A Word for 2019

You may have noticed over the past few days people have been talking nonstop about their “word” for 2019. Several years I have “tried’ to have a word and would just come up with one on my own I thought was a good idea, but then I would forget about it and honestly, I can’t even remember what any of those words were.

This past year has been a very trying time for my family, more so than any other year of my adult life. Therefore, I have found it necessary to find things I can cling to, to give me hope that things are going to be ok.

This year, instead of coming up with a word on my own, I decided to pray about it and see if I felt led to a word. A word did come to mind pretty immediately, but I dismissed it and kept praying and “searching” for another word…but that first word kept coming back. Finally after a few days, a few scripture passages that talked ALL ABOUT THIS WORD, I got the message. (I admit I can be a little hard headed sometimes…ok all the time.)

This word is actually one that has been in my face over and over during the hardships of 2018, and some days I was really great with it and some days I wasn’t. (More often than not it was a wasn’t, but hey I’m trying here.) That word? Trust.

Trust in myself. Trust in others. Most importantly, trust in God. I’m a bit of a control freak, and like to be in charge. In a lot of ways this is helpful, but not when it comes to my relationship with God. I have such. a. hard. time. letting go and trusting that what is happening to me is for my good.

Do I believe God is ultimately good? Yes. Do I believe God can do anything? Yes. My issue comes with believing that God will do good for ME in my personal situation. Sure I have seen him work miracles in others and of course in the Bible, but my “realism” struggles with my faith time and time again and I have a very difficult time being positive when going through a hard season. Can anyone else relate?

Or, I will believe good things are coming, but then push God to do the things I have on my agenda and in my time table. Yup. I make the plan then ask God to bless it. Friends, that isn’t the way God works. True trust and true surrender are about giving up OUR wants and desires and trading them for what God wants for our lives. So it ultimately boils down to…do we trust Him or not? Do we believe all things will work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his plans? If we can really honestly say that we DO trust him, then opening our hands and giving up the time table and the “way” in which He chooses to work things out shouldn’t be a struggle. We shouldn’t have anxiety over the future or fear any outcome.

Keep in mind I type all this as I repeat it back to myself because it is a daily, sometimes hourly, and sometimes minute by minute struggle in my mind and heart. I often pray “I believe, help my unbelief!” as I inch closer to trusting in His faithfulness.

Does trusting God in a situation mean we are to sit around and do nothing? Absolutely not! There are things we can do in the trusting and waiting to prepare us for what is to come. Prayer, Bible reading, actively seeking Godly counsel, and listening for direction all come to mind. If you aren’t sure what God is telling you to do, then do the last thing He told you to do. Not sure what God’s will is? Do this instruction from the Bible until you are told further by Him:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This verse often gets misquoted. Note that it does NOT say “give thanks FOR all circumstances.” Of course it would be silly to thank God for a car accident, a lost job, or a sick loved one. The point here is DESPITE whatever we are going through, we can trust God has good planned through it, and we can give thanks to Him anyway. It’s a hard choice, but a choice non the less we have to make every morning when our feet hit the floor.

So again, boiled down in it’s most simple, basic form, I ask my question again. Do you trust God? Out of habit you may say yes, but do your actions prove otherwise? If you are anxious, fearful, or stressed out, those are all tell tale signs that you are not trusting God in that moment. Don’t be hard on yourself if you worry or have anxiety about something. Just stop right when you start to feel those feelings, surrender them to God, and remember the verse from above: Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.

Keep persevering my friends. Don’t give up if you are in a hard season. In the words of Charles Stanley, the dark moments of our lives will last only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us. 

So this year, I am working on trust. His will, His timing, His way. And while I wait, I will be rejoicing, praying, and thanking Him as I go. Have a great 2019 my friends. I love you all.

It’s Just Not Fair

The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed for the 20th time that day, and my eyes caught something that really hit home from Lysa TerKeurst:

Lysa T

Read it again. Slower this time, then come back…I will wait.

…………..

…………..

Ok, good. I just wanted to make sure it really sunk in, and I feel like I have to read something at least twice (and sometimes say it out loud) for it to really get down into my soul. Let’s unpack this status update piece by piece shall we?

Disappointment. I don’t know about you, but just that word gives me a sinking nauseating feeling in my stomach. I don’t like to disappoint other people (aka “people pleaser”) and I certainly don’t like to be disappointed in someone else, or in my life. Before I continue, can we please push aside any hostile feelings of “I’m sure what YOU are going through is NOTHING compared to what I am going through!” Let’s not play that game. Until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you cannot know how deep something hurts, or how difficult a season of life may be. Just wanted to clear that up. Moving on…..

I am a planner. No, not for a living (well, I AM a travel planner for a living but that’s not what I mean). I have plans for my life. When I was in college I had plans for my career. When I got married I had plans for our perfect little “married life”, and when I had a baby, well…we can all laugh at those plans now can’t we? Oh my friends there are many, MANY things “that I thought would be” that either have not happened yet, or happened in a totally different way then I anticipated. For this type-A planned out person, those realities really, REALLY have gotten my panties in a twist at times.

This leads to the next part…the unanswered questions…and the sensation that things just. aren’t. fair. Why did HER husband get that promotion? Why was I not picked for that project? Why was I plagued with this illness or injury? Why did they get that awesome opportunity, I could have don’t just a good of job if not better….

DSC_0709

(enter random beach photo to break up the text).

