Stand Still, Stay Calm

stand still

I am an avid runner. I run with vigor and can run long distances effortlessly. I have been running for so long, that instinctively, I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement whenever life becomes too much.

Some run marathons, others run for leisure, I however, am much more skilled in running from God. (Which let me tell you has far fewer perks and my quads don’t look nearly as svelte!)

My long distance ‘runs’ have consisted of two cross country moves after bad breakups.  I have spontaneously called off plans, missed flights, and aimlessly run from uncertain future’s, overwhelming fears, and even bible college. (…Yes, I ran away from Bible college, and no, I don’t regret it!)

I have also been known to run TO things: family, friends, the latest and greatest self-help book promising ‘102 Ways To Get Your Life Back On Track.’ Even, Google!

My running has taken me everywhere, and yet it has succeeded in getting me absolutely nowhere.

I noticed I was ‘running’ again when just days after my world was rocked I already had my bags packed to go home, and had already ordered the said ‘self-help book’ to arrive just in time for my flight (a book that later, would interestingly enough be thrown against the wall 3 pages in!)

Around that time I made a decision.

I picked up the book that had just met my living room wall, dusted off the cover and murmured apologies to the author as I tucked it out of reach, and into the back of my dresser.

I wouldn’t be needing it…

I wanted God himself to speak to me.

Though many before me have gone through what I am currently going through and possibly even have stories of victory that may be encouraging, while that book could have inspired me to write an especially doting review on Amazon (had I finished it )I wanted to hear HIM. For good or for bad, I almost demanded it!

And when He spoke I made a promise that I would take note of every. single. thing. that He said. (And in 40 days, he has only said one thing!)

One thing over and over…

Stand still.

Stay Calm.

The Lord will rescue YOU.

You may recognize this from the verse I used in a post earlier this year. “…Don’t be afraid. just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13

This verse speaks to the uncontrollable restlessness in my heart, the emotions that change on a whim and the desire deep within to bolt out the door, book the next flight and escape it all!

In those moments it’s something to hold onto, an answer to give the most lingering questions. A motto, if you will. And on a rough day, an ultimatum even.

…Stand still. Stay Calm. The Lord will rescue me…

When I need answers now, and my lack of guarantees has me wanting to run for the hills, I will stand still and wait.

When I have been left questioning every decision I have ever made, every lie I have endured…  when I can’t see out of this mess, and the odds are stacked against me… When I feel like I just can’t risk it because I am already treading water… I will stay calm.

Whether today gets better, or worse. Whether the answers we receive are the ones we have been longing for, or the ones we most dread, our God promises to rescue us today. Possibly even better, He promises when tomorrow comes, that He will rescue us then too! ( And the next day…and the next day… )

We need only stand still, and stay calm.

***As for my desire to run, I have decided to put it to better use and attempt a 5k this spring. I figure if I am even half as good as I am at running from God, then I will probably be twice as good as I think! 🙂

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God Is So Good Even When Life Isn’t (…He Blew My Flippin’ Mind!)

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The ultimate prayer warrior stood before me. It seemed like her prayers always got answered, and whenever any of us needed some ‘extra help’ with the man upstairs, instinctively we always went to her. It’s like he heard her better, like after so many years of following him devotedly that she had earned some sort of special rewards program with God, where instead of a free pastry, she received blessing over every word she raised to him.

In her time she had prayed over lost library books, ‘boo-boo’s,’ and for favorable scores during standardized testing. She had fervently been on her knees after deaths, divorces, and amidst the most concerning health scares…

But today she wanted to know how she could pray for me!

“I just need an apartment… without mice” I noted.

My grandmother stared blankly at me. There was no denying I needed prayer for MUCH more than that, and she knew very well that my life had recently experienced a few ‘hiccups’ (that is to say, if ‘hiccups’ look more like violent convulsions in which one spontaneously foams at the mouth!) Even more, she knew that I desperately needed God to show up in my life, and that it would take much more than a mouse-less roof over my head!

But it was a start, and she humored me regardless, “What would you like this apartment to be like then?”

I smiled. Unfortunately this wasn’t McDonalds it was New York City. And while my heart might skip a beat for a glamorous apartment in a prime location, instead I pay a fortune for my one bedroom apartment above a Jewish Deli. An apartment where the heat and hot water stop working in the middle of a snow storm, the mice run ramped, and the landlord doesn’t call back.

“An elevator would be nice…” my mother chimed in.

I rolled my eyes while my grandma quickly scribbled the addition onto her sheet of paper. Nice, yes… likely in my budget, no!

“You want to be close to the store? Maybe have a nice view out your window?” My grandmother continued to question, jotting down each as she went, “Oh! You would love a nice kitchen wouldn’t you?”

My heart sank at the thought… I would LOVE a nice kitchen. My thoughts then flashed to my 19.8 Cubic ft. french door stainless steel refrigerator with automatic ice maker that I had back home…

I quickly snapped back to reality, wondering where they were going with this.

As I lifted my coffee mug to my mouth my mother continued, “…She definitely needs a two bedroom!”

I nearly spit my coffee out at the absurdity, knowing that a two bedroom would NEVER be something I could afford! Not in this city, and not by a long shot!

…But then God blew my flippin’ mind!

He blew Nehemiah’s mind too!

Nehemiah was a man who had just received news that the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, leaving the city unprotected and in ruins. He was a lot like us… discouraged, overwhelmed, and desperately in need of the Lord’s favor in his life.

And after many days weeping, Nehemiah decided to go and rebuild that which was broken. He knew he couldn’t do it on his own, and he cried out to God for help!

