Tag Archive | prayer

He Is Faithful and Good

For whatever reason, the blog has been getting a lot of views lately – both on the wordpress site and on Facebook. As you may have noticed, nothing has been written in quite some time. Well, nothing blog worthy anyway. With all the looks, though, I’m guessing that it means I might need to write something.

“Something.”   😉

Truth be told, it’s been a very trying and difficult season. None of which I will go into now 3e28307761b240f34c56bdf91cd6ea31– I do love my transparency with things, but most of this isn’t mine to share and some of it I’m just trying to process still. Sometimes, writing can be part of the process, but other times, we just need to be still and find answers and peace in His solitude.

And that’s exactly where I’m at right now. Sitting at His feet, thanking Him for the little things, praying for big things, and doing my best to stay in His presence despite the enemy’s desire to pull me away.

When times like this come, and they will and do come, please please please – find Him and find the people
whom He has put in your path to help hold you up. Life is not about doing it all by ourselves. It’s about leaning into Him and His people.

The good news is that He is faithful and I am seeing the fruits of consistent prayer in this challenging season. Prayer really does change things, friends. Not just the things for which we’re praying, but it changes us.

My head is above the wave, the tides are changing, and He is good. All the time.

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Stepping into the War Room

By now, many of us have seen the movie War Room. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I would be seeing it. First because it’s Priscilla Shirer, and anyone who knows me, knows that’s enough. Secondly, I wanted to see it because it’s about prayer. I love prayer. I love to pray. I burden for others and that’s a gift that I love having. Usually. =]

My problem, sometimes, with movies like this is the perfectly wrapped ending. By the end of the two hour movie, life is almost perfect and the War Room has done exactly what it’s supposed to do.

What about those times when there isn’t a perfectly wrapped ending? What about those times our prayers aren’t answered in the way we hoped or expected? How do we continue without being angry with God or doubting that He ever hears us?

Just. Keep. Going.

That’s my only answer. I’ve had some prayers that have gone unanswered for years and I have others that get answered in ways I didn’t expect and some that get answered immediately. I can’t understand why.

The idea that we have a perfect God who is always willing to listen to us when we cry out to Him is something that still amazes me. I wanted to share some of my own war room scriptures and quotes with you.

10385309_10204173332271968_7915259727223994481_nEphesians 3:20 – 21. My friend created this for me as a going away gift when I left my last workplace. It’s probably my most cherished gift. It’s my favorite scripture, handmade into this beautiful design and then placed in a frame.  (let me know if you’re interested in seeing more of her work! I’ll direct you to her FB page.)

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

“You own the skies and still want my heart.” – a quote from a Hillsong United song – Up In Arms.

“You make me brave.”

“Oh, men and women, pray through; pray through! Do not just begin to pray and pray a little while and throw up your hands and quit; but pray and pray and pray until God bends the heavens and comes down.” ~ R. A. Torrey

“Try a little harder to be a little better.” ~ Gordon B. Hickley

“You can’t save people, you can only love them.” ~ Anais Nin

Sometimes, I will pick up that thing You’ve asked me to lay down. I’m thankful for Your grace. I ask for your forgiveness.

Surrender.

“You see the depths of my heart and love me the same.” ~ Chris Tomlin – Indescribable

2 Timothy 4:17 (NKJV) 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me

Psalm 116:2 (NLT)Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

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I used to be really scared to pray. I don’t know why – shame? Guilt? I’m sure it was both.

Let me encourage you – we can’t all have a “war room”, but we can all have a time and place in which we can wage our war on our knees (or on our butts, or face, or driving down the road…). Please don’t let *rules* stand in the way of having a conversation with our Creator. He really, really wants us to talk to Him. He is relentless for us. For you. For me.

It’s hard to be honest with Him and ourselves, putting all of our hopes, dreams, despairs, struggles, heart for others, etc… out there. It is. I get it. Trust me when I tell you, it doesn’t always have a happy ending like in the movies. But when we listen, when we’re still, and when we faithfully step into that war room with Him – it will always be right.

