quote

I read this quote today and it pretty much sums up what I’ve been writing or trying to write for the past while.
Basically believing that God does hear our prayers AND will answer them…most of the time beyond what we had even imagined.

 

It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright;
nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray;
but we must patiently, believingly continue in prayer unto the end,
but we also have to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers.
Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained,
and in not expecting the blessing.

~ George Muller

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a new vocabulary

I used to work full time. I was a teacher and provided a stable, second income for us. We felt secure. The last time I went back to work full time in the classroom, I knew that it wasn’t the call of my heart.
But it was stable.
I quit anyway.

Fast forward to today. Our fridge is on the fritz, our cars are older, our savings is shrinking and a position has opened up at my children’s school.
I applied. Last I heard there were four applicants.
I’ve heard nothing.
And it’s still not the call of my heart.
But it’s stable and I’m clinging more to the lure of stability rather than the promise of true security.

I know in my heart where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.
The Lord continues to bless me, despite my stubborn fear and drive for control.
And I continue to be stubborn and long for something stable. Even if it’s not where my heart is.
Why is it so hard for us to just trust in the Lord?

I want to be like Peter, who casts his nets over the side of the boat and when they are filled with abundance jumps out of the boat and runs to the shore to meet Jesus because he knows it’s Jesus who has caused this blessing. But I sit in the boat and stare at the load of fish and wonder if it will happen again. I sit and try to judge how long that load of fish might provide for us and worry that it won’t fill up again. I miss the blessing of the now.

My life verse, the verse that is at the top of this space, declares “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

The word “strengthen” means to be courageous and to prevail. He gives me courage to continue on the road He has taken me. He strengthens me by being what I need in order to prevail daily.
The word “heart” means inclination. My sinful heart is inclined to take control, to doubt and to worry about tomorrow. The new heart that He sets within me inclines me towards Him. To the one that clothes the birds and flowers of the fields.
The words “fully committed” mean complete, whole, at peace. I want nothing more than my heart to be at peace with Him. At peace with where He has placed me and where we are going.

The Lord has blessed me by revealing to me where He wants me. He has told me where to cast my net where it will be filled with abundance. I only have to daily do it and trust that He will fill it.

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promised good

I so easily forget that the Lord has promised good to me. I’ve been reminded this week of how easily my life parallels the Israelites and their stubbornness. Their cycle of believing God and then realizing how hard things are and longing for the way things used to be thinking they were better only to be reminded that they weren’t. No matter what in our lives right now, there is nothing in our past that can compete with what the Lord has for our future if we just believe and trust him.

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

This is where the Lord is leading me. A good land. A land full of good and amazing things. I can stay in my desert wandering. I can stay in the middle of the dry river bed, staring at the walls of water on each side and imagining what might happen. Or I can move. I can cross over and keep going. Into a place that I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. ~Deuteronomy 8

 

And when I get to that land. When I overcome my fear and trust and BELIEVE God will do as He says (and has He has done) I must remember Him. I must remember that it is He who provides for me in my times of want and in my times of plenty. It is He who moves within me, giving me the power to move and believe in Him.

For He has promised and He will deliver.

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do what you love

flowers_04

A friend recommended Julia Child’s book, My Life in France this past week. I grabbed it at the library on Friday and have been completely entranced by the book.  I’m not sure I’ve ever watched one of her cooking shows, although I’m sure I’ve seen glimpses of it. I have seen Julie and Julia twice and loved it more the second time. But the book has made me fall in love with the woman. I think what I’ve come to love about her is her free-ness.

If you don’t know about the book, it chronicles her and her husbands years living in France. Ultimately, it is a story about how she fell in love with the French and with cooking in general. She was in her mid-thirties when they moved there and it’s so strange to think that a woman whose name is synonymous with cooking didn’t really start learning how to cook until then. You would have thought she was cooking by the time she could walk! She spent the first part of her life working for the government of the US doing all sorts of government sorts of things, but not cooking.

For me, it sort of reminds me where I am right now. I spent the first part of my working life teaching. I went to school to teach and I taught for nearly ten years. But in the last couple of years, my heart has truly been awakened to a new desire…calling perhaps.

In the story of Julia Child, she arrives in France and gets her first taste of French food and culture and dives in. And she dives in fully. She is determined to learn the language. She is determined to learn how to meld into the culture in which she lives. She doesn’t want to be an ex-pat who just hangs out with the others like her. She wants to blend in with the culture in which she has been placed. Then she wants to learn how to cook like the French so she goes to school and instead of being in the wimpy beginners class, she finally finds her place in the “real” chef’s class. And there it starts for her.

I don’t know for sure, but I would think that she never looked back at her “old” life and was sad that she wasn’t doing what she had done for so long. Her security didn’t come from clinging to where she had been. I’m sure her life wasn’t easy and I’m sure that she failed multiple times as she learned to cook and develop recipes, but she was confident that food and cooking was what made her heart stir; despite any failings she might encounter.

And that made her free.

We aren’t always given the opportunity to do what we love. Sometimes we have to be where we are and pray that the Lord would lead us to be content and be ok with where we are. But sometimes the Lord does bless us beyond measure and brings us to a place where we are not only where we’ve prayed to be; where our heart is stirred in an amazing way. That is where I am. But I spend more time worrying about where I am instead of enjoying it. And that’s why I’ve loved reading this book. It’s been a great reminder about just jumping in for a great ride and truly enjoying it and embracing it. No longer worrying about how long it’s going to last or where it might take me, but resting in it and praying that my heart might bloom.

In Thy fellowship is fullness of joy.
Beneath Thy smile is peace of conscience.
By Thy side no fears disturb,
no apprehensions banish rest of mind.
With Thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance.

~ Valley of Vision #6

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Continuing with the thoughts about “good works” the verse from Matthew 5:14, 16 hit me square in the face this morning:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The crux of this verse for me is twofold. First is the idea of attention. I’ve come to realize during this time of Lent of one of my greatest sins and idols right now is seeking attention. This verse from Matthew is all about attention getting. We are to be bright shining cities on a hill (surrounded by darkness, mind you). As believers, we aren’t supposed to be hidden, but shining bright for others. But where does that fit in, when one of my greatest struggles is seeking attention?

My sin lies in the fact that I’m not seeking to shine for Him. I’m not seeking for people to notice Christ in me. I might say it, but deep down in my heart (and honestly, it’s pretty close to the surface) I want them to see me. I’m wanting people to like me and like the things I write and create. In essence, I want to be found out by the world. My blogs, my etsy shop and even facebook aren’t idols, but I’ve made them an idol by seeking a response through them.

Instead of seeking a response from Him.

The other part of this verse are the words “good works.” Whose good works? In continuing the thoughts about idols, I want others to see my good works. I want them to see the things I do and create and see me in them…not Him. That’s not what this verse is saying at all. It’s not our light that is shining, it’s His. We don’t have any light in us. We are all darkness and it’s only through the saving grace of Christ, that we can even begin to shine. And shine we will, as we move deeper and deeper in our walk with Him.

As I read in my Lenten devotional this morning: Our purpose is “transformation into the likeness of Christ by detaching from our idols and attaching to Him.” It’s the only way we will ever shine and ever have any good in us. Our works by nature are not good. We need Christ.

Daily…before the computer comes on, before I check my email, before I think about listing anything on Etsy and before I even start on an order for a customer I have to pray and give over to Him everything. Praying for protection and a continued detaching of the world and attaching of myself to Him.

Deliver me from the natural darkness of my own mind,
from the corruptions of my heart
from the temptations to which I’m exposed
from the daily snares that attend me.
~ Valley of Vision #14

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