On this day…

Facebook can be cruel, right?  Bringing up old memories and the good old days.  The ones that we are trying to forget or maybe long to go back to.

It’s this cruel joke really. Reminding of what use to be.  I don’t know about you, but some days those memories are hard.

  • “I use to be skinnier.”
  • “Look how much fun I had.”
  • “I had so many friends.”
  • “That was when things were good between us.”
  • “Look how happy we were.”

Those memories maybe remind you that you are a long way from where you used to be or where you want to be now. Reminding you of what you used to have or are still waiting for.

Recently, because I didn’t want to sit alone in my pity party, I took a screen shot of a post from a year ago and sent it to one of my best friends.

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I might have said something like… “last year was very different, huh, ugh, sigh!” Not really sure how I felt and not sure what kind of answer I was hoping to get or wanted to get.

This is how she replied. “It is very different. But oh friend, I am so encouraged and encourage you to be comforted with your words. “Everyday He shows his abundant love for me in ways I can’t even imagine” it’s cool to think, wow, he’s still doing that.”

What I wanted in that moment, was maybe someone to say that I was better off now.  Or even to say, I am so sorry that you aren’t as happy! Or maybe even a snarky, cynical remark about how much Valentine’s day is stupid.

How dare she quote me to me!!

The truth….the pity party doesn’t work. 

It feels good for a second.  It feels good to draw someone else into your loneliness and bitterness. We long to have company in that.  We want others to validate our outlook and make us feel comfortable in those feelings. And to quote Gilmore Girls…..

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It is a vicious circle though.  The pity party is one with deflated balloons, and left overs from someone’s wedding. It doesn’t provide encouragement or hope.  In fact, it is the kind of party that you leave feeling worse than when you came.

We look to our circumstances to dictate how we feel about ourselves, the world, and God. Maybe we think our circumstances are a reflection about how God feels about us.  Choosing to bless those he loves more than others, to answer their prayers.

It is easy when things are good to think God is good.  It is easy to say, “Hallelujah” (praise hands emoji) to God when everything is peachy. But what about those days when the invites to pity parties are strong, when you can barely get out of bed, and your heart is heavy and hurting.

My words that I said a year ago mean just as much as the did on that day “Everyday he shows his abundant love for me in was I can’t even imagine.”

He is working out all things for the good of those whom he loves. And oh, how He loves you. 

He loves you, not just because you have it all worked out.  Because you can do at lot of great things for him.  Not because you have all those spiritual disciplines down.  Not because you have all those ducks in a row.  Not because you can smile at strangers or keep a tidy house.  Not because you don’t complain or are good with your money.

He loves you because he loves you because he loves you.

It might sound trite in your circumstances today.  It might seem empty and lame to whatever you are walking through.  But it is no less true.  There is no other truth I want to lean into. And I long to have a faith that is quick to see His goodness even in the midst of hard days.

Our God is not one of empty promises or of accidents.  He is not wondering what to do next in your life.  He is not surprised by the things that happens. He is the God of Jacob and Moses.  He comes through. He is faithful.

Because a pity party is really about ourselves, it is about us looking at our lives and thinking only of ourselves, the only thing that helps me make a quick exit, is remembering. 

Remembering the one in whom I say I trust.  Remembering the works that he has done in my life and those around me.

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“I will remember the dead of the Lord, yes, I will remember your wonders of old.  I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” -Psalm 77:11

Remembering His faithfulness.  Remembering how he has answered my prayers and fulfilled desires in the past.  Remembering how he hasn’t given up on me, even on my darkest days.

Our God is not like us, one that gives up on people, letting us just figured it out on our own or resigning to defeat.  He is a God that works….sure it may not be how we hope he would work.  It may not always wrap up in a neat little tidy bow.  And it may not be in our timing. But He isn’t like us, thank goodness!

