Weep with Me
It baffles me when I look back on my life’s struggles through this new lens; that He should weep with me.
In times of sorrow, confusion, pain. When things fell apart.
Jesus was weeping with me.
I knew I wasn’t alone.
I felt Your hand holding me up.
Pulling me out of bed.
Making me put one foot in front of the other.
I knew You were with me, but I didn’t see you weeping.
When You Were There
As I curled into a ball lamenting my lost babies.
As I prayed fervently over my tiny newborn, fighting for his life, and begging for Your strength.
As I shouted at You at the end of my driveway angry at how I felt You’d turned against me.
What I See Now
I knew You were there, and I trusted Your presence, but I never knew You were weeping over Your child as I suffered.
That is a grace and a love poured out I cannot even fathom.
You are so so good to me.
You care for this heart.
I love You, Jesus!
Thank You for never leaving my side, and for weeping when I weep.
I knew You were my strength and my comfort; I just never realized until now that You were truly in the trenches right alongside me every day.
Count it Joy
It takes a complete understanding to weep over someone as they face a trial.
But of course You did. There’s no place I have stood You’ve not already been.
I am overwhelmed by Your love, and I weep tears of joy as I jot this down as fast as I can shortly after the realization of it all.
How you could be a strength and shield and comfort and holding my hand crying Your own tears of anguish…I’m in complete awe at the Truth of who You are.
You amaze me with Your unbelievable goodness and grace.
Oh, Lord, You are so so good to me.
I found myself confused about how I got there: Afraid.
â€œGive yourself a yearâ€™s worth of a lot of grace.â€
I heard these words come out of my best friendâ€™s mouth about me leaving my job of the last 11 years to be a stay-at-home-mom.
In my head it didnâ€™t make sense. Iâ€™d have all the time in the world. Literally.
I was in for a rude awakening.
All those things other people chipped in to help with when I was teaching like laundry, vacuuming, dishes, childcare, errands became my new time crunch.
And on top of it, because I was a stay-at-home-mom, I felt the need to jump into the PTO, take on a new business to help out with finances, and pitch in more with our non-profit.
On its own, motherhood within the home is a huge job, but add in all those extra features to it, and here I am feeling confused and lost like a fish out of water.
No schedule. No â€œThis happens nowâ€ and â€œThat happens then.â€
And in that â€œstuff,â€ no matter what it is, it is so easy to get distracted and land in this place of confusion and disappointment.
The kids arenâ€™t getting enough of my attention. I didn’t make that call. I missed that appointment. The house isnâ€™t clean as it should be. The laundry isnâ€™t caught up. The blog hasnâ€™t been written lately. I havenâ€™t worked out in months. Iâ€™m behind on Bible study. I. Am. Such. A. Failure.
I am floundering, it’s true, but Iâ€™ve got one thing that keeps lifting me up.Â
Iâ€™m not wandering aimlessly.
Best of all, I have a purpose and a calling.
I can lean on Him as hard and as often as I need to.
Lord, what have You put in front of me today?
This pile of laundry? A game of Sorry with my four-year-old? A random blog post You put on my heart in the middle of loading the dishwasher?
Then I consider it joy.
Because it is so unbelievably easy to see it as being scattered or lost or even failing.
But all I needed was a little perspective and a big reality check, that came in the form of advice from another wonderful friend.
Reality: Satan saw an opportunity to chip away at my heart, and I let him.
- Iâ€™m not good enough
- Not worth it
- Should do more than I can handle
- Iâ€™m a failure
- Itâ€™s okay to be lazy because being a mom is hard
- Iâ€™m right where God has placed me after answering a six-year-long prayer.
- Exactly what my family needs.
- Have enough on my plate, and He will guide me.
- Not alone.
- Succeeding. Learning. Growing.
- Pull strength from the Lord when being a mom is hard.
- Trust that He is sufficient and His grace is enough.
I donâ€™t have to worry.
I’m no longer a slave to fear.
For I am a child of a graceful, loving, peaceful God.
If thereâ€™s any time I need Godâ€™s grace, itâ€™s when I am mustering up faith in Him to become fearless.
When I donâ€™t know how things will work out.
Donâ€™t have control over the situation.
Just canâ€™t make things go the way I want them to.
When I just. Donâ€™t. Know.
Today was one of those days.
I was at the hospital for a routine checkup with Hudson.
Our oncologist was saying how the disease he once had, Neuroblastoma, usually ends up okay for kids like him.
One who has favorable genetics, but he wanted to let me know that there could still be some cancer left over in my child.
What do you mean, left over cancer? You said it was out.
