When I ordered the DVD and study book for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts I threw in another book just because. I had heard a lot about it and the title totally jumped out at me. The book is “Undaunted” by Christine Caine
There is nothing about this book that is what I thought it would be.
I’ll hopefully do a more “formal” review of this book when I’m completely done with it…although the opposite is happening to me. I’m becoming undone.
My word for this year is unrelenting. I long to be unrelenting in so many aspects of my life, but ultimately I long to be confident. I feel like this space here, while a good space for me, becomes just a repeat. Every post speaks of how I am honestly stuck.
And to be honest, I’m not stuck. I just don’t want to move.
The chapter I read today in this book reminded me of the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. People walked by the wounded. Good people walked past him. But only one chose to cross the road. Only one chose to interrupt where he was going to help this person. And more than that, only one chose to not only give of his time, but also his resources.
It’s almost like this story woke me up. Startled me really.
God has created so much space in my life right now. And while I do know that some of this space is for me to create a business with the work of my hands, I also feel like He is creating space for something else.
This book scares me. It scares me because it wakes me up (rise O sleeper! as Paul writes in Ephesians).
I started this book and got about half way through it thinking how great this woman was and how this was just an encouraging sort of book.
But it’s more than that. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t just sit and read about others doing.
I have to answer that call too.
Not to fill up the space that God has created with so many things, but to use the time that God has given for Him.
So with great hesitation I walked this morning and prayed for God to give me courage to listen and respond to Him.
To reveal to me the interruptions I need to answer to in my life.
Counting on Him to uphold me every step of the way.
As Christine Cain says so beautifully:
God doesn’t ask us ‘are you capable?’, He asks us ‘are you willing?;”
I don’t measure up when I compare.
No one does.
When I am measuring myself against
I’m doomed to never reach the mark.
We’ll never measure up against each other because we aren’t meant to measure ourselves by the ruler of OUR lives;
we are only meant to measure ourselves against Him.
I’ll never have enough children.
I’ll never have a clean enough house.
I won’t support my husband the way I’m supposed to.
My children will never be educated the “right” way.
My children will never behave the way they are “supposed” to.
My husband will never lead his family well.
And all these “nevers” should lead me to a place of
This measuring of ourselves as women starts so young. I see it daily in my 5 year old daughter who picks out her clothing based on how it looks and what others might think. I long to ignite something in her soul that reminds her daily that her beauty doesn’t come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
I want to love my family.
I want to love my friends.
I want to love my enemies.
With a love that measures itself against the One who gave everything.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
The reason the world doesn’t know us is because we measure ourselves against the world.
We need to use the ruler of LOVE.
We need to measure up our days by how well and how much we loved others
And how we repented of the times in our day when we were loving ourselves more.
Because when we measure ourselves against others
We are loving ourselves.
We are casting our nets out for our own benefit.
And we won’t catch a thing but heartache.
May I walk daily through my life, offering up gratitude for the things given
for the friends who succeed
for the enemies who prosper
and for the angels unaware.
There were many different routes the Lord could have taken the Isrealites when they escaped from Egypt and headed towards the promise land. There were easier routes that would have been quicker. But, as Spurgeon so lovingly puts it, had the Lord taken them the quicker and easier way when the Israelites did grumble and change their minds they would have just gone back. But as they got further and further into their journey, even when they did grumble and complain and long to go back, they knew that the route back to Egypt would be hard that they hung with Moses.
“God’s way is the right way, though it seems about. He leads his people not the nearest way, yet we may be sure He leads them the best way.” ~ Matthew Henry
The Isrealites needed to go through the desert. They needed to wander for years and years. Had the Lord just led them straight into the promised land, would they have treasured it as they did? Would they have longed for it as they did? Would they have been angered, as they were, when the road to it was so hard?
This is our life on earth. It isn’t easy. There might be years and years of wandering. But that wandering is meant to make us long for our true home. It is meant to make us treasure the day when we see Jesus face to face.
Struggle is the food from which change is made and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face…Too often we are led to believe that struggling is a bad thing or that we struggle because we’re doing something wrong…struggle is an opportunity to grow. ~ D. Dreyer
The Isrealites would have never grown if they hadn’t crossed through walls of water, if they hadn’t eaten manna for years on end, if they hadn’t turned away from God and back again…
The same goes for me. But the difference is, I have Jesus.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ I Corinthians 10:3
I think for all of us there is a constant theme that runs through our lives. A theme in which the Lord is constantly teaching us, molding us and prodding us. The sin that seems the greatest in our lives. For me it is an inability to move and God constantly…
brings stories, scriptures, people, sermons etc into my life to remind me not to stand still in fear and worry.
We have been reading through the Narnia series off and on for the past year or so. We took a break for a while and after watching Voyage of the Dawn Treader last week, it re-inspired us to finish the last 2 books. I’ve long heard people say that The Silver Chair is the best one and honestly we were hooked by the middle of the first chapter. It was the second chapter that got me though.
This second to the last book is about Eustace (the Pevensies’ cousin) and Jill (a school mate of his) and their voyage into the land of Narnia. In the first chapter they arrive in Narnia, only to be separated and Jill is left alone in this strange place. After a few scary interactions, Jill gets up from a crying fit only to realize how thirsty she is. She has seen a glimpse of this great lion, but almost in a dream like way. Enough to wonder if it is real or was just her imagination. She hears the sound of rushing water and gets up to start in that direction only to see herself standing in front of a huge forest of trees. Not knowing if there was one lion or many, she heads into the woods in order to quench her thirst.
Not long into the forest she sees this amazing rushing riverbed. Her thirst is great by this point and made even worse by the sight of this water. But she freezes. Sitting in front of the water is this great lion. He speaks and asks her if she is thirsty? Of course she is.
She asks him to move and let her drink and he just looks at her in frustration.
Then he asks her again if she is thirsty and says come and drink.
She asks him not to do anything to her, but he makes no promise.
She longs for another stream and he tells her there is no other.
Her choice is to move or to be overcome with her thirst.
Psalm 4:25-26 declares:
Turn to me and be gracious to me as is your way…”
We are to seek God with the grateful expectation of His graciousness towards us.
Like Aslan, God is overwhelming and should strike a holy fear within us,
He is good and He longs for our good.
He sits in front of a refreshing river that quenches a thirst within us,
and we have to move towards it. We have to position ourselves beside it
and beside this great lion that looks at us eye to eye down deep into our souls and through us.
There is no other rushing water that can satisfy us like this one. We exasperate ourselves searching for this other water that may seem safer and in the end overwhelm ourselves with our thirst.
Or we can trust God and move.
This weekend a sweet friend invited me to join her on a little road trip to hear Ann Voskamp and the music of Nicole Witt and Christa Wells. We went to hear Ms. Voskamp, but honestly I left more touched by the music. More on the message and what the Lord is revealing to me through the weekend as a whole, but for now I wanted to share a picture of Ms. Voskamp herself and one of my favorite songs from the night.