Archive | June, 2012

Living Sacrifice (Part 5)

28 Jun

The last two chapters of this book (chapter 4 and the epilogue) are full of lessons I am really wanting to share on this blog…but my mind is just not capable of condensing them all (the way I would like to). So, rather than try to say things in my own words, I am going to let Dr. Roseveare speak for herself as I end these blog posts on her book:

(The context for the following quote is when rebel soldiers were threatening to brutally kill her and a young student flung his body in front of her to keep them from harming her). I was no longer praying. I was beyond praying. I held on to the name of Jesus. Someone back home must have been praying earnestly for me….Then, quietly, God met with me. He had reminded me that twenty years before I had asked for the privilege of being a missionary. ‘This is it. Don’t you want it?’ He seemed to say to me. The fantastic privilege of being identified with out Saviour dawned afresh in my heart….Together we learned why God has given us His name as ‘I AM’ (Exod. 3:14). His grace always proved itself sufficient in the moment of need, but never before the necessary time, and rarely afterwards.(105-106)

To love the Lord my God with all my strength might, paradoxically, mean to love Him wholly in my weakness. By giving Him what I thought of as my strength, realizing my actual weakness, He could then demonstrate His real strength. ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) took on new meaning. (113)

 I long to be kept by God in an attitude of willing surrender so that He con go on to perfect that which concerns me; so that He can go on stripping and whittling and sandpapering until He is content with the new arrow He is creating. Crucifixion, the death-to-self life, must surely be seen by us all as costly, but the abundant life that He wishes to bestow on each can only be seen as unutterable privilege. (117)

Today it would appear that we Christian prefer to talk of a measure of commitment, the length to which we are willing to become involved, rather than the depths of God’s immeasurable love in which we long to become immersed. There is abroad an atmosphere of careful calculation, “thus far and no further,” maintaining certain reasonable limits. The carefree abandonment of love that marks the sacrifices of Paul, of second-century Christians, of nineteenth-century missionaries, seems sadly lacking. Today we weigh up what we can afford to give Him: in those days, they knew that they could not afford to give Him less than all! (125)

 I will end with these words from our sister; a refrain which we have heard time and time again throughout this book. May God help us take these words to heart:

As He loved us, so we should love Him, that He may love through us all whom He would reach. Christ so loved us that He gave Himself to be the propitiation for our sins, a willing substitute, the one perfect, sufficient sacrifice. He left the glory of heaven to come to earth to pay the penalty of our sin, taking our place on the cross of Calvary, and dying for us, the just for the unjust, that He might redeem us and bring us to God. In a response of overwhelming gratitude and love, let us count no cost too great to give to the Lord the service of our lives: through every moment of every day, rendering to Him those ‘spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.’ (137-138)

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God Meant it for Good- Reflecting on History’s Horrors

25 Jun

Where have we all been? You might have been wondering what’s going on- have we all quit our blogging, have we moved out of country, are we busy doing really fun summer things with no time to spend on the web? Well, not so much to quitting the blogging thing, but I think there’s been an unintentional lapse on all of our parts (except Dina! WOW you’re on top of things!). We can forgive Georgie because I think she’s supposed to be having a baby or something in the next little while. But we’ll expect a quick return to the blogging world after she delivers! No more excuses! 😉 And I can’t speak for Stacey and Amy but I do think that summer and all the fun things that come along with that have taken away some of our usual free indoor time. But I do know that no one has officially resigned and once schedules free up and everyone is able, we’ll be able to post more often. So thanks for your patience on behalf of all the ladies.

I for one came back from my trip just a little while ago and have been catching up on regular life things. The trip really was one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures. In Armenia, we had the chance to venture around to some fantastic places. Almost everyday, we were driven to different sites outside the capital city Yerevan, where historic churches, museums and monuments are located. One place that really stood out in my mind, and I’m sure in the minds of the rest of my family members, was the monument to the Armenian genocide. If you’re not familiar with this particular event in history, it would be worth taking a few moments to read about the events of 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians were killed at the hands of the Turkish. I am actually 1/8th Armenian (believe it or not!), amongst a bunch of other things (Filipino, British, and Finnish). Prior to the trip, I did not know much about the Armenian part of my history. One of the only things that I knew was that the events of the genocide are a huge part of the Armenian identity. In fact, all my Armenian friends and family have been personally affected by what took place almost 100 years ago. Many have grandparents and family members who were killed. The fact that Turkey still refuses to acknowledge their responsibility in what took place is a cause of much bitterness and grief for many.

