Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Surge of Hope

Today as I was reading Psalm 73, it was like being injected with hope. Sometimes, as I read the Bible I tend to pass over verses I've read often before. Lately, I have been trying to read everything and hear with my heart what God is saying. Today my heart heard.

Psalm 73:21-24
“When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.” 

I relate to these verses, especially the first two in my effort to be a perfect person and in that quest I fail, oh so miserably. In fact, I am learning how to NOT try to be a perfect person, because it is an unattainable goal that will always leave me wanting and failing. So yes, I relate to the first two verses when the writer is not in a good place because he is embittered and senseless, ignorant. It caught me by surprise when I read the verse and word in verse 23, "nevertheless". Did I read that correctly? Continually with God? It hit me like cool aloe on a sunburn - God does not go away or leave, this is not a touch and go relationship. We are not left on our own to get it together so we can then go to God. God does not disappear. I can’t express how this builds hope and safety in my heart. It’s as if I understand better the truth that God loves me where I am at and loves me wholly. It’s a perfect example of God loving me because of who He is and not where I am in my filth, joy or wherever I find myself. THANK YOU JESUS! No, it does not justify my poor behavior, it gives me hope in spite of myself. “His kindness leads us to repentance”; “His love never fails” I am brought to tears thinking about a love like this, a God like this and this is who He is! Thank You God. Thank You for your kindness and the fact that You never leave us or forsake us. I can be human, not perfect. Yet, I am also drawn to not be the person in the first two verses, His kindness truly does lead to repentance. Today, I will be a peace with myself and where I am in life. Today I have the confidence that - I am continually with God. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anxiety


Anxiety is hard to describe, especially the feelings that surround it. That overwhelming panic, the rapid beating of the heart as it is flooded with fear. I hate, yes hate, that feeling. Lately, I have been having a lot of anxiety, because life hasn’t gone as I anticipated. The worst thing about anxiety is the taunting fear. I know the Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)”. I prayed for it to go away and it didn’t seem to work. What was I doing wrong? (That added thought that I was doing something wrong only increased my anxiety – UGHH!) “God, help!”, this is probably my best prayer to date. “God, help, I can’t seem to let go of this anxiety and I am afraid I don’t really know how to do it, help Jesus, help.”

Well I would like to say that all of a sudden I never struggled with anxiety again, yet that is not true. I still struggle, although, thankfully it is getting better. When those feelings of paralyzing fear overwhelm me, I am learning not to entertain those thoughts. I am learning to talk to God instead of ponder the anxiety running through me. It is a process and sometimes I feel as if I am saying the same prayer to God over and over. Yet, the God I love and know isn’t bothered by my repetition. I think God is teaching me to deal with anxiety simply by not giving it fuel to thrive in my heart and mind. I am now running to God and confessing honestly where I am at. I no longer try with my own strength to ignore it; I bring it to the Cross. It is a process. 

I often wish I could pray and “zap” it would all disappear - my problems, my issues, my anxiety. Yet, I realize that I am also learning in this process, I am discovering how to lean on God. I am learning how to hand over my thoughts and hurts. I think this is a valuable lesson because as I move through life difficulties will come and now I will have a valuable tool to use. I really appreciate the way God loves and grows me. I won’t lie and say I appreciate fighting through this anxiety, yet…yet God is faithful and I get to discover anew His faithful, faithful love and that I do appreciate.

Wherever you are as you read this I pray that you, too, will discover God’s faithful love. And I welcome your prayers as I walk through this process. I feel as if I am squeezing tightly onto God’s hand, slowly I am relaxing my grip and enjoying the journey once again.

God is faithful.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joy

I've been full of joy recently - Christmas joy. What you may not realize is that for many years (over 20 years) I haven't been excited about Christmas much at all. See when I was little, Christmas was a BIG day, my mom knew how to celebrate holidays and she and my father made Christmas special. I moved out of state for university and often couldn't go back to my parents home for holidays. Added to this, were some bad memories surrounding Christmas and other holidays; eventually I didn't look forward to any holiday. Some years ago, I prayed and asked God to get back what I had as a kid: the love, the excitement, the desire to celebrate. 

Slowly I began to see a little changes, mostly, I saw the dread or distaste go away, but the enjoyment was still lacking...until this year. I can't explain "what" happened, although, I do have my guesses at what could have been part of the change. Last year, I went to a home run by nuns during Christmas to spend time in prayer to God. I was welcomed warmly to the house and invited to join in meals and some celebrations. It was so different from any Christmas I had ever had; I celebrated the "reason" of Christmas last year in a way I never had before.

Yesterday, as I was walking up the snow covered hill towards home, I realized how grateful I am that the love, excitement and desire to celebrate is found within my heart again. I am grateful for answered prayer. To be honest, it took a few years before I saw the answer to the prayer. As I look back, I see that God has done a lot of healing in my heart since that prayer and I am sure that healing has been a significant part of getting the joy back. Actually, I realize that that was God answering my prayer, but I didn't "see" it because I was in the process of healing "other" issues. The truth is, it was my heart that needed mending all along. 

