Not All is Lost

Sometimes, we lose things.

This past weekend has been challenging for me. I dropped my phone for the umpteenth time. Unfortunately, I cracked my internal screen, and the black screen of death stared back at me. I lost pictures, notes, and other odds and ends stored on that phone.

My wedding ring broke. The band came apart. This is likely from excessive hand sanitizer use in my daily job. I have lost the familiarity of having my ring on my finger until it is fixed.

We lost our freedom temporarily the other day when our Jeep stranded us miles from home. We were at the mercy of others to come rescue us.

Over the past several years, I have lost the ability to eat whatever I choose due to chronic stomach issues and an autoimmune disease.

Yet, sometimes, the things we lose aren’t tangible things we can touch.

What do we do when the things we lose are intangible? When we can’t touch them or easily replace them?

Things like patience, hope, peace…

I have been reading the book of Joshua. In chapter 7, Joshua and his people are defeated. Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the ground. He cries out to the Lord…why have You brought us here to destroy us?

God had called them out of their comfort, but He had also just brought them victory over the battle of Jericho. Oh, how easily we forget God’s miracles and blessings in our life when things seem hopeless.

How did God respond to Joshua?

Joshua chapter 7:10… So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie on your face?”

The chapter goes on to talk about holding people accountable…they have a second chance at the battle…they win and all praise is to God.

How many times have we felt defeated? Hopeless? Exhausted?

The story doesn’t have to end there.

In loss, there is much to gain. Jesus gave up His life so that we may live and live more abundantly.

God is the God of all our days…the good ones, the bad ones, and the really hard ones.

Sometimes, the greatest blessings are found in the times of loss. Sometimes, we have to die to self-our pride, fears, self reliance- in order to discover the blessings of all He has in store for us. Not all is lost.

May He be the God of all your days.

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Right where we Need to Be

Ever feel like your vision is like this?

Blurry? Disorienting? Like yet another snowy drive home…

Defeated. The word I used to describe myself the other night. Exhausted and defeated with a distorted sense of my vision.

God poured sweetness right back into my soul that very next morning. The gift of three women. We call our little monthly gatherings our writing group, but God is doing something more. It was a step of obedience, a response to the nudge, the call to form a writing group. We are small, but we are growing in our comfort with one another. Fellowship, laughter, encouragement. All the defeat washed away by the reminder of His promises.

But yet, here I am again tonight. Exhausted. Defeated. Tomorrow is a new day. Sleep will come. It will restore my soul. Renew me, refresh me.

This vision, becoming clearer, revealed in Holy whispers, sacred moments.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

These are His promises, unfolding in His timing.

I heard a sermon that shared some insight… God allows conflict to help us grow closer to Him.

If this is true, I shouldn’t be surprised when hard things come my way. Growth seldom occurs when things are easy. I don’t have all the answers. I certainly don’t know what to do sometimes. I stand confused at times wondering when, why, which way?

Today, I read something beautiful about brokenness. Brokenness reminds us we are not perfect, and that is okay. We don’t have to have it all together despite what the world says.

We need God to guide our way to the desires of our heart. We need to commit and trust.

And He shall bring it to pass.

What is the “it”?

It is unique to us all.

The next time the world reminds you of all the ways you have messed up, and it will, remember God is in the business of using broken people with messy lives. Conflict puts us right where we need to be…in need of Him.

Painful at times, yes, but what better place to be than in the grip of His promises?

Farther Along

I know I have been a bit quiet on here lately. My current season of life is a bit intense. I am working towards my dream of long term care administration. Long term care is not for the faint of heart.

I had a family member of a resident ask me this week if I love my job. We talked about the joys of long term care. She shared with me how hard she thought it would be. I shared with her how I feel like it is my calling.

So, here I am farther along in that dream than I was just a few years ago, even months ago. As I listened to a sermon on the way into work, something the pastor said really resonated with me. When God is calling us to something, He doesn’t reveal all His promises before we jump in and say yes, Lord. He wants our obedience, our trust, and our willingness to take the risk before we see the promise of the finish line.

I said yes a few years ago and left a comfortable job close to home in order to follow the direction I felt Him calling me. It has been a journey of growth and discovery ever since. I am learning about myself and learning to trust God without knowing all the answers. There is a peace that comes with this level of trust.

I believe that when we trust God with our hopes, our dreams, and our fears, and we step out in faith, He is more than faithful. This is one of my favorite passages from Isaiah.

But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT

Each day in the journey of trust brings us farther along.

