Would you rather trust?

path through the forestThe other day at bed, my littlest girl and I prayed a bold prayer for a contract on our home…that night.  She doubts God right now.  She doesn’t see things changing…she doesn’t see God working. We all really need something to change soon, but God doesn’t seem to be changing anything right now.

I wanted God to do something amazing that night…I’d even have taken the next day.  In fact, I thought it probably would be the following day.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  And the “somewhat interested” response from the people who looked at my house caused my faith to wobble a bit.

See I’ve been reading a book that has encouraged me to pray big prayers so I can see God answer in big ways…and I’m all for praying big prayers…but I’m wondering if I pray big prayers for big answers, am I also praying big prayers understanding that God might not answer in a big way?  His gentle and loving answer might be something like, “Not yet.”

But I will be honest and tell you that I am tired of the “not yet” answer…and the “no” answer…I’d like a “yes”.  But even as I say that I know that some of the nos and not yets have been the very best answers to my prayers.  And I do trust Him to answer perfectly.

Argh!  But I so want to get out of this situation…when I’ve used the word “desperately” to describe something in the past I don’t believe I’ve understood it as deeply as I do now…I desperately want to be released from this place God has me and my children.  I don’t want to be here anymore.  But I also don’t want to force it and end up in a place I’ll eventually desperately not want to be either.

I’d rather trust God.

That’s huge.  Because right now, I can tell you I’ve had some conversations with God…and they haven’t all be holy.

But when given the alternative of figuring things out without Him, I’d rather trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

When faced with decisions and dilemmas in this life, I’d rather trust God.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Hebrews 12:11-13

When I’m trying to raise my children to love and honor Him, I’d rather trust God.

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.  Isaiah 54:13

When I’m exhausted and weary with nothing left to give, I’d rather trust God.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When I have no idea which way to turn, I’d rather trust God.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

No matter how strongly I feel that I know what would be best, I’d rather trust God.

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.  2 Thessalonians 3:5

Oh, how I need my heart directed.  This has been an exceedingly difficult time…and sometimes I don’t think others can quite understand the challenges.  I don’t think I’m necessarily doing it with the grace I’d hoped, but the Lord continues to meet me where I am.  He continues to love me through my doubts, fears, and faltering faith.  He continues to be faithful.  I do trust that He will guide my family, that he is a shield about me, that he is my refuge and strength.

I do trust that He will enable me to do this life well…even when it feels anything but wonderful.

And I do trust Him for the sale of my house and the purchase of our next home.

But most importantly, I trust that He will reveal Himself to my littlest girl in just the right way at just the right time.  That I don’t need to orchestra things to convince my daughter of His love, faithfulness, and existence!  He will handle that…I just need to love on her and pray.

So tonight, as I lay my head down on my pillow, I will be praying for my children and their faith and for me to trust Him without hesitation….and for a buyer for my house!

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It’s In A Box…Somewhere

IMG_8315My mom ’s garage is packed almost to the ceiling with all my belongings.  I thought when we were loading them in that there was some sort of organizational plan.

Yeah…nope.

There might have been, but I’ve messed it up with all my digging and moving and climbing around the mounds of stuff!

And I can’t find anything!

The most frustrating thing has been all my tax documents.  I was so sure I had labeled it and placed it carefully on the outside of the piles. Apparently I did not…drat!

Now I’m looking for my spring/summer clothes…that one might require emptying the whole place, because I don’t want to buy another thing that might end up in a box.

But one thing I think I might have inadvertently packed away is my sense of humor.  THAT I might need to find sooner.

I used to be a funny person…light-hearted and occasionally witty…now I’m just a bit sarcastic.  That’s no fun.

I’ve gotten so bogged down by heavy life things that I haven’t had time to just laugh about things.  I occasionally chuckle, but it’s more so I don’t cry than that I truly am laughing hard.