When we visited the site, there was a large torch placed in the ground that is burning continually in remembrance of all those who died. The museum they erected had a guided tour and the young lady who led us was very helpful at explaining the events that led to the genocide. It was silencing. Standing by the large open flame, looking at the flowers placed alongside in honour of the dead, and seeing the pictures, artwork, news clippings, and other artifacts that have been kept to preserve the memory of the horrors that took place, left all of us speechless for most of the tour. If you’re more familiar with the Holocaust of the Jews in WWII, then maybe you can visualize some of the images from that horror, and picture the same thing occurring on a smaller scale some years prior. The emaciated bodies, men hung up to die a slow painful death by asphyxiation, and other painful images of the treatment of the Armenian people were placed all throughout the exhibit. At the very end, there was a large collage of pictures. The young guide explained to us that these were pictures of some of the remaining survivors (men and women who are now in their 90s). I think that the pictures were meant to serve as a ray of hope at the end of the dismal exhibit. Those that survived are the grandmothers and grandfathers of many others who now live in Armenia and other parts of the world. Although Armenians are a relatively small people group, they have not been wiped out in spite of the efforts that were made by their enemies to annihilate them.

As I was looking at the photo, for some reason, the story of the Joseph and his brothers came to mind. After having been sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph spent many years alone in a foreign land. He was jailed for crimes he didn’t commit. He lost his entire family. And yet God was in control over all the events that were transpiring. At one point in his story, his brothers, who had believed he was dead, come to him in Egypt, not knowing that it was him. They were desperate for food, as the famine in the land had left them helpless and dependent on the mercy of the Egyptians. When Joseph realized that it was his brothers, he welcomes them and cares for their needs and forgives them for what they have done. His brothers were initially very fearful of him because they feared his wrath on them for the evil that they had committed. But Joseph says this: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about[a]this present result, to preserve many people alive.- Gensis 50:20. What a response. Can you imagine having that kind of mindset about the events that have happened to you? You were betrayed, sold into slavery, put in prison, falsely accused. Great personal suffering came about because of the evil of others. So how could he possibly say that God meant it for good? I think, that Joseph’s theology was such that He knew God’s character, and trusted in Him in spite of all the suffering that had taken place. He saw that God had used their evil towards him, to place him in a country like Egypt, where he was given a position of power and authority such that he was able to provide for the needs of his own family when the famine struck the entire land. He could have never known that God would use the events that had happened to bring about a good result- the preserving of life.

In thinking about the events of the genocide, I had a similar thought. What a great evil took place in those events. How many people suffered and continue to suffer because of what has happened. But God is in control over every event in history. Not one single thing happens outside His knowledge or care. Even the Armenian genocide. Their enemies had planned to wipe them out entirely. They were not planning to spare anyone! But God prevented their destruction. He persevered a people. And now, years later, there are many who are alive in spite of the destruction that was intended. My family wouldn’t be here today, if God hadn’t protected some of those people. Neither Serge, nor Emma or I would be alive, if God’s hand had not stayed the evil that was intended, and brought good to come of those events.

