In the waiting

Have you ever wondered “How long Lord? How long?” You may be praying about certain things, relationships, or situations but nothing is happening. Many of us have thought this or have felt this way, so you are in good company!

Even the Psalmist, King David, felt this way and shared his feelings in Psalm 13. There is always something happening whether we see it or not. God is always at work and he never sleeps or slumbers.  It’s often during the waiting seasons that our growth happens. Patience has its perfect work in us and our faith increases during these times. Our spiritual muscles get stronger as we praise our way through.

One of the most important things we can do while we wait is to live fully present in each day. Jesus told us to not worry about tomorrow or be distracted by focusing on future concerns. Instead he wants us to live each day abundantly, experiencing and doing all he has for us. Each day is a gift that God gives us to rejoice in and praise him. Some practical things we can do each day to keep our focus on the Lord while staying in peace and joy are:

Set a specific time each morning to spend time with the Lord.

Use a clock, alarm or timer to help you stay on track.

Have a time of worship, prayer and Bible study during this time.

Don’t complicate it! Example: set 5-10 minutes for worship, 5-10 minutes for prayer, 5-10 minutes for Bible study.

Use tools like the Bible app for Bible study or Spotify for worship music to help you get started.

Listen for the Lord to speak to you. Don’t just talk at him.

Do this before you open social media, text messages or email in the morning.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a bit to get in a routine.

The Lord said he has given us everything we need for life and godliness, so ask him help you focus and make time with him a priority. Always remember to thank the Lord throughout the day for all he is doing and has done in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of all the things Jesus has said and to lead you each day. Lastly, remind yourself daily and anytime you feel overwhelmed or discouraged that God has never lost a battle, he is faithful in all his ways, nothing is impossible for him and no word from God has ever failed.

Hope you all have a wonderful day filled with his peace and joy, and that you abide in hope for he who promised is faithful!

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. ~ Psalms 13:5-6 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. ~ Psalms 34:4-9

Yes.

You don’t have to pray pretty.

Nope.

God doesn’t need big words; He just needs big hearts. He doesn’t need big sentences; He just needs us to bring our big pain to Him.

If God was looking for eloquent, articulate people then He certainly would not have used Moses. And He certainly wouldn’t be using me.

The only word we really need to know how to speak clearly is yes, and that’s certainly not fancy.

Yes, I’ll surrender.

Yes, I’ll bring it all to you.

Yes, I’ll serve.

Yes.

Don’t let the feeling of inferiority stop you from bringing it all to God.

Bring it.

Bring it all.

To foot of the cross.

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” Janes 5:13

The Compass

About four years ago my family decided to get our certification in scuba diving together. The course consisted of some challenging exercises, but the most challenging was navigating underwater. My sister and I were dive partners and were told that one of us would need to be the navigator (legit compass and all) and the other was responsible for making sure we were swimming in the right direction. You can imagine my confusion since there are apparently no google maps underwater!

  My sister and I decided that we didn’t need the compass and we could probably make it to the destination without it. So we began the exercise and we were killing it.  All I’m saying is Micheal Phelps would have had some competition. However, when we thought we had completely aced the test, well you know how that went.  We were way off course and not even close to the right spot. 

When I think of this story I often laugh at how naive we were for thinking that we did not need the one tool that was given to us to help us reach our destination. How many times in our lives do we think yeah I don’t need that compass, I don’t need to know what the Word says, I know where I’m heading, I’m going straight. I got this. I can do it on my own. 

And then at some point the waves and the temptations start to ever so slightly turn us and we aren’t even heading straight anymore.  But we don’t even notice until we’re up out of the water, so far off course, and we wonder “how did I even get here?” 

Ephesians 6:11 says to “put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.”

It is a battle both won and ongoing and we were made to fight, but not with our own armor and weapon. We are made to fight with the armor of our King Jesus.

Such a time as this

So often the Holy Spirit will speak to my heart through music. It might be a song I’ve heard hundreds of times before, but it comes on the radio and I hear the lyrics at just the right moment.

