"To the one who spoke and set the sun ablaze
To the one who stopped the storm and walked the waves
To the one who took the tree so He could say
You matter, I hope you know you matter"
Above are lyrics by For King and Country in their song You Matter. I have listened to this song many times but for whatever reason the lyrics really sunk in today. If today has
been a day where you have felt alone or like your life doesn't
matter, I want YOU to know that YOU matter.
"Studies show that you tend to base your self-esteem on what you think the most important person in our life thinks about you. So I recommend you make Jesus Christ the most important person in your life because he will always tell you the truth."-Rick Warren
So what does Jesus Christ think about you? Let me tell you:
1. I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands-Isaiah 49:16
2. I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born-Isaiah 44:2a
3. Long before [God] laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love -Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)
4. “You, [God], saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”- Psalm 139:16 (TLB)
5. It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for . . . part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11–12 (MSG)
You matter. God created you to love you. Let Him love you.
Yesterday was wild. It was just one of those days where it was one surprise after the next leaving me totally speechless (which is hard to do!). All day my prayer was just "Father, steady my heart...just keep me steady...You are my rock..." SO to have a snow day today was a huge blessing. I was able to do all my favorite things! 1) Wake up with no alarm (even though it's still somewhere between 6-7am), Spending time with my handsome life companion as we both spend quality time with our Heavenly Father so we can learn, grow, and be more like Him.
My time with the Lord continued in 2 Corinthians. Remember how yesterday was all about Paul's hardships? Well, today was all about Paul's joy! I don't think it's a coincidence either that where I have been in my journey reflects where Paul has been as I read the Word. I have been going through the hardships...you remember the last posts, right? Feeling like I couldn't get it right, feeling lost and unsure of my purpose, looking at God and crying out "What on earth am I doing here?!?" Well, He reminded me how despite the hardships, He is still Lord over all and He allows these moments to continue molding me in His image. This morning I was filled with his peace and joy. Do you know where a huge source of it comes from? See if you can catch it in my Bible picture above! Community. There is something about extending words of encouragement to one another that can turn a person's sorrow into joy. So I want to take a moment and thank those who have been such an encouragement to me and helped me remember to stay focused on Christ and to just let him love me. Love you guys!
All that digging into scripture and prayer made me hungry (don't judge). So, I topped the morning off with my favorite waffles :) -Recipe is under the Fitness Tab. This snow day will continue with some healthy baking, sweaty work outs, and snuggling up to my favorite books (or movies...let's be real)! I will post later under Fitness about the workouts/baked goodies. Have a safe, warm, and FUN Snow day :)
There is something about starting your day in The Quiet Place before the chaos of the day begins. This morning began like most mornings but since the weekend I feel as though the Holy Spirit has renewed my heart, soul, mind, and strength! I couldn't wait to dive in and spend time with my Father this morning!
I decided to camp out in 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 and, of course, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I had actually read this last night before bed but felt like I needed to read it again today and break it down piece by piece. What a reminder that, at the end of the day, no matter what we have been through we have to remember that people are always watching! Whether you were praised, blamed, honored, been through tough times, hard times...whatever it is...though it may seem like we have nothing, truly, we have EVERYTHING. Stand firm friends. Your Heavenly Father knows exactly where you are. Let Him love you. Let Him lead you. Let Him strengthen you.
Every book has an author. Every story has a writer. Every masterpiece has a creator.
I often see my life as a big book filled with many chapters. Some chapters are more painful and difficult than others. Some chapters are exciting, joyful, and filled with victory.
The two question I ask myself are: Who has the pen? Who is the author of my story?
"I'm an empty page, I'm an open book
write Your story on my heart
come on and make Your mark
Author of my hope, maker of the stars
let me be Your work of art
won't You write Your story on my heart?"
(Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli)
I love that song and I love the lyrics. As I look back at the previous chapters in my life, I find that the most difficult ones where the chapters where I took the pen and started writing myself thinking that I knew better. Or what about when you say to God, "Go ahead, you can write my story but...not my love chapter...or my health chapter...or my career chapter." Sound familiar? Every day we have the choice to give God the pen. Do you trust Him? Do you trust that He knows you better than you know yourself and that His plans are not to harm you but to make you prosper?
Part of my personal journey is trusting God every day with the pen and trusting in His timing. It's not always easy but He is faithful. I want to encourage you tonight to let go of the pen. He will not fail you.
Have you ever taken the time to listen to the words of the song Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets?
Well, here is your chance:
I have experienced it all; the brokenness, emptiness, and loneliness. I had come to the end of myself. There was no Caren left to fight and that is exactly where God wanted me to be. My mom once shared with me a story about witnessing a man drowning back when we lived in Egypt. As she witnessed the man drowning at the beach, my mom began to panic. Then, she noticed that the lifeguard was right there standing next to her She said, "This man is drowning! Why aren't you going out to save him?" The lifeguard responded, "If I go out now he will take us both down. I need to wait until he stops thrashing his arms every where and nearly gives up so I can go and rescue him."
The lifeguard was waiting until this man came to the end of himself so that the rescue could begin. Have you ever felt like you were drowning? I had been drowning but doing all I can to get out by my own strength. Then, when I had nothing left to give, I saw Him. God had never left. I was thrashing all over the place that I couldn't see Him.
