God At Work In Me

God At Work In MeI have a natural inclination to trip over my own feet, I miss stairs on a regular basis. My knees are covered in scars from a childhood chopped full of clumsiness. I do not go many days, without discovering new bruises from middle of the night bathroom trips and all of those missed stairs. Almost every dish I own is chipped. I miss my mouth when eating or drinking quite often. It has become a part of who I am and over the years, I have learned to laugh at myself and keep lots of super glue and stain removers close.

But, there are other tendencies of mine that are less laughable. For example, how I get all worked up if I’m running late or how manic I become if my house is messy and company is coming over. I lose my temper with my girls all the time. I can over analyze things a lot too. I constantly worry about what others think of me and second guess myself daily.

StockSnap_J4BK70M8TOAs a christian, being a clutz is easy to accept but losing my focus on Christ over and over again brings me to my knees in frustration all of the time. I remember thinking as a younger me, that it would be easier to be like Jesus as I grew older and wiser. However, as I have grown in maturity and years, it has become very apparent that the process of becoming more like Jesus is not an easy one. It involves a lot of recognizing my weaknesses. It is chopped full of realization of how deep and big my sin is and how desperately I need Jesus and His grace!

StockSnap_JPM18B47E8.jpgI was reading in 1 Corinthians chapter one the other day with my morning coffee and came across some pretty encouraging verses.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

It seems that God has the propensity to call the weak, the unwise, and the foolish. He chooses hot messes like me on purpose! And why you might ask? It’s who He is! It’s His love and majesty wrapped up in a glorious picture of the Gospel of grace. He gives us godly wisdom that makes the world’s wisdom fall flat on it’s face. He shows His power and might through the mouths of babes and through the humble and lowly, His glory is revealed. He has chosen us, imperfections and all to be His and to testify to His faithfulness, power and grace. Yes, there is still much refining to be done in me but we can be certain that God will use our many failings to show others what an Awesome God He truly is!

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Let’s Be Friends

Be My Friend

Anyone ever notice how caught up we can get in friendships? I can’t be the only one who has! As we get older, certain things naturally become less important, but some things like the desire to be loved and cared for will never be outgrown, no matter who we are or where we are in life.

It is an unfortunate truth that I have probably spent years of my life gauging my self worth through the lens of friendships. It was a misplaced way of finding purpose and feeling special. One day I would feel important and wanted! But, those feelings never stayed, because you see, our friendships are imperfect, just like us.

Friendships are not meant to fulfill the role that can only be filled by Christ. Even our girlfriends with the best of intentions will let us down. If we measure our self-worth with how others treat and see us, we will be disappointed and hurt every time.

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We are worthy and special because of what Jesus did for us on the cross! And, did you know that Jesus has called us, those who love Him, HIS friend? Let that sink in. We are a part of the Jesus clique! Not because there is anything special about us, but because of how awesome our God is! And as friends of Jesus, we are called to love others the way Jesus loves us!

We already have the only Friend we will ever need. Therefore, it frees us up to be true friends to others. My self-worth and my purpose is not caught up with whether my friend ignored my text message or forgot my birthday. I’m free from that and I can show them love despite the circumstances. In turn, they can see Jesus through me.

StockSnap_3NMQKZB5WSJesus’s version of friendship, that we are called to emulate with others, is not one of self gratification or selfish gain, but of self sacrifice. We should not look at our friendships from the lens of our emotions, but rather through a Christ-like love that we receive from abiding in Him! If we seek to love Christ with all of our hearts, we will naturally love others and have encouraging and fulfilling friendships!

And one last note of worth: Jesus *chose you to be His friend.

John 15:16a says, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit- fruit that will last.‚ÄĚ

He chose us, therefore we choose to prayerfully bear fruit by loving others. Jesus, the friend of sinners, has commanded us to be friends. To lay down our lives in friendship and love. We are not bound by a need for friendship with others, but rather are compelled by Christ’s love to be the friends that others need.You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit- fruit that will last.

Crazy Beautiful Undeserved Grace

Crazy Beautiful Undeserved GraceMost of my life I’ve heard stories about Jesus. We would have Sunday school lessons about the loaves and fishes. We would sing “Away in a Manger,” during our Christmas recitals and read bed time stories from our children’s Bible. I am grateful to have grown up knowing who Jesus was and that I was taught these very important stories. But, this weekend I couldn’t help but contemplate how sometimes familiarity dulls the profoundness of what Christ has really done for us.

