Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Waiting Game

I feel like God is preparing me for something big. I don’t know what it is or how it will come to be. I only know that when God tells me something big is coming, I can expect it to be incredibly challenging. Most likely it will break me, humble me, and push me well past what I think are my limits.

God has also convicted me that this something big will be a source of incredible blessing, not just to me, but to others as well. So I’ve been praying it into my life.

I don’t like to wait, but as I wait on this something big, God has assured my heart that this wait is vital. It is the calm before the storm. I will need this time to prepare. And in this something big, I’ll be glad I’ve had this time.

So, for the first time in my life, I am content to wait.

Weird.

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Grace

It’s the processing period after the trial.  My trial was a crisis of faith – by the end, nearly everything I believed was knocked down, and what wasn’t knocked down completely, I was barely hanging on to. I  didn’t understand – still have trouble understanding why God would want my view of Him so utterly devastated.  Yet, over the past few months, I’ve regained something of hope and desire for things I had stopped hoping for and desiring many years ago. Before my crisis, my heart was on some spiritual level shutting down, failing. So I begin to understand some of why God chose to step in the way He did.

This week I have been challenged and am wrestling with God’s grace in my trial. My youth group is learning five memory verses about grace this week, and for some reason, they are not sinking in.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“And of His fullness have all we received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17).

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

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

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Do you notice a theme (besides grace) in these verses? Eternal life. Fullness. Grace upon grace. Riches. All grace. Sufficiency. Abundance.

Abundance.

This is what I wrestled with most in my faith crisis. Jesus says in John 10:10, “The Thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” I wrote in my journal last fall that I felt “spiritually raped, pillaged, and plundered.” I was dead inside, except for bouts of rage, directed at God for letting this happen to me. Because He kept asking me to call what I had an abundant life. To claim His goodness and grace in less than desirable situations far outside of my control.

I couldn’t do it.

These verses (which I picked, ironically) tell me that even then, especially then, God’s grace (His unmerited favor and strength to get through) was not only there, but there in abundance.  Now, I cannot and do not deny God’s Sovereignty, His orchestration in my situation. But His favor? His strength? I was being chastised. Stripped of everything, including my beliefs about God. Greatly weakened, wounded. An abundance? Of what?

Here’s the thing: either God’s grace was available to me equal to my trial, or God is a liar. And I do not believe God can lie. So God’s grace was available to me equal to my trial.

This week, as I memorize verses about God’s grace in abundance, I wrestle again. Since God’s grace was there for abundant living, why was my life so diminished?

Perhaps because I was striving for what I wanted. For what I thought my life should look like. Perhaps I was trying to earn what I wanted, rather than let God give me what He wants. Perhaps God is trying to teach me about His grace for abundant life, and the best way is to get me to wrestle with it.

I don’t know.

Today, I am in a very different situation than I was four months ago. It is easy for me to look at this phase of my life and testify to God’s grace as He has restored my relationships with others, and has given me new freedom to hope and desire. I have something that I am waiting on God for, something I carry to Him daily in prayer. It gets difficult sometimes, but I find the conviction to persevere in prayer and be patient. The grace to go on, when I no longer feel like it.

Maybe I have stopped striving or am striving less. Maybe I have stopped trying to earn God’s favor along with everyone else’s. Maybe I am in a good place to learn what God has been trying to teach me about grace.

I don’t know.

I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

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Celebrating God’s Love For Me

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, this year (and every Valentine’s Day for the past four years)  I am celebrating God’s love for me.

The love of my Redeemer who faithfully rebuilds the ruined places of my life. Who faithfully restores hope and desire within me.

“Sing, O childless woman,
    you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
    you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
    than the woman who lives with her husband,”
    says the Lord.
“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
    Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
 For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
    Your descendants will occupy other nations
    and resettle the ruined cities.

Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
    Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
    and the sorrows of widowhood.
 For your Creator will be your husband;
    the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
    the God of all the earth.
 For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
    as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
    says your God.
 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with great compassion I will take you back.
 In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
    But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah
    that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear
    that I will never again be angry and punish you.
For the mountains may move
    and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
    My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
    says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

 “O storm-battered city,

    troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels
    and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
I will make your towers of sparkling rubies,
    your gates of shining gems,
    and your walls of precious stones.
I will teach all your children,
    and they will enjoy great peace.
 You will be secure under a government that is just and fair.
    Your enemies will stay far away.
You will live in peace,
    and terror will not come near.
 If any nation comes to fight you,
    it is not because I sent them.
    Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.

 “I have created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
    And I have created the armies that destroy.
 But in that coming day
    no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
    raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
    their vindication will come from me.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

~Isaiah 54

The love of a King for His bride. Longed for, delighted in.

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say.

    Forget your people and your family far away.
 For your royal husband delights in your beauty;
    honor him, for he is your lord.
 The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts.
    The wealthy will beg your favor.
 The bride, a princess, looks glorious
    in her golden gown.
In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king,
    accompanied by her bridesmaids.
What a joyful and enthusiastic procession
    as they enter the king’s palace!

~Psalm 45:10-15

His heart beats for me. Little old me. Insignificant me.

He. Loves. Me.

Soak it up. Single, in a Relationship, Married. Because He loves you too!

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God’s Word

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall be My word that goes forth from My mouth: it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV).

God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that it satisfies and sustains. Thank You that it gives life and vibrance. Thank You that it awakens and bears fruit. Thank You that it can plant a seed and nourish a soul. Thank You that every time Your Word goes out, it is intentional and with fulfilled purpose. Your Purpose.

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A Take on Psalm 23

I read in “In Touch” magazine the other day that Psalm 23 is “a personally relevant metaphor.” That struck me. If I had written Psalm 23, what metaphor might I have used? And that is what inspired the following.

The Lord is my storyteller, I shall not be unresolved.

He determines the plot, the characters and every direction I take.

He develops my character and my story, from glory to glory, for His glory.

Even when it seems like writer’s block, even when the narrative winds down, He is, and He is with me.

Through the twists and turns, ups and downs, the story remains rich.

Because of His commitment to see my story through, to complete it, I am cherished and on His heart forever.

Thank You, Lord.

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