Come Back to Me

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This month is National Poetry Month. I used to write poetry in High School. They were a little dark, but it was my way of expressing how I was feeling. So in Honor of National Poetry Month, you will see a few more poems in my posts. Writers Digest has a challenge going on to write one poem a day for the month of April, so that’s what I have been doing. Every now and then when I’m feeling brave, I will share them here.

The following poem is for anyone who has ever felt distant from God. We could search for so many other things, but truly, only His love satisfies. And all you have to do is call out to Him- He is waiting with open arms. We go through times where it’s so quiet, you wonder where God is. He is here.

Jeremiah 29:13- You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Come Back to Me

I’m reaching out

Or can’t you hear?

I’m calling through the stratosphere

 Day after day after day

I feel as if we are further away

 But I’m desperate for one more dance

Look my way

See my glance

 My heart is heavy almost cold

And I need to feel the love you hold

 I cry out

But do you not see?

Every ember that was once in me

 The fire was there

Your love was sought

But now icicles grow where you are not

 Return to me

For I cannot bear

One more day without you there

 For you are faithful

When I am not

And it’s for your tenderness

That I have fought

 I will not give up

I will not give in

For it is your love that covers my sin

 Come back to me

And me to you

For this is the only love that will ever do

How to Change Your Spouse

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Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife. Proverbs 21:9 (HCSB)

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. Proverbs 21:19

I still remember those early years of marriage. While my husband and I agree, those years weren’t nearly as hard as others’ had warned us about, I still had much to learn about this whole wifey thing. I had a gift right from the start. I was actually a natural at this particular thing. It came so easy for me. I sounded something like this… “drip… drip.” Unfortunately I had mistaken the fine art of communication for the gift to nag. Whenever my husband would come up short, I mastered the art of huffing and puffing and, well, nagging about what he was or wasn’t doing and all the ways he was frustrating me. Crazy confession- I didn’t even realize I was doing it. As I look back at those years, I realize I wasted so much time and energy and emotion complaining to him about all the ways I wished he would do things differently. In my young, Christian head I thought I was the one who was in the right (self-righteousness anyone?!). But for some reason unbeknownst to me, all my complaining wasn’t changing him! huh.

Through the years and at times, tears, I have learned a powerful lesson. Guess who knows my husband even more than I do? That’s right, God. He formed him, He made Him in his mother’s womb, and He knows him inside and out. And guess who’s the only one that can make someone have a lasting heart change? That’s right- God. Sometimes we let stuff build and fester and then just like in that movie ‘Mean Girls’, we have word vomit. And once we get it out, there’s just no taking it back. And ladies, you might think that if you just get on to him enough, then he’ll get the point and somehow, dramatically change. And he might. But if God doesn’t convict and mold and shape the heart, it’s not going to stick. It will just be temporary. We must learn to take our frustrations and disappointments to God. Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  I have learned to take my stuff to God first! Sometimes, through prayer, I realize it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be and other times God just gives me peace, reminding me that He’s in control.

I read an article recently that got me thinking about my role as a wife. Some of you may have heard about this a few weeks ago. It was an apology letter from Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church. I’m not going to go into my opinion on that whole controversy, there are plenty of blogs that are already doing that. Something jumped out at me as I was reading the letter. (Mark Driscoll’s apology letter).  Here’s the part about his discussion with his wife:

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Guess what? God heard her prayers and began working on him. If she had nagged about his schedule and the lack of time he spent with the family, because he’s a good guy, he might have made some changes to say ‘no’ more often to some events and try to spend more time with his family to please his wife. But we all know that when we change to appease someone else, it’s often short lived. It lasts maybe a few weeks and we get back into our same routines and habits as before. And the cycle continues.

 But when we pray…

When we pray and God starts to work, that is when heart change starts to happen. As we read in his letter, Mark’s wife didn’t want to discourage him, so when he came to her and began to share what God was doing, that’s when the tears of joy started. God answered her prayers.

