Believe

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

If you have ever been on the hunt for an uplifting word from God, you’ve come across this verse.  I’ve seen it a million times and Love how it has always brought comfort that there is a light in the hard times, but have I really let it resonate?  Would we need it a million times if we soaked it in and meditated on it and truly heard what our Father is saying to us?

This morning I read this verse with fresh eyes. God has a plan for us. It is most assuredly the best plan for our lives. He makes it clear in the opening “For I know the plans I have for you.” This comes after Hananiah stands in the destroyed Jerusalem and proclaims it will be restored in two years.  Jeremiah know this is not truth from God. He is saying He knows the plan but we do not and we do not make the plan- especially not the best plan.

When things are clicking along and going well, my wheels start turning, and I start making big plans.  The thing is, that’s when everything turns in a different direction, and I find myself on my knees again crying out for direction and His plan. You would think I would learn, but humans are not so easily trained.  It takes a lot of hard work from everyone involved, which is why it keeps happening.

I’ve learned God is saying “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  He needs more than asking, though, He wants our fellowship.  We are going through times that teach us to rise above and truly seek Him so we stay in His plan.

Truly trusting God’s plan isn’t easy when your back is against the wall and more stuff just keeps coming. Take comfort in the fact, though, that you are not alone and His plan is better than any quick fix He can deliver that would cause an even bigger pitfall down the road.

Just as I was working through this verse I used to read so incorrectly, I came across this today, as well, and it felt like God was saying “Stop having a panic attack about this verse, because I will take care of you, girl.”

24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

Luke 12:24 NIV

He has a plan for us, it just isn’t ours and in our time, and thank goodness for that!

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He Made You That Way

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.”

I am part of a great community of believers.  They Love God, they pray hard and they do life together. If they were a cult, I’d prob sign up for a meal shift and make some clothes I adore these people so much.  We laugh cry and show up in pj pants to each other’s houses, no questions asked, which you know is a sign of true Love.

Lately, though, God has been calling me saying more can be done. It started as a whisper- maybe there is more that could be done?  What if we challenged ourselves to minister in this way?  What if we offered something to reach this group?  Why did we scrap that plan verses trying it long enough to let it build momentum?

God has stripped our small and close community to the bare bones as far as numbers lately, and I can’t figure out why, but I can feel Him. His presence is there. The spirit is saying “You each have a place and a specific gift to answer the call as a body, so do it!”

Being the opinionated nag I am, I have been sitting on my hands.  I firmly believe God has told me many times to stay silent, because everyone knows I speak up, and I have learned that sometimes I need to hear it from a more level headed point of view to decide that it is worth action.  I say this, because I tend to think EVERYTHING is worth action.  We ladies like our D-R-A-M-A.

Anywho!  So He’s been in my ear, and two weeks ago, it’s like the scales fell from my eyes.  I was in a worship service, one I actually attended to think through some work things from a Godly perspective and like lightening, He said He made me that way and He intended for me to use it for His kingdom!  Yes, He put an exclamation point on the end, I swear.

7 pages of notes later, I was on fire for change.  What does this mean?  It sounds like seven pages of notes is a fancy formulated plan…lies. This ADD hot mess has seven pages of God speaking that tomorrow night I’ll be communicating to a group from my community.  The pros like to call this casting vision, and would prob prepare more, but on a wing and a prayer, I’ll be sharing my crazy totally unmasked and my whole prayer is that God speaks instead of me. From big idea to who is praying for who, it’s all in there, and the fact that I heard Satan’s whispers for so long that it didn’t matter has me that much madder.  It all matters.  If it matters to one nonbeliever, then it should matter to me and to all of us as the body of Christ. All I care is that I can do that and walk away knowing I was completely faithful and doing as called.  That is truly my heart’s desire and one that I am so excited I feel!

My question to you as you read this, what has the enemy sold you on with untruth.  Have you given up on something you felt God lead you to do but failed initially?  Are you keeping it zipped, because you don’t want to rock the boat?

My prayer is that if this is the case, you’ll walk by faith into the deeper water with me.  We’ll cause a poop storm together, but we will stop sleepwalking and allow God to do through us what He envisioned us to do when He selected every particle of our being.  We are His and if we aren’t convicted to be good servants of His gifts, then are we truly His?

I’ll pray for you and you pray for me, and let’s go all be fearless.

Being Freed

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”

I had a beautiful bouncing baby last year.  She is the cutest, most sweet natured creature on this planet (very much unlike her sassy momma)!

There is nothing more joyful than the time nearing having a baby and its arrival.  This was my second, and I remember thinking life was perfect when my first came.  Work was great, we were ready and things were so exciting.

About two weeks before she came, I got a call.  She was fine, so trust me, I understand this is not a life or death issue before reading on. No comments about how I have first world problems, because I totally do! The call was from my biz partner.  We had a great few years, but this call was to let me know we were facing a precipice if things didn’t start to look up- that we were nearing the edge of a cliff.  Everything we had stock piled and stashed aside for growth and development was being drained out for operations and survival mode.

This, friends, is a big deal, because $$$ is where my anxiety lives. I had the rug pulled out from me in my teen years by a divorce and now, any time there is a financial risk, I assumer the worst and the fetal position at the same time. I am that girl who could base jump off a freaking cliff but ask me to look at the big picture of how much is coming and going, and I’d sooner base jump off that cliff without the parachute.

All of the sudden, all I could see was not the joy ahead, but the struggle, the unrelenting fear of a future.  Satan turned up the heat, too.  I was distraught, crying all the time (on top of the baby hormones).  Then I was angry.  Why was this special time being taken from me- ruined by the emotional and financial hardship?!  How could God allow this?

I wanted out and away fast, but God used everyone around me, including my husband to tell me that I wasn’t called to leave.  Every time I wanted to give up, I would see a verse or here the wisdom from someone else’s lips that I was made for more.

Philippians 3:13-14 “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The truth is, I kept wanting to believe God wanted me to quit, to walk away, but He wanted me healed.  He allowed things to burn, so that I could feel the fire and realize it wasn’t as hot as I thought, and that I would survive that most fearful and anxious place and be freed of it.  We’re still recovering, but we are moving forward.  God is showing me day by day to fight harder for bigger and better opportunities to work and serve Him, and I have never had so many ministry opportunities (what I always wanted) since I’ve walked through it.

The most beautiful part of this is, however, that He is freeing me through every trial.  I never understood the full scope of His work until I have walked this journey.  I still don’t complete understand and my faith still falters, but He told me very clearly He would deliver me, though every step would be a miracle to ensure He received the glory.  He is delivering on every count.

My daughter is getting the mommy she wouldn’t have had without this either.  Many years ago, a part of my joy was stolen.  He is restoring me through this, and ensure my sweet baby girl doesn’t have to live with her momma’s fears on her delicate shoulders.  She will stand tall and fearless and captivating in truth that she is a beautiful child of God.

If you’re feeling cheated or broken or anxious. pray that God will sooner reveal His plan for you and what He is teaching you or others through you right now.  The most wonderful things are created through the hardest processes.

 

Persevering

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Life ain’t easy.  Sometimes this redhead could just lose it!  In those moments, after I’ve googled available homes in the islands and asked my husband what international transfers his company may offer, a verse like this slaps me back into reality.

The hard times have a purpose.

I can remember every time I’ve been on my face crying out to God, and the way He came around me in each of those moments.  You know those moments, the moments that you later say, gave you a “testimony.”

The thing about this verse though, is not that God merely wants us to survive.  He is molding us.  James 1:4 tells us that He will use those times to make us something better.

If you are struggling right now, remember, you are being molded not merely put through something for His amusement.  You will pray through, and you will come out on the other side with bigger faith, stronger, faster, and more on fire for Him than ever before.

You’ve got this.

Do Something!

Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re leaving an action film or you’ve heard a great speaker and you’re just so full of energy and expectation, you feel like something big is bound to happen?

I’m there. I’m in the moment. God has been telling me for six months or so that he has something big in store. The parable of the talents has been reappearing and covering me with conviction to do more, to be more for Him.  It’s in these moments that we feel Satan whispering the most “You’re wrong.  Did you hear Him right?”

As His church, we are called to serve and minister.  He has equipped us with gifts that further His kingdom.  The enemy is happy to distract us though, to put fear in our hearts and keep us from using our gifts to go bigger and further than we’ve ever gone- to realize our true potential in Him.

24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

Are we too afraid to invest or too busy too invest or too lazy to invest?  We have been given our own talents by God.  So many of us have so many reasons not to invest, but when we really look at it, could we look on God’s face and give Him the same reasons? This thought is bringing me to my knees.

28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

If we try and we fail, God is teaching us something. Would it be better to fail or better to have God take our gifts away, because we put them on a shelf?  They lay there coated in dust and doing nothing to share His glory and love.

Reading the parable of the talents breaks my heart. It has been me.  2014 was so smooth.  I remember thinking many times that life was perfect, and I was happy to go about my life with my family and resting on my laurels. 2015 hit and like a freight train. My business struggled and after having my beautiful little girl, my post partum and the stress from everything else was so heavy, I had days that I felt I truly could not go on.

It’s those times that we are pruned.  We are taught to grow.  We must not simply go about our days with blinders to service, but we have to go out and thank Him for the miracle of being alive by using our gifts for Him.

Thank you God, for the opportunity to serve You more and for the opportunity to be more in this life than a bystander.

Training us

The past three days have been rough.  My little man, my sweet two year old, is becoming a big boy, and that means no more paci. It all started okay, but when the time came to turn off the light and close his eyes, he panicked.  We assured him it would be alright, told him we loved him and closed the door.

The pitiful cry that came after lasted a solid 30 minutes.  It began with weeping in the bed.  After a few minutes I heard pitter pattering across the floor and little fingers reaching under the toy as he cried “Mommy, mommy!” Finally he gave up, slipped back in to bed and fast asleep.

It took everything within me not to go in there.  I sat there unloading the dishwasher (I know, it’s an exciting life) and crying my eyes out as I listened to his pitiful voice.  In that moment, God told me to pay attention.

We, like children, are sometimes pained and panicked, and we cry out. Sometimes we need to walk through difficulty or feel grief to grow. We have to remember our father is there through it all.

1 Corinthians 10

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I heard every wail.  I sat through every sob.  In the quiet of the kitchen, I listened to my baby cry and wanted to just go hold him and rock him to sleep, but I knew the right thing to do was to not go in there.

For him to grow and trust the sun would come out and all would be well, he needed to work through it and rest in it.  We are the same.  The sun is so much brighter when we walk through our trials, and though sometimes we don’t feel like God is with us, he is always there- the doting father, always watching over us in love.