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Choose your own Adventure

chooseadventureI used to read the “Choose your own Adventure” stories from the library when I was a kid. I liked the fact that I could read along the same storyline and see how one decision could tailspin the story into another path or series of adventures. Sometimes, I would get aggravated if I chose something that would end drastically or abruptly. But, I was satisfied that I could return to the page before the decision and change the outcome with the other choice. There are times in my own life that I wish that I could’ve done the same with my personal story. Are there particular chapters in your journey that you would’ve chosen to erase if you could?

I imagine the author of the adventure series has the perfect plot laid out first before he adds the side stories. He probably ultimately hopes the reader will pick the right storyline that makes the greatest adventure. But instead, he gives the reader the free will to decide which path to take.

When I used to read the series, I often picked what I knew would bring a bad outcome. I did it because I wanted to push the limits of the story. Sometimes, I was just ready for the story to end because of boredom. I’ve done the same thing in my own life. I’ve come upon decisions and picked the wrong one, fully knowing it would be a bad choice. I did it out of curiosity, rebellion, or selfishness. I did it to see if I somehow could change the outcome, even though the Author already knew where the outcome would lead.

Thinking through all of this, I’m reminded of this passage, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

There are other times in my life that I let fear of the unknown stall me on a page in life. I’d lay the book down and sit down on the journey. I wanted to choose the safe path when Jesus wanted me to pursue His adventure. He reminds me that He is the author of my faith to step into those unknown pages. I need to hang onto the next word as he writes it and trust him to make it all end with an outcome that I could never do on my own. Why? Because he is also the finisher of that faith. He already knows where the path leads and he’s excited for me to follow that path instead of me choosing my own. He knows the beauty at the end of the story. And those chapters I messed up, no longer matter because of his grace and love. He uses them to remind me of where I came from and to be cautious with veering from his lead. Ultimately, if I want the best story, then I need to I look to Him to lead me through it.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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“Eat Your Veggies”

veggies

I’ve always loved eating but there are certain things that my body starts to crave if I deprive it of good food.  Often times I’ll just grab a quick fix through the drive thru of a fast food restaurant or I’ll fill up on junk food.  It fills me up with empty calories and I’m not satisfied.  I’m not satisfied with my meal until I include veggies in my diet.

Now, when I was a kid there were certain vegetables that I detested.  Asparagus and brussel sprouts were on my least wanted list.  When my mom put those veggies on my plate, I had to scheme of ways to remove them from my plate other than putting them in my mouth.  My mom expected a clean plate at the end of a meal.  She would look at me and say, “Now eat your veggies, they are good for you.”  I disagreed, so when she turned her back I conveniently unfolded my napkin and quickly slide the veggies onto the thin paper.  Then I’d grab another to wipe my mouth and cover the veggies with that napkin, ball it up and throw it into the trash in one quick sweep.  She’d turn around and smile and tell me that I did good, until she caught me.  Then I had to figure out other methods of not eating my veggies.

I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that I do that a lot with things that are really good for me.  Instead of embracing things that are healthy for my body, I’ll look for a quick fix instead or a way to just push it away for awhile.  That happens with my spiritual life too.  I’ll get busy and don’t take time to pray or read the bible.  I run out of time or don’t make time to do what my body needs me to do.  I’ll read a quick devotion and expect that to fill me, but then I walk around feeling empty.  Then I’ll finally slow down, sit down and savor the word.  When I do that I get satisfied, not just filled up.  God does that a lot with me on all aspects of my life.  I’ll sit at His table and He’ll put a plate before me.  I’ll look down at the plate and see some things that I question Him on.  “I don’t know, that doesn’t look very good to me,” I’ll think.   God looks at me and says, “It’s good for you, eat it.”  I’ll slowly put it in my mouth and chew.  Sometimes it may not taste the best going down, but in the end it helps my body function better.  Other times I taste it and immediately my opinion is changed.  I see that you can’t judge a veggie by what it looks like on your plate.

Those veggies may not look appealing but they give you the vitamins your body needs.  So remember, don’t snarl your nose up at what doesn’t look good in your eyes because oftentimes that’s exactly what the body needs to survive and thrive.

“Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.  For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  Psalm 107:8-9 NLV

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Immanuel, He Never Leaves

My God never leaves me.

He watches me slowly fall to sleep in the stillness of the night.

Sometimes, He will sprinkle thoughts and dreams in my subconscious

To remind me that He is still there.

 

I awaken to the busyness of the day

Yet, on those morning drives, He whispers my name.

He is busy alongside me, doing things that I’m unmindful of.

I smile because His presence gives me peace.

 

How could I ever push away His unconditional love?

He hears my worries, He sees my stubbornness, and He tastes my tears.

He smells my doubts and feels the uncertainty that attacks my mind.

And He still loves me.

 

I pause for a moment

And feel His arms surround me.

His security is ever present.

I embrace Him, returning the love that He freely gives.

