Honor Me

Sometimes God is clear. Other times He is a nagging feeling you don’t want to pay attention to, a bout of indigestion best warded off with sleep and ice water.

Sometimes his nudges feel anticlimactic and a nuisance. Or simply mundane daily life with an emphasis on relationships.

It’s God saying, “I planted you here (or maybe you planted yourself) but sow nonetheless, because I am here too”

It’s God saying, “I don’t really care if this is fun, this is the rainy season”

“Honor me in this.”

honor meI’m uncomfortable, and barely getting out of simple survival mode as I wrap my head around a third unplanned but dearly loved pregnancy, as we enter into the third trimester before I blink.

I’m forced to sow where I’m planted, and I’m down right tired of planning and looking ahead, I just need DAILY bread. (preferably sourdough with salt, Jesus)

“Honor me in this…”

I’m not sure what that looks like truth be told, but whenever I’m not sure I fall back on love. Above all else God is love, so its time to start living out love. Even when I’m tired, even when the new neighbors are annoying, even when I have one hundred viable excuses not to.

It is time.

– J

But I Linger

I like to tell myself that I always listen and respond to God’s nudges when they come, but when I fall into the trap of believing that, I’m fooling myself.  Ultimately, I am human and thus consistently and constantly fail to fight my inner selfish nature.

Yet, I’m so blessed to have a God that showers me with grace.  There are times He lets me fall because He knows thats what I need and times He gives me no other choice, but to follow His will.

In my journey through Genesis, a different part of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah stuck out to me in this lens.

In Genesis 19, angels had told Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah were going to be destroyed.  So, he needed to get his wife and daughters and leave immediately.

You know what Lot’s response was?

But he lingered. Gen. 19:16

He literally had angels in front of him giving him directions.  And not in a general, you should think about this kind of way, but entire cities are going to be destroyed.  He had even them do a miracle by causing blindness not to long before this….and still he lingered!

You know what God’s response was?

…so the men [angels] seized them [Lot and his family] by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him.

God saw his slow, stubbornness and saved him anyways.  God had the angels seize him by the hand and lead him out anyways.

PD60000979-meme-6-FBEven when we’re slow, reluctant, and stubborn, God shows us mercy and grace.  I wish I could say I didn’t, but there are times when God has to kind of shake me and strong arm me into doing what I know He is calling me to do.  I wish I could say it’s easy to follow His will when you know what it is, but it isn’t.

I know I consistently fall short of the glory of God, which makes the blessings of His love that much more amazing.  How lucky I am to have a Father, serve a God who loves me enough to never give up on me…even when I linger.

  • S

Another Left Turn

left_turn_only_by_awetumjoygasmI have been praying faithful for God’s will.  Over the past five years, I have learned over and over again that God’s will is always the step I don’t see coming.

God blesses us in ways we don’t see coming when we act in faithfulness and give up the reins of control.  His plan is deeper and better than mine can ever be.  His contains wisdom and longterm vision that I don’t possess.

So, I keep taking each step with the comfort in the knowledge and belief that He knows better than I.  After all He has said..

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The key is to be patient and not get in the way of God’s plan.  Don’t think I know better or think what God is asking is impossible or ridiculous and try to make my own path or solution.  (For a warning on how that can turn out, check out Sarai’s story in Genesis 16)

This still rings true.  In the last week, God has taken me on a major left turn that I didn’t see coming.  You know what?  It is yet again proof that His hand in my life is way better than when my hands are in control.

His blessings (especially the ones that come out of left field) are so humbling and continue to remind me that I have  a Father who loves me, a Father who goes before me, a Father who has a plan for me, and a Father to whom I owe my soul.

  • S

I’m Just a Know Nothing

Honestly, faith is easy for me.  Always has been and I hope it always will.  God’s existence and desire for a relationship with me is a given in my walk with Him.  

However, acting in faith can be so hard.  I’m a control freak who struggles with anxiety…talk about wanting a game plan with every potential side step accounted for.

So, the beginning of the story of Abram (not yet having his name changed to Abraham) and God’s relationship as told in Genesis is so powerful and important to me.

“Go from your home…everything and everyone you know…to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 11:1

One word makes this so meaningful for me…WILL.

God WILL show Abram where he needs to go…which means God hasn’t showed him yet.

God asks Abram to leave EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.  And for what?  Literally, all Abram has to go on is his faith in God’s love and promise because God hasn’t even shown him where he is going.  However, Abram has faith that God will take him somewhere and that God has his best interest at heart.  

He doesn’t question it.  He simply went “as the Lord had told him” (Genesis 11:4)

…without details,

…without knowing exactly how everything was going to line up,

…without everything and anything that makes sense in earthly logic.

 

And you know what?

Abram was blessed beyond belief because he had faith

God blesses our faithlessness.  His plan is so much better than ours.  

 

1795770_578624425586487_385537113_nWhen I let go of the control that I’m only pretending to have, I get to witness the miraculous ways that God can and wants to act on my behalf.  
It can be so hard sometiems to truly pray for His will when there are things I want, but it is so worth it.  I just have to remember that I don’t know everything.  In fact, compared to Him, I’m a know nothing who controls nothing…and I like it that way.