Yesterday a friend randomly sent me a link to: Reckless Love by Corey Asbury:

“Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me.

You have been so, so good to me.

Before I took a breath You breathed your life in me.

You have been so, so kind to me.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

I have been reading the story of Esther. It was one of my favorites as a little girl. God’s chosen people (the Isrealites) are in captivity, experiencing God’s judgement and people hate them. One powerful man hates them so much he makes an awful law that will allow the Isrealites to be slaughtered. But one of the Isrealite girls – an orphan being raised by her uncle- is chosen in a beauty contest to be the new queen, Esther. She and her uncle have an important conversation in chapter 4…

Esther ch 4 vs13-16 “Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

I love Mordecai’s profession of faith. He believed God would keep the promises he made to Abraham and preserve his chosen people, and then Mordecai invited Esther to risk her life and play the part God had ordained for her. I love that Esther was terrified. She knew she needed to fear God over man. She knew that He was ultimately in control… but she was still afraid and asked everyone to spend the next 3 days fasting and praying. Even once she got into the presence of the king she delayed the hard conversation. As a child I admired her beautiful bravery… as an adult I admire how she surrendered her life, her fear, her comfort and security. She put it all in God’s hands and obeyed, and he used a young girl to save a nation.

Sisters and Brothers, our sovereign creator placed us on earth to live and serve him NOW. He makes no mistakes. He is never surprised. He is working around us to seek and save the lost and inviting us to play a part in history by bringing Him glory. He spoke over you before you were created and he has placed you here – for such a time as this.

He may ask you to surrender: your hopes and dreams, your wealth, your comfort, your pride, even your life. We certainly have a legacy of sacrifice. But he will be faithful to fulfill his promise to us. He will replace our doubts and fears with supernatural peace. He will fill our hearts with joy even when nothing in our world makes any sense- like Esther probably felt too. We can praise Him in every situation and thank him for choosing us to fulfill his sovereign purpose.

Don’t miss out!

Don’t be too busy, or comfortable, or terrified to be included in the work God is doing in our time. And if you need a girl to fast and pray with you – you just let me know.

“My King Forever

You gave Your life for mine

Nailed to the cross You crucified

All my sin and shame

It was washed by Your mercy

You are the treasure I find

My reason for living

So let my life become an offering

To the one who is worthy

All praise to the Lord most high

All praise to the one who saved my life

All praise to Jesus Christ, High King of Heaven

My King forever

You stormed the gates of my heart

The veil in between was torn apart

Now You hold the keys

To the grave

‘Cause You bring things to life

You roll stones away

I lift my hands up, lay my whole life down

My whole life down before You

I lift my hands up lay my whole life down

My whole life now is for You”

Exhausting

Y’all know wnat measuring up is?

Exhausting. It’s absolutely exhausting.

First of all whose standards are you trying to measure up to?

Yours? Unobtainable.

Hers? Unreasonable.

His? Impracticable.

The worlds? Impossible.

I fall short.

And I’m not being mean – because you know that’s not who I am – but you fall short, too.

[We] will never be:

Smart enough

Savvy enough

Pretty enough

Strong enough

Skinny enough

Rich enough

Talented enough

Good enough.

And the list goes on and on and on.

And on.

But.

Thank goodness we don’t have to gauge ourselves against anyone’s standards but God’s. Open His word and let Him speak to you. Let His words be the only truth that resonates in your soul from here on out.

▪️Psalm 139:14 tells me that I am wonderfully made.

▪️Proverbs 31:10 says that I am more precious than rubies.

▪️1 John 3:1 says that I am His child.

▪️John 3:16 tells me that my God loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me.

Somebody testify.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to God’s measuring stick you will always be top-notch. And that, my sweet sisters in Christ, is all the measuring you’ll ever need.

You have a helper

I think every day we wear shields or armor to hide the daily battles we deal with in our head and heart. The shields hide our anxieties, hurts, mental battles…..the list could go on. The past couple of years have shown all of us that going at it alone does not fair well for those who try.

