Certainty in the midst of uncertainty

So many people have shared with me that they see strength, certainty and self-confidence in me, especially when in the midst of troubled times. I think I laugh every single time I hear that. I am glad that I can come off as someone who “has it all together” as it comes in handy in my professional life. I am more than happy to share with everyone that I am quite uncertain all the time! I question my decisions, my motives and my abilities every day! I do not necessarily dwell on them. If I have been looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance, I can rest on that. If I have been moving in my flesh, then I need to seek forgiveness and then let it go. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

When I was younger, I had a false sense of confidence that I portrayed in order to hide my vulnerable side. I would put on a very tough exterior in order to keep people out and to keep from having to face my wounds. Today, I have a certainty that I wish for all, a foundation that has literally changed my life. I am confident in the fact that I am a child of God and that He is working such amazing miracles in my life each and every day. This is NOT an exaggeration.

Since I have come to know Jesus, He has brought me to places within me that I locked away long ago. There are so many experiences in my short time here on earth, that have damaged me deeply and have brought me such shame. As I have learned to allow Him access to these places, He has shown me just how much He loves me and has brought such healing. This is a testament to the power our Lord has, this is something I can stand on in moments of uncertainty.

As my path takes me into new and uncharted areas, I am most definitely terrified, uncertain and stepping out in pure faith. This does not necessarily make it easier to do, but I do know that no matter what, my God is on my side. I mean, how can I question the Creator of the very ground I stand on? He has shown me that He loves me, He has met me in my hour of need every time. He has taken care of my emotional, spiritual and physical needs beyond what I could have ever imagined.

I am a child of God. I am here for a reason, He has a purpose for this life. I have found that I can trust Him and that is what allows me to step out in places unknown, despite the anxieties that try to keep me from doing so. My spirit longs to be used by our Living God and that is something I have to remind my flesh of often. I have to make an effort to rest in Him and to know that He is God. He is for me. Who can be against me when He is by my side? These words ring so true in my heart.

I know I have a long journey ahead of me and have so much more to learn. I know that I am not even close to having a clue! The thing is, that I don’t have to. I am learning that I don’t always need to know the long term plan, I just need to know that this is where God has me going right now. There are people in my life right now that are there for a reason. Maybe I am to learn from them, maybe they are learning from me, maybe it goes both ways. All I can do and want to do, is to seek His face in all I do. I want to know that no matter how far off I am, He is right there. No matter how many times I fall, He is there to pick me up. No matter how insignificant I feel, He knows me and cares more for me than I could even begin to understand. That is a certainty that I can stand on, even when I don’t feel it in the moment.

I am so thankful that Jesus has been breaking down my false self-confidence and has been replacing it with the knowledge that He will always equip me for any journey He asks me to embark upon. The key is to wait on Him and to allow Him to lead the way. I cannot forge ahead on my own just as I cannot procrastinate in my insecurities. I must seek our Lord in all things and let Him show me the steps I need to take, that is when the miracles happen. Take it before the cross and you will be amazed at the outcome!

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God speaks

Often times I will hear people say that God does not answer them when they need Him to. That is not how our loving Father works. I find that He can be quieter than I would like at times, but that is usually because I am being too loud at the time and can’t hear Him over my own thoughts. if you stay still and silent before Him, He will speak.

Over the last few weeks I have been praying about and planning a change. I have been uncertain if it was a good move logically, but my heart has been guided towards this for some time. After a series of events that seemed to really point in the direction I have been contemplating, I decided to make some small steps. As I sat in my office, wondering if I should really make this next move, several birds few so close to the window that I thought they were going to fly into it. As I allowed my attention to drift towards the large number of birds on the ground and in the trees, a Bible verse came to mind and I knew that God was telling me to be at ease.

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? – Matthew 6:26 NLT

Has my Lord not shown me over and over again that He will provide for me and for my family? Has He not worked miracles in a budget that should not have worked in theory? Has He not guided my path to places of healing and growth? Every single time I have stopped putting faith in my own abilities and have handed it over to God, He has come through. Why would this be any different?

