Sometimes doing wrong isn’t deliberate. Sometimes it is simply the lack of focus on doing right. At least that is usually the case for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often set out to make a slew of bad choices, but occasionally (or often, depending on the week) I find myself in a place where I am standing, dumbstruck, wondering how I ended up in the situation that I am in. Does this just happen to me?
I think it is safe to say that it probably doesn’t. I found the explanation for it this morning in my Bible reading in 2 Chronicles and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 2 Chronicles 12:14 ESV says, “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”
This verse is talking about Rehoboam, King of Judah, but it might as well have had my name in the text. Maybe yours could have fit there too? I think this is a truth that applies to all of us because we don’t typically end up in a mess because we plan to. We usually end up in our messes because we forgot to seek God in certain situations and followed our own way instead. We didn’t set our heart and our focus on staying on the right track so before we knew it, we were on the wrong one.
Man that sounds super familiar! I can tell that I have gotten on the wrong in a few areas in my life lately. It reminds me of what I’m always saying to my boys. When they get a little out of control and are headed toward bad choices, I’m known to say, “Rein it in, boys!” They know that means to check their behavior. I can feel God telling me to “Rein it in, girl!” in a few areas in my life.
1. Being Content
Way too often, I just forget to be content with what I have. Everything that I have, everything that I am, and everything that I do is a gift from God. It is evidence of his grace poured out in abundance in my life. In turn, I should be grateful for all he has given me. Instead, I’ve continued to strive for more instead of being content.
I add more to my schedule. I add more to my closet. I add more into our budget. I add more into our lives and I often do it without even stopping for a second to consider God at all in those decisions.
Here is a very embarrassing example. I felt like I really needed to declutter, simplify, and cut out the excess. The place I decided to start was in my closet. I love to shop. Like, I really love it. It is usually at thrift stores because I love a great bargain, but it has gotten a little out of control. My closet was prime evidence of that. I’m not even going to shame myself by admitting how much has amassed in my closet. That isn’t good stewardship. It is excessive and wasteful and selfish. I need to reign in my desire for more and learn to be content with all that God has already blessed me with.
I’ve really felt convicted this year to focus on the amazing grace that God has lavished on me in every situation and circumstance. If I’m focused on his gift of grace then being content and being thankful comes as a natural result of that. It has really helped me to see that I have all I need.
2. My Words and Attitude
Here is another not so flattering truth I’m seeing about myself these days. I am not sweet and loving and kind by nature. I’m just not. I know this about myself. I tend to be a little sarcastic and snarky. I’ve always just kind of chalked that up to my personality. I’m not mean and I am usually pretty funny, so it all balances out, right?
I’m not so sure. God’s grace is so evident by the amazing people that he has lovingly put in my life. I’ve been feeling very convicted for my words and attitude to match my gratitude. I want to show just how blessed I feel to have these wonderful people in my world. I’m a work in progress. We all are, but I truly desire to do a better job of building up, encouraging, and loving. I want my words and attitude to reflect a heart overflowing with thanks for these gifts of grace.
3. My Time
Oh man. At the risk of sounding like a total slacker, I will share this last area that I want to rein in. I’m turning into a recluse. I could easily stay in my house, in my pajamas, on the couch, with a good book for days. I don’t do that. Much. But I could. Very easily.
I really enjoy being at home and homeschooling my boys, but without a real effort on staying involved with people and with the work God has called me to, I could very easily just keep my focus on what is right in front of me in my own home.
I know in my heart of hearts that isn’t what God wants for me. I firmly believe He has called me into relationships, into community, and into works that He has chosen specifically for me at this time. My time isn’t mine to hoard and use in whatever way pleases me the most. It is a resource and a tool to do the work God has called me to and I want to be a better steward of the time God has blessed me with.
Getting off track in these areas wasn’t deliberate. It was simply a lack of focus on seeking God and doing the right thing. I took my eyes off of God and put them on my own ways for a while and before I knew it, I felt God saying, “Rein it in, girl!” 2 Chronicles 12:14 was like a palm to the forehead. What a call to refocus and put God back at the front and center! What a gift of grace that He allows us to see our messes for what they are and gives us opportunities to change them!
Are there any areas where you feel God asking you to rein it in and put your focus back on him? I’d love to hear from you!