 

 

 

No Passing Zone

I’ve been throwing this topic around in my head for weeks. I’m not sure that I even have enough of a cohesive thought about it to actually make something that sounds helpful or encouraging, but I’m ready for it to leave my brain.

Transition from one very safe place into a much unknown place can be mucky and murky and difficult. I’ve encountered more “trust issues” in the last year than I have in the last decade. It’s made me think back to the old me, the one who didn’t trust people, and I had to play this out carefully to not allow myself to slip back into that place of a consistently untrusting spirit.

The definition of trust is simple: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. The act of trusting is not quite so simple, though. It isn’t just the ability to be vulnerable with another human; it’s the conscious decision to believe your safety is of interest to another human; whether it’s emotional, physical, spiritual, etc…

In hindsight, because I allowed myself to try and run ahead of God and the plans He had for me, I felt like I was suddenly not under His armor or behind His shield or allowing Him to journey ahead of me in order to clear the path. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for one hot second that God walked away from me and suddenly left me unprotected, but I did walk ahead of Him – with an unconscious flip of my hand saying, “thanks for getting me to this point, God … I got it from here.”

And now I have s6195593_origome consequences for that. I’ve been a little dinged up, a little bit damaged, and a little less trusting. Not because of anything He did, but because of what I thought I could do without Him leading the way. God does give us wisdom to make decisions and opportunities to spread our wings, but when we’re too busy running ahead, we’re running right by the things He has for us and we don’t even realize it.

The good news is that we have a God of mercy and grace. When we run ahead, we can turn back to Him and He’ll give us a proverbial pat on the head and say something like, “passing Me the baton now, eh?” and He’ll keep it pushin.. (maybe He just says that to me… :p )

So for those of us feeling a little battered, a little bruised, a little unsure of the people in our circle, or just plain unsure of ourselves – let’s take some time to check our placement. Are we under and behind His armor or are we walking ahead trying to “handle it” on our own. If it’s the latter, I’ll be praying with you (and myself) that we might be made aware when we’re trying to run ahead and that we fall back under His loving protection.

 

 

Hope is Him…

The fact that I wrote about hope last year, on this Saturday – the in-between day – and that God is prompting the same topic on this Saturday – the in-between day – a year later shouldn’t surprise me.hope-is-not-a-philosophy

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve been writing, but not really, a post about my man child leaving home for a couple weeks now. I just can’t seem to get it done. I can’t put my feelings of joy and sadness into words yet. I try. I can’t.

This week has been especially difficult. You see, I received some bad news on Monday. It sorta rocked my world, definitely shook my confidence, and just crumpled my spirits. I was sad, bummed out, and feeling pretty defeated.

It took me all of half the day to get over it, though. The defeat was momentary. I can only give praise to Christ for that. I have too much faith in His call and purpose for me to sit and question anything for too long. I have to trust that what He says and does is for my very best.

I am living out a year with victory in mind, a year of expectation, and big, big hope. When something comes before me, I get SUPER excited about it and have a hope that seems larger than life. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty all-consuming hope. Driving to work one day, a couple weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with hope, joy, and expectation over this particular thing that I just sobbed big, fat happy tears for how GOOD God is to me!

Imagine my surprise when that door closed. God, remember that morning we were driving? Remember how happy I was that You WERE going to make this happen? Remember how excited I was about it? He remembers. And He knows better. He knows me better. His plan is always better than my own.

Where I was stumbling, though, was how to continue standing in hope and expectation when there’s a good chance defeat will be on the other end. How do we expect the Lord to do something and not be so sad when He doesn’t do what we’re asking? When I brought this up, in my small group, I received the best, most quiet reply. “At least you still have hope.” Ahh… I DO still have hope. Lots and lots of it.

Her answer reminded me how many people walk around feeling hopeless, never expecting their lives to change or become different. Even those who know and trust Christ, fall into the enemy’s pit of hopelessness. I think back to Joshua 1, when the Israelites were told to cross the Jordan – without any clue about how or what would happen next – they were told that all things promised to them would come, they need only take the first step without seeing the big picture. It’s Hope! And it’s Faith!

