But Can He?

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.”

2 Timothy 2:13

I shouldn’t have, I should have.

I know that, I feel this.

The sky’s falling versus the pieces are falling into place.

Those moments when it seems as if the “to be done” list is always longer than the “done” list and it feels as if time is flying yet it is taking its time to heal. Every day you wake and look forward but cannot help and catch a reflection of yesterday. Remembering some of the wins, recounting all of the losses.

Filled with faith but yet… not always convinced.

Not that I doubt God’s faithfulness of course, but my own.

At the end of the day when I recall those moments when I know I could have said something better or done something more. Those moments of weakness when I broke the promise to myself to wake up at this time or to not do that. Simple tasks such as eating better or sticking to my budget or to a schedule of any sort (such as writing this blog post).

And those are just the “small” things.

How can I profess to be faith filled when I struggle daily with being faithful? If I can’t make it through an overall mild Tuesday, what would make me believe I could survive the earth shattering and heart crushing days when more than my daily resources and time allotments are on the line?

Laying down at the end of the day and wondering can a God that good really love a person like me?

All of the doubts.

All of the fears.

All of the sticky situations.

When I knew better and when I didn’t.

When the tears come and despair knocks and the waves rise and the wind howls.

And I am thanking God again and again for every blessing, although… all the while knowing I have more to say. The reality being that He also knows I have more to say.

In this world it feels as if we are continually encouraged and tempted to hide whatever faults we have, whatever troubles we are carrying. Grin and bear it, if you will.

Don’t tell anyone that you struggle with that. Don’t suggest you’ve messed up. And don’t you dare admit you’re scared. Just leave it, it’s fine. Meanwhile, whatever it is grows bigger and eventually its darkness starts to envelop your life, primarily internally and eventually externally.

I didn’t see this coming. How did this happen? Who would have guessed?

God. God knew. God saw it coming. And?

He’s not surprised.  He saw the storm coming before it was on the horizon.

He reached out to catch me before I began to fall.

And He is kneeling beside me as I get up the courage to look up.

Because the beautiful, outrageous truth is – even when I am faithless, He is faithful.

You see, the problem is a part of me at times forgets that God- the Creator of the Universe and everything in it- is able to handle my honesty. From the little bits to the boulders.

He can handle the fact that at times my heart hurts, that sometimes I struggle and still sometimes I fall.

He can handle the fact that even though I know who He is and believe in all of His promises and rely solely on His truths, I do not always act accordingly.

He can handle the tantrums and the scars and that I am not perfect.

Because He is.

And so long as I am willing to bring it all to Him, every messy piece I’d rather hide, I can handle it too.

There is a song and one of the lines in the chorus reads, Show me that You can handle my honesty. The whole song is wonderful, but that line sealed it for me the day I heard it.

Those words, that question, at first hit me and opened a prayer. Words I wanted to scream at the top of lungs in the moment and at the same time hesitated to whisper. I wasn’t sure I could handle my own honesty most days.

However, as quickly as that prayer opened so did several recollections of the times God in fact did show that He could handle my honesty. He who is always faithful had never turned His back on me, not even once, no matter how reluctant I was to let Him in and let Him see just how messy it was.

Those words reminded me that not only can God handle my honesty, but He embraces it.

And I hope this post serves as a Public Service Announcement because He can handle your honesty too. Every hard question and unspoken horror and hidden sorrow.

You will find that when you let go and spill everything to God – you can handle it too.

She spent time with God and that is what made her lovely.

It wasn’t that she was perfect, always made the right choices and never had a single doubt or fear.

The secret has always been that she spent time with God… and unloaded every hurting and ruined bit. She gave Him the ashes and in turn He built them into something more beautiful than could ever be imagined.

The take aways from all this:

He created me.

He loves me.

And He can handle me.

In response to the question posed by Mikeschair- Grace was made for people like me.

** Song by Mikeschair, Title: People Like Me

Fast(ing) Forward

Back in the beginning of December 2018 I made a decision to participate in the Daniel Fast at the start of 2019. This would be my fourth year undertaking the fast, and to be quite honest, I was really looking forward to it.

By the end of 2018 I had amassed an impressive assortment of questions pertaining to every area of my life; personal, professional, relationships, financial, physical, spiritual. And while I have full faith in God coming through according to His timing, a part of me seems to continuously search for that fast forward button. From my past experience I knew it was time for the fast because nothing slows me down more than fasting.

Fasting is a period of time where you temporarily give up something to make space for God. I realize that sounds strange, as in what could making space for God possibly have to do with food? Nothing really.

Except that going on the Daniel Fast helps my heart to remember what or who is my first priority. It seems so small, does God really care about whether or not I eat a piece of that cake or if I have one slice of pizza on Saturday night? No, He doesn’t. Remember Jesus’s words in Matthew,

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” v.15:11

What God does care about though is that above having a slice of pizza or a piece of my favorite dessert, I desire to honor my commitment to Him most. It’s not to say I do not feel the temptation to cheat or bend the rules a bit, but that above those temptations He comes first.

Being on the fast reminds my heart of who my hope is in, who I turn to when nothing feels right or who I cry to when I am not sure where the journey leads. By continuously having to remember what I cannot eat on the fast and preparing meals, I am continuously reminded of a God who would cherish such a seemingly small sacrifice. Everything He has ever done and I struggle giving up tea, chocolate and coffee for 21 days.

