Saturday, September 10, 2016

Something I Learned This Summer.


Hey ladies! I hope your summer was ahhhh-mazing! I hope you were super busy building sandcastles and watching for shooting stars and sizzling in the beautiful sunshine. It was a great summer for us as a family.

And for Coastline—the anniversary service back in June was such a wonderful look back at the past ten years. Of our church, certainly, but also my life. My family. Wow, has God been faithful.
As I turn from the celebration of what He has done and look forward into the future, I have confidence that the same God Who has walked with me til now will continue to hold my hand, be faithful, and direct me. What an incredible gift this confidence is. This is certainly not to say there hasn’t been trouble. Oh, there has been trouble. This is to say that Psalm 91:15, “I will be with them in trouble…” has been nothing but true. And that is where the confidence comes from, from the fact that God is Truth. He will not, cannot, lie. 

I can’t tell you how much energy I have expended over the years trying to avoid trouble. And, sure, we don’t want to make our own trouble for ourselves or others. But I am talking about the trouble that comes to us uninvited. Over these last few months especially, I have had an awareness that the world we live in has unavoidable trouble. Trouble you can’t hide from, duck, or outrun. But Jesus said this would happen. In John 16:33, He says: “In this world you will have trouble.” Kind of sounds like a “gee, whiz, why’d you have to go and say something like that?!” moment, doesn’t it?
But wait. There’s more.

“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Oh. 

Wow. 

And so my confidence in Him builds, even in trouble. What a mighty, mighty God we serve.
So, yeah, there’s been some of that trouble these past ten years of my faith journey. But the deliverance from that trouble is what rings in my heart as I look back. And knowing that the Deliverer, the One Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, will walk with me until my dying breath and beyond gives me hope to walk into the next ten years.

The anniversary has come and gone. But the lessons, they stay. And hope builds upon hope. And faith grows. And as big and small troubles comes, as they annoyingly do, I remember whispers of past trouble coming and the whoosh of deliverance and help and the Overcomer overcoming for me. I just read that word “whoosh” back—sounds like it happened all of a sudden, doesn’t it? Oh, how I wish it were so. More often than not it was after times of waiting. Times of praying and praying and praying til I felt I was prayed out. But I have to tell you the truth—the whoosh always came. He has never failed me yet. 

It didn’t always look like what I thought it would. Sometimes I wanted a certain thing, and I received peace instead. Which in the end was much more needed and powerful. Or I had expected a particular kind of rescue, and actually got a whoosh of patience and a different kind of help. Unexpected and life-changing. Sometimes what you think at first is disappointing is actually the first building block in a whole new part of your life that you didn’t even have the courage to dream about. In my experience, anyway.

What would you see as you look back over the past ten years of your life, of your faith journey? Ten years isn’t the magical number, of course. Maybe you met Jesus last year—you have stories all your own, even in a short amount of time. Whatever your story or station in life or circumstances, I bet you have your whoosh moments, huh? The ones that still take your breath away when you recall them?

That’s the GOOD part of remembering. We can’t live in the past, we can’t look back and gaze on our own failures and regrets and sins, because, if you have given those to Jesus, they are erased. ERASED, I tell you! Gone. But those things God did for you, those will live forever. Make them a monument, a marker. An ALL CAPS LINE IN YOUR STORY THAT SAYS THAT THIS—THIS!!!!—IS WHAT GOD DID! You’ll never forget it. You’ll tell it to your children and their children and their children. The story of grace and forgiveness and love and patience beyond words.

And God is magnified. 

So that was a huge thing for me this summer—a “come magnify the Lord with me” season. Psalm 34:3 “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together.”

Would you take a break today and just remember with such tenderness something He has done for you? Maybe something so big, or something that may seem small to others, but it is precious to you because only He knew that desire of your heart and made it come true. Just selah. Just pause and think about it. 

And then turn and go into the rest of this year with such hope and faith and confidence that the One who did that incredible thing and that one, and that one, and that one, still walks with you and will continue to do so.

And may this next season be so full of wonder for you that you will tell the story ten years from now.