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I am going to be completely transparent here. I feel like Paul in scripture (Romans 7:14-25). I considered just quoting what he said, but he uses such language that I find myself getting lost in the verbiage and missing the meaning if I am not careful. Therefore, I read it again and again and decided to paraphrase. These are my words:

I know what I ought to do and what I ought not to do. But rather than doing the thing I know I ought to do, I do the thing I know I ought not to do, that is to sin. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do not is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not what to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not what to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members [or parts of my body].

The point of it all? I know what I should do – what is good and right and best. I know how to please the Lord with my actions, words, and deeds. God has blessed me with a lot of wisdom, but I feel like Solomon from scripture here. Solomon had so much wisdom and yet made mistake after mistake and it ruined him and his empire. I feel like I have a choice: to do what I ought to do, the things I know are best – the things that please the Lord and the things we are called to do in scripture. OR I can choose to let it go and just let things be as they are, just give up, basically.

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I must extend myself grace, as the Lord extends me grace. I must recognize that I am imperfect and always will be. But I hold myself to such ambitious standards – standards I could possibly never reach – and I expect these things from myself and extend no grace when I fail. I beat myself up and feel guilty. Sometimes this causes me to feel sleepy, because I just feel so emotionally awful inside, so I give in and sleep my life away.

What I am trying to say is I have a lot of good advice to give but:

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I think, I feel, but I do not do. I refuse to find myself to be a hypocrite. I will not express to my readers all this great advice and follow none of it myself. I will hold myself accountable for who I truly am.

I was once in a meeting where they asked us to come up with a purpose and mission statement, and recently I was instructed to come up with a chief aim (something I cannot explain very well).

My Purpose is, “To Live for God, making the most of each moment, loving and serving others as I go.”

My mission statement goes like this:

“I genuinely give life all I have and all I am.
I care deeply and intensely about each individual in my path.
I lead by example and am an example worth following.”

My chief aim is still a work in progress. It is supposed to be a short snippet that sums up the direction you want to go in life, or something like that -it is like your purpose summed up. So far, I have, “I live my life for God, serving him fearlessly in every area of my life.”  But I feel like that is too much like my purpose.

Then we were instructed to come up with how we were going to LIVE OUT our mission statement. Here is what I said:

I commit to life and individuals by doing the following:

I continually and completely Love God with all my heart, body, soul, mind, and strength, with enthusiasm and unfailing devotion.

I completely invest in my relationships and the direction they are going now.

I LOVE fully, deeply, with passion and emotional intelligence.

I am committed to enjoying life-altering relationships.

I push myself further beyond what I believe to be my “best self” every day and have integrity in this process.

Everybody fails. Everybody falters. But failing does not a failure make. Fail forward – which simply means to learn from your mistakes. Failure and mistakes make us fixer-uppers. (See this blog post: “Failure or Fixer-Upper”) Am I an example worth following? I do not know what others would say about me, but I feel like I do try to be such and my effort counts for something.

I will follow my purpose, mission statement, and chief aim to the best of my ability. I will be better today than I was yesterday and better tomorrow than I was today. I will grow and change every day for the better. This I commit to do consistently, but I also commit to extend myself grace and love to the extent that I know my Lord does.

So, in my transparency I say to you: Be your best. Do your best. But extend yourself grace. When you fall, get back up, dust off and hit it again, and again, and again.

There is a time and place for stopping something for various good reasons but when you find yourself making excuses for why you cannot do something that is a warning sign that you are giving up. At this point you must make a choice to let it go and give it up, or keep pushing on. There is a time and place for both.

I choose to hit it again and again until I am perfect, but extend myself grace. May you find it within yourself to do the same.

God bless you today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

I am someone who journals – not religiously but I do journal somewhat often. And I fantasize that someday someone will read about my life and it will matter to someone all the things I have been through and how they shaped me. I journal not just for my own expressions of feelings, but also to leave something of myself behind.

My nieces lost their mother when they were quite young. Lately the older girls have been reading her journals and finding some comfort in knowing how she felt about things, how she thought, and what she dealt with.

I was considering everything I have written on my blog in the past week meanwhile listening to music. I came across a song called “Blank Pages.” I didn’t like the song’s lyrics, but the name really made me think as I am a somewhat over-analytical person.

My first thought was of all the blank pages of a journal that death leaves behind.

My sister journaled, but is journaling no longer. She is in Heaven living a different life – a life I can barely fathom. She has left behind blank pages in her journal and they will remain blank forever, never to be filled with the ink of her pen, her handwriting, or her thoughts and feelings.

