Everyday Life

Uncertainty & Worry

God knows how much I like to know ‘the plan’–uncertainty scares me and leaves me feeling vulnerable. Yet He is the one thing that will never change. I need to not lean on my own understanding and turn to Him. My devotional led me to Revelation 22:8-9 in my Bible. I love the notes that explain the verses.

It seems perfect timing–a little backstory–It’s 5:30 AM, Logan and Nate are still sleeping, Dillon is lying on the bed, getting over a head cold and watching his iPad, and we’re in our new ‘art room’ downstairs. The $20 desk we found on Facebook is perfect for him to sit next to me and create his art too. It’s turned in a space to keep my art & crafts without them taking over the house, and a space we can retreat to and not worry about having to be too quiet like we did upstairs. Nate takes one look at the ‘clutter’ and shakes his head, but I see organized chaos, a happy place, my heaven on earth.

This morning is the first time I’ve come down here to do my devotional, instead of sitting upstairs on the couch. It only seems fitting, perfect timing, that I would find this footnote in my Bible for Revelation 22:8,9:

“The first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me”. Jesus said that the greatest command of Moses’ laws was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. Here at the end of the Bible, this truth is reiterated. The angel instructs John to worship God, and worship is a major emphasis in Revelation. The first step toward meaningful worship is a desire to know God. If we thirst for him, the Bible promises that he will provide for us and satisfy our needs. Would you like your worship to be completely transformed? Confess any sins that might be hindering your fellowship with God. Then ask God to stir your heart, to instill within you and unquenchable thirst to know him. Meditate upon how God has revealed himself in the Bible, and ask him to reveal himself to you again. When you see God in a new way, worship will be your only fitting response.”

It seems like there are times when I can hear Him whispering clearly, and other times He feels so painfully distant I can’t hardly try to call out.

But this footnote gives me black and white instructions on how to approach Him as I do my daily devotions:

1) He promises that if I thirst for Him, He will provide for me and give me what I need. It might not be what I had in mind, but He has never broken a promise and I can only see a pixel of the great billboard He has planned.

2) Confess anything that might keep me from hearing God and ask for forgiveness. I can always tell if it’s sin because it makes me uncomfortable thinking about it–like this morning I know I’ve been letting my pride and ego get in the way of putting together this Skillshare class, looking to Instagram for approval. I need to be humble, and trust everything will work out the way it should. Like my mom said, if people like it, they will find a way to get it without me beating down their door.

3) Ask God to stir my heart, to instill an unquenchable thirst to know Him. It’s so easy to look to other things to try to fill that “God hole” in my heart but nothing can, at least for very long. This has been a painful, eye-opening, breath-taking experience turning away from alcohol, seeing an art therapist, confessing to my family, friends, co-workers, feeling the highs and lows without self-medicating. The lows are painful and uncomfortable, but they make the highs so much sweeter. And when I’m feeling that itch to get away from it all, to self-medicate, to do something when I’m feeling down, I’m realizing it’s God calling me, telling me it’s time to get away for a little bit and recharge.

4) Meditate on how He has revealed Himself in the Bible, and ask Him to reveal Himself to me again. This one is a little harder for me to decipher. I guess what comes to mind is reading a Bible verse about God taking care of birds who don’t worry about anything and promising to take even better care of me–then seeing sparrows, swallows, hawks and robins throughout the day and feeling reassured by His promise. The gentle tugs, the little things that catch my eye when I think I should be reading something else, those are the things I’m realizing I need to pay attention to…those are the moments when I find Him the closest.

5) “When you see Me in a new way, worship will be your only fitting response…”

As I finished up this post I refilled my coffee and let Teddy out. As I waited for him I looked at the horizon. I loved the way the clouds are wispy so I snapped a picture just as two birds flew in the frame. God is good…

Everyday Life

Never a Dull Moment

I know I’ve been MIA lately…I’ve been putting together my Skillshare class! Thought I’d pop in and let you know all is well. If you’re squeamish, you might want to stop reading here!

