The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Tag: faith

When God Meets You in Your Meltdown: Grace for Ladybug

I was angry, hurt and feeling helpless.

I could feel the emotional meltdown swirling within me and I had to get out before I made the whole house cry.  I slipped on my coat and hurried out into the cold.  Spring snow was crunching beneath my feet as I walked down the driveway.  While I walked, I let the accusations fly.

“I’m not happy God!  I don’t like this.  You can change it, yet you do nothing!”  I was reaching four year old tantrum status quickly, “It isn’t fair!  Are you punishing me?” I yelled.

All my emotions released into the cold crisp air.  “I’ve done everything I was supposed to do.  I waited for you, and you never responded!  And you know what else?  I think it’s really crappy what’s happening in the Smith Family.  They’ve love you and follow you and have prayed…They have a little boy, you know.  He’s so young!  How could you let death into their home?”

I could feel the tears welling up as my anger gave way to my sadness.  I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring out, so I stopped walking instead.

“Where are you God?” I whispered sadly.

Suddenly I became aware of his presence near me.

“I thought you cared.  Don’t you love us anymore?”  I was crying now and while deep inside I knew that he did indeed care and that my verbal assault was unfounded, I let the words inside bubble out.  Instantly I felt Him silently wrap his arms around my shoulders.  “Don’t you have anything to say?”  I asked.

“I’ll wait,” He answered quietly.

“Wait?!  For what?   For everything to totally fall apart?  Are you waiting for me to say ‘you failed me’?  Well, I feel like you failed me God.  It isn’t one thing, its everything!”

I grimaced a little at my own words, still…now that I was being honest about my feelings; something told me that the LORD would see it through.

“I realize it isn’t fair to accuse you, but that’s how I feel.”

“Do you think Job felt that way?”  He asked softly, referring to a familiar book of the Bible.

“I don’t want to hear about Job.  And, you know what?  He got a crappy deal too.  Everyone says that Job was blessed in the end but no amount of money could make up for the children he lost.  It doesn’t add up.  You allowed the one thing that could never be replaced to be taken.  How could you do that?”

Gently He responded, “Are you done yet?”  His question rang out with a cautionary flair.  I was going a bit too far.  Stillness surrounded me.

When I answered my voice was barely above a whisper, “I don’t know,” I sulked.

For a moment we were both quiet and perfectly still, but he didn’t leave me.

Finally, God broke the silence with the same still quiet voice he had been using our whole conversation. “Look at the snow at your feet.  ‘From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the water becomes hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? (Job 38:29, NIV) Do you know the laws of the heavens? (33)  Do you send lightning bolts on their way? (35) Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?  Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? (39:1Would you condemn me to justify yourself? (40:8)’  Do you not know that I love you?  Will you not trust me to take care of your daughters?  Do you think I have forgotten the Smith’s little boy?  I created them.  I formed them and I hold them in my hands even now.  I know what they need.  You love them, but you have no idea how deep and how wide and how high my love for my children is.  Can you love them the way I can?  Can you see the promises I’ve laid out for them?”

He was silent then, but, I could still feel Him standing beside me…waiting.

“Why do you love me God? Why do you pursue me?”  I looked up to the clouds and whispered, “I’m sorry…It just hurts so badly.  None of it makes sense, but it hurts.”

“I know,” He said sadly, “But, I’m not the enemy.”  A quietness found us once again, but this time it was a contemplative silence.  Then he said “Do you trust me?”

Thoughtfully, I looked back across the yard toward my front door, “Yes.”

We walked back toward the house and I knew something had changed inside of me.  I knew then that he did hear me and that he cared.  I knew that he had spoken to me gently when he could have squashed me.  He didn’t respond at all like an angry God, but kindly, more like a very compassionate parent.  A parent I frequently was not.  All at once, I knew that I could trust him with my family’s future.  I knew that he had been waiting for me to put down the facade and admit my anger and fear.  I knew that he was with me and that I didn’t need to be afraid.  I knew that God had met me, even in the midst of my meltdown.  There was a peace that came then; a quiet assurance.  As I turned the door knob and re-entered the chaos within my home, I quietly whispered, “Thank you LORD.  Thank you for loving us.”

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Hope for the Disconnected Heart

I haven’t written anything in several weeks.  Somethings are hard to explain.  Somethings are hard to process.  Life isn’t an easy cake walk where you stroll along to the beat and, once in a blue moon, collect a prize just for trying.  Some roads you walk alone and it seems like there isn’t a soul on this planet who can understand exactly what’s going on inside.  It’s a messy journey and at the end of the day we can find ourselves tired, broken down and terribly disconnected from the world around us.

