Above All, Trust Him

 

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TRUST

For so many, this can be a scary word. This simple word can be bring up memories filled with disappointment, heartache and even anger and despair. This word can cause a person to scowl, cry and even turn away. Why does this word cause such trepidation?

I’m not sure I can speak for every soul that might read this, but I can definitely answer for myself… Trust can be the one thing that, when placed in a human being, can be built up like a mighty tower, only to be torn down in the blink of an eye. It is the one word that,  when placed in the hands of another, can be cradled and cared for like a child or can be dashed against the rocks of life without a second thought or concern.

Trust can be placed by a loving child into the neglectful grasp of an adult, and that adult can be reckless, rebellious. Thinking only of themselves, they carry on, never considering the heart of that child , they never realize their waywardness has left irreparable damage behind. That child can be scarred for life, being conditioned by broken promises and ill spoken words, never recognizing there is a better way.

Trust can be planted in the fist of a broken love, destined for failure, yet having faith that this time might be different. Being fleshly and human, they carry on, never acknowledging the wounds, the actions and glances that bring more pain. That love can be scarred for life, being conditioned by broken promises and over zealous musings of commitment, never recognizing there is a better way.

Complete TRUST should always be placed in the hands of the One who is forever faithful and true. When our trust is in Him, it does not mean people will never let us down. It doesn’t mean all things are made new, and all of a sudden, we live in a perfect world full of trustworthy friends and foes. However, when our trust is in Him alone, His love and faithfulness shields our soul from the death of disappointment and pain. For His grace and mercy brings life, love and hope to TRUST once again.

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How Well Do You Wait?

Waiting on Him can be trying, challenging, pressure-filled and, sometimes, downright frustrating. Come on saints, let’s be honest, do you always enjoy waiting on the Lord? Or have you grown “so mature” in your Christian faith that honesty just isn’t part of it anymore?

 

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There have been moments in my life when waiting has been an absolute pain. I’ve not liked it, didn’t understand it, and couldn’t wait for God to bring forth the answer for which I’ve been praying! It’s hard to admit, but there have even been moments in the waiting when I’ve pitched a little temper tantrum for God to see how much I didn’t enjoy the waiting period! Now, that’s not the proper way to respond, because, I know, God knows best, and I should just simply trust Him. However, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I can guarantee you, those times when He has made me wait, I have learned some very valuable lessons for life…

A few things I have learned in the Waiting:

  1. Sometimes, God has us wait, because He is fixing a situation, and we get to see the glorious results when He is finished.
  2. Sometimes, God is working on someone else’s stubborn heart, and it takes a little bit for Him to get through to that person.
  3. Sometimes, God has us wait, because He is fixing our own stubborn heart, and it takes Him a bit to get through our thick skull!
  4. Sometimes, God is working good out of a bad situation from which we will benefit.
  5. Sometimes, God has us wait, because His answer has to be NO, and we’re just not quite ready to hear it or receive it.
  6. Waiting always brings a chisel along to chip away hard places that have formed in my heart.
  7. Waiting, if I allow it to, makes me slow down, reassess, and redirect my thoughts and feelings.
  8. Waiting always brings a new realization of who I am and who He desires me to be.
  9. Waiting, when I allow it to, causes me to see more of Him and less of me.
  10. Waiting always moves me closer to the Father when I am earnestly seeking Him for His answer rather than my own.

When we wait on Him, our future can be secure. When we wait on Him, we learn. We are strengthened, and, quite often, we are transformed. When we wait on Him and His timing, He is able to work on our character and the molding of our heart and mind.

 

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So, if you find yourself in the waiting room of life today, maybe take a moment away from the emotions and struggles, and breathe. Look to heaven, and ask Him to help you through it. He may not bring an immediate desired answer, but I can guarantee you that when you put your hand in His, you will grow deeper through the wait.

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!Psalm 27:14

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The Pursuant

Reading Jonah 2, it becomes clear to me that God is a God of pursuant love. His love is not stagnant. He doesn’t just “sit around” and wait on us to seek Him. He places things all around us to turn our hearts toward Him. He allows things to happen in our lives that would cause us to look to Him once again.

He pursues us with His love. He longs for us to be with Him. He yearns to have a conversation with us, a moment of communion, a friendship. He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us when He ascended to heaven that He might draw our hearts back to Him when we stray from Him.

It makes me wonder, how much do we pursue Him in this way? Do we only think about Him when it comes church time and prayer time over the meal? Do we only think of Him when we are in trouble and in distress, because, after all, He is a ‘God of answers’ and a ‘God of help?’

He longs for so much more from us. He pursues us, because He wants our hearts as well as our hands. He can catch our hands so easily. It’s easy to catch your child’s hand when they’re young, when they need help after a tumble, and when you need to stop them from running in the street.

