Forever Faithful.

Forever

The whole bible is a testament of God’s faithfulness, a faithfulness that comes to fruition in the life of Jesus Christ. From Genesis 3:15, God promises offspring of the woman to come and bruise the head of the serpent—that being Jesus. The whole of the bible, every letter, every word, every story, every event is about one thing and that is the coming and death of a savior, Christ Jesus who came to do just that, save his people.

And he did.

That is the truth that we can dwell upon, the truth that we are to guard our hearts with, the reason that we can continue on in the face of persecution, pain, and suffering. That he did. That Jesus did come, he did live, he did die, he did take every bit of our pain, he did take every bit of suffering, he did take every bit of our sin upon himself, and he did die for us. He did all of these things because we have a faithful God. We have a God who promised us in the third chapter of the bible that he would send him, and kept reminding us of this promise through the whole of the Old Testament and made it come to fruition in the New, and he keeps on in this same faithfulness each and every moment of everyday, now and forever.

Faithful

Anxiety has ripped me apart at the seams. The past month has been a torment.

I returned from a weekend of rest, restoration, realizations, and the Redeemer with RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) at their Fall Conference in Montezuma, NM, only to get a bad case of bronchitis or the flu or something of the sort; all I know is I was miserable for more than a week and a half.

Prior to the trip and prior to my illness, I had been feeling better than I had in five years. I was happy again, I was interested in things again, and I was sleeping well again. I felt like a new woman. Then, the illness hit and along came a crippling bout of anxiety.

I am still not sure of the origin of this anxiety, I have my suspicions that it had to do with how miserable I was while I was so sick, that I was scared that it was going to continue or get worse, but even after I overcame those thoughts, the anxiety remained.

The last few weeks have been nothing but an inner battle with myself, trying to convince myself that everything is okay day in and day out. I’ve been trying to find anything that could comfort me and make me feel good again.

But let me tell you, this stuff is consuming. It’s like every moment is a fight to keep going, to keep breath in my lungs, to keep tears from my eyes, to keep my heart from racing, to keep myself out of bed (where I would no doubt remain all day if I could), to keep myself from panicking, to keep from blaming myself for anything and everything happening around me.

With all of this inner turmoil, I am sure one can deduce just how hard it has been to keep faith. All I can do is ask God why this is happening to me? Why it has to be that every night I have a series of panic attacks that make me worry if I will be able to sleep or not? Why I can’t just go back to the progress I was making a month ago—to the feelings of wholeness and that I was finally overcoming this silent beast?

But even as I type out these questions that have been the real life things I have been proposing to God, I see the error in them. I have been begging God for all the wrong things.

In Philippians, Paul writes from his Roman prison cell, where he has been imprisoned for spreading the gospel. When looking Paul’s circumstance, one would think his first response would be to ask God why; why if he is serving him, would he let this happen to him? However, when I look at Paul’s actual response to his imprisonment, my own hardened heart that is prone to ask “why” questions of God is challenged and changed. Paul says,

“I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known among the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”

Philippians 1:12-13

As Paul sits in prison he looks at it not as a burden or a reason to ask God the “why” questions, but rather an opportunity to spread the gospel to the guards that watch over him and give vigor to those who still remain out in the world seeking to share the truth of Jesus. Paul even manages throughout the whole book to rejoice, to rejoice in the fact that still in his suffering, he is allowed the privilege to serve Christ and is still be able to call on others to rejoice in doing the same.

This God of ours is a faithful one. One who can take the things that seem to be holding us captive and make them good. He is a faithful God that despite our shortcomings and selfish requests of Him still calls us back to the reality of Christ, his faithfulness incarnate. He was faithful to Paul in contenting him in the revelation of the truth and purpose of his imprisonment, and so He will be faithful to us.

While I examine my own prayers and thoughts against Paul’s, I can do little else but be convicted. As I sit in my situation with this anxiety that has created a sort of prison for me, I recognize that I should be praying that God would use this pain to ultimately propel me to press on to serve Christ. While this circumstance hurts and is confusing this is where I am supposed to be.

He will be faithful to me and to you to the very end, because His faithfulness is never ending.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-2-50-44-pm

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements

Coming to Terms with Time

I have taken to this blog as a place where I can do what I do best, writing. When I write, it serves the chief purpose as to gather my own thoughts in one singular place and to look over them in hopes of reaping from them some particular insight or epiphany and hopefully help someone else along the way. Sometimes though, my writing isn’t always in that fashion, it doesn’t always afford me the opportunity of a great epiphany or understanding. Sometimes it is just ramblings in hopes of getting them out of my head, and that is a bit like what I seem to be doing here with the concept of time.

