Thursday, November 22, 2012

Listen.

Darkness surrounded me.
Each direction I turned was a vast unknown.
"Hello?" My own voice sounded alien to me.
I stumbled forward, crying out for help.
I can get through this.
I can find the way out.
I WILL find the way out.
Another step.
Something sharp cut into my side.
Wetness oozed from where I'd bumped into whatever blocked my path.
I'm alone. Completely alone.
I don't know where to go!
There's no way out.
Hopelessness began to overtake me.
Surely there was no direction in this emptiness.
I didn't stop moving forward, fearing if I stopped I would be trapped forever.
A distant voice.
"Hello?" I called out, but the sound of my own footsteps drowned out any answer.
I continued forward, inflicting more injuries upon myself as more unknown obstacles blocked my path.
"Stop." The voice was quiet, barely audible.
I paused for a moment.
The silence was terrifying.
I needed to hear something, if only the sound of my own footsteps.
I started forward again.
But paused just long enough to hear the voice once again.
"Stop."
I stopped.
The voice called my name.
Softly, barely loud enough to hear, but definitely my name.
I wanted to move forward, but stood still. 
The voice was comforting.
"Listen," it said.
Listen? Listen to what?
"Listen to me." 
The voice had read my thoughts.
The voice was growing louder. 
Still soft, but gradually easier to hear.
I strained my ears and listened.
The voice called my name again.
This time so crystal clear it was almost as if the speaker stood right beside me.
But I felt no fear.
I knew the speaker could help me.
"Take my hand."
I blindly reached out and felt a firm grip.
Then, slowly, I was led forward.
Guided through the darkness.
The going was painfully slow, but each time I tried to go at my own pace, I would run into something in the darkness.
I let the hand lead me.
I did not speak for fear of not being able to hear the voice when it spoke in that soft, reassuring tone.
After what seemed like an eternity, the darkness began to fade.
I stood in an open field.
The most beautiful field I had ever seen.
I still held the hand of the one who had led me out.
I gazed at his face.
It was Him.
I knew Him, thought I had never seen Him.
"I was in there for alone for so long, why did you not come to help me sooner?"
He smiled.
Then I knew.
He had been there with the whole time.
While I stumbled and fell, He was by my side.
By my side, calling my name.
But I had let my own voice drown out His.
I had let my own impatience to get out of there cause me to not see what had been right with me the whole time.
If only I had listened sooner.
If only I had stopped relying on myself and my own direction.
If only I had stopped, and listened.
But I had listened, it just took time.
And I was determined to listen from this point forward.
He called my name.
This time I heard.


     It's so easy for us as Christians to ignore the voice of God and instead listen to ourselves. 
Sometimes we just need to stop...to stop and listen to God. To seek His guidance and follow HIS footsteps. 
     So often we call upon God for help, but don't listen for an answer. 


Psalm 91,
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling—
    even the Lord, who is my refuge—
10 then no harm will befall you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Content.

     "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." -Phil 4:10-13
     It is so easy for us to be discontent with what God has given us, or with the situation in life He has placed us in. The past week or two have been really tough for me, a lot going on that's just broken me down. Yesterday was kind of the 'tip of the iceberg' as it were...mostly my own thoughts bringing it about. Then, through a series of events I started thinking about how much I had been blessed with-about how so many people close to me were hurting in ways much bigger than mine. In how much others has lost...and yet, through it, so many of them were still praising God.
     Today during womens bible study at our Church I was working in nursery...one little boy started 'pretending to make some food' after he 'made it' I would 'eat it'...then I 'accidentally' started to 'eat' the plate too. Of course it was gross so I made a face and acted disgusted. He thought it was pretty funny...so he made me 'eat' another plate. Within about 2 minutes I had a crowd of at least 5 kids standing around 'feeding me' plates, cups...all the non-food items they could find and laughing hysterically each time I got grossed out after I tasted it. There only thought in the world was have funny it was to watch me get grossed out. They were happy. Completely content. If one so little as those can find completely joy in something as simple as that, how much more should I be able to find joy in the HUGE things I've been blessed with?
     God has blessed me and incredible amount. I have every reason to be more than content. Even if everything I know and love is taken away, I still have reason to be content...still have reason to be praising and thanking God.
     ...Those are just my thoughts of the day...I want my life to reflect Christ in everything I do, I want His light to shine through me. That's not going to happen if I'm thinking only about what I want or think I need.
     Today, I am content. I am thankful. I am blessed. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

6 months...


Today marks exactly 6 months from the day that changed my life forever.
6 months from when my sister, with tears in her eyes, came in and said, "Clareesa, you need get on facebook." It was there I learned a very dear friend, Joshua Steven Eddy, slipped into the Rogue River and was missing. At first it seemed impossible to believe he could really be gone...I kept telling myself, praying, they would find him and he would be fine. But when I saw the post that the search had been called off, I knew he was gone. Sometimes reality takes awhile to sink in, for me...it didn't take any time at all. I remember screaming-because it was all I could do-then crying for nearly 3 days straight.
Those were the most difficult and painful days of my life-and I can only being to imagine the pain felt by the Eddy family and those closer to Josh.

Now, half a year later, there are still days when the pain comes just as it did 6 months ago and I find myself asking "Why, God???" but the answer always comes right away: 'It has been in God's holy will and plan from the beginning of time.'
He knew Josh would go out there to take a photo, he knew Josh would slip, he knew that day would be Josh's last day on earth.
Both Josh's life and death have been an amazing testimony to me, and so many others, of what a life solely seeking Christ looks like. Everyone who knew Josh can testify that he impacted their lives in a huge way.
I often find myself smiling...then I realize I'm thinking of a memory of Josh.
Today, half a year after he went to be with Jesus, I'm not asking 'why'...I'm thanking God for placing Joshua Eddy into my life...for the perfect amount of time. :)

Part of an email Josh once sent:
"Sometimes it's so hard to see how God uses the hard parts of life to shape us into the Christ-bearers that we are intended to be. If you can trust that God really know what He is doing, He will use you for things that would've been impossible had you taken matters into your own hands. No matter how crazy your life may seem, and no matter how bleak the future may seem, follow His voice and guidance. He really does know what He is doing and He does have a plan."

You couldn't have said it better, Josh. Thanks for leaving an awesome testimony...for so many. Miss you. :')