The Presumptuous Ladybug

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

Tag: hope

Conclusion of “Is God REALLY Good?”

My oldest daughter lay beside me, breathing deeply and absorbed in the restful sleep of safety, trust, and contentment.  Her small 8 year old body was snuggled in close to me as she slept.

I lifted my eyes toward heaven as a tear escaped.

Parenting is hard, especially when they don’t understand.  Does she really believe that I have her welfare in mind?

Earlier in the evening she had approached me with bright excited eyes, “Look what I found Momma.  Oh I love it!  Look!  Isn’t it great?”

My heart skipped a beat and sank a little.  While the object itself isn’t important what it represented is.  In my knowledge and understand I recognized it as an object of dark magic; a sinister representation of the Devil himself disguised as something cool.

She didn’t know.  She didn’t understand.

I hesitated.  Her bright eyes dimmed a bit and her brow furrowed slightly as she picked up on my lack of enthusiasm.

“I don’t think I can let you keep that, Sweet Pea,” I quietly said.

Why was I being hesitant?  How could I explain it?   It felt like I was crushing her and she had no idea why and that saddened me.

“I don’t wanna give it away!  I want it.  I love it!” Her voiced raised slightly and took on a desperate whine.  “Why don’t you like it?”  She continued as she clutched the object to her chest.

I was quiet.  Was she ready to hear it?   Could I help her understand?  The darkness in this world is larger than she can imagine.   Should I offer her a glimpse?

If I tell her…will it frighten her or empower her?

“We will discuss it later.”  I told her as I set the table for dinner and bought myself some time to silently pray.

Later had come and gone.

I did my best to explain what the object represented in a way an 8 year old could, possibly, contemplate.

But she responded with, “I still don’t understand,” in a pouty voice.

“I’m sorry.  It just has to be.  We can’t keep it.  We can’t have it in the house. I have to do my best to protect you.  Daddy and I have to make hard choices to watch over you and your brother and sister.  Please know that it is my job to protect you even when you don’t understand or agree.”

She nodded slowly as she considered my words.

“Do you believe that I will protect you?  I have to protect you and do things to benefit you even if you don’t understand or like them.   Do you believe me?”

She looked at me, sadness and moisture filled her eyes. “I believe you…but I still want it.”

I hugged her, “I know.”

She had said she believed me, but something in her eyes told me she wasn’t quite sure; the verdict was still out for consideration.  In that moment, I began questioning my parenting skills; why was she not absolutely sure?

“Can I sleep with you?”  She had asked hopefully.

“Yes.”

She found comfort in my arms and fell asleep quickly.  I did not.

“Let her believe me.  Let her believe that I have her best in mind.  Fill the gaps LORD…please fill the gaps.” I silently prayed.

Sometimes God responds with silence and I simply trust that He hears me, but tonight He responded quietly in the dark, “Do you see?  Sometimes it is the same for Me.  I have to take things away, or make choices to protect your heart and soul.  Sometimes it’s hard.  Often my Children do not understand.  I can’t explain it in a way they will be able to.  There are things you don’t know that I have to consider…  Can you feel it now?  Do you believe Me?”

I want to.

I want to believe Him when life is crappy and there seems to be no end in sight.  I want to believe Him when tragedy strikes and sorrow overcomes my soul.  I want to believe him when I see the horrors in this world…

I want to believe that He isn’t responsible and that He ultimately has our good in mind.

I do believe  LORD.

I do believe that He is working for our good and not for our destruction but sometimes…it’s hard to see the good.

My next thought immediately followed His words to me…there IS someone hell bent on my destruction and it isn’t God..  The same someone I am trying to protect my own child against.

God isn’t then enemy who is guilty of horrors we can hardly whisper, Satan is.  And, we live in a world overcome by him and his cronies.  He seeks to destroy and he’s successful.  It’s his only job: destroy by whatever means necessary.

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

The good we do see, that is God.  That is God at work in a world owned by a evil dictator who hates us.

There is war here as well.  The war of God and His people lifting their voices, hearts, and souls against the spiritual attacks of a spiritual enemy.

Satan may be a worthy foe, but in the end he won’t be successful.

