Sunday, April 17, 2016

For such a time

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 says "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to heal and a time to break down...
a time to weep and a time to dance...
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend
a time to be silent and a time to speak
a time to love and a time to hate..."

I think that one of the hardest things to accept gracefully is change.

In my life experience, I feel I am always growing, always changing, always altering my perception of things, always meeting new people. I love to travel; I love to taste the different beauties of the world, yet with discovery, with motion, with change comes goodbyes.

Saying goodbye is hard and exhausting mentally.
I believe that as humans one of our primary callings by God is to love. I believe that by loving others we glorify Christ. But love took Jesus Christ to the cross of calvary where He was crucified for our sins and when he died there for us He taught us an important lesson, love is not free.

Love is beautiful. It is a risk. It is worth it. It demands sacrifice, conviction, dedication; it changes the heart and the mind and makes it pure. But when love is broken, when people leave us- there is pain.

I don't believe that in a perfect world- or in heaven- we will have to say goodbyes.
Yet I do believe that in this life, to live to our fullest, learning to say goodbye and accepting change is necessary.

Sometimes God brings people into our life for just a few moments and sometimes He brings people into our life for forever. Both people can change our life and we also always have the power to change theirs. It's hard at times not to wish for people to come back into our lives or to stay with us but sometimes a small amount of time with a person is just what we need to grow.

It's amazing how much people can impact your life even in a short amount of time. As I look back on my life, I am so amazed at the people I have met and had the privilege of growing with and loving. I feel like with every loving friendship male or female, I see more of the character of Christ. And there are so many people, so many friends who I love, that have helped me learn more about myself and changed my perspective on God. I have been so blessed with meeting awesome people!

It's hard for me because I have met so many people that I have literally loved as best friends as brothers and sisters in Christ, that sometimes I don't want to let them go. I want to cling to them; I want to text them every day. I want them to promise me that they'll never leave me. I want us to stay close forever.

But that's not the way life here on earth works. One season comes and then the next. Life changes and people change too. If you live your life, waiting for them, hoping for them, thinking about people who are not in your life currently, you will waste your life and when you meet them you will realize they are not the same person you waited for.

My prayer is this:
God help me to learn to be graceful
In the way I make friendships and the way I say goodbye
Help my love to be unconditional
But protect my heart
Because you have said it's valuable
Help my trust not to be put in people of this world
Who can fail me
But only in You
Your truth, your salvation, and your promises
Help my heart not to be tired of saying goodbyes
But to always see the best out of seasons, situations, and other people
Help me to follow you
For such a time and season as this

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The healing has begun

As of this year, I became a painter. This semester I have painted 13 canvasses, each with different colors and a story.

 I paint to find freedom, to express myself, when I am stressed or worried, it helps to recreate something beautiful. Sometimes I love my paintings but other times I quickly become frustrated with them.

This peacock above caused some strife for about 3 months. I originally started with the outline and then I said it's ugly and I didn't want to work on it anymore. So I hid it under my bed along with four other "trash canvasses" which I decided weren't worth the efforts of fixing.

I hid them there, until finally a dear friend came over and said "Brooke these are not ugly. These are beautiful. You need to finish them." I sighed but I knew she was right.

Oh how grateful I am that our Father is our maker, our artist, our Abba, our Creator, and our redeemer. His mercies are new every morning and every day He offers to us to remake our lives. Like messed up pictures we have all been broken in different ways. And sometimes we feel that we have messed up so much that we are not worthy to be considered His masterpieces, His children any longer.

But everyday our Father picks us up like pottery, holds us in our hands, and tells us "You are mine. I am not through working in you."

It will not be a quick transition from a sinful, fleshful human to a purified light bearer that reveals
 God's glory. Yet in Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says "He has made everything beautiful in his time."

Every day we must continue to surrender our lives over to our Master so that He can keep remaking us. Isaiah 64:8 says 'Yet you Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.'

God is so good and as we spend time with Him, he will continually bring to our attention areas of our live that need to be remade, need to be healed. If we let Him change our lives to reflect His glory and image, when we look back, we will be in awe of who we used to be and who we are now. For we are remade, objects of art, that have been redefined, repainted, and recreated, purified only in the image of God.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Do you trust me?

As I paced back and forth in my room, I listed my problems for God.

(Go ahead- list yours right now, anything that's going on that you feel like you can't handle. Tell him everything and how you really feel.)

As I named my battles I heard the Lord ask me "Brooke do you trust me?"
My first response was Yes Lord of course I trust you
Just like Peter in the garden, yes Lord of course I love you
But then I stopped and I understood what He was trying to tell me
Oh God I don't trust you.
Oh Lord my anxiety has clouded my heart from belief.
Oh Lord  I do not believe but I want to. Please help my unbelief.

And I began to hear the Lord question me.
Do you know who I am?
Have you seen the way I laid the earth's foundation?
Have you seen the Ocean that I created and the way I calm the storms with just my voice?
Did you create the light that has dominion over darkness?
Do you take care of the wildflowers and every creature? Do you know their destiny?

Brooke, how could you forget?
I have called you and you are mine. I have called you to nursing not to fail you.
But so that you may glorify me.
I have a plan and a purpose for you.

You see so often I am just like an Israelite traveling to the Promised land.
I am following God, I am serving Him. When all of a sudden persecutions or challenges arise and I immediately feel overwhelmed and succumbed and grumble to the Lord why have you called me out to die?

Deuteronomy 1: 26 "But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said 'The Lord hates us; so he brought us out o Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.' Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say 'The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.'

"Then I said to you, "Do not be terrified; do not be afraid o them. The Lord your God who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a Father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."

In spite of this you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go."

Friends, we must not lose confidence or hope for the Lord our God is taking us to a land flowing with milk and honey. His glory will be revealed through us if we persevere through trials and afflictions for His name.

As children of the light, people are looking to us for direction and we have the opportunity to be representatives for Christ even in our darkest days. "If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything" but when we can sing praise songs to Christ though we feel we are drowning in the middle of the sea, others may find courage to persevere through their trials as well.

So let us not be shaken. Let us not lose heart. The Lord is good and He is coming soon to take us home!