Feeling Stuck?

Feeling stuck is universal for us all. Maybe you feel stuck in a relationship that’s difficult or stuck taking care of someone with a sickness. How about stuck teaching your kids from home? Or stuck financially trying your best to make a dent but it just doesn’t seem to be working. Are you stuck waiting on a vaccine? Are you stuck in winter waiting for spring?

One thing, I’m grateful our presidential inauguration is over. I was feeling pretty stuck for awhile, that in between is the pits for me. Waiting on the new while still in the old.
For me it feels like you are straddling between a boat and the shore, not all the way in the boat and not fully on land yet.

Sometimes jumping from that boat to land is a leap of faith. It’s a hold your breath, close your eyes and hope the ground is still there when you jump.

In Hebrews 12:1-2 it tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So as we take our leap of faith, whatever that looks like for you, let’s not focus on ourselves. We know how that will go, like Peter we’ll sink. The ground will be there when you jump, because Jesus is our ground. He cannot be moved. He is here and there.

Hebrews tells us,

  1. Have hope many people trusted their faith in times just like we are living. We are not the first and we won’t be the last.
  2. Lay off your struggles with sin. It was finished on the cross.
  3. Look at Jesus. Surrender to Him. When your eyes fall to yourself, train yourself to look back up. The pressure is on the One who is in your growing and perfecting your faith.
  4. Remember Jesus endured so we could run, move and have freedom to live for Him in these in-between times.

We are never truly stuck if we have Jesus.

Green thumb

I always thought I just killed plants.  I’ve had a bunch of tomato plants, flowers and bushes that just die even though I tried my hardest to keep them alive, watering them and all.

I had resigned to the fact that I didn’t have a “green thumb.”

Hogwash.

Maybe some of you believe this too.

I will challenge you, go to the Dollar Tree or Dollar General (I realize this isn’t the highest quality but for plant stuff you can’t beat it!)  Honestly for a $1 I had no qualms about these flowers dying.  *Something to blame it on, they were cheap.

I bought flower seeds for $.25 at Dollar Tree, put them in a drawer, and in July (our hottest month or at least second hottest in Texas) I planted those suckers.  I thought okay who cares lets just try and grow these flowers.

And off we went.  Those sweet little seeds started to sprout a couple days later.  I was booming with excitement.  Such joy in these little tiny things just miraculously popping up out of the ground.  And all I did was dig, drop, and water.

I love the flowers that are now blooming each day.  They are these perfect little pom pom flowers.  I show them off because I know they will make other people happy too.  They are all different color flowers out of the same flower bush.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago on Instagram, maybe this is how God sees us.  We are planted in our faith with Him, but maybe we aren’t sure much is happening.  We aren’t sure if we are even growing, but little by little we water this faith and it miraculously starts to grow.

And all we get to do is step back and say wow isn’t that amazing!

What’s your never?

These are the areas I’ve struggled the most: the areas I told God “never.”  Never would I share, never would I do that, never would I say that, never would I treat someone like that.  Never, never, never.

My heart was so intentional about saying never.

For example, my two year old just cried himself down for nap.  I said I would never.  I know not realistic, but my heart just aches when my kiddos are crying.  However, my two year old needs a nap, and he won’t go with others in the room.  So I shut the door, and he cried for less than a minute.  And I hear a gentle whisper say “see he is okay.”  And maybe more importantly “you are okay.”

Lots and lots of parenting things I said I’d never do (pre kids of course because you are always judgmental until you walk through it-am I right?).

When I have claimed “never” over an area of my life those are the times I’ve struggled the deepest in my faith.  When I’m actually faced with the reality that “never” is now a possible option or just the reality of life at the moment.  I hurt, I resist even more because I’ve promised myself never.

Maybe for you it is medication to help you stay sober, or the keep you calm.  Maybe you said never to counseling because you had a bad experience.  Maybe you said no to taking care of yourself, because we are supposed to serve right?  I won’t be like them…on and on we go.

Our mind keeps track of that inner voice, and when we say no I’d never, our mind has a hard time letting us do it when it actually is good for us.  Or a good option for the time.  Allow yourself freedom, because others around you need that same freedom to move and live and make decisions.

What are some of your never-s?  Maybe some are funny, and maybe some need an evaluation.  Let God search you.  It is for freedom.

Ending nicely

Yesterday, I was looking for inspiration.  A passion to read something, and I was looking through my books ready to pick up a new one for July.  I remembered I had gotten 7 Women by Eric Metals.  The tag line for the book is “7 Women…and the secret to their greatness.”

I felt like this would be just what I was looking for.

So I’m reading Susanna Wesley’s biography, chapter 2.  I’m reading, and thinking wow, this lady had it rough.  She lost two sets of twin babies along with other children, her husband was really terrible with money, he abandoned her at points in his life to raise their kids on her own, and their house burned down twice.  Her kiddos suffered great loss in their marriages.  Not a story with much good.

I was really wrestling with it last night before I went to sleep, letting God know I did not like her story.  Like it is my responsibility to like someone’s story or not, my first problem.  The second was that I wanted her story to be a fairy tale: she followed Christ and everything turned out great.  But that’s not how her story goes.

However, at the end, what she did have left, her most prized possession, her faith.  It was intact and so were her kids’ faith.

I felt last night I was asked, what do I want for my life and my kids?

Do I want that cushy perfect looking life, or do I want a faith for myself and my kids that will last and will never falter no mater what we go through in this life?  Both might be possible, but if I had to pick what is my heart wanting.

I want the later.  I want a faith so deep, that whatever this world tells me is the worst I could endure and still keep walking after.

We aren’t promised perfect lives.  But we are promised a perfect God who rests within us when we believe in His perfect Son so that we can endure.

What do you want?

Faithful, not perfect

I’ve confused these two words a lot.  Faith.  Perfect.

I thought Abraham was perfect.  I thought David was perfect.  But when we look at their stories they really weren’t perfect.  They did some messed up things, but God still used them.  So how were they righteous?  Not by their own merit.  Not by their acts.  But their faith.  Not in themselves.  But in their God.

See when you are an achiever like myself, it’s easy to confuse faith with achievement.  It’s a belief wrapped up that says, “I’ll show you God why you want to use me…” and “I’ll teach your people to get it together.”  But faith is not within ourselves.  Isaiah says, “even our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God.”  I think because even our good acts are compromised by our humanness.  And when we teach people to achieve and try hard to be perfect, we teach others to become Pharisees.

Pharisees hurt the people that were following them by placing unbearable burdens and laws on their followers that were impossible.  I’m sure a lot of people stepped away from this walk and were judged harshly by the Pharisees because “they couldn’t cut it.”

I’m challenging this belief in myself because it has no merit in the gospel.  It’s the opposite.  God does not desire for us to live perfect lives.  But to realize in Christ we already are perfect before Him because of what Jesus did on the Cross.

Now we get to live messy, stumble, get up, and move forward in grace and love.  Not in works and achievements we once so desired.

James 2 makes it clear that God honors works, but James 1 declares we are free from this law.  So we have the freedom to serve and to live out our faith.  God calls us to work, but maybe in a simpler way.  A way that takes the impossible burdens off our shoulders to do it all, to hold everything up, to keep everything in line, and instead move with grace and love and pour that out instead of burdensome living.

Because if you are like me, its easier to measure our works.  But a heart changed by God is a miracle.  One we cannot do.  And I want that for others, not a burdensome living that is impossible to measure up to, but a life that is free.  Free to serve.

Faith, not perfection, in a God who is true and honest and pure.  He wants our faith in Him and He will move mountains.

Oh help us to see Lord.