The idea that God is responsible for the bad in this world or that he has turned a blind eye is a lie.  The Devil loves to blame God because he is a liar and a thief and a destroyer.

God is good.

He is responsible for the only good we see in this world.  He has many attributes and goodness is an important one.  One we need to recognize, because if He is good then He cannot be responsible for the evil that is here.

He isn’t turning a blind eye either and one day the Devil, who is responsible for all these horrors, will pay for it.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the LORD.”

Romans 12:19

If we can believe that God is good, then like my daughter, we can rest in His arms and fall asleep in peace; because even when we can’t and don’t understand this world, or how God is at work…

When we can’t see any goodness or feel his presence…

We can still rest in the belief, knowledge and understanding that He is indeed good, and that He has our welfare in mind.  That He really is working behind the scenes for the betterment of the one thing He cares most about…our souls.

He wants freedom, peace, love, contentment, hope and eternal life for our souls.  That life, freedom and abundance is only found in Christ Jesus.

Maybe the question isn’t “is God REALLY good”…

Maybe it’s, do we trust Him?

Do we believe Him when He tells us that He is good?

Because, if we believe Him, it changes everything.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable for you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

Author: Jacqi Kambish

This is the conclusion of a 4 part series about God.  If you likes this post take a look at the others in the series: Is God REALLY Good?Who is God? Part 1Who is God? Part 2, and  Who is God? Part 3 (Is God REALLY Good?)

Finding Spring: A Special Needs Journey

I am thrilled to be featured over at Anchored Voices with a post about special needs.  Anchored Voices is:

“a place for women to use their words and creativity to point each other to the God who anchors the soul. Conceived to foster an online community where we can remind one another that when the waves hit—in Jesus, the soul is safe.” -from the Anchored Voices website

I feel honored to be a contributor on their page and hope you will check out what they are doing there.  You can also find my contribution through this link:   Finding Spring: A Special Needs Journey.

As always.  thank you for reading.  God Bless you!

The Dichotomy of Hoping Your Kid Has the Flu

I know it seems odd.  I know it doesn’t make any sense on the surface.  But, I am sitting here waiting to get my daughter, Saydi, tested for the flu and desperately hoping that she has it while at the same time wishing she was well.

I’m sure it will say she does but I’m waiting to hear it.

As a Mom of a child with special needs there are so many factors and so many things to consider.  What separates me from the parent of a typically developing child is the fact that right now, the flu would be a relief.

While other parents lament the confirmation that the flu has hit their home…I am hoping for it.

It’s a funny place to be.  It feels a bit unnatural and odd as I pop my knuckles and sit impatiently in anticipation.

Let it be as simple as just being the flu.

Because, if it isn’t the flu then it’s something else; and likely something that will leave a wake of defeat and sadness.

She just started the fourth and last of the clinically proven medications intended to treat her Epilepsy.  The previous three weren’t successful treatment options.  Here we are on the final medication, holding our breath that this is the one that will do the trick, but the question still hanging in the air is, will she tolerate it?

Saydi getting her 24 hour EEG and MRI before her confirmed diagnosis of Myoclonic-Absent Epilepsy.

It comes with a long list of possible side effects and she has recently experienced them in volume.  I keep waiting for her body to quit rebelling but it’s been a long month.  With each new weekly increase in the medicine we face the risk that this will be the dose that puts her over the edge; as has happened before.  Flu like symptoms and a fever are signs that her body is responding poorly and that she isn’t able to tolerate it and are suppose to be reported to the doctor.  The complication of the situation is enhanced by the fact that the actual flu is spreading through town like wild fire.  So, which is the true culprit?

My mind keeps trying to run the scenarios and prepare me for the worst: a negative flu test.  While the hopefully optimistic side presents it’s own logical case in my head.  I shift uncomfortable in my seat and toy with my cell phone, absently turning it between my fingers.  My other two healthy children are rolling along the doctor’s office floor, a form of play that sends my mind reeling:  How many germs are there on THAT floor?

I’m don’t want the flu per say, I’m longing for the lesser of two evils for my daughter while expecting the rest of us stay well.

“The LORD has this…either way.”  I silently tell myself, “It will be the flu…it’s most likely the flu.”