My kids used to tease me about how loud I laughed…that hasn’t happened in a while. Now they comment on how lame and fake my laugh sounds.  Lame?  Fake? Argh.  I need to laugh!

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:13

I don’t want to be crushed anymore…heartache schmartache.  My heartache might have crushed my spirit a bit…well, a lot…but I am not crushed.   In fact, God says I’m not crushed.

Be we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:7-9

So a happy heart and a cheerful face is my goal.

I think this is one way I might actually be able to model the Proverbs 31 woman.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  Proverbs 31:25

I don’t often laugh at the days ahead.  I very often think I’m more dreading…fearing…scared out of my wits than anything resembling laughter.

But I love to laugh!  Why not choose that instead of dread?  Why not find the joy in things?  Why not grab hold of hope?  Why not expect great things?  Seriously, why not?

Laughter gives us the opportunity to change our outlook.  The opportunity to release some stress, defuse the tension, and smile instead of sigh.

Maybe when I look at all those boxes, I can think of something to smile about…well, maybe, but I can’t think of what it would be.

How about my kids…there is ample fodder for fun with them.  I’ve been so busy I’ve missed out on it.

How about a night out with a friend or two…a funny movie…a good book (I can at least get a smile from a good book)…how about laughing about things instead of fussing about them.  Maybe a tickling fight instead of another kind of fight.

I could get a good laugh from most things if I flipped my perspective a bit.  If instead of looking at our housing situation as just a nightmare, I could have fun with the closeness of my kids.

I used to joke that the 800 square foot house we lived in for a few years was my children’s favorite house.  They could never be more than 3 feet from me at any given time.  They LOVED that!  Most of the time I did too. 🙂

When I couldn’t eat after I found out about my husband’s adultery, I had waaay too many adultery diet jokes. I think I might have joked about that one too much.

When my car made noises that no car should ever make, my kids and I would laugh and make jokes I shouldn’t share in this blog.  Let’s just say my sense of humor is perfect for someone who works with 11 year olds!

Sitting in the ICU with my mom could be incredibly depressing, but we have had fun joking about my mom mooning all the nurses, as well as some other jokes, which again, I best keep to myself.

Hey!  I might not need to find the sense of humor box!

I just need to start looking for the joy…even the funny…in my circumstances.

I have to be honest and say I don’t imagine it will always be the easiest thing. There are times when I feel like humor is the farthest thing from my mind.  The farthest!

I believe a concentrated effort to smile and laugh more will make a big difference.

One more thing I’m going to try!  Add it to the list…

  1. Expect great things
  2. Smile more!

(And, maybe #3 should be to organize the garage!!)

 

Expecting Great Things

photo beachI have had a lot of time to sit these past few days.  I’ve been in ERs and ICUs for three days and although my tushy is tired, my heart is being moved continually by the time I’ ve had to ponder His word and to consider my life, my family, my hopes, my struggles, my decisions, and my circumstances.

I can’t say that I have answers yet…still waiting for some leading…but I’ve been convinced that although I write and speak often of prayer, I’ve not prayed often.  I’ve not approached the throne of grace with confidence.  I’ve not approached the throne of grace much at all.

I’ve glanced at it.

I’ve thought about it.

I’ve even studied it.

But I haven’t approached it.

And today, God has reminded me again and again that there is something for me at that throne…there is Someone for me at that throne.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.  Hebrews 7:25

Why I continue to wrestle with things when I have a Savior who already wrestled everything down to the ground baffles me.

Why do I choose torment over trust?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

I’ve been reminded repeatedly today that I can bring everything to God.

The God who cares to number the hairs on my head surely cares about all the other little things in my life.

And even the very hairs on your head are numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31

I haven’t modeled much praying for my children.  I think the only time they see me on my knees is when I’m sorting laundry in my daughters’ room.

There have been so many opportunities for prayer…so many…and I’ve been too tired or busy to take advantage of them.

