God can be trusted.

A few weeks ago we began our morning, we got up and were running around all day.  I was tired and feeling overwhelmed because I hadn’t slept great from a storm the night before.  My husband was out of town, and we were in survival mode for the week.  I know myself enough to know that on weeks like this I need space and time to reset even during the day, not just at bedtime.  But I forgot in all the chaos.

So we made it to bedtime and I realized I hadn’t read my devotional.  And thought, “it’s okay I will just read it tomorrow, there’s grace.”  And there was and is grace for me missing my devotional (and you too if today was one of those days for you!).  But I felt a nudge to go ahead and read it that night.  So I did, and the title was “Medicine for the Midnight Moments” and it was on rest.  (Secret Strength: For Those who Search by Joni Erikson Tada)

How beautiful these words were on rest. Salve to my tired soul that night. Resting in His Sovereignty: He is in fact in control.  Webster defines rest this way: “to remain based or founded to cause to be firmly fixed.”  Many nights my thoughts can bounce all over, which happened that night after those storms.  And I forgot a phrase I like to say out loud before bed, “I can rest, because my God can be trusted.”  Might sound silly, but when I say it out loud it reminds my brain I can rest with the truth: the world is not resting on my shoulders, but His. In these moments I realize I do have what I need.  It is here if I will slow, stop, and listen. 

My youngest did a project at school, a Bible stop sign.  Red is stop and pray, yellow is listen to God, and green is go where He tells you.  The simplicity of God is amazing to me.  How he just speaks so slow and kind to us.  It is not condemning or controlling.  Its a wooing voice that calls us to rest and sit with Him.  So He can reteach us.  

I love these sweet moments, where God steps in and says yes!  Don’t despair daughter, I’m not done with you yet.   I’ll keep showing up, you don’t have to doubt for a second if I will be there, and then He does, shows up again for me and for you.

He is faithful, Sovereign, and true.  

How is God showing up for you?

Abba, help us to rest here, without having all the answers.  Help us to rest in Your Sovereignty.  You are great and mighty, help us to see how big You are so we are not overwhelmed with our present state.  We need you and ask that You guide us in the path of peace and rest.  In Jesus name.

Amen.

I can change my mind.

The mind.

It’s beautifully complex but sometimes doesn’t feel so beautiful. Oppressive thoughts, low self worth, and speaking defeated words over ourselves make us feel less than.

I fall into bad thinking patterns when I feel stuck and unsure what the right decision is to make. I feel guilty if I make a wrong decision and unsure if I make the decision because I’m unsure how’s it’s going to turn out.

Whew. Feel better about yourself?

I found some wisdom from this crappy thought life yesterday.

My son woke up with a sore throat, he’s gotten strep before, so I wanted to see how he felt once he was up for a bit. Not seeing much change, I decided to keep him home.

Thirty minutes later it was pretty clear he had a little cough, but was feeling fine, no fever. He confirmed he felt fine.

So we decided to get him to school even though he was thirty minutes late.

As I was driving home from dropping my son off late, I realized I didn’t feel guilty. Confirming how I felt, truth came: This was not a pattern for my kid faking sick or crying because he didn’t want to go to school. He’s pretty tough. And it really wasn’t a big deal for him to miss one day.

NEW THOUGHTS! Truthful thoughts.

Shocked.

Ah-ha!

I thought, hey I can change my mind!

We can change our minds. Turning this into a spiritual truth, we can take our crappy thoughts captive and make them obey Christ. We can change.

(Note: see Jen Wilkins book “None like Him.” She writes a whole chapter on how this.)

This simple reality of changing my mind to take my son to school opened wide the lie: this won’t work for you, you can’t change your mind, you are stuck.

I can’t do this on my own, but with Christ I will.

The weapons I get to use aren’t more strength on my own part, but trusting in a mighty God who never gets tired helping me to do His part!

He will never fail us.