I know this is not a story that perfectly parallels the Joseph account, but all I was thinking was that God is always in control, even when we can’t see it and don’t know what his plans are. And he is not a God that delights in destruction, but instead preserves life. We can thank Him for preventing worse evils from occurring, and from using even the most horrific events in history for our good. What is the one place we can look to to be sure that this is God’s plan? The cross. If any other event in history were to astonish onlookers, it would have been that one. What great, unspeakable evil took place there. This was the most horrific event in all of history. Every genocide, and every war horror does not compare to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. Why can I say that? What is it about Him that would make His death more unspeakable than anything else in all of the deaths and crimes committed in all of history? He is the only innocent one in all of history, to be punished for crimes he never committed. And I don’t mean punished by human judges- I mean by God. God crushed His own Son, for the sins of other people. When humans die, regardless of the judgement pronounced on them by other human beings, they all stand guilty of sinning against a holy God. But the story didn’t end at his death. He rose from the dead. And that is where the hope is. For all those who would put their faith in Him, and trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins, the greatest good that anyone could ever experience is given to them. So what was meant for evil, God used for our good- the preserving of many lives! Thank Him for that today.

What Next?

22 Jun

Have you ever looked forward to something for so long, and before you knew it, it was over? A much anticipated wedding day, a family vacation, a get together with friends, or perhaps the visit of a most cherished cousin from San Francisco? (I guess you can see where I’m coming from!)

It’s been two days since my cousin Christine left. Two days since we said our goodbyes, knowing that once again it would likely be over a year since we can see each other again. We looked forward to that week together for months. We planned. Anticipated. Made lists (big surprise).  And now it’s over and I’m left thinking “Now what do I do with myself?”

I write this as I am preparing to leave for a family vacation. In three short hours we will be heading to the airport. Our bags are packed, the plane tickets are in hand, and the getaway we’ve been planning for months will shortly begin. But I’m onto things. I know exactly what will happen. God willing, if all goes well, I will be back on my couch in the blink of an eye, and I know just what I’ll be thinking: “It’s over already? What should I start looking forward to next?”

Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I feel like life is a series of events that I look forward to for months, and then look back on with sadness for being over so soon. I can never understand how the time went so fast, and I’m always looking for the next thing that can occupy my time, fill my heart and give me a sense of purpose and excitement. It’s kind of exhausting. And so not how God intends for me to life.

Why do I say that? I mean, in one sense it’s normal. As long as we are alive we will be looking forward to coming days, planning for events and reflecting on the resulting memories. The problem arises when I find my life’s meaning and satisfaction in these passing events. When the root of my happiness is the birthday parties, the family get togethers, the vacations, the celebrations, I will find myself constantly disappointed, constantly grasping for more, constantly exhausted. Why? Because all of these things are temporary, they fade away, they come to an end.

Of course we can have joy and excitement from the blessings we enjoy on this earth. But my heart naturally defaults into living for these blessings, rather than living for the God who gives the blessings. They were never intended to create the meaning of my life – only to point to the goodness of the God who bestows them.

God calls us to set our hearts on what is PERMANENT. To find our satisfaction on what is ETERNAL and UNFADING. What is permanent, eternal and unfading other than the Almighty God, the Gospel, the unfading Words of Scripture? Listen to the words of this verse:

1 Peter 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Sure we will continue look forward to things, enjoy them, and even be sad when they are over, but as believers they cannot define our lives, nor should they drive our lives.  On the contrary, they should merely be the back drop of our lives, and the center stage should be occupied by the relationships that our hearts are enjoying with the Lord.

So….Bon Voyage my friends. May God remind me that the only thing that truly makes this vacation sweet is His presence…and thank God this will be a constant reality when I find myself back at home!

My Annoying Flaw

15 Jun

I apologize. It’s 11:30 at night. I’m soooo sleepy. But I want to write about something that’s been on my mind. So while it may be a little short and undeveloped, I hope this short little post sparks some thought on a topic I believe is important and requires thought.

This week I came face to face with one of my most annoying flaws.  As I was preparing my house for my cousins Christine’s arrival, I began obsessing over tidying my house. I know it’s normal to want to be in a tidy house…actually it’s healthy and good. But as with many things, taken to an extreme it can become a flaw. I think I’m getting dangerously close to that point.