I’ve been so busy not handling things well that I’ve forgotten to whom I can hand everything.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Today I have taken the time to pray.  In fact, I have prayed a lot.

My heart is still a bit heavy, but God is working.  I have a great anticipation of what He can do with my life and the lives of my children.  I have great hope for what awaits us!

I haven’t had this hope and expectancy in a long time.  In fact, I think I’ve been just plain worried and anxious about things.  And I’ve had the sense that nothing good will happen, difficult things won’t change, and life will remain what it is for a very long time…how different from the way God wants me to view my life.

I have settled in on fear and worry instead of settling down at the mercy seat.

I wonder sometimes if I have some things I need to take care of before I can move forward…before change will happen.

Not that I’m limiting God…because God is able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine…He doesn’t NEED me to do anything before He works, but maybe He wants me to…maybe He wants me to recognize some things, learn some things, or let go of some things.

I have a hard time letting go.  I hold tightly to things, especially things I love.  God has asked me to give up a lot of things I’d prefer to keep.  That Frozen song “Let It Go” has become my theme song.  (Now you have that song running through your head…you’re welcome!)

I’m really looking forward to the day when God says, “Hold on, Sweetheart!  This is for you!”

Maybe it will be sooner rather than later.  Maybe He is simply going to ask me to hold on to Him.

Hold on to Him.

He is enough.  He is more than enough.

I know that, but I’m afraid of saying it.  Ashamed to admit it.  Scared He will want me to prove it. But I know that isn’t how my Father works.  He doesn’t wait for me to pray some prayer that enable Him to womp me with a lesson.  I hate that I fear that sometimes.

My God loves to be kind to me…loves to make me smile…loves to see me laugh…loves to bless me.

I know that and I want to pray for that perspective more than my gloomy gal perspective.

Like William Carey says, “Expect great things from God!”

I’m ready to do that!  I’m ready to see God work.  I’m ready to take a step of faith, pray a big prayer, and watch God do something amazing!

All of It and More

IMG_5748I have started no less than three blogs this week.   I have thought of about fifteen I want to write.  Time has been limited so I had hoped yesterday would be the day to put words to page, but God had different plans.

I spent the day at the hospital with my mom.  It is so very reminiscent of my time at this very hospital with my dad 2 years ago.  Thankfully, I do not believe my mom is in a life threatening situation, but it is heart breaking to be here.

I’m back here again today and will be again tomorrow.

And I’m torn because while I’m here my children are home.  I’m so thankful for my big kids who continually step up and help.  This time it has been my oldest daughter who has been simply amazing.  She very rarely complains about helping me…in fact, I can’t think of a time she has.

For the past several months she has been sharing a room with her 7 and 8 year old sisters, and she hasn’t complained.  How is that possible?  What a wonderful young woman!

Actually all my children rock!  Truly.  They step up without complaint in so many situations.  I’m so very blessed.

This hospital visit has provided time to be still.  I’ve had so much on my heart and mind this week.

And God has brought me to Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Sometimes God’s word just hits me…like a cool breeze on a hot day or a soft wave rushing over my feet at the beach.  There are other times when His word whacks me a bit more like the proverbial 2×4…but this time, it has been a gentle touch…a welcome hug.

What hits me most is the phrase “able to do immeasurably more” – that word immeasurably is one I can’t really wrap my brain around.

Immeasurably more.

It makes me wonder (again) why I can’t seem to rest in the knowledge that God is able.  GOD. IS. ABLE.

He isn’t just able…He is more than able.

I’m actually not sure what more than able means.  It’s like that phrase in Romans 8:37 more than conquerors – what does that even mean?

Although more than a conqueror I think I kind of understand…I think maybe it means that God doesn’t just make us the victor, He gives us the blessings of victory.  Like when the Israelites were freed from Egypt, He inclined the Egyptians to give them things so they began their journey with provisions.  They won freedom and provision.

