Archive for Isaiah

Depression part 3- Words of Encouragement

“I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.” Isaiah 61:3

This verse says that the Lord ultimately will take all of our sadness and suffering away. We will go through difficult times, but the Lord knows how to take care of the people he loves. I always try to remember that god is a good father, and that we are his precious children. That helps me realize that he doesn’t like to see us hurting or frustrated. He wants to take care of us, but we have to learn to trust him so he can share that love with us.

“But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:31

Again, trusting that the Lord will lead you and take care of you is crucial. When I trust him, it makes the hard times more bearable. Because then, I am not resting in my strength, but in the strength of God. We can accomplish more, endure more, love more, and be more when we trust in his strength.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God is a loving God, full of mercy. Now, it certainly doesn’t always seem that way, whenever we ask for his help and he doesn’t seem to help, and we pray certain prayers and they don’t ever get answered. But God is a father who knows what is best for his children. Sometimes we want things that we think are best for us, but they are not necessarily what is best for us. The same is true in regular life: children want things they think are good, but the parent knows it’s not necessarily best for the child. They want to eat candy for dinner, and even though it would taste good for awhile, the parent knows that is really a dumb idea.

We only see the current road we are on in life, while God sees all the roads in the map of our life. We have to allow him to lead us and guide us to the right places, and let him bless us how he wishes to bless us. At the end of it, we will see that God knew what we needed far better than we knew what we needed. Trust him when life is easy, and definitely when it gets very hard.

This verse also talks about how God comforts us so that we can comfort others with that same kind of love. That is how we spread Christ’s love through the world. We take the love he gives us and spread it to others, and then those who are not saved will look at Christianity and see the compassion in us, and know us by our love. God invests time and energy in us so that we become more like Christ, and we need to invest time and energy in others in the same manner.

Advertisements

Anger and Bitterness part 2- Reasons We Suffer

So you are angry and bitter. Something terrible has happened in your world. Now what? I won’t lie and pretend to know all the answers. If that were the case, I wouldn’t struggle with anger so much myself.

I do know that we gain strength from suffering. Sometimes, it can give us compassion for others. If we do something wrong 100 times, then figure out how to do it right, if we see someone start to do that thing the wrong way, we would be eager to help out so they wouldn’t have to go through the unnecessary frustration. Sometimes, suffering humbles us. Sometimes, we suffer in extreme ways, in life changing events, and sometimes they aren’t in necessarily huge ways.

I won’t say that every single time we suffer, it was on purpose from God. But I will say that he gives us a reason to have hope while we suffer. He can take our hardships and bring something good out of them. We can glorify him and learn to trust him more.

I feel I should share this with you from ‘Dying to Live‘. Clayton was talking about how he had hit rock bottom in his life:

“One evening during this season of despair, I hit my lowest point emotionally. I was upstairs. The room was completely dark. As I lay on my back in bed, the tears had pooled up in my eyes and were hot on my skin. I was rehearsing my good deeds before God and feeling more and more rotten by the second as I tried to convince Him that, based on all my superior goodness, He should heal my mom, re-open Daddy’s shop, and get me a full ride to Furman, Wake Forest, or Gardner-Webb. It was not working at all. God wasn’t buying it. Neither was I.

It was then, out of the blue, as it were, that the very Holy Spirit of God came and stood on my chest. Hard. Right there in the darkness.

As if someone had snatched back dark curtains to reveal that it was noon outside and the sun was shining bright when I thought it was still 3 a.m. and dark, the light cascaded into my mind and my soul. The epiphany was tangible. It was like I could feel the light from the sun on my face, or maybe like I had been doused with a bucket of ice water unexpectedly while my head was turned the other way. What God unveiled to me right then and right there, with pools of hot tears in my eye sockets, took my breath away.

Son, I know you are lonely and afraid and confused. But I have not left you. I am simply doing what you asked Me to do and I am using these things to do it. I am breaking you and humbling you to prepare you for what lies ahead and to remind you to trust in Me alone. So trust Me. Not yourself. Not your plans. Not football. Not money. Not scholarships. Just trust Me.

The Lord caused him to suffer, for a purpose: to get Clayton to trust him more. Yes, it broke both of their hearts, but it ultimately made him stronger.

I try to remember things like this when I start to get all frustrated and angry with God. Sometimes, it really is his will. God has plans for us that we cannot yet fully understand, and we only get glimpses of this awesome future, until he leads us there slowly, unraveling all the wonder day by day.

To know that I don’t struggle simply for no reason, but that their may be a much deeper meaning behind it, it gives me a sense of peace at mind, amidst all the madness, pain, and confusion.