StockSnap_S9PCRT7BCOHave you ever once thought about the fact that Jesus Christ was born a baby and had dirty diapers? He had to learn to walk and talk. He had siblings that acted the way most siblings do. And as He grew into a man, He no doubt had all of the temptations that most adolescents have, but instead chose to stay pure for you and me.

His mother became a widow and Jesus became the head of His home and took upon himself the every day task of carpentry, to support His earthly family. This man who also had deity inside, humbled himself for nearly 30 years living a perfect life…a perfect life so that we do not have to.shadow-185314_1920

This perfect God man not only lived a perfect life…He loved a perfect love. Knowing full well that we were dead in our sins, He volunteered to not only humble Himself by becoming a man, but He willingly took upon Himself the complete wrath of God, so that we could be called children of God. No longer do we have to live under the law, but now we live under grace…undeserved life-saving grace.

And here’s the crazy thing about God’s grace, because of it, we are justified! Because of the blood of Christ, in God’s eyes we are completely innocent. We are washed clean today, yesterday, and tomorrow. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” that is exactly what He meant. The victory is won and we are no longer dead to sin but alive in Christ!THEREF~2

How many times do you mess up and think, “God must be so angry that I keep doing this?” How many times have I been guilty of imagining God’s displeasure and disappointment in me! But, here’s the amazing thing about grace…it gives us freedom!¬† God isn’t looking down on me disappointed. When He looks at me, He sees Christ! My mess ups and my sins have already been accounted for!

Bask in the freedom of God’s grace, sisters! Our Bridegroom lived a perfect life because of His perfect love for you. No longer do we have to live under the guilt of our sin. No longer do we have to live under the disappointments of our flaws. Jesus already paid our penalty so that we could be free to rest in His love for us. We are so loved by our God! And because we are so loved, how can we not share this love with others!StockSnap_LP47VXNU6G

 

 

 

When in Doubt, Remember

FROM LUMBERJACKBLOG

I went to bed last night on a no good sour note. My husband and I had a silly argument and I laid there stewing. “Fine!” I thought to myself. “If he wants to be that way, then let him! Two can play this game.” I fell asleep and dreamed about running away from home and camping in the middle of the grocery store, if that’s any indication of where my heart was. On a side note, I do find it really funny that the grocery store is where my subconscious took me of all places!! Maybe I need to get out more? Hehe! But regardless, my heart was in a very selfish state and on a one way track to bitterness and resentfulness. I even woke up upset! “Did he feed the dog before he went to work?” I thought. I’ll text him and ask but that’s the LAST he’ll hear from me today!StockSnap_HNH2WO6YET

But God always has the best timing doesn’t He? My mother, out of the blue decided to call me this morning. We small talked about this and that and then she asked me how things were going. “Alright,” I replied. “I’m just frustrated about X,Y, & Z. Mom, I’m fleshing out and I know it! I don’t know what to do!” To which she responded, “Mary, you know God always uses these things. Remember when He did “this” in your life? Or what about that time when He did “that”! You guys struggled so hard during “that” season and he used it and moved mountains for you! When I heard about what God did for you guys then, you could have blown me over with a straw I was so amazed!”

And it was like a switch was turned on in my head! Here I was so focused on my hurt ego that I had allowed my feelings to blind me. I was so focused on the wrong things that I had forgotten about the one thing that could help me and show me what to do. Jesus!autumn-791190_1920

And God obviously felt that I needed a little more reminding, because this afternoon I got a sweet little note in the mail from a very special friend. And what do you think it said? That she had been writing out prayers for some time and had recently been rereading them. She was in awe of the mountains God had moved in her life! And then she went on to say, “No matter the circumstances, we can have Joy because of the gospel. We need to see Christ in everything!” Message heard loud and clear, Lord!-Praise the LORD, my soul, and never forget all the good he has done- Psalms 103-2

My problem has not been my husband or whatever thing we disagree about. My problem is not finances, family, friends, or any external pressure pushing in on me. My problem is that all too often I forget what Christ has done for me! I forget to see Jesus in everything! I forget what He did on the cross, what He did and is doing to my sin, the times He has provided when our provisions ran out, the times He answered prayers that only He could answer. He has proven himself time and time again to be faithful, trust-worthy, and full of compassion. I on the other hand have proven little, other than my own uncanny knack for screwing up. But God truly does use all things for His glory and my good! Even though there are some days where I can barely see past my own feelings, God has our entire past, present, and future wrapped safely in His hands. What a great reminder today was for me.

