Friday, November 30, 2012


* This blog post is a write-up of a testimony I gave at a chapel service at University of Indianapolis. I had planned on being incredibly eloquent and composed - but God had other plans. I definitely did NOT keep my composure (at all :) but I think God works better through broken people than people who have it all together. I definitely don't have it all together:) So, here's my story...

If I were to write a book about this past semester, I would probably title it: An Encounter with Suffering – Grieving with Hope. All semester, week after week, sometimes daily, I have come face to face with some sort of suffering. Whether through listening to the residents in my dorm because I’m an RA, or through friends, I hear story after story… loss of a loved one, betrayal, spiritual bondage, thoughts of suicide, depression, eating disorders, broken friendships and relationships… you name it. And sometimes it's just as painful to suffer with someone, than to suffer yourself.

And, two and a half weeks ago, I encountered a suffering of my own. Ron Rohlfing - a very dear friend of mine, a strong pillar in our church, and an adopted grandfather figure – fell off his roof while cleaning the gutters by himself. He endured painful trauma to his brain, his ribs, his spleen and countless other injuries. This was merely two days after his son’s wedding. His son and new daughter left early from the honeymoon to visit him in the hospital. He soon slipped into a coma, and two weeks later, he quietly passed away at 7:45 on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. 

My first reaction was shock. And then the pain came. I cried all the way through   the worship service at church. I knew I should be rejoicing that Ron’s death is not the end, but merely the beginning of his story – and that he is truly ALIVE. But all I wanted to do was grieve. I wanted to cry, and cry and cry some more. And I did. For days, I’d think about him during the smallest moments of the day, and then turn into a puddle.

It’s in times like these that I get all “philosophical”, think about eternity, and ask questions like “What is the meaning of Life” and “Does God exist”…

So, I was forced to deal with that proverbial elephant in the room: what do I do with suffering?

Suffering. There’s a lot of questions I have about it, like: What does it mean and why does it happen? Why is it a part of my story? The larger story, for that matter? Does it have a purpose? Samwise Gamgee, the wise little hobbit from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, puts it best. As he fights through the shadows of Mordor, he wonders aloud, “I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?”

And that’s precisely what we need to ask ourselves, because in order to understand the role of suffering, we must understand what kind of STORY we are in.

Let’s start with…
Imagine yourself in a garden – a glorious garden – replete with animals, plants and wonders of every kind. And the most glorious thing of all? A beautiful man and woman – created with original GLORY – reflecting the image of the Godhead. As it says in Psalm 8: “You have made man only a little lower than Elohim – and crowned him with glory and honor”. These glorious beings walked in oneness with the Creator himself. THIS is oneness, unity, wholeness, completeness. In an act of great love, God created these two beings – not as robots, programmed to obey their master – but as humans with the freedom and capability to love. But this included the risk of choosing not to.

Which leads us to…
Evil now enters the story. We’ve all heard of him. We honestly don’t like to talk about him. Well, every story has a villain, and the arch-villain of our story is Lucifer. According to scripture, he was a commander in the armies of God, and a guardian of the glory of God. But pride entered his heart – he didn’t want to just play a role in the story, he wanted the story to be about him. He coveted the glory of the Lord for himself. And so, after an epic battle in the heavens, he was cast out. And he encountered Adam and Eve – tempting them to let pride enter their hearts… and they did.

And so begins…
Ever since God created beings that reflected the glory of the Lord himself – us, my friends – the master Villain has sought to kill, destroy and steal that glory away – what he believes is deservedly his. Act 3 is where we are now, friends. A battle for our hearts – God, calling his beloved to love him completely. The Enemy, seeking to steal, kill and destroy every last remnant of God’s glory on earth. We cannot ignore that there is a Villain.

And the ending (or should I say the beginning)…
In every story, we long for a “happily ever after” – we long for the original glory of the Garden to be restored. We long to once again walk in oneness with the Father – and want the story to be set right again. We hope for wholeness and peace – and a kingdom that is restored.
For those with no hope, the final end is death. There is no way out. The Enemy has stolen all previous dreams of happily ever after. He whispers, Your story is an accident… and then, there is nothing. This is as good as it gets. He even tells us that the paradise we are promised is nothing but a joke – a pie in the sky choir service replete with chubby angels and harps. Yuck.
But we have a better promise – of complete and total restoration. No pain, no tears, no sorrow. Unity with a Father who loves us completely. A world born again – as much as we love this earth, the new earth is a thousand times more.