As a Deputy’s wife, a special needs Mother, a Christian, and a contemplative soul; I have found myself disconnected from the people in my life on a variety of levels on more than one occasion.  The result is my own internal spiral into silence; an awkward quiet where I desperately want to speak and connect and show you my heart but where instead only silence, or worse, inadequate words bounce around in the distance between us.  My quiet attempt to save you the awkwardness, and me the verification that we are walking different paths, can leave me stranded at sea while the cruise ship goes celebratorily sailing by.  The voyagers wave at me and I smile and wave back as they pass, and though I want to call out, and though I want to say, “Throw me a rope”…I can’t.  I even mutter that “I’m ok, just out for a swim.”  There are no words for deep sorrow and turmoil.  There is a hope that “this too will pass,” but also there is no explaining it; there is only silence.  There is only watching, and waiting, and feeling and silently screaming in the dark and wishing someone could hear it.

I want to be connected.  I want to be, not just seen, but understood.  I want to know that someone out there is bobbing in the waves, just as I am.  There is comfort in thinking you aren’t alone in the deep dark…but sometimes…you are.

And it can be easy to miss in someone like me.  I’m social, outgoing, and laugh easily.  I can find joy and humor even as my heart breaks.  It isn’t a mask; it is genuine joy in sorrow.  Optimism is easier to show the world, but it isn’t always the whole story and getting the other half of the story out is a much more difficult endeavor.  It isn’t me hiding; it’s me unable to communicate what’s turning inside.

So where does a heart deeply stranded and isolated find an anchor?

Where does a soul like mine grab hold when the waves are crashing and life makes no sense at all?

Where do we turn when there are no words for the brokenness?

Who can we trust?

I need to know, and maybe you need to know…

Because the looming question is…

If I let the waves take over, will I wash up on shore or drowned in the sea?

I can’t explain all of the sources of my grief here, but they do find me in multiple areas.  Some circle around, some are fleeting, and some simply take time to heal.

The really important thing is:  I do have an anchor.

I’m tied to something that keeps me from getting washed too far out into the ocean.

I’m tied to a source of strength that always pulls me back in; little by little, hand over hand until I’m safely on shore again.  Wet, soggy, exhausted and a bit beaten up…but standing on the shore, eyes on the clouds, as the sun breaks through.

I don’t have a “prayer language.” I don’t speak in tongues when there are things I can’t voice.  But that doesn’t mean I’m left without a life line to Christ or that we aren’t in communion.

For me, the greatest source of peace is right there in the torment of silence…just me and God; together in a quiet space of seclusion that no other soul in this universe can enter.

We don’t have to speak, we don’t have to communicate.  I have no words anyway.

But there is hope….there is assurance…there is the satisfaction and understanding that no matter how hard, no matter how deep the struggle within me…I am not alone.

He is there, always.

I can’t rely on people; they don’t always get it.  They don’t always understand.  They can be flaky and dismissive and hurtful.  They can leave me feeling lonelier and more disconnected than before.  And no matter how hard they try, I know…I always know…that soon they will be gone, chasing other dreams, other relationships, other friendships, other purposes, and other people.

And, I will be standing on the edge of the sea, peering into the swirling madness with God alone by my side.

No words are spoken because there is a knowing; an understanding between us…a conversation of souls in the silence.

The people, they don’t know.  We are disconnected, and maybe we can never be connected in the way I desire.   Even so, I am not alone.

You are not alone.

And there is peace there.  Peace in the knowing, in the silence, in the presence of God.  And there is comfort and tears and release and healing.

Right there in the mists of the sea, in the silence, in the storm.

Isolation, loneliness, disconnection, depression…

They can get a hold of any one of us.  But there is hope.  There is always hope.  No matter how bleak or desperate or hopeless you may feel.  There is hope.  There can be healing.  There can be rest.  There can be redemption, resolution, and recovery.

Stop fighting the terrifying waves and surrender to God.  Let Him pull you into shore; hand over hand, one day…one moment…at a time.  Stop looking to people to fill the void or bring healing; let God be your sanctuary, your peace, your anchor and your connection to life.

The hope for the disconnected heart is that we can be deeply connected to the One who created us; the faithful One who will never leave us, or disappoint us, or misunderstand us.

The One who knows…

even in the silence.

“The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Note to readers:  Please know that I am not advocating that you reject treatment for depression when needed.  Counseling, medication, and proper care can be essential elements for health and wellness. 

God thinks You’re Cool- An Easter Message

Today is Easter Sunday.  As I’ve gone through the activities and celebrations of the day I’ve been thinking about the implications as well.  The concept of Resurrection Sunday, as it is also called, can be hard to grasp.  If I understand Easter as fully as I’m able, it’s even a bit perplexing…

Why would God Almighty go through torture and death for my sake?  Why does he want a relationship with us that badly?

Why are we important to God?

GOD?!

You see I find it immensely easy to remember all the reasons I have been rejected in the past.  All the reasons I don’t quite measure up.