 

God is with me,

I’m never alone.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Poetry

 

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A Sappy Story

Since I’m around teens quite a bit with the youth group, love or being in love is a common topic. I remember being their age and falling in love with just about any guy that would give me a second look. I would fantasize about them picking me up on a motorcycle and riding off into the sunset. I was infatuated with the character Bo Brady from “Days of Our Lives,” so that’s where that fantasy came from. The motorcycle dream never came true and all of my teen romances were pretty disastrous. When I was in college I dated off and on and really gave up on finding that perfect love. I truthfully didn’t think I would find someone who would stay by my side and had pretty much sworn off the idea of marriage.

Then I met Dave and all that changed. It wasn’t love at first site, but it was a love that grew quickly. The thing with Dave was, he wasn’t who I pictured I would be with, but his heart was what I was looking for. Our early conversations were over my head, he would talk about space and geeky things. They were things I was never really interested in, but I came to appreciate them and learn about them. He was a dreamer, just like me but in a very different way. His logical mind met my mischievous one and some type of memorable experience always ensued.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that things don’t always happen exactly the way you think they will. Your dreams might come true, but it may be with someone you never really pictured them to be with. Dave really is my soul mate. Our marriage hasn’t been perfect, but he has stuck by me and I’ve stuck by him. Our love has become seasoned through the years and I’m very grateful to have him by my side. He really is a dream come true.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Life

 

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Calling Mercy

Have you ever played the game “Mercy,” on the playground? I’m sure it’s not allowed on school playgrounds anymore, due to the true brutality of the game. It’s a game of enduring pain where both participants grasp hands and try to bend the other one’s back until the weaker one yells Mercy!! I remember playing against the boys on the playground, trying to prove that girls were just as tough as boys. Sometimes I would win, but other times I wouldn’t. I really didn’t like to lose, but sometimes you just had to give in because you didn’t want a broken finger, hand, or wrist.
Thinking back to the game, it made me think about the word mercy and how much mercy God has shown me. I know there have been times in my life when I was close to snapping or breaking and I’d end up calling out for help, for mercy. It was in those times that I would admit that I was not as strong or as independent as I wanted to be. God in his wonderful nature immediately extends mercy to a mere human crying out and giving up. Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. God has the upper hand and He could quickly destroy me or you, but he doesn’t. He has compassion on us, a compassion that we can try to understand but never be able to achieve within the true character of who He is. But, in order to receive the fullness of mercy, I think you have to see the depth of it and accept the need for it with total surrender.

Mercy comes when you come to the end of yourself.

“Give thanks to The Lord, for his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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My Constant

I have never been a fan of change. I’m a creature of habit and when things tailspin out of my routine, I get upset and nervous. When I was a kid, I was super anxious prior to school starting because I didn’t know if I’d like my teacher or if I’d have classes with my friends. Stepping into the unknown has always been hard for me. I think most of us, can say that. When I went away to college my freshman year, I was both excited to be away from home and nervous to leave. I wanted to gain some independence from my parents and experience the world for myself. On the way down to college, I got sick. I couldn’t eat, I was scared that I wouldn’t adjust. But, I knew I had to adjust. Deep down I wanted change, I just was unsure of how much that change would cost me. It took about a month to get over being homesick and to adjust to my new surroundings. Once I adjusted, I didn’t want things to change. But, change is inevitable. After 2 1/2 years of being away at college, it was time to come back home. I didn’t want to come back, but I knew I had to. My time there was done. I got just as sick going back home as I did when I left home.

This weekend, our pastor announced a time for change for him. It was time for him to go back home. I know many people are scared of the things they can’t see on the horizon. I understand that, I’m in the same boat. We get attached to people, we don’t want them to leave, we’ve let our guard down and trusted someone. We tell ourselves when someone is leaving that we will never allow someone to get that close again. All of us are subject to attachments, but often separation occurs and we have to adjust. But, there are constants in our life that we have to remind ourselves about.

The bible says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is a constant, man is not. We have to remember to trust him. He hasn’t changed. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not told you? Be strong and have strength of heart! Do not be afraid or lose faith. For the Lord your God is with you anywhere you go.” God is always with us, he hasn’t left us. Remember that when you are afraid. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time for everything under Heaven. Right now is a time of change, but remember again what is constant. Where is your hope? The future is unknown to us, but step into it because there is a guide to be by yours and my side. Romans 15:13 says “Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

It’s ok to be afraid, just tighten your grip on the Lord’s hand. He’s there. He’s constant. father-child-holding-hands-e1327959452859

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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God Knows and I Do Not

God knows and I do not.
I can speculate and draw conclusions;
they may be right or they may be wrong.

People hide in the shadows of who they really are.
People take advantage of goodness and grace.
God, how do you extend grace when there are so many that abuse it?
I guess because you are God, and I am not.

I wonder how some people sleep at night.
With eyes closed to everything;
not recognizing the hurt they cause around them.
God you see, but I do not.

Relationships get torn
and God, you get the blame.
Man is dirt until they awaken from your breath.
Blow the dirt off of each of us and let others see You.
We are dirt and You are not.

 
 

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