Actually back at the beginning of December last year I decided I would extend my fast past the 21 day period (reflective of Daniel’s fast which was 3 weeks long) and go until noon on February 4th. This date may seem random but for me it is a date which will set all of 2019, and my future, unto one path or another. I knew I would need the extra weeks to ensure my heart remained focused and my eyes stayed fixed as Jesus led me across the water, reminding me that He is the one who ultimately sets my path.

And that is why I fast, and love it when I do.

It’s not a diet, there is no way I would still have Christmas candy if this was just a diet where I was answerable to only myself. Not to say the health benefits are not great, because the doctor’s will tell you they are, but they are an added bonus.

It’s not a way to earn “bonus points” and get on God’s “really” good side so He will answer all my prayers accordingly. The reality is that God answers all prayer in His time and according to His purpose. No, fasting doesn’t change God’s mind but instead it changes our hearts.

All those questions I had accumulated over 2018 I have been able to lay at His feet, and leave them there. I have handed over every burden. I don’t have answers because I don’t need them. All I need to know is that He is in control and therefore there is nothing to fear. Despite the storms and the waves my eyes are fixed on HIm and He who is always faithful will bring me through.

There are several different fasts. Different time frames, from hours to days to weeks to months. And it’s not always food related, maybe a social media fast or tv fast or just a caffeine fast would be best. The key is to choose one thing you will miss throughout your allotted time without it and then when you do miss it be reminded of your ultimate why. You made a commitment. Be reminded of who you made that commitment to, a commitment which in reality seems so small compared to all He has committed to and accomplished for us.

If you are like me you will be surprised to find that fasting isn’t really something we do that “benefits” God. No, it is actually something which we benefit from in ways we never fathomed before we begun.

One more thing, after every fast in the Bible there was a celebration. I can already feel the joy bubbling up not because I have received any answers but because I am the daughter of a King who loves me uncompromisingly and who hears all my cries. What have I to fear knowing that ultimately that whatever I face is not a permanent state and that something better than I could ever imagine is on the horizon.

Cheers!

**Thank you Kate Remmer on Unsplash for the photo!

 

Even This Far

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

We love a good “Cinderella” story. At least I do. One where the main character faces impossible odds and it gets to that pivotal moment where all is lost and then… they rise. They make the impossible choice to do the impossible thing that has no guaranteed outcome, no guaranteed success and really through the world’s eyes is completely hopeless. But they do it anyway, they go that far.

Our love for these stories can’t be denied. Looking at recent movies and books which have been released with great success, we all in some way are encouraged by those moments. Moments where they fight the good fight, finish the race and in the face of complete defeat keep the faith.

But living it out… that’s more difficult. I would be willing to bet that everyone reading this has had those in the dust moments, the ones before the epic comeback. The point in the story where everything seems broken, obliterated and all that is left is the debris of what used to be. I know I have been there more than once, and God knows there were moments when I wasn’t sure if I could keep the faith. I wasn’t sure I could be the hero in the story who rose. I wasn’t sure I could go that far.

I would say at some point all of us have hit our knees in defeat. And God, it hurts. We cry out wondering how it got this far. How or why did God let it go this far?

He should have been here by now.

He should have righted the wrongs by now.

He should have….

But He hasn’t. And we find ourselves faced with the decision, are we willing to go that far? Will our faith carry us that far?

The truth is we know that He knows it hurts. We know that He hears our cries. We know that He is good and that He is all-knowing. We know that we can trust in His plan and in His will above our own. Even this far.

This is where clinging to the truth, to what we know God has said over what we see, is essential. And God knows it’s hard. That is why He has given us the stories of others who rose despite the impossible circumstances. Stories of those who were probably wondering how it had gotten this far, and yet didn’t falter in their faith.

Can you picture it? Daniel being led to the lion’s den, praying to God. Believing God was there beside him and yet when they arrive, he is still thrown in. And as he gets up and realizes he is actually in the lion’s den, the king wishes him luck and then seals the door. Literally, a stone was rolled in front of it and was sealed with the king’s signet ring and of the other nobles, so “that Daniel’s situation may not be changed”. Daniel 6:17, word for word.

And in my head I wonder why that far? Why did God let it go that far?

And it’s not a one time occurrence. Moses in the wilderness, the four men in the furnace, Job in the rubble of all he had, David on the run, Jesus on Calvary. Time and time again we read stories in the Bible letting it go that far, not only in the Old Testament but in the New Testament as well.

I am sure Mary and Martha wondered why Jesus had let it go that far.

Lord, if you had been here this wouldn’t have happened.

I am here, always, it is apart of the plan, have faith. There is a greater purpose, even this far.

We could list stories all day long of those who were faced with choosing to accept defeat and lose hope or choosing to go that far. Stories which bring with them a revelation. Going that far has always been apart of the plan. Maybe not our plan, but His plan.

God’s not surprised. He didn’t momentarily forget and then turn around and go “my bad I never meant it to go that far”. God’s plans always serve a purpose. One of those purposes, growing and solidifying our faith.

A faith that won’t flee at the sight of the seemingly impossible. A faith that not only knows but fully believes that what is impossible for man is possible with God. A faith that will carry you that far. A faith that says even this far.

So many times have I cried out, demanding to know why God has let it go this far, pleading with Him to move His hand. And as my pain pours out, His peace pours in. And I know that He is moving His hand. That is has gone this far for a far greater purpose. I need only to trust and to keep the faith, to know that when I cannot run He will carry me. When the den is sealed and the tomb is closed, God’s still working. So keep the faith, because in those darkest moments, He’s about to call you out.

Even now, even this far.

Special thanks for the featured photo Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash