Beauty in the Challenges

Beauty exists in challenging situations.

Why do I say this??

I certainly did not see the beauty in the moment. We were lost. It was dark. The roads were curvy. We were almost out of gas. Our cell phone and internet reception was extremely sketchy. We hit very treacherous high water and could not see the lines in the roads.

We followed the GPS to the last 5 minutes of our road trip only to find our road closed due to high water. Nothing existed in the sleepy town except for a church and a bar.

The beauty? When we are in situations where we feel completely helpless, those moments are great reminders to trust Him. God provides what we need when we need it.

We had just enough cell phone reception to call the cabin owner for alternative directions. A man walked out of the bar and told us to follow him to the closest town. The gas station was open. The road to the cabin from this route was dry. Our son helped us navigate the new directions and reminded us to work together.

This morning after a night of great sleep, I am thankful for safety. I am grateful for sun peeking through the trees. Although so much is going on in my world that feels overwhelming and uncertain, I know Who is guiding my path.

Don’t take a moment for granted.

Granted by Josh Groban

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Who do you say He is?

Who do you say I am?

This is the question Jesus asked his disciples. He wasn’t interested in what they thought other people defined Him as. He wanted to know who they defined Him as. (Matthew 16:13-15)

Our pastor asked us to close our eyes during the sermon. We were to ask ourselves that question. In the quiet of the church, with my eyes closed, I dared to ask myself that question.

Rescuer.

Jesus is my Rescuer. As my Savior, He has rescued me from the depths of hell. He has rescued me from the storms of life. That’s not to say I haven’t endured the storms, but He has walked with me to the other side. And most often, He rescues me from myself.

How often are we slaves to the bondage we enslave ourselves to? The pain of our past. Bitterness. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Complacency. Unworthiness.

What is enslaving you?

As I sat by myself enjoying some much needed quiet time, I glanced down at my feet dangling in the water.

What did I focus on?

The chipped off paint from my nails. Life chips away from our feelings of completeness, worthiness, and beauty. Just as the chlorine stripped away the paint, we allow the irritations of life to strip and chip away at us.

So, yes, Jesus is my Rescuer. He rescues me those feelings of unworthiness, of failure, of fear…

When the world screams that I should just give up, throw the towel in, walk away, be knocked down, surrender to defeat…He whispers to me that He is right with me in the midst of every storm, every failure, every feeling of defeat and inadequacy that I feel. He knows those hopes and dreams deep in my heart. And, He knows the fears that surround them.

I am stronger from the struggle.

When I can analyze not internalize and self reflect for my growth and spend 1-1 time in prayer, yes, I know I will be okay. The struggle is real and the battles seldom cease, but Jesus is my Rescuer.

His promises are true. He sustains and carries me. He anchors me.

I challenge you to ask yourself…Who do you say He is?

He Has Already Begun

Have you ever felt like you were in a dry wasteland?

I have been spending a lot of time lately in the Old Testament. I seem to be able to relate to these characters. They made mistakes. They doubted. They didn’t always see the bigger picture. They feared. And, they waited. For. A. Long. Time.

Sigh.

In our microwave, high speed society, we want instant messaged answers. It usually doesn’t work this way.

I am in the midst of a waiting season. In the waiting, a lot is happening. God is doing work in my life, but it’s hard, and it often doesn’t feel good.

I read this passage in Isaiah 43:19 NLT:
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.

The thought that hit me after I read that passage is this…I am that dry wasteland!

God is working in my life. Through these seasons as I wait and trust Him to unfold my dreams, He is doing something new. It is already underway even on days when I feel exhausted, depleted, and defeated.

And another amazing revelation? He doesn’t need my help!!

Wow, the God who created the universe does not need my help. That has been so freeing.

So, wherever you are on the journey towards your dreams, know that God is already paving the way.

He has gone before you. He only needs your response of obedience.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

God is with you. I have spent a lot of time in worry trying to figure out the next steps. He is already with me, and He’s with you.