It’s not going to be easy, but sticking by God, throughout all the misery, will ultimately have good rewards. That gives me hope. Sometimes we come to difficult points in life so that God can test our faith:

“These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure. This purity of faith is worth more than gold, which can be proved to be pure by fire but will ruin. But the purity of your faith will bring you praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is shown to you. You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. And you are receiving the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7-9

Sometimes, God will put people through tests of faith. If they hold tight to their faith to the end, he will richly bless them.

Sometimes, people make huge mistakes in their walks with God, and they have to suffer because it is a form of discipline. It doesn’t mean God will never love them again, because he always loves them. But it is simply a good parent and a child. The child does something horribly wrong, and what does a good parent do? A good parent will discipline the child, letting them see what they did wrong, and helping them to turn from that, to the right path.

“If you go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the right way. You should go this way.'” Isaiah 30:21

As Hillsong United says in a song,

“A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace”

God will lead us back to the right path if we are truly sorry in our hearts, and he will have mercy on us and forgive us. So sometimes, we fail, and we suffer. We shouldn’t turn away from God and be bitter, though; he is simply trying to lead his precious children on the right path to living the most fulfilling lives.

Sponsoring a Child through Compassion?

I have been entertaining the idea of sponsoring a child through this program called Compassion.

It costs $38 a month, and you get to provide for the physical needs of a child, such as food and clothing. You also get to help them with their spiritual needs, telling them about Jesus, and how he offers strength for them, even during hard times.

Even when they are in poverty, he places an anchor on their soul of love and mercy, in the midst of a listless sea that keeps them turning in poverty and sorrow. He grounds them and gives them peace, where they otherwise could not find it. I have learned that during hard times, Jesus will carry faithful people through all kinds of turmoil and they will come out on the other side:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.” Isaiah 43:2

I work at Chick-fil-A, make minimum wage, and I really would like to do this. I can tell them about Jesus through letters I could send them each month, and they would write back to me. They would get to be emotionally connect to someone, and in a sense, they are my child (really Jesus’s child, he’s just using me to get to them :)), and I adopt the responsibility of taking care of them. I have money saved away, and I am working a lot.

My mom thinks I should give money another way, because it really is a lot of responsibilty. I will pray on it more. I am planning on sponsoring them on Christmas day, but I want to keep getting pulled by the Holy Spirit to do it, because I know that if he tells me to do it, I am supposed to do God’s work and ignore what my mother says.

There are other ways to give and tell about Christ, but my heart breaks for all the young children all around the world who just need to know of Jesus’s love, his compassion and friendship. My heart breaks because I could take this opportunity.

How could I turn away from them? I feel like I am so capable of doing this. I get so angry at my mom, and I know she is just looking out for me, but I get angry when she tells me to just save my money. It’s like really? I’ve already put a lot away and what do I do with what’s left? She says just to save that, too, or buy something I want.

But what I want deep down in my heart is to sponsor a child. Broken heart in a world of distress. It’s like my mom is looking out for me, but my heart is too big for Jesus that I can’t freakin’ help but give and give and give, and even after I give, I have enough for myself.

But I will pray. Anyone have any idea what I should do? I know Jesus won’t be mad at me if I do it. I am just trying to consider the weight of the responsibilty, looking after a child for years. For $38 a month, I’d still have more than enough money to do what I want. I’m only 18, though. Should I tie down my life with such responsibilty? For the sake of a hurting child?

Jesus worked so hard for us and sacrificed himself, so that we may live instead of him, through him. I want to be self-sacrificial because his love runs through my veins like crazy, and I want to do anything I can to show I love him.

But most likely, I will adopt. I will keep praying. Please keep praying for me. 🙂

In the Midst of the Pain, I Grow

Following Jesus is hard. I constantly put aside what I want to try to please him. I find myself falling over in his love, wondering if I can pray harder, run faster, say more, draw more, write more to tell about Jesus. I feel myself immersed in his message, pulling my hair out to share about his good news, even when I’m tired. Constantly tired, defeated, but I push on.

Lately, I feel like my heart has been kind of on the rocks. I love God with all my heart, but he has been silent with me for so long, I desperately want him to talk to me, because I’ve been in a lot of pain. I want him to explain why Lacey Mosley gets married or my friend hears God speak to him or why everyone seems to be on their way, following the path God leads them to, and why I feel left behind.

