I shall still try to describe God. But my words will never do him justice. As Francis Chan wrote in Crazy Love, “Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”

You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” -Luke 19:40

Do not keep quiet. Please.

You are here, You are here
In your presence I'm made whole

I don’t know what or where God wants me to go, but I feel full with God; I don’t need anything as long as I remember that God is here and God knows what He is doing.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” –Exodus 33:14

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. –Psalm 16:11

You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

I love this quote:

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. –Mary C. Crowley

And because of all this, because I can remember some of the things God has done for me and because I know that God loves me, I can sing this honestly:

My heart will sing
no other name
Jesus, Jesus

(Forever Reign by Hillsong United)