Friday, November 30, 2012

"en route" to heaven

A friend and I were talking today about problems. More specifically, we were were saying that we wished we could understand why God allows bad things to happen to people, especially people who are good. 

One of the characters in the (fictional) book that I'm reading, lost faith in God after his girlfriend's father was killed in the 9-11 events. It started with him believing that there was no purpose in praying- if God's will was going to happen either way then why bother, which led him to think what good and merciful God would allow such horror to happen in the first place. Before he knew it, he was no longer believing in God, but in humanism. Now, thankfully this is fiction... and I'm almost positive that the next book in the series will show him coming back to the Lord, but sadly... this is not an uncommon series of events. 

God seems to leave so much out when it comes to revealing His plans for us. Sure, we know the general idea... it's the specifics that are so mysterious. Why does God allow us to feel so much pain? I'm sure that I don't need to list examples. Just think of someone whom you've known to face a hard battle that just didn't seem fair. Maybe that person is even yourself. 

Some things we'll just never know, but I did find some encouragement as I read today's section from my Jesus Calling book this afternoon. I'll share some of it with you.

"Problems are a part of life. They are inescapable: woven into the fabric of this fallen world. You tend to go into problem-solving mode all too readily, acting as if you have the capacity to fix everything. This is a habitual response... not only does this habit frustrate you, it distances you from me. 

.... Rather than trying to fix everything that comes to your attention, ask me to show you what is truly important. Remember that you are en route to heaven, and let your problems fade in the Light of eternity."

~ Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I'm not trying to solve the mysteries of the Lord, but perhaps problems, what ever they might be, are an opportunity to draw near to the Lord and feel His presence. It's not always our first response, but if we practice doing it enough, maybe someday it will be! 

I wish that I could sit down with a cup of tea and talk about this with everyone who is reading this. There is so much more that could be said. Biblical examples, personal life examples, philosophical theories and more. But the truth is this:

"Come near to God and He will come near to you." James 4:8

As long as I know that I'm in God's presence, I will have the strength to overcome and the assurance of a better future. 

I hope you are as encouraged by this as I am. 

Wishing you many blessings! 
~ Kristin Marie

Thursday, November 8, 2012

a great impact

It's funny how in November so many of us start to get in more of a thankful spirit. I personally like that we have certain months to remind us of certain things. For example:

January: goals
February: love
March/April: Christ's death and resurrection
July: our country's independence
November: thankfulness
December: the birth of Christ

Some people have told me that they don't like putting so much focus on things like that for a short period of time, because those are things we should think about all of the time. But I personally really appreciate these times to really focus on such subjects. Of course, I try to remember them all of the time... but I like having a special time to think about them even more.

I've been doing the popular challenge on facebook, to post something your thankful for every day of November. Today I posted about how thankful I am for christian music.

I've been thinking about it all evening. Of course, I enjoy other music... believe me... when I hear "Chicken Fried" pull up on my itunes I jam out like there is no tomorrow! And I'll still sing Crazy Train at the top of my lungs when Blake and I are road tripping. The point is NOT that I think everything else is wrong.

The point is that christian music has been very encouraging to me during this transitional phase in my life.

Last year, I committed to only listening to christian music when I was driving. It had been a slow process getting to that point. It all began with throwing away a trashy CD (that had been my favorite) when I was a freshman in college.

As a senior in high school, there was a concert I wanted to go to SOO bad. When my daddy wanted to view the band's website.... I knew I was headed for trouble. I was embarrassed as he read the lyrics to their songs. He told me about some of the songs he listened to when he was a kid... he loved the rhythm and the tune so much but when he listened to the words.... he knew he was singing along to something that was sinful. He said he'll never be able to forget those words. Needless to say I was never aloud to go to the concert.

Out of all of the moments I've had with my parents growing up... I think that one conversation had the most impact on me. In my life timeline... it deserves a big star. Because I was never the same after that. In all this time I've continued to progress in my desire to be an authentic christian. But that was truly what spurred it on the most.

Through all of the ups and downs that being an emotional girl brings, the one thing that keeps me sane is knowing that I'm in the Lord's presence.

Christian music reminds me of that. If I ever have a bad day... I turn the radio on to KLOVE or a good playlist of songs that remind me that God is near and is filling my life with blessings. In the morning, it's hard to start of grumpy if I've listened to Toby Mac's Good Morning song or "Learning to Be the Light". If I'm feeling anxious, all it takes is listening to "Where I Belong". If I'm feeling in the pits... it's hard to smile to "I'm so happy" or "Shine" by the Newsboys.

The point is.... I'm SO thankful christian music because it's been such a blessing in my life. It helps me connect to God. It preaches to me better than ANY sermon ever will. It helps me speak and pray to God. It reminds me to be thankful. It reminds me that I'm His child. It reminds me of His love. It helps me see His love.

What a blessing.