My Jesus Cares.

(Part 7)

July 23, 2017

#237 Grace Greater Than Our Sin

1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

2. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away!
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]

3. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe;
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive? [Refrain]

#269 There Is A Fountain (I love this song)

1. There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

2. The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

3. E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

4. Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow’r,
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved to sin no more.


Mr. Dale gave the sermon that Sunday morning. His main point/question was this: Who Is The LORD? He started in Exodus 5 – in the portion of Scripture where Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh and deliver God’s message to let the Israelites go. And Pharaoh, almost sarcastically asks, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

Here are the notes I wrote down:

The less we know of the Lord, or the more stale our relationship with Him grows, the less we want to obey Him.

The Lord is an absolutely extravagant God so we could see the wonders of His creation and marvel at who He is.

Isaiah 6:1-5; Revelation 4

Who is the Lord? He is God! Holy, holy, holy are You Lord God Almighty! The Eternal One.

Trains can shake the ground. Ships’ engines shudder and shake their decks. Bombs cause the earth to tremble. But those are just things. Things made by man. These are nothing compared to the Lord.

He is the Creator. He is the ultimate Potter and we are the clay. The very same God who hung the stars in the sky is the same God who knit me together in my mother’s womb. He paid very close attention to how He created the universe, but even more attention to how He created me! He made sure I was exactly how He wanted me to be.

He is my Redeemer.

He knew excruciating pain and humiliation. In Matthew 27:26-31 – Jesus was scourged. Every time I read or hear the details about a Roman scourging or crucifixion, my stomach ties itself into a knot and I cannot help but shudder at the reality of the gruesome punishment my Savior endured on my behalf. A crown of thorns was planted on His head. A reed, used as a scepter, struck His head repeatedly.

Jesus, did you cry out when they scourged You? As each lash tore away Your flesh, did you scream in pain? Or did You really stay silent like Scripture says, “As a sheep led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth.” What were You thinking in these moments of intense pain?

Psalm 22

He was rejected, betrayed by His closest friends. All of His disciples fled when He was arrested. Judas Iscariot, a man who broke bread and walked with the Lord, turned Him in. He was abandoned and left to die.

Psalm 69

He knew hopelessness and loneliness. (Psalm 22) My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.

Sin is a part of who I am! I am a sin-ner. Sometimes we have had to carry someone else’s guilt, but have we ever taken on someone else’s sin? Have we ever been capable of taking someone else’s sinfulness in addition to carrying our own? No one but Jesus could do that.

He knew what it was like to be treated unfairly. He knew grief, agony, and suffering. He knew everything.

John 11 – When Lazarus had died, Jesus wept! He knew He would raise Lazarus. He knew in a few minutes Lazarus would be living and breathing once again, yet He grieved and wept. So much so that people around Him said, “See! How He loved him!”

He knew the grief of having a wayward child. The grief of knowing His kids were wandering – that His sheep were lost.

Why doesn’t God fix what grieves us? Because we are being conformed to the image of His Son. We suffer betrayal and it’s devastating. Jesus’ close friend betrayed Him. His best friend denied three times that he knew Him. As He hung on His cross, the cross that was rightfully mine and rightfully yours, all Jesus had left was His absolute trust in His Father. And He clung to that.

What struck me was that even though Jesus suffered and endured so much, it was all part of God’s perfect plan. He chose the exact moment when He was going to die. And when His time came, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit willingly. No one took His life.

He knows what it’s like to suffer and to grieve. He understands! He is the God of all comfort. He has experienced every single hurt and frustration.

He know and He cares.

#603 Does Jesus Care?

1. Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain:
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

2. Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near? [Refrain]

3. Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long? [Refrain]

4. Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see? [Refrain]

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Who Is This King Of Glory?

(Part 6)

July 23, 2017

I am in awe of how the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men and women. Occasionally, I’ll write down what we sang and read during the Lord’s Supper.

Here are the Scriptures and hymns that were shared during my hectic and emotional weekend. I marked what ministered to my heart. I hope this encourages you as it did me.

***Thought going into church***

“Your Mercies Are New Every Morning”

#63 – Nailed Upon Golgotha’s Tree

1. Nailed upon Golgotha’s tree- Faint and bleeding. Who is He?

Hands and feet so rudely torn, Wreathed with crown of twisted thorn.

Once He lived in heaven above, Happy in His Father’s love,

Son of God,’tis He,’tis He, On the cross at Calvary.

2. Nailed upon Golgotha’s tree- Mocked and taunted. Who is He?

Scorners tell Him to come down. Claim His kingdom and His crown.

He it was who came to bless,

Full of love and tenderness.

