When You Are Disappointed

disappoinment

“Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.”  Romans 12:12

There are times when life is full of one disappointment after another.  Or so it seems.  Disappointment comes in all shapes, sizes, and at different times.  There’s worry, fretting, and anxiety.  When reality actually shows up and doesn’t meet our expectations, it often leaves us with the lack of contentment.  Disappointments are hard to navigate through, so here are three heart-hitting questions:

  1. Are these just your unmet expectations?
  2. Have you forgotten to be thankful for what you do have?
  3. Is there something to change to turn your disappointment into a God-appointment?

Ever been disappointed and said “me too?”

Usually after self-examination, it’s best to look for what God is teaching through the unmet expectations.  Asking for wisdom and anticipating His better good, plan and purpose helps get you back on track.

Our good, good Father really does know you best and the best for you.  No matter how many disappointments emerge, there is always hope.  There are times to surrender your need to understand to override the doubt.  There are times when we don’t need to understand, but just obey.  There are times we need to trust more.  Often, God’s purpose isn’t realized until a later time.

There’s a little project on my heart right now that is finally birthing life.  It started with a simple thought but took a lot of hard work to pull it out and off.  Bearing the fruit took guts, courage, and a whole lot of prayer, but loaded with hope for the next generation.  It also came with many disappointments along the way.  I just kept focusing on God’s purpose.

I’m grateful that God had a purpose and a promise in it all.  We have a Savior that is in the business of reconciliation and hope.  Jesus never promised it would be easy.  While walking this earth, even He encountered many trials and troubles, but He died so we could be overcomers of disappointment and have joy and gladness in all things.  Disappointments often don’t feel joyful or make you glad, but the purpose may still be for your benefit.  I’ll never forget,  in the middle of searching for answers, those great conversations with the One who holds the plan in His hands.

So grateful that His love is undeniable and His peace is unspeakable.  We have a good, good Father and nothing is wasted in His purpose for you.  People can disappoint you but God never will.

 

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The gains of 2015

holding hands

I don’t know how to get into a summary of this year.  You see, “she” said it couldn’t be done.  Let’s just jump right into that thought.  I had connected with someone years ago on Twitter who was a writer.  I told her that I just wanted to discover God in my life and then write about it.  She said, “Everyone wants to do that!”  When she gave me that response, I assumed that “my name wasn’t on that assignment list”.  If everyone was already doing that there “would be no reason for me to attempt to even try.”  If I was successful in a similar venture, “then why would it matter, no one would read it anyway.”

Today, I know that these were all lies to get me to not believe in the way God has built me to operate.  At last, I’ve come to the conclusion I must accept this journey for what it looks like and what God has given me to make of it.  Many of you know that I have a dream of becoming a published author.  Now, I know that this idea falls in line with God and what He has placed on the inside of me.

I have come to accept that.  Now I’m learning not to criticize my own work.  Many of you have said my dream will come true, but up to this year, I couldn’t accept that it would actually would become my reality.  Therefore by not seeing the talent that God has placed inside of me I suffered from what is called “hope deferred.”  Admittingly, by my own denial of God’s handiwork.  I can see now that I wasn’t ready to accept it.

Accepting gifts is one thing, using them is another.  It has taken several stabs at this blogging thing to realize a lot of what I am built to do and what ideas are NOT mine not to do.

All I can say is “me too”.  I sense I am not the only person out there searching for God’s plan in this troubled world we live in.  I have gained a lot of wisdom about a lot of things but things about the Internet, relationships, and loving people where they are, basically  are hard things to tackle on a daily basis, and I, like you, don’t have all the answers.

Once I realized that I was in denial and forgotten what I was capable of, I simply asked God what I was made of and why this the tendency to write was so strong within me?  Just imagine yourself asking the Lord that power-packed question!  All I got back is “Do you trust Me?” from God.  What I got from other people are these phrases about their own doubt.  “No one reads blogs anymore.” “Everyone wants to write about God.”  “What do you have to say that hasn’t already been written?”  I’ll let you figure those statements out.

