Open Your Hands

open hands

We all have desires, right? Hopes and dreams for our life. We make plans. We work toward something we want. We pursue a certain job or establish a certain ministry. We form relationships. We pray for good things we feel that God might want as a part of our life.

I believe that God gives us desires, passions, and goals. I believe He fashions into our souls the drive to pursue things such as:

  • a job that we love & are good at
  • a ministry that we have a gift for & are energized through
  • a godly marriage
  • a healthy family
  • a friend group that spurs us on toward Christ
  • etc.

Maybe, this year of 2019, you feel it’s time.

Time to …

find that godly spouse to partner with

move out of your parent’s house

become intimately part of a godly church

get that great, fulfilling job

have a baby

pursue your passion by starting college

start that small group for women

move overseas & begin your work as a missionary

publish a book

adopt a child

propose or be proposed to ūüėČ

find physical healing

make a best friend

move to a different state where you feel there is more potential for growth

Whatever it might be. Maybe you’re ready for it. You feel 2019 is the year. And, my dear friend, maybe this is the year for your breakthrough. And that is exciting! Praise the Lord!

But I want to encourage you to keep perspective. Recently, I wrote a post called To Live is Christ. And that is the perspective we must always keep, whether we are pursuing a passion, moving out, getting married, starting a ministry, or getting a new job.

Our Lord says to seek first the kingdom of God …

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

…and even if you feel this desire of yours is part of seeking God’s kingdom (and it may very well be!) remember that our King can see the whole picture, while you can’t. And His plans will prevail. And it is good! You can trust Him.

Proverbs 16:9

9 A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Psalm 37:23

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 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.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Proverbs 16:1-3

The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.

3 Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.

Psalm 32:8

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

So open your hands, sweet soul.

Hold life with open hands.

So if God plans to give you what you are desiring and pursuing, you will be ready to receive it with the right heart of humility and joy.

So if God turns your plans upside down, your open hands will be able to receive the grace & strength you need to seek His face and rest in His peace.

Open your hands, so He can give you blessings that you never thought to ask for. Maybe blessings you never imagined you’d want.

So He can take things from your life that are actually not good for you (even if you thought they were, at first!)

Hold life with open hands so that you may flee from idols.

1 John 5:21

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Marriage, a job, a ministry, college, a friend group, a new place, etc., these can all become idols if we grip them with desperate hands.

There weren’t meant to be idols. They were meant to be gifts! But we so easily forget God and try to heft other things into His place. And this is painful.

Our lives are for God’s glory! Not ours. We are to love Him with our soul – our whole being.

When we grip something, with desperate hands, we are keeping that aspect of our life from Him. We are not trusting Him with it. We are creating distance between us and God. Straining our relationship, and elevating a gift above the Giver.

We have become idolatrous.

And believe me, dear friend, having idols is painful. It hurts because it is not what we are designed for. It is not God’s good design – it is not how things are supposed to work. Having idols causes invalid and irrational anxiety, fear, suspicion, and anger. It turns our heart against God.

We need our heart’s desire to draw us to God, not away from Him. To draw us to glorify Him, not fill our heart with suspicion that He is not good.

And perhaps it’s not your desire that is the problem, but your heart.

Me desiring a husband and children is not a problem. But if this desire turns in bitterness, passivity, and resentment because I don’t have it, then my heart has wandered from God and His goodness, and strayed down Satan’s dark path.

A woman having a husband and children is not a problem. But if she clings to them so tightly that she is riddled with anxiety & fear, and is filled with suspicion toward God … What if He takes one of them from me? then she has moved out of God’s perfect love and given into Satan’s age-old tactic.

I struggle with anxiety. Probably both of the medical variety, and just a form that is practiced and becomes part of life if one doesn’t reject it.

I’ve often worried, through the years of my life, that if I were in a relationship I’d be anxious … what if this isn’t God’s desired path for me?

If I were engaged and planning a wedding … what if God takes this away from me, for some reason, right when I almost have it?

Married with children … what if one of them dies? How could I bear it?

This anxiety … this doubt … this fear … this questioning of God’s goodness … this sin … this idolatry … It has lessened as I’ve experienced God’s goodness and learned that I can and should abide in Christ. It’s still something that I struggle with. That aspect of my humanity that I wrestle through. That “old man” that I fight.

It is hard, my friends, I know! Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just press into God. Repent. Surrender. Ask Him to reveal, more deeply, His infinite love and grace to you, that you may not live with a legalistic, fearful heart, but a joyful, peace-filled, trusting, knowing one.

I have had some thoughts that have helped me. They go something like this:

***

If the opportunity to enter a romantic relationship comes my way, I will pray about it and get godly counsel from spiritual mentors … and I will entrust it into God’s hands. I will hold it lightly and pay attention to the words of the wise, the opinions of my family, and the peace – or lack of it – that I feel inside. God has shown me that He is at work in the details of my life before, so I know He will be directing my every step in this also. I won’t refuse to feel pain. If this is of Him, hallelujah! If it’s not, then He has better plans in store.

***

If God is so gracious to me as to bless me with a husband and children, I will strive to hold each of them … precious gifts that they are … with open hands. Because they belong to God before they are ever mine. I don’t get to call the shots. But rather, live in daily thankfulness and entrust them, and myself, into my Father’s loving and powerful Hands.

***

I think if you try this method of trust, humble surrender, and gratefulness, you will find it much preferable to your method of white-knuckled, anxiety-ridden, painful, peace-less, fake control.

Because, sweet friend, you are not in control. And you pretending that you are is not helping anything. In fact, it’s destroying your peace and your ability to live life more abundantly.

It’s Satan’s attempt to steal from you what the Almighty God has give you.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

This post is not to say to just expect not to receive what you desire from the Father, but to rest in His peace through the process!

Let go.

Open your hands.

Rejoice in your loving Father above. ‚̧

Psalm 31:3, 14-15, 19-22 & 24

3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, ‚ÄúYou¬†are¬†my God.‚ÄĚ
15 My times are in Your hand;

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion

21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
22 For I said in my haste,
‚ÄúI am cut off from before Your eyes‚ÄĚ;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.

24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Hollyn – ISAAC

Aaron Cole (feat. Tobymac) – RIGHT ON TIME

Love Them – PRAYER

How is your prayer life, my friends? I must admit, mine isn’t as consistent and deep as I would like it to be. As I know it should be.

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My Sunday school leader reminded us just a couple days ago: You can’t have a good relationship without communication. You can’t have a good relationship with God without prayer. You need to be communicating with Him. Spending time with Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Communication and quality time make for a strong, healthy, intimate relationship.

I have been hearing a lot about prayer lately, from so many different sources. I’m reminded again and again how important and needful and powerful it is!

Matthew 7:7-11

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

I’ve asked someone to keep me accountable in my prayer life. I want to be setting a time aside to pray every day … whether it means getting up extra early, or going into my room in the evening, putting in earplugs, and asking my little siblings to let me have “alone time” for awhile. ūüėČ Whatever little sacrifices or maneuvers it takes.

Because I want to have an intimate relationship with my eternal Father. Jesus Christ, our own Savior and Lord, set the example for us on how to have close relationship with the Father. He went out often to be alone and pray and be in God’s presence. Below is just one example in Scripture.

Luke 6:12

12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

And, I oftentimes have heavy burdens on my heart that really need to be wrestled over and poured out in prayer.

Ephesians 6:18

18¬†praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints‚ÄĒ

Which brings me to the point of this post … love people through prayer.

Is it a family member?

A friend?

Your spouse?

A co-worker?

A child?

Father? Mother? Brother? Sister?

Uncle? Aunt? Cousin? Grandparent?

Who is heavy on your heart right now as you read this post? Whose lifestyle or attitude brings you grief? Who are you worried about because life is weighing heavy on them? Who in your life doesn’t know Christ? Or isn’t following Him well?

I want to really encourage you –

Pray for them.

And don’t stop. Even if nothing seems to change. Even if things seem to get worse. Even if it takes years to see the fruit of your prayers. GOD HEARS YOU. Keep lifting up that person to Him. Over and over. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Don’t give up.

Romans 12:9-12

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

At times we are so burdened and grieved over people in our lives, and we wonder what we can do to make a difference or bring about change. We have to realize that we can PRAY, and this is a great PRIVILEGE, and a POWERFUL WEAPON.

James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 18:19-20

19¬†‚ÄúAgain¬†I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20¬†For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.‚ÄĚ

So please, get on your knees before a faithful and mighty God.

Don’t give in.

Satan wants you to give in. To throw your hands up and say: They won’t change. It’s not worth it. I guess I have to just accept this and live with it.

But Satan is a liar. And he is not the victor.

John 8:44

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Love the hurting and hurtful people in your life through prayer. And wait in expectation for God to move. For He came to give life, and life more abundantly! And He isn’t desiring that any should perish in sin, but that everybody be in relationship with Him!

1 John 5:14

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

So, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, will you commit with me to being prayer warriors?

Will you grow closer to your Lord through prayer?

Will you love people through prayer?

Will you be blessed and encouraged through prayer?

Will you wait expectantly and faithfully for God to move?

Will you just rejoice that He has given you prayer?

  • A comfort.
  • A delight.
  • A hope.
  • A blessing.
  • A weapon.

Colossians 4:2

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Ladies, Stay on God’s Path for You

Have you ever stopped to ponder that fact that God has a plan for your life? That He knows and is ready to be involved in all the details (if you but surrender to Him)? That He has a path set out before you, and you should be seeking Him in regards to each next step?

Ladies, stay on God’s path for you!

Men, this is for you too.

As children of the King, we have a constant Hope and Guide. If He is truly our Father, Lord, and First Love, then we should be inviting Him into every day, every event, every moment, every detail. We should never go somewhere that He isn’t.

ladies stay on Gods path for you

So let’s talk about romantic relationships. Speaking of this, are you going somewhere that He isn’t? Have you surrendered this area of your life to God? Have you invited Him in? Talked to Him about your hopes and dreams and ideas? And then listened? Are you trusting Him to work out the details of your love life, meeting your “special someone”, and your future marriage?

Listen, God is so in control and so able! I believe that if we but surrender our love lives to Him, He can and will lead us in this area! He can and will write our love story. He can and will bring us the right person in the right timing.

Psalm 31:19

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!

Psalm 32:8

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.

Psalm 33:15 & 18

15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,

So I want to challenge you.

Don’t settle for anything less than God’s best.

What does that mean? Surrender. Surrender it all to Him. And trust. Trust that He is directing your path. And stay. Stay on His path. Don’t veer off without His permission because you catch a glimpse of potential romance.

Proverbs 4:26-27

26 Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.

Do you have enough faith ‚Äď do you trust God enough to completely surrender this to Him? To give up your fears of never getting married; of still being single when you’re thirty; of missing out? To give your heart wholly to Him and let Him lead you? To open up your hands and allow Him to take the bad,¬† but also give the good?¬†He knows what is good. He knows what is best for you. And He knows He can sustain you through anything.

Job 1:21

21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the¬†Lord.‚ÄĚ

First point – KNOW THAT MARRIAGE IS NOT THE GOAL IN LIFE.

