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Just keep praying

“She called me 5 minutes before we were supposed to be there and said she changed her mind.”

This is the response received when asking for the outcome of a meeting I had to miss. But what no one knew was that 5 minutes before they were supposed to be in that room, someone was praying miles and miles away in a different room. Praying for one so many had already given up on. Praying a family would be given the opportunity to show a young soul that no one was giving up.

God had answered my prayer. And this conversation triggered another one had over a year before. One that wasn’t so grace-filled.

I sat in the meeting, reporting needs, data, and the potential for those “needs” to not be met based on things beyond my control. I sat there thinking of all the pitfalls and solutions when I heard it-a mocking tone from across the room: “Maybe we can just pray about it. Isn’t that what works?”

I don’t recall how long that meeting ran on after that. I don’t recall what was decided. What else was said. What I was being asked to do. Because I sat stunned that my faith has been put on display as some kind of joke. That mocking a praying woman was OK.

It wasn’t the first time I had been told prayer was ridiculous. Praying has always been deemed silly by those who don’t believe in its power. Its power to change people. To move mountains of circumstances. To heal.

I wish I had been strong enough that day to list all the ways in which prayer had “worked.” The proof I had that all that had unfolded, the roadblocks moved had not just been mere coincidence.

The prayers I uttered in corner offices that the most vulnerable would be safe and secure as they passed over the threshold I had soaked with prayers of protection. And the countless wee ones who passed through and stayed because “it’s safe in here.”

The prayers uttered for tough conversations, reconciliation, and healing of hurts I never inflicted.

No one will convince me that the call made within those 5 minutes was mere coincidence. That this time or all the others before, God had not heard the pleas of my heart.

No. I am convinced on that day God desired the same thing, and he worked it out. Just as He will continue to each and every time I ask.

And while it may not be as evident as a call 5 minutes before a meeting, each time I come to Him with the burdens of my heart. He will work it out in His way. His time.

Because despite anyone’s thoughts that what you are praying for may not be worthy. May be silly. May be useless. Keep on praying anyway. He hears you. He wants to answer you. He cares about what’s on your heart.

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. Matthew 21:22

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2019 in How Is Your Faith, My Heart Will Sing His Praises

 

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Pinky promises from God

“We will go tomorrow to get donuts. I promise.” I said this to my little boy as he headed into the house. As he trickled in from school, and we then began the task of managing the afternoon and evening activities. Pinky promised that, yes, next time we would go. “Tonight we have a lot to do, but tomorrow is wide open.”

Then tomorrow came, and as we headed into the house after bus stop pick-up, I looked back to see that same little boy crying. “You said we could get donuts today,” he sniffled. “You promised!”

I had promised. But I had also forgotten, and I was oh-so-close to breaking the trust this little guy had in me.

Thankfully, I kept my promise. But it did not diminish the fact that in my rushing, my human capacity to only TRY to manage all things, I had managed to forget this one thing. I had almost forgotten what I had promised to deliver. I believe it is safe to say, we all have broken a promise, or for whatever reason been unable to keep it.

But God. He never breaks a promise. He can always be trusted to do what He says He will do!

The Bible is full of thousands of promises God made to His people, and still hold true for us today. While over our lifetime we may make countless promises to others as well, God never ceases to deliver. Time and circumstances don’t stand in the way of the promises God keeps.

I urge you to reflect on the promises of God, especially next time someone breaks their pinky promise to you. Write them down. Recite them. Keep track of how many God has or does deliver. I trust you will find that though our faith and trust in people may waver, His won’t. He will never fail you, and He will keep every “pinky” promise made to you!

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Stand up and walk

Stuck. Sometimes we just get stuck. I don’t mean like in the mud, or in an elevator-although we can certainly feel at times that we are stuck and not going anywhere. Like everything else is passing us by. Like everyone else is being blessed, healed, whatever. And we are not moving at all.

A man was lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and knew he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water stops moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else gets in before me.” John 5:5-7

We can sound a little like this sick man at times. Someone always gets the promotion over me. Everyone else is being blessed and I am still waiting for my prayers to be answered. Why hasn’t God called me? Why is no one helping me?