The space in my head is a lonely place.  How many other parents are sitting there waiting for a diagnosis of relief?  Or a diagnosis of the lesser evil?  Am I really at a place where I’m hoping for the flu?

How does a Mother contend with the reality that she hopes her kid has the flu?  It seems a bit uneven, monstrous, unbalanced…

But life isn’t balanced.  It’s a crazy whirling twirling ride that doesn’t slow down.  It doesn’t ask your permission or if you have the funds in the bank or whether or not you have the emotional stability to process what’s before you, it just happens.

So…how do you find the happiness in the brink?  Where does peace find footing?

Can you live in optimism when the world around you seems to press down so hard your head spins?  Can you find the hope when you’re out of options?

There is a case for “yes.”

There is peace even in the chaos.  A slow dance in a gentle wind…

The breeze of hope and redemption is a constant rhythm by which my life is secured.

The flow of joy within me is the outpouring of a soul intertwined with my Savior.  When the craziness rises up and the fire burns out of control, I can stand, not because I am not afraid, but because I know that my salvation and hope and goodness is found in Jesus.

That is my starting place but I have tools as well; coping tools and mechanisms that help me process and face the difficulty.

Prayer, music, the wind, dancing, and of course, writing are emotional outlets for me that help me face the storms.

The LORD is in them and they remind me that he sees me and hears me and loves me and my children.

I know I am not alone in my special needs parenting.  I know that there are others who understand the difficulty of hoping for one diagnosis over another or those who face the burden and heartache of a child with an un-treatable illness.

Perhaps at times we seem strong, but for me, there is only facing the darkness one step at a time and putting my eyes on Jesus so that I know where my strength comes from when I feel weak.  There is only a whispered prayer.  There is only experiencing the power of the wind and remembering that the same God who created it cares about our situations.  There is only dancing through the sorrow until a smile can’t be wiped away.  There is only swaying to the sound of a musician belting out the emotions I can’t express or eliciting them from their instrument.  There is only writing so that you and I both know we are not alone….

The door swings open and the nurse steps in.  Her face is a bit downcast as she relays that my oldest daughter indeed has Influenza Type B.  The nurse sits near me and begins to relay the options and what to expect.  I hear her and yes it’s unfortunate, but inside I’m relieved that my child has the flu; a diagnosis that means we are not out of treatment options for her Epilepsy yet.

In the diagnosis of flu…there is still hope.

Hope that her long term future will be a better one.

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off”  Proverbs 23:18

Author: Jacqi Kambish

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

Lament for Syria

My heart is grieved by the recent chemical gas attacks on Syria.  This war has been ongoing and the death toll and horror climbs.  There is no peace and fear is an ever present reality for the Syrian people.  Then the devastation hits their home and families face so much loss that they mass bury their dead and the heartache and pain levels sore.

And the babies…oh the babies and children.

How is such deep pain processed; how can they bare it?

This is NOT God.  This is Satan.

Only Satan would be so cruel and merciless as to attack children and innocent people.

He hates us.  He hates us because we are the image of God, and his work is growing and it is devastating.

My soul laments.

My heart cries out…why?

Why is it necessary?

Leave them alone!

And I’m angry and my heart aches.  A comorbidity of emotions swirling within my chest.

And I want vengeance.

I want Satan to pay for this.

Still…there is solace.

I know that God will have the victory in the end.

I know he will grow tired of Satan’s reign of terror on this earth.

I know that one day God will have his vengeance and Satan will pay.

You may wonder why God has allowed it to continue this long.  It is because he isn’t done with us.  He isn’t done with humanity.  He isn’t ready to call it quits on everything he has made.  I believe he is waiting for the remnant and for every soul to have the opportunity to specifically make a choice to follow him or reject him.  He is waiting for us to decide.

As I am writing the song “Carry Me Through” by Dave Barnes has begun to play on the Pandora station.

There’s a mountain
Here before me
And I’m going to climb it
With strength not my own
He’s gonna lead me
Or the mountain beats me
Carry me through
Carry me through

Oh Lord be gentle
I’m just a man
Please don’t crush me
And help me in

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Lord Sweet Lord
Carry me through.

 And in my sorrow, for all that this world sees, a praise for God raises up from the pit because in this place I know…

I KNOW

God WILL bring redemption.

