NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

A Cure for Fear and Ability to Forgive

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So there was a bombing in my neighborhood last night. I didn’t even know it had happened till friends started texting me. Then I saw the news. It was weird. I’ve heard plenty of stories about bombings or attacks around the world, my country, state, and even my city. But this one hit close to home. I told my friends I was safe, but part of me didn’t feel safe anymore. I went to bed with helicopters circling overhead and the knowledge that I wasn’t allowed to leave my home until daylight while the police and FBI investigated.

It’s hard to feel like your sense of comfort and security is taken away. But as I thought and prayed about the situation, I was reminded again and again of God’s presence. He promises to never leave or forsake His children. His love drives out fear. His security never fails and even in the midst of these bombings, He is in control. I can’t see all that He sees and I don’t know exactly what He’s doing. But I know I’m not alone and that I belong to Him and I’m safe with Him. He doesn’t promise I won’t face hardship, pain, grief or suffering. But He promises to be with me through it all. And that knowledge gives me hope and peace.

And so my fear has subsided, and my trust and faith in God has been built up. And even though whoever is doing this should be caught and stopped, I also know that whoever it is needs Jesus too. We all need His peace, comfort, love and forgiveness. Just as Jesus forgives and redeems, I want to forgive whoever did this. So, yeah, I’m still processing what’s happened but I thought I’d share my feelings. Maybe someone else out there needed to hear this today.

So if you’re scared, spend some time with Jesus. If you’re worried, rest on His promises. And if you’re facing an enemy, choose to forgive, just as Christ forgave.

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Response to Hardship

This past week has been crazy busy with all sorts of things, big important work duties, a friend’s wedding, my brother’s birthday. But then yesterday, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. My mom started having severe nerve pain that just would not stop. Sometimes it was so bad she started crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mom in such pain. Add onto that work stuff frustrating my Dad, and pet concerns worrying my sister and I suddenly felt like I was stuck in the middle of multiple spiritual attacks.

But in the midst of it, I felt like God was telling me to just worship Him. To take my eyes off of all the problems and fears and worries and stress and just worship Him. So I started singing, I started meditating on scripture, and I grabbed my Dad and asked him to pray with me. Not all the problems went away. My mom is still in a lot of pain, my sister still has pet issues and I’m not sure what to do to help. But I felt a sense of God’s peace, when I stopped and worshiped last night. And I want to hold onto that. Even in the midst of storms, He is present. Even when life is hard, He is still good. Even when you don’t see a way out, He has a plan. I’m learning to hold on to Him and trust Him for myself and others.

So I’m still in the midst of the storm and I’d appreciate the prayers. I’m so thankful that I can ask my brothers and sisters in Christ for help and support. But I’m also in the arms of my Loving Father and I trust that He will bring me and my family through this current trial.

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Finding Dory and Worry

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I got to see Finding Dory, finally. I loved Finding Nemo and I’ve been waiting for this sequel for forever! Anyway, I noticed in the movie that Dory is very worried about her short term memory loss and that she will forget something important. And then I read this article about someone who deals with anxiety by keeping herself distracted and doing all these things to keep her busy. And then one of my good friends was in a car accident and she’s been dealing with all of the crazy stress and thoughts of why this happened to her. So anyway, I thought I’d sum up all my thoughts on these things in one blog post.

So here it goes. First off, if all you want to know is how Finding Dory compares to Finding Nemo, then it was great! If you loved the first movie, you’ll love the sequel. There are old characters that still make you laugh and a lot of new characters that are just as charming and hilarious. I definitely saw some similarities in the storyline to the first film. But there are enough changes to this movie, that it’s not a problem. I loved that we get to see Dory’s past, especially since she had forgotten what it was in the first film. It was great to see her piecing together her history and where she came from and who she is, but also realizing that her current relationships are just as important as her past ones.
Now I don’t want to ruin the movie for any of you out there who haven’t seen the film, so I’ll just leave you with a preview:

But as for the bigger picture, Dory, along with all of us, can get caught up in life and what is happening now and forget to think about the big picture stuff, like why are we here? What’s our purpose? Does my life really matter? I think these kind of questions can sometimes cause anxiety if we never address them.

And the article I read brought up some similar points and mentioned other negative thoughts that people who are anxious have running through their head. Here are some of the thoughts that I found familiar:
“You’re not good enough.”
“You’re a bad friend.”
“What are you doing with yourself?”
“You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it.”
“Everyone else has it together but you.”
“So many people have it tougher than you.”

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So whether you’re dealing with a traumatic event, or just the everyday busyness and life’s little problems, anxiety can trap us. We get stuck thinking negative thoughts and we need to stop. Dory “just kept swimming” to deal with this problem and focused on just doing the next thing. And the lady in the article I read suggested taking a second to stop and be still.

But what I’ve found is that no matter what situation I’m in, the best thing to help me not be anxious is taking my problem to God. Remembering that He is in control, He is good, He has a plan, and He loves me puts those negative thoughts back in their place. They are lies and attacks and I don’t need to listen to them. As I turn my gaze to the One who loves me, who died in my place, who has good in store for me and will never leave me alone or abandon me, I find a peace that transcends understanding.

So I hope this post encourages you today.

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Why Do I Spend Time Alone with God?

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Growing up in a Christian household and in a Bible church, I have learned from a young age to have a “quiet time” with God. As I’ve grown up this time has gone through the phases or being a chore, a learning experience, a comfort, and a joy. It’s also changed as I’ve grown and matured. When I first started having a time by myself with God, I was focused on reading the Bible. That seemed to be the whole point. I was supposed to read God’s word in a quiet place and maybe make some notes about what I had read. It was similar to doing homework that my teachers had assigned.

But I clearly remember one year in high school I decided to read the whole Bible in one year. My Bible came with a handy little reading guide in the back, and I used it to read the whole thing. Well, when January 1st came I had done it, I had finished reading the whole thing. I got out my Bible again and my little sister asked me, “Why are you reading that? I thought you finished it.” And I realized that reading the Bible is a lot more than just reading a book. The point isn’t to read the whole thing and then put it back on the shelf. It helps me get to know God, it shows me what He’s like:His character and feelings. And it shows me what needs to change in my own life.

Well, on top of this reading of God’s Word, I had the clear impression that I was supposed to pray, or talk to God during my “quiet time.” Kind of like God’s Word was what He said to me, and prayer was my response to Him. So most of my time with God involved me reading, then righting down notes, and then writing out a prayer to God.

I found that after that year of reading the whole Bible, that if I ever took a day off from reading, life just seemed more difficult. I didn’t have a good attitude about things, and I didn’t feel right. I also remember a few specific times when I was really upset about something and decided to pull out my Bible to read, and found a sense of comfort and peace.

Thus I learned that a time alone with God wasn’t so much a requirement to being a Christian, but a way for me to handle all that life threw at me. No matter what crazy project I had to finish, or big decision that had to be made, or drama that was going on with a friend, I could tell God about it in my time alone with Him and know that He was listening. He cared, and as His Word promised again and again:  I was not alone, He was in control, and He was going to work everything out for the best.

This past month, I have been learning more about spending time alone with God. Our church has been practicing the discipline of Prayer and Solitude. I might have thought that my past years of learning meant that I wouldn’t get much out of this discipline, but it has been exciting for me to see how much joy and happiness is found in God’s presence. During this month I got to spend 10 days setting aside 30 minutes to just talk (out loud, which is not normal for me) to God about anything and everything. It was amazing how much more at peace I felt and how much closer to God I was after these times. Then early one morning I got to go to a park and just sit in God’s creation, marveling at all He had made and what it showed me about Him. During this time I also read His word without being in a rush or facing distractions. I had no where to be, no responsibilities to be mindful of, and I truly enjoyed just being with God.

In addition, this whole month I’ve been reading a book called “Happiness” by Randy Alcorn. This book has been almost a daily reminder of how much God loves me, how He wants me to enjoy Him and be happy in all that He has made and given me. It was truly a blessing to be reminded constantly that God wants me to be happy and can actually give me that true happiness in Himself. And spending time alone with Him is a big way of how I enter into that happiness.

So anyway, that’s what God has been teaching me recently, and I thought I’d share it. Maybe this can inspire you to spend some more time alone with God and enter into His happiness and joy.

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