The Red Sea Didn’t Move – God Did

Move Red Sea, Move

Why am I thinking about Moses and the Red Sea?  Maybe it’s because the movie, The Ten Commandments, just made its annual Easter appearance on television.  Maybe it’s because current events are reminding me strongly of that scene where Moses and the newly freed Israelites, while being pursued by Pharaoh and his army, suddenly found themselves on a cliff overlooking a vicious body of water with nowhere to go.  You see, as this blog is being written, we are in the sixth week of self-isolation in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For some reason, this week feels like a Red Sea scenario, where the pandemic has no intention of showing those of us, caught up in the pandemic’s fray, favor. 

The novel Coronavirus has impacted every continent in this world.  As of today, it has claimed approximately 166K lives amid almost 2.4M reported cases worldwide.  These numbers, along with smaller, more detailed numbers for our local communities, have become an ongoing byline to every news program or headline being broadcast.  Sadly, during this week six there appears to be no way out as we dangle on that cliff, waiting for something to make it end today.

But It’s Hard, Lord

And so, I think about Moses.  I am pretty sure he was being yelled at, questioned, and cursed (because the Bible says so) by the very people for which he had just facilitated freedom.   In these days of selfies, Moses probably would have been hit in the back of the head with sheep dung if he turned his back on this angry crowd to take a picture, or worse, pushed into the roiling waves of the Red Sea.  It is also during these times that I wonder about all the ‘wonderment’ in the Bible and why the story of the Red Sea is so endearing.  I think it’s a reminder to us that God came through during an impossible time. A time that truly was the difference between life and death.

God Knows

God could have only come through for the Israelites if He was mindful of the imminent need.  He wasn’t off toiling with something elsewhere He could have missed their cries.  God was very aware of their need and was present in the moment (read Exodus 14).  Likewise, when we cry out to Him, God is a very present help already aware of the need (Psalm 46:1).

This COVID-19 season is a tough one. Tough because all the endings are not happy ones.  Many are dying and there is no logic as to why some survive.  The Red Sea is still being the vicious body of water that it always was, and it seems God is not willing to move it so we can get on with the rest of our lives.  Inherently, I believe, that is the point.  When we look at scripture, time and time again, we see God doesn’t necessarily remove the situation; He moves in the situation.  Yes, we see lepers healed and sight restored in the Bible, but these miracles usually happen when the person is already dangling on that cliff crying out for an intervention.  The ‘red sea’ is still there, looming in the background hoping to swallow up the person’s hopes and dreams – and then we also see, God is still there. 

We are reminded that, just like Moses and the Israelites, God does not necessarily move our ‘Red Sea Situations’ out of the way. Instead, He moves in them.  God moves in ways that give us a better understanding of His love and His power.  Much like Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross, He didn’t make the cross go away. The movement came, through Jesus’ death; and that movement continues to today in lives again and again.

Give Your ‘Red Sea’ to the Lord

As this pandemic continues to make moves across this nation and this world remember, God is still moving in ‘Red Sea Situations’.  God is moving in your situation.  He is a very present help in times of trouble.  God is our refuge and, more importantly, God knows your circumstances and what you are going through.  Keep seeking God’s face and keep your faith.  Like Moses, wave your staff (e.g. through prayer) and let God move in your life.  God’s movement always has a plan (Proverbs 19:21) that can overcome any circumstance and is backed by a love that is greater than anything we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

#LivingTheRedeemedLife

God Kept Me

God Kept Me

That is my testimony. God kept me.  Just like the song lyrics say, God kept me.  Through the valleys and uncertainties, God has kept me. The experiences of my life’s journey remind me of how God’s cover stays with us always.  God kept me, and He keeps you too.

Looking in the Rearview

It has been one year since I published my book, “What Just Happened?  Living the Redeemed Life, When All Hell Breaks Loose.”  An eventful year filled with testimonies from others who were touched by my story and the busyness that comes from taking that initial step of going from personal privacy to transparency on a more public level. It has been a year where I have had to face my fears as well as my strengths and weakness.  I’ve had to break down personal barriers to my esteem and identity because it is not easy putting your story ‘out there’.  I realize that my life has been crazy and wondrous all at the same time.  I also got more connected to the gifts God has poured into me as I put that ‘social butterfly’ tendency I’ve always had (that sometimes annoys my husband) to work. Who knew that my chattiness was really a gift to be used?  I didn’t know but God did.  It was also a time where I saw God open doors that could only have been opened because of the experiences I had gone through.  This year only added to the ‘awe’ I already knew about our awesome God!

