Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wow

Wow.  Happy twenty-eleven.  I didn't even realize that it was a new decade until my pastor at church tonight said it.  Wow.  For some reason, 2011 suddenly makes me feel old.  =P

Anywho, speaking of church--wow again.  It was amazing tonight.  If it was possible for anyone to try not to cry (in vain) in church for just about the entire service, it was me.  It was about faith.  And this New Year's, that was special to me.  2010 was a crazy year to say the least, filled with good and bad like every year is.  But my mom has been sick with Meniere's desease (vertigo attacks, hearing loss, ringing in her ears, lack of balance, general head blaahh-ness) since October 2009 and has been basically bed-ridden for a lot of the time since then.  It's only been the past few months that she's actually been able to get around more, and she still doesn't feel well all the time.  But God gave her a word--I believe it was sometime in the summer--that New Year's was when she was going to be completely restored and healed.  7 months of sickness, 7 months of restoration (ever notice that God has a special thing for the number 7?).  Anyway, having faith in her complete healing is a difficult thing when it's been going on so long and so hard.  So the sermon really hit home with me.  Trials are not for God to see how much faith we have--he already knows that.  They are for us to see how much faith we have, and to strengthen it.

Then there was this passage, which I've heard/read a gazillion times, but once again, it struck me differently this time.  It's when Jesus asks his disiples who people say he is, and the specifically askes Peter what he thinks.

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."
~Matthew 16:15-17

And wow--do you realize what that means?  That means that God himself revealed that very thing to me--me, Jennifer Noelle--personally.  I didn't learn it from flesh and blood, but from my Father in heaven.  Wow.  I'm amazed.  I never really considered that before.

And then, there was this song.  It was written in the late 1800s by Horatio Spafford, a man who had recently lost his 4-year-old son and been ruined financially.  He and his family were to travel to Europe, but he sent his wife and four daughters ahead because he was detained by business.  During the crossing, the ship collided with another vessel, and Spafford's wife was the only one to survive.  On his trip across the Atlantic to meet his wife, Spafford passed near the spot where his four daughters died and was inspired to write these words.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

Talk about faith.

Anyway, that was all stuff that I wanted to share.  It meant a lot to me.  I've never really liked the idea of New Year's resolutions.  Making a decision at this time of year is no different from doing it at any other time, really.  So what's the big deal?  But this year, I've realized that it's such a good place to start, to commit, to put out the effort to make the beginning and see where the Lord leads you.  I've never had a real New Year's resolution in my life.  But every year at Christmas, I give a birthday gift to Jesus, and that's basically my resolution.  Only better, because I'm committing it to him.  ;]

This year, my gift to him is to focus on keeping my "God-box" open.  We all have boxes of things that fill our lives: some that we think about very little, and others that consume our thoughts constantly.  I don't want God to just be another box that I get to every once in awhile.  I want him--I need him--to be the big box that all my other boxes are placed in.  The ultimate.  And I want that box to be constantly open to him in an effort to hear him better and glorify him more.  That includes spending more time in the Word.  I used to be so good about reading my Bible every single day, but the habit has slipped recently.  So here I am, promising not only to read my Bible every day, but if possible, in the morning, so I can really start my day off with God-time and not shove it aside.  And yes, I started this today, though it was quite in the morning because I got up veerrrry late after a night of partyin' with my wonderful friends.  (:

That being said, there are various other things I'd like to accomplish this year...

-stretch (possibly even exercise sometimes!) every day
-practice flute more consistently
-not be jealous of other people's possessions, gifts, etc. and instead be grateful for all I have and have been given
-spend more time with my little sisters just loving them
-stop cracking my knuckles--why is it SO HARD?!
-buy myself a camera, finally a really nice camera
-do more vocal exercises to strengthen my singing voice
-love my brother more
-forgive more easily people who have hurt me
-learn some HTML
-memorize Scripture
-realize and acknowledge the fine line that designates when teasing goes too far
-stop worrying so much about what other people think of me and concentrate instead on what God thinks
-be an encourager
-experiment on photoshop more often so I actually figure out how to use it
-aaand countless other things of course

There's no way I shall be able to accomplish half so much without God's help.  Also, it would be good for a little dedication on my part since all things are easier said than done.  Feel free to hold me accountable to any or all of these things!

Finally, friends...God is so good.  I've had some rough times this past year.  Some really good times, don't get me wrong, but the rough times have definitely been there too.  But God--wow, he just loves through it all.  He never changes.  He's always there for me to go to, even when he knows I don't do it nearly often enough.  I serve a great God.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
~John 16:33 

2 comments:

  1. I now feel as though my post lacks depth... :p

    How beautifully insightful though!!! I <3 you!

    I also have managed to/been forced to figure out quite a bit on photoshop these last few years. Between Ruthie and myself you should have all the help you need at hand. :)

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  2. Ah yes, Jenn....we still need to have photoshop sessions together. :)

    Nearly everytime I sing "It Is Well With My Soul" I tear up just a little bit, because of the incredible story behind it, but also the sheer humility and gratefulness that Horatio Spafford had during a *really* hard time. It puts my "problems" in perspective.

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