Hold on....

There are moments in life when I think, okay, I can breathe a sigh of relief and call it good. Then there are moments in life when utter chaos seems to be the norm. Well, I am entering a whole new season with my family right now and in the next couple months that caused me to have a moment of near breakdown last night.

If you know our story at all, well, the short of it is we are still coming out of a season of financial recovery. We are making slow but steady progress, not as much progress at this point as we would have liked, but progress none the less. We have been counseled, and shared similar struggles with dear friends who have been through a similar season, understanding and encouraging us because the reality is this recovery takes years. The past 18 months roughly, Ryan has been considering a number of job opportunities in both secular and religious sectors, but as God has directed us along the way, doors have closed one after another. As we prayed, sought advice from family and dear friends, we found ourselves seriously considering the timing may be just right for him to finally start back to school. As God would direct it, an opportunity opened up for Ryan to lead occasionally with a new church plant in the area, and over time Ryan was approached and offered a part time position with them. At roughly the same time, details started falling into place for Ryan as he re-applied to MSU, was accepted and registered for classes for the Fall of 2016 semester.

I am certain we can handle what is coming with Ryan starting back to college this Fall, but at the same time part of me is absolutely freaking out. I know God has got this, that it is absolutely His plan for us, but I have moments of sheer exasperation sometimes because I cannot handle not knowing it all. The lack of control, it is terrifying for me. And, as much as I love him, at times that look on Ryan’s face when I launch into a discussion about what is coming in the next month, 3 months, year ahead and how we need to plan for it---I simply want to shake him. Reality is we are different in our approach to this area in our marriage. So I have learned over the years to recognize that look on his face and dial it down, listen more than I talk, until we are ultimately on the same page with the understanding that God’s got this. God has it all well in His hands, and we do not need to know all of the details. I don’t like that, but I have learned as I have gotten older and as I have progressed in my faith walk, to release it and trust Him. Last night I didn’t do so well in this area.

I don’t trust well, and I don’t know very many people who do trust well. It seems to be something I find far more difficult as I get older and in our society. It was easy when we were kids because we had nothing to worry about. I’m thankful to know I have a Father God whom I can trust at all times. That has always been a constant in my life and will be one of the things I boast about most when it comes to sharing my faith with others. Even when life gets freakishly impossible, I can run to Him and know it’s okay. They key is to let go, release to Him. When life gets hard, my natural reaction is to hold tight. As a follower of Christ, my natural reaction should be to open my hands and let go, let go to the Father who holds tight to me. He never lets go, He never fails, He is always faithful. I know I can trust Him, and the reality is I am convinced now more than ever I need to go a step deeper into my time with Him.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, and in the midst of my mind swirling with the unending list of things I must accomplish in my life day to day, it is quite simply enough to speak His name. Remember His name. Delight in His name. Jesus. My faithful friend, constant Companion, loving and compassionate Father, all powerful and mighty King. That’s when I can really let go. That’s when I can open my hands and accept the peace and assurance of the Holy Spirit. That’s when my heart is truly at ease, and sleep comes at last. The struggle within my humanity is real, but so is the Father’s deep love for me!

In the night, LORD, I remember your name,
that I may keep your law.
This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words.
(Psalm 119:55-57)

Fear to Faith.....

Be alert. Be on your guard. He is prowling, preying, watching for the first chance he gets to pounce. We are like sheep, we stray often and we are stubborn enough to keep going our own way in spite of the wisdom, the guidance we receive from Father God, from accountability partners, from trusted family and friends in our lives along the way.

When we are at our weakest, our God is certainly strongest!

He has already won, He has overcome for ALL our sin---do we truly get that? What I did in the past, what I do now, what I am going to do in the future, He knows and He chose to cover it ALL on the Cross. He knows us, from before we were known on this earth, and until well after we leave this earth and enter into Eternity with Him, He knows us best and created us for greater purpose than we can hardly imagine!

I have battled with depression and anxiety in my life, to the point I found myself doing serious spiritual battle in the darkness of my own bedroom after our second child was born. The enemy knew I was at a very weak place, the weakest point I think I’d been in years mentally, spiritually, physically, because we were facing some serious challenges with our son’s health during that season. On top of that, my husband was not happy with his job at the time, we weren’t communicating well and we certainly weren’t in sync in terms of our spiritual condition. Things were out of whack, that was a very unsettling season for us, and a number of factors could have easily broken our marriage, and our faith if we’d allowed it. I remember at some of the most tangible, frightening moments in that season, in the dark, finding for the first time in a long time the power of speaking the name of Jesus. As I balled up under the covers, literally fearful of what I felt was crouching in the corner of my bedroom, I was able to find release from that fearful grip I had allowed to take over my mind, my heart, my body. I don’t remember a specific scripture coming to my mind, but I do remember His name, “Jesus”, and whispering it over and over until I was able to finally fall asleep and be at rest. I returned to that place of power and rest, over and over again until I found I had walked through that fearful season and could call it “Overcome”. I can’t explain to you why it was not immediate; I know there are a lot of stories we read or hear about regarding immediate deliverance from difficult seasons like this one I experienced. For whatever reason, God allowed it to linger, and for me to truly experience over the course of several months, His abundant power and strength and love, in and through my faith in Him.

I have not personally dealt with addiction, a mental or physical condition/disorder, the catastrophic loss of a loved one, or any other experience that would have set my life on a potentially different course. All I know is what I have come to know through my faith in Father God. He is good and faithful, and He is here. He is patient, and because of that He sees the good for me that will often come out of allowing me to endure some extremely difficult life experiences. He knows precisely what is wrong with me and how to make it right—the key is knowing myself as fully as He does. It requires me to recognize that I ALWAYS have a CHOICE. This is where we all start chiming in with our unending list of excuses, the habits we have formed over time when we assume life will always be this hard for us because of one bad experience.

Wake up! Remind yourself right now, this very moment: I AM A CHILD OF GOD!

He split the seas for Moses and the children of Israel, and He will do the same for you! Why in the world don’t you take a chance to call on Him to do that for you and believe He will do it? Keep in mind it was many years, many years the people spent in Egypt praying for the Deliverer to come and rescue them, but He did! Just because He doesn’t rescue you right away, doesn’t mean He has forgotten you! He has purpose, far greater purpose for you than you realize, for the time He allows you to linger in a difficult season. So instead of cursing Him, lean into Him, determine to trust Him in spite of how you see it, and love Him far more deeply for the abundant purpose He has for you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it, you aren’t meant to.

You are not God!

Faith is grown far deeper when we choose to trust Him without preconceived expectation born of our own understanding. Determine right now to dig your toes into the sands of unsettled. It is often precisely where God intends for you to be, and when you are truly ready for Him to do His greatest work in you.

I’m praying for you, right now, this very moment because I truly believe you are poised and ready for God to do something new and fresh in your life today. It starts with your choice to simply trust Him. Yes, it will be hard and it won’t feel natural, but the Holy Spirit will be your guide if you allow Him.

I did, I have, and I can tell you from personal experience it is worth it and He is faithful.

So bow down under God’s strong hand;
then when the time comes, God will lift you up.
Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 The Voice Translation)

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