Must.

I must remember. . .

There’s always an invitation for more.
Christ is constantly speaking.  The question is am I paying attention?  Can I even hear Him?  Or am I running around this life trying to fill my pockets with Jesus, while my heart needs filling?  Life in Christ equals a constant invitation to walk with Him.  Literally walking in His word, living life with the Son of the Most High abiding in my heart.  There’s always a chance for me to believe, accept, surrender . . . to start over.  There’s always room for more in Him.  More faith, love, hope, joy.

Obedience. 
It’s a daily decision.  It’s daily submission.  Yes, obedience often seems like it carries more weight with the bigger sometimes tangible or visible things that I know come with consequences.  But it’s also reflected in my day to day choices of how I choose to live out the gospel in my life.  It’s in my kind word instead of sarcasm.  It’s in my compassion instead of self-righteousness.  It’s remembering prayer is my intimate communication with the Light of my life.

Faith is a muscle! 
It has to be exercised in the tiny, small, medium and large parts of my life.

must remembre

Psalm 56:3 – Photo Credit-LucyRose

And yeah, even the huge things like during a pandemic lockdown.  I have to trust that God still sits on the throne!  I have to proclaim this truth over and over upon my heart, my mind.  Then take steps to incorporate these truths into my daily life.  Exercising, my faith.  Otherwise, like the Israelites, I will lend my heart to other idols in a foolish attempt to secure the future.

 

One Day.
Today, this moment, me writing, it’s a gift!  It’s never guaranteed.  It deserves a happy dance.  It deserves a round of applause.  It deserves a THANKS BE TO GOD!  I can’t see tomorrow and I’m grateful.  Because all my best laid agendas and plans could still NEVER measure up to those of I AM.   So because one day is what I AM gives, it’s what I am going to choose to make the very best with and honor Him with.

Sovereignty.
I thought I understood what it meant.  Maybe I did.  But perhaps I didn’t know what it meant to cling to God’s sovereignty until this pandemic?  It means total supreme power, or authority.  It means that no one holds any cards, no one exerts their authority over God’s.  God reigns supreme, holding all authority, even over the things that I do not understand.  It includes all the hard, heart breaking moments too.  His authority isn’t out done by anything man does.

Isn’t that awesome?

What must you remember?

 

Need. Must.

I need to remember. . .

I don’t know about you but I am having a hard time.  I’ve been waking up, feeling  refreshed, dare I say, in a relatively good mood.  But it fades, fast. As soon as I look in the mirror, I remember that COVID-19 is still our current reality.   It often feels like a dream, on repeat.  When I remember it’s not a dream, it all comes crashing down.  My heart reliving the last 6 weeks in a matter of minutes.  And then some how I try to have a good day.  Yeah, right.

These very moments make it challenging to sit, savor and want to remember.  I often think about having some type of DELETE button inside my heart.  Or a magical eraser?  It could instantaneously erase selected memories, ease the emotional heaviness that has remained.  Doesn’t it feel good when you delete all those annoying spam emails?  A voice note or voice mail that you’re done with?  Or the text you just don’t want to look at anymore?  Sometimes I long for that kind of POWER emotionally.  But then I remember, there are some hard things that I NEED to remember.  I may not want to but for this life right now, for me to continue on this journey…  There is just stuff that I (we) need to remember.

Some of these things are big, some of them are tough. . . Regardless, I need to remember:

Time is fleeting.  You’d think I get this but, no, I don’t have eternity on this side of heaven to appreciate life.

God is in control.  Not, the “powers” that be.  God and God alone.

“It’s Gospel in Life, It’s Your Life in the Gospel.”  I deeply want to come out of this “season” changed from the inside out. But this is a daily process, not a checklist I can manipulate and claim glory.

All God asks me, is to Love Him with all my heart, my soul, mind and strength.  With all of this time on my hands to think, I can get very “caught up” in making plans and then get very frustrated when my plans aren’t coming together.  God isn’t asking me to rescue humanity… He’s asking me to share the message that there is more, there is Hope, show His love, through my life, as I passionately live for Him.

There is power in prayer. There is something about getting on my face before God, surrendering, over and over again.  There is life changing power in prayer when I lay down my agenda in exchange for His.

Perfection isn’t my goal This isn’t a contest.  I’m not in competition with anyone. And I don’t have anything to prove, not even to myself.  In Christ, I am worthy.  When I succeed, when I fail – who God is doesn’t change.  My imperfection isn’t a deal breaker, He is faithful.  His love remains.

It’s ok to cry.  Sometimes it’s best, to cry.   Holding in all of the anxiety, fear and frustration doesn’t make me better!  God welcomes me as I am…

Community is necessary for myself and others.  I need others to reach out to me, I need to reach out to others.  I was made to be a part of a community.

need to remember

Photo credit: Petra Kim

Even though the world seems upside down and topsy turvy, there is still one whom I can fully rely on… Even in COVID-19, He is still higher than I.

What do you need to remember?

 

Want. Need. Must.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself,
“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NIV)

I want to remember . . .

So my job is pretty isolated in itself.  Depending on the day there can be some interaction to none.  I have plenty of time to myself – so to speak.  But there’s nothing like a pandemic and lockdown to get your thoughts rolling!

I have thought about A LOT.  I’ve spent some time thinking about two sets of people in the Bible, the Israelites that wandered in the desert for 40 years and the Disciples.   I think about how the (Old Testament) Israelites, had the pillar of fire and cloud that led them along their journey.  And (New Testament) Disciples walked with Jesus along His journey to the Cross.  Both pretty amazing journeys, no?  And while the Israelites and Disciples had entirely different circumstances they had quite a bit in common.  For starters, their experiences were life changing and had a bit of a “remembering” problem.

When I first read about the Israelites and their journey, I find myself really frustrated with them.   I question their choices.  I question their ability to REMEMBER.  I question Moses!  I question God.  At first glance, their journey seems super redundant and pointless.  But when I dig deeper.  When I don’t read about them as “the wanderers of the desert”, and I attempt to take off my “I would have known better” hat . . .  I embrace them, and I acknowledge that I am often prone to wander, prone to get distracted, have been the rebel and have trouble remembering how God has seen me through.

I want to remember.

Reading about the Disciples and their journey, I find myself really frustrated with them too.   After all, you spent time with the Son of the Most High God.  I question their understanding and choices.  I question their ability to REMEMBER.  I question Jesus!  Just like with the Israelites, I pick a part their journeys.  But when I dig deeper, when I remember, I am no different from them, I am humbled.  I remember and I acknowledge, my deep need for the Savior.

I remember the Israelites lives were completely altered, as were the Disciples.  Lives changed forever.  Pretty, glorious, no?

Because this is an unpredictable time, I feel like my mind is often tempted to push all the hard moments aside.  To run up ahead and plan the “what’s next after this” phase.  But when I try to. . .  I am confronted with the hard truth that I have no idea what comes next!  I can’t even try to put a picture together.  So maybe, just maybe I need to sit in it.  Remember.  Savor.

I want to remember . . .

The lament, loss and suffering of weeks 3 and 4
To walk close with Jesus because I can’t wait for Sunday
There needs to be real fruit growing in my life
To engage with others more lovingly and sincerely
Not to be hot and then cold
Balance isn’t my goal
Asking for heart transformation
Lockdown
Letting go
Forgiving
The time with my husband and children
The things I am learning about myself, family and friends
God’s presence and peace during a time of heightened uncertainty
Walking with God is life long and He’s in the process of changing me . . .

I long to walk out of this “time”, changed.  For all of my relationships to be marked in a way that shows love has been here, forgiveness mended that gap there and kindness rekindled hard hearts.  I want God to use me as a tool to share His message of Hope and Salvation.

What do you want to remember?

What if? What, if?! What, if – NOT.

I’m behind on my posts.  I needed a minute, to process.  To, try, to process.  It all happened way, way, too, fast.  Pretty sure I have not fully processed any of this but I needed to get it on paper, out of my head.  So many thoughts, some of which I am still working through, others that are ready to be shared, so here goes.

I’ll start off with my five minute rollercoaster of what if?  Do you have one?  Mine is absolute torture, and I go on it again and again.  It goes like this . . .

What if?  What, if this . . .

What if?  What, if that . . .

Oh, my God, what if this takes over?

And I ride this rollercoaster again and again until – my faith is shaken.

Except it turns out riding the rollercoaster of WHAT IF during a pandemic is 100xs worse than while contemplating a job relocation!!!!

Anxiety and fear polishing themselves onto each and every thought. Attempting to paralyze me.  Anxiety and fear trying to taunt me, they whisper softly “come on, come wrestle with us,’ what if . . . you win this time?'”.

Let’s be clear – the mission set against me – is to dismantle me, to unanchor me.  This isn’t a friendly invitation!  Don’t mistake their subtlety.  The longer I’m on the rollercoaster the more rattled I become, my knees start to shake and then I remember, I can get off the rollercoaster!

But what, next?  This hysteria is justified, right?  What do, I do?  What I am experiencing 24242is justified, to-a-degree.  Yep.  That’s right to-a-degree.  Why?  Because while my anchor may shift during this pandemic there is ONE who is NOT moved. And what do I know about Him?  And when I ask this question,  I mean it as a prompt for you to ask yourself the same.  What do YOU know about God?  In your journeying with God, how have you seen Him act, move?  What do YOU personally know about God that you can use as truth stepping stones to stand on at this time?

What do I know about God?*

He’s faithful. 
Rescuer.
Incomprehensible.
Sovereign.

This is who I have experienced God to be.  And it was in the hardest seasons that I saw Him demonstrate with complete authority and power that He is these things.  So if I take all of these attributes of God to heart, when the rollercoaster of What if calls “All aboard!”, I am presented with a choice.  Do I board, or do I say “what if, NOT!”

I want to be transparent, there are days when this choice is easier than others!  The good news is that God is always there, even when I’ve been riding the rollercoaster so long that I can’t move.  He hears my heart and knows how to help me off the ride – Glory to God!

Before I had any experience with anxiety an old friend shared some thoughts . . . “It’s a cruel game we play against ourselves.  Because no matter what set of what ifs our minds come up with, in the very next second there will be another what if to counter-attack the one before.  You’ll never win.  What we forget when we play this game is that it’s not about answering the question “what if?”, its coming up with a method of control.  And we lose because we fail to accept, we were never in control in the first place”.

And isn’t that truth?  It’s a lie I find myself believing time and time again.  There is only ONE who is in control.  Only one, who is FAITHFUL, MIGHTY TO SAVE, SOVEREIGN.

I encourage you to reflect on who you know God to be.  Stand firm in your faith.
Connect with others.
Renew your mind with the Word of God.
Pray often.
Keep your eyes fixed on the ONE who is not shaken!  He is the King of the World.

Grace & Peace,
Susanne

*Send Network (Foundations/KnowingGod/AttributesofGod)

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t exist

When I was around 10 years old, I had a big time crush on this guy who hung out with my cousin and also attended the same school.  It was senior year of junior high for him. Goodness.   He was at least 4 whole years older than me and oh my, this crush was deep, hahaha!  But I swooorrreee, I would give him a Valentine’s day card and he would swoon over me too. I won’t lie and tell you I expected a full on relationship because to be truthful I had no idea back then what a full on relationship would even entail. I think I just hoped and envisioned that he would receive my Ice cream cone shaped Valentine’s day card and be overjoyed that round, 4-eyed me was totally over the moon for him and he would just shower me with some attention.  A smile.  A wink.  A quick hello as he passed the halls.  Something!

So imagine me waiting, gasping as my cousin passed him my Valentine’s day card and he blushed!!  He was smiling!  He was flattered.  I was elated!  But then just as quickly as that elation came, some eighth-grade girl passed by, caught his attention and I am pretty sure my card was ended up on the floor for others to trample on – or – worst – read!

sadness2I was totally DEFLATED.  I had all these hopes, dreams, expectations -hahahaha. The guy didn’t even say thank you.  I crumbled, right there in the cafeteria.   I went from being in a state of euphoria to the character “Sadness” from the movie Inside Out.

I chuckled remembering that moment from ions ago. But if I dissect it a bit, there are some dots I can connect to a habit that even 10 year old, 4-eyed me had!

First things first this whole thing of setting or having unrealistic expectations – ugh.  But second and the driving force of this blog post – grieving something that didn’t exist, that’s a bit of a problem.

Have you grieved something that didn’t exist?

Just take a second and think about it.  Let me ask it another way, did you ever cry about something to later realize there was more to it than just said offense?

Alright, alright, let’s take it a step further, what about a dream? Did you ever grieve over a dream not coming true?

Recently I found myself grieving over something that didn’t exist. I didn’t realize it at first. It wasn’t until I was in full wallowing mode (Sadness, totally deflated again), that I kind of felt a nudge.  Said nudge said something like “hey, ummm this is pretty sad and all but what are you really grieving about? No, really?” I had to take a moment to dissect my thoughts. What was I really grieving? Because when I laid it all out, just like the 10 year old girl who swooned over the soon to be freshman … there was nothing really ever on the other side of that crush.  It was all – just me swooning and handing out cute ice cream cone shaped Valentine’s Day cards.  Haha.