Love and blessings,
Have you ever been in a funk that you just couldn’t seem to get out of? I’ve spent the last several weeks in a fog that just hasn’t seemed to want to lift. I’ve had some little health stuff going on and had to have a couple of little medical procedures done. There are a few more little procedures on the horizon as well. This has all left me feeling just plain worn out physically, but it has all left me feeling emotionally spent as well.
Have you been there? Maybe it wasn’t a health related issue. Maybe it was a relationship issue, a work issue, or just circumstances in your life that had you in that funk. Whatever it is that put you there, Funkytown is really not a great place to visit and it’s even worse to settle in and dwell there a while.
And that’s what I was doing. I was dwelling.
I was totally content to just sit in that foggy, hazy Funkytown and dwell there.
Last week I started to realize just what I was doing. I started to realize that I had set up shop in Funkytown and gotten pretty comfortable there. (Really folks, it shouldn’t have taken me so long to see the error in my ways. A couple of weeks in, I went 8 days without putting on real clothes or leaving my house. Which felt glorious at the time, but, looking back, might have been a tad much. Not to mention that I binge watched a ridiculous amount of Netflix. Which also felt glorious at the time, but wasn’t even remotely productive and kept me from doing the things I should have been doing.)
I knew I needed to pack it up and leave Funkytown, but it was just so comfortable there. So, I did the only thing I knew to do to make a change. I went back to God’s word and prayer because they are the things that have always brought me stability, strength, conviction, and encouragement. I moved off the couch and back into my regular Bible study and prayer time (which had been mostly set aside for Netflix and naps).
And in his usual, glorious way, when I started moving back towards Jesus, there he was, just waiting for me. Arms open. Ready to draw me closer.
This morning, while I was reading my Bible, I came across something beautiful.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about someone being separated from something and diligently seeking it until it is found and restored to its’ rightful place. He tells of a shepherd who lost one sheep out of a flock of one hundred, yet the shepherd left the others and went after the lost sheep to bring it back into the fold. Next he tells of a woman who lost a silver coin and turns her house upside down to find it and add it back into her purse. Then he tells the story of the prodigal son who left his father and lived a wild lifestyle, only to be brought low and return to the father seeking mercy. The father lovingly welcomes the son back and restores him to a place of honor.
And God’s word remind us that He does that for us.
Separation. Seeking. Restoration. It is kind of His thing.
I know these parables speak of Jesus seeking the lost, but today when I read these they had new applications for me. Today they reminded me that no matter how discouraged I feel, or how deep into a funk I am, I’m never far from Jesus’ love. When I feel discouraged and distant, he is right there seeking my heart and waiting for my return. He diligently longs for me and doesn’t want me to be separated from him. Just like the wandering sheep, the lost coin, and the wayward son, when I am separated from him, he is seeking me and wants my restoration.
So, today those parables have a new meaning because today the fog is rolling away a little and I’m leaving Funkytown behind. (Not that I’m giving up naps and Netflix, people. That would just be plain silly. I will how ever be enjoying them in much greater moderation than I have been over the last several weeks. ) If you need me, you can find me back at the feet of Jesus.
Love and blessings,
Alright. I’m warning you all in advance. This post makes it sound a little bit like I’ve gone off the deep end. That’s my early disclaimer. You’ve been warned.
I didn’t grow up in church. Matter of fact, I didn’t come to have a relationship with Christ until I was an adult. I can vividly remember going to church every once in a while with my aunt when I was a kid and being more that a little intimidated by those people who were obviously sold out Christians. They quoted God’s word. They prayed loud and proud. They praised unashamedly. Their lives were obviously different. I can’t even put my finger on it, but something about them was obviously different. It was totally weird to me and a little scary.
Even after I had come to know Christ in my 20’s, that fully sold out approach to believing was a little strange to me. I loved Jesus and was so thankful that He bore my sin and shame. I gladly accepted His gift of salvation and did my best to repent and turn from sin. I made some major changes to my life because I wanted to please my Heavenly Father. But still. Those fully sold out Christians weirded me out a little. I wanted to love Jesus, but maybe not with everything I had. I wanted to be set apart, but maybe not really far apart. I didn’t want to just go totally off the deep end!
It has been roughly 14 years since I became a Christian. And can I be really honest, here? Up until recently (like really recently), those all in Christians still kind of weirded me out. They intimidated me. I just could not grasp how they could just live and love and praise and pray like they did. It was uninhibited and bold.
