Friday, December 8, 2017

In the Midst of Failure

Let’s be real.

I have failed.

In so many ways.

When was the last time I wrote a blog post? I started this blog in a time of big transitions and changes in my life. In the midst of my normalcy being shaken, God was speaking to me in a new way and I was compelled to write it all down. I felt a call to share the revelations He was giving me with others. I wanted to share how I was finding joy in this journey I was given.

But I let life get in the way. The same life I was called to write about.

To be quite honest, I hate Maryland. I know that’s a harsh, ugly word… So we’ll say that I STRONGLY dislike it. It’s just NOT my cup of tea! First of all, why is it 30 degrees at night? And don’t get me started on the blue crab and state flags everywhere. They just don’t say “State Pride” like the Texas flag. Of course, that’s just my opinion. But aside from that, it’s not home. Maryland is without my family and friends. I have spent many days feeling completely homesick and alone. Have I been finding joy in this new state? Nope. I failed.

Then, there was my new job. I was excited to begin working with kids again, and see faces other than my husband’s (No offense, Joshua). But instead I encountered negativity, opposition, disrespect, and other co-workers lying about me out of pure jealousy. Focusing on what I loved- teaching children- became difficult as I struggled to stay positive and keep a smile on my face. I would cry and complain every night. I had anxiety attacks many mornings when I pulled into the parking lot at work. Was I finding joy in my new job? No way. I failed, again.

Then, when my brother-in-law found himself in the hospital, my family’s world was shaken. I was tired of being told that God had purpose for bringing me to Maryland. I didn’t want to hear people quote Romans 8:28 anymore. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.” Where was this good? Instead of things coming together, everything seemed to be falling apart. All I wanted to do was hold my sister’s hand and stand by my nieces.

I felt useless.


I had failed.

So, I let life get in the way. I let “life” be my excuse for not writing. I let “life” keep me from doing the things I loved. I let “life” steal my joy.

But I can’t live like that, anymore. I shouldn’t live like that! I serve a God who defeated death, hell, and the grave. If Christ can make the blind see, the lame walk, and the blind see again, I know He can do something with my life. He WILL do something with my life. Failure is not the end, but living in defeat just might be.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NIV)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It Is Finished

I had a different blog post planned for today. I had spent the week brainstorming, writing, preparing a post for this weekend. But today, when I stood in church and heard three simple words, something inside of me broke. Three words I have heard over and over again suddenly carried new weight and meaning.

It is finished.

Jesus was betrayed, beaten, and crucified on a cross. He was mocked and ridiculed. He carried the weight of our sin and shame. He became our sin and paid our debt. 
“Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, ‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30

He had completed his mission. He fulfilled every prophesy. This is a BIG deal! I mean, this is the whole story of the gospel. Because Christ died for us and rose three days later, we have the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. Glory to God!

It is finished.

As I heard those words sung today, tears began streaming down my face. Yes, I am thankful for the sacrifice He made. Yes, I am amazed that we serve a God who has so much love for us that He would send His only son to take my punishment. Yes, I am excited that I will be with Him in Heaven for eternity. But today, I felt so much more than that. I spent too many days carrying the weight of my sin, holding onto it like it is a lifetime obstacle that may never be overcome. But IT IS FINISHED! His death finished so many things in my life and in yours!

Your sin is finished.

Your depression is finished.

Your anxiety is finished.

Your addiction is finished

Your pain is finished.

Your old life is finished!

Jesus didn’t say “It will be finished.” His last words weren’t “It might be finished.” He said “It IS finished.” The price as already been paid. Our sin was already nailed to the cross. The curse of sin and shame that the world has carried since the garden is finished. Don’t ever forget that! We may never live the perfect lives, but we can let go of the weight of our transgressions. Don’t walk around holding tight to the weight of sin and shame. We are new creations in Christ, wrapped in mercy and grace, covered by His blood. Whatever “it” is in your life, let it go. Give it to God each day.

"Those who have been born into God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God." 1 John 3:9

→ Let me hear from you!← 
What has Christ finished in your life?

My __________ is finished. 

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

When in Doubt

I grew up hearing my mom tell me, “You can do hard things.” When I said “I can’t” or “It’s too hard,” that was her way of saying “You CAN; just do it.” Well here’s a secret—I’m 24 years old, miles from home, and I find myself saying that phrase to myself daily. “I can do hard things.” It no longer refers to tying my shoes or homework papers. Instead, my “hard things” are work, being away from loved ones, and other obstacles of adulthood. One thing, however, remains the same.