Last night I let my gray cat, Gracie, in as we were getting ready for bed. She darted in like she always does and headed for our bedroom. I crawled into bed and was looking at my phone when I heard Nate yell some not so gentlemanly things. Apparently Gracie had a live mouse in her mouth when she came in and it was loose in our bedroom. It headed straight for our closet. Nate threw some shoes on and started pulling shoes out of the closet to find it. I grabbed our other cat, Duma, with the naive hope she would take care of the problem. She just laid down and watched Nate and I (me very searching very tentatively & praying Nate got to it before I did).

In the midst of our search I tried to be optimistic and asked Nate–at least she brought it in our room so we knew about it, right? And won’t this be something we’ll look back on and laugh? Too soon.

Nate luckily found it first and…took care of it. I have a picture I sent to my brother but out of respect for my mom I won’t post it here.

Lesson learned–make sure the cats don’t have any live objects before letting them inside…

Everyday Life

We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home…

It’s been a crazy last few weeks, and I am finally on the other side. I feel better, mentally and physically. I’m ready to get back to work and get on with all these projects and ideas I have. Spring is finally here, and I finally feel good.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed. Really? TB? Cancer? And I put this out there for everyone to read just how bonkers I was acting?

My dad warned Nate when I first started the prednisone that it could have some interesting side effects. Poor Nate has just kind of sat back and watched me over the last week, shaking his head.

I know someday we’ll look back and laugh at this, but yes, it is embarrassing.

Yet why is this so embarrassing in a way any other disease would never be? Why am I so embarrassed that I needed a medication that had side effects that put my mental health in a more fragile state?

And why is any topic related to mental health so taboo?

I never thought I had an issue with anxiety. Life is full of stressors, and it’s your body’s fight-or-flight response. If anything, I felt like I was weak, because everyone else seemed like they could keep their shit together except me. I knew stress is part of life, and I knew it was not normal to self-medicate. If you have to hide it from your loved ones, it’s not normal. I knew this, yet I couldn’t, wouldn’t reach out to anyone because I was embarrassed.

Once I started going back to church again and realized I didn’t even miss the wine, I couldn’t help but wondering…so I asked my mom if she thought I traded in one addiction for another–wine for God. Her answer made me cry. No. My faith is not an addiction. My faith is what is good for my soul, and it is what my soul needs. I don’t need to hide my faith and I don’t think I could if I tried. There is nothing wrong with relying on a higher power for inner strength.

I know I have to give myself time–alcohol is a depressant, and one I relied on a for a long time. I’m not going to be 100% overnight. It’s okay that I might have some anxiety. It’s what I do to manage it that’s important. I have my faith, my family, my art, yoga with Adrienne, etc.

One thing that really helps is I started listening to my soul more. More and more I realize how the littlest things make me think, “Yes! This makes me happy!” Seeing a bald eagle in the air, the sunrise, scratching the new cow under the chin like a cat, going for a walk, tickling my boys and dancing to music as we eat breakfast, talking to Nate as we cook dinner…all these little moments add up and make you realize that hey, life is good!

I realized how a lot of things didn’t make me happy–not truly. Candy Crush, politics, The Bachelor/any reality TV show–and were just…fillers. I don’t watch Netflix anymore. I watch SkillShare and learn new art techniques. I read books that move me and I talk to others who make me feel happy when I interact with them. I spend time with Nate outside, or marvel at Dillon’s amazing personality that is emerging as we talk.

I started to listen to podcasts (Rachael Hart especially) about the think-feel-act cycle (which I believe is cognitive behavioral therapy–retraining your brain to think of things in a non-judgmental, non-threatening matter). This was huge. I never realized how pessimistic I was before and by re-framing my thoughts I completely changed my outlook on everything.

I started paying attention to what I was eating. There’s a reason they call foods like Chicken Noodle Soup good for the soul. By eating too much processed food and not enough real food, my body was missing out on nutrients it needed. Now I would love to start growing some of my own food. I also started eating more dark chocolate. 🙂

I felt like I was doing better, and I like the idea of treating these negative feelings without pharmaceuticals.

But going off my antidepressant/anxiety medication while being sick was not the best idea. And there’s nothing wrong with needing to keep taking it. Maybe in the future I can wean off it, but for now, I just need to let my mind recalibrate and know this doesn’t make me any weaker of a person than a diabetic who needs insulin.

