The day was full of blessings:
Gift of two movie tickets for Hubby and me.
Gift card from Mom
Encouraging words from Mother in law
Nice prayer walk
Nice long walk with Hubby
Second package for Operation Shake the Hunger!
unexpected Christmas card from a friend
Day started off really tough. Phone turned off...no idea how we're going to pay that and the car note. Tried to stay calm, but completely lost it. I finally decided to give it to God in prayer. Got on my knees and prayed and prayed. Then I prayed some more until I finally stopped crying.
Pulled it together enough to take a shower. Started looking for jobs to apply to. Computer started acting all crazy and froze up on me. Decided to go for a walk and do some more praying. While on the walk, I lost it again. Couldn't stop crying. My goal was to go out and find someone that I could encourage. I was so tore up with emotions that I just couldn't look anyone in eye. I was in no shape to do any kind of encouraging. I was the one that needed some encouraging...
Continued walk to a less populated area, praying, asking for God's divine intervention. Speaking God's promises, praying Psalm 23, and speaking over and over again Mark 9:24. "Lord I do believe, help my unbelief."
Wishing there was someone I could call for some encouragement. Wishing there was someone I could call and ask to pray with me for strength. Couldn't make any phone calls...phone disconnected. Sigh...continued on prayer walk, asking for God's strength. Trying to figure out what to do. Since I was in no shape to encourage others, I put my focus on praying for others. Continued speaking God's promises. Started feeling better.
Heard a sound in my pocket. What the? Incoming phone call. It was my Mother in Law on the other end calling to say hello and encourage me about my blog and my Jabez challenge. Wow! God totally rocks!
I have always been a "Christian". But I have only been a "follower of Christ" for 2 years. I have lots of friends and acquaintances that think Christians are phony because they're always "Happy, happy! Joy, joy! Never have a care in the world kinds of people." I know lots of people that think Christians are hypocrites because "they're always talking about what's right and wrong, but they never practice what they preach."
I even know some people that get a kick out of Christians that are caught with their pants down in public. If you don't get the reference, I mean these people thrive on the stories about Christians getting caught with minors in inappropriate situations. They love hearing about Christians that are caught stealing money from their congregations. They love it even more when they see stories about Christians arrested for DWI or possession of narcotics...you get my point.
Those kinds of stories hurt my heart; but that's another blog for another day. As a Christian, I've learned that perfection is not an expectation. Sin is sin. We've just become very comfortable with categorizing it to make ourselves feel better....
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23-24
There was a time that I felt the same way. I felt like I could never be as "holy as them" because I just don't know how to control my temper. I don't know how to be nice to everyone, especially those that aren't nice to me. And I just really don't know how to be happy all the time.
Today was a prime example of that. I was not happy when I found out about the phones. And I was even more unhappy because there really wasn't much I could do about it today.
But my point is this. As a Christian, God doesn't expect me to be happy all the time. He doesn't expect me to be perfect either. When I came to Him two years ago, He knew every little thing about me...every "dirty little secret", every thing wrong I've ever done, including all the tacky thoughts I've ever had about anyone, ever. He knew how far from perfect I was, and He loved me anyway. He forgave me for each and every single thing I ever did. And although as Paul writes, we as Christians aren't supposed to continue in sin because we've been forgiven and redeemed...
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:1-4
...we're not expected to be perfect. We're just expected to rely on God to help us live our lives more like Christ.
I say this because I'm sure some people might expect me to be happy all the time just because I'm a Christian. It's important to remember that when God created us, He created us with emotions. Thus, I'll take a guess that He's okay with me feeling sad, or feeling angry. I'll guess that God doesn't get upset with me just because I'm not always happy, or I don't always act like my life is perfect. Jesus wasn't always happy either.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought. Saying unto them, It is written, MY HOUSE IS THE HOUSE OF PRAYER: BUT YE HAVE MADE IT A DEN OF THIEVES." Luke 19:45-46.
If you can't tell from the words, Jesus was upset here. He threw people out of the temple for using it to make money and not glorify His Father.
God is okay with us having different emotions; He's not okay with us being ruled by those emotions and feelings.
I'm not perfect, so I don't act like I am. Right now my husband and I are in the midst of a very challenging season. A season that neither one of us has ever been through before. It's tough. I may not always feel like smiling every moment of every day. I might cry sometimes because I'm having a hard day or a rocky moment. I might even get angry and want to scream to the top of my lungs. But that does not mean that God is anything less than TOTALLY AWESOME (and not worthy to be praised--He is and always will be no matter what!).
Cause at the end of the day, at the end of the moment, at the end of my tears, I have Jesus. He gives me the strength to keep on going. He gives me the joy to smile through the pain. He gives me comfort through the storm. He gives me His peace that surpasses my understanding. He does all this because He loves me, and because how I'm feeling matters to Him. That may not be enough for some people, but I've come to realize that is all I need. If I hadn't received any of those blessings on the list at the beginning of the blog, I'd be okay because again, He is all I need. That understanding is a blessing in itself, indeed. Everything else He gives me is just icing on the cake.