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

Advertisements

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?

Being Brave

Being brave doesn’t have to be a huge heroic act.

Being brave looks different for everyone.

Being brave might mean…

  • Being honest in love and truth with someone about something that is bothering you
  • Taking communion to shut-ins when you feel unequipped
  • Saying no to something you don’t feel right about even if everyone else is saying yes
  • Submitting a writing piece 
  • Choosing faith over fear
  • Not retreating into your phone because it is easier than engaging in conversation

Being brave means you are ready to accept the unknown. You are saying with courage that this feels strangely uncomfortable.

For me, being brave is telling my mind that I will not second guess my decision. I will trust my instincts, make a decision, learn from it, let it go, and move on. Instead of second guessing myself and being anxious, I will choose to be brave.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Today, choose to be brave. Trust God and take that first step into the unknown.

31 Days of Gratitude: Fridays 

It has been a long week. I have missed a few days of my 31 days of blogging, but I have been spending time in His Word, journaling, with friends, and in prayer and reflection.

This Friday morning after a long work week and one long day ahead of me, I am reminded that He walks ahead of me, with me, and alongside me on this journey.

I am grateful for Fridays…a breather from the busyness of the week.

Let’s have a Faith over Fear Friday trusting that God is walking ahead of us, with us, and alongside us.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

Pieces

We dumped the letters out on the table tonight. I stared at all the Scrabble tiles. Letters. By themselves, that’s all they are. 

As we played and laughed over the words our son tried to convince us were real….Wiki dictionary and the Urban dictionary are not credible Scrabble sources….those letters became pieces of words. Those words joined together became a board full of words and family memories.

Letters don’t mean much in Scrabble until they are joined together to form words. Otherwise, they are just pieces. 

Sometimes, life feels a little like that. Like a bunch of pieces that don’t seem to fit together. Plans fall through. Dreams dissolve right in front of us. Everyone else seems to have it all together. And our life feels like, well shattered pieces that don’t fit together.

I’m in this pieces phase in my life. A dream my husband had that seemed to be God’s leading….doors have closed. My struggle with balancing work and home feels overwhelming and impossible most days. Disjointed pieces trying to make sense together.

A great friend reminded me that God works behind the scenes. He puts the pieces together in ways we cannot see or understand. His grace is sufficient for the day. Just as those Scrabble letters somehow come together to form meaningful words, the shattered, broken pieces of our lives can and will come together when we trust Him.

I encourage you to rest in that truth. 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

31 Days of Surrender: Discipline

Discipline is not usually a word we think of in a positive sense. By definition, it means, training to act in accordance with rules or an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. And then there’s self-discipline…training of oneself, usually for improvement.

I remember the first time someone used the word self-disciplined to describe me. It was my fourth grade teacher. We kept daily journal writings as part of our writing curriculum. I am not sure what the particulars were that I had journaled about except that it had  something to do with wanting to be a writer. She wrote a short note back to me about how self-disciplined I was, and she admired that. I had to look up self-disciplined to see what it meant…no one had ever used that word before to describe me.

But discipline…just the word discipline…is something we usually think of in a negative sense. We discipline our children when they disobey. We discipline out of love although our children certainly do not appreciate the discipline. Just this morning, my son was told he couldn’t play his video games because he didn’t put away the controllers. Believe me, he is not saying, “Oh, mom, thank you so much for not allowing me to play my video games this morning.” But, I’m sure he’ll remember to put the controllers away next time.

What about discipline from God? Recently, our Sunday School lesson was on discipline.

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So, He humbled you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your  foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:2-5

That passage from Deuteronomy is referring to the desert experience that the Israelites experienced after their release from Egypt. It’s easy to whine along the way when things aren’t going our way, and life is hard and God seems distant, but He may be disciplining us in preparation for His future plans for our lives.

Discipline is not usually fun. My work situation tends to be negative…I am trying to remain positive, trying to surrender, and learn the lessons that God desires for me to learn. This discipline is hard, but I am growing in my faith in ways that would not be possible without enduring the hardships along the way. My current health issues are also teaching me to further surrender and lean on Him.

Discipline encourages me to trust God more and to rely on Him.

What lessons might He be wanting to teach you through His loving discipline?

Discipline

Who I Am

This morning I unwrapped my Yogi dandelion tea with a message that really resonated with me: “Be proud of who you are.”

Who You Are

It has been a soul-searching past couple of weeks for me. I have a lot of decisions hanging open…decisions that are beyond my control. I am at the mercy of others as I wait to hear about whether or not my son was accepted into another school. I am at the mercy of others as I wait to find out about other life changing situations in my life.

Each of these situations cause questions to arise in me. They cause me to reflect and analyze my current life situation and assess where I am in life and where I wish I was at. Needless to say, I’m not where I want to be yet.

I have shed some tears, spent hours talking with a good friend as she allowed me to pour out my heart and then asked me some hard questions, questions I needed to hear. I have journaled the inner most thoughts of my heart.

The truth is, I am a work in progress. I am learning from life’s experiences, pleasant and unpleasant, and growing from these experiences. I need to embrace that God has created me to be me. Nothing more. I don’t need to waste time comparing myself to others. It doesn’t matter the size of my paycheck, the clothes I wear, the car I drive, the fact I have a gazillion food intolerance issues….I am who I am.

I am unique. I am loved. I am His. My timeline is not His timeline. I am learning to trust in Him and trust that I am uniquely His.

steps