In the Car with Jesus

[Originally written August 13, 2013]

I am sitting in the car with Jesus.

Car is an understatement. It’s a black Lamborghini.

When He picked me up this evening, I didn’t know it was Him at first. I expected Him to pull up in a dinky little beater…but tonight He is pulling out all of the stops for me and I don’t know what to do with myself.

The plush leather seats are delightfully comfortable and because He is driving, I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. Jesus looks very handsome in His tux and I am dressed up in a sparkling blue, green and gold sari that He gave me last night.

I don’t know where we are headed but it’s definitely someplace fancy.

He smirks a little at me when I ask Him and just shakes His head…not giving up the secret and keeping me in suspense.

I sigh and lean my head back against the soft headrest.

He reaches across the seat for my hands and envelopes my clammy appendages in His warm and gentle grasp. “It’s okay, Beloved,” He says in a soft voice. “Tonight is going to be beautiful.”

I give Him a wry smile. He knows me. He knows the worries and anxieties in my thoughts.

He knows how I struggle to trust Him even when He is right next to me.

Why do I have to be this way? Why can’t I just enjoy this ride and believe Him? I can feel in my being that tonight will be out of my comfort zone. Something in me just knows.

Jesus knows, too, but He’s my biggest supporter and He has set everything up, so I know He’s not going to let me stumble through whatever what is to come brings. He has set me up to flourish because that’s who He is and that’s what He does best.

But the unknown has always killed me…and I’m trying my hardest to rest, but I can’t do that well, either. It works for a second and then fades into frustration, questions, and tears. I don’t want to cry. Jesus doesn’t deserve that. He deserves my joy and a vast excitement for whatever He has for me.

I am overwhelmed and trying to act beyond myself and focus on Him…He is so handsome, so capable, such a sweet friend in every way.

He is my best friend. He is like my brother and He takes care of me like my Father. He knows my thoughts before I know them myself.

But it’s as if something, or someone, keeps tapping me on the shoulder and whispering doubts into my ear.

Thoughts of “What if?” and “He’ll leave you eventually” and “What if you turn around and He’s not there? What if you can’t see Him? What then?” cause me to problem solve in my head before I even know if it’s a legit problem. This is a good quality but it is being used in a bad way. It’s like I’m planning for that moment when Jesus will let me down, because He’s too engrossed in someone else.

Which I don’t realize can never be the case, because Jesus loves me way too much. I never feel so cherished as when I’m with Him.

But in that instant I let those doubts creep in just a little too much. The Lamborghini rumbles to a halt at a stoplight and I quickly grab my cell phone, open the door and step out, ignoring Jesus as He says, “Beloved, what are you doing?”

I stand on the sidewalk, looking into a park, and hear the car pull over to the side of the road, the tires crunching softly on the gravel road.

By this time I’m already on the phone, but I hear the driver’s door shut and know Jesus is behind me, as always, patiently waiting for me to turn around. I can’t do it yet. I have to get some clarification.

My friend answers and before she can say more than hello, I blurt out, “I don’t know what He’s doing. He won’t tell me. I don’t know what to do or what I’m supposed to do. I’m getting frustrated.”

I can feel I have pained Jesus behind me, but I keep my face toward the park, refusing to look at Him. My friend sighs on the phone, and quietly asks, “You know He loves you, right?”

I sigh in response as well. “Yeah, I know.”

“He wouldn’t do this on purpose unless this was something He is really excited about. He wants to surprise you. And you love surprises. Why are you having such a hard time with this?”

“I don’t know,” I respond, my stomach sinking. “I just have all these doubts. I don’t know why I have them, because they don’t make sense. I know Jesus’ character, I know He loves me, I know He has an amazing surprise in store, and I want to love the suspense, but it’s stressing me out. I think…I think it’s because somehow I know that this surprise is really important…that it’s going to affect my life and the course of it, and while that’s exciting, it also makes me really scared. I don’t know if I’m ready. But I’m so impatient and I want to know now so I can be prepared. But I also know that’s not how it works. I want to trust. I’m just scared.”

My friend simply says, “I think you answered your own questions. I’m going to let you and Jesus talk about it,” and hangs up the phone, leaving me, head bowed, feeling shameful and embarrassed.

That’s when I feel Jesus’ strong arms wrap me in an embrace from behind.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I just got scared. I know I don’t have any reason to be scared, but I did, and I’m sorry.”

