Carnations & Peonies

I currently have these vases of peonies and carnations on my desk, and they are just so pretty and smell so good. I wish that flowers lasted forever… they’re starting to fade now. A few days ago when they were new, I took some pictures of them (some were taken with my Ōlloclip).

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God is just seriously so creative.

Intense Gratitude

My heart is so full right now. God is so good. SO GOOD.

Firstly, I’ve been thinking recently about and marveling at how much God has done in my life these past few weeks, and how much better my life has been. I have no words. Some of you who know me well have heard from me how things have been going for me recently, and those of you who don’t know me but have been reading my posts from this past spring have an idea of how hard things had been. But it’s gotten so much better since then. Praise the LORD. (So to those of you out there who are struggling so hard and don’t see any hope for the future… hang on—it WILL get better, believe me.)

  • Mentally/emotionally, I feel great—so much more joyful and hopeful; so much more at rest—I actually enjoy my life more. I wake up nearly every morning feeling feel so much happier to be alive (not that I ever wasn’t happy to be alive).
  • Faith-wise… you know, it’s always a journey, I’m always learning; I’m a sinner in need of God’s grace. I mess up, I run to Him, He shows me mercy. By His grace, I keep running, learning to hate sin and love righteousness. So things aren’t perfect in the slightest (how could they be, on this side of heaven?), but He’s been teaching me so much, and blessing me and showing Himself to me in so many ways. I’ve experienced so much more joy in Christ, and God has been answering my prayers that I would enjoy Him more (shoutout to Jonathan Edwards’s Personal Narrative for the idea to pray this… Edwards did, and I thought, good idea!).
  • Physically, I feel better. I’m still not a perfect picture of health, but I have seen improvement. A significant example of this is that my hair is growing back. About 3 weeks ago I got it cut short (at about chin-length), and since then the amount of hair I was losing slowed down to a halt. Which is a serious answer to prayer. I am convinced that the reason for hair loss was mainly intense stress, while nutrient-deficiency also was a factor. (I get enough to eat, but my body can’t absorb enough nutrients.)

Which segues into the next thing that I am SO happy about: I had an appointment with my doctor today. I had gotten so many different tests done, and during this appointment we went over the results. And—praise the LORD!—the results came back with very pleasant news. I don’t have the possible conditions that I had been wondering whether I had. There was one test I did for “cross-reactives” (foods that the body reacts to as if they were gluten, even if they are completely gluten-free things, such as dairy, potatoes, etc.), and according to the test results, the only cross-reactive that my body can’t handle is dairy, which is kind of sad. On the bright side, all the other cross-reactives were negative (which means I can have things like potatoes and brown rice again! Praise the LORD.) In short, he concluded that things look very hopeful. I can start introducing those “cross-reactives” back into my diet, and I will still have to keep taking supplements, and continue doing exercises that help stimulate the left-cerebellum and brain stem. Anyway, I am so thankful that God helped me find this doctor, because I have NEVER been helped with my Celiac/Horner’s/Traumatic Brain Injury issues to the extent that he has helped me. Ever. My life makes so much sense—how these three conditions totally build off one another and cause all the various symptoms I’ve been having. I now know why I am this way, and have so much hope and confidence that things will only get better.

Thirdly, I’m just in awe over how God has just really blessed me with the friendships He has given me. I’m in awe over the wonderful sisters that God has placed in my life ever since starting college. I have grown so much because of them, and am so, so thankful for all the ways in which they’ve cared for me, listened well, offered wisdom and encouragement, and pointed me to Christ.  God placed the right people in my life at the right time. I’m also amazed at how God brings people together in suffering, and causes something beautiful to come from something unbearably hard. Or how real friendships will not cave under failures—I know that I have failed to be loving many times, yet by God’s grace, there is forgiveness, and the friendship continues on, stronger. Community is such a beautiful thing.

God is just amazing. I can’t say it enough.

