Just for the record as you read this post, I’m not referring to our foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. I’m a youth leader so I have a lot of interaction with jr high and high school kids and this post is in reference to one of the many.
I visited with a young girl who’d been in the United States temporarily. I asked her about her time here and if she’d enjoyed coming to church while she was here (something which was a new experience for her).
Her response: “I do like it, but I don’t believe.”
Me: “Really? Like you don’t believe in God?!”
Her: “No, I don’t.”
Me: (without any hesitation whatsoever, because I lack patience) “So what do you do??!! What do you do when you hurt, when you fear, when you worry, when the bottom drops out?! Where do you place your hope?”
August marked one year of for His purpose blog—100ish followers, just over 30 posts, and lots of thought.
I want to take the opportunity to thank every one of you readers. Thank you for taking the time to read, to hit the like button, to comment, to encourage, to support, to drive me to want to continue writing.
Because of this blog I’ve been able to put words to major parts of my life—parts that never made sense before. Parts of my life that seemed so broken and life shattering—I’ve now found the words to piece the broken areas together forHis purpose, and goodness have I ever drawn closer to Him in the midst.
I wish we could sit across the table from one another, sipping on crazy amounts of coffee and snacking on freshly sliced peaches, while having this conversation:
I’d ask how you are and when you’d ask me, I’d likely respond, “I’m just peachy!”—LITERALLY!!!It’s peach season and we have an abundance of peaches growing on our peach tree this year in our backyard. They’ve been ripening at different times over the past few weeks which has been nice because what I consider a “rare delicacy” has lasted just a bit longer than in the years before!
I absolutely love this tasty fruit, from its sunset shaded color with velvety soft skin—to the benefits of its nutritional value, offering an assortment of vitamins and minerals.
According to dr.axe.com the peach is a high-antioxidant food with anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties which makes it a great (additional) resource for fighting disease and promoting a healthy immune system.
I also love that they’re such a versatile food. We’ve been eating them right off the tree for a quick snack or dicing them up over top of vanilla yogurt or hot oatmeal.
We’ve made peach pie, peach crisp, peach smoothies, and we’re fixing to make peach ice cream..we’ve canned them, froze some with a little lemon juice to use year round, and made peach jam in the past as well.
Last week I even tossed some firmer slices into my salad along with berries and nuts, fresh spinach, and then drizzled Italian dressing over it..that might seem desperate but for any of these peaches to go to waste would be the “pits” (lol) so I do try and get creative, and it was actually really yummy.
Chris Tomlin (a Christian musician) sings Good Good Father, a song regarding and recognizing God’s immense love for us.
The other morning I listened to this very song and noticed I can finally get all the way through without choking up as I sing along to the words. I wasn’t always able to do so before…And I’m thankful beyond measure.
I’ve intentionally and passionately pursued Christ for the past five years, not perfectly but with great effort. I’ve read and memorized scripture. I’ve counteracted and demolished negative thoughts by applying God’s faithful word where fear and worry long to thrive.
But in all that, can I just be honest and admit that for a long time I failed to see that God loves, loves, loves me deeply and without limitations…He LOVES me with unconditional genuine love. Keep in mind I’ve believed in Him since I was a young girl, and was taught of His love from a young age but the idea and reality of His love never struck me until more recently.
God absolutely loves me even though I mess up everyday and I don’t deserve His love. I simply didn’t understand and couldn’t grasp that concept until I allowed the words of this song to sweep in and settle throughout me.
It’s like this: We can read the same verse three or four times and it may just come across as words and nothing more. It may not be until reading that same verse for the 100th time that we finally realize the power and hope found in those very words. And then it hits us like a ton of bricks and we have that “ah-ha” moment.
Sometimes God uses His people to amplify the meaning of His words, whether it’s through a song, a devotion, a church message, a fellow believer…fill in the blank.
For me, I was just taking for granted the raw truth of God’s love for me. I was missing an important key ingredient to my faith..functioning and believing in Him—but not absorbing the fullness of His words. I was reading scripture and applying it to my life, but not always in a heart-pounding, adrenaline-rushing way.
