The Greatness of Our God

“Give me eyes to see more of who You are. May what I behold, still my anxious heart. Take what I have known and break it all apart. For You my God, are greater still. No sky contains, no doubt restrains, all You are, the greatness of our God. I spend my life to know, and I’m far from close to all You are, the greatness of our God. Give me grace to see  beyond this moment here. To believe that there is nothing left to fear. That You alone are high above it all. For You my God, are greater still.”– The Greatness of Our God (Hillsong)

God has answered so many prayers this week. I probably should have kept a running tally, because I’m starting to lose track. I don’t know how to describe how in awe of His faithfulness I am. Here is a story of an answered prayer:

Three days before I left for Africa this July, I was diagnosed with a problem with my uterus. This problem meant that I may or may not be able to be pregnant in my future, and there was a high chance I wouldn’t be able to keep a pregnancy. Discovering this was devastating to me, because I believe more than anything that I am supposed to become a mother someday. I know that adoption is an option, and that is something that Dan and I want to do, but I have always dreamed of carrying a child.

So, imagine the difficulty of our trip to Africa, a trip that was supposed to help Dan and I find a unified passion for our future. I couldn’t tell anyone what we found out, so it was hard to relate at times to the other members of our team.

After coming home, I began going to doctor appointments regularly to see what the next step was, and any options I might have had. I missed a significant amount of class and there were so many challenges through this time.

Over the course of the Africa trip, and the months after I learned to give up the dreams and plans I had for my life. I called out to the Helper and Comforter and asked for His leading. I did not ask for healing, but instead for a resolution that would glorify Him.

Last week I had an MRI to make sure the ultrasound that diagnosed me was correct, so that further intervention could be made if necessary. This week I had a follow up appointment with my doctor.

She told me that whatever they had seen is now gone. There is no reason to believe I will have any problems with pregnancies. When I heard this, I didn’t know how to respond. I praised God, but after embarking on such a roller coaster, it was a bit of a challenge to just jump off! Now I have had time to reflect and begin to try to understand all that God has been teaching me these last many months.

I have learned that the things I set my heart on may or may not be the will of God. I still don’t know God’s will for my life, but I do believe that He has called me to be a mother. It still may not look the way I imagine it, as mother’s come in many different forms. I recognize that God has full control over my life and so the dreams I have need to be of Him and from Him.

I’m praising God for His control and presence through all situations. He is the Healer and Sustainer. He is the Comforter and Interceder. He knows our hearts, our desires, our needs and fulfills them according to His will.

Psalm 139: O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, i f I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You… Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

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His Faithfulness is Overwhemling

The past few weeks have been more joyful, overwhelming, and tiring than I have ever had. On Sunday, 10-10-10, I became engaged to the love of my life! So exciting! The planning has begun and I keep becoming distracted from everything else in life in order to just bask in the fun of it all. But alas, school had to come back into view with a bang, and I had to hand in a huge graduation project just one week after this joyful event. Add in the fun of life, such as trips to Philly and surprise parties for my Dad and you know why I am completely exhausted.

The past to weeks, I have praised God for the beautiful things He has brought into my life, the many, many blessings. But amidst all of my distraction, I have not turned to His words or His story in adoration of Him. I am ashamed of this. How can I be so grateful to my Creator and Director, yet I forget to actually hear what He says. How can I substitute words for action, and still feel connected to this Divine Maker.

This morning, I have returned to the point. I have spent time praying and meditating over His word. I have read stories of His beautiful, overwhelming faithfulness.

Our church is studying the book of Acts. I decided to read through Luke, so that I can have a direct basis of understanding for what the Holy Spirit does through the Church in Acts. This morning, in Luke, I read about Simeon, a faithful and devout man.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”– Luke 2:25-32

Simeon had eagerly and devoutly anticipated the coming of the Messiah. So eagerly, that after he had held Him, Simeon was ready to die and dwell with his Creator.Yet I, who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, choose to allow distractions so easily get in the way of my relationship with this Messiah. How is this possible?

Praise God that His faithfulness to me is never-ending. That whenever I lose sight of the only beautiful Truth in this world, He waits for me, chases me, and brings me back. This is overwhelming. What can I do but worship this God who is true to His word from beginning to end, who sent a Messiah so we can enter into relationship with Him who is holy.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.– John 15:16-17

 

How do we see God?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I know that its possible to see Him everywhere, but do we? Do we really see God? Do we really stop and gaze at His holiness? Do we ever really stop looking at ourselves for a moment and find awe in His awesome purity?

Its hard. There’s distractions. We distract ourselves. But I know that we can see God… I know that He is very, very visible if we just take time to look. His graces are so full and abounding, so how can we forget to look…

I see Him in people. I see Him in people who are so filled with Him that its unmistakable. I see Him everyday in my friendships and the people I hold most dear. So why don’t I recognize Him? Why do I say its just them?

I see Him in people that might not know that I’m seeing Him in them. Through them. Walking down the street, it might be a glance. A smile. I see Him. I worship Him. I turn from myself.