I come back to suffering. In the midst of suffering, I often tell myself it’s wrong to grieve – that grieving isn’t normal, nor is it a picture of someone who’s faithful to God. All I needed during the suffering was permission – permission to grieve. If you believe in God and his promises, are you allowed to grieve?

And yes. Grieving is normal. Grieving is a natural reaction to suffering - it  is a groan that the world is not set right. That we long for the original Glory of the garden. That we long for the glory to be restored, for God’s kingdom to once again reign. For death to no longer be a curse. For brokenness to longer be – but rather, wholeness. For the curtain to rise on Act 4 and let the story to finally, really begin.

But what I’ve observed this past semester is the difference between those who grieve with hope, and those who grieve in hopelessness.  For the unbeliever, suffering is a conundrum – and loss is the end. Restoration and redemption is a fairy tale, and a final victory is… nonexistent.

But we – we have hope in a final victory. We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our current sufferings are temporary. That they are the result of the Fall, and an Enemy who is out to kill and destroy. We have hope in restoration and redemption. Thus, we grieve with HOPE. We have whole books of the Bible crammed full of laments, grief and cries of desperation - yet, in the end, they end with the declaration: "Lord, you reign".

This is why we gather as the Body of Christ for worship – to praise, amidst the storms. We don’t come together to glaze over the truth, or to create this picture that Christianity is all about putting on a happy face and “everything’s ok”. Usually, everything is NOT ok. We all have our own stories of suffering – daily. We are all affected by sin, suffering and pain, and worshipping with the Body is where we can and should be honest. Pain is real – but God is a thousand times more real. The reality of REDEMPTION is the true reality. The beauty of our story is that we know the end - we know who wins. We've gotten a glimpse at those last pages of book. 

And yet we know those last pages are really just the beginning of the real story - the story that last for eternity.

And that’s why we sing.

I invite you to listen to this song called "Reason to Sing" by All Sons & Daughters. This song has been an anthem for me this semester – it’s a song of lament and grief, yet concluded with a declaration of truth. It declares why we sing... and who has the victory. It's about Grieving With Hope.

*References to the gospel as a "story" in 4 acts is inspired by a book called EPIC - by John Eldredge. Read it. It'll change your life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I read this in Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost For His Highest" this morning and had to share... 


"After Obedience - What?" — My Utmost For His Highest for 07/28/2012 

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side... ."   — Mark 6:45-52  


We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end. 

What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. 

God's training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end. 

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.  

- Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


You’ve probably noticed it’s a little dry around here – hardly any rain for the past two months, and when it sprinkles, it’s almost like the sky is teasing us. The ground nearly screams for moisture – but the clouds stare back in defiance.