Growing up my Mom use to say m, “God does not give us more than we can handle.” I’m sure many of you reading this have heard this saying or you said it out loud or in your head as you are reading this. One thing I think my Mom forgot to stress is that through my struggles I’ve always had a partner helping carry the weight, so it wouldn’t crush me. Faith!

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.

There were times where my faith faltered and I wasn’t sure that treading in deep water was ever going to end. I wore a smile and moved through the motions that life was okay – it was normal. I know you are thinking when is my positive point going to shine through. Well, it is when the skies aren’t showing a ray of sunshine that you remember you have the brightest light ready to lead the way! Turn to your faith and cast your fear, doubt, and anxiety to him.

His light will fill you with hope, encouragement, and strength. Above all, He will clear your mind from the doubt and replace it with a renewed spirit of hope. We all need hope and faith every day so that we may face whatever unfolds. Hold tight to your faith if you are struggling, and if you are not be the flashlight for others and help light up their hope and faith.

Psalm 18:28 For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.

John 8:12 -I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

My faith is my flashlight! Have you charged your battery?

He’s with us

“If His grace is an ocean we’re all sinking” (How He Loves, Crowder)

“You nailed my debt to that old rugged cross, an empty slate, at the empty grave” (Homecoming, Bethel)

“Be my peace when I’m surrounded

For my fears will never scare

You Shatter the shame that I’ve been bound in

From insecure to brand new” (No Other

Love, Red Rocks Worship)

We often can’t grasp how much patience God has with us. He never says, “this is the last time I’ll put you back together.”

He is always there waiting with open arms. Having someone in our corner that will never leave us is the best comfort we could ask for. People fail us, and we have unrealistic expectations that cause us to get mad or lose trust in others and sometimes God. But He hears our cries, He waits to put us back together, He’s the father waiting for your return home meeting you halfway.

Reminding ourselves of how much we are loved is so important in our relationship with Christ because that’s what it is, a relationship, between 2 people who have fallen in love. One so much He gave His life for you. To know his love and know his peace allows us to love people the way He loves. It allows us to move through the troubles of life with certainty that we will get through it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 & 8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths… It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

I found these verses as I was praying over a friend for healing and that they would know God’s peace and love, and I pray this same thing for you.

Only God

On The Other Side

Like so many, the past year has been rough for our family. Especially in the area of mental health. There were days when all we could do was cling to Jesus. Many days all I could do was cry out and be thankful for Romans 8:26-27

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Romans 8:26 ESV

We are mostly on the other side of those issues. Cue Gloria Estefan’s “Coming Out Of the Dark”. I thank God for the care of some awesome school and professional counselors.

And, as is so often the case, I can look back and see God’s tender mercies. His constant protection. And His provision working through the generosity of others. So many people came along side us and I can never say thank you enough. So many things I had to say and ask for that were always met with love. Only God can create hearts like that.

On this side, I am throughly enjoying the growth the darkness brought. I see so much maturity, empathy, care and clarity. I see thriving. I see confidence and no compromise. I see understand of self and others. I see choices that protect mental health and shuts down negativity. I see laughter and fun and friendship. Loneliness is gone. Only God can do that.

In Job 1, everything has been taken from Job. His children were dead. His animals, the source of his wealth were gone. Let’s see how Job reacted

“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Job 1:20-22 NIV

Job mourned. Then he praised God. He trusted the Lord. Throughout most of Job, we hear Job’s friends giving him advice they think is from God. They urge him to repent of whatever sin has caused God’s wrath. Finally in chapter 38 God speaks. And I love it because I like to read it as God being kinda sassy.

““What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!”

Job 38:19-21 NIV

For 2 chapters God goes on asking questions that establish His supremacy. There are things only He can do for reasons only He knows. And that’s His prerogative. He’s the creator, we are the creator. He’s the refiner, we are the refined.

When you’re going through a hard time, people like to say “everything happens for a reason”. Usually it doesn’t make you feel better. Sometimes it makes us downright mad. But I do believe it. I’ve gotten to the other side of so many terrible situations, and I can see God’s hand.

