Category Archives: Christian Living

Purpose in “wait”

One of the toughest answers to prayer is “wait”. The black and white of “yes” and “no” can be difficult, but the closure that comes with a definitive answer is typically easier to wrap the heart around with time. But “wait”? “Wait” is a different story entirely.

In a recent heated time of prayer, I came to God in exasperation and there may or may not have been have been a little yelling. . . (side note to mention how great it is that we can come to God in all our rawness and real-ness. . . We don’t have to hide our yuck from Him; He already sees it all and still loves us!) My heart was quickly turned toward the book of Job. . . Job was a God-fearing man whose faith and trust in the Lord were tested in ways that are unfathomable to most of us. Satan challenged that Job would turn away from the Lord when all of the blessings from his life are taken away, so God allowed Satan to strip away everything Job knew and loved. Unbeknownst to Job, he was to endure an incredible testing of his faith; his family, possessions, reputation and health were stricken. What was his response?

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”.
Job 1:20-21

After wrestling with God the placement of Job’s faith, trust and love were again revealed:

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42:2-6

This challenged me in my wrestling with “wait”. Is my hope in circumstance, or do I have a living hope in God? Is my faith dependent on what I see and understand or on the invisible yet ever-present Lord? Do I trust in His sovereignty? That His way is best? That His intention is always for my good in making me more like His son?

Our Pastor taught through Matthew 17:14-21 this Sunday which further challenged me to examine my faith. Did you know it grieves the Lord when we do not trust him completely? Seems like a simple enough concept, but think about that for a second. God GRIEVES over our unbelief. Does God require perfect faith from us? Absolutely not, God only requires faith like a mustard seed. . . So tiny and seemingly insignificant; but in his graciousness, he takes our tiny mustard-seed faith and allows us to move mountains. We can only humbly offer our imperfect faith up and cry out “I believe! Help me with my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Our faith is strengthened when our prayers aren’t answered right away. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). God intentionally uses “wait” to strengthen the faith of his beloved Children.

And so, what if I take matters into my own hands? Do what I feel is best instead of waiting on the Lord? Sometimes my best intentions are a picture of weak or misplaced faith. . . What happened during the war between the Philistines and Isrealites? When the Isrealites decided it would be a good idea to bring the Arc of the Covenant into battle. . . Trusting that it would surely save them? They were all killed and the arc was captured. (See 1 Samuel 4). There is no substitute for authentic faith.

 

 

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
Romans 15:3

5 Aspects of Women

With summer fast approaching, I have been working on a summer reading plan for myself to get through the seven books that I’d like to read. It’s easy for me to get caught up in children’s literature, which is definitely not a bad thing, but I need to make time to be a cultivated Mamma (or more simply, a cultivated woman!). Taking some time to pour into myself makes a world of difference for my heart and allows me to better pour into my family. It is difficult to fill cups from an empty vessel!

As some are taking the time to consider summer reading, I wanted to share about the Bible Study I had the privilege of working thru this year. The two-volumed “5 Aspects of Women” impacted my heart in a dramatic way, more than any other study I have taken part in. 5 Aspects of Women is written like a Theology course, there are some difficult and touchy theological topics covered and there are some things that just made my brain hurt and I’d come away with confused eyebrows for a while. This study is definitely worth the challenge of working thru, I highly and confidently recommend investing the time to complete this course.

When I joined this study, I was coming out of a very hard place – I had been working thru a painful past, just coming out of a battle with clinical depression and was at a place where rebuilding was necessary. God used this study as part of a rebuilding process that has forever changed my heart and life. There are so many things I have learned, so many ways God has changed my heart during this time that honing my thoughts into a few points is challenging for me, but here are three major ways I was impacted.

First, My identity is solidified and secured completely in Christ. It’s not something I need to search for, much of it is revealed in His word and is a matter of faithfulness. In the first volume (Mistress of the Domain Redeemed), Barbara Mouser quotes Revelation 12:7 explaining that overcomes will receive a “white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” and writes:

“Those who receive the stone will have the thrill of seeing their whole lies fit together and make sense. Deep down the will know – this is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now, this is my name. You are a unique image of God. Your domain is a unique stewardship inside history,and your life course in a new version of human history. These are the Christian answers to the question of identity, and very rich answers they are.”

This gave me so much courage and hope to face the hard; not just the hard that is behind me, but the hard in the daily grind. “This is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now this is my name”. He knows al my yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s and has a purpose for every breath I take.

Next, God is sovereign in choosing me to be a mother and is faithful to provide every bit of strength and wisdom that I need to embrace my calling with joy. There was a time that being a mother was very difficult for me; obviously the calling to motherhood is a difficult one at every stage to some degree, but I resented being a mother. The nurturing, teaching, and training was all very foreign to me and did not “kick in” like everyone said it would. I was raised in a difficult environment with parents that made it clear my existing was burdensome. I learned to have compassion (from afar) on my parents in their fallen state as I came to understand that I cannot not expect any less from them. . . They do not know God, therefore they lack so much of what they need to be caring parents. However, God graciously called me into his family. . . He called me precious and adopted me as His; therefore as a daughter of my Abba father, I have every example of love and training necessary to pass these things along to my children.

