Strength in Weakness

It is early morning. I am feeling a bit paralyzed by thoughts racing through my mind of everything that needs done today at work and home.  I have been working long days and feeling a bit exhausted at the moment.

I need to catch my breath, to be still for just a little while longer.

Times like these, I rely heavily on the lists that I make to keep myself organized and sane. I love lists, only lists can become overwhelming if you keep adding to them and never seem to put a dent in removing items.

Sigh…

It seems fitting this morning that the passage I read is this…

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Paul is talking about this thorn in his flesh. We are never clearly told what this thorn in his flesh is, but it seems to keep him grounded in his dependence upon Christ.
What is your thorn in the flesh?

None of us like to think of being weak. That is so contradictory to what the world values, but it is our weakest moments that can cause us to draw closest to Christ. Think about your own life. When have you been most aware of your brokenness and your need for Christ? Your weakest moments.

I think of these stomach ailments I live with in the form of ulcerative colitis. Most days, I  am relatively okay, but I have learned to redefine what it means to be okay. Social eating is not as fun as it once was. I also struggle with fibromyalgia. Most people close to me personally and professionally at work have no idea I deal with these things except for my strange eating habits. I tend to push through the pain. I am aware of my dependence on Him.

Anxiety? Yes, another thorn in my side. I am learning to trust God through the fear and anxious thoughts. I am acutely aware of my need for God to work through the anxiety.

It seems like a contradiction. Power in weakness. Much like joy in the pain. My greatest times of growth have been during valleys where I knew I needed Him.

I heard a song at church on Sunday…. don’t tell God about your mountain, tell the mountain about your God.


When we are weak, He is strong. Being dependent upon Him is a very good place to be.

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Living Stones

To linger here for just a few more minutes…

I love mornings tucked under a blanket with tea or coffee in hand. It is my quiet time to reflect on life and the Word before the day begins.

Last night, we attended our county Fair. The weeklong event draws upwards of 300,000 people to our small community. We walked the fair, visited with people, and rounded to our favorite fair food vendors. It was too much for me…the noise and crowd…I just wanted quiet. My husband and I agreed that the older we get, the less we enjoy crowds.

So, this morning, I am especially enjoying the quiet. In between devotional books to guide my morning time with God, I started to read 1 Peter and found myself fixated on the second chapter…living stones.

Stones can be used to build something up. Stones can also be used to tear someone or something down. We don’t usually think of stones as having living qualities, but figuratively, I like this analogy.

Stones. Are we living stones… building up others and encouraging them? If Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives, then we should be the living stones to share his goodness with others. First Peter 3:15…but sanctify the Lord your God in your hearts and always be ready to give defense to everyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you. 

Today,  may we be living stones sharing the love and hope of Christ with others!!

Also, if anyone has suggestions for a devotional, please let me know. I just finished reading Draw the Circle, the 40 day prayer challenge, for the third time. I like devotionals that challenge me, are filled with spiritual truths, and incorporate Scripture reading. If you have not read Draw the Circle, I highly recommend it!!


Swim with Confidence

My best friend and I had some time between Sunday morning breakfast and church, so we headed to a state park to enjoy some peaceful reflection. The creek water was incredibly high and spilled over into the parking lot. We settled ourselves on a picnic table with our books. The sunshine filtered its way through the trees.

I breathed in the fresh air. My gaze traveled and fixated on two ducks. They swam in the overflow of the creek. They dunked their heads into the water as ducks do. As they swam along, they seemed to possess a carefree attitude. They had no idea that if they continued to swim forward, their source of water would end as it meshed into the grassy path. 

Proverbs 31 came to mind…

I wish I could swim through life so freely, so trustworthy of the One who holds my future in His hand. Like the ducks, I have no idea when my path might end and blend into new territory. That’s terrifying if I let myself spend too much time on those thoughts.

Instead, I need to trust God with my future. I need to trust His lead. Just as those ducks swam without fear of the water ending, I need to swim with confidence in Christ. 

In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

When nothing makes sense

There is no simple response to the pain. No words fill the deep void for the unexplainable loss. Life is not fair. This weekend, a friend of mine lost a co-worker unexpectedly to a brain aneurysm. This weekend, I also lost a co-worker unexpectedly. In what should have been a joyous occasion, she lost her life while giving birth. 

No words can fill these deep crevices of pain. 