We need to pray to God about the deep things in our heart and ask Him to bring about the right time to talk with our spouse about those things. And then we talk. But when we talk, let’s not attack because no one responds well when they feel like they’re being attacked. But share openly about those things close to our heart (after we’ve prayed about them). And then, we go back into our prayer closets and pray for Gods will to be done in our marriage. I have seen this happen over and over. And here’s the cool thing- while God is working on our spouse, guess what? He’s also changing us.

So let’s commit to lower the drip so our spouse doesn’t have to move to the roof or the desert.  Lets pray for a release of His Spirit in our marriage and in our lives. We’ve tried doing this thing on our own, and we all know that doesn’t work. How about releasing it to the inventor of marriage Himself?  His ways are always higher than our ways.

Lord, we come to you today and ask that our marriage would be all that you’ve called it to be. Forgive us for trying to take matters into our own hands. We surrender and ask that your will would be done. We ask for wisdom. And as we lift up our requests to you, we pray that you would not only touch our spouse, but that you would change us in the process. Help us to be quick to forgive and to be an encourager to our spouse. And Lord, remind us today that our spouse is never our enemy but that there is an enemy that would love nothing more than to divide and conquer. Protect and bless our marriage. Amen.

1 John 5:14-15- And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

He Will Lead You Through

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Are there moments when you feel like the waves are going to come crushing in against you? Like your angst filled heart just might burst? And you feel like your enemies are getting closer and closer… and this just might do you in… but God.

My two favorite words in the Bible… but God.

Need a story of hope in the midst of despair? Read Exodus 14:15-31. This is the story of Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness. The word through means they won’t be there forever. Some of you are going through your own wilderness. And it feels like it’s taking so long to get to the other side. See what the Lord did then and just watch what He’ll do now.

The Lord will open up a path for you (v.21), He’ll confuse your enemies (v. 24), and everyone will know exactly what is happening- the Lord is fighting for you (v.25). And you will escape your enemies and make it safely to the other side (v.22). But know that your story is not just for you. It’s so that the people will see the mighty hand of the Lord and put their faith in Him (v.31).

Lord, we come before You, asking You to make a way when there seems to be no way. Thank You for Your Word, which is life and brings hope and healing. I know You are fighting for me, even when it’s quiet. Thank You that You’re bringing me through safely to the other side. Help me to walk through this, knowing that there’s not only something in it for me, but that you will use my story to ultimately bring You glory. Others will look and see Your mighty hand. I trust You. In Jesus name, amen.

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)- When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Be Your Best Brave

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“When the Lord makes it clear you’re to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.”
― Charles R. Swindoll

There are two types of athletes. Those that are running in a competition to beat their opponents time and then there are those, like myself, that enjoy running to beat their own time. I race against my own clock. I am my biggest opponent; at times my best cheerleader and at other times my worst enemy. I am at my best when I allow myself grace against the clock. But it’s times when I compare myself to your clock that I find my confidence waning. I see your brave and I feel inferior. I compare my journey and I see the distance between us and I feel as if I should be running faster and harder to the goal. I compare my spiritual steps to yours and wonder why though just yesterday I had felt as if I had traveled so far, today I feel as if I’m miles behind.

I have figured it out- although my brain will need to be reminded daily, if not, hourly. I am yet again comparing my brave to yours. And I must remind myself of how far I have traveled. You see, you don’t know my entire brave journey- but I do. And the more I remind myself of how brave I have truly been, the more I am reminded of just how far I have come. Not your brave but my brave. And I must remember that I will never achieve my own personal best brave, the one God has called me to, if I’m always comparing my brave to your brave.

I love these synonyms for brave- spirited, spunky, lionhearted, undaunted, and fearless. We each are called to our own fearless, spirited and spunky journey!