Enjoy the new life springing forward in you!

He has already begun the good work in you.

He Fills My Cup

Sometimes, it’s a cup of coffee in a cozy local coffee shop amidst the chaos of life and a winter that lingers on forever that fills your soul like a fresh breath of life.

I’ve been quiet on here. Days have felt long, exhausting.

Sometimes, it’s okay to be quiet.

Then, when you least expect it, God fills your empty soul very, very full. He places special people in your life. He allows your soul to be filled at a worship concert with thousands of people.

Sometimes, you just need reminded you are not alone in this world. Your struggles are not unique. He provides those special people who listen, who get your struggles, who just know how to give you the courage to get up and try another day.

This day wasn’t easy. Actually, it was hard. So hard that someone made the comment to me…”You really have had a crappy day.”

“Yeh, I have.”

It didn’t end on that note, though. Another special person poured into my soul.

I step back, see the tapestry of my life. People. They are from all different seasons of my life. Our paths have crossed. Connections.

He fills your cup, your soul. Allows you to connect with those precious safe people who love you for who you are.

May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

He Knows…

He knows what we need when we need it.

This was a phrase my friend referred to often and rested in the promise of during a difficult time in her life. We would talk about God’s care in our lives. Difficult days are still part of this life, but His care, protection, peace, and love are promises we can rely on. Truly, what else can we consistently rely on?

God definitely knows what I need when I need it. Life has been a whirlwind of non-stop expectations and obligations. Work has been busy. My son was in the musical. Everything was spiraling around me making me wish life had a pause button like the TV.

This morning, I sit quietly on a bed in a cabin. I am not held hostage to an alarm clock. The morning slowly dawns outside. The sky is gray above the mountains. I have permission to be still. This hasn’t happened in a long time.

Last night on a short walk, my husband and I came across a sign sharing the history of how city folk would escape to the mountains to find a short reprieve from busy city life. Many years later, I find myself doing the exact same thing.

Here, I can pause. I can give myself grace for feeling guilty for not being able to be a stage mom for the school musical. We were there to watch our son perform. I can spend time in the Word and meditate on His promises. I can journal. I can reflect over the words of mentors whom God has placed in my life. I can accept the place of mistakes in my life as opportunities to learn from and grow from.

He knows. I need this time away. We are here to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary…rain or shine. We will appreciate this pause in our regular flow of life.

He knows.

He cares.

He grows us.

Trust Him wherever you are, whatever season you are in. God knows what you need when you need it.

It just might not look like you were expecting, but trust Him.

He knows best.

Opportunities

I needed to laugh.

Tonight, after a day of tears and self reflection, I told my son I needed a funny movie. As he scrolled through options on Netflix, I suggested Evan Almighty. J remembered watching it a few years ago at a family movie night at church shortly after he joined our family from the blessings of adoption.

Evan Almighty is a modern day tale of the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis.

Hearing my son cackle to the funny parts of the movie was enough alone to bring a smile to my face.

Then, it happened…that serious moment of wisdom you need to hear and hold onto. God can and will use anything and everything to grab our attention if we are open and attentive.

When Morgan Freeman speaks, there is something dignified about the deepness of his voice especially when he is playing the role of God.

Watch this short clip from the movie…Opportunities from God

When we pray for patience, God doesn’t give us patience, He gives us opportunities for patience. You can fill in the blank with another word…hope, peace, forgiveness…

I have been praying for my leadership to be Christlike. Being a leader can feel very, very lonely. In the midst of these challenging moments, I realize God has been providing opportunities for me to be a stronger leader.

Sigh…no one ever said striving to walk the Christian life would be easy.

What are you praying for today? Be open for the opportunities God provides as answers to your prayers. Opportunities create growth in our walk with Christ and build our Christian character.

I would love to hear about the opportunities God has provided you with to grow in your Christian walk.

Keep your eyes on the path ahead.

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?