Marina Del Rey

Turning Disappointment into Thankfulness

Marina Del Rey

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)

Life has a way of disappointing. Yes, being downright disappointing at times. No matter how hard I work and try, I can becomed saddened by the state of things. I’m rarely melancholy but when I am, it can be a little hard to shake. So, today I am going straight to God for his comfort, understanding, and wisdom.

And because God knew that I was feeling down, in our prayer time He directed me to read my Jesus Calling devotional. {I absolutely love this book. I even have the bible.}

For February 23, it says

Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don’t even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are way down. It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is why I tell you to be on guard.

There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity. When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling.

Thank you God. I need to turn my thoughts to gratitude and thankfulness rather than focusing on things that I don’t have or don’t see in my life. I need to praise You for all that you have given me — all of my many blessings. I don’t fully understand some of the things in my life Lord, but I know that you will use everything for my good. 

And I remembered Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to Hispurpose. (NASB)

And because I knew it was God speaking to me, I decided to read The Message‘s version and found these words.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Wow! God always finds a way to comfort me, bless me, and speak to {exactly} where I am. And I am so thankful.

wishing you a day of gratitude and thankfulness in the Lord,

Hope

{Five Minute Friday} Beloved

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is BELOVED.}

Honestly, this word is hard for me because I instantly want to write about a boyfriend or my puppy. And then I heard a soft voice nudging me to write about how I am so very loved by our Lord.

I think it really hasn’t sunk in that I am loved, unconditionally by God. I am his Beloved, and God is mine. It’s like a love that far supersedes any humanly love – although you have a little glimpse of Godly love when you are loved well by others.

Yet Godly love is beautiful and perplexing. How can God love us in spite of our faults, errors, and just not being perfect like Him?

How can God love us in spite of our errors or sins? How can God love us enough to send His Son to perish for our sins?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Honestly, this kind of love is so overwhelming to really fathom.

But as I continue my walk with God, I lean on that love. I need that love. And I’m truly comforted by that love when the pains and hurts are so deep that nothing else can soothe me.

I’m developing a level of forgiveness towards others that wasn’t possible if I didn’t know that I was loved and therefore forgiven {constantly forgiven} by God.

God is love, amazing love. And I’m not sure how others can truly love if they don’t know God. {Is it even possible?}

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39.

I’m just thankful that I can wake up each morning knowing that God loves me – even when I’m not sure if anyone or any other thing in this world does.

I’m God’s beloved. And that’s all I really need to know.

wishing you peace and comfort in God’s love,

Hope
Five Minute Friday

Happy New Year Pie

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Pie

Happy New Year Pie

Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

Many of you may have been wondering where I have been or what has happened? And I honestly don’t have a better answer than – I got a little scattered.

I’m not one for making excuses because I don’t believe in them. However, I do believe in explaining myself. Since the end of October, I started a new job. And with this new job came a new way of living. I now have an “imposed” working schedule, which I was somewhat unaccustomed to. For the past 5 years, I essentially set my own schedule. I was either in grad school and working on my journalism pieces or in law school and working around my classes. Yet, even with the set classes, I felt as though on most days I was in control of my day and most importantly my time.

And then I had this wondrous break between the bar exam completion and starting work. And although I wanted my job to start, mainly because I was looking forward to a paycheck, I relished my last days of true freedom. I cherished my last moments of controlling my schedule, which for me meant dedicating large chunks of time to being with the Lord. I would spend the entire morning reading the bible, doing bible study, journaling and blogging. And I honestly felt like I was experiencing heaven on earth. {I may have been!}

So, now I am struggling with having to be somewhere {work} at a certain time and my 40-45 minute commute. And I will be honest. It has been a struggle for me and I have been resisting…. the change. I have longed for my life before the job. But more than ever, I longed for my beautiful, sunny Los Angeles {especially when it rains here in Northern California}. I’ve been praying about all of this. Heck, I’m still praying about all of this.

My prayer has been that I need Jesus to come into my heart and soften it. I need the Holy Spirit’s energy within me to allow me to relax into my new rhythm. And I’ve been praying, asking, and affirming that it will be so. {And a couple of bible verses have helped me along the way.}

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us and eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

And I believe that Jesus has heard and answered my prayers. No, I don’t now have a love affair with San Francisco, or rejoice when it rains. But God is now allowing me to see more beauty in the Bay Area, appreciate the rain, and slowly {very slowly} settle into my new routine and commute.

I don’t know how you all are with change, but I have an interesting relationship with it. I am one of the first people to make changes in my life because I am not scared of change. In fact, I’ve been told that I courageously take risks that others wouldn’t dare to take {that’s because I have God}. Yet, admittedly, the changes don’t always come easy.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Yet I realize that I don’t have to deal with any of these changes, and feeling scattered, and on my own. I have God. I can lean on Him. He will get me through this time of change. And these times of change have a point – to remind me that I need to lean into Jesus. I need to rely on God and the Holy Spirit who dwells in me.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I constantly need these reminders. And I constantly need prayer and alone time with God.

So, dear readers, please pray for me and with me. My prayer is that I beautifully and peacefully adjust to my new life rhythm. That the Lord wakes me up in the morning (even earlier) so that I can spend even more time with Him. And I pray that God continues to awaken me to the power of his love and grace, and the futility of worry and trying to do things on my own. I pray that God continues to use me as a servant to tell his message of hope, joy, peace, love, grace, and forgiveness on this site. And so it is done in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Meanwhile, I have started planning some exciting things for this blog for 2013. One of the upcoming things is a new (in)courage.me bible study, where we will be studying Greater by Steven Furtick. I’m so excited about it. Get your book now! There will be more details to come.