Masterpiece

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More than a decade ago my husband spoke this verse over me.  He was my boyfriend at the time and I’ll never forget that moment.  I was doubting my worth, my purpose.  I was so unsure of myself and if God could use me.  Timid, fearful.  I still struggle with some of those same identity issues.  However, when I struggle and I hear this verse I am able to go back to that suspended memory of my sweet man pointing my eyes up when all I wanted to do was look at my feet in discouragement.  Yesterday I looked up at the sky and saw a masterpiece.  Sun shining and the clouds were painted beautifully, I was reminded again of this verse.

Workmanship.  Poetry.  Masterpiece.

I’m not sure where you are in life.  Wondering what your purpose is?  Unsure if God is even doing anything in your life?  Maybe you are not sure you “deserve” for God to use you.

If it’s yes, me too.

Today I heard the song “Symphony” by Switch.  “Through all of this chaos, YOU are writing a symphony.”  A symphony.  God already knows the end of your masterpiece, He knows the notes, the details, the highs and lows.  He knows the notes that will be hit and the ones that will be missed.  Maybe, life with Christ is letting Him teach us the song He wrote for us or the masterpiece He is revealing one brush stroke at a time.  He is making us aware of the masterpiece we are in Him.  Maybe the masterpiece is us learning and growing and unlearning and regrowing.  The undoing of our old ways and allowing Him to make us new.

Being made into a masterpiece doesn’t always feel beautiful.  But I bet anyone who has laid paint to a canvas isn’t sure what the end product will look like, but at the end they step back and say, “Yes!  This is it!  I didn’t even know it would look this beautiful.”  Or someone sitting down to write a song, the words begin to flow, the lyrics fall together, and the rhythm makes you tap your feet.  It all comes together.

As we learn to walk in this truth that we are God’s masterpiece, a work He is proud of.  It’s ugly at first, we miss terribly.  Our dance moves are less than.  But all the sudden we start putting one step to the next.  Seeing connections, feeling His presence more and more.  Healing.  We begin to lean more into Him, trusting He is who He says He is.  We can trust this process of becoming.  Becoming His masterpiece.  It’s worth every step.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  And telling you too.  It is worth it.

 

Sometimes

Sometimes it’s hard to walk this faith thing out.

I was praying last night and telling God how frustrated I was.  I have been trying to memorize verses to have a more “positive” mindset, and it just felt like a lot of work, reading books, listening to podcasts, and feeling tired.

I realized I have so much head knowledge, and now I need it to connect to my heart.  Those broken places in my heart need God’s love and redemption too.

Then, in my human dust like state, I realized that I did not have the ability to change my heart.  I could think new things and do more Bible study, but if it wasn’t sinking in to the deepest part of me it was just work with no heart.

And work with no heart is not pretty.  It shows up as pride, self-righteousness, anger, frustration, and the list goes on.  It looks like having all the right answers, but no victory to back it up.

So I cried out to God, “I can’t change my heart!”  And He reminded me of a verse.

Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart…”

What?!?!?!

This y’all is what I have craved all along.

Then another Matthew 11:28, “COME to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”  It DOES NOT say “come to me when you have it all figured out and it looks pretty with a bow on it.”  It says come to me with it even when its messy and you are exhausted from trying to fight and make things right.  And I will give you rest.  Beautiful rest for your soul that is tired and weary.  Oh the promise.

Another verse, Philippians 2:3 “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Ephesians 2:9, “…not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I had been working, checking things off, but I was doing it in my own strength.  I’ve come to the end of myself, realizing that this battle for my heart belongs to Him.  And He will work this out for good.  He will do a mighty thing.  Because He loves me, and He loves you.

Maybe your saying, wow that sounds great, but how does this look.

Reaching out is essential.  We get lost thinking we are the only ones fighting when there are believers right beside us who are saying the same thing.  Pray and ask God for friends who you can trust and let them love on you.

