Today I walked into the bank and got a certified check for $300. Tomorrow morning I have to mail that to the Clerk of the Superior Court. Ladies and Gentlemen, justice has been upheld, I’ve paid my due. Not exactly the way I wanted to spend that cash, but at least it is over and I don’t have to think about it again and my insurance didn’t go up…it really could have been a lot worse than it turned out (some of you might remember that awful day I called you in tears way back in April…) – I really think that the judge was quite lenient and am grateful that I just ended up with a fine and nothing on my record or anything. But still. I could have used that money for something fun, or even saved it! I’ve actually become kind of frugal recently 🙂 It was painful and nice to get it done all at the same time. Oh and I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I don’t speed anymore. At all. I allow myself to go 5 over in special circumstances.
I happened across this video a couple of months ago and for some reason it has really stuck with me and made me think. It is a part of a series of videos introducing “When Sinners Say I do” by Dave Harvey. I haven’t read the book, but the video series is encouraging and has much to offer even if you are not married.
This weekend was a reunion of the unstoppable duo — G and S! It was AMAZING to see dear Sabby after three long months of not seeing each other. We started off the morning with two BIG cups of Conrad’s coffee and lots of excitement. After that we had a blast with all of our people and had a mini dance party in S’s room. It was great. Believe me. Then we got DELICIOUS drinks from Jackson at Stickboy. After that we headed back to the house and get this, studied for school. I already miss her like crazy and can’t wait for the official winter break reunion of G & S and GabbAdventures. Just wait for it. It’ll be mind-blowingly awesome and there will be a revival of GabbAdventures.com. 🙂
This Thanksgiving has been just what the doctor ordered. It’s been a wonderful time of relaxation and much needed rest. I even snuck in some productive study time with dear Sabby. It was so wonderful to see old friends and catch up on life. I’ve had some time to think (definitely needed to that too) and clear my head. Really, it’s been a great couple of days. I am so thankful for the gospel, God’s unchanging Word, my wonderful family and my great friends. Now, I am gearing up for the last couple of weeks of craziness.
I’m still here…it’s just been a really crazy couple of days trying to get things done for school before break. Two more days of class for me before EXAMS! That means that Christmas Break is almost here, which means that the semester is almost over and that means that I am well on my way to graduation!!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!
I love Thanksgiving. I think it’s pretty much the greatest holiday of the year. More on that tomorrow though!
My right foot was killing me — there was a big red spot on my little toe, and it was aching. The left foot was perfect though — supposedly these shoes are really comfy, so I couldn’t figure out why the right foot felt so tight. It was terrible. Finally I had to slip my shoes off and slide them under my desk…I had to go barefoot for the afternoon. I looked down at my cute little gold shoes and just wondered, why? What is making my poor little foot hurt so badly, they feel fine in the length…then I saw it. The right shoe was a half size smaller than the left! Haha, well, at least it gave me a good laugh!
He carried a guitar, a harmonica and a small portable amp. He walked over to the lone picnic table overlooking the mountains and set up and started to play. He started out with some jazz standards — Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” won us over. Mitchell enthusiastically clapped after the first song. We all enjoyed it immensely. Then came the first little group. They were all bubbly and happy and carried big baskets full of food and colorful table cloths, cups and napkins. They began working like busy bees; they set up the table and then went back and forth to cars carrying things and juggling the cute little boy. We just watched.
A steady stream of guests arrived every few minutes and they all brought some kind of edible treat with them. They were celebrating a marriage. The groom was Indian and the bride and her family looked like they were Eastern European. Anyway, they now lived in Ohio, or something. But they were getting married at a friend’s house in the mountains and family and friends were all meeting for the first time. This was the site of the rehearsal dinner. The music continued and added such romance and delight to the entire scene. It was one of those fly on the wall moments. I love people watching.
Why were we there? Ha, well we went hiking and A and M and I did more of a trail run than a hike, but the rest of the group took their time, so we finished an hour before they emerged from the woods, so we waited and watched.
I really love slapstick kind of humor. I especially love it when someone falls down or trips or something like that. Yesterday I was walking behind this guy up a flight of stairs, and well he tripped and stumbled catching himself with his hands. It was so hysterical. The funniest thing about it is whenever someone falls like that they quickly turn their head to see if anyone saw them. Then they kind of run off to get away and then slow back down when they think they got far enough away. Oh it’s just so funny to me!
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25-26
“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!'” Lamentations 3:55-56
I remember one conversation during a dark time with a dear friend. She kept reminding me to wait patiently for the Lord and to remember his faithfulness and put my trust in the promises of His unchanging Word. She kept encouraging me to wait, but to wait with intentionality and to fight for joy in the midst of the darkness. She kept gently calling me to faith and directing me to Christ. John Piper says it like this, “Oh, that we might learn to be patient in the hour of darkness. I don’t mean that we make peace with darkness. We fight for joy. But we fight as those who are saved by grace and held by Christ.”