Take for example the other afternoon. I was standing outside with Amanda enjoying the beautiful weather. And then I noticed it…the garden…it was full of little leaves and weeds growing out of nowhere. They looked so out of place and were demanding my immediate attention. But I’m enjoying the walk, the weather, my daughter. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have gardening tools, or even gloves for that matter!! Clearly this wasn’t the time or the place. But that didn’t stop me.  I got down on the ground, propped Amanda on my lap and started pulling out the weeds with my bare hands. These are the moments where I wonder if my obsession with tidiness has gone too far.

Today as Amanda was eating her breakfast, I was so distracted by the mess that was being created in the process. Crumbs were EVERYWHERE. Instead of enjoying the fact that she was learning to eat solids and learning to use her fingers to feed herself, all I kept thinking was how messy everything was getting, and how I couldn’t wait for it to be finished so I could clean up. Another wasted opportunity to enjoy time with my daughter. More evidence that my obsession with neatness is developing into a flaw.

But here’s the thing. I’m not like this when it comes to cleanliness. If something is dirty, it doesn’t seem to bother me the same way. Stain on the carpet? Well, as long as the stain is the same colour as the carpet, what’s the problem? As long as the house LOOKS neat and tidy, I’m okay with it. I guess you can say that in some ways, I’m more concerned about the appearance of my home, rather than what’s hiding under the couch.

Is this not how the world operates? Is it not all about appearances rather than reality? People spend thousands and thousands of dollars in an attempt to transform their homes into picture perfect retreats, when all along the home may be filled with broken relationships and families. We spend endless amount of time beautifying ourselves on the outside, and often neglect to address the mess that may actually exist on the inside. We say the right things, impress others with our words and our wit, all the while hiding how we truly feel and what we actually want to say.

For the Lord does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Unlike the world, God is not deceived by appearances, nor is He impressed. He looks right through us and sees our hearts. He gets right to the heart of the matter. This is what concerns Him. This is what He is after. This is what He wants to transform.

My prayer is that I spend more time sitting in front of the mirror of God’s word, rather than the mirror that simply reflects my outward appearance. My prayer is that I spent more time tidying my inward man, rather than just obsessing over the “mess” that is in my home. My prayer is that I will be genuine in my conversations, sharing my heart, my weaknesses and my struggles, rather than focusing on how I can build an impressive self image through humour and impressive stories.

My prayer is that I too would focus on the heart, rather than just the outward appearance. How about you? Is this something you have struggled with? What have you learned about the importance of the heart rather than simply the outward appearance of things? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Leadership

13 Jun

It’s been something like a month since I’ve written here. I should admit that I have been pretty distracted by a number of different things; one of them being the NHL playoffs. This year’s playoffs can be described in many different ways, but one thing’s for sure, outcomes were unexpected from beginning to end – starting with the Leafs not making it (I’m partially joking) and ending with the Kings taking the Cup home.  I know I usually focus on the Leafs but this year’s win is one that I want to remember for a long time, so let’s talk about the Kings.

LA ended off the regular season in 8th place. I’m no expert, but I definitely did not expect them to knock out the top three teams in their conference – completely unexpected. I can say a lot about their speed, talent, chemistry, fantastic offence, nearly flawless defence, and top notch goaltending, but all that is obvious. The team is talented. I’d rather focus on their GM, Dean Lombardi. The guy basically put together this unstoppable army of dedicated, skilled players who ultimately went out there and did exactly what they were supposed to do, and exactly what nobody believed they could do. Lombardi was hired by the Kings to create a winning team, the impossible task, just ask Burke (obviously still a little sad about the Leafs but I’m sure they’ll make it next year). A first place hockey team coming from Los Angeles, California? Nope. Maybe baseball, maybe basketball, maybe some type of football, but not hockey. Lombardi made it happen, and when it came time to finally accepting recognition for the work he put into this team, he gave credit to just about everyone else. After seeing the way he literally built this team up into the best in the league and proved everyone wrong, I admired his leadership. After reading about his interview on Monday night, I admired his humility.

I wasn’t planning on writing about more than hockey in this post, but as I write I’m reminded of the leadership in my life. We all need good leadership, and I’m thankful for a pastor who is humble, loves the Lord, and is faithful to the word of God. Every team is a reflection of their leadership, and every congregation is too. Thank God for faithful pastors who stay true to the word.

