Waiting

Nobody likes waiting. I have yet to meet anyone who likes to wait for anything. Whether it is at the doctor's office, the pharmacy, the line at the department store, the drive thru, the repair shop---anywhere and everywhere we have an appointment to get something or do something we are required to wait for what seems like an eternity. How many of us feel the same way with regard to waiting for God to provide? Often times in my life, I have found myself trying to understand why God makes me wait when I know, I just know that this has got to be the right path for me. I have done the research, I have got all the answers I believe that I need to make the right, the wise decision and yet, here I am waiting. I am a bit of a perfectionist, like details, love to be organized and have a plan months in advance. Once I have a plan in place, I develop tunnel vision and believe the path is straight ahead, easy to follow, why should there be any diversions. So, when a hiccup occurs in my plan, I of course get a little out of sorts and frustrated. I know that ultimately God has the plan, but too many times I catch myself going on my own intellect in what I think is a partnership with God to get to the goal I have set for myself. The truth is, there is no partnership---God is in charge, and I have not acknowledged that with my obedience. So, sometimes that hiccup in my plan tends to be God's way of reminding me that I am not the one in control. He is tapping me on the shoulder, telling me to trust and obey Him. So, I say to God, "Wait a minute, what is going on? If I am supposed to just trust and obey you, then how do I know it is going to work out right without seeing it? Can't you give me a glimpse of your plan?" What must He think of me when I expect Him to run the plan by me before I will believe Him? I have to think He must get a kick out of my frustration, it must make Him laugh. When I stop and think about what He is asking of me, it is a lot. It is a risk, it is a sacrifice, and it is a leap of faith to believe without knowing and seeing. This leap of faith I take each day is the kind of example I will live out to show others what a great God He truly is. I don't know everything He has planned for my life, and I know it will mean that I have to wait when I would rather not, but it is for my good. Somehow I have to start each day by choosing to step into my shoes of faith, rather than my shoes of self reliance, and somehow His peace that passes all understanding will be enough.
Phillipians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

It's not about me, as much as it is my nature to prefer it that way

I have had a couple of weeks of incredible stress at work and just plain exhausted from it all. Thankfully we took a family weekend trip after stressful week 1, and this weekend we are celebrating my son Bailey's birthday! I can't believe he is nine. Where has the time gone? Sometimes the pace of our lives knocks me off my feet long enough to realize maybe I've got too much going on. I struggle with it constantly, and how appropriate that a study my women's group is doing happens to address this issue. I am challenged daily by the pressures of my job, and then keeping up with everything at home, as well as contributing to my church family. I recall my mom warning me at a young age how important it is to prioritize. It would be years later before she could finally admit to me she did too much, that she wished she had said no to a few things and made more time for me and my brother, and even for her grandchildren. This was a powerful moment in my life because my Mom showed me her own weakness to the pressures of life. We are all faced with this pressure and most of us choose to fill our schedules to the breaking point, not realizing how it could effect our lives and those in it years later. I don't want to look back on my life and feel regret for not finding the balance I need for my God and for my family. I have already experienced it once in my life, and discovered my body, my mind and my heart could not take the stress it induced. God desires for me to have a servant's heart, a heart that seeks after Him first and desires to love others first. As much as I would love to take hold of the reins in my life and ride into my own idea of the perfect sunset, God has the better way. I may experience some things along the way that are unpleasant and downright painful, but it is for my good, it is according to His purpose and He will not let me fall. I depend upon Him daily, I don't know how I would get through a moment of this life without knowing God has it all in His control. It helps me have peace, it helps me relax and so I commit daily to humble myself before Him and be obedient---even if I don't feel like it. God is good, all the time and no matter what the road ahead has for me I know He is and should be the One holding the reins.

Inspired, Empowered, Changed

I titled this post with three dramatic words. This week is the beginning of our busy fall schedule. It is that familiar time of year when our schedules fill up quickly and we soon realize we are running full steam ahead whether we are ready for it or not. I am so thankful that my week began with the start of a new women's study. I have been blessed and privileged to facilitate a women's home Bible study group and this is going into our second year. The response has been so great, and they have been so eager, so committed and so consistent. I am constantly amazed each time we begin a new study how the timing is just right for each one of us, and it is so needed. God must love to hear that! We need Him so desperately, and we need to know Him more. This is the outlook we should have on our lives daily. We are reminded over and over again throughout the Scriptures, in the lives of those who walked with God before us, and in the familiar verses that uplift us in our daily quiet times--we need Him and we should be seeking Him without ceasing. The reality of our walk with Christ is that we will never fully know Him until we are standing before Him, face to face. Our humanity would not survive this knowledge, so in our time on this earth we are to strive toward that knowledge by living out this life as examples of Christ, mirroring His unconditional love, embracing the Truth of the Gospel, and influencing others to come to know Him. The result of our daily striving toward this goal, is that we will find ourselves inspired, empowered, and changed--such great words that light a fire within my heart and soul! We should not settle for or expect any day in this life to be "normal", but instead, our goal should be for each day to be "different". We have a role to play in our time on this earth to be light where there is dark, salt where there is no flavor, to be an effect for change! I hope to grasp this daily in my quiet time, and I will pray this for those around me as well.

I have a purpose..He has the plan

As I drove to work this morning, the sun was rising behind me so I had to squint from the reflection in my side view mirror. I have become more and more aware of just how blessed I am. Funny how life experiences, particularly the difficult ones, can cause this pause within us. I know God does this on purpose, it is part of His plan to mold me, make me who I am meant to be. It doesn't mean I'll like it, and the majority of the time I am probably going to kick and stomp my way through it. I am particularly stubborn and set in my ways, I like to have a plan ahead of me as to how I think my life should go, so what hits me as a surprise or an interruption in my life is actually God at work just as He intended. I have to mentally prepare myself for change, for the flexibility required to navigate through this life without completely breaking down from time to time. I am not as patient as I appear, there is an inner turmoil that goes on in my head that the outside world cannot see. I think this is just part of my process of coming into being, because as I churn within, I try to make it a habit daily to release that to God. Somehow, rather remarkably, the Holy Spirit takes that turmoil, fills me with peace and strength to approach my day as I am intended to. I can't imagine the damage and destruction that would take place in my life if I rushed into my day without giving God a second thought. I was reminded in my devotional today of Ezekiel's experience, how God instructed Him to speak the truth and that he was accountable for sharing the gospel with those around him. He was warned they would be very stubborn, obstinate but that he had a job to do. Here is where we as Christ followers screw it up: we are not responsible for the result, but for our choice to act upon the call God has placed upon our lives. It is not our job to save anyone on this planet, but it is our job to tell them about Christ, about His unfailing and unconditional love for us, about how much He longs to spend time with us, so that we can know Him more and more as we walk in our faith. As this year seems to fly by, I am aware more and more that our time on this planet is so short and we have so many people to reach. How selfish it is of us to allow our lives to become so full of "stuff". The message our pastor brought last Sunday was a huge conviction for all of us to de-clutter our lives, prioritize everything around God and God alone. How dare we schedule a single thing into our daily lives without first spending time with Him! It is all about Him, His wonderful, amazing and unmistakable plan for each of our lives.

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...