Greater Than Ourselves

Sometimes, you just know everything is going to be okay.

Your college age daughter may dump her clothes by the door, but she is home for the holidays. A clean house is not important.

You willingly spend almost six hours in the car to attend the funeral of your friend’s dad because you know she needs you and there is no other place you want to be at that moment but there supporting her.

God keeps reminding me of the joy in the everyday stuff of life. Life is not easy. It’s messy. It’s sad. It’s just plain tough at times. 

Working with elders has taught me an important life lesson at a young age. The things that matter in life are the meaningful relationships we create along our journey. Every day, we have the opportunity to touch lives through our words, actions, and love. 

As I sat in the funeral today, I felt part of something greater than myself. I witnessed the impact one man had on multiple lives. For many reasons, I am thankful God has blessed me with the joy of this friendship and the opportunity to know this family. Only God could have allowed our paths to intersect.

In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to figure out God’s will for our lives. I think it is spelled out pretty clearly in those verses.

Rejoice…pray…give thanks…in all circumstances, not some but all.

What if we truly lived by those words? We aren’t perfect people, but we can love other imperfect people. 

My friend is teaching me this very thing…love others well. Her dad’s life and love for others over his years was so evident today.

As I reflect on our drive home, these thoughts come to mind.

1. Life is hard but filled with meaningful life lessons if we are open to the everyday moments.

2. People need us. We need people. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Be kind. Listen more than talking.

3. Rejoice…look for the everyday blessings. They are there.

4. Pray about everything.

5. Thank God. He is working even when we can’t see it.

6. When we trust God with our lives, He will bless us.

I felt it today…the love of others, the love of God. 

Life is greater than ourselves.

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Journey with Courage

I love as I begin to type in the word “courage” in my title, my phone suggests the word coffee. Yes, these past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind, and coffee definitely has fueled me on my journey!!


Perhaps a little too much lately. My posting has been more sporadic since the Write 31 day challenge ended in October. Life has a way of shifting priorities. 
Ever been there before?

I remember a pastor stating very clearly that sometimes the very thing standing in the way of God’s will in our lives is ourselves.

Living by faith is a daily, moment by moment journey. It is not easy. I know this in my heart, but when life gets crazy then sometimes I just want to say…I can’t do this anymore… it’s just too hard.

I have felt a bit on auto pilot recently. I have the “To Do” lists. I knock the items off one by one. I press on. I am tired. I want to embrace the joy of the season, and I do in captured moments, but they don’t seem to sustain me. 

Enter Joseph. The Christmas story often focuses on Mary and of course, Jesus, as it should, but do we spend enough time thinking about Joseph? The pastor today dedicated his message on Joseph. We talked about the extreme faith, trust, and obedience Joseph demonstrated. He trusted God’s Word. He honored and loved Mary. He protected her and this baby, Jesus.

Joseph journeyed with courage. He was willing to go on an unknown journey to trust the provision of God and His direction.

Which brings me back to my present state of mind and where I am.

Do I have the courage to follow the call of God in my life? 

Do you?

With our finances? With our jobs? With our health? With our families? With those dreams so dear and precious to us that we dare not share out loud?

Are we willing to trust God on the journey He is calling us to take?

Life offers too much to live on autopilot.

When we step in obedience and stay alert listening to His direction, He is faithful and will be with us each step of the way.

May we have courage in our journey as Joseph did so many years ago. 

Embrace the Journey

Is it okay to make a decision without knowing the answer?
If you had asked me that question a year or so ago, my answer would be different than it is today.

List maker. Planner. Goal setter.

That’s me. 

You can check off and highlight items on a list. 

What happens, though, when we come to a crossroads in our lives and we need to make a decision? Do we make the “safe” decision with a clear path and answer? Or do we dare make a decision that once we check off the “safe” things, we are left with more questions than answers?

What do I mean by this? 
I mean those times when you feel God tug on your heart towards the other direction…the one that doesn’t feel safe and that doesn’t have the clear end to your destination. 

I am on such a journey. A step of faith…one I don’t completely understand or even like at times because it’s hard, really hard. I know the desires and dreams in my heart. They are written down. Remember, I said I was a list maker? Even my dreams are recorded in a notebook. Especially my dreams. They are tucked away in the sacred pages where I record the whispers of my heart.

As I wrestle with the path I am on and where it will lead, I am humbly reminded I do not need to know the end result. I need to be faithful in my response. This is what God asks. It is a lesson in releasing fear and choosing to trade anxiety for trust. 

I don’t believe in coincidence so I wasn’t surprised when my writing friend sent me the link for a blog post. The blog post entitled “How I Made a Hard Decision,” spoke to my heart. It reminded me that God-led decisions require us to relinquish control. Knowing the destination is less important than the journey to find our way there.

