My turn to share was coming, and I wasn’t ready. While the other women on our Google chat discussed their writing goals, my mind spun on repeat. Summer gave this word a whole new meaning, and I was still processing it.
Ah yes, goals. What were those again? My goal yesterday was to keep the boys playing outside for more than twenty minutes before they came back in screaming from bloodied knees and bumps on heads. Today it was to make it to bedtime without yelling.
Sometimes my goals vary by the hour. It’s my first summer with three kids at home, and my mental capacity seems to wane a little more each minute.
This afternoon I turned my head to see our eight-month old trying to eat a dart our son left on the floor. (Don’t gasp; it was foam and rubber) Fortunately we were able to dislodge it from her death grip before she added purple styrofoam to her diet.
So, needless to say this Google chat was a welcome diversion where I could talk to other women like an actual adult. I listened to plans about our shared passion for writing and encouraging other women. It was bliss.
But my mind wasn’t on the future. It was on all the ways I’d failed over these summer months.
My friend Bev Sheasby of Liberated Living Ministries has been helping me limp across the finish line of a very hard season. She says wise and beautiful things that come at just the right moment. Words of affirmation, wisdom, and encouragement. She’s been such a comfort to me.
We recently had the loving privilege of handing our long-term foster daughter back into her birthmother’s restored arms.
Simultaneously, our oldest son became a Marine.
That same week, our oldest daughter eloped. This was a blessing, we are thrilled for the happy couple. But it has just been one thing after another.
And then another.
We welcomed an injured foster placement that same week. I may be a glutton for punishment, but actually, she has been a delightful distraction. It’s an honor to care for her.
Still, sending adult children off into the great beyond, I wonder… was it enough? Did I teach them everything they needed to know?
And I am not of the mindset that the Jesus I love was wholly made theirs simply by my prose. Scripture memory, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Larry and the Giant Cucumber” are a start, He will have to take them to the finish.
But what about these “temporary” sons and daughters? There’s a chance they’ll hardly remember me? Let alone the whispered prayers or the lullabies of a Jesus who adored them, unto His death. I panicked, not so much in a lapse of faith, but a lack of confidence – a state of weariness. That sinking feeling, you know the one, where you feel you must be everything to everyone, every second of every day.
And something Bev said came into my mind, as I let some tears fall and whispered some small, but heartfelt prayers for healing.
“Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.”
In my quest to provide for all, I realize what I often forget is how very small I am. Barely a seed myself, yet I think I must do it all and be all and fix all.
Alas, if I planted an apple seed, I could water it – but would it be me that would turn it into a tree? Would I be responsible for ensuring it produces a harvest? Could I even accomplish this? Even if I wanted to?
Furthermore, if I planted an apple seed and then I moved to a different farm in another state and left it to the elements, would it not be watered by the sky? Fed by the sun? And pruned by the wind? Isn’t it completely likely, aside from placing the seed in the earth, the earth would take care of the rest?
Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant. My comfort and rest come from this. I will continue to plant the seed and trust the Maker of all to finish the rest.
“The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8 (NIV)
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.
We can be like tires, after a lot of mileage, we run down. We loose our traction to God’s Word. We slip and slide into worldliness. We can feel it happening, we sense the tug, we know we are a little out of control, the problem is, sometimes, we are not so sure what to do about it.
I feel it in my life. I’ve had a series of frustrating situations: the babysitter backed our car into the mailbox, my feelings got hurt by a friend, and my prayer life with God landed in the doldrums.
Fortunately, I’m beginning to get eyes to see, if I don’t change something at the first sign of a slide, I’ll land in a ditch of faith. I don’t want this. Neither do you, I bet.
And, what about you? Are you, like me, slipping and sliding today?
– Letting arguments or distance with another dictate your worth.
– Finding yourself alone, tired and doubtful in your house.
– Resting on your own abilities to accomplish things, and not God’s.
– Endlessly worrying about your “situation” and having a hard time giving it to God.
– Recounting all that went wrong and not knowing how to get your mind off it.
– Returning to the sense that you are not really cared for by God.
– Battling your own will to avoid the temptation before you.
– Forgetting your quiet time or prayer time with God.
No matter where you stand, even if you feel completely on fire for the Lord, our goal is to boost your traction. So you cling on to the King of Kings, grip his paths, and stay on them.
The first step along this path is to:
Offer Forgiveness: Even if you need to forgive the same person 50 times. God endorses this behavior. He tells us to forgive 77 times – times 7 (Mt. 18:22).
