Adventures With Buddy – Episode 3: Answered Prayer(s)

I realized after the events of the past few days that if I didn’t get back to writing all this down, I’d forget something. Going back to where we were before, I had started getting to know a couple of the neighbors as I passed by their houses when they were outside. This part of the story is no different, but you need a little background info first.

I live in a state where smog checks are required every so often. Last year, I had my first required check. My car failed. I won’t go into all the details, but we’ve been driving around with the check engine light on for as many years as we’ve had the car due to an after-market exhaust system that was installed before we bought it. The state doesn’t care why the check engine light comes on, they just care that it doesn’t. So that’s three catalytic converters. There was another issue, too, which we were able to fix and then get an extension for the rest.

This past summer was when the extension expired, but I wasn’t in a position to do the repairs at the time. I asked God what I should do since I wasn’t even sure if it was worth putting more and more money into an older car. He told me to wait until after I moved. (At some point, I should probably tell the story about where we lived since I last posted regularly so this makes more sense.)

Once we got settled in our new place, I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to take it back to the same mechanic or find someone new. I didn’t know if I should put in new parts or find used ones like the mechanic suggested to save me some money. All I knew was that I was impressed that I needed to get it done soon.

We live on the corner of our street and another street that Ts into it. There’s a duplex on the other side of that street. Every time I’ve seen it, I’ve gotten the impression that I needed to connect with the people inside, but they were never out when I walked by. Until a few weeks ago. 

I was headed out with Buddy for our usual walk, and I saw a man outside the duplex changing the tires on his car. He seemed busy, so I didn’t interrupt him, but I definitely felt impressed to say something about what he was doing. I decided I’d talk to him when I returned if he was still outside. Thankfully, he was! Turns out he’s a mechanic with his own shop, but he works on cars at his house, too. He was willing and able to do not only the main work I need done, but a whole list of other things that needed work, too, (like replacing the timing belt, putting in a new windshield washer fluid tank because the old one was cracked, doing a tune-up and more) for less than half of the original estimate.

In the process, I’ve gotten to know him and his wife a bit. I was wanting to invite them over for dinner to say thank you, but we don’t have a dining table since I donated our old one when it was too big to fit in the next to last place we lived. I prayed for that, too, so we could start inviting people over. A day or two later, I mentioned to him about having them over once we get a table, and he got all excited. He had a table with chairs in his garage he was more than happy to give us so he’d have more room to work. Not only is he giving us a table, but he brought over two end tables, a rocking chair, a bookshelf, and a lamp! He even offered to bring more if we needed it.

Friends, God knows our needs and the best way to provide for them. We don’t have to worry about figuring all that out. We just have to stay connected to Him and trust Him to work things out at the right time once we’ve asked. He hears our prayers and only wants good things for us. We can count on that each and every day.

Advertisements

Adventures With Buddy – Episode 2:

In the last episode, I had done things totally uncharacteristic of my introverted self, and as a result made connections with people at not one, but two houses in our new neighborhood. The next morning, Buddy and I headed out again, down the street toward the yellow door adorable porch house. I wondered if I would get to see my new friends again, the young woman in particular since she hadn’t said much the day before.

Sure enough, as I approached the house I saw her sitting out front by herself. Again with the giant smile on my face I sang out, “Good morning,” and waved. (I didn’t actually sing. That would’ve been a bit over the top for our second greeting. Maybe later.) She waved back and asked how I was doing. So friendly. 

Who would’ve thought the people living around us could be so pleasant and enjoyable when we make a little effort to engage with them in a friendly, pleasant way? This feels like completely new information! Go figure.

We chatted briefly about the cold weather before Buddy and I continued our journey. I still didn’t get her name. 

We didn’t see anyone else along the way. The man who gave me the bag the day before wasn’t outside, and I was not sensing any urge to go knock on the door. However, I noticed that the leaves which Buddy had availed himself of, causing me to need said bag, had been raked up. I was extremely grateful I had taken care of the situation the day before instead of forgetting about it or procrastinating like I so often have in the past. I have no desire to cause anyone, friend or foe, to discover that kind of surprise while performing an already less than enjoyable task. 