But then something strange happened. Maybe it’s the time that I’ve spent in my Bible lately. As strange as it sounds, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with God’s word. He draws me to it like a magnet. Maybe it’s the amazing Sisters in Christ he has placed in my life who help point me to Him. Maybe it’s the books that some of these friends have recommended. Maybe it’s the time I’ve been able to spend engaged in small groups and in Church. Maybe it is the powerful messages of healing and love from the retreat I attended this weekend. Maybe it is that He has been at work in my heart for a very long time. Maybe it’s the community (real life and on line) that I’m beyond blessed to be a part of. Maybe it is that I’m finally getting out of my own way. I’m not even sure exactly what the catalyst was that brought about the change, but I think I’m becoming one of them! AND IT REALLY WEIRDS ME OUT!
What is even weirder though, is that it doesn’t really scare me anymore. Strike that. That’s not entirely true. It doesn’t scare me, but not as much as it use to. It still scares me a little, but instead of seeing it as weird, I see it as absolutely beautiful. And, oddly enough, I’m kind of excited about going off the deep end.
I can feel God calling me to go all in. I can feel Him asking me to just close my eyes and not be afraid to jump off of the deep end. Have you felt that? (Please tell me I’m not the only one because then I’d have to really wonder if I am, in fact, a little weird.😉)
I can feel His tugging on my heart to fully commit to the life He has called me to. I can feel His urging me to turn over the things that I’ve been hesitant to let go of. He wants those things that I’ve held on to a little too tightly because it might be a little uncomfortable to let them go. He is calling me to give him the hurt from my past, my stored up pain, my heart that’s been broken and mended, my time that I want to keep for myself, my present and the things I give myself to, my future and my plans. Really, I can feel Him asking for my all. And even though it may seem a little like going off the deep end, I’m going to just willingly hand it over.
Because, I’ve not really done a great job managing those things all by myself. Matter of fact, I’m kind of a hot mess. If you get a grade for trying, then I’m an A+ student. However, as far as performance goes, I’m more than a little lacking. I still let my past tangle me up. I still let this tattered heart lead me in more decisions than it should. I still guard my time and my plans like they are my own to control. I still cling to my own visions for my future. And that’s ok. Because God works at His own pace in each of our lives. Obviously, He knows I’m a slow learner and more than a little stubborn since I’m still very much a work in progress after 14 years. That’s what grace and mercy are for. So, as much as possible, I’m going to get out of the way and let Him have control.
Are you there too? Are you feeling Him lead you just a little out of your comfort zone? Is He calling you to step out of the norm?
It’s ok. Just jump with me. He’s trustworthy. He’s faithful. He’s good. He’s true. He’s strong and powerful and Holy. He loves us. He has plans for us. He’s big enough to catch us. He’s great enough to lead us. He won’t fail us. He’s got this even if we don’t.
So, weird or not, I’m going all in. See you in the deep end!
Love and blessings,
Yesterday was a hard day. There is just so much sin and hurt in this fallen world. There is so much pain. There is so much loss and grief and discouragement. My heart aches for the brokenness that is so evident everywhere I look. This whole earth is groaning and crying out for it’s Savior.
Do you see that too? Do you see loved ones dealing with loss and grief? Do you see sickness, pain, and suffering? Do you see discouragement and hopelessness? Do you see relationships falling apart and the scars left from that? Maybe you are the one in the midst of all of the trials? I’ve been there too.
I was confronted head on with all of this hurt in so many situations yesterday with several friends and loved ones dealing with very difficult tribulations. My heart breaks a little with each situation. And honestly, it’s easy to look around at all that is going on in this life and in this fallen world and get a little discouraged. It’s tempting to turn my eyes away from God and get overwhelmed with the way sin and hurt is wrecking so much.
But, when I keep my eyes fixed firmly on my Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, Friend, Father, Deliverer, Strongtower, and Help; I can see His mighty hand at work in the midst of each situation. He is right there. He is in the midst going to battle for us. He is busy working in our most difficult circumstances to soften hard hearts, reconcile broken relationships, comfort the grieving, and draw the lost to Him. He is hard at work uniting believers, encouraging the weary, giving hope, and strengthening us. He is pouring out grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and love in our most desperate times. He is wrapping His arms of protection around us.
He is so good that when they enemy seeks to destroy, God is at work on our behalf to reconcile and redeem. He uses the schemes of the enemy to draw us closer to Him and build our faith. He is so Holy that He is moving in each trial to work it out for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. His Love is so great that in the midst of our hardest battles, He provides comfort, peace, and joy.
As I sat this morning, reading in Psalms, I was reminded over and over again how God is with us through all that we face. In case you are in that place, or in case you want to provide encouragement and direction for someone who is, I wanted to point out some scripture that really spoke to me today in my reading.
Psalm 25:15-17 “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.”
Psalm 25:4-6 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.”
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 28:6-8 “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
Psalm 31:24 “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
He is there. In the middle of all of the messes that we deal with, He is our hope. I’m so thankful that He loves us that much. We never face any situation on our own. He goes with us, giving us strength, love, protection, power, peace, comfort, wisdom, grace and mercy through the journey. Wow! What a God we serve! (more…)
Life is complicated, isn’t it?
There is always so much going on. There is so much to be and so much to do. My to do list is long and my days seems short. I want to live life purposefully. I want to follow God’s perfect plan for my life, but sometimes I get so caught up in the little mundane details of life, that I forget exactly what that purpose is. And I don’t know if I ever got the plan.
Because surely there is a big purpose. I know He has a plan. Surely following God is more than these little steps I’ve been taking. It is suppose to be filled with lots of really big leaps, isn’t it?
For weeks and even months, I’ve been praying for direction and a clear path in some things. I’ve been diligently seeking God because I NEED to know what His specific plan for me is. I’ve been praying and really studying His word because He is moving in my life right now and I really want to be on board. I want to follow exactly where He is leading. Except I’m not one hundred percent sure how that actually looks, or maybe even exactly what I’m suppose to be doing if I am on board. I’m not even really sure exactly where He is taking me. It’s complicated. You know?
I’ve got a lot going on, like most of us do, so I’ve really been praying for a big blinking neon sign to just point me to right where He needs me. I’ve basically said to God, “You show me exactly where to go and tell me exactly what to do God, and I’m there! I’m ready for some big leaps! I’m your girl. Just point me in the right direction! Show me the plan, Lord, and let’s do this thing.”
But, I haven’t seen that big blinking neon sign. He hasn’t exactly given me the plan. I’ve had some leaps, but I’m not leaping all of the time.
Instead I’ve seen a lot of smaller (and yes, sometimes bigger) opportunities every day, in every moment, to make choices that honor Him. I’ve had opportunities to trust and opportunities to praise. I’ve had opportunities to seek Him. I’ve been given choices to do my own thing or do things that would bring Him glory instead.
These steps aren’t huge. Sometimes they aren’t even that big. These steps are often just little steps of faith towards Him. I’m definitely not always leaping.
Here is the crazy thing. Here is the part I sometimes miss. Looking back over these last weeks and months, even years, I have been walking the whole time. I’ve been making progress. Those steps have added up to a pretty decent walk of faith.
With each choice and every opportunity, I’ve been taking steps down His path. There wasn’t a big blinking neon sign, but He still managed to point me down the path He’s chosen for me. In those little steps, I’ve been walking down it without really even realizing it.
I’ve had opportunities to be a better wife, mom, friend, servant, and follower of Christ. I probably haven’t always made the best choice, but for the most part, He’s been keeping me on track. We’ve been walking along together and we’ve come a long way.
That shows me something. That shows me that maybe following God isn’t always these big, huge leaps of faith. Sometimes it is and that’s awesome. I had a few of those moments and they are truly amazing! Following God isn’t always that complicated. More often that not, it seems like following God is the act of choosing to honor Him with each step along our journey. It’s choosing to love Him, praise Him, glorify Him, and serve Him in the little moments, in the little choices, and in each step along the way. It’s really pretty easy. (more…)
My favorite book of the Bible is Esther. I love the drama. I love the story. At the risk of sounding trite, Esther is a fantastic script with a twisting and turning plot, rich characters, deceit, love, betrayal, an underdog overcoming great odds, and a beautiful story of grace and mercy. It’s a script that could only be written and directed by our mighty God, and produced in real life through his awesome power.