I haven’t written in a while because… well, because I believed this lie that I could only write if it was about something I’d already been through or that God had already completed in my life. I felt like I could only write AFTER the rains had come and the drought was over. I felt like I had to already have “overcome” and be in a place of “wisdom” where somehow I could say, “Back then I learned such and such – but I’m all okay now, and everything’s alright”. It’s easier to share things and be vulnerable when the experience is over and you’re looking back, thinking, “That wasn’t so bad – I’ve got it all together now”.
Well, that’s a boldfaced lie – and a trick from the Enemy to keep us in bondage. If we feel like we can only be vulnerable when we’re all put together, then we’ll never truly share what God is doing in our lives – and that doesn’t accomplish anything, or bring God any glory.
Somehow, I have this perspective that God is only accomplishing something in my life when I feel like I’m overcoming, and when I feel “satisfied” with my “spiritual life”. If life hurts – well, then… God must not be there. Or he’s busy. I’ll just take care of it myself.
I’ll just take care of it myself.
In the words of a dear friend, Mark Whittier – “Them’s fightin’ words!”. It is off of this philosophy that I have lived my life this past year. I went to college with anticipation, dreams, expectations, desires, plans. I knew every day that God was accomplishing incredible things in my life – he astounded me with his faithfulness all year round – and provided me with ministries, friendships and opportunities I never could have planned myself. So, life was good. I was on a “spiritual high”. I was “comfortable”. I’d had my fill of “awesome God experiences” and lived off of my “highs”, dragging them out to last as long as possible. This meant that I didn’t feel the need to stay current with God – so, as ashamed as I am to say it – I didn’t really soak in the Word at all. I just lived from Sunday (church) to Wednesday (Bible Study) to every other Thursday (Praise Nights at school). I filled myself up every other day or so – vicariously living off of group “God experiences” – but lost the intimacy of a one-on-one relationship with the Almighty.
Then, things started to fall apart. I just bottled it up inside, shoved it under the rug, hid it behind the curtain. I went into denial mode – “I’m okay, I’ve got this covered”. I ran on my adrenaline of an exciting first couple of months. I ran on my charisma and extroversion – my “Energizer” bunny to get me through. I foolishly believed that my personality could carry me through – and I could just act as if everything was okay. Because: There are all these other people that need me! So many people to listen to and encourage! I’m here for ministry! I want to be a missionary at school! I just gave and gave and gave – and it comes to a point when you no longer are giving Jesus’ love away to others, you love other people only because you need something from them. You need to be filled. Because you’re empty.
I ran out of me. There was no “Johanna” left to encourage, love, help, and give joy. I had never dealt with any of my emotions – I just denied them. And then, when I came home, it took so much energy to keep all my thoughts and feelings from overtaking me that I no longer had energy to even… smile. I realized one day as I walked into work, someone waved at me and said Good Morning, and I didn’t even make the effort to reply. I crawled inside my shell and despised spending time with other people, because it took too much energy to be around people and make them feel special. I’d rather be alone, wallowing in my own self-pity and depression.
A couple of weeks ago, I’d had enough – and so did my family, I’m sure – and fell apart. How come I’m not ME? Where has my identity gone?
During one of my conversations with my parents, they read to me Psalm 23…
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with  me; your rod and staff they comfort me…”
All this time, the Lord has been calling me to green pastures. He has been guiding me – not to avoid the valley – but to walk through it and FEAR NOT. To walk through it and call on his name, and the protection of his rod and staff. He desires to be our protector and fight for our hearts. For years, I have held on to the verse commanding us to “Guard our heart” and translated it as “Build walls around your heart”. I’ve been trying to protect MYSELF – through my power, strength, personality, wit, charisma, extroversion, smarts, kindness, whatever.
But I am not enough.
How now do we live? Do we walk through deserts with confidence that we can ward off the predators ourselves? Or do we trust and wait for the Lord’s rod and staff to comfort us?
In droughts, do we count on our own strength to withstand weariness? Or do we soak in the ever-present rains of his grace?
I’m still in this process – I don’t have this figured out. I don’t have this all together. I was tempted to go back through this post and edit everything to make sure it sounded perfect – but no – God chided me to leave it the way it is. God is glorified through us admitting our ugliness and admitting our weakness. He DELIGHTS when we finally come to the point where we MUST say…
I am not enough.
We have no love, no ministry, no kindness, no smiles, no hugs to give away if we first do not RECEIVE the love being offered. We must soak in the truth. God is revealing to me lie after lie that I have believed for so long and have taken root in me. They have changed who I am – and this is the time – NOW – that God is calling me to remember who I really am. To remind myself daily of TRUTH. To accept the invitation to have a personal, intimate relationship with God.
Because I am not enough.

SPRINGS OF LIFE - by Ginny Owens
May this song encourage you as it has encouraged me…

Sunday, February 19, 2012



What a word. It evokes such joy, peace, content, warmth, security… strength. It’s Hope that gets me through every day. Not the worrisome “I hope, I hope, I hope I get a pony for Christmas!” type of hope, but a “Hope does not disappoint” kind of hope. I don’t even really know how to describe it, but I do know I can’t live without it.

I was talking with a friend last week and my heart broke in two when, in her frustration about her situation, blurted out… There's just NO hope. Okay?

I didn't really know what to say, honestly. All I could say was - There is always hope.

Last week, I was up in northern Indiana at a retreat with some of my college friends. It was perfect timing for a retreat, because I honestly felt like my life was falling apart, and I needed some restoration time desperately.

