Everyone has a song that holds some sort of special meaning for them. It may be a song that is tied to a happy memory or a song that is tied to a sad memory. For us, it’s a little of everything.
“Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns will always have a special meaning to my family. It’s a song about how God is always with you no matter what, and there are moments in our life that we know without a doubt God was with us.
Several years ago, we were blessed to meet the family who inspired the song. We met a man whose daughter had passed away from leukemia. His daughter’s illness, death, and the family’s grief inspired the song. He shared that his daughter knew the band was writing a song about her but she passed away before she was able to hear it.
My mom downloaded the song as her ringtone, but with no way of knowing what that song would eventually mean to us.
About a year and a half later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. After a rough four years filled with surgery, treatments and sickness, he passed away at age 54.
We were devastated at the time and even more than two years later, we still miss him terribly. Looking back on his illness and his death I can think of many occasions when I knew, in spite of everything, God never left our sides.
He was with us as we struggled to navigate a new life without my dad. He was with us as I faced crippling anxiety and depression. He was with us as we grieved.
No matter what trials we face and how many years we shed, God is with us and He knows we are suffering. He also restores us and heals us when we go through those trials. He knows why we suffer and He holds us as we suffer.
I’ve talked a lot recently about what I want for myself and how I want to improve myself in the new year. One major area that needs improvement is my relationship with Christ. One way to do that is to ensure that I am living the fruits of the spirit.
I recently posted that I selected not one but two words for 2020: together and renewal. I also decided to choose a memory verse for each month of the year. I think it’s important to memorize scripture and for our kids to memorize it.
For January, I chose to focus on renewal.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We are called to be set apart from the world as Christians. In order to renew our minds and be transformed, we need to fill our hearts and minds with the things that please God.
I catch myself listening to or watching things often that I know are not God pleasing. Or maybe I have a conversation with someone and spread a little gossip.
I post this scripture not to preach to anyone. I post this scripture because I want to share yet another area of my life that I am working to improve. I truly want to experience renewal- in my life, in my walk with God, in my family relationships.
And if I seek God first and transform my mind by filling it with Him, everything else will fall into place.
How many of you are planners, like me? We know we can’t plan our whole lives, and we know we aren’t in charge, but we still get irritated when our lives don’t go as planned. We know we aren’t in charge, but still we try to put our plans ahead of God’s plans, even when we know his ways are best.
The Bible has a lot to say about plans. There’s Jeremiah 29:11, which you probably have heard preached on graduate recognition Sunday.
God has plans for us, and in fact, his plans are greater than any plans we will ever make. Even though we are conscious of this fact, it doesn’t stop us from trying to plan our own course.
Proverbs 19:21 says this about making our own plans.
We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately what God wants for us will win. So why is it so hard for us to just let go and let God?
I think if I had to choose a word for 2019, I’d choose a phrase: let go. There are many struggles of which I need to let go of at the moment, but more than that, I need to let go of my tendency to control everything and let God handle it.
If we trust in Him and we know he has a plan for us, why do we struggle so hard with letting go and letting God?
Please pray for me to let go of my own will and trust in Him this year.
If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.
I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.
God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.
Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.
It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.