God is faithful. Jesus loves me more than I could even begin to understand. I can rest in the fact that no matter how I may doubt my abilities and my own worth, God will provide a way for me and had great plans for this life. So long as He is at the center, nothing can touch me. I can’t go wrong when He is leading the way. Holy Spirit, fill me up and cleans me from the worries of this world!

Today I was reminded to push past the self-doubts that can be suffocating at times. He whispered to me in a moment of stillness. I know that I am moving in the right direction. I have learned to move slowly, purposely and to not allow myself to move ahead of His plans.

Once, not all that long ago, I would have heard a piece of His plan and I would have ran as fast as I could have with it. Lately, I have been able to step back, wait on Him to guide my steps, step out in faith and see where He leads me. It has been a beautiful process and I never want to forget this. Wait on the Lord and be sure to respond when the Spirit tells me to. I need to stop listening to the lies that try to keep me from moving in any direction. It can be paralyzing. I must step boldly in the direction my God has shown me.

Learning to speak less, listen more and to be still more often has been challenging. With such small progress, I feel such powerful responses from the Holy Spirit. I wonder how much more He could accomplish in this life if I could just learn to give Him more room to work!

Today I pray that we all take time to stop and listen. Be still before Jesus and ask Him to free you from the lies that keep you from stepping out in faith. Ask Him to show you what plans He has for you. Let Him guide your steps. Let Him be a beacon in the wilderness. Do not allow us to lean on our own understanding!

In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

My prayer for today

Lord, I want to see You, feel You and hear You in my heart. Each day I long to know You more. No one truly knows me like You do and yet You seem to be the one I try to hide from at my lowest times. It’s as if I am ashamed of my lowest moments and yet you are right there with me. You not only hear me, You know the word of my heart long before they are known to me. This I can rest in.

You are almighty, You are our Creator, You are all together good, You are full of love, grace and mercy.

I am Yours. You created me. You knew me before I took my first breath in this world. You lay my path before me and I struggle to see it so many times. You know that too.

You have held me close in my darkest moments, even when I thought myself a full blown enemy of Yours.

Why?

Why do You love me so much when I often think myself unlovable? Why do You bring such beauty and such blessings to me when I know I don’t deserve them? How can You look upon this soul with loving kindness? How can You forget all that I have done?

I am Yours. I am a child of the Almighty God and I can find my strength in that. I pray that I can see myself the way that You see me. I want to forgive myself as You have forgiven me. I want to see the beauty that is possible as You do. I want to walk in Your footsteps in all things. I want to be content with where I am, knowing that You have a much bigger plan than I can even begin to imagine.

I rest in You Lord. I love in You. You are all that matters. You are my peace and that is all that matters. Let the world melt away, let my uncertainties melt away. Let the stress fade away into the background as I gaze upon Your beauty. Fill me with Your mighty Spirit, guard me against the attacks on my enemy and build me up as I stumble.

My words fall short of the craving in my soul, but I know that You know my desires better than I. Mt heart cries out to You and I pray that You hear me as I lay it all down before Your throne.

Thank You for being the merciful God that You are. Thank You for never leaving me. Thank You for all the beauty, blessings and family that You have so freely given me. Thank You for saving me, thank You for loving me and thank You for all the work You are continuing to do in this life. You are amazing and I would be lost without You.

I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Another perspective

Last night our Pastor was discussing Psalms 139 and it just reminded me of how my perspective is in need of adjustment. How could I be anxious for anything when the Psalms tell us this?

Psalms 139:1-24 NLT O  lord , you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, lord . You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O  lord , shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and leadme along the path of everlasting life.

