Friday, January 17, 2014

Praising in all circumstances

I can get so caught up in days when there is so much to be thankful for, that I forget to actually thank the one who is worthy to be thanked! Its so easy on bad or hard days to yearn to look upon the face of Jesus and rest in His peace. I think for me, its hard to live through the same time. On Sunday, I moved back to San Diego and Tuesday I started my last semester of undergrad at Point Loma. WOW, I have been feeling so good and so positive and excited for this semester. 

On Saturday night, one of my professors son died and then I find out a family I am close are going through a horrible legal thing, that honestly definitely should NOT be happening. And all I can think is, WHAT THE HECK! I can't even begin to explain the heartache that I feel for those who are going through so much. Its incredible that throughout this whole week, different things have come up that have caused me to really take a step back and to look at what is happening to those around me. 

At some point, I believe that we (hopefully) can grow out of our selfishness and begin to see and treat others the way God sees and treats them. Its hard to stand by and watch as so many people around you in such a hard place. For me, its weird to be on the opposite side of it all. I have had a rough few years, and I honestly never thought I would come out of it. Every day I lived in a place of hurt, pain, and loneliness and just very recently have I come to see the light and hope in my own life that I have only found through the grace of Jesus. 

As I watch those around me go through things, that I can only imagine, dont even feel real. Today, I had lunch with my friend Leslie, who is close to the family of my professor (whose son passed away) and she was also friends with my friend Raegan who also passed away almost two years ago. Its incredible to sit with Leslie as she expresses to me how the family is really doing and how different it is than so many stories and rumors I've heard through the bubble of Point Loma about everything. As I sat with my dear friend and we talked about Raegan and how it's still SO hard because so many things remind us of her, about working with kids and the joys and challenges of that, and about how life is so precious and can be over in an instant. 

Today I was listening to the radio and someone came on the radio about how a very HIGH percentage of people were diagnosed with cancer in 2013. I usually don't listen to the commercials but this caught my attention simply because it was really true. I heard the statistics and then began to sink into my own thoughts as I began to think about how being diagnosed with cancer is so shocking and usually the person really has no idea they have it and then they become sick and weak and have to (usually) depend on others to take care of them. I thought about how just today Leslie and I were talking about how Raegan was always preparing those around her for her passing because she always knew she wasn't going to live very long, and expressed to me how as much as losing Raegan was almost too hard, losing her younger brothers best friend (my professors son) was almost more hard because it was instant and a complete surprise. When she first said that, my (selfish) initial thought was "oh well are you saying that you don't miss Ragean?" Well I KNEW that wasn't true but as I listened to my friend who has been too close to the heartbreak of death in the last few years, I see her face soften (even more) as she shares with me how her brother is doing and how this is hard for her because it has taught her how quickly life can be taken away and in turn she taught me of the same thing.

As I think back on where I was 10 years ago, I realize that I was 14 and I had no idea that in 1 year I would deal with real depression and that two years after that I would go through a horrible trauma that would almost take over my life. Thankfully by the overwhelming grace of Jesus, I was able to go to counseling and was blessed to have my family stand by me as I worked on becoming the person Jesus created me to be. (and no this isn't an "I'm all better post", but I do feel a WHOLE lot better!) I was talking with someone today, and she was telling me about how she is really praying that everything I have gone through will help me to see the world differently, not with naiveness but with genuine grace and compassion. 

"Why do bad things happen to good people?" this question has ALWAYS bugged me and I am positive I have never written a blog post about it. It's bugged me because I have had alot of people ask me that and I never ever know what to say. I usually follow it up with a compassionate "I don't know". I don't think I will ever know the answer, and I honestly don't want to. I don't want to know the reason why my professors son passed away, or why my dear friend Raegan passed away before she could get married and have kids, or why my grandpa Bill wont be able to come to my college graduation, all I know (and all I can understand) is that it was time for them to go to heaven, because Jesus really wanted them there. 

As I think about this past week, the two chunks of bad news I was told, the fresh start of my last semester of undergrad, the start of my new nanny job, attending my first grad class (which I totally cried after because it seemed so unreal), and the reuniting with friends I made last semester, its easy to be thankful for the good things. It becomes all too easy pray to God in the heartache to pray for Him to save you in a time of hopelessness. I think, that that is ok though. Jesus' heart does yearn for us to call on Him and lean on Him when we need Him (isnt he depicted as the hubsand of the church?). Yet, I know for me, life becomes crazy and busy and school work load gets heavier and heavier and I seem to forget to praise Him on my "easy" days. I forget that joy and peace comes from Jesus alone and through what He has given to us on THAT day. 

It's interesting that this week, I have faulted to not writing in my journal or taking the normal time to write this blogpost (instead of a few hours, it took 3 days). It's funny how I had a harder time praising Jesus for the good, yet when I felt heartbroken or weak, I called out to Jesus and begged for his comfort. 

What if I/we learned to be praising Him in all circumstances with no limitation on anything? What if we praise Him for His holiness and worthiness. I think that no one will ever do this perfectly but what if every day, we worked on saying something positive, something loving, something thankful, and something your struggling with, and bringing it to the Lord every day? What if we learned that God is the ultimate being and that everything good comes from Him and that He makes all things new in His name, whether or not we know it, understand it, or like it. I am thankful that we serve a God who knows that we are human and faulty (He made us! He knows!). As I continue to lift those who are in pain and give it to Jesus, I pray that they may know that this is a season of life and that they are still here because God is not finished with them yet. 

Thank you, Jesus for loving us despite our brokenness, hopelessness, and flakiness. Thank you for sending your son to die for us, so that we may find our hope in you. Thank you for NOT giving up on us.  

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