Tag Archives: Eily Murphy

The Ultimate Relationship

Over the past few months, I’ve been praying over a potential relationship. It had been my heart’s desire to be in this particular relationship for some time, and I really thought this friend was “the one.” After all, he is on fire for Jesus, we have similar ministry goals, and we complement each other well. (Those are the top three things on “the list”).  From the outset of this desire, there have been obstacles to this relationship, yet as I prayed, I came to view them as opportunities for God to work, to grow us if this indeed was His will for us.

Throughout this prayer process, God has had one word for me, “Wait.”

I was so afraid that if I did what God asked and waited, I would be more likely to get my hopes up and be disillusioned if the answer ended up being no. Somewhere in there, God gave me the faith to wait on Him.

Still, I’ve been feeling (and have shared) that something big is heading my way.  A few weeks ago I woke up very early in the morning with the sense that I really needed to pursue a yes or no answer with God … and to be open to either alternative. So I began to pray for God to resolve the desires and feelings about this man in my heart, whether that meant fulfillment or removal. If it meant removal, I didn’t want them suppressed or rooted out. Suppression would only lead to a part of my heart blocked off that I would eventually have to go back and deal with later, and rooting these desires and feelings would leave my recently-blossoming heart barren. I guess what I really wanted was a transformation of these desires and feelings.

This past week I’ve been busy. The Enemy has been trying to distract me through attacks on my character. I’ve had to confront the lies with the truth. It’s been taxing. And several days went by when I didn’t think about this relationship at all. And when I did think about it, I felt … nothing. I thought, “Well, maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy. Maybe this doesn’t mean anything.”

But I had two really beautiful and vivid dreams and they both inspired me. I don’t usually remember my dreams, and my dreams certainly don’t inspire me. But in these two dreams I was in these gorgeous middles-of-nowhere. Wilderness places. Hiking, but mostly just talking with people on these hikes. Having good conversations, building relationships. It was so pleasant and even though there were people in these dreams I didn’t even know, and groups of people I do know who never mix, it all made sense.

I finished reading Hosea a week ago, and since then I’ve been in Exodus. In Hosea, God refers to wooing His people to wilderness places so they will seek Him and love Him. In Exodus, God brings His people to a wilderness and leads them there. Through all of this, God has been speaking to me about two things: He wants my love and He wants me to take care of His people. After the dreams, I would say God wants my love and He wants me to take care of His people in the wilderness places. To cultivate and restore life and health in barren places. It is my calling to walk with people through times of difficulty, particularly young people from broken and poverty-stricken homes.  I will walk with people through these times, I will bear their burdens before my Heavenly Father.

As I relaxed Sunday morning during church and quieted my heart to hear what God was saying about this relationship, I heard Him say, “I want something different for you.”

The miracle is, I don’t feel resentful about it. It makes complete sense.

The thing is, however much we love Christ and want to honor Him, however similar we are, however many obstacles we could have overcome with God’s help, God has given this man and I different desires, different visions. Without ever intending to, we would have held each other back. That’s not to say we wouldn’t or couldn’t have had a good life.

But I don’t just want a good life.

I want a great life. I want to be most passionate about God, to hold nothing back from Him, to have nowhere I am unwilling to go and nothing I am unwilling to do for Him. I want a husband who I can inspire to passion about God, to hold nothing back from Him, to have nowhere and nothing he is unwilling to do for Him. And I want a husband who will not only be living these things for himself, but who will rise to the challenge of calling these things out in me. And I want to call these things forth in him.

Again I am reminded, it’s not about my future husband, whoever and wherever he may be, though I certainly lift him up in prayer day by day. It’s about the ultimate relationship: the one I share with my Creator, my Redeemer, my Source. I love Him more than anything on this earth. Spending time with Him is what I crave throughout my day. That’s not to say there aren’t bumps in the road on my end, but my relationship with Him has overall changed for the better.

And I am so excited to see what He does next!

For now, though, I’m just going to relax and listen to some uplifting music.

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A New Song

 “Never comes a revival of religion without a revival of singing!” ~Charles Spurgeon, Life More Abundant

“The thief does not come except to kill and to steal and to destroy; I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).

I heard Tenth Avenue North’s “Worn” for the first time this past week. I totally relate to the song, because, oh my, it was my year last year.

Then I watched this. It’s Mike Donehey’s story behind “Worn.” Turns out he was involved in a car accident that left him literally on his back for several months, and that’s when he started his music ministry.

I talked a few weeks ago about how last year in a spiritual sense I was on my back. God is renewing me and waking me up to abundant life every day.

I just so relate with God giving me a new and different vision for my life, and yet, it just fits.

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Worry

On Wednesday night, I listened to a few teachings on the topic of worry.  One was a Bible study at my old church, the other was a teaching by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Both referenced Jesus’ teaching on worry in the end of Matthew 6.

Everybody agrees. Worry divides the mind. Between what actually is and what might be.

Worrying just comes naturally.

When one thing isn’t worrying me enough, it seems my enemy cannot help but send something else along for me to worry about.

When I woke up this morning, my biggest worry was that my older brother is fiercely opposed to a direction my life is more likely than not going to take.  And honestly, the more I’ve prayed about it the more God assured me that hey, not everyone is always going to like what I do. (I crave affirmation). That if He calls me to do it, I need to do it, regardless of what my brother thinks.  And, except for a few panicked moments, I’ve been like, “Eh, okay, God.”

Then this morning, on my way to church, I had a car accident. Everyone involved is fine, but although it’s drivable, my car is a mess. The other car had some damage,  but mine took most of it. As it probably should have. The accident was my fault. And I feel horrible, because it was just so avoidable on so many levels.

When I arrived at church, Psalm 91 came to my heart: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

Sometimes, I get worried that I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I wondered that today a little, but I was on my way to church, for crying out loud.

After church, I was telling my younger brother and sister about the accident. They had come through on the highway a few minutes after me and they had seen an accident in the exact area mine had taken place. When I was telling them about my accident, they thought maybe they had driven past me.  But the accident they saw was a little different. Cars were towed away and a person went away in an ambulance from that accident.

My car? It looks like a clunker. Me? I’m a little sore and shaken up. But I drove myself away in my drivable car. The other people drove away in a drivable car.

I am remarkably blessed.

“What if you had killed somebody else or yourself because of your critical misjudgment?” my Accuser asks.

I rebuke you. That is not the reality. The reality is we are all physically fine.

“What if you had totaled someone else’s car or your own?” he comes at me again.

I rebuke you. That is not the reality. The reality is that although there is a lot of work to be done, the cars are drivable.

“What if God decides to punish you and not provide for your needs in this accident?” the final blow, not against my person, but His.

I rebuke you. That is not the reality. God says, “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because He has known my name” (Psalm 91:14).  I claim that!

Because I can trust God, because I DO trust God, I refuse to worry about non-realities.

Who knew God could do so much through a car accident? I can’t wait to see what He does tomorrow!

 

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.

 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,  Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.

 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,  No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;  For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.  You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.  He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.

 

 

 

 

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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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Crisis

After tomorrow, I begin a new chapter in life. I’m excited.

Mostly because this chapter, the chapter I’m currently in, has challenged me past breaking point. Beyond devastation. Below the lowest lows.

I really didn’t think I was going to make it out.

And I guess I didn’t. The me that went into this chapter is not the one leaving.

I don’t mind that.

What scares me to no end is how close I came to giving up.

Not on life.

On God.

Not on the existence of God.

On the existence of a good and faithful and true God.

In the beginning, I gave Him my heart. My heart of hearts. Deepest desires, dreams, wishes.  And, one by one, they died.

Do you know what it is to see your desires, dreams, and wishes crucified? I do. I was angry.

Then my heart withered.

And I felt nothing.

I didn’t want to speak to God. I had nothing to say to Him. It was He who was to guard my heart, and He pillaged and plundered it.

Didn’t He?

The funny thing (I suppose) was that He kept saying to my heart, “Won’t you let me in?” I scoffed. “You? Let YOU in?”

Then one morning I was at a road of indecision. I wanted to do one thing, but felt like I couldn’t do it, because I thought God didn’t want me to.

Don’t You see, God? Don’t You see all of the things You asked me to give up?

I never asked you to give that up.

And He hadn’t.

That was when my heart reawakened.

The desires, dreams, wishes blossomed.

They are coming to fruition in this upcoming chapter.

I know. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do.

“This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain” (Hebrews 12:27 NLT).

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT).

 

 

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I currently have several young women in my life suffering from the same problem in varying degrees:  relationships with men who have no respect for them. This post is not from a place of judgment, rather from a place of been-there-done-that-and-not-going-back.

On one hand, this is fairly cut and dry, if completely upsetting: they are receiving the respect they have asked for. Worse, they are asking for the respect they think they deserve.

None. On both counts.

That hurts my heart a lot. I want to come alongside of every young woman in this position and say, “What are you doing here? You deserve SO much better.”  I want to train them to see themselves the way God sees them, so they won’t be tempted to settle for less than His best.

But. When it comes to the human heart, things are complex. There is no formula because we are all unique.

Sometimes, even though we know his view of us is self-centered, we like the attention he gives us. And we stand by him. Sometimes, even though we know he is all wrong for us, his badness feeds our sense of adventure. And we go along with him. Sometimes, even when he makes us feel bad about ourselves, our heart has gone before our head and we have feelings for him. And we stay with him.

But at what cost?

We want to please him, so it all becomes about him. We begin to focus on what he likes about us, and sometimes forget what we like about ourselves. We let him take what he wants so we don’t lose him. And we let him hurt us, because we think we’ve provoked it by somehow not living up to his demands.

We lose ourselves.

And we deserve better.

We deserve men who view us the way God views us. Who pursue love God and want to live their lives for Him. Who love us and build us up.

Look. If I see you heading into one of these relationships, I will most definitely tell you that you deserve better. Once you’re in the relationship, I’m probably not going to speak against it, but I will take you out for coffee a lot, and seek to affirm you through God’s Word, because I know that man isn’t doing it. And if he breaks your heart, I’ll be there with the chocolate and chick flicks. (Same for if you work up the courage to walk away). I want you to understand your worth.

UPDATE: This may even seem simplistic, so I want you to know that the longer a relationship goes on the more complex the emotions about it become. I don’t want it to seem like I’m belittling anyone’s emotions. On the contrary, I respect them, which is why I’m generally the person who will support you no matter who you choose to date. Just don’t mistake my support of you as a person for my support of a harmful relationship.

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