Come LORD Jesus…Please Come.

And yet…

Don’t come just now because…I don’t want anyone left behind.

I know, and I remember again, that God is sovereign and he knows when to come.  He knows when it is time.  And, it isn’t time yet…

But I trust Him.

I trust him to bring the sorrow to an end when it is time and in that trust there is hope.

And from the depths of sorrow and through tears of a contrite heart, the words from “It Is Well With My Soul” break through.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, it is well with my soul

And the paradox of a heart deeply affected by the pain in this world but still fixed on Christ is displayed in sorrowful tears that still sing God’s praise.

Why?

Because I trust Him.

I know he sees things I can’t see.  He knows things I don’t know.  He sees the big picture and he is looking at, and taking into consideration, things I can’t understand or fathom.

I believe that he is good and that because he is good, good will prevail and that good will ultimately win.

So there is trust and praise here in the midst of sadness.

And, an unexplainable peace in sorrow.  I know Who to cry to.

Because God hears us and sees us.

As we face unimaginable evil in this world we can trust that God sees and that he will bring redemption and that he will have his vengeance because he hates this as much, maybe even more, than we do.  This is why he said, “Vengeance in Mine.  I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)

He knows.

He won’t forget.

He is loving, but he is also just.  One day, when it is time, and when God is no longer waiting for us to decide how we feel about him, he will come and the fullness of his wrath will be poured out on Satan and his cronies, and they will deserve every bit of it.

This isn’t for us to decide.  But we can make a choice about which side of the war we want to be on.  I choose God.

I trust Him.

So pray!

Pray for Syria.

Pray for refugees around the world.

Pray for hope.

Pray for redemption.

Pray for peace.

 

“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

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Who is God? – part 1 (Is God Really Good?)

As I was thinking about how to tackle to subject of whether or not God is really good, I realized that it would probably be a good idea to explore who God is.  How do we know if he is really good if we don’t know anything about him?  I can’t claim to know all the inner thoughts of God.  Heck, I am still growing and learning about God myself.  However, we do have one source to go for answers about what God actually thinks. That source is the Bible.  So, here is the story of God according to the Bible.  (This is a paraphrased summary so I encourage you to go read for yourself and test my words.)  There is a lot in the Bible, but here is a hint: in the end it’s really all about Jesus.

Genesis 1 starts us off with the beautiful and spectacular story of creation.  God delicately creates and forms the universe, the land, the sea, the creatures, and the first humans.  This is the start of everything.  And everything was good and beautiful and perfect.  But, God wanted more than perfect creations, he wanted (and still wants) relationship.  In Genesis 2:15 God gives Adam a rule. One rule. One little rule that was to be obeyed. That one rule was: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I believe they had a rule so that they had the opportunity to choose whether or not to love and trust God based on their own heart’s desires because… true love is a choice.  That was it; one rule and total freedom in paradise otherwise. They were also given one responsibility: Take care of the animals and the garden.

The trouble began when Adam and Eve could not follow that one rule (Genesis 3). Great! They had one rule and they broke it. Unfortunately, the punishment was spiritual death; sin entered the human soul and we were separated from eternal and personal interaction with God Almighty.

Oops!

Our bodies also became mortal. God had tried to warn Adam and Eve, telling them that eating the fruit of that one tree would result in death, but they wanted to follow their own desires and what they desired was to be their own god.  What Eve wanted was the wisdom of God, what she and Adam failed to hear and understand was that the knowledge of both good and evil came with a very steep price.  Up until then, they had only experienced good.  Rather than trust God they listened to Satan, who made death seems like something desirable.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”  Genesis 3:6

Sin then produced a punishment and it stunk, but God still loved them just as he still loves us.  Except, after that the relationship had changed. Instead of walking beside and talking to God daily, God’s friends could no longer be in his presence.  Sin created a separation that could not simply and easily be undone.  While we frequently may consider the feelings of Adam and Eve in this and perhaps see God as a temperamental and unfaithful friend who removed himself, the truth is that God was deeply saddened by the choices the first human’s made.  The people he created to share life with chose to pursue their own desires rather than his friendship.  What they coveted was something out of reach while they remained obedient to the one rule God had given them.  And, although the rule was to give them choice, it was also there for their protection.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37

You see?  God will not force himself into your life.  He will not demand your obedience, or love, or friendship.  He simply puts himself out there.  What happens next is up to you.