Son of Man,’tis He, ’tis He, On the cross at Calvary.

3. Nailed upon Golgotha’s tree- As a victim. Who is He?

Bearing sin, but not His own, Suffering agony unknown.

He, the promised sacrifice, For our sins has paid the price.

Lamb of God, ’tis He, ’tis He, On the cross at Calvary.

4.Throned in glorious majesty, Lord triumphant-Who is He?

E’en the same Who came to die, Now in heaven exalted high;

With adoring hearts we now At His blessed feet would bow.

Lord of all, ’tis He, ’tis He, Throned in glorious majesty!

#78 – Jesus! The Very Thought Of Thee

1. Jesus, the very thought of thee with sweetness fills the breast; but sweeter far thy face to see, and in thy presence rest.

2. O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek, to those who fall, how kind thou art! How good to those who seek!

3. But what to those who find? Ah, this nor tongue nor pen can show; the love of Jesus, what it is, none but his loved ones know.

4. Jesus, our only joy be thou, as thou our prize wilt be; Be thou, O Lord our glory now, and through eternity.

John 20:30-31 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; (31) but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 21:24-25 “This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. (25) And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”

#403 – Like a River Glorious

1. Like a river glorious Is God’s perfect peace, Over all victorious, In its bright increase; Perfect, yet it floweth Fuller ev’ry day; Perfect, yet it groweth Deeper all the way.

Refrain: Stayed upon Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest – Finding as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.

2. Hidden in the hollow Of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry Touch the Spirit there. [Refrain]

3. Ev’ry joy or trial Falleth from above, Traced upon our dial By the Son of love; We may trust Him fully All for us to do – They who trust Him wholly Find Him wholly true. [Refrain]

Psalm 24:3-5, 7-10

(3) Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?

(4) He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.

(5) He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

(7)Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up you everlasting doors! And the King of Glory shall come in.

(8) Who is this King of Glory? The LORD strong and mighty. The LORD mighty in battle.

(9) Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.

(10) Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Romans 5:6-10 ” For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him, (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, (5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. (6) whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (7) that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

#5 – Boundless Love

1. Behold, what love, what boundless love, The Father hath bestowed

On sinners lost, that we should be Now called “the sons of God!”

(Refrain)

Behold, what manner of love!

What manner of love The Father hath bestowed upon us,

That we, that we should be called, Should be called the sons of God!

2. No longer far from Him but now By “precious blood” made nigh,

Accepted in the “Well-beloved,” Near to God’s heart we lie. (Refrain)

3. What we in glory soon shall be, It doth not yet appear;

But when our precious Lord we see, We shall His image bear. (Refrain)

4. With such a blessèd hope in view, We would more holy be,

More like our risen, glorious Lord, Whose face we soon shall see. (Refrain)

Proverbs 30:4 “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name If you know?”

John 3:13-14 “No one has ascended to heaven, but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (14) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

Colossians 1:15-22 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. {HE IS THE CREATOR} (17) And He is before all things and in Him all things consist. {HE IS THE SUSTAINER} (18) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, (20) and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. {HE IS THE RESTORER} (21) And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now He has reconciled (22) in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. {WHAT A SAVIOR IS MINE!!!}

(Part 5)

July 22, 2017

Y’all. I got up at 6:15 on a Saturday. That never happens, like ever. But I did and I had this urge to get up. So I did, and without a second thought, I grabbed my Bible, my journal, and a pen, and ran downstairs.

As I watched the sun wake up and stretch its rays over the rooftops and kiss the leaves “good morning”, I was reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness. His mercies are new like the new day dawning. He is more faithful than the sun that rises and sets day in and day out. I spent the hour copying James 2 in my journal, and writing my prayers to the Lord. I remember feeling refreshed. I wasn’t tired one bit, even though I went to bed late and woke up an hour or two earlier than usual.

Later on in the day, I was able to talk to Mrs. Avis. She is my dear friend, mentor, and prayer partner. I cannot begin to tell you how much the Lord has used her in my life. I have only seen her in person maybe three times. Her health issues have kept her home-bound for the time being, but that doesn’t stop the Lord from using her. I admire her faith and her love for Him so much. She has encouraged me so much through text messages, emails, and the occasional phone call. She is one who asks the hard questions. You know, those deep questions that you need to take a good look inside yourself and inside the Scriptures to find the answers to. She always, always listens to what is on your heart and she does not speak until you’re finished. She is so kind and compassionate and loving. With every struggle that I have shared with her, she has encouraged me to use the shield of faith to quench the devil’s fiery darts and to use the sword of the Spirit to combat the lies I have let myself believe.

