Guest Blog: My Sister’s Truth

If you only read ONE of my blogs this year-PLEASE READ THIS ONE. My sister, Glenda, beautifully wrote about the hardest year of her life-and tells us what she’s learned. If you want to be encouraged by honest struggles and God’s grace-read on and know that “God is faithful. He is good, and He’s got you!”

If I Had a Blog….

Summer is coming to an end. Warm is becoming cool. Leaves are turning brilliant shades and falling to ground. The season of hoodies and all things pumpkin (can I get an amen?!?) is upon us. Beautiful! If you haven’t guessed yet fall is my favorite season! Along with the changing season I find it has become a season of reflection in my life; a time to look back and see where the seasons of the last year have taken me. And let me tell you, the last four seasons have brought on more raging storms, blizzards, and drought in my life than I thought could ever be possible! But these same four seasons have also brought calming winds, warm sun kissed skies and brilliant rainbows of promise,

The past year was hands down the hardest year of my life. I have cried (more than I thought humanly possible), yelled, cursed and then cried some more. I even felt like giving up and walking away from every thing I believed. I was so angry with God. I felt like He had abandoned me. I was going through this crap day after day; tear after tear with no end in sight. Where was God? Why wasn’t he fixing it? When was this stormy season going to be over?

Here is what I learned….

God hadn’t forsaken me! He heard every prayer, caught every tear and walked every step with me and even carried me when I was at my worst. No, He didn’t instantly fix things. But when I looked up through my tear filled eyes, He was there! He showed up in big ways! Not in the ways I wanted or thought I needed, but in ways that He knew I needed. See, I learned that God actually knows me better than I know myself and loves me far more than I could possibly comprehend!

Learning these truths did not make all storms stop. I still cry. I still get angry. But God is always there, showing up. Being God, loving on me! Maybe it comes in the form of a still small voice. Maybe it’s a sweet friend showing up at your doorstep with the perfect pair of brand new black boots just for you! Maybe it’s the kind lady in line a head of you, who sees you with two crying kids and she simply starts to unload your groceries. Maybe it’s talking and laughing with your sister. Maybe it’s snuggles from your kiddos. Maybe it’s coffee! Maybe it is all these things and more!

I am now in a season of waiting (boo!) I don’t know why God has me here. I am ready to move on! But clearly God has me here for a reason! And no matter what comes along in this season, I know that my God is faithful, that He is good and that He’s got me!

No matter what season your life is in, God has not forsaken you! He knows you! He loves you! And He knows what is needed at the exact moment it is needed. And He shows up!

Thank you, Glenda-for being an example of strength in my life. Thank you for being transparent in your wrestling with God and your pain. Thank you for always listening to and praying for my burdens and trials and heartaches-even when you had plenty of your own to worry about. Thank you for laughing with me and encouraging me so many days and nights when I know you were running on empty. Thank you for loving your children well and being an example in prayer and steadfastness to them. You were the big sister that God chose to be mine, and He did so perfectly. I love you, Glenda Elizabeth!

Just Finished A Book of Numbers

My honest first thought: With a title like “The Book of Numbers”- you know this chapter in the story of God is going to be a real nail biter 😉 But I know that every book in the Bible serves a great purpose in the metanarrative of who God is and what his purposes are. So it is with the book of Numbers.

In Numbers, we continue to see the gradual fulfillment of the promises that God gave to Abraham those many years ago. Let’s review those promises. According to my blog on Genesis, God promised little ol’ Abe 4 things:

  1. A land to live in
  2. A whole lot of descendants
  3. Success/blessings
  4. That the whole world would be blessed because of someone in his family.

In Numbers we see (finally in the very last chapter) each tribe has an inheritance of land as they are poised to enter the Promise Land! We see that though at one time Abraham’s descendants were just a blip on the world wide census (only 70 persons where they entered Egypt (Gen. 46:27)) they are now tallying over 600,000 men-that’s not including women and children. Woah. That’s awesome! Thirdly, God has not forsaken them and even has a real presence via the cloud of fire over the tabernacle. As far as how they are a blessing to the nations…I am not sure how I see that being fulfilled in the Book of Numbers…maybe it’ll come along later. Hopefully it’ll be super obvious (I don’t know-like maybe somehow salvation will be offered to all nations through this nation or something like that! ;))

While reading, I had a couple of thoughts. One,as I aim to read God’s word through with fresh eyes, I was surprised that Moses doesn’t get to enter the Promised Land! He plays such a huge role thus far! He is a friend of God, talks to him face to face, is the most humble man, and is a unique mediator. Yet because of oooone little incident-he can’t enter. I wondered a lot what that day was like. Was Moses mad? Dissapointed? Did he figure that would be the consequences for his actions and do it anyway? Did he ask God for mercy? I also wondered if God would maybe change His mind? Maybe Deuteronomy will come and God will say that Moe CAN enter the land! That would be make sense to me. Right? Moses isn’t really going to come ALL this way and do ALL those things and be SO close with God-to not enter the Land God promised…right? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see ;).

Secondly, even though God was VISIBLY PRESENT to the people of Israel, there is still so much unbelief and subsequently, so much disobedience! What should be seen as gloriously miraculously became oh-so mundane. The lackluster view of God’s presence and his glory led to doubt and sin. I’d say we do the very same thing with the Bible. What should be seen as an incredible gift to mankind–GOD HIMSELF breathe into people words to record so that we could know Him! We, at ANY time, can pick up this book and hear the Words of God, read of the goodness of God, be impressed/enthralled/enamored at the love, justice, and faithfulness of God-yet for so many it collects dust. It’s unimpressive, unimportant, and underused. This very same situation of the miraculous becoming the mundane is what leads US into disbelief and disobedience. We need to pray that God, in this grace, helps us to see the Bible for what it really is. The living, powerful, penetrating Word of God is a most precious gift not to be trivialized nor ignored.

