Jesus Invites Us To Come Just As We Are

Do you ever feel useless? Perhaps you’re limited physically or emotionally and can’t do what your heart really wants to do? Maybe you see others so busy helping others, but you have no energy to get out there yourself?

Charlotte Elliott knew what that felt like. Her carefree life began in 1789 but drastically changed in her early thirties when a severe illness devastated her life. She spent the next 50 years of her life as an invalid in terrible pain, weakness, and exhaustion.

She began to blame God for making her a prisoner. Depression cast a deep darkness on her soul. Her anger turned to bitterness.

One day a Swiss evangelist came to see her. He talked of peace and joy and read God’s Word to her. She lashed out at him and God, and he told her she had become bitter and resentful. God convicted her, and she confessed that she didn’t know how to come to Christ. He counseled her, “You have nothing of merit to bring to God. You must come just as you are.”

That day became a turning point in her life as she grasped onto Jesus as her Savior. God didn’t take her affliction away, but she knew she had the Anchor of Hope to hold onto, and that He would give her sufficient grace.

Still, she sometimes struggled and became depressed. She felt so useless, especially when she saw those around her always busy with some service for God.

The night before a charity bazaar her family prepared for, she couldn’t sleep because of deep distress. Doubts ravaged her spirit. Had God rejected her?

The day of the bazaar, she was alone at home, confined by her sickness. All the distressing thoughts of the night hit her again. She knew they could only be conquered by the grace of God. As she gathered up the promises of God in her soul, she recalled the words from her spiritual mentor to come to Christ just as we are.

She then, at the age of 45, penned the words of a much-loved hymn – “Just As I Am.” Later on, it was published and has been a comfort to many souls of God’s unconditional love for close to two centuries.

A woman who felt useless was used by God for far more people that she ever knew. Still today, her words spread hope to the hopeless that God wants us to come to Him just as we are, resting only on the blood of Jesus that He shed for us.

Do you see Jesus’ arms of love stretched out inviting us to “Come!” No matter how useless we feel. No matter how hopeless we feel. No matter how rejected we feel. He desires to wrap us in His arms of bottomless, unconditional love and free grace. It’s not about what we do for Him. It’s about what He has done for us.

“For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith — and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God — not by works,
so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

“Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
– O Lamb of God, I come!”

Grieving and Giving Chronic Illness to God Who Cares

I don’t write about it much, but I’ll admit I do get so weary sometimes of chronic illness… Shortness of breath, persistent coughing, tight and sore bronchial airways, aching in my bones, draining energy, brain fog, and recurrent bronchial infections that flare up my sarcoidosis, a multi-system inflammatory disease primarily affecting the lungs.

Through all losses, we need to go through a grieving process, don’t we? Even when we have health limitations. Sure, it helps to look at others we feel have it so much worse, but I’m learning that only leads us to dismiss or minimize our health issues. Then we start to do more what others expect of us than to care for ourselves. We end up draining ourselves.

We need to allow ourselves to believe we have a problem so we can do what will help, not hinder, our well-being. We need to work through any feelings, like anger or depression, that detriment our health. To mourn the things our hearts long to do, but our bodies don’t agree to. To grieve over the pain of others not understanding us. It’s okay not to feel okay.

God invites us to unburden any and every hurt in our hearts, even when we feel upset at Him for not healing us like we want. He desires for us to allow His grace-filled arms to hold us up, His compassion to console us, and His unconditional love to release the pressure we put on ourselves.

No matter what we suffer from, Jesus empathizes with us and cries with us. He has experienced every kind of suffering imaginable, so He understands. Because He suffered for us, we don’t have to be alone in our suffering.

It can be so hard though, right? It’s a process that recycles over and over again. But God is not going to abandon us, even when it feels like it. His character is the very essence of love and faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I have not posted this to gain any pity. I’m just trying to be real. It’s something I really need work on. I usually have this automatic answer when most people ask me how I am – “I’m fine! How are you?” I try to be strong in front of others, and I end up paying for it. I’m not meaning we should wallow in a puddle of self-pity and expect everyone to sit there with us. We can be honest about how we feel but still, through God’s grace, seek the beauty all around us.