Are you willing?

As a parent I have rules to protect my kids, they still have a choice whether or not to trust me and obey or to do what they want.  Frequently, when they choose to pursue their own desires there are consequences.  Sometimes those consequences hurt and create broken relationships and loss of trust.  This is exactly what happened for Adam and Eve and their friendship with God.

Despite that, God still wanted Adam and Eve to know him.  Throughout history, God has pursued redemption, healing, and reconciliation with humanity because regardless of the brokenness, God still wants relationship with us…even in our sin and sorrow; every part of us.

Why?

Because God is good.

This is the God that I know.  A God who wants each of us and pursues us even to our death beds.  A God who was willing to sacrifice everything in order to create lasting and permanent redemption.  A God who forgives the worst of sins and betrayal.  God…almighty and supreme…still wants you and me.

Is there anything more spectacular than that?

“This is how God showed his love for us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

1 John 4:9

Author: Jacqi Kambish 

This is the second post in a series titled: “Is God REALLY Good?”   The first post may be of interest to you: Is God Really Good?  Also stay tuned for “Who is God-Part 2” due to post on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Is God REALLY good?

Is God REALLY good?  And, does he actually care about the details of a life like mine?  Or a life like yours?

Maybe God cares about great people of power and influence.  People like Einstein, and Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham.  Maybe he cared about the great people of the Bible like Moses, and King David, and the Apostle Paul.  Maybe even philosophers like Plato or Leibniz, but a simple life like mine?

And is he actually bothered with making good things come out of the weakest and most difficult times of our lives?  Does he really know that finances are strained, relationships are broken, and sorrow is piercing the soul like a dagger?  Does he really care? Does beauty really come from ashes?

The Bible proclaims that God is good?  Nearly every Christian will flippantly mutter an expression of God’s goodness on any given day.  The words can feel empty and flat.  The evidence when we look around this world seems stacked against him.  Death of loved ones, tragedies, illness, killing sprees, anger, division, violence, hate, rape, war, drugs, refugees, hunger, deception, corruption, poverty, abuse, human trafficking…

Is there goodness here?  Is there hope here?

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100:5

No doubt evil persists.  We can see it’s underhanded work in the details of our lives and in the global reign of terror.  We see fear and animosity and something so sinister it’s name eludes me.

“Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.”  Job 30:26

If God is really bigger, stronger, truer, and greater, why do these things persist?  Where is he?  Where is the goodness?

When we suffer the depths of sorrow and betrayal and when dreams are broken, his goodness seems so distant, like an intangible idea that exists only in theory.

I live in a place of beauty.  A place where his handiwork seems so great.  As I gaze at the mountains before me my mind and soul is flooded with the song “How Great Thou Art”.

The shape of every river, the power of the wind and the beauty of mountains covered in glimmering snow all testify to a world handmade by God and speak volumes to the detail and care he puts into us.  And yet… sometimes life, with the breath of agony and the breaking of our hearts and the anxiety of loss, seems empty of a God who cares for the details.

Often, he feels faraway, uninvolved, and silent.  Perhaps in some distant time and space he is or was good, but goodness can feel so far removed from the place and time of our own existence.

I get it.  I’ve wondered.

Let me assure you…you ARE seen.  Your specific life, in all its glory or simplicity, matters to God.  You were fashioned and created with the same care he poured into the mountains.  No…with more care.  You are wanted, you are pursued.  You are treasured.

My heart aches as I see you in my mind’s eye struggling and hurting and suffering and feeling hopeless.  I see you in the burdens of this life grasping for a life preserver that eludes you.  Where is hope, where is love, where is goodness and where is God?

God is here.  God is there.  In his quiet, unassuming manner he is with you and with me.  He wants you, he is waiting for you to want him back.

Join me in a writing series as I explore who God is and the depth of his goodness and the truth of his deep love for you and me as I dig into the question: Is God really good?

Author: Jacqi Kambish

*Side note:  I post every other week, typically on Mondays.  I believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant word and my posts on this subject are made with the assumption that God is real.  Feel free to believe as you want, but please know that my intent here is not to debate God’s existence but to build on that belief.

