Saturday, August 8, 2015

We Know the Ending!

This past football season there were a few times that I couldn’t be on my couch ready for the start of an Aggie football game. So my friend was gracious enough to record it so we could start it later.  All of us in the room turned off social media and in some cases our phones so we would not know what was happening.  We wanted the full experience. We wanted to feel the highs and lows of the game as our team either scored or was scored upon, whether we were ahead of behind, we wanted to be in the moment.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I think it is fun to experience the true emotions of an experience and it’s fun to go through the experience with people that we love. But it got me to thinking the other day about how I approach life.  All too often the circumstances in life get really get me down. I feel great despair when I look at where our country is headed, when I see depravity of mankind or when my dreams don’t come true. And these emotions are real and at times very right for the situation BUT they are not always reliable and at times mask some very important truth. 


He defeated death on the cross…

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 
It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown.
For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.
And we who are living will also be transformed.
For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die;
our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,
this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.
Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do
for the Lord is ever useless. 
1 Corinthians 15:51-58

His promises always come true, including the one that says He is preparing a place for us and that He will come back for us.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to keep his promise
Hebrews 10:23

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.
If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
John 14:1-3

One day, every knee will bow at the power of His name.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-10

Too often when circumstances come into my life I get caught up in the moment, I fall into deep despair or heartache and I forget that I know the ending score. I forget that death has been beaten. I forget that it is finished! I forget this is light and momentary. I forget that He is sovereign and allows only what is good in my life. I forget that I am not alone. I forget!

So I’m grateful that I have friends who sit with me in the sadness of my current circumstance, friends who don’t try to fix me or move me too quickly through grief or pain. But I’m also grateful that they remind me of the truth of who God is. That they help me to step back and remember who I am, who’s I am and the truth of the “end of the story.”

And I’m grateful for a God is who is patient with me when I forget. That He gently reminds me of His goodness, His love, and His presence. May we all live our lives fully present in the moment BUT in light of the truth of the ending!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Why I'm Still Single"

Lately my singleness has felt a lot like a burden and I've found myself wondering "Why am I still single?" Lots of little things have created the perfect storm for these feelings and questions. For the first year ever three complete strangers said “Happy Mother’s Day” to me. Kids who were in elementary school when I started my job at Watermark are getting married (times 4.) I’m turning 42 in a little over a month and never would I have imagined I would do that single. There are things I cannot do because I’m single. A friend told me the other day that we are in a life stage that no one wants to be in. And for the first time ever… I actually left an event and felt like an old maid.

Each circumstances has left me with a feeling of sadness in my singleness and each time my “go to questions” start running through my head… “Is there something I’m not doing that I should be doing?” “Am I ‘putting myself out there’ enough?” “Is there something terribly wrong with me and no one is brave enough to tell me?” “Is there something about my appearance that I need to change … grow out my hair, wear more makeup, etc.?" (There are more but you get the idea.)

And then I realized I began questioning my “go to answers” to my “go to questions”… “I have amazing community around me and they would tell me if something was wrong with me.” “God is sovereign and if He wanted me married I will be married.” “God is good and He does not withhold what is good from those who love Him.” “There are plenty of girls with short hair and who don’t wear a lot of makeup who are married.”

I actually started wondering if I was just telling myself these things to feel better and it was time to stop fooling myself. And sweetly the Lord has again reminded me of what’s true…

1) My community: I have been so blessed with friendships in my life that tell me the truth. And when I look back at the truth they have told me, I know they aren’t holding out on me.

2) God has been so faithful to show me often and tangibly that He doesn’t need my help for anything and that includes marriage if He has that for me.  No joke… every year for the past 7 years different friends have randomly set me up on a blind date and every time I don’t hear back from the guy. I really think it is God’s way of showing me that “He’s got this!”

3) We are in the middle of reading Psalms with "Join the Journey" and just about every other psalm has a reminder of God’s unfailing love and that His provision is perfect and right.

  • I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me. –Psalm 13:6
  • You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. –Psalm 16:11
  • God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. -Psalm 18:30
  • The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. –Psalm 23:1
  • But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “YOU are my God!” My future is in your hands. –Psalm 31:14-15a
  • The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” –Psalm 32:8
  • Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. –Psalm 34:10
  • The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. –Psalm 37:23
  • And a whole list of others… Psalm 1, Psalm 2:12, Psalm 3:3-5, Psalm 5:11-12, Psalm 10:9-10, Psalm 18:19, Psalm 23, Psalm 27:4, Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 55:22, Psalm 56:3-4, Psalm 63:3, Psalm 73:21-26, Psalm 84:10-11, Psalm 92:4, Psalm 94:18-19, Psalm 95 
4) One of the Psalms also talks about thankfulness being a sacrifice that pleases the Lord and a friend reminded me that living out the hardness of not getting something you desire and choosing to trust and serve the Lord is a sacrifice that brings Him great glory. (Psalm 50:14, 23)

5) Elisabeth Elliot passed away this week and I have been reminded of the truth that she knew through some powerful quotes of hers from books I’ve read through the years.

  • “I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” (Passion and Purity)
  • “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your savior, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.” (Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:14, Nahum 1:7, Psalm 23:1, Isaiah 9:6, John 15:15, Psalm 19:25, Luke 1:47, Psalm 48:14)
  • “But the question to precede all others, which finally determines the course of our lives is, ‘What do I really want?’ Was it to love what God commands, in the words of the collect, and to desire what He promises? Did I want what I wanted, or did I want what He wanted, no matter what it might cost?” (Passion and Purity)
  • “God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” (Philippians 4:19) (The Path of Loneliness)

6) Psalm 77:22-12 and Psalm 78 were also great reminders to remember what God has done in my life and all that I have been so fortunate to be a part of because of my singleness.  There are so many relationships I would have missed out on and so much I have gotten to do because the Lord has kept me single. The list blows my mind! And I’m not the only one living in circumstances that no one wants and that feel a lot like a burden… whether it’s cancer, infertility, job loss, car accidents or anxiety. This world isn’t all peaches and roses and in fact... it can be just plain crappy sometimes!

So why do I write all this? It helps to get it out on paper and again remind myself of what is true. I also want to see my singleness as a sacrifice of thanksgiving as I lay down what I think I want and trust what He has to give, not as a burden

I also know I’m not alone in wondering if God knows what He’s doing, if He lost my number or if what He claims about Himself is really true. And I know that it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to struggle with my lot. But I also know that God continues to tangibly and clearly encourage me and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share that with others. I don’t know exactly what your “singleness” is… but I know He cares and He hasn’t forgotten you! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weak Faith

I heard someone say the other day that "we have weak faith." For some reason that phrase hit me funny and so got me asking the question, is that even possible? Can our faith actually be weak?

Scripture tells us that faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain. Here Jesus says it is a matter not not having enough faith.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. 
“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” 
Matthew 17:20

There's and entire list of people in Hebrews 11 that made some incredible choices because of their 
faith.  I don't see at any point the scripture claiming that had "strong faith" or "a lot of faith." And it gives the definition of faith with talks about assurance, hope, and confidence.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
Hebrews 11:1-2

In Jeremiah God called His people Israel faithless.

Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever." Jeremiah 3:12

And when Jesus is talking to the people He asks "why do you have little faith" when you see how God takes care of the flowers?

"And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" 