As for putting it all out there, there are times I wonder if I’m going to regret it. But the more I open up about my struggles, the more people open up to me and reveal that they’ve been going through something similar. The idea of anyone suffering in silence breaks my heart.

We’re walking around, trying to pretend like we’re fine when we should be reaching out to each other and realizing that we are not alone.

Everyday Life

Do Not Let Your Hearts be Troubled…

Friday started as such a beautiful day. I took Dillon to school, Logan to daycare so I could get some rest, then on a whim decided to take the back roads via Bootlegger Road home. The standing water on the side of the road left various ponds; swans, geese, and even a few Mallard ducks graced me with their presence. Dillon came home from school, we napped, then he got Logan as Nate went to buy a plow from a retiring farmer. We came home and Dillon left to go to the circus.

Then after Dillon left for the circus with his friend I looked at my hospital results. My CT scan report said a 1.5 cm opacity in the right upper lobe, likely infectious–follow up with CT in 4 months to make sure it was resolved. Despite my ER doctor reassuring me it was infectious, my mind went to the worst case scenario after looking through the CT scan report.

I Googled it. Dear Lord, everyone knows how much I love my Google search, but please break my Google search engine when it comes to me looking up anything medical pertaining to me!!!! I am a nurse, not a doctor…I know enough to scare myself silly and not enough to be practical!

After wasting so much time wondering, “What if…” I finally made myself do my devotions and dear old Oswald is waiting for me. I feel like Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest is like my discipline devotion–he’s not afraid to tell me like it is, even if it does make me flinch sometimes–he has a way of getting to the core of any idea or belief that is not of God and exposing it.

“Have we been slandering God by daring to worry when He has said, ‘Seek he first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you?’

By worrying, I am pretty much telling God I don’t trust Him and I believe He means to leave me in a lurch, despite all that He has done and how often He has shown me the opposite.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid…” John 14:27

I woke up Saturday feeling worse. Despite Oswald telling me to trust God, I was miserable and couldn’t help thinking of the worst. I think it was because I had taken my last dose of the prednisone that I felt like let me function—and my neck was killing me. Motrin, narcotics, nothing was helping but heat. (Nate should have been a doctor–he took one look at my posture on the couch with my cell phone and diagnosed it–text neck!!) We had arranged for the boys to have their pictures taken Sunday and Logan still needed his first haircut. His hair was getting so long my daycare provider’s husband started to tease me when I was going to get it cut. As Nate attempted to hold on to Logan at the beauty shop the ER called for me. One of my cultures had grown out strep. They added on another antibiotic after I told them I was still feeling pretty crummy. In less than 1 minute this phone call resolved my worries and reassured me. Then I found this page on the internet that explained more about strep pneumonia and it made so much more sense.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-does-it-take-so-long-to-recover-from-pneumonia/2016/12/30/cc4f9ca6-b5ad-11e6-b8df-600bd9d38a02_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.465f94fff9c1

By letting my heart be troubled by worries, I am telling God I don’t believe in His promise, or His character. “His peace is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest…” Philippians 4:7

Sunday night.

Dear God,

It was a good day today. Put together the chicken noodle soup blog post, spent time with my boys, Nate was ecstatic his new plow worked beautifully with his tractor, then Chelsea came out and took pictures of the boys. I pray for healing–I’m ready to get back to normal & see what You have next for me. I love Sarah Young’s message this morning–

“When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, you cannot hear My voice…”

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand…” John 10:27-28

Amen…

Everyday Life

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I don’t know why but for some reason when my mom tells me I should do something, my initial reaction is, “yeah, yeah…” Whether this is just a bad habit left over from being a know-it-all teenager or needing time to digest it for myself, I’m not sure. But in the end her advice is usually golden and as much as I hate to admit it, she is right.

Last week I was miserable. Mom told me I needed some good old fashioned chicken noodle soup to help boost my poor immune system. I am not a good cook, at all…I usually leave this to Nate and bake the cakes, cookies, etc instead. I actually made her Facetime to walk me through how to boil the whole chicken (organic…while talking to her at the store she made me put back the whole chicken that was on an amazing sale and pick this one up instead).

She walks me through how to clean out the non-existent gizzards (well, I thought it had a gizzard but turns out I was just trying to remove the neck from the ribs…whoops.) It boils until the meat falls off the bone and I strain the water. Once the meat is cooled I pull it from the skin and bones, throwing the skin away and the bones into another bowl. I put the meat back on the stove with fresh water and add the ingredients she wrote down for me:

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I let it simmer until it’s ready. I really haven’t had any appetite but it does smell good. I threw the bones into the crockpot with a little cold water and apple cider vinegar to make bone broth.

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The soup itself is finally ready and we eat. My oldest is a picky eater but he inhales it and asks for more. My youngest is not a picky eater and can’t eat it fast enough!

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I let the bone broth do it’s thing for several hours, then strain and put it in a mason jar. I drink some of it from a mug and it might just be my imagination and wishful thinking, but I know I seem to feel a little better. Later I warm up the leftover soup–it’s a little dry so I add the bone broth and it is perfect.

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Maybe moms do know what they’re talking about after all…

Everyday Life

Killing Me with Mercy

I can’t deny it anymore. I don’t know what it is, but I know things are happening. I have never been an ER patient before, and this morning was my 3rd visit in 3 weeks. God is going to get my attention, one way or the other…

He Knew Me before I was Born…

For some reason God has always called to me, even as a little girl. Like I’ve mentioned before, I was not raised in a church-going family. My mom had a framed scripture hanging up in our kitchen, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” And I remember opening a Christmas present early (a nice outfit) because I wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service with my godmother at the Lutheran Church down the street. I received a Precious Moments Bible for Easter one year and I remember the pictures being so reassuring to me. My Aunt Sandy gave me my first diary, and ever since then, as long as I was writing, I was okay. Even back then I had the Lord’s Prayer written, on the left hand of the picture below.

It’s so fun to read some of the things I wrote back then. I read some of them to Dillon: “Ryan is such a pest! He does everything just to annoy me!” And together we giggle at my dramatic 7 year old self. “Nobody cares about me or ever gets me anything! Ryan gets everything! It’s not fair!” And literally the next line in the same entry reads, “I got a kitten!”

I felt compelled to put all my diaries together, chronologically. Trying to see where I veered off track for 13 whole years. I was actually surprised when I realized how many there were, and how therapeutic journaling had obviously been to me throughout my life. As long as I’m writing, I’m okay.

My Test of Faith

My last journal isn’t pictured. My last entry I’d written is interesting to me, dated March 5, 2005. I had been listening to one of my favorite songs at the time, Misty Edward’s “Simple Devotion”. I knew I was at a crossroads. “I’m at such a weird place, God. I feel like I’m no longer a baby Christian, but I haven’t been really growing either. I know there are plans for me…I wish You would bring a girl into my life that’s my age who can help me grow and I could trust [my best friend was away at college and my other friends were in different seasons–motherhood, moving away, etc]. I feel torn…we both want this godly relationship but we’re not sure how to go about it. We act like we’re married, but we’re not. I keep getting this idea of time apart…I know when we first started going out I had made a promise that I woudl be single for six months to a year, and I didn’t really go through with that. Are You calling me to go through with that?”

Slipping Away…

The sequence of events after that is kind of fuzzy. We kept dating. I started school to become an LPN. We had a lot of fun together, and with our friends, but they weren’t our church friends. We enjoyed each other’s company, but we didn’t include Him.

Through a set of circumstances the military is well known for, we were forced to make a decision…either separate or get married. He had gotten orders overseas for a year, and then would relocate away from Montana once he was back stateside. If I wanted the military to pay for me to go, we would need to get married, and soon. So we did.

People ask me what made me stop going to Church. It wasn’t a big dramatic moment, but a series of day to day choices to make other things a priority over spending time with God. It was no single moment of, “I’m not going to go to church anymore!” It started as, “I need to study…I can read my Bible later.” “I’m so busy, I just need to skip church this week.” It was a series of choices to put whatever earthly things I was caught up in first, before God. Yes, I was busy with school, but I had plenty of time to go out with my friends after, to the bar. Yes, I needed to study, but I also somehow managed to binge watch an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy. Then one day I realized how distant He had become, and instead of turning to Him, I turned away, uncomfortably pushing away my shame by tucking my Bible further out of sight.