Fast forward to present day – I was grieving, but I wasn’t grieving over what I had lost, because I didn’t lose anything.  I was sad and grieved over losing what I had hoped for. Very different.  When did things shift for me? When did I start making more of this – than it really was?

Legitimate questions I think we can all relate to.  Especially if we’re talking about a dream, never mind my 10 year old crush.  What happens when a dream becomes a reality but it isn’t quite realized?  How do we cope with that?  And how do our hearts know when they’ve created loyalty to a false idea?

I don’t have the answers.  What I can and will share, gaining perspective was helpful.  While asking myself what exactly was I grieving over felt silly, it gave me the opportunity to explore my sadness and disappointment further.  It didn’t take away my need to grieve but it did help me understand more fully what I was experiencing.

A hope, I had, died.  In this particular instance, this hope as it stood, could not and would not be resurrected.  (And trust me, we totally tried to revive it.)  But with the death of it went all of my “ideas and hopes for more”.  I bought into the idea that if I gave it enough of a platform surely my loyalty in time would pay off; allowing it to dictate my choices, I expected loyalty in return.  I had created this idea that didn’t exist, I had exchanged the truth for a lie.

Funny how our hearts can do this?  (Jer. 17:9). If I go back and stroll through memory lane, I can see all the red flags, now.  Any loyalty I received was fickle, temporary and time surely revealed this.  So what then?  Do I never hope, never dream again?  Honestly, I know that can’t be true, God didn’t create me that way.  But there are lessons I am still learning.  Attaching expectations is just what I do, often, unknowingly, even at 10 years old.  No blame, no guilt in that.  But I can, and have deceived myself more times than I care to admit.

Heart checks, motive checks, these are important on any journey.  It might be helpful to have a few of these along the way,  nothing like a friend who can pop in and keep you accountable, right?

After all, I was created with the purpose of Worship.  I was created to long for and be in communion with God.  It actually seems pretty typical of my human nature to take something as innocent as a dream and turn it into something to worship. . .  I need to be careful.   Otherwise, I could find myself again, dedicating energy, time and sowing my life into something that doesn’t exist.

 “Indeed, if left to themselves our hearts will tend to create a God that doesn’t exist.”
Tim Keller 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yield.

yield1Yielding isn’t something I do naturally.  I would say I don’t know how, but that’s not truthful.  I know how, I just prefer not to.  And when I have yielded, its always half way.  Ha!  I will figure a way around it. It’s funny, but not funny, not really.  Because if God is asking me to yield, there should be some reverence that should deter me, enable me to do so.  But yielding, even to God, doesn’t come easy.

I do not know how to not fix a situation, circumstance, etc.  So, imagine God asking me not to move. Not to act. To yield, and watch.  For 10 whole months.  10 months!  10 months! Oh my friends, the longest 10 months – eva!  I wish, oh how I wish,  I spent those 10 months confident, expectant for what God was going to do!  But I didn’t.  I spent them fighting a variety of battles and anxiously waiting for God to give me the go ahead to DO SOMETHING.  I know, I need Jesus and a clue!  As if God needs me to DO ANYTHING.

Towards the latter, latter end, I finally caught on. God didn’t need me – at all. He was going to do what He was going to do and I was graciously given an opportunity to sit, watch, trust and pray!   I was given an opportunity to deepen my faith, to grow.

God wasn’t asking my 2 cents. He wasn’t waiting for my blue prints, nor was He waiting for me to get a clue. It took me a while but I finally got it one night. God was working. My time table wasn’t His.  God was at work, during our season of tough transitions, in our hearts, and in my home. God was preparing each of us.

What I didn’t know during those 10 months was that change was coming and I was going to need more of Him. I was going to need to know His voice. I was going to need those quiet mornings of just Him and I.  So I could learn to lean in, start to trust Him with the unseen.  I was going to need that bible study to toil my heart.  I needed 10 months to yield to His Holy Spirit, let Him come in and do the work of crushing idols in my heart. Most of the time I was so concerned about what needed to be done that I didn’t see what God was doing in me!

