Thursday, October 28, 2010

What it means to be held

Have you ever questioned why bad things happen? And even more confusing, why bad things happen to good people? 

Last night my sister was in the hospital and today is on bed rest. It is hard for all of us to be apart from her. Today, as I drove to work a familiar song came to mind. I remember singing this song very joyfully in the car with friends, yet it is a song that does not celebrate good things happening, it is a song the strives to understand why bad things happen. The song is Held, by Natalie Grant.  Song on Youtube

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
and you survive.
This is what it is to be loved,
and to know that the promise was
when everything fell we’d be held.

I wish I could gather together some eloquent words that would encourage me and you, but I cant. Instead of writing in vain, I'll just stop here and forward you to another one's words. Its a blog post about the song. I found it encouraging. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It is well, it is well...

Last night I had a wonderful conversation with a friend. I was reminded of my dear friend, God, the mighty Counselor. He is more than able to resolve any conflict in our midst. We often sing, "It is well, it is well with my soul," yet our soul is not well. We are striving and struggling. We are anxious and determined.

We need to trust and obey.

While talking with my friend, she shared about reading my blog. It was so comforting to hear about the way God reached out to her through my words. I am deeply grateful for any and all encouragement a reader expresses to me. Praise God! Sometimes after hitting the publish button, it is not well with my soul. I am anxious, I just announced and proclaimed a message dear to my heart. Yet, it is so comforting to be encouraged by you. Thanks.

May it be well with your soul today.

We Christians are the latex gloves that God slaps on before he enters into the operating room to mend the broken world. God has filled us with his Holy Spirit. Every good thing comes from God, not from Emily's blog (insert your own description). Just like a doctors gloves are start off sanitary, then become dirty, so are we to be cleansed from sin, only to be mucked up as we love a sinful world. Clean heart, dirty hand. NOT clean hands, dirty heart.

"Surely as the sun with rise, You'll come to us. Certain as the dawn of day. You'll come. The chains are broken."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thoughts on my job search

Tomorrow I start a new job. Wow, what a blessing. I remember when I saw the job posting for the position. It was many months ago. For many weeks I chose not to apply to the job. I thought that I may be qualified, but knew it was going against what I desired. I left my previous job in early August, hoping for my next job to be less demanding - Less demanding in the sense that I could glide through the day and rely on my own strength and not God’s. While my previous job was wonderful, great coworkers and a mighty mission to support, it challenged me – God forbid! Eventually I decided to sow the seed (apply for the job) and trust in God’s great harvesting skills (he is an awesome farmer!). A few weeks later I was called about the position. The weeks that followed were intensive, hours of critically considering interview questions, researching about the employer, and lots of on-my-knees-prayer. I was so fortunate to have many family and friends behind me cheering me on (thanks!). When I found out that I got the job, I instantly became aware of my inability and God’s infinite ability. I want to be responsible to every word I committed to during the interview, but I cant…not with out God. While I have turned from my human ways, the journey has just begun. God has issued a call to me, that can not be fulfilled without him and faith in him. Lesson to learn: Sow seeds faithfully. Let God be God, allow him ways to be your deliver. Desire a challenge that would draw you closer to God. I tried to step away from a demanding job, which would have ultimately limited my opportunity to come before God and fellow believers, in need of prayer and encouragement. Trust God to help you achieve anything he sets before you. With the cross behind us, and heaven before us, what is to challenging to conquer in Christ. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hi my name is Emily, and I am addicted to food

For our first anniversary we returned to Kerrville, a quaint town that had already provided many memories for us as a couple. We checked into our hotel, then caught a matinee showing of Prince of Persia, and ended the night at our favorite lakeside restaurant. Upon returning to our room Jon suggested that we go swimming. While in the pool, we reviewed the ups and downs of our first year of marriage. Jon asked what I favored most about our marriage. I shared that sharing life with him was a true joy, a typical response, but a true one. Then, I asked him the same question, hoping (expectantly) for a romantic response. I was surprised when he shared it was my cooking he was most thankful for. I recalled the many other things he could have said, like how he thought he loved me and then he married me and found out he loved me even more (or something else mushy and senseless that we girls imagine a guy speaking to us). I was surprised by his comment. Unbeknownst to me, food had a major role in our marriage. They say that marriage takes three, the husband, wife, and God…and it seems like close behind God is food in fourth place. 

