Stillness retreat ahead…

As I sit here after an amazing night of fellowship with fellow believers in Christ, I can’t help but think about the many different life paths that led everyone to the circle of friends we formed this evening.

Sitting by the lake, calm, cool and still I began to ponder on life’s circumstances that are often not so calm, cool or still. These circumstances are the ones that we wish would end. They are the circumstances that try to bend and break us beyond what we think we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, God has a bigger picture in mind. His picture or view is bigger, brighter and more grand than our present view could ever be. Often times, a circumstance can do one of two things. A circumstance can either bring us closer to God or farther away. Although God is the constant within the struggle, it is our choice whether we choose to take hold of the constant or loosen our grip. I can say that more often than not, we loosen our grip which makes it easier the next time a trial comes to let go of the hand that is constantly outstretched toward our own.

Without taking hold of the hand that is forever holding ours, it is much harder to have faith that the circumstances are going to bring triumph. However, the reward is found through the struggle and not without the absence of it. Therefore, with the absence of trials how can one find the faith to grip hold of the One who never lets go?

Trust.

my hope

Looking back on the calm, cool and still lakeside retreat tonight, I can’t help but compare it to the image of the storms of life. Just like our circumstances lead all of us to a place of friendly fellowship, God calls all of us to a place of rest and relaxation with Him on a daily basis. Just as the waters may get choppy, strong and distraught, we can be sure that the calm and stillness is just around the corner. If we could only be sure of this truth in our own lives. It is often the case that when the waters begin to pick up speed, this is when our focus shifts to the waters instead of the One who calms them. It is then that our faith is tested and our faith is shaken. However, it is the promise that God will calm the waters raging around us which needs to be held onto.

Trust and take hold of the promise that the still, cool and calm waters of life are just around the corner.

Psalm 107: 28-31

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he brought them out of their distress.
 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.
 They were glad when it grew calm,
    and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

Choose to look to the One who calms the waters rather than the waters themselves.

Hot Coffee on a Hot Day

When feeling burnout, it’s time to take back the joy you are entitled to in Christ!

A Girl Like Me

You know those weeks when the stars are aligning just for you and everything seems to be falling into place and you find yourself waking up smiling every morning, your hairbrush is right where you left it, you have more money in the bank than you thought, everyone seems to be smiling at you and its just all good??  Well that was not my week.

No star aligning for me.  Gosh… I feel like I’ve been such a Debby downer lately… I really want to write something bubbly and happy and full of rainbows… but lets be honest- Sometimes it just takes more than a week to get out of a slump ya know?

It all started when I began to think of myself as a giving and selfless person.  I mean come on… I care a lot about people right?  I continually give of myself to my children starting…

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Watering Your Dreams

A good work.

God has been speaking to me this week through these three simple words. As I went through my devotions this week, this phrase continued to resonate with me. Throughout my current journey with Jesus, I am closing in on my God-sized dream of traveling to Uganda to see the Great Commission come to life, so to speak, in the lives of “the least of these”. As the date approaches, fear of what is ahead begins to consume my mind. Not so much a fear of the journey itself, but fear of what is to come after returning home. Almost a fear that God’s plan for me involving Uganda will be over once my journey home begins. However, as my fears began to creep up this week He began to whisper,

“I began the good work in you and I will complete it.”

So many times, we see a great dream and then once we capture the dream or at least the vision becomes reality, we begin to fear or become anxious with what is to come after our dream has been accomplished. However, if it is truly God’s dream rooted into our heart then why worry about what is to come? He will complete it!

As I walked with Christ this week, His whispers began to quiet my soul and speak truth into my spirit. You see, when I begin to see my dream come to life, it begins to feel as if my dream isn’t that big after all. But, my dream is not what has decreased in size, it is the vastness and greatness of my God that has made my dream seem much more of a reality. With God all things are possible, even for the biggest dreams imaginable!

never stop

 

When I began to dream, I used to fear that my dream would not become a reality for me. Now after seeing God transform my dream into something possible, I am looking forward to the next dream that he has planted within my heart that has yet to sprout up from within.

When I begin to envision my dream and in turn, surrender the dream over to God, it is amazing the amount of fruit that will grow from the seed of just one dream, watered with the Word of God. Because no dream is a God-sized dream without the water of the Word, the light of salvation and the breath of life that can only come from the whispers of a King.

So, a good work is much like a God-sized dream.

A dream much like a good work, takes time to produce and does not flourish a garden overnight. A dream/good work takes time to produce it’s intended purpose. And the Gardener (our Father) will be faithful to complete it in us! Not by anything we have done, but because of the all-consuming love God has for us, His children!

So then,

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

Be confident, not stepping back, not resisting the dream but stepping forward into the dreams and works that God has prepared in advance for us to do! (Ephesians 2:10)

Completion is His business.

He will plant the dream, it is our job to water it.

A Year’s Journey..

As I sit here on this Friday morning, I can’t help to look back over the past year of my life and discover the journey I have walked through and am still continuing to embark upon. One thing that has resonated over my spirit throughout this journey in my life is that my God IS enough. No matter the trial, no matter the struggle, no matter the longing, He IS the only one who can fill the void that I try to fill with other things to satisfy the desires of my heart. He IS and always will be enough. (Psalm 73)

Over the past year, God has truly brought out His God-sized dream in me.