10 months of  yielding to God, the Holy Spirit and His plan allowed me to grow in a way I had been unable to do for sometime.  It was hard.  It was intense and it was pretty beautiful in retrospect.  Certainly goes up there some of the others as a “hard season”.  Oh, hard heart work is worth it! And I type that with tears of gratitude.  It was painful. I could write you a different picture, one that reads more picturesque but that’s not what I’ve committed this blog to.

Yielding required s o m e t h i n g s ~

a commitment to trust. . .
trusting that God was at work, even when NOTHING WAS HAPPENING! I had to have faith that despite things staying the same, God was working . . .

discipline. . .
yeah, this was hard. I had to discipline my heart and mind. I had to discipline myself to literally push out all of the other voices and suggestions to act or move on my own behalf – you know “make stuff happen”.  This wasn’t automatic.  This was day to day discipline.  It took time to find myself in His presence asking for the strength to sit still.

better decision making. . .
Selective. I took a step back. I decided that yielding meant watching God do his work which meant I would not push, shove, or suggest, haha.  I tested this. Any time I acted out of turn I was hitGrunge landscape with single tree with nothing but a brick wall! And yes I got hit with the brick wall more than once.  I reserved my thoughts, opinions and learned to carefully make decisions based on how God was leading me, versus me leading myself.

learning to quiet my heart. . .
I had a few post it notes randomly placed that said “just stop talking”.  I learned that it was better if I didn’t verbally share all that was in my heart.  I submitted to only speaking and sharing what was most edifying.  Why?  Because God asked me to yield, which meant anytime I wasn’t selective and/or forgot what yielding meant, I was met with a circling war of words.  Ever have one of those?  Where every time you try to get your point across, they don’t get?  And you end up having the same “discussion” for hours?  Yeah that s when my “just stop talking” post its went up!  Clearly, I tested this one too!

The 10 months came to a close, I confess I expected something else. Maybe some grand ending, maybe some fireworks.  In the midst of battles won, hard decision making and disappointments realized, there was Christ’s peace.  The kind of peace that acknowledges the hardships but anchors my soul.

Yielding, learning to heed the voice that says “wait, wait for Me. Trust me I’ve got this! This too, is for your good”.  Hardest and yet deepest, 10 months, ever.   It really matters how we wait.

Will you incline your ear, your heart as you seek the King of Glory?  Will you eagerly accept His invitation to take the reins of whatever you’re facing and watch Him work?

 

 

 

 

Armed!

No.  No, you may not dismantle me.

In my recent posts, I have mentioned battling anxiety and fear.   I have done so with an attempt to become comfortable seeing it on paper.

Conversations about anxiety and fear still aren’t the most popular topics in my circles.  Hence why I am writing.  But they are real enemies of our souls.  And not discussing them gives them more power. It says I’m ashamed and I’m afraid.  Both are lies fed to me by fear.

Anxiety and fear have been prevalent this season, making themselves comfy and participants of my day to day life.  Before I knew it these enemies of my soul were taking up too much space in my mind and heart and I was starting to feel like their prisoner.

One afternoon while talking with a friend about her own struggles with anxiety, I remembered my own that week.  It started off with innocently being frightened by one thing, but ended up escalating, becoming all consuming until it turned into a huge snowball.   It’s goal?  Knock me off my feet, bury me.  What came to my mind as I remembered was what – I said out loud “No, no you will not pick me apart.  No.  No, you may not dismantle me”.

Our experiences may vary, for me it includes becoming really frustrated with myself.  I start off with I should know better, shoulda did this that and the other – all with a meager attempt at eradicating these enemies.  I want it done instantaneously, poof be gone.  I’ve learned that’s not quite effective.   I have often played the blame shifting game as I’m buried under that snowball.   But when do I reflect on the power found at the foot of Cross?

For a while I’ve looked at these battles with the wrong lens. I’ve been looking with the “me lens”,  I’ve got to handle this on my own, I’ve gotta get grip on this or else.  So that day when I could actually verbalize a response to the snowball forming to bury me, prompted me to remember some truths.

Truth?  There is no shame that Jesus Christ did not redeem on the Cross.  And there is no anxiety or fear that Christ has not overcome.  So if that is the truth I believe, then with all the power and conviction that comes to me as a believer, I can humbly expect for Christ to meet me as I confront these enemies.

Truth?  Christ overcame it ALL. There is nothing out of His reach, including my brokenness.  I am free to go to Christ with all of my anxieties and fears in and through prayer.  He will meet me there.

