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Tag Archives: Doubt

God of the harvest

Waiting on the Lord versus just giving up. Listening to Him to tell me when to move versus acting based on my desires, wishes, or what I think God should do. That is how my prayer life and spiritual walk has been for some time now. Praying for light, but seeing darkness among the very crops for which I have been praying. Continuing to plant seeds here, but looking around to see them wither and die in front of me.

There is a lot in the passage from Isaiah 30:18-26 that mirrors my walk right now. As I sat reflecting on its truth today, I could not help but see the parallels.

He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries (v 19).

And cried I have. I have laid before my prayer wall with tear-stained cheeks wondering why God keeps directing me to do something. To pray continuously. To keep trying. To not give up. And feeling like those pleas are not reaching past the ceiling. Feeling like, maybe, that still small voice I heard was my own, and not His at all. That maybe this is not His will at all, but all my own. I have pleaded for Him to “just fix it.” I have said the same prayer over and over and over until I have wanted to rip it off the wall and burn it.

I’ve called for help.

I’ve heard nothing.

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (v 20).

I’ve called for help and heard nothing. And I have certainly suffered for what He has asked of me. Hurt. Rejection. Criticism. Discouragement and disappointment. When the way I was told to go doesn’t produce the fruit I hoped I would find.

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you he will say, “This is the way you should go.” (v 21). 

This is the hardest part-surrender.

To a will that is not my own. To an outcome I may not like. One I definitely cannot see. It’s teaching me to wait. And I’m not so patient. It’s teaching me to relinquish control, when I want to be in control. It’s teaching me to trust, but I have soul deep trust issues.

It’s teaching me that it’s not my will, but His. And isn’t His always better than mine?

I may cry now. I may feel I am surrounded by darkness, and that all these seeds of grain I am planting are returning void and useless.

But there is a purpose in this season of suffering. While God harvests this turmoil here in my heart, he is also harvesting a victory:

Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock (v 23). 

There will be reward for your obedience, January.

There will be fruit for your labor, January.

Don’t give up now. Your tears mean something. They are not wasted. Your prayers are heard. Your work is not in vain.

I’ll show you if you just let me do the work.

If you just trust me with this harvest, I’ll show you what those tear-stained prayers will produce.

Don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep listening. God will do the rest.

He is the God of the harvest.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Me, of little faith

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31

“Are we walking on the ocean?”

“Well, not ON the ocean…unless we are Jesus.”

Of course at the time I thought I was pretty witty. Until I was schooled by an even sassier, younger version of myself who broke it down for me…like only a preteen girl can do!

“Um, no honey! Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such little faith, Peter?’ Don’t you know we can walk on water, too!”

Me of such little faith. Without even knowing it, my sassy eleven-year old had gotten it right. I was like Peter. Not convinced I could walk on water.

There have been times recently when my faith has been fleeting. When I have fought battles, convinced that God had stopped fighting for me.

When I thought the waves were going to take me under, and I have also cried out, “Save me, Lord!” Hearing. Feeling nothing. Doubting that He was going to deliver me from my mess. From chaos.

Like Peter, I have ventured out at His leading, and become discouraged when things didn’t turn out the way I hoped. Started sinking in doubts if I faced opposition, discouragement, or hurdles along the way.

I began to drown out His purpose and His mission in my doubt.

Me, of such little faith. “Just like Peter, Momma!”

I don’t know what boat you need to get out of today, but I do know this-He is there to save you. To guide you out on the water. He won’t leave you. He won’t let you drown. He won’t let you rock around helpless in the waves. Being blown over by the wind.

He will help you. He only asks you step out of the boat in faith, so that you can walk on that water to the place He is leading you, too.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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The Season of Doubt

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Now faith is confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

A few months ago, I had the honor of presenting the Sunday message at church. After spending a week ministering to kid’s through VBS, it had been revealed to me that my faith had been lacking. I knew in the back of my mind what God had asked me to do. I had prayed about it. I had prayed that somehow my husband would jump on board, and these prayers were answered. But, I was still not truly convinced or faithful enough to take the next step.

I was still scared of the “what-ifs,” and the only soil in which I wanted to plant my feet, was the kind marked “comfort.”

I have mentioned a few times how I have wrestled with finding my purpose for some time now. God had revealed the steps I needed to take to get there. He had revealed His plans, but I was still hesitant to move forward.

Until I was reminded of this:

“So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:4

Simple, child-like faith.

So, in that Sunday message I handed over all the things I used that blocked my ability to step out in faith. And, then I went to work and handed in a resignation letter.

But, now what?

When a client consistently misses appointments resulting in a missing paycheck.

When the internship I was so sure I could start still has not been approved.

When my inability to adjust to this new routine means my sole purpose is taking up space on my couch each day.