Psalm 77:16-20

“When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.  The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side.  The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.  Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.  You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

 

Friends, sometimes God’s way is through the sea, through great waters, where we cannot see his footprints.  I pray that if you are in that spot that you would remember. Remember his works, his faithfulness, his goodness, his grace and love for you. He is trustworthy.

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Held together

Shattered and Broken. Destroyed and torn apart.

Everything is ending, the pieces are on the floor in front of you. The door just slammed, the call just came, the tears are running down your face.

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Maybe it is a job, a relationship or a family.  Or maybe it is a hope, dream or desire you have held as a pillar in your life for so long.

Whatever it is, you can’t breathe or focus, or seem to move on, it just feels as if you will die under the weight of the shattered pieces of your loss.  You might feel as you can’t continue, you can’t face the world, the others that haven’t been broken, and everything is together for them.

Perhaps you are in hard place of “this time of year” that can be suffocating.  You can’t muster the strength to smile and pretend everything is fine, so you just don’t go to that work party or that event with your friends.  You can’t face them again when your insides feel ripped in two. The happy couple or put together family is a punch to the gut.

My heart has been heavy this year thinking about how this advent season, the season of longing is truly that for many people.  2016 was a hard year for many, filled with heartache and pain and worry.  A year that just didn’t seem to quit. The world seems to be aching in so many ways.  Brokenness, shattered lives, cities literally crushed by hate and war, it is all too much.

We want to look away, we want to run and hide.  It seems too much to handle, to bear, to carry around from day to day. So maybe you ignore or just numb your self to the pain because you just can’t.

If you are anything like me, there might be things that seem impossible to hold together, to balance, to get through.  I look to myself to try to do it for myself, to pick up the pieces, to hold it together until I leave a party before I crumble.

The truth is that we actually don’t have to just power through, keep it in, and stuff it down.  Friends, we don’t have to hold ourselves together.  

We don’t do a very good job anyway, right.  We make a mess of it, like a stain that we try to fix without the stain remover.

The truth is that we have something that holds us together.  Someone, really.

In this season of Advent, of waiting and longing, I have been reminded that what we receive in the birth of Jesus is way through the pain, someone to hold it together for us, to be with us in the suffering.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

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And in Christ, all things hold together.  

The power of that statement, in those moments when all the plates you have been juggling come tumbling down, when you feel at the precipice of destruction, when nothing seems sure, is water for the parched soul.

He came to us, he came to our world and lived the hard life that we are living.  He knows the pain and suffering of living this human life.  He knows. And he is still here.  He doesn’t run from it or hide from us. He stays and is with us. What a beautiful savior we have in Jesus.

Friends, as we wrap up 2016, we don’t have to pretend or posture before God about the state of our lives.  Our lives might be laying there destroyed by our sin or by others.  We might be in the midst of suffering and pain.  Or maybe 2016 was one of your best, but the message is the same.  It isn’t up to us to hold it together. 

We don’t have that power or might, but we have the One that does.

Friends, live in the freedom of not having to hold it together.  Step into the heartache and pain, you won’t be left there, you won’t be alone in it and it isn’t up to you to make it better. Praise Him.

photo credit: Shattered dove via photopin (license)

Cleaning Out the Debris


Temperatures have risen.  Birds are chirping, the clocks have sprung forward.  The sun is shining, warm air is flowing throw the windows. 

Driving through town, I roll down the windows and feel the warm wind in my hair.  It smells faintly of burning grass and flowers. 

This spring breeze is powerful, it ignites a soul, it blows away the dust, and darkness from a long cold winter.

He uses the seasons to show us his faithfulness, his joy, his love, and his presence.

Today I feel it.  

This last week I turned 29.  (29 years old….. I know I can’t believe it either!)

There was a time in my life that I desperately prayed that Jesus wouldn’t return until I went to high school, got a boyfriend, and had my first kiss.  (I sure had my priorities in order.) I had a list of things that I thought I was supposed to accomplish in my life, and I was certainly going to be very upset if God got in the way of that. 