I love this biography of a young orphan girl, raised by her cousin, suddenly thrust into the palace with the chance to be a queen. She must hide her identity because her people are looked down on. She finds favor with everyone, including the king, and is made queen. In the mean time, her uncle saves the king’s life by uncovering a conspiracy to murder him. Simultaneously, the King’s main advisor is planning genocide for the queen’s people but he doesn’t even know the queen is one of them. It’s scandalous and the intensity is palpable!
In the face of her death and the death of her entire race, Queen Esther is warned by her cousin that she has two options. She can choose to stand by, try to protect herself, say nothing, and allow her faithful God to send another deliverer for the Jews. Or, she can rise to the occasion, and risk her own life for the chance to save her people. It’s a nail biter!
All this intensity leads up to one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. I’m a sucker for a good plot, and when reading about these events in Esther’s life, I’m always on the edge of my seat.
“…and who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b
Wow! What a thought for Esther to ponder. Her cousin Mordecai reminds her that God has been in charge of this scene from the opening act. He loves His people and will deliver them with or without her.
But, Esther has the choice. Will she just watch as God raises up a deliver from another place, or will she bravely step up and accept her divine calling. After all, it’s quite possible that this one moment is the entire reason that God allowed her to become Queen. Every detail, every event, has been leading up to this climactic choice.
Isn’t it amazing when you sit back and really think about it. This is a true account from the Bible. It’s not a script or a work of fiction. God actually called this beautiful, young orphan girl into a royal position and gave her the awesome opportunity to provide deliverance for her entire race from complete genocide.
Now, maybe God isn’t calling you to something quite that intense. Maybe it’s a smaller step of faith and obedience in marriage, your career, or your ministry. Who knows, maybe He is calling you to something monumental. Regardless of the fork in the road that you are standing at, God does give us opportunities for Esther moments in our lives. He brings us to a crossroads of sorts and allows us to choose which path to follow. We can meekly sit back and allow God to find another person to fill the role that He has called us to.
Or we can boldly step out in faith and obedience.
We can choose to let our Esther moment become the defining scene of our story where we choose to follow God’s call regardless of the risk. We can choose to bravely accept His plan and His will for our lives.
My prayer today is that we will each come to our Esther moments with purpose. We will gladly accept the challenge to follow where He leads. We will step into our calling, whatever it may be, without hesitation because we trust that it has been His plan all along.
Imagine that moment I described earlier. The ultimatum is given by Esther’s cousin. She is forced with a heavy decision. She can let God use her or watch someone else fill her divine calling.
Now picture yourself there instead. The ultimatum is given to you. You stand at your own personal fork in the road. You know that God has called you for such a time as this. Sister, boldly step into your role. Take courage, because God has a plan for you just as He did for Esther.
Embrace your Esther moment.
Love and blessings,
I often find such encouragement when I read my Bible. Honestly, this is a new thing for me. I use to look at Bible reading more as a chore. It was just another thing to check off of my Christian to do list.
Read a chapter or two from my Bible today. Check. Next?
But a while back, I felt convicted to really get back into God’s word in a more serious way. I love to read. You can almost always find me with a great Christian book. I’ve got a crate of them beside my bed. They are stacked in piles on my desks. My easily distracted self prefers to have a few of them going at a time so that if I hit a dry spot in one, I can stick in a book mark, and pick up where I’ve left off in another. I study these books. They are a wealth of knowledge. I love how writers have the ability to take lofty Christian principles and put them into terms that I can relate to and easily understand. The authors feel like friends to me. They just get me.
The book pages are pen marked. The pages are dog eared. The covers show wear because of their constant handling. I pack them to read on trips, tote them along in my purse, and keep them handy in case I have a few spare minutes to read.
Can you see how much I love them? On our trip to California last week I packed six. I was feeling ambitious and Heaven forbid that I not have just the right one to fit my mood. As a matter of fact, I spent the better part of two days alternating between the couch in a hotel bathrobe and my bathing suit on a lounge chair in the sun, all the while with a book. It was heavenly!
There are many books that I’ve read this year that I love! Some of my most well loved books sit on a desk in my kitchen because I enjoy referencing them again. I love to pick them up, turn to a page that’s worn and underlined, and find a nugget of knowledge that relates to exactly what I’m feeling or thinking or dealing with.
These books are so great! God has divinely spoken through some amazing authors and I’ve been so blessed by their work. Please don’t misunderstand me in this. I adore Christian authors and the way they put pen to paper to flesh out stories that truly speak to me!