So today, I applaud your brave, because I don’t know your full story. I have a feeling that you’ve walked through your own struggles and you’ve had your share of heart ache- yet you’ve carried on; you’ve persevered. And today, instead of comparing how inadequate I sometimes feel to your brave, I’m going to celebrate your baby steps and ask that you celebrate mine. And when we start to read blogs or Facebook posts about someone else’s successes, we must train ourselves to squish that little green monster inside of us that might want to try and compare or criticize. Instead, let us ban together to say “your brave looks pretty good on you just as my brave looks pretty good on me.” No more tearing each other down in this never ending, never winning, comparison game. My brave will always look different than your brave and that is exactly how it should be.

For some of us, our brave might be teaching a Bible Study, while someone else’s brave might be attending a Bible Study. Your brave might look like running a marathon while my brave might look more like running a 5k. My brave might be speaking to a group of women while your brave might be starting a blog. Whatever it is, embrace it and look to Jesus to whisper to your heart what your next brave step might look like.

Psalms 27:14 (Living Bible)- Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

We all have been commissioned to be a light in a dark place. You might not feel like your inspiring anyone with your life, but I promise you this- people are watching, and you don’t have to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to inspire. Sometimes my brave is just inviting people over for a meal or a game and not worrying about a perfect house. God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us. We are all uniquely fashioned and formed for something specific, just for us; a specific brave.

I ask you, what is your best brave? I’m not asking what you see others do that you wish you could do. Think about the things that make your heart beat fast or perhaps the things that people compliment you on. Think about those things that you do, that when you finish you say to yourself, “This is exactly it.” Don’t waste one more second allowing the enemy to make you believe you’re inadequate or not good enough. You are enough, because the One who made you lives in you… and He, my friends, is more than enough. Together, let us unite, encouraging one another- one brave step at a time!

Repeat after me:

I am enough

I am brave

My brave is different than your brave

I applaud your brave

Kind people are brave people. Brave is not something you should wait to feel. Brave is a decision. Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery 

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Seeing Things Through God’s Point of View

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

In Mark 8:31-33 Jesus was telling His disciples (personal paraphrase), “Look, I will suffer many things. I will be rejected by pretty much all religious leaders. And then I will be killed. But three days later I will rise again.” As He shared openly with His disciples, Peter just couldn’t take it anymore. He pulls Jesus aside and the Bible says He reprimanded Jesus for saying such things!

Reprimand (Merriam-Websters)- To reprove sharply or censure formally, usually from a position of authority.

Now lets dig a little deeper and look at meaning for ‘reprove’.

Reprove- To scold or correct usually gently or with kindly intent; to express disapproval of.

As I’m reading this, I’m thinking Peter is pretty strong here in his tone with Jesus. Peter could not understand clearly why Jesus would be predicting His death. Peter’s actions and words were formed out of fear and genuine concern.

And then we read in verse 33 that Jesus in turn reprimands Peter!

Mark 8:33 (NLT)- Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 

For the record, as I studied this verse, Bible scholars said that Peter wasn’t indwelt by Satan, but that Satan had certainly suggested His thoughts. (We’ll save this for another Bible Study!)

I want to read over Mark 8:33b again.  “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” 

I wonder how many times we do that? Something we’re going through is really hard, painful, hurtful, and/or uncomfortable. And instead of walking it out and seeking God through it, we rebuke it. Sometimes we don’t  even bother talking to God about it and allow Him to show us some things through it- and we in turn are just like Peter. It hurts too much. It messes with my flesh.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, but I believe that God would say to some of us, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view…”

Allow God to work through the difficult circumstances in your life. Just like Jesus was speaking about some things ahead that were going to be very painful, He knew that through those circumstances that God’s ultimate mission would be accomplished. And through your trials and struggles God will bring redemption and restoration. He sees the bigger picture. His ways are not our ways. He has a mission in our lives and it’s not always to walk around the pain, but yes, sometimes, through it. It’s not about understanding why, it’s really all about trusting even when we don’t understand.

Amen?!

Trust Him today. He’s got a mission; a plan. It might look differently than you expected, just as Peter couldn’t wrap his head around the things Jesus was saying. It looked very different than Peter thought and fear rose up. As you walk through this, don’t allow fear to take you away from where God’s grace can sustain you. Trust Him.

