Friday, September 6, 2019

"God's Not Done" --Songs and Scriptures Series

There were a lot of times that I felt like I was just in the middle of a big mess, usually one of my own making. I've become a pretty pessimistic person. Things just kept going wrong in seemingly every way. I don't want to try a lot of times because I feel like it is pointless.
Why plan if nothing will work out? Why invest in something that will be over soon? What if I run more and get hurt again? Why try to change something if it may not make a difference?
I struggle with that in this difficult world. It seems so far gone, only worse with how fast time passes and how much life I've already lived, but I have to remember that there is still so much life ahead of me. It's an even better reason why I can start acting in faith more now. There are a lot of things that I don't notice until I'm lost and hurting. I appreciate everything so much more then. I see how life could be when I'm not taking advantage of it. I see God's work in ways I have overlooked before. I get stronger in my weaknesses. It forces me to make changes, trust more, challenge myself, my doubts, and my fears. Uncertainty makes me trust in God more fully, pain makes me persevere, weakness humbles me and makes me work harder to overcome them and get better. Through recent injury, I now have a lot more balance in my legs, awareness of issues and how to work on them, know where I'm weak and need to take better care of myself. I've been through such lows that God has brought me out of, it gives me hope. I can find joy in sorrows. I know that all these small things are part of my whole life's plan. When I don't know, He does. There is more to life than now. I will always have things to work toward. College is an amazing time, but it is only one section of time. I can't be obsessed with it or depressed with its end, but rejoice in knowing that there is also a huge future. Though I fear the unknown of where I may be in a couple years, I have hope in His plan.

God's Not Done
by Tauren Wells

Standing in your ruins, feels a lot like the end
So used to losing, you're afraid to try again
Right now all you see are ashes
Where there was a flame
The truth is that you're not forgotten
Cause grace knows your name
...There's a light you didn't notice til you're standing in the dark
And there's a strength that's growing
Inside your shattered heart
...He's got a plan, this is part of it
He's gonna finish what He started
God's not done writing your story
...God's not done with you
Even with your broken heart and your wounds and your scars
Even when you're lost and it's hard and you're falling apart
It's not over; it's only begun
So don't hide, don't run
Cause God's not done with you

What God's Word Says:

I put this verse here first, because it falls into almost every category below!
"being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you have have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light." Colossians 1:11-12

God's Plan and Your Future

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

"To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue...Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end...In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:1, 3-4, 9

"I know that you can do all thins; no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"Since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." Hebrews 11:40

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord." Isaiah 55:8

"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we..might be for the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:11-12

"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do what I please.'" Isaiah 46:10

"Instead you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" James 4:15

"so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 2:5

"They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen." Acts 4:28

"He has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." 2 Timothy 1:9

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations." Psalm 33:11

"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this." Psalm 37:5

"for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable." Romans 11:29

Perseverance and Finishing

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

"You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be made mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:3-4

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

"Jesus replied, 'You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." John 13:7

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

"We glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

"As for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good." 2 Thessalonians 3:13

"We want each of you to show diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized." Hebrews 6:11

"Stand firm, and you will win life." Luke 21:19

"You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer...Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown." Revelation 2:10

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." 2 Thessalonians 3:5

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us with with perseverance the race marked out for us, keeping our eyes on Jesus." Hebrews 12:1-2

Restored Joy

"I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:11

"Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." John 16:24

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me...Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:10, 12

Broken Hearts

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death nor mourning nor crying nor pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me." John 14:1

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

"My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, You, O God, will not despise." Psalm 51:17


"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people...carry out their wicked schemes." Psalm 37:7

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25

"The revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and take heart, and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Strength and Weakness

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

"He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word." Psalm 119:28

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him." Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation." Psalm 118:14

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights." Habakkuk 3:19

Light and Darkness

"The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Matthew 4:16 and Isaiah 9:2

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5

"You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." Psalm 18:28

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord." Ephesians 5:8

"...God's special possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

"for God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

"But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

"You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." 1 Thessalonians 5:5

"Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Ephesians 5:14

God Will Never Leave Us

"into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you." 1 Peter 1:4

"Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with you. H will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord is finished." 1 Chronicles 28:20

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:15

"For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance." Psalm 94:14

Live for the Lord

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." Acts 20:24

"If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"Do it Again" --Songs and Scriptures Series

