weakness

You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst and the Lord will not let you faint, nor suffer the daughter of the uncircumcised to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. ~ Spurgeon

When faced with overwhelming experiences or expectations, I have a tendency to either focus too much on the what if’s, over analyze and more often retreat into myself. I will seek ways to take control of the coming situation (that is purely out of my control) even if those things don’t even relate to what is coming.

I am having surgery in a few weeks and while I’ve had procedures and babies in the past, this is the first time I am losing a part of me that should be there. It is loss and an overwhelming sense of the unknown.

It’s realizing that my life is truly in God’s hands.

So of course I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering all the what if’s and trying to over-plan, make lists and figure out how to make it all go smoothly. Yet, if I spent half as much time pondering the unknown as sitting at His feet, how much greater would my sense of peace be?

The Lord is moving me into a place of extreme weakness. There are so many things in my life right now that are out of my control and are pushing me into places I don’t want to be. But when I start to find myself retreating and over analyzing, I move myself into counting His grace.
His grace for provision in times past.
His grace for peace in times past.
His promise of wells of refreshing water.

Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord much teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds. ~ Spurgeon

Oh, that I would find peace in this shrinking. That the Lord would remove and change my outlook. That my eyes…that my heart… would no longer be focused on my thirst or sufferings or fears but on Him.

For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:5

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doing something big for God

I’ve been sitting with the question of: “what does it mean to do something big for God?” What does it mean to follow the steps He is leading?

I am surrounded by friends who have or are taking massive steps of faith in their lives. They have gone to Africa or China to adopt children. They are moving to South America to do missions work. They are buying someone’s house and moving out of theirs because it’s where God clearly led them. Being surrounded in that way makes me think that in order for me to do something “big” for God means it has to be BIG. But tests of faith can come in so many other ways and I so easily lose sight of that.

Tests of faith can come with looming surgery and health issues.
Tests of faith can come with saying goodbye to a past career and trusting God to provide our means.
Tests of faith can come with taking the risk to start a business that I know God is leading me to start.

It’s not about big.

It’s about focus. It’s about looking to the Light and trusting in Him to lead.

Learning to pray and live moment by moment and moving in the steps that He has led me.

The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.

~Psalm 119: 129-133

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a road trip weekend…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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admitting

I sat in bed last night pondering what has gone on in the past few weeks and what is to come in the next few.

a bank account that has dipped farther than I could ever feel comfortable with
the realization that the Lord is calling me to stay home again this next year
a stupid mistake while driving yesterday which might cost us more than the car is worth
a looming doctor’s appointment (which could very well be nothing, but could very well be something)
and on and on and on

Each of these things bringing me to a place that I just don’t like.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s spirit is in them – living and breathing God! ~ Romans 8, the message

Each of these things bringing me to a place where I think I can fix it our if only I could have made a better decision. But each of these things offering a blessing to me that I won’t see if I continue to “do it on my own.”

I can’t cling to the numbers in our bank account (bringing me to greater trust & faith & freedom)
I can’t make a job appear (and being homes mean I can develop my passion for daisyeyes and be with my children)
I can’t go back and change my lack of paying attention (but I can trust that the Lord knew and He forgives me stupidity)
I can’t know what’s going to happen next week at the doctor’s office (but the Lord does)

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. ~Matthew 5, the message

His promised blessings to me aren’t magic. They aren’t a multitude of material things. They aren’t a promise of zero hardship in my life. They don’t come without a stripping away of me.

His blessings are when I know that we are barely making it.. we are making it.
His blessings are when I know that I’m obeying His will for me…and He will come into that.
His blessings are when I make mistakes…and know I have his forgiveness
His blessings are when I am facing an uncertain diagnosis…but He is in the midst of it all.

Jesus looks at tired, worn-out people who in their desperation and rage feel justified in doing whatever relieves their pain and tells them…what must happen for them to become whole. ~ Larry Crabb

My wholeness.
That is the blessing.

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on the tip of my brain

Do you ever feel when reading, be it scripture or some sort of book, that the Lord is just sitting right there on the tip of your brain? This great epiphany or understanding is just.right.there. but you can’t seem to reach it? This is where I am. I feel like I’m in this raging battle between the Lord really teaching me this great lesson and my sinfulness pushing Him out of the way. The distractions of my mind whirling so much that I can’t focus enough to get it.

I’m reading Soul Talk by Larry Crabb with a group of women. It’s been a very, very different sort of book for me and honestly at first was difficult to understand. What he writes about is so counter to the way we naturally relate, even when we’ve been Believers for a long time, that I have to stop every few paragraphs and get my bearings.

By far the most awakening chapter for me has been on thinking vision and moving toward brokenness. Crabb writes:

As long as we aim toward a vision we think we can reach, God lets us try. And sometimes we do pull it off…we feel proud and call it gratitude. If it doesn’t, we feel defeated and wonder why God didn’t bless us. But when we aim so high we are forced to face how inadequate our adequacies are, we realize our need for spiritual power.

But what He also writes about in the book is that as Believers, we get so caught up in the thought that if we are doing what God has declared He will always bless us. But the problem is we think materially or in ease of life. And that’s not true. That’s what’s been so hard for me to think about. He will by all means provide for me. He will supply my needs. He has promised that. And He has promised His love for me…an amazing and passionate love.
That is the blessing. The greater reward is obviously beyond this Earth.
I get so caught up in thinking that when my life is hard. When I am struggling to make ends meet that He is going to automatically fill up my bank account and “bless” me.
But really, the blessing is that I wake up every morning, loved no less by my Creator and promised to be given manna every day. As Crabb says: As long as my vision is within my reach, I am merely using God – not abandoning myself to Him. My blessings come from pure and utter abandonment to Him.

The question to ask myself is where I am quenching the Spirit. What are the many areas of my life that I am trying to make work without desperate dependence on Him? That is a crazy scary question. It addresses areas of control and areas of brokenness that I don’t want to enter. It brings me to a place where I have to admit my weakness and my fear and give them over to Him. But His power doesn’t fully come forward in us as long as there is so much us in us.

Children of God – and everyone else – think nobody loves them enough for them to let go of control. Gently the Spirit detaches us from everything we’ve turned to for life and invites us to admit how weary and pressured we feel…then we move from brokenness to power; feeling ourselves being centered in Christ, no longer in ourselves.

And therein lies my greatest struggle. I don’t believe that God loves me enough. I don’t believe that He is going to be there when I jump. It’s like my little girl jumping into the pool. She can either fully trust that her daddy is going to catch her and stand up on the side and jump in with full abandonment and trust. Or she can bend her knees, squat down, hang on to the side and just sort of fall into His arms because she is scared he isn’t going to be there.

I want to jump off the highest dive, with full abandonment into His loving arms.
It is only then that His Spirit can move in me in such a way that I can tell my story and truly be with others in their mess.

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