But, I had let these books replace my time in God’s word.
The Bible was a little hard for me to understand. I just couldn’t bring myself to mark up these holy pages. I didn’t know how to study it. I didn’t think I could relate to it. The language and even sometimes the principles were lost on me, so I had set my Bible aside in search of easier reading.
Until about eight or ten months ago. I’m not really exactly sure of the date, but I remember the situation. I was struggling with the passing of my dad. It was brutally hard. I remember realizing that I was seeking wisdom, comfort, advice, and guidance from Man instead of God. And honestly, it wasn’t working out too well for me.
For some reason, it hit me like a brick, that what I really needed to do, was get back to God’s word.
It was the best decision I’ve made in a really long time!
I pray each day over my Bible. I pray that God will speak to me through His word. I pray for wisdom to understand His truth. I pray for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see His character and open my heart to receive His teaching. And I pray for people and stories that I can relate to.
I can’t honestly say that every time I open my Bible, I am awe struck by what I read. (Some of those genealogies are a little long.). However, I can tell you that God’s word has come alive to me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined before. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and David have become like dear friends to me as I’ve studied the Old Testament. Their stories resonate with me in such a real way. We share some of the same struggles and I’m encouraged as I see God’s faithfulness to grow them and use them. I’m moved to tears by His unrelenting grace and mercy towards a people that continually fail him. I see a parallel there and am awe struck that He shows the same grace and mercy towards me.
This morning I littered the book of Ezra with underlines and notes. Who would have thought that I could relate so much to this man of God? Who would have known I could find so many answers to the questions that trouble me today in these pages penned so long ago? Who would have known that these heroes of the Bible struggled with so many of the same things that I do?
I just want to take a minute today and encourage you to go back to basics. Don’t give up all of the amazing books that God is using to reach you. They have an awesome purpose and are instrumental in our growth. But, turn back to that old black book too (well, mine is actually hot pink) and see what truths it holds for you. Find comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and guidance in its pages. Understand that God’s word is alive and active and still so applicable to us today. Ask the Holy Spiri to give you understanding and immerse youself in conversation with the Father. Allow Him to speak to you through His word. Find what you’re looking for there.
Love and blessings,
Man, lately my life just seems to be hovering in the unknown. Have you been there, in that phase of life when things just don’t seem to make a lot of sense? I seem to be there a lot lately. It’s not even a bad thing. It’s just different for me.
I’m pretty good at just rolling with things. Although I love order and a control, I’m not to shabby at just flying by the seat of my pants sometimes too. This is different though.
This is not flying by the seat of my pants. There is still a bit of control in that. Most of the time, I still get the choice of where, when, and how to fly and when not to.
This is a little more out of my control than that. This phase of life almost seems like a roller coaster ride. There is a track and a destination and I’m barreling down it at full speed with lots of really high highs and some places where the bottom just drops out. Sometimes I’m thrown for a loop. There are some tunnels and some places where I get turned upside down a little, and sometimes I’m tempted to close my eyes when it gets a little scary.
But, I’m also tempted to give in to the ride. I want to just throw my hands in the air and scream and enjoy myself. I want to give in to the complete freedom! I don’t know exactly how this roller coaster works, but I don’t really need to. I mean, I am pretty sure I saw the end destination when I jumped on board, but every twist and every turn and every thrilling moment in between is new to me. So I just hang on tight. I mean, the operator knows what’s going on, so there is no need to worry. I can just sit back and enjoy the ride, even if I’m a little scared and a little confused and a little nervous!
Been there? Understand at all?
I know God has a plan and I can see where the destination might be, but I really don’t understand the path that’s leading me there. There are a lot of unknowns along the way. Sometimes I am at the peak and sometimes I’m down in that valley. Sometimes I’m in that tunnel where things look a little dark and I can’t see my hand in front of my face. At other times I’m turned upside down or thrown for a loop, but the operator of this ride is in total control.
After all, he isn’t just the operator, He designed the ride just for me with every detail along the way. Each high and each low was put in place for a purpose along the journey. He mapped out each turn just for me!
This roller coaster ride never surprises the operator. He knows every twist and turn, every peak and valley. All of my unknowns and completely known by him. I know he’s in total control and I trust him.
So, here’s to giving up control to the one who knows all, operates all, and designed each detail and JUST hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride!
“Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In the days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass.”