  • S

Will of Steel

“Please help me to know the will of my Father – not a scrupulous nervousness, nor yet a lax presumption, but a clear, reasonable knowledge; and after this give me a strong will to be able to bend it to the will of the Father.” – Flannery O’Connor in A Prayer Journal

I love this quote.  It is so thick and hard to digest.  My favorite part is the last line…

give me a STRONG will to be able to BEND it to the will of the Father…

crooked-forest2
Epitome of strong enough to bend? (Crooked forest in Poland.. picture from http://unusualplaces.org/crooked-forest/

So interesting because usually we think of strong wills as unbendable.

But she’s right.  It takes a very strong will to bend to the will of the Father.  On good days it can be hard – let alone the days where it is difficult and even seems illogical (especially to earthly standards).

So, here’s to working on a will strong enough to bend.

-S

Just a Little Push

So, pretty much all my question holes for next year have been filled in.  (At least all the ones that can be at this point.)  I’ll be teaching in a new district, in a new school.  

Truthfully, I thought God might be taking me out of education…but He answered the prayer I had been praying: close every door except one- so I that I would know his will.  So, I figured God would be using my skills I had been developing to teach new kids in a similar (if different) setting.  Again, I was wrong.  I’ll be teaching in a different context.

Why do I always think I know God’s plan?  He seems to always direct my feet to the path that I didn’t see coming.

But, I’ve been praying God’s will not mine for a long time.  That is clearly what He did and not at all in the way/path I had visioned (so very typical for our relationship).

c0e88c4798c48923b13f422b9c7f3325It does make it easier to go into the new and relatively unknown knowing that He picked this place, this job for me, and me for them.  There is so obviously work He wants me to do there and something there for me to grow in as I serve him.   

I will admit though- I feel a little better in the short term when God pushes me out of my comfort zone along the lines of my vision.  But, God’s ways of pushing me out of my comfort zone is just never any of the ways that I expect.

But ultimately, His vision is so much better than mine -both deeper and longer than anything I see.  And I really do want Him to use me in ways He sees fit. I want Him to put me in places where He can use me and it pushes me to grow.  He always knows best and I hope to always go where He leads with a willing heart.

Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus. Do not try to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.- 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19

– S

When You Don’t Move Mountains

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move.  When You don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through.  When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You, I will trust.  I will trust.  I will trust in You. – chorus from Lauren Daigle’s “Trust in You”

Trust, although a simple concept, can be a tricky practice.

I am in a season of so many questions and so few answers.  I’ve compared it to juggling so many balls without knowing where they’ll land, but I’ve determined that really isn’t accurate.  I’m a juggler without balls – looking for some balls to juggle.  Some are starting, maybe to materialize, but the picture is still really hazy…and they don’t really look like the ones I was hoping for.

Truth is You know what tomorrow brings…[and] I want what you want Lord and nothing less.

This is my prayer in the darkness of the unknown and the chaos swirling around me…

Lord, help me discern Your perfect will for my next steps.  Close every door except the one You want for me.  Give me patience for Your timing.  And, above all, thank you for Your unending love and grace for my little self.

-S

 

Living in the Unknown

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. When you pray I will listen. If you look for me whole heartedly you will find me…I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes…I will bring you home again to your own land”  – Jeremiah 29:11-14

Well this move is one for the books. The house we were buying fell through. However, selling ours did not.  So, we are out…and in with my parents while we try and find a home we’re both comfortable with.

And preferably quickly. Because even though we aren’t in captivity, living in transition is difficult even with gracious parent hosts.

no clueIt’s beyond easy to get worried and edgy and irritated with this current hiccup. It’s not at all what we had planned and I’m tired of staying positive; it’s not easy for me.

I physically and emotionally can’t muster the smiles and optimism any longer. I am tired of it all and growing a babe and want some sort of normality for my Bug and Bear.

Yet, it’s not my plan that matters at all (clearly). God has a better plan and won’t allow my fleshy vision to let me settle for anything less than His best. He has a hope and a future and a home for my family.

He sees my babes and holds them; He sees me and holds me.

He has equipped me with all I need to love them through this. To love Chris through this.

 

And it doesn’t matter that I am tired; I don’t need to rely on my own strength and spirit. All I need to do is call upon the Holy Spirit within me: comfort me, sustain me, and cover my mouth when necessary.

  • J

A Voice in the Night

I’ve always been drawn to the story of Samuel.  A boy who heard a voice calling in the night and, after a few times, realized it was God.  His response was perfect and humble.  “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

He didn’t ask questions or favors.  He waited for God.

Samuel dared to believe that what God had to say was far better than anything young Samuel could ask for or imagine.” from Daring Faith devotional by Nicole Reyes

a185406fe25862d9d948a0bddd4c7eec
Wish by Christian Schloe

God please close all the doors except the one that leads me to where you want me to be.

I don’t want to go through a different door that seems right, seems good, or even just acceptable to my limited self and brain.

I want your perfect will.  I want to hear your voice louder than my own.

So, like Samuel, “Speak for your servant is listening.”

  • S

 

What if I REALLY believed?

What if I leaned on God instead of my own understanding?

 

No, really.

 

What if I got myself good and messy and uncomfortable and then just had faith.

 

Faith the Holy Spirit would lead me.

 

Faith to walk step by step without a map, or pre planned destination.

 

“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” Luke 12:12

What if I truly believed that enough to truly live like it.

 

It’s time to start making some intentional changes; making prayer a priority and listening even harder.

 

It’s time to change the world, one obedient step at a time. And so I pray, “God I’m willing, lead me. Use me. “

 

what if i believedI want to wear myself out for Him; I want to use all my gifts for Him. I want to run towards His plans abandoned and arms open, without fear and a well packed bag.

 

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.”

-J