Working Wonders

This week I can’t help but  be filled with gratitude, humility, and thanksgiving.

I have this innate desire to want to be independent; I want to know I can make it and do everything on my own.  But I can’t.  I can’t do anything on my own.

My attempts to “do life” are so sub par compared to what God wants and can do in my life. He has the power to transform my life in so many ways that I can’t even see…but sometimes I get a glimpse of how He knows so much better than I.

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That has been this week.  He has worked together things for my good that I didn’t see coming, things that I wasn’t sure I wanted.  He knew better.  He knew how well the puzzle pieces would fit together.  All I had to do was pray fervently, listen carefully, and respond in obedience.  Then, just sit back in awe as He worked His wonders.

“With thanksgiving let me remember, O my God, all your mercies to me and let me confess them to you.  Let my bones be filled with your love.” St. Augustine

  • S
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If I believe…

If I believe then I must trust.

And why should I doubt;

Since he did not spare even his own son but gave him up for us all,

won’t he also give up everything else

Romans 8:30

I’m having some trust issues. I know because I’m uber worried about the future.

 

I also know that’s pointless. Life is meant to be lived moment to moment, which resonates with my bohemian heart. But my worry prone mind won’t seem to still.

Marriage and children teach you real fast how little you know and how much you don’t control.

i must trustBut I have faith, a hope in a confident future and I wasn’t meant to stay in this season forever.
So I cling to the promise, especially when I have reason to doubt.

And I try to remember to punctuate the surprises with hallelujahs.  After all, His timing is perfect, and He knows more than I do.

  • J

Sweeping Tides and Raging Seas

I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me

Psalm 42:7

I love everything about this.

Maybe it’s simply because I love the ocean, more likely its because I love my God.

Truth be told, parts of the ocean scare me. It is powerful and dangerous and uncontrollable and unpredictable.

Except to the one who created it; the one who commands the tides to follow the moon and kiss the shores.

That is power.

That is love. Maybe I’m vain in this next thought…maybe not…but maybe He kisses the shores and brings in seashells just for my pure delight.

He could have made the oceans work anyway he pleases, and He chose a way which delights me so.

Oh how He loves me!

Oh how I fear him!

I’ve always hated the verses about fearing God. It contradicts itself “do not be afraid, do not be dismayed for I am with you” Isaiah 41:10 and then “here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

But just this morning I’m beginning to understand how to love something beyond explanation- yet also have a healthy dose of fear.

Understand the power behind the grace and awe, understanding the beauty and strength; the ruler of the ocean.

So yes, my heart gets overwhelmed and I can feel the tumult of the raging sea in front me. However, even within the raging ,when I say yes to God he is controlling the swells and tides as they sweep over me, push me under, roll me around…and he will reach down and pull me up for air as well.

You’d think with my mermaid soul I’d enjoy the ride of the waves a little more than I am, I’m ssweep over metill learning to trust the hand that guides them though.

The sea is my rage and his tide may be over my head, but it’s in deepest waters where I learn to stop relying on myself.

And I have an inkling that when the waves do calm my spirit will be yearning for the days I had no choice but to cling to His hand in the waves.

-J

Then It Wouldn’t Be Called Faith

tumblr_m17pkk5uAj1r4w9ppo1_500If things were easy, it wouldn’t require faith.  It wouldn’t require a leap into the unknown, the nonsensical, with the knowledge that God would catch you.

Upon receiving a message from an angel, Mary was “confused and disturbed” (Luke 1:29).  Isn’t this true of most visions from God?  When I think about many of the times in the Bible when God made promises, or sent messages, the people who received them were confused and/or disturbed.  The details don’t completely add up; yet, they trusted.

When we give God full reign, doesn’t he often call us to be confused and disturbed?  He calls us to things that don’t make sense.  Things that force us to allow Him to fill gaps.

Confused and disturbed…I find these emotions ringing true.  God calls us out, but He keeps us safe. I just have to make sure I am listening to God’s true message and calling.  That it is Him making me feel this way and not my own earthly existence.

