Quick, before I get Sidetrack'd

Archive for posts tagged with ‘God’s at Work in My Life’

Scripture for the soul

Thoughtfully penned on May 11th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

I’ve spent the last 30 or so weeks studying the life of Moses in Bible Study Fellowship; this week we are wrapping up our study of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. I’ve learned a lot during this study and God has grown me and my faith in many places. The last couple of weeks there have been a few scriptures in particular that have jumped out at me, so I thought I would share them with you this morning as we are beginning a new week.

Deuteronomy 30:19b-20
“Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers”

Deuteronomy 31:8
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 32:47a
“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life”

Have a happy Monday!

The Scary Prayer, Part 3

Thoughtfully penned on March 19th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

Part 1
Part 2

The question that remains – where do we go from here?  And to that question I have absolutely no answers.  

I know that we are in a place of submission and awareness.  I also know that we are currently in a season of waiting.

There is talk of missions work.  Matt has long had a heart for the unsaved and, especially, for foreign missions.  This is one place where I’ve been holding out.  It scares me to think of living and raising my children in another culture, but if this is what God has planned for us then I will obediently answer the call.

Beyond that, I really have no clue right now.

I once heard someone say that God only allows us to see a few feet in front of us because if we saw any further down the road we would stop dead in our tracks.  

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that God holds my future (and that of my family) in his hands.  I don’t know what God’s plans are, but I know that his will always prevails.

And with the promises of scripture tucked in our hearts and our minds Matt and I take this journey one step at a time.

Lord, give me courage to walk this path and faith to be obedient.

The Scary Prayer, Part 2

Thoughtfully penned on March 18th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

Part 1

And now I am studying the Pentateuch again; this time as part of Bible Study Fellowship.  Or rather, I’m studying the life of Moses through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  This time, however, I came into the study from a different spiritual perspective, not from a spiritual high of obedience and anticipation but from a place of dryness and stagnation.

One of the things God has really been convicting me of these last few weeks is my lack of perspective on his might.  I’ve fallen into the “little God” trap and lost sight of God’s “bigness” and supremecy.  I’ve been guilty of trying to live this life based on my own power instead of relying on God.  I’ve misplaced my trust in the fact that God ordains all, God controls all, and God knows best of all.  I’ve failed to trust.  I’ve fallen into unbelief that my God can handle everything better than I could even imagine.

As I read through my BSF notes a couple of weeks ago (covering Number 13-14; the 12 spies in Canaan), I was repeatedly convicted of my unbelief.  Caleb and Joshua were firmly convinced of the overwhelming hugeness of God.  It did not matter to them if they were two men going up against all the giants Canaan could throw at them, they had God on their side and their God was immeasurably larger than all of the giants put together.

I want to reclaim my large view of God.  I want to again trust in my God who is immeasurably larger and stronger than all the things of this world.  I want to serve a God who doesn’t need me but chooses to use me.  I want to trust fully, deeply, irreversably.  I long to be lost in God instead of wrapped up in myself.  My eyes have been dimmed by unbelief, but I desire now to see God clearly.

So I am again praying that very scary prayer.  The prayer where I put all I have and all I am back in God’s hands.  “Lord, all I have is yours – my home, my marriage, my children (as difficult as that is to say), my health, my finances, even my very life.  It is yours; do with it as you please.”

This is not an empty prayer.  I say these things fully recognizing that something will soon change.  That something probably will not be the thing I would have chosen and will very likely break me in some way.  But I am confident that my God is the big God of Caleb and Joshua.  The supreme God.  The God who knows the end from the beginning.  And I am confident that my God will carry me through in victory, just as he always has.

The Scary Prayer, Part 1

Thoughtfully penned on March 17th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

There is one piece of advice on prayer that I feel comfortable giving: Do not pray that you place all things in God’s hands – marriage, home, children, health, etc. – unless you really mean it.  You don’t know what might happen, but you can be certain that something will.