I’m certainly in need of some good sanctification. I suppose we all are. But God is sanctifying me daily to be more like Him and to be used by Him too! Some days I take two steps forward and some days I take a step back…but progress is being made. Praise the Lord! And maybe one day I won’t be so quick for forget where my help comes from!

 

It is well

It is well

It’s been one of those weeks where so much is swirling around in my head that the thought of putting it in a written form seems like an impossible task. Life is such a composition of mountains and valleys. It can be so hard and yet so wonderful. It can be so purposeful and full of peace and yet so tragically broken and heart-wrenching.

This week has just been one of those weeks where my heart has been everywhere! It’s been soaring, grappling, praising, and aching. My heart has been a mess and yet even so, God has been faithful.

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A song keeps coming to mind as my heart flip flops.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

~It Is Well with My Soul | Horatio G. Spafford

What a blessed assurance to know that despite the seasons we go through in life, our souls are safe and secure in Christ. Even in the midst of troubles and sorrows, God pours out on us a peace filled confidence that only He can provide.

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As I think upon my own fleshy heart, I can’t help but think about the heart of Christ as He walked this earthly place. Did His heart sometimes feel like it was inside out too? I have a feeling, that His heart felt even more so than my own. But, just as He wept, being moved in compassion towards Mary and Martha, likewise He feels the same compassion for us who call Him by name.

He bled his compassion out on the cross so that we can confidently say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” Sin has wreaked havoc in this place that we reside, but oh what the victory Jesus attained! ¬†His trophy is our souls and His crown is our salvation!

My sin‚ÄĒoh, the bliss of this glorious thought!‚ÄĒMy sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

~It Is Well with My Soul | Horatio G. Spafford

Fighting the Good Fight

 

Fighting the Good Fight

September is back to reality time for my family. We spent the whole summer unscheduled and uncommitted. It was lovely and oh so needed! Summer gave me a sort of amnesia to what the next season of home schooling would bring. But as we approach the end of our first week of school, I have become keenly aware that vacation is over! Maybe it was the first day melt downs, being on a schedule again, or the simple fact that I felt overwhelmed, but by the end of our first day, I fell into bed exhausted and frustrated.

first day of school blogBut here’s something I’ve learned over the years of parenting, running a home and homeschooling…do not get stuck on the first days. Doing things that are important and worth while rarely comes easy. Just because you go through a season of struggle, it doesn’t mean you should quit or that you are meant to be doing something else. In my own walk with the Lord, it has been those seasons of struggles and frustrations that have brought me closer to the Lord, grown in character and strengthened my faith. They have been invaluable assets despite the hardships.

Bless This1 Timothy 6:12 says: “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” Living out our faith and fulfilling our purposes are things we must fight for. But they are good! They point with an eternal perspective. Yes, we live and fight in the moment, but we are already conquerors in Christ Jesus. One day these momentary struggles will be a distant memory. One day we will reap a harvest from the seeds we have sown in our families and others if only we persevere.

If you find yourself in a hard season friends, embrace it! Keep sowing those seeds of faith and dig in your heels. Living by faith does not always come naturally, it is not for the faint of heart. There are no shortcuts to holiness. Becoming like Christ requires sacrifice, tears, and hardships. But in the process we become beacons that shine the light of Christ and chase the darkness away.

Resting in the Crazy

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“a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which GOD, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” Titus 1:2

Resting isn’t a word that I’ve been using much as of late. It seems like my life has been in a constant state of busy. But as I was reading scripture this morning with my obligatory cup of coffee, this verse jumped out at me. ¬†Is it possible to be resting while in a season of busy? And the resounding answer is YES! Yes, it is!

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Resting in the hope of eternal life means that because of my faith and knowledge of my Lord and Savior, I don’t have to busy my mind with things that are out of my control. God will complete what He has started in me and in others. It’s not my job to move mountains. He does that. I just need to remain faithful, trusting, and available to Him. I also don’t have to concern myself about earning His favor or my salvation. I can rest completely in the assurance of the cross. There is nothing I can do to “mess up” God’s plans. He already knows how the story plays out.

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When life feels relentless and the idea of resting in the crazy seems laughable, remind yourself that you can rest in Christ and be full of peace! Rest isn’t a nap, it’s an assurance that despite the storms, we are safe and secure in the arms of Christ! So rest up friends! Feel refreshed! It may be a wild ride but it’s an awesome one chopped full of purpose, hope, and restful assurance in Jesus!