Be Held


I had every intention to have this blog post done for July, I promise. I sincerely want to write once a month if not more. So I started writing while my husband was driving us to Chicago for an appointment with a new doctor and I was going to post it when we dropped Junie off with grandparents.
I saved everything I wrote, I know I did. But somehow when I went to post what I wrote, the computer froze and deleted what I had written. Gone into computer space. Random words just floating around wishing they were aligned in a comprehensive sentence. They were gone. And I was mad.

But I didn’t have time to try to rewrite my thoughts before having to head off to my appointment on the last day of July, so this post had to wait another day.

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I have to tell you though, I think that the demise into computer land of my original post was not an accident.

I need to write to you about something different today.
Same thing that I was wanting to share before - but a bit of a different message.
Because what I wrote to you who would read this before, I realized was not actually true. If I would have tried to rewrite that post as it was, I think I would have communicated a message that was dishonest. I was trying to be hopeful in my previous message but sometimes being hopeful is, well, just a hope and not a reality.

I wanted to share with you that I got baptized 2 weeks ago and it was amazing. My husband, Zach, baptized me in front of our amazing church, family, and friends and I have never felt more supported.

And for the sake of the words I want to share with you, I want to let you read what I wrote to share with the people that attended the baptism night at my church:


"I gave my life to Jesus the summer before my senior year of high school, at the age of 18, in the basement of my best friend's home.
And I’m standing here today knowing that it was the best decision of my life.
The first 5 years of walking with Jesus have been marked by His transforming power - from feeling broken to new and whole again, from being filled with sin to set-free and changed, and from an embittered heart to one that has learned to accept and share a love that could only have come from Jesus Himself. But the past 2 years of my life have been a season of disappointment, sadness, and hopelessness in the midst of my failing health.
It has almost been a year since our family joined Antioch.
Entering into this church has turned my life from off to on again, from being stuck in unbelief to feeling hope rise up again. Our life group has been the biggest blessing and I haven't been prayed for more in my life than I have been since my husband Zach and I opened up our hearts to many of you in this church. And it truly means the world.
So I think it’s only fitting that now is the time that I get baptized for the very first time. In this church - Surrounded by a body of friends and family who love God so deeply, and who have truly taken us in and held up our family as we have been going through a long season of suffering and loss.
The Lord is asking me to be obedient today.
To trust in His everlasting promise of hope, restoration, abundance and strength. To believe and trust that His Word will not return empty. To know that His goodness doesn’t end when healing and prayer go unanswered, but that Jesus Himself is the embodiment of love and goodness and He is indeed making all things new.
I want to stand in His promise of faithfulness even in a season of not feeling His nearness. And I pray that today will mark the moment in my life that my reaching for God exceeds my grasp - because I’m trusting and believing that He has so much for me, and my family, and each and every one of us - for He says in Isaiah 43:19
'See I am doing a new thing, I have already begun. Do you not see it?! I will make a pathway through the wilderness, I will create streams in the dry wasteland.'"


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Sometimes I feel something so deeply and then when I question my revelation a few days, weeks, or months later I get shaken.

Did God really say that? Do I really believe this in my heart because if I did then I wouldn't be asking this question, right? Am I not ready to live out what I said I would because now I'm scared and I'm hesitating. 
Am I a bad Christian?
Am I really even a believer in Jesus at all?

Does this thought process sound familiar to you?

.

I wrote what I said at my baptism from a place in my heart that trusts God so deeply and knows that He is worth every single thing I could ever give - because He has already given life to me.
And that is what I was going to touch on in my previous blog post that disappeared at the blink of an eye.
Now, thinking about what was supposed to be the post I wrote for you, I think it was one of dishonesty and lacking transparency.
Because I have another place in my heart too, one that gets scared and angry and confused and sad and full of doubt.

That place in my heart took over my life after I left my doctor's appointment. And in all honestly I was not feeling a word of what I proclaimed over my life at my baptism. I was thankful that my earlier blog post was deleted because it sure as heck wasn't honest of how I was feeling and I was ashamed.

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I wanted to share with you what I wrote when I got baptized and remind you of the hope that is tangible today when we put our hope in the resurrection of Christ - the battle has already been won. And this is and always will be true.

What I want to say to you now is that sometimes I proclaim things over my life, like I did for my baptism, but then often times I fall away from the truth of the promise of God.

I think maybe that is the roller coaster of life. We are on cloud 9 and then something knocks us down and we are stuck in the mud. Things are going normally and then something unexpected happens and it shakes us and it makes us hide from life.

I think this is one of the toughest parts of Christianity that some people have. If God is good, then how could He allow such horrible things to happen in this world?

I'm not here to answer that question, but what I am here for is to tell you that you can still have that question if you are a follower of Christ.
And you don't have to have it all put together in order to be truly following Jesus.
You can doubt, break down, get mad, annoyed, and pull away a little and God still looks at you as His beloved son or daughter and waits patiently for you to come back.
And He also understands, because God feels and knows the weight of a broken world - His Son had to sacrifice His body because of it.

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I guess what I am trying to communicate is that my faith isn't always rock solid.
But I'm learning that you can mourn and dance at the same time.

I did not get baptized because I was in a place of suffering and have been healed and brought out of it.
I got baptized because I know that the only way that I can continue to push through life with joy in my heart is by being obedient to God and saying again and again and again that I will allow Him to work through my life for His glory and to stand on the promise that He has made for deliverance and strength.

I mention that I need to do this again and again and again because days happen like the one on the last day of July at a much anticipated doctor's appointment when things go wrong, and I am shaken.
I get shaken. And I wonder, what's the point.

Here is the point:

Nothing can distance us from the love of God.

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39 NLT

And because of this promise I can write you this post today.
Shaken but not broken.
Confused but not let down.
Sad but still joyful.
Mourning but still dancing.

We can put our hope in the hands of Jesus. That is where our confidence comes from.
Its not in our ability to hold onto Him, its in His unfailing ability to hold onto us.
Even when we falter, question. doubt, and stumble.
He is holding and He wont let go - that is my confidence.
I will proclaim my testimony of trust and hope in a season of loss. Because I know the stream is near, and it will lead me to the well that will never run dry, overflowing. And even if the pathway appears after each small step, I will follow.

Praise Jesus that He holds on tight.
You can be confident in Him in your desert, your wilderness, your confusion, you sickness.
No, it will not often make sense and you might frequently be shaken. But take heart. You can stand on The Rock. He has overcome. He will not let you go.


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Here is a little something to enjoy for breakfast or a yummy snack during your month of August :)



Brown Butter Zucchini Coffee Cake

Ingredients


For the Cake:

    8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini don't squeeze out the liquid


For the Brown Butter Streusel Topping:

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the Glaze:

    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pinch of ground cinnamon



Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
    In a small saucepan, brown the butter for the cake. Melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Pour butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
    In a small bowl, whisk together browned butter, Greek yogurt or sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract.
    Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir. The batter will be very thick and somewhat dry. Add the shredded zucchini and stir until cake is combined and moistened. Again, it will be very thick. Pour cake batter into prepared pan.
    To make the streusel topping, brown the butter. Melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Pour butter into a small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. In a small bowl, combined browned butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over cake.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is light golden brown. Let the cake cool on a wire cooling rack.
    While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth and drizzle over cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.
    Note-the cake will keep covered on the counter for 2-3 days.



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