Finding Perspective in a Busy World

It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the fast paced way that most people live in our world. We are always focused on the next problem in the pile and the new, upcoming event. It’s important not to lose your perspective and focus on why the Lord has placed you here.

Sunrise

I keep going back to one verse to concentrate on what is truly important:

“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles.” – Isaiah 42:6

I love this verse because it reminds me that the Lord will stay by my side no matter where life takes me. My life is a light to the world because of the great things that Jesus has done. It is freeing to leave the outcomes of my problems and concerns up to God. Instead of attempting to control my life, I am focusing on my final destination: being in heaven with my Savior.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Remember that trusting in Jesus does not fail. I’m finding that taking moments out of my day to focus on His great truth is the best way to step back from our busy world.

Nature Writing: John Muir

Reflection

God’s creation is beautiful and filled with life. Very few people will deny that there is unmatched beauty to be found in the natural world. Aside from the striking landscapes and beautiful firmaments found in creation, the wild animals play a crucial role in truly bringing nature to life. Whether it’s an energetic squirrel, a timid deer, or a lumbering bear, there are admirable qualities in every animal. When most people think of nature, it’s common for the chirping birds, which can be found nearly anywhere, to come to mind.

This semester I am taking a course called North American Nature Writers. This literature class has challenged me and opened my eyes to many fantastic authors. One of my favorite authors we have studied and discussed is John Muir. 

John Muir enjoyed observing the personalities and different qualities of birds. His selection, The Water-Ouzel, contains vivid descriptions and interesting qualities of birds that allow others to admire these small creatures on a deeper level. Muir highlights the Ouzel’s cheery demeanor and it’s vigor. “Whether among the icy peaks, or warm foot-hills, or in the profound yosemitic canons of the middle region, not one was found without its Ouzel” (Muir “The Norton Book of Nature Writing” 258). This little bird wasn’t only found in many differing climates, it thrived in each one with a contagious joy. The Ouzel’s joy is completely independent of whatever troubling circumstances it might find itself in. “However dark and boisterous the weather, snowing, blowing, or cloudy, all the same he sings, and with never a note of sadness” (Muir “The Norton Book of Nature Writing” 259). During the winter storms and earthquakes the other birds are in distress; however, the Ouzel goes about his day singing and ever happy. Ouzel’s have perseverance and aren’t afraid to go anywhere or brave the weather.

The qualities in the Ouzel that Muir admired can be seen in his own life. Despite the circumstances or any kind of trouble, Muir would find joy in nature. He didn’t give up when he had little support behind him. Instead, he endured hardship and pressed on in hope of saving many areas of the natural world. While some people might think that facing a winter storm or treacherous conditions is ridiculous, Muir would boldly enjoy these types of excursions. He is a great reminder to have joy despite the circumstances you might find yourself in.

Seeking God’s Truth

God's Truth

Lately I’ve been feeling a need to seek out the truth in my life. What I know is truth, what I know I can rely on, and Who I know I can rely on. My prayer in this search for keeping my mind on truth has come from Psalm 119:145-147

“I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes. I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies. I rise before the dawning of the morning. And cry for help; I hope in Your word.”

We live in a world that is filled with deceit. Oftentimes, I find that the only truth I can fully rely on is God’s truth- His word. It’s a comfort to know that I can trust in His word and His promises all the time. Before I started to actively seek out truth, I didn’t realize how important it was to have solid truth in your life that you can continually reflect on. One of the Hebrew names for God is Jehovah-El Emeth, which means The LORD God of Truth. In John 14:6, Jesus claims to be the Truth. Truth is such an important part of God’s character. I’m excited to learn more about this part of my Savior🙂

What is Your Life Purpose?

10 Reasons

What is the most important thing about you? What is the purpose of your life? What are you known by? These questions might seem impossible to answer for some people, but I think that they are important answers to have. You get one life. Everywhere you go you’re leaving your mark on people. Maybe you are remembered for being rude and impatient most of the time. Or perhaps you are known for your kindness and hard work. Either way, I can promise you that you aren’t seen as a “nobody.” No one is truly seen as nothing.

