While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Living A Vindicated Life

Yesterday I watched my best friend marry the man she loves. I'm the only girl in the entire world who will ever sit in the audience as her life long friend gives her life to a man she has already given her love to.

I'd be lying to myself if I said it didn't hurt. I guess part of my problem is I wasn't JUST watching her give her life away. It's knowing that I wasn't a part of it. Yeah... if you're reading this, and you know me, or the situation at all, you're probably thinking "well, gee Steph, it's your own fault. If you could have just kept your mouth shut" well see, that's the thing...

Even now, I don't think I could do things differently. I feel as a "bestie" I have a duty to say the truth, even when it hurts. More so, when you ask for my honest opinion. I came across a song...I think It's really fitting.

Spotlights have a funny glow. They can keep you warm, but they can make you go crazy. Always got to be the show. So you never know what it's like bein' in the crowd. Lately I'm hearing people say you're a runaway. And somebody's got to be blamed, move back to reality, Help you see the things that you might have been lookin' passed

Ain't got nothin' to hide. Yeah I know I've got a soul that's naked like water. You and I wouldn't want to see, the girl I'd be if I didn't have you in my life. Show me so many things, but the best would be never ever rolled over. Stand up for what I believe. And eventually, everyone will come back around

I ain't burnin' bridges... I'm tryin' to mend them

I apologize if I ever hurt your feelings. Got my own convictions and I got to live them

I ain't burnin' bridges, that ain't my intention

I think the hardest part of all of this, is thinking I was over it... then like a band aid ripped off an open wound, all the hurt comes screaming to the surface. It's not that I had a different opinion than that of my best friend... it's that an entire group of people wanted us to stop being friends entirely.

I look at "that" group. My peers... I look where they are all at. I've wondered what has made me different. How I can be hurt repeatedly and still keep selflessly giving?

I had a surprise baby shower for Sheena this week. I've had several people talk to me about the positive spirit there. They said "you could feel God's love" I know that's because of nothing I did. But looking at everything, I truly believe there was a healing that took place, emotionally and spiritually. Did I think the idea was crazy? yes! Did worry who would come? yes! Did I worry what people would think? yes! Did I stress? A WHOLE LOT!! But looking back, I truly think it was the right thing to do. I am once again reminded that God has a plan...and it may seem to be a tangled web...but God knows...

Pastor spoke today on Job. I'm in no way comparing myself to Job... I have my health, a family who loves me and supports me. However, there are times I seriously question what's going on in my life. The Bible says did Job worship God for naught? Did he worship God because of his bountiful blessings? We have to worship God even when it seems like our prayers aren't getting answered and it seems everything has been taken away. Sometimes I DO feel like I stand alone, and honestly, I've felt that a lot lately...I was reading 2nd Timothy.

Honestly... my "favorite" part of the bible was the "fluff" well maybe not fluff....but that stuff that you feel good after reading... you know. You read your bible when you're having a bad day. You turn to Psalm. Recently, I've realized the bible really deals with stuff that affects my life. Solomon said "there is nothing new under the sun"

Anyway.. I was reading 2nd Timothy...which is Paul's 2nd letter. I realize that my circumstances are far less troublesome than theirs... yet, for me... my grain of sand appears to be a mountain.

1-2 I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God's plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours! To Be Bold with God's Gifts <--- This is such an encouragement...

3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion. <---- A reminder that even when I feel alone, and it seems there is no one around me. I am NEVER alone. There are still people lifting me up.

5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. <--- God has blessed me. Given me talents and abilities. I need to trust Him, and use them. I have a Godly heritage that has been passed down to me. Many prayers have been sent up. I know without a doubt that God's hand has been on my life.

8-10 So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. <---Even if I have lost friends...or even been turned on by family, I'm not the only one. Timothy and Paul endured the same situation. But no matter who turns their back on me, God won't. He gives me the power to keep going. The last part gives me so much hope. "Life vindicated...all through Jesus"

11-12 This is the Message I've been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It's also the cause of all this trouble I'm in. But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground—the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end. <---I will echo the words of Paul. "I have no regrets. The One I've trusted in can take care of what He's trusted me to do" Does that affect any one else as much as it affects me?

13-14 So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us. <---This is my reminder not to be side tracked by the petty things in my life. "Buy the Truth and sell it not" I don't want to let my guard down and be easily led astray.

15-18 I'm sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me, even Phygelus and Hermogenes. But God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many's the time I've been refreshed in that house. And he wasn't embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. And then there was all the help he provided in Ephesus—but you know that better than I. <---People turned their back on Paul... yet still when it was dark.. God made a way, provided an encouragement to Paul, who could then turn and uplift Timothy.

Maybe this seems a whole lot of ramblings and mumble jumble. But if it somehow made any sense to you, I hope it encouraged you as I have been encouraged. I know that everything is going to work out in the end...and that through it all I will have grown, and been molded. Less of me, and More of Him.

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