So that’s my take on Numbers. I’m on to Deuteronomy tomorrow. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns! 😀

"A casual relationship with the Word of God reflects a casual relationship with the Son of God." (Anonymous):

~ J. C. Ryle on reading the Bible:

Truth.:

Life’s [Not] Going According to [My] Plan

I turned 26 this year, and I thought, for sure, I’d have life more figured out by now.

I’d be settling into the long term career I excel at and find fulfillment in. I’d be in a healthy, happy, adventuresome relationship with a man who treasures me deeply and is passionate about the covenant of marriage. I’d know when kiddos would be coming along, and I’d be wisely using my gifts and talents. I’d not do annoying things like write out a check to pay a toll both fine, put a stamp on the envelope, and then accidentally leave it in my purse for 2 weeks.  No way, Jose.

But instead, I am both enjoying and loathing the blessed burden of singleness. I am in a job I love, but have little to no direction for the future. I am not sure what to do with some of the things God has entrusted to me, and yes, the crumpled (now late) bill was mailed out just yesterday.

Life is not going the way I thought it would go post-college. I have more heartaches than I was planning on, less direction than I was hoping for, and more mistakes than I was anticipating.

But that’s okay.

No really. It hurts sometimes, but I know it’s good. I know that where I am TODAY-the situation, circumstances, and unknowns are all good. Romans 8:28 tells us that, for those who love God (hey-that’s me! I LOVE God!) all things (wait, like ALL? Everything? All means ALL?) work together for good (this good means ultimate good, eternal good (the very best kind of good!)) for those who are called according to his purpose (that’s me! He’s called me!).

So, as much as my ideal plans have not and are not currently panning themselves out-I can trust that God’s plan is panning itself out (Prov. 19:21; Eph. 1:11). And frankly, that plan has got to be better than any plan I could have conjured up! God is brilliant, loving, intentional, and perfect. He is a good father (Luke 11:11-12) Whatever He is allowing, not allowing, doing and not doing, though I don’t understand why, I know is good and best and perfect (Ps. 119:68).

So yes, life’s not going according to my plan. But it is going according to The Plan-and whatever God is doing is trustworthy, best, for my eternal good, and worthy of joy & praise (1 Thess. 5:16-19). So whatever heartbreak you are experiencing today, because your plans haven’t worked out, be reminded that God IS good, He IS working, and His plan is the perfect plan.

All things work together for those who love God all we have to do is love and live for God he is with us and promises he will give good to us and has a plan:

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails" [words of the verse in a heart shape with lake and mountains in the background]:

Lord, I will trust you to help me get through this incredibly painful, lonely and sad season of life.  My eyes are on you!:

Our #LoveGodGreatly #Psalm119:68  Week 3 #MemoryVerse

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit."   - 1Thessalonians 5:16-19.  (Scripture Art Print Joy Pray Thanks Modern Christian by hopeink).:

Gifts and Limitations: Weighty Wings Let You Fly

I had a dear friend over yesterday evening for dinner and some sweet time together. While chatting we grabbed a book from my shelf that I gave her a copy of for her wedding. She leafed through Elisabeth Elliott’s “Let Me Be a Woman” and read aloud to me an impactful part she had just been thinking about recently concerning insecurities:

“The elephant and the mouse might each complain about his size, the turtle about his shell, the bird about the weight of his wings. But elephants are not called upon to run behind wainscots, mice will not be found ‘pacing along as though they have an appointment at the end of the world’, turtles have no need to fly nor birds to creep. The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

Hmm…Let’s read that again. “The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

After reading that, (this is one of the reasons why I am so blessed by our friendship!) it only seemed natural to take the next few minutes identifying gifts that we see in one another and it’s corresponding limitations. What are the “wings” in our lives that we think weigh us down-but really are what allow us to fly? God is a brilliant designer…how might we praise him instead of complaining about the weight of our wings?

I’ll give just one example. My dear friend is a woman of grace. I look up to her in so many ways, and I am so blessed by her example of having a “gentle and quiet spirit”. When I am worked up, disheartened, disheveled, and dramatic-she is peaceful, soothing, calm, soft, kind, and loving. I see her soft demeanor as a huge blessing. But she can sometimes be tempted to see it as a limitation. Within a group of people, she sometimes cannot be heard. She is not the “life of the party” or the bombastic teacher that she thinks she’d like to be sometimes. It is seen as a limitation, but really the limitation is a rare and lovely gift from God for her to best accomplish his purposes through her life. What she (sometimes) finds most frustrating about herself, is actually one of the very things that is most lovely, and most impactful about her!

We each thought of 2 things (gifts that we often see as limitations) in one another’s life and it was a very encouraging time! So I want to encourage you to 1.) think of “limitations” you perceive in yourself, and how they might actually be gifts to praise God for and serve God with 2.) think of someone in your life that views one of their gifts as a limitation and call/text/facebook message/skype/snapchat/snail mail/etc. them to encourage them with the gift God has given them, OR 3.) comment below with any thoughts pertaining to gifts and limitations! 😀

As always, thanks so much for reading! I pray through this blog you grow to love and know God more! Enjoy some Elisabeth Elliot quotes below!