>Blessed beyond measure…

>   Here I stand, on the cusp of a ‘new’ year of life. 26 years and counting…the blessings just keep rolling in. For my birthday, as is tradition, we go and see a movie of my choosing and either Mom cooks a wonderful meal (also of my choosing) or we go to a restaurant (obviously of my choosing ;-). It’s a quiet day of celebration, rarely is it celebrated with big flashy parties because it’s the core of the family that means the most to us. I enjoy these days of simply being with my family and remembering how blessed I am truly to be my parent’s child.
This year we went the new movie Soul Surfer which is based of the the amazing true story of Bethany Hamilton, the young woman who was attacked by a shark and lost an arm–possibly losing the ability to compete in the championships for surfing- as she always dreamed of doing. This story is a a story of faith, determination and living out one’s dreams. She refuses to stop believing in her dreams simply because something drastic has happened to her body. She fights to overcome and eventually comes out on the other side praising God for what has transpired.
That is what faith should be. Rock solid, where it can withstand the bumpy moments of doubt and anger. Where we can trust God to still be there even when we rail against the perceived injustices of our life. Life isn’t going to be easy, and we will constantly have doubts about what God is doing in our lives, but if we have true faith that is solid and can bend with the wind of doubt, we will always return upright and strong, sure that God loves us and has his hand on our lives.
Soul Surfer came at an opportune time in my life. It was so interesting listening to her life, and how Bethany Hamilton decided to make her life even more with being short a body part. Two quotes struck me as eye opening, “I don’t need easy, I need possible.” and then towards the end of the movie when asked if she could would she change what happened to her, she says. “No, I would not change what happened to me. Because now I can embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two arms.” (or something to that effect). Her faith was refined by the fires of pain and doubt, and came out pure gold without a bit of impurities. Her faith was even stronger than her parents, and helped carry them through their own pain and anguish for their child.
As I turn 26, my prayer for myself is that if God sees fit to give me the burn of refining fires that I would be as strong as Bethany. That while I rest in Christ in the moments of doubt and anger, I will always be knowledgeable of the fact that He is there. I am never alone. Through the fires, as Hamilton says regarding the loss of her arm, I can embrace MORE people because of the forced loss than I ever can because of having it all. It is through our brokenness that we can make others whole– though Christ’s help.
“I don’t need easy, I need possible” That is what faith is. Faith is not easy. It’s tough, it’s hard, it’s not for the weak of heart. But it is possible. It is beautiful and rough. It’s a sweat filled, tear spilling, glorious awe-inspiring ride. Through God all things are made possible.
How can I do anything but to hold onto God as he take me on this wild ride? He shows me more about the world that He has created every single day than any scientist could ever attempt to discover a way of refuting in a lifetime. He shows me His love in every breath I breathe.
How can I say anything but the fact I am blessed by the Creator of this Universe?!? My life has the rough spots, and it is all the more beautiful because of it. I can look past it and see only grace. My life is only going to get even better today and tomorrow and all the tomorrows to the day God has written in his book. I am ready LORD- USE ME TO EMBRACE THE WORLD FOR YOU.

Acts 1:8    

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
John 3:16  

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

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