When I saw what else they had put in the trash with the leaves, I felt like I was getting a little reward on top of the feeling of relief. This made the little girl in me smile.

The following day, we took Buddy with us to church and spent the whole day there. It was late when we got back, but Buddy was begging to go outside. I almost didn’t take him because I knew he didn’t really need to go, but yet I felt compelled. My plan was to go just a little way then head back, but he had other ideas. He was on a mission to drag me all the way down the street. I can’t remember the last time he pulled that hard. I was starting to wonder if maybe I was being sent on a mission, too, so I prepared myself by ackowledging I was tired but willing to go along with whatever God might be leading me into.

As we approached the yellowdooradorableporch house, I could see that the trunk of their car had been left open. The first impulse I had was to go knock on the door to let them know. I knew this was what God wanted to do, but I paused long enough to start questioning if it was truly the best option. After all, it was after 9:30. And they have small children. What if I woke them up? And couldn’t I just close the trunk for them? But that seems rather presumptuous. What if they want it open? Who am I to say their trunk should be closed? And what if they left their keys in the trunk and I make their life harder? Besides, they’re probably about to come back out to close it.

So we kept walking. I decided I would seriously consider knocking on the door if the trunk was still open on our way back.

It was.

I stood there on the sidewalk where it met the path leading up to their adorable porch for quite some time wondering how crazy I was going to look if I actually went through with it. Was I seriously going to do this? I could just keep walking, and no one would ever know. Except I couldn’t. My legs would not take me home. My only two options were to keep standing there or go do it. I figured the longer I stood there, the more potentially annoying it would be when I did finally knock on the door. 

Ok, ok! I did say I was willing to go with whatever You want to do. I hope this isn’t going to make me look crazy, though.

A few, short steps later, I was knocking on the cheery, yellow door. It opened, and the young lady appeared, looking curious if not confused. When I explained why I was doing something hardly anyone ever does anymore – knocking on the door of a neighbor you barely know – at almost 10:00 at night, she enthusiastically expressed her gratitude for the unexpected visit. She even came out on the porch and introduced herself. It was lovely. And now she has a name.

As Buddy and I finished our walk, I thought about how glad I was that I went through with it despite my hesitation. This is new territory He’s leading me into. He’s asked me before to trust Him with finances, housing, and His timing. While they were all leaps of faith, they didn’t require stepping out of the comfort zone of my own introverted personality. Initiating and building relationships with people I’d otherwise have no reason whatsoever to talk to is completely new to me, but this is a new life He’s living through me. And I love it.

In Episode 3, I’ll tell you about a major answer to prayer brought about through another of these adventures with Buddy.

Adventures With Buddy – Episode 1: How I Knew Something Was Different

Ok, I admit, my last post was um…blatant. I make no apologies for it because that’s what was on my heart to write as it was what I was experiencing and thinking in those moments. Today, though, how about a story?

Our dog, Buddy, had been gone for a week visiting the family who graciously took care of him over the summer (all part of that long story I mentioned a few days ago). Since he’s been back, we’ve been taking at least a couple of walks a day which have gotten longer as the days have gone by. 

He’s such a big baby
A few days ago, three to be exact, we were heading down our street, and as we drew near the house I love with the cheery, yellow door and the bright, chalk drawings on the sidewalk in front, I noticed a young couple out on the adorable front porch. (Seriously, I love this house.) I’ve walked by so many times before and wanted to tell them how much their house makes me happy, but even when they were out front I couldn’t bring myself to speak to them. I’d just smile politely, turn my head away, and go on my way, feeling disappointed in myself for having a fear of talking to people I don’t know that goes beyond being introverted to a slight shade of social anxiety left over from years past.

Three days ago, I was different. I had started this new process of learning to invite God to take over my thoughts, feelings, decisions, and actions, so even though it was technically me walking down the street that day, I was being controlled by Him. As I approached the house, instead of being filled with a mix of emotions, like longing and fear, and somewhat negative thoughts about myself, I was experiencing a sensation that might be compared to what one gets when drinking a cup of coffee when said person really, REALLY loves coffee…but so much better. (Some of you may be questioning if that’s even possible. With God, all things are possible.) 

It was like a warm glow mixed with joy, utter contentment, with an increasing physical and mental energy, and I was completely drawn to speak to these people I had avoided before. When I turned toward them, my face was lit up with a huge smile, and guess what? It was contagious. They smiled back with the same intensity. He said good morning, I easily responded, and all the joy in my heart spilled over as I excitely told them how much I love their house and why. He helpfully offered to give me the paint color info from the door. Just like that we were connected, and these strangers instantly felt like friends. 

I was still beaming as Buddy and I continued on our adventure, thinking that at some point it would be good to exchange names with the yellow door adorable porch people. Maybe next time. We hit the T at the end if the street and headed right, away from the busy intersection and toward the rows of quiet, modest houses with bikes and rose bushes out front. When we came to the first cross street where we normally go straight through, I was drawn left. Not by Buddy, by this force that I had invited to take over everything I thought or did. I didn’t fight it since things had been going great so far.

Buddy was enjoying all the new smells as we made our way toward the end of the short street. On my right, I could see up ahead three men out in front of one of the houses. Two of them were using a backhoe to dig a trench, and the third was an elderly man who appeared to be the owner, supervising. Still experiencing this feeling of peace, love, and overflowing joy, I was again drawn to engage with them, especially the older man. We exchanged warm, friendly smiles, and he commented on what a beautiful dog Buddy is. We enjoyed a brief conversation about the breeds of our dogs before Buddy and I continued on, but I sensed that I should talk with him more.

A short way down the street, Buddy decided it was time to do his business in the thick bed of leaves behind a truck parked on the street. He almost never does his business away from the house. Interestingly, I thought about taking a bag just in case, but my decision was overrided by a quiet voice telling me no. The old me, or should I say me without God controlling me (remember, I asked Him to do this…completely consensual) would have left the pile (I’m not proud of this), excusing my behavior by the lack of a bag. 

But on that day, in that moment, I wanted to pick it up because it was extremely likely the owner of the truck would’ve stepped right in the well-camouflaged mine, and I didn’t want to be responsible for that. Instantly, I knew this was my opportunity. We headed back to the house where the men were still working, and I humbly asked the owner for a bag…preferably with no holes. He very kindly went inside to get one for me while Buddy and I waited patiently for him to return. The other men were busy working, and I felt no inclination to interrupt them. I was there for the owner. So I looked around and noticed an older car up on blocks next to me with what appeared to be dog or cat food in a Zip-loc bag in the back window, which for some reason I found particularly interesting.
Once he returned, I thanked him and went to take care of, well, you know. On our way back, I thanked him again, and I can’t even tell you now how it started, but we ended up having a whole conversation about his dog who needs surgery that he can’t afford being on a fixed income, his eight children and fifteen grandchildren who come to visit, and the three stray cats he’s taken in. The whole time, I was keenly aware of his kind, generous spirit, and that he enjoyed having someone who would listen to what was on his mind and heart. And just like that, Buddy and I had another friend. 

We headed home, bag in hand (I was so thankful the bag he found was hole-less), experiencing the same sensation I started off with but with more intensity. My mind was filled with thoughts of possible future encounters with him and the young family on my street. Where would these new friendships lead? Instead of feeling anxious, I was, and am, filled with eager anticipation because I expect whatever lies ahead will be good.

That was three days ago. There’s more to the story, but that’s good for today. Check back soon for Episode 2 of Adventures With Buddy.

It’s a Great Gift – Trust Me, You’ll Love It

Aaaagghhh!!! 

So many thoughts! So much new understanding! It’s WONDERFUL and terrible at the same time. I desperately want to share and clearly explain all of it, but where do I even start?? And I’m keenly aware of the other things I need to get done. Even one concept properly explored would take me a few hours to write. Not..to..mention..all..the.other.ideas.that.are.so.clearly.connected…Theyneedtobeincluded,too! I need to write a book!! In an afternoon!! I can’t do that!!!