—Maddie

#myriadsofblessings 06/18

  • Flowers.
  • Grilled vegetables (I’ve forgotten how good things are grilled.)
  • Adventures with friends.
  • Visiting new places.
  • The beach. I got to go to a real beach for the first time since I was 16, and it was wonderful.
  • Finding people who enjoy what I enjoy.
  • Enjoying something with someone else.
  • People who make me laugh.
  • God’s Word.
  • Corporate worship.
  • Drawing.
  • Freedom.
  • Having all the time in the world to get back to doing art again.  #summer
  • God’s faithfulness and mercy.
  • Blueberries.
  • Homemade blueberry lemonade.
  • Cute shoes. (Sounds shallow, but I don’t mean to be)
  • Air-conditioning.
  • Potted succulents. (I’ve always wanted one, and now I finally got one. Let’s if I succeed in not killing it.)
  • The color pink. (To be specific, very pale pink. Almost white. Not bubblegum or neon pink.)
  • Running water.
  • Not feeling nearly as unhealthy as I did about a month ago.
  • Pineapple.
  • Mangoes.
  • Social media to keep in touch with faraway friends.
  • New (pleasant) experiences.

What are some blessings in your life?

#MonthlyMusicPost—June

1.) You Make Me New – The Royal Royal

 

2.) Rest In You – All Sons & Daughters

 

3.) Kids – Citizens & Saints

 

4.) Celebrate – Jason Gray

 

5.) Dance – Tim Halperin

 

6.) Running – Tyler Batts

 

7.) First (Deluxe Sessions) – Lauren Daigle

 

8.) Float – Switchfoot

 

9.) Diamonds & Gold – The Gray Havens

 

10.) Ireland – Liza Anne

 

What are you listening to these days?

“Briars & Light”—a short story

I was lost in what seemed to be miles and miles of thick, overgrown woods all around me. Somehow—I could not recall how—I had entered into this maze of vegetation, and I had wandered so deeply into the middle that I could no longer see any light. After wandering seemingly in circles for hours on end, I collapsed on the ground, too exhausted to pay any attention to the bits of pine needle in my tangled hair, and the scrape on my shin that was bleeding.”I can’t go on any further,” I said to myself.

A tear rolled down my cheek, and it stung. I felt where the stinging sensation had happened, and I found a scratch on my cheek. The saltiness of my tears had irritated the wound. 

I curled up in a ball under a tree, and sobbed. I prayed. “Father, get me out of this, please.”
I finally picked myself up off of the ground, and kept walking, in hopes that my feet would take me somewhere, anywhere, away from this awful place. I walked on and on, dragging my limbs, though I barely had any strength left. No, I would try to escape this wood, even if in the endeavor I would die without any progress.
Then, suddenly—could it be true? No, surely I was hallucinating; I had not eaten in days, and I was exhausted… I was ill, and imagining things. But I thought I could see a faint light in the distance.

I ran.

I tripped and fell many times, and covered myself in bruises, but it did not matter to me. I approached that light as fast as I could. I was nearly prevented many times, approaching many obstacles, but somehow I overcame them all—a rushing river, mud that I feared would swallow me up, wild animals whose eyes glowed menacingly in the dark—but I found a way past them all. And at last, I came to that beautiful light. 

Golden evening sun-glow shone in rays through the overgrown trees. I felt the warmth of the light—it contrasted starkly with the cold atmosphere of the wood. Beyond this wood, where the sun shone brightly, was a clearing. I had to get to that clearing. The very sight of the glittering rays and the rolling hills beyond the trees was irresistible. But at the edge of this wood, before the sunlit plains, I began to notice thick briars, thorns and vines of many kinds that blocked my way to freedom. I wanted to fight through the tangled mess and step into that golden world that lay behind it all. But I stopped and began to doubt that this freedom was even possible.

“Look how thick these weeds are,” I said to myself. “I’m already so injured from everything I’ve blindly brushed up against. I can’t get through this.”

“But… so what if the weeds are thick and full of thorns? I’ll be free. Freedom is worth the pain.”

So I ventured up to the thorny brush and tried to break the weeds away. It was possible, but they poked and stung my already raw, worn hands. As I cleared a path, the thorns caught on my hair and clothes and tore them, and scratched my skin so that it sometimes bled.

Fed up, I stepped back. “I can’t do this!” I yelled with frustration.
Then I looked behind me at the endless, black darkness. I shuddered. No. “Freedom is worth the pain,” I repeated to myself, and attacked the thicket again with full force.

And at last, I broke through, and collapsed on the grass outside the wood. At last, freedom. It was worth the pain. It was worth the patience, the perseverance, the crying out in tears of agony and frustration, wondering if the anguish would ever end. It did. And here I was, on the other side of it. And I would never enter it again. Despite my lack of strength, I forced myself up off of the soft, green grass and ran far, far away from that wood until I could no longer see it on the horizon. I had found freedom, and I was going to flee even the memory of being lost.