I ask God every day why I feel empty, unloved, left out. He doesn’t respond. I cry and my heart breaks, and he doesn’t make a peep. I know he loves me, but I don’t understand why I am in so much pain. I look back: what sin had I committed? Where did I go wrong? Why is Perry Noble or my friends so much more special than me? Why will he help them with problems that seem so tiny, while I have problems that honestly make me want to shoot myself?

I hate to admit it, because I want God to actually talk to me like he has done in the past, but I hate admitting that even when he will not please me by talking this way, he is in in actuality talking to me all the time. He speaks to all of us all the time. How? He speaks through his word- through the bible.

I admit, it seems soooo unfair. Why do other people get the easy way out, when I have to dig deep to find the meaning myself, do the research? How can I handle doing so when my heart is in pieces, when it’s so hard to focus without bursting into tears because of my emptiness? I don’t know. I find myself constantly frustrated and furious with God because of this. But when I force myself through the pain, and read my book of quotes from the bible, it helps to heal my heart a lot. I’ll be hating how God is treating me, and I’ll look up something about being depressed and find:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.” Isaiah 43:2

“His anger lasts only a moment, but his kindness lasts for a lifetime. Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

“I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.” Isaiah 61:3

And each time I read these little sections, I find myself uncovering pieces of God’s heart.

My heart bomb about to explode with anger gets defused little by little. It seems so freakin’ impossible, when all I want to do is hurt God like he has watched me get hurt. But each time I read, his spirit of peace is like weights on my soul- holding me down and grounding me in his outstanding love again. It’s like when I read, I see the true face of God. I feel I can dig myself out of all my impossible holes I dig myself in. Even holes I get stuck in that I have not dug for myself.

A characteristic of my suffering heart lately is that I feel so fragile and that I am certainly about to break at any moment. But somehow when I am floating aimlessly in a sea of confusion, these words anchor my soul:

“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:11-12

“He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:29-31

“I will not leave you all alone like orphans; I will come back to you.” John 14:18

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“If my father and mother leave me, the Lord will take me in.” Psalm 27:10

This love anchors my soul, and I find myself waking up on God’s boat, knowing I am traveling in the right direction. I was lost at sea, and this truth and his unbelievably glorious and strong heart pulls me in.

A lot of times, I used to feel like it was crap that the bible could heal your broken heart. But when I’m in so much pain that any sane person would consider it too much and kill themselves to get out of it, I trust in the Lord, and just as I think he is about to let me die, he pulls me in and brings me back to life. When I feel like I am absolutely without a shadow of a doubt breathing my last, he breathes life into me.

The Lord is mysterious in this way. You always expect him to be there for you, but not quite in the way you had in mind. The same way bandages cover up cuts and bruises, his words take the sting out of the unending pain, and I can make it through another day. I get so freakin’ furious that I can’t be like everyone else, even to the point that I wanted to strangle him. But I pull tight to his grace, and wrap myself in humility, and take on this challenge to be different in the Lord.

The bible heals and challenges you and helps to strech and grow you. It reveals the very character of God. Take time to read it for maybe 10 or 20 minutes every morning. Pray that the Lord will reveal his heart to you, and show you what he wants you to see through reading. If you are in a lot of pain, look for sections that talk about healing. There is always something to find.

I’m praying for all you guys. God bless you all! 🙂

*The bible quotes books I’m reading: GOD’S PROMISES for every day

Relationship Trouble vs. Christ

LOL I’m not going to lie. I am not a perfect person (What- you thought I was!?!) I have flaws. I am often so reluctant to reveal my weaknesses because I feel people will judge me or misunderstand me. I fear people will get really mad at me or blame me or call me names. But I will humble myself. God uses our weaknesses for his glory, because in whatever area in our life we are weak, we find strength in him:

“But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God likes this because then we are more forced to depend on him when we are weak. So I will give God the glory in my constant weakness. Here is one of them: romantic relationships are the death of me. Like boyfriends and girlfriends, marrage, etc. I spend so much time alone and I feel the constant need for this sort of companionsship. I see babies and moms together and I get sad. I see Lacey Mosley and her husband and my heart breaks. I wince at the thought of weddings because I am lonely. It’s not that I’m afraid to pursue a relationship, it’s just that I feel God calling me in a different direction now.

I’m not entirely sure where, I’m not entirely sure what to do. But in ways, I feel like I just shouldn’t go after a relaitonship now. And I get angry at God because he does not want me to be like everyone else. I want to be in love, and I feel like I am watching half of my life just pass me by. I scream at him and constantly want to push away from him- it’s not pretty, but it’s true.