This is something I must choose how to react to. Do I wallow in the fact that, until death, I will never sing with her again (something we did often), talk with her again or hear her words of love and wisdom? Or do I push through and recognize the positive – and yes, there is a silver lining here.

I choose the silver lining… Mary is gone but her girls – her four beautiful, amazingly unique girls – are alive and I praise God for them daily. Not only that, but she left behind a legacy of compassion and love. People came to her memorial and said what a positive impact she had on their lives. That was Mary. She was authentic – truly genuine – and knew how to be real, but with love; sometimes when I didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

Which leads me to wonder what legacy – aside from family and memories – am I leaving behind. How will people think of me when I am gone? And what I wonder more is how did I make them feel when I was alive? Did they feel the love of Jesus flow through me to them? Did they feel the compassion I feel for their hurts and struggles? What did they feel?

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But I digress…

I wanted to note here that the blank pages of a journal – the moments that were never lived and never will be lived – are hard, sad, and sometimes peace is elusive. I want to encourage you with words that may or may not be encouraging to you but they encourage me. God does have a plan – in life and in death—, and all things do (eventually) work out for good for those who love the Lord. I cannot explain why people die “before their time” but I can say that God knew their last day on the day they were born and God works through it all. For more information on my thoughts on this read “The Backside of Life.”

As a person with Bi-polar disorder, sometimes I struggle to monitor my moods. My medications help, but I still feel things, which is not an awful thing. But sometimes I struggle to find that peace and joy that is promised in scripture. (I will write more about my bi-polar and this later; perhaps in my next blog.)

I want to end on a high note – as they say. I want you to know that help and hope can be found in the Lord. We find him when we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. (James 4:7-8a)) And remember what I posted in Life is Worth Living, Philippians 4:4-9 which I will highlight here by saying peace is found by giving it to God. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7). I could go on. The Bible calls God our “Father” for a reason. And not just “Father” but “ABBA Father” which is more easily seen as “my Father.” (see this interesting article). We can be as near or far from God as we choose, but he is never any farther than a prayer away.

God bless you and yours today and always.

Super Momma Maggie

(I don’t know if my brother Dennis did any journaling, so I’m not sure what he left behind besides memories and material items. Of course, the memories cannot have a monetary value put on them, and I am grateful for every good memory I have with him).

Photo of quote above was unedited and found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dearbarbz365/3342471327.

 

I recently wrote about cherishing life. In my last post I ended with:

“What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.”

This hit me hard. I have realized I haven’t done that. I haven’t lived like I cherish life. I haven’t lived each moment as if I know the brevity of life – but I do. I do know how short life is. With a sister dying at age 30 and a brother dying at age 49, I know life can be short.

However, I have lived my life as though it were a burden.

Not that my children are the the burden, or my husband, but rather Life itself. Life, for me, has been filled with so much struggle, pain and strife and enough death that I must admit it is something I’m not sure I want anymore.

I am not saying I want to kill myself.

What I am saying is I feel fed up with the struggles of life. I want life to be easy. My life has never been easy, but I know it could have been harder. (I cannot imagine how people life a happy life when they have been through even more than I have.)

For me, happiness is fleeting and joy is illusive. But I refuse to make that the state of my being permanently. And wha ti smore is that I refuse to give up!

I have a friend – a very dear friend – who confessed to me how unhappy he was with life. He compared himself to someone who lives their life thinking only of themselves – not because they are selfish or uncaring – but because they are indifferent. He said he feels “satisfied” with life, but not happy.

I don’t want to live my life like my friend – or like my brother, Dennis, who seemed to never overcome any struggle that came his way. His struggles stacked up like garbage similar to the the poem below. “Sarah Cynthia  Silvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out” but Shel Silverstein.

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Notice the end. When Sarah decided to take the garbage out it was too late and she met an awful fate.

I suppose this blog – part two – is about not just cherishing life, but living life. Truly LIVING LIFE. I have another friend who happened to leave the fellowship of believers to become an atheist for many reasons but one seemed to be that he felt like God himself was a burden and that we only needed saving because God condemned us, if He even existed at all. (This is a subject for another blog.)

I could go on forever about the subject of God but all I will say here is that it is not God who is the burden, but rather my response to what happens in life. The loss of my brother, for example, has given me a choice to give up on life or keep living and make sure I actually live my life not just survive it. But I digress.

Again it is 1 a.m. and I am blogging. This turned out long. I hope you read to the end.

Let me end by saying what I believe living life looks like:

Taking pictures (because someday that is the only image you will have of someone), making memories, always doing your best to be your best and giving yourself and others grace and love.