“Petals” — a poem

I was a young and flow’ring tree,

With branches clothed so gracefully

with blossoms white and pink, that swell

With beauty, bearing pleasant smell.

 

At least that’s how things used to be—

Till change did overtake this tree.

Somewhere a Psalm says flowers fade*.

As seasons pass, so did my state.

 

One day the sun misplaced its glow,

And mid-May winds began to blow.

For summer, spring was making way;

My flowers, sadly, wouldn’t stay.

 

I saw my first few petals fall;

With balding blooms I stood appalled

As gusts of wind would carry off

The beauty I was so proud of.

 

It humbled me, stripped me of pride,

As I watched several flowers die—

Small heads, of petals quite bereft.

But then I still had many left…

 

Still, just like rain, the petals drop

Quite ceaselessly—they hardly stop.

The wind dies down, yet still they fall—

Will there be any left at all?

 

I feel much lighter than before…

But can these branches take much more?

This loss of beauty, stripped of charm?

Why must this wind do so much harm?

 

But… is it harm? Or is it grace?

Oh, could it be that this disgrace

Is just the means to better ends?

The gravity** this tempest sends?

 

Clouds thick with rain extract their tears

As I do mine, while standing here,

Bare, shivering, my blossoms gone.

But soon storms cease; I see the sun—

 

Dispelling darkness, causing sight

To see, where once stood pink and white,

On wind-blown branches, evidence

Of fruit beginning its existence.

 

And so I see. The wind was grace—

Although it for a time defaced

One type of beauty, I would meet

One just as beautiful and sweet.

 

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

 

Footnotes:

* referring to Psalm 103:15-16: 

“As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.”

Other biblical references to flowers fading occur in Isaiah, such as twice in Isaiah 40:7-8, and in James 1:11.

 

** “gravity” – double meaning—both referring to petals falling and the grave state of the circumstance

 

(originally posted at MaddieThePoet)

The Beginnings of Summer

My life, since I finished my last final:

Hung out with my classmates. Laughed a lot. Went to Chipotle with some of them. Was tired, so I tried to take a nap in an empty classroom (didn’t work). Did absolutely nothing yesterday morning and afternoon. Went to a swing dance, saw some friends there and danced twice. Hung out with some classmates some more, went for a walk with some of them around the city, going to the top of a parking garage and admiring the view (I didn’t go very close to the edge…heights. Ya know?). Went to bed at midnight. Tried to sleep in, but couldn’t (had this dream—a good one—after which it was impossible to go back to sleep). Journaled. Recounted the previous day’s adventures to my sister.

And my school’s commencement is tonight, so I’m really looking forward to going to that and cheering on some of my friends who are graduating.

It feels so good to finally feel alive again. This past school year was wonderful, and I am so thankful for the memories made, the beautiful souls I’ve gotten to know there, and the lessons I’ve learned, academic and otherwise. But it was hard, sanctifying, exhausting, and very draining. It’s good to have all of that behind me, and to finally be able to relax, recover and have some fun, and not have to worry about the next day’s assignments.

Freedom.

I had my last final interview this morning. 10 minutes beforehand, I was going through my notes frantically, trying to solidify as much information in my brain as I could. It was 9:07, and I had the 9:10-9:40 interview. Seeing that the classroom was empty, I walked into the classroom 3 minutes early.

“Hey, Madeline,” my professor greeted me. I greeted him likewise and sat down at a table, opposite him. After asking me a couple of smalltalk-y questions about my summer plans, he opened in prayer and then began interviewing me.

He began with the theme of authority. I was so glad—that was the theme I had focused on the most in preparation for this.

I talked about British monarchy, its clash between the Catholic church and the parliament, the establishment of the Anglican church, the “Divine Right of Kings”, the KJV Bible, etc., all the way to Dostoevsky and Crime & Punishment, with the theme of relativism and how the individual decides what is right and wrong; how Raskolnikov denies that his murder was a crime…

We talked about the development of “the nature of the self”, we also talked about Marx and Communism, the American Civil War, World War I, The Edinburgh Conference, Socialism and themes in Crime & Punishment (quite a wide spectrum of topics).

And 30 minutes later, just like that, I was done.  FREEDOM.

 

 

FINALS.

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It’s finals week.

This morning I walked into my classroom, where a few of my classmates had gathered together to study.

“Have you done your interview yet?” I was asked. (In this program we do finals in the form of 2 30-minute, one-on-one interviews with our professor, covering the information we learned over the semester and tracing themes throughout history.) I replied that I had not yet. Mine would be in half an hour.