Maybe more than able means that God is able and willing.

But that begs the questions, “Then why doesn’t He always fix things?”

Willing doesn’t seem like the right word, but I think it is.  It doesn’t seem right because when I think of willing I think that it means that if God is willing He should make it happen.  Just getterdone.

But I believe a better way to describe it is that God is willing to always do what is absolutely best.  Best based on His divine, omniscient, sovereign wisdom – not my limited, worldly wisdom (if that can even be called wisdom).

Good gravy!  I’ve ended up yet again at the issue of trust.

I have to trust that God’s ability and willingness to work in my life are always going to be based on what He knows, not what I know.

That’s a good thing, but hard to accept at times.  I feel like I know my situation so well.  I feel like I’m pretty sure I have a good idea of what would be best.

But then again, I take forever to make a decision and then spend most of the rest of the time second-guessing myself. So being confident in my understanding of my situation is kind of silly.  Thinking I have the ability to make the best decisions is not exactly my standard operating procedure.  Why in the world do I question God’s ability and willingness to work in my life…to work perfectly in my life?

I’ll tell you why…because it doesn’t look perfect to me.  Not perfect AT ALL!

My life feels so less than perfect…ugh.

Actually I don’t even need perfect, I would settle for uncomplicated.

Yes, uncomplicated…simple, straightforward, unfussy, easy.

Unfussy.  I love that word!  Man, can I be fussy!

Maybe the change I need is not an unfussy life, but an unfussy me?!

Maybe if I get my brain around “GOD IS ABLE” things will look  less complicated.  Maybe if I can begin to grasp that God is able to do immeasurably more…exceedingly abundantly, infinitely more, above and beyond, far exceedingly beyond all that we ask or imagine.  Those were just some of the versions I found.

What has all of a sudden struck me is that it isn’t just what we ask – it is what we don’t even ask…those things that I just think, dream, hope for, wish for, envision, and imagine.

God knows me so well, He knows all that I hope for and all that I imagine…and He cares about it all.

I read this in the Matthew Henry’s Commentary
3:20, 21 It is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls, being assured that the conversion of sinners, and the comfort of believers, will be to his glory, for ever and ever.

And all of a sudden, my perspective has changed, yet again.

I know that the words in Ephesians 3:20-21 are meant as more than just a comfort for me as an individual.  They are meant to encourage us that Jesus has already done more than all we can ask or think…who would have ever thought to ask God for Him to sacrifice His Son for their salvation?  Who would have imagined that God would be willing to do anything to save us?

And yet, He did.

He already did it!  I didn’t even have to think about it or imagine it.

While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me! (Romans 5:8)

Oh my goodness!  I think my lightbulb just went on!

I get it!  Again, God brings us back to the gospel.  That God is able thing…it’s not just about my life, my nitty-gritty, my fears, my dreams, my hopes, my prayers…it’s about it all!  It’s about life.  It’s about salvation!

It’s about Jesus!

He is so good!  To remind me again that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead…that the same God who created me and watches me do dumb stuff constantly…that same God decided on a rescue plan for me, for us all… He willingly put it into motion…He made it happen because HE IS ABLE!

He is able to save to the utmost!  He is able to completely save.  He is able to forgive and redeem and sanctify and perfect!

Sometimes I think I’m quite able to do what needs to be done, but Jesus has proven that some things (all things) are done better by Him.

He was able to save me when I couldn’t.

He is able to forgive me when I can’t.

He is able in all the ways I am not.

He is able in all the ways I think I am.

He is able in every way to do all that I can’t even imagine or think.

Our Savior is so good…so good!

I’m so thankful for this time, even if it is sitting in a hospital room.  I’m so thankful for a moment to ponder things.  I’m so thankful for my Lord.  I’m so thankful for hope.

Whenever God brings me back to the gospel, I have renewed hope wash over me.  If He is able to save me, He is able to do it all!

All of it and more!