Ask God: Will you help me to receive your Words and believe your words in a way where they relieve my heart?
Proclaim Godliness: Speak the truth (out loud). Speak it over yourself. Now, don’t fear, while you might feel dumb, you don’t look dumb to God, you look quite wise, actually, for getting your little self back on his path.
Speak this:I am beloved; I am God’s child and nothing can ever change that.
I am chosen; Father God never turns his back on those he wants.
I am helped; in everything I do, God will help me.
I am equipped; the Lord gives me what I need to accomplish his will.
I am restored; Jesus didn’t come to earth to leave mankind broken and he won’t leave me this way either.
I am forgiven; what was done on the cross is as permanent as marker –
there is no erasing its power.
I am renewed; I am being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus.
I am not perfect; I am growing and moving from glory to glory.
I am strong. In Christ Jesus, I have all I need to walk into this life;
his grace is more than enough.
I am able. There is nothing that God can’t help me do;
there is no mountain I can’t move, through prayer.
I am destined. I am destined to the fullness of heaven and
no scheme of the enemy can take that from me.
I am alive. This is my one life to go all out for God – and I will.
I am talented. God has given me works to do in advance,
not so I can doubt them, but so I can unleash them.
I am in love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my affection. Through them, I spread love.
I am called. I will go as God calls me to go.
I will lay it all down to follow my King, Master and Prince of Peace.
I am daughter; I am cared for in the kindest ways.
I am covered; God’s faithfulness will bring me through.
I am safe; God’s protection never breaks.
I am whole in Christ Jesus and if he is for me – no one can be against.
Believing and speaking these words restores tread and traction in our heart. We reattach to the vine and abide in his love, so much so, our mind realizes, we are not operating in this world but in HIS world. Getting to this place, to the place of spiritual eyes, is what brings us back to a heart that is on fire for God. It is what makes us go out in the world and pass the torch to another person. Rest here.
His face said it all: his brows furrowed inward, his eyes squinted and his mouth was as tight as a rubber band ready to explode. My son was angry at himself. In all his 6-years of wisdom, he knew – he’d done something he wasn’t happy with.
He looked up at daddy and said, “I want to go in time-out for 2 minutes – for you, daddy…”
My son’s words got me thinking recently, as a friend offered me unsolicited advice I knew I shouldn’t be listening to. God had already made my steps clear: I was to wait on Him until wisdom came. I knew this was the plan. Yet, as I sat down with this friend and they started talking on and on about what I should do, my heart started to plummet.
Would it really turn out okay? I really should save myself. Is anyone there to help me?
While one minute I was standing strong with God, the next, I was tumbling over with fear. I was buckling in with anxiety.
Ever been there? Ever been sure of what God wanted you to do, only to act out the exact opposite?
I let another’s influence invade a boundary God had established. And, I felt horrible about it.
What do you feel horrible about? What boundary has been invaded in your life, in a way where you constantly beat yourself up? In a way where you feel bad, horrible and no good? In a way where you’re not sure you can ever be nice to yourself again?
Because of what I did, I was convinced God was stripping me of all my good girl medals. It was as if, the row of trophies I’d earned – were disappearing before my very eyes. I was being demoted on his team and I was being relegated to the sidelines.
I could almost see it all happening and transpiring because of my faithlessness. You’re out, Kelly! You’re out! So, I took myself out of the game. I counted myself unworthy. I discounted my standing. I practically said to God, “I want to go in time-out for 2 minutes – for you, daddy.”
Like me, are you keeping yourself in time out – for daddy? Are you holding yourself back to make right what you know you made wrong? Are you punishing yourself?
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Jo. 3:17
If Jesus didn’t come to put us in permanent time out…then why do we send ourselves there? Why do we stay far from the Healer who wants to heal?
If Jesus came to save and not punish,
his procedure is to heal us and not ruin us.
With this idea in mind, we can approach him from a feeling of loved, adored and about-to-be restored, rather than failing and floundering.
When can approach like this:
I am sorry God.
You forgive me God.
I am holy God, in you.
Nothing can change that.
I am blameless in you.
You are leading me a new way.
And then, we realize, we were never outside of his love, but we were always in it and, then, we remember it is his love that heals us every time.
I used to approach friendship with a long list of expectations. Things I thought a friend should do. A space I thought my friend should fill.
Instead of extending grace, I was disappointed when friends didn’t follow through with what they said they’d do. I didn’t care whether they had kids and or whether the unexpected happened.