On August 30th I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I decided to leave behind the only sure thing I have known in the last fifteen years—school. I decided to take a semester off of college, a hiatus if you will, in hopes of making some attempts at getting well.

In this time off there have been marked improvements.  There have been improvements like the fact that anxiety is not gripping everyday of my life, or that I am not dealing with horrible side effects of former medications, or that I don’t feel like there is a dark cloud above my head in every moment preventing me from living. I have had time to come closer to God and to contemplate his truths. I have had the opportunity to make a platform for myself to share these things and because of this I feel like this is the place to contemplate the following thing that I have been too scared to admit to myself, that this whole thing is going to take time.

I have no good explanation for you as to what I thought was going to happen when I decided to take a semester off of school. I remember going in to it considering it a time of healing, to give myself time to repair, to heal not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually. My words, however, seem to have rung hollow to myself, I seem to have just been justifying my hiatus with this concept of allowing myself time, and leaving it as just that, a concept. Though I have made strides in these places of healing mentioned above, there seems to be a part of me that thought it would all be over by now.

But this is not the case. While I have come to this place before and explained great things God has revealed to me through this pain and have had the excitement of coming to know him better, I have also come to realize that there is a difference between knowing God is in control and accepting that he is in control. That may seem fairly obvious to some, but it’s a hard pill to swallow, a painful realization when you thought you were being accepting of such a thing, then having it proven by yourself, to yourself that you have been trying to hold fast to your own schedule and your own plan. It seems to be that He has decided that his plan for my life, for my healing, will take time, the very concept I justified my hiatus with, and it will take longer than human me wants.

Time is cruel, but yet again, I am left here in awe of the revelations of himself that God has presented me through this pain. Again I am left with the recognition that He is in control, and it is now my turn to relinquish my own attempts at having said control. I am still hurting. I am still broken. But it is time that I not only allow God to do what he will, to align my desires with his will, but also to start to be truthful with myself about where I am and what I need which is his good and perect time, not what I want in my human schedule.

 

Dealing with Apathy as a Notorious Feeler: Finding Comfort in Truth

I am absolutely certain that God created and called me to be a feeler and an empathizer. He created and called me to be one who thinks about others before myself, to be one who is moved to my core by other’s triumphs and failures. He created and called me specifically and intentionally to be one who identifies with the feelings of others—for large groups, for small groups, for nations, for individuals, for the marginalized, for the broken, for the underdog, for the successful.

In this calling I have found both blessing and difficulty. With it, I am able to empathize with others and to help them, to feel for them and to connect with them. Due to this, there is little more I want from this life than to help others and share my deep feeling nature with the world in a positive manner. However, with this calling also comes difficulty: ease at feeling too much, a simplicity in taking on others feelings to the point that I forsake my own health, to feel too deeply too quickly. I am then tempted to value feeling over truth.

Throughout the last few months I have dealt for the first time in my life with what I would brand as “serious apathy”. I have found myself going from my norm of feeling deeply about everything I hear, every person I encounter, and every word I read, to feeling nothing about anything. I have felt, however, that apathy doesn’t feel right and is a burden. I have felt like my being has been swiped away and dangled in front of me when thinking about who I “actually” am.

For someone who feels deeply about nearly everything, apathy is a terrifying concept. Apathy to the feeler is like the ground being pulled out from beneath your feet and being told, “Find somewhere to stand.” It is the opposite of your core being. In handling apathy I have found it to be one the most discouraging things I have ever encountered (I use “handling” lightly as I really haven’t handled it well).

Throughout my bouts with apathy these past months, there is one thing that I found which prevails over the feeling of apathy and the temptation to value my feeling nature to an uncanny degree, and that is truth. The only thing that I have been able to grasp is the fact that I am in fact called to be a feeler, but also to value the truth over feeling.

In apathy I have found it difficult to worship, to pray, to bring glory to God, and to serve him in any manner. I can’t explain the painstaking attempts at praying and worshiping when I feel nothing. Looking back on these moments from a place of feeling, I can’t help but recognize the sin in my attempts to feel again in my time of apathy. It is like telling God, “Sorry, but I can’t bring glory to you, the one who grants me this breath to live, the one who has given me this life, the one who has redeemed me and saved me from the sin of this world, all because I just don’t feel like it.”

When put in those terms, it makes me come to a place of nearly disdaining my apathy for making me feel this way toward God; however, I stop myself here and am able to recognize his blessing in it. Experiencing apathy has allowed me to evaluate the way I feel about Jesus. To recognize where my focus lies, on feeling and not truth, is not where it should. How this focus should be put on the truths of Christ rather than on my human feeling. Feelings cannot only be misleading, but they are human, and while they are integral in the human experience and allow many beautiful things, when fully relied upon, they are seen for what they are, just that—human experiences.

