Day 7 – Trust

Do you trust in all that you see, hear and feel? I believe I do at times. Other times I begin to see that it is all so temporary and always changing.

15 “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. – 1 Chronicles 29:15-16

Today I am reminded to keep my eyes on eternity and not to be too distracted by the world around me. This will all fade away and be a distant memory. This is how I should be living every day.

I have been in a place of uncertainty and sadness these past few weeks. I have been wondering, wandering and struggling to understand. I know that God is at work and the He will never allow me to be brought anywhere other than where I am meant to be, but it has still been hard.

Tonight I was reminded that He is in control. He is so faithful and has brought all these “coincidence”s before me as a way of showing me that He is right there. This I know for sure. Today is the first day in a while that I have felt that peace sweeping over me. I was allowing anxiety to creep in where it does not belong.

I cannot say for sure that I will not be anxious over this again, but I can say that right now I am so thankful that Jesus is there for me. I am blown away by the way things all line up and point to Him. The timing of all things at once, from places that don’t seem to connect, and they all point to Him being in control.

My place in all this is to be obedient. Look for the work that is being done and trust in all the unknowns. Trust. Trust in the one who is eternal, not in the temporary things that are of this world. We are only passing through. This is not where we will land. This is not the end. This is the beginning.

Will I choose to get wrapped up and emotional over the things that will no longer be in the blink of an eye? No, I will choose to look past it all and see the bigger picture. I am a citizen of Heaven and a child of the Almighty Creator, the great I AM. He is for me in all things. He has protected me and guided me through so many things, how could I even think that He would not be in something so important to me?

His will is my focus. His plans are my desires. I crave to be lead by His Spirit, so why am I worried in the least?

Today I choose to trust more deeply. Today I choose to be thankful for the struggle so that I can grow in ways not possible otherwise. I lift it all up and lay it at the His feet. My Lord will always work my life to bring Him Glory and that is all that matters.

Day 6 – Connections

Today I am deep in thought about real human connections. Do you give it much thought? I don’t know that I generally do, outside of those I know and love on a regular basis. This article on a different view of drug addiction sparked my thoughts.

Reminded me of the same concept in the Bible.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:12

We are separate, yet we are one. Do I live this way? To a degree, I believe I do, but I can take it deeper. You will often hear me tell my children to be aware of those around them, to not pass judgement as we never know what their lives have been like, to be willing to give to another that is in need. Know that we are all human beings and are all dealing with the difficulties of this world. Some, so much more than we could ever imagine.

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? – 1 Corinthians 12:14-19

These verses apply to the body of Christ as the church. As believers we are one in Him. I ask that we look at all the human race this way. We are all children of God and He has created each and every human being on purpose. Many turn away and refuse to accept Him as He is, but that does not change the fact that they are meant to.

Can we look past ourselves, past the surfaces of the people before us and see that we are all connected? Can we see that we are meant to love one another? Can we stop causing unnecessary pain? Isn’t this life hard enough?

20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:20-27

Can we care for others in the same manner we care for ourselves? Better than we care for ourselves? Can we stop telling people that we don’t need them? Can we let go of that fierce independence we have come to envy in others? Do you see that needing another is not a weakness but a necessity? Don’t let past pains keep you from living the way we are meant to live. Keeping people out is not self-preservation, it is self-destruction.

Where can we start? With ourselves. Take the time to examine your own hurts, your own inability to trust, your biases and ask yourself why. Allow those old wounds to be healed. Let Jesus into your life so that He can shine light into those dark places, they are much less scary when He is by your side. Let that healing overflow and touch all those you come into contact with. Don’t fear what they will think or how weird it may seem. Let’s put all that aside and be real. Let’s function the way we are meant to.

Find a real connection today.

Day 5 – Surrender

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. … Genesis 22:2-14

Can you imagine surrendering to this degree? Am I the only one that reads this and flinches at the thought of out great Creator asking this of me? How would I respond? I am sure I would falter.

How can I have a faith as great as Abraham? How do I get to the point that I follow Him no matter what? How can I get past myself to that point? I know for sure that He always has my best interest at heart. So why do I waiver when I hear Him speak to my heart?

I am weak, I am emotional, I am so very human. This world blinds me, I am so easily distracted. The funny part is that so many will look at me and tell me how spiritual I am. Sure, I am always looking to deepen my relationship with Jesus, this does not take the challenges away.

The further I travel on the road Jesus lays before me, the harder and easier it becomes. It’s easier for me to know that He is with me always, it is easier to release the chains I have allowed for so long and it is easier to turn to Him in all things. The challenges are always right there too. I struggle moving forward at times. I struggle with the unknown and uncertainties when He is silent. I fight with my emotions as the cloud my sight and prevent me from hearing the Truth.

Surrender, oh how I want to surrender all.