I can’t do this. 

I want to, but I can’t. 

Stop. Breathe.

Ok, I’m stressed. I’ve lost it. Not my mind…

His.

Lord, I let my anxious thoughts take over again. I don’t want to live like this anymore, not in this moment, not ever. I want the calm, joy, love, self-control, and everything else that comes with accepting your thoughts and ways as mine. Please, please take back control of my mind.

Nothing is better than being filled with the Holy Spirit. Nothing. Everything else this world has to offer is just a cheap counterfeit. Many things imitate the feeling of pure exhilaration and satisfaction, but they leave you with less than nothing, less of you than you started with, always needing more just to get back to some sense of normal.

Jesus told the woman at the well that if she drank the water she would get thirsty again, but if she drank the living water He could give, she would never feel thirsty for more because it would become a spring of water in her, supplying what she needed to live forever. 

It would be like giving water to a plant that would never need to be watered again because once the water had been soaked up into the cells it would continually replicate itself and cause the plant to live forever. It could sustain life because it had life. Living water.

He was talking about himself, of course. He wants us to accept Him into every cell, every part of our being. As long as we’re allowing Him to stay, He constantly gives us everything we need to really live. The kind of life He gives us is not the same as simply waking up and surviving the day until we can finally go back to the sleep which often eludes us. The life He gives causes us, the branches on the Vine, to thrive and bear fruit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are the fruits of the Spirit. The Spirit is how He lives in us.

Before we go rushing through that list like it’s nothing, let’s take a moment to focus on just one of those fruits…love. Think about your life. What percentage of your day do you feel loved? And how often do you find yourself overflowing with love for all those around you? 

Not long ago, I would’ve had to honestly answer less than 10% and not very often. In fact, I would isolate myself to avoid the negative feelings I got from interacting with people, even my own family. The range of negative emotions was wide, from guilt to irritation or anger to lonliness, with plenty of others in between. I’d often wonder how God could possibly love people. 

Now imagine what life would be like if love were constantly present in your heart and mind. No matter what anyone did or said, there was so much love in you that it not only kept the harsh negativity of the world from seeping in, but overflowed to the broken, hurting people who need it most. How different would your thoughts be? How different would your interactions with your family, friends, and coworkers be? Wouldn’t it be so much better?? 

Wouldn’t that one fruit alone have so much power? And we get all of them, all the time, when we’re truly connected to Him. 

Jesus wants to give us life. Not some dull, boring, meaningless existance that’s a constant drudgery we have to fill with ways to keep ourselves going that leave us empty. What He is offering will make us wake up full of excitement, wonder, and eager anticipation of what amazing things the new day will bring. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. He never forces Himself in, and He’ll give us space when we show we don’t want Him there anymore, but He doesn’t go far. He stays right with us, waiting, hoping we’ll invite Him back in once we realize how empty we are without Him. 

I used to think that when I rejected Him he’d go far away because He was done with me until I could get my act together. Now I know this isn’t true. He was always right there. He knows we can’t get our act together ourselves. He doesn’t expect us to. He just wants to be close to us, as close as possible. There’s nothing closer than two becoming one, and that’s exactly what we can experience because He’s given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is admit we need and want the gift. He’s already offering it. We only need to accept it. So why wait? Why spend one more second stressed out, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, or empty? If you’re ready for the gift, tell Him.


He’s Not Wrong

Through a recent series of events, I was introduced to a book which clearly explains concepts that are life changing. That’s not hyperbole. I’m serious, and I seriously think everyone should read it. It’s free, so I’ll include the link at the bottom.

One of the important concepts in the book is how much better our lives would be if we were constantly aware of our need for the Holy Spirit and constantly accepted it as a gift. Because of that, I’ve been consciously choosing to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me as I go throughout my day. This is different from not asking at all or only ackowledging my general need for help first thing in the morning and wondering halfway through the day (or 5 minutes later) why I’m doing the same stupid things (often things that I know are wrong and have tried to stop in the past) over and over again. 