--from my journal:
I thought surely by now I wouldn't be dealing with basically the same or related injuries from February, wouldn't be staying up so late, not getting enough or the right things to drink or eat, not moving past planning projects to actually doing them, etc, but I still have the same struggles. But every time God has never failed to bring me through the deepest pits. I keep waiting for my body to heal, but I know the main issues are in His hands. He's already won my salvation and eternity and planned out my life. Though there are many dark times, there is always a new morning and sunshine to look ahead to. God's word will stick to its promises. There will always be things I can sing about. He is always enough. I do not need health, money, school, sport, friends, family, anything. All I need is God's love. His promises to always be with me, always love me and care for me, provide, protect, give a hope and a future, save me a place in heaven, and more are still there and always will be. He is my confidence when the rest of the world fails (well, before the world fails!). He has never failed me. I've seen Him do things in my life that could not even be possible any other way. He's done it once and even again already. I can have full faith that He can work miracles again.

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
…I know the night won’t last
Your word will come to pass
My heart will sing your praise again
Jesus You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
…I’ve seen You move
You move the mountains
And I believe I’ll see You do it again
You made a way
When there was no way
And I believe I’ll see You do it again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, Your faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never fail
…This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

What God's Word Says:

He is faithful

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” Hebrews 6:11

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful…” 2 Timothy 2:13

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence…may the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be temped beyond what you can bear. When you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

“The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

“Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“Praise be to the Lord who has given rest to His people…just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses.” 1 Kings 8:56

“Proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night.” Psalm 92:2

“The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.” Psalm 111:7-8

“Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:8

“For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Luke 21:33 and Matthew 24:35

“So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

He will never leave us

“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you…” 2 Peter 3:9

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

There will be good things to come from our trials if we hope and persevere

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:9-10

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:13-15

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

He will make a way

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

“’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My love for you will not be shaken, nor will my covenant of peace be removed’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

We will win in the end

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:3

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” Proverbs 21:31

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to His service.” 1 Timothy 1:12

Faith and confidence

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

“So do not throw away your confidence, for it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

“…if I have a faith that can move mountains but do not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2

“’Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-24

“He replied, ‘…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17:20

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt…you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"More Than Anything" --Songs and Scripture Series

I’m not going to lie, this song is kind of depressing, BUT it is also full of hope. While it can be scary to think that our negative situations may not change, it is encouraging to know that the deep-down things that truly matter are already taken care of. It is a tough concept to grasp, but it can help calm a lot of fears in the unknown. (Fear of the unknown is one of my biggest challenges.)

I know if you wanted to You could wave Your hand
Spare me this heartache and change Your plan
I know any second You could take my pain away
But even if You don’t, I pray
…You know more than anyone that my flesh is weak
And You know I’d give anything for a remedy
I’ll ask a thousand more times to set me free today
But even if You don’t, I pray
…When I’m desperate and my heart’s overcome
All that I need, You’ve already done
…Help me want the Healer more than the healing
Help me want the Savior more than the saving
Help me want the Giver more than the giving
Oh, help me want You Jesus, more than anything

Over the years, this idea has come up in my life through various situations, most profoundly when I’ve had to remind myself that I will be just fine if I can never run again. Being honest, that is also one of the scariest things I’ve had to tell myself. It’s been basically my life for so long, but I know that sometimes that is how God works. His plans are not always what I expect or hope.

Balance. What a concept.

Hope and reality. Desire and contentment. Perseverance and acceptance. Work and patience. Just to name a few.

It is easy to begin to lose hope when things go downhill, especially when multiple things start to snowball. Even with a strong faith, the hard love facts of this faith can be depressing. “God might take away my greatest treasures? Why would He do such a thing? If He loves me, He will keep me happy; He will heal me. Life will be good. What kind of a God makes bad things happen?” These are all questions that people both new and mature in their faith may ask in times of trial, and it’s real. Why would God take away what we love? Because He wants us to love Him more. He has a greater plan to use us beyond what we are comfortable with.

I get stressed when I think that my life may never be the same in a variety of circumstances. For example, with injury, I can cling to the hope that He has the power to heal anything beyond what seems humanly possible, but I also have to come to terms that He may not. He had the power to take Jesus down from that cross and save His own Son from death, but He didn’t. Why should I, a sinner, expect anything better than Jesus, His perfect Son? He has a plan for our pain. Just as Jesus rose again to save the world, there is a greater purpose beyond the pain I go through.