So, what exactly does living and waiting with intentionality in the midst of great darkness actually look like? I mean how do wait and fight for joy when we can barely see the light? Well, I can’t say for sure. I don’t know that it looks the same for everyone, in fact I am pretty sure that it won’t. God uses the unique situations and people that we know and places that we live in unique ways in our lives. I do know that it means trusting and affirming that God’s wisdom and sovereignty and realizing and understanding all that He has given us in Christ. I think that means reading and meditating on scripture and trusting and hoping in his Word. I once heard a sermon on prayer and the pastor said that “persistent prayer is our regular demonstration of faith filled hope in God,” this I believe is another way to step out in faith and fight for joy in the midst of spiritual darkness, pray often.
I know that in times of darkness one of the greatest things was having a dear friend of mine just a phone call away to pray for me and read scripture and remind me of the truths that I had temporarily lost sight of — I like to call these friends, “John Newtons.” I call them this because of William Cowper and his dear friend, John Newton. William Cowper was severely depressed most of his life. John Newton was a faithful friend and encourager throughout Cowper’s lifetime. I hope that I am also a “John Newton” to my friends. One of my favorite hymns was written by Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”God Moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill, He treasures up his bright designs and whorks his sovereign will Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace: Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face, His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower. Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain; God is his own interpreter, and He will make it plain.
I also think that, as Ed Welch pointed out in “Does Thin Equal Beautiful?” as we reflect on the greatness and gloriousness and beauty of Christ we finally get to stop looking at ourselves. In looking at Christ, we aren’t focused on ourselves; not our problems, not our accomplishments, nothing, we are just seeing the beauty of Christ and what a relief it is to not have to think about ourselves for a little while. Anyway, I know that it is not so simple and that darkness is real and it is hard and painful. But I do know that Christ is sufficient and that He has promised to finish the work that he began and that he is faithful to hold and sustain you. John Piper in his book When the Darkness Will Not Lift, gives us this wonderful quote and reminder from Richard Baxter
Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can. You have not the power of your comforts: but have you no power of your tongues? Say not, that you are unfit for thanks and praises unless you have a praising heart and were the children of God: for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone…Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart.
I will leave you with this Of First Importance Quote of the day, “One thing is past all question; we shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace.” CH Spurgeon
I’m staying with the same theme from yesterday: darkness. I think that many times people falsely think that Christians won’t or shouldn’t ever experience the darkness of depression. However, I think otherwise, as John Piper writes in When the Darkness Will Not Lift, “Even the most faithful, focused Christians can encounter periods of depression and spiritual darkness when joy seems to stay just out of reach. It can happen because of sin, satanic assault, distressing circumstances, or hereditary and other physical causes.”
As Piper also points out in the aforementioned book, there can be physical elements that contribute to a spiritual darkness. The physical element may need to be dealt with by use of medication, but as Ed Welch writes in Blame It on the Brain, “If the person is not taking medication but is considering it, I typically suggest that he or she postpone that decision for a period of time. During that time, I consider possible causes, and together we ask God to teach us about both ourselves and him so that we can grow in faith in the midst of hardship. If the depression persists, I might let the person know that medication is an option to deal with some of the physical symptoms.” Piper goes on to say that the relationship between the physical and spiritual condition are deeply connected. He says that “The point is that the relationship between the soul and the brain is beyond human comprehension and should be handled with the greatest care ad with profound attention to the moral and spiritual realities of human person-hood that may exert as much influence on the brain as vice versa.
Darkness is a dreadful and terrible thing. In it you feel absolutely alone. It’s scary and oppressive. It’s black. It’s not always clear why we are there either, or how we are to come out of it. I have walked through intense periods of loneliness and darkness — there was almost a physical weight that I felt while in the midst of it. What I didn’t know at first was that I was actually really sick, but the spiritual darkness, though in part connected to the physical illness, had a life of it’s own and was also cured before and apart from the physical sickness. God was faithful in reminding me every day, every hour that He is sovereign over our sufferings and that I only see a part, and that He sees the whole and that he has promised to work everything for the good of those who love him. One day I was reading The Valley of Vision and came across this prayer, “Peril,” it put many things that I was feeling into words and was encouraging as I realized that my struggles were not unique to me — many saints before me had walked faithfully in the darkness.SOVEREIGN COMMANDER OF THE UNIVERSE, I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, In a felt spiritual darkness. My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude, And I cannot act faith at all. My heavenly Pilot has disappeared, And I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages; I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves, In horror and distress unutterable. Help me, O Lord, To throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee, For better, for worse, without comfort, And all but hopeless. Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind, Morning joy that comes after night heaviness; Water my soul richly with divine blessings; Grant that I may welcome thy humbling in private So that I might enjoy thee in public; Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low. Thy grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he; Yet though hast made me a monument of mercy, A trophy of redeeming power; In my distress let me not forget this. All-wise God, Thy never-failing providence orders every event, Sweetens every fear, Reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good, Brings real good out of seeming evil, Makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon, To show me what a short-sighted creature I am, And to teach me to live by faith upon Thy blessed self. Out of sorrow and night Give me the name Naphtali— ‘satisfied with favour’— help me to love thee as thy child, and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.'” Isaiah 43:1-5
to be continued…