As Christ-followers, getting married should not be our ultimate goal in life.

Growing in the Lord. Falling more in love with Jesus Christ. Glorifying God. Sharing the good news of the Gospel. Making disciples. Loving. Living in community. Making much of His name. Friends, our purpose here on earth is to know God and to make Him known.

Matthew 28:19-20

19¬†Go therefore¬†and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,¬†20¬†teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,¬†even¬†to the end of the age.‚ÄĚ Amen.

If marriage is all you think about, all you desire, all you work toward … If you lacking marriage is making you miserable, sad, empty, purposeless, and inactive,¬†then you have made a good dream an idol. You have forgotten‚ÄĒor perhaps never intimately known‚ÄĒyour First Love.

1 John 5:21

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Revelation 2:4

4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

As powerfully beautiful as marriage can be, it has no power to fulfill you. Without an intimate, personal, thriving relationship with Jesus Christ and a solid knowledge of what you true purpose is as a Christ-follower, you will always grapple with emptiness and feeling unfulfilled.

Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So before you start searching for a spouse, search for Jesus. He’s waiting. He says that those who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him! Before you step into making a choice as important as who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, build your relationship with your Father and Lord. Know and believe His love for you ‚Äď find your worth and purpose in Him.

Psalm 130:5-6

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning‚ÄĒ
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

1 John 4:16

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Jeremiah 29:12-14

12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord,

Find your place in the Body of Christ. Become a part of a community of believers. Start living for His glory ‚Äď pursuing life with courage, joy, and peace.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,

Romans 12:5

5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Acts 2:46-47

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Pursue Christ, not marriage. As awesome as marriage is, it is better to be single than to be married outside of God’s will.

Second point – DETERMINE ONLY TO MARRY A PERSON WHO DESIRES TO/AND IS PURSUING CHRIST LIKE YOU ARE.

The more I grow in Christ, the more I realize that He is everything. He is my only Hope. He is my joy. His Word is my truth. Apart from Him I am utterly empty inside and, in reality, I have nothing.

So, my dear sisters and brothers in the Lord, it makes absolutely no sense to join yourself to someone who does not realize this the way you do.

I believe passionately in having close relationships and being intricately involved in a community of fellow believers. I believe that God made us to be relational creatures, because He is relational! I believe He made us for community ‚Äď to connect at a soul level with other people. And I also believe that marriage is one of the closest, deepest relationships of connection and community that a human being can have. It symbolizes Christ and the Church. I think it can also represent the Trinity and the close relationship that God wants to have with His people.

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Ephesians 5:23-25 & 28-32

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

28¬†So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.¬†29¬†For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord¬†does¬†the church.¬†30¬†For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.¬†31¬†‚ÄúFor this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.‚Ä̬†32¬†This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Isaiah 62:2-5

You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name.
3 You shall also be a crown of glory
In the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem
In the hand of your God.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

Marriage is‚ÄĒshould be‚ÄĒthe connecting of two souls.

So you should never consider connecting yourself to an unbeliever. In all honesty, how can you? If your soul is connected to Christ, how can it also be connected to a person who does not know this Light?

2 Corinthians 6:11-18

11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.‚ÄĚ

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.‚ÄĚ
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord¬†Almighty.‚ÄĚ

 

And, to go even deeper, we shouldn’t just be looking at the surface ‚Äď is this man a Christian? But: Does this man follow Christ? Does he know and believe God’s love for him, and show that love to others? Can/will he lead me and our future children spiritually?

1 John 4:19

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Do you think you will be able to run after Jesus Christ just as passionately married to this man as when you were single?

If not, I don’t believe you should marry him. If anything is going to hinder your relationship with the Lord‚ÄĒincluding romantic relationships!‚ÄĒthen you should part from it.

Proverbs 3:5-8

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Do you not realize? NOTHING is as important as being close to God. Following Him with all your heart all the days of your life. What use is it to you if you gain the whole world‚ÄĒthe love of your life, the job of your dreams, houses, careers, passions, vacations, things‚ÄĒbut lose what really matters? Deep down, you will always be empty and looking for the next thing unless you let God completely and radiantly fill you up.

Psalm 63:1-5

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

Mark 8:34-37

“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

If a nice young man who attends your church wants to get to know you, make sure you know who he truly is before you let your heart get involved. What is he living for? What is his heart’s deepest desire? What does he want out of life? What is he pursuing?

Matthew 7:20

20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Think about this. Do you want to be married to the man whose house stands firm? Or the man whose house falls?

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26¬†‚ÄúBut everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:¬†27¬†and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.‚ÄĚ

If you strive to glorify and honor God in all you do … Read the Word and pray daily … Dream of doing some sort of ministry with your husband … Have a strong desire to raise your children to know God’s love and serve Him …

… But this young man has hopes and aspirations to make good money, have a nice house, marry the woman of his dreams, raise a couple kids and get them off onto their own with good jobs, retire and enjoy life … oh, and go to church on Sundays, of course.

Well, he might be a very nice Christian man! But please, ladies, don’t get involved ‚Äď just let him go. Don’t let him dim your passion for Christ. Don’t let him stifle the joy you have in the Lord. Don’t let him pull you away from the ministries the Lord has put on your heart. Don’t let him entice you to settle for a mediocre life when you could have one of thriving in the Lord! (Either single or married to a different man who understands/shares your desire for God.)