It was snowing just enough that we got to go sledding in these awesome inner tubes (they were AMAZING :) Unfortunately, one of my friend’s lost their necklace in the snow, so we roamed the snowy slopes for nearly half an hour, desperately trying to find the lost treasure. I walked in zig zags down the hill (I’m sure all of us meandering over the hill caused the neighbors to wonder if we were tipsy or something :) and stared at cold, white snow for a long time. Then something caught my eye buried under the snow…

a dandelion.

Of course, I’m not a personal fan of dandelions. They’re insidious little weeds that infiltrate lawns and make my nose itch. However, this particular dandelion worked its way into my heart. Staring at that bright golden beam shining through the snowy crystals, I heard God speak…

There is always hope. In the midst of the frozen wilderness. In the middle of chaos. In the times when you feel utterly lost. There is always hope.

Why do I know there is always hope? Because I know where hope comes from. It’s not from what people think of me. It’s not about my success. It’s not about worldly pleasure and happiness. It’s not anything this world provides.

Hope comes from Him. Christ is the hope set before us. The assurance that He has the victory in the end, and no man can separate us from the love of God.

It's humbling when an obnoxiously yellow weed puts life into perspective. But it did. 

Thanks, dandelion, for reminding that I don't have to live like I don't have hope. Because there is always hope.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. 

because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 5:3-5)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"There is a grace to be discovered in daily obligation through the cultivation of habits that open us to God's work in our lives..."

This sentence stood out to me when I read it in an essay called "The Grace of Daily Obligation" by Gregory Jones. The daily obligations that Jones talks about (time in the Word, time with church fellowship, etc.) are not “just rules”… they are divine privileges that we get to partake in. If we choose to do so, it opens up avenues for God to work in mighty ways in our lives – and the more often we do it, the more it becomes a lifestyle versus just a habit. I noticed the word “cultivation”… when you cultivate a garden, it takes time, patience and dedicated hard work – and I believe that the same can be applied to our daily practices of staying in touch with God. Spending time in the Word, for example, takes discipline, and I know well that it takes a LOT of effort to “fit it in” to our daily schedules.

I remember going to Worldview Academy, a Leadership and Apologetics training camp, when I was about 14 or 15 years old. One of the leaders of the camp had dinner with my small group, and we were having a discussion about spending time in the Word. When he declared that we don’t have to read the Bible, I nearly fell out of my chair – WHAT? What kind of camp did I come to? He let us think about it for a moment and then followed up his statement with this: “No, you don’t have to read the Word. You get to.”

That’s the grace of daily obligation… daily habits that become a lifestyle of listening to God open us up to the work of God. You aren’t obligated to read the Word, you are privileged to be able to read the very words of God in your very own language… you are privileged to spend one-on-one time with the Creator of the Universe… you are privileged to be an adopted son or daughter of the King and are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly  realms.

In accordance with the title of my blog... God is AWAKENING in me a desire to soak in the Word and to open up its pages with new eyes and a new heart.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


[This is from a paper I wrote for my Christian Vocations class. It was a project entitled "My Journey Thus Far"...]

I took this photo in Colorado this summer :)
     You’ve seen the movies – the main character on the edge of death, reflecting on life and where they’ve been, who’s been important to them, what they’ve learned and faced, and wondering where they’re going. Life and death experiences tend to do that to you. But why should only the thought of death cause us to reflect on the journey and purpose of Life? Why not reflect now?

     So, here’s my journey. It’s like an Epic - God as the author, and each chapter a different phase of my life. Sometimes I try to grab the pen and write it myself, but the ending never seems to work out just right. So, I’ll tell you what God has written and is continuing to write.  Close your eyes and let me tell you a story. My story begins thousands of years ago, as a dream in God’s eyes before the creation of the world. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...” (Jeremiah 1:5). My name is Johanna Elizabeth – which means consecrated, or set apart, by a gracious God. I was born in Colorado, and then moved to Texas and across the big pond to Romania all before I was 9 months old. I grew up as a “missionary kid”, learning two languages and growing up in a world that was very different than the country stamped on the front of my passport. Living overseas helped formed my global perspective on life and gave me a glimpse into the Father’s heart for the nations. Also, being a missionary kid is part of why I have empathy for and a desire to be hospitable to those who do not “fit in”. When my grandmother became very ill with cancer, we moved back to the United States; I felt firsthand the pain of culture shock and not “fitting-in”. Although I loved adventure and discovering new places, I was angry at God for making us come to this foreign land with foreign people. God proved his faithfulness, though, and blessed our family with a good home, new friends, and a more years with Grandma Sue, which was an unexpected blessing. I learned to love being with family, since my parents decided that schooling me at home would be the best thing to bring consistency and security in a world of change for our family. But the thirst for adventure still coursed through my veins – I was a tomboy through and through, running around outside barefoot nearly every day that I could, with my never-combed hair flying in the wind and gun holsters strapped to my shorts. At eleven years old, I officially began my adventure of a relationship with God, symbolizing my commitment to Christ by getting baptized in the bathtub at our old house in Romania. All that I have learned since then would take chapters and chapters to write, but the greatest thing about my story is that my relationship with God has become more and more real ever since. God is no longer just a being that my parents taught me about. He is as real to me as my own dad, and I love the way He’s writing my story.

