Time & Struggles & Unfeigned Faith

It’s been almost three years since I last posted in this blog. Even longer since I wrote something of substance, or did more than post a graphic. I wish I hadn’t let it be so long. I wish I had kept up with this blog – my way of journaling.

So a lot has changed since I posted in July 2015. I was working in a nursing home/rehab facility – and I’ve been working in a hospital since May of 2015, full-time since July 2015. I love nursing, and I’m learning a TON on the med-surg/ortho floor I’m on. So many different types of illness, injuries, and elective surgeries – and I get to help the people admitted here feel better. I get to teach them how to take care of themselves when they get home. I get to be a part of their lives for a small period of time – just a small moment in which I have to make a difference. A song here, a prayer there – it all matters, all adds up. I continue to try to be the Light for those who don’t know my Jesus.

I am hoping to go back to school soon, and get my RN. It’s now a requirement of my hospital, actually, so I HAVE to go back. It’s good, a time limit will keep me from making excuses. Even better, once I go back for my RN, I won’t stop (I hope) until I get what I really want – a Master’s of Science in Nursing with a Concentration in Pediatrics, and Nursing Education.

As for church – we’re in a new building now! We’ve been there a little over a year, now, and are slowly but surely renovating it. I will be SO excited once the Sunday School finally has a permanent place to meet! Bible Quizzing has also started back again, and we’ve had some real accomplishments and successes! I started it back up again as Head Coach, and now am in charge of Beginner Quizzers. That’s the 5-8 year olds – and it is a challenge, let me tell ya! But the level of challenge is directly correlated with the degree of excitement when they accomplish their goals. I love my kids, in Sunday School and Bible Quizzing, and am so excited for what God is doing! We are having revival – in just the last 4 months, I believe, THREE little girls have received the Holy Ghost, all under the age of 9, and two of them 6 yr olds in the last 2 1/2 weeks! Others are SO close – it’s only a matter of time! There’s been a mighty powerful move of God lately, here in the Northwest Indiana area.

How about me, personally? Well, I’ve had my ups and my downs. I’ve struggled. But, I’m still pressing on. Still keeping the faith. I’ve had reason, lately, to remember the poem, “Footprints.” And yet, though I fail Him often, He’s still there every time I utter His Name.

Today was a hard day for me. I have been dealing with sickness since Sunday, so four days now. Other things were weighing on my mind, too, and I was so upset, so discouraged/depressed – or so I thought. Because as soon as a phrase from a song was before my eyes – and it wasn’t the same song I know, just a line that was similar – I automatically started singing the hymn, and immediately I felt the presence of Jesus, His peace calming my spirit.

Sunday, we read a verse that has really stuck with me. You know how you can read a verse many, many times, and it never makes an impression until, one day, it does? That’s what happened here. It was in II Timothy 1:5: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” 

Unfeigned faith. I’m not there, not yet – but I desperately want to be. I want to be Eunice – the women whose mother was filled with unfeigned faith, and whose child was recognized by the Apostle Paul and having unfeigned faith, and who was full to the brim with unfeigned faith, herself. I don’t kid myself – there will be days I will struggle with the fleshly tendency to think and believe and feel the worst. There will be days when I have to really fight to get through the discouragement. But isn’t that what faith is? Pushing through, despite the immediate evidence, because you know there’s something better to come?

If so… then maybe I’m learning my unfeigned faith now. I will get to the point that my faith-muscle is strong enough to handle every struggle that comes my way – because I know that my Spotter is right beside me, lifting the bulk of the weight until it is something I can handle. That kind of correlates with what else we were taught in church on Sunday – the things we go through are designed to build our spiritual muscles. Just like when someone lifts weights, they don’t stay on the same 5 pound weight forever – they start small, and add more and more weight.

How does this compare to faith? You know the saying, “You can’t have a testimony without a test?” You can’t build muscle without a struggle; you can’t build faith without having a reason to have faith. Each time you work out, you have to change-up the routine, add more weights, or your body gets used to the workout and you don’t get stronger. In the same way, if you only ever face the same tests, pretty soon, your faith will get weaker, because it’s used to the current struggle. That opens you up to being vulnerable to the enemy.