As we all know, His mission had so much more to do with just Peter and the disciples. Ultimately, His mission would change the world. And ultimately, what you’re going through isn’t just about you either. God’s mission and plan for your life- all the pain and the struggles- will, in the future, affect many others. Remember that dear ones, as you walk through these trials. Your pain is never wasted.

Lord, would you help us to take our eyes off of all the unknowns and refocus on You. Would You open our eyes to to understand Your Word so that we can see things through Your view. Help us to not just see things through our mere human understanding, but help us to see our situation through Your eyes. Your ways are higher than ours. I pray that these trials would only bring us closer to You, Lord. We do believe Lord, yet help us to overcome our unbelief. In Jesus name, amen.

 

What I Want for Valentine’s Day

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Would you like a box of chocolates?
Or perhaps a dozen long stemmed roses?
Maybe a fancy dinner where everyone turns up their noses?
An expensive massage, you seem a bit up tight?
Maybe a stuffed bear to keep you warm at night?
No, no… Don’t let commercialism take you for a ride
I need the waves and the flow of the rolling tide
I’m really just a simple girl
Drive me in the car and take me for a whirl
To the beach is where I want to be
Listening to the waves coming crashing at me
The salty air, the breezy warm sun
Now that’s what I call having fun!
Let the cool sand bury my toes
Why would you think I should need a rose?
Let the seagulls fly by and time stand still
This would be my greatest Valentines thrill

The Lord Will Fight for You

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“Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.” 
Isaiah 51:4-5

It all seems so unfair. I mean, usually I am the last one you will ever hear complaining. I do my chores and I help my family out. I’m not going to lie- life is hard here. It’s really hard. I am weekly, if not, daily, reminded by people in the market that a Savior is coming. “Our Savior is coming,” they say. He will redeem. He will make all things right. He will fight for us. I want so badly to believe that there is hope. That someone is coming who actually cares about the common people. I want to believe that there is someone that will fight for justice and for all the years of wrong that has happened in my country. I want to believe that there is someone who will remove this heavy burden my family has been carrying just to make it through the day. Our systems here are corrupt. Those in authority take advantage of people like my family, who are very poor. They spend time with those who are well off like themselves and spit on the very ground we walk on.

Just the other day they raised the taxes on small town farmers like papa. He came home and tried to act brave for mama. When he walked into the washroom I saw him wipe his eyes. A thousand wrinkles in his face from a hard life of sweat and plowing. He told mama that in order for us to pay for the tax increase we would have to sell our cattle to the tax collectors. I could hear them fighting from the other room. “No” she cried. “Those were the ones we were saving for Passover. We only have one week until Passover. We’ll never save up enough money to buy one back from them!” I came out to see what all the fighting was about, but papa told me to go back into my room.

The next morning I tried to console mama. I told her my friend Adah down the street tells me stories she hears from her parents. She tells me about a man named Jesus who will fight for us. He will make all things right. He will be our peacemaker. Mama looks down at me. Her eyes carry years of worry. She smiles a crooked smile, as if that’s all the strength she can muster. “I want to believe, sweet one.” “I really do.” And she cups my face with her hand and looks right into my eyes. “Let us hope this Savior you speak of comes soon. Let us hope He comes very soon.”

It was a normal Sunday as the town prepared for Passover. I was filling the basin with water to wash papas feet. He would be home any minute. I could hear something happening outside the temple gates. I heard shouting. As I looked out the window I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw a man and he looked angry. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants. He didn’t let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple. And then I heard him shout, “My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17 MSG) There was something in his voice. I wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t fighting against our people. He looked grieved. He was so stirred up. He was fighting for us.

In all my time of living under the oppression of the temple priests and tax collectors, I have never seen One with such authority speak to them in this manner. He wasn’t afraid of them or what they might do to Him. I shouted with excitement to mama to hurry and see. She held me as we watched these events unfold. I felt a tear trickle down from her cheek. “My sweet Tabitha, could this be the One?” “Could this be the Savior who has come to fight for us?” We both watched in silence as expectancy filled our hearts. For the first time in our house that night I saw something I had not seen in my parents in a very long time. I saw hope.