This is the quintessence of life: to live a life where you are your best self, not to please people but rather because, aside from religious reasons, it is logically the best thing to do.

Life is easier when I am my best.

And with that I bid you good day, as I have scheduled this to post tomorrow.

Super Momma Maggie

(To Read Cherish Life Pt 1. click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 1)

 

I thought I had faith in God. I thought I believed in his ability and his desire to help me. Psalms 91:14 says, “Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This verse says many promises. God promises to: 1) rescue me, 2) protect me because I acknowledge His name, 3) answer me when I call upon Him, 4) be with me in trouble, 5) deliver me from trouble, 6) honor me, 7) satisfy me with long life, 8) show me His salvation. That is a lot of promises! Yet sometimes I find myself disbelieving in Gods follow through.

It is not that I do not believe He is capable. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20) I know in my heart that God is capable of so much more than I could ever need or want. So why do I not trust Him?

Trust is defined as: 1) reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person or thing; confidence, 2) confident expectation of something; hope

Faith is defined as: belief that is not based on proof. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So are they really the same thing? It would appear they are. To me, faith is not the absence of fear, but the courage to press on during hardships and still believe in God and His providence. It is believing that God will work things out. But if you believe someone will do something doesn’t that mean you also trust they will follow through?

So all my prayers for faith have yielded many trials: Two deaths in the family, A huge move from a haven I loved and enjoyed to a place I would never have thought to call home, A complete mental breakdown and the repercussions thereof, The rebuilding of my life since then, The consistent and ever-presence of Satan in my mind and in my life (yes I have rebuked the Devil; he still prevails). All these things have continually built my faith stronger and stronger. But still I lack the trust that God will truly follow through on all those promises listed above.

Will he really rescue me when I call for Him? Has he rescued me from Satan’s snare? Will he truly be with me during my troubles and protect me from trouble? I must say that I don’t trust that he will when I look at my most recent past. Trouble has followed me everywhere I go.

I feel alone and afraid. I feel deserted by God. Where is He? If He promises to rescue me then where is He? If he promises to protect me then why does Satan persist? Why do I continue to undergo trials and struggles?

The answer lies in my request: faith. As I said in a recent post: faith is not given freely, it is built through trials. I also cited a great verse in Corinthians that talked about how we are often put through trials not only so that we can feel the comfort and love of God but so that we may also show the comfort and love of God to others. So perhaps, just maybe, my trails exist to help someone.

I have recently taken up writing in hopes of publishing some books. One book I am writing talks about my struggles in life and how I have dealt with them. Many of my trials are not know by most of the people who know me, except those closest to me. My life has not been easy by any means. It has been one trial after another. But one theme has remained: God.

As I look back at my past I see His hand in every situation. One situation that I would like to share is a car accident I had when I was 17. At the time I was very uncertain as to why it had happened to me. It was a traumatic experience for me at such a young age. I was nearly killed because I ran into a telephone pole going quite fast; I never hit the brakes to even slow down because I was in shock.

Now, more than 10 years later, I fully understand the purpose of that accident. At the time, before my accident, my sister and I were at odds with each other. I didn’t like her much and she didn’t care for me either. We had so little in common and failed to even try to have a relationship.

When I was discharged from the hospital it was my sister who picked me up. I was starving after having been on a liquid only diet for several days. We got a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that flourished into a friendship I will forever cherish.

My sister died on October 30th several years ago. Were it not for that car accident I feel certain that we would have never overcome our differences and become such close friends. Sure we still had those differences, but we agreed to disagree and moved on, building a relationship around what we did have in common. I praise God for that car accident.

I have many such stories in my life. Times in which I suffered but now see the purpose, or at least know there was a purpose. So why do I still struggle with trust and faith in God? Perhaps it is because these trials never end. But that is part of the human life. Some might say God is cruel because He puts us through so many trials and struggles. But do non-Christians live lives of luxury and have no struggles or trials. Look at the news. Many people who are famous and do not profess to be Christians struggle every day with trials: drug overdoses and divorce to name a few.

So it is not God who is cruel. It is the choice Adam and Eve made many, many years ago. Life: a beautiful life with God by our side, walking with us in a Heavenly garden, or Death: physical death, physical and psychological pain and strife. They chose death, knowingly or not.

So we suffer. I suffer. It is a fact of life. One I must accept before I can truly trust and have faith in God. Do you accept the reality of the struggles of life and have faith in God, trusting He will follow through on his many promises to us? I am working on it daily.

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I share my life with the big wide world; my life as a mom, a wife and a Christian. I work to have original content that is deeper than you might expect but still enjoyable to read.

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