THROUGH TRAGEDY AND HEARTBREAK

For just a moment, picture your Facebook feed. There’s likely some political argument going on, you might scroll past an album labeled Summer 2016!! 🙂, Chewbacca Mom is probably mid-belly laugh, and I bet someone shared something that’s supposed to make you emotional.

Over the past few days, though, I have been seeing heartbreaking event after event. News of a Stanford rape case is trending on Facebook. I learned about another family that is grieving the loss of their daughter after a tragic accident. Young people are losing their battles with cancer. It’s right there, in black and white. But if there’s anything I feel we can take away from all of this it’s this: we serve a mighty God. No really, we do.

Through tragedy and through heartbreak, we can hold tight to the promise that God never moves. He never gets weak. We might get shaky, but God never will. He can, and will, turn our anger and fear and despair into glory and goodness. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God doesn’t promise that life is going to be easy, but He does promise to give us new strength. He promises to be there for the weak and the weary. He promises to hear us when we call out to him. When the going gets tough, rest in The Lord’s promises. Cling tight to Him. Cherish your moments on earth and love fiercely.

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.”


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words

AS LONG AS I HAVE BREATH

On Sunday morning, we sang a song called Great Are You Lord. It’s probably a favorite amongst our congregation so this song is no stranger to our set list. The words in the chorus are, “It’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You only.” I’ve heard those words a hundred times, but this time was different; I was reminded of a verse I’d recently read. Psalm 116:2 says, “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath.” I love that line, “as long as I have breath.” This isn’t just a flippant thing, but something that matters at all times: when we feel at peace and close to God, when we have never felt more distant, when we need direction or wisdom… the list could go on. Praising God, praying to him, it’s as natural and constant as breathing.

After all, it’s because of God that we’re here. He gives us life, the air in our lungs. With the same breath that God gives us, we’re going to use it to praise Him! See, we only have the ability to sing and shout praises because God has given us that ability. I was recently hit with this realization and I just can’t get over it! It finds itself into every aspect of my life. For example, it makes me think hard about the words I speak every day. Why use the air that the Lord so graciously gives me to speak unkind words or to say things that He is so clearly against? What am I feeding my soul with? How is my prayer life? Am I using that breath, my life in a pleasing way? As long as I am alive and breathing, I am going to pray to my God who listens; as long as I have air in my lungs, I’ll speak for the God who hears.


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words

HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST

The past year has been a tough one. I privately struggled for months before I let anyone in on what was really happening in my life. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I struggled with anxiety, and I definitely didn’t want to admit to myself that my depression was sneaking back in. I only really started talking about it recently, and I wish I had started earlier.

It’s a lot easier to combat the lies Satan puts in our minds when we talk about them with other people who know and love Jesus – but I didn’t talk to anyone. Like I said, I didn’t even want to admit to myself that anything was wrong. I let myself believe that I wasn’t good enough to handle all the responsibilities of adulthood. I took on other people’s issues and made them my own. I started dealing with health issues that put me in an even more anxious state. I’d been watching my mom navigate Lyme Disease and really learned what people mean when they say, “It will get worse before it gets better.” I was being drained. I knew something had to change but I didn’t know what to do – so I prayed.

I started praying that God would take my life and flip it around. As I was praying, I kept hearing the word Hosanna over and over in my head. I’ve sung, “Hosanna in the Highest” plenty of times, but I never really knew what the word meant – even after hearing the story every year about Jesus riding in on the donkey and the people of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna in the Highest Heaven!” (Matthew 21:9). After a little digging around on Google, I found that the word “Hosanna” was basically an SOS from the people of Jerusalem – not just a shout of praise. Hosanna carries more weight than that; it’s a plea for deliverance. Crying “Hosanna!” is begging God to restore your soul. That is exactly how I felt and, if I’m honest, still feel.

A few months ago, I needed God to deliver me. I felt “Hosanna” in every part of my soul. I needed a break from the weight I was carrying, weight than wasn’t mine in the first place. Every day is new and full of uncertainty, but I’m learning to fully rely on God and to trust His words. I’m learning the real meaning of Hosanna.


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words

FREEING HEARTS

Forgiveness is much easier said than done. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?

Listen, if it was easy to forgive someone, life would be a breeze. But – reality check – it’s not. In fact, it is a difficult thing… a really difficult thing. When someone hurts us, we want them to know we’re hurt, right? We want other people to validate our feelings, all while we put conditions on our forgiveness. We will forgive, but only once we feel the other person is truly sorry. Once they’ve made it unmistakably clear that they know what they have done and are never going to do it again, then we forgive. Sounds a lot like Jesus, huh?

I think being the forgiver gives us a false sense of power over the forgiven because it’s all done on our time, our pace, once we, the Great Forgiver, have healed emotionally. Or we tend to draw out the process of forgiveness, telling ourselves constantly, “I’m just not in a place to forgive them yet.” The reality of it is, though, we really don’t have the power we think we do. God calls us to forgive freely, not to hold things in our hearts until we feel like it.

Mark 11:25 says “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

When we hold grudges, it only brings an emptiness into our lives. Often times, the other person doesn’t even know about what we’re holding onto, or they don’t know how they can help. Maybe they feel they’ve done all they could do and now it’s on us to take the next step. But if we are still waiting for them to feel remorse, nothing gets better; we only get more bitter.

“Bitterness leads to emptiness, forgiveness leads to wholeness.”

Forgiveness frees not only their hearts, but ours as well.


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words

LIFE IN THE MIDST OF DEATH

One of the more common questions I’ve ever heard non-Christians ask is, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”

And it’s a good question. Why do mass murders happen? Why do people get sick? Why are there people with no home and no food?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers to these questions either.

But what I do know is that sometimes, God uses terrible events and circumstances to create glorious outcomes.

When I think about this, I’m reminded of a time when I was fifteen years old.

One of my best friends passed away suddenly in a car accident in late June of that year. It was absolutely the worst thing that had ever happened to me up to that point. I constantly asked God why he would take my friend, someone I was supposed to grow up with, someone who had yet to share laughs and jokes and smiles with the world.

What I didn’t know was that God wasn’t done using her, that her life had meaning even after her death. After the accident, her friends became interested in God and even started coming to our youth group. One friend in particular stuck around enough to get connected and ended up accepting Jesus – someone who might’ve never come to church otherwise.

God gave new life to someone in the midst of another’s passing.

I’ll admit, it’s still hard for me to go on without my friend, but at least I know her loss wasn’t in vain. God takes, but he gives too. These moments of confusion and pain will lead us to despair if we take them individually. Yet, God is at work, orchestrating all of these events. When you’re in that dark place, remember: there’s more God in every situation than we think.

 


Gracie Adamek attends the College of Lake County and hopes to one day be a special education teacher. She likes to sing, act, knit, and write. She hopes you enjoy your time here, reading these blogs, and is very grateful for the opportunity to glorify God through her words