 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

With that same passion and authority, I believe the Lord is fighting for us, even right now. He wages warfare on our behalf and will come in right on time to bring hope and healing. He fights for the regular people, like you and I. My friends, whatever your need, help is on the way.

I’m 40

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It’s not getting older that scares me. I’m actually okay with that. Do you want to know what really scares me? It’s getting to the end of my race and not making a difference in peoples lives. We were born to make a difference.

Had a light bulb moment today. My husband sent me off to Barnes & Noble for my 40th birthday (he is a good man). I’m driving along the freeway in my mini-van listening to the radio and an old familiar song came on. Just like certain foods can stir up a childhood memory, a familiar song can also bring about an emotion. ‘I don’t want to go through the motions’ by Matthew West. I was reminded of a few years back singing this song with such passion and conviction. And even as the years have passed, I hear it fresh all over again. I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to get through another 5 years and ask myself if I’ve made a difference. Since it’s my 40th birthday today and I consider this a milestone, I have chosen to take some time to self-reflect.

I have been to my share of funerals and weddings over the past few years. I leave both feeling inspired- A celebration of the beginning together and a celebration of a life well lived. It’s the life well lived part that has been swirling around in my brain lately. And let’s just say (hypothetically) I live until around 80ish. Folks, I’m around the halfway mark. I want my life to matter. I want my life to make a difference. And what I’ve come to realize over the years is that we need to imagine how we see our lives in another 20, 25, 30 years down the line and envision what we hope people will say about us and begin to live it today.

Here’s my list that holds me accountable for how I ought to be living today. Some of these things I’m already doing and some of them I’m not. I encourage you to write your own list because if affects how you choose to live each day.

 These are words I hope will be spoken at the end of my race (or perhaps just a birthday party when I’m much older) from my kids, my husband, my friends, and my family:

She put God first.

She inspired me to live for God.

She would always talk about God- not her religion, but her relationship with Him.

She wasn’t perfect, and she showed me that it’s okay to not be perfect.

She showed unconditional love.

We always knew that we were loved.

She was always there for us. We knew we were important to her.

She didn’t take herself too seriously.

She made me laugh.

She enjoyed the journey.

She was real.

She did things even if they scared her.

She pursued God for herself and for her family.

She was so encouraging.

She lived an authentic, vulnerable life.

Her stories made it okay to tell my stories.

She would always steer me back to God’s Word.

Even when she didn’t know how things would turn out, she trusted God.

She always tried to be there for me.

She was a great listener.

She used the gifts God gave her for His glory.

I don’t want to go through the motions. As I was driving in the car, listening to my song, I said, “God, I just want to make a difference, whatever that looks like for me.” I want to push myself and do things I’m afraid of, so that others would be challenged and inspired to truly live this life to the fullest, being all that they were called to be. I want to leave a legacy. I want to be a lover of life. I want to stay amazed at the miracle of life and the miracles that are in our everyday.

We are called to be a light and make a difference. I don’t want to wake up in 20 years with regrets of what I wished I had done. I want to do it- even if it scares the snot out of me. Romans 8:31- What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

So what’s going to be my focus in the coming years? Well, spending time with the Lord of course, but after that? People. Because I believe that just like time with the Lord is never wasted time, time with people is also never wasted time. And honestly, people make my life rich. I love my husband, my kids, my family, and my friends so much. Every time I’m able to have a connection with someone, I feel refreshed. When I speak, I feel such love for God’s people. When I write, I write with people on my heart- to bring hope. When I think about my husband and I having a Ranch, a place of ministry, I think about the people and the lives that God’s going to change. You see, I have my own stories of people that have come into my life when I was a wild, rebellious young thing and the mark those people left on my life. I am forever changed because someone decided to invest into my life. Those stories are a part of who I am. And I hope at the end of my journey that people will stand and say the same thing. “Her story affected my story…”

At the end of this crazy life, I’m not going to wish I had more things to clutter up my house, more cute outfits, a big house or a super nice car. Nope. I’m going to hope that I have made a difference in the lives of others. I’m going to hope that I had valued my family more than all of my projects and made them feel important. It’s the relationships here on this earth that have eternal value, not the stuff, not the projects. Because really, what is the greatest of all commandments? Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)-Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

…..everything in God’s Law and Prophets hangs from them….