Last, but certainly not least. This study has changed my marriage. . . In too many ways to list. I think it started with examining my role as a helper-completed to my husband. I have looked to him so much for happiness in the past, for him to complete what I was lacking. There was a constant growing of resentment in my heart when I was let down. When the nights got later and later with him being in school and I was left to take care of everything else I would occasionally become angry and frustrated. Learning that I was made “from man and for man” (one of those possibly touchy Theological statements!) rocked my world in so many ways. God used this seemingly simple truth to change my heart toward my husband. I have learned to come alongside him, patiently stand behind him rather than pummel over him, and fill in the gaps where he needs me most. I desire to see him excel in his work and I deeply desire to be the helper he needs me to be, not only the helper I think I should be. I have learned to study him, what are his desires, likes, needs? What makes him happy, discouraged, frustrated? How can I best come alongside him? God has graciously helped remove expectations and replace them with a desire to serve my husband and give him more honor than myself. (. . . And can just add in here that he’s pretty amazing?!)

If you would like to further investigate this study, you can find more information and access the MP3 transcripts a of the lessons in the 5 Aspects of Women course for free online at 5aspects.org.

5 aspects

Note: This post was not sponsored in any way. . . Just straight from the heart!

When weakness really is strength. . .

Weary eyes nod off at the lunch table; toddler demanding and infant conducting a continual test of vocal cords.

Dishes tower high, laundry baskets overflow, two weeks and a half left in the month and not enough money to feed a bird, let alone a family of four, too many things to do. . . and Husband comes home late from work. . .again.

Then, the vise twists once more and I snap under pressure.

and she. . . that girl with they messy hair all in her face, a band-aid on her chin and a stuffed rat in arm.
This gift from God. . . she is Jesus to me in this moment. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and furrowed brow.

“Mommy, you have a grumpy heart”. And that grumpy heart of mine sank down to my toes.

 

 

Why is it so easy to walk thru life without a hint of joy? Hope? Trust?

Why does weakness cast such a shadow of doubt in this weary heart of mine? Doesn’t he say:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”?

Self reliance steals the rest that is found in GOD reliance.

I held that girl tight, wept and prayed for a changed heart. “Let me be weak Lord, and trust that you can do so much more in my

weakness than in my self reliance.”

Therefore [let us] boast all the more gladly about [our] weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may dwell in [us].

2 Corinthains 2:19

. . . Repost from 2012. Reflecting.

Lessons from Lupus

Two weeks have passed since recovering from the flu and pneumonia, today I can feel relapse trying to creep in. . . My lungs are struggling to open up, and I am trying to avoid the discomfort that comes with taking a full, deep breath. If my body gives in, it will be my 3rd case of pneumonia this calendar year.

Why? Biologically. . . Autoimmune disease. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (commonly known as SLE or just plain ‘ol Lupus) with Psoriatic Arthritis is the current standing dx. Simply put, my body doesn’t always do what it should and it often does things it shouldn’t. I get sick easily without much warning, my organs are unpredictable and I break bones and tear connective tissue more easily than the “typical person”. Overworking my body, extreme stress or simply being exposed to an infection can potentially lay me out for weeks at a time or in the hospital for a quick “tune up”.

 

image

Why? The big why? Because God is sovereign, his plan for my life is perfect. I believe he intends to use my weakness for His glory.

Some things I’ve learned from having autoimmune disease:

– My life is not my own. . . I was bought by the blood of Christ and my “broken” body can still honor God. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
– Compassion. . . I can come alongside others in similar situations with kindness and understanding.(Galatians 6:2)
– I can rejoice in my weakness because my weakness is a picture of God’s strength. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
– Even if I don’t get to what it looks like see it this side of heaven, I can trust that he will use this for good! (Romans 8:28)
– Christ empathizes with me and goes before me in all my sufferings. This is a truth I can lean on when I feel alone or misunderstood. (Hebrews 4:15)

Some days are hard, thankfully most days aren’t right now, and all days are covered in grace.

Twenty Eight

Twenty eight was the hardest year of my life. I’ve experienced my share of hard in my short amount of time on this earth, but twenty eight was the culmination of all the hard. . . staring it all in the face for the first time; calling it what it was. . . letting  myself experience and grieve the pain as almost for the first time. . . and then the changing. . . The beginning of a metamorphosis. . . A Genesis; grace from God.

Twenty eight found me processing the effects of a horrific past; memories I spent a lifetime trying to forget. I was forced to stare my greatest fears in the face and some days I could hardly exist; even the mere act of breathing seemed like an impossibility. I was hypervigilant, clinically depressed, trying to learn new ways to deal with the effects of PTSD, struggling with suicidal ideation and two near attempts. My health was failing; I was diagnosed with chronic auto-immune disease. My marriage was struggling and my relationships were falling apart. I put the pursuit of a fantastic career in something I am passionate about on hold. Though I kept a busy schedule and was with people, I felt very, very alone. My life was being totally deconstructed. God had brought me to a place where there was nothing left but Him. . . total and complete reliance.

Twenty eight wrecked me. . . and renewed me.

Twenty eight saw strength and courage, made me a fighter for truth. I learned to love without abandon. Twenty eight saw restoration, newness, compassion. Sufficiency in Christ. Overcoming. Hope.

Yesterday I welcomed twenty nine with joy; eager to continue the hard, hard work of deconstruction and rebuilding. . . to continue the journey of becoming the woman God truly intends me to be. To speak life and hope into others, to love wild and to live free.