During this particular conversation, I was amazed at how the Lord had so intricately worked in both of our lives. The spiritual struggles I was having were struggles that Mrs. Avis had experienced either years ago or just recently. We both were asking the Lord, “why?!?!? What do You want from me?” The emotions we felt were so alike. Though our circumstances were so different, the Lord had paralleled our lives in such an astounding way that comforted my heart. There was someone who understood the questions I was asking. There was someone who felt the same way I did. There was someone who experienced the same hurt and frustration I was feeling, made it to the other side and was telling me the outcome of it. There was someone who could say, “I’ve been there. I know how you feel. This sucks, but God is faithful.

I appreciated how Mrs. Avis reminded me that the Lord never wastes an opportunity to teach us more about Himself. The place that we are in no matter how difficult or easy it is, is the classroom that the Lord has picked to teach us a lesson that we need to learn. These lessons are for our good and for His glory and though it may hurt now, one day we will look back and see how God’s hand was at work in our lives.

I love how after we talked and listened and cried, we took turns praying together. I remember as Mrs. Avis prayed for my grumpy neighbors, I didn’t have any anger or hatred or bitterness clinging to my heart. I was still sad, but I was okay. I had finally let go and said, “Lord, this is in Your hands. I love You and I trust You.”

It’s at times like these when we’re open and honest and vulnerable that our love for each other grows. When you see what the Lord has done in the other person’s life and you see how far they have come to know Him, you cannot help but rejoice with them and praise the Lord for His marvelous works. On the flip side, if you have found someone who has heard the nitty-gritty, not-so-proud-moments of your life and still loves you the same, (if not even more), you, friend, have found a treasure. I am so grateful for Mrs. Avis and the community in my life that consists of people from all different seasons of life and different phases of faith that have encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. Without these people, I would not be the girl I am today.

I would highly recommend finding a spiritual mentor, accountability partner, or prayer partner. Find someone you know and trust who is older and has been actively walking with the Lord longer than you have. I would suggest looking for one who is two or three seasons ahead of you. You know who that person is. Be honest with them. Listen to what they have to say. Search the Scriptures together. Pray together. Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ together. This is what the body of Christ is supposed to look like. It is a community of broken people who have been healed and restored by the Creator of the universe and who have committed their lives to know Him and make Him known.

Be Anxious For NO-THING

(Part 4)

July 21, 2017 (Evening)

I was laying down on the couch in our music room, scrolling through YouTube checking my subscriptions. I listened to the acoustic version of Hills and Valleys. I liked how it wasn’t all peppy and exciting like you were shouting praises from the mountain tops. It was softer yet still joyful as if you were in the clear, just coming out of the valley. I could just picture coming out of the valley and beginning to scale the rocky terrain.

Anyways, in the list of related videos, there was a message given by Ben Stuart at the 2015 Linger Conference. I had listened to the one he gave earlier this year about how our phones are a great tool, but they can also be a distraction. Intrigued, I listened to this one.

And O. My.

I needed to hear that message. (Which you can watch here.)

Ben spoke on Philippians 4:6-9, which is a very familiar passage to me. I had verses 6 through 8 memorized. Hearing him speak on this familiar portion was refreshing to me. His thoughts about anxiety and how God is the God of peace, not of confusion, came at a time when I had been worrying and stressing and crying over several things in my life, not just my grumpy neighbors. This could only be a message from God to my burdened heart.

I have been letting anxiety take a toll on me.

I have allowed myself to be controlled by my fears, or anxieties, or stress. And it’s crippling. It’s exhausting to worry. There’s a Proverb that says “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25) and that is so true! As I had allowed my worries to weigh down on me and as I let it keep me up at night, I began to feel more helpless and hopeless as the days passed. I began to feel disappointed and I remember feeling that in the extreme almost two years ago. And I did not want to go back down that path.

I love how Ben said it this way, “Be anxious for nothing. For NO-THING. But in EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

When he expounded on letting our requests be made known to God, he described our tendency to suppress the ugliness and dirtiness of our life as if we were trying to keep a beach ball underwater. It’s so difficult to keep it from bobbing to the surface! You have to put so much pressure on it in order to keep underneath the surface. And that is exactly like our spiritual life when we try to keep our problems out of the Lord’s hands!

I was encouraged by Ben’s honesty of how he would write prayers to God and it was just crazy. His thoughts were everywhere and it was a huge mess. It was real and raw and unfiltered. And pouring them out before the Father was a lot like vomiting. That’s where I am right now. With my angry letter to God and every letter after that, I was all over the place. I let everything that I was trying to keep from God out.