So here’s to the second half of this crazy, amazing, messy miracle called life. May we all love well.

Now get out there and live!

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Psalms 90:12- Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

Authentic Faith 2014

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Happy New Year!! Okay, so I know most people post their new years blog on the 1st, but I like to be different! I had been praying at the end of the year for my ‘word’ for the coming year. I know surrender is one of my words, but I knew there was something else. Then as my husband and I were driving on New Years Eve to my brother/sister in laws house I got it. Authentic Faith.

A life following after Jesus is not perfect. It’s actually quite messy. We mess up, we make mistakes, we loose our temper, and we can become easily distracted. But His mercies are new for us every morning! We have financial stresses just like everybody else. The difference between us and those who don’t know Jesus yet is that we have a Savior who walks beside us and gives us wisdom and teaches us self-control. Our families go through sickness just like other families, we just happen to serve a powerful God who can heal us if He so chooses- but He is also ever present, walking with us during our sickness. He is always with us.

In the past, women, especially those in ministry, have worked hard to maintain an image that if you follow Jesus, well, then everything is perfect. Perfect home, perfect image, perfect kids, perfect life- problem is, that image couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, that image not only leaves us frustrated and disappointed, but also feeling like we can’t measure up. We can’t live up to the image of the perfect Christian that we’ve tried so hard to maintain. And for others watching our lives, they feel like they must be doing something wrong and they feel like failures as a Christian. They see our Facebook life and ‘think’ we have it all together. Truth is, most of the time, we just really enjoy sharing our victories with others or our favorite photos. That doesn’t mean life doesn’t carry its share of trials.

Make no mistake about it, we do not have it all together, for I fear if we did we would not need Jesus so desperately. We all have our issues. We have messes all around us- kids that throw tantrums, kids that have entitlement issues, days when our marriages are less than perfect, fears about if we’re even doing this parenting thing right, hoping we’re not messing up our kids. Some of you reading this have even cried yourself to sleep recently because, as I said before, life is messy.

We are entering a new year. I believe this is a year of authentic faith. What is authentic faith? It’s a faith that is real, transparent, lived out in front of believers and non-believers alike. Many of us have had disappointments from the previous year. If you’re breathing and you have a pulse (and I hope you do), I am sure there have been a few. And when I say authentic faith, I’m not saying to go around telling anyone available all of your deepest life problems. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom. And God will guide and direct us to other solid Christians we can share our struggles with. But authentic is real. Its ‘welcome to my beautiful messy life’.

Living a life of authentic faith points us, all of us, to something that the world is desperately trying to find- hope. The opposite of despair is hope. And as a follower and friend of Jesus, we can have hope. Hope in God that He will restore and make all things new. We have hope in a Savior that has promised to walk with us no matter what we go through. He is near to the brokenhearted. No matter what the enemy tries to throw at us, my God has the final say and the last Word! And on the other side of this mountain He will take us to a place where there’s no more tears, no more pain, and no more suffering. I pray that by living a life of authentic faith, I just might be able to take a few people with me. Not fake, but real. Real is refreshing. There is freedom in our stories, and our stories make up who we are. People can relate to that much more than us having it all together.

The number one enemy of authentic faith is fear of man. What will people think? What if I write something that people criticize? What if I share my struggles and people don’t think I have enough faith? What if… what if… what if. There will always be more than enough ‘what-ifs”. Here’s a couple of scriptures to help you with being worried about what people think (fear of man)-

Acts 5:29 I am a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser. I obey God before man.

