Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me

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Reflections on Psalm 73

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So long that I barely remember how to do this. So much has happened since I last posted on here, but here’s the gist of it: I’m 22 years old, engaged to be married in December, and set to graduate from college with a bachelor of arts in biblical counseling in a mere three weeks. Sounds great, right? I’m in the prime of my life, incredibly blessed with the sweetest man I’ve ever met, and almost out of college. But to be totally honest, I don’t know how I can finish.

“My flesh and my heart may fail” is definitely where I’m at right now. My health is scaring me, and I’m becoming concerned that the stress of college has ruined it. I owe more than I’d like to admit in student loans, and my love and I have a wedding to pay for and a life to plan. Right now, my flesh is certainly failing me, and my heart is overcome with worries for the future and a desperate desire to be anywhere but school.

I’ll be honest: I don’t have it all together. Spiritually, I’ve certainly been lacking. I’ve allowed the stresses and pressures of senior year to come before my relationship with the One Who loves me most. But I’ve come to the end of myself, and I readily admit that I cannot do this on my own. This last year of college, if nothing else, has proved to me again and again that my own strength is not enough to carry me through, and there is no earthly reason that I should be on the verge of a bachelor’s degree.

But fortunately, or I suppose providentially, Psalm 73:26 doesn’t end with my very body giving out on me. Asaph, the author, readily agrees that here on earth that’s a definite possibility, but he doesn’t stop there. “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” But God. Isn’t that incredible? The God Who created everything, the timeless One Who has existed forever and will continue long after this body has finally and permanently quit on me, cares enough for me to allow me to lean on Him when I’m too weary to carry on. He not only allows, but invites me to rest with Him. He desires to be the strength of my heart. And it’s only through His mercy and grace that I am where I am.

The lesson He’s been pounding into my thick skull this year has absolutely nothing to do with psychology or economics or even counseling. While I have learned a lot this year, the lesson I’m just finally starting to understand is that I am so incredibly weak and fragile, no matter how strong I think that I am. But the good news of the gospel is that “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

By the grace of God, I’ll graduate in three weeks, and if He wills it, I’ll be getting married in eight months. But it’s not my strength that’s gotten me this far, and it’s not my strength that will get me to the end. “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

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love that will not let me go

o lover of my weary soul,
i know that i’ve done wrong.
i’m hurting, but i’ve caused much pain
with all the things i’ve done.

i feel so
g u i l t y

lover of my troubled heart,
i’ve run so far from you.
it’s dark and unfamiliar now;
i don’t know what to do.

i feel so
l o s t

lover of my broken mind,
i’m drowning in the black–
the darkness has a hold now,
and i cannot push it back.

i feel so
c h o k e d

lover of my hurting self,
i cannot carry on.
my burden is too heavy,
and i’ve fought for far too long.

i feel so
d r a i n e d

o love that will not let me go,
i need your strength tonight.
my courage is exhausted;
i’ve lost my will to fight.

i feel so
h e a v y

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feel

Recently I’ve been experimenting with a new poetry style, just to shake things up a bit. I’ve been feeling a little strange lately, but I think the fog is lifting a little. I wrote this one this morning, as a reflection of that. Hope you enjoy.

broken and empty,
i come here for rest –
i come to the shadows to hide.
i come for sanctuary,
but i find no peace;
in the darkness, there’s no rest to find.

i feel so
h e a v y

there’s nowhere to go now;
i can’t see the light,
i can’t find my way out of the black.
i’m so tired of searching –
i can’t find the path –
i don’t know how to make my way back.

i feel so
l o s t

but then in the distance,
a glimmer of light,
a glimpse of the piece that i need!
i run to the light,
and it leads to the one
i abandoned, the one i love to leave.

i feel so
a f r a i d

i’m scared now of the light –
i’m afraid to face him,
but i’m already caught in his rays.
i can’t earn his favor
or yet another chance –
i don’t deserve any of grace.

i feel so
g u i l t y

but he looks at me gently,
with love in his eyes.
he says to me softly, “my girl,
i love you always;
i’ll take you back again,”
and color floods to my black-and-white world.

i feel so
a l i v e

he loves me, he loves me
in spite of myself,
in spite of the things that i’ve done.
i gladly forsake them,
abandon the dark,
and run to the arms of the son.

i feel so
f r e e

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Fear

I bought pepper spray today.

Never, in nearly 21 years, have I felt the need to get any. I’ve never felt like I needed to protect myself. I’ve always been independent, but I’ve always been protected. I’ve always felt safe.

All of that changed with a single email.

According to this email, someone has been hanging around the gates of my school for the last few days. And a few days ago, when a female student was walking off campus by herself in the middle of the day, as I often do myself, he grabbed her. She escaped, and he hasn’t been seen much since. Campus police and city police alike are on the lookout for this man, and it’s unlikely he’s much of a threat anymore.

But the story shook me more than I care to admit. There are many more like him, and she could’ve been me. I value my alone time, and I often walk alone to the Starbucks a block away from campus. But I’m too afraid to do that now. I’m terrified, but more than that, I’m angry. I’m angry that I have to be scared. I’m angry that I can’t walk alone now, that I have to take someone with me or perhaps get stuck on campus because I’m a small young woman and thus an easy target.

I feel like I’ve lost something, like something has been taken from me that I’ll never get back. But I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. Innocence, perhapsI always knew this kind of thing happened, but never so close, and never quite like this. It could be freedomI can no longer go alone where I want and when I want. My sense of security, perhapsI don’t feel safe alone anymore. Maybe it’s something else, or maybe it’s all of these. Whatever it is, I’ll never again leave without looking over my shoulder at every turn, and that breaks my heart.

I know this isn’t the kind of thing that I typically post, but it’s heavy on my heart tonight. Men, please, strive to be a godly man, a man of character, the kind of man that women don’t have to fear. Ladies, please be careful, for there are all too many that would take advantage of you.

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Our Great God

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O Praise the Name

 

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