Truth? Christ has not left me armor-less (Ephesians 6:10-18).  The response “No you may not dismantle me” conveys the message no, you cannot snowball me, you cannot knock me off this Rock.  I’m armed!  Truly, “greater is He that lives in me than he that is in the world”.

Truth? This isn’t a solo mission.  When I look at these battles with a “gospel lens” (Beyond Duct Tape, Shari Thomas and Tami Resch), I can see that Christ walks with me.  Christ doesn’t walk away when anxiety and fear wage their war against me; He REMAINS.  I’m not alone.  The battle has already been won!

You and I – we aren’t fending for ourselves, our Great Defender  – has already overcome.

Crossing Over

“I  dreamt I was a little girl again. 
I was standing near a bridge that crossed
over a large stretch of water.  
He was right there beside me.   
He walked ahead of me, turned back
and
extended His Hand. 
It was an invitation. 
Cross over? 
Could I trust Him
to cross over with me?”

By:  L.R.

Her dream was about trusting God, embracing Love, walking with Him into a new season of her life.  She shared about wrestling with the idea that God would walk alongside her.  What would that feel like?  How hard would it be?  Could she trust Him?

Change, transitions, they’re hard.  Trusting, it’s a choice.  I could relate to her struggle and questions.  Our adventure had come to an end.  I had NO idea what on Earth God had up next.   I don’t know why, but I didn’t expect God to show up, at least not that quickly, and I didn’t expect Him to invite me anywhere . . . any time soon.  I confess, I think I thought well, “You’re done with us for a while now”.  But weeks later, change was coming for us, an invitation.

This made me consider, why?  Why did I think I knew God so well that I could anticipate His next move?  Silly.  Why did I think God was “done with us” and would leave us “here”.  Disappointment has a way of seeping in and making everyone and everything fit into the category of “well that’s a loss”.  So grateful that – that isn’t how looks at all my disappointments.

God’s invitation made me pose the question, “do I even want to cross over?”  I mean being transparent here, I just finally got a rhythm going!  Cross over?  Now?  Really?  I had just gotten comfortable.  I told myself, “Don’t rock the boat! Remember last time?! That transition was down right hard.  Painful.  Remember there were tears, there was frustration.”  Ah, yes, there was a Glorious mess!

That change, transition . . .  challenged my stale faith, tried me, tested me, made me shed tears, melting a very numb heart and led me to my knees.  Ah, yes, there was a Glorious mess!  It led me to a deeper walk with Jesus.

For weeks it seems I’ve been studying Peter.  Peter wanted more.  Peter wanted out of the boat.  Peter wanted to test “it” out.  Peter, wanted, more.  Peter took a step and got out of the boat onto the water.  And yes, Peter gets scared, but our Lord, Jesus, acknowledges Peter’s disbelief and rescues him, again.

Am I like Peter?  Do I want to test His hand?  Test that He is there?  Test that He is Who He says He is?  Am I daring enough to do so?  Or do, I just want to stay in the boat?

I want, more.  I want to cross over.  I want to leap!  I want to go running.  But fear washes over me like an assault.  But I know Jesus conquered fear too!  It has no real power or hold on me.  I know that if I can just take the step of faith – He will grab my hand.

There something that happens when you decide to trust, and follow Him.  Your teeth clench a bit.  Your knees may even shake a bit.  Hands sweaty.  Heart racing.  But Oh, His steady gaze is on me.  His grip on my life, steadying me.

I can trust Him, He and I – we’ll cross over together.

How about you?  Will you get a hold of His hand and . . . Trust Him?

“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.  Night fell while he was there alone.  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from and, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.   About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”  But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”  “Yes, come,” Jesus said.  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.   Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”  When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.”  (Matthew 14:23-32, NLT)

it’s different now

itsdifferentnow

Are you a risker taker?  I’m not naturally a risk taker. That’s firmly not who I am. Part of that is upbringing and the other is fear. So 50/50.  In my family growing up, we weren’t afforded the “chance” that things might work out.  So if we couldn’t see the bottom or if the odds looked too vague, we played it safe, 24/7. This isn’t a bad way to live. But can you see how it can be challenging faith wise?

What about short term memory loss?  Me? No way! Myopia, sure, but not short term memory loss. Hmmmm. Wait. That might not be 100% accurate. How about selective short term memory loss? Because every heartache I can recount to you in an instant, but all the ways God’s been faithful, even, when the odds were against me? That takes me longer to remember.  You?