He lays His head on top of mine because He is so tall, and He doesn’t say anything for a minute. Then He pulls my around to face Him and touches His finger to my nose in a loving, understanding and yet playful manner.

“I know, Beloved,” He says. “I’m right here and I always will be. I will always have an answer for you, and I always have the very best for you, but I won’t always tell you things beforehand, because I want to surprise you. You can’t know everything and you can’t ruin every surprise. Let me be a gentleman. Let me take you on this ride. Please trust me and let go and enjoy it. For me, okay?”

My eyes water because this guy loves me way too much – so much more than I feel I deserve, and yet He’s told me over and over and over again that I deserve every bit of His affection.

He’s crazy. I can’t accept that quite yet – but I know we need to move on – so I allow Him to hold my hand and usher me back to the car.

He opens the door for me and I climb back in.

Hardship and Perseverance

Hardship—it is a force of nature. It delights in creating problems.

Strife, Anxiety, Frustration and Fear are Hardship’s trusty fellows. They council each other and decide the best methods with which to attack the unsuspecting, the weak, the weary.

Hardship then descends onto the scene suddenly and without warning. Its sole purpose: to overwhelm to the point of certain disaster. It is most successful when the subject is completely thrown off guard. Surprise attack.

Yet there are times when the Hardship hits its own wall. When Perseverance stands guard—this is when the battle begins.

PERSEVERANCE
Steadfastness in doing something despite
difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Perseverance’s friends, Truth, Faith and Encouragement stand to each side…and Hardship is faced with its first difficult challenge: a sure loss, if Perseverance is allowed to prevail.

You see, Perseverance’s success is marked by the person it represents. If that person sees the battle cannot be won, and thus refuses to listen to Truth, Faith and Encouragement, then Anxiety, Frustration, Fear and Strife are able to rush in and take over. But if the person chooses to listen and take the first step toward Perseverance, then that is all the room needed for Hardship to be overthrown.

There is a Reward at stake. The Reward is worth it. It is strived for, fought for, cried for, yearned for. Whether it is a mighty dream or an unexpected mountain, the treasure that Reward represents, as a result of perseverance in the face of hardship, is beautiful. It is a place of Contentment, Peace and Joy.

Perseverance is well-equipped to fight the great fight against Hardship and is able to prevail at all costs. Because the prize is worth the battle. And the prize was promised from the beginning. It has been assured. It has been won.

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Perseverance wins neither easily nor swiftly, but with great deliberation. It is only by the person’s choice that Perseverance is allowed to win.

Note: the use of the word, “allowed.” Perseverance was always created to win. But Hardship is a devious and devout liar, trying to stifle whatever forward progress is made through the aid of Perseverance. Yet with the help of Truth, Faith and Encouragement, Hardship is guaranteed to be pushed back—step by step—until it can stand no more. This is a Reward in itself.

When affronted by Hardship’s deception, each person must choose to allow Perseverance to win the battle with Truth at their side, trusting their Maker to make all things clear one day.

This promise is for all mankind.

Perseverance

Photos from Pinterest.

The Chase Is On!

“Don’t let the worries of tomorrow chase you through today.
Just do what I’ve told you to do TODAY.”

Cambodia

You know those things the Lord whispers into your heart...that sink deep into your soul? Yeah, those were His words to me this morning.

Oh how my mind can run in so many different directions!
It leaps and bounds this way, then that way.
It stops for a second, as if to catch its breath…than rebounds with increased frequency.

No wonder I am so tired by the end of the day. My thoughts twirl endlessly inside my skull, bouncing and spinning and running over each other until I don’t know which way is up anymore.

Talk about a big headache.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…do not fret—it leads only to evil.” -excerpts from Psalm 37:7-8

DSC02856 - Version 2I have a love/hate relationship with being still. I yearn for it when I’m in the middle of crazy. Yet when I finally get there, I find myself wanting to find a distraction because I know I have deal with myself and come before God to apologize for not trusting him, again.

Stillness brings focus. Suddenly the stuff I’m worrying about
(aka “not trusting Jesus about”) I am more able to lay at His feet.

My brain is on overdrive and it cries for rest. It needs to peace of its Creator. We weren’t meant to deal with stress. Our bodies protest. Things like pain and sickness and exhaustion all are a result of stress.

