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 verse 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 did 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.

Self care

It’s not always easy to think about ourselves. Or the opposite we can be self-absorbed, I hope I can say that. We all have this tendency. But maybe that’s because we lack proper self-care, instead we insist on sitting and playing the victim. We say, “Poor me, I can’t do this. I’m defeated.”

Self-care, I think, is checking in on yourself. How’s your body feeling, have you kept up with health check-ups, how’s your emotional state. Those answers aren’t something to be afraid of, but it’s a piece of us that needs to be embraced.

Or do you just take care of yourself in an ER type way, when you are forced to look at yourself because you’ve neglected yourself. No one else can take care of you but you. You are able. You have what you need, and if you don’t ask for help.

Self-care is realizing our own limitations and seeking those who can help us in our weakness.

So today, I’m getting my teeth cleaned. Two years ago I had nine fillings because I just thought it wasn’t a big deal. But three kids later and I had some work to do on my teeth.

Be proactive.

How are you responding to your needs? Are you waiting for someone else to step in?

P.S. I still get nervous going to check-ups but I’m learning to go anyways. Because two years later, my teeth are cleaned, no cavities, and our insurance covered it. A lot of insurances cover preventative care, check into it, you’re worth it.

Redemption

So I’m watching Downton Abbey and it’s marvelous.  Witty, funny, just the right amount of drama and love.

The oldest daughter, Mary, has a secret that her and her mother are keeping. She’s afraid it will scar her forever, and she will be a lonely spinster if word gets out.  So she pays a man to keep her secret quiet for her and she agrees to marry him.  All the while she is still madly in love with Matthew.

You are pining for them to be together, just tell him I’m thinking.  It’s okay, he will love you anyways.  You know the truth, but she’s unsure.  Her father, Lord Grantham does not know either.  And for fear of him outcasting her she stays quiet.

Then the day comes, her mother tells her father.  He sits down and absorbs the news.  Mary goes to her father and they embrace as he already knows and has forgiven her.  It’s a powerful moment.  He stands beside her, whatever may come, because he didn’t want his oldest daughter marrying someone out of fear.

Then, Matthew learns the truth.  And again, he takes some time, but walks right up to her and professes his love for her, in spite of the truth she has told him.

Whew!  Redemption.

It’s beautiful and powerful.  Undeserved, but needed.  Grace upon grace.

To be known to our depths and loved.  I pray and hope you have someone in your life that knows it all and loves you still.  Because that truth points us to the one and only true God who said, I know all you will do, and I’m sending Jesus anyways.  I love you that much.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life.”

Still learning

We had a week of the stomach bug in our house. Which left us feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally.

But I learned something this week I’d love to share it. A lot of these writings are so I can remember and maybe remind you as well of simple truths I’ve learned along this journey.

So back to this week, my kids were not feeling great and needed a different level of care this week. We had to help them get to sleep, waking through the night to help them, and using our resources to get them better.

And through it all, I loved them more.

Their vulnerability, their inability to care for some of the simplest needs made me kiss their foreheads, hold them tighter, and whisper I love you so much. Then telling them how special they were to me.

My daughter calls out across the room “mom, I love you…” like an exhale to my care for her.

I’m honored.

Grateful.

I felt as if God was reminding me, see daughter when you need help I’ll give you more. When you need love I’ll give you more. Whatever you need I have it and I want to freely give it, my child. Chosen. Loved.

He doesn’t care what we produce for Him, He cares if we let Him go with us. He cares if we let Him love us when we have nothing left to offer Him but ourselves.

It’s enough, always enough.