All I saw was my set of rules.
“A true friend wouldn’t do that.”
“If she was your friend, she would keep her word.”
What’s even sadder is I approached my relationship with God the same way. Instead of coming to the throne of grace wanting to know him, I came with my expectations.
But my expectations weren’t based on promises in his Word. They were based on my notions of what he should be and what he should do for me.
“If he is God, he will answer this prayer.”
“He didn’t answer this prayer, so he must not care about me.”
All this time I walked around feeling lonely and defeated, God still loved me. He still heard my prayers and you know what? He still answered them.
He just didn’t answer them in the way I wanted or expected. During a season, I didn’t see his hand at all because I was so razor focused on certain details of my life.
When we try to create our own personal Jesus, we will fail every time. Because God is not a god of our creation. He is infinite, going far beyond our limited minds.
But what’s amazing is we can have a relationship with him. When we want more of him, he meets us where we are. He gives us his Word as a living tool to guide us and show us his heart. Take the story about Mary and Martha, for example.
Most of us know this story, and Martha often gets a bad rap. This pains me, because what Martha did wasn’t wrong. Serving God and wanting help was not the issue.
The problem was instead of expecting Jesus to be God, Martha expected Jesus to do what she wanted. She came with her expectations and preconceived ideas of what a Messiah who cared would do. When he didn’t meet her expectations, she was disappointed.
Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Luke 10:40 ESV
In other words, “Lord if you cared you would not let her leave me here.”
And Jesus corrects her not out of condemnation, but out of love. He says Mary chose what was more important. Mary chose knowing him.
Friends, we will always have expectations. It’s how our brains are wired and God knows this.
But freedom comes when we’re willing to hold loosely to our expectations and come to him in surrender. When we say, “God, I may not understand what you’re doing but I trust that you love me anyway.”
When we let go of our notions of who we think God should be, we can know him for who he truly is.
He is faithful to give us glimpses of his character and love. He shows us his ways and his plans and gives us hope.
Let’s lay our aside our expectations today and come to him with open hands.
Let’s have faith in what we don’t see, and bring glory to the One who sees us.
Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.
Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?
Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.
Got it yet?
This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6
It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.
It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.
It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!
It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.
It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.
It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.
It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.
How do you use your tongue?
I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”
Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.
It’s not easy.
The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.
But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Prov. 18:21
By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.
5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):
Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.
This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.
Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:
Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent. Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.
Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.
I am delighted to welcome Asheritah Ciuciu! She is both a friend and a woman with an important story to tell. Be blessed by her words today!
I hugged the pillow and sank back in her couch, trying to look relaxed while hiding my bulge. This new friend I had made was friendly, welcoming, and open about her past struggles.
She was trusting me with a part of her past, and I felt honored and humbled.
She shared how God had set her free of her past hurts, and I felt a stirring in my heart. I wanted to return the token of friendship, to share with her a hidden part of my story too.
And so the words came out, awkward at first but tumbling faster and faster as I tried to make sense of what I was saying.
“I think I have a food addiction,” I said, sheepishly, twisting the decorative frays on the pillow between my fingers as I kept my gaze down. “I mean, I don’t know, I just find myself controlled by my desire for food instead of by the Holy Spirit.”
I chanced a glance up as I shared this discovery I had made about myself the week before.
And I held my breath.
The air felt tight in my lungs because we all fear rejection. Every one of us.
We long for friends who will know and love us as we really are. Not the instagrammed version of us. Not the 140-character witty us. Not the perfectly curated media stream of us.
No. Not that. We’ve had enough of that.
We yearn for someone to see us, every layer of us, and love us anyway. Cellulite and all. Love handles. Baby bellies. Thunder thighs.
Shame keeps us silent, convinced we’re the only ones who struggle. And our enemy continues to taunt us that “good Christian girls” don’t talk about these things. Blazes, they don’t even struggle with these kinds of things!
But in the midst of my own food addiction journey, here’s what I discovered: truth will set you free.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Telling the truth. Declaring truth. And embracing Truth Himself.
You see, we have a very real enemy, and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Satan will use whatever tool he can to distract you from seeking satisfaction in God, and if money, sex, or power don’t hold any sway over you, then French fries or skinny chocolate lattes just might.
For me, it was just that. Food addiction just about did me in.
Almost… But for truth.
Back to the living room scene, there I was, holding my breath.
Her gaze filled with compassion as she nodded and said, “I know what you mean.”