When the bills keep coming. The kids keep getting sick. When I start to wonder if I ever really heard Him right at all.

When I start to ask Him…Ok, Lord. I did it. Now what?

But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

I made a decision to step out in faith, but now I was doing exactly what this leap of faith did not allow-wavering in a sea of doubt.

See, I had this false belief that once I said “yes” to God, and took the step he had gently urged me to, that the rest would be a piece of cake. That all the pieces I needed for this “yes” to happen would all fall into place.

Instead, it has been full of obstacles. Full of waiting impatiently. Full of learning that saying “yes” isn’t always that easy.

Because in order for His plan to succeed I have to be refined. Molded. Tested.

So I can learn to pray through those obstacles.

So I can learn to be patient as I wait.

So I can learn to remain faithful in these seasons of doubt.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in How Is Your Faith

 

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He Goes Before Me

For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” Hebrews 13:5

Remember that past I mentioned I had to face on my journey to become a licensed pastor in my district? That past the devil used for weeks to taunt me? Well, today was the actual day I had to travel to meet with our credentialing board to give my testimony. Even though I had come to terms with my past mistakes, given them to God, and embraced them as part of my journey, it was without surprise that I still spent most of the day at war with a devil who wanted me to believe that my history could never be a testimony of God’s grace.

He used one little annoyance after another in an attempt to convince me that I had made a mistake, that I wasn’t “called,” that I wasn’t worthy. First, I woke up to a cloudy day, soaked with rain. For those of you who know me, rain is not my favorite thing. It makes me want to find a deep dark cave to crawl into, or back in bed, at least. My meeting with the credentialing board was not scheduled until 8pm, which meant an hour and a half drive in the rainy, foggy night. I did drive in the rain and fog, only to find that I had driven to the wrong place. When I did get to the right place after several wrong turns, I sat waiting with a sinking feeling of dread that the pothole I hit while I got lost, would result in a flat tire as I went to make my way back home.

I knew that God had already come before me, yet, I could not keep the devil from crippling me with fear and doubt.

His taunting continued as I learned my transcript had not been received as I had previously thought, as I waited for over an hour to actually give my testimony, and as I clawed around in my purse for a pen to write these very words in this post (Thank God for that Notes app!)

The devil certainly did not want me to give my testimony. He wanted nothing more than for me to believe that God’s grace is not evident in my life. He didn’t want me to be able to write about how I may have defeated him today, any more than he wanted me to be able to tell a room of men and women how God had defeated Him in the past. He didn’t want me to feel like an overcomer. Instead, he wanted me to feel like a complete failure. Like I wasn’t good enough. Like I wasn’t worthy of God’s mercy, or to call myself “pastor.”

So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

And I knew God had gone before me. What could the devil do to harm me?

I sat in the waiting room, and as I opened Facebook, the following post from Joyce Meyer was waiting on the page just for me: Your history doesn’t have to be your destiny.

No, it is my testimony.

A testimony that shows the power of salvation. A testimony that shows the depth of His love. A testimony that proves I do not have to live with the doubts I allowed God to overcome. A testimony that shows how God can overcome our past sins and mistakes, make us new, cleanse us, and wash us with his grace.

A testimony that the devil was not going to convince me not to share.

And, as I walked into the room-a room filled with people who had gone through the same process, who wrestled with their own doubts, and fears, and who had all been forgiven for mistakes they themselves had made, I knew that God had once again come before me. It was finished. The decision had already been made. The battle had already been fought on my behalf, and He had already won.

He had once again gone before me, and I had nothing to fear.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in One Word 2014, Uncategorized

 

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Me, Of Such Little Faith

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have such little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:31

In a few weeks I will head back to Lynchburg, Virginia to attend a week long class. Alone, just like the last time. I have spent many of the past few weeks once again dreading the thought of leaving the cocoon of my home to sit in class with such a large group of strangers.

An introvert’s worst nightmare. And the source of dread and doubt that has plagued me, is one I even convinced my husband to let go off in terms of our finances!

I know. I know. I am not only an introvert, but also not so great at this practicing what you preach stuff.

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions. James 2:14

So, I here I sit. A woman who says she has enormous faith in God. Who commands her numbers-crunching husband to have a little faith as well, yet, I don’t have enough faith to believe he will not leave me lonely while I am away from home.

See, I mentioned I am introvert, right? I am not one who seeks out people. I would rather sit in the back of the room with a cup of coffee and a book, people watching, without ever having to engage with anyone. It seems a little irrational, but in reality, I simply fear rejection. I fear not making a connection with people, saying something completely idiotic, or finding out that someone really just doesn’t want to talk to me, or even like me.

