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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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The One who stays…

Give up. Left. Let go. Abandoned.

These are the things that may swim around in our hearts and heads when we choose to relinquish control of a situation. When we choose to let our children, despite our prudent advice, follow their own path. When we choose to untie the strings that bind us to a past of hurt, and even the people who were part of it. When we choose to speak the truth in love to others we care for, instead of always “making nice” about how we feel about their choices or the way we are treated.

When we choose to simply take a step back and stop doing all the human intervening and fixing, our human hearts start to believe we have been left, or that we are failing others.

Here’s the truth:

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t-not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. James 5:16-18,MSG

This means, I only let go of the string. I drop all of what I was trying to control, even the parts of that person I wanted to fix and manipulate, at the cross. I leave it up to the One who can truly change lives. My job is to ask God to fix it.

We never leave. We never abandon ship. We never give up. We always hope. We always love. For those of us who have God in our corner we are praying tear-stained prayers for that prodigal son or daughter. We are screaming at God in our cars on the way home asking Him to help us help you. We are desperately asking Him for miracles. Praying for the sky to open up, and for God to rain down His blessings on you.

We just may not be present to watch someone continuously make poor choices. To keep swooping in to save the day. We are desperately praying and waiting for the day that God will do that.

Because we know He is a God that never leaves. Never abandons. Always hopes. Always loves. Will make things new. And will bring healing to the broken. We can’t do that without Him.

So the ones who stay, rely on Him to do what only He can do. We pray. We ask for Him to work in the lives of those we love. And we stop doing all the work, so He can work.

But we never leave.

We are the ones who stay.

Asking for help from the One who stays.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2019 in Grace, Mercy

 

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Just Go With the Flow, Mommy!

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The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24

It’s about 7:15 in the morning. I am getting ready to chaperone a field trip, and honestly have already started dreading every minute of it. See, my creature of routine and habit that is Hunter, does not do well on field trips. Well, let me rephrase that. He does well, but only if every detail of the day goes exactly as planned.

The preparation for this field trip is no different, Hunter follows the rules. Great, right? Yes, and no. While you won’t find him breaking many rules, you also won’t see many “gray” areas when it comes to most things either. To Hunter everything is black or white. This means that the list of things he must take on said field trip must be followed exactly as written. Which also means he absolutely has to pack a coloring book, book to read, and crayons, and we absolutely can’t get to school one minute after 8.

“Hunter, this list is just suggestions of things you can take with you,” I say as I reason with him while he holds the sheet of paper from his teacher. “No, my teacher said it! We have to do what the paper says!” And so he begins to rush to pack his bag with all the things that were really only suggested, making sure not to miss one thing on the list. “And, it’s 7:31. We have to go-NOW! You said 7:30 we would leave!”

Again, a simple suggestion, until the clock begins to display 7:32, then 7:33…

This strict rule following continued throughout the morning as we had to go to breakfast first, as we had to ride on the second bus, as we had to do things exactly as planned. Exactly as the black and white paper said we should.

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21

I thought about rolling my eyes at the poor kid (and I may have actually done that). I thought of tearing up that set of rules and creating my own. Then I thought ahead to the meltdown that would occur, and as I sat next to the little boy still telling me what we had to do, I simply prayed: God, please give me the ability to just see Hunter’s black and white world today. Please let me enjoy this time with him no matter how demanding. Help me to just go with the flow!

The submission to my son’s plan continued in the midst of kicking on the floor during the Sunday service, as I had to once again ask God to help me give up my need to control my child’s out of control senses and emotions. Asking God to once again help me submit to his flow.

While Hunter is a child who can’t go with the flow because his body and his senses choose to do something different, I realize that I am an adult who has no idea how to go with the flow either!

I have an agenda, too. It’s not the one given to me by my teachers, or my literal black and white outlook on life, but rather my human desire to control every moment, to have complete control of my life, my day, my money, my schedule.

I have a very unrealistic agenda.

And, as one little brown-haired boy with glasses insisted I go with his flow, I also realized there is also another that calls me to go with His flow.

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1

Yet, I still wake up every morning ready to carry out the plans I made for the day, daring anyone to stand in the way of what I need to accomplish. And, just as it was hard for Hunter to understand that all the activities that were planned were mere suggestions, I have the same problem letting go of my to-do list, my thoughts, my feelings, my plans.

How much different would my day look if I let God handle my to-do list? If I didn’t get bent out of shape if something doesn’t go my way? If I simply shrugged my shoulders and went with the flow?

How much different would the time I spend at home or on a field trip be if I woke up and uttered a prayer similar to the one I said on the school bus with Hunter? If I didn’t keep tabs on my time, and instead kept track of the moments with my kids? If I didn’t worry about the laundry, the dishes, or the dirty floors, and more about the Legos scattered on the kitchen table, and the girl coloring on that dirty floor.

How would my faith be changed if I just went with God’s flow instead of resisting the nudge to do what He asks? Instead of doubting when circumstances are hard? Instead of trying to control that which I truly have no control over?

What if I just learned to go with the flow?

I could let go of the urge to control the feelings of others.

I could spend a little more time just “being” with my kids, instead of manipulating every part of the day.

My morning would not be out of whack when one of those kids decides to go with his own flow.

I could handle the twist and turns of life with faith in God and His promises, and not doubt and anger.

All this by simply surrendering my flow, riding the waves, and going with His flow instead.

 

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