While I can’t ignore the fact that things may not get better, I can’t lose hope in the fact that they can. And through it all, I have Jesus, and that’s all that matters. I have all I need because my eternity is secure in heaven.

Through my trials of life, I have grown closer to God and more satisfied with my life than I ever could have if things always went smoothly. I didn’t get all the opportunities that I had thought of or hoped for, but I got some that changed my perspective and made an impact on others’ lives in ways that would not have happened if things went my way.

What God’s Word Says:

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

“…he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised…not for him alone, but also for us…” Romans 4:19-25

“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed. Save me, and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

“See now that I Myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and bring to life. I have wounded, and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My Hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39

“You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In Your love, You kept me from the pit of destruction; You have put all my sins behind Your back.” Isaiah 38:16-17

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Lord, be gracious to us; we long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” Isaiah 33:2

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

“Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7

“Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” Psalm 27:3

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

“…Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” Jeremiah 32:17

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

"Don't Give Up" --Songs and Scripture Series

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Through the past few weeks of struggling with set backs and general stress of life, there have been some themes, songs, and scriptures that God keeps bringing back to me. When there are things that I have that sure feeling that it is from Him, I get so excited and want to share, and I feel like that is what He wants us to do.
"As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:20

For a long time I've liked to do Bible studies with songs and how they relate to my life and draw on scripture, and I can end up going so much farther than a simple devotion, learning so much! The words of music can be so uplifting, too. So I want to take what has touched my heart and life through songs and scripture lately and share it for anyone else who may need some encouragement from it as well.

by Calling Glory

This time your heart said it's had enough
Sick and tired of everything that's so messed up
...praying hard somehow that your life will change
When you feel like you don't know what to do
Stuck inside this maze you can't go through
...these walls around you are caving in
And your life seems like it is wearing thin
Your hope is drowning in despair
Looks like you're not going anywhere
Step inside this heart and then you'll see
Such a love that is so amazing
...Don't give up
Help is surely on its way
Don't give up
The dark is breaking in today
Just keep on moving through these storms
Soon enough you'll find the door
Just don't give up

This song came on my playlist one morning as the first one shuffled while I was doing core. It’s an older song, but considering “don’t give up” was something I had had to keep telling myself through these toughest days, it was fresh for the time. It has seemed like it is one thing after another, and I didn’t know how much more I could take. I want change, but I don’t know when or what will come. At times I just don’t know what to do with myself and feel like I can’t break out of whatever the issue at hand is. One day, I really began to lose hope in my future like I may never get to enjoy the things I love again. I can’t get over these injuries that are all connected to each other, can’t get my use of time or doing things on track. But I have to embrace His love that is greater than all my pains and challenges and not give up. Though some days are dark, there is light of another day coming. Now I can see, a few days later, that I was in pain and distress, but I was also so close to my back injury having relief. Now I am in a different physical pain, but I’ve got to get through this one, too. God may have relief for this waiting on me soon, too.

What God’s Word says:

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out of us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…consider Him who endured such opposition so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

“…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God…for what we preach is not of ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’…We have this treasure to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us. We are hard-pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the death of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-10 (***see a note below!)

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary; what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

“Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

“We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade…In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, honor, and glory when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you believe in Him and love Him, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

***While many of these passages came to mind right away, this was one that really jumped out as I began searching.>>Because of God’s mercy, I have this opportunity to share His goodness, and that is enough to keep me going! I can turn from lying and deceiving (myself and any others), hiding the pain that I bring on myself, using God’s power to my own advantage. I must be true, both for the sake of my own faith and to show the truth to others. Everything I say and do is because of and for God, not myself. I am useless and selfish on my own. My purpose is to serve Christ and others and to bring Him glory. He is and wants us to also be the lights shining into darkness. All the good things that happen, possessions, experiences, feelings, blessings, etc. are all gifts from God to be used to show His power. I did not get here by my own efforts. At times it feels like everything is caving in on me, but I do not get crushed. I get confused and discouraged, but I am never without something to cling to. Outside people and circumstances may work against me, but Christ never leaves me. I’m never alone. He is always there and always sends me reminders of His promises. I get knocked down, but I am never done for good. Each day I ought to walk as one displaying Christ and what He has done so that the life-saving message may be seen through whatever I do. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Why I Jumped on the Trendy Train

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Following the latest health and fitness trends is not always a good idea, but after some serious knots in my back and glute caused some unbearble pain that kept me from walking, I needed some relief. The physical therapist I started going to proposed a solution that I had only heard little and knew even less about--dry needling.
I didn't know what to expect, but I can't put into words how thankful I am that I decided to try it. After the first day, only five needles, the transformation in my pain and movement was night and day. It wasn't gone, but I could freely walk without crying and only a slight limp, while that morning I was in tears with most steps and could barely walk into the clinic. 