Come to think of it, food does lead an important role in my life. My family has a long running joke that I have a hollow leg, which accounts for my never-ending desire for food. Food is interwoven into my day with the most deliberate efforts taken to partake of it. My most treasured memories go with food. After highschool I went on a road trip with my parents to visit my grand parents. The trip up was exhilarating, in the absence of my sisters, I was able to convince my parents to eat at many great places. A few years later, I was on the same journey, proudly recalling each restaurant we visited and the food we ate there. Much of my time with family and friends is in the company of food. Before I moved away from San Antonio I drafted a Bucket List, which was really a bunch of restaurants I wanted to eat at. My family and friends eagerly helped me cross many things off my list, a great farewell gift. My greatest efforts are applied to ensuring that I am properly fed. I am never a grasp away from a snack, even when I am out and about. My mind is in constantly preparing for the next meal. I am convinced that my strength is in dependent of my healthy food intake. I love to look at recipes, but must be mindful of when I do, for they arose a deep hunger within me. I opt not to watch the Food Network, again seeking to contain my hunger pains. Woe the person that comes between food and me, especially if we have been apart for more than a few hours! With all this said, all I can say is…Hi my name is Emily, and I am addicted to food. It was been three hours since my last meal…but my next is warming up in the microwave.

The above paragraph probably painted me in an extreme light. But, it is true and I believe no different from the feelings of many others. Its okay…There are many things in this world to become dependent upon, yet it is acceptable (and expected) to be dependent upon food. That is why, when you read the above paragraph, other than worrying about my weight, you laughed but did not worry about the longevity of my life. If I am dependent upon healthy eating, then I should go far in this world. However, there is more to life, there is a hunger that cannot be subsided by earthly food (physical food) but can be eased by spiritual food.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:27)

In the verse above Jesus challenges us to seek spiritual food more than physical food. He wants us to stop yearning desperately for a tasty treat and start striving whole-heartedly for spiritual understanding. Physical food is not bad. God created our tummies and he created food. “Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” (Gen 1:29) Praise God!

A chef’s scrumptious creation is dependent upon God’s might provision. And oh how God has out done himself, the choices are endless. There are 7,500 types of apples!! You could eat your heart out in a quest to try all the worlds’ apples - literally.

God asks us to trust him with our need for physical food, and focus on feeding ourselves with spiritual food. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” A great example of the freedom we have in Christ. We are not tied to our hunger pains, though many of us – myself included – live like it. We let our tummy be our drill instructor and command us about, when what we really need is the directing of the Holy Spirit.

From my experience with physical food, I know this about spiritual food. I know (emphasize the know) that I need physical food. But, God says, spiritual food is more important and to be my concern. Which tells me that I really (emphasize the really) need spiritual food. Read my confession above (I am addicted to food), which according to God should be spiritual food (but it isn’t). I also know that I am fully capable of ensuring that I am properly fed. I stretch my brain to remember the price of my favorite value meal and the days Papa Johns has Customer Appreciation pizzas for six dollars. Yet, I struggle to remember the bible verse that will arm me against my weakness and steer me towards hope. I go out of my way to ensure I am fed. I may run late to work, but at least I had some breakfast. I even have a prescribe area to eat my food, and I keep it nice and clean. Even if I don’t have time to cook, there is always a fast food chain or frozen dinner a reach away. Yet, I struggle to find a time and place for my spiritual food intake.

So much can be gained by seeking spiritual food. There is power is the Word, while there is really only heartburn and calories in a cheesburger. Be like Daniel and his friends and choose the Lord over choice foods (Daniel 10). Fight injustice with physical food and spiritual food. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matt. 25:34-36)

Today, curb your desires by partaking of the bread of life. “Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)