Tag Archives: trust

Letting God…Be God.

An exciting possibility recently surfaced in my life, quite unexpectedly. Immediately I began to play out what might occur, when, and how all the other aspects of my life would be affected by this possibility. In my mind, I began to manipulate everything to work out nicely. Essentially, I began to try to take the reins and to plan out each detail.

Especially for those of us with leadership abilities and tendencies, it can be difficult to give over control of our lives. In fact, it can be difficult even to see when we are seeking control, since it is part of the very fabric of our nature. However, all this planning is in vain. You see, GOD is ultimately in control. Though it’s important to have a direction…It is all “God willing.No amount of planning or manipulation on our part can accomplish what God has for us.

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The good news is, I don’t need to plot out every aspect of my life! I can let go of stress and anxiety as I learn to simply trust. My Creator knew my path and all the beautiful twists and turns it would take before I was even in my mother’s womb! I could never have imagined the beautiful experiences I would have in my life, the connections I would meet that would shape my life, and how so many details would seamlessly meld together at a perfect time. As I look in awe over the numerous miracles in my life, I look forward to seeing how He will do it again!

Isn’t it amazing the miracles that happen….When we let God, be God!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”~Ephesians 3:20-21

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Photo by Matthew Sleeper on Unsplash
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The Top 3 Lessons I Learned in 2017.

Our Creator is continually molding us, using our experiences and allowing others that can draw out our best self, if we let them. At the end of each year, I like to take time and look back on the year. This year was a year of numerous changes in every aspect of my life. Reflecting back on 2017, I see how much I’ve been able to learn and mature. Without all the complexity, and if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have been pushed to growth. Most of all, without these changes, I would not have developed a closer relationship with my Savior. Without further ado, here are the top 3 lessons I learned in 2017.

1. Faith truly is believing in the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There were certain decisions I made in faith, with wise consult, realizing God was leading me in a new direction. People thought I was crazy at times (even if they didn’t say it). In each situation, God came through. In fact, He came through in the nick of time in the last instance! Faith is not easy. I learned how uncomfortable it can be to live in the discomfort of now while not yet having the answer of how the situation would play out. But a life of faith brings us into a closer relationship with God. Walking by faith means sometimes taking the first step forward when you don’t know exactly where you’ll step next, or why you’re being asked to step that way! God is truly faithful.

2. Always surround yourself with positive people who truly want the best for you. When it comes down to it, the people you thought were in your corner…May not actually care about you as much as you thought. In difficult times, people will show their true character. Look at the character of those around you. Just as we are called to “test every spirit,” it’s important to examine the character of those influencing us. Negativity and criticism pull you down more than you can imagine. Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way. Going forward, I’m eager to spend time with the people who encourage me and build me up, and building new relationships of this sort. Positive relationships are life-giving and bring joy.

3. When I am weak, Christ is strong. I’m actually a little bit in awe when I look back on the year. A lot has happened in one year! Especially when it came to school, I sometimes wondered how I was going to finish strong. With Christ, we are overcomers. Leaning on Him, we can accomplish so much more than we ever thought possible! We can make it through situations that seem impossible. With Christ, I made it through difficult job changes, grueling semesters of school, and (by the end of the year) multiple moves. I’m going to keep leaning on Christ’s strength as life continues to change and require great persistence!

What lessons have you learned in 2017?

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Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

Advent & Looking to Mary.

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Like other Jews, Mary (mother of Jesus) longed for the fulfillment of the prophecies promising a Savior to Israel. (Never could she have imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she would be the one to bring Him into the world!) In my life, I’m (still) waiting for the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises to me.

As I go about Advent, I am going to look at Mary and the hope of her Son. No matter how painful the waiting (for all kinds of fulfillment), I want to be strong as Mary was. I want to trust His promises to me. I want to grasp onto His faithfulness, to trust, even when there is no hope within my line of sight.

I want to say “yes” as Mary did, and not to count the cost. Her cost for saying “yes” to conceiving the Savior could have meant death for her. I don’t know if the cost for me will ever mean physical death (as a martyr), but it does mean dying to myself and my own plans every day.