Long story short, he was speaking of calcified and dead cancer and also in generalities.
He ended the conversation by saying Hudson is okay and will most likely have a totally normal life expectancy.
I should be fine, right?
But the devil totally saw his opportunity to mess with my head.
Get out, Satan. Not today. Not ever!
My God is greater. My God is stronger. My God is higher than you and your lies.
I know the Truth.
I know God is the ultimate healer, and my son is clean from this disease.
I know that even if something does happen, that the Lord will see us through just like He did three years ago.
But most of all, I know that I donâ€™t have to fear anything because I am not a slave to your fear, Satan.
Who I Am
I am a child of God.
I donâ€™t have to wallow in the piercing fear that immediately gripped me when Dr. Dole began talking about Neuroblastoma.
I donâ€™t have to let myself get caught up in the past trauma of how it feels to be a mother of a very sick child.
I donâ€™t have to camp out there, because my identity is not traumatized mother.
My identity is daughter of God– Heavenly Creator and Healer.
He > I
He has done a perfect job of being Him. Walking me through all the pain, all the joys, triumphs, and all the fears.
Godâ€™s grace goes far beyond what I could ever be capable of doing myself.
If it werenâ€™t for grace, He wouldâ€™ve been angry that I could second-guess what I know in my heart to be true, and He wouldâ€™ve washed His hands of me completely.
But thatâ€™s just not our God.
He loves so abundantly and so grand– bigger than we can comprehend.
So, instead of kicking me to the curb, He drew me nearer to Him.
I felt myself being drawn up into His arms and comforted.
I know what is true: I can trust You, Lord.
Thank You Lord, for being a merciful Father.
Who sees my fears and disbelief and triggers of past pain and uses it to pray, connect, and delve deeper in my relationship with You.
Thank You for being a God whose number one mission is to care for His children.
Sitting here in my motherhood fears, You love me so tenderly that I am able to feel calm and peace in my heart.
To be overwhelmed with Your love through grace, to rest in the fact that You are good.
You are God.
You are Truth.
When I Fail
Is it always my first fleshly reaction to trust?
I wish I could say that every single time I’m met with adversity I was fearless, but fear does get a hold of me–especially when it comes to my children.
However I never have to live in that fear because I have my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Because of this, I can enjoy my motherhood. I can enjoy my family. I can enjoy this precious gift of life the Lord has given me. I can be fearless.
Best of all, I can share His grace with you with the hope that you, too can open your heart to it as well.
Never would I ever want to hold all this to myself. Itâ€™s too big not to share.
Itâ€™s too amazing.
Itâ€™s the only thing in this world worth calling perfect: Godâ€™s love.
Thereâ€™s nowhere we can go in this world where we will find another human being that has lived the exact same situations as us. An ally who totally and 100 percent gets it.
But we look, donâ€™t we?
We love empathetic people because theyâ€™ve been there. Done that. Have insight.
If we are connected by friends and family, and we feel better.
We are bandaged but not healed.
As Close as We Can Get on Earth
Why canâ€™t someone who has had similar struggles heal our hearts?
Because even if we lined our situations up on paper, there would still be one big difference: this person isn’t us.
They donâ€™t have our mind or our heart. They donâ€™t have our past or our future.
Unfortunately, that still leaves us broken and unable, trying to pull everything together.
Itâ€™s frustrating because we are always so sure that if we can just find someone who â€œgets it,â€ we can start to move past whatever is hurting us.
I know how this goes, because I have lived it.
When I speak to other women who have experienced miscarriage, they too have lost a child. I am in the presence of a person who has felt the same loss, so we chat. Offering hope. Offering understanding. Sharing our stories.
Sometimes it just feels good to tell another person who has lived it.
Because God made us to join in fellowship, not live alone.
And it does feel vindicating when I hear her hardest part was right before the baby was taken, too.
That even though she knew her baby was gone, that she also laid her hand on her belly and wept like me for the thought of not having her baby be a part of her body anymore.
Like Iâ€™m not the only one.
Like she gets it.
It does feel a little better to hear it.
But for all the mothers Iâ€™ve spoken with, it never healedÂ me.
It was good for me to know I wasnâ€™t alone, but it most certainly didnâ€™t change me.
My babies were still gone.
I still wasnâ€™t raising them at home with my other two children.
My heart was still shattered.
I was still confused and broken.
Why canâ€™t the empathy of another person fix everything?
Because there is only One who understands everything.
When we’re feeling lost, hurt, lonely, afraid, worried, or broken, we do have somewhere to turn.
Someone who will not only empathize, but who will also heal us from the inside out.