Most of my angry letter was about my grumpy neighbors, but the underlying point I was making was pretty much, “God, I don’t like how You’re dealing with this. This doesn’t seem fair. I don’t trust Your judgment. I know You have a great plan for my life, but I don’t believe that Your plan for my life is the best plan for me. I want to believe that. I know I should believe that, but I just don’t. I feel like my way is better.”

But I love how the Lord works. When we’re honest with Him, He is honest with us. And when we’re real and raw and ready to hear what He has to say, He comes to us so lovingly, so tenderly; And He, the GOD of peace, (not just the Prince of Peace,) gives us HIS PEACE!

How amazing is that?!?!?

Because of the radical work on the cross that Jesus did, we can be anxious for NO-THING, but in EVERY-THING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, we can let our requests be made known to God. When we cast our anxieties on the Lord because He’s strong enough, we can think on things that are true, that are lovely, that are just, that are pure, that are virtuous, that are praiseworthy and that have a good report. We can experience the peace of God which surpasses all understanding because Jesus guards our hearts and our minds. Because of Him, we can sleep well at night. And that night, I did.

Hills and Valleys

(Part 3)
Still July 21, 2017
I asked God, “how is it possible for me to praise You when I feel so low? How can I possibly thank You in this difficult situation?”
A song got stuck in my head right then and there. It was a tiny whisper of Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells. When I heard it on the radio for the first time, I remember thinking to myself, “this is a pretty cool song. God is the God of the hills and the valleys in life. Also, this guy’s voice is amazing. Isn’t he from Royal Tailor? 😛 “
Because I just could not get the chorus out of my head, I looked up the lyrics. I also wanted to find out if Tauren was the singer from Royal Tailor or not ’cause I wasn’t sure. (He is, but he’s no longer with Royal Tailor.)
Here are the lyrics that encouraged me:

I’ve walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I’ve felt the pain of heartbreak
And I’ve seen the brighter days
And I’ve prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held Your blessings
God You give and take away
No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love

(chorus)
On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain I didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You’re God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone

I had to write the lyrics down in my journal. I needed that reminder that my God is not just the God of my good days. He is the God of my good and bad days. He is bigger than anything and everything that takes place in my life.
I needed that reminder that if God chooses to place me on a mountain where everything is great and wonderful and beautiful, I need to stay humble. I need to bow low to the ground because I didn’t climb up there by myself.
I needed that reminder that when things get hard and I find myself walking through a valley, I need to look up and know that my God didn’t leave me alone. I love Psalm 23:4. It says,
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
There is no need to despair. Sure, there’s a time to weep and mourn and say, “Why, Lord?!?!?” But there’s no need to lose heart. It really is possible to sing to the Lord and praise Him while you’re walking through a valley.
How did I come to that conclusion?
I made a list of God’s characteristics according to what the Scriptures say.
Here are a few:
He is faithful.
He is patient.
He is holy.
He is just.
His timing is perfect.
He sees all and knows all. (He is omniscient.)
He is everywhere. (He is omnipresent.)
He is all powerful. (He is omnipotent.)
When I started to see how big God is and how small my problems were compared to Him, I felt kind of silly for making such a big deal about this. I began to see that no matter where I am in life, I can look to my heavenly Father and know He sees me where I am. He is constantly consistent. There is never a moment where He is not who He says He is and that is such a comforting thought to me.
He’s God of the hills and the valleys.
And I am not alone.

If I Don’t Have You

(Part 2)

I reread Nate’s words when I got home and after I wrote my angry letter to God.

As I sat at my desk, I began to see that if this situation never happened, if my heart was not heavy, and if my spirit was not grieved, what would draw me nearer to my Savior? I had neglected Him. I shied away from Him because I hated my neighbors and I knew He didn’t like that. And because I knew He didn’t like that, I stopped spending time with Him. Mom and I still prayed together before I went to work, but that was just about as much as I would talk to God on my own.

July 21, 2017

I woke up with a heavy heart. I felt wounded as I dragged my feet around the house. It was Friday, my day off. In my head, the music Mom played throughout the house last night still echoed in my ears. Song after song reminded us that God was in control and that He started something new and He’s going to complete it. That He knows everything and He understands. That He is with us. But I was still asking, “God, where are You in all of this?”

At 11:23 (a.m.) I got an email update from one of my favorite bands, Love & The Outcome. They were announcing the release of their new single, “If I Don’t Have You.” I have loved that song from the very beginning. They put what I was feeling in my heart into words and matched those words with music.

How can I build Your kingdom if I’m building my own?

How can You be my treasure if I’m digging for gold?