The last time I fervently prayed this prayer God uprooted us from our life and moved us across the state.  Our life was good.  We were part of a good church that believed fully in God’s word and ardently proclaimed what is written there – even the hard parts.  In that church we were members of a small group of men and women who we thought of as family.  We were learning, growing, and being challenged in our beliefs and our faith.  We had great friends, good jobs.  We had just bought a house and were settling in to start a family.

Matt and I were in prayer that God would lead us, change us, use us.  For a while I prayed, “Lord, all I have is yours – my marriage, my job, my home, my life – do with it what you will.”  A few short weeks later we were headed to our new city where we knew no one.

We moved to a place that would not have made my short list of places I wanted to live.  I was happy where we were and not very happy that God was asking us to leave and head to our new “home”, but Matt and I were certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that moving was exactly what God was calling us to do.  We chose to obediently make the move.

During the weeks and months of prayer that came prior to our move I was part of a Bible study with several amazing and godly women.  As our study drew to a close and Matt and I prepared to move in a matter of weeks those women prayed over me.  One of the ladies felt she received a word from God that was meant for me; she told me that I was entering into my Eden.  Those words have stuck with me.

As we came to our new home I felt we were entering our “promised land.”  This was where God was calling us to be.  He had great things for us here and the work of his Kingdom for our hands.  I was reading through the Pentateuch at the time and remember being constantly struck by the call of God on Israel, his promises to them, and his gift of this land they had been promised hundreds of years earlier.

Matt and I have spent the last 4 years seeing God work in our lives and anticipating just what it is that he has called us to do.  We know our work here remains unfinished (or at least it did as of 2 years ago) because God has kept us here despite our best efforts to move on.

To be continued…

My continuing journey of faith

Thoughtfully penned on March 13th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

I blog for several reasons – to record stories and milestones for my children, to keep out-of-town family up-to-date (kind of) on what’s going on around here, to keep a record of the various seasons of life that we’re passing through as a family, to create community, to just have fun.

Another reason I blog is to share some of my thoughts on what God is doing in my heart and in my life.  I’m selective about what I lay out here on the web, so these aren’t the things that I blog about often.  But there are times (like summer 2007) – when God is actively and visibly at work molding me, teaching me, calling me – that I like to record and share.  These are posts that I hope God uses to touch, encourage, inspire those who read.  If nothing else, they are used by God to continue to grow me as I journal.

Over the course of a series of posts I plan to share some of the things that God has been laying on my heart these past few weeks.  It is a time of rebuke, teaching, and growth.  It is a time of anxious anticipation as Matt and I await the next step in this journey called faith.  It is a difficult time on many levels yet a sweet time on many more.

I hope as I post these things you will read, comment, and be open to God’s leading; not because I have answers, but because I believe God will be at work.  I believe God will use this time for encouragement and affirmation for me and, I pray, for you.  Will you join me?

Rough times

Thoughtfully penned on January 15th, 2009 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life, Life with littles, Motherhood

Today I had a meltdown.  One of those ugly cry, snot dripping down face, curl up in the fetal position kind of meltdowns.  Fortunately, my best friend lives two doors down and came running to my rescue as soon as she answered my tear muffled call; otherwise, I might still be laying in the floor in a puddle of tears as the children screamed around me.  

It wasn’t pretty, but it was very, very real.  This is how life feels right now.  We’ve all been sick for a month.  The baby is teething.  I can’t stay on top of the chores like I feel I should.  Life has caught up to me and is dragging me down.  I am weary, to the bone and deep into my soul.

I’m praying for reprieve.  I’m praying for strength.  This seems to be one of those times when God is forcing me to my knees and yet I’ve continued to fight it for too long now.  I don’t know what I’m “chasing”, but it is running faster than I can and is obviously not the right thing.

Please forgive me if you don’t see me here often.  Please forgive me if I don’t make it by your place as often as I would like.  It’s rough times and I’m trying to muster through.

My light at the end of the tunnel right now is a scheduled retreat this weekend with several women I love and am honored to call my friends.  The baby will come with me (Daddy would not be too happy if I left him at home since he won’t take a bottle!), but I’m hopeful that a change of scenery and a change of routine will do my mind, my heart, and my body good.