I know itâ€™s true because itâ€™s happened to me.
To get me through the unbelievable pain of seeing our first baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound and then losing it three weeks later.
That held me after learning our twinsâ€™ miscarriage possibly saved my life.
Who broke down anxiety over scans that the cancer in my youngest is gone for good.
I have felt it. I know it.
And so I want to give you these.
When you’re unsure where to look, here are Words from the Bible that explain why Jesus is your best ally.
And why, when youâ€™re hurt, you can turn to Him above all else to receive complete and total healing.
1. Psalm 119:130
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Thatâ€™s how we feel when weâ€™re broken, donâ€™t we?
Raw and unsure and simple.
Looking for a reason. We’re unable to understand on our own.
The Lord shines light, over time, in big ways and in little, on every pain. Helps heal us through the process of leaning on Him for understanding.
2.) Psalm 119:169
Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word!
When we’re hurting worse than we could ever imagine, we can cry out to God.
We can ask Him to give us understanding according to His Word.
I can attest that He will. He is always who He says He is. He never lets us down.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
All it takes is opening our heart, and we can feel this very real, very present help.
The best way I can explain it is as an overwhelming sense of peace and clarity. Strength to face my problems because there’s an ultimate sense that I am not battling alone. Something I know couldn’t have come from anywhere else. Itâ€™s astounding and beautiful.
4.) Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.
This can be super difficult.
It is hard to trust someone we canâ€™t see, especially if we donâ€™t know Him. I get that.
However, if its come to the point where we donâ€™t know what we’ll do if something doesnâ€™t change, then we can open our heart to the Lord, and put our trust in Him.
Things will change. Not in our timing, but in His. So we are patient (or keep trying really hard…because it is difficult!). We keep trusting, praying, and going to the Lord, and we’ll start noticing things happening that canâ€™t be explained any other way than by the God.
5.) Proverbs 3:19
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens
If He created the heavens and the earth in all its intricacies, then His wisdom should surely be what we seek.
To guide us.
To carry us through.
Why wouldn’t we go to the One who knows everything?
6.) Isaiah 40:28
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
We faint. Grow weary. BUT with God, nothing is impossible, and so while we are weary, Jesus carries the burden.
We canâ€™t even look for how far His understanding goes because it’s too far beyond what we can fathom.
As children of a Father, we look toward Him, because He knows this world, and he knows our hearts.
He loves and cares for us.
And in that we can find rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Not only does God have all the understanding in this world and beyond, but he wants us to seek Him.
He wants us. You. Me. To come looking for him. To call out, “God, help!”
He wants to make our paths clear, to be a lamp to light our way. He tells us plain and simple, â€œCome to me.â€
We donâ€™t have to wonder if we’re enough or if we need to achieve something before we can lay our problems at His feet because Heâ€™s already invited us.
Itâ€™s a standing invitation to be with Him.
Invest in Your Relationship
When we show up. Take Him up on His offer…that is when we see—when we feel–change.
When we look at this, which is only a small sliver of how many times we are told to look to God, come to him, rest in him, it is clear that we have an unbelievably amazing ally in Jesus.
And this God of ours, heâ€™s not only an ally here and there or only when youâ€™ve been on your best behavior.
Thatâ€™s not why He died on the cross.
He died for sinners. He died for you and he died for me.
Because He loves us.
All we have to do is let Him in.
Let Him fight for us, in us, beside us, and we will be stronger.
We will be in the army of all armies, being lead to true victory.
With this love, support, empathy, and understanding, we will be healed.
From the inside out.
When I Thought I was Alive
Before March of 2008, I thought I was alive.
I was 25, engaged to my best friend, and looking forward to our life together with excitement.
Had friends, family, and a job I loved.
Had a home, I travelled, I had the means with which to live the life I sought after.
Thought I was alive.
Until I learned how to live.
Learning to Live
Freedom came to me when, as a visitor to my friendsâ€™ church, the pastor asked, â€œIf God were sitting with you right now, what would be the first thing you would say to him?â€
Though I counted myself a â€œgoodâ€ person, my answer was â€œIâ€™m sorry. I am so so sorry.â€
I was shocked to my core.
Sorry about what?
I challenged Satan challenged.
As I searched my heart for the answer, it became clear. I was indeed so very sorry.
In Need of a Savior
For thinking it was me who had it all under control.
Wanting control in the first place.
My mouth. Gossip. Disrespect.
My selfish life.
Knowing that I felt a stirring for God deep in my heart and doing nothing about it for four years.
Living in sin.
Being less than I knew I could be.
For all of it.
I was overcome by the feeling of all Iâ€™d done wrong.