Realizing I Need Him…

Fast forward 13 years, and I’ve realized instead of saying, “Yes, God, I hear Your whispers and I will admit I was wrong and come home…” I have stubbornly tried living life every way I can without Him, and even though I have everything that matters most to me–Nate, my boys, my family, my home, my job, my art, I have nothing without Him. Because even with everything going for me I was still so unbearably empty I needed to drink 3 boxes of wine a week to anesthetize that void, and in my worst moments of weakness, struggling with feeling maybe it would be best to just…slip away to end that haunting ache. I wasn’t joyful, sad, mad, or any other emotion. I was just going through the motions, empty.

I would like to say I have no regrets, but I do. I regret choosing anything over God, and in the process, hurting someone a whole lot more than if I would have chosen God to begin with. I regret missing out on all that time with God, but I also believe He knows me better than I know myself and He already knows what my life will bring, and so knew what choice I would make. I think He knew I wasn’t strong enough to get out of my own way and to just trust Him, so he led me to Nate, someone he knew would love me enough to let me be myself, flaws and all, and would love me enough to have no issue with me going to Church once I found my way back to Him. I’m sure sometimes Nate wonders who this person is that he married…he’s only ever known career-focused, family-loving Jen with wine as my vice of choice.

A side note: I know God will use my story for His purpose, and I would love to be able to reach young women who might not realize they’re looking to boys for their self-worth when they should be using all that amazing time to learn everything and anything they want—explore the world, see where your fascination with spelunking or surfing or fishing or orb weaving or whatever lights the tiniest spark in your soul. To see that there is such an amazing world out there, and all of the drama of middle/high school, cliques, and boyfriends just isn’t that important in the big picture. There are so many better things to focus on, to get your self-identity from! And whatever really makes you passionate–well, that’s your soul leading you down your path. Once you get married and especially once you have children, your time is no longer your own. Being married is a blessing, but so is being single!

He Leaves the Ninety-Nine…

I stumbled on art journaling in 2004, thanks to Pinterest, and was immediately hooked. I was starting to find my way back to writing again, but in a more exciting way of trying to understand what I was feeling. Looking back, it’s so painfully obvious, but when you’re in the middle of it, it just feels like you’re drowning.

But He is mighty to save, and He has a plan…I’ve written before what happened the night (February 15) that I was home sick and stumbled on Kelly Rae Robert’s art courses. That I decided to sacrifice my wine for her class and felt my soul leap.

So technically my last drink of wine was Valentine’s Day, February 14. I’m not counting steps, I don’t classify myself as an alcoholic, I just found something better.

But ever since I started on this journey in February I have been sick. I have worked in nursing homes and hospitals for the last 16 years and I have never been this sick. It started Valentine’s Day with a cold. No big deal, Robitussin for the cough, rest, get better. I loved watching Kelly Rae create her work as I laid on the couch, her words comforting and loving. I got better, but still had the dry hacking cough that just persisted, annoying enough for my co-worker to notice but not annoying enough to pay much attention to.

Then the ER visit for that pain in my RUQ abdomen that seemed to have spontaneously resolved. Is it from the Robitussin and cough drops I’ve been living off of? I don’t know but at least my liver is still functioning.

Then last week I started getting sick again, incapacitating headaches that aren’t touched by Motrin or narcotics, fevers, chills, night sweats. My dad makes me go to the ER Sunday and I’m diagnosed with pneumonia and started on antibiotics. I see my primary provider the next day, he adds some medicine to help with the cough. I take my Zpak faithfully and I just don’t feel like I’m getting better, and the steroids are messing me with my mind and emotions. I spent the first day on cloud 9, cleaning and cooking and dancing with Logan. Then spent most of yesterday crying as I watched Kelly Rae Roberts’ create her beautiful art…I laugh as I cry but I can’t help it.

In between her videos I consult Dr Google, trying to figure out why I have been sick for so long, and realize I might have consumption (tuberculosis). All the symptoms fit to my prednisone addled brain. This morning I wake up, drenched, I can feel my heart palpitating again and I know I’m getting dehydrated again. I have a peace about it as I wake poor Nate up to tell him I’m going to the ER.