     Every storybook has that front page that says, “Dedicated to ______”. This is my dedication page to the people who have had a formative role in my life. They are my supporting characters in my story, who have helped to guide me along the journey. Although it may sound cliché, my parents have played the most important role in my life. They have taught me who God is and how to have my own personal relationship with Him, offered wisdom when troubles arose, given me opportunities to explore the world through missions, showed me how to love people and see them with Jesus’ eyes, and so much more than I can ever thank them for. They have instilled in me a love of learning, life, family and all people – no matter their age, stage, or level of development. My sister Abigail has also been an integral part of my story. I’ve shared a room with her ever since I can remember, and some of those late night conversations full of wisdom and insight from my big sis have changed the way I look at life, calmed my fears, and brought clarity to messy situations. Growing up with Abby was a rollercoaster ride… there were definitely moments when we wondered why God ever made us sisters – those were mostly in middle school – but life with her has shaped who I am today. Of course, the older sister is always the guinea pig, so she taught me how to do homework, write papers, cry over math problems, draw beautiful pictures, write transcripts, apply for college, succeed in school and all that jazz. However, she also showed me how to care for others with a sensitive heart, think critically and deeply about social justice issues and missions, speak in front of others with confidence, to name just a few. Of course, there are many other people who have played significant roles in my life (I have been blessed with an incredible family!) but I would like to mention my pastor Don and my church family. I call it a family because that is the greatest thing that my church, New Covenant Fellowship, has taught me: the Body, the Bride of Christ, the Church is the family of God.
     My church doesn’t prescribe to a specific denomination; it was started in a house around twelve years ago and has always been a small fellowship of believers who gather together to read the word, worship and be the Body of Christ. Of course, my main understanding of Christianity stemmed from the teaching of my parents, but my church has played an essential part in emphasizing the priesthood of all believers. Ever since we’ve been worshipping with New Covenant Fellowship, the church has always invited me and my sister to be a vital part of serving at church, whether that means leading worship, sharing a devotion before communion and offering, leading a Bible study or teaching the children in kid’s class. I learned that there is no age limit to being a part of the Kingdom of God, for Jesus said that if we become like children, we can enter it. This has been my church’s greatest gift to me. I have learned what worship is, how to lead, what songs are appropriate, how to work with others and take advice, etc. It is a visible and practical example which stems from the core belief in the priesthood of all believers.

     In the same line of thought, 1 Peter 2:9 says that “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” I am chosen for a royal purpose, with a divine calling on my life. For a long time I was afraid that life was more like a maze than a storybook, terrified that I might go the wrong way, hit a wall and mess up God’s plan. However, God’s plans are not meant to trick us or confuse us. He invites us into His Epic Tale that he is creating, and calls us higher, further, farther. Our calling as children of God is to declare the glory of God in ALL that we do. Though my specific calling is still yet to be completely revealed, God has shown me that I am called to be a missionary of the gospel, proclaiming His word to those who are in need of medical services/therapy and Jesus’ love. In addition to medical missions through occupational therapy, God has called me to be, in the words of a dear friend, a “supermom”, planting trees that will last through generations and bear the fruit of the Spirit. Raising children is like the training up of missionaries, and one of the most sacred jobs on the planet. I can’t wait. God’s also called me to be a dynamic speaker and fight against injustice, protecting those without a voice, whether they are unborn, disabled or elderly. Why? Because all life is sacred, has value and is created in the image of a holy God. In addition, I will be given opportunities to speak against the lies that the Enemy has used to bind our generation, setting free the captives bound to culture-defined terms of image, beauty, femininity, rights, and the role of women. He gave me the gift of public speaking, and I know that He will use that in mighty ways, as well as the gift of languages. Someday, I hope to be completely fluent in Spanish so that I will not be hindered by a language barrier when serving the Latino-Hispanic community. God has also gifted me with the love of music, art, and design. I want to be able to glorify God through displaying His beauty and worshipping Him through all mediums, whether it is paint or piano keys. These are just a few of the things that God has revealed to me along my journey. I’m learning that whenever I can be still and know, God speaks into the stillness. Like the story of Samuel, I am continually reminded to say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening!”