On a day like the in-between Saturday, we’re reminded that when things seem bleak or hopeless, we can’t even imagine what’s on the other side of this day.

Hope Risen.

Risen Hope.

If we have the ability to believe and know that Christ was slaughtered for us. Died on the cross for us. Was buried in a tomb for us. And then rose from the grave so that we might be able to have life and HOPE in Him, then we have to continue to stand in the promises of Him.

He is good.

He is alive.

He is our hope.

Seeing me through His eyes

About ten days ago, I was given a challenge at my bible study. Of course, since one of my mottos is to never do anything alone that I can do with someone else; I challenged some of my friends to do it with me. And now, I’m sharing the challenge with you.

The leader of the bible study asked us, “what is something you wish that other people knew and understood about you?” I didn’t even have to think about it. My answer to this question is easy. I wish people knew and understood how badly I want to share my life with someone. Many of my friends compliment me on my strength, independence, courage, ability to “do it all,” and how confident I am to tackle the world.

No. I mean yes. I would like to think that God has given me some really great opportunities to grow and handle business as a mom, an employee, a student, in ministry, etc… But really… I’m mostly a mess.

I try to figure out ways, in my head, that I might be more approachable or more attractive or more looked upon or more desirable or more open and vulnerable or blah blah blah. I feel like I spend so much time trying to see me the way others see me so that I can fix whatever is so broken in me that it makes me unwanted.

Yeah.

I didn’t share all that in my bible study, but oddly the assignment I was given spoke right to that nasty place in my heart. The leader asked me if I would consider taking a few days to get still before God, just me and Him – and a pen and journal – and ask Him simply, “God, what do YOU think about me?” and be prepared to write down the things He reveals to my heart.blog-el-roi

I am open to ask God anything. Where should I go? Who should I talk to? Should I be part of this or part of that? Asking Him what He thought about me, though? The thought never crossed my mind. It’s like sitting in front of my mom and asking her the same question. Scary.

Naturally, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the conference I attended the weekend right after this assignment was given was all about what God thinks about us. It’s like He lined it all up – just so. Isn’t that how He always tends to do things?

I confess that I haven’t done it yet, but I will this week. And I’d like to challenge you to the same thing. Take a few minutes, over a period of a couple of days, and just sit before God and ask Him – what do You think about me? And wait for Him to reveal His vision OF you TO you. Write these things down and at the end of the days you set aside to do this, go back and read all the things He’s shared with you. I’m pretty sure we’re all going to walk away seeing ourselves a little bit differently.

God saw us precious enough to send His own Son to the Cross for us. I’d like to see myself that way for a while. And I bet you’d like that too. Let’s do it!

Waiting and Hoping and Believing

When life doesn’t do what we expect it to do, as believers, we can only do one thing.

Hope.

Some people think hope is a dirty word. “I hope for _____” and “I hope I can accomplish ____” or whatever your hope might look like in your world. It is not bad to hope for things, friends.

Abraham hoped… Romans 4:18-21 (NLT) 18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”[a] 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

Hope provides us with an opportunity to have faith. Abounding faith! Believing that what God has promised us will come through, in His time, is hard, but crucial to our walk with Him.

When I was preparing for my move to Texas, I had a great “feel” on a job with a local non-profit. My manager put in a call to their management and sent a recommendation letter on my behalf. I knew – I just KNEW – that the job would work out and it was perfect for me.

The job didn’t work out. I knew it was perfect for me. God knew it wasn’t.

I had a choice at that point; I could stop hoping and believing in God’s promises to me or I could move forward, in faith, that God wasn’t going to lead me into a place of despair and just leave me there. It was the perfect opportunity to allow my faith to grow even more. Figuratively, I could look at my resume and find that it’s “as good as dead” and that I would never find the place He has for me. But, like Abraham, I want to choose not to waver in believing God’s promise.

