Feeling Lost?

 

Imagine you are hiking through the woods trying to get to the nearest town. But you are lost and confused and you feel like you are walking in circles. It’s been weeks, and you are just as deep in the woods today as you were when you thought of your first brilliant game plan to get out of there asap!

Fortunately for you, you meet a guide in the woods. He explains that if you take this trail, it’ll lead you to a crossroads in a clearing where there will be a sign explaining which direction to go next to get to town. He hands you a backpack full of things you need to survive and thrive during this journey. A compass, a canteen with fresh water, a flashlight, bug spray, matches, and even a walkie talkie! He assures you that he knows these woods well, and he’ll always have his walkie talkie on him if you ever have any questions. You are overjoyed at his help!  You are feeling awesome about this journey and confident that you will get to the next clearing soon. Off you go.

The first few days you do pretty well. The trail is as clear as the sky and you barely break a sweat. You gleefully use your compass, and even walkie talkie your guide to see if the berries you’ve stumbled across are safe to eat (you’ve seen Hunger Games-you aren’t taking any chances). A short time passes and you stop using the contents in your backpack-you think you know the drill pretty well by now! But shortly after, the way starts to get more difficult. You are constantly swarmed by six legged pests, trapped in prickly thickets, covered in mud and blood, and oh so weary. Day after day you continue on, wondering if you are lost, confused why the way is so treacherous, and losing hope that you’ll ever get to that clearing. The nearest town feels farther away now than it ever has.

And then, one moment while lapping up muddy stream water for a drink, scratching a bug bite the size of a melon on your leg, and trying to find the best rock flint to start a fire with later tonight, you remember the backpack you’ve been given. You feel like an idiot. You have all these resources to help the journey, and you have been ignoring them! The trail would still have been difficult, but if you would have used what was given to you, much pain, discomfort, and discouragement could have been avoided.

I feel like I am on a pretty difficult journey right now. I look forward with hopeful expectation to one day getting out of the woods, but for now I am just looking for the next clearing-a crossroads that will show me the next step. I have a Guide who is brilliant, and loving, and perfect, and always accessible. He has given me tools while journeying to best survive-His Word-a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, the precious gift of communication with God through prayer, the joy and comfort of worshipping  the giver of the stream of living water that will never run dry, godly counsel– who through knowing and loving the Guide well for years can impart wisdom and comfort that will help protect me from all kinds of harm, and so much more.

Yet I far too often journey with a backpack full of items not being used. I keep the fresh canteen in my bag and drink the dirty water the world offers.

As believers we must use the tools the Lord has given us. They are for our own good, and yet we ignore them? The ramifications of doing so are personal and foolish yes, but also what does it say to our fellow travelers who don’t have a “backpack”? It says that they are pointless and they are worthless, and no wonder they don’t ask where it came from-they don’t see us value what’s inside!

So friend, passionately use the tools God has given you to get through this life. It may still be very difficult, but He has graciously given us exactly what we need to navigate every step, every day. And maybe, as you obediently depend on the graces that God has given you, He will bring other travelers in your life who need the see the blessings that knowing the Guide brings-what a joy that is!

You Might be the Answer to Your Own Prayer

There are some people in my life that I pray for pretty consistently. And I pray for them about the most important thing I can pray for anyone about-their relationship with God. Often times I say something like this:

“Lord I care so deeply for ________, and I know you care for them even more. Please Lord, I know that they will only be whole if they stop trying to live life on their own and they run to you. I so badly want them to find purpose and joy and in you. I want to be able to talk to them about how amazing and faithful and fulfilling you are. Father, please, do whatever you have to in their life to bring them back to you. Do whatever it takes for them to see their need and find their meaning in you. Help them see the truth. I love and trust you. Amen.”

And I pray that and I mean that. But I am still surprised when it starts to happen.  We God starts to allow things in their life to unravel to show them that HE is more satisfying than anything this world has to offer. That HE is the only true love, real friend, steadfast peace, and eternal hope that they can have. But they can’t always see it on their own. Not past their own tears, confusion, and pain-they are blinded by it. So again I pray “help them see the truth”.

Then I realize that God has been preparing my heart for this. That I am not supposed to stand idely by and watch them grapple with purposelessness, but instead I need to be ready to help them see what God wants them to see. I don’t want this opportunity to come and for me to miss the role that God wants me to play in it because I am too afraid to “offend” or “make things awkward”.

I guess my point to all of this is to say, that if you have someone in your life (like I do right now) who is hurting badly, I think that you might be the answer to your own prayer. If you have been praying for them and God allows trials to come, maybe through the power of the Holy Spirit it is YOU who is supposed to be breathing truth and weaving the beauty of the gospel into the tapestry of their story. Pray for words of wisdom, the perfect mixture of love and boldness, and divine appointments to know when to be silent and when to speak to help them see the truth.

My Friend Had an Abortion

Many times when Christians confront abortion they forget while defending the life of a small human, that they are deeply impacting (usually negatively) the life of an adult human. I know I might get negative feedback on this post, because I don’t come down on abortion as harshly as I’ve been trained to…it’s just…when you know the woman behind the womb, when you see her wrestle with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make-it’s hard to be hateful. She is smart, and sensitive, and sweet. This may not be perfect, but these are my thoughts to her:

To the Unexpected Expectant Mother,

Tomorrow morning, you are scheduled to have your abortion.

My love for you is not now, nor will it ever be- based on what you do or do not do. You are an incredible, beautiful, wonderful young woman, and no matter what happens-I will always be here, loving you. I, of course, don’t want you to go through with the abortion. I want your baby to live. I can’t imagine your pain right now- and I don’t pretend to. I can’t understand what a difficult decision this is, and all the emotional ramifications of everything- but just know that my heart breaks for you and your little son or daughter.

Though please don’t fear my judgment or my condemnation-for I have none to bring to you. I will not be standing on my Christian-bred, evangelical, conservative, republican soapbox reciting facts and statistics to you, or telling you skewed analogies of what I think you are doing. I won’t point my finger at you confused at your numbness to life because I know that isn’t the case. I know you’ve thought about this. I can understand your fears, and worries, and doubts. You are a loving and lovely young woman. I trust that in your mind you are making the wisest and best decision possible for all who are involved. I know you want to bring a child into this world as a result of a loving marriage-not an accident with an almost stranger. I know you want to bring a child into this world when you are ready to be the best mom you can be.

If truth be told, dear friend, if I were in your shoes…they would be want to be walking up the stairs of the abortion clinic too.  I can imagine. I would be terrified; I would be anxious and tormented. But no amount of people telling me that the baby is a human, that it has fingerprints, that it can dream-would stop me. No one could convince me that I’ll regret not having it more than I would regret having it. No one could talk me into believing that maybe it’ll draw the father and I closer together, maybe it’ll help him grow, maybe, maybe, maybe. No. None of that would stop me. I would have outweighed the cons with the pros, and counteracted each positive thought with an equally negative one. I would convince myself it isn’t a life. It would be much easier this way. I would conclude too, that the temporary pain would be worth escaping the life long pain. I would do the same thing that you are doing tomorrow at 10:15am.

I would get an abortion too…

if it weren’t for Jesus Christ.

The only thing-the ONLY thing-that would stop me, would be Jesus. I know that sounds strange to you; you don’t know Him like I do. But trust me when I say, He is the only reason I wouldn’t go through with what would make sense in my mind to do. Only knowing Him, and trusting that He would work this out for my good. Only knowing that He already has plans for both my life, and my baby’s life. Only understanding how He views and values life, and that nothing happens by chance. Only knowing that He promises that HE will carry my burdens, and give me rest. Only knowing that His grace will be sufficient for every situation, and that I will never be alone. Only with Him would I choose life for my baby. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it without Him. HE would be my only hope and my only answer.

My dear, I know you haven’t figured out exactly how you feel/what you think about God. But know that the One I love and believe in-wants you to know Him. And He can help you through every trial, will love you through any decision, and has a plan for every life.

I love you forever, and am here for you always.
Your Friend,
Betty

Thanksgiving Chapel at Lancaster Bible College

Chapel at LBC was awesome today, I wish you all could have been there! It was our special Thanksgiving chapel so we had extra time worshiping through song (the team did an AWESOME job) and then one of our students from the Social Work program shared about her testimony and struggle with self-harm. She shared with our entire student body the low places she had been, but the strength and HOPE found in understanding who Jesus Christ is and what he has done so that we may live.

Near the end of the service she sang “I Know my Redeemer Lives” and there was lined up at the front of chapel about 20 students with cardboard signs with their struggles written on them. Things about being rejected, ignored, addicted, bitter, and the like. At the last chorus ( a key change of course ;)) while she sang about the fact that Christ lives to take away our shame, and how He died to bring us victory-the students in line turned over their cardboard “lies “and displayed truth on the back. Because of Christ they wrote that now they ARE accepted, freed from sin and guilt, able to forgive, able to show grace and love, and power over ANY sin and ANY burden.

It was beautiful; I had tears in my eyes. I am so blessed to call this place my college. I am continually encouraged, challenged, and strengthened through the bravery and the caliber of people here and their love for Christ.