Pressing Through To Jesus

Pressing Through To Jesus

Warning: this may be TMI (too much information) for some people. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’ve had “the issue of blood” (we all get what that means, right?) basically every day for the last 7 months. Just in case you are worrying, I’m aware of why it’s happening, but at this point it’s just something I have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s annoying, frustrating, sometimes scary and sometimes painful. This week, I was especially frustrated and let out a disgruntled sigh.

“Jesus, why is this happening to me?”

I hadn’t expected a response, but in the middle of my frustration God encouraged me. I was instantly reminded of the story of the woman with the issue of blood found in Mark 5:25-34, which I’ve read probably a hundred times. This morning though, it took on a deeper meaning– not just because I could relate to the woman on a very small scale.

The woman in Mark 5 lived with her sickness for 12 long years. She tried everything she could possibly try in order to get relief. I’m sure she even tried essential oils because a friend on Facebook told her to give it a try. I joke, but this woman was desperate. She visited doctors and tried a variety of procedures and literally spent all the money she had in order to get better. In the end, she only got worse.

Until Jesus.

A desperate woman who had tried everything else pressed through and found her way to Jesus. She knew He was her only hope. In reaching Him, in that very moment, she was healed. Instantly, I might add.

For me, singleness is my “issue”. At times, it can be frustrating, annoying, scary and painful as I try and walk through this journey with faith. I’ve tried everything and still find myself waiting for this season to be over. From dating apps to being set up by friends and waiting for that guy in small group to ask me out to coffee. There are moments I get to the end of myself and pray prayers similar to the one I shared at the beginning of this article.

“Jesus, why is this happening to me?”

His answer, “Press through these circumstances and get to me. I want you to come to me because that is where you will find wholeness.”

It is there, in the presence of Jesus, that we find healing. Healing from a break-up or healing from the heartache of not having been on a date in years. Maybe your healing isn’t connected to your relationship status– maybe it has to do with an attitude you have towards someone or that every day you wake up feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

All I know is whatever we need, can be found in the presence of Jesus. In that area where you need healing, press through to Jesus. He wants us to come to Him. He loves it when we do because it’s admitting our need for Him. And I don’t know if you need the reminder, but you do NEED Him.

My encouragement to you: Press through. Don’t let people, diagnoses, hurdles or difficulty get in your way. Get into Jesus’ presence and it’s there I know He’ll do a miracle for you!

 

 

My Bleeding Heart: Eight Years Later

my bleeding heart

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes scars are left as beautiful reminders of something wonderful you once had.

August 25, 2006

“Holly, the doctors say he won’t make it the next 24 hours.”

“But they’ve said that before……right?”

“Ya.”

I hang up the phone full of faith and determination.

But God said he’d be healed. He can’t die. He won’t die.

A few weeks earlier, I’m sitting at his bedside in the ICU. His clear blue eyes locked on mine, we dream of our future together. I lean my ear close to his lips keeping his whispered words as our secret. My mind etches them in perfectly and my heart feels overcome with a love I’m sure I’ll never deserve. 

I’d always felt like I didn’t deserve him– that a man like him would never love someone like me. This insecurity led to so much wasted time….time I’d now do anything to reimburse. 

Thousands of miles away from that hospital, I lock myself in my room and throw myself down on the blue plush carpet. The tears flow unceasingly all day as I beg and barter with God for his healing. I remind God, as if He needs reminding, of prophetic words that were spoken over him. I make desperate promises. I even offer my life for his. “Just take me instead, God. Please.”

I fall asleep sometime during the early morning hours– my pillow stained with tears, my fingers clutched tightly around the edges. 

August 26, 2006

It’s early. The house is quiet. 

I pick up the phone and call his mom. She answers and I quickly apologize for calling so early, but my heart is frantic and I just need to know everything is ok. That he is ok, but she stops me mid-sentence…

“I’m sorry, Holly, he didn’t make it.”

Standing on my porch doing my best to stay composed, I tell her I’ll make arrangements to fly back and she promises to call in a few hours with the details. The call ends and I walk through the back door where my roommate is staring at me looking for answers, but all I do is collapse onto the floor.

I have no words. No air. Nothing but pain coursing through every inch of my body. She wraps me in her arms and we sit in a pile on the floor. 

A few days later, I sit staring at him in his casket praying he’ll stand up and this nightmare will be over, but he doesn’t. Instead, they close the lid and lower him into the ground. My heart buried with him, six feet below. 

August 26, 2014

Today marks 8 years without him.

2,920 days.

70,080 hours.

4,204,800 seconds.

I’ve counted every second. Every minute. Every day. Those are the moments I’ve lived through– the heartbeats I’ve felt since losing him. Each beat reverberating in my chest reminding me that I remain here. And he is gone. 

Where is the redemption in all of this I’ve repeatedly asked God. What good could possible be found in all of this grief? He hasn’t replied until recently:

You’ve continued to love despite having lost.