Sound familiar?

You are stuck in comparison. Stuck in complaints. Stuck in doubt. And sometimes downright fear of simply trusting Him. Waiting for someone. Anyone. Heck, the very first one-you don’t even care who it is or what they have to offer-to come and save you.

Then Jesus said,”Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He already saved you. He is just simply waiting for you to walk like it.

Walk in acceptance. Leaving comparison behind, because He has accepted you as you are. In all you uniquely have to offer.

Walk in forgiveness. Leaving behind guilt and shame for the mistakes you have made, because He already took all that away.

Walk in strength. Knowing that days will be hard. The road will be bumpy, but He provides the endurance to keep climbing over the bumps, through the pools, to your purpose.

Walk in purpose. Not looking around at the victories and blessings of others, and having a pity party. But continuing to show up, keep going and keep pursuing all that He has for you. In His timing. His way.

Walk in love. Knowing that He loves you. Even if today it feels like no one does. He does. All the parts you deem unworthy. He believes they are enough.

Stop waiting. Stop looking around. Stop wondering if you are good enough.

Stand up and walk.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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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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Well done….

 

“Well, what do I get if I do that?”

An all too common question. What is in it for me for serving, for being kind, for meeting an expectation?

People are often surprised that I do not demand that my kids do more chores. Earn their keep around the house. Perform duties in order to be rewarded for all the “good” things they have done.

It’s true. I don’t.

I have tried every chore system known to man (or rather, woman). Every velcro stripping, popsicle pulling, washi tape plastering, dry erase board posting, laundry clip moving chore chart on Pinterest. None has lasted. The only thing successful among any of these charts has been the endless arguments over who gets to do what chore, and earn what silly reward.

So, we keep it simple. We teach them how to respect each other and the adults in the home. That in our home (and beyond), we are spoken to with words of love, and no one leaves a room when asked to stay, without completing a discussion on an issue. We praise the daughter who decided to check the mail without having to be asked. Or the boy who fed the dog, just because he wanted to help. We deposit these moments into our memory banks so that the next time that girl wants an impromptu play date, we can remind her of her frequent mail drops and quickly say “yes.” Or that boy runs out of ice cream, and we remind him of the time he did not let the dog go hungry, and we can quickly hop into the vehicle for a quick trip for fro-yo.

But there are also times we remind them that in life we are not rewarded for doing good. We won’t always be praised. Sometimes we will be unappreciated or overlooked. However, we do our little bit of good anyway. We keep giving to others anyway. Even if you don’t get in return. Even if people don’t do anything to earn it. Even if people aren’t even very good.

Why?

Grace. Undeserved favor. We don’t deserve it. We have no reason to expect it. Yet it is freely given.

Just as God gave us.

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan. 2 Timothy 1:9

We didn’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. He gave it anyway. He loves us anyway. Even if the world may not notice our good efforts. Even if we may be overlooked, and it may take a lifetime. Grace was our reward. And, one day, all of those small efforts we make will be acknowledged when He looks at us and says “Well done. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Now, that’s one fine reward. Don’t ya think?

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2019 in Grace

 

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I need what He’s got

Crowds. I never much liked them. As a kid, teen, and a young adult I always remember struggling to figure out my place in the crowd. Where exactly I fit in. It gave me anxiety. Made me nervous. Made me wonder who exactly I was. I would either be the loudest in the room.

Or the quietest. It all depended. My anxiety either meant I over compensated by becoming a social butterfly, flitting through the room lit up like a Christmas tree. Mingling and talking to anyone and everyone. And I do mean ANYONE. Or I was in a corner with my head in a book. Daring anyone to talk to me.

At times. I still go between the two.

But when it comes to being attractive to others. I want to be more like Jesus.

Whose mere presence in a room or crowd commanded attention. Who may have walked by many who were watching, waiting and looking just for him.

But his presence was quiet. Sure-footed. Humble. Purposeful. He was powerful. He drew crowds. He wasn’t intimated by them. He certainly knew his place in them.