2 Kings 19:25
Love and blessings,
Sometimes my faith wavers a bit. It’s not something that I’m proud of, but I have the tendency to look at hard situations and say “why me?”, “why now?”, “what in the world is the purpose of this?”. My first response to something is usually emotional and full of questions.
This morning as I sat and read my Bible, I was floored by the faith Rebekah showed in Genesis 25. She was just going about her day, drawing water from the well like she always did, when God rocked her whole world. Everything changed for her in a mater of minutes when she was told that the Lord had a plan for her.
She didn’t question even once? I would have grilled that poor servant to no end! I would have needed him to go though and tell me again, step by step. I would have had lots of questions. This guy is trying to change my whole world after all! Am I just suppose to trust him and trust that God has a plan at work here? That’s a big leap of faith!
Rebekah did though! She RAN to tell her household and they all welcomed this traveling servant in. Without a second thought. Because they knew he came with a plan from the Lord.
As that servant laid out the events that led him there and told Rebekah’s family of God’s plan, they surely had to be shocked. Didn’t they have any questions? Who is this son of your master? God wants to do what now? You want to take her where? And you prayed what right before Rebekah showed up? Are you sure? Maybe we should take a few days to think this thorough?
But no. That’s not how it went at all.
“This is from the Lord; we have no choice in the matter…Let it be as the Lord has spoken.” (Gen 24:50)
“They called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She replied, “I will go.” (Gen 24:57-58)
And she did. Just like that.
Even though it had to be hard to just drop everything, leave everything she had ever known, and walk into a situation that was very unknown and possibly scary. She unwaveringly believed that God had a good plan for her, and she stepped out of all she had ever known into his glorious plan without a moment’s hesitation.
I want to trust God’s plan like that. It’s easy when His plan is easy, but when that plan has me walking into something unknown or scary, I sometimes drag my feet. I question. “Why?” “How?” “Are you sure you’ve got me God, because this looks hard?”
Oh, to have a faith like Rebekah! As I’m walking though things that I don’t fully understand right now, I am choosing to turn away from my norm and respond like Rebekah. It may be hard. It may be unknown and even a little scary.
But I’m choosing to answer with, “I will go.” That’s it. Just, “I will go.” And then I will. Completely trusting that God has a plan for whatever it is I’m being called into and He will work it all for His ultimate good.
Love and blessings,
Do you ever feel like the more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know? Man, I feel that way that a lot. The more I study something or try to understand a situation that I thought I mostly understood, the more I see its complexities. I realize I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. So, I keep trying to get a better understanding and as I study, some things become clear and some times I realize there is still so much I don’t know.
Can I be honest? Sometimes I feel that way as I look at life and it’s situations.
I KNOW God. I KNOW Jesus. I KNOW what He did for me. I KNOW His love. I KNOW these things because I’ve experienced them. I have felt His presence and I’ve experienced His hand on my life. I believe and have faith because I KNOW, from personal experience, of His love, mercy, Grace, and forgiveness.
But, the more I read my Bible and study the character of God, the more I understand how much of a mystery He is. His ways are so far above mine that sometimes I just have to trust in complete faith. That’s a big part of faith, the act of just believing.
I love studying the Old Testament because I love learning about God’s character. I’ve learned so much about His love, His mercy, His patience, His kindness and His long suffering. I’ve learned how gracious He is to a people who just can’t seem to get it right and continually fail Him. I’ve learned that He is true to His word.
I’ve also learned that He is so much more than I could grasp. I’ve learned I can’t comprehend all He does and all He allows. I don’t fully understand the plan.
BUT He sees the beginning and the end and works accordingly. He isn’t limited at all by the tiny view of things that I am limited by.
This morning in my Bible reading, I was just awe struck by a couple of verses. 1Kings 12:15 says “…for this turn of events was from the Lord to fulfill His word…” And 1Kings 12:24 says…”for this is my doing…”
Wow! What a powerful, mighty, sovereign God! His hand can be seen in everything! The good and the seemingly bad.
Both of these verses reference situations that weren’t particularly pleasant at the time. But, they show God working out His master plan to bring His people back to Him. Because He loves them that much. Because He is good and mighty and sovereign.
I can only relate it to this; just like sometimes as a parent, I have to allow my kiddos to experience both the good and the bad of life to be a loving parent, our Father allows us the same opportunity. Because that is a part of His character too. He is rightous and just. He is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is a good Father who looks at the long term when He is growing and shaping His children.
