Faith-Full Friday, freedom, peace, Stephanie

Faith-Full Friday Happily Ever After

And they lived happily ever after…

Friends, have you ever noticed that fairy tales always end just before life gets real? The princess always rides off in the moonlight with her prince charming after sashaying around a ballroom for a bit. Fairy tales end with smiles and celebrations. Every. Single. Time.

But life doesn’t end like the fairy tales we probably all watched and some of us even read as children, does it?

Anyone remember the sinus surgery I had in March?

Unfortunately, my body is not responding to the surgery, or my body is rejecting the surgery? I’m not even sure how to appropriately phrase what my body is doing, but nevertheless, I am now on a 30-day round of antibiotics to try to kill a new sinus infection.

This intense usage of antibiotics has led to additional infections, which means that I’m on additional medications to fight the additional infections.

And I’m also taking probiotics in gummy form and liquid form to keep the antibiotics from causing “messy and complicated gut issues” (one of my doctor’s words, not mine) since the “good” bacteria are being killed off by the antibiotics….

Are you keeping up?

I also take 2 allergy medications. I’m pretty sure “Sleepy” from Snow White was on one of these medications. There are mornings that I cannot get myself out of bed before 8:30. I mean that literally, friends. I physically cannot put even a toe on the floor because I’m sooooo exhausted to begin my day. Like breathing exhausts me.

And yes, I do take this particular medication in the evening so that I can hopefully sleep it off, but that doesn’t always help. The other day I actually thought, “Should I be driving?” At almost 10 the medication still hadn’t worn off.

The other allergy medication (or maybe it’s the liquid steroids I snort through my nose twice a day) may be causing mood swings. Or maybe it’s just my 42-year-old hormones. Reality check (Are these “checks” even necessary? I mean, really). I’m getting older, and there is a lot of “crazy” that comes with getting older. I’m actually on another medication to try to even out my fluctuating hormones, but I’m sobbing a lot right now. Like I’m sitting at the dinner table and tears are dripping onto my chicken nuggets and fries (because I don’t have any energy to actually cook something that may actually give me more energy. This actually makes me cry). My crying is so common now that my boys don’t even acknowledge it half the time. I’m glad I can bring some consistency to their impressionable lives.

Did I mention that I FEEL so. Incredibly. Exhausted? Is it bedtime yet?

I can see the humor in my life, but if I’m to-my-core-honest with you, friends, I’m only able to type this right now because God is carrying me. He really is. For whatever reason, this season of life FEELS unexpectedly devastating to me right now.

And I am somewhat isolating right now, friends, because I’m not sure what to do with these hurt feelings that just won’t go away except take them to Jesus. And what’s particularly perplexing is, really, why does my life FEEL so upside-down right now? (Head scratch now).

But God! (Shout out to my dear friend and encourager, Melissa Evans, who reminds me of this almost daily).

Friends, I so deeply believe in the CROSS and the FREEDOM, the victory, that it offers me if I choose it—freedom from feelings that are lies, freedom from shame and condemnation for feeling the feelings in the first place, freedom from thinking that the pain in my physical body will keep me from living life for the glory of God, freedom from thinking that my life will never change and there is no hope….

But in spite of those sometimes heavy feelings, I’m freely living happily ever after because:

  1. God knows what I need and what is best for me far better than I do.

I included this verse from Matthew (and Luke actually) in my Monday Mayhem Fairy Tales post:

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV)

I’ve been reading this verse with fresh eyes lately. You see, friends, the verse doesn’t say that God will give me everything that I ask for. The verse actually says that God will “give good gifts” to those who ask. In other words, he will give me the best because He alone knows what that is.

  1. there is a “gift to the grit,” a “reason for the season.”

I heard “gift to the grit” from our student pastor at Temple, Scooter Murphy, in his “Dark Horses” message. Although I’m not sure I see my “grit” as a “gift” all the time, I completely trust that there is a “reason” for every “season.”

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV) reads: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Some call it pruning, others, molding, still others, sanding. Whatever you call it, there is learning and growing in all seasons of life. And this current trying season of my life isn’t excluded. My relationship with Christ is strengthening as I lean into Him more and more. The more I endure and persevere, the stronger my faith and the greater my hope.

  1. feelings are temporary, but the truth is forever (HOPE is found!).

Friends, are you noticing how much I’m referring to my feelings in this post? Though feelings are God-given and often create positive thoughts and actions, the feelings I’m talking about for this post are straight from the flesh, that part of me (like my feelings) that rebels against God (For some great discussion on the flesh, read Overthrow by Jennene Eklund). My history shows that my flesh has led me astray time and time again; it cannot be trusted.

The Bible teaches me to follow the One who never changes, regardless of each change in the weather.

1 Peter 1:24 (NIV) says, “for all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls.”

All of my feelings must be compared to God’s truths, where hope is found:

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4, NIV).

The truth is that God has made a promise to “…prosper [me] and not to harm [me], plans to give [me] hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

I’m clinging to that.

  1. I am eternal.

Friends, this is not my home. There have been several days lately where that phrase has been on repeat.

I have an eternal perspective (Again, Overthrow by Jennene Eklund):

“I consider that [my] present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in [me]” (Romans 8:18, NIV).

AND

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12, NIV).

Hallelujah!

I’m living a fairy tale, friends. I’m my own Snow White, my own Cinderella. Each went through her fair share of trials and tribulations, and each had her happily ever after, but my happily ever after is so much greater, much happier friends. Because even though Jesus never promised us a rose garden, He still wore the crown of thorns. My happily ever after is with the King of Kings.

I leave you with one of my new favorite verses from the Bible that was originally spoken about Mary, the mother of Jesus:

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to Her” (Luke 1:45, NIV).

Pray with me.

Heavenly Father,

I pray we rest in Your truths, always. I pray we remember that You are “…able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to [Your] power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). I pray that even in our trials and tribulations, we remember that You know what we need far better than we do, and You only provide what is best; that there is a “gift to the grit,” a “reason for the season;” that feelings are temporary, but the Truth is forever; and that we are eternal beings and this is not our home. Help us to stand firm on Your words, Father.

In Jesus’s Name,

Amen!

Have a good weekend celebrating the father(s) in your life! Meet you back here on Monday to see what Jamie has to say about freedom.

Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco

 

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