Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Be of Good Courage

I've been really discouraged the last few days. Not about Gracie- she's doing amazing and she's thrilled that her hair is getting long enough to style. I'm still working to get the Santa Susana Field Lab clean, and it's been overwhelming since last August. It's been literally non-stop for almost six months.

Since the beginning I didn't want to get involved advocating for the site's cleanup. I was terrified and every aspect of it is outside my comfort zone. In every way I am unqualified. I'm not a scientist or have any scientific education.

I'm an introvert, I'd rather write and read books than help lead a community movement. By nature I hate questioning authority, as rules and authority make me feel safe. I find myself always seeking the approval of "smart people" to validate my insecurities that stem from always feeling second-class to my A+ peers in a high-achieving community.

I HATE confrontation. I HATE people being angry, annoyed, bored, or in anyway displeased with me. I HATE stepping out into the unknown. Especially in the beginning, when I didn't know the facts and I didn't even know if Boeing and the DTSC were lying or if the cleanup advocates were lying...the stress of trying to do the right thing when I didn't know up from down had me in tears.

I tried to escape getting involved so many times. So, so, so many times.

And I'm going to be honest here. As much as I am dreading any tisk-tisks from some readers, what I'm about to write is from the beliefs I have as a Christian. I certainly don't expect anyone to have to share my views- ask anyone in Parents Vs SSFL leadership. We come from all different values and belief systems, and I love that our group is so diverse and we respect and value these differences. So what I'm writing is to let you get to know who I am, from my point of view. That's all. Hope you feel safe enough to keep reading, and if not I totally respect that too. 

There were so many times that I wanted to run away, and each time I felt God pull me back. Not against my will, but he strongly suggested that this was his path for me. It came to the point where I had to admit that if I were to run away from it again that I would be blatantly disobeying God, just like Jonah.

I reached a decision moment that come hell or high water, failure or victory, answers or questions...I decided that no matter what, I would not leave this cause until God released me. And everytime we hit a brick wall, when there was NO way to go forward, God brought an answer that allowed me to keep going. But that hasn't spared me from being very human and very vulnerable to my weaknesses.

And the last week I've been very discouraged.

Last week it was hard to get out of bed, hard to make myself eat, wanting to cry at the drop of a hat, wanting to sleep all the time. I think most of it was because the last month has included the fires near my home, my parents and in-laws having to evacuate, my mom hospitalized from a fall and needing surgery, family birthdays, my colds and sinus infections, both kids getting pink eye, thanksgivings, and my kid's school volunteering.

I'd overdone it, was too involved in too many things, began isolating and was too busy to recuperate. That's always a dangerous place to be for anyone.

I was listening to this podcast last night and the Beveres first spoke about God's call on women and then about what the opposite of discouragement is. According to's courage. Courage to keep going even when things aren't working out like you hoped. Courage to keep going even when people are negative and caustic. Even if the path is unknown and failure is almost certain. In a lot of ways I feel like Frodo the Hobbit, but with less hairy feet.

In the podcast they were saying that when we feel under attack, and if it's discouraging us from the job has given us to do (either small or large) then we should pray God's word over ourselves, preferably out loud. So I'm going to be listing them out here so I can find them easily when I need to pray again...and again...and again. If you're discouraged feel free to pray them outloud too, and add your favorite verses on encouragement in the comments.

Joshua 1:9
Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Philippians 4:6-7 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus the Messiah.

Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

1 Samuel 3: 10, 19
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening." The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.

1 Peter 1:6-9
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. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Isaiah 41:1
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 40:3
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.

Psalm 34: 17-19
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 20: 7-13
Now I am mocked every day; everyone laughs at me. When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the LORD have made me a household joke. But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!

I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.” They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.” Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. “He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.”

But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, you test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you. Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors.

Judges 6: 6-24
 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you...And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. 

Isaiah 43: 1-4
But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

1 Kings 19: 4-
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”  Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came...Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

No comments:

Post a Comment