We have all said it, thought it, fumed about it. Jealousy is an ugly monster that can rule your life if not kept in check. You have heard it 100 times and threatened to deck the next person that says it to you…God has a plan…you can trust God. Not exactly what you want to hear when you lose your job, or your child is in the hospital, or you aren’t sure how you are going to afford your bills.

Pick a problem. Think of a time when you thought that life just was not fair. Let’s look at it from God’s point of view shall we. When thinking of that problem or situation, try to think…

– Maybe God allowed something to happen (or not happen) because He has a greater opportunity waiting for you that would not be possible if He gave you the thing you wanted so badly.

– Maybe if you got or did the thing that would make things “fair” in your mind, it would lead to your ruin. Maybe God is trying to protect you from something that you just can’t see yet, and not getting your way is for your well being on down the road.

– Maybe you have strayed away from God, and He is using this situation to bring you back to Him. I have heard it said that pain is God’s megaphone. You are not very likely to listen when things are going your way, and you don’t have a care in the world. I think sometimes God has to use drastic measures on us hardheaded folks to get our attention.

I can look back over the past several years at situations where I felt things were just not fair. There is a common thread through all of these situations, and no the commonality is NOT that everything ended up working out the way I wanted it to. I wish it were that easy! The thing that I can glean from looking at each of those not so fun circumstances it that God was with me through them all, (Deuteronomy 31:8) and each time I have had a struggle, it has been a little bit easier to deal with because based on past experiences, I knew God was going to bring me through it. Chew on that for awhile. If the more hard stuff you go through draws you closer to God and helps you to trust him more the NEXT time something comes up, then I would say it was a worthwhile experience.

DSC_0914

A friend of mine posted something very interesting on Facebook the other day that got me thinking. It said “no test = no testimony”. Such a simple phrase but it packs a powerful punch. If our faith is never tested, and if things are always “fair” in our little world, then how are we to relate to and help our friends and family and even strangers that are going through difficult times? Think about it. When you are going through something, do you want to pour your heart out to someone who has never gone through hard times, or the same types of hard times? I know I don’t! I want sage advice from those who have “been there done that” and made it out the other side. It gives me hope for my situation. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

I try to not get too philosophical here on my blog because big words confuse me and when I ask Siri what they mean, she laughs at me.However, from time to time I feel led to bring up certain things. I don’t share EVERYTHING from my life here, but I do want you to know I have gone through and am going through some hard stuff. It may look different from your hard stuff, but it’s all hard just the same. I still sometimes find myself with unanswered questions and asking God why He is allowing things to happen, but in the end I know I can trust Him and that He has a plan. Even if it ends up not looking like the life I envisioned, I certainly don’t want to shortchange myself when God may have something else really awesome and better planned than I can even imagine.

ephesians_320

QOTD: Have you ever felt like life just wasn’t fair? How did you respond?

A Heart at Rest

This is the last week of my online Bible study What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. I am so sad it is already over, it has been amazing to participate in an online study (if you would like to participate in the next one it starts in October)!

0357bbf4db21c8c6508b48d23ac18abb

For this weeks blog hop, I decided to answer the question How has saying yes to God through this study helped you find a heart at rest?

Well, I could say a LOT on this subject, but I will spare you and give you the condensed version. Smile I would consider myself a very anxious person. I like to be in control, plan things, and know what is happening next. I don’t like when things don’t go as I planned them out in my head, and I get anxious when I don’t know what is going to happen.

Well folks, when you look at the way God operates, most of the time showing his children only ONE step at a time, and asking us to have faith in the unseen…you can see how I would struggle in this area. God has really stretched me during this study. Just like any stretching and growing, it has been painful at times, but the end result has been a good thing.

I agreed to say yes to God when the study started, whatever that meant, and I began opening my spiritual eyes for opportunities to say yes. They are all around us but we often miss them! Anyway, in my mind, the opposite of anxiousness is peace and rest, which is what I knew I needed to be still and hear from God.

2c6226551c23ed3e1b77b68c2af878db

When I pray, I have a habit of doing all the talking. God opened my eyes and showed me that solitude and silence are good things, and that if I can block out all distractions, then I can better hear God speaking to me and giving me these opportunities to hear Him and say yes to Him. Specifically, the lesson talking about finding your “white space” in your house really helped me. I have since spent some time on the floor of my closet simply being still and quiet and listening.

1e553a33259d0830318ac3e8dfd6b78a

I have found that after these times of being alone with God, I come out much more at peace and rest in my heart. No matter what my circumstances are, saying yes to God by listening to that nudge through the study telling me to find some time to get alone, has helped me to have a heart at rest.

SO, all that to say: saying YES to God form the get go of this study has opened my eyes to many things, one of the main things being how to have a heart at rest, no matter what.

A huge thanks to the Proverbs 31 online Bible study team, I can’t wait for the next one!

QOTD: Do you have a special place you go in your house to be still and listen to God? Please don’t underestimate the importance of LISTENING and not talking sometimes!

Rough

I had a rough day yesterday and didn’t really feel like blogging last night. I did find a couple of quotes I am hanging on tight to as we go through a rough patch. I hope they can help someone else today.

83630036b3a2788b0c65af5c9d2d02c1

e303f8a1761fdc8440fbbc11fc6f5a23

085d91915e751bef5a0bb304906299af

QOTD: what do you do when things just don’t seem to be going your way?