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Posts Tagged ‘life challenges’

life chapter

Every season of life has it’s eb’s and flows. Every chapter is written with both beginnings and endings – joy and sorrow. New characters, dreams, and life lessons are introduced, as well as new hurts and grief. Maybe these are just the realities of growing pains, but no season or chapter is ever easy.

I look back and can see my different struggles and areas of growth through every season. College ignited questions of identity and faith; interestes and direction. After college surfaced the tension of anxiety and dream. Wide open spaces of creativity and curiousity led the charge. My late twenties and early thirties have brought about new dreams, locations, and career shifts. It has been in these last few chapters where I feel like I have fumbled around the most.

Every season carries the weight of real trials and challenges.

Every season carries with it current issues for that age bracket. The things that I struggle with in my early thirties are not the same as those issues that seemed hard in college. However,  I do believe that each chapter brings with it the challenge of identity and community.

College

College is easy to find somewhere to belong. People were always readily availableto interact with and cultivate lasting relationships. Post college begins the effort to find community. The abundance of people groups drastically diminish after college. So we find small groups, work friends, or maybe join a running group.

20/s 

The twenties begin the stage of “all your friends” starting to get engaged and married. You might even experience a time of long-term transition with moving to a new city, or experiencing the revolving door of friends moving away.

The questions of our twenties looks like, “Do I want to be married?” and “what do I want to do in life?” In this stage, we are still fumbling around trying to figure out who we are and where we fit.

30’s

My thirties have been a variation of my twenties. I am more comfortable with who I am. My dreams and career are taking on a much clearer form. But the questions change a bit in this chapter. The question of the thirties look more like, “why am I not married?” and “why is community so hard?”

Community is a challenge in every season, but the thirties bring with it a grey area of no place to land. We are the “in-betweeners” for church ministries, as in we are not college kids, or young adults (groups dominated by early 20’s folks.) We are the not-sure-where-you-fit group.

By this stage most friends, who got married in my 20’s stage, are now on their second or third kid. So I  experience an even more displaced and lonely feeling as a single person. Finding good community seems like the biggest challenge in this chapter of life. As a single person, how do I fit with my married friends? In a church community, where is the place I can land where there are other’s “like me?”

As a married person, I wonder if you struggle with trying to know how to relate to your single friends, or even friends with kids.

Every stage of life has it’s question marks and challenges.

What are YOUR  questions and challenges in YOUR season?

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Our world and culture are completely stuck in the way of suffering and pain. Tragedy and fear fill our daily news stories with school shootings, devastating storms, genocide, disease, poverty, hunger, slavery, and the list goes on.

We are surrounded by pain.

I have also spent the past decade journeying and listening to the sound of suffering in others. The heart hurts and takes a beating from the words and actions of others. We all feel the effects of bad decisions, careless words, and the wake of selfish behaviors.

We can’t help but wonder why? Where is God in the midst of all of this pain and suffering?

How do we trust in a God who seemingly allows bad things to happen without stepping in? How do we trust in a God who seems inattentive, uninvolved, unaware, or even late?

As I think of these questions, I can’t help but also hear Peter’s words to Jesus as the storm raged against their boat one night, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown!?

I think one thing we fail to remember is that sin is very much present in lives, culture, and world. There is no where that is safe from sin. Atrocities and pain are the result of sin. The manifestation of sin knows no bounds. It has no limits or reasoning. Sin only has a savior.

My pastor in DC lives by two mantras that I love. He states that first, “God has always responded to suffering with incarnation,” and second, “if you are suffering, longing, or hurting, Jesus’ presence is what you get.

I feel like we are quick to blame God before blaming sin. Sin is ugly and dark. The consequences of sin run deep. Instead of looking at sin we wonder what happened to God. Did He forget? Was He unaware? Does He even care?

The truth is that nobody slips through the cracks when it comes to God. He knows and sees and cares deeply about all things. He cares about the pain of sin. God is an “in the midst” kind of God. He is ever present weeping with us in our pain. Suffering was not part of our original design and yet sits with us in ours.

God is far from being unaware or inattentive. Scriptures proves this promise that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When the storm of life feels like we are drowning, He is there. In the midst of hurting, pain, and longing, He is present. When all we see or feel is suffering, He is incarnate.

Grateful for a God who is always in the midst.

I pose the question to you:

How do you trust a God who___________?

Where is God in the midst of your life right now?

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