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.

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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.

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?

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.

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.

Doors to Dreams

Closed doors on my dreams…slammed shut.

My life, my dreams seem to be unfolding so much slower than everyone elses’s.

 I listen to high school graduates with clearly defined dreams as they plan their next journey.

I step back, look at my life…. almost 40…my mind wanders to dreams yet discovered. Life often does not follow the neatly designed plan one would wish.

My dreams to write, to work in long term care administration, to adopt, to travel…some realized, some still held close to my heart, none forgotten.

Doors opening as my heart opens more, God speaking His truth into my soul.

A story published, an opportunity presenting itself…

This book….Draw the Circle, the 40 Day Prayer Challenge…my third time reading it. I finish it, I start again. It reminds me of His promises, His loves, His protection.

This today … “Go, Set, Ready”….you’ll never be ready.

No time is a good time. We make room for what is important to us. He opens doors and closes doors at the right times, in the right places, with the right people.

He doesn’t promise it will be easy but time after time, He promises to be there with us.

 Sometimes you have to go before you feel ready. You have to take that step of faith to set you in the right direction. You may never feel ready, but when God says go, then it is time to go.

My door has opened.

I think you are more ready than what you realize.

Words of confirmation spoken to me by someone I respect deeply.

Now is my time to go. To take a step of faith. To learn as I go. To trust Him. He will guide my path.

Go….before you feel ready or you may never go.

Set….pray and take that step of faith.

Ready….if you have been praying and listening, you will hear His voice as He opens and closes doors.

The path may not lead in the direction you anticipated, but God honors a step of faith in obedience.

What’s holding you back?

Bridges

I like crossing bridges. Usually. I have this one memory of crossing a very narrow wire bridge at a mountain area with my husband shaking the bridge. The height combined with the shaking…not my favorite moment. He realized quickly how much I hate heights and feeling unsteady!!

For the most part, though, I love bridges. When we hike, we know if we cross a bridge, something awaits us on the other side. Sometimes, it is a beautiful waterfall. Other times, it is simply crossing to the other side to continue our journey into the woods. Usually driving over bridges involves passing over a body of water.

Bridges also have symbolic meaning to me. Right now, I feel like I am experiencing a bridge in my life. I am growing spiritually, professionally, and personally. I am reflecting and evaluating what I desire from life.
Bridges are ….

  • The only way to reach the other side. Literally, if you are crossing a bridge over the ocean to an island, you must drive your car over the bridge. Figuratively, if you have a goal or dream, you must be willing to take steps of faith to cross the bridge between where you are and where you want to be.
  • Bridges are transitions in life. I am not the same person I was a year ago. Where I am right now in life is opening my eyes and heart to where I want to journey and that looks very different than what it did a year ago. 
  • Bridges are hopeful places. I am learning a lot about myself. I am stronger than I thought I was. I am learning to trust God deeper. If I can get over this bridge, no matter how long it is, I can persevere to my dreams. The crossing over the uncertain waters can be scary, but if I keep my eyes on God, I feel hopeful.

If you aren’t exactly where you had hoped to be at this point in life, maybe where you are is the bridge to where you desire to be. You may need time to stop and reflect, but don’t get stuck in disappointment. Keep moving forward.

I encourage you to read Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge. This book is helping me to see prayer in a renewed, powerful sense and giving me courage to pray myself forward on this bridge trusting God to lead me.
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 NKJV