How can You be my fire if my heart has grown cold?

How can You be my future if I’ve made this my home?

How can I? How can I?

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You.

How can I say I need You and live on my own?

How can I say I want You and never come close?

How can I say I surrender and never let go?

How can I say I love You to someone I don’t know?

How can I? How can I?

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You.

I give You every failure, every dream, and every mountain top.

I give You everything I thought of me and nail it to the cross.

I leave behind me what is ashes and what will be dust.

All I am to you my God for all else will be lost.

I don’t want the world if I don’t have you.

I don’t want it all if it means I lose You.

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen enough to know it’s You I need.

I  don’t want the world if I don’t have You.

If I don’t have You, Lord.

I’ve listened to this song a hundred times and this hundred-and-first time made me close my eyes and soak it in like it was the very first time.

I have been pushing my Savior away when I should have been pressing into Him. I say He is the King of my heart and the Lord of my life, but I never actually let Him rule over me.

Instead, I allow anxieties and worry to control my thoughts. Like, “What if this never stops? What if our neighbors are grumpy forever?” Or “what if the authorities do something in their favor instead of ours? This is so unfair, God!”

Instead, I allow my emotions and my feelings to control my actions. Thinking to myself, “I will not talk to anyone until I sort this out. I’m so mad I can’t even speak to anyone about this. This is my own fight. I’m on my own.”  Oh, how I love to shut my people out when I’m struggling.

I thought about how my grumpy neighbors do not have the Lord. However, I do. I thought about how they have the world, yet they are prisoners to it, never able to enjoy it.

I thought about Mrs. Nancy’s Manna in the Morning. She wrote:

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night. (Psalm 92:1-2)

Praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness every morning and every night. Just think—a new day to sing praises to our Lord Jesus Christ. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6). (emphasis by me)

After that, I thought, “Lord, how can I possibly thank You for this? How is it possible for me to praise You in this situation? How can I praise You when all I can say is ,’please don’t leave me here?'”

And then, He answered.

I’m a Terrible Planner.

April 26, 2017

I’ve been struggling with anxiety.

Not the mental disorder.

Just the natural stress and worries related to senioritis, work, and health combined.

The past two weeks have been really rough on me.

I’ve had trouble breathing and relaxing in general. Taking deep breaths are really hard these days.

I constantly feel like I’m going to throw up. But it’s interesting that I don’t feel nauseous. It’s all lodged in my throat suffocating me.

I know it’s related to my stress.

I was falling behind in school and graduation is creeping on me faster than I’d like.

I haven’t been prioritizing very well. I’ve spent too much time doing what I want to do rather than doing what I have to do. I don’t even know when I’ll finish school. There is just so. much.

I am so ready to be done with high school. Forever.


May 12, 2017

My stress level has gone down some. I feel like I can breathe more deeply at times. However I still feel like I’ll throw up when I think about how close graduation is.

I’ve caught up in school and so far I’m on track to graduate after June 10th. The only subject I’m really worried about is Physics. I have the most work there out of all my other subjects…actually that’s not true. I have about the same work in English. But I like English more than Physics. I still hate Accounting. I need at least an 86 to pass for the year and I have two tests left. I’m really happy about the 92 I scored last week. (I’m really good at taxes but not really anything else.)

Work has picked up significantly. I’ve worked at the trophy shop for six months and we have now entered what I have been calling “Mayday.” Basically the entire month of May and the first part of June is nonstop work. There are so many phone calls and so many emails. There’s a lot of everything. Soccer, baseball, music recitals, dance recitals, end of school year awards, volleyball, softball, corporate quarterly and monthly awards. Everything. I’m hanging in there.

Most days are really draining for me. On the days I’m working, I get home and basically melt on the inside and crash on the outside. Then I force myself to go finish Business Math for the day because it’s easy stuff and I only have two more weeks left. (After that’s done, I’m taking on more Physics.)

On the weekends, I pretty much spend all my time studying. I’ve had to say no to babysitting till after graduation. The last time I sewed was last week. I finished some burlap table toppers for Ms. Alice only because she needs them before June and I agreed beforehand to do them. Besides that, I won’t be sewing till after graduation.

Originally, I had planned to do so much work in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade that I could take it easy my senior year. I knew I would get a job during my last year. But even with all the work I did and with all the extra time I had before I started working, I managed to put everything off till the last minute. I spent way too much time doing what I wanted to do rather than focusing on what I absolutely had to do. My priorities went topsy-turvy and now I’m struggling to stay balanced and take deep breaths.

I wish I listened to my parents earlier rather than later. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel like I’ll throw up.