No, this is like having your best friend with you all day long and being able to ask them for advice, but better. When we ask Jesus to live in our hearts via the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t just tell us what to do, He does it through us. This is an important distinction. 

I’ve spent a year and a half being pretty tuned in to hearing what God is saying to me, starting with the clear instruction to quit my job which led to me starting this blog. Along the way, though, there were plenty of times when I ignored His voice or wasn’t sure if it was really Him and didn’t follow through. He was certainly there, helping me, trying to guide me, but it was like a parent trying to help their child complete a task by only being able to give instructions and not touch them. 

When I understood I needed to be asking Him not just to tell me what to do but to control me from the inside, my heart and my mind, it became like that same parent being able to place their hands over the child’s and be the one controlling the actions. But again, with the Holy Spirit it’s even better because the thoughts and heart of Jesus become our own. I don’t know about you, but being like Jesus is something I want more than anything else. I mean, have you seen how He dealt with people?? It doesn’t get any better than that. (And now I’m crying just thinking about the love and tenderness He showed those who were hurting. Excuse me while a grab a tissue.)

Wow, okay. That kind of took me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to be so deeply affected by the sense of love and gratitude I just felt pass through me. And also a deep sense of how far from being like Him I naturally am.

Yes, I do indeed need Him every moment of every day.

I get that the thought of trusting another being to control you is if nothing else, weird. Maybe scary. Especially if you don’t really know them. I’ve struggled myself with trusting God in some areas much more than others. All I can say is that the longer I’ve known Him, the more I trust Him. He has never failed me in the big or little things. Sure, there have been times when I thought He had, but without fail I always eventually saw that it was my limited perspective or stubbornness that was the problem, not Him.

If you’re unsure that you can trust Him for any reason, let me urge you to take the tiniest step toward Him. Even when it goes against all our logic to do so, it’s worth the risk. He knows what He’s doing. He’s never wrong. 

Just before I sat down to write this, I had realized I was getting sucked into the Facebook vortex. I knew I was taking back control from Him and gladly handed it over again. What I experienced was much like being snapped out of a trance. My next thought, which was crystal clear, was to finish cleaning off the counter. One of the items was a stack of coupons I found earlier in the mailbox (even checking the mail is a new thing for me). Normally, I’d just throw them away, but today my desire was to not waste them (because God doesn’t waste anything). As I started to wonder what I could use them for other than buying fast food which I no longer have any desire to eat (trust me, that’s God, not the normal me), I saw the glass cleaner and remembered that newspaper is supposed to be good for cleaning windows. 

The windows didn’t need cleaning, but we have a glass-top desk that certainly did. As I picked up the coupon sheets, I realized they were glossy and doubted it would still work. The very next moment, I was thinking, “It will work.” That thought did not come from me. I had a choice. I could go with it or ignore it. I went with it even though I was a tiny bit skeptical (normal me trying to take back control). At first, it didn’t seem to be working, but in faith I kept going (and remembered to use a circular motion). He was not wrong. It absolutely worked.

Listen, I get that there are much more important decisions we’re faced with than whether or not to use the coupons to clean a desk or throw them away. I also get that the Holy Spirit has a purpose infinitely more important than letting us know how to clean things, but my point in telling you this story is that God cares about every detail of our lives. Knowing that, and that He loves us, helps us stay connected to Him every moment of every day, not just when we’ve gotten ourselves in trouble and finally admit we need Him. And the more we’re connected to the Vine, the more amazing our lives will be.

*Here’s the link for the book…

https://www.pmchurch.org/stepstopersonalrevival

This is the direct link to the pdf:

https://xn--schritte-zur-persnlichen-erweckung-rnd.info/themencode-pdf-viewer-sc/?file=https://xn--schritte-zur-persnlichen-erweckung-rnd.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/SzpE_En.pdf&settings=111110111&lang=en-US#page=&zoom=auto

Was Blind, but Now I See

We moved into a new place last month. Yes, another move. Long story. Maybe a post for another day. Love the new place for many reasons, one of them being brand new, soft, fluffy carpet in every room. It’s delightful, especially because I’ve become a bit of a clean freak since my last post almost a year ago. I want to keep this carpet as close to new as possible for as long as possible. 