Personally, I am sure what my life purpose is. I am positive about the most important thing about me. I don’t know how some people remember me, but I usually hear that I am remembered in a good way (I hope that’s the truth!). The most important thing you can know about me is that I am saved by grace. I have been resurrected into a new life through a sacrifice far beyond what I deserved. The purpose of my life is to love my Savior with everything I have in me and serve people without hesitation. Today, I want to share ten reasons why this is my life purpose and why it is the most fulfilling way I could ever live.

  1. Jesus’ love is what drew me to Him. His love has allowed me to love Him back. (1 John 4:19)
  2. When I fail, which is often, I am forgiven. Jesus holds no bitterness towards me. (1 John 1:9)
  3. I have no reasons to worry because my Savior is in control of all things. Although I still worry sometimes, it is a blessing when I can remember this promise from Him. (Philippians 4:6&7)
  4. My Lord is filled with grace, compassion, and mercy. He is slow to anger. (Psalm 145:8)
  5. My soul has been restored from death, and I follow Jesus on a righteous path. (Psalm 23:3)
  6. I am given rest from my trials and from the heartache of this world. (Matthew 11:28-30)
  7. Jesus provides me with heavenly wisdom that I need for the life He has called me to. (James 3:17)
  8. I am loved with an everlasting love, and no matter what my circumstances are; I am able to find joy. (Jeremiah 31:3)
  9. Wherever I go, I have the comfort of knowing that my righteousness goes before me, and the Lord guards me from behind. (Isaiah 58:8)
  10. I know full well that someday I will leave the aching of this world behind and go to a place that is far better than I can imagine. However, I will only enter into heaven because of the sacrifice of my Savior, not by anything I have done. (Revelation 21:3-6)

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

When I started Merciful Perspective, my only hope was that the Lord would use this blog to inspire at least one person. Since I began sharing my writing, I have been struck with an amazing amount of positive feedback and encouragement. I have had the opportunity to connect with others who love the Lord as much as I do and learn from their writing. I am very thankful for how God has used this blog so far.🙂

Recently I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Dwayne Peterkin. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dwayne for this nomination. It is encouraging to be nominated for an award, and your kind words about how inspiring my blog is to you have also encouraged my heart.

For those who I have nominated for this award, here are the rules:

  1. Link back to the person who has nominated you.
  2. Post the award image on your page.
  3. Share seven (7) random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate (15) other blogs.

Seven Random Facts About Me:

  1. I absolutely love my family.
  2. I am a student leader at a youth group with fantastic people, who love Jesus with all their hearts.
  3. Chronic weirdness runs extensively in my family (We are a great bunch).
  4. Summer is my favorite season (I’m not a fan of snow).
  5. Clouds are some of my favorite things; I think they’re wonderful.
  6. My best friend is a wildland firefighter and a terrific person.
  7. I’m pretty clumsy, and for some reason I am always hitting my elbows on everything.

Blogs I am Nominating:

  1. http://katiebrock24.wordpress.com/
  2. http://payneman5000.wordpress.com
  3. http://40yearwanderer.wordpress.com
  4. http://aworkingmum.wordpress.com
  5. http://joannaspring.wordpress.com
  6. http://christiangirlprbz.com/ 
  7. http://shesaredhead.wordpress.com
  8. http://appointmentswithgod.wordpress.com
  9. http://bobbydhoward.wordpress.com/
  10. http://www.laughwithusblog.com/
  11. http://inkedpen.wordpress.com
  12. http://mommyforchrist.wordpress.com
  13. http://shawncornett.wordpress.com
  14. http://womenwithworth.wordpress.com
  15. http://tammygrrrl.com/

We’re lost in Kansas! No, Texas!

This is our reaction to being lost.

For the past week I’ve been on a road trip with my family. We took on the challenge of driving from northern Minnesota to south Texas during this Christmas break. On Sunday we arrived safely at our destination. During the drive down, we were all excited and motivated to take our trip. Our trip home seems to be a bit more grueling. Everyone is beginning to look forward to being home.

We left my grandparents house in south Texas on Thursday and spent a day in Corpus Christi before driving home to Minnesota. After touring the USS Lexington, we hit the road again. We got lost somewhere in east Texas. As we were roaming the countryside, attempting to make the GPS work, my dad suggested we find a Whataburger somewhere for lunch. Margie was quick to declare, “Whataburger! My heart’s gonna stop!” On the way to south Texas, we had eaten Whataburger two days in a row, and apparently Margie did not want to go for a round three. Maybe she was just concerned with not eating too much junk food, but I doubt that was the case. After finding our way back to civilization, we stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch instead of Whataburger.

The majority of the time we were lost, my mom was on the phone with hotels and travel agents. She had to travel for work during a lot of this year, and as a result had built up a stock of “points” which could be used to get a free room if we had enough. Unfortunately, every hotel in Oklahoma City (our hopeful destination for the night) had shut down their point systems for the season. A few phone calls and 15,000 points later, and we had a free room in a Country Inn & Suites in Louisville, Texas. All we needed to do was drive there, which proved to be harder than it sounded.

We spent 9 hours in the car that day driving to Louisville. Thankfully we were able to take a toll road for a long time. However, we still had to drive through Dallas late that night. By the time we reached Louisville my dad was tired of driving, and we were all hungry. The area our GPS took us to was surrounded by hotels. All we could see was hotels and restaurants. The one hotel we didn’t see was the Country Inn & Suites. Eventually, we stopped in a parking lot in order to figure our what our GPS, Maggie, was doing instead of leading us to the hotel.

My parents were sitting in the front of the car, trying to find our hotel on the GPS. Katie attempted to interrupt, “Oh hey, look it’s ri–,” She was quickly hushed by my mom. Katie looked at me and pointed out the car window. I chuckled as I realized what she was looking at. Our car was parked under a huge sign that said, “Country Inn & Suites.” 

In the end, we made it into our room and enjoyed a nice evening🙂

Losing Hope, Gaining Insight: Surviving Grief

Three months ago heaven gained the most amazing 16 year old girl. Today, I want to share my perspective of 9/20/12, a day that I will never forget:

Have you ever felt as if you are living life just going through the motions? Do you feel as if no one cares what you do? Maybe you are the type of person who thinks you can do whatever you want and the only one who will be impacted is you. This is your life, so you make the decisions. You think that you don’t make a difference, and that you’re the only one who feels the weight of your choices, your mistakes, and your careless actions. No matter how you might feel, you are making an impact on people and leaving the world a different place, although it may take a day of sorrow for you to realize it.

That Thursday morning even the sky was crying. My friend and I had just finished a test, and we were ready to rush to the high school. By this point, though, everyone had been crying for hours. The night before had been filled with prayer and scared hearts. Despite our desperate hopes, Hannah had left this world due to injuries sustained in a car accident. The drive to the school felt like a blur. I remember only one clear moment: passing the intersection where the accident had taken place. The road was marked with black tire marks from hurried first responders and police cars; I could have sworn there were still marks of blood on the cold ground.

I found it strange that the outside of the school looked the same as it always had, but for some reason that morning, you could feel sorrow welling out of every inch of the building. The usually cheery brick and stone of the school seemed to be a prison that contained the pain. The dying leaves on the trees were damp from the rain. The cracked sidewalk was cold and slippery. Everything around the school cried out for the grieving hearts of many people. It was cold when I stepped out of the car, but I felt as if the chill began in my heart rather than in the brisk air. My friend and I stood side by side and took a deep breath before entering the building. We knew that the second we stepped inside, our lives would never be the same.

As we stood in the stairwell, my friend asked me to stop walking. In an empty voice she said, “I can’t do this.” I looked into the face of my friend whom I had come to know very well in the past few years, and I realized that I had never seen such a look on her face. She was almost expressionless, except for her jaw being slightly dropped, but her eyes gave away her true feelings. Looking into them I could see her realize something that she hadn’t understood before that moment. Her eyes said it loud and clear, “Hannah is really gone.” The overwhelming emotions of that day couldn’t be bottled up anymore; she crumpled against a wall and broke down.