He’s already missed too much work from me being sick to stay home with the boys and I call my dad and Brenda, who come right out, at 4:30 AM. Dad takes me to town as Brenda stays with the boys and Nate goes to work. I ask my dad if I’ve ever been this sick. He shakes his head no.

A Quick Lesson in Humility

I get the same nurse as last time, and my conversation with my mom echoes in my ears. I don’t really care for this nurse…strikes me as gruff and her bedside manner needs a little polishing, and to me it’s hard for me to answer her questions. I had talked to the ER manager about my experience last time, the good and the concern, ideas I had as someone on the “other side” instead of being the ER nurse, and noted how much progress they’ve made, how hard they’re working to become the best. He explains to me she’s new to Montana and new to nursing, which kinda surprises me; she carries herself differently–more confidently.

She’s efficient as she does her assessment. I speak up and tell her I wear hearing aids, and especially with the mask I have a hard time hearing her. She immediately speaks up and I can see her demeanor change. I talk to her as she starts the IV & gets the labs going. I compliment her ballsiness to move to Montana, away from her family, for a job. She’s meeting people and exploring Montana, and this makes me happy. I tell her she comes off a little condescending sometimes, but I have no doubt she is developing into an excellent ER nurse. She looks at me with surprise.

She had no idea how she came across to me, and her being a new nurse, she wasn’t able to chit chat like a more experienced nurse would. She was task oriented–carefully focusing on starting the IV when a more proficient nurse would be able to smoothly go through the motions, etc. I was way too hard on her and this was my lesson…for assuming she was looking down on me when actually, she was just trying to do the best job she could with her experience level. We don’t know where people are coming from, or their backgrounds. They probably don’t even realize how they’re coming across, and I was slipping back into my habit of making things about me that aren’t.

A Sight for Sore Eyes

She left at 7 am and my soul danced as Donna walked in. Now this is an experienced nurse…flight, charge, she’d seen it all. I always say she’s forgotten more about nursing than I’ll ever know. She’d also scared me witless when I first met her as I started on her shift and she was my charge nurse. She could be gruff and could easily give the impression she might not really care for you. What I quickly realized working under Donna was she has a heart of gold and if you want to get her to smile you just have to tease her a little. Donna did her eloquent nursing dance, getting things in order and picking up on things with her constantly assessing eyes, making sure I was comfortable, checking on my dad, without me even really noticing all that she was doing.

The doctor comes in and I’ve worked with her before…I’ll be in good hands. Whatever she tells me, I know I will trust her and not start down more rabbit holes of hantavirus, tuberculosis, and whatever crazy maladies Dr Google likes to taunt overwhelmed sick patients with. She listens to me and lays out her game plan. The pneumonia is still there, but it’s getting better. Follow up with the chest CT scan in a few months to make sure it’s resolved. Follow up with my primary provider. Continue my medications, and rest. She tells me I’m sick, and this pneumonia isn’t just going to go away overnight. It’s going to be a while getting back to my baseline, and to give myself time to get back to normal.

As my dad and I drive home I realize I don’t even know what my baseline healthy is anymore. If I wasn’t drinking a few times a week (in the beginning, when I fell away from church), or pregnant, or drinking a lot (after weaning Logan), I had been sick since February 14. But during this time (as all my ramblings detail) God has shown me He is right here, working behind the sciences, and He’s waiting for His prodigal daughter to come home…a friend got me hooked on this song, ‘Reckless Love’…

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me

You have been so, so good to me

Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me

You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me

You have been so, so good to me

When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up

Mountain You won’t climb up

Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down

Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

Whether being sick was His way of drawing me back to Him before I could slip away again, I don’t know. But being sick has forced me to dig up diaries, to be still and realize all that I have in the last few months. And what I’ve realize is the more I boast about my weaknesses, the stronger He becomes in me, and the more people respond to Him.

For when I am weak, You are strong…

As I was almost done writing this post, I looked out the window to this as Misty Edwards sang “Killing Me with Mercy”, her lyrics describing the way I feel perfectly as I gaze up at this spectacular cloud (this picture has no filter/edit aside from cropping)…

God is so good.