A Family Story

8 Jun

In just a few short days my cousin Christine is coming to visit from California. I simply cannot wait!!

Christine and I first got to know each other when I was just 22 years old. My parents and I travelled to San Francisco to stay with her family. Our mothers were very close friends when they were growing up and we were all looking forward to this family reunion. I think it was sometime in the middle of our vacation where Christine and I both discovered that we had something very important in common…we both shared a deep love for God and were striving to live a life that honoured Him as Saviour and Lord. We instantly formed a very special bond and it was difficult to imagine leaving her behind and going back to living so far away from each other.

From that point on we committed to writing emails reguarly. Every single week, we sent each other lengthy emails summarizing just about every detail of our lives.  I used to get so excited when I would open up my inbox and find an email from her. The first thing I would do was scroll down to make sure it was a long email (and they always were). We wrote about everything! Back and forth the emails went…and the relationship just kept growing stronger.

It was in these emails that I revealed to her my growing affection for Shady. I told her we had decided to begin a relationship together. It was there that she too told me about her growing relationship with the man who is now her husband. We stood beside each other at our weddings, and exchanged numerous phone calls to share good news and bad. Perhaps most exciting was when I told Christine we were expecting a little Amanda into our lives. I could always count on Christine giving me the most genuine and most heartfelt excited responses.

When I go back over the emails we have exchanged, I am amazed. I feel as though our last 12 years have been captured through our letters. Sometimes I think I should have them published as a memoir of our friendship. Other times I think “Am I crazy, I don’t want people reading these emails!!”

I have some really fun memories that I look back on and smile.  I remember the time that our families were in Mexico together, and we spent who knows how long in the pool choreographing our own synchronized swimming routine (something neither of us know anything about).  I also look back with fondness on the week before my wedding, when Christine took several (perhaps more than several) photos of me practising my wedding smile. Who knows what my wedding pictures would have looked like if it wasn’t for her patience! One particular time that Christine was here, I had written her a lengthy letter for her to read on the airplane. I pretty much poured out my heart to her in the letter. Unfortunately in the sadness of saying goodbye at the gate, I completely forgot to give it to her. I was devastated. Thankfully there was a kind gentlemen who offered to give her the letter when he saw her on the airplane. I was so happy he was willing to help out. The next day when she arrived, I asked her what she thought of the letter. “What letter?” she asked.

He never gave it to her!!!

By the way, if you are that man, and you are reading this post, I accept online apologies!

I’ve learned a lot from this special relationship that God has brought into my life. I’ve learned that deep friendships require time and committment. Christine and I have never had the luxury of living closer to each other and sharing our daily lives together…so in order to maintain our closeness we have had to make a constant effort to keep in touch. I’ve also learned that friendship with family members is so valuable. It’s wonderful to know that through our friendship we are continuing a family tradition. It’s wonderful to have the shared stories of our mothers to build our growing relationship on. I’ve also learned that differences really do make a friendship more interesting. Although we have so much in common (Shady seems to think that we even talk the same), we are also quite different….and our short visits to see each other allows us a window into each other’s lives; an opportunity to learn from how the other one lives.

I’m so excited to see Christine. I’m so excited to have her in my home, to sit on the couch and share minute details of our lives together. To talk about all the ways that God is at work in our lives. To see her hold my daughter for the very first time. To hear her voice rather than simply reading it on the screen. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the day she’ll have to go home.

How about you? Are there any special relationships that you have in your life that have truly been a blessing? How has God used these friendships to shape and mold you?

Thank God for the gift of family and friends!

Proverbs 18:24 “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Slightly Overwhelmed

1 Jun

To put it lightly, it’s been a difficult month.

I think it began when we discovered the flood in the basement. It seems that for some time,  every time we turned on the tap, every dishwashing load, every flush of the toilet caused an overflow in the basement. I’m not sure how long it went on for, but when we went down to the basement, well, you can use your imagination.  We took pictures, but I really don’t think you want to see it.