As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, the whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” Luke 8:42-46

Yet he still had time to stop for the one who sought him.

He didn’t need fanfare. He didn’t need to announce himself. He walked up in the place and peeps just knew!

I gots to get to Jesus!

I need what He’s got.

I need some of that in my life.

I want to be like that. Not the loudest. Not the one who commands attention by doing things to get noticed. Or the one who walks in, unsure of herself. Of her worth. Her place in that space.

I want my presence to light up a room. Sure. But only because it means I’ll be a noticer of a face in a crowd who needs a little love, and knows they will receive it. The one who will stop and help the fallen even if I’m busy. Even if a slew of other people and things need my attention. This one may need it, too.

I want to walk quietly, sure-footed, humbly, and purposeful. Knowing to whom I belong. Stopping to touch his garment at all times when I feel empty and discouraged.

Yep. I need what He’s got.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2019 in Like Jesus Does

 

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It’s all going to be OK

Faith and feelings. Or “suck it up, don’t talk about it, just pray about it.”

I’m a straight shooter. I’m honest. I keep it real. I share my struggles. And, I value the art of vulnerability in our lives. Even among the faith community. However, there is often this idea that we can’t be vulnerable, be a mixed ball of feelings and still have an abundance of faith.

Here’s the thing. I am a Bible carrying, post-it note writing, war room crying, prayer warrior. I have faith. I also have a ton of feelings. Many I suck up. Many I just don’t.

Here’s why: We are responsible for what we damage when we are here. And too many are damaging hearts and relationships simply hiding their true feelings. Not being honest with self and each other to save face, and look good in a highlight reel.

Too afraid to admit they are a mess. When God already knows our messiness. We can’t hide it from him. We can walk around wearing a mask of macho and cool in our daily lives, but we can’t hide our broken hearts from him. We can come to church cleaned up and pretty on the outside, but we can’t hide what’s on the inside.

“Pretending away reality never makes things better. It just causes you to implode on the inside while smiling on the outside. That’s no way to live.” Lysa Terkkeurst, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way

So can we just admit to each other that we are not OK? That what we really want is someone who can be vulnerable enough to admit it, so we can finally say…”Oh my goodness. Me too!!!” And, tell each other that’s it’s OK to not be OK?

That it’s OK to miss someone. Because missing someone means we have also loved someone. We have a hole in our heart that aches because that person inhabited a place in it, and we now grieve for that emptiness. And it’s OK if your grief was short, and if your grief takes longer. It’s OK if you are missing someone who is still fully alive. It’s OK.

It’s OK to have big emotions. Like anger. Like sadness. Like frustration. Like loneliness. God made us with those emotions. He also knows every single one of them. He felt anger when he saw the evil he had created among the world, enough to wipe them out in the days of Noah. He surely felt sadness when he sent His son to die. He feels frustration when His purpose does not come to fruition because earthly desire takes over and wrong choices are made. He feels all that, too. We are made in His image. He gave us all these emotions so we would understand the one he wants us to use the most-love.

It’s OK if you didn’t cope so well with those big emotions today, and reacted in not so glorious ways. It’s OK if you yelled at your kids. It’s OK if you cried in your bed under the covers. It’s OK if you walked into Starbucks sobbing because they handed you the wrong coffee, desperate for one thing to just be right in your day (hand raised here). That’s all OK. Show yourself the same grace God shows you and start over tomorrow.

And know this: It’s OK if you are so not OK that you need a little extra help.

In a world where it’s better to look like you “got it going on,” with a plastered on smile, letting a big fat “fine” roll off your tongue, while inside you are dying, sad, lonely, and wrestling with emotions and thoughts that even scare you…look, we can’t afford to not reach out and get some extra help. Our minds, our hearts, and our souls are too valuable.

It’s OK if you need to call a therapist. It’s OK if you need some extra help from a pill. It’s OK if you need to admit, I don’t “got this,” and I need some help. It doesn’t make you weak or less of a man. It doesn’t make you less “Christian.” It let’s others know you value yourself to keep waging this battle that is taking over your mind, and that you are going to be OK.

It’s all going to be OK.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2019 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

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