Why? Because the devil tells me I have nothing to offer. Because the devil tells me I have nothing important to say, nothing of significance to contribute. Because the devil wants me to believe that no one wants to talk to me. That I am not good enough, and that no one likes me.

And even though I know that I will be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ; people all working towards the same goal, the devil wants me to believe that I will be all alone.

Even when I know better….even when I know he says he will NEVER leave me lonely.

Just as my doubt begins to take over, and I cannot get over my fear and insecurities about venturing on this journey again:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Philippians 4:6-7

That’s right. Even in our doubt, he can still answer prayers. Even seemingly silly and irrational ones like mine.

Because just as I was praying about my loneliness and dread, someone else was praying about their own journey to Lynchburg that same week! And, what do you know? It just so happened to be the same week I would be traveling too.

I doubted God’s plan last semester, and he placed people in my path to be with me along the journey. I doubted him again, and yet he has provided my need this time as well, putting that same person in just the right place at just the right time.

Oh, me, of such little faith. Worrying about tomorrow. Afraid of the unknown. Not giving my doubts and worries to God and trusting His plan.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22

He hasn’t failed me. He has never let me fall. Whether in my finances, my relationships, or a week long trip away from home.

So, it’s time to get rid of all my doubts, all my fears. To lay all my worries, burdens, and cares at His feet, and then to walk away knowing that no matter the task, no matter the worry-God has it all handled!

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in One Word 2014

 

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Fearless in the Face of Doubt

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“Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Mark 11:23

This week marks the beginning of another semester of homework deadlines, on-line discussions, and late Sunday night procrastination panic-in other words, another semester of graduate school. I made the commitment this semester to spend a little time before classes began to prepare myself for what lay ahead. In doing so, I reviewed some of the grades and comments from professors I had not yet gotten to from the previous semester. I came across these words:

“January, we all have areas that we can grow in, but your insight has really increased over this week. Like all good counselors you will get better with practice. Keep your eyes on the prize!”

This after a week at school where I spent most of my time in my head, doubting every little thing I did or did not say as a pseudo-counselor.

Keep your eyes on the prize….

But, so often I keep them on myself-on my inadequacies, my mistakes, my failures, my self-doubt. I can’t see the prize because I am blinded by my insecurities.

And, I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

He who began a good work. Was it not God who called me to this season in life? Is it not God who will equip me with everything I need to see his work and purpose through to the end? Is it not God who urges me in Philippians 3:4 to keep my eyes on the prize?

Yet, I still doubt my abilities, and in turn doubt Him.

So, this semester and those seasons I don’t even know about yet, I want to keep in the forefront of my mind the urging of Paul in Ephesians 3:20-21. To remember, God can do anything-far more than I could ever imagine or desire. Far more than I could ever do on my own, or in my own power.

I have to replace fear and doubt with faith.

I must keep my eyes on the prize.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in One Word 2014, Uncategorized

 

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Holding On Through the Why’s of Life

O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? Psalm 10:1

Why, God? Why me?

I admit it. I have asked this question of God a time or two hundred, just as I am sure many believers do. At times we don’t understand why a God who loves us all, also allows pain and suffering in our lives, or the lives of others. Why does he allow our loved ones to hurt? Why does he take the people and things that mean so much to us?

“For just as the heavens are higher then the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:9.

Yes, God does have a divine purpose, a greater plan than we could ever imagine. This week as my husband’s family comes to terms with yet another unexpected death, this is the promise to which I must strive to cling, because if I am being completely honest-there are far too many things in this life I could never understand on my own. Far too many “Why’s” I want to scream at God.

Why my son, God?

Why my Son, January?

Why won’t you take away this daily pain, God?

Why did my Son have to endure so much pain, January?

Why did he/she have to die, God?

Why did my Son have to die, January?

Why me, Lord?

Why not you, January?

So many questions. So much pain and sorrow. So many reasons to believe that God could not really love his people.

But he does. Enough to send his Son to die for us, for me. For your sins, for my sins.

I may never come to terms with tragedy, sorrow, and the sadness that so many endure here on earth, and I certainly don’t have all the answers for those “Why” questions. I am also certain there will be many more days when I doubt God’s plan and fail to believe He really cares about what is going on in my life. On those days, I want to be reminded to keep holding on to the promise that joy will come, sadness will one day be no more, and His perfect plan will finally be revealed.

The song “Holding On” by Jamie Grace has been playing over and over in my head for the past few weeks as I have wrestled with uncertainty and doubt in my own life. It’s a reminder that when we have nothing else on which to cling, when our days are all dark, and when we just don’t believe He is there, we CAN cling to Him for strength, for guidance, and clarity. I hope the song speaks to you as much as it has to me these last few weeks, and that it is a reminder to you to hold on when all you want to do is ask God “Why?”

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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