To say, I will be praying is true, but as I prayed, I confessed to God….what am I supposed to pray? Yes, for comfort. But peace? What peace is there in these types of situations?

Times like this we must lean. Lean into one another. Lean into the people God has placed in our lives. Lean into people to uphold us, to keep us strong. And most importantly, although we do not understand, we lean into God.

The world is a broken place. During the sermon yesterday at church, the minister quoted John 16:33…These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have trials and sorrows, but take heart, I have overcome the World.

Life is not promised to be perfect or painless. I believe God hurts when we hurt. I believe this because He loves us. I can’t try to understand why this stuff happens. I can only lean….lean into others, lean into Christ.

Life promises no one another moment. Hug your children. Love your family and friends. Forgive people. Forgive yourself. 

Today is another​ day. It may be a day filled with unexplainable loss as in these situations. I don’t know your story, but I do know that God is in the midst of our lives. 

I have to believe this. When nothing else makes sense, I have to cling to my faith that He is walking through these difficult times with us.

God, grow me…

I should have anticipated this might be a hard week. I should have expected it would not be easy. As I struggled and wrestled through some difficult issues last weekend, I found myself at the one place I know can make all the difference…on my knees.

I prayed through these situations last Saturday in the quiet of my home. I felt uncertainty. I felt like a failure. The tears flowed freely as I prayed, “God grow me.”

I kept praying through the weekend and as the week started. I prayed. I’m​ not going to sugar coat this…it wasn’t easy. The anxiety was at an all time high. I woke up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I have learned, though, what to do when the anxiety strikes. I pray through Philippians 4:6-7. It helps the breathing to calm so I can I sleep and so the dark clouds of doubt do not overshadow peace.

As I worked through the issues, God was there. In the midst of my anxiety, He was there. Anxiety tries to tell you the worse thing possible. It tries to blind you from all the positive things around you. I know. I have lived in the land of anxiety.

This time, I decided I would not stay in that land. I would pray through the anxiety. I would take ownership. I would share my reflections, my ah-ha moment with someone. I did. God extended His grace. God answered my prayers​ and continues to answer my prayers…God, grow me.

What does it mean to be a better person? People say this a lot…but what does it mean? To be a Godly leader, a good mom and wife, and a loyal friend…so much truth is found in Proverbs. 
For me, this concept of being a “better person” is grounded in “God, grow me.” It is being open to His teaching, His loving discipline, and His revelation of areas in my life where I need developed and refined.

I told my amazing leader that growth is painful. She provided a much different perspective for me in her response…”Growth is exciting.”

She’s right, so right. 

Tonight, something I saw something on Facebook related to my issues from this past week triggered an anxiety attack. I wasn’t staying there. I prayed. My friend prayed for me. I went for a walk. I filled my soul with life breathing words of truth through the music flowing from my headphones to my ears to my heart.

Yes, God’s grace is so sweet. Dear friend, don’t give up. Stay the course. Stay very, very close to Him. And don’t be afraid of growth…it is so exciting. It may seem slow. It may be subtle. If God is in the midst of it, it is worth celebrating!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5 NLT
You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. Romans 11:29

No More, No Less

Is it really this simple​?

That verse makes it sound so easy, but being content with who you are to me means surrendering your life to God, trusting Him with your hopes, dreams, and fears, and allowing Him to work in your life. The timeline no longer is yours. 

I like to set deadlines for myself. They are not always realistic. I am learning to trust God with the timing and details. I need to pray and trust. 

I am a work in progress. Accepting that God is working in my life means maybe I can be content with who I am…no more, no less.

That certainly takes a lot of pressure off. Worry less, pray more. Words I am learning to trust more and more each day. 

Sunday reflections: Happiness

Happiness. We have all heard quote after quote about happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. Happiness is a choice. 

Today, I am reflecting over our message at church on the pursuit of happiness. One thing the pastor said that has me quiet and reflective is this… achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. 

He then proceeded to ask and challenge us…how do we deal with this discomfort? Do we choose to live with it or do we do something about it?

This led my thoughts to something else I have been working on when I pray. Instead of praying out of difficult situations, I want to pray through difficult times because I believe God has something in these moments for me.

Maybe praying through these difficult times of considerable discomfort and being willing to stepping out in faith to meet God is the pathway to happiness. After all, growth is often painful.

I don’t know what discomfort you might be feeling today, but know you are not alone. Pray through your discomfort…and look for opportunities to find joy.