So if you prayed to God yesterday, last week, last year or a few years ago...then my prayer for you is that you would see how God is responding to that prayer, because sometimes it difficult to see the work He is doing in your life because it looks different than what we expect. Bless you on your journey. (Amen.) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Living Loved

I've realized I don't write so often. You may have realized this by the amount of time between my blog posts. The thing is it takes more energy to sit at a computer and write than writing in a journal. I often get distracted once I am on the computer. Do you? An hour later I get off the computer only to realize I never accomplished the purpose that got me on the computer to begin with. I want to improve in this area, so here I am writing a blog post today (and it only took me an hour to get started).

Today, I had the priviledged of sitting down to coffee with a wise friend, MaryJean. We talked of life, Jesus, future and truth. During our time together she said this simple phrase: "living loved" and it caught my attention and made me think. We were talking about our inheritence in God's family and about what Jesus says in John 14 about sending Holy Spirit as our Comforter/Guide, not leaving us as orphans. The Bible talks plainly about God loving us and choosing us. Think about this for a moment. What would your life look like; how different would it be if you lived loved? You are loved! I am loved! This is our reality even if we have trouble receiving or believing it.


If or when we struggle with believing we are loved we should go to the source: God's Word. What does God say? The most quoted verse, John 3:16, says it plainly, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." and in 1 John 3:1 is says, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are." The Bible is filled with this truth.

I often talk about living free and I think living free looks very much like living loved. I'm going to practice living loved and I encourage you to join me in this. When times of doubt come, I'll ask God for help and I will read more of God's word to become more acquainted with the Truth written there.


Live Loved today - you are!



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Finding Peace




Where do you find peace? Where does rest come easily to you? Often, I am most rested and at peace near water, there is something about a body of water that causes me to relax completely.

Yesterday, as I was spending time with God, I found peace in His omniscience. Omniscient means having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things. Now , if you are like me, I have things I have done that I am not proud of, things I do not necessarily want to advertise or even, at times, admit to. To my dismay, I still struggle with some insecurities and fears. Yet, as I was reading from A.W. Tozer's book "The Knowledge of the Holy" I found peace in the truth of the words I read.
"...how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us so utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us."
"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.' (Isaiah 54:10)"
There is a peace that I cannot explain in being known completely and loved regardless. Peace in the fact that I do not have to strive, prove or explain myself, because He even knows my heart motivation, pure or not. Nothing is hidden from God. Yesterday, I had an understanding with both my heart and mind that I am known completely, in everything good and bad and also, loved completely.  In this, I found peace greater than any.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It is safe to cycle again!




The snow has melted and the ice is finally gone - it is Spring! And I am extremely glad.  I have officially had 4 beautiful bicycle rides all over Skien.  Today was one of my favorite rides, despite the wind and also the hill I went down only to go back up again because it was a dead end. I set of with a friend (Erine) and we had a fun start until her bike chain broke in half.  Luckily, we were near a friends house and could borrow his bike so that we could continue on.  It was a great day!

I think Spring brings out life, not only the obvious life like flowers in bloom, but something inside of me comes more alive when the sun comes out. I want to experience life, be out and about; go on adventures. Yes, the rain will come during spring too (in fact, it already has come), but that only increases my joy for beautiful sunny days. In every joke there often is a little truth and the joke here in Norway is "enjoy the sun for the month that it is out". Of course, it does shine more than 30 days a year here, but often it feels it is true after the long winter and between the rain. Nonetheless, I am going to soak in every drop of vitamin D from the sun that I can, I so very much appreciate it.
Happy Spring to You!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Help

Hello. If you are seeing this page you either, subscribed to this blog or have clicked a link directing you here.  This particular page is how you can help support what I do in missions and to help me, most specifically, with my trip home.

The newsletter directed you here if you were interested in helping.  If you wanted to share information you can send me a message by replying to the email newsletter I sent you or via facebook message, I've added the link in parenthesis (jaevw@facebook.com). If you were interested in giving financially there are several options available listed below:
  1. The PayPal button on the column to the right is an easy option.  Just click the link and when asked, please choose the option to give as a family/friend.  Everything else will be clear once you click the button.
  2. If you want to give through YWAM choose this link: http://www.ywamdenver.org/payments Since I am in another country, YWAM Denver allows me to process my missions support through them.  Click the link on the left column.  When filling out the form be sure to mark the box "Specific Staff Missionary" and write my first and last name (Jae Van Winkle) in the boxes provided.  I am considered an active YWAM Denver staff member, an overseas staff member. 
  3. If you want to give to my Norwegian account the number is: 97225440607
Thanks for all your help, it speaks volumes to my heart and I am truly grateful.