I sat there, staring straight ahead at this man I didnâ€™t know, asking this question I didnâ€™t like the answer to, and I sobbed.
How could I ever make a life that was worthy of God?
He is far too grand. He is far too good.
How could he love a wretch like me?
But the next words out of the preacherâ€™s mouth were not about condemnation.
They were not saying I needed to wallow in this mess Iâ€™d made, but his direction was clear.
I had to ask for forgiveness. With my whole heart. Truly wanting to have my slate wiped clean.
So I Prayed
So I prayed.
When people share their experiences coming to know the Lord, it can feel a little weird to those reading it (Satanâ€™s move).
So, when you hear what happened next, know that this is not made up.
This not something Iâ€™ve put into writing for some sort of personal gain.
Itâ€™s the honest and complete truth.
I felt myself being forgiven.
Washed as white as snow.
A clean heart created in me by the One who gave His life, so I could be there in that room being saved and found.
To have grace pour down on me.
I canâ€™t really explain that feeling.
It was somewhat like how I felt when I got married seven months later, but not quite.
It was a little like how I felt when the nurse handed my babies to me, but not exactly.
Going forward, I didnâ€™t know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it exactly, but I did know two things:
- I was changed.
- I was alive.
Since then, I have learned that Christianity isnâ€™t for the weak or the proud, nor is it easy by any stretch of the imagination, but thatâ€™s a different story for a different time.
This story is of Godâ€™s grace.
His mercy that fell on me, wrapped up this sinner, and held me close.
Even though life has handed us some serious curve balls since that day, boy am I glad I havenâ€™t walked through it alone.
Going through this life with Jesus inside me and beside me is the only thing that got me through some of lifeâ€™s hardest moments.
What I thought was living almost 10 years ago was nothing like the alive I am today.
The alive Iâ€™ve been given.
The alive Iâ€™ll inherit one day.
Praise God for His grace and mercy.
I didnâ€™t deserve it, but You gave it anyway.
You gave it all so I could live.
And live I will.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Eek. 36:26)
7 Habits You Need to Start Today
If you’ve ever been forgiven for something or loved even though you haven’t been the best version of yourself, you’ll appreciate these habits.
It’s the one thing any of us ever need to both give and to receive: grace.
This isn’t something that just happens. In fact, it’s quite purposeful.
There are habits that grace-giving people do each day, and because God’s grace is something we’re given, it only makes sense that we, too adopt the following:
1. Wake up enjoying Jesus
When I wake up it can be hard to think about enjoying Jesus.
To do anything more than obey my autopilot: shuffle into the bathroom, turn on the hot water, stand.
Beginning our day with a thankful heart is huge.
It can literally change our attitude, how we face our day, and what the outcome of that day actually looks like.
Once the fog clears, we can start enjoying Him.
Thank You for my home. For my children. For a job that makes our life possible. Thank You for this day you’ve given me. I praise You for a hot shower. Thank You for a new day. A new beginning. A fresh start.
Even in the middle of a pile of heavy junk, Lord, I have a new start today.
Thank You for mercies new every morning. For Your grace that is so big and so deep and so freely flowing that I can receive Your love even when it seems like all the odds are against me.
Thank You for knowing more than me.
For seeing the big picture so I don’t have to. Thank You for this life and this day, and help me make choices that reflect Your love and grace in it.
Beginning each day in prayer of thanks and even asking God for help with facing the challenges of the day, you open your life to His grace, and in turn are more able to spread that grace onto others.
2. Study the Word
It was a struggle for years thinking I didn’t need to do a Bible study.
Said that I knew what the Bible said, and I loved God. I was a good person.
My shallow view of studying the Bible only hindered my relationship with God, thus hindering my relationship with others.
Once I got over myself and became humble enough to think maybe I didn’t know everything (duh) my life began.
I start my day bundled in a chunky knit blanket with a cup of hot coffee next to me in the same spot each morning.
I curl up into my Bible study praying with an open heart that God will take these lessons, these words-His Word- and work it into my heart changing me to be more like Him. To give me something to dwell on and grow from within.
With each study, each page, each sentence, I learn little nuggets of what it means to be like Jesus, live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and I face my day thinking of Jesus.
We start our day with joy when we start our day with Jesus.
Joy opens our eyes to grace. It fills us with the ability to give grace to others.
Joy-filled people aren’t dishing out hate.
They’re giving love. Jesus. Grace.
Starting our day studying the Bible changes the face of our entire day and in turn shapes our entire life.
3. Sing Praise
This one is one of my favorite habits.