As we read this I thought about all the anxiety I hold and that it’s completely unnecessary. God knows my story beginning to end. He is the author of my life and I can rest in the fact that He knows me, loves me and is with me in all things. Even when I was His enemy,  He was by my side. I often stress about the unknown and know that it’s time to replace that with being still and knowing He is God. He has always been there and has performed such miracles in my life, why do I worry? It’s never been a conscious thought of “how will God work here”, but I think I’m essentially saying that when I am anxious. My heart needs to be taught to rest in the knowledge that my God is greater and He is actively working in my life. I am comfortable with God’s timing and need to remember that His plans are always in place. I need not worry about the people involved, the circumstances around whatever I am anxious for, He is perfect and I am right where I should be. By now I can look back and see how each and every person and experience bin my life has shaped me and brought me to where I am today. I can’t wait to see how much more as I continue this walk. I will follow God in all things, I choose to put my life in His hands and to walk boldly, knowing that I need not fear anything of this world. The Creator is on my side and I want to always be on His.

Questioning

I question everything and am unsure about most things. Often people will tell me how sure I always seem to be, I do not feel that way and am surprised that I present that way. I do not look to deceive anyone and have put some thought into why I would seem so sure to those I come into contact with when I feel so uncertain inside.

The answer is Jesus, He is the only one I have ever been truly certain of. I know that He is by my side in all things, I know that He has me right where I need to be for His Glory and I know that He will never turn away from me. This is the only certainty I hold in this life.

I know that no matter how unsure I am, Jesus is sure and has given my The Holy Spirit to guide me through this life. I know that no matter how unqualified I may feel for a task at hand, Jesus shows me the way through it. My faith has grown and I have learned to trust in our Lord in all things. I don’t need to feel comfortable and I don’t need to understand in order to do the work He lays before me. I just need to pray and discern His will and His direction in all things and I know that it will all be ok. This brings me such peace and calm.

I still worry and battle anxiety often. This is something that I know The Spirit is working on in me and I know that it does not help me through any situations. I also accept that I am human and cannot deny my human nature. As my faith grows, so does my ability to remain calm and patient. I have a long way to go, but I can also look back and see that I have already come such a long way already.

Lord, I come before You today with my anxious heart and I ask that you remind me that You are in control of all things and I need not fear the unknown. I pray that my heart remembers all that You have delivered me from in the short time I have been walking with You. I pray that my patience and peace continue to grow and deepen as I learn to trust You, for I know that my worry and angst are clues that I am not trusting in You completely. You are true Love and true Hope. You walk with me always and are working in all things. I give my emotions over to You Lord and ask that You teach me to slow down, sit quietly and to bask in You presence.

I thank You for this life You have given to me. I thank You for Your kindness, Your Love, Your Light and Your patience. I thank You and praise You for Your goodness and pray that I learn to appreciate You more each day. You are good, You are kind and I hope to be more like You each day.

Today I challenge myself and I challenge all of you to stop and take inventory of the blessings in your life. Turn away from the things you do not have and choose to count all that you are fortunate to have. Praise Him for the roof over your head, the food in your home, the relationships, etc. These things have been given to you by our Mighty King and we are His stewards. Take care of even the smallest of things put in your care and tend to all you are given with tender love and kindness.

I am exactly where I am meant to be and need to keep the proper perspective. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the stress, the frustrations and the anxieties of this world, but I know there is a higher purpose and I choose to maintain that perspective. I also ask that each of you remind me of this should we cross paths and you see me struggling. I will do the same for you. We are in this together!

 

 

Miracles

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

A man once said that all the miracles that have taken place in the Bible have one thing in common, they were in response to a problem. We all have problems, being a Christian does not make us exempt. Quite the contrary, it can open us up to even more. Being a Christian also allows us to experience miracles in response to those problems that arise.

“Trust in the LORD with all you heart; and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Walking through this life on earth can be so tiring at times. The storms around us can become fierce and I know that I can find myself seeking to find shelter and struggle to keep my eyes on the only true shelter. My flesh screams out for me to turn to things of this world when my Soul cries out to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

I do trust! Even when I am feeling tattered from the pressures of this life, I trust that the Lord is in control and will not forsake me. I know that every single person that breathes, has struggles. In these moments, the Spirit is with us. He meets us in these places and this is where those miracles happen. If I am not experiencing a problem that seems impossible to overcome, then how will I experience the Lord moving? I will not.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

When I choose to be content with what the Lord provides, I am acknowledging that He is in control. I struggle with control quite a bit and don’t even realize it most of the time. I am not in control. Alone I am powerless and at the mercy of circumstances. In Jesus I am protected and cared for beyond measure. I am a child of God and need not worry or want for anything. In Him I find my strength.

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” – Ephesians 3:17

I am human, I walk this land in this body made of flesh and experiences stressors all the same. Unexpected trials and speed bumps come up out of nowhere it seems. My emotions respond and I grow tired. I am grateful that I have a strong foundation and can stand or lie down on this foundation in full knowledge that miracles occur every day. I am rooted in the knowledge that God is moving in every moment of this life given. As trials come to be, I have a choice, I can allow my faith to grow in this knowledge or I can succumb to the pressures of this world. I choose to lean on my Lord in faith and to wait and watch the work He performs. In my struggles, I need to leave the space God needs to perform the beautiful miracles I long for. If I don’t step back, I am not allowing Him to step in.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.“- Matthew 6:25-34

Thank you Jesus for walking with my in all my days and for taking care of me in all things.

Surrender

Surrender all to me, God says.

Yes God, I surrender all.

You must accept submission, God says.

Yes God, I sub…subm…..submit all to you….well I am trying to….control? who needs control? ppffttt, not me…..sigh

Submit to your husband, God says.

Ugh. Submit to my what? Really? I mean, it’s not the fact that God is telling me to submit to my husband that bothers me so much, it’s that He is telling me to submit to ANYONE other than Himself that bothers me. Let’s be honest here, no one wants to submit to another person, do they? Not in this society.

I mean, I have been on my own since I was 15, making my own decisions, living my life the way I wanted to. I was responsible for everything and decided that I would never leave my life in another person’s hands. Keeps from being let down, ya know? Now here is God, bringing the various verses to the life that remind me to surrender, submit and to listen more……speak less….but I have so much to say!

All these things initially caused me to panic, push back and ignore for the most part. Yeah, yeah, I will be a woman of few-er words. Ok, sure, I will respect authority and not speak ill of the jerks above me, above my boss, in our government…lol…does that work?

I try to reason with God, “I try to submit to my husband, I TRY so hard to have him lead the family but he just isn’t, so I WILL!” Did I really? Nope, not one bit.

I did this back and forth thing in my heart with God. I would try to reason with Him, show Him that it no longer applied in 2013, remind Him that He made me to be a natural leader…..no such luck.

I finally started seeing that I was doing something wrong, I had to be. My husband was obviously struggling with some things that were between him and God but I could also see that I was doing something to cause him to feel like less of a person at times. So I prayed. I looked to my Pastor for advice, both biblically and as a man/husband…sometimes we need a translator! Prayed some more. Looked to some ladies for perspective and guidance. My prayers were always along the lines of “Lord, please help me to be a better wife, work through me and help me build my husband up” I know I cannot do these things on my own, I need Your Spirit.

Finally, in the ladies Bible study I go to, we hit the “Wives in the same way, submit to your own husbands….” in 1 Peter 3

Funny that through this exercise of digging into 1 Peter together has really taken the sting out of this for me. When I came to reading it, writing it and picking it apart, it wasn’t so bad. I was able to apply all we learned from the first 2 chapters of the book of Peter and see that submitting is not necessarily a bad thing. Choosing to submit as God calls us to, can be rewarding if we allow it to be. On my own I can to see that if I choose to submit in a way that is a little less verbal than normal, well then I can give my husband the room he needs to grow spiritually. That my need to knit pick and complain could actually hinder my husband’s spiritual growth. Wow. Can my need to hold on hinder growth? I think it can.

I have known all along that I have a wonderful husband and that I can trust in him. This has never been a problem. I have seen how God has been working in our lives, how He has been shaping us. I see where we were, where we are and get glimpses of where we may be going. I can see how God brought us together to even each other out and to smooth out each other’s rough edges. I see the insecurities shrinking as our bond grows. It’s been a wonderfully, beautiful and frustrating process. When we let go and let God, it is easiest.

While the ladies were discussing this passage, a woman told a story about a time she reacted to a horrible day differently than she might have normally. Basically she voiced her frustrations and went to bed. She could have reacted angrily at the things she didn’t have time to do for herself and she could have demanded that her husband help her with these things. I know that I might have. I very well could have said to my hubby “I can’t get these things done, I need you to do it for me!” Seems reasonable. This particular story ends differently though, this woman did not demand anything from her husband and only told him about the things she wished she completed for the following day and went to sleep. Upon waking up in the morning she saw that her hubby stepped up and took care of those things for her. It was a wonderful surprise to wake up to. She stated how differently it would have looked if she had demanded that he do these things for her. There could have been turmoil, demands and frustration.

It hit me! As wives, we need to give our husbands the space they need to love us the way we need to be loved.

Does that make sense?

When I choose to respect my husband in the way he needs to be respected, it gives him the space he needs in order to love me the way I need to be loved.

When I go down a list of things my husband needs to do for me, the house or the kids, he feels like I am dictating and is not feeling respected. When I take the lead and “get things done the way they need to be done”, I am failing to give my husband the space he needs to lead our family in the way God wants him to lead. I am also creating a lot of unnecessary stress for myself.

Space. All to often I fill that space he needs with words, anxieties, demands. He needs space. God works in those spaces.

I am far from being the perfect wife but I am learning to submit in the fashion that God has asked me to. I am stepping back and getting out of the driver’s seat. There will be no disappointments, no failures and no disasters. When I put my faith in my husband, I am putting my faith in the work God is doing in Him. The work He is doing in me.

He may make mistakes, don’t I make them often enough?? He may make the wrong decisions on some things. Who doesn’t? Quite frankly, I don’t want to be the one making all the decisions. I am seeing that I was believing the lie that I was “doing it because it needed to be done and if I didn’t do it, well it wouldn’t get done.” How vain.

I spent a good portion of my life being the one in the driver seat, then I found Jesus and have learned that He drives much better than I. Now it is time for me to give that seat up to my husband and to not be a backseat driver either! I don’t always know best. As a matter of fact, I usually don’t know best. Grace is needed. Lots and lots of Grace.

Now, none of this means I am going to be a lesser person, I will not be loosing my identity. I will not be deferring to my husband when asked a question. I think that we picture submission being this weird place of slavery and defeat. I am here to say that this is not the case. I am beginning to see this. I am seeing that it’s a place of beauty and relief. A place where seeds can be planted and growth can take place. A place of strength and a foundation for peace.

God has done such amazing things in my life and I cannot just pick and choose which parts of His Word I will follow. He has my best interest at heart, He wants the best for us all. When I give up the anxieties that surround certain ideas, I come into such freedom! Who knew?!? I have heard women declare this all before, I have heard their testimonies and wished I could find a way to do the same.

My prayer is being answered. As usual, I am looking back at the past months and see the path that God has brought me along so that I could get to a place where I understand this better. He needed me to understand other things before I could wrap my mind around this and put it into action.

Ever learning, step by step He shows me the way to a brighter life, an easier way to live. As I learn these lessons and continue on my walk I find that I have more time and energy for God’s work. Life doesn’t get easier per se, just lighter. Jesus truly does lessen the load if you allow Him to. Storms still come, but God has been tearing down the weaker parts of me and rebuilding them so that they are strong enough to endure. God provides a shelter that cannot be explained until you experience it for yourself.

I can’t wait to see where He brings me!