“Can I pray for you?” one of my classmates asked me.

“Sure!” I said, not having expected the pleasure of getting to be prayed for. Aww. (The others had probably prayed for one another earlier, and I had missed it.)

She started praying, and in a second the others were all around me praying too—for clarity and the ability to recall everything I’d studied… You guys. My class is so sweet. I felt so blessed.

Then I tried to hurriedly intake as much information as I possibly could until 8:30.

/ / /

8:30 came.

I saw one of my good friends. She gave me a hug. “How do you feel?”

“I don’t know,” I responded with a nervous laugh. I did not feel ready for this.

“I’ll be praying for you!” she said.

“Thanks!”

I walked into one of the classrooms and sat down with my professor. He opened with prayer, then we started.

“Over the year, we’ve studied the development in history of the relationship between faith and reason. Can you tell me about any themes we’ve studied this semester regarding faith and reason?”

I racked my brain. I knew I had made a long list of such themes in preparation for this interview, but I could not for the life of me think of the first theme on that list. An uncomfortable silence ensued. I looked down at the plastic table-top—white, with little black flecks in it, like vanilla ice cream—and tried to think.

Aha. Pascal.

Pascal was the first person I could think of, though I knew he was not the first contributor to the “faith vs. reason” developments since the 1500s. But I started with him.

Pascal had a positive attitude toward reason, but knew the fallibility of man’s reason…oh wait. Before that was Descartes—”I think, therefore I am”… AHA—he introduced the “subjective turn”: reasoning starting with MAN as opposed to starting with God. (Why, Pascal.) He also had his cosmological argument (cause & effect) for the existence of God, which was that an imperfect being cannot think of a truly perfect Being. In other words, he said that an imperfect cause cannot create a perfect effect—therefore God must be something existing outside of a person’s imagination; being most perfect, He must exist. (#Anselm)  THEN there was Pascal. “Man is a thinking reed”—Pascal had a high view of human reason, but he knew that humans are fallible, therefore reason is fallible. “The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing.” He held that God can only be truly known by the heart, not simply by reason ALONE… (paraphrased summary of thought process)

I went on, until I had said as much as I could recall. “I think that’s all I’ve got,” I at last said.

We moved on to other topics.

…”Well, it’s 9:00, so we have to stop.” he said after a while. “Thank you!”

I thanked him and left. One interview down. I did not know whether I’d done well or not.

“Madeline! How did it go?” a few classmates asked excitedly.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I think it went alright…”

I went back to the classroom and checked my email. What, a grade back already? That was quick. It’s probably just a C, I told myself. I was not expecting anything good. I always had gotten Cs on my interviews.

Not this time— this time it was higher than a C. Wow, how unexpected! I was beaming. Praise the LORD! He had heard those prayers. Somehow, though I felt like there were many questions that I answered with “I don’t know”, and many awkward silences, and many times where I felt like I could not properly communicate what I was thinking, the LORD had given me the grace of a good grade.

One down. One more to go.

Life. 05/06

These past couple of weeks have been eventful.

In school, we finished reading Crime & Punishment. It was a very interesting book and well-written, and in many ways I enjoyed it immensely, but I’m not gonna lie, that was one of the hardest weeks of my life—it’s such a depressing and dark book! But it ends happily (arguably… due to its ambiguous ending, some of my classmates would disagree with me). We spent four class periods on it, and the classes were so interesting—there are so many themes in this book, it’s mind-blowing! If only I could have half the skill in writing fiction as Dostoyevsky had. After reading it we had to write a paper on some aspect in the book, and I turned in my rough draft just before midnight last night. My LAST rough draft, ever. What an amazing feeling.

While some days have been hard, these past couple of days have been quite joyful, actually. The LORD has been giving me a deeper love for Him and His Word—I’ve actually been motivated to read it these past couple days, and to pray more often and more deeply. And these times in His Word and in prayer have been so sweet and life-giving—it totally affects how joyful I will be that day! Lately I’ve been reading through 1 John, and various Psalms (102, 103, 62, 46 are all wonderful), Romans 12, Isaiah 53, etc.

I’m so glad that spring is finally here in its fullness—the trees have leaves now, the grass is no longer dead but living and green, and there are dandelions everywhere, and the temperatures are getting warmer. Praise the LORD!