As a young girl, I always desired to be who God wanted me to be. I grew up in a strong Christian home with the prompting to always do as Christ did. As I began to grow older, I started to see just how strong the pull of the world can be on a young girl’s heart. Between friends, boys and self-image issues, I felt the struggle between the world and my Savior. It was a constant tug-o-war battle. However, through it all I held on to the promise that my Jesus still held my heart. As I grew older I felt a calling on my life to be “more” than just a life. For as Christians, our job is to live out our God-given calling that He may be glorified. God began to whisper in many different ways that He is, was and always will be my first love and started to overcome the strength of the world in the battle with my heart. His whisper began as a soft murmur but as I started to understand the love that He had for me, the whispers grew into a cry to show His daughter the love He has for her. Although I had accepted Christ into my heart at a young age and was raised in the church, my love story with Jesus truly began when I understood and accepted His unfailing love for me.

amazing

Over the past few years, God’s whisper turned into a cry for me to do His work in spreading the good news not just within my reach but also to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It’s amazing how God works because as my faith began to strengthen so did His voice drawing me toward my calling. There is much to be learned from that journey in that as God draws you closer, He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) As I began praying a few years ago that God would show me what “the ends of the earth” meant for me, His whisper became specific as He spoke clearly and periodically the nation of Uganda, Africa. I began to see Uganda everywhere. In books I had been reading, in department stores, on television, at concerts. There was no denying that God had chosen me to reach the nation of Uganda in some way. As I started to research and read of other missionaries in the same area, I found “Kisses for Katie” by Katie Davis and her story.( If you haven’t already read the book I highly suggest it.) It was clear to me after reading that book that God was working in my heart and He was ready for me to move. It was then I started searching out organizations that spoke to my heart. One day, almost exactly one year ago, while searching, I came across the organization that I will be traveling with in July of this year (next month!!) .

My God will do amazing things when His children choose and seek Him above all else. To this day, I look back and I am brought to tears at the journey God is leading me on as His daughter. His love for me I will never understand but I will continue to seek it with everything I have and am.

You see, because “when I finally reach the end I’ll say, You are worth it all”.

Awaiting the storm.

A storm. Rain, hail, high winds and devastating aftermath. The conditions that the storm was about to bring. As I lay in bed awaiting this storm, I thought that if I just went to sleep, I would never know the storm even occurred. However, the storm still awoke me in the middle of the night. Upon waking up this morning, the storm had settled but soon came back for more.

lifes storm

 

God began to speak to me this morning in the midst of the storm, as He has a way of doing quite often. How many times do we see a storm coming and just wish we could go into a deep sleep and miss all the chaos? Often times, we see a storm coming, we know how devastating it is going to be and want to run and hide in a quiet, dark room to escape the fear. It is in those times in our lives that God shows us just how “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). When we rest in the perfect love and restful arms of our Savior, we truly understand the chaos of the storm. No matter the storm, God knows the effects of its devastation; for the good and for the bad.

When we think of storms, we often think of the negative emotions associated with them. However, in our faith journey, the storms of life are what draw us nearer to the arms of our Savior. Without the storms, how can we hold onto His promises? Without the destruction how can we learn He is the Restorer of our soul? Isn’t it just like Jesus, to walk on water and speak through the storms to show us His ultimate love for us?

Just like Peter, we not only need to have faith that overrides our fears, but we need to walk through the storms and among the crashing waves with Jesus. It is in times of fear that our faith finds its foundation. (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Another reality that we see when storms of this life invade us is that storms, often times, do not just end with one strike of lightning. Often, storms continue to rage and sometimes die down only to reappear again just when things began to look up for us. As this occurred this morning as I lay awaiting yet another storm, I realized something. I am thankful for the reemergence of the storm. Yes, I am thankful! You see once a storm passes over and your head seems just above the water, another storm begins to form in the horizon. However, this time you look back and see the storm that just passed and your fear becomes less than your faith. For in looking forward at what is to come, you know that you pushed through the difficulties of the last storm so why not step forward with confidence in Him into the next?

When faith in God becomes greater than the faith we have in ourselves, our lives begin to transform into the life God has intended for us to have. For how can you have faith without feeling the fear? God is the only one that has the power to calm and quiet the storms of this life. No matter the magnitude of the storm, it is in direct observance of The Creator.

Psalm 107: 23-31

“Some went out on the sea in ships;
    they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
    his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
    that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
    in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
    they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the seawere hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
    and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

Trust the calmer of the storm, for He alone can quiet the roaring waves in our heart.

Just You and Me

You are faithful when I am not.

You pursue when I reject.

My thoughts rage, as Yours are still.

In this world I find torment, but in You I find my rest.

When I turn, You return.

As I run, You run after.

Where could I go that You would not find me?

Where could I hide where You would not seek me out?

faithfulness

There is no place too dark for You to shine.

There is no distant shore where You cannot remove Your tide.

In You I find my forever.

In You I discover my desire.

In You, Only You.

Lord, it’s just You and me now.

Just You and Me.