“Dying, He Saved Me”

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After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”Matthew 28:1-10

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“Stronger”

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Music spoke to me once again this week. Sometimes it comes from places I least expect. A few nights ago I was on my spin bike, pumping away and listening to Pandora. Kelly Clarkson came on and I found myself working a little harder and feeling more confident in myself than I had in a while. The lyrics went like this:

“You didn’t think that I’d come back
I’d come back swinging
You try to break me, but you see

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter”

I love the power in these words and in this song. Obviously when you hear the rest of the song, she is talking about a breakup, the end of a relationship. But when I hear these words, I put a different spin on it.

My struggles could have kept me down but I didn’t let them. I DID come back swinging and I DIDN’T let it break me.

I came back STRONGER. Stronger in my faith, my beliefs and in knowing who I am and who I want to be.

I DO stand taller because God lifts me up.

When I felt ALONE in my fight, I really wasn’t because God would never leave me nor forsake me.

My footsteps ARE lighter because God carried me during those times when I could barely put one foot in front of the other and allowed me to restore my strength.

Don’t give up on whatever battle you are facing. The strength is in you. Let God carry you until you find it again.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound] – Isaiah 40:29

 

“A Matter of Perspective”

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Yesterday we stood in the frozen food section of Walmart. I had planned out every meal for the upcoming week and what items I would need. I realized however that I had forgotten to plan a meal for that evening. At the moment, I was starved to the point that my blood sugar was dropping fast and I just needed to pick something quick and get home to eat it! Recipes and ideas rolling through my head, I just couldn’t settle on a quick and easy solution. Blood sugar dropping faster, shaking…. I heard myself say to Greg “This is so hard!” Then I stopped. Really?? Did I just say that? Did I just complain that I couldn’t decide what to buy or fix for dinner?  That was definitely a “first-world problem”. You know, those things that seem soooo difficult to us but are ridiculous when compared to the hardships faced by people in third-world countries and even in our own country on some level.

So after calling myself out for being a complete (albeit hungry and angry….hangry?) individual and not considering the absolute wealth of blessings in my life (at that moment), I thought about how many times I have heard people complain  about things you could consider a first-world problem and how they relate to third world problems.

  • First world problem….My new iPhone has no battery life and keeps dropping calls!
  • Third world problem…I am tired from walking the street for hours today, selling peanuts to make money for my family.
  • First world problem…The waitress at the restaurant was slow and messed up my order!
  • Third world problem…My sister and I pushed a wheelbarrow full of harvested maize today to the mill. If we are lucky one bag will last us two weeks.
  • First world problem…I can’t stand my job! My co-workers are so annoying!
  • Third world problem…I walked three miles before the sun came up to sell goods at the market.
  • First world problem…That guy just cut me off and took my parking spot!
  • Third world problem…My feet are bleeding from walking with no shoes.
  • First world problem…I sat in the doctor’s office for 30 minutes past my appointment time!
  • Third world problem…Two of my children have died from malaria.
  • First world problem…I said no lemon in my water! Geez!
  • Third world problem…I need to boil the water to keep it from possibly killing my children but I need kerosene to heat it and there is no money for that.
  • First world problem…I can’t hear the t.v. because my kids are running around the house screaming!
  • Third world problem…I send my children out nightly to outlying villages to keep them from being abducted.
  • First world problem…My husband tracked mud into the house again!
  • Third world problem…The floors of my house are made of dirt and the walls of mud.

Makes you think doesn’t it? I admit I have those moments when I don’t see things as I should and something totally thoughtless comes out of my mouth. (See paragraph one). But there are times when I hear or read someone’s absolutely ridiculous rant and I just shake my head. Consider these things the next time you feel the need to complain about something that really isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s all just a matter of perspective. Someone else is out there struggling with a battle that is much, much harder.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows – James 1:17

“Answered Prayer In A Tissue Box”

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My daughter and I were hit hard this week with the latest virus (her) and the mother of all colds (me). We spent two and a half days curled up under blankets in bed or on the couch, watching Brady Bunch and Gilmore Girls reruns and sharing the tissue box. It was by far the worst I have felt in a while and with three days of fever bringing her down, it was obviously the worst for Callie as well. But in the midst of sneezes, coughs and general “yuckiness”, one afternoon she curled up next to me and said “Aside from being sick, I like this day”. She was enjoying our Mommy/Callie time and honestly so was I. It was then that I remember a conversation I had with God several days earlier. We had been in a whirlwind for the past two months it seemed and I felt like I hadn’t had much quality time with her. It was concerning me and so I shared this thought during a prayer. God heard me. We may not have enjoyed being sick and weak but there were moments during those two and a half days when we bonded like we hadn’t in quite a while. Lots of conversations about random things, some silly, some serious. It was just what we needed and God provided.

As we prepared for the day today (back to school and back to work) I prayed for strength for both of us. That we would muddle through the day and God would step in during moments of weakness. I thought of two verses and repeated them in my head as I started the morning:

God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble – Psalm 46 (Amplified Bible)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I amself-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency] – Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Bible)

And when I checked my email this morning, this verse was in my inbox:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect – 2 Samuel 22:33

No matter what you are facing today, whether it be a virus, a cold, a more serious illness, depression, fear….God’s strength will carry you.  And in those moments (even those sniffling, sneezing moments) there is a reason. It is well-orchestrated and a part of God’s master plan.