Orphans and Widows

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About a month ago, I was in a VERY bad slump for being a “young orphan.”  Then, I met someone and this went away as I created a few more meaningful relationships.  The other night, I went out to supper with someone that used to work for me.  She was introducing me to someone and told her that she was trying to find me a nice boy to date so that I could get married and stay here.  The lady then asked this lady if she was my mother.  To which we both laughed.  They got back to thinking about single men for me.  The lady I used to work with then came out and said, “and we need to find her a very nice one.  I take care of her.  She’s already an orphan and needs a very nice boy to take care of her.”  Then the orphan dread came back.  When this slump hit me last month, I looked through the Bible for passages on orphans.  For hope that I won’t be alone forever.  For hope that I would have a family once again.  Ironically, widows are often mentioned in the same passages.  Here, for your viewing eyes are the passages in the Bible about orphans:

“You must not exploit a widow or an orphan.  If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword.  Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.”

“He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice.”

“No, I will not abandon you as orphans- I will come to you.”

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

So, what do all these passages mean?  Well, I believe it means that God is close to the broken-hearted and grieving.  He takes in the widows and orphans.  He hears their cry.

Let me tell you a story.  This summer, I was in deep, deep grief over the loss of my parents.  I had a friend that didn’t understand my story and wasn’t treating me particularly the nicest.  I was hurt.  I cried to God to stop the pain.  You may wonder what happened.  Let me answer that for you.  God removed this person from my life.  He protected me as he removed the painful relationship from my life.  I kept picking the relationship back up, but God kept telling me NO!  The relationship was over after 7 years.  He made this person lose a good friend they had because of how she was treating me in my distress and grief.  He tore the relationship apart because He heard my cry and wanted to stop the pain, as I had enough pain to endure.  He was protecting me not only from evil, but from external forces that will hurt my grieving heart more.

In the end, let’s care for orphans and widows.  It is so extremely painful to lose someone you love so much.  To never be able to see them in person again.  God knows this is painful.  He has given us humans to care for us and will hear our cries of distress.  This much is true because it is promised in the Bible.  And all promises of the Bible have been and will be fulfilled.

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No One Does Bitterness Better Than Naomi

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For some reason, I was led the book of Ruth to study the character Naomi.  Some divine intervention led me there.  Naomi is quite an interesting character.  Let me tell you her story:

Naomi’s husband and both sons passed away.  She was left with two daughter-in-laws in a land filled with famine.  So, she decides to embark for her home land (Bethlehem) because she has heard that God had given that land plentiful harvests.  She starts on this journey with her daughter-in-laws.  Then, she tells them to leave her.  To go back to their mothers and find new husbands because she cannot grant them security.  She is too old to marry again and give them sons to marry.  She points out what all God has done to her and becomes very bitter towards Him.  One of her daughter-in-laws tearfully says goodbye and leaves.  But, Ruth does not.  She tells her mother-in-law that she will follow her.  That Naomi’s God shall also be her God.  Naomi and Ruth continue onto Bethlehem.

Upon their arrival, Naomi is greeted by people and asked if it is really her that is back in the land.  When she answers them, she tells them to call her “Mara” because it means bitter and she has become very bitter at God, as she believes He has taken everything from her and now rules her with his fist.

While in this land, Ruth stays with her mother-in-law and heads out to barley fields to gather whatever she can so they can eat.  A man tells his workers to let her gather what she can and to purposely drop barley heads for her.  Ruth gathers enough for her and her mother-in-law, who then sends her back and tells her to put on her best dress and perfume.  To go back to the man, uncover his feet, and lay beside him while he sleeps.

Ruth does as she is told.  Fast forward a little and this man takes her as his wife and into his home.  Ruth then becomes pregnant and bares his son, Obed.  Naomi is told about this birth and goes to meet her grandson.  When she meets him, she takes him and holds him to her breast as she cuddles him.  It is said that she loves her grandson as much as her own sons and that Ruth has given Naomi more love than seven sons.  In the end, this grandson becomes the great-grandfather of David/a direct ancestor to Jesus.