So, even though I don’t always understand the situation I’m walking though, I can trust in Him because I KNOW the one who is in control of it. I KNOW His plan for me is good and that His purpose is for me to grow closer to Him. I don’t have to understand or to have all the answers, because I trust the one who does.
Do you have a friend that you just feel connected deeply to, like a soul sister? There is just a really strong bond that binds you two together. You love them so much that you would do anything for them. You have even risked your own happiness to be sure that they were happy.
Those soul sister relationships are amazing!
This morning I was reading through the 1 Samuel account of the friendship of Johnathan and David. I’ve always been drawn to this friendship. It just seems like such a beautiful picture of the kind of relationship that we all want.
This friendship was built on love, trust, and care and concern for the other. 1 Sam 18:2 says that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. Man! Who doesn’t want a friendship like that, one where your very souls are knit together!
How does that even happen? How does that even look? It’s so vastly different than most friendships we see.
One of my favorite verses about this relationship, and what I think sets it apart from most friendships is 1Sam 23:16. “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.”
I’m telling you, there is a big difference between friendships and real, intimate, authentic soul sister relationships. There is a depth to these soul sister friendships that just goes beyond the norm. And for me, one of the things that solidifies these soul sister friendships is that characteristic of strengthening and encouraging one another in God.
That’s a big deal.
A friend can give me advice and listen to me talk. They can even help, but a soul sister takes you to the feet of Jesus. They go there with you in prayer and keep you there with their conversation and actions. They cover you in His love and bathe you in His truth.
Spending time with them is like getting a little glimpse of Jesus.
I can remember praying earnestly that God would just send me some real soul sisters to encourage me and draw me closer to Him when I was in a difficult season in life.
God answered that prayer and I couldn’t be more grateful!
I’ve been blessed with a couple of nearly lifelong friendships that I just treasure beyond measure. They mean the world to me! However, in the last several years God has knit my heart together with several women in ways that can only be described as divine. They are my mentors and counsellors. They are my prayer warriors and ministry partners. They are the ones who know the nitty gritty, real parts of me and love me anyway.
They are also the ones who constantly go with me, hand in hand, to the feet of Jesus.
Friends, I can’t even begin to describe what an answer to prayer these friends are. Seek these people out. Pray for God to send you these soul sisters to strengthen you in God, just like Jonathan and David. Be the real and authentic you that God created you to be so that these friends can be grounded and genuine. Ask God to grow your friendships into those soul sisterhoods that you long for. He is able.
And to my soul sisters, I love you. Thank you for always helping me to find my strength in God.
Love and blessings,
Today I was reminded of two little words that instantly create a bond. These two little words can quickly turn strangers in to friends.
I spoke at our local MOPS meeting on repurposing. More accurately, I spoke about the work of repurposing furniture and drew some parallels to the way that Jesus has repurposed my life.
I was a little nervous. Speaking doesn’t really bother me. What made me nervous was that I really felt led to drop any pretenses and just be vulnerable and transparent. Just putting myself out there has always been a little difficult for me. I have a lot of baggage and a lot of junk. It’s not always easy to just leave all of that exposed.
It’s also beautiful in the hands of God. And sometimes necessary.
You see, by sharing our story- even the ugly parts- we can show the work that God has done to repurpose us. We can show the way he has turned messy into a masterpiece. We can show that nothing is ever too broken to be remade into something beautiful in His hands. And maybe, hopefully, we can give a little encouragement to someone who knows all too well what it means to be a little worn and tattered.
As I spoke today, I looked out into the faces of His beautiful daughters and I didn’t see looks of condemnation or judgement. I saw smiles and some tears. I saw nods of agreement and lips mouthing “me too”. I felt such love and encouragement. I felt such connection and community. I felt my walls crumbling.
Those walls that we build around ourselves as protection crumble a little when people are brave enough to be vulnerable . I think sometimes, God calls us to that type of vulnerability and openness as a way to not only point to His love and mercy and grace, but to connect us to others. Aren’t we all part of the same body?
Reach out. Be bold. Share. Encourage. Uplift. Point to Jesus. Connect with people. Let them see that you are an imperfect person, living your life to glorify a perfect Jesus, so that they can look you in the eyes and say “me too”.
Love and blessings,