What is astounding is that God has faithfully shown me so much in these last 29 years.  Just as the sun has come out and has perhaps indicated that winter is over, I feel that my recent birthday, is metaphorically the spring of my life. 

I have been in a winter.  Probably not my last one, but one that was dark and dreary and so bleak at moments.  

In those moments, God didn’t leave me, but it felt like it.  I felt as if all that I had hoped and planned had been put on hold.  During that time,  God was planting things in my heart that I have yet to understand.

Now after my 29th birthday, the sun is shining on the earth, warming up those seeds, causing them to grow.  Do I know what those seeds are?? Not really sure yet, but I know something is growing and manifesting itself, and I can’t wait to see what it is.

The most frustrating thing is the process of pulling out the weeds and the overgrown plants in my heart.  He is continuing to prune and shape me.  It is hard, but necessary, as I see hope in what he has planted.

We need that, we need the pruning and the cleaning up.  We need to throw away the old junk, the broken garden statues we thought were cute, the leaking hose that broke several years ago, the weeds of plants that aren’t productive.

Most of all we need to make room for God to grow us in ways that we can’t even imagine.

We need to clear away clutter of the world.

We need to remove the debris of the destruction.

We need to clean mess of our own sin.

Perhaps when we do that, we can see his faithfulness and make room for his works, for his fruit, for his glory through us. But this isn’t to make us right with him, but to see what God is doing in our hearts.

Let me tell you friends, the longer I am on this earth, which compared to some isn’t quite as long, I know that my life is only as good as how much I am living for His glory, for His name.  Only through Him can I have anything that I have.  Only because of His life can I live in freedom and joy. 

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2

He doesn’t leave us alone to clean up the mess, he actually does it with us.  He longs for all of us to bear fruit, so he is going take care and prune away the parts of us that prevent us from bearing fruit.

Even more so, those winters that we experience aren’t a surprise to him, and in that we aren’t left there.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

In that, let us rejoice, that He longs for us to have genuine faith.  He longs for us to be confident and strong in Him. Even more so, he doesn’t leave us alone or here forever.  

Friends, so let us rejoice as we begin to spring clean, clearing out the junk so He can go to work.    

**photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/oH9US1 

#NewYearNewYou: 6 Reasons that Resolutions are Good.

This hashtag #NewYearNewYou has been floating around the interwebs.  I see it and giggle.  I think about all the new people in the gym with their new gym clothes during January or about the new calendars and journals that people are carrying around. 

So many people make resolutions every year.  I being one of them.  For many years it was “This year, I will lose weight, I will be healthier.”  Or even, “this is the year, that I will go on at least 1 date.”  (That did happen….maybe not in the best way, but I met that goal!)

It is 18 days into the new year, and some people may have abandoned their resolutions, or they have failed already. Goodness knows I have been guilty of that many times.  Perhaps like me, you might have already missed a day or two on the read the bible in a year plan!

Instead of writing about my own resolutions, because they are very idealistic and a tad repetitive. Let’s talk about why making resolutions is actually a good thing.  Because really it is important to draw a line in the sand and say, “No more, I resolve to change.”  



Many people abandon the idea of making resolutions because they want to go against the grain, but resolutions have merit. Here is my take: 

1. Resolutions require reflection.

As a teacher, especially English teacher, I reflect daily.  I reflect on my own teaching, on what the students are learning, what I am learning.  I am naturally a very self reflective person, sometimes to a fault.  Sometimes, I fall down the rabbit hole of overthinking.

However, reflection is so vital for our living.  It requires us to look back and examine what we have done well, what we could do better, maybe areas in our lives that we need help, maybe an area that we over look. 

For example, if we didn’t ever reflect on our relationships, we could spend a lot of time thinking we are treating our friends well and not be.  It is easy to ignore things and become complacent.