If you’d have asked me if God loved me I would’ve been quick to respond with, “yes, absolutely!”…because I knew the answer in my head from reading scripture, but my heart didn’t know and feel it.
The first time I heard Good Good Father was nearly a year ago. I was driving alone and as the music spilled from the car’s radio those words melted over my heart overwhelmingly. Tears ran down my cheeks as I soaked in the lyrics—
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.
Those words brought me to tears over and over every time I’d hear that song because it became this revelation of finally understanding and realizing that I am loved by God.
I AM LOVED BY GOD!!
(It kind of makes me want to head to Colorado and shout it from the mountaintops).
There’s something about knowing who you are, more importantly knowing who you identify as (as a follower of Christ) and knowing who He is.
Being able to declare that you are loved by God…there’s just simply nothing like it.
It’s when you feel lost, hurt, broken, or lonely but knowing and saying, “everything is going to be alright because I AM LOVED BY GOD regardless of my circumstances or feelings.”
I don’t know anything or anyone else in the world that can provide that kind of grace, mercy, and truth. When you’re in those moments of despair all you want is to feel love, because relationships are all that really matter and Jesus’ love offers the ultimate healing and restoration.
It causes me to consider those who don’t know God as Lord and Savior, where do they draw hope and comfort? I’ve said it before: “I’m still kind of a mess some days, but without God I’d be a bigger mess.” I’m so thankful for a life with Him as my Good Good Father. I’ve tried it the other way (with me in control) and it’s always left me empty and disappointed.
You aren’t living, until you’re believing and living IN HIM—immersed in all He has to give as truth.
Do you know and trust that God loves you unconditionally?
Check out Good Good Father for yourself by clicking on the photo link.
That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…
*This is part 3 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 2 are located at the bottom of this post
Growing up I took for granted the idea of family time and commitment. We had many fun times, but I failed to place much value on our years together while they were occurring.
I’ve managed to mentally revisit and collect the moments we spent together and I hold on to those precious memories now.
I can also identify our number one struggle as well. We believed in God, but we were far from a relationship with Jesus, therefore our family-dynamic suffered in following Christian morals, which led to lenient parenting. Often times I was absent—drinking and partying with friends. House rules and expectations were shallow for me; late nights and a selfish mentality were abundant. Mistakes and poor choices were high as I ran wild.
It wasn’t until I was married with three young children and in my mid-twenties that I recognized the hurt and brokenness in me. I thought I could fix it on my own and I tried for the next five years.
I watched as my mother, meanwhile, had found healing over my father’s death by seeking Christ. I remember relying heavily on her for wisdom during that trying period and she pointed me to Jesus every time.
As the years move on, I slip further away from memories of my dad. In this crazy, busy world I must intentionally reminisce of our times together or I risk altogether losing the memory of the sweet time we had together…”
*This is part 2 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 3 are located at the bottom of this post
My father was not perfect, as no one is, but he was incredibly good to my mom, brothers, and me; hard-working and courageous and taking pride in caring for his family and looking after my epileptic mother. He struggled with drug and alcohol addictions for most of my younger years but eventually abandoned the two and in the mix found out who his true friends were. He began attending church regularly with my mom and us kids but soon afterward discovered an interest in an old-time hobby of his…
Dirt bike racing.
Since the races were on Sunday mornings our church attendance as a family declined, while race attendance increased. The end of my dad’s first race season came in October of 1999 along with the abrupt end to his new hobby. Our lives were forever changed when a miscalculated double-jump left my father with a broken neck—paralyzed and ventilator dependent.
During that time my dad lived hours away in an assisted health facility for proper care. We visited him often, but tragedy would strike again not even two years after the motorcycle accident.
We brought my dad home to visit for the Fourth of July weekend, upon returning him back to his “rehab-home” I fell asleep behind the wheel. My father didn’t survive the car accident. I was just seventeen at the time, my dad only thirty-nine.
A life cut far too short.
In an uncanny way, that accident was a blessing in disguise—that morning my dad had told my mom he ‘didn’t like living this way, that he was thankful she was the one caring for him over the weekend, but he didn’t want to live this way anymore…’
Whew..deep breath..heavy heart..
That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…
*Part 3 follows with the lessons and faith I’ve found since my dad’s passing