Throwing away old bras

I was raised in a frugal family. There you have it.

I have three younger sisters and I can recall in seventh grade only having two “cool” shirts and one pair of ultra cool wide-legged jeans (seriously, “classic” fit or “skinny” jeans were NOT cool!). I always hoped Mom would do laundry on Tuesdays so I could rotate and wear the two cool shirts again Wednesday and Thursday, and then of course Fridays we had to wear dresses to chapel, so I could some how put together a semi-cool looking chapel dress. On one occasion, I remember on a Saturday not having anything clean to wear that was “cool” so I threw on a pair of pink colored jeans and a non-cool shirt to make a trip over to Wal-Mart. To my complete horror and utter embarrassment, one of the popular girls was also there, shopping with her Mom.

Yes, I hid in the aisle.

We were on a budget.

So along these lines, I have this habit of never really throwing clothes away as a result of growing up in such a money-conscious family. I’m not a pack rat, I can throw things away, but clothes, that’s a different story.

Same thing with bras. (Sorry, maybe not so sorry if you’re offended by this post, but it’s true). I have so many bras that have been washed, rewashed, and then worn over and over again. Think about it, you wear a bra every day, so of course it’s going to get used a LOT.

Over time, these rather essential female undergarments get extremely worn out. Stretched. Sweat upon. Then there’s body fluctuations: weight gain, weight loss. All these things play into a bra really being treated poorly. Sorry there little guys.

I have a few bras I’ve been wearing for way too long, but, how could I possibly throw them away? Tossing one of those into the garbage can like a dirty tissue, then letting it sit there so every time I go into the bathroom and see it sitting there I hear it crying out: How could you do this to me after all we have been through? Why are you getting rid of me? Don’t you ever want to see me again? Let me give you another lift!!!

But you see, just like these bras I really need to toss into the garbage, tie the bag, walk out to the garbage bin and say: SAYONARA!, there are also many things like people, attitudes, fears, worries etc that we tend to keep around way too long in our lives, can I get an amen? We keep them around for security. What will my life be like without this person? Or, Can I really live with freedom instead of fear? Or…. the list goes on. Excuses to keep things around that honestly don’t belong in our lives in the first place.

Why do we hold onto these things?

There are probably many reasons, but one big reason: fear.
We humans fear the unknown.
We fear what we cannot control.
We fear that letting go of something that has become a security blanket for us, and we simply cannot imagine living without it. Him. Her. Security. Meaning. Future. Past. Pain. Worry.

So, I cannot promise anything. Letting go is scary, I know this. I’ve walked through this… BUT, we serve a God who is constant. Unchanging. Ever present. WILL NOT LET GO OF US.

Sometimes we are asked to give things up that we think are “good” but actually are not good at all. They serve a purpose of comfort for us, but ultimately may have no purpose in the greater story of our lives. They may be holding us back from what truly is GOOD for us, not just “good.”

This is not a sermon or exegetical paper, so don’t take these verses to mean I’m saying they directly can be interpreted or applied to what I’m speaking about. But let’s consider: God gives only good, that is His determination of what is Good, to us.

Psalm 34:8-10
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
Young lions lack food and go hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
will not lack any good thing.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

Now, I might still get a few more uses out of my old bras – don’t judge me, it takes time for me to let go of certain things!  But, can we learn to let go and trust the Lord in those areas of our lives where He is asking us to open our strong grasp on things that may not be ours to hold onto at all?

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Simple Trust.

A familiar verse, one we like to quote a lot, but even less often do we live it:

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”

Trust.  Sounds so simple, but how much do we really trust God?  I was reading a commentary tonight that hit me really hard, it brought me to tears because I often don’t live this way.  Trust demands a response from the entire being, the entire person.  It means we must humbly set aside our human understanding and and with our whole heart, our whole being, trust God.  The difference here
is contrasted between the understanding that comes as a result of treasuring wisdom, and the wisdom that comes from our own understanding, which “undermines faith.”