So what does this have to do with the song?
Everything. This morning, as Graham, Johnna and I led worship (with that song, by the way), the words hit me like a ton of bricks and I began asking myself, "What is it going to take for God to become my one desire, my one true love, my breath, and my everything???" and "Am I sick of drowning yet?" As God has been allowing me to get stripped away to nothing, He has also been rebuilding me to the woman He has called me to be that I may fulfill the purpose He is appointing me to every day.
Let me ask you 5 questions that I often ask myself:
These are questions I ask myself often because they reveal where God is in my life. I can quickly find out if He is the center or if He is given the "leftovers." Confronting and examining oneself is one of the greatest challenges but it is 100% worth it if it means we can draw closer to God. So stop for a second and reflect. Is God your one true desire?
Do you ever feel stuck? Like you keep making the same mistakes over and over again, people are criticizing you and you just can't get it right? I have this last week. I don't know what it is but being in a position of leadership has been quite the challenge. At my job, I was promoted to become a supervisor while still keeping 10-11 clients of my own to continue doing individual therapy. The way that this promotion happened was CRRRR-AZY unexpected, surprising, and humbling. I remember when I was first approached about the position I looked at the other supervisor and said, "You want a 25 year old who is unexperienced in this??"
Needless to say, God allowed it to happen. I kept waiting for this door to shut praying "Either position is great, I am content as a therapist, and I would be content as a supervisor...you just lead." Well the door flung open and since then it has been a roller coaster ride of emotions, frustrations with myself, and an incredible journey of humility.
Here's the thing: I am not all that great at this...and I keep making similar mistakes over and over again. So now what? Was this a mistake? But God doesn't make mistakes? What I am I supported to do now?
For a while I was stuck on 1...hence all the discouragement posts. NOT today!
I know a big reason why I keep messing up is because I am trying to do this on my own. I don't want to be the type of leader everyone else wants me to be...I only want to please You. Walk with me, guide me, teach me, and send people my way who can extend patience, compassion, but also be willing to challenge me. Give me a teachable spirit that I may continue to walk in humility. Amen.
Have you ever read Gideon's story in Judges? I was reading from The Jesus Code by P.S. Hawkins and just needed to share this topic he addressed because it rang so true in my life! Let me just share with you a few verses...
SNAP! I don't know about you, but I have totally been there before. Someone reminds you that God is with you, and you're looking around like I've lost my job or my husband left or I am sick and in chronic pain...You can fill in the blank. Whether we say it out loud or in our head, we have all asked the question Gideon is asking..."but if the Lord is with me, why has all this happened to me?"
A question that I have found having an incredibly paralyzing effect is: why? I see it with my clients at work. Why is my anxiety so severe that I am afraid to leave my house? Why isn't my marriage working? Why am I in so much pain?
They aren't wrong or bad questions...but I have seen the paralyzing effect when it becomes this place they reside in.
So, now what?
Personally, when I finally realize and face the cause of my discouragement (back to that word again), I can finally find rest in Christ.
What is the Cause?
Why does God allow the these degrees of discouragement to enter our lives? Humility. He only breaks me down so He can build me up. 2 Corinthians 1:9 says "we should not trust in ourselves but in God." I know I have been there where something great comes my way, I get distracted and lose sight of God's goodness and faithfulness and actually think it was MY doing that this great thing happened...then something pops into my life to remind me of who is really in control.
What is the Remedy?
GOD IS THE CURE FOR ALL DISCOURAGEMENT!
I can't say this enough! Take it from someone who has been there. He lifted me up! In my moments of pride, yes learning humility can be painful, but it only allowed me to become more and more in His image! That is ultimately what I am striving for. So, if it takes a little pain and "pruning" to get there, I am down.
Next time you start asking why...try to pay attention to how long you have been at this "why" stage.
I challenge you to then ask "What"...
What are you asking me to do?" Is it to surrender? To run to you? To look to you? To REMEMBER you?
In HIS peace.
It is one of the devil's greatest and most used tools against us.
You know who is someone that totally overcame discouragement? Joseph.
He is someone I am looking forward to meeting some day! I just admire his courage, discipline, devotion to God, self-control, and how he never gave Satan the upper hand! Joseph had a dream, a goal for his life, but nothing was going right as he pursued that dream. You remember the story! His brothers sold him, he was brought out of the country into a strange land and sold as a slave. He went from being his father's favorite son, dressed in a beautiful robe and all that jazz, to being a...slave.
If that's not a reason to be discouraged, I don't know what is!
How do you react to discouragement? Some people are afraid of their difficulties, some just want to avoid it and run, some hide behind anger...but what did Joseph do? He FACED it. He continued to trust God's promises. When we are pursuing a dream, we don't have to be afraid or run away from obstacles that come our way...what if we faced them by remembering HE who is faithful?
I refuse to let Satan get me off track with discouragement. I don't want to run. I just want to trust that God is faithful. He is faithful.
A Bit About ME!
Hey friend! My name is Caren and I am so glad you stopped by! This blog is a bit of my corner on the internet where I share honest thoughts about my faith journey, fitness journey, doctor wife journey, and motherhood journey. ALL of it! The good bad and ugly! I pray that something I share encourages you today!