When we rely on our feelings to be good toward God and rely on our feelings to trust in the truth of Jesus, we will always be prone to be discouraged from our walk with Christ. It is not until we value and recognize the truth of Him–of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, of Christ who died for us, and of God who orchestrates every moment of our lives–over the feeling of our human tendencies will we be able to find true peace.

From this peace found in truth, comes proof that God will prevail despite our human tendencies. From this peace comes the opportunity for me to feel for others better, on the basis that I live in a place of truth rather than of feeling.  From this peace comes a freedom from the pains of apathy and a reminder that these things are ordained by God. No matter my own human feeling, He will always be the one guiding the way.  He will always be there. He wants us to dwell on this truth, not our misguided feelings.

We are created and called as God’s people to dwell on the truth of who Jesus is, what and who he died for, and fact that we have been made new in him, a truth that reaches beyond human feeling and overwhelms our understanding. When you embrace that knowledge, you will find that the truth is your only resting place.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-30-32-pm

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

From Darkness Comes Beauty: Living with Hope through Pain

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

Beauty comes from darkness.

Some of the world’s greatest works of art were born out of the pain of the artist. Pick up any good poetry book and read a few lines. They will move you to your very core and manage to make you question how something so dark could be so beautiful.

With this idea in mind we look to some of the greats: Michelangelo’s work was defined by its melancholy themes, and yet he is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Vincent van Gogh was in so much pain he cut off his ear, but still managed to create some of the most inventive and beautiful paintings the world has ever seen. T.S. Eliot battled severe depression and still produced pieces of poetry that defined the Modernist period (have you read The Waste Land? I keep a copy in the stack of books by my bed). Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, both had such ways with words they are now set apart as some of the most influential writers of all time, but the works they produced were ridden with the hopelessness they felt that was their ultimate demise.

These artists all knew pain and darkness, but have gone down in history as having made some of the most beautiful works of art the world has ever known. Thus affirming in part the theory that beauty comes of darkness.

However, there is a greater explanation of this idea beyond these great artists.

The God of the Universe made beauty out of nothing (Gen. 1:2). He took the dark and made light shine. He created the most beautiful works of art ever, namely the mountains, the oceans, the land, the sky, the moon, the stars, plants, animals, humans, and every thing that inhabits the earth, all beautiful works of art that were brought to fruition out of darkness that only He had power over.

When we look to this, we can do little but be affirmed in the fact that He has power over darkness, not excluding the darkness that human’s feel. If human’s can create such beauty in their times of suffering, it has to be proof that He has reign over what will be allowed out of such pain, because He alone has power over darkness; just as He did at the beginning of time. After all, we are created in His image (Gen. 1:26) and this is not lost on the way that we produce works.

We can look from God as the artist behind all things and move through God’s word. We can look to some of the stalwarts of the faith, people like Abraham, Jonah, Job, Elijah, Jeremiah, and David all who experienced such depths that they questioned God’s power. I mean for heaven’s sake Elijah asked God to end his life (1 Kings 19). But God sustained him in his darkest time, giving him strength to continue on to bring to fruition God’s beautiful and perfect plans.

Then we can look beyond these biblical figures and to great men of the faith like Luther, Cowper, and CH Spurgeon, all men who made contributions to Christianity that are still blessing us today. These men all dealt with severe depression, though through it all looked to God and trusted that God would deliver them, and He did.

Every morning and night I read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. I cannot possibly express the number of times I have been laying in my bed either with the light streaming in calling me to the day I don’t think I can face, or closing a day I am just happy to have made it through, reading Spurgeon’s words and sobbing into my forest green pillow at the realization that I am not the only one. That I am not the only person who has had such faith in Jesus, but experienced the agony of a day in which each moment brings the thought that it could not get worse.

I am sad to say I have lain out with Elijah, asking God to end it all. I have cried out with David, asking why God has forsaken me. I have sat with Spurgeon and suffered silently while putting forth the desire to show God’s glory through my life though it seems nearly impossible, only able to attempt at grabbing every truth I possibly could and hope that would sustain me.

I am broken. I am in pain. I see a therapist every week. I take an anti-depressant every night. I left college because I was too overwhelmed to continue. I am struggling through each and every day. I am full of dread when six o’clock rolls around because that seems to be when my biological clock’s alarm reminds the sadness to kick in.

But from this darkness beauty is prevailing. I am allowed to dig deeper into God’s word, to draw nearer to Him. I am allowed to have quiet time with Jesus every morning when I wake and every night when I close my eyes. I am allowed to feel in full force all of the emotions that He has called me to experience. I am allowed to write to my heart’s content, the only thing I have wanted to do since the age of seven. I am allowed to see how I require His strength in each moment of everyday. I am allowed to heal. I am allowed to give my life to Jesus—the truest beauty any person can experience on this side of eternity.