In fact, starting my day listening to a Christian radio station in the kitchen as I make breakfast for my family just reaches into my heart and sets me up for grace. I can’t help it.
Singing God’s praise, no matter how bad the morning or what kind of struggle I’m facing, rights my heart.
Really listen to the words and think about what God is trying to tell you about this Son of His that was given to us for our saving.
What He’s telling you about where you are right now and how to handle it. It’s all there.
In this experience of Jesus, you’ll start to even notice the songs that come on are just what you need. Just for you.
You’ll find yourself in awe of how big God’s love is for you.
When we belt out the tune and feel the tears welling up in our eyes from the overwhelming love of the Holy Spirit filling up our heart, we feel Jesus.
A heart full of the Lord breeds grace.
We feel His grace loving us even when we are unlovable. We turn that grace outward and love others through our day.
4. Pray through the Work Day
If we walk into work and face the negativity of the dayâ€™s tasks that bear their full weight on our shoulders, and we pray right when we think we canâ€™t take it any more, â€œGod, help!â€ we know Jesus right then and there.
When He comes along to pull us out of gossip and rudeness. To soften our hearts for our co-workers or a stranger on the phone, and we in turn give kindness when it isnâ€™t deserved, we give Jesus. We give grace.
We’ve all had those days when we need something to pull us away from the negativity our environment throws at us. This is it, friends.
It’s a tried and true method.
It’s one of the biggest things that really solidified my relationship and understanding of just how powerful God really is.
Praying through your work day whether that’s in an office, in a field, or in the playroom with your children, you’ve got a mighty tool that can change how your heart views each situation and how your mouth reacts to it.
Your words are shaped by the truth of your heart.
If the truth of your heart is the Truth of who Jesus is (grace, love, patience, etc), then imagine what kind of a day you can have.
What kind of day you can give to others.
5. Speak Grace
If we come home to our spouse starting up again, bringing on old points of contention they know will lead to argument, and instead of fighting back, you pray, â€œLove is patient. Love is kindâ€ to yourself, the result will knock you back a step or two.
When, instead of hate-filled, I-got-the-last-word spite, you hold your tongue, you’re speaking volumes.
You speak Jesus. You speak grace.
If you walk in the door and your children are arguing, your husband didn’t do that one thing you needed him to, and your dog just barfed in the floor all at once (because that’s just kinda how life goes sometimes), you choose how you react. Yelling and anger and accusatory speech makes the situation the same.
Grace makes the situation very different.
Because you’ve been with Jesus all day, your heart is different. You’ve walked into a mess, but you’re prepared mentally to handle it because it’s just another bump in the road of the day.
Instead of yelling, you hug, you explain, you hold your tongue, you reach for thanks that you have a home and a crazy family and a loyal companion. You take a deep breath and turn to praise.
You give grace when you turn to Jesus.
Your home becomes more peaceful, situations diffuse more quickly, and you can give grace because all day long you’ve been giving and receiving grace.
And so, it just…fits.
6. Share Jesus
This one is tricky.
Not everyone wants to hear about your God. Or how beautiful His love is. Or what He’s done for you today.
In some situations, it’s perfectly natural to share that Jesus captivated your heart from the minute you opened your Bible that morning, but in others, it doesn’t feel like the right time.
And that’s okay.
When I’m met with these situations, I can’t help but think of Jesus meeting nonbelievers where they were.
He didn’t go in, guns blazing, knocking people over with a spew of judgement. He loved them.
Just simply, purely loved.
That’s how we give grace.
So, if you want to share the Lord, but you don’t know how, I can promise you two things:
1.) Judging, pushing, and acting holier than thou isn’t going to bring anyone to know God, sinner. None of us have it together. Even those who pray all day. We can’t. We need a Savior no matter which way we spin it, so just love. Love your heart out. Love like Jesus.
2.) Building a relationship with nonbelievers and believers alike and sharing how God works in your life from a place of humble praise is the only way to go. Acting like we had anything to do with our blessings is going to push others away from God, and that is just so not the point. Let’s love more and boast less.
Sometimes it takes showing others that we are empty without Love, that we are nothing without the Lord, and that because we are given His grace and mercy, we show it, too is all it takes to soften a heart toward the greatest gift we could ever give another human being.
Let’s love people with grace toward Jesus.
7. End the Day in Praise
Thank You for this day. For the opportunities, lessons, and people in it. Thank You for walking me through the tough situations and for holding me up when I needed it. For blessing me and for providing this life. Thank You for my inheritance as a child of God and for giving it all so I can have You. I love You.
In a world that tries its hardest to point us toward justice, judgement, and spite, you can be a light.