I’m looking forward to continuing to share my journey with God in 2013!

wishing you much hope, joy, and peace,

Hope

Marley at 3 Months Old

Good people are good to their animals & God is simply good

Good people are good to their animals” Proverbs 12:10 [MSG]

Marley Home Safe

Marley is home safe!

Have you ever felt like you were living in “The Twilight Zone”? You remember that show, don’t you? Perhaps I’m telling my age. Well, growing up,  I used to watch the reruns on Nickelodeon.

Well, these past few days I had the craziest and scariest experience. A Twilight Zone worthy moment.  Late Thursday afternoon, during a normal walk to the park, I experienced the worst day of my life. You see, I took my two dogs for a “potty” walk. My little 6 pound Maltese, Marley, was on the leash, when a giant standard poodle, which was not on a leash, just ran into his lease. The poodle got stuck in the leash and kept running, which caused my little dog to be whipped around and flown through the air. He landed with a thud and didn’t move for minutes.

This image and moment is now permanently imprinted in my mind.

I honestly thought my little baby was dead. Although he finally opened his eyes minutes later, his body remained lifeless and I thought surely he was paralyzed. And strangely, Marley’s nose was bleeding and his eyes wouldn’t stay open. I gathered every ounce of courage and hope for his life I could muscle and picked him carefully to take him to the emergency veterinarian.

Thankfully my significant other was able to leave work immediately, send me the address of the closest veternarian, and meet me at the hospital.

I don’t know how I drove there with my doggie in my lap, but I did. I remember the vet technician taking my limp, lifeless dog from me to examine him, while I completed the paperwork.

Marley and Me - Marley only 3 Months Old

Marley and Me – Marley only 3 Months Old

I was in a haze and couldn’t even believe this was happening, and especially not now. Marley and I have been together the entire time I’ve lived in California. In fact, we’ve been everywhere together for almost 7 years. He has been with me through failed relationships, graduate school, law school, multiple houses, a summer associate position in Indianapolis, a law clerk position in Philadelphia, and trips to Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, and Ohio to name a few. He was my travel partner and my study buddy.

We’ve been everywhere and done everything together.

I was incredulous that a freak accident could take him away from me….. And leave me all alone… especially in a new city, San Francisco, with no two friends, no extended family, and little support [besides my significant other].

Marley has been my family, my unconditional support….

And then I realized that I had Jesus.

I know it sounds a bit cliche, yes, even to me. But it is the truth.

I had to lean on Jesus. I had to believe that he could make Marley all better. The veterinary doctors certainly did not want to give me false hope.

In fact, their first words involved choices regarding money and paying for the treatments that Marley would need to even assess whether he would be okay. Just to get him past this initial dark stage. IVs and medicine to reduce the swelling in his brain. Radiology. Overnight stays.

I was told that he may not see in his right eye – the side his little body landed on. I was warned that he may be permanently paralyzed on his left side of the body. And he might have irreversible brain damage. And of course, there was nothing they could know for sure. Of course…

So, faced with the possiblity of no life with Marley, I turned… no I ran to Jesus. And I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

I called on my family and friends to pray for him. And my prayer was specific. I wanted Marley to have a full health recovery!

The first night in the vet hospital, I received a call that he’d had a seizure and been administered valium. And I was told the next morning that seizures were not a good sign.

The next day, Friday, I visited him in the hospital and he was still limp and lifeless. And more importantly, he was not moving his arm and leg on the left side. Friday night, he had another seizure.

I couldn’t sleep most nights, so I just prayed. I prayed for his health. I prayed for no seizures. And I prayed that the image of the accident, and his little limp body, would leave my mind’s eye…even if just for a second.

I prayed to be a better protector of him in the future. And since there was no one really to blame [well besides the other dog that was not on a leash], I turned the blame on myself and started second guessing everything. If I’d just taken him out earlier… not taken him out at all… if I hadn’t been worried about my other dog having a chance to play… if I’d taken him off leash… If I… If I…

My mind went on like this for hours…

And then Jesus would hear my prayers, and allow me peace enough to go to sleep – even if for a few hours.

And then Saturday came. The day where my hope in Marley’s ability to walk was restored. During my visit, I was able to get him to stand on his own and walk 2 baby steps toward me.

I saw enough to believe… that Marley would be fully restored.

And that night, the phone did not ring with news of a seizure. And I really began to hope that Jesus had made him better.

And then Sunday came, and the dreaded meeting with the neurologist for his report. Poor Marley had seen specialists from almost every medical area. The neurologist was suprisingly upbeat and positive about Marley’s recovery. In fact, he said that he was shocked at his progress between Thursday evening and Sunday morning.

I wasn’t shocked…I was relieved and thankful that Jesus healed my little baby Marley. Only God could have restored him, and so quickly.

Although Marley is not out of the woods completely yet, he is now safely on the other side. And he is home.

“Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2. [NIV]

He is no longer on meds, attached to IVs, and under a seizure watch. He’s home with his family. And he’s walking around on all fours and seeing out of both eyes. He responds to his name. And he is almost like new.

I am so, so, so thankful.

I was very fortunate to have the financial support of my significant other, which enabled Marley to receive the best medical care possible. And unlike me, he was strong and rational and brave enough to ask the tough questions, while I was just a ball of tears. Thankfully, my significant other loves Marley too.

I am thankful to my love, and I am very thankful to Jesus.

“Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30: 11-12 [NIV].

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

-Hope

[I’m giving thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever! I’m just beginning to list my thousand gifts.]

  1. Thanks to the Lord,
  2. Prayers from family and friends
  3. Health of my doggie, Marley
  4. The love and support of my significant other
  5. Capable veterinarians
  6. More than enough of food, clothes, financial resources, and grace