I did some thinking about all of this.  Naomi has a very similar story to me.  One of loss.  One of becoming a little bit bitter at God.  Naomi had become very bitter with God about all her loses and grief.  Although she was bitter with God, and verbalizing this bitterness (enough to change her name to the literal word “bitter”), God stayed with her.  He didn’t leave or forsake her.  He gave her Ruth as a faithful daughter-in-law and a grandson to love as her own son.  In the end, we may be bitter at God for taking those we love from us, but God will not abandon us. Instead, He will give us hope.  He give us a promise of love.

Naomi’s story is one of hope.  She was bitter, but God didn’t leave her.  He gave her a grandson to love on until she died.  He gave her another family.  He did not abandon.  I find it ironic that she changed her name to mean “bitter” when instead I think she really should have it changed to “hope.”

Carry Me

As you, my lovely followers/readers, know the past week has been horribly difficult for me.  There has been LOTS of crying and I am just sick of the tears and constant blood shot/dry eyes.  I have therapy today and there will be a lot to talk about.  I will also be getting in to see the psychiatrist for a medication assessment of my depression/anxiety/insomnia medications.

I have been terrified this week and wanting to give it all up.  Cutting thoughts also came back to me.  But, a LOVELY and AMAZING blogger has been contacting me and those thoughts were put to a stop.  Had I not had a conversation with this blogger that night, I may have ended up cutting.  So, thank you to this blogger.  You know who you are! 🙂

Anyways, I was listening to The Message (a Christian station on XM radio) this week to get a glimmer of hope and renew/refresh my soul.  This song played and was exactly what I needed to hear.  As I listened, I realized that I am the person this song is about. I am the one stuck in the valley of death.  I am in sinking sand.  I’m sure many of you lovely readers are the same.  If you need some hope and feel stuck like me, give this song a listen.  It is called Carry Me by Josh Wilson.  Here are the lyrics for you to analyze:

“Carry Me”

I try to catch my breath
It hasn’t happened yet
I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death
So I prayed God, would You make this stop
Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me
Cause You meant what You said when You said You’d never leave

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me
God carry me
Carry me
God carry me

I’m at the end of myself
I know I’ve got nothing left
Feels like I’m stuck in the valley of the shadow of death
And I’ve been down here so long
I just can’t find my way out
Oh God I don’t stand a chance
Unless You carry me now
God carry me now

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now

 

 

What Can Man Do to Me?

I have been completing a daily devotional to overcome my fears.  You will be getting a post later about this, but alas, I have five minutes left of my lunch.  So, this will be brief.  I wanted to share with you the Scripture tied to today’s study.  Maybe it will touch all of you the way it touched me.  The way it can speak to my heart and, in a sense, work on healing the heartache caused to me by so many humans.  Here is the verse:

The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?  Psalm 118:6

Dear God

Hello God!

It’s me, your daughter.  You know everything about me.  Every thought.  Every feeling.  Every emotion.  Every heartbreak.  Every breath.  Every plan.  Every dream.  In fact, you know me better than I know myself.  You know how much I grieve over the loss of my parents and how much I slip into depression modes on some days.  I know you don’t like it when I go to that “dark” place because you think the total opposite.  You think I am beautiful.  You think I am worth loving.  You think I am intelligent.  You created me, so you love me more than I could ever love myself.  Sometimes I have a hard time loving myself.  Right now, and for the past year, I don’t love myself.  But, I should because you have created me in all your glory.  For that, I am sorry.

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God, my parents are with you right now.  Please say hello to them for me and tell them I love them.  Give them both tight hugs for me and tell them how awesome they did raising me to live by your word and light.  How amazing they were for showing me who you are.  Give them some high-fives because I truly believe that in the short time they had with me they did an amazing job.  They were amazing people and you gave me the best parents possible.  Thank you for that.  And thank you for giving me the time I had with them.