It isn’t easy. Sometimes I want to waver. I want to tuck my tail, and run home. I miss my friends more than I ever thought possible. I thought I would be working by now and have my mind distracted from the people, things, and places my heart longs for. All I have to lean on, hope in, depend on is God. And He has to be enough for me.

He is enough.psalm 130 jshih

Galatians 5:5 (NLT) 5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.


Psalm 130:5 (NIV) I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Whatever it is that you’re hoping for today, have faith. Believe in God’s promise to you. Hold on to that hope and keep walking the path He lays for you. His path is perfect. In obedience, we aren’t promised that the path will be without struggle – but we are promised that His plans are best.

Wait on Him. In His word put my hope.

Repeat.

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Repeat.

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Repeat…

Keep Singing Oceans

I read a blog post recently called Stop Singing Oceans authored by Annie F Downs. Before going any further… please go read her post. It will put what I’m about to say in context. And, for the record, I don’t know anything about this sweet woman… I’m sure she is very wonderful! I’m not, in the least bit, attacking her. I’m just using her blog post as a conduit to my own nasty confession.

Yes, Annie F Downs!! I thought the same thing! I like to think that I was the first person to ever hear that song. It’s made appearances on my blog, on my Facebook, and mostly, deep down in my heart. I say that song was the thing that held me together during this transition of mine.

The lines, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You may call me,” were ringing true in every aspect of my life as I prepared to leave everything I knew to step into the unknown in Texas – simply because I felt that God was calling me there.

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I remember crying out, pouring out, and begging for God to make me strong when I heard this song. I, too, would be frustrated when others sang it… and I, in my high and mighty position of letting the Spirit lead me wherever He may call me, felt like anyone else – not making such a huge change and sacrifice – was simply mouthing the words to a song they weren’t willing to actually live out. Like, seriously, I would find myself being snubbish about it. Like I was better. Or more awesome. Or really following God and everyone else who sang it wasn’t.

Yep. I admit it. I did that.

Then, the other day, out of the blue, God straight up convicted me of that. I wasn’t even listening to the song, thinking about it, nada… it’s just like He tapped me on the shoulder and said, “hey, so you know that thing you were doing in your head? I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it one bit. I need you to fix that in your heart. You are a beautiful child of Mine, and I love you… but you aren’t the only one walking it out.”

Hello, God…? Is that You? sigh.

It was Him. And He was right. My heart was a little ugly about the whole thing.

So, I started to think about what it might look like for someone else. It doesn’t always mean leaving a place, giving away all your money, etc… It might mean trusting God to walk you through addiction, or an eating disorder, or getting your marriage together, or getting yourself together. He may be calling you to build a better relationship with Him so that when/if He does call you to go “wherever” you’ll be ready.

Sometimes, like Annie mentions, it just means buying coffee for a homeless person or sharing something from our past. She was right on point when she says that we need to be living it out. Period.

How can we, so fully and with such gusto, sing a song and then just turn it off when the song is over. We do. But we shouldn’t.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It doesn’t say we have to GO anywhere or GIVE away everything, but it does say that we were created to do good works and that He has prepared those in advance for us. In other words, situations will be put in our path because God is giving us an opportunity to do good work in His name. How are we going to handle those situations? With doubt? With love? With nothing at all?

In Colossians 3: 12-17 (ESV)it states, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Can’t this all be about how the Spirit leads us where our trust is without borders? Consider someone who needs to forgive another person that hurt them deeply. If we choose forgiveness, then isn’t the Spirit leading us to a place where we can’t trust ourselves to go without Him? I say, yep.

So, in conclusion, I say KEEP singing Oceans! And pray that God reveals to you the areas where you need to trust Him fully. Pray that if He is calling you to a place of compassion for someone else that you’re open to it. Pray that if He needs you to talk to someone you’d never talk to because of any myriad of reasons that you gather strength from Him to do so.

We might not have the same “Oceans,” my friends… but we all have our own “Oceans” and that’s the way God is going to use each of us.