     So, that’s my story; a small, but important, part in the Epic story that God is telling. God is inviting us in to be a part of His Story: History. We all play vital roles in the grand adventure: some days we feel like a hero, other days we feel more like the damsel in distress, but in God’s story we are the Bride. Jesus is our Hero, the Holy Spirit is our guide, and God is our Author. But, there’s an Enemy, too – he seeks to tear out every page and blot out every beautiful word, encouraging us to take the pen and write our own story. My biggest obstacle in fulfilling my God-given calling is my false sense of control over my own story, but I must continually remind myself that God has called me into a larger story that is written more eloquently than I could have imagined. When I am near the end of life and contemplating the story God has written in me, I want to look back and see His faithfulness and how He’s used me, knowing that the story has just begun and there’s an eternity left to live. In the words of songwriter Sara Groves, “Why would I want to live for man, and pay the highest price? And what does it mean to gain a whole world, only to lose my life? You can live for someone else and it will only bring you pain. I can’t even judge myself, only the Lord can say, ‘Well done.’ Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one, because this journey is my own.”

Monday, November 14, 2011


My sister Abby is a wise old soul (she looks 20, but don’t be fooled… :) Truly, some of the things that she says blow me away. It’s usually late at night when we’re chatting about the intricacies of life that these profound statements of truth jump out of her mouth and change my life. One late night a few years ago, I was fretting about something insignificant, tears staining my pillow, when Abby looked at me and said, “Johanna – worry is the opposite of faith.” And my life was forever changed.

Okay, that may sound a little dramatic (hey, it’s me we’re talking about here – dramatic is my middle name sometimes… :) but what she said is true. I had never thought about the fact that worrying is the antithesis of faith in Christ. How can I profess to be a child of the living God who trusts the Father, yet continue to worry constantly about the silliest of things in life such as what to eat for breakfast or what to wear?  If God can dress the lilies in the field with glorious golden garments can he not also take care whether or not I will have cereal in the morning? 

Fear and worry are natural, but destructive, responses to lack of control over the future. They are natural to our sinful nature – their roots go back to the garden.  Both of them are rooted in mistrust of God. The Enemy’s main goal is to get us to doubt the goodness of God – can we really trust God? Is God really good? Fear and worry disable us and make us incapable of stepping forward or backward – we are stuck in time.

But fear and worry are two different kinds of mistrust. Fear is specific… for example: I am afraid of the dark, afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown, afraid of rejection. These things are tangible, real, immediate. Scary. Sometimes, fear is healthy (fear of pain keeps you from burning yourself on the stove). But the fear that binds us is irrational fears placed by the Enemy to keep us in bondage, in chains. Fear seems larger than life, making our problems bigger and our God smaller.

Worry is a fear as well, but it is not based on immediate reality and seemingly rational fears. It is an irrational fear of "mights" and "what-ifs". It is a fear of the future - which never comes - and it keeps us from living in the present. It is the opposite of trust and faith in the One who redeems us and lifts us out of the pit. It is a vine that entangles us and keeps us from living life to the fullest potential that God has planned for us. For me. For you. 

One of the most repeated commands in scripture is “FEAR NOT”. Why? “Because I am with you”…

 The only thing that we have is faith in Jesus Christ – a hope rooted in reality and truth, not a blind wishing upon a star. He is who sets us FREE from the bondage of fear and worry. The Lord is my light and my salvation - of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) Proclaim the freedom for the captives which Christ died for! He did not die so that we could still be enslaved by fear and worry - he died so that we could be FREE.

 Do you want to be free? I do.

(and if God's got the flowers taken care of, then how much more will He take care of me? How much more has he already cared for me? He's got a perfect track record...)