Luke 10:27-28

27¬†So he answered and said, ‚Äú¬†‚ÄėYou shall love the Lord¬†your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,‚Äô¬†and¬†‚Äėyour neighbor as yourself.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

28¬†And He said to him,¬†‚ÄúYou have answered rightly; do this and you will live.‚ÄĚ

Proverbs 4:23

23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

Do you know how many married women long for their husbands to lead them spiritually? Do you know many women have a love for the Lord that longs to grow passionately, and their husbands‚ÄĒwhom they’re supposed to be connected at the soul with‚ÄĒjust don’t understand? Do you know how this hurts these ladies? Do you know how many women have a deep need and desire to raise their children in the Lord, and their husbands just don’t care about it? ‚ÄďNot only do they not step up and lead spiritually, but they don’t even support their wives in this very important desire!

Not, ever, to say that there is no hope for married women and families in these situations. There is always hope! God is merciful and compassionate. A good and tenderly loving Father. Marriages that started out foolishly, selfishly, or rocky can blossom into strong, godly marriages when the individuals seek God. And if only one individual turns to God, He is faithful to tenderly care for that person and their children, even if the marriage continues to be hard.

Joel 2:25-27

25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

But single women, I implore you, don’t set aside your heart for God while you look for a man. It is not worth it. You don’t know the struggles and heartache it will bring!

Follow Jesus Christ with all your heart! He is truly all you need.

And if, one day, you see a man following the Lord the same way you are, ask God about him! He won’t be doing everything you are, of course. But when Christ is the true desire of both of your hearts, you will connect on a deeper level and know, with time and friendship, that you are running the same race. Desiring the same things. That you would make a great team in seeking after the Lord together!

Waiting for a truly godly man is WORTH IT.

Waiting for a man who will run passionately after Jesus Christ with you is beyond worth it. Waiting for a man who will stand for righteousness. Who will preach the gospel to you. Who will truly strive to love you like Christ loves the Church. Who will pursue you selflessly. Who will lead you spiritually. Who will long to raise your children in the Lord just as you do! Who will get down on his knees and pray with you. Who will open God’s Word each day. Who will continually point you and your children to Jesus.

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This is the man to wait for. So wait for him. And focus on falling in love with Jesus Christ and becoming the kind of woman this man will desire as a wife. Become the godly wife that he should be waiting for! ūüôā

And if the years are just going by and you’re not meeting this man … don’t worry. Just fall in love with Jesus. He is your heavenly Bridegroom. You are His bride.

Psalm 84:10-12

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Third point – BELIEVE THAT GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT.

As I journey through life, currently in a season including singleness, I am learning that God knows all and has His own timing for things. For all things. And each season has purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

Life is about what, friends? As Christ-followers, it about knowing God and making Him known! So, in every season, that should be our goal.

We passionately pursue Christ. And we surrender our desires to Him, trust His timing, and delight ourselves in Him and the season He has us in.

Consider this. Perhaps you are *still* single because it’s simply not God’s timing yet for you to be in the season of marriage. Maybe your future spouse isn’t ready for marriage at this time. Maybe he doesn’t realize his worth in Christ ‚Äď doesn’t truly understand how loved he is by God. Maybe he hasn’t learned how to be a spiritual leader yet.

Instead of fighting this season and struggling against God’s plan, why don’t you give it time? Why not consider that your spouse might need to be in a season of singleness a little longer? Why not commit to praying earnestly for him/her? Why not take a good look at yourself. Are you ready for marriage? To lead spiritually as the head of the family? To be responsible and provide as the man? Or to support, respect, and encourage as a godly wife? To raise children in the Lord? To tell and show them how much Jesus loves them by living in a way that shows you know you are loved by Him?

Proverbs 22:6

6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

I’m not saying you have to be perfect. Seriously, no one would ever get married then! ūüėČ

But it’s always good to evaluate ourselves and our lives and our relationship with the Lord. Be serious. Be intentional. And stop freaking out about possibly getting it wrong or missing out on your last opportunity to get married because you were too picky or some such.

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;

24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Do you trust God?

With even this?

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Just seek and love Him with all your heart. Run passionately in the way He shows you. And trust that He will write your love story‚ÄĒwork out the details‚ÄĒif it is, indeed, His will for you to marry.

1 Samuel 2:30

for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

He is God, is He not?

He is able.

Psalm 37:23

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

Another thought about your season of singleness. Perhaps there is work to do, or a ministry you need to have, while you’re yet single. Maybe you’re not married yet not because you’re not “ready” or you’re making marriage an idol, but because God still has work for you to accomplish in this vital season of life. Maybe your future spouse has a ministry that he/she needs to be involved in as a single person right now! Don’t hinder them in that. Don’t hinder what God’s trying to do in and through you in your own season of singleness.

Ecclesiastes 3:5-7

A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

32¬†But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord‚ÄĒhow he may please the Lord.¬†33¬†But he who is married cares about the things of the world‚ÄĒhow he may please¬†his wife.¬†34¬†There is¬†a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world‚ÄĒhow she may please¬†her¬†husband.¬†35¬†And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

Not at all to say we can’t serve God or do ministry as married people. I passionately believe that marriage and family are beautiful, God-given ministries ‚Äď ways to serve God! And you can get involved in additional ministries together as a family.

