Rugrats was one of my favorite shows growing up. For anyone who’s unfamiliar or needs a recap, Rugrats was an animated show that focused on a group of babies and toddlers and their wild adventures. Some of the main characters were Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Angelica. In short, Tommy was the adventurous leader, Chuckie was scared of his own shadow, Phil and Lil were eccentric twins, and Angelica was a bully. Growing up I longed to be Tommy but more identified with Chuckie. I was timid and shy. But recently, I realized I’ve grown to be a Tommy. I most identify with Tommy in the area of faith. I see myself as bold in my faith and expectant of God for His promises to come to pass. I had gotten frustrated recently and I questioned why God had me where I was at. I felt isolated, like, I didn’t have fellow bold people around to encourage me. I think my spirit had to be reminded that people didn’t have to be geographically close to me to encourage me. I was also reminded that no matter how difficult the journey may seem; God always has a way to refresh me at the right time.
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31: 25
That’s when I thought of Tommy. Was I placed where I was at to be the Tommy of my group? Not in the sense of leading wild adventures but in the area of faith walk. Metaphorically, I see myself carrying a lit torch leading people. Am I called to encourage people with my bold faith walk? Are you?
At my moment of discouragement, I was reminded to press on. I’ve heard a lot of messages recently about challenges and being broken. These messages each have an undertone of trials and training. As weary as the process may be, I’m hanging in there because I know I’ll be able to benefit in some way.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6: 9
My first blog of 2020, how exciting! Admittedly, my 2019 had a few struggles but 2020 is off to a great start. It was like a spark was ignited. I told someone about a passion project I was working on and they connected me to someone who is doing the same thing and who is well-researched in the area. In one day, I went from jaded on my project and unsure when it would come to pass, to on-fire and counting down the days until I could launch it. A scripture I’ve connected to as of late is 2 Timothy 1: 6-7: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-defense.”
I really latched onto the “fan into flame” portion. It challenged me to ask myself what I was doing to nurture the gifts and projects God has laid out for me.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 10)
As I work to fan into flame on this project in 2020, I’m seeking God first. I’m relying on Him to guide my steps as to what actions I should take and what connections and relationships are best. I’m also doing my best to keep God first and not make my dream an idol.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
For a long time, I believed idols were the kind you hear about in the Old Testament i.e. gods carved out of some sort of material. I thought, I’m good on that God, I’m not bowing down to anything man-made. But an idol is anything we put before God. I love this excerpt from a blog from preacher Heather Lindsey. She writes, “An idol can be anything we place ahead of God in our lives, anything that tugs at our heart more that God does, such as: possessions, careers, relationships, hobbies, sports, entertainment, goals, greed, addictions to alcohol/ drugs/ gambling/ pornography, etc. Unfortunately, God is often nowhere to be found as we zealously pursue our idols. Worse yet, the significant amount of time we often spend in these idolatrous pursuits, leaves us with little or no time to spend with the Lord...”
So, in essence, as I pursue my project, I’ll be keeping God first. Everything I do should be unto Him.
“Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 42:11)
As you pursue your passions and dreams, I encourage you to check in with God and make sure you’re on His page. I’m curious to know what you’re working on! You can leave a comment below or we can chat on Twitter @Marilyn_Renee
Now that I’m back in school full-time and not working, I have become much more resourceful. $17 for a spiral notebook at the campus bookstore? I think I’ll just scrounge together my unused paper from last semester. $500 a semester for a parking pass? I think I’ll buy a used bike and get my exercise. The examples go on and on; and, they go beyond money.
Recently, I’ve had to complete tasks that have really tested my resources. Things I always had the capacity to complete but probably wouldn’t complete if I had the choice to hand off to someone else like assembling and installing a new hubcap for my car or navigating the administrator portion of the business school website to create and share a campus event. These recent tasks showed me that I’m capable of so many things if I actually try. Instead of asking some guy for help I could (thanks to Youtube) properly install my retention ring and find where the valve stem was or figure out a new website interface. The new tasks also taught me independence and reminded me of the confidence that through God all things are possible.
“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3: 4-5)
This newly discovered independence must be necessary for something God has tasked for me in the future. As I look toward to the future, to be ready—I must strengthen my knowledge and study of the Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17)
Not only will the Word equip us, it will bless us.
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16: 20-21
“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Unknown
This is a quote my mom sent me recently and it really resonates with me. She knows after my accident I really struggled to come to terms with my scars. I had a scar on my face that looked like a teardrop tattoo but that faded away. I also have a small scar on my right foot, but the scars on my left arm are the most prominent to remain. I have a couple of keloid scars on my left arm that always make me self-conscious, especially when I wear something sleeveless.
I remember when my nephew was probably 2 or 3-years-old and he was staring at my arm and asked: “What’s that?” I said, “A scar.” And he said, “What’s a scar?” It was a hilarious exchange looking back but most times, that’s not the case. Most people just steal glances at my arm but never ask. I feel like with my scars I’ve been missing out on an opportunity to witness. What easier way is there to talk about God than to recount how He saved me from a serious accident?
Something that I saw on Twitter that I liked:
“Don’t allow the scars from the battle cause you to miss out on the celebration of your victory!”
I always have to remind myself that it could be so much worse. Some people who have as serious accidents like me, don’t walk the same, talk the same, or even look the same. Unless I tell people, they wouldn’t know I suffered a traumatic brain injury. They might think I’m a little kooky, but most wouldn’t suspect my brain swelled as bad as it did when I was 17.
But today, I’m taking pride in my scars because it’s a daily reminder of God’s glory and what He brought me through. I always say May 19, 2008, wasn’t my day to die, and ever since that day, I’ve been living my life to the fullest. I hope you are too. God bless!
*** I can't speak too much on emotional scars, but I know God can heal those too. Recently, I heard a sermon about getting past our pasts. It was really great, the biggest point I will take away is no person can deter me from my destiny. How cool?! No man can mess up what God has for you even if you've had a crazy past! Take that and run with it folks! ;)
Hi! I'm Marilyn!