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You know that my sister has been sick lately.  You also know how much I rely on her and love her.  She is like the mother I don’t have anymore and has been for 10 years.  I love her so much and appreciate everything she did to help me make it through my teenage years.  God, please help her during her sickness.  Help her find healing and peace.  I know she is in pain.  Please take care of her and help her feel your love and grace.  She is all I have left now and I don’t know what I would do if I lost her as well.

You also know how lonely I have been.  I have been trying to grow closer to you in my loneliness.  Wherever you take me next, please let me form a lasting relationship with someone in which true love is developed and exchanged.  I am just so sick of getting hurt, let down, and used.

I love you God and you have been extremely good to me.  I am truly blessed with all you have given me.  I am thankful for all my failures and successes.  I am thankful for the love you have for me.  You are always there for me when no one else is. For that, I am beyond thankful.

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Love,

Your Blessed Daughter

What Can You Give?

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Today is the day the Catholic church celebrates the coming of the three Magi.  We all know these men bring gifts that are very symbolic to Jesus and his life.

During the sermon today, the priest asked a critical question that I keep reflecting on.  This is that of: “What gift do you have to give Jesus?”  If I were to die tonight and see Jesus, what in my life would I be able to say is a gift to Him?

As I think about this, I come up with a few answers.  My first is that of love.  I have a very kind, caring, and tender heart.  If you are my friend, or close to me, you better watch out because I will love the crap out of you.  I would do anything to help you out.  My second is that of kindness.  I firmly believe in being kind and treating all people with respect.  I suppose this comes with a kind heart.  My third is that of service.  I serve others before I serve myself.  I tend to place other people’s needs before my own.  While there are many other concepts and things in my life I could give as a gift to Jesus, these are the main ones that pop out at me.  These are the ones that I could surely stand back and say, “These qualities are my gift to you.”

What would you bring/give to Jesus as a gift?

“Let It Be Done to Me According to His Word”

Through all my bible studies and devotions, one phrase in the bible comes back to me over and over.  It is one I so often think about during this time of year.  This is the phrase that Mary uses with Angel Gabriel.  The phrase in which she accepts God’s plan for her life.  Many of us know this phrase.  It is that of:

I am a handmaiden of the Lord.  Let it be done to me according to His word.”

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 Explanation:  Mary said YES to God’s plan for her even though much anxiety, pain, and trouble would come along with it.

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Reflecting on my life right now, I can see God is changing me.  He is leading and calling me to bigger things.  I can faintly hear His whisper as He says to my heart, “Darling, this is going to be the year I change you.  Just hold on and I will take you where I want you to be.  I will take you to great things.”  Whenever I think about leaving my amazing students and some amazing staff, I get sad because over these past years they have really become a part of my heart.  Several people have told me they “see greatness” in me.  They have said that they know I can’t stay as a teacher because “I am destined for greatness.”  I don’t see this in myself.  But, if it is God’s will for me, let it be done unto me.

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When I think about the new year coming, I get a little bit scared.  I know this is going to be the year of much change for me.  I am destined to move far away from the land I know and devout myself to a beyond rigorous academic program for research.  I find myself getting very nervous as I think about what program will accept me.  I go through moments of doubt and fear as I think about going to one of the universities I have applied to.

Finally, as of last night, I have put this fear aside.  I reminded myself to surrender to God.  To stop trying to figure things out because He will take me where He wants me.  He will take me where I am supposed to be.

As I remember Mary’s words, I try to remind myself to be a faithful servant, as she was.  That no matter what anxiety, pain, and turmoil comes my way, this is God’s plan for my life.  And nothing satisfies me more than carrying out the plan the one who created me wrote for me.

So without further ado, the following is my prayer for the new year:

Lord, I am your servant.  My life is not for me to live for myself.  Instead, it is to do your will.  I surrender myself to you.  This includes whatever plans you have for me in this next year.  I will go where ever you want me to go.  I will use my talents in a way that serves you.  I now stand back and will let you do your work on me.  I will stop trying to control and go where you lead.  Like your faithful servant, Mary, remind me that everything done in me will be done according to your word.”  