Can you see how doubt is one of the biggest enemy’s of a writer?  I started looking at the people I was hanging out with and then changed my set of friends.  So before I go on and on about what I am not, I accepted this year that I am an honest writer that seeks to write about my faith, my faith process, and where God is in the middle of it all.

When looking back at my year, I see lots of gains and a lot of confidence.  I see a lot of growing and stirring.  Perhaps the biggest measure or gain that happened is found in the fact that I finally wrote my first book in four weeks time before going to Africa in October.  Now yes, there is a major amont of editing that needs to be done.  I also realize there will be changes to the orginial manuscript.  But I got it out of me and that was a process for sure.

A process worth waiting for (said with tongue in cheek) but by doing it showed me a lot of personal growth.  Just knowing that I can is HUGE to a writer.  You don’t know how many days I wondered if I ever could.  I’ve sent it to an editor who messaged me back to say “Congratulations, you have done what only 10% of people do.”  I said back to him, “What’s that?”  He replied, “90% only talk about what you have already accomplished.”

I was pleased momentarily.  There was a tinge of regret that it took so long.  By writing the book God reconciled my past issues with food and rejection.  I cast off a lot of shame, guilt, and self-blame in those pages.  Because of going through the struggles, I am more free than ever before and have a stronger voice for what I have been through.

Losing weight requires hard-work and focused dedication to a goal.  Writing about it requires the same kind of hard-work and focused dedication.  It’s one thing to only apply this to the physical side but a whole new realm to pursuing reconcilation with God about your past.

When I see what helps me, I want to keep on saying, “me too.”

I don’t have to share my struggles but its in our weakest places can we discover God in them.  My wrestling may be same as yours or completely different, as you don’t know the doubt and denial I live with.  But it does help to share in those times, where we can all say “I feel you.”

Life is full of those opportunities to quit and say “that’s not for me”.  Or we can choose to come alongside another and say “me too”.  It’s just that, a journey and any time we can connect with others and say “I feel you”, it opens the door for God to work His reconciliation power in us and through us.

That’s a good place to be and something I’ve been dreaming for.  What would you say your biggest gain of 2015 is?

 

 

 

 

 

Do you love Me more than these?

bridge

Recently God tapped me on the shoulder and asked a simple question, similar to the same one Jesus asked Peter on that one morning on the beach recorded in John 14. The disciples had just feasted on some fish and swapped stories about their latest catch. Jesus was among them, not fully known just yet.  He asked Peter if he was ready to move from a waiting season to a season of purpose.

“Do you love me more than these?” Oh those words must have fallen with surprise on Peter’s heart, like it did mine. “Of course, Lord, I do love you”, I said the appropriate answer. He asked it again, “No, do you love ME more than the things of Mine.”

I too paused before responding.  Was I willing to wait for the purpose of what God Himself has put inside of me? Was I willing to wait even if the understood promise never came?

Ps. 119:123-124, “My eyes strain to see your deliverance, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled. I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your principles.”

“Deal with me in your unfailing love Lord.” That was my response…eventually.

Now I know that kind of unfailing love of God and know that He also knows my purpose.  Often though God takes us to one place and has His purpose poised in another place.  First we have to go there so that we can move to hereFirst we have to get to the end of ourselves before we can go to where God wants to send us, the place of our true purpose.

How often we want to know God’s plan before we obey God’s plan? How often God catches us unaware when we look to the gift instead of the gift Giver.  God wants our obedience in love towards Him first and foremost, and contentment in the fact that there could or could not be an explanation to the purpose or His plans for us.   Furthermore, we have to go through situations to discover His purpose.

For years I thought doubt was the enemy of my faith but here recently I now know that it’s the doorway to a stronger faith.  Often doubt comes dressed as a test to increase your faith.  Many verses are challenging when praying and encourage us to “test” the Lord.

When praying those prayers know that tests will come.  What I know about teachers when they give a test, if you pass, teachers hand out affirmations and promotions.  Those positive statements affirm your confidence.  So it is with God, if you test Him in the ways of faith, you will be promoted to a place where more faith is needed.