Unfeigned faith. It’s going to be a workout, for sure, and there are days I’m going to be as “sore,” spiritually, as all get-out; but I don’t want to be the one depending on the strength of others. I must have my own strength, rooted in God’s strength, if I’m going to survive.

Unfeigned faith. What a goal!

 

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Why I Left the Apostolic Pentecostal Church

Be sure to read the whole thing, all the way to the end. These, and others, are the reasons that I believe what I believe. Amen and amen!

The Land Called Beulah

I have seen many people write blog posts and websites explaining why they are no longer a part of the Apostolic Pentecostal church (also known as the United Pentecostal Church (UPCI), Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship (WPF), or the Oneness/Jesus-Only Church). So I decided it was time that I write about why I left the Apostolic Pentecostal church as well.

My only request is this: if you choose to read part of this post that you read all of it.

I was determined I would be an Apostolic Pentecostal til the day I died. I loved the church, I loved living the holiness lifestyle, I loved the Bible, I loved God.

But one day the discussions started. Some family members showed me several reasons why the Apostolic Pentecostal church was wrong and why I shouldn’t worry about being associated with them anymore. And one day, I reasoned, “They’re right.” So I left…

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A Prayer for My Friends

As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my friends to keep
Give them peace and joy tonight
And sweet dreams till the morning light
When wake they all from their rest
I pray the Lord, help them do their best
Give them strength to do what’s right
Help them lean on Your great might
And when the day draws to an end
I’ll pray for you again, my friends.

God bless you! I love you all – whether I know your name or not, God loves you, and because He does, I do, too!

Philippians 4:6-7

Dad

It’s been three years. I know that he is in Paradise. I know that he no longer has pain, or his sugar going too low, and no more worries about his heart. I know he gets to listen to and join in the praises to Jesus every day. But I still miss him.

The man I called “Dad” was not related to me by blood. He married my mom when I was 18. I had very firm ideas of what should and shouldn’t be, and I made it very difficult at times for him, I know. But that didn’t change his love towards me, or his acceptance of me as his daughter. Our relationship grew very close over the years. At times, we were angry with each other, and at times, we were so in sync with each other’s thoughts that we knew exactly what the other would say. He taught me, just like a father should. I learned how to check my oil and transmission fluid from him. I learned a lot about salesmanship from him. I learned a whole lot more than that, too. He was a wonderful husband to my mom – she loved him so very much, and still does. I know that he loved her, too. I think that was one of the things I loved and appreciated about him most – how he loved my mom.

I didn’t know him growing up; I was graduated from high school and going to college when I met him. But, he helped me to grow up. Like most teenagers, I thought I knew it all, and didn’t hesitate to share my opinions. He wasn’t perfect – I know he had little patience with my strongly-held and stubborn opinions, but he tried his best and did what he could to help me understand. He helped shape who I am today.

I still remember the shock of finding out that he was gone. The sorrow of knowing he was no longer able to share time with us here on earth. But then I think about the fact that he got to see Jesus face to face before I did. He doesn’t have to watch the things going on in this world, because he’s already in Heaven. He already graduated to real life, and we’re all still here, plugging along, learning how to live before we get to Opening Night.

I will never forget you, Dad. I love you, and I miss you. I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with you. I am so very thankful that you accepted me into your family. I am, and will always be, proud to call myself your daughter, and glad that I get to call you, “Dad.”Dad

Look What the Lord Has Done

This song was going through my head:
“Look what the Lord has done!
Look what the Lord has done!
He healed my body! He touched my mind!
He saved me just in time!
I’m gonna praise His Name!
He’s every day the same!
I’m gonna praise Him!
I’m gonna praise Him!
Look what the Lord has done!”

No matter what’s going on – good, bad, ugly, whatever – God is good! I’m so very thankful for a God that is in control, that can see the past, present, and future, and has promised to always work out things for good (Romans 8:28)!

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle – we can only see the one little piece that applies to us, and maybe the pieces immediately surrounding us – but God can see the big picture, and He alone knows what the end product is supposed to look like.  What an incredible Lord and Savior!

God is Awesome Period