I see Him in the earth. The ground. His creation. We have been made to worship. It has been made to lead us to worship.

I see Him in spite of myself.

“We see God when we let go. When we let go of the visible, papery skin that surrounds our moments, then we see the sacred jewel gleaming just underneath everything…

When we cup the the thinning, fragile places, the places worn right through, the dying and flaking away and hardly-holding-together-places, this is when we see the amber of Holiness.

Stripping away the sheath of self, this is how we see God.  In a lace of brokenness, light dances with shadows...

Shakes my dead bones awake to light.

To His glowing heart within everything.”– Ann Voskamp

“Who do You want me to love for You today?”


“Keep me close to Your heart, and I will soar on the wings of the dawn. I’ll remember the way You love.”– Melody Olson

I have been reading an awesome book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan for a study with my Grow Group. Every time I sit down with it, I anticipate being challenged and changed. I learn more about the Holy Spirit with every page I turn, which is a topic I had never fully tried to grasp before. I am still baffled by the ways of the Holy Spirit, the ways He moves me, desires to work through me, intercedes for me, and so much more.

Today, as I opened the book, tea in hand, my expectations were once again met and I have so much to process as a result. At the end of the chapter, I read a story about a woman named Esther Ahn Kim, a Korean woman imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII for not bowing to idols. In anticipation of her imprisonment (yeah, she expected it, so she got ready for it instead of running away), she trained her body to eat spoiled food and to endure different circumstances she might encounter while in prison. Knowing she wouldn’t be allowed to have her bible in prison, she also memorized over 100 chapters of the bible and different hymns.

When she eventually was taken to prison, God used her in countless ways. One night a you Chinese woman convicted of killing her husband was brought in. She moaned incessantly and beat on the doors until the guards tied her hands behind her back. It was this woman that God called Esther to love and reach out to. Esther held the woman’s feet at night to warm them, even though the woman was covered in her own excrement. Though food rations were small, Esther gave up her portions for three days to this woman. Over time, the Chinese woman began to respond, carrying on conversation and eventually accepting the good news of the gospel. The woman was later executed for her crime, but she went to her death alive in Christ.

This is one of many people God used Esther to minister to. Murderers and swindlers who were utter outcasts were changed before all who watched as the love of Christ, through Esther, healed their hearts and gave them hope. Even the jailers and government officials noticed how Esther shone in that dark place. She could have just endured her suffering like a good Christian, and we would have applauded her for it. But she was not content to merely endure. She was ready every day and every moment, asking God, ‘Who do You want me to love for You today?’

Wow! I know that I, and the majority of Christians in the American church need to start asking this question. “Who do You want me to love for You today?” Because, the truth is, we don’t usually fulfill the commitments we agreed to when we surrendered to Christ. We agreed to allow the Spirit lead us wherever He desired for us. Yet, we forget that what Christ calls us to is deep love for the destitute, the poor, to be willing to go wherever He leads us, no matter how uncomfortable. Christ is love, yet how many of us forget to love throughout the day. We forget that by loving the unlovable, we are really loving Christ, for we will find Him with the poor every time.

“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matthew 25: 44-45 NASB

Overflowing Nets

Yesterday was a crazy day! It had been very long anticipated and was quite emotional for me to say the least. Why? Because yesterday was the Walk4Water. You might wonder why a walk would stir up so much in me, so I will explain. I have these friends. They are awesome women who run one of the best organizations I know! The organization, 4-More, cares for the plight of thousands and thousands of orphans living in Rwanda. They do this by providing the basic need of water, something we take significantly for granted.

For some time, I have studied and learned and studied some more about the country of Rwanda. I have learned of their deep struggles, of their overwhelming resilience, of their peace-making abilities. One thing that has been extremely difficult for Rwandans to overcome, is the massive amount of orphans raising one another without access to their most basic necessities. These orphans must walk 1-5 miles each way in order to collect dirty water. Something had to be done.

So 4-More chose to walk. This walk simulated what it would be like to walk in these children shoes (even if it was on a smaller scale). In talking with Christina from 4-More a few nights before the event, she told me what she had been praying for regarding this entire day. She had been asking God to go beyond what any human could tangibly do or expect, to fill their nets to overflowing the same way he did for the disciples in the New Testament. In the days leading up to the event it was more and more evident to me that he would do just that. Different companies had offered so many different services, that every single penny that would be raised would go directly to Rwanda.

The goal was $9,000. Enough for 3 water filtration systems in orphan villages. I continued to pray as Christina had been praying, that God would fill their nets to overflowing.

Guess what God did? He showed up in HUGE ways! The total raised yesterday was $18,000 and counting. Yes, double what was the original goal. He filled nets!

Yesterday, I saw Christ so evident in the people walking and in the women who organized the event. Prayers were answered in ways that weren’t even imaginable and only God can be given the glory!

“Religion that is pure and undefiled by God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27