There’s something about the Lord testing His love that is also challenging.  In this disposable world we live in, to find a love that lasts through tests is unique and rare.  God’s unfailing love is certainly a kind of love that has been tested and approved.  And His unfailing love affirms my faith and confidence.  It never, ever fails!

Sometimes we need a refresher course about confidence, tests, and putting doubts to rest.  So that when our unfailing God says to go there and then go here, you know that it’s His love that is leading you to a deeper faith.  And His love never fails!  It’s endless and ever leading!

Once upon a fair

ferris wheel

Losing weight is one battle but maintaining a 100 + loss is a lifestyle I refuse to give up on.  I’ve worked hard to get here but also it takes hard work to stay here.  There was one county fair I remember I wanted to eat everything in sight.

It’s fair time and that brings all kinds of fried food images to my mind.  There was a year that something happened where I knew I would never want to go back to my old way of unhealthy choices plus God gave me a more determined way to live healthy.  I got nauseated on a merry-go-round ride.

I saw a reminder of how chained I was to food at one time.  As the painted ponies and I were spinning fast, my eyes stopped at one of the carnival workers.  She had just sat down to a plate of sugary fried food and a giant thermos mug-full of Mountain Dew.  I had to look away.  There was something about seeing that mound of fried goop that make me feel sick plus the fast propulsion of the horses.

I immediately came under the conviction of the Spirit.  “See what happens when you open your life to this idea?”  Now don’t get me wrong I know God blesses us with good food to enjoy but I had an eating problem and God knew it.  There are many pitfalls along the way of losing weight for sure, so that’s why it’s important to practice wise choices.

God gave me a “warning” that I will always remember.  My appetites really do go that deep for me.   If you know that about yourself then why would you tempt yourself with even the thought of it all?  You wouldn’t.  Next God cemented the deal with this verse I had read earlier that day:

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these…from your lips.”  Colossians 3:5, 7-8

I used to walk alongside a funnel cake but now have removed them from my life.  Because I now make good heath choices, that I have gained so much freedom by putting my focus on pleasing Him in this area over my past wrongful behavior.  I am grateful for His kind plate spinning to freedom.  I’m living free from a bondage of food.  That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it however.

There are things in this life that cause us to slowly spin away from God.  For me, food was one of those things.  But now those ideas are behind me and today finds me grateful for His goodness.  He has helped me be successful in the freedom from food.  Thinking about funnel cakes gets me to notice them, but I am learning to take a positive spin on my actions instead of letting my feelings dominate my actions.

It’s worth the effort to let God draw you back to where you need to belong.  Getting over habitual sin is liberating when you realize that God wants so much more for you.  I set my mind on NOT being tempted plus I have to guard myself against those old thoughts.  In my dependence on God, comes my independence from an issue that used to weigh me down.  That’s God at work, and that’s my best life of freedom from a lifelong stronghold.

It does get better but it’s not always as easy as you would think.  When I’m grateful for this deliverance, it helps me over the hump of wanting something I know I shouldn’t have.  What sin do you need to let go of?  If it’s habitual, how do you deal with it?

The simple lesson from the blueberry

blueberry

I love blueberries.  I can remember a time at my grandmother’s house that we picked ‘June” berries from her giant hedges on her lot.  My fingers turned purplish-blue and they were so sweet to eat right off the branch.  We would spend hours picking them so my grandmother and mom could turn them into a wonderful concoction of sweet June-berry pie.

I often eat blueberries every morning, not only for the natural super-food qualities but because the blueberries remind me of the time I was a child picking them for my grandmother.  Eating blueberries remind me of the changes I must have been praying for during that time.  With all seeds there’s a germinating, planting, harvesting and reaping of the crop you are tendering.

God reminded me this morning of the simple lesson from a blueberry.  This might sound a little odd to you but when you eat a blueberry there is evidence of the consumption on your lips, your teeth, and every inch of skin or kitchen counter top.  There is evidence of the super-food that has been taken in.  The blueberries leave a tale-tale sign.  Just like picking the June berries at my grandmothers house it was obvious where I had been and what I had done.