Support and encouragement go hand and hand in this battle, even Jesus didn’t do life alone.  Having others around you allows God to use people to encourage you and for you to encourage them.

None of this is to be done alone.

We may be the one swinging the sword in our personal battles, but is there any army behind you-praying for you, encouraging you, and speaking verses to you when you’re lost.

No man is an island.  Reach out.

Right where He wants me…

Sitting outside, it’s winter but it’s sunny and mild out today.

My kids are eating lunch at a kid painted picnic table in our driveway. They are happy to be together and with me.

The sun feels good. Warm. Inviting me to sit a while and take a deep breath.

Sometimes life comes rushing in and I’m ready to be out of that phase and onto the next. Ready to heal, to be well, and sometimes God just has more for me to learn. It’s not a step back but it’s a deeper stretch. Like when you workout, typically when you do the exercise again you should be able to do more reps, sink a little deeper into the squat, or run an extra half a mile.

And sometimes are just harder than others. So for right now I sit knowing I am exactly where God has me, where He knew I’d be. He is not surprised by my feelings. He is present. With me right now.

So I know I’m with Him and He is with me. So I can be okay, right here, right now.

Are you in a season of joy? Praise him.

Struggle? Pray and praise him.

Both? Praise and pray and praise and dance…

Know God is not surprised at where you are.

Psalm 139 says that every day of ours is already written down. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Go check out Psalm 139-sometimes it is scary to be this known, but we are known by a God who loves us and never puts us to shame. Hallelujah.

In awe

Driving home from dropping my son off at school, and the song “In Awe” by Hollyn came on.

I hadn’t heard this song yet, and a line that jumped out at me was “‘Cause Your Love is overwhelming…”.

His love is overwhelming.

Now, I like to use the word overwhelmed, but that’s normally when I feel overwhelmed by life.

In this new season of waiting, I’m learning I’ve had a hard time understanding God’s Love, I tend to feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to do. My days get clouded and I end the day with “wow God that was rough.”

And I repeat trying to do more things to feel good, to ultimately feel loved.

Have you ever tried to earn love? Exhausting right? The list to do gets longer, the amount of people to love gets bigger, and if all we have is our love to give-it’s not enough. We become exhausted from the race that never ends. Discouraged. Defeated.

Maybe God has a new way for us. Mmm…I am making everything new…” (revelations 21:5) is a verse on repeat for me.

Back to the song. The last line says “I’m livin in awe…’cause you don’t need me at all…BUT You couldn’t love me more…You couldn’t love me more…”

As is, doing nothing. He couldn’t love you more.

Even though it might be painful, think of your lowest moment in life, He couldn’t love you more.

Think of your best moment in life, He couldn’t love you more.

His Love is the only unchanging thing in this life. Lean in and let Him whisper that truth to you. As is, He couldn’t love you more.

Oh Father, speak to is. Help us to feel Your love today. Overwhelm us with Your Love in a new way. We need to hear from you. Break through our walls we’ve built. So our hearts can open up to Your Love. In Jesus name, amen 💙

Hold up, WAIT a minute.

Wait.

Pause.

Contemplate.

Sit with it a little while longer.

2019.  Wait.  My word God has given me.

Now, sometimes when I tell people my word, maybe they feel guilty, unsure of their word, or just unaware that maybe God would speak to them this way.

This is a gut thing for me.  It’s a word God has spoken to me, and ultimately it is the thing He wants to teach me this year.  It’s not overcomplicated.  So, go with the word that rings in your ear the over and over, or ask God to open your ears.

Because He is personal.  So intentional on speaking to us.  Right where we are.  As is.

This is one way I see God caring for me.  Showing me how He is going to specifically teach me.  This relationship with Him is one on one, deeply personal to my circumstances and needs.

So I’m waiting this year.  When someone asks me a question, I can choose to wait to answer.  I can choose to pray.  I can choose to give myself time on a subject.  Waiting isn’t forever.  It is a place to stand with God until He says move, or until He clarifies my next step.