I doubt myself.

I doubt my abilities, my knowledge, my strength, and (more often than I like to admit) I doubt my God-given calling. In Matthew 21, we read about Jesus and his disciples returning to Jerusalem. When they pass a fig tree that bears no fruit, Jesus curses the tree and it withers. In response to the disciples’ amazement, Jesus declares, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

I want that! I want to have mountain-moving faith. So, what should I do when doubt creeps in? How do I battle my lack of faith?

1.     When in doubt, stop leaning on yourself.

“Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5
Too often, we rely only on ourselves and our knowledge and abilities, instead of leaning on God. No wonder there are times when we think our problems are too big or too hard! We have the ultimate source to gain strength from, but we don’t use it! Our problems may be bigger than us, but they will never be bigger than our God. Make the LORD your confidence, for it is in Him that we overcome doubt.

2.     When in doubt, go to the Word.

“For the Word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.” Psalm 33:4
Our doubts are created by lies, but the Bible declares the truth. Are you doubting your abilities or strength in a situation? Declare Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Do you doubt your calling? Psalm 32:8 says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Are you doubting God’s presence in your life? We are told in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Read the Word. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Declare these truths over your life and your doubts.

3.     When in doubt, do it anyway.

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” James 2:26
Faith requires action. Overcome your doubt by facing it head on and stepping into it with faith. Too often I have based my actions on how I “feel.” I “feel” like I can’t do it. I “feel” like it’s too hard. But feelings are misleading. The only way I have ever gotten over my feelings was by ignoring them and just doing it. Take that first step. And the second. See how things change. Watch God working in your life. Experience Him taking your doubt and replacing it with faith.

Whatever it is that is causing doubt in your life, whatever mountain you are needing to be moved, trust in God, declare His Truth in your life, and just do it.  

Let me here from you! Where are you letting doubt creep in? What will you do today or this week to overcome it with faith?

→ Let me hear from you! Where are you letting doubt creep in?← 
What will you do today or this week to overcome it with faith?

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Waiting on God's Timing

Why is trusting God’s timing so challenging? Probably because God’s timing and my timing don’t always line up. In fact, they rarely do. I want prompt answers, immediate action, instant blessings. I want to pray for God’s guidance, receive it, and walk it out right away. However, that’s not how it works. God’s timing often means waiting and those periods of waiting can be unbearable.

Have you ever had to wait for a blessing God promised you? Maybe you thought it would happen right away, but, instead, you wondered if it would ever come to fruition. You felt that you had done everything right. You did exactly what God asked of you. Sowed the seed, tended it carefully, but it seemed that you would never reap the harvest.

Back in February my husband, Joshua, and I really began to pray about our next phase in life. As part of a fellowship program, Joshua had an opportunity to pursue a position at the National Cancer Institute. So, together we sought God for guidance. I found myself at peace with the move and feeling deep down in my spirit that this is the path we were to take. Joshua and I had such faith in God that this was His plan for us. We had put our trust—our hope—completely in Him and this job. And I began to plan out my timeline. Interview. Job offer. Wedding Day. Move. Everything was perfectly planned… by me. But I was sure God would agree with it.
The deadline for job offers came and went. We heard NOTHING. No answer. It was disheartening to say the least. I kept praying “God, if that wasn’t your plan, what is? What are we to do?” Over and over again I prayed, seeking an answer.

After days of praying, He responded, “Do you still trust me?”

“Yes, God. Of course I do. I trusted you this whole time!”

“Even in this time of waiting?”

I trusted His promises. I trusted His plan. But did I trust His silence? Did I trust Him while I was waiting?

Well, I learned to. I continued to pray and seek God’s guidance. Then I waited. And I trusted through the waiting.

Days later, everything turned around. Joshua was offered the position. I had set my own deadline, but God had a different one in mind. In that period of waiting, He was still working. Mostly, He was preparing us for the next big step.

So what do you do in that period of waiting? Galatians 6:9 says,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Keep doing good. Serve. Seek God. Do not lose hope. Do not give up. God is making you ready. When the timing is right, God will give you the blessing you have been waiting for.

→ Let me hear from you! What blessing or promise are you waiting for?← 
How can you grow during this time of waiting?

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