Friday, February 24, 2017

I Hear You Loud and Clear

     Last week, I shared how God has changed my prayer in regards to a specific request. Every time I pray about this specific thing, my prayer has become, "Your will be done." In all honesty, it's a scary prayer because for His will to be done, it may mean my desire changes. Yet, I've felt more at peace and free than I ever have in this area. 

     This week, I had the flu. Which meant as I was lying around, I had a lot of time to think...which can get me into trouble because then I worry. 

     But God is so good because this morning, He gave me reminder after reminder that I don't need to worry because His plan is best. 

     Before I even got out of bed, I opened the Bible app on my phone, and this is the first verse I see.


     As I thought about what to post with it these lyrics came to mind:

"When you don't move the mountains
I'm needing you to move
When you don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don't give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you
I will trust in you"
(Lauren Daigle, I Will Trust In You)

     My heart was encouraged as I got my day started. Then on the way to school, we listened to the Praise and Worship station on Apple Radio. The message was repeated in almost every song we heard. 

"It will be my joy to say Your will Your way

It will be my joy to say Your will Your way

It will be my joy to say Your will Your way always"

(Chris Tomlin, Lay Me Down)

"My life

I know it's never really been mine

So do with it whatever You like
I don't know what Your plan is
But I know it's good, yeah

I wanna tell You now that I believe in

I wanna tell You now that I believe in

In You, so do what You do, oh"
(Francesca Battistelli, Write Your Story)
"You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name"

(Matt Redman, Blessed Be Your Name)
     As I pulled into my parking spot at school this morning, I told God," I got Your message loud and clear. There's no need for me to worry because Your plan is best. Your plan will prevail." 
     Your will be done. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sweet Surrender

     Yesterday I attempted to pray the same prayer I've been praying for quite a while. Instead, every time, these words came out, "Thy will be done." The honest, ugly truth is often times when I pray His will be done what I really mean is I need my will to be Your will, and I need it on my time table. 

     As I've attempted to pray the same prayer again with those four words coming out instead, I have realized as much as I want what I want, I've grown enough on my faith journey to know His plans are so much greater than mine. And though I often can't see or understand the why, I know the best and safest place to be is right where He wants me. Even if it's not where I think I want to be. 

    He has changed my prayer, but the desire of my heart remains the same. So I'll continue to pray until He grants my desire. Or changes it to match His. 

     There is such freedom and peace that  comes with the sweet surrender of "Your will be done." 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Letting Go of My Plans

     Three years ago today, I heard the words "I'm sorry. There's no heartbeat." Losing that baby has been the most difficult path God has asked me to walk. 


     Then this past Sunday, Ryan spoke these words in his message. "The plans I make are limited to my understanding and selfish desires. God's plans are greater. We have to be willing to let go of our plans." 


     Tears rolled down my cheeks as I realized His plan for our baby is so much greater than any thing we hoped and dreamed for her the few weeks, I carried her. 


     God has been working in me all week about letting go of the disappointment, hurt, and even anger I feel because I did not get my way. I didn't get to keep her. 


     Honestly, I cannot see how His plan is better than mine. But I trust that it is because in every other circumstance in my life, His plan has been better. Every. Time. 


     His plan is better in this loss too. Maybe this part of the journey is about growing my faith in Him and trusting His goodness because I cannot see how much better His plan is. 


     Today has been the most peace filled day I've experienced in the past three years. I'm so thankful for God's goodness and grace to me as He works to transform me to look more like Jesus. I'm thankful for His grace and mercy as I work on surrending my plans to His. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ringing In 2017

        This is the first year Joshua has ever had a three day weekend over the New Year holiday. We enjoyed a quiet family weekend at home.

     On Saturday, we ran errands before the Alabama game. After the game and dinner, we popped popcorn in our new popcorn popper courtesy of Aunt Kourtney and Uncle Coty. The boys have been enjoying trying out all the seasonings they bought to go on the popcorn. Then we played Mario Party 8 on the Wii until just before midnight. Then at midnight we had our sparkling apple cider and gummy bear toast before heading to bed.


     Sunday morning we headed to church for worship and heard a great message about the importance of using the Bible as a guide for our lives. We enjoyed a lazy movie day and made brownies for Daddy.


      On Monday, we ran more errands which included a trip to their favorite store-Home Depot. Then we finished packing up and putting away Christmas.


     The boys and I were sad to see Daddy go back to work on Tuesday. We always enjoy when he's home with us. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Different Circumstances

     This morning as we drove to a friend's house for a play date, we passed a field that had a lot of men in jeans and hoodies standing around by the side of the road. The boys asked what all those men were doing, and I explained they were waiting, hoping someone would stop and hire them to work. One of the boys said they hoped they got work soon so they didn't have to stand in the cold. I explained that if they did get a job to do, it may very well be an outside job. I told the boys all of them would be happy for a job, even one in the cold, because they would earn money to take care of themselves and their families. Then we talked about how thankful we should be that our daddy has a job to go every day, and he makes enough money to take care of our family. And he gets to work inside where he is protected from the weather and safe. I hope the image of those men on the side of the road stays with them. That when they think of them, it prompts the boys to thank God for the things He has provided for our family. 

     It was a good reminder for me as well. In the 13 years Joshua and I have been together, we both have always had good paying, steady jobs. In the past, we may have struggled financially because of unwise choices, but we always knew we had a job to go to. We've always known when our next paycheck is coming and how much it's going to be. We've always had everything we needed and been able to get most things we've wanted. 

     I'm humbled as I think about those men. We've not always made wise choices nor have we've always been faithful to do with our finances what God has called us to do. And yet He has been overwhelmingly good to us in this area. 

     I hope the image of the men on the side of the road stays with me as well. That it prompts me to thank God for His goodness to our family. It is only God's grace through His goodness that has allowed us a different set of life circumstances. May we always be thankful for His goodness and grace in our lives no matter the circumstances we are in. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Fearless

     As I reflect on 2016, I realize how much I wrestled with fear this past year. A lot of that was due to the amount of uncertainty and change our family went through. I realized that fear caused me to run ahead of God to take care of things on my own. It also caused me to drag my feet for fear I wasn't receiving the correct message from Him. In reality I was fearful of the unknown, failure, and my own inadequacies.

     As I prayed about what I am to focus on this year, the word fearless kept coming to mind. I need to wait on God and His perfect timing. I need to move forward courageously when He makes it clear to me what I am to do. 

     To both wait on God and move when He tells me, I need to be fearless. For me, fearless means studying His Scriptures daily-looking for and living the application to my life He reveals to me. Fearless means being confident that God holds the bigger picture and is working all circumstances for my good and His glory as I am faithful to Him. Fearless also means relying on Him to equip me for the work He has called me to do. And remembering any work accomplished in my life is done through Him and His strength. I can't accomplish the work He has called me to do on my own. If I could, I wouldn't need Him. 

     God has also brought this verse to mind many times as I have prayed about this upcoming year. 

Wait patiently for the Lord. 
Be brave and courageous. 
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. 
~Psalm 27:14

     I am committed to fearlessly waiting on the Lord, accepting what He wants me to do, and faithfully pursuing His call in 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Stripped Down Christmas

     I've been struggling this Christmas season. Fighting sadness and grief without necessarily understanding why. If I were to be honest with myself, I'm sure there's more than one reason. All of which, I'm sure, are rooted in the fact I haven't gotten my way because God's plan is different from mine.

I've had to ask myself some hard questions.

Who I am looking to to bring me joy?

Where I am looking for peace?

Where have I placed my hope?

If I stripped everything about Christmas down to the baby in the manger, would it still be Christmas to me?

     I wish I could say the answers are Jesus and yes. While pointing others to Him, I've struggled to keep my eyes focused on Him. I've battled the desire for pity parities rather than focusing on every blessing He's given.

     Last night as I laid in bed with tears trickling down my cheeks, this verse came to mind:

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see 
the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."
 ~Psalm 27:13

     The baby in the manger means hope rather than despair, joy rather than sadness, peace rather than grief. Jesus is the goodness I experience right here and now. When everything around me feels meaningless and disappointing, Jesus brings meaning and satisfaction.

     Christmas IS the baby in the manger. Without Jesus, everything else is empty tradition.

     Maybe it's time for me to strip away my idea of Christmas and get back to just Jesus.