Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There Will Be Pain

Things weren't going well, for Kelly Callahan. Everything in her life seemed to be falling apart. She had just lost her job, her grandmother's health was going downhill at an alarming rate, her college classes were overwhelming, and worst of all, at twenty-three, there was still no prince charming in her life.

"God, why is everything falling apart? Why does life have to be so hard? Why can't life be perfect? I mean, would it be so bad if everything went right for once, if I could always be happy? I don't understand. Why must we hurt so much? What is the purpose of living just to die? God, I have so many questions, but right now I just want to know, why must I hurt so much?"

Kelly was at her wits end. She was exhausted, and feeling so helpless. All she wanted was for things to be good again, for life to be full of joy. Tears ran down her checks as she cried out to God.

"I believe in You Father. I know You have everything under control, but why must life be full of such sadness and pain?"

Kelly sat on her bed rocking back and forth and hugging herself. She wanted to be strong, but she was so tired, so worn out, and she felt so helpless to change anything. She longed for the joy that she had once known, for the seemingly perfect life she had once lived. Now that her world was in shambles, her faith was shaken. She still believed in God, but it did not feel like enough.


We have all been in that place. We have felt so pushed down and abandoned, that God seems so far away that we fear we will never reach Him again. Life has a way of testing our faith. Sometimes it is all we can do to hold on and believe. I do not know why life gets so hard, or why hardships are so much a part of life. I do not have all the answers, but the other night as I sat pondering a situation much like Kelly's, I had a thought that put a little sunshine into my day.

If it was not for hard times, my joy would never be so full as it is when I have just come through some great trial. If it was not for tears, I would not treasure those moments of laughter so much. If it was not for doubts, certainty would not feel like such a victory. If it was not for pain and sickness, being well would not be such a blessing. If it was not for death, life would not be such a gift. If life was not so hard, we would not look forward to Heaven with such great anticipation. And if life was "perfect" we would still want more because that is just a part of our human nature. If things are good, we want better, and if things are better, we want best. We will never be satisfied here on earth, because we are always seeking that which we will only find in Heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

If you are going through a tough time, let me remind you that better days are ahead. If not in this world, then in the next. We will never understand why so many must suffer, but we can look for the sunshine in every dark valley.

Cling to the hand of the Master, never let go. Be mad at Him if you must. He is a big boy and He can handle your anger, but do not let go of His hand because you cannot handle this life alone. You need Him like you need air. Life may be hard, but it is better, and easier, with God.

"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
we are perplexed, but not in dispair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Waiting, Not Dating

I am concerned. Yes, I really am. I see so many young girls who are all wrapped up in their boyfriends. That is all they ever think or talk about and you can tell that they have lost their hearts to these boys.

As long as I can remember my uncles and aunts have asked me, "So, do you have a boyfriend yet?" I always laughed and said, "No." I knew that it was stupid for an eight-year-old to even think of such things, for to my way of thinking if you had a boyfriend that meant you were dating, and if you were dating that meant that the next thing in line was marriage, and at eight, getting married was a long way into the future. But so many girls and boys feel pressured into this mode. It is supposed to be something cute and amusing, and maybe it is for the grown-ups watching, but those poor little girls are getting hurt. They feel that if a boy breaks up with them they have a problem. Something is wrong with them. Their hearts are being scarred, and for what?

I recently have been hurting for a friend of mine. She isn't even eighteen yet and she is very emotionally involved with a young man. He is nothing more then and boy. He is not capable of giving her the love or support she is looking for, neither is he ready to make a life-long commitment to her, yet she has given her heart to his keeping. I hurt for her because I see heartache in her future. Yes, he seems like a really good kid, but he is just that, a kid. It will be years before either one of them is ready for marriage. So much could happen between now and then.

Why do parents allow, and even push, this type of harmful behavior? Do they not see what it does to their daughters and sons emotional well-being? And think of how many teens could be saved from poor mistakes if they just did not date until they were ready to consider marriage.

I wish I could talk to every girl in the world about this. I wish I could tell them to wait. To guard their hearts, to wait on the Lord, and to use their energy to serve Him.

So, for those of you who agree with me, that waiting and not dating is the key to greater future happiness. Join me in getting the message out. Talk to your friends. Encourage them to wait. If this concept would catch on, I think our world would be a better place.

For those of you who are waiting and not dating. Do not loose heart. You are not alone. Keep your eyes on The Prince. Waiting can be hard, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

In Christ,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

For the Rest of My Life

As has always been the case, when the end of an old year draws to a close and the beginning of a new year is hovering closely on the horizon, I began to think about all the things I did, or had left undone in the previous eleven months. Honestly, my list of the undone is always a whole lot longer then my list of the done. I am never totally satisfied with my efforts, because I always know that I could have done better.

I could easily allow myself to get all wrapped up in the grief and mourning of those tasks left undone, but what good would that do me? The only thing wallowing in sorrow would do for me is waste more of my time and so when I reach the end of next year I will have just as long a list of things left undone as I had the year before.

I decided a while back that New Years resolutions where of little consequence, and since then have not bothered to write out the long lists I used to be in the habit of writing. Instead I have made one resolution. It is not just a resolution for the coming year, but rather for the coming years. It is a life resolution. And that resolution is to live my life for the honor and glory of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To me this means, seeking Him through His Word, through prayer, through godly counsel, and it also means striving to always put Him first before all else in my life. I know that this is a resolution that will be harder to keep then any other I could make, but it is also the only one that will ever really matter.

These last few weeks I have really been asking myself about what God's purpose is for my life, and I have come up with one answer and only one. God's purpose for my life is for me to serve Him with everything I have got. That may not seem like much when you read it, but when you get to thinking about what it means, that is when it hits you. That is when you realize that this is a really big deal.

To serve God with all I have means: Loving my neighbor as myself. Loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind. Sacrificing my comfort, my dreams, and maybe even my life. Being a light to a fallen world. I have got to keep pushing forward when things seem impossible. I have to completely surrender my life to His will.

In the year ahead, I will come across hardships, sorrows, and even enemies, but God will see me through if I am faithful to Him. It seems like an impossible resolution to keep doesn't it? Well, it is not, because God is by my side all the way.

What are some steps I am taking even now to reaching my goal. First, I am starting out by disciplining myself in those basic areas where all Christians must discipline themselves if they wish to reach the goal. I am digging into God's Word, the Bible, spending more time in prayer, and identifying and removing those things which I know are distracting me from giving God my all.

I would like to challenge you in joining me on a life changing journey. Do not make a commitment that will only see you through the next year. Make a commitment that will see you through the rest or your life. What good does it do to commit to excellence for tomorrow, if you live out the rest of your life after that in the mode of mediocrity?

Make a resolution that will count.

In Him Who was, is, and always will be,

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

"Being diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength
is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

"Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways" (Psalm 128:1).

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

3 c. flour
4 c. oats
1 t. baking soda
5 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. butter
2 T. molasses
1/2 c. milk
1 c. pecans

Mix. Drop. Bake (350 degrees, until done).
How easy is that? My recipe card says to bake the cookies 15-20 minutes. That sounds a little too long, but I don't really know. You will just have to play with it and find out for yourselves. My sisters do a lot of the cookie making around here and I haven't made these in a long time, if ever. I hope they work out for you. Enjoy!