Until then, I will meditate on these verses:

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”  Isaiah 40:11

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:30-31

It’s about His faithfulness, not mine

Thoughtfully penned on September 15th, 2008 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

Last Wednesday, the new year of Bible Study Fellowship began.  This is my second year in the program, and I feel so blessed to be able to participate in such a rich and in-depth study of scripture.  I love the fact that it is based on the Bible and not on a book or commentary that someone has written.  Believe me, I agree that those types of studies do have their place in our lives and I have been richly blessed by studies based on a book or DVD series, but there is just something different about diving straight into the Word of God.

This year we are studying the life of Moses through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  A portion of Lesson 1 is about God’s Covenant with Abraham and the sealing of that covenant as recorded in Genesis 15.  This excerpt from the notes struck me:

“In a human covenant the two parties exchanged mutual promises.  But in this ceremony Abraham did not take part.  He was on one side, as it were, watching as God…passed between the pieces of the slain animals and made unilateral promises to Abraham.  It was a way of saying that keeping the covenant would not depend on Abraham or his faithfulness but solely on the faithfulness of God.” (emphasis mine)

How blessed are we to serve a God who freely grants us salvation (his covenant with us) through the blood of Jesus?  It is such a relief that my salvation does not rest in my own hands, but in the hands of God.  

God is faithful, as proven over and over in the stories of the Bible and in the story of my life; he is truthful and trustworthy, he will not let us down.  Taking a few minutes every now and then to reflect on God’s constancy in my past and on his faithfulness to keep his promises helps me to re-center and focus on him instead of the worries and concerns of this life.

It is solely about God’s faithfulness, not mine.  Praise God!

Out the window

Thoughtfully penned on August 29th, 2008 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life

Little calls from her bed: “Mommy?” said in that sweetest little voice. I open her blinds and welcome her back into wakefulness. I peer out the window, a large butterfly catches my eye; beautiful yellow and black against green grass and bright red salvia. I watch it flutter by and think of the beauty of God displayed for my pleasure. So many blessings, such joy.

A thought for the day

Thoughtfully penned on May 5th, 2008 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life, Quotes, The Glory of God
“The only true way to live in this world, constituted just as we are, is to make all our employments serve the one great end and aim of our existence, namely, to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward

A few short (and probably disjointed) thoughts

Thoughtfully penned on January 31st, 2008 and generally concerning God's at Work in My Life
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5b-7

On Wednesday mornings I attend a community Bible Study known as BSF. Every week we sing three hymns during our time together. It has been years since I’ve regularly sung hymns (as printed in song books); which really has little to do with what I’m writing, but, for what it’s worth, there it is.

Yesterday we sang the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, and I was struck by the line “oh, the peace we often forfeit…all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” It brought to mind the passage in Philippians (quoted above) which states that the peace that surpasses all understanding is available to us, that peace which is only from God. And how do we receive that peace? By praying in and about all things.

Then our study for the week (Matthew 14) included the passage about Jesus walking on the water. And Peter walking with him:

[Jesus] said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind , he was afraid and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Matthew 14:29-32

As soon as Peter stepped out with his eyes on Jesus he was able to walk on water, but when his vision strayed to the wind he began to sink. However, as soon as he called out to Jesus, the Lord immediately reached for him and took his hand, and Peter was able to return to the boat walking on water because he was holding on to Jesus. And when they got back into the boat the storm quieted and peace reigned; all because of the presence of Jesus. (This is also the case in the Matthew 8:26 when Jesus calmed the storm.)

In my life I have experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding, and it is a truly wonderful and blessed state. But these passages and the hymn yesterday made me wonder – how often do I forfeit that peace just because I’m not being intentional in prayer or because I let my eyes stray from Jesus to the wind that is blowing around me?

I know that in all things the hand of Christ and the peace that reigns in his presence are available; am I reaching out today to take hold of “the Lord [who] is at hand”?