But it’s an intentional thing. It doesn’t just happen. It’s an actual, gradual change.
How does this apply to you today?
Maybe you start with number 1 and practice that for a couple weeks. Waking up enjoying Jesus is a pretty great place to start.
And it only gets better from there.
What a relief to know that His grace isn’t something I have to earn, but instead something lavished upon me in His ultimate love.
To pass that on would make any day brighter.
Would make any world less cold.
Place grace above hate.
And be the change.
If youâ€™ve never been a parent, thereâ€™s no way I can possibly explain that kind of love. That kind of inexplicable grace.
I can use words. I can try, but Iâ€™ll never achieve the exact feeling. Itâ€™s just too grand.
Iâ€™d like to compare it to the love of a spouse because when you fall in love itâ€™s intense. However, this too will never compare to the love of a child because itâ€™s so different.
I could compare it to the love of a sibling. Especially if youâ€™re an older sibling, who feels itâ€™s your responsibility to care for the younger child, yet that child was not created for you. It cannot be the same.
Fellow parents, why canâ€™t we accurately tell this feeling?
I try so hard to explain everything else as a writer, and yet this one single thing I just canâ€™t pinpoint.
Scratch that. Two feelings I canâ€™t pinpoint.
The love for my boys is something I never expected, It was overwhelming. It crushed me in a sense. I didnâ€™t see it coming.
And yet, the feeling of God loving me is far greater than anything I’ve ever felt in my life.
There are no words.
To have a relationship. Receive the inheritance as His child.
How could this be?
Because Godâ€™s love is inexplicably huge.
His grace and mercy reaches even the most lost of wanderers.
No Matter What
It doesn’t matter how far you go, no matter how loudly you shout to the world that He is nothing more than a mere Santa, who Christians have made up.
And no matter how youâ€™ve said He isnâ€™t listening or doesnâ€™t care.
No. Matter. What.
Open His Word and you will see. You will feel.
The living Word of the Bible is full of His love.
Yes, for you.
It is true. There’s death, destruction, and sin at every turn, but only so we know how to live. This is the same as how we would warn a child, whom we love so much, not to wander into the street.
We are His children, and oh, how we wander.
Search and See
Search the Bible, read with an open heart, and you’ll be hit with this inexplicable feeling. You’ll be given what Christians are taught, breathe in, and are left in awe of.
Not a teaching on death, destruction, and sin at every turn. Not teaching on how to be better than everyone else. Or hate those who don’t love God.
But something more: how to love.
God’s word is really our road map back to Him. How to get back, so he can lavish his love on us. On you. On me.
Though we don’t deserve it.
Oh, child. How He loves you.
1 John 4:7
Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
The One Thing That Won’t Fit on Your To-Do List
Let’s take a different look at the to-do list.
It’s so weird, isn’t it?
How we call a “change of heart” something that refers to a sudden act.
Why did she end up going to the event?
She had a change of heart.
Why didn’t you choose to accept the position?
Change of heart.
Just like that.
One minute you think one way and then, with the snap of a finger, you’ve had this total heart change, and you’re thinking in a completely different way.
If only it were that simple.
As Christians we have come to know heart changes as some of the biggest transformations of our lives. And rightly so.
All God wants is our heart.
However, changing the way one’s heart feels changes our actions, our speech, our mental thought process.
This, unfortunately does not fit into the world’s description of a “change of heart.”
A Big Christian Struggle
One of the biggest struggles in Christianity is the waiting.
Oh, the waiting. Then the learning. Then the waiting some more.
Because God doesn’t work on our time clock or our will.
Thy will be done.
My Flesh Has a To-Do List
See, my flesh doesn’t like this so much.
I’m a planner. A checklist-er.
I have an end goal, and I either meet that end goal, or I will tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next week.
Whenever and however it happens, I know that it will all fit together. Nice and neat. Tied up in a little bow. Checked off my list with an immediate gratification.
Trust the Lord in all things——–
Trust the LORD
That’s a bit different. Let’s think: I know when I want it to happen: today, obviously. Okay, okay…maybe by the end of the week to give myself some grace. I do have a lot on my plate. Maybe I won’t get to all-out trusting by midnight tonight.
I know how I plan on making this happen: Bible study, prayer, accountability partner.
I set forth. Bible open. Journaling pens poised. Hands folded and head bowed.
I feel great about the work I’ve done during quiet time on day one. Maybe I’ll meet that midnight goal after all. God, thank You for working in my heart! I love you!
TwoÂ hours later, I’m at work, and I get a callÂ about making Hudson’s next ultrasound appointment. My heart drops but only for a second. That familiar feeling of “what if”.