Our Lord did not walk with the well respected of the times. He did not choose to teach those that had it all together. He chose to be side by side with those that fell short often. He looked past all that and looked right into their hearts. That is key. The heart is what He wants.

I lay it all out. I want to stop hiding when I struggle. I want to let it all out and not feel ashamed and self-conscious. My God knows my heart and that is all that matters. I cannot hold onto regret and shame, that only gets in the way of the work Jesus is doing in me. I must put my pride aside and care not what judgments man could bring. It matters not.

I surrender this life, this heart, this foolish girl turns it all over to You and You alone. I pray that the Holy Spirit fill me and to bring healing in the broken places. We all fall short and we all must extend the grace that is extended to us.

Day 3 – Perspective

Perspective is a funny thing. The lenses of life I choose to look through color everything I come into contact with. My perspective determines how I feel, act and comprehend. How do you perceive all you see?

I generally try to see all sides of a situation and have the ability to see other’s perspectives, for the most part. Although I may be able to gain a perspective other than my own, my own still gets in the way. I still struggle with letting go and accepting other’s points of view without trying to get them to see mine. Do you struggle with this too?

I also find that there are times when I am unable to gain a proper perspective and then assume that the person next to me cannot either. An example that comes to mind is a conversation I had with a few ladies the other day. We were commenting on being the passenger of a vehicle in the rain while the driver is not using the wipers as we would. I have experienced this with my husband so many times. It makes me nervous. I can’t see out of my window, why aren’t you using the wipers right now? How could you possibly see? He will assure me that he can see fine and asks me to just trust him. I squirm at times! But really, why do I need to see? I am just the passenger, I have no control over the vehicle we are in.

This reminds me of my relationship with Jesus. How often I have gone against His will for my life and chosen to take over the wheel, only to realize that He had it all under control and I should have just sat back and trusted in Him.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. – Psalm 139:13

I am here on purpose and with a purpose, this should be my daily perspective. God is in control and He will delivery me safely. I do not need to be able to see the road clearly at all times, I only need to trust.

The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

Much in the way that I need to trust that my husband will always keep me safe, I must trust that our Lord and Savior will that much more.

The roads we travel in this life can be full of strife, peril and uncertainty. I choose to look through the lenses that Jesus provides. The ones that allow me to see that God is in control. All I need to do is relax, sit back and buckle up. When the road gets rough and I can’t see what lies ahead, I can rest in the knowledge that I am safe, I am loved, I am protected. There is no need to fear the unknown. Is anything ever really known?

Choose to see your day today as a journey for Christ. Let Him lead your way and show you the reasons you are here in this place this very moment.

 

Today I Pray

Today I pray for me

Today I bring myself before You and ask that You uproot the sin that is wrapped so deep within. I am reminded that it is there when it creeps out in those weak moments and I hate it so.

I am not really aware of what I need to let go of now, but I do know that You will show me if I would only let You. Only I can release this garbage that lays below the surface, but I don`t know how. I don`t know where. I beg for You to show me. I pray that I be still long enough to hear and see where the works needs to take place.

I trust You. You are so good to me, more than I deserve. You have walked me through such places before and I came out a lighter, kinder and healthier me. I fear nothing for You are everything.

Digging deeper is painful, messy and exhausting, but it is worth it and I am ready. I lay it all down at Your feet, Jesus. You know exactly what I need, You know exactly what lies deep within me, You are able to heal those dark places and I surrender them to You.

I choose to release the guilt, the shame and the anger that has been festering. Not only are these feelings useless, but they take up much more space than I am even aware of. This space could be filled with love, peace and kindess. These spaces are meant to be filled with You.

I pray that You forgive me for holding onto these wounds  for so long. I pray that You would forgive my anxieties and unbelief, my mistrust. That`s really what it is, isn`t it? My lack off faith keeps my from giving it all up. My lack of trust, my fear of facing what lie in that deep, dark well of past pains.

I have seen and done horrible things in my short time on this earth, but You have loved me through it all. Thank You. Thank You for not giving up on me, even when I did. I am Yours and that is all that matters. I have made all that ammendsamends that I can make and will do so again if the opportunity comes, now it is time to release it all. Now it is time to get back to who I am meant to be.

I want to shed this heavy cloak of guilt, shame and uncertainty. I want to live in the freedom You have so graciously given me. I want to walk light, peacefully and confident in all that You offer. Today I invite You into the places that hold me down. Today I pray for me and know that You will always show up for me.

It is Time

I must allow myself to cry, as much as I hate to. This is part of the release that must take place. I must let go, I must feel, I must allow You into those secret places. Those secret places that were never truly secret. You were there, You are there, You know those places better than I.

Tears are cleansing, my sobs are those of a woman giving up her control. Control that I never had.