I’ve been in a juicing/smoothie-making mood these days. A few of my favorite smoothie recipes have been:

  • banana / spinach / avocado / yogurt / honey
  • banana / clementine / plain kefir
  • banana / frozen wild blueberries / avocado (this one turned out to have a consistency kind of like soft-serve ice cream!)

 

While school has been stressful, nearing the end of the semester (two weeks left!), I’ve been intentional to take breaks when needed for the sake of preserving my health, and this has been so nice. During these breaks I’ve been taking lots of naps (I’m not being lazy… I’m so sleep-deprived that it’s absolutely necessary), journaling or reading my Bible, blogging, and working on my lettering business.

Later!

Maddie

My Hope & Stay.

One moment it seems like everything is alright, and the next moment I feel like the ground beneath me is crumbling. This Horner’s Syndrome is relentless—my mind is so overworked from all the hard work it must do to control the left side of my body and make it perform somewhat normally. This silent, involuntary task that my brain does—trying to keep the left side as coordinated with the right as it can—leaves my body and mind often fatigued, and makes it hard to think, hard to concentrate, hard to feel emotion sometimes. Because my mind is working so hard to do necessary things, it leaves little energy to do “less necessary” things, like thinking deeply, feelingly, critically. I still can do all of these things, but it takes a lot of energy and wipes me out. Living with Celiac has also been rough. I’ve avoided all grains for 3 months now, because they were making me sick, but now it seems like whatever I eat is making me sick. School is stressing me out, and I feel like the combination of this and health issues are together slowly doing me in. I’ve lost half of the amount of my hair… Yes. Half. I used to have a very thick head of hair. Not anymore. Thankfully, what has been lost came out evenly, so I’m not bald, and no one can tell I’ve lost any—except myself. And it concerns me. Finally, Depression has been hard to bear. I know that Celiac and Horner’s, stress, and certain life situations, are the main causes of this. I feel sad. I feel alone—alone in my struggles, alone in general, even though I have supportive friends and family who are encouraging through all of this. But I have learned time and again people can only do so much; though they can be a consolation and very encouraging, they don’t have the power to make things alright—only God can do that. Some days I’m overly weepy, and other days I feel completely apathetic and wonder what’s wrong with me.

But as hard as things are, I do not write this from an attitude of hopelessness. Yes, this is my life right now, and I will say it like it is—no use pretending things are differently. There are days when I feel like there is no hope left, and I cannot describe the horror of this feeling. But I know that this feeling is not the truth, and I tell myself this nearly every day:

There is hope. 

Though I FEEL like my strength is failing, like I will never see the sun, that I will lose my mind from all of this stress; though every day I see my physical weaknesses and face the fact that I am dust and to dust I shall return—I KNOW that I have this sure, unwavering hope:

A faithful, loving God Whose love for me is steadfast and unchanging. 

He loves me. He is for me. In Christ, I am adopted into His family. I am His daughter. He will never leave me. He forgives my sins and gives me grace to pursue Him, even now. He hears my prayers, even when my finite brain erroneously thinks He can’t hear me sometimes. And He is working everything for my good, to make me more like Christ. And He will carry me through it all. He will give me grace to endure, to stand firm, to not fall away under the pressure of it all. Seriously, when I look back at all I’ve been through so far, I realize what a miracle I am and how faithful and loving my Heavenly Father is.

So I will bear my struggles in faith, knowing that my struggles are not the end of the story. I won’t bottle up my emotions, or pretend that everything is just fine—I will be honest, because suffering is life, and it must be dealt with. To not deal with it would be unhealthy. But I will deal with it from faith, knowing that in all of this, God is in control. He is sovereign over my life. Let Your will be done, LORD. You know what is best for me. You are working these things in my life for Your glory and for my sanctification. Just, please, give me the strength to endure, as You have all these years before now. I believe You. Help my unbelief.

When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

 

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For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;

my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;

pour out your heart before him;

God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:5-8, ESV

#MonthlyMusicPost—April

I haven’t done the #monthlymusicpost in a while, so here’s April’s—10 songs I enjoy.

  1. Pave – Britt Nicole. This one’s fun.

 

2. Love With Your Life – Hollyn.

 

3. Every Giant Will Fall – Rend Collective.

 

4. Exalted Over All – Vertical Church Band. We sing this song in church, and sometimes in chapel, and I love it so much.

 

5. An Ending – Runaway Symphony. I recently saw this guy in concert, and was blown away by his music—it’s so beautifully poetic.