I want to say “yes” and not question why He asks a certain experience of me. Mary didn’t question why she specifically was being asked to carry out the magnificent task of carrying the Son of God within her womb and mothering Him. She simply said: I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I have many questions about why I am asked to carry certain things. Why am I entrusted with this or that? Yet, His plan is sovereign and wise. I want Mary’s courage to simply say “yes,” only looking forward and keeping my eyes on Him.

I can’t imagine the temptation to impatience there was for Mary during her pregnancy. Can you imagine being told by an angel that you would conceive in a supernatural way…And not only that, but that the child would be the Savior of all humanity! Mary protected Jesus in her womb for 9 months and waited all those months to behold her beautiful Savior face to face. She must have faced persecution for her out of wedlock pregnancy, most people not having a clue of Whom she carried. Yet she carried the evidence of what people believed was sin in her body, waiting and waiting to hold Him, and for the world to know Who this special Child was.  In all of my waiting…To finish school for a more fulfilling job where I will no longer live paycheck to paycheck, in waiting to meet or know who my husband is, in waiting to find a more permanent living situation…Impatience. Yet most of all, longing for the day I meet my Redeemer face to face, and live in perfect joy forever with Him and all the saints. Waiting. There is always something to wait for. The waiting, the longing, the feelings of never being settled…Mary teaches me to wait. She is teaching me endless strength, and to have faith. She shows me the example of a woman who followed the Lord without fear, no matter where it led her.

So now I step into Advent, a season of the Church where my daily lived experience is made manifest. I’m thankful to have Mary to look to for the virtues I need the most at this time. Most of all, I’m grateful that she said “yes,” so that our Savior could come into the world!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

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Courtesy of Howard Lyon

God Willing.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

There is a saying in the Arabic language that is often said: “Inshallah” (God willing). I like how this saying is so often said, because it places recognition in God’s omnipotence and in the fact that humans only know so much. Sure, we can plan all we want. But ultimately, we don’t know. Our humanity gives us a very limited picture of our own lives and of the world. We don’t know about natural disasters or airline shutdowns that can derail travel plans.  We don’t know that we’re going to fall so sick that we can’t get out of bed on the day we have an important presentation. We don’t know that we’re going to unexpectedly meet the person that changes our life and our entire life plans. Or, that we don’t meet the special person we always dreamed of. The list goes on.

I have often gotten caught up in my own plans, determined to follow through with them no matter what. How many of you are the same way? Yet we read the Scripture at the beginning of this post and see: it is all according to God’s will. We are not in control! It’s not about our plans or our timing. I was supposed to attend a historic event today. However, I have been struggling with sickness for the past week. I woke up fatigued. My cough is unpredictable and my voice is barely there. After praying about it, I had the sense that it was a “no.” The plans I had made with others months ago were not going to happen. I was to stay home and rest.

I can’t explain why this is the week I got so sick. However, I do know that this day of rest has been immensely healing to my body. It has also been a great time to reconnect with God. It’s just another lesson in learning to let go of my plans and dreams in order for whatever else my Jesus has in store. It’s all “God willing.”

(Note: I’m not against planning! We need to make plans, to a certain extent. However, our plans are often very different than THE plan the Creator accomplishes! We need not to be so set on our plans that we are closed off to His different plans.)

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Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

The Pain & Fruit of Investing.

 

Currently my life is in a season of pruning, and what I am also learning to refer to

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Pixabay.com

as “investment.” Investing is painful. It involves risk. Investing requires giving up something in hopes of a greater return down the road. At the very outset, it requires some sort of sacrifice. It may be a very long time before you see any gain or fruit from that sacrifice. For example, investing money is painful. The money is placed into an account where it cannot be touched until a certain point. The goal is that the amount of money will grow. But what if an emergency arises and you need that money? Painful, and risky. Other forms of investment are financing a wedding, buying a house, starting a business, or investing in an education. These are different types of investment that we hope will bear fruit in some way.

