An Unchangeable Heart

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This weekend, I volunteered to make necklaces for cancer patients of my alma mater, USC’s, hospital. This picture features the centerpiece for one of the necklaces I made: a beautiful, simple heart. Creating something for someone else to appreciate was a beautiful experience. It made me think of what musicians do for a living. They create a song that means something to them and then they give it away to us to use, cherish and wear on our sleeves, on our hearts as our own.
I made this necklace for someone who is probably losing heart. An illness like cancer not only appears to take your health away, but it appears to take the only life you’ve known away as well. I’ve heard it said that when you have a traumatic experience happen your life is always separated into to phases: before & after. Before cancer, after cancer. Before the divorce, after the divorce. Before heartbreak, after heartbreak. It’s as if we almost begin a new life after a death… everything after loss is rebirth. Even if we don’t have a chronic, life-threatening illness: I’d venture to say that we have all, at times, felt like something in our life has died, or everything all at once. Like every door has been slammed in our face and there is nothing left to hope in, nothing left to hope for.
But the reality is, there is something that no circumstance can ever take away from us and that is the choice of our heart, our attitude, our soul. We have ultimate control of our heart and soul. The best thing we can do is surrender our heart to God, and allow Him to keep it safe from all the attacks this world can bring on it. the only thing that we can never lose is our soul. It is who we are and it will go with us into eternity and even when it feels we have nothing, we have something because we have a Gift of Unconditional Love that if we choose to accept, will forever live in our heart so that we know what it is to have joy, in plenty or in want. When we have nothing, we have everything because we have the unchangeable Love of our Heavenly Father who does not change like the shifting shadows but enters in, changes us from the inside out. “We have a hope that is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure”- Hebrews 6:19

Find Faith in the Battle

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Washington Crossing the Delaware Painting By Emanuel Leutze E. 1851

Photo at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 2014.

Lyric of the day: Find faith in the battle

Stand tall but above it all- For King & Country Fix My Eyes

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. (Hebrews 11:1)
“He’s fighting a cold.” “We just can’t seem to stop fighting!” “Sorry I’ll be late, I’m fighting traffic.”
Doesn’t it seem like we’re always fighting something? Like we are constantly at war with someone, something, somewhere. Life can sometimes feel like a constant battle against what you don’t want to happen or sometimes even worse, what is already happening.I’ve heard it said many times, and I think it’s an accurate label, that Hebrews 11 is known as “The Hall of Faith”. Where all the warriors of fear throughout the history of scripture stood up and fought against something that could have held them down forever and kept them from fulfilling their purpose for life: fear, the opposite of faith. I think it appropriate that this hall of faith begins with a definition of what this word actually means. I love how Eugene Petersen’s translation puts it: Faith is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. Sometimes we battle things we see, traffic, another person, a physical ailment. But sometimes, we don’t know exactly what we are fighting against, or for.
Fighting is never easy, but it’s much easier when you can see your opponent am I right or am I right? When we can size up the competition, see exactly how big this army is, exactly how many weapons we have, etc. it makes this concept a lot easier. But finding faith in the battle means having a handle on what we cannot see. It means in the midst of a place where our lives are in jeopardy, we must hold onto something intangible. Isn’t that too high of a calling? It’s sort of like how the Israelites went to scope out the Promised Land and came back convinced they were not going to be victorious why? They scoped out the competition and felt inferior. When I read that story I think, well wouldn’t it have been better if they didn’t see their opponent at all? If you flip a few chapters you’ll see someone who overcame the battle the Israelites could not manage to— King David of Israel. He was only a boy when he took on 9 foot Goliath. He saw his competition, but trusted His unseen God. He stood tall and above the facts. He stood on the rock of faith, even though he and everyone else around him probably put their money on Goliath. If you don’t know how these stories end I’ll save you the suspense, the Israelites had to wait 40 years, experience plagues and death and lots of other unpleasant stuff because of their lack of faith whereas David, against all odds and all sight-based predicts, was victorious over Goliath.
This teaches me and I hope you, quite a valuable lesson: when I feel like there is no visible way to win the fight. I fight that fear with faith. I stand tall on His promises and above all the fear-based thinking that will keep me down, and the only way to do that is, like the boys of For King & Country remind us, FIX MY EYES on You. 🙂