This has become a favorite song of mine in this season. Farther Along by Josh Garrels Anyone that knows me well knows a quirky thing about me is that I have favorite songs in seasons and listen to them over and over. This is my current play over and over song. I need to be reminded that I am farther along than I was yesterday.

Farther along…every day we are farther along in our journey of faith and life.

Take time to reflect and enjoy the journey.

Small Things

I am in one of the busiest seasons of my life right now. The work weeks are a whirlwind. The weekends are when I attempt to catch my breath.

It’s a great season of list making to help me stay on top of things. Or at least do my best effort!!

Last weekend, the winter sickness caught hold of my family, and I have been bouncing back with intention. Sleep has become a priority and ensuring my morning quiet time happens consistently has become a renewed mission.

For the fourth time, I am reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. Today, day two…”God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small.” That is so encouraging to me especially right now as I push through my busy days.

Small things matter.

A few nights ago after I left my evening chiropractor appointment, I knew I needed some food with the hour drive home. With my food sensitivities, drive thru options are limited. I decided on Chick Fil-A. I had $5 in cash and that was all I intended to spend. I ordered a kids meal and when I approached the window to pay, I was informed with a big smile by the attendant that my meal was on the house that night.

I was so grateful. Small things matter. As I shared this story with my friend, she responded with, “God knows you are trying to be good stewards with what He has blessed you with.”

If we are faithful in the small things, He will entrust was with the bigger things. He cares about the big and small details in our lives. Nothing is too small for Him.

If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in the large ones. Luke 16:10

Nothing is too small for God.

What do I hope you will take away from this?

1. God cares about even the smallest details of our lives.

2. Be faithful in the small things so you can be trusted with the large ones.

3. Don’t miss the everyday blessings that are right before us even in a $4.15 kids meal.

If you have a prayer need, I would be honored to pray for you.

Blessings for a good day!

Patient Endurance

It’s the time of year when many people become reflective. We look back at all we have accomplished, and we look forward to all that is ahead. 

I am one of those people. I have my words and my verses. This particular year started off with a family vacation to Florida which provided time for reflection. It was also filled with expectations, and the lessons when these expectations were not met. 

It was as though God was reminding me…you may have your agenda, but I have a greater purpose.

Sometimes, we are humbled.

Vacation provided multiple such moments…

* Since the rental car was in my name, I had to do all the driving and endure my children’s backseat driving. Usually, Dad does the driving. My husband and I switched our usual roles of driver and navigator.

* Legoland was definitely geared towards younger children, but we shared  laughter over my husband and son being stuck on a ride. We all enjoyed the ski show and a peaceful walk through Cypress Gardens. 

* The hood of our rental car was full of paint scratches after Legoland. I am grateful that we purchased the damage protection plan.

* The kindness of strangers was revealed during our airport experience.

 * Craving pizza, our GPS led us to a gas station where the windows were barred.  Needless to say, we traveled back to the hotel and ordered pizza.

Vacation is like that…the anticipation and the expectations sometimes don’t match the actual experiences. 

Nevertheless, we had a great time on vacation. I was reminded so many times to let go of my expectations and to be present and open to the moment. Joy is a choice.

Life is like this especially in the dawn of a new year. I look forward with expectancy to the year ahead but I will be careful to not let my own expectations and agenda get in the way of God’s greater purpose.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Another Year

What does a new year mean to you? Are you into making resolutions for the year?

This year, instead of focusing on all the ways I fell short last year, I will reflect on all the ways God has worked in my life. I will look forward to the year with expectation not perfection.

Yes, I will still make my goals for the year. I will reflect on my hopes and dreams. I will pray over them and trust God on my journey this year but I will do so with hope and expectation rather than with fear and anxiety.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and verses for the new year. 

What are your thoughts for the year ahead?

Intentional Rest

In the aftermath of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, quiet is what I long for. The dog lightly breathes as she sleeps and all else is still in my house. I need sleep, I know this, but the coffee I made myself at 3:30 at work wasn’t drank until almost 5 pm. My stomach, angry from holiday eating, is finally calming down. I long for quietness more than sleep. Sleep will come soon enough. For now, I choose to be restfully still. Being this still is an act of willful intention. It is something I must learn to become better at. My mind, my body, my soul…at rest.

I am already prayerfully considering my focus words for the upcoming year. I had thought they might be joy or intentional, but maybe it’s rest.

When I rest, I savor the quiet. It is in these moments of intentional rest that I listen. 

Life is not a series of perfect performances, but a chance to grow, to seek, to love, and to live more alive and full.

This week between Christmas and the New year leaves me expectant. 

The quiet is exactly the gift I have been longing for.