What is a trigger point?
Trigger points are typically caused from repetitive use or acute trauma that damages tissues. This creates inflammation, causes tissues go into a protective state, inhibits circulation, limits oxygen and blood flow, and prevents waste from leaving the area. This congestion of tissues causes what is commonly known as a muscle knot. They can also cause scar tissue and put pressure on nerves. Trigger points can be painful in their own area as well as cause referred pain to another part of the body. In my case, the knots in my glute felt funny, but the sharp pains were referred to my SI joint (lower spine and hip areas).

What is TDN (Trigger Point Dry Needling)?
Trigger point dry needling, TDN, is called "dry" because the needles have nothing in them that is injected like with a shot. The needle itself is the treatment. The very thin filament needles are inserted into the skin and muscle to release myofascial trigger points. The needles can be of various lengths and left in the body for various amounts of time. Mine were 60 mm (about 2.4 inches long) and were left in for generally three to ten minutes.
When the needle goes into the muscle, it can cut between three to fifteen thousand individual muscle fibers. The body will react to the needle as if it is a foreign invader, triggering inflammation and immune responses in the area and throughout the body to further accelerate relief.

Does it hurt?
The needles are inserted into a contracted, painful muscle to create a local twitch reflex. Patients may not even feel the needle break the skin--I never did. When a twitch is elicited, it can produce a very brief pain that patients usually describe as an ache or cramp-like feeling. These twitches and little pains are good! That is the sign of the knot breaking up. My PT and I both knew when she hit the right spot. I would flinch a bit and feel a sudden jump in my muscle, like a small spasm, but within a split second, that pain was gone and I couldn't feel anything again. When the muscles or skin were tighter, they would kind of hold onto the needle, and I could feel it sort of slide when they were removed, but there was never any real pain in my hip or all the way up my back.
Are there side effects?
Dry needling can cause soreness and occasional bruising. You may also get dizzy or nauseas, but that can be more psychological than physical, especially if you are squeemish. Luckily for me, I was lying down for all my needle sessions, and I could not see what was going on since it was on my back and hip. I experienced intial soreness, especially in the areas that had a big twitch, but this went away within an hour or so if not sooner. I also never bruised even though a pain-relief shot the week before had left me bruised!

What ailments can TDN help with?
A large variety of pains can be eased, including, neck, back, shoulder, knee, hip, glute, chronic pains; tennis elbow; headaches; tendonitis; plantar fasciitis; sciatica; and sprains.

Where I stand
On both legs! While dry needling is a relatively new practice, it is one trend that I have experienced success with firsthand from some of the worst pain I have ever been in. I was able to start cross training the day after my first needling. After each day I had this done, there was tremendous progress. I was so fascinated with both how I couldn't feel such long needles going so deep into my muscles and how effective it was at releasing my knots and pain. They were so happy about my progress, but my parents probably got annoyed with me telling them all about it. Now, exactly four weeks from the onset of my muscle spasms, I can do all my daily activities with no pain and have been able to add in running again. It will still be a slow comeback into full training, but I can't imagine how long it would take if I had not jumpstarted healing with dry needling. Unspeakably thankful, I will proudly toot the horn of the trendy train for TDN.

If you are having tightness pains that other methods are not helping, I highly recommend it! A limited number of physicians are certified with this new technique, but it is important to find someone who is qualified.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Get Off the Merry-Go-Round

Got brave today and kind of looked at the needles. I highly recommend dry needling for anyone having a lot of muscle pain that you just can't get rid of through other means. I am not a trend-follower, but I am tooting the horn of this trendy train.