Stress doesn’t trust the Lord. Stress strives.

The perfectionist in me comes out this time of year. I want to be intentional. I want to get the right gifts. I miss my friends because I’ve been so busy these past 6 months with travel and settling into work, and at the same time I want to spend all the time with family that I can, because in the coming years, being together will look much different.

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I’ll be honest. It’s just a very weird season.
God never stops changing us, and I love that about Him.

I think I didn’t expect this to be so hard. It’s starting to sink in, the fact that my parents are leaving.
I’ll blog more about that later, so stay tuned.

God has been whispering to my soul.

Grace. Rest. Peace.

I need to accept the fact that rest is okay. This season is okay. I need to have grace for myself, too. I’m not going to let my worries chase me. Instead, let’s chase the worries back with grace.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I am constantly reminded of this Christmas season, “Let it GO!”

I’m with the King

So this afternoon I sat down with my Bible and a cup of coffee…it’s been a long few weeks and I just needed some time to myself. It’s raining outside, and sometimes these are the perfect days for rest. I felt like this time was just for me and God, and I really wanted it to be. I haven’t been doing a super great job at spending time with Him lately…so I just knew I needed some time to sit with Him, read His Word, and relax and soak Him in. Sometimes things that you’ve read over and over pop out at you differently all of the sudden, and today was one of those times.

I decided to read Romans 8. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but it was cool. 🙂

One thing that really stood out to me was where it says that through the Holy Spirit we are sons of God, “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” That’s like little kids running up to their fathers and saying, “Daddy! Daddy!” God wants that kind of relationship with us (I’ve been hearing this over and over lately, so that really resonated with me). But then it goes on to talk about us being co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Jesus is God’s son, and through Jesus’ death on the cross, when He defeated sin and rose from the dead in victory (can I get an Amen!), that in that moment, when we accept that gift, we become sons and daughters of God, beloved brothers and sisters to Christ, and become God’s heirs. WHOA baby. Hold up a sec…say whaaaa…? That’s incredible.

So then I was just sitting there and soaking that in. The idea ran around my head for a bit…Jesus as my big brother, the big brother I never had. The one to tell me that I am beautiful and cherished and that He loves me and will protect me like any good big brother would his little sister.

I like that idea…it makes me smile. 🙂

Then something popped into my head. A vision, a thought, a whisper from my Savior – a story, a dream, a poem of sorts. I wrote it into my journal and felt like I also needed to share it with you.

Here goes.

[Him]
Every part of you is mine.
You are perfect – made in My image.
You are the daughter of the King,
beloved sister and co-heir with Christ.
You enrapture me with your beauty.
You can walk confidently into any room,
knowing I am beside you, walking with you.
Always with you.
I’ll never leave you.

Then this came.

[Me]
I walk into a room full of people dressed in finery, and I instantly feel unworthy to be there.
I don’t fit in.
“I’m with the King,” I tell those who ask, which should boost my confidence,
but the more people ask, the more I question whether I should be there at all.
I’m not worthy. I don’t fit in. My dress isn’t pretty enough.
Then it happens.
The dancing begins.
But they won’t let me into the ballroom, because no one believes me and the King is nowhere to be seen.
I’m blocked from going inside, and I begin to doubt everything about myself.
Who am I to think I’m worthy of love and forgiveness?
I stand in front of the doors to the ballroom, confused, ashamed, and alone.
The guards ask me to move aside, and that’s when I feel His hand slip into mine
and the other fit tenderly around my waist.
“No, let her through,” he says tenderly, His eyes locked onto mine,
His beautiful face smiling in delight that I am here. His presence and command over the room is so immediate that everything and everyone stops and stares in amazement
as He takes my hand and says, “She’s with me.”
His gaze captivates me, my feet float on air as I follow Him onto the dance floor.
Nothing else matters but Him now.
“I’m so glad you came,” He says. “You are stunning. You are perfect.”
As He holds me close on the dance floor, His eyes sparkle and He flashes a grin.
“And best of all, you’re mine!” His smile grows bigger as he says,
“You’re beautiful, beloved. I am the King and I love you. I have redeemed you.
Be bold and confident in that, beloved. I am always with you.”
I can’t speak, so I nod and put my head to His chest, no words needed, and together, we dance.

 

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

The song below fits this perfectly. “I Love the King” by Beth Croft.

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