However, it’s harder to catch the heart of your teen when they desperately long for independence and have so many new avenues to find that freedom. It’s even harder to win the heart of your grown child if you didn’t quite master the task in their younger years, and now they’ve grown beyond their need for what you have to offer. You have to get more creative, and they have to be willing to come back to you. They, also, have to realize time spent with you is more valuable than they once imagined it might be.

I believe we have this same tendency toward our Heavenly Father. When we first get saved, He is all we think about, all we talk about. We pursue a relationship with Him. Yet, as life moves forward, the responsibilities pull on us, and the priorities of this world knock down our door, we set Him aside for brighter, easier days. We forget about that relationship we once had when we daily communed with Him. We set Him to the side as we pursue the approval of man and the kind words of a friend. We, now, wait till we are in distress to call on His name.

But oh, the sweetness of walking with Him day by day. Oh the joy we miss when we put Him aside. What countless burdens we carry when we do not share them with Him. What needless turmoil we invite when we don’t allow Him in.

He’s still there where you left Him. Seek Him out today. You will find Him. He promised that when you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him.

 

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Piercing Question

The Lord’s questions always reveal the true me to myself.                                                       – Oswald Chambers, His Utmost for My Highest

When God confronts us with a piercing question, one that goes straight to the soul, as He did with Peter in John 21:17, he strips our conscience of every other thought or good deed we might have done. He causes our heart to realize the truth in the answer.

This has happened at least once in my life. It was the summer of 2000. Joey and I had tried to have a baby for 13 months, and after much turmoil, heartache, and almost giving up and going to see a dr about it, the test had finally read positive. We were so excited!! We started planning, preparing and dreaming about this precious little one who would soon enter our lives.

Almost immediately, I got sick. Oh, the morning sickness was awful! As soon as my eyes popped open every morning, I’d run to the restroom. Well, even before my eyes would open, I’d feel that nausea. Yet, I didn’t complain. I knew this precious baby was growing inside of me, and the sickness was all worth it.

Two days before Joey’s birthday, we went to the dr for my first check-up. I was 10 weeks along. The nurse put the little sonogram instrument on my belly, Joey and I held hands as we awaited that precious sound of a heartbeat. The nurse blinked, frowned a little and tried again; then, she decided she’d do a vaginal sonogram. (Not fun. Not. Fun. At. All.) She turned the screen; so, we couldn’t see; then, she stopped and simply said, “You’ll want to get dressed, and the doctor will be in shortly to talk to you.” As soon as she shut the door, I burst into tears. As he held me, Joey said, “Maybe it’s not that bad, babe.” I knew without a shadow of a doubt; there’s was something terribly wrong.

The doctor came in, and after showing us on the screen what he was seeing, he told us the baby never grew after the second day of conception, that this is called a “spontaneous abortion,” or a miscarriage, and that I had been sick, because the placenta didn’t stop growing; therefore, my body still presumed I was pregnant, causing the morning sickness.

We were devastated. I had to have a D&C the following Monday to remove the placenta, and we left for my grandparents home in northwest Florida for a few days, just to regroup and process it all. While there, I prayed a lot, sought God for answers, questioned my faith and why He would answer my prayers only to take away my only dream in life.

You see, I was never bent on having a career, having prestige or even being great at a good job. All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. I just wanted to hold, love and nurture a little one. I just wanted to be the best wife and mother I could be. Now, I questioned if that was actually in God’s plan for me. I questioned if we would ever have any little pitter-pattering feet running through our home.

That is when God confronted me with the question. I remember it so vividly; the moment is forever etched in my mind. I was standing in my grandmother’s sewing room, looking through the glass door that looked out over the bay. I was praying, and God said, “Will you love Me even if you never have a child?” I just started weeping, and I knew, without a shadow of doubt, the answer within my heart: “Yes, Lord. I will always love You, even if You never give me the dream. How can I live without You?”

When He confronts you with His piercing question, there is no where to hide. There are no pretenses to hold onto. There are no lies to portray. The truth is revealed in your heart at that very moment, and you know it for the rest of your life.

Problem is, too often, we allow our lives to get so cluttered, so busy and so overwhelmed that we don’t allow Him the time to ask us. We don’t get alone with Him and give Him the opportunity to ask. Yes, He is God. I know, He can ask us whenever; yet, I have found, more often than not, He only asks those piercing questions when WE are ready for the answer. You see, He doesn’t need the answer; He already knows the depths of our heart. He knows what we’re going to say. The answer is for our knowledge. The answer is for our revelation of truth.