 

6. Bonners Ferry – Runaway Symphony.

 

7. Lift High The Name Of Jesus – Keith & Kristyn Getty. I love the fiddle in this song.

 

8. Rejoice – Dustin Kensrue. We sing this one at church as well.

 

9. Multiplied – NEEDTOBREATHE

 

10. Brother (feat. Gavin DeGraw) – NEEDTOBREATHE

 

What are some of your favorite songs?

Fragility—a poem

This body is fragile and weak—

This isn’t exactly what I had envisioned.

But I know that it would be wrong

To question the Artist about his decision

To make me the way that I am for some reason,

And give me this life with its trial-strewn seasons.

So help me, when tears fall, and I’m on my knees,

To praise You through sorrowful fragility.

 

Like David, I ask You, “How long?”—

I could have been freed from this when I was younger,

But I’ll never say You were wrong

To give me a thorn that would bring forth such wonder.

But when I feel lost in my questions, alone

In a valley, enveloped by many unknowns,

Please be my light, Father, and help me to see

Your hands at work through this hard fragility.

 

As I recall all that I’ve seen—

All the difficult things that You, LORD, have assigned me—

You faithfully guided me through

Every trial You’d given, in love, to refine me.

For pain leads to growth, and such growth have I tasted.

Those tears and unbearable days were not wasted.

I thank You for giving me this severe mercy:

This difficult, beautiful fragility.

Reasons to rejoice.

Life can be really, really hard.

Excessive stress.

Feeling rather emotionally unstable.

Constant fatigue.

Feeling like nothing that I eat is agreeing with me.

Grief over sin.

Anxiety. Depression.

Tears. Pain.

Really knowing that I am but a breath that vanishes.

The unknowns—how long will I be this sick? Will I ever get better? How will this affect my future?

Life is really, really hard sometimes. 

But even then, God has been showering so much grace upon me:

 

Sweet time in His Word.

Precious friends with whom I can be absolutely real, not being afraid of being vulnerable; friends who understand me and care about me, who weep with me when things are hard and rejoice with me in times of joy; friends who encourage and pray for me. Friendship is such an amazing gift.

People in my life who are humorous.

Naps. I’ve been taking so many; I need them.

The Psalms. (Psalm 46, especially)

Grace to rest in the truth of the gospel. I’ve got no reason to doubt. God has me.

Songs that are full of gospel truth.

Things in life that are ordinary, but make life fun: music, smoothies, outings with friends, sunny days, rainy days, laughing with my sister over memes, orchids, poetry, etc.

Most of all, knowing that God loves me, that I am His daughter, and that He is for me, working everything—yes, EVERYTHING—for my good and for His glory. Though I may not see it now, I will later, and this will result in more joy in Him.

 

Even in dark times, there are so many reasons to rejoice.

Life. 04/13

This will be a short one, because, well, I should be writing a paper.

Life has been hard. Really hard. In so many ways—health-wise, emotion-wise, faith-wise, life-wise. School is hard. The stress is real. I’m so overtired that I can hardly think straight sometimes. But God is carrying me through. And there is light at the end of the tunnel, I know there is: firstly, I am a child of God. Is there any happier or more comforting news than that? And these hard seasons I am going through are refining me, making me more like Christ. Oh, LORD, continue to make me more like Your Son, no matter what it takes! Secondly, there are only 5 weeks left of school. Thirdly, I’m learning so much about my health issues. I have Horner’s Syndrome, and I am learning so much about it and how it affects certain areas of my brain, as well as my gut—it may even have been the cause of my having Celiac Disease. Anyway, I am seeing a neurologist for Horner’s and for a traumatic brain injury I had had when I was 6. I’m feeling hopeful about finding healing soon. Praise the LORD!

Also, I’ve been marveling these days about how God uses hard situations for good. If things had not gone as difficultly as they had been, I would not be who I am. I would not love the LORD as much as I do. I would not have met the people I have met in those seasons, or would not have grown as close to my friends as I have during those hard days. I would not have as much compassion for people who are hurting. If I haven’t been wounded myself, I would not have known how to care for others who are hurting too. So although those days were dark and horrible, I am thankful that God brought me through them. He used them for my good, and for His glory, and has brought me closer to Himself. Wow. Thank You, God. Thank You Thank You Thank You.

I will post more later soon, if I can, AFTER this 12-page paper is turned in. WHEW!

Happy Holy Week!

Maddie