2. Resolutions require commitment.

My generation doesn’t like commitment, we don’t like to be tied down.  We are not our parents, we like the freedom of being able to move out of a house and find another.  We like being able to travel, we like a flexible lifestyle.  Or maybe this is just me.

When we make a resolution we are saying that we are making a commitment to something.  This sort of small practice of making commitments is good for us.  If we can commit to not drinking soda for 3 months, maybe we can commit to a job for a least a year.  Those small steps are good things.

Don’t get me wrong, making commitment in relationships is definitely different from giving up soda, but it is a small step towards the ideas of making commitments. (Perhaps it is the same practice as those who buy a pet before committing to the idea of having kids??)

3. Resolutions require actions.

For many years in my life, I was very passive about my physical health. I let life pass me by.  When I began to take my health seriously, I had to take action in buying the right sort of foods, actually going to the gym and not just talking about it. (I write more about that here!)

Resolutions, most of the time mean that we are responsible to do something or not do something.  That is an action, when we take that sort of action, other things in our lives change as a result.

When we sit back and let life happen to us, often we are unhappy with the result, angry and bitter and just whine a lot.  However, one of the greatest thing about being human is that we have the power to take action in some way.  

4. Resolutions require and result in mental strength

Something I learned as a beginning runner is that my body is more capable of what I ever thought it was.  My trainer constantly was pushing me past what I thought my limits were.  Even as I ran my 1st mile without stopping I realized that what wasn’t possible for me several months earlier was possible.  I just had to get mental stronger to get there. 

Many people say, “Oh, I don’t think I could ever do that.”  or “I definitely don’t have the self-control for that.”  Which is frustrating because they do, they actually just don’t have the desire or the drive to get there.  But when we make resolutions, we start to begin to build that mental strength required for bigger things.

This translates to other things, hard jobs, difficult relationships, struggles in life. We have to have the mental ability to push through the mental roadblocks and keep going, because we don’t know our own strength.

Ultimately, I was able to run a half-marathon. It meant that a lot of times when I thought I would have to stop, the mental strength carried me through.  That ability to say, “Nope, gotta keep going.”

5. Resolutions ultimately mean that it is possible to change.

When you are stuck in a rut, you need to know there is hope for change.  When we are stuck in hard situations, we need to know that it is possible for things to be different.  We need hope. 

If we believe what the bible says we know that God ultimately gives us a picture of why resolutions can be significant.  He didn’t leave us in our sin, he provided a way to freedom.

He provided a hope and an answer.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(2 Cor. 5:17  ESV)

Even in the old testament God promised not to leave us as we were: 

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

Every day I thank God that he hasn’t given up on me.  Thank goodness that God isn’t finished with us yet! Thank goodness he hasn’t left us here, but is continually working to transform our hearts and minds.  

Friends, let us look to Him to ultimately make a change in our hearts, because we are not without hope.

What resolutions have you made?  Have you given up yet?  What stops you from continuing?  Where have you given up hope?

photo credit: miss604 via photopin cc

You Don’t Know My Life!


We all have that friend, that posts the millions of baby pictures on Instagram or FB!  Or that couple who is constantly taking cute couple-ly pictures and sharing them with the world. Can you say unsubscribe?
 
For those of us, who perhaps are waiting on God to intervene in our life in dramatic ways, those people are our worst enemies.   
They don’t mean to be,  but that is the way it seems.  
So are the people that ask you those awkward and slightly personal questions.  For some reason, some people think it is okay to ask people personal questions, like about when a married couple is going to have kids, and if I am dating someone or “Don’t you WANT to get married?”.  (Okay, maybe I might be talking about my Grandma!) 
For those of us that are waiting on God to act in our lives in a big way, these questions are hard to swallow.   

We avoid family functions or people in the grocery stores, just so we don’t have to answer those hard questions.  We easily become cynical and bitter about those people in our lives. 
People mean well, I know this.  People are curious……people are nosy.  People don’t always know what is going on in our lives.  They are interested.  Maybe because they care, maybe because they are gossips.  Who knows, but they don’t always know what their questions do to us. 
However, we cannot deny that it hurts. Sometimes like a punch in the gut.   It could hurt like a slow tumor, spreading throughout our heart and soul, causing anger and weeping. 
People don’t know that the woman looking at baby clothes Target is actually just looking for chocolate and comfort food, because she just started her cycle again and she isn’t pregnant, again. The baby clothes are tempting but as she looks at bows and little shoes, she is broken on the inside.
They don’t know that all the weight you have lost, wasn’t actually intentional but from a disease that is destroying your body, and you can’t help it.  
They don’t know that the girl showing up to the wedding by herself, spent 20 minutes crying in her car before walking in, bravely facing the reminder that she is still single.  She still came because she wants to be happy for her friends.
They don’t know the guy in the coffeeshop day after day isn’t writing the great American novel, but is continue to job search, even though he hasn’t found anything in 2 months. The questions about his job search, now are beginning to hurt and make him feel like a failure. 
They don’t know that the million baby pictures they post on the Facebook and Instagram actually make you cry, and make you delete them as a friend.  Those pictures are further reminder of what they have that you don’t. 
People don’t know, so they ask.  They ask those seemingly harmless questions, not knowing that you already have been asked about this 4 times already this week.  The questions sting as dart of a reminder of this thing you try not to think about every hour, every day.
We are skilled at hiding these facts, these thoughts, these feelings.  We try to remain strong, and not let ourselves jump on the bitterness train.  We fight hard to be happy for those people.   
We want to share in their joy, but sometimes it is just too painful.
But….doesn’t the enemy make that difficult.  The enemy wants us to remain in pain, in isolation, trying to fight this on our own. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12) 

It isn’t our grandmas, and well meaning neighbors we are fighting against.  It is the one, who is working to draw us into the darkness.  He wants us to hide the pain, the torture, because we can easily blame others for our pain, we can harbor that bitterness and anger towards others because they don’t know our lives.  We can easily do that.   
We can hide away from the world and keep our pain close, letting it fester and grow. 
But thankfully we have another option…..we can share it with others like ourselves.  We can find those that have experienced this pain at one time and gotten past it. We can find those that are still in it and lock arms with each other, speaking words of life and light. 
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:17)
More than anything, we should be pushing each other toward the one who has our days written in his book. The Creator of life, the Provider, the Sustainer, the Redeemer and the Light.  We need to be holding fast to this truth together.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  (Isah 40:31)
Even in hard days, we have not lost hope that our worth and future do not lie with our ability to procreate, marry, or even find the perfect job or have the perfect family.   
Our worth and hope abides with the one who gave us life in the first place.   
When we have this in mind, those questions do not have the power to control us, destroy us or push into darkness. We can look those that ask in the eyes, and answer honestly and either chose to let them in or simply answer with truth and move on. 

“The Best is Yet to Come.”


They enter in, some smiling, some confused, some nervous. It is the first day, they all look freshly showered in new clothes and shoes, anticipating a day of rules and expectations.  Some not so excited, because school is hard, not a fun place for them. 

 
That was the quote I had on the my QOTD board for the first day of school.  I wanted my students desperately to cling to the fact that they can hope and dream.  In fact they should.   
They are young, they have so much life left to live.  I want them to dream about the maybes and the possibilities to come before them. 
But you know what….I need that to, I need to hope and dream. 

Even though life isn’t what I expected it to be at this point, I need to hope and dream of the possibilities. 