It’s easy to consider all of the ways in which failure and lacking dwell within me.  Perhaps you can relate.

All the ways in which we are not Most Popular, Parent of the Year, Best Dressed, Most successful, Employee of the Month, Prettiest, Smartest…

The list goes on, doesn’t it?

Many of us are more likely to win Frumpiest, Hottest Mess, Clumsiest, Nerdiest, Dirtiest house, Owner of Worst Behaved Dog, Most Likely To Be Forgotten, Most Anxious, Most Spastic…

I mean….why on earth would God want us?

What is more, why would he sacrifice his life for us?  Are we really worth it?  Are we really all that great?

We kinda aren’t.

And yet…maybe we are…

I mean maybe we actually are pretty cool.

We are created in God’s image, we think for ourselves, we have the ability to believe or not believe to choose or not choose.  We can be utterly selfish or totally self-sacrificing.  We have the ability to love deeply and trust totally…

We have righteous potential and somehow God sees past all the crap and sees everything we can be and everything he created us to be; and what he sees are beautiful messes so complicated and so multifaceted that the question moves from “Why love us?” to “What’s not to love?”

We are worth it.

The lie out there is that we aren’t worth it.  That we are too damaged, too fallen, too unlovable, too dirty, to odd, too socially awkward, too silly, too dorky, too ugly, too fat, too dumb…

But…they’re lies.

Lies we try desperately to fight against when we don’t have to.

Who cares what other people think!

The God of the Universe thinks you are pretty awesome!

He loves you, he wants you, he died to prove it.  And, because he is God, he overcame death so that death doesn’t have to hold us back or keep us down.  The Spirit of Death doesn’t need to have any power in our lives.  Our souls can be free if we walk with him; if we say “Yes,” to Jesus.

He thinks you are so great and sees all your beauty, ability, and potential, all he wants is for you to want him back; for the love to be mutual.

The risk was worth it to him.

The risk of rejection was worth it!

That is how deep his love is for us…for you…

“I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.” John 10:11

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

All you have to do is say “Yes.”

“Yes, I accept your gift of friendship.  Yes, I accept you into my life.  Yes, I surrender and will let you be my peace.  Yes, I will let you carry my burdens.  Yes, I am not perfect.  Yes, I sin.  Yes, I need your forgiveness for rejecting you up until now.  Yes, I want you in my life.  Yes, I believe.”

Are you ready to surrender?

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is LORD,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Believe and admit it.  Be willing to speak the name of Jesus.  Don’t hide your belief in him as if you are ashamed of him; that is all that God asks.

If you are ready to accept Christ into your life, don’t wait.  Do it now.  Then, let someone else who believes know and if you have a chance let me know so I can pray for you.

Peace be with you!

 

Egyptian Believers Know the Cost of Spiritual War

The LORD loves them.  The LORD loves his  Egyptian followers.

Sorrow builds on sorrow.  Not everyone is free to worship the way we are in America.  We take it for granted.  We don’t know what we have.

Christian Egyptians paid the price today.  The high price of following Christ in a country where Jesus is not welcome.   The faithful followers there are feeling the sting of death in a war that is both spiritual and physical.

Do we understand the war?

Do we really know the cost of following Christ?

They know the cost.

Jesus said, “You will have trouble in this world.”

And, he is right.

But there is hope because he has overcome the world.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

What does that mean when life is so fragile and the hate of other men is rampant and runs free while they take what they can?

God will grow tired of it.  He will bring it to an end one day.

He does overcome, but it doesn’t always look the way we expect it to.

He is moving hearts and his Spirit is blowing through, but don’t make any mistakes…this is war.

This is good versus evil.

This is Life verses Death.

This is God verses Satan.

This is war.

The sad reality of war is that there are always casualties.  But, those who give everything know what they are fighting for…freedom.

Freedom to worship, but even bigger than that, is the fight for the freedom of our souls.

I realize to a non-believer is seems like foolishness.  Is there REALLY a war for our souls being waged?

Yes, there is.

As a Christian I can choose to engage or not.  I can put on the armor of Ephesians 6 and prepare for the battle, or I can disengage and hide my head, bunkered down and afraid.

But God did not give us a spirit of fear.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I’m not content to comfortably forget about those suffering around the world for their belief in Christ Jesus.

So, how do we raise our eyes to the hills with determination and fight for Egyptian believers and every other persecuted Christian, with our safe, boring, self-indulgent American lives?

First, we pray.

Then we put on every piece of armor God has given us: Truth, Righteousness, Readiness, Faith, Salvation, and the Word of God.

Then we pray without ceasing.

Pray for Egypt, Syria, and all of the Middle East and Asia.

Pray for all persecuted Christians and those facing any hardship.

Pray for America.

Pray and keep praying.

And gear up, because…

This is war.

 

The Armor of God

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish