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.

Fulfillment

Aren’t we all looking for some kind of fulfillment in this life? Where do you go for it? The TV? Relationships? Food? Alcohol? Our society inundates us with these empty promises. False fulfillment. Temporary satisfaction that leaves us feeling the emptiness deepening. Our very foundations begin to crack when we rely on the things of this world.

Take a moment to stop right where you are and think about where you look to for relief in the midst of the storms.

How do we handle the unknown, the pain, the suffering, the injustices that are all around us? Who do we look to? Where can we find true peace?

Psalm 29

1 A psalm of David. Give honor to the LORD, you angels; give honor to the LORD for his glory and strength. 2 Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 3 The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The LORD thunders over the mighty sea. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf and Mount Hermon to leap like a young bull. 7 The voice of the LORD strikes with lightning bolts. 8 The voice of the LORD makes the desert quake; the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” 10 The LORD rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as king forever. 11 The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.   

 

The voice of the Lord is mightier than anything this world brings to us. He created this world, why would I think anything could be bigger than Him? How easily we forget who watches over us, who created the very air we breathe. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is mightier than the circumstances we face.

Today I choose to pause in my stressors and anxieties and bring them before my God. I choose to smile in the face of adversity, knowing that I have a mighty force before me, behind me and within me. All of this will pass, all will come to an end, but I have an eternity before me that I can look forward to. I will be in the very presence of our great Creator and will bow before Him full of joy.

All of this is temporary, I cannot stress that enough. We all know our time here is short and that we need to make the most of it, but what does that mean exactly? What am I to make the most of? Simple pleasures? Physical fulfillment? Drowning away my sorrows and numbing myself? What does God say? What is the meaning of life?

Romans 12 New Living Translation (NLT)

A Living Sacrifice to God

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

 

Read this, study this and apply it to your lives. Let the Lord work through you and you will truly be amazed at what comes out it. Stop searching and look to the Creator of all things. He will always lead you to a place of true fulfillment.

May God bless you today.

Rejoice

Psalm 31:7

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.

You truly care for me and I will not succumb to the lies that surround me. I will not loose focus on the rejoicing in my heart. I will step back and let You shine through. You are good and in all things true. No matter what may happen here in the temporal place, I have an eternity with You and that is truly unfailing.

When I feel like no one cares, please remind me that You do. Not only do You care but You truly understand all that I go through, even better than I know it myself.

Thank You. These words don’t even begin to express the depths of my gratitude. You amaze me. I pray that I make Your heart smile.

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

Stress

Stress creeps in and steals away the joys that were possible.

Lord, please fill me in this place so that the stress will be lessened. Let me look to You in these moments, help me to remember Your promises. I long for You in this place and know that only You can fulfill me truest desires.

The emptiness we feel is real. Our hearts are calling out for what is missing, a true relationship with the Living God.

I need to refocus. How easily my point of view turns back to self. When I look to me, all falls apart. When I try to control, I lose all control and I begin to spiral. You are my rock, my shield, my salvation and my Lord.

I bow before You. I know that You are most wise and I trust You in all things.

Remind me of the cross and all that You have done for each of us. Your ungrateful children. When will we learn?

You are so patient and so kind. I long to have just a fraction of Your grace and mercy.

My emotions can be useful but they can also blind me. I give them to You. I choose to no longer fight them but to feel them, acknowledge them and give them over to You.

Shine Your mighty light into this weary soul and help me see the truth in all things. Let my perspective be from Your eyes and Your heart. The struggles of this world mean nothing next to You. The stressors fade when You are with me. My focus determines my response and my focus needs to be on You.

Show me Your plan, show me my purpose and let me see me the way You do.

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

I’m sorry, how much??

Today I want to share a part of my journey in Jesus with you, but let’s start with a prayer to prepare our hearts.

Father, we come before You this morning with open hearts, hoping for You to do a work in us. You know us better than we know ourselves and You know right where we are, this very moment. You love us more than we will ever understand and desire for greater things in this life. I pray that we keep our eyes on You in all things. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

I have been walking with Jesus for some time now and have learned so much, He has turned this life upside down and made me realize that I am now actually right side up. Do you understand what I mean by that? Can you relate to that feeling of a new start, a new chance, a view of love and grace that you never even knew possible? As I began my walk in Christ, I was able to look back at my life and see His hand on me. I could see that those impossible situations that nearly took my life were those moments when God came down and saved me. He had a plan for me. He has a plan for every singe person on this planet.