But there are also ministries or specific things that are easier or better to do as a unattached person. When you don’t have the crucially important and big roles of being a wife & mother/husband & father. So embrace this season of singleness and do all that God has put on your heart! Maybe you will never get a chance to do it again in any other seasons of life that are coming up! Live this season to the fullest. All for His glory! ‚̧

Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

So. Stay on the path that God has for you. Because it is truly the best. Don’t get distracted by romance‚ÄĒby bad men or good men! Only open your heart to that person who doesn’t distract you from God, but pulls you closer to Him! Trust God with His timing. Strive to glorify our King and live life for Him in every season. Singleness is beautiful. Marriage is beautiful. Raising children is beautiful. Using your God-given gifts is beautiful. Pursuing a career you’re passionate about is beautiful. Over-seas missions are beautiful. Mentoring your siblings is beautiful. Every season and passion and opportunity is beautiful as long as we are inviting God fully into our lives and following where He leads.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13

10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12¬†I know that nothing¬†is¬†better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,¬†13¬†and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor‚ÄĒit¬†is¬†the gift of God.

Psalm 92:12-15

12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
15 To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Follow His path. Live loved. ‚̧

Paths and Provisions

Good morning, beautiful readers!

I’m going to share a little bit of my heart with you today. To be honest, this isn’t the easiest thing to share. It’s something that’s caused me no small amount of shame, anxiety, insecurity, and troubled thoughts. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately … so I thought perhaps it was God prompting me to share.

Philippians 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This post is going to be about work, money, jobs, independence, responsibility, and trusting God to provide. That sort of thing.

paths and provisions(picture found on pixabay.com)

I never was very career-minded. In fact, I tend to be a dreamer ‚Äď I believe it’s part of my personality as an INFJ. From a young age, I loved reading and writing‚ÄĒall things books, really‚ÄĒand by ten-years-old, decided that I wanted to be a published author when I grew up. So I pursued writing. I wrote all the time. I filled up numerous journals and notebooks, and even took to typing out my stories and thoughts on the computer. I had stacks and stacks of handwritten stories and many documents saved onto the computer.

I did some babysitting here and there once I turned twelve. At around fifteen-years-old, I got a sort-of summer nanny job. Once I week I took care of a little baby (perhaps six months old?) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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It was around that time that my mom, my siblings, and I started cleaning our church once a week. We did that for a couple years.

At sixteen, I got my first “real” job. It was at Dairy Queen. They needed good workers, someone from my youth group recommended me, and so I was like, “Sure, why not? It’s probably a good time to start working part-time.” I hadn’t been actively searching for a job, but I was eager enough to accept the position.

Working at a fast-food restaurant turned out to be a rather intimidating experience for shy, insecure, introverted, teenage me. My voice was always too soft, even though I felt like I was shouting. All the details I was expected to learn overwhelmed me (though I actually caught on quickly enough). I felt uncomfortable wearing the required black slacks and stuffing my thick, waist-length hair up beneath a baseball cap. But, I did learn some things! And for that, I am thankful. It wasn’t horrible, but it was very stressful for me. Three mornings a week I skipped breakfast (because my stomach hurt from anxiety/stress) and hurried off to work. Around lunch time, I would start feeling tired and dragging, so I’d reluctantly drink a glass of soda (I’m kind of a health nut, so I disliked the idea of drinking a sugary drink three times a week!). Then I’d get home, probably eat a late lunch, and sit down and put my feet up because my legs and feet ached so badly. And then do some schoolwork.

I cleaned bathrooms (which caused some serious anxiety for my germ-freak self, especially at that time, ha!), spilled a strawberry sundae on my shirt when I was carrying two full trays into the dining area, fumbled through drive-through duty for the first time when the manager abruptly put the headset on me, and messed up a few times as I went through the general learning process of doing something new. I blushed and stuttered when boys flirted with me now and then. I got yelled at and grumbled at a few times, and my super-sensitive self blinked back tears and was sure my manager and the restaurant owner rather resented me.

Perhaps everyone feels this way, but my first job was really stressful for me! Not because it was actually so horrible, but because every little thing seemed magnified and overwhelming in my mind.

I only worked there about three and half months before turning in my notice so I could go live in my “home state” (place I was born) with my relatives for a month, and then just put all my focus back on school work and writing.

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So really … that was my only official job.

My family moved out of state the next year (2014). About a year later, July of 2015 (I think), I moved back for a couple months with my older brother. Then moved back in with my family. Then the next year, April 2016, my older brother and I drove to my “home state” and I ended up staying there for 9-ish months.

I’d planned to stay permanently, but just wasn’t really finding my place there. And I missed my family. Especially when some of my six younger siblings would write me letters saying how much they missed me, and how I was the best big sister, and how they wished I would come home. It nearly wrenched my heart out, haha! My anxiety had already worsened in the last couple years of moving around, but that year it was pretty bad and I also struggled with some depression. It definitely wasn’t all bad, though! My aunt & uncle, grandparents, and cousins loved on me, and I got to meet new people and experience neat things. But when my older brother and I flew back home in January 2017 for a late family Christmas, I ended up staying. My parents bought my brother and I plane tickets out there for my mom’s Christmas present (*smiles*), but they never bought me a return ticket like they said they would, so I’ll just blame it on that, haha. Summer of 2017 was spent, almost to the very last hour, remodeling the house my parents bought and everything having to do with that.

Anyway. Since my brief time at Dairy Queen, I’ve written up a resume, filled out many applications, gone to multiple interviews, and almost got at least three different jobs (two of them were at libraries! *smiles*). For various reasons, I didn’t end up getting them.

And now I’m here. Twenty-one. No job. No car. Unsure of where my path is winding.

Luke 12:6-7

6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I did buy a car while I was living in my “home state”. But it was not fit to drive the many miles home, so I have it no longer. And I’ve been blessed with many babysitting and cleaning jobs during my “unemployed” years!

Nevertheless, I feel this sense of shame and this feeling that I’m wrong. I feel both “behind” in life, and trapped because I didn’t get started at the “right time”. Sometimes it feels like I’m struggling to keep my head above the waves of doubt, fear, and a lack of confidence.

