Reflections: Past, Present, and Future

Looking to the Past, Present, and Future

As I reflect on this past year, often my heart was so deeply troubled about things that are happening in our nation and in this world. The truth that often kept me going is that God is still in control. He always has been and He forever will remain the King of the World. We don’t always see visible evidences of His love and grace, and it sometimes seems that evil prevails. But God will always be the ultimate Victor. He’s got us. He will never abandon us. He is always with us, working towards our good.

As I gaze into the new year, I know God will always remain faithful. He has helped me this far and He will hold me up through whatever happens this year. My desire is to more deeply trust Him and His plan and to fully embrace His unconditional love. The more I embrace His love, the more naturally love will pour out to others around me.

As for the present, I want to embrace every moment. I want to open my eyes more to the blessings right in front of me, the beauty God gives each day.

Past, present, future. No matter what happened or will happen to us, God’s faithful love endures forever. We may not always “feel” like He loves us, but this truth still stands. May we hang onto this hope each day!

“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

Most Visited 2018 Blog Posts

Sometimes when people hear I write blog posts, they ask, “How many followers do you have?” I shrug my shoulders and say I don’t know.

Years ago, I was too concerned about numbers, and I still fall into that trap sometimes. People approval still lurks in my heart far too much. I remain a work in progress…

Though I don’t check anymore how many followers I have, I do once in a while check which posts are read the most. It’s evident there are many hurting souls who need hope in this broken world. Who long to feel like they matter. Who long to feel understood and not feel so alone.

This 2015 post has been the most read post for the past three years. We may feel so broken, like we’re not worth anything, but God loves cracked pots. His love can shine through our brokenness!

God’s Love Can Shine Through Our Brokenness

This next 2014 post has been the second most read post for the past two years. In 2018, it nearly tied for 1st. Questions I still sometimes ask God. It seems I daily need to be reminded of His whispers of reassurance to these doubts and fears that trouble me. I love God’s compassion and patience with us! He invites us to ask Him anything, and He never condemns us! There is no one who knows us and understand us like He does!

God Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

My Hope For Each Of Us
May We Remind Each Other Often

He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands

On New Year’s Day, a song came to my heart – “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I listened to it on YouTube and found another rendition of it. I still love the traditional song, but I love this one even more, because it speaks of how good God is, how His love will never stop, and how every person of every color is wonderfully made and precious in His sight.

I have watched and listened to this song several times since then, and every time it makes me want to dance and sing with these young people. I’d do it if I could without getting short of breath or coughing. πŸ™‚ But I still do it in my heart! And each time, God breathes strength into my soul. Yes! We are in His hands of love this year and always! What better hands could we be in, right?

Butterflies of Hope: I Am With You Always, My Child

As I walked a nature trail towards the beginning of summer, memory triggers swept through my heart and left me desolate, alone, and afraid. Help me, God! I’m sinking fast!

Lift your eyes and look around you, My child.

I tried so hard to see His love and care in His creation around me, but still those memories of past pain and betrayal kept sucking the life out of my soul.

I sat down on a bench, tears ready to gush forth, my soul pleading for strength and comfort. My eyes lifted and my heart gasped with wonder. A butterfly flew in front of me along with God’s whisper – I am with you always, My child. Then another one flew by as if to confirm God’s promise.

As I walked back to my van, my heart was still heavy with grief from the past, but a hope arose in my soul that God would again get me through this tough spot.

God graciously continued to send me reminders throughout the summer. When my heart was despondent as I drove home from the doctor, one flew a couple of feet in front of the windshield. As I reclined in my chair, feeling sick and drained of energy, one fluttered past the window. And many other times, as one flew by, I had to smile as a calmness seeped into my soul.

One day I told some of my grandkids how when I see a butterfly it’s like God is whispering to me – I am with you always, My child.

“Boy, Grandma, He must have really been yelling it then when we went to the butterfly house!” Lexi said.

One of my counted blessings this summer was when one of my granddaughters, Lexi, asked me to go to the butterfly house with her. πŸ™‚

Some butterflies had broken wings. God helps the broken to fly! πŸ™‚

Butterflies convey God’s message of hope to me, and I’m awed how often He sent them to me this summer. But I’m trying to remember His promise isn’t any less true when the butterflies don’t come.

“And be sure of this:
I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

The promise of God being with us doesn’t come and go like a butterfly. He has promised He will be with us, and He will be, whether or not we can feel it.

Yes, it can be so hard to grasp and hold onto the promise of God’s faithfulness with our weak and shaky hands. But it’s a comfort that even when we can’t hold on, He won’t let us go. He will hold us up with His victorious right hand!

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Faithful”
by Sarah Reeves

“Even when I cannot see, You are moving
Even when I cannot hear, You are singing over me
Even when I can’t hold on, You won’t let me go
You are faithful, You are faithful

Hallelujah
My soul will sing
Hallelujah
You are good to me
You are faithful, always faithful…”

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 graceΒ you have been saved,
through faith β€” and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God β€” 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!”