In the middle of the hard times, you have to preach the Gospel to yourself. You remind yourself of what God has done in the past. And trust that He’s loving and faithful.

God knows you and loves you. He sees your hurts and is working. He collects your tears. Cry out to him. Ask for help. Find a good counselor.

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”

Psalm 56:8 ESV

If you are struggling with mental health or suicidal feelings, you are not alone. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

The way.

Anyone else ever feel a little confused and uneasy? Have you asked God for guidance, direction, and understanding, but you just can’t hear His answer? Telling the Lord, “I need you to help me, show me, give me a sign, anything”, to the point of frustration? Well, you are not alone. I have been guilty of feeling frustrated at our Almighty Sovereign God. I know, I am ashamed, but thankfully God still loves me! I have learned in these moments that confusion and frustration are not from God.

So lately what I keep hearing in my spirit, in sermons, and even in songs is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the key to it all, the way to salvation. “Jesus answered, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Well, I also believe in all our confusion and frustration, He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Everyone is searching for direction (the way) in life. We always like to know where we are going and how we are going to get there before we even begin. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if God literally gave us GPS commands that we could hear? Turn right here, take a left there, turn around, and when we lose our way, recalculating route? He does give us these directions and He recalculates our route when we don’t follow his path. It is just not as easy to hear Him. If it was, we would never take the time to seek Him, pray, and wait for His direction in faith. God doesn’t want us to lose our way or feel confused in what path to take. He just desires for His children to come to Him just like parents desire to hear from their own children. He will always prove to know what is best and help us to understand His way.

We all want the truth until it reveals something in us we may not like, or we don’t get the truth we think we desire. Jesus Himself is (the truth), in Him there is nothing false, He is one with God. When we doubt God or we feel panic and confusion in our situations, we really are not holding on to the truth, but our own flesh. We forget how God has always been with us in the past. All the times he showed us the truth that He is in control and knows what is best. He can calm the storms of life just like He did when the disciples panicked in the boat during the storm. Jesus instantly stopped the wind and waves, all the while the disciples thought they were going to die. They had lost their faith. When Jesus spoke, they were aware that the truth, Jesus, is all knowing and all powerful. When we face any situation, confused or not, we will not have the truth until we have heard from Him.

One of the main things we want is to live a life that lasts forever. Jesus is (the Life) and through our belief in Him, we will have an eternal life, but not on this earth. We get confused and think we want to stay here forever, but that’s not the point. We are here for just a moment and while we are here, we are to carry out the work of the Lord. Jesus gave us the example of a perfect life as he faced temptations and the same situations that we do. When we feel confusion and frustration, we need to remember that this life is not about us. God wants us to follow the example of Jesus and spread His gospel to the whole earth. If we truly seek to serve Him our desire will be to do just that.

He’s the parent

This past week my oldest had his wisdom teeth removed. If you saw his Snapchat story I don’t know if I should say I’m sorry or you’re welcome.

If you know you know.

I digress. He had his teeth removed on a Wednesday and that Friday the high school that he used to attend had their homecoming – and if you are from the great state of Texas you know what a big deal that is.

Of course he wanted to go, but in good conscience I just couldn’t let him. Not only is it an hour drive away – the kid is totally crazy at ball games. All the yelling and all the cheering. I just knew in my momma’s heart that he couldn’t go. I didn’t want him to overdo it too soon after surgery.

And it killed me for him to have to miss it.

Luckily, he’s a pretty good kid. He trusted my choice and my reasoning. He knew I was trying to protect him from getting sick or hurt after surgery. He didn’t question me or cry or whine.

That’s what God does for His kiddos, too. He looks out for our best interest. He protects us from getting hurt. He puts a stop to situations that could end not so well.

The thing is I need to be more like Maverick. I need to be more trusting of God’s path for me. Shamefully, I am more of the whining, crying, and questioning type. When I want to think my plan is the best I need to remember to open up my Bible. Story after story after story clearly paints a picture of what happens when humans want to do things their way.

We need to trust God.

We need to seek His will.

We need to let Him be the parent.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8