Things We Should Remind Ourselves of Every Morning

MAKES (1)There are mornings I wake up with my mind so full there isn’t room for whatever else may come that day. If I allow my thoughts to stay on those things rather than the Author of my life, the Creator of all things, I tend to pull the covers over my head and quit before I start.

There are some practical things about who God is that have grown deeper roots in my soul as of late.

I’m trying to figure out his spiritual art of staying in the day. Being fully present, right where I am.

The downside of being a dreamer, visionary, big-picture-person is that I have a really hard time just enjoying where I am, who I am with and what I am doing today. Sure there is something really great about being forward thinking, a planner, etc. but the other side of that is getting too far ahead of what is or what might even be.

My friend Kathy Simms told me she wakes up each day and declares:

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The first part is a declaration, the second part is the imperative.

But what if you can’t even get there?

One writer often had to self talk his way out of bed as well:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

And Jesus… His prayer went like this:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

This morning, remember:

God is near.

He is providing what we need today.

His mercies and compassions are new every morning and they fail not.

So when our thoughts go to “what if” and “how,” let’s remember because He loves us… we are not consumed.

We are not consumed.

Because of the Lord’s great love.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Have a great day.

Waiting with Confidence

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” {Psalm 27:14}

It is said waiting is one of the hardest things to do. Perhaps you are waiting for:

Plans to unfold
A job to come through
A healing to come about
A prodigal to come home
A soul mate to love
A baby to hold
A promise fulfilled
An apology towards reconciliation
A friend to walk with

Whatever IT is you are waiting for, let’s ask God to make us aware of HIS presence in the waiting.

Psalm 27 speaks of:

C O N F I D E N T  E X P E C T A T I O N

Described as strength and courage, waiting, searching and expecting God to BE God.

What are you waiting for?

Take courage… He is near.

On Quitting and Healing

Do you

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.  In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.  Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews  said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”   But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’  They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.  Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”  The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.  And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.  But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

{John 5:1-17}

On a Sabbath morning and I read these words following a mind dump/journaling session/crying out to the Lord in prayer time. Morning pages of long hand writing, with tears blurring the pages of every lament for God’s provision, the hearts of my sons, strained relationships, jobs, college planning, caring for my parents, all of it.

My confession today and really every day this week is that this low lying sad undertone in my heart is because I have been living in disappointment. Disappointment rather than gratitude when the reasons for gratitude are solid and tangible and the disappointment is in the fleeting ideals that were never real or may never come to pass.

The last few years have been wrought with uncertainty and my response at times has been full of faith but also marred with fear. The combination of faith and fear led me to try hard to find another way, another job, to change the circumstances on my own. Some of that was good and much has been unhealthy. I figured if I tried to knock, turn the handles and pick the locks, God would open the doors he chose to but I was at least doing my part in trying.

The man laying by the pool, who lived with his illness for 38 years tried hard to get himself into the stirring waters of the pool. The waters called to him daily and each ripple was a visible reminder of unmet expectations and the pain of trying hard to get somewhere to no avail. Then Jesus asks a simple question, “Do you want to be healed?”

The man’s response wasn’t about being healed, but how he was to get into the pool in order to get healed. His answer to the Savior of the world was focused on his situation, the obstacles and disappointment with everything and everyone and the way he thought it should all go.

It’s true, life is a journey, but  like the man at Bethesda I often lose sight of the ultimate goal: to encounter Christ and let Him bring full on healing to my life. As it turns out, for all those years the man was trying to get in the water, he didn’t need the water at all.

All he needed was Jesus.

Jesus directed him to get up, take the bed and walk. Don’t look back, do things differently but under HIS direction, not the way he thought he should go. In the back of my mind as I consider this, I’m reminded:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

So, I’ve decided to quit. I’m quitting trying so hard.

I’m quitting trying to be the best mom to these boys because it easily becomes more about me rather than the path unfolding before each of them.