 God is not finished with me yet.
There is so much life left to live.  Even when I am 85, I want to have that hope too.  That until my dying breath, God is not done sanctifying and using me in the lives of those around me. 
We all know those people who talk about their glory days, whether it be high school or college.  They talk about those days as if it were the best ever. They never seem to think anything better can happen to them.  They live in the past, reliving those days over and over again and seem to be unsatisfied with the present and the future. They don’t enjoy the life they have now and they aren’t really hoping for anything better to happen in the future.
We don’t want to have that perspective, because the best is yet to come.  God promises us that, in his Son and his second coming. 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.(Philippians 1:6 ESV)
However, for now we are still here.  And when we live with the hope of something better, not in a idealistic way, but in the humble hopeful anticipation, we live life with a zeal and joy that is unmatched.  We live facing each day with excitement of what God can do in that day.  We live our days with joy that God can still use us. 
It is so easy to think that after we left the “prime” of our life that God can’t use us. 
But let’s look at Moses, he was used as an old man, the father of the nations. 
Sarah still gave birth after her child bearing days had passed. 
God still used Joesph even though he was sold, in prison, and lived many years in struggle.
Ruth lost her husband, and she was apart of the lineage of Jesus.
David was just a simple shepherd, turned great king, but also a sinner and God still used him.
Peter denied Jesus three times, and he still was used in mighty ways.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways 
 and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
(Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
All over the bible, you see stories of the sinners, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the destitute, the ordinary people, who are past their prime, unlikely to do anything, but God uses them the most. 

To me, that is the most encouraging, even when I think my story is over, it isn’t.  The best is yet to come.  

So friend, I say to you, the best is yet to come!  Don’t fear, give up or give in, the best is yet to come.  

(*The picture is a print from a shop on Etsy.  You should buy it. http://www.etsy.com/shop/decodezign)

On Repeat


I have been listening to this song on repeat for several weeks.  I blare it in my care, I listen to in my earbuds as I work out.  I play it in my classroom as I set up for my upcoming school year. 
I listen to the chorus, to the verses and let them soak down to the trenches of my soul.
And let me tell you, I need these lyrics, like a balm to my wounded bleeding soul. I need to hear these words over and over again.  I need them everyday.

I stand before You now
The greatness of Your renown
I’ve heard of the majesty and wonder of You
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us, You are not against us
Champion of Heaven,
You made a way for all to enter in

I’ve heard You calling my name
I’ve heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let you draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made

I need the reminder that He is the source of my strength and courage. Everyday. Everyday I need it. 
A year ago, I drug myself back to school, figuratively kicking and screaming the whole way.  I didn’t want to do it all over again.  I didn’t want to climb the mountain of changes and challenges that stood before me.  My life seemed so disappointing and not at all that I wanted it to be.  I was angry, sad, and depressed.  
Now, coming into this school year, I feel so much more hopeful.  Not because of anything I have done, I didn’t just decide one day that life wasn’t disappointing.  I didn’t just wake up one day not depressed or anxious anymore.  However, I did stop believing the lie that I had to figure it out and do it on my own. 
I stopped letting fear dictate my decisions, my emotions, and my reactions to what life threw at me. 
I went back to the beginning, to the truth from the One who Loves me.  
I let his truth start soaking into my soul again.  When I began doing that, it was as if the whole world began to open up again.  Anything was possible. All was not lost.  God began revealing all that he was doing in my life and those around me. 

It made me braver in my prayers and voicing my hopes and desires.  It made me dream a little bigger and bravely give over those dreams to the Lord.  It freed me from placing my hopes in my circumstances and in him who controls them. 

When you let the love of the one who KNOWS you best, who CREATED you, who has your life in his hands, soak to the depth of your soul, it makes you brave, it makes you able to bare the hard things. 
Friends, it doesn’t make those hard things less hard or less painful, but it gives you strength and power.  Hegives you strength and power, that you won’t have on your own.  He gives you a hope that doesn’t rest on the outcome of those hard things.  He gives you a hope secure.
He is the source of hope, strength, power, and courage when we have none left.  He is the one we can look to at all times to work on our behalf. 
That’s why I am listening to this song, over and over.  So that, THAT truth, that HE makes me brave, will be an anthem to my weary soul, when things inevitably get tough, when I will surely be anxious and fearful.