Making Time for Quiet Moments

Author: Jacqi Kambish

I had a bad attitude the other day.  I felt worn out, overstimulated, and like things were out of my control; which I hated.  To top it off the weather was probably the worst of the season.  A few weeks ago we had snow and freezing cold temperatures.  Then the temperatures soared and the snow and ice began to melt during the day and then froze again at night.  A week or so of that and our yard was filled with icy, mud puddles and dirty snow.  Following that, we had a winter storm warning, but it didn’t snow, it sleeted.  Icy water pelted me in the face as life forced me to go outside.   I think the combination of sleet, ice, and mud at the same time is awful.

By the end of the day, I could feel my agitation growing.  The kids sensed it too.  That’s why they got into the car slowly, fought over who gets to buckle first, and asked for a snack every 5 seconds, even though they just had one.  I think they just wanted to stomp on my last fleeting nerve…. Or maybe they were just tired and sick of cruddy weather too.

Once home, I let the kids pick a movie to watch after dinner.  The wind picked up and a loose cord of Christmas lights flapped against the house in a sporadic rhythm.  Something was blowing in.  I felt it on every level.  My bones ached, my attitude spiraled, and the kids created chaos by bouncing off the walls and yelling at every opportunity.

Later, while the kids watched their movie, I sat down at the kitchen table.  Why was my attitude so crummy?  Was it really because the weather was bad?  Or was it because I was inconvenienced by the errors of the day which were heightened by the annoying weather?  Maybe it was the overwhelming feeling of endless tasks to be completed, the realization of bills I forgot to pay, the dwindling bank account, or the long week at work.  Maybe it was having to drive two hours each way in bad weather just to get supplies for Christmas events, parties, and celebrations…  At the bottom of my grumpiness and wrong attitude, I felt worn.  I realized that, in the busyness, I had neglected the most important thing in my life.  Rather…the most important person.  I’m not talking about me.  I‘m talking about God.

Those quiet moments I spend with my Creator are critical; but as my day fills up those moments get chipped away into nothing.   The thing that brings restoration and fills up my soul, dwindles away until my attitude is a swirling, whirling, sleet pelting, storm of misery.  I need time to be quiet and listen.  I need time to be still.

I realized, in that moment, that it’s time for rest.  It’s time for me to fight back against the mayhem and chaos by finding those quiet moments and anchoring myself to them.  The presents will get wrapped and the treats will get baked.  And if they don’t…is it really that important.  Must there always be cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and pretty paper on every gift in order for it to be Christmas?  Does the house have to be spotless?  Do I really need all my ducks in a row to celebrate and worship Christ?

I woke up the next morning to find the yard covered in a few inches of fresh white fluff.  The sun glimmered off the snow in the best way possible.  It was beautiful, and everything was still and quiet and peaceful.  I sipped my coffee and reflected:

What if the storm of the night before hadn’t raged within my heart?  Would I have realized that what I deeply need is closer connection with the One who can calm the storm and bring peace to my worn soul?

The quiet doesn’t last.  The kids fight and yell and bounce off the walls.  They tattle on each other and beg for a snack 1.5 seconds after every meal.  I get overstimulated by lights, noises, people, and expectations.  The dishes pile up and laundry gets done, but never put away.  Messes get made and I get tired.  The endless scurry and hurry of getting everyone out the door in the mornings and off to bed at night are a revolving door.  Sometimes life just feels like a whirl wind of chaos.  The difference is, if I make God a priority and cling to him when life feels stormy and overwhelming, then I can have peace and rest for my soul…even in the midst of chaos.

I know it isn’t easy.  I have to work at it and set aside specific time in my day that I refuse to give up.  More than that, I have to change my mind set.  Prioritizing quiet moments with God isn’t just about setting aside specific times, but it’s also about allowing God to be a part of every moment and calling out to him when I am falling into the spiral of craziness.  It’s not delegating him to a corner of the day but including him in every moment.

