Going public…

Yep, the time has come…it’s been on my heart for a while that this blog needs to be open, so our story can be shared with more people…and today is the day. One thing is for sure, our life is an adventure! It may not be glamorous, but God has done so much in our lives, and we want everyone to see how amazing he is!!!

So, welcome to our life…

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There is rest TODAY.

The same amount of rest and peace is available to me today that will be available to me when the issues on my mind are resolved and some of my circumstances have changed. I can hold onto my hopes and fears about the future, believing that my peace and rest is coming, or doubting it will ever be within my grasp…but that will prevent me from experiencing the joys of today.

I can work to change the circumstances I believe are holding me back.

I can hold my breath and wait for a change.

I can try to convince myself to change to different hopes and fears.

But all of these options leave me in a place of anxiety, searching for an elusive place of comfort. The reality is that even when I achieve a desired circumstance, the struggle I’m wanting to avoid actually won’t disappear. It will only exist in a different form. Reaching a place where I have obtained whatever I thought I needed to make me happy, always reveals that whatever “it” is, is not enough. It seems as though the rest has moved, and something else now stands between me and it.

This realization makes me feel helpless…hopeless to ever have peace. But the answer isn’t in more anxiety and fear. It’s in resting today.

In the middle of questions and uncertainties and difficult situations.

It’s in accepting that my Father loves me now, here…in being confident that he is enough today, and he will continue to be enough tomorrow. The beautiful thing about trust is that it is confidence in Someone outside of myself – it’s letting go of my need to control and letting Someone else take care of me. The crazy thing is that I look at it as such a painful, difficult thing…but when the object of my trust is good and loving and powerful and knows me so intimately, it is actually a gift.

My perspective has been all wrong. I keep thinking it’s a burden to have to give up my control and put my confidence in him. But it’s the opposite. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to figure things out. I don’t have to hold on to my own strength. And that’s a good thing! My hope is in Someone way more powerful than I could ever be…Someone way more full of love than I can comprehend…Someone completely perfect and unchanging. And his peace and rest is here for me today. In this moment. That’s why he asks me to trust him.

Trusting him isn’t punishment – it’s a privilege.

status

A child’s position is not based on his own status; it’s based on the status of his parents. People do not view a child based on what she has accomplished, or what he owns, or how much she knows. The perception of who we are as infants is based pretty much entirely on our parents. Long before we have done anything, we are known as “the son” or “the daughter of…” Everything that we have (our family, home, provision, name) first belonged to them, and they have now shared it with us – not because of anything we have accomplished, but simply because we belong to them. In the same way, our spiritual position is not based on our status or what we’ve earned; it’s based on the status of our Father. We have the full rights of sons…we have the fullness of his love and grace. And all of this is based on the fact that we are his children. We have inherited far more than we could ever earn. All that belongs to our Daddy now belongs to us! Nothing we do or don’t do can add to or take away from the position God has already given us in Christ.

 

Sunny days (and new challenges)

It’s amazing how much the sunshine can change your perspective, as it transforms everything in view. The world surrounding me hasn’t changed at all, and yet it looks different. Brighter. Happier. The light shining on it brings the transformation. Coming from places where the grey days outweigh the ones with blue skies, and there are days on end where you long for a glimpse of sunlight, to a place that is bright and sunny almost every single day, and the few grey ones are almost a relief, is definitely something new. But then, this trust thing is new, too.

This entrepreneurial way of life – excitement, anxiety, fun, freedom, and trust – is filled with all kinds of emotions and activities. It adds a different dimension to everything. Almost like looking through another lens. Or in another light. A shift in perspective, which leaves nothing unchanged. Each day is an opportunity for hope and excitement, because the possibilities are endless and the end result unknown. There is something exhilarating about the undiscovered options that might cross your path. Of course along with it comes waves of anxiety that are pushed away more easily at some times than others. The unforeseen circumstances and challenges the day might bring can be overwhelming and exhausting. Threads of hope and insecurity are woven into everything – your relationships, your sleeping patterns, your eating habits, your social life, your financial decisions, and your relaxation times.

In all of the happy moments, and all of the challenging ones, one theme continually shows up. You realize your own weakness and inability to control much of anything. From traffic to blown fuses, stuff happens. Just when you think things are running smoothly, a bump inevitably appears on the surface of the road in front of you, and you have to figure out an alternate path, or a way to get across without too much pain. Adjusting and readjusting over and over…thinking and rethinking…testing different solutions. And ultimately realizing that no matter how hard you try, some things are outside of your control. This life requires belief. Trust in One who is able to do anything. Confidence that he is moving, doing something good.

Beautiful, exhausting, exciting and hard, this life of faith stretches you and reveals aspects of who you are that you haven’t discovered before. It reminds you that you can’t (and were never meant to) do it on your own.

Somehow, every time that realization hits, and every time it seems life is spinning wildly out of control, I panic. I freak out, kicking and screaming, because I desperately want to be able to do something. Fear, anxiety and frustration mount, overwhelming me with the weight of what I can’t do and what might be. Until I look up, and I see my Father, right where I left him, just waiting for me to let go. Of course I argue with him in my mind, because he can’t possibly want me to let go and do nothing! If I put everything in his hands, how do I know things will actually get done?! Does he really want me to just stop and not do anything?! With these thoughts my anxiety increases, and panic returns. But then, over and over he reminds me that I can trust him. He loves me. He is enough. He never fails. He won’t let me down. He’s got this, and I don’t have to worry. Trusting him is not punishment…it’s a privilege!! I am free to walk as a daughter, hand in hand with my Daddy, believing that he loves me more than I can comprehend and that his love is enough. And when I finally let go and trust who he is, the sun shines brightly in my soul, transforming my perspective and coloring the world around me with hope.

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the Power of the Presence…

This verse recently caught my attention:

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).

Rest. The promise of God’s presence.  Words of comfort spoken to Moses as the Lord lead him and the people of Israel to the Promised Land.

What struck me as I read Exodus 33 was the setting in which God spoke these words. This chapter comes right after the people of Israel – God’s chosen ones – had sinned by trying to replace God with a golden idol in the shape of a calf. God had performed all kinds of signs and wonders as he rescued his people from slavery in the land of Egypt, again and again showing them his awesome power and provision…through the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the sea crashing back down on their enemies, the direction by the cloud and pillar of fire, the food falling from heaven, and the appearance of water in the desert. But even after all that, when Moses took a little too long hanging out with God on the mountain, they gave up on God and decided that they needed to create their own god. Because of their rebellion and their rejection of God, he was angry with the people and put some of them to death.

But then God did something unexpected. The Lord still told Moses to take the people to the Promised Land, telling him that he would defeat their enemies and give them the land.

“I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 33:3).

So the Lord was still going to give them victory over their enemies, just as he had promised, but he just wasn’t going to go with them. And guess how they responded? The people who had just been worshiping a calf made of gold because they decided God had abandoned them in the desert, were now desperate for the presence of the Lord.

“When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned” (Exodus 33:4).

They understood the power of the presence of God, recognizing that even victory in a new and prosperous land was nothing compared to being with the Lord. Moses begged God to go with them, saying,

“If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16)

Moses would rather not have gone to the beautiful promised place God had prepared for them, than to miss out on God’s presence! He knew that the greatest privilege is a relationship with the Lord. And he also understood that the people of God are living evidence of who he is on the earth.

Our most amazing blessing has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on around us in this life. God’s presence is his biggest gift to his children, and we have access to it ALL the time! Moses and Joshua had to enter the tent of meeting to spend time with the Lord; but the Holy Spirit now gives us constant access to the Father. I often get so distracted, so consumed by other things, that I forget the incredible gift it is to be with my Father. I forget how amazing it is that he desires a personal, close relationship with me, and that he wanted it so much he abandoned his own Son for a time so that he would never have to abandon me.  He made me a new creation so that I could be in his presence forever! The circumstances that surround me don’t really matter, because the beauty and joy of the Father’s presence outshines it all. His permanent, unchanging, powerful, glorious, hope-filled presence is available to me every moment, in every circumstance. And there is no power that can change that reality!

It’s not about me

Many times over the last couple of months, I have questioned my ability to trust God. All the change and uncertainty and struggles of life have pressed in, making me feel overwhelmed and confused. The Word of God tells us not to focus on the things around us, but to look at Jesus. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Just like Abraham, we can acknowledge the situation we’re in, but always from a faith perspective – understanding that God is not limited by anything.  “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:19-21).

But then we come to a place where everything we see goes against this…and it is so difficult not to be distracted by all we see and feel. How many times does the Holy Spirit remind us to walk by faith and not by sight…and in the next breath we’re telling him we can’t believe because of all the things we see around us?

The worst part is that in Christ we actually don’t have to be weighed down by all these physical realities, and yet we cling to them as though they are our life! The whole time God is there with open arms, asking us to rest in his embrace. The more we frantically cling to our fears, our insecurities, our doubts, and our pain, the more impossible it seems to look at him. He says, “Come to Me,” and we say, “But You don’t understand…I’m a mess! I can’t do it! I don’t know how to stop looking at all these things for my comfort.” We tell him all about ourselves, and how we are too jacked up to let him hold us…as though he isn’t already fully aware of everything that we are and all that we’re not! Again and again, he reminds us that he saved us when we were his ENEMIES. The very worst part of who we are, the part we try to hide from everyone else, the part we hate so much that it depresses us – that is exactly the part of us that Jesus sacrificed his life to reconcile to the Father. “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Romans 5:7-8, 10

Somehow, we believe deep down inside that we have to live up to God’s standards since he set us free. But that very belief holds us in the bondage that Jesus broke off us through his death and resurrection! The whole point of the gospel is that we couldn’t free ourselves from the power of sin. We can’t make ourselves good enough to be God’s children, no matter how hard we try. That’s why Jesus had to come and do what we couldn’t do – to reconcile us to the Father. When we come to him in faith, he sets us free from our sin…and then we turn around and run right back to the chains that held us captive, struggling and thinking that we are actually pleasing God by working harder and trying to earn his favor on our own. But we can’t do it. So we become devastated and tell him he might as well give up on us, because we’re a lost cause. This is the place I found myself at…again…discouraged and worn out, with no hope that anything would change.

But the Lord spoke through his Word, “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3) If my work did not earn me a place in his family, why would I think that my work is what continues to transform me?! It is all by faith. I have been released from needing to do everything right. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). It actually hurts the Lord when I run back to the slavery he set me free from. That’s the reason he did it – so I could walk with him! He wanted to restore that relationship he had in the beginning with Adam and Eve, when they were unashamed in his presence, enjoying his love. He wants that to be the reality of my life in him.

As always, in his goodness and compassion, the Lord revealed his heart to me, even in my weakness and desperation. He continued to tell me how much he loves me…and that he is with me. He reminded me through my husband that the reality is, it was never about us. Nothing about our life actually is about us! The Almighty God does not need us to do or say the right things or to work hard enough for his will to be done. He is GOD. I’m pretty sure he can handle it. He can do whatever he wants to, regardless of my weakness…or even my strength. The purpose that he created me for…the reason I exist…is to walk with him. His goal for me is to be in relationship with him – to understand his love and rest in it! That is the only thing I need to do…rest in who HE is and what HE has done! Nothing around me, nothing that “happens” to me, no one, and not even my own emotions or issues, can stop him from doing his will, as long as I am submitted to him. That is reality. And the amazing thing is that I am FREE to walk in that reality!

Now I see that it really has nothing to do with my ability to trust God, and everything to do with his unlimited ability. He is way bigger than I give him credit for!

A deeper purpose…

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭1-4‬ ESV)

This man had been blind his entire life. He didn’t even know what sight was like! His complete reality was not being able to see anything physical. He couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to see. And because of his physical limitation, people assumed that either he or his parents had brought this on him. But Jesus said that his blindness had nothing to do with sin…the reason God had allowed him to have this limitation was so that God himself could reveal his power through the man’s life!

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭5-7‬ ESV)

So suddenly, one day Jesus walks by, declaring that the point of the man’s blindness was to show how awesome God is…and he makes mud and puts it on the man’s eyes. Then he tells him to go wash it off, and when he does, he can see – for the first time in his life! Sometimes when God heals, he restores us to something we used to be…but other times he brings us into a wholeness we have never experienced, or even been able to imagine, before.

Many of the people wouldn’t even believe this was the same man who used to sit begging. They couldn’t imagine he could have been healed. They were so incredulous that they wouldn’t believe it was truly him until his parents said it. Then the religious leaders started to get on Jesus for working on the sabbath, questioning if he really came from God or was a sinner. The man who had been blind testified to what Jesus had done, revealing God’s purpose.

The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭30-33‬ ESV)

Not only did Jesus want to heal the man physically and reveal His Father’s power to those who didn’t believe, but he also wanted to give the man hope and faith in Christ. So he came back to talk with the man, and to let him know His true identity as the Messiah, the one who came to save His people.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. (‭John‬ ‭9‬:‭35-38‬ ESV)

The work that Jesus does always has a purpose. He heals physically, He restores emotio #nally, but ultimately He always wants to bring lasting hope and peace to our spirits. He meets the needs that we can feel, but he also goes beyond that to touch the deeper needs we didn’t even know we had. All because He wants us to know and believe that He is God…that He loves us intensely…that He has better plans for us than we have for ourselves. His work is always to reveal who God is and to bring us to faith in Him alone. And when that happens, we are never the same again!

#healing #purpose #love #revelation

Short n Sweet

The issue isn’t the presence of the problem; it’s my understanding of how big my God is.

The problem isn’t my circumstance…it’s my unbelief.

There’s no greater life than a life where circumstances don’t matter. If my happiness and peace is not based on what is happening around me, then I am free to live the abundant life Jesus offers me!

#faith #unbelief #abundantlife #peace

Victory!

Sometimes, things seem overwhelming. We just can’t see how God is working, or what he has for us in the future. But that doesn’t change reality!

The truth is that the enemy knows he can’t defeat God’s beloved children since we have been covered in Christ’s righteousness, so he lies to us to make us believe he’s already defeated us. If he can get us to focus on our own wounds, we don’t see how beat up he is, and we feel discouraged and worn out. He doesn’t want us to know how vulnerable he is, so he tries to convince us we are powerless…but the reality is we already have the victory!

Remember who your enemy is…he can’t stand in the Truth. Even more importantly, remember who your God is! He is the Victorious One, eternal, all-powerful, the Undefeated…he is the Way, the Truth, the Life! Jesus already defeated the enemy and made him powerless…so don’t listen to his lies. Stand firm in the truth. Focus on the Lord. Believe the Word. Your victory is secure! Walk within the protection of the love and grace poured out on you by the Holy Spirit.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:10-11 ESV)

The accuser has been defeated! We walk in that victory as we conquer him by the word of our testimony and by our complete surrender to the Lord.

#rememberwhoyourGodis #walkinVictory #theaccuserisalreadydefeated!

Love and Belief

“Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy. Come to Me with confident expectation. There is nothing you need that I cannot provide.”
-Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)

The key to imitating God and reflecting his character is understanding our position as beloved children…as we understand the depth of Christ’s love for us, we can walk in that same love. His love is unconditional, undeserved, complete, perfect…and since it doesn’t depend on our actions to begin with, we know that even when we don’t love just like him, he doesn’t hold that against us! This frees us to walk in his light, instead of trying to manufacture our own light.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9 ESV)

When we confess our sins, we are forgiven…it doesn’t say when we make up for what we have done, or when we have punished ourselves, or when we have started acting right. We just need to admit our sin, and come into the light, and Jesus’ blood cleanses us.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (Proverbs 28:13-14 ESV)

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, (2 Peter 1:3 ESV)

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Romans 4:5 ESV)

It says, “the one who does not work but believes in him”…no one can work hard enough or live perfectly enough to be considered righteous. That’s why we have to believe in Jesus, the One who is perfect. God doesn’t want us to spend our lives trying to make ourselves better; he wants us to believe him!

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:20-25 ESV)

#faith #walkinlove #forgiveness

A new season…

Excitement. Adventure. New. Uncertain. Faith. Struggle. Freedom. Fear. Joy. Confidence. Unknown. Questions.

That pretty much describes the last few months of our life. It’s been a little crazy! Every day there are new challenges…and every day God reminds us in different ways that he is All-Powerful, Faithful, Loving, and the One who takes care of us.

The last month has been filled with goodbyes, reunions, sweet moments with family and friends, and a whole lot of packing, re-packing, searching for where things were packed, driving, flying, praying, celebrating. In the past 11 days we have slept in 6 different places, in 3 different states😁.

God has been telling us by the Spirit and confirming it through his people that this time of transition has a purpose. It is not just something to hurry up and get done with so we can get on with our life. It is a beautiful part of our life. It’s easy to forget when things feel overwhelming, and uncertainty attempts to consume us, but it’s still reality!

I can’t really see beyond today, so I am choosing to believe today. Putting all of my confidence in the One who holds all my days…my loving Father who can do anything. Knowing that wherever he takes us, he has already put in place every single thing that we need.