13 Reasons Why

Worth It

IN GOD’S HANDS, nothing is wasted. He will exchange all our suffering for something good. We can’t see it now, but one day, we will see. And it’s gonna be worth it.

 

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Reason Enough

We may think that all the suffering life brings is reason enough to end our own. But the knowledge that we have a God who is able to bring beauty from ashes, joy from tears, and praise from despair is reason enough to live.

 

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All Things

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ALL THINGS will be used for good by the God whom we love. The blessed. The bad. The painful. The tear-rending. ALL will one day be redeemed. ALL will be used for good.

Holding On

 

Free stock photos of soil · Pexels Pexels3872 × 2592Search by imageMy prayer for you is that you find that something worth holding onto. Cling to it through all the darkness that is and that lies ahead. And may you come to see this shadow is a passing thing. In the end, light will always prevail.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photos of soil · Pexels

13 Reasons to Live: Not Alone

I bring my bookbag with me wherever I go under the faulty notion I might have time to read while the kids are at the park, or at their appointment, or wherever else we may be. Last week we were at the playground when we discovered a nearby pathway, which I presumed would be a short distance and not worth running my bag to the car first. A half mile into our journey, we realized the path looped the entire lake. Achiness nagged my back from the now unnecessary load of unread treasures. My husband and kids were well ahead of me when I considered turning back, only to realize it would be the same distance returning to the car as it would to complete the loop.

After about a mile, I finally asked my husband if he could carry my bag for me. Relief flooded over me when the weight of my baggage finally released. Something about walking free from the heaviness of my belongings allowed me the liberty to enjoy my surroundings. A few miles into our trek, my daughter and I were well ahead of my husband. By now, he was not only carrying my bookbag, but my son as well. And my daughter was asking if he could carry them both.

What a picture of what God does for us! He invites us on a journey, our path encircled by beauty and undiscovered wonders. We launch a few cautious steps into the adventure only to realize we’re burdened by all we carry with us—whether it be our past, our habits, our bad decisions, our broken relationships, or anything that weighs heavy upon us. Thinking we’re alone midway through, we consider turning back.

But when we finally humble ourselves and ask for the help we’ve needed all along, things start to change.

Our Savior is so willing to take our burdens from us, he identifies himself as a burden bearer. Everything that hinders, everything that holds us back from life that is truly life…he’ll take it all. His load is easy and his burden is light, freeing us for the path marked out for us.

Unfortunately, there is no promise that life will be pain and problem-free. If anything, we’re told, “in this world, you will have trials.” Yet we can’t neglect the words that follow: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Freedom comes in knowing we’re not alone in the midst, and there is one who is stronger, and able to carry our every burden.

My friend, do not give up on life, thinking you’re alone and forgotten. There is a God—the Creator of heavens and earth, who knit you together for a purpose. And he will walk with you, carrying all that weighs you, holding you if that’s what it takes. All you need to do is cry out for help from the one who is able, willing, and ready to intervene. Release your burdens to him.

 

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13 Reasons to Live: We’re Not Home Yet

I had no idea how expensive frozen yogurt could be until recently. We received a buy one, get one free coupon in the mail, so we took the kids on what we thought would be a low-cost excursion. “Fill your cups with whatever flavors and toppings your little hearts desire,” I told them. The sign above the register said it was only $5 per cup, and with the coupon it seemed a reasonable deal for all you can eat froyo.

The kids had no trouble obliging, filling their cups to overflowing with an interesting mix of ingredients. It was all good and fun until we got to the cash register. “Place the cups on the scale, ma’am,” the cashier ordered. When she read the final cost, I couldn’t help but ask if she was joking. It turns out they charged per ounce. That $5 per cup sign? It was for an empty, take-home souvenir cup. The final cost for our order, including the coupon, could have bought us a few gallons from the grocery store.

While I recovered from sticker-shock, the kids enjoyed their small taste of heaven. A few bites in they were complaining of tummy-aches. A few minutes, later, we were heading home.

Our experience got me thinking of how temporary everything is on this earth. The good and the bad. The painful and the enjoyable. Everything is fleeting. Even the best of life fails to merit our investment.

The temporal nature of things can be a little depressing. Why can’t what’s good last a little longer? Why can’t it equal the price we pay for the enjoyment?

It helps to remember that this is not our ultimate home. All the good we encounter here is but a taste of greater things to come. And the pain? It’s but a passing reminder that our heavenly treasure is held in jars of clay.

If it seems life’s not worth living due to the fleeting nature of good, take heart. If it seems not worth the effort to live another day because all your investment yields little return, keep in mind. We’re not home yet.

When we follow Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life, we have hope of eternal life in heaven, where there’s “no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.” The best things on earth are mere shadows of the best things of heaven. From a spoonful of your favorite frozen yogurt to a vacation at the most beautiful destination you can imagine, nothing can compare to the everlasting perfection of heaven. Nothing here will last, but all points us toward the things that do.

Receive every small blessing as a taste of the promise of our final home. Let every investment we make be for those things that truly last. And may the hope of heaven penetrate our hearts with purpose, the constant cognizance that if we have breath, there is reason to live.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

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13 Reasons to Live: Not Forgotten

Have you ever felt invisible? I have. At least once a day. Often more times than I can count in one day. Completely and utterly invisible.

It happens in my classroom. I say something with what I believe is enough volume for the entire room to hear, but my students continue in their routine as if I’d said nothing at all. The other day one of my preschoolers seemed excessively absorbed in her activity and oblivious to me calling to her, “Sweetie, do you even hear me? I’ve said your name at least seven times.” “No, teacher,” she replied. “You only said it three times. I’ve been counting.”

It’s no different at home, with my kids. Time and again, I make a request to my son or daughter while they’re engrossed in play, unaware of my invisible plight. One time I asked my son why he wasn’t listening, and he told me, “Wait a minute, Mommy. I can’t hear you. Let me get these fruit snacks out of my ears.”

There have been times when I’m pouring out my heart to my sweet husband and he turns up the radio to hear the sports score. And times when I’ve shared an entire story at a family gathering only to find no one was listening. Or times when I’m in the store waiting for help and the clerk walks right past me to the person across the aisle.

It’s one thing to feel invisible, another to feel forgotten. I remember years ago, desiring children while others years younger than me had more kids than they could handle. And after, going through the long, lonely, and painful adoption process…twice. Even today, my heart now filled full with the joy of motherhood, I find myself waiting in new ways, for different things—sometimes tempted to think I’ve been forgotten.

What carries me in the midst is the reminder that I’m not invisible or forgotten before my father in heaven. Even the ones I love most deeply here on earth will fail me. There are times when they won’t hear me, or see me, or know what’s going on inside of me. And I will fail them in the same way. But my savior has carved me on the palms of his hands, scars from the nails which held him to the cross.

He knew me before the beginning and he will carry me through to the end. Not a tear goes uncollected, not a prayer goes unheard, no matter how long I wait in the in-between, or no matter that the answer may be no or not now. He always hears and ever answers, even when it’s not the answer I desire or expect, I know I’m not forgotten.

If you feel forgotten, know that there is a God whose name is El Roi, “the God who sees me.” When no one else sees. When no one else cares to see. His eyes invade our hearts with light powerful enough to split the darkness and birth new life. Knowing we are seen, knowing we are heard…knowing we are KNOWN is reason enough to live.

 

Comic Credit: Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

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