Christmas Hope for Seasonal Blues

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Know what I hate about winter?  Everything. I live in the Colorado mountains and I get the full winter experience.   I hate the frigid bone chilling mornings, I hate the windy face numbing afternoons, and I hate the arctic nights.  I hate that stepping outside means navigating around dangers like impalement by icicles, hidden patched of slick ice, frostbite and other drivers on the icy road.  The cold seeps in and a gloom begins to stir within me and a bit of despair rises up.  By the time May rolls around, I’m struggling to find a glimmer of goodness to hang onto.

It is there though…the goodness and the light and the warmth.  It’s hard for me to see it when the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or other mental illness are threatening at my door, but it is there and at the very root of the goodness and light, is my faith.

I can see that there is beauty in the bitterly cold snow.  The way it gleams off the trees and shines back at me with the reflection of the sun.  It is breath taking.  And it isn’t so different from the way the light of God’s Son reflects back at me from other believers.  Their smiles, words of encouragement and prayers…they lift me up.  They remind me of the hope I have in the true Light of Life, Christ Jesus.

And hope is everything.  That’s why I love the Christmas season so much.  There in the midst of the shortest, darkest days of winter are the bright lights, festivities, and merriment of hope and light.

John 1:4-5 says that “In [Christ] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The light shines in the darkness….

I realize that the Christmas season is hard for a lot of people.  I regularly offer prayers for those tormented by memories and emptiness and loneliness. But for me, as I struggle through the short days and cold temperatures and fight against the gloom, Christmas is a bright reminder that the light still shines in the darkness.  No matter how horrible and dark and evil this world becomes.  And, I need that reminder.

There are times when the grip of depression cuts too deep and the hole feels too dark.  It’s in those times that I have needed help on a physical and spiritual level.  I know I’m not alone.   I want to assure you that it’s ok to see a doctor and it’s ok to ask friends and family for prayer and help if you’re there.  When I am in the depths of despair, I know that I can’t hold myself up and I need Christ to bring healing to my soul, faithful friendships to lean on, and sometimes medication to stop the downward spiral.  My war with depression isn’t new and I have seen some very dark days.   I believe that addressing depression takes a whole mind, body, and spirit approach.  Believe me, I know the struggles are real and no amount of fluff can wipe them away.  I need my mind and body to be well, but I need my soul to be well also.

I know what my body needs.  It needs the triad of good nutrition, good exercise, and sometimes medication to stay balanced.  My mind needs truth and goodness and scripture to think on and sometimes counseling. As far as my soul goes, looking to the joy and hope of Christ and clinging to that truth offers freedom; and a reminder that God is good and is present and that he cares.

I believe in Christ Jesus.  I believe that he came to earth as God incarnate, lived through every experience of man, and that he is deeply moved by the hardships we face.  When life is crushing, I believe in a good God who works as our Defender and offers peace to the weary soul even when I can’t feel him at work.

The God of all creation, the GREAT I AM, has made Himself fully known to us!  And, at the very end of it all… good ultimately overcomes all that is wrong and evil and the chains that bind can be broken.

It is easy, in the misery of life, to believe the lyrics from ‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’:

“And in despair, I bowed my head ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men,”

The good news is that in the dawn of faith, the Spirit of God filters through our muck and…

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, ‘God is not dead, nor does he sleep, the wrong shall fall, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.”

In the end, hope does prevail and peace and goodwill come near.  We can still rise from ashes and sing.  A bud still breaks through the snow and a gleam of light still touches the earth.  Good still overcomes.

In this Christmas season, may we put aside the crowds and shopping sprees and controversial debates long enough to recognize and proclaim the goodness of Christ.  Let our hearts and lives shine as brightly in the darkness as the bulbs on our homes and trees do.  Even in a dark, cold, dreary winter season, may we find hope and joy and peace in the Light of Life.  When the depression of our mind threatens to steal our joy, let us fix our eyes on what is good and be filled with awe.  Then, let us seek the intervention we need to get back on track.  There is good to come.  Let us remember that, for Christians, this season is about worshiping a perfect and loving God who had mercy on us and who gently pursues us because he loves us deeply.  In the difficulties, let us cling to hope.  Let the lights in our homes be a reminder of the Light that has come into the world.  Let our attitude and actions be a reflection of all that is good and noble.  If not for yourself, then perhaps for souls like mine that need to be reminded sometimes – the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not (and cannot) overcome it.