I also found myself meandering through the bookstore last night on a rainy night with coffee in hand and a son enthralled with the Star Wars section. Again, not a coincidence. My eyes wandered to this little book which I have already started reading and reflecting over.

What decision stands before you?

A journey starts with one small, brave step in obedience. The journey is always about the journey.

God will lead you to the destination, but I think He has so much in mind for the journey.

God already knows where you are headed.

Write down your dreams.

Embrace the journey.

Resting in His Grace

I needed to read these words. I needed to be reminded that God’s way is perfect. When my plans unravel, His purpose prevails.

Today, I simply need to rest in His grace and quit trying to figure out things that are honestly beyond my control.

It is another reminder to be still and trust.


I believe in plans. I love lists. I have goals, hopes, and dreams. God knows my heart. I need to be watchful, listening to His voice, and trust His plan for my life.

An Altered Course

Sometimes, things unravel.

Sometimes, when everything seems to be falling in place, something suddenly alters from what you thought was the perfect laid out course.

And, just like that, your “perfect” course is no more. 

Yesterday, I received news that alters my course and leaves my well developed plan now feeling uncertain. The news wasn’t earth shattering. In fact, there was an element of joy in news. It just wasn’t my personal joy to celebrate, but then again, it’s not about me.

I trust God in this. I trust I am still on the course He desires for me. I’m just not going to be traveling the course in the way I thought, but I know I need to stay the course.


I have to cling to what I know. That’s the thing about God’s Word. When circumstances alter, His Word remains constant. His grace is still there. 
Yesterday, I read this: “Here is the great irony about opportunities. They usually come disguised as insurmountable problems.” Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Today, the truth in that statement feels just a little bit more real…a little more personal.

And what is the message to me in this? 

Maybe grace is disguised in these difficult moments. Maybe, hopefully, I will look back and see how this time only served to grow me and stretch me more.

It’s not about me. 

His plan will prevail. 

Can I trust what’s next without knowing?

Can you trust your plans to God?

Unforced rhythms of grace

As I drove home from a very long day at work, I listened to the end of a recorded sermon from one of my favorite pastors.

The message focused on being worried and upset. The scripture she taught from is a passage near and dear to my heart because it hits so close to home in terms of what I struggle with.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

Martha, Martha, Martha.

I can relate to Martha. I am the busy one. I find it hard to even sit still and watch TV with my son without doing something else with my hands… folding laundry, flipping through my phone, sorting through the mail…you get the picture. 

In turn, I find myself holding those same expectations of others. It’s like I expect people to be busy all the time. 

As I listened to the close of her message, something captured my attention deeply.

She talked about being still, in His presence, in the unforced rhythms of grace.

Unforced… obviously means to not force something

To take that one step further, it means to be free….

Rhymth…a strong repeated pattern

Grace…the undeserved favor

When I think of it all wrapped together, it comforts and amazes me. 

And to be completely honest, convicts me.

Why?

I find it so much easier to wrestle in the unrest of anxiety and fear instead of rest at the feet of Jesus. I ask Him to please take my burdens, but I so easily take them back as I play through the game of what ifs and conjure up a multitude of circumstances.

In the famous words of Dr. Phil…. how’s that working for you?

Um, well, actually not so well. 

What if instead I chose to rest at the feet of Jesus like Mary?

How different would my life feel if I trusted in the unforced rhythms of grace?

As anxiety tugs at the deepest places within me, I ask myself those very questions.

What if I trust Jesus with my worries and fears enough to let Him keep them instead of me trying to take them back to hold onto them just a little while longer?

Could I finally find the quiet I yearn for in the unforced rhythms of His grace?

I believe I could. And you can, too.

It’s a sweet surrender…a little more dying to self. If we choose to trust Him, He promises to be right there with us.

Grace Beyond the Lines

Recently, at a writing conference, the speaker talked about how we as children learn these beliefs about ourselves and  then we carry them into our adult lives.

As he spoke, an experience from third grade popped back in my mind. I had completed a worksheet for English. The content was absolutely one hundred percent correct; however, I had not stayed within the lines. My freshly learned cursive writing had extended beyond the given lines. I was required to stay inside from recess and fix my “mistake.” For a quiet, shy young someone who already aimed to do the right thing, this only fed into my drive for perfection.

This perfectionism has been a constant companion into adult life. It drives my performance, my anxiety, and my fears.

Last fall, God really began unravelling some of this root of the need for perfection. It has been a slow unravelling, but I no longer believe that perfection is the goal.

At work, we talk about redefining success as progress not perfection. I may not like mistakes, but I can embrace them as part of my growth.

Today, I am grateful for the grace of second chances. I am grateful for the freedom to not be perfect. When we walk in His strength, His grace is sufficient.

Sometimes, following a God given dream involves taking a risk. You may just have to look, write, or walk beyond those “safe” lines. What the world views as a mistake may just be the very path He has set before you. Pray, listen, and trust.