When you immerse yourself in God’s word, by prayer and petition, it will show.  The wonderful part is how it changes the way you see God.  I call this evidence of the Spirit working by walking slowly in the garden with Him.  Don’t we all need to slow our walk with the Lord?

I read an update from one of my African missionary friends and she told of a story of a traveler saying the biggest change for her on while spending time in Africa was that she has learned to “slow down.”  Yup, I know that feeling.  Africa will arrest your heart, or rather the evidence of God working through Africans will move you.

There are people everywhere who are hungry to know God.  But you have to slow down to see them, you have to slow down to see God moving them, you have to slow down to see what God wants to do inside of you because He’s shown you something.  Then you have to let it germinate, grow deep, then bear fruit, then allow yourself to become the outward evidence of God’s love, life and hope.

Growing in God is never a fast process, faith is a perfecting of your evidence of God’s word inside of you.  What exactly are you keeping pace with?  God’s word or the world you are living in?  As faith is the evidence of things unseen, think of this as your soul always being in consumption mode.  Our spirit craves for God but your will determines what kind of diet you will take in.  What you take in will feed you or defeat you.

Are you feeding on things, people, ideas that are not super-good for you?  It’s often when we check ourselves with this question do we realize that we can get so distracted with our daily agendas, diets, and menu plans.  Our hearts are the most deceitful part of us, so guard them carefully by what you take in and consume.  It will be obvious.

The evidence of God in you will be obvious like the stain of eating blueberries.

I don’t know where you are in your walk of faith.  But it has become obvious to me that we are in a hurry-scurry world of a ridiculous fast pace.  Some of you are trying to catch up, some of you are trying to catch on, and some of you just need your flame fanned.  Whatever the case, what you take in will be evidenced in your life in many ways.  Like the blueberries that stain my lips may God’s word be imprinted on my heart to live a daily life of delight in following Him.

When you have a heart that seeks God, loves God and responds to God, the evidence is clear and it will show.  Daily we are challenged to allow God’s love to be evidenced in our life.  Daily we get the opportunity to share God’s character with a hurting world.  Daily we GET to slow down and listen to God be evidenced in our life.  Daily we have to slow down to hear His whispers.

Daily we must slow our walk with the Savior.

Let the word of God invite you, clean you, but also change you to see His goodness everywhere you look.  Let’s God’s truth set you free friends.  Let the gospel stain your life so that others may know.  Let the light of His love be the evidence that you share.  Let it bloom full inside of you.  Find delight in the slowing of your heart before Him.  Nothing will change you bigger than the consumption of the supernatural!

Oh go take a hike!

Going.  It seems that’s been on my mind lately.  I’m writing a devotional series for a non-profit that has to do with the Great Commission based on the words of Jesus and his last words to his disciples. As Jesus was surrounded by 11 devoted men,  I find it interesting that some of them were so quick to deny Jesus yet when he came back to say He was going to His Father in heaven, they all showed up to see Him off.  

“…but some doubted.” Matthew 28:17

Ever wonder how you doubt God?  When you don’t believe that He has a plan for you.

Jesus knew their doubt and charged them with their mission anyway.  “He came to them and said TO them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  ~ Matthew 28:18-20

There is something about Jesus words to me that gets me “going”.  It is as if when I read this passage I am hearing His “Go!” all over again.  In my mind this charge implies a movement  that is a bigger something than I can wrap my mind around.  There is something about going with like-minded companions.  I like to travel, but I enjoy traveling with someone who thinks like me.   Ask anyone of who has been missions.   They will tell you there is much to learn along the way, at the back of the bus, and then even more to learn once on unknown ground.  There is something about traveling with someone whose company you enjoy.

There is something about going to unknown places with people you trust.