Then I lost my keys.  Not just any keys, but I lost the chain that had my house keys, the key to my husband’s car, the key to my car, and the mailbox key.  For some reason I thought that it would be a good idea to place my keys on the roof of the car while I watered the grass. Later on, as my husband and I drove away, I heard a scratching sound coming from the roof of the car. “Hmmm, I wonder what that is?” I thought out loud. I didn’t clue in, and I haven’t seen those keys again (Add changing the locks onto the list of things to do).

It really feels like the logical side of my brain has taken an extended vacation this month…perhaps that’s why yesterday I washed our favorite white sheets with my new super black top. (Anyone looking for lavender sheets with spots of grey?) Or why I over watered our plant in the dining room and damaged the floor.

Then there was Amanda. She had her very first real fall, right off of the couch. Then we discovered she had an ear infection.  I’ve often heard mothers complain that their children had an ear infection, and I politely smiled and said “Oh that’s too bad.” If I did that to you, I’m sorry. I didn’t know how difficult it is to treat a child with an ear infection. I should have said “Oh my dear hero friend,  how deeply I feel for the pain and suffering both you and your child are going through.”  That’s what I should have said. Now I know better.

Then there was the roller blading incident that left me flat on the ground in the middle of the park. Did I mention that was only yesterday?

I really could go on….the motor that burned out on my nursing pump (which I happen to rely on daily), the myriad of contractors that have been in and out of our house doing less than what we had hoped for, the $1200 we spent on fixing both our cars,  the driving ticket we have to fight, the bottle full of Amanda’s antibiotics that I spilled all over the floor….and oh yeah, I ran out of deodorant.

Do you ever have times like this? Ever feel like life is becoming a LONG list of things that just keep going wrong? Before you know it, you start to feel like all of life is working against you, and even the normal things that go wrong feel like personal attacks on your happiness.  “THEN there was no parking available, THEN my gas light went on, then I ran out of milk.”

How do you respond when everything appears to be going wrong? What is your attitude when every day circumstances pile up against you? Have you ever found yourself entertaining thoughts that go like this: Why is my life ALWAYS so difficult? NOTHING  is EVER easy for me! No one understands what I am going through. I deserve to be cranky and irritable. I hope people can see how well I am handling this!

If we aren’t careful (which often times I’m not) our times of difficulty leave us vulnerable to entertaining thoughts that are completely contrary to what God has said in His word, and displaying attitudes that are in stark contrast to how God would have us behave.  In believing lies, we dig ourselves further into a pessimistic hole, making it more and more difficult to see how God’s hand is at work in each of these difficulties.

I really wish I spent more time listening to God’s Word, than listening to my own complaining voice.

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into VARIOUS trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,

I know that nothing I went through this month is of the “tragic” nature.  I know that people go throough so much worse. But I don’t think you have to go through giant struggles for these verses to apply to you. I think they can refer to the build up of the every day struggles that we are more likely, in fact guaranteed, to experience. Our attitudes and our experience of the gospel doesn’t just have to be when we are facing sickness and persecution, it can be when the dishwasher isn’t working, or when we lose something of value to us, or when we feel disappointed with how someone spoke to us.I think it was the Femina blog that reminded me of this important truth. In these times we still need to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ. We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves and remind ourselves of the sovereignty of God over our circumstances, and the need to turn to Him, and not ourselves, for strength and endurance.

Philippians 4:11-13  Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.

I don’t claim to have mastered this attitude. In fact, I’m not even close, and am still sulking over the difficulties of this month. I’m still tempted to think that I have had to endure more than my normal share, and that somehow I should be congratulated for enduring it all. I am tempted to justify my actions when I snap at someone because I’m tired, or when my humour turns into cutting sarcasm because I feel overwhelmed. But with God’s help I can train my mind to focus on truths, rather than lies. With God’s help I can respond with gentleness and patience, rather than with with a short temper. It is with God’s help that these struggles can actually be meaningful and can ultimately bring God glory.  Isn’t that the purpose of my life to begin with…To bring God glory in all things?

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything,   but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,   which transcends all understanding,   will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7