Out of darkness comes beauty and that fact comes from a sovereign God. A God who is not the author of sin, but who uses all things, including the sin, the darkness, the pain of this world, to work together for good (Romans 8:28). His son has died for us that this pain and this suffering is assured to be temporary. As we wait for eternity—you and I alike—can rest in comfort, knowing that through darkness, the beauty of the cross will prevail.

“My witness is, that those who are honoured of their Lord in public, have usually to endure a secret chastening, or to carry a peculiar cross, lest by any means they exalt themselves, and fall into the snare of the devil.”

–CH Spurgeon

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

John 9:3

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Journey of Composing Lace

Hi there, and welcome to the new and improved Composing Lace! I have been working on (thinking about over and over, and finally doing so in the last week) transferring to WordPress for about a month now. While I am so thankful that my posts transferred from my previous site and there are some introductions to me that can be found in those, I would like to introduce myself on this platform officially.

I am Laci, a young woman, who loves coffee and sometimes unhealthy quantities of PG Tips Black Tea (it’s the best, and I am so wanna-be English at heart), the mountains, trees (particularly of the evergreen variety), writing, reading, and music. However, most importantly in this short description, I am a receiver of undeserved grace, who was bought by the blood of a man named Jesus who triumphed over death, and because of this have been adopted into the Kingdom of God as His daughter.

Now that we are friends, I would like to direct your attention to the resources of this new blog. Not only is it simpler to find—it is just ComposingLace.com now—but it is also more user friendly than my former platform. The blog is now easier to read and follow. All you have to do in order to keep up with this blog is hit the follow button to the right of or at the bottom of this post. You will then choose to either create a WordPress account or just opt for email notifications. Either way you choose, you will be immediately notified when I publish!

Another thing that I would like to address while welcoming you to this new blog, are my goals for it as well as some background.

I started this blog over a year and a half a go, which I did thinking I wanted to be a fashion and lifestyle blogger. I created the name Composing Lace, and wrote a post that explained what this name meant. In that post I wrote,

“I have found that each and every day, I am composing myself, morphing myself into something different than what I was yesterday, designing myself.”

Since this blog’s beginning, between sporadic posts and a whole lot of life, the title “Composing Lace” has taken on a new meaning. The base idea of the title has changed from being a completely self-serving concept to something much larger. It is no longer a declaration that I would use this blog to design myself, to publish what I wanted the world to see, who I wanted myself to be. The title, “Composing Lace,” now has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. This title now declares the truth of my life—that I have died to my former self and will allow God to “compose” Lace. He has always been the author of this story, my story, but I now give it over to Him to express the full reign He has always possessed. I no longer think I am placing the words of this story.

This means that the content of this blog will forever be different than its original purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to include the things I love to read on blogs myself like lifestyle, books, writing, storytelling, etc; however, now it will always be for His glory, and if it isn’t for His glory, it will not be posted. My life is His and I will allow Him to work through these things He has placed on my heart to love, the things I mentioned above, to serve Him. This also means that the writing and content style won’t be that of my original intent: the pristine, look at me, look at my perfect life that isn’t so perfect I just want people to think it is. No, the writing and content will be raw and real. It will be the hurts and the happiness, the pain and the triumphs, the thoughts and the musings, all in hopes of remaining true to God’s desire for me to glorify Him in all I do.

So, I desperately hope you will come along side me in this, to enjoy it and be blessed by it.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Composing Myself

   I have found that each and every day, I am composing myself, morphing myself into something different than what I was yesterday, designing myself.  As I have composed myself each and everyday, I have found how healthy it is to find new verisons of yourself–that might just be the versions you are meant to be, good and bad alike; they are all shaping and molding us. Our experiences, our thoughts, and our company all change our lives whether we want them to or not, and this is the theme of this blog: the documentation of a girl composing herself. 
   My name is Laci Durham, I am seventeen years old, I love art and music and writing and fashion and coffee and books and just the general splendor of life (the ‘and’ repetition was intentional 🙂 ). I love to document my world with pictures, my world that is often mundane, but still incredibly beautiful.  I love personal style, and the way clothes can convey how I am feeling or the attitude I am going for, I hope to share my style ideas and tastes here as well. I also love words and using them to form sentences that convey my feelings, my thoughts, and communicate with the rest of the world; I am a strong proponent of the idea that is portrayed in Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, “Words, words. They’re all we have to go on.” The catch, however, is how you use words.  Words can be used to lift up or destroy, to incite change or to prevent it, but it is up to the individual to decide how they will be used.  My goal is to use words for personal gain and for others gain: to find myself and to help others find themselves. 
   My general aspiration for this blog is to share what I enjoy as I continue to compose myself each and everyday.

  – Laci xx