“You do?” I asked, my eyebrows arching as I let out my pent-up breath. I sized up her tiny frame.
“Yeah,” she continued. “Even skinny girls struggle with food, you know. I’ve begun to realize just how much a bar of chocolate comforts me, and it’s scary.”
I shut my eyes and relished the feeling of coming home. Here, finally, was someone who knew my secret and did not condemn me. In fact, she put her arm around me and invited me to walk this path toward freedom together.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus, Truth Himself, sets us free from our strongholds and welcomes us into the Father’s presence, where we find fullness of joy and life to the full.
And you want to know the most surprising part? If we let Him, God uses our stories of brokenness to heal others too. That’s a miracle in itself.
Though this journey has had its ups and downs, I’m so grateful He carried me through my doubts and insecurities to free me to tell my story. From food fixation to fullness in Jesus. From shame to shouting out His goodness. Because every day I receive emails from women saying, “I thought I was the only one who struggled with food fixation. But when you told your story, you were telling mine too. And now I’m asking God to give me victory just as He has you.”
I’m not that special, really. Just one woman who’s been set free calling out to others to join me in finding sweetness and satisfaction in Jesus. But we don’t have to go it alone, and there’s beauty in that.
Tell the truth, declare the truth, and embrace the Truth… and then prepare to receive the full life Jesus came to give you.
No more hiding. No more pretending. No more second-guessing.
Just beautiful, authentic, abundant, overflowing, satisfying life. Not always easy or trouble-free, but always filled with His presence and provision.
He’s done this in mine, and I know He’ll do it in yours, because God always keeps His promises. Always.
About the Book
If you’ve ever felt stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of overeating, yo-yo dieting, and obsessive thoughts about food, you know how hopeless this struggle can be. But the answer isn’t finding a new diet or a miracle pill. The answer is seeking satisfaction in the right place.
Asheritah Ciuciu is a popular blogger, speaker, and author. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women’s Ministry in college. Her passion is leading women deeper with Jesus through daily devotions and spiritual disciplines, both in her local church and around the world through digital discipleship at www.onethingalone.com. Asheritah is married to Flaviu, her childhood sweetheart, and together they raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio.
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I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.
I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly. Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.
I’ve been taken advantage of.
In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy.
What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?
I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.
Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.
He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.
If Jesus is my role model…
If I really follow him…
I deserve nothing… but, through Christ, gain everything… the ability to love… to receive grace and to delight in the journey of being with God... …it is more than enough.
It really is. It truly is.
I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.
I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30
It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)
What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.
The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12
Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7
Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.
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Has God ever boomeranged truth – where it hits you right between the eyes? He did with me; it kind of hurts.
My son asked, “Mom, can I have hot chocolate.”
I figured I was being super nice by saying yes. He wanted marshmallows too.
“You can have 6,” I said.
But, six in the cup looked like a swim party of few, so I reached into the bag and grabbed the biggest handful I could. With an overwhelming feeling of generosity, I dropped them into his mug, expecting to see the face of a kid lit up in a candy shop; he didn’t look impressed.
Oh well. A mom can try.
Even so, I figured, I’d made him happy for the morning. Mission accomplished. I figured wrong. As soon as the last drop was licked out of the cup, he was at it again, “Mom, I didn’t get to eat a marshmallow on its own. I only got them in my cup. Those ones were all wet.”
His face was gearing up for WWIII. My face was not pleased either. I’d just given him ten times more than he deserved and he was whining about one marshmallow?Mom. Can’t. Win.
And, this ungrateful kid won’t win either!
“Son,” I said, “You can either be thankful for what you have or be discontent with what you don’t.”
No sooner were these words out of my mouth than they boomeranged. Boing!!!
They hit me like this: “Kelly, you can either be thankful for what you have –
or discontent with what you don’t.”Boing!!!
You may be missing me as much as he is Kelly.Boing!!!
Thankfulness is where you find joy, Kelly. It is where you meet greater trust in me. Boing!!!
You see what you don’t have,
but what you do have is gi-stinking-normous.Boing!!!
You enter my presence with a word of thanks; you find me.Boing!!!
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name”
I want more of God – and all of this is true. God has given me much. He’s reached into the bag of his goodness and made the cups to overflow. He’s gone above and beyond to open up life-changing spiritual insights. He’s provided for me when I saw no way. He’s given me the opportunity to write a book that blessed me beyond get-out with new courage. He has grown me in patience. He has offered me a chance to be near loved ones. He’s grown my faith.