That may not seem like much to you, but in all of the sadness, lost dreams and brokenness there’s still this hidden treasure of hope. I love. I love deep and I love strong. I love even when it isn’t returned or reciprocated.

So, I’ll continue to remember. To grieve. To celebrate a life, a love that I was able to embrace for a season. And most importantly, I’ll continue to love.  

 

3 Lessons (on Weeds) from the Gardener

Weeds Post

I’ve never really had a green thumb.

Actually, my thumb could be nicknamed the “Thumb of death”. Every plant I get I kill. There’s just too much to know. How much light? How much water? I’m not home enough to care. As I type this, I have a decaying plant on my dining room table. It’s been whispering “help meeeee” for months now. I pass by it every time I walk to the bathroom. I see it and do nothing.

My mom had kept it alive for me for years. When I got my own place she decided it was time I took it home. I wasn’t sure how long it would last under my care. It’s been 3 years, and its asking me to let it die.

Anything I know about plants, or gardening, I’ve learned from my dad. I’m not a completely useless student. He points out the plants and tells me to pluck everything else. Easy peasy.

Recently, an older lady I know asked for some help weeding one of her flower beds. I like working in the garden, so I gladly accepted her invite knowing every time I help her I get a free dinner out of the deal. A free dinner is always worth it. 

I get to her house and she brings me to where the overgrown flower bed is and explains this is where I will be working. She points out a few flowers that should be left alone, but the rest could be torn up.

To confirm my orders, I repeat back what she said to me pointing at the plants to save. She says I’ve got it. Then, she leaves.

Instantly, its as if my brain has been completely flushed of the previous conversation and everything looks like a plant that should be saved. Or is it a weed?! As I work, I begin to pray. “Hey, God. Can you help me not mess up this ladies garden?” Then, I continue on with other non-weed related prayers. 

My heart had been heavy that day with some news concerning a friend. She was struggling with some very serious stuff and I felt like I had run out of wisdom and encouragement. I’d said it all. I knew she needed a word from God– not just some words from Holly. As I prayed, God began to reveal some things to my heart through the weeds.

Ya, you heard me right.

I know I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating. I’m a simple kid, and God speaks to me in simple terms. Sometimes its through a song, a conversation with a friend, or in this case through an evening of gardening. Very often, we get caught up looking for a voice in the clouds or a wild burning bush. I’ve never had those experiences, but I do know God speaks to me and it isn’t something I’ve made up. How do I know that? Cause His thoughts are not my thoughts– He points out things I would have never come to on my own. That’s how I know. 

Lesson #1: I need people in my life who will point out the weeds in my life. I don’t always recognize them and sometimes things may look like flowers to me, but in actuality are weeds.

When I was a kid, like most kids it seems, I would pick dandelions and make little bouquets. I had believed they were flowers until one day someone told me, “Hey. You know those things are weeds?” I needed someone wiser than me to point that out.

We’ve got things in our lives– be it lies we believe, things we are doing, a direction we are heading– that we need people wiser than ourselves to point out and say, “Hey. That’s a weed.” I’m thankful for the people who have done that for me knowing I would have done/believed some pretty dumb things if it hadn’t been for those people caring enough to lovingly point out something in my life that needed to be removed.

Lesson #2: You’ve got to remove the roots of the weed, or they’ll come back.

Weeds are persistent boogers. Sometimes you’ll think you’ve gotten all the roots only to find a weed in the same exact place a few days later.

God is the one who needs to remove the “weed”. He sees the depths of the root and He knows the best way to get rid of it. I’ll miss something if I try to do it on my own strength. 

Here’s an example of some weeding I’m asking God to do in my life. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a poor self-esteem. Poor is putting it kindly and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m downright abusive to myself. I’ve repeated derogatory names taking them on as my identity. Now most people would say– “Speak positive, Holly!” That’s part of it, but unless God comes in and gives me His vision, and His thoughts, then this weed is just gonna linger because I’ll only be dealing with the surface issue (negative talk) when there’s a deeper heart issue that needs weeding and healing.

Lesson #3: Weeds come out easier in fertile ground.

If your ground is dry, weeding is much more difficult. You are more apt to struggle, toil and sweat.

How does one keep fertile lives? Read the Bible. Worship. Pray. Ask godly people to speak into your life. Be obedient to what God is speaking to you. All of those things water our souls and keep the ground workable.

It’s easy to let life harden us– to allow people’s words, disappointments and crisis’ to deplete us of Living Water. That’s why it’s so important that we pursue God (through the above mentioned means…as well as many other ways) in order to stay flexible. 

This is my advice to you, allow the Gardener to come in and do some weeding. Allow Him to point out things that need some work and trust Him in the process. Know that anything being removed, is being removed for your good. Sure, it’s not a pain-less process, but in the end you’ll have a beautiful garden full of flowers instead of an overgrown and unkempt plot full of weeds.