Faith during Hard Times

butgod

I would like to consider myself a person of Faith.  However, lately that has been put to the test.  We all go through tough times in our lives, times of heartache, confusion, grief, challenges, sadness, depression and we may even wonder if God is really there.  It’s easy to have faith when everything is going the way that we think that it should, but the moment that changes is a test of how much we truly trust God’s plan over our own.  Sometimes His plan doesn’t look or seem good to us, but it is.  He loves His children and promises us all a bright future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11)  He is our strength, our peace, our provider, our comforter, our refuge, and so much more.  He is EVERYTHING that we need.  The only way to truly get to know Him is by reading His word and asking Him to reveal Himself to us.  He will in such amazing ways!  This doesn’t mean that the challenges in our lives will stop.  A lot of times, as we are growing in our faith, we may actually have even more challenges.  In James, chapter 1 we learn how the challenges strengthen our faith, and once we work through the emotions that naturally come up during these times, patience will be developed inside of us.  This is a process and does not happen immediately, but over time.  The same way that we grow physically, we grow spiritually.  At first, we are like babies and our needs are so many, but as time goes on and we begin to grow, then God helps us learn that we have all that we need inside of us.  How? Because His Son, Jesus died to give us life.  This life is the spiritual growth inside of our heart that allows us to experience joy in the midst of pain, peace in a world of chaos, love when we feel alone and abandoned, wisdom when there doesn’t seem to be a way out, patience to joyfully walk through the “desert” to get to our “promise land”.  Knowing this is great but it doesn’t change a thing until we believe it and live it each day in each moment.  It’s a choice, seems to be an easy one, but that’s not necessarily so.  I’ve found it to be extremely difficult at times, but always worth it.  God has a plan for us, we just need the heart to see it.  We have to rid ourselves of anything that is not of Him and ask Him inside of our hearts to fill us up with all that He is.  This is not a one time choice.  But one that we must make regularly.  Making the choice to have faith in God rather than worrying and doubting helps us mature spiritually and as we do, we learn what “life” really is and eventually are able to even say “thank you” to God for the times in our lives that we used to complain about.  And then our heart changes to become more and more like His.  This is the greatest gift of all.

Psalms 37:4 – Know God Know Joy, No God No Joy

hiswordislove

Psalms 37:4- “take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I’d love to say that my daughter and I woke up and read this verse together and listened to worship music and shared the desires of our hearts and got ready to start the day with a smile.  But that didn’t exactly happen.  I am already frustrated and almost didn’t write on here and honestly not sure why I am.  I am going to carry my index card with this verse around with me today and I am going to look for God throughout my day.  I know that the enemy wants to stop anything good that God has planned for my life and man, he keeps trying.  My hearts desire is that it at least stops hurting quite as much.  The enemy has had a field day with my heart and my mind lately.  So how do I delight in the Lord at times like right now?  I’ll start by reviewing Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  So, this current situation is not my final destination.  I have a lot going on right now that I don’t know what to do about.  I’ve done all that I know to do and a few circumstances in my life have used my heart for a punching bag.  Once I can delight in the Lord, I’m sure that my heart will start to heal again.  How many times can a heart break?  How many times do you think Jesus’ heart broke?  We can still delight in the Lord because of who he is, understand that we don’t understand everything.  When we open our hearts to him and delight in all that He is, He plants a seed in our hearts.  As this seed grows, of course it must me watered (by reading God’s word) and fertilizer is used (the crap we call trials of life) from this beautiful life grows.  The desires of our hearts also change.  When we delight in the Lord, the desires of our heart reflect so much more.  They are not as selfish, but selfless, because we realize more about what life is really all about.

Closing prayer:

Good morning Father,

Please help me see you in the moments that my heart is heavy and hurting.  Help me remember your promise to give me hope and a prosperous future.  Thank you for loving me in such an incredible way.  As I sit here, praying, I can almost feel you wrap your “arms” around me and comfort me.  I pray that even when I feel like giving up, and putting your word down, and just trying to survive on my own, that you give me strength to keep going, with a smile on my face and a joy in my heart that no one and nothing can take from me.  Wipe away the tears, and take my hand.  Walk with me through today.  Through my story, if one person can find you, then it changes the meaning of it all.  I pray that anyone who reads this knows you and seeks to know you more.  I already feel my heart getting lighter.  Thank you!  Father, forgive me for my selfishness sometimes, for repeating out loud the lies of the enemy, mostly regarding who I am.  I’m yours!!  You created me in your image.  I’m not perfect, because I do stray from who you created me to be.  But you are perfect and want what’s best for me.  Thank you for helping me see.  I love you so much!