In the beginning I attended a church that opened my eyes to the Lord, but ended up not being a great fit for me and my family. As I was looking for a church home, I was told about my current church and it took me a long time to learn to trust them. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for them to judge me and tell me I didn’t belong, but it never happened. The more I shared, the more I realized that these people were just like me. We all struggle, we are all lost and we have battles we are facing each day. This realization was a large driving force behind this blog. Let’s share and be transparent before one another. Let’s encourage those struggling with the same things Jesus has worked through in us.

This brings me to the topic of tithing. Can I tell you what a struggle tithing has been over the years? As a single mom, there was no way I could tithe, I told myself. As a newly weds we didn’t have the funds to pay our bills on time, never mind give up 10% right off the bat. We had all the right reasons to not give. We were serving in the church, our time mattered. We would give sporadically throughout the year and it would come close to 10% at the end of the year, or by tax time. Giving larger chunks here and there was easier.

I am a bit of a dork and absolutely love spreadsheets. I use them to track and figure everything, including our family budget, I have done so for years. We have about a year ahead mapped out at any given time. As God was putting this tithing thing on my heart, I would try a few different approaches, but was never giving on a regular basis. It was still a line item that was able to be moved, decreased and taken out all together if something came up. This went on for years. The cycle of conviction, feeling guilty, arguing with God over the numbers not adding up. My husband and I are not selfish people, we love to give to others and we want to please the Lord in all things. Our hearts desired to please Him, our flesh was getting in the way.

Finally we had come to a place where we were giving up control. God had been doing such amazing things in our lives and we were seeing that none of what we possessed was really ours. We were given these things by our most gracious Lord and we were abusing what was given to us in a way that was unintentional, but was still happening. We made the difficult decision to tithe every single week no matter what came up financially. We decided to trust our living God and ask Him to show up for us. He tells us to test Him in this area and so we were. I pulled up my spreadsheet and worked the numbers the best I could and we left those weeks that didn’t add up in God’s capable hands. I mean, the Creator of this vast universe loves me and here I was thinking He couldn’t possibly make the numbers work. As I put things into perspective, I was excited to see what would happen. Then an amazing thing happened, wlost a huge chunk of income out of no where.

I mean the timing was no coincide in my mind. The small steps we were taking were quickly becoming leaps. We were stressed and uncertain as to how we were going to tithe and feed our family at the same time. That’s what our flesh was saying. Our hearts knew better, we know that God provides for His children and so we adjusted that spreadsheet as well as we were able to on our end and lifted all those negative balanced to the Lord.

He showed up. As He promises us all, our Lord showed up and continues to show up every time. Those weeks that seemed impossible were blessed in abundance, I kid you not. Between overtime that was not supposed to happen, to mileage checks, to unexplained payment of vacation time early, our God showed up. Those weeks that shouldn’t have added up turned into such blessings for our family.

We still struggle with seeing those impossible weeks showing up on our spreadsheet, but now we have the experience to look back on. We know that we will be taken care of.

Those line items that were once negotiable are set in stone in our eyes. God’s money is not to be touched. We see that our grocery budget is suffering and we are tempted to pull from that tithing box, but we don’t and we wait in expectancy.

Tithing regularly has truly been such a blessing. I have heard people say this so many times and never really understood. Today I understand and pray that you all do too. To see our God show up for us and to take care of us is beautiful. To know that I can give up control and see things blossom in ways I never thought possible. My faith had grown tremendously in this. My knowledge of God’s love has deepened and this has trickled into other areas of my heart.

I want you all to know that tithing is difficult in the beginning, don’t beat yourself up! Every child of God struggles in one way or another in this, area, you are not alone. Giving God back a portion of what He gives us so freely, there are no words for the magic that takes place there. Try it, test God there and take that leap of faith. He won’t let you fall.