Is God calling me to depths of greater faith?  Of greater dependency? Or is it just another step of preparation?

-S

To Juggle or Not to Juggle

605d5f376be6ba1bbf2cfed58e5b6128It is so easy to get caught up in life.  We make plans for ourselves, forgetting about the ultimate Plan Maker.  Sometimes, this is just us getting excited, caught up, and we move forward.  Sometimes, it is us being overwhelmed and trying to figure things out as best we can – trying to juggle everything we have going without letting anything fall and shatter (or maim us on its way down).

   It will be utterly desolate.

Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you.

   You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you.

So you may plant the finest grape vines

   and import the most expensive seedlings.

They may sprout on the day you set them out;

   yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them,

but you will never pick any grapes from them.

   Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain.

Isaiah 17:9b-11

However, we forget to base those things on “the God who can save.”  If we do not work in his glory, if we try to make our world our own instead of His, we end up with a load of grief and unrelieved pain.  Notice, it doesn’t say you won’t make money or some worldly success if you rely on yourself; it says they may sprout on the same day, blossom the very morning…but they will never bring peace.  We see this in the world around us all the time – both intentionally and unintentionally.  There are many people who are highly successful in worldly standards, but perhaps not in God’s

Our plans might not even be bad, but prayerful reflection can help us have a better perspective, bigger picture, and confidence to move forward in His will.

I need this reminder OFTEN.  I need to reflect on what God’s plan is more than what my plan is or what I want.

Then at last the people will look to their Creator

   and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.

They will no longer look to their idols for help

   or worship what their own hands have made.

They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles

   or worship at the pagan shrines they have built.

Isaiah 17:7-8

Ultimately, so much of what we worship, by investing most of our time, money, and energy, gets us nothing in the end.  In the end, it is just us and our Savior.  His love for us is so great that He is always there waiting for us to realize our focus needs to be on Him, not on any earthly idols or shrines we have built up in our lives.  When nothing is left, God is left.  We can turn our eyes to Him when the desolation, literal or figurative, hits.

How much trouble would we save ourselves if we could start with a Godly focus than a worldly focus?  If we would keep our eyes on our Creator, instead of turning our eyes to Him later?

-S

Let God Choose Our Battles

let God pick my battlesThe secret to living in greater freedom involves letting God choose our battles and then playing the role He assigns us. – Ann Spangler

Let God choose my battles, there’s an idea…I both like and dislike.

In terms of simplifying my life, that would certainly help.

In terms of fleshy comebacks and satisfaction…I would need to harness self control.

Let God pick my battles-all day, everyday.

Truth be told I don’t even know how to do that, but I strongly suspect it starts with prayer.

Prayer before battle, prayer before the first word uttered. Prayer during, and prayer after

I do pray a lot, mainly in the morning.

I’m learning slowly it’s so much more than words.

A whole battle can be waged, fought, and won in the midst of one prayer.

Here’s to trying, to giving up control, letting my guard down…and being ready to fight, but only when my general gives the go-ahead.

-J

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Spiritual well-being, our relationship with God, is like other relationships, skills, hobbies…stagnancy results in decline.  We must make time for practice, reflection, communication.  We must be honest with ourselves.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear with signatureFor me, my work lately (and always) is trust.  Trusting God is a funny thing.  I’ve always trusted that He would be there, trusted that He has a greater plan.  That doesn’t mean I’ve always let go of worry though.

Lately, I have had/am having a lot of high stakes possibilities in my life, both personally and in my family. I’m learning that trusting God means letting go of worry.  He will take care of the details; He always does. I don’t always succeed at letting the worry go completely, but when I do it feels amazing!

So, as a I enter another high stakes situation this morning, I am going to really try to let my trust in God to also carry away my worry.

One day at a time, one situation at a time, one prayer at a time…

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                             Philippians 4:6-7

-S