I’m quitting thinking through my vocation and calling and wondering how they will reconcile because they actually are and it is so easy to miss that and what’s more… I end up finding my identity in what I do rather than who I am.

I’m quitting thinking through the “what if’s” that may never come to pass because today has enough trouble of it’s own.

I’m quitting trying to impress, inspire and prove myself because I am fully loved and have already been fully welcomed by a God who has plans for my life that are good and meant to prosper me towards Himself.

At this point in life, if it’s not Jesus that directs me to get up and go, I’m going to stay put. Stay put in this day, with these people and hopefully my ears attentive to how it all unfolds. I don’t need to work so hard because Jesus plainly says, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

I’m pretty sure they are doing a better job than I ever could. Also, this post is more of a prayer of declaration and not saying I’m going to be awesome at any of this quite yet. It’s a journey, right?

Do you need to quit something as well?

Peace be with you.

When Home Becomes Less About a Place and More About God’s Presence

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Sometimes you write a post for a Blog and then time passes and you forget… you forget about what you wrote and even some of the things that welled up so high in your heart you couldn’t help but write them down. I write to process and to make sense of things. I write because it helps me see the presence of Christ through said process. With my writing, I pray that sharing allows me to offer some kind of encouragement to you.

As I read this post today, I ached all over again. I ached because some things are still really hard and yet that longing in the ache, that longing for Jesus, is becoming more and more real as time moves on.

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It was late 2013, and I was walking to dinner at a conference when my eyes caught a glimpse of these artfully written words:

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

My heart leapt with excitement as I thought about the things God is able to do when he does a new thing. In their context these words tell the story of God bringing the Jews out of captivity. As it was with their forefathers, this new thing would come with a promise of hope and deliverance alongside hints that it would certainly not be easy.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;  and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
 and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2, ESV)

The year following that conference was the beginning of an unearthing. My entire world shook with upheaval and many times I felt my circumstances overwhelming and consuming me.

 

If you’d like to read more, hop on over to Trochia.

Focusing On The Right Words

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed says the LORD who has compassion on you.” {Isaiah 54:10}

I read these words this morning and the eyes of my heart immediately rested on the mountains departing and the hills being removed. Whatever that looks like is different for everyone. For me, they provide an image of this continual finding of footing in a season of change. They represent the unmet expectations of what I thought would be in place and is not. However as I kept meditating and praying through these words, I realized the point of the whole sentence written by Isaiah from the LORD wasn’t about the pesky mountains and the annoying hills that take your breath away as you climb. The point of his statement is for the reader, the hearer, to know God’s love is indeed steadfast. Never changing. These words were lovingly spoken to remind us no matter what we do, or what happens in life, God  L O V E S us and his love will never depart from us. This is more breathtaking than any hill or mountain can ever be. The God of all creation thinks this much of us. Better yet,  we don’t ignore the mountains and hills because God certainly has not. Isaiah tells us the LORD has compassion on us. By definition, compassion implies He has to see us and know what we are in. Compassion, defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

God is not just sitting high up and looking down wishing we would pull it together. He sees. He knows. He feels. He loves. He is sorrowful for the mountains and hills caused by our own selves or the circumstances around us and is literally in it with us. He has a desire to alleviate the suffering but that will often look differently than we think it should.

So often I miss the truth and the joy of being in God’s presence when I read the Bible. I want to focus on what the mountains and hills are and why He won’t just move them and put them where they belong because He can. The truth is, many scriptures like the one above say more about who God is and His presence with us and love for us than anything else. Scripture is a good teacher.

Today, let us shift our focus like the word of God teaches us to and acknowledge the mountains and hills, but keep our eyes on the ever present nature of God. His love. His compassion. May we have the grace to see it and believe it.

What mountains and hills are you facing? How have you been shown the love and compassion of God though it? Has he sent someone to show you? Has he provided something to remind you?

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.