Two days ago I experienced for the first time a 3 mile hike at 11,000 feet of elevation in the Rocky Mountains.  I wasn’t afraid to set out.  My guide had the trail all marked out.  I had a steady hand ahead of me and a steady rear guard behind me.  I had some supplies for water in my backpack, a small amount of trail mix in case I got the hungries for needed a shot of energy, and enough gumption to think I could do it.  I was all lathered up with sunscreen so my white skin wouldn’t scorch and I remembered my hiking boots.  I was as prepared as a first timer could be.

I left no room for doubt that would talk me out of going.

Even though I felt prepared, I didn’t worry about the trail itself.  It was well marked and cleared.  Many had gone before us and many will go after we had been there.  I was set up to succeed.  The point is, I had never been on a hike before nor knew the intensity of it.  But because I trusted my guide, I had no fear.  Because of my preparation for the hike, I wasn’t worried about how I was equipped to handle any unknowns.  I was prepared to a point that I knew that I could handle whatever came along, and I wasn’t hiking alone.  

In Matthew 25, when the disciples heard the “Go!” charge from Jesus, I find it interesting that the men set out immediately to do just that.  There was no hesitation in their action at least it seems from the outside.  It was if they were already prepared to dispense with a purpose.  Do you think Jesus told them step by step what they should do?  Do you think that they had a checklist about what missions looked like?  Do you think they spent hours wringing their hands pouring over a map trying to decide which way to go first?

No, I think they just “knew” where to go and what to do because of the trust they had in their Guide.  I think that there was no need for any committees to plan their agendas and decide who was bringing what.  I don’t think they stewed about whether they were ready or not.  I don’t think they worried about how they were going to eat or where they were going to lay their heads.  I think they just knew their purpose, who to talk to, and what to do when they got to their destination.    They had the comfort of knowing they could handle the journey.  

Even though some of them doubted, they didn’t leave room for it in their actions.

When you hear “Go!” what hits your mind first?  The disciples just went.  They reached, they preached, they influenced.  They  started.  And they didn’t go alone.  They were equipped along the way, and they trusted their Guide.   They had no fear in the going.  What they did hold on to kept them going for the long haul.  Their calling kept them reminded of the journey.  Their mission was their need and they kept ahold of the promise tucked inside of the charge.  

They had the promise of Jesus saying they wouldn’t be alone.

I find this compelling that they knew the presence of Jesus burning in their hearts as a passion for their “going”.  Their passion for sharing compelled them to “Go!”, they trusted the Leader that had equipped them so well.  That same Jesus that equipped a small band of brothers, is still alive today and ready to be your travel companion too.  Whether it’s your neighbor or international land that your Guide is leading you to, make sure you don’t “go” alone.  

And leave your doubt for the haters.  In building the kingdom, there’s no room for doubt when Jesus has already told you what to do.

The truth about us according to Sheldon

driver leaning

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32

Let’s just get to the truth of us.  We are different.  The truth about me is that my life is different than yours.  I didn’t always think that way, nor did I allow myself to.  There was one person who came to me early and said “it couldn’t be done.”  I said, “What?”  I only stated I wanted to lead people to the heart of God through word and deed.  She said, “Everyone wants to do that.”  Oh yeah?  “Why not me too?”, I asked silently.

For years, that took a turn for the worse in my mind.  I found myself thinking that if everyone is doing that, it meant it I couldn’t do it.  If writers where already doing that there was no room to try.  Was she frustrated with that goal in her life and was she tired of trying to prove it to the writing world?  If so, then I why should I even consider doing the same?

I believe that God puts things inside of us to make a difference in our worlds.  I write mostly because it’s my way of expression of what has happened in my life, the lessons I have learned along the way, and the path that I follow as I draw near to God’s heart.

I don’t know how you think about significance in the world.  There a part of us that always wants to call attention to ourselves, to say “look at me, look at what I have done, look at what my life means, look over here, look at who I am!”  Thus the birth of Instagram.  We look here or there, we look everywhere for our place to make a difference and to be a difference maker.  Have you ever considered your significance was set long ago?  Did you know that you too are significant FROM the middle of God’s heart?

Maybe you have let go of a dream that seems unattainable.  There are ideas in your mind that seem huge and grandeur.  You just need some attention and you are looking everywhere to make your little niche in the world, hoping secretly someone, anyone, will notice you.  I don’t know about you but I know what all those feelings feel like.  There were years that I mourned the loss of my dreams, in fact, the desire to blog at all died a little.  Guess what?  My numbers tanked.

So what’s the point of this little letter to you? When it comes to dreams, goals, and the desires of your heart, there is only one Person that knows you better than you know yourself.  Goodness, I am so thankful that I didn’t listen to one person’s opinion.

I am so glad that I didn’t have the math seed planted inside of me also.  This idea seems a bit trite doesn’t it?  From where I sit, there are so many people proving themselves by the numbers.  From what I see, THAT is a highly competitive field where there is no place for a newbie like me.  Science, math, and the proving of all things theory related enters the realm of discovery that is bursting at the seams.  Honestly I’ll let Sheldon handle those issues.  (Big Bang Theory)

The truth about us is that God has placed seeds of Himself inside of us that are unique to just us.  Life travels across our lives and gives out big doses of discouragement and failure everywhere.  I have found out that it’s about your perspective about those failures that take a toll on your life.  My writing mentor, a published author of now four titles, says struggling with these desires to do what you think you are to do in this life is normal.

We don’t talk about that though.  What if you knew the truth about us deep thinkers who can’t comprehend math problems?  Does that make us less significant?  Where are the most popular, the most important, the highest read blogs, the biggest elephants, the giants?  Where are the creative thinkers in this world that flunked High School English?

There is a place in this world for warriors of the Word.  I’ve always wanted to prove that I was normal.  For years, I’ve lived an extreme lifestyle by living in obesity.  Living in extremes on the outside of my life is really an indicator of what is churning on the inside.  Yes, I’ve lived my share of rejection, cancer, medical crisis after medical crisis, oppression, slavery, intimidation, etc.  Many outside hindrances that have stabbed my desires to behave or react one way or another.

The truth about me that when I wanted to find who I was in this world, and step into my destiny, the biggest hindrance was me and what I believed about me.  I had forgotten who God was in my desires and delights.  Could that be true about you?

We have nothing to prove in this world except how to love to others.  

It’s all about God.  The truth about us is that we want the world to know more about us, than about God.  That’s why we live those happy-joy-joy-lives in the virtual world on Facebook and Pinterest.  That’s why when we dress for the day, we put on our contentment masks and act all happy significant and confident.  We want people to look at what WE are doing over what God is doing in us.  It’s is a dog-eat-dog world out there in three exact words, I would guess even Sheldon knows that.

“I have to prove myself to the world, because that is the only way I will gain importance and significance.” ~ lair, lair pants on fire! some old wise proverbial thinker.  When we are clamoring to say, “Look at what I have done!”  aren’t we are calling attention to ourselves, and not expressing God’s true heart for the world?.  Does God keep a list or a tally of the numbers, the gains, the faults, the flaws, and the failures?

When we are seeking the heart of God, His approval and significance is all we need.  Perhaps that person was right when she said, “Everyone wants to do that.”  Yeah, in fact, I believe there are more wanting to express themselves over the Perfect Love in this world.  There are certainly many preachers, teachers, and wannabes.  But when you are proving your significance about yourself, honestly I don’t want any part in that role.

The world is already full of empty hearts showing off.  The world is full of those spouting opinions for their right to be right or heard.  There are already plenty of voices that demand attention in ways that are gaining the world’s significance.  That place isn’t my place.  If I can’t write it from a heart of love FOR my Father, then there is no reason to be in a place that is just calling attention to me.  Freedom calls us to speak the truth about us, in view of God’s mercy.  So if I am feeling the right to be heard, or the right to express myself according to my way of thinking then, I need to go back to my quiet place and remember where my significant place comes from in this world.

This place isn’t my significance.  That was finished in three simple words, “It is finished!”  That’s my place in His heart.  To make God‘s name known, not my own.  So, I’ll be here writing from my place in this big ‘ole word world, with my only number one agenda, that God is truth.  He is always right, and He is at work in me to perfect me along every path in life.  And the truth is it was proven long ago.  My role here prove His love and significance to the world.

When you need to change your prayers

Isaiah 43:2  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

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There was a time in my life that I kept asking God the “why” question.  I was obsessing about what was going on in my life at the time.  Chaos was ruling my thoughts, I knew that God had me in His grip but there was some pretty desperate things going on around me, and creating worry, stress, and concern everywhere I looked.

Then cancer hit our family.  And I added another “why” to my list of prayers to God.  “Oh God, ‘why’ my husband and not me?

I don’t know where cancer hits you, but it hit our family like a Mack truck, just like the one my husband used to drive.  It hit hard, fast and within a few tests.  I was crying out to God literally all the way home one day from his first surgery.  Why God?

“Why God, why my husband and not me?

Why? Why? Why?

“I’m the strong one God, why him?”

God’s response?  “Because I want to prove my strength through your husband.”

When life hits you with this kind of tragedy, you feel like you can’t breathe.  When your entire life is on a “bobsled to Hell”, it’s hard to look up and not ask “why him”, or “why her?”  “why my child?”  How about when everything you know that is safe, familiar and comfortable is ripped from your grip?

It’s difficult to not respond with our “why” questions.

What God showed me was to not ask why but to show me my devotion as my husband’s helper and to give strength in ways that God knew I had.  We came out of that cancer season alive.  We survived that season through the strength that God supplied.  We went through that with many promises of healing, and it was the just one of the difficult seasons of our marriage.

Life is full of tragedies, but God never causes them.  He does strengthen us through each of one of them.  And I have found great strength since that one cancer-filled season.  I go back to those days often, remembering the faithfulness of God who didn’t give me what I wanted but showed me how to meet the needs of our family.

God showed me His Strength to carry on, and the true hope of healing.  Thank you God for hearing my prayers and answering them in a way that only gives you glory.  

The third woman who prayed

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1 Peter 5:6-7  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Once upon a time a woman had a dream about three women praying.  Jesus drew near to each of them.  As He approached the first of the three ladies, He bent over in way that gave a tender touch and much grace, smiling as he could hear her heart expressed in her raw emotion.

Jesus stepped to the next woman praying and only placed His hand upon her bowed head, and gave her an approving look.  He moved to the third woman in the dream and passed her by without saying a word or giving a glance.

The dreaming woman watched Jesus as He moved around the praying ladies and said to herself, “How greatly Jesus must love the first woman praying, to the second woman he approved her, the third however must have grieved Jesus in a deeper way, because He barely stopped to listen to her prayer, only gave His silence to her without a passing look.

The story goes that woman who was dreaming inquired upon the Lord what the third woman had said that must have grieved Him over the other women.  To His response about the first woman, the Lord replied.  “How wrongly you have interpreted Me.  The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her feet in My narrow way.  She needs my Love, thought and help every moment of the day.  Without it she would fail and fall.”

“The second woman has a stronger faith with a deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people do.” explained Jesus.   But the third woman, Jesus went on to explain, is one “whom I barely took notice of, she has faith and love of the finest quality, and in her I am training for the highest and holiest service.”

The third woman’s prayers are confident prayers in her relationship with Christ.  Her confidence is not reliant on her job title, her bank account, her circle of influence but rather her intimate friendship with Jesus.  She knows the Savior so intimately, and trusts so completely that she doesn’t need a physical touch, or an approving look every time she talks to God.  She is not dismayed nor discouraged by negative circumstances that enter into her life.

The third woman trusts Jesus so completely that even when her natural instinct is to doubt and rebel, she simply trusts because she knows that God is working in her for eternity and that it’s not necessary to know the purpose or explanation now.  The time she is effectively praying is for trusting, understanding will come later.

The story of the three women teaches us about how God responds to our heartfelt prayers in ways we don’t know about what is going on in our lives.  He cares about every little thing and every big thing.  He cares about every thing that is important to us.  Every one of our dreams, our goals, our hurts, bruises, and festering wounds.    But God is more than our crisis Manager.  He is the giver of life and love and for those reasons alone we can run to Him first with everything, every single thing.

Because of His heart of love for us, and is always working His favor in our lives, we kneel to His soveriegnty, faithfulness, and His abiding presence.  Because of who He is to me I can trust Him with all that I say to Him.  God is sometimes silent in His love and power, but I know and believe that He expresses beyond what words can say and certainly more than my mind can comprehend.  Where I have been growing the most is my understanding of His responses to my Spirit-led prayers and His responses from His deep heart of love.

It’s the work in me that only He sees.

Confirmations are exhibited without me asking for them, “to make sure I am on the right path.”  How often we look to His signs and wonders without believing that He can work a wonder in us without them.  I once found myself looking for the evidence of His hearing of my prayers over just simply trusting that God hears them all.  That day changed my relationship with God in prayer as I asked the Lord to give me a renewed trust in my faith filled prayers.

Praying in faith is believing that God is trustworthy with everything you lay before Him.  Yes, I do believe and trust in our friendship, the Lord and I.  Yes, I pray continously, and yes, I hear His answers.  When I hear His silence though I am learning to trust that all the more.  He is a God of many expressions and emotions, and because He is who He says He is, I can trust Him with all that I am.

How do you come to the Lord in prayer?

Living your real life online

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We are on a stage with some kind of audience. With the current explosion of social networking there is a bigger “stage” to project our lives. Your stage is as mine and the choice to be real is the same. Our lives should be a reflection of Christ. So the challenge is to make each moment count making each tweet and status update matter.
I like to follow the Five “R’s” as my rule when sharing online:  Real ~ Relevant ~ Reaching ~ Ready ~ Responsible
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Being real in today’s world is a challenge.  We project that we have it all together. Now that we are saved, life as we know it is grand and problem free. Get real….nothing is further from the truth.  Being real with the personal struggles in our own lives is one way we can connect with those who need to know the answers. Don’t make judgmental barriers with those who need grace because you are afraid to expose your inner struggles with someone who might grow through yours. And drop the expectation that new Christians are supposed to act like mature Christians. Stop that!

Being relevant in today’s world is important.  We must know our culture without embracing the practices so that we can connect with those who are seeking truth. I think there is tremendous amount of opportunity online, with tremendous responsibilities to shine God’s light in a dark, obsessive, and possessive world by connecting in manners that are pure and encouraging. The boundaries are individual for each one of us.  We each have lines we can’t cross nor shouldn’t cross. Let God’s truth be your guide as you lead and engage people to Jesus.

Be reaching in your own faith journey. How to be the best witness to all 5000+friends on Facebook? Speak grace, speak the truth in love. Give godly encouragement and seek wise counsel. Be known for righteousness and truth. Don’t waiver on your beliefs, stand firm on your faith foundation. If the life you are living isn’t impacting those around you, it might be because your life doesn’t look much different than theirs. If you are of the sharing nature, your change will spill out to others who are reading your status updates, your tweets, your blogs.

Be ready with why God makes a difference to you. If God has truly impacted your life, you should be as excited as the latest shoe store sale or new nail color at your local salon. You don’t have to sugar coat your story with whipped cream and cherries.  Changed people change people (in cooperation with the Holy Spirit). God’s grace and mercy don’t need any more adjectives to taste delicious, it stands alone as a brilliant message.

Be responsible with your opportunities. God has changed your life, so what? Are we supposed to sit on that message and just count down the days until we die and go to heaven? No. God saves a place for us in Heaven yes, and counts our days to be sure. But He wants to build His kingdom here on earth and entrusts the gospel message with believers to bring others alongside to know Jesus too.  It’s not just about Who we are following but it’s also about who we are leading and who’s following us.

People are watching us that is for sure. We must stand for truth; let your truth shine out the Light. Light trumps the darkness every time. Plastic lives only build barriers.

How do you use your social network to connect for Christ?