God, hasn’t given me a tad, He’s given me a ton. Yet, sometimes, like my son, I see only the little thing he hasn’t done. I focus on it, forgetting everything else. I get obsessed with that one little marshmallow and forget the sweetness of his providence.
But, what I am coming to today is – I always have something to be thankful for: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chron. 16:34
Quick-fire prayer:Forgive me, God for my ingratitude. Thank you that you do forgive. Thank you, you love me no matter what. Thank you, I cannot step outside of your love. Thank you, you always have a plan. Thank you, you give me handfuls of blessings. Thank you, you see my way and guide me to it. Thank you, you bestow vision. Thank you, you restore me with eyes of clarity as I approach you with the honor you deserve. Thank you, you withhold no good thing from me. Thank you, God, you are all I need. Amen.
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Maybe he’s called you to something…
Maybe he’s led you to something…
Maybe he’s pushing you to DO something…
Maybe he’s prompting you to change something…
Yet, sometimes, excuses can hold one captive within a fortress wall. They encircle, blocking the greater thing. I should know, I’ve made excuses my whole life. I am not good enough. Smart enough. Able enough. Willing enough. ____ enough.
Are you really going to work, God?
Are you really with me?
God, is it really possible that you will work – if I don’t?
In this place of, God…I-trust-you-uhh,-kind-of…., there are 101 reasons why the plan won’t work. Here, there visions are demise, prayers like desperate pleas and a will all about self. I should know.
Just the other day, I found myself sitting on the couch with these exact emotions. So, not knowing what else to do, I asked God to meet me and walked outside to my front porch…
Was I in a bird sanctuary? As they sounded off, something in me came alive, I was no longer trapped in my vision, my mindset, and my will. I’d pushed beyond the first protective wall. God was taking me somewhere.
I asked him for greater eyes to see; he gave them to me. First, I noticed the nest in my tree – the one neighbor called “a nest for squirrels”. The thought repulsed me at the time. I could somehow imagine them burrowing themselves in my gutters and then my attics and somehow- before the clock struck midnight – right into my bed – and under my covers. Over my dead body – (literally)!
But, as I stared at that nest, it wasn’t rabid squirrels that came out, but the tiniest and cutest of baby birds.
New life. New life always exists outside our walls of our disbelief.
I ventured out more, walking my ordinary path. The extraordinary birds sang something, but what did God want me to come to?
Kelly, if I hold the world together, don’t you think I can hold your dreams together?
Your life together?
Your moving parts together?
…in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:7
A bird swooped down in front of me. Not too long after, another one took a nose dive right along my path. Follow me. Like the disciples followed me, you need only follow me. It’s that simple.
Go as I go. See as I see. Where I go, I give new view.
“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Mt. 19:20 MSG
It all sounded good. Because, seeing like me, a manipulating and self-steering girl, gets tiring. There’s a whole lot of things to worry about and people to please and things to do; frankly, I’m overbearing. Just going as he goes, sounds, well? Relaxing almost. So, I walk on and try to just welcome God into my space. I want to see as he sees and to go as he goes. And, what I notice is something I haven’t noticed all the other 200 times I’ve taken this walk. I see nests – ones almost invisible. Big nests. Small nests. Miniscule nests. Leaf-filled nests. I stop. How could I have missed them before?
Kelly, you don’t always see what I am birthing behind the scenes. But, let me assure you – where I go, I bring life. Every time you trust by faith, I hatch something.
“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23
With this, God fills me up in some sort of transcendent way. He offers me His goodness – and I’m addicted. I crave more. I want more. I really want more. I desperately want more. I believe, God intends it this way, he must know: He’s the best dependency.
Upon arrival at home, my fortress looks different. The drawbridge is down and the front door stands welcoming. And, what I notice out of the corner of my eye are birds giving a final salute. They jump and frolic, enjoy and bathe in the puddles. They live – happy. Unconcerned with the future.
I never celebrate what God has done – for very long. I, so quickly, move on to the next thing.
Is God calling me to celebrate, in advance, what He’ll do through faith?
Kelly, I have a flight plan for you.
Joy launches with it.
It’s never a fight to be on my plight,
for my load is light.
Quick-fire Prayer:May I celebrate what I cannot yet see. May I trust in what I do not know. May I rest in where, with him, I’ll go. Fear need not be my companion, nor excuses my guide. For there is one true fact, and that is, you God, will not leave my side. Amen.