1 Cor. 4:3-4 I am not controlled by what people think of me. As long as God is satisfied with me I am satisfied.

Gal. 1:10- I don’t try to be popular with people. All I want to do is the will of God.

I don’t want to tip-toe around, always worried about what others think. I want to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to live for the Lord. If that means writing something that doesn’t get very many comments, then I will write for the sake of the gift and craft God has given me. Life isn’t a popularity contest, although I will admit, it feels like it at times. Being authentic is truly honoring the person that God has made you to be. The good , the bad, and the ugly. It means that we stop comparing ourselves with how everyone else is doing it, and we do things the way we feel like God has called us to do things- for us, for our families, for our friends, and for our lives. Authentic; real; transparent; refreshing.

So who’s with me in this New Year of 2014?! Together we truly can be a light to a dark place. Let’s show others that though we don’t have it all together, we know Someone who does!

Lord, Help me to walk out my faith in this coming year. Messy houses, messy kids, messy cars, messy lives- but You Lord can turn a mess into a masterpiece! It is my hearts desire to put You first in this new year and I know that everything else in my life will flow from that. I am so over trying to act like I have it all together, because that’s not real. But what’s real is that You’ve promised to carry me through all that I go through. And You can even surprise me with joy when I least expect it. I pray that as I encounter obstacles, challenges, and even heartaches in this new year, that I would face those obstacles standing on Your Word, spending time in Your presence, and just seeking You. Let Your Word be a light to my path in the coming new year.

In Jesus name, amen!

 John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Don’t Loose Heart

Don't loose HeartJohn 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Todays Additional Scripture Reading- 2 Cor. 4:6-12 and 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Life is messy. Life is sticky. Life can be painful. As Glennon Doyle Melton says it in her book ‘Carry on Warrior’ life is brutal and beautiful. It’s brutiful! In John 16:33 the Bible tells us that in this world we will have trouble, but it also commands us to take heart (don’t loose hope) for God has overcome the world!

Sometimes, when we face trials and hard things, it’s easy to loose hope. We get tired and weary from this race called life. As women, it feels like there is so much expected of us. We will face trials, that’s just a given. But it’s important for us to remember that God controls trials and uses them to strengthen His people. His glory is manifested through broken vessels, through people who endure hard times by relying on His power.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed. There’s so much we go through and we get to breaking points- but God doesn’t break us. And it’s during those hard times that we can cry out to Him and feel His presence and know that He’s with us. It’s during these hard times and trials that we realize how much we really are fragile jars of clay. We aren’t perfect and in this life our bodies will never be perfect, but He’s there every step of the way, making sure we’re not abandoned, not struck down, and not destroyed. He chooses to use us to bring Him glory here on the earth to show that it’s His power shining through us and nothing we can do in our own strength.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11 always carrying in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also might be manifested in our mortal flesh. These hard times that we go through in life feel like part of us is dying yet God is using it to reveal His life. For His glory, He’s using it to produce good in you.

As we come through these tough times were able to understand and appreciate all that God has done for us and share with others all that He’s done. His life and His power are revealed in our humanity.

Reflect~

What is something you feel like God is asking you to die to so that He can prepare you for the next thing He has for you?

Do you trust that God has good plans for you?

All of our trials can bring Him glory if we allow them to. How does that perspective help us to change our approach to our problems and difficulties in this life? (We can pray things like “Have Your way Lord”, “Change me Lord”, “Let my life bring you glory”, etc.)

Lord, as we navigate through this life, there is so much uncertainty. But there is one thing that we can be sure of, and that is that no matter what we go through, You are here with us. You have promised in Your Word to never leave us and to never forsake us. Thank You that Your plans for us are good, to give us hope and a future (Jer. 2911). Thank You that these trials are temporary and they are nothing compared to the eternal glory that is beyond anything we can imagine. Help us to die self and to live for You. You are preparing us for the next thing. Have your way Lord. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that shines through these earthly vessels to bring You all the glory. In Jesus name, amen.