“O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me…” Nehemiah 1:11

Nehemiah told God exactly what he needed (in his case the approval from the king to leave, and in mine, an apartment void of rodents!) And while he would have been content with just that, God had SO much more in store…

In the end, not only did the king grant his request, he also went as far to send officers to protect Nehemiah on his journey to Jerusalem.  Even further, Nehemiah was provided all the supplies needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem entirely, and even enough to build himself a house!

Nehemiah goes on to say that all of these blessings happened “… because the gracious hand of God was on me.” (vs.8)

Now if you are anything like me, you desperately need the gracious hand of God on you…

You look at the ruins that are left of your life, and momentarily question if it’s even possible to rebuild this kind of devastation.

You wonder, even if you knew God could, if your heart can sustain the brutal journey ahead.

I am with you…

Yet today we can rest in the comfort that our God will meet us in our hopelessness, the same way he did for Nehemiah. That He will himself, provide protection for the long journey ahead, and will supply everything needed to restore all that is broken.

This week I am happy to say that God met me in my circumstances and granted my sincere request for an apartment (WITHOUT MICE…)

Not only that but HE BLEW MY FLIPPIN’ MIND and gave me more than I could have ever hoped for when He provided: (*please note that I am screaming while I type this!!!)

–   A TWO-BEDROOM APARTMENT

–   With an ELEVATOR

–   Directly ACROSS THE STREET from the STORE

–   With a BALCONY (With the above picture as my VIEW)

–   And a beautiful kitchen complete with… are you ready for this?… a 19.8 CUBIC FT. FRENCH DOOR STAINLESS STEEL REFRIGERATOR COMPLETE WITH AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER!!!!!

No really, you can’t make this stuff up!

And while my new apartment doesn’t change my circumstances, I am reminded that the God who provided me with it, CAN!

That while I am still paralyzed in fear at the future, I can find comfort knowing that just like Nehemiah, God will provide everything that is needed to rebuild what is broken, and offer His unparalleled protection over my heart until then.

And maybe just maybe, there is a teeny tiny part of me that is curious to see what He has up His sleeve next…

(Maybe.) 

… And it’s all because the ‘gracious hand of God was on me.’

 

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From My Weary Heart To Yours

airplane sunrise

I was shaken abruptly from my slumber. Just as quickly, the ‘seatbelt sign’ dinged on and the stewardess postponed  drink orders while the pilot made apologies in advanced for the bumps that lay ahead.

The woman next to me took a deep breath and tightly grasped the arm rest, I could almost hear her thoughts…

… Please Lord, I want to get married! …don’t take me now God! I want to have children!…

I smiled to myself, closed my eyes, and eased into the comfort of my seat. Not because I hadn’t felt the same way before, but because oh, how effective a little turbulence is at weighing the status of our lives.

And while my flight was nearly being jostled into oblivion, I realized…

I just don’t give a damn.

Take me now Lord Jesus!

You see, for the last two weeks that I have been MIA since writing ‘This Weary Heart of Mine,” I have started (and given up on) over 6 self-help books. I have also avoided exactly 11 phone calls, and avoided nearly the equivalent in panic attacks.

I have cried myself to sleep, raised my voice in a restaurant (Once again!) and have used my ‘labor breathing techniques’ to physically resist the urge to punch someone in the face.

I am numb, I am heartbroken, and I deeply regret the two strong margaritas that unfortunately did little more than give me a headache and give my husband a piece of my mind (further explaining the said “raised voice in a restaurant”) 

And the truth is, I am in a dark place.

So dark even, that in my insecurity I have wondered if I am too far out of God’s reach. If it’s even humanly possible to be as small as I feel, and if because of it, the Lord is unable to see me in my desperation. If this pain, caused by the hands of another, is the final blow that will have me ushered out of the ring never to return the same again…

But then I remember you, our beloved readers. Those of you all over the world, that have shared with us your stories, your heartbreak, and expressed your deepest yearning for miraculous healing over your most secret struggles.

I know if there was a base you could run to where you would finally be “safe,” that though you are terribly exhausted and out of breath, you would get there as fast as you possibly could!

If there was a debt you could pay to make it all disappear, I know you would pay it no matter the cost!

Even if it meant you’d be given only the smallest of guarantees, I know it would be enough for you to hang in there just a little longer…

But alas! It is out of your hands, and out of your control. You are up against a wall, in over you head, and with such dire circumstances looming that you aren’t sure how – or if – you will ever make it through.

I am with you…

Heartbroken,

hopeless,

and mad as hell!

… And I need Jesus more than ever.

And after two long weeks I am ready to put down the ‘Ben and Jerry’s’… and write. What exactly? I am not sure.

But with vulnerability as my voice, and God as my strength I will see this storm through.

I will fight to remind myself that even when I feel so far from God, that He is NEAR to my broken heart. (Psalm 34:18)

That when it seems my greatest plans have derailed and cliff dived into a horrific nightmare, that His – even greater plans for me – are PERFECT (Psalm 18:30)

That when my troubles are mounting, my life is crumbling, and there seems to be no hope in sight, that My God will not only meet me there in the shambles, but will OVERCOME the impossible! (John 16:33)

Dear weary readers,

There is no denying the very real war that is being waged over our souls! And yet, there also is no denying the strength of the God we serve!

I love how Perry Noble puts it when he says,  “…He is a grave-robbing, water-walking, miracle-working, death-defying God, so NEVER give up! He’s about to blow your flippin’ mind!”

All that to say, may the Lord “Blow our flipping’ minds!” … ideally, before we lose them! 🙂

***And in the case that you can’t get past the fact that I cursed…

Feel free to check back here the moment the turbulence doesn’t faze you…

We will get along much better then! 😉

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