I [Jesus]  have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.   John 16:33 ESV Life's challenges. Physical injury. Plumbing leak. … Continue » Comments ...

 

Rest and Watching: How to See God Move in Life’s Challenges




Rest and Watching: How to See God Move in Life’s Challenges

 I [Jesus]  have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.   John 16:33 ESV

Life’s challenges.

Physical injury.

Plumbing leak.

Saying good-bye to some really dear friends. Transition in my husband’s office.

At times emotions run wild and I start wondering where is God? I prayed things turn out differently. That my foot would no longer be an issue, my friends would not have to move away, transitions would be less uncertain, and pipes would stay whole…I even figured out ways God could get the glory if He worked these things out my way.

But God’s ways are not my ways. Instead He brings or allows challenges in our lives for our good. Just like I allow my children to understand the challenge of washing their laundry so that they will know how to wash their clothes when they go off to college. God uses challenges in our lives to make us more like Jesus, to teach us to trust Him.

So how do we see God move in life’s challenges?

  • Change our thinking. We have to remind ourselves that when challenges come they are not bad, they are opportunities to know God in a new way, to discover something new about ourselves, to find out where we really are placing our joy, security, and hope.
  • Pray like Jesus prayed. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane essentially told God what He wanted (for the cup to pass), but He also prayed not “My will, but Yours be done.” May we have the faith to pray that powerfully, knowing God can do anything, but trusting His way is the best way.
  • Look for God. Often when faced with challenges I look to myself. I want to be smart enough or strong enough to figure out the best path or the best solution. But God wants me to look to Him. Look for the way He is meeting my needs. Look for the doors He is opening in the midst of the challenges and the lessons I can learn in the midst of them. When we look for God, we will find Him nearer than we realized.
  • Look for ways we can be thankful in our challenges. For instance, “Thank You God that our plumbing issue wasn’t a sewer issue, we caught it early, and although it was really close it never damaged our electronics.”
  • Rest in God’s promises. The best place to be is resting in God’s promises. They don’t fail. We need to read God’s Word so that we can know His promises. We need to trust Him when we can’t see a way through because He has great plans for us.

So God is there moving in the challenges of life: guiding us, loving us, comforting us, teaching us. May we rest and watch so we can testify to what He is doing in the midst of our challenges.

 

Broken and Brave: Standing Up Afraid

“You have such a good attitude about your foot,” said a friend as we discussed my crutches.

She had no idea my struggle only the day before.

I stood on one foot in front of my bathroom mirror as I attempted to apply eye-liner with my crutches tucked under my armpits .

“Everything is harder on crutches,” I muttered to myself.

I have struggled with this nagging foot injury for over a year now. Two weeks ago I got my diagnosis. It was time to try no weight-bearing for six weeks. No weight-bearing, no driving, no running, no martial arts, no…

Limitations and hows swirled in my brain. Tears of frustration, of pushed back goals, of what-ifs fell hard and fast. I felt broken, weak, and scared. There was no good attitude, no bravery, just whining.

When I think of bravery too often I picture Wonder Woman standing strong and perfect with her shield and lasso of truth. My bravery goals are to look like a super hero victoriously standing over the battle field without a hair out-of-place. But as I stood on one leg attempting to fix the wobbly line of eyeliner smeared across my right eyelid the truth hit me hard. That picture of Wonder Woman and all the other super heroes isn’t real.

Real bravery is standing broken, disheveled, and scared, but standing anyway. Wonder Woman and all those other super heroes have a super power or super gadgets to help them stand tall and brave. But we mortals don’t. We often have to stand broken, or bald, or bleeding, or exhausted to face our fears.

 

Brave isn’t having it all together and breezing through life. No, brave is standing broken and fighting each day.

Brave is fighting addictions after stumbling again.

Brave is laughing through the tears as you hold a clump of hair in your hand and your veins ache from irritating drugs.

Brave is learning to dream again after your first, second, third dream didn’t come true or fell apart.

Brave is admitting we don’t have all the answers, but learning, growing, and trying our best.

Brave is trusting God with hopes and dreams even if He does not fulfill them in our time or our way.

Brave is finding help when depression or anxiety threaten to swallow you whole.

Brave is speaking the truth in love, making a phone call, asking for forgiveness, forgiving.

Brave doesn’t require us to be whole or to be unafraid. In fact I don’t think anyone can be truly brave without knowing fear. Brave is being aware of the dangers, perhaps even feeling the wounds of previous encounters and trying again. Loving again. Fighting again. Learning again.

The most beautiful kind of brave is the broken kind.

When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 ESV

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!  Psalm 27:14 ESV

Will you stand with me today, broken, shaking in fear, but trying again?

 

Choosing Your Portion: How to Trust God with Your Life

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.  Psalm 16:5 ESV

A portion, a meal, sustenance, what fills our bellies, and nourishes our bones.

This psalmist says that he chooses the LORD to feast upon, to sustain him through all his days. I wonder, what is my chosen portion? What do I choose to fill myself with? Do I opt for junk food of accomplishment, social media, or acceptance. They may give me a sugar rush of fulfillment or excitement, but they don’t last. When I come to those things hungry for joy or fulfillment, they eventually let me down. When I do not choose the LORD as my portion I cannot flourish, just like junk food will give me a boost for a little while, but in the long run it leaves me malnourished and depleted.

When I choose to make God my cup, he is what quenches my thirst. He is the water to my day. Have you ever felt so thirsty your throat felt like a sandy desert and your lips felt like baked earth? The only thing that can quench that type of thirst is water. When thirsty soda feels like cough syrup sliding down my throat, milk like cotton has filled my mouth, but water will satisfy. When I choose God as my cup, I decide God is where I find my greatest joy, fulfillment, and hope. And His well never runs dry. When life is dry, God is my cup. When storms rage, He is my thirst quenching drink. In the darkest nights after the longest battle He fills my cups to overflowing. And in the beautiful spring days, He is the water that allows me to enjoy the sun.

But too often I fill my plate with circumstances and run to the well of self to quench my thirst. I seek sustenance from what I think I want rather than what I know I need. I get spiritually fat, but malnourished and I wonder why I am un happy. All because I chose a portion and a cup other than the Lord. I trusted in myself, my emotions, my circumstances, my abilities rather than in the One who satisfies all my thirst and nourishes my soul.

How do I trust God with my life? I choose to make Him my portion and my cup.

Today I choose the Lord as my portion and cup. What do you choose?

 

 

Remembering the Fallen

Today we remember. We remember those who gave their lives for our country.

We remember men and women who volunteered or were drafted to serve.

People who gave their lives in service of their country.

How can we as a country say thank you to those who gave their lives? To their family left incomplete?

We can stop fighting each other.

Stop measuring our worth on color of skin, religious affiliation, or educational level.

Agree to disagree, compromise – which means give and take, not demand and pillage.

Let us give grace to each other understanding that everyone has a story, a secret pain, a broken dream.

May we be hard workers who seek to build up our country and not tear it down.

So may we never forget those who died that we may live free.

And may kindness be the way we honor the dead.

 
 
 
   
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