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!

Plug in each morning

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. John 15:5-8

You may think, why is it so important to sit before God each morning, I would say that we need that time to plug in so that we may bear much fruit. If we remain in our Lord and allow Him to guide our days, we will be living much more productive lives. By productive, I mean spiritually. Each day when we rise and often times during the day, we must live purposely and Jesus in all we do. Some things you may find to be insignificant, just remember that God views nothing as insignificant. All things can work towards His Glory if we allow it to.

I have come to a place in my personal walk where I wake to the alarm and my mind is instantly on Jesus. I wake up speaking to Him, offering him praise and asking Him to please guide my steps. I open myself before Him and pray that He would use me each day in an impactful way. I do not have a standard as to what impactful looks like, I just trust that the people I come into contact with each day will take something away from me if the Lord so desires. I do not need to see the impact, I just know that I need to keep my heart in the right place in order for it to take place.

Today I pray that I will always keep myself in the midst of God’s will for my life. I know that each of us has a purpose and we all need to live in that place. Plug in, trust in Him, let Him lead the way. You may not always know where you are going, but you can trust in Him. Keep your eyes on Him and He will not fail you.

In the precious name of Jesus.

Who am I?

I have been in a strange place lately. A place of wondering who I am. I know for sure where I have been and I know where I want to go, but I think I can struggle with knowing who I am at this very moment. Is it the spiritual transformation that is taking place? Is it the change that is taking place in my professional life? Perhaps it is just an approaching my mid-thirties thing? Is it that Jesus is removing the negative filters I see myself through, is He showing me my true self?

Do you ever find yourself in one of those places? Who am I? What do I stand for? Where do I fit in? Do I make an impact? Am I succumbing to the pressures of my culture? These are some of the questions swimming around in my mind these days.

There is one fact that I can always stand on and that is the fact that I am a beloved child of God. I don’t always understand why He loves me so much, but I know that it is true. He tells me and shows me in so many ways. Often times we can forget that we are made in our Great Creator’s image and that He purposefully made each and every one of us. We can forget that we are stewards of the world we are living in and can take it all for granted. We lose sight of our core purpose along the way.

For some time now, I have been asking our Lord to allow me to see myself the way He does. I want to see the beauty He sees. I want to see the impact I have on those around me. I want to know His desires for me. I want to walk the path He has laid out for me. I want to see His lost children turning to Him. Perhaps He is answering that prayer and that is what I am feeling.

I pray that He is doing a work in you too. I pray that He break the chains that hold us back, that He allows us to see ourselves as He does. I pray that you start each day with a desire to bring Him glory in all you do. I pray that you know that He is ever present and loves you unconditionally. I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

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.

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.

Love

The truest of loves, I will never really understand.

Not while I walk these lands.

Heart so pure and grace so freely given.

Nothing in this heart is ever really hidden.

I can fool myself but will never fool You.

Only when I sit before You do I know the truth.

As I sit here before You I am amazed.

Nothing could ever compare to Your amazing grace.

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.