With Everything

I’m writing this while on a plane, far above the ground and at the mercy of two skilled pilots. Sometimes life in general feels like this, that we are suspended in a state of unknowing with only a faceless God directing us. It feels like this, but I can assure you it is so much more than that. We may not see they face of God, but we can look around and see the beauty that surrounds us in nature, we marvel at the incredible advances that we see in our technology, and we have an uncanny sense of feeling when we are in the presence of other people. The reason I am on a plane is because I am flying up to Wisconsin for the funeral of my grandma. I did this same flight last week for the funeral of my other grandma, the reason why I did not post last week. Losing people is never easy, I have already lost two people that were like brothers to me this year, and it is still hard to think about someone you once knew gone forever. Hard? Yes. Impossible to recover? No. I’m sure you have at some point either had a loved one die, or walk away from you. Maybe you are struggling with depression caused by loss, an addiction, and lies from the enemy telling you that you aren’t worth fighting for. We all struggle, for me I have dealt with thinking that I would never amount to anything and that I was unimportant. Whatever it is you struggle with, whatever pain or heartache you battle each and every day; I want you to know that there is hope.

You are a child of God. You have been uniquely made for a purpose, one that is vital to everyone around you. This is a truth that took me quite a long time to realize, but through the voice of key people in my life that told me I was important, I finally understood that the world does not define who I am. You may have never met me or maybe we have known each other for years, either way, I want to be one of the voices that tells you that you are important and that you have purpose. I was listening to one of my favorite worship songs from Hillsong the other day and it spoke to the idea of how I choose to live my life in the face of pain, suffering, and heartache. With Everything. The song is a beautiful picture of how we come to our majestic creator. He is not some faceless being, but one who wants to know you deeply. In the midst of darkness, I choose to praise him with everything. When we praise God with all that we have, he uses our story to impact everyone around us. I think of Job from the bible, a man who loved God, but had the devil do everything to him except kill him. Job lost his home, his family, and was afflicted with horrible disease. Yet through all of it, he chose to praise God in the midst of a hell that he had to endure on earth. No matter what you are having to walk through today, God will use you. I want to share some ways that God will use us when we choose to praise him with everything even when we are in hard times. These are truths that I have seen and experienced, and I want you to know that you are not alone, and more importantly, that there is hope.

God will bless your vision.  

God has made each of us with unique talents and abilities, all of these have been given to us so we can help others. Through hard times it may seem like God has left you, but the opposite is true. God wants us to have a vision for our lives, to look at how we can use our gifts to impact the world. Young or old, you can make an impact. This can mean many things. The vision for your life could be to have the conversations with loved ones that may be hard to do. It could mean using your musical abilities to bring joy and worship to those who are broken. It could be simply using your influence in work to bring life to those around you by the way you speak to others. It may seem large, or even impossible to achieve, but when we trust God, he will give us all we need and more. God wants to give you a vision for something greater than you, he wants to use us to do mighty things. When we come to him with everything, he blesses our vision.

God will bless your story.

The experiences we have in life, everything from good to bad, are a part of our story. The story you are creating is unique to you, but can speak far greater than you can imagine. So often in my life I have been able to use my story to help those around me. My story is of a geeky kid who felt worthless in school, both academically and socially. It was tough, I felt alone and felt like no one believed in me. I’ll never forget the day my dad told me about how he had experienced the same struggles that I did while in school. That changed me, gave me courage to know that I am never alone. There was another time in middle school where my old youth pastor Marshal invited me to help him with some work that I can’t remember, but he said one thing that I will never forget. He told me that he saw great things in me and that one day I would make a difference. Moments like this shaped me, and when I felt alone, God put people in my life to give me hope. Your story is one of hope, so use it. In small groups with my high school guys, I have been able to come alongside many of them and pray with them, fight with them through what they are battling. God is writing your story, so use it to impact anyone and everyone. With everything that you are, remember that your story is one of hope.

God will bless your life.

Through all of the craziness and pain that I have felt this year, I have been filled with an overwhelming sense of joy. It sounds backwards to say, but I have learned to take hold of every moment and stop focusing on the negative. Even in times when I feel like darkness is all around me, I look for the light and don’t let it out of my sight. I’m a visual person and that’s how I look at life, and it’s something that I have been given in order to help you. I want everyone to find purpose and know that no matter how hard it is, there is always good that can come. Focus on the things that give you life. For me, I love to write (it’s the reason I do this each week!). I love spend time with friends and family, the ones I hold dear, even if it’s a simple text, a face time, or a quick snapchat. I love to sketch and listen to music. I love these things because I get life from them, because I see God in them, and he is the ultimate giver of life. Find what gives you life and with everything in you, run after it and God will bless it.

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Life is a wild and unknown thing, but there is one thing that will never change. We have an awesome and incredible God. Even during the hard times and seeing the world go crazy around us (my heart goes out to Paris, during the time of writing this the events are unfolding), good can still come from brokenness. The cry of my heart will continue to be that with everything, I will shout forth your glory and praise. In the moments when our heart aches, when we suffer, when we look into the face of death; we must keep our eyes on the one who has already won the battle for us. I don’t know your individual story, but I pray for each and every one of you every week, because I know that we are all battling demons. I’m looking down at the ground from the plane and I’m mesmerized by how vast our world is. A world that is filled with millions who are searching and need you to be there for them. With everything, trust in God and he will bless your vision, your story, and your life.

You are made for great things, and you will make a difference.

-Joshua Thomas

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