Comfortable with Uncomfortable

I remember sharing a thought with a friend once…I don’t think God wants us comfortable.

In the valley of comfortable is the land of complacency, stagnation, and indifference. I have been there more than a few times.

In Joshua chapter 7, after experiencing a great victory, the people face a defeat. Joshua laments, Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all-to deliver us into the land of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?

How does God answer him? Get up!!

How easy do we forget our victories when we are faced with challenges, defeats, and mountains??

I am not comfortable now. I am being stretched and challenged. More than once recently, I have felt God telling me to get up when I felt knocked down.

This morning, I can smile. I have had some challenging days, but I have sensed the Hand of God all over my life. Little things have caused me to step back and smile. Progress not perfection. Seeing my son interact in such caring ways with residents. Positive interactions with the staff and residents. Allowing myself to take feedback, reflect, and be willing to grow from it instead of internalizing and being defensive.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle, it can be hard to find the light in the desert.

The light is there. When we keep our eyes and thoughts fixed on God, it keeps our focus on where it should be. My friend, I don’t know what your life looks like, but if you are feeling uncomfortable…trust God to use your situation to stretch you and grow you closer to Him.

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My Moments

It’s been a little while since I’ve been here. Life has been swirling around me a hundred miles an hour.

Today, I wanted to sleep in. My internal clock woke me hours before my alarm sounded. Except for the sound of my husband snoring beside me, it is still and quiet.

My dog nudges my arm. He misses me, too.

I could go back to sleep but a long list of things to do looms before me. I will face them. Like all things, this season shall pass.

For now, I will keep plugging away at the moments that fade into hours, into days, into weeks.

I hold onto moments. Sometimes, in those moments of frustration, exhaustion, or completely feeling overwhelmed, reflecting on moments is all I need to refresh my soul.

My moments are nature, family, friends, my dogs. What are yours?

God bless and I pray you may experience some moments of stillness, solitude, and beauty today.

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?

Waiting

The other morning, I embraced the coolness of a spring morning and took my dog for a walk before work. As often happens, I had to wait on a train. Quill wanted to bark. Once I convinced him that he was no match for a train and he needed to be calm and quiet, I snapped this photo.

Where my initial reaction would normally be one of annoyance at having to wait, I felt myself being challenged to think differently.

Sometimes, in life we have seasons of waiting. There are times when we just must wait. God can do His greatest work in these seasons of waiting if we are open to what He is doing. I think of the waiting we endured as we waited for the news to travel to our son. I remembered the waiting period for medical test results. I recalled the waiting for the potential phone call of hopeful news of a new job. Dreams and opportunities require waiting seasons of growth and well, waiting.

Waiting teaches us to trust, to be expectant, and to rely on the strength of One much greater than myself.

Every season has a purpose. God does not waste one single moment.

Wait on the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Whatever you might be waiting to happen in your life, trust God that there is a season for everything. He always goes before us.

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.

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.

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.