Finding My Way

This new season didn’t just begin in the last year, it really started three years ago with the transition of a career I had always known and my mother’s illness and ultimate death. As I mentioned in my book, when these events happened, I lost my foundation.  I not only lost my income but my identity as I knew it (at least in my mind).  Things changed so drastically for me that the coping skills I have used my entire life didn’t work for me.  I prayed and cried so much that they became my daily norm.  That is where the lyrics to the song “I Almost Let Go” by Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers came into play:

I almost let go
I felt like I couldn’t take life anymore
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down

But God held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me
So I wouldn’t let go

Way – Found

The Lord’s presence in my life sustained me and pulled me up in my grief.  His mercy allowed me to recognize I still had breath and could take a small step each day.  The book was the culmination of the journaling I did to heal through the process. Only God could take that season of my life and turn it into something that I could speak about as a blessing! As I look back on how God loved me through my loss I realize – it had to happen the way it happened.  God needed to give me the understanding I now have for the new places He is taking me in my career, ministry, and life.  Just like salvation, life comes from death.  Gain comes from loss.  Lessons come from pain and healing eventually comes from hurt.   God kept me, and He keeps you too.

That is Living the RedeemedLife. You are not alone, and God really has a plan and purpose for your life, through all of the ups and the downs. 

You are Redeemed, Restored and Rejoiced! 

The Ups and Downs of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day signals the beginning of the frenzy of the holiday season.  For some,  it is a reminder of the wonderful birth of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.  And for others, it is the beginning of the shopping season (and discounts) leading up to Christmas.   For many, it is both! It is during this time, I am reminded of the many things I have to be thankful for.  There are the obvious things like my family and my health.  As I age though, these things are taking on new meanings and shapes but I am still thankful.  Most days, just to be able to wake up and embrace the newness of the day is something I cherish.

The Value of My Alabaster Box

I actually started writing this blog before Thanksgiving but the emotion of the week took over. This year, I have to admit, I am struggling.  I wasn’t struggling to be thankful, no, God has blessed and kept me.   For some reason this year I am reminded of that delicate balance of how blessings can also have that distinction of being fulfilling and painstaking at the same time.   See, for me (and many others) the Thanksgiving season is a stark reminder of those things that have passed on in life.  It is a reminder of the now empty chair that used to be occupied by a loved one.

Tough Times…At Times

This is now the third Thanksgiving where all of the family’s parents (mine and my in-laws) are absent.  Though we have grown accustomed to this new existence it is still a void that we busily ignore while cooking and hustling through the festivities.  The week of Thanksgiving is especially hard for me because it is also the week my mother’s health took a turn for the worse and she never recovered.  My mother loved the fellowship of Thanksgiving; the grocery shopping, the cooking, the crowded kitchen, she loved it!  It was her lack of wanting to participate in the planning three years ago that signaled something was very wrong.  She went into hospice care right after that holiday and went on to Glory shortly afterward.

I recognize this holiday season can be tough for so many of us.  Though gratitude is at the core of our hearts, some of our memories have a tinge of pain connected due to loss, grief, and change.  I think about the song by CeCe Winans where she sings about people not knowing the pain behind the oil in her alabaster box.  I cry when I hear that song because I truly can empathize.

Hope Still Lies Ahead

It is also during these times when I also realize there is nothing in this world that God is not aware of or understands.  It is during these times I cry out to Him because I trust He knows what is in my heart.  When I feel the void of my mothers presence, like when I am looking for her oyster dressing recipe, He says “I know My child, I hear your tears.”  It is during this time He also reminds me that she is fine with Him and it is alright to feel sad because He knows the love we had for each other.  God knew what He was doing when He allowed her to have me and the feelings of grief when she passed away.  He knows about the bond of mother and daughter.  He knows about the grief and the emptiness we feel when family, friends, and sometimes even things, are no longer with us.  God created everything and He understands.  We are not alone.

Turn to God’s Word

It is during times like this I believe we have to turn to His voice in the Bible to get the strength to get through.  If the holiday season is a bit tough for you – the following are points to remember to help you along:

  • Rejoice in all things, pray continually and be forever grateful.   (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • For everything, there is a season so trouble doesn’t last forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  • God promised He will give us the strength to get through the things we face. God didn’t say life would be easy but He did say He would never leave us.  (Isaiah 41:10, 1 Peter 5:10)
  • God can take the most heartwrenching situations and use them for good. (Romans 8:28)
  • God says our sacrifice of Thanksgiving is what He desires and when we call on Him, He is the one who will deliver us. (Psalm 50:13-15)

My friends, for those memories, your grief, that unwanted life change and that need that seems to be continually unfilled – God says to bring it all to Him.  He understands and can carry you through.  Give it to Him, with thanksgiving.

#LivingTheRedeemedLife