Get alone with Him. Open your heart and your ears to hear what He has to say. Let Him ask you those piercing questions, and you might just be surprised when the answer is revealed.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Tears Bring Healing

Tonight, I had to tell our youngest, “No,” and it just broke my heart to watch him struggle with the answer, fight back the tears, and, finally, come into my arms for comfort and to shed a few more years. It wasn’t a no that I wanted to give, and it definitely wasn’t a moment of excitement, but I told him, “No,” because the cost was just too high, and we just didn’t have it to give for a new pet.

You see, he wanted a leopard gecko. He loves animals…LOVES them, I say. He always has; if I would let him, he would have his room (or the whole house, for that matter!) full of all kinds of creatures. He had been talking about this latest endeavor for about a week. He had researched what they eat, what their habitat needed and how they slept. He was ready. We headed to the pet store with the pre-knowledge that mom could pull the brakes, if needed, depending upon price, difficulty of care and the need to feed them live food. Note: Because he is only ten, and knowing the reputation he has of loving the pets but, eventually, leaving most the feeding and cleaning to mom, I was not going to be okay with a pet who was high maintenance or needed live animals in its diet. (Sorry, I’m really not a “girly girl,” but I don’t care much for crickets, worms, etc.)

Off to the pet store we went. The lady who helped us was incredibly knowledgeable. She had a fish, a bearded dragon and a cat at home herself. She was so patient and informative, even as we switched the decision, due to daily live cricket feedings to once a week live feedings, from a leopard gecko to a eyelash crested gecko,. Once all of the needed materials were loaded into the cart, and I started calculating in my head that this was rounding out at about $200, without the $50 gecko, I had to call dad…this was just a big chunk of change for such a small pet. Dad made the final call and agreed that, indeed, it was simply too much to be spent right now. I watched as my sweet, pet-loving, son took the news with courage and understanding but, also, with a broken little heart.

He dutifully put all the items back on the shelf, refusing any comfort or conversation, until I finally said, “Buddy, come here a second.” He came into my arms and buried his little face and cried. It broke my heart. I knew it was the right decision we had to make, but feeling his little arms around my waist and looking into his red, tear stained eyes, I was ready to weep. I wanted to make it all perfect for him, to see his beautiful smile and hear his little squeals of laughter and delight.

Do I just want to give all things to my children no matter the cost or consequence? By all means! Is it for their betterment if I do this? Definitely not. It made me think of our Heavenly Father when He has to tell us, “No.” He doesn’t tell us no, because He wants to keep us from happiness. He doesn’t tell us no, because He is a mean father and just wants to see us cry and complain. He tells us no for our good. He tells us no, because He has a better plan. He tells us no, because He wants us to grow and learn and become whom He has designed in perfection.

When JMan earns all of the money to go back and buy that gecko, he will have grown a little. He will have learned more of what rewards can come when a little hard work and effort are achieved. He will also have learned a lot about appreciation for a gift well earned rather than an attitude of entitlement for a gift just simply received. Over the next few weeks, when the tears have settled and the little jobs are being done around the house, he and I will talk about the lesson that’s being learned…a life lesson: there are times we won’t always get what we want instantly, but if we set a goal, take the necessary steps to get there, it is always achievable. We will, also, talk about how in the moment, the tears may come and the disappointment may feel as if it’s breaking our heart, but given time, we will see clearly the growth, strength and healing which come when we handle our disappointments the way he did today.

On a lighter note, I found this pic today could very well and see this being him one day…without the pink pjs and long hair, of course. Lol…

  

**note: I do not possess, I do not own nor did I take this picture. It came up via Facebook. I simply screenshot it and posted here. 
 

 

 

Heart Questions

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Why do mothers get cancer?

Why do fathers die tragically?

Why do friends hate and kill?

Why do the innocent suffer?

Sometimes, my heart asks the hard questions, the kind of questions that don’t have easy answers to find. Sometimes, my mind scrambles to understand why evil can be so prevalent in a world in which God made and in people whom God created. Sometimes, life just seems unfair, unruly and undesirable.

Often, I wonder why innocent children are taught to carry guns and strap bombs on themselves to kill people of another religion and race. Often, I wonder why this one is healed of sickness and disease and another says goodbye. Often, I wonder why one family can be so blessed and another can be left so desolate.

In all of this questioning, I have found some answers to be true…

We live in a fallen world, and we’re not home (in heaven) yet. This life we live is not perfect, and we become fools when we believe it should be. There are evil men (and women) in our culture today, and their only intent is to wreak havoc wherever they can.

Sometimes, people are in the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes, people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, people aren’t doing what they should.

There are laws of the land which, just simply, must be followed, like “Gravity is real, and if you think you’ll jump from that building and remain unharmed, you’re just wrong.” There are, also, spiritual laws which, again, if you desire a better life, must be followed. Even if you’re not a believer, you can see that ‘reaping what you sow’ comes to pass. As in, “If you think you can spend all that money and not go into debt, and not owe many people in return, you are just fooling yourself !”