Here’s the problem. We have a dog. He’s a great dog. Ask anyone who’s met him, and they’ll tell you. His name is Buddy, so you can probably guess what breed he is since half the population who owns one chooses that name. He’s actually half Black Lab, half Golden Retriever. Hi, Buddy 😊

He’s camera shy.

He can’t resist the love, though.

And we do love him, but when it comes to shedding, he is a champion. That means we have to vacuum regularly if I’m going to have fluffy carpet. (You might think that his fur added to the carpet would equal extra fluffiness. Seems logical. But no.) 

Yesterday, I was doing the vacuuming and I noticed there wasn’t much in the canister, but didn’t give it much thought. Then the usual whirring got quiet, so I shut it off to see what was going on. I cleaned my hair out of the brush roll (Buddy’s not the only one in the house who sheds like crazy), which was not exactly the most logical thing to do since the brush roll was the one thing that was still working, but hey, I was trying. When I turned the vacuum back on to see if my illogical plan had somehow worked, it was silent. No suction, no spinning brush roll, nothing. You may be thinking that I should have checked to see if the cord had been unplugged because that’s what I thought, too. Except the power light was on.

By this point, being the vacuum expert that I am (not at all), I concluded that the motor had gone out and I was going to have to replace it or the whole vacuum. I’ve been wanting a Kirby, so I started to think about all the things I could clean with it. It was going to be great! Then I remembered the price…and the fact that our old vacuum has some sentimental value. I decided to do a little digging online.

When I finally found the troubleshooting guide for vacuums that have lost suction and ruled out the answers to what was clearly a different problem, I read something about resetting the motor thermometer and checking the airways for blockages. 

Pfft. They don’t know my vacuum.

I was 100% convinced that blocked airways were not the problem, so I didn’t bother to check. But maybe, just maybe, the motor had overheated. Maybe. I left it alone for a while to see what would happen. I figured it couldn’t hurt. It definitely had nothing to do with blocked airways, though.

A few minutes after I decided to let the vacuum rest, my phone rang. I ended up having a conversation that involved me trying to get the other person to see that it was worth looking more closely at a problem they’ve been facing and consider the possibility that the very thing they were so sure was wrong was…right. From my perspective it was so clear, and I could not for the life of me understand why they couldn’t see it, too. After several attempts to say it different ways, and even some raised voices that I think we both knew had to be quieted if we were going to make any progress, something started to click. Yes! It was quite the journey we traveled together in an afternoon.

Returning my attention to my vacuum, I tried it again, and it worked! Yes!

See?? I didn’t need to check the airways. I. Was. Right. 

Ha!

And then it stopped.

Ok, so maybe I wasn’t quite the expert I thought I was. Touched the motor. Yep, it was hot. Remembered something in all that unheeded advice about blocked airways causing an overheated motor. Hmmm

Then I saw it. Never noticed it before. A section of clear plastic in the hose assembly. I don’t even have to tell you, right? You know.

It was completely clogged. 

And oh, look! The tabs on the hose they may have mentioned in the guide that let you take off the hose to check the airway. Go figure. Yeah, I was starting to feel pretty humble. I removed the hose…

Yeah.

See all that in the bag? That’s what came out of the hose before I even got to the clog I could see. But no, “there’s no way a blocked airway could be the problem.” 

Lord, help us all and our blind, stubborn ways.

Once everything had been cleaned out, it ran faaaaar better than it had before. I know because it picked up way more dirt and fur than it had a few days prior, and Buddy hadn’t even been there in between. I could see fluffy carpet in my future.

Why did this story inspire me to come back and write again? It’s because the lesson here is important. We have problems. Broken vacuums, broken relationships, and everything in between. Way too often we get rid of things (and people) in our lives because we are sure we’ve tried everything, and we believe there’s no hope when we’re blind to the fact that we haven’t really tried everything at all. We could be avoiding the very thing that would make all the difference. Too often, we dismiss real solutions as having no value because we don’t understand them, or we don’t trust the source.