This doesn’t mean I’m not active.  I don’t get a pass this year.  “Oh I’m just waiting on the Lord.”

No I’m waiting on my hands and knees praying.

I’m waiting in the car line for my son to get out of school listening to music.

I’m waiting while I read and grow and nurture my soul.

Waiting is preparing.

What are you doing this year?  How is God speaking to you specifically?  Has He revealed a word to you?  Let Him speak, He is loving, kind and true.

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Nothing wasted

I just threw away two ornaments because they had been stepped on and broken. Chards, the tiniest pieces of glass, useless to me.

Yet that is exactly what God uses. our broken chards, the crumbs of our life- because maybe that’s all we have left.

You know you’re in a good place when all that’s left is chards and you give it to Him anyways. You hand it to the One who can make something miraculous with it.

We don’t understand God’s ways, even His thoughts. Or why He takes so stinking long sometimes. But in the end what he is creating is more beautiful than we ever imagined He could do with such small broken pieces.

He takes your broken pieces and mine and somehow makes a masterpiece, He calls it the church. This place made up of chards held together by His Spirit.

You might have nothing left to give, your hands might be empty, open them anyways and let Him flood you with His very Presence.

It’s enough. It’s always enough.

His ways are not mine.

Hallelujah.

Calm

This past week my husband preached on the Armor of God out of Ephesians 6.

We were discussing the sermon and how to apply it in our small group. We got to the armor of “shoes readied with the gospel of peace.” We began discussing it and how we are supposed to apply this verse.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure.

Sometimes in this is the joy of discussing scripture, we get to put more pieces together that help it make sense, because we are talking it out loud, and the spirit is not only working in us, but the lives around us too.

I’ve struggled with anxiety; therefore, peace is a word in the Bible I’d run to in anxious times hoping it would come flying off the pages into my heart.

However, this night one of my fellow sisters said, “I’ve learned peace has nothing to do with calm.”

This rocked me to my core, to an untruth I’d believed for awhile. I looked at her and audibly spoke “yes.” Exactly. Clarity. Truth.

We spoke about what peace meant for our feet. I believe in this passage it’s meaning was to sturdy us. I suggested that maybe peace in the gospel is that the gospel has made us right in God’s eyes, giving us peace with ourselves. (Ephesians 2:14). Peace with the war that goes on within us. Like Paul talks about in Romans 7, he does what he doesn’t want to do then ends with but “thanks be to my Savior Jesus Christ.”

There is peace, and it’s not always the calm I once looked for. It’s peace with the fact that my God accepts me exactly as I am: wholly and freely His, because of my Savior Jesus Christ.

Will you leave the light on?

My brother and I share our favorite songs with each other. It’s one of my favorite things.

Music has such a way of getting to our hearts without us even knowing it. Music sings deep to our souls. It opens us up to move, even if just the slightest toe tap.

Music has been such an aid to me in times I thought I’d just break and fall to pieces. It has helped me to move slowly, to follow a rhythm, and move through life’s problems.

Music brings joy and praise surging up. An exhale of gratitude to ourselves for giving the gift of freedom to stop all the worrying and just sing.

Sometimes life feels like a lot, and lonely.

Tom Walker sings,

If you look into the distance, there’s a house upon the hill
Guiding like a lighthouse to a place where you’ll be
Safe to feel at grace ’cause we’ve all made mistakes
If you’ve lost your way

I will leave the light on.”
Do you need a lighthouse?
Does someone you know need a lighthouse to look up to?
Will you be that lighthouse, allowing light to flow from those places that held you and tried to take you under?
Because someone else needs to see it too. They need to know, even though you’ve been broken, you can stand again.
I’m grateful He will use any of it. For years I’d hold God at a distance in certain areas I felt were too vulnerable, but that’s where He shines His light through us, will you let Him.