There are some things that just “are what they are,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s some things that are just sin, and sin will never bring about good things in the long term. There’s some things from which we must learn lessons in order to grow and mature beyond where we are, and there are some accidents and “freakish happenings” which just happen for no apparent rhyme or reason.

I don’t have answers to all the why’s, how’s, and when’s, and I would never try to presume that I do; however, I can tell you this: I know a God who does know all answers and so much more. I know He is faithful and true. I know He loves us, and I know He cares about every little or big thing we face. I know He is there when we need Him, and He can carry us through the storm when we can’t carry ourselves.

How do I know this, you might ask? I know this, because I believe. I know this, because I believe His Word to be true. I know this because of my personal relationship with Him. I know this because of the changes I have seen, not only in my own life but, also, in the lives of so many with whom I’ve come into contact.  I know this because of the miracles He has done in my life, and not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, my friends and, even, in people I barely know.

I know He is God. He is faithful. He is true, and He loves me and you. Does this mean, somehow, that my life is never, or will never, be touched by pain, grief or against. NO! Just because I believe in a loving God does not mean I will never experience something bad. I’ve seen and experienced plenty of things I wished I hadn’t, and I’m sure that I will experience more in my lifetime. That’s just life, living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Even Jesus, the Son of God, experienced heartache, pain, suffering and, also, death. By no means, am I better than He! Sometimes, life is just not going to be what we expected it to be, but that doesn’t make Him any less of a perfect God, any less of a living God! It just makes us human and living in a human world.

So, will I always have more questions than I have answers, well, I hope so. Questions make us search our hearts, search down in our souls. Questions make us seek for deeper meaning. Questions make us seek for a higher purpose, an understanding beyond our own.

The Bible says…

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

*Note: I do not own nor do I possess this picture. Found it by simple Google search. Directed to http://achurchofchrist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Questions-of-the-Heart-300×259.jpg

Best Companion for Life

Receive wisdom. It can be found when you look for it. It can be discovered when you seek it like a fine treasure. When wisdom is your ultimate goal, you will begin to find it even when you’re not really thinking about it and when you least expect it! 

 Wisdom can be gained from the old and young alike. It can even be obtained from those by whom you find offensive. It is amazing when you open your eyes, ears and heart to receive wisdom. You will find that it is all around you. You will see it, feel it, even hear it calling to you from the streets.

Wisdom will protect you. It will shield you. It will encourage you. It will improve you. It will give you courage, and it will keep you humble. I just can’t overemphasize the value of it. Wisdom is one of the best companion you can have in life. 

Have you ever seen someone who just simply refuses wisdom? Throughout their whole life, they constantly live from crisis to crisis. They are in and out of trouble, whether financially, emotionally, physically or relationally. They are unstable, unreliable and unpredictable. They are always broke, financially, emotionally or relationally, and they are always needing to be rescued from the pit in which they’ve fallen. If they remain this way, always believing things will be different, even though they return time and time again to their same previous chosen paths, they find themselves, at the end of life, wounded, lost, without jobs, surrounded by broken or, at the least, very conflicted relationships and, often, a trail of wearisome reputations follows close behind. 

But wisdom can be found! Wisdom can come in so many shapes and sizes. You can gain it by the very people surrounding you right now. It can come from family, friends, enemies and even complete strangers, from those who are older, wiser, more experienced, and even from those, maybe, not so old in years. It can come from books and teachings. If we’ll listen, we will find that it can even come from the mouths of babes. Have you ever had your child say something so profound, you knew it must be God? If you haven’t, just wait, your day will come! Wisdom can also come in the form of sorrow and experience. Just as a small child learns the stove is hot, and it hurts the hand when you touch it, our own failures and mishaps will teach us a better way. 

One of the best, most beneficial places it will come is The Word of God. I know, that may sound ‘old fashioned’ to some; this is definitely not a popular message these days, but it’s true. There is more wisdom within those bookends than any other book ever written. If you want to succeed in life, you must gain wisdom. If you want to grow, mature and encounter the joys of life, you must obtain wisdom. Wisdom never guarantees perfection, prosperity and riches. It never promises only sunny days that never see rain and only ‘smooth sailings’ with no knots in the line; however, it is an assurance which covers you like a warm blanket and guides you through those cold and dreary nights. Wisdom guides you through each circumstance despite the crisis, storm, or disasters that arise. It is an anchor that holds and a strong tower which can not fail.

Get wisdom. Gain understanding. Seek knowledge. You will be amazed at where life will take you when these are your life’s companions.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Proverbs 4:6-9