If we would just be willing to admit there’s a possibility we’re wrong, or that we’ve missed something, so many things of value could be saved. Marriages, family relationships, friendships, and yeah, vacuums, too. Replacing people and things always comes at a cost, and too often that cost involves suffering which we could avoid. Can we just stop for a second before we respond with a No! That can’t be right! and humble ourselves enough to realize we might have a blind spot?

In my own marriage, there were so many times when my husband tried to show me something about myself that was causing emotional separation between us. I would immediately get defensive and either completely disregard what he was saying or explain myself because he didn‘t know me. Except he did. He could see me in ways I couldn’t see myself, and I didn’t give him credit for understanding me because he wasn’t perfect. I didn’t listen to him because he had faults he couldn’t see…just like me.

Looking back on it now, it seems ridiculous. My responses, meant to set him straight and show him he was wrong, only widened the gap between us as they carried a message of utter disrespect. Had I not been so stubborn and afraid to consider the possibility that there was truth in his words, I would’ve seen it, too, as I do now. What I took as worthless criticism was in reality deeply insightful. 

If there is some broken place in your life that seems hopeless, I’m here to tell you there is hope, but be prepared for the solution to come in the form of the thing you’ve dismissed as worthless. If you suspect you might be blind to some key element in getting to a better place, ask God to show you. He only wants good things for you, so He will give you eyes to see and a brave, open heart to face the truth. With Him, there’s a future ahead that is better than you can imagine. All you have to do is recognize your need and ask.

It Makes No Sense – Day 219

Peace.

What does it look like? How does it feel?

For me, today, it looks like being concerned but calm after I happened to stumble upon a missing person’s report for a young person I care about deeply. It feels like the lack of a churning stomach or the urgent need to do something, anything, to figure out what happened since I haven’t been able to have contact with them for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I want to know. I want to be able to talk to this person more than just about anything in the world right now, or at least to have some indication they’re okay. I want it, but I don’t need it. I can sit here, knowing that at some point I might find out the unthinkable has happened, and not feel like I’m jumping out of my skin at the pure agony of the unknown. It’s because I know there’s nothing I can do right now, but God knows exactly what’s going on and will do what needs to be done. He says He’ll work out everything for the best, and I believe Him.

Today, peace also looked and felt like going out to lunch with my ex and our kids, having someone comment on how nice it was to see our family together, and knowing, really knowing, that whatever is supposed to happen with us will happen when it’s supposed to and not a moment sooner. It was having no pain due to impatience, or bitterness because “this isn’t how things were supposed to be.” It was being able to notice all the little things to be grateful for in the moment instead of being distracted by trying to do or say just the right things to make something happen now. Again, God knows what’s best and when things need to happen, if at all. I trust that. I trust Him.

This is the peace that passes all understanding. It makes no sense for me not to be beside myself with worry over my dear friend, but I’m not. I know God loves that precious person He created in such a wonderful, unique way infintely more than I do, and He hasn’t forgotten them for even a nanosecond. It makes no sense for me to be perfectly content with being single when my whole sense of worth and identity were once completely entangled in my romantic relationships, but here I am. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit offer something so much better than anything the world can. Yes, sometimes I suffer. We all do.

We. All. Do. 

But there’s a big difference between suffering alone or with only the comfort of fellow humans who can only understand and do so much and suffering with a Friend by your side who understands your pain better than you do, knows all your thoughts without holding them against you, and brings good from even the worst circumstances. Just knowing that no suffering you experience is ever for nothing is enough to bring a sense of peace which is otherwise elusive. 

Peace is the absence of stress that comes from feeling helpless and out of control. We don’t need to feel helpless because we have help. We don’t need to be in control because we can place our lives in the hands of God who loves us unconditionally. He loves us so much, He never wants or expects us to settle for less than the best. When we have faith to believe that even our lowest moments have their place on the road to that best, we can walk through them in peace.

I hope that today, whatever you’re going through, you experience peace so real and intense it just doesn’t make sense.