your daughter,

me 🙂

Women of Grace

urbeautiful

God has done amazing things for my heart as I’ve experienced some of life’s most painful moments.  My story doesn’t argue religion.  What I have is deeper than that.  Religion, to me, set’s up a false expectation that the “right thing” is a list of rules, which sets us up for failure, as we judge each other and even ourselves for never being “good enough” yet “better” than those who don’t believe the way that we do.  Does that even make sense?  Does it make sense to dress up and smile, pretending that your life at home and work is “normal” when in reality you feel like you are dead inside, but can’t possibly let anyone around you know the truth?  Not that I don’t believe that it’s important to go to church.  I also feel that it’s important to be real.  I’ve learned that by opening my heart to God, he has asked me to share things about my story that I’d rather not.  In the past I would worry what others may think.  I almost stopped going to church because I didn’t feel like a “church person” yet my heart ached for this love that I started to experience as I joined others in my faith to be the body of Christ.  It’s so awesome to be part of a family, walking through life together, encouraging each other, lifting one another up, praying together, going to have a drink or two together, go out and serve in our community, in our world, allowing God to use us, to transform us, to open our eyes to what we have been missing.  God cares about what is inside of our hearts.  If you have this mindset as you read His word, then you will begin to experience the beauty of His grace.  As I begin to co lead a womens group at my church God spoke to me.  I kept thinking that once I got my life together, then I would be in a place so that God could use me.  What I didn’t understand was that He had a different plan.  He shined His light in some of my darkest moments and the beauty that emerged changed my life and His light can change yours to.  This poem was written for some beautiful women that I was blessed to get to know, women who have stories that many would never imagine, just by looking at them.  These women were once so broken, hope was almost an illusion, but I saw God’s light shine in their lives and watched them transform into beautiful women of grace.  It was healing, so healing for my soul.  He is our strength, the source of our love, and the one who knows all.  We don’t have to have our lives “together” before He can use us.  He’s God and He loves us so much!!  By surrendering to Him, our lives really begin to have meaning.

God has chosen to use broken, weak, sinful people to serve Him and fulfill His plan
When we open our minds to His truth and faithfully place our heart in His
hands
He removes the lies that are buried, he pulls them out by the root
They are gone, yet not forgotten.  They left a set of wounds.
God provides both peace and comfort, as the wounds begin to heal
He plants a seed of life, a seed of love that is so real.
As this love begins to grow, our transformation begins
What used to be a losing battle, we view as one we may win
The awakening is reviving to the dark and painful heart
Even though the pruning hurts, it has an important part
Once all of the bad is removed, the lies that fill the heart and mind
The love  can be absorbed, and what a treasure we will find.
No longer living by a heart that is rooted in shame
We finally have true life, we’ve been given a new name
We are faithful, lovable, beautiful, radiant, we are
and it is by the grace of God that we have come this far
Once buried in the lies, that now truth takes it’s place
Once we lived in shame, now we are women of grace.

Life with no complaining, is it possible? “God help me :)”

stopcomplaining

It’s been a few days since I’ve written. To be honest, it’s been a few days since I’ve read my bible too.  My life has gotten a bit hectic, and challenging and I started a new challenge with my youngest daughter, in which the goal is to not complain for 21 consecutive days.  I have been complaint free for 4 days.  I keep saying this out loud, as a reminder.  LOL.  It’s a lot more difficult than I thought and I thought that I was a pretty positive person.  The first 3 days of this challenge, I had to start over, time and time again.  I wear a bracelet and every time I complain I move it to the other arm, but after a successful 24 hour period I use my dry erase board on my bathroom mirror to record each day complaint free.  My mind is slowly changing as well.  I still think thoughts that I don’t repeat out loud at all, or pray for God to help me with my words.  Our words are soooooo powerful and so are our thoughts.  Not only do they shape our character and sometimes blind us from the truth of God, they also give life, and help us develop an intimately pure relationship with our creator.  Our words affect us and affect those around us.  So, I wanna ask you to join me in this challenge, to stop complaining and instead learn with me, how to have faith in God’s plan, how to listen to His voice, and choose our words wisely.  Let’s start focussing on how big our God is, instead of these challenges that come along.  Let’s stand up tall and strong, and move forward step, by step, with a smile on our faces because of the love in our hearts.  We can do this toghether, with Christ leading us.  Please feel free to leave comments on my posts containing your story, your successes, your struggles, let’s do this together.  Let’s learn what faith really means, trusting God completely.  Have a blessed day!