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Who Do You Say He is?

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Lately, a bible verse from the gospels has been on my mind.  This verse is that of Jesus saying to his apostles, “Who do you say that I am?”  This is a question we so often have to ask ourselves, “Who do I say that Jesus is?”

My answer to this question can be complex, or it can be simple.  My simplest answer would be, “Jesus is my Savior.  The son of God who came to earth in order to give me eternal salvation.”  It could also be as complex as, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  He is the son of God and Mary.  He came to earth to teach me how to live according to God’s word and reject the devil’s power.  His name is the one in which demons fear.  He protects me from all harm and saved me from my sins by forgiving me and dying on the cross for me.  He loves me more than I could ever imagine.”

Then, I got to thinking, Just how many times do I tell Jesus that I love Him during the day?  The answer to that is TWICE.  Only TWICE.  Once during my morning prayers and once during my nightly prayers.  I told my parents that way more than twice a day.  He knows that I love Him, but I am sure He also likes to hear that I love Him.  Throughout the day, I need to remember to take breaks from my hectic schedule and just say, “Jesus, I love you.  Thank you for giving me this day and forgiving me for the sins I commit today.  I pray you always remain in my heart and remind me to do YOUR will as I carry out YOUR plan for my life.  For my life is not mine to live, but yours.  Let YOUR will be done through me.”

Forgiveness

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It is most certainly time for me to write in my Loving Myself and Others Journal.  So, here we go.  This entry will mainly be about loving others.

The concept of forgiveness has been on my mind a lot lately.  I think about Jesus every day and have been going through the motions as I exist in my fog.  Well, yesterday at church I snapped out of it.  I sort of went into my own thinking during the service.  I was thinking about forgiveness.

So many things have happened to me since my father passed away this spring.  I lost friendships.  I got hurt emotionally by family.  I gained weight.  I got severely depressed.  The list goes on and on.  There is so much bitterness and anger in me when I think about certain friends that left me, or how much I have changed in a negative way.  I feel that this negativity is so easy for me to dwell on.  It is time for me to release these shackles of bitterness.  To stop dwelling on the fact that I do not have parents or friends.  To move on.

I woke up from this bitterness yesterday as the Lord spoke to my heart.  It hit me (yet again) that I am a sinner.  Yes, I sin.  I sin every day.  I am by no means any where close to a saint and have every right to hell as the next person out there.  But, Jesus saved me.  I spit words of anger out at Him for taking my parents away from me.  Each of these words of anger and hate are what helped drive those nails through His hands and feet.  My sins did this to Him and you know what?  He FORGIVES ME.  He forgives me for being angry with Him at times and slandering Him.  He forgives me for being the reason He had to die on the cross.

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I don’t feel worthy of this forgiveness.  But, I am because He loves me that much.  When I enter into heaven and meet Jesus face to face, I want to hug Him, fall down on my knees and worship Him, then ask why He did it.  Why He died for a sinner like me who was not worthy of His sacrifice and forgiveness.

Then I thought, If Jesus can forgive me for this, I can surely forgive those who hurt me.  I need to forgive in order to move on and remove this bitterness from my life.

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So, I forgive all those friends who have hurt me.  I understand they did not know how to reach out to me during my times of despair and grief.  I understand there were underlying reasons as to why they were not there for me.  I forgive them for not being there for me.  I pray God helps them feel my forgiveness so that they can also move on with the hurt I may have caused in their life.  I pray God restores their hurt and allows them to forget this pain I caused them as they move on.  I pray God protects them and allows them to find peace.

If any of you people this effects is out there reading this right now, I forgive you.  Please, move on with your life and forget about the pain I may have caused you.  Know that you are forgiven, not only by me, but by someone greater as well, the Lord.  He loves you and so shall I continue to do as well.

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