You Just Have To Let Him

On Tuesday, I was rushed to the ER from work in unbearable pain. My exact words were: “It’s worse than labor pains”. For all you mothers out there, you know that contractions are no joke. I found out that the pain I was feeling was actually my gallbladder and that I needed to have it removed asap (I have surgery on Thursday. Prayers appreciated). Interestingly enough, the pain I felt was in my chest- not my gallbladder. Doctors often refer to this as “deferred pain”. It happened to my sister when she had her appendix removed. She felt pain on the opposite side of where it was actually located. Deferred pain makes it difficult to determine the source; only someone equipped could diagnose what ails us and remove it completely- all they need is our consent.

We see this every day. People in unbearable pain; oblivious to the source of their hurt. They’re unhappy or “depressed”, so they treat this depression with drugs and alcohol, hoping to find some relief, but it never comes. They awaken from their stupor and only feel MORE hurt and MORE pain. Because the source of their unhappiness is not where they think it is. It’s not financial hardship, it’s not failed relationships, it’s not death, it’s not a messy house, or unruly kids; it’s an emptiness in their HEARTS that only God can fill. He knows where it hurts and only he is equipped to remove what ails you in it’s entirety… you just have to let him.

Just Worship

The other night I had a dream. In the dream, my mom was talking about her amputation. I was at a loss as to how to comfort her and began to pray and ask God for words. “What do I say?” I asked Him. In my dream, I heard God’s voice loud and clear: “Tell her to Just Worship”. Simple words, but oh so powerful when put into practice. Our worship is a reflection of who God is in our life. The world may not know Him, but they see him through us. So, what is our life saying about God? Do we remain faithful, even when we feel like he has abandoned us? Or have fallen away because we failed to understand what God is doing in our life? When we “Just Worship”, we are saying, “I may not know THE WHY, but I know THE WHO”. Knowing the WHO… LOVING the WHO, means we BELIEVE in what he is doing, even when it is beyond our understanding. Let us show the world who God is- HOW GREAT GOD IS.

“Jesus answered him, “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will know.” John 13:7

I Wouldn’t Want It Any Other Way

This weekend my husband and I celebrated his 29th birthday. I had every last detail of our weekend planned. Seriously, I had a list, which is as close to “set in stone” as it can get in my life. We left Sarah with her grandparents and we stayed in hotel near Cleveland. After we checked in, we had a late dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It was wonderful finally having some alone time. A new baby (and job!) + a sick mom was really taking its toll on our marriage. However, I am grateful to God for the good AND the bad; I can honestly say that our relationship has been TRIED and is TRUE (and WILL hopefully- prayerfully remain that way).  The rest of the weekend didn’t go quite as planned, which was really frustrating for me because with all that has happened over the past few months- I wanted to have control of something- anything! As we were stopped at a red light- Sam turns to me and asks: “Do you have our whole lives planned out?” I thought about it and with a sigh of resignation said, “No, all I really know is that whatever happens- we’re together.” He reaches for my hand and as he brings it to his lips he whispers, “I wouldn’t want it any other way”.

I learned a valuable lesson- one I have learned so many times before, but often forget. Sometimes life doesn’t go as we plan! I’ll be honest, I would LOVE to have it all figured out by now, but when I see how far God has brought us already, I know I can rest assured… HE IS IN CONTROL. Sure, I had my “list” for the weekend (who would have suspected a snow-storm in April?!), but no matter how much I wish my plans were set in stone; the only ones that are- are His. The funny thing is, the best part of my weekend was not the part I planned, but a spontaneous kiss at a red light, where our love for each other was re-affirmed. I thank God for the moments like those- the ones that aren’t my list, but ARE ON HIS!

Keep that in mind next time life doesn’t go quite as you planned; maybe it’s going exactly according to his.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

 

Today I Choose Joy

Tomorrow I start my first day at my new job. I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I will finally be putting my degree to good use after a 6 month hiatus. On the other hand, I will be leaving my daughter at home alone with her sick grandma- my mother, who in the few months since I moved here from Texas has suffered 3 hospitalizations and a below the knee amputation.

We need this job; that’s what I keep telling myself… and it’s true. My husband is only working part-time and even though he is an awesome provider; it hurts me to see him bear the burden of our finances by himself. This will be the first time in what feels like forever, that I will be contributing in that area, but it’s not only about the money. I love my field and am so eager to help the families of Clark County. I’m not sure what to expect, but I do believe this is a door God has opened for me.

My first day of work outfit- the one I bought for 4.99 at Goodwill, is hanging on our door; my mom’s gray and black leather heels are lined up beneath it. They’ve been there since Thursday and every time I pass by, I feel a pang in my heart. “My mom can no longer wear those shoes”, I think to myself and I immediately shoo the thought away. Dwelling will not help our situation at all.

That is how I have been able to cope with everything that has happened; Sam losing his job right after I had Sarah, our impromptu move back to Ohio- the one place I swore I would never return, living with my parents and realizing how sick my mom really is, driving her to the emergency room that Monday and everything that came after. I try not to dwell-which, for an over-thinker like me, is not an easy task.

My blog is called “Beautiful Under Pressure” because I believe in thriving, no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in. Never let what you’re going through make your heart ugly- let God use it to mold you into someone beautiful from the INSIDE OUT. That’s why today, even though my current circumstances may be less than favorable- I choose JOY. It’s a choice I have to make daily… a choice I sometimes forget to make (sorry, Sam!), but keep trying to nonetheless. The Bible tells us to REJOICE in our sufferings. I will not let the pang in my heart at the thought of my mom pulling on her prosthetic leg every morning make me sad, instead I will remember that she is STILL STANDING, prosthetic leg and all,  and when everyone else thought (and even said aloud) that she would die, she’s ALIVE and well enough to take care of her beloved granddaughter.

So, today I choose joy, and tomorrow I will choose it again.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

 

Come What May

Today, my mom had a below the knee amputation. For my family and I, her illness has been one of the most difficult trials we’ve ever had to endure. We spent the previous weeks in prayer; believing God for a miracle. We declared His word with an unshakeable faith and this truth in our hearts: “A prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise Him up.” (James 5:15) However, much to our dismay, my mom was taken into surgery and we were left behind bewildered and afraid.

As I sat in the hospital waiting room, I began to ask myself: will I still praise God when his answer is no? Will I still praise Him when I am caught off guard and unprepared by his response? Will I still praise Him when I see my mom in unspeakable pain, yet those who run to do evil dancing around on two feet?

Sooner or later we are all faced with this question. How we decide to answer will determine how far we go in our walk with God. Wallowing in sadness and self-pity in the face of adversity may be the easier choice, but it will only breed more misery and pain. Choosing to praise God ANYWAY is by far much easier said than done, but when we sacrifice the pain in our hearts on the altar of worship- we receive the joy of the Lord as our strength, hope like an anchor of our souls, and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

This year, I have made it my resolution to praise him COME WHAT MAY and I challenge whoever is reading this to do the same!

In the words of Job and my beloved mother: “Should we accept good from God and not the bad?”