 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.   – Matthew 16:25

Eyes Opened
I used to quite casually quote that verse to my friends.  And then I entered a different season and it became evident to me it was time to live it out.  Very different from quoting and reading.

I was very used to living “my way”.  Never wanted to take risks. Quite accustomed to making decisions from a place of fear.  Definitely needing the option to be able to back peddle should I no longer see the destination ahead!  How I lived and who I lived for – was very different from what I thought.  The value of things. The value of the people in my life.  The value of my life – it collided and needed change.

I presume we all go through this in some fashion or another.  It took time.  Pieces had to come together.  Things had to be brought to the surface, I needed to see my life, my priorities, choices.

Fear and praying
What does it look like to not pray from a place of fear?  Does that exist? At the end we’re all vulnerable in some way shape or form.  Why do we only fervently pray when we are afraid?  Fear is crippling.  It attempts to paralyze.  Funny, the scariest moment of my life I could not pray, for days!  But oh how the Spirit did over and over and over again in a song that uttered the words I never, ever could . . .

“I lay me down, I’m not my own
I belong to you alone, Lay me down . . .
Hand on my heart, This much is true
There’s no life apart from you
Lay me down, Lay me down
It will be my joy to say
Your will, your way
Always”

Lay Me Down – Chris Tomlin

So it’s different now. Don’t get me wrong, I still suffer with myopia. And sometimes I do wish I didn’t see as clearly as I do – ha! But the gain of living this life for Christ and not myself – that’s worth it. I’m still not ok with making random choices, but I do know that they are and will be necessary to keep me moving.

A firm foundation
During my most worrisome moments, I am confronted with the chance to leap into the firm foundation in Christ.  Or I can run over and over and over again through my 100 ways it all ends.

In the past I used to make this complicated.  Make it all about where I should be, who, what, name all the reasons why the firm foundation seemed too far.  LIES.   And if I stay believing the lies, it alters how I see and engage with Christ.  I’ll never really experience Christ’s firm foundation, His love, real Grace.  I’ll always cheat myself out of one of the amazing gifts of this relationship, redemption.  This firm foundation found in Christ is way closer than we think.  Whether we’re  stepping, jumping or like me, leaping there  . . .  it’s not to far!  Because . . .

Christ will NOT let me fall!

Christ will NOT let you fall!

Christ will NOT let us fall!

So, when my fears are all surrendered, then I leap into the firm foundation that’s found in Christ.  Why? Because He can be trusted. I’ve seen His goodness and so have you.

A song that came to mind as I got this blog post ready . . .

 

Outta the Box

I had this repetitive prayer for my husband years ago.  It was something like “Lord would you surround him with men who love You, who want to serve You, men who think outta the box. . . men with a vision and love for You that goes beyond what we have experienced thus far.”

First, you should know, God answered that prayer, and whoa what an adventure that was!  Second, take a minute to consider how I prayed this prayer for my husband specifically, and now, take in a little truth about me.  I prayed that prayer for years but not once was I brave enough to pray that same prayer for myself.  I also never considered how God answering that prayer for my husband, would change our lives. Crazy right?  What did I expect, exactly?  My husband’s life would changed and it never affect me?  Food for thought about how we pray for others and ourselves.

We’re just wrapping up an adventure, quite a magnificent one too!!  It didn’t turn out how I expected, it exceeded my expectations and left me in awe.   Never did I imagine how God would take our yes, itty bitty plans and break outta the box I neatly placed Him in.

Have you ever done that? Put God inside a box? Wo100possibilitiesrk through your circumstances and come out with 100 possible outcomes to which you think God will surely “adhere”, like THOSE are the ONLY POSSIBILITIES?

How did I place God in a box?  With . . .

My . . .
Thoughts.
Emotions.
Plans.
Realities.

But God, each and every time, broke outta the box.  I could have never anticipated the way my heart changed, the way our lives changed during this adventure.

Nothing looks the same.
I don’t feel the same.
I don’t hear the same.
I’m NOT the same.

God didn’t just answer a prayer for my husband, for his journey. But He answered a prayer for our lives.  God knew I would never be brave enough to pray that prayer . . . repetitiously for myself, or “us”.  He also knew we were desperate for change, His way was better, and we would all be transformed by it.

As you journey through 2020, as you make your plans, as you pray your prayers, be sure to leave room in your heart, your mind for God to answer you and break outta your box. Let’s not limit ourselves to what we think we know about God. And whatever plans we make, let’s be sure to use Pencil, far easier to erase!