At the same time, I’m not willing to compromise our entire relationship because my feelings are really hurt. If he did that to us, every time we really hurt his feelings, I gurarantee he would dump us every day. So it’s not fair I do this to him. What do I do, then?

First, I pray that he will give me peace. I pray that even while in pain, he will comfort my heart and give me the strength to not be angry. The bible says:

“My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants.”James 1:19-20

“Don’t get angry. Don’t be upset; it only leads to trouble.” Psalm 37:8

I know the above quotes are true because when I get angry and find myself yelling at God over and over, I stop and think about it. After doing it multiple times, I never feel any better.I feel like it’s worthless and stupid to yell. I only feel more anger and no peace. I feel like my heart is gross for ever doing such a thing. Who am I to yell at God? The point is that anger only leads me to be more angry. God is consistantly opening my eyes to show me that being peaceful leadsd to more peace.

It’s true for everything in life. For example, I work at Chick-fil-A and I get paid every 2 weeks. I want clothes and shoes and guitars and art supplies and books, etc. But mostly, I deny myself of these things. Being completely selfish and only indulging in pleasing myself with all of my money would be completely selfish. No one else would benefit from it. Then I would start to be like this in all areas of my life- selfish of my time and engery, only wanting to please me.

But I do the opposite with my money- titheing more than 10%, making gifts for kids and sending them around the world, knowing they will come to know about the love of Christ in the process, I’m donating to charities that also spead the Gospel, buying things that will help me spend more time with Jesus. And this is because I am loving others like Christ loved me. He loved me and rescued my sould and life from destruction, and took away my pain.

The love was very real, and I am dedicated to making that love real to others. When they recieve the gifts, they will also feel loved because of Chirst, and then tell others about the love. So this is proof that love causes more love, selflessness and compassion beget selflessness and compassion. Anger begets anger. So I am trying to be peaceful with the Lord in my time of sorrow with relationships, and hopefully he will be peaceful with me.

I try to remember Jesus has awesome plans for me- more awesome than I could ever imagine! He has caused everything else in my life to look up- so why not believe that he will take care of me when it comes to relationships? I am defusing my bomb of anger and am ever-seeking peace in the Lord.

“Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help.” Psalm 27:14

“So our hope is in the Lord. He is our help, our shield to protect us.” Psalm 33:20

“But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:31

“All living things look to you for food, and you give it to them at the right time.You open your hand, and you satisfy all living things.” Psalm 145:15-16

“I wait for the Lord to help me, and I trust his word.” Psalm 130:5

Reading the Bible, Emotions, Samaritan’s Purse

I am journeying through the bible- this is my 2nd time. I read the whole bible and finished a little over a month ago, and now I am reading through again. I would like to challenge myself to start memorizing scripture, so whenever my heart needs help from the Lord, all I have to do is remember verses and phrases that help inspire me.

Normally, when I feel bad, I have to go look up verses, but now I can write the words on my heart:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9

I am putting the words of God in my heart, so I remember then wherever I go. They will be with me when I rise in the morning and when I lie down, whenever I am in pain and whenever I feel peace. Always, they will be with me.

This time as I am reading the bible, I am trying to watch the scenes unfold in my head, like seeing Jacob and his family making their way to Egypt to live there and be with Joseph. I am trying to feel real people and real sitautions and real feelings. The more the word comes alive in my mind and heart, the better I understand it and the more I trust in it.

I am struggling with crying a lot and with eating. I am praying that God will free me from the loneliness in my life and asking him to be the man in my life by leading me and guiding me and loving me. I don’t want to feel so dependent on romantic relationships, so I am trying to channel that pain into something beautiful, by spending more time with Jesus on the daily basis.

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, 35

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Isaiah 54:10

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

I am working on my ever-present feelings of loneliness. I don’t want to cry when I see happy couples, I want to feel strong and grounded. Faithful and secure in the promise of Christ, not weak and weary with desire.

I have also had this problem with eating. I don’t want to eat breakfast or lunch… I have to force msyelf to eat. I could eat two small things and be good for the rest of the day, and then wake up the next day, not eat breakfast, and have to force myself to eat lunch. My body just does not crave food. I desperately hope the Lord will help me fix this, because I don’t want to accidently starve myself.

I know good and well my body needs nutrition, regardless of if I feel hungry or not. 😦

Anyhoo, tomorrow, when I get paid, I am going to start donating some of the $100 I said I would spend on Samaritan’s Purse donations. It feels so good to help introduce the name and poweful mercy of Jesus Christ to so many hurting people. I could never give enough money for this cause!!! 🙂

Click here to Accept Christ!

xoxox Jennifer Clayton