You are so kind to me. You were there when the wounds were inflicted. You were there when I sealed those places shut, vowing to never go there again. You told me that I needed to allow them to heal, I chose to walk away instead. I fooled myself into thinking that I was alright the way I was.

You blew it all away. You showed me just how hurt I am. You showed me that it is ok to be me. You held me close while I faced those horrors from long ago. You are so kind and gentle.

I thought You would look away. I thought You would turn from me. I forget who You are.

You are the Creator of this world. You knew me before You created me in my mother’s womb. You knew who I would be and the errors I would make, yet You gave me this gift of life anyway.

I hear the lies inside my head, the whispers that tell me that You will never love me the same once You know. Yet You know, You always knew. You are nothing like me. You never waiver, You never change, You ARE Love and Grace.

Why did it take me so long to bring this before You? Why did I hold on to this poison so tightly? Why would I choose this pain and suffering over You?

Let this guilt subside, let this pain be felt in it’s fullest, let the healing begin. It is time.

Thank You Jesus.

Where do you come from guilt?

As I begin to delve into this guilt I deal with, I wonder where it comes from. My feelings of inadequacy certainly play a part. Past pains I have endured and caused. Feeling like I have to be everything to everybody. Generally speaking, I believe my high standards play a significant role in my guilt.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

So I take this before Jesus and ask Him what his standard is. How do I measure up Lord? How do I please You, for that is truly all that matters. When I am focused on pleasing Yahweh, the rest follows and my burden is lifted. This I can testify to and long to do more.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

When I allow myself to be consumed by guilt and anxiety, I am to confess it to Jesus. He forgives me and cleanses me. This is permanent! He does not keep a list of past failures to remind me of. So why do I?

Today I will take the time to sit down and make the list of failures I still hold onto. Once I feel like I am done, I will bring them before Jesus and ask Him to wash them away. I must repent and allow Jesus to cleanse me of these burdens I am not meant to bare. I must release these to our Lord so that He can break the chains. I must give them up in order for Him to take them away. I need to be willing to release and to accept the healing that Jesus offers. If I don’t take the first step, if I don’t allow the space, I will be stuck right where I am.

Our God is a wonderful God. He will not force anything and waits for us to go before Him with our messes. Today I will pour out all the guilt and shame I carry each day. Today I accept the promise of Jesus and lay it all down before Him. Today I ask Him to replace the guilt withe the joy, peace and love that He offers. I beg for the exchange to take place in the deepest parts of me.

Will you allow him to work in your hearts today? Will you dare to lay it all down for Him to take away? Will you give God the space to work miracles in you?

Let’s walk in this together.

Guilt Free Living

Each year I find that I grow in one or two major areas at most. This seems to be my growth pattern over the past few years. This year I am feeling a focus in the following areas:

Guilt Free Living and Freedom in Christ.

Let me elaborate a bit on each of these.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

– Romans 3:23

Guilt. Oh that dreaded guilt that creeps in so easily when I am not paying attention. Guilt comes in many forms and I am so susceptible! I experience the dreaded mommy guilt, the wife guilt, the employee guilt, christian guilt, and so on. What I am beginning to see is that guilt is useless. Feeling guilty does not motivate me, it generally tires me out as I am battling it in the midst of trying to accomplish goals.

At this point in my life, I am choosing to recognize the guilt as it sneaks up on me, and stop it from tainting my life. I am not responsible for other people’s happiness. I am not responsible when people I care about fail. I am not going to take other people’s failures  on as my own. I am not going to beat myself up for my own failures. I am going to accept each day as it is and loosen my expectations and standards. I sin and I fall short, this is part of the human condition and I need to accept that before I can move on.

This way of thinking brings me right into the Freedom in Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

I believe in Jesus and I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I am free in Him. I can stand firm and weather the storms of life. I need to accept His never ending love and grace as my own. I am at a point where I am seeing where I am still allowing bondage. I am not walking free in Him. I may have moments where I get a taste of that freedom and it is so sweet. I know it’s there, I can see it, I can feel it. When I close my eyes I can be in it. God is so good.

The time has come, I must walk in this freedom each and every day. This is not an obligation, but a wonderful gift that I let remain unwrapped. A gift that my Lord has handed to me and I thank Him for it each day while it sits there, unused and collecting dust. I believe that I hold myself unworthy of this gift and while that is true, it is not for me to deem myself so. Jesus came to save each of us and I will not turn from that.

Society, culture, expectations, these things all get in my way. I want to deepen my reliance on Yahweh and lessen the outside world’s influences.

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

– Galatians 1:10

These are the goals that sit on my heart right now. I want to follow Jesus completely and not allow the world we walk in to distract me. I no longer want to be filled with doubt and anxiety. I choose Jesus.

I invite you all to join me on this journey and would love to hear from you in regards to the areas you struggle most in. We are here to lean on and learn from each other.

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!

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.