…I never gave much thought to jobs and careers. (Though I did take a couple college classes in my last year of high school.) I was too busy thinking other deep thoughts (haha). I did expect to get a job. But I’m a dreamer, and my head and heart were filled with ideas and plans and passions for writing novels, starting blogs, doing Bible studies, connecting deeply with people, touching lives, and impacting the world. Not to mention, I’d always expected to get married young. My mom had. My grandmother had. My great-grandmother had. Most of my friends and cousins got married between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one-years-old.

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So in all my plans and ponderings, I’d seen myself being married at eighteen or nineteen. At least by twenty-one! (Ha!) I saw myself loving and serving my husband and raising children with him to know the Lord. I saw myself running my household‚ÄĒcooking, cleaning, baking, homeschooling, etc.‚ÄĒand writing stories as an adored hobby. And sharing my book collection with other avid readers. To this day, I still often picture myself doing these things, and also keeping up this blog and opening up my home to people ‚Äď making meals for friends and starting Bible studies for teens and single adults. I dream of joyfully keeping a home and ministering to people from it.

Proverbs 12:4

4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 31:10-13, 15, 17, 20-22, & 24-31

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.

And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.‚ÄĚ
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Titus 2:4-5

4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,

1 Corinthians 11:3

3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

That’s obviously not to be. Not right now, anyway. I’m in a different season of life right now. And I struggle to figure it out! I don’t believe my dreams were bad or wrong, and I still have hope for them! But right now, I have to find out how to live as I should as a Christian, unmarried adult woman in America.

Psalm 84:3-5

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young‚ÄĒ
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

 

Should I have done things differently? Should I have stifled my dreams? Should I have tried harder to find jobs? Not moved around so much (as an adult, that is. I didn’t have much of a choice when my family moved!)?

I don’t know. People make me feel like I should have, like I did something wrong. Like I’m lazy and irresponsible and immature.

And it’s hard. It’s hard to think of people thinking badly of me. It causes all sorts of anxiety. (Yes, I struggle with insecurity, being a people-pleaser, and a lack of confidence. You probably know that if you’ve read this blog! I’m not trying to whine, just be honest. And I’m learning! God is teaching me to find my confidence in Him.)

Have I done things wrong? Yes. Am I imperfect? Without a doubt. Have I not managed my time wisely some years? Absolutely. Could I have done things differently? Probably so.

But I did what I did.

That’s what happened.

That’s how life went.

And God used all those years to teach and grow me, and do things in my life and the lives of those around me.

It’s not wasted.

Even if I made mistakes and messed things up and took forever to learn certain lessons … He was with me even then. He was working in my life.

The past is the past.

I can’t change it.

It may or may not have put me “behind” in this life as I learn more of what it means to live as an adult.

But, do I trust God? Do I trust Him to provide me with a job, and a car, and a ministry, and everything I need in His timing?

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Do I trust that He is able, even if I haven’t been technically employed for a long while? Do I trust that He can redeem past mistakes and errors?

Joel 2:25-27

25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

Do I trust that He can use, is using, me now, even while I don’t have a job?

Philippians 4:10-13

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Do I trust Him, even when people talk negatively about me?

Even when people make me feel worthless and stupid?

Make me feel like I’m unwanted and not belonging anywhere?

They don’t know my story. That don’t know the anxiety and depression and other health issues I’ve dealt with, and how that’s hindered me. They don’t know my heart. They don’t know that I desire and I’m trying to love and serve God and people in the ways I know best! They don’t know how I strive to fill my days with some sort of purpose … cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, helping out with the children, seeking God in prayer and His Word, helping a little with teaching school, and writing these blog posts. Driving the older kids places. Editing my stories. Grocery shopping. Organizing and sorting through things. Trying to encourage people and start being a mentor-of-sorts to my younger sisters.

Psalm 84:10-12

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

 

I have’t always done well. I haven’t always strove to have a helpful and serving attitude toward my family. I haven’t always been thankful. I haven’t always tried my best and done everything as unto the Lord.

I know there are people who deal with anxiety, depression, different health issues, and all sorts of things and still have done better than me in life. They’ve had their steady job for years. They have a car. They have a house. They know where they’re going in life.

I’m not trying to justify everything about myself, and my life, and my choices. I think I tend to try to paint everything in as positive a light as possible, perhaps because I hope there will be someone out there who believes in me. I list out all these things and ramble on so, maybe because I’m trying to convince myself that I’m okay.

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That I haven’t ruined my life. That I’m not a failure.

But I can’t find that confidence in other people. And I certainly can’t find it in myself.

2 Corinthians 10:7

7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.

I must find it in God.

I can only find it in God.

Because, you know what? Loved by Him is my identity. And He is worthy of my trust. He is so able to work everything out for His glory and my good. He can redeem my past mistakes. He is still working on me, and He does not forsake me. Sometimes I look back and think, “Oh my, I’m making this ever a process!” But He is ever faithful! Sanctification is a process! ‚̧

Romans 8:8

8 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

And I am an individual person with my own, unique story. I need to stop comparing. Stop trying to measure up. Stop trying to take everything into my hands and think I have to control and take care of it all.

2 Corinthians 9:8

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

My faithful Provider is taking care of me.

Do I deserve it? Of course not. But He chose me. He wants me. He delights in me. Because I’m His daughter now. And I need to hold onto faith that He will lead me on the path that He has for me and provide for me along the way. I need to grow in faith that He will give me His strength to take the steps needed, even when I’m anxious, tired, not feeling well, or worried I’ll lose my purpose and not be impacting people for His kingdom if I work at a fast-food restaurant serving people unhealthy food, (haha, I seriously worry about this all the time. I have the INFJ personality, and I try to find purpose and meaning in EVERYTHING. It can be exhausting, yes.)

So, He can do ANYTHING! He can do things beyond my wildest dreams and hopes! He uses MY WEAKNESS to display HIS STRENGTH. He has been pursuing me and taking care of me since the beginning of my life ‚Äď since before!

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

9¬†And He said to me,¬†‚ÄúMy grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.‚Ä̬†Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.¬†10¬†Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ‚Äôs sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

I trust Him.

My friends, I am so imperfect! But my God is so perfect. Look to Him, not me. And I hope, if you can relate to me in this, that this post was an encouragement to you and blessed your heart. God loves you, precious soul. He’s taking care of you. You can trust Him with your life. Every detail. Surrender your plans and let Him lead.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Much love,

Lady Grace ‚̧

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

 

He Fights For Me

he fights for me(picture found on pixabay.com)

It’s a simultaneously terrifying and freeing idea …

This idea that I am not in control.

God is.

Perhaps it is a terrifying thought because we are human. We are rebels by nature. Rebelling against God’s good and perfect design, and then trying to control the broken pieces of life that we’re left with.

We have an issue with trust, and cannot bear the idea of not having a firm grasp on our lives. Controlling what happens and what doesn’t happen. Making sure we’re safe, succeed in life, and yes, making sure that God’s wonderful plan and will for us comes to pass.

But I am not lord of my life. And I should quit pretending to be. My Lord should be my Master and King. Why do I call Him Lord if I have not surrendered every area of my life to Him?

Perhaps it is a freeing thought because, when I come to the end of myself and realize how entirely not in control I am, I understand to the depths of my soul my desperate need for a Savior. A King. A Lord. A Father. A Warrior. An Author.

Write my life story, Lord, because I am broken and will only continue to break if I try to do things my way.

I am undone. Be my Redeemer. Redeem me from the mess I’ve made of my life. Be my Father, hold my hurting heart.

I am afraid. Be my Warrior – deliver me from the lies of Satan that seek to destroy me and drive me to despair.

I am not in control.

*deep breath*

He is. And He fights for me.

Oh, my friends, we have a Hope in heaven on high. We are not alone. You are not alone. Your God and King is fighting for you.

I think sometimes we need to just be still and let Him fight for us. The thought struck me as I was doing my devotionals and came across these verses:

13¬†And Moses said to the people, ‚ÄúDo not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the¬†Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.¬†14¬†The¬†Lord¬†will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.‚ÄĚ (Exodus 14:13-14)

19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. (Exodus 14:19-20)

Basically, do not fear! Wait on the Lord, and see what He will accomplish for you! Maybe we forget Who it is that we claim to follow. He is the Most High God! He is the Creator of heaven and earth! He is the Beginning and the End! He is mighty, He is able, and He is faithful.

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

6 You alone are the Lord;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all. (Nehemiah 9:6)

I think it’s awesome how the Angel of God moved and stood behind the Israelites. It came between them and their enemies. He had their back. God is our Heavenly Warrior – sovereign and in control. He can be trusted.

He can be trusted in the big things, and in the small things. He is in control of every detail of our lives. He knows every desire and hope and dream of our hearts. And contrary to what we might believe, I do not think we have to struggle and strive and grasp for control to make sure God’s will comes to pass in our lives.

Who do we think we are?

He is the Potter, we are the clay.

He is the Creator, we are the created.

He is the Savior, we are the sinners.

He is the Master, we are the servants.

He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep.

He is the Father, we are the children.

He is the Leader, we are the followers.

We are Christians – Christ followers.

I believer that if we are seeking the Lord each day, desiring His will, and striving to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength … that we can simply rest in Him. We can trust Him to provide everything we need in order to do His will. We can wait on Him to show us each new step in the way He would lead us.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye. (Psalm 32:8)

There is no need to fret and worry and drown in anxiety. He’s got this, my dear friends. Yes, we’re human. We make mistakes. We mess up. We fall into sin. But He is gracious and able to lift us out of the dark pit and place us back on the right path. Even when we wander … Even when we are at a complete loss of what to do …

Trust in the Lord and don’t trust in your own understanding. Seek Him earnestly. Wait on Him. Be still, knowing He is God. Pray, believing. He will guide you. Direct your paths. Open doors, or close doors.

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28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)

I love this passage, which shows how utterly dependent we can be on God. We don’t have worry for a single thing. Just surrender and follow Him. Pick up your desires, talents, dreams, goals, gifts, callings, feelings, wonderings, ideas, etc. and set off on His good path, following in His holy footsteps.

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22-32)

What a gloriously beautiful Truth. I am not in control. And I can stop trying to be in control. I can rest in my Father’s all-sufficient care.

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

He will bring whatever plan He has for my life to pass.

He will bring His will about in my life and the lives of my family and friends.

He will provide for my needs – both big and small.

He will fight for me, when the battles seem impossible to win.

And I must choose to rest in Him. To wait on Him. To trust in Him. To bring before Him every care and concern. To pray without ceasing. To use His Word as my comfort and as a sword with which to stop the Enemy’s lies. To step out boldly in faith when I feel Him moving me to action. To find my hope always in Him.

Like a little child, I can reach out to Him when I am afraid. I can surrender control and let my Father tenderly lead me. I am His daughter, and that is a beautiful truth.

He is with us. He is with you. Today, trust your heart to the One who is ever and always in control.

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

7 The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

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Pray?