“Acknowledge” of God has a different understanding than you may realize.  “The verb is ‘know him,’ and it reflects the intimate experience of a personal relationship.  The sequence of the lines may also suggest their communication of a promise: by trusting him fully you will know him […] When obedient faith is present, the Lord will guide the believer along life’s paths in spite of difficulties and hindrances…” (Expositors Bible Commentary: Proverbs).

Trust is a call for total commitment.  There is no middle ground, you either trust God, or you do not.  Will you choose trust today?

 

 

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One year.

One year.  A lot can change in one year.  

One year ago my Dad and I were on day two of our trip moving me across the country from Oregon to Texas. 

So much has changed.

Faith.  Trust.  Waiting.  Hope.  

My feeble knees have been strengthened, and my weary heart has grown strong again.  God has been faithful, and never once have I ever walked alone.  I say that with tears welling in my eyes, because there were days I doubted this, and heaven remained silent as I cried this past winter.  Yet God gathered my tears in his bottle, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, has come to my side at times when I just didn’t have the strength to face another day.

What does the next year hold?  I have no clue.  But I’m ready and expectantly waiting to see how God continues to meet needs and show himself continually faithful.

…my soul will rest in Your embrace….

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

a God of miracles

We serve a God in the business of miracles.  I don’t mean like creepy whatever, I mean like real miracles.  Like we pray and get on our knees, and God provides.  We are left at a dead end, and he does something.

Like raising a knife to kill your son because you believe so strongly that even if your son was to die, God would raise him.

Like becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

But, I want to talk about real life miracles, that happen even today.  Two women in particular who live by faith, and have seen God provide in miraculous ways, even through difficulty, extreme difficulty.

My friend, (I’ll refrain from using names) #1, I have known now for 2 years, and she is amazing.  I have no other words.  She has faced her worst fear over these past few months: pre-cancerous cells found in her body.  “Stage 0” breast cancer.  This person is one of my heroes, but her miracle came in a not so unexpected way: modern medicine.  She is incredible, and went through surgery, a single mastectomy.

I sat there, looking at her just today and thought, I can’t believe it.  She is 30 years old, never married, no children, and she just went through an incredibly huge life change.

Miracles.  God provided those doctors, who have provided a miracle, and she will live a long full, cancer-free life because of this.  And it takes faith.  Faith to know you’re making the right decision.  Doing the right thing for the future, even though you cannot perceive what lies ahead of you.

Now, #2, I’ve known now for about 4 years, she and her husband were unable to get pregnant for 8 years, and finally 3 years ago, resorted to spending thousands of dollars to get pregnant by in vitro fertilization.  God gave them miracle number one: a healthy (and SUPER cute) baby boy.

But they just felt like the weren’t done having children.

In the midst of this, the other two frozen embryos, from the previous treatments, were found not viable.  So, they would have to start all over again with fertility treatments, saving thousands more to go through the entire process again, without even the guarantee of being able to actually get pregnant again.

By a miracle, somehow, someway, they conceived, on their own.  After all the pain and tears, they now have a beautiful baby girl, who I just got to hold tonight, and is now one month old.  My friend sat and teared up, even again about it all, how God answered their prayers for another baby.

Miracles.  Prayer.

We all have our mountains we face, you know exactly what your mountains are, I know mine.  But, do we actually trust God with these things?  Do we trust him that if he wants, he can intervene in just a moment, and everything could completely change?

Let’s face it, we don’t always know best for ourselves.  But, when we face these trials, they are to grow our faith, and these stones of remembrance become a testimony to the world: we serve a LIVING God who delights in his people, who loves to bless us, who desires our attention and worship.

I think of the book of Daniel, I read recently.  Do you believe we serve this same God?  Who can protect us from being burned in the furnace?  Not only that, but walks with us in it?  Or the God who shuts the mouths of lions, protecting our lives?  We can never know all the ways God’s hand of grace and mercy is spread wide over our lives, but we must trust.  What else can we do?  Where else would we go but into his arms?

I hope and pray my life will be the same testimony as these women, that I will stand firm in my faith, even as trials come my way.  We serve a God of miracles.