I start thinking about the day I can take off that works with my schedule.
I think about how he’ll react to going NPO (not eating until the ultrasound is over).
My mind wanders over to how that first ultrasound looked when we confirmed our baby had cancer. What did it look like again? It’s hard to remember now three years out. Best to try to remember Â though, so I can watch the screen.
My heart flutters that familiar way it does every six months when I have to schedule the blood draw. The x-ray. Should I go for the x-ray? I hate the extra radiation exposure, but who am I to say I know more than Dr. Dole?
So much for that midnight deadline.
I take a deep breath. My heart settles. I lean on Him again.
My heart hasn’t changed! But I felt so great about my time with God this morning!
Why can’t I just check this off my list and move on? Even though I really want it with all my heart?
Because God’s not done working on me just yet.
He has lots of lessons. Lots of “Oh, I see…” moments just waiting for me.
To be perfectly honest, I both love and really really dislike this about walking the walk, friends.
I love it because I’ve been on the other side of a true heart change, and it’s huge.
Huger than huge.
It’s game-changing big and God reveals Himself in ways that knock me over.
I know what’s coming from Him is not just good but the absolute definition of awesome.
Not Me But Him
I don’t know when. I don’t know how. I don’t know what I’ll have to endure to learn the lessons He knows are best for me.
I don’t have control over this situation, and just like that the belief floats away in the breeze, and I’m left bare, raw, and insecure.
The only way to overcome this is calling on Jesus. My Savior. My Redeemer. My King.
And then I realize something.
Instead of rolling through the list of how this is so unfair, and can’t God just see I have good intentions? Â
Can’t He give me what I went for that morning during my quiet time with a pure desire to be better for His kingdom?
Can’t He just follow my timetable?
I realize that…simply put… it’s not about me.
And all about Him.
When I check off my to-do list, I’m the head of my life and my heart.
When I’m empty without Him and can do all things with Him, then and only then has He truly got my heart.
I Am Weak. He is Strong.
In my weakness He is strong.
So, no. The life-altering heart changes won’t fit on that to-do list of ours, but it’s okay.
It’s more than okay. It’s the way it’s supposed to be.
To draw us nearer to God in our inability to take on His role. To bring us clarity in only ways He can do. To forever change our earthly life so we can better serve His kingdom in our forever home.
It takes surrender. It takes love. And it takes us on the journey whether we like it or not.
To learn the ultimate lesson: only when we stop grasping for what’s in our short sightedness and pray for eyes to see His path can we be changed.
Every hour. Every minute. Every second. I need You.
Praise God, how I need You!
3 Words to Kick Pride to the Curb
Pride: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Why would anyone want to get rid of a pleasurable feeling?
Every time we get a sense of pride-of true unabashed pride-we are really saying one thing: “Look what I did.”
My son can speak at three months: look what our boy can do.
I spend two-and-a-half years getting my Masters degree: look what I finally accomplished. Look at how my hard work has paid off.
My husband makes a sale that affords us renovation: All of those long, hard days and sacrifices our family has made while my husband worked so hard is blessing us.
The 8th graders in my class create amazing projects: Look what my students did after a long quarter of perseverance.
All of these things, they’re good things, but pride isn’t the feeling we should associate with it because pride is a lie.
Pride is a Lie
We have been taught to believe pride. To relish it. To find our joy in it.
And frankly, no one likes to hear that something they like is a sin.
But it is.
If you read further down into the synonyms part of the definition, you’ll read the following:
Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect: Pride must have a fall.
Must have a fall.
Then why in the world do we tell our children, “I’m proud of you” or our husband upon that bonus check, “Babe! I’m so proud of you!” or to others, “I’m proud that I stuck with that degree, it’s really paying off”?
Because we’ve been taught to.
Child of God, when looking within ourselves, we must remember that we are living in this world, but we are not of this world.
In It Not Of It
Whether we particularly like it or not, we are set apart. Living in exile.
Which is why what I’m sharing today is most likely not sitting well with my readers.
How do we undo this prideful thinking?
We must trade in old feelings for new.
It sounds impossible, but it can be done.
We must change our view on how the achievement was made.
All things. Not some things. All.
And if this is our truth, if this is what we claim to believe, then we cannot ever take complete credit for accomplishments because that would be a lie. That would be prideful.
And pride, we know, must come with a fall.
These three words are all we need:
Instead of “I’m so proud of…” say, “I’m so grateful that…” or “I’m so thankful that…” or “I praise God for…”
Some Easy Changes
“I’m proud of myself for sticking with that tough course load and making it to graduation. That was so tough!”