After pulling ourselves together as best we could, we entered the hallway. Normally this high school hallway would be filled with students who were laughing and having a good time. It was only silent when the classroom doors kept the students’ noise contained, but even then it was only a dimmed sound. This was no ordinary day. There was silence even though the hallways were crowded with students. One word truly sums up what we witnessed in that hallway: brokenness.

The students at my high school always have their guard up. Everyone will hide their strong emotions and true feelings behind shields of makeup, name-brand clothes, cocky attitudes, and all forms of materialism. I knew that those students were broken because any kind of guard they had up was shattered along with their hopes of seeing Hannah again. Everyone wore blue that day to support Hannah; little did we know that she wouldn’t live long enough to see that symbol of support. Looking back, I now see how fitting it was that the blue color we wore that day matched our grieving hearts.

All students were called to class so that attendance could be taken. I was left standing with three of my friends who were taking classes at the community college. We stood at the end of a hallway that we knew would be very hard to walk down, but at the same time we had a great desire to pass through it. From where we stood, all I could see were balloons held down by roses, a package of permanent markers, and an almost empty box of tissues. Everything else in the hallway dimmed in comparison to what we were searching for. As we began to step closer, we were able to get a clear view of Hannah’s locker.

The locker was closed, but there were three pictures tapped on the outside. The top one was of Hannah sitting cross-legged on a couch with her young nephew; they were looking at each other making silly faces and laughing. Below that was a picture that she took right after she got her braces off; she had a big smile on her face, and her eyes held the subtle kindness that I will always remember seeing in her. The last picture was taken on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth; Hannah was looking out over the water with an expression that was very peaceful.

One of the girls I was with opened the locker. All of the contents were left exactly as Hannah had put them before she left school the day before. I wondered what had been on her mind as she left. Was she thinking about a history paper she needed to write? Or was her mind consumed with a conversation she had just finished with a friend? Who made her the paper Mache bird sitting on the top shelf? Did Hannah have any idea that she was closing her locker for the very last time? Were the notebooks and papers disorganized because she was in a rush? Was she not paying attention at the intersection because she was hurrying?

Every inch of her locker was covered with hundreds of messages. There were messages filled with raw emotion from the hearts of many students and teachers who had admired everything about Hannah. Even students who had never spoken with her wrote about how Hannah’s presence and personality impacted them. The different things written showed how influencing Hannah was in our small high school.

“You were the most amazing person I have ever met.”

“I miss you already.”

“I know you’re smiling down on us from heaven.”

“I didn’t know you, but I always wanted to.”

“I wish we could have talked more.”

“You were a light that filled up the whole school.”

“I love you so much!” 9/20/12

9/20/12

While reading those notes I realized something important about my classmates. Every person in my school lost part of their heart over this death, and everyone grieved for Hannah. Many of my classmates lost hope, but were growing from this experience. We were given an opportunity to realize how short life was, and how we needed to love and appreciate one another. Through losing a friend and classmate, we were learning to take advantage of the time we had to impact the world.

Hannah lived on this earth for 16 years, 3 months, and 9 days. Of that time, she attended our school for one year and sixteen days. In that brief year, she impacted many people; she made a difference, and she left this world a different place. Hannah left her high school, her church, and her community a better place. She wasn’t the most outgoing, or perfect person. However, Hannah made a difference because she was herself, and she cared about helping people.

You might think that you don’t make a difference, or that you aren’t doing anything important; however, every move you make and every word you say holds the potential to alter the lives of others. Your actions and words have the power to hurt or heal. You are affecting whether you like it or not people. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith, and impact people in a positive way. You have been given precious time on this earth that others haven’t been given, and you are here for a reason. Everything you do makes a difference and has an impact. Leave this world in better shape than the way you found it. Your decisions don’t just impact you; they also impact the lives of people around you. How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone?