ROAR

Ok, I have a confession to make…I love Katy Perry (some people have claimed we are twins, but I think the only thing we have in common is our pastor dads and affinity for cupcake bras). Her songs are just so catchy and fun.  I mean, c’mon, how can you not sing along with teenage dream.

Every now and then you stumble across a mainstream song and you can find the underlying “Jesus” message in it.  “Roar” is one of those songs for me.  I’ve been listening to it on repeat, and I really mean repeat…like I hit the repeat button on my iTunes.  Last week while listening for the billionth time, I really thought about the lyrics. Here is the chorus:

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

And I began to think how true that really is of our lives.  If you’re a believer, God has promised us that we are champions.  Not that I’m a champion because of anything awesome that I’ve done, but because of what Christ did for me. One of my favorite bible verses is in RomansNo, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”(Rom. 8:37 NIV).

You’re probably thinking oh my gosh, she’s a cornball and maybe I am.  But since I already told you that I’m in a valley, any song that reminds me of God’s victory over my life…I’m a cornball over it.  While I’ve been going through this hard time, I need to be constantly reminded that God has already claimed victory over this hard time, my past struggles, and my future struggles through the death of his son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

I heard this in a  sermon one time and loved it…Victory is not something we are praying for, it is something we are living in as followers of Christ.  We don’t ask God for victory, He provided us victory when He got up from the grave.  If Christ is in you, nothing on this planet will be greater than you or more powerful than you.

Although, I doubt this is what Katy Perry had in mind when she released this song…I am thankful for the reminder that God has already claimed victory over the valleys in my life.  I might be losing at halftime, but I know the final score. He made me a champion and now you’re going to hear me roar 🙂

For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. (Deut. 20:4 NIV)

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. (1 Cor. 15:57,58b NIV)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)

Enjoy!

I’m In a Valley

I apologize that it’s been so long since I’ve posted and I apologize if this post is super lengthy and long-winded.  I hope you hang with me and read what I have to say.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the idea/thought/belief that we go through mountaintops and valleys in life.  If you’re not familiar, it’s pretty much the idea that we cycle through periods of high times where things really seem are going our way or low times when thing are just though and hard.  I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we’d all agree that we do cycle through high times and low times, mountaintops and valleys…. And lemme tell ya, I am in a valley.  The past six months have probably been the hardest six months of my life.

The Downward Descent

My downward descent into my valley really started after my recent breakup.  The details of the breakup aren’t really important, but the loss of the relationship was really the catalyst.  All of sudden, I felt like the future I once envisioned had evaporated in one night and that scared me.  I felt really lost, really confused, and extremely alone.  It was/is probably one of the most painful experiences of my life and I felt crushed by the pain I was feeling.  Actually, I really wallowed and stayed in the pain for a good two months.  It really took my mom and best friend having a long conversation (separately, I did not have an intervention…haha) with me about how I had changed and wasn’t acting like myself anymore before I would even acknowledge the pain I was feeling.

Pastor Rick Warren recently finished a sermon series regarding pain following the death of his son, Matthew, who struggled with mental illness.  It is a really powerful sermon series and I’m still finishing it, but I love what he says about pain. He says, “I can endure pain if I see a purpose in it.”

The Purpose In My Pain

I’m still in a tough period in my life, but I’m at a point where God is really teaching me so much and after a lot of prayer, I am finally seeing the purpose in my pain…so here goes.

1.    It’s just me and Jesus.  I could stop after this point because this is by far the most important thing I’m learning.  Sometimes it takes losing everything else we cling to in our lives and go through a world of pain before we realize…it’s just God and I.  I cannot move beyond him.  I cannot replace him.  No job success, man’s love, relationship, money, house, car, etc. is going to let me move beyond that because those things will never completely fill me.  A husband, boyfriend (not a husband and boyfriend at the same time…hello, nothing scandalous from this girl), friend, parent, co-worker, will fail me and I will fail them…because I’m imperfect.  The only person that is capable of never letting me down is Jesus because he’s the only perfect person in my life.   It only makes sense that I find my joy, happiness, and contentment in the only person that is capable of giving perfect love.

2.    Therapy is so, so, so good.  My endocrinologist and parents have been telling to me talk to someone since I was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago.  It took me finally acknowledging my struggles this summer before I actually went to therapy.  I love therapy.  I know that to some people it might be a sign of weakness or a taboo or whatever, but I don’t care.  It has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.  I am so grateful to have an unbiased, trained, knowledgeable Christian, to help me process life. tI know for me personally, I get cannot see the forest beyond the trees and when I sit down and talk to him, he can see the forest and help me see beyond the trees.

3.    I am better having loved and lost. If you’ve even read this far, you’re probably thinking gross….vomit…cliché statement, and I was right there with you a few months ago, but luckily God has changed my heart and perspective.  First, I am thankful for the love I shared and received with this person because it taught me what it feels like to really be in love.  Never again, will I question “am I really in love?” I am now intimately familiar with the joys and pains that come from loving somebody.

 Second, like I said above, sometimes it takes losing something so important to you for you to realize that we have nothing apart from Christ.  I love the way an article on Desiring God’s website phrases it…”when one prize is stripped away, we can graciously be reminded of how little we have apart from Christ and the fortune he’s purchased for us with his blood.”

That same article says it better than I ever could…”In Jesus, God is always and only doing good to you.  There’s no circumstance facing you that he’s not engineering to give you deep and durable life and freedom and joy.  He loves our lasting joy in him much more than he loves our temporary comfort today.   He’ll make that trade any day, and we can be glad he does.  Know that God is doing good, even when we feel worst.”

My Point

I guess the reason why I’m sharing all of this with you all is because I don’t want to waste my pain.  I want to use what God is teaching me through my pain to help others.  To quote Pastor Rick Warren again…”Don’t waste your pain; let God heal it, recycle it, utilize it and use it to bless other people,”

He said. “Use your pain as a model for your message and a witness to the world. But to touch other people, you need to be honest—with God, yourself and others—and you need to be vulnerable”

So here I am, being vulnerable and honest with you all.  I’ve been honest with God, friends, my family and myself and now it’s your turn.  I’m still in the valley.  To paraphrase Rick Warren again, Psalm 23:4 refers to walking through the valley of the shadow of death…but the thing about a shadow is that it needs light. So I’m just focusing on the light until I’m out of the shadow.   I’m not on a mountaintop, but I have faith that I will not stay in this valley because my God is faithful…one day at a time.