“I’m so thankful God helped me through that course. That was so tough!”
“Babe! I’m so proud of you!”
“Thank God you were able to earn this bonus. I’m so thankful!”
“I’m so proud of you, son!”
“I’m really thankful God helped you through this test. I know you studied hard for it.”
What’s the Payoff for Ditching Pride?
It really is a switch in how we think about the end result of our hard work, but we must speak truths, especially to our children.
We are the only way they will know who’s truly at work within them allowing them the strength, courage, and perseverance to complete tasks.
Today, instead of falling from pride, we’ll fall to our knees and pray, “God, thank you!”
We will use the words with our children, “I’m so thankful God was with you through that assignment,” or “Thank you, God for my child. Thank you for his courage. His heart. And that I get to be his momma.”
Turn Our Hearts and Eyes
We will still feel joy, excitement, and happiness, but we will turn our hearts toward giving credit where credit is due.
While only God can change a heart, we do play a very specific role in how our children’s hearts are shaped. We play an active part in our own salvation and heart changes, too.
Because we know God wants our hearts, we know we have to make ours right and raise up the next generation to understand the driving force behind their life, too.
Thank you, Lord for being with me as I wrote this piece. I pray You are in my reader’s hearts so they can become closer to You through this post. I love you! Amen!
As a little girl, I used to daydream about motherhood.
What would it be like, I wondered from as far back as I can remember, to be the mommy?
How I hoped I could be like my own mother.
Dear New Christian,
I write to you today almost nine years exactly from the day I decided to live for the Lord, and there are some things you should know, new Christian.
1.) Reading scripture is essential.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This is something I didn’t really understand until I began Bible study. To read, study, dig deep into what the Lord has left for us to live our life by is huge.
Every day, in big and small ways, we need Scripture.
One way to do this is to have a go-to every day. This is an app I have on my phone that serves me well.
It’s easy to personalize with different devotions, and I can even link up with friends who have the app.
2.) Community is Biblical.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Being a homebody who can sit and read for hours without socially interacting with anyone, I fought this one hard.
It wasn’t until I was urged by a friend and by Scripture that I began really being active in a community of Christians.
It’s been unbelievably special.
Our Bible study meets Wednesday nights, and we have something called House Church every other Sunday evening. It is basically a family study where the kids learn a lesson and play while the adults discuss a study or the sermon after we’ve had dinner together.
It’s a lot of Jesus in our life.
It was a big change, but it was so very worth it. If you’re unsure of where to start, your church elders can lead you into a community of believers.
3.) His mercies are new every morning.
As a new Christian, it can be overwhelming how great our God is. How He loves. How He lives.
This verse can help us:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Each day I need His mercies. I have to pray,”Lord help me be better than I was yesterday.”
This hope is what keeps me going. That we don’t have to live in fear of never measuring up to Jesus.
Jesus died on the cross so we can have a new start. Be forgiven. Washed as white as snow.
Live there. Keep taking in that while we will not ever be as perfect as Christ, we can be forgiven, dust ourselves off, and try even harder the next day.
4.) This is the path less traveled.
This will not be easy. In fact, it is written
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
They hate me? Because I am a follower of Christ?
For lots of reasons I both do and don’t understand.
Either way, like Peter writes about living in exile, it’s just the way it is.
It’s hard because for the most part, we like being liked. So when someone hates us, makes fun of us, casts us aside because we live in a way they don’t understand, it will be hard, new Christian.
Put on the suit of armor. It is a battle, but take heart. It’s the only one really worth fighting.
5.) This is a relationship.
Jesus longs for you. To be with you. Talk with you. Listen to you.
Just like any other relationship, in order for it to work, we have to show up. Every single day.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Ever since reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World I have held this picture in my heart of Jesus waiting on my couch (my designated Bible study spot) patiently as I sleep.
With a childlike excitement He hopes I follow through with my promise to pray, study, and come to His feet each day.
I don’t want to let Him down.
He died for me! No one else in this world loves me like that.
What is the only way I can reciprocate that love?
By loving Him back. Showing up. Playing an active role in my relationship with Him.
Instead of feeling guilt when I sleep longer than my alarm or when I go a couple of months without starting my day in the Word, I pray, “Lord, help me put You first.”
I can do nothing without Him. I can do everything with Him.
New Christian, this is a journey. But this walk you will take is full of more rewards than you can even fathom right now.
Take this scripture and envision yourself each day as you are tempted to live your life outside of the Lord.
Arm yourself, sisters and brothers.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, …
Welcome, new Christian.
You are loved.
A Sinner Like Me