Do you ever contemplate prayer?

pray

I think I’m a dreamer sort of person. I get caught up whimsical imaginings. I think deeply. I feel deeply.

I was watching the last episode of a movie series, which ended with a wedding. Beautiful bride. Feminine, lovely wedding dress. Happy, tearful parents. Loving groom. All the family and friends were there. They were all together – singing, dancing, and just displaying such a magnitude of rejoicing, I could have cried. The love, the joy, the reunion – the pure celebration – it made me think this is what a moment in heaven must look like.

rose-144122_1920(found on Pixabay.com)

That led to another thought. Will the actors and actresses portraying this beautiful scene experience heaven? Has anyone shared the ultimate Hope with them?

I have thought of this before. Actually, it burdens my heart a fair amount. I’m not one to get all into movie stars and their lives, but occasionally I watch interviews with the cast of my favorite movies/TV series (such as The Chronicles of Narnia movies). I think: Do they know truth? as I watch Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, and William Moseley bring to life such faith-filled movies like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.

I ponder how the world, in general, obsesses over movie stars. They watch all their movies. Look up every interview. Know their favorite food. Cheer on their latest romance. Would give almost anything to meet this amazing star in person.

But do we care about their souls?

Do we see them as people who need Jesus just as we do?

Do we pray for them?

Or do we flippantly think they are just here to entertain us?

It seems to me as I watch people like Georgie Henley (Narnia films), Skandar Keynes (Narnia films), Erin Krakow (When Calls the Heart), Lily James (Cinderella), etc. in interviews – see them in candid shots – that they are nice people with much potential. That they are striving for something. Looking for something. They have emotional baggage, fears, and hurts. As I read interviews, they give a glimpse of their hearts, and that glimpse is often enough to show me that they’re empty and searching for something to fill them up. But perhaps scared to be filled up with the very best.

Most of them, if not all, don’t know God. They haven’t accepted the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

They are lost. And all we care about is how they bring us great movies.

So what could we do to reach out to them?

Well, why don’t we just say a prayer for them? Perhaps God will bring someone into their lives. Reveal Himself to them.

Truth is, God is in control. We cannot ruin or change or make His plan happen. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing unexpected happens in the Lord’s eyes. He is always on the throne.

But let’s love and care enough to think about people’s souls.

There’s something special about prayer that we can’t understand.

What people are searching for is God.

And the prayer of the righteous is powerful.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:16

So don’t underestimate the power of prayer! How it reaches into the world. How it draws you closer to the Lord.

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I think we need to reevaluate our prayer lives. This is a battle. It’s time to be warriors.

***

What Can You Pray About?

  • That God would draw you nearer to Himself
  • That He would show you how to be a light to the world
  • For that family situation that just seems like it couldn’t possibly resolve itself
  • For a mentor to be brought into your life – to disciple you
  • Your future
  • Your future spouse
  • A family member/friend who is wandering away from God
  • Someone who is sick
  • Peace and comfort for the hurting
  • The sad-looking girl you saw at the mall
  • Your church family
  • For peace and strength in times of fear
  • For healing
  • For joy

So many things. And you know what, God sees them all. He cares.

6 I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

Psalm 17:6

So pray.

Earnestly. Boldly. Expectantly. Faithfully. Sincerely. Humbly. Hopefully. Trustingly.

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13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

James 5:13

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24

But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Proverbs 15:8

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Matthew 7:11

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Colossians 4:2

17 pray without ceasing,

1 Thessalonians 5:17

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10

Pour out your heart before God, and trust that He will answer you.

I know sometimes it’s really hard. One thing that helps me is praying aloud. Keeps my thoughts focused. Puts my heart into it. Also, go somewhere where it’s peaceful and quiet. I’ve been going on long walks. ūüôā

But even then, sometimes it’s still hard to trust that God is really listening. That He will answer. So pray for deepened faith. Pray for it!

‚ÄúLord, I believe; help my unbelief!‚ÄĚ

Mark 9:24

My friends, a deep prayer life is a beautiful thing. Recently, things have been happening in life that have pushed me to spend more time in prayer and seeking God’s will. Those long walks of talking to God are so good! I’m learning to truly pour out my heart to Him – all my fear, worries, hopes, dreams, anxiety … Lay down all my idols before Him … Praise Him … Ask Him to continue making Jesus Christ my true Hope.

Sometimes the walk consists of me really wrestling in prayer, crying out to the Lord in the anxious state of my heart. Just being honest. Feeling raw and weak.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Psalm 4:1

Many times I find myself wallowing in fear, so I run outside and start my walk and my talking with God!

And guess what? At the end of those walks, there’s a peace I didn’t have before. Sometimes that peace goes away real fast … and then I have to start praying again. Giving it to God again.

(Something I’ve been reading about in Fearless: Building a Faith that Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller, actually!)

But the point is, these long talks with God have blessed me. I’m glad I started making a point to pray everyday. Otherwise, I don’t always get to it everyday – and what a loss!

12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:12

I’ve been earnestly praying about things that have plagued my heart for years. Things that oftentimes in the days past, I’ve been tempted to give up on.

When I set aside a time for prayer, I can continually bring these things (hurts, burdens, hopes, desires, scars) before my Heavenly Father and just have this deeper assurance that He sees and He knows and He is faithful to answer me and work in my life and the lives of those around me.

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

1 John 5:14-15

And I can praise Him! Remind myself of who He is. Wow. What an awesome, holy, good, mighty, faithful, loving God we serve!

Take time for prayer.

If you don’t know where to start, read and pray through some of the Psalms.¬†I pray that you will be blessed, readers! ‚̧

11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!

1 Chronicles 16:11

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

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