FixedonHope

against all hope, believe.

Tag: joy

Testify.

Why Jesus? Why is He everything to me? Why is He worthy of a life of sacrifice, devotion, and obedience? Why is He worthy of adoration and worship? Today, after a powerful testimony in church, I feel prompted to share a bit of my story and publicly declare to all of you just the reason why I love Him and owe Him my life. What I am about to share isn’t to bring attention to myself or gain any sympathy for my past, but rather to shine the light on what Jesus has done for me because maybe you’re asking yourself a similar question; maybe you’re wondering what Jesus can do for you..I pray what follows is an encouragement to your heart.

About 7 years ago I was at the lowest of the low. I was heavily addicted to alcohol, beginning to use drugs such as marijuana, and living a lifestyle of other destructive habits. I had everything going for me: supportive parents who put me through college, youthful beauty, excellent grades, a promising future, but somehow couldn’t manage to drown out the pain that was pushing to the surface. Everyday I battled with the demons from the injustices in my past, and I suffered extreme bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, feelings of hopelessness and despair, physical pain and sickness, and crippling fear. In order to numb this pain, I turned to every earthly promise and remedy I could find, yet I never truly found healing or comfort. The bottle always came up empty, the high always wore off, the endorphins eventually left my bloodstream, the mantras they taught in yoga never quite brought peace or lasting change, the relationships and men always hurt me in the end. For all my efforts to find healing and hope out in what the world offered, I always came up short; I always came up empty of that which I desperately needed for wholeness. The shame and guilt from the way I lived my life, the way I misused my body and acted out my self-hatred, weighed so heavily upon me that I didn’t even want to live. Many times I wished it all could end. My heart was beyond broken, and I thought my life beyond repair. But then; but then Light broke through. Jesus, this Jesus I love and speak of, He broke in and shook me. He opened my eyes to my brokenness and my sin. Yes, my sin. I was practically living with my current boyfriend at the time, one of the many false “fixes” to the pain of my heart, and God spoke to me and in the kindest, most gentle and compassionate of voices told me that how I was living was leading to death. And I knew it. I knew I was careening into an abyss of darkness, that even though I wasn’t abusing substances like I had been a few months prior, I was still masking my pain. I was still spiraling and recognized that I had lost control of my life; yet, simultaneously as I had this realization I also saw that He–this Jesus–had been holding me the whole time. He wasn’t willing to let me go and He wasn’t ever going to give up on me. He was willing to look past all of the ways I had been living recklessly and was standing right in front with open arms, beckoning me to come. I heard Him at first as a startling voice of reason, and in the very next instant as a voice of unending, unconditional, everlasting love. It overwhelmed me and moved me to action, to buying a plane ticket back home where I found love, new life, and a fresh start surrounded by people who loved me, who showed me the way of walking with Jesus.

Surrendering that morning He awoke me gave me in an instant what years of searching elsewhere had failed to even bring me close to. In that moment I had peace, joy and hope that can’t be offered or found in anything else. I had nothing to lose except the shackles of the shame, guilt, fear, and pain that I carried, and everything to gain from this new life that I had been offered. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was seen, and I was truly, purely loved and my heart had found its peaceful rest in His hands.

While I worshipped in church this morning, I was reminded of all these things and I felt Jesus impress on me to share this with you all today. It is one thing to call yourself a Christian, and comes with its own set of stereotypes, and a whole other thing to truly be a Christ follower, one unashamed to testify to His goodness, mercy, power and love. I want to live like the latter, and I pray that my testimony of deliverance speaks to you today, whether you believe or not.

Of all the things I may believe in or doubt in life of this I am sure: Jesus is the answer, the solution, the healing for whatever problem you may have or pain that you carry today. He is near to all who call on His name, and whoever seeks Him will find not only eternal life, but that He truly is the living water that brings peace and life. Abundantly; over and over again. So I send His peace and love to you, dear friends, wherever this finds you today. To God be the glory.

Living joyfully amidst trials

It’s 5:27pm, and the world is alive with sounds, smells, laughter, barking, barbecues lit, and music playing. For many, this hour, this moment, is full of the people they love, the friendships they cherish, and memories just beginning to be made. For many this is just another beautiful weekend crowning a long, but productive workweek; the sweet satisfaction of rest and respite after all their labor. For others, this hour could be anything but sweet. For others this is just another day without a husband by their side or father for their children to look up to. It is just another day without enough food, a day without freedom, a day without love, a day without hope, a day without direction. This seemingly beautiful Saturday night may in fact be just like any other that passes with tears, with sorrow, with less than full joy in the absence of all that could be or the lack of what is.

I think we can all agree, the world is a complex place, fraught with sadness, disappointment, catastrophe, despair, abuse, injustice, broken dreams, broken lives, broken promises, broken people, hurt, wrongdoing, disease, pain, and on and on it goes. For those who have faith in God remember that even Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble.” Yet, even in all that this life cannot promise or deliver, we can still find joy in the midst of our circumstances. Even in your failing health, failing marriage, or failing dreams, you can still hold onto and relish the good that is, and have confident expectation of better to come. Yes, even in the most despairing, unfair, and disadvantageous of circumstances you can still find reason to be joyful and even enjoy this life God has given.

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Strong enough to be weak.

strength

noun \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\

Simple Definition of strength

  • : the quality or state of being physically strong

  • : the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force

  • : the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way

Strength. For as long as I can remember I have valued this trait and strived to possess its attributes. Before I fully knew what this word meant, I instinctively knew that it was an inherent part of my character. Passed down from a first generation immigrant father, strength was something that was held in high esteem in my household and upbringing. It was the standard that all of my performances and struggles were held against.  The question of whether we were giving our best, fighting with our all, was always subconsciously posed beneath the surface of what was actually spoken. And sometimes, it was spoken.

“You have to be strong.”

“Don’t give up.”

“Anything worth fighting for is going to be a struggle.”

“Don’t be a quitter.”

“Life is hard, but you just have to keep at it.”

And though there were and are many truths to these statements, it dawned on me as of recent that there is  such a thing as an appropriate time to let go of the fighting and the struggle and just surrender; to find acceptance and peace with what is, and still contend for a better life. Can the two even coexist? Contention and acceptance? I believe so. And I’m finding that the less I struggle against what I can’t control or can’t overtake, the more ground I actually win.

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