Dang, this book jumps out at me when I am not expecting it to. It may start out with something I don't relate to then bang pops up outta nowhere! Starting chapter 4 after the end of chapter 3 left me hoping for something more, I got more that's for sure.
--Stop trying to go around it and go through it--avoiding things that may be uncomfortable or inconvenient at the time that will help me in the future has been something that comes back to bite me. But now I am focusing on taking time to do what I need to do when it comes up, even if I don't want to. No, I don't want to take time to go to physical therapy an extra day, but I want to feel better. No I don't want to make yet another appointment and go to the dermatologist, but it may save the skin on my face. No, I don't want to study for the GRE but I'll be thankful if I only have to pay for it and take it once and get it done at a more convenient time (um, still haven't started stuyding...), you get it.
--This is the big one! A pattern of work and relief that is no longer glorifying to God, though it may not look sinful on the outside.
---I love the grind of daily life. I love to work hard, stay busy and productive, always finding something I want to do. I love the thick of a training cycle. I can use this to make great impacts on the people around me when I do it the right way, and I've done it in the past. I worked hard, had success, had great chances to share joy and hope with others. Sometimes though, I get way too busy and caught up, and I am just rushing from one thing to the next, not really looking at what is going on around me or what God wants me to see and do. Then my gifts and opportunities change from a tool to a self-defeating weapon. Then things like injuries, illness, schedule change, whatever, come along to get me to wake up to take a rest. Now instead of going around these signs, I am taking hold of them and looking for what needs to change (although it is kind of forced right now, I am learning to do it on my own and hopeful for the future). Then I thought of a quote that kind of blew my own mind: Get off the merry-go-round and be active in the whole playground. -->>Get out of the cycle of work and rest only to move on to the next work, and enjoy the whole life you've got right in front of you.
Also so excited to be getting a bunch of my favorite dizzled kettlecorn! Share your dreams; God loves them. He wants us to be able to live joyfully if our hopes are aligned with His plans. This may sound silly, but having that recognized was encouraging to my recovery.

Since I've been biking somewhere on the highway pretty much every day for a while now, I've wondered how many people have recognized me, and today, a friend finally texted me that she had seen me! And she asked if we could make breakfast one day soon! Oh, how I needed that. I had also gotten a message from a friend I haven't seen in a couple years but she had wondered how I was doing and gave me some great encouragement through my injuries. I've been pretty lonely lately, and basically no one knows or seems to care whether or not I am hurt/healing/healed, so these were both blessings that God sent to pick me up to start the day. It also may sound silly, but a couple companies reached out to me on instagram, too, to do some work for them. Just a little something to remind me that people are watching, and I am making an impact even when I don't feel like it. That's how God keeps me going.

This afternoon my Bible study hit me like a home run again today! About the "why." A lot of times, it doesn't matter so much what we do, but why we do it. Good things can be sinful if they are done with the wrong intentions, and mistakes can be okay if they are done with a positive outlook.

--It also brought up the same verse that was my verse of the day yesterday, Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion in the day of Christ Jesus."

--The main idea of this section was on rest. Over time, I've gotten better at it. Taking time to relax is so good when you finally do it. Rest is a great time to reflect, too, as I've seen a lot in recent years. We need it. If we're always pushing forward 100mph, we can't really take in where we are and where we've come from. I need to look back and learn, sit still and observe. I often forget things as soon as they go through my head. Mom keeps telling me that if God is trying to tell me something through all this, to listen with my heart. I know He is. It is so good to feel it.

--There are so many things that can get me motivated about rest. It's one of those things that is hard to do, but once you do, you want more. God likes to work that way, rewarding challenges in His timing ("carry it on to completion in the day of Christ" not the day of Makenzie). Here are some of those wonders: energy, sleep, healing, peace, strength, refueling, enjoying the moment, spending time with others, having time to share, celebrate!, spend the time as thanks for what is past and preparation for what is ahead. It's not only a time for me, but ultimately a time for Christ to be made greater. Rest shows that I have faith in Him in the ways that are hardest for me. I fear the loss of productivity, fitness, my daily routine, whatever, but where I need to act in faith is not doing but being; trusting and thanking God for His provision. Whatever I do should be an act of worship. Enjoy a day on the lake with my family--thanking God for the weather, my home, the wonderful people. Go to a party and celebrate whatever the occasion! God brought us through a great thing! Or sit on the couch and thank God for helping me through another week and pray and prepare for the days ahead. Rest should be joyful, not burdensome.

--Amazing quote! "Fight fast-paced and fear-based with prayer and praise."