I know there are many who compare their suffering with others’ and feel their suffering isn’t worth mentioning and think they should just be thankful for what they have more than others, myself included. I write this with a prayer that even one reader will feel less alone and will realize Jesus deeply cares and understands. He doesn’t measure one suffering to be worse than another. He waits with open arms and ears to hear each of us pour out every pain of our hearts, minds, and bodies.

“Praise You In This Storm”
by Casting Crowns

 May God give you strength and hope for each day!

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

whatsnewcutecolorsplantline1

GOD HEARS
by Newsong

“But there is hope, my friend
You will sing again

‘Cause God hears when there are no words to speak
God hears when your sorrow runs deep
And it feels like all your faith has disappeared
God hears, God hears…”

cutecolorsbutterflyline

ccjesusloves

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “A” Word:

❤︎ Abiding Love ❤︎
“We have come to know
[by personal observation and experience],
and have believed [with deep, consistent faith]
the love which God has for us. God is love,
and the one who abides in love abides in God,
and God abides continually in him.

1 John 4:16 AMP

bearreadingbook

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray

“A unique 40-day devotional detox that will guide you to a place of intimate rest. Be the beloved.”

If you have not yet read my review, you can find it here.

cutecolorsj7

Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up His permanent post as High Priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

💞  Unshakable Hope  – Read Bill’s amazing testimony of the grace of God and how God is using him to minister hope to others in the midst of the heavy trial of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill says, “This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace and joy in the midst of a trial is to view our life and situation through God’s eyes.” I am linking to a particular blog post as it has a link to the interview he and his wife, Mary, had with Moody Radio.

💞  31 Days of Hope for Moms – “In 31 Days of Hope for Moms, we will be taking a look at some of the common challenges of mothering younger children (disorganization, frustration, depression, behavioral issues, the marriage relationship and more). We will be seeing what the Bible says about these situations as well as talking about many practical helps for pressing on with joy during this beautiful season of life!”

💞  How to Find Hope in the Midst of Suffering – “We often will not know what our hurt is accomplishing, but Christ’s death is our guarantee that God won’t waste a tear. Our tenacious belief in a relational God who is good is our only hope through and in our hurt. But this tenacity doesn’t come from us, for we are extremely weak. Tenacity is achieved by very real nails driven through very real wrists on a very real cross. And today Jesus prays for us without ceasing before his Father and we are filled with the Holy Spirit to suffer as well.”

Nature Retreat

“Nature is not a place to visit.
It is home.”

~ Gary Snyder

The top four are recent photos from my brother, John, in Arizona. The bottom three are photos taken when one of my sons, Glen, and his wife went to Cancun, Mexico.

American Coots

An American Kestrel with a Zebra-Tailed Lizard

Tarantula Hawk Wasp
You certainly don’t want to get stung by one of these! They have the worst insect sting in North America and the 2nd worst in the world. They also paralyze tarantulas and lay an egg on them for the larva to eat and grow.

Quatu

My son said these quatus ran around looking for food. They would line up at a garbage can and would take turns climbing in, one at a time, to find something to feast on.

A Sunrise in Cancun

🐾  10,000 Birds – “Welcome to 10,000 birds, just the place for people who love birds, pictures of birds, and people who write about birds, birding, conservation, and much more.”

🐾  Animal Expressions – I love this! Not all the photos are wild animals, but I’m certain they will bring some smiles into your day! “A look at the interesting faces of all kinds of creatures and different forms of communication among the species.”

🐾  8 Animals You Won’t Believe Actually Exist – Very interesting! This is a 6-minute video of rare animals many don’t know exist.

cutecolorsplant1c

Quotes

❤︎ “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment. ~ Napolean Bonaparte

❤︎ “I place no hope in my strength, nor in my works: but all my confidence is in God my protector, who never abandons those who have put all their hope and thought in Him. ~ Francois Rabelais

❤︎ “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

cutecolorsbutterflyline

signature3cutecolorsplantline1