An investment that we are all called to make is purity. Living in purity is an investment for a future marriage. It is even an investment in yourself. Living a chaste life protects you from disease and unhealthy emotional attachments. It requires the daily surrender of one’s desires for the good of one’s self, future spouse, and consideration of the good of a child. Choosing to forgo suitors who are not God’s best for you is a related form of investment. It is easy to settle and may be easy to find multiple people who want to be with you. Taking the time to wait for the right spouse and for sex is an investment in your future joy, your future spouse’s joy, and even the joy of your children. Many people have not made this investment, and have brought suffering onto themselves and others.

Plain and simple: investing equals sacrifice. Sometimes these investments involve very difficult sacrifices. Many choose not to make these sacrifices simply because they are so arduous and involve (sometimes very delayed) gratification. Yet investing creates wealth. It creates an abundance that could not have come without the sacrifice. It is like when a tree is pruned. The tree appears bare aftter the pruning. A person who doesn’t know about horticulture will scoff and think the tree is ruined.  But after some time, the tree will be bursting with fruit. This is our hope with our investments. In some way, at some time we do not know, they will bear great fruit.

I trust that this difficult and painful investing process will one day pay off. So can you. I have planted my seeds in the ground, sacrificed much that is dear. I will wait for the sun and rain to grow them. I can only trust the One who has called me. Let us eagerly await the day when we can harvest the fruit from these decisions to invest.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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Photo by Jelleke V. on Unsplash

 

The Word on Wednesday-Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'”~Isaiah 55:8-9

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Do you ever just not understand the circumstances in your life? As humans, we need to admit that we don’t know much. Though humans have made progress and come up with advancements in many areas, there is still much unknown to the human mind.

It is difficult when we don’t understand the circumstances in our lives: when timing seems off, struggles, being faced with injustice, and more. There is peace when we realize that we don’t need to understand. We only need to trust.  The passage above reminds us that the ways of the Lord are way above anything we can imagine. His thoughts are unfathomable to us. Someday we will better understand our lives, whether it be later in earthly life or during our eternal life. But for now, we need to seek and keep in mind our Creator.

The One Who created the heavens and the earth, and who knows every hair on our head, and every single moment of history? His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts at a much higher level than we could ever comprehend. I’m ready to trust Him and to not lean on my own understanding. How about you?

 

Live Courageously.

The United States of America is entering a new chapter. For actually a few years, I have had the sense that the United States was going to enter a time of difficulty. I believe that the time of difficulty has now begun. Recent events have thrown my workplace into upheaval. Really, the entire country and, to some extent, the world, are in a place of uncertainty. There is a culture of animosity right now in the United States. At certain points, all of these events have been a lot to take in emotionally. I’ve been surrounded by them from morning to evening. I felt so weak and drained. Then, I felt the Lord telling me to live courageously. He confirmed this as every song that came on the radio seemed to echo the theme of courage and bravery! No matter where you are, YOU are being called to live courageously.

What does it mean to live courageously?

Living courageously means keeping your center on JESUS even when the world has gone crazy.

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(photo courtesy of unsplash.com)

 

Living courageously means being PEACE in a world where anger and negativity is rampant.

Living courageously means walking HUMBLY with God even when you are surrounded by darkness and ego on every side.

Living courageously means casting out fear and replacing it with LOVE.

Living courageously means speaking up for JUSTICE for those who are voiceless.

Living courageously means RELIANCE on Jehovah-Jireh (God the Provider) when you don’t have a paycheck and wonder how you will pay the bills, or when you don’t know if you will soon have a paycheck.

Living courageously means being a sign of HOPE to others even when you feel weighed down by the burdens of your life and the world.

Living courageously means being a person of PRAISE as the storm rages all around you.

Living courageously means TRUSTING in God when all stability is pulled out from under you.

Living courageously means picking up your shield of FAITH and the sword of the Spirit, the WORD OF GOD and knowing they are your weapons.

Living courageously means staying in a place of PRAYER in a world that distracts and fills us with noise.

Living courageously means knowing that God’s POWER is made perfect in your WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are you ready to live courageously? It will not be easy, friends. Thankfully we have our perfect Heavenly Father to fight for us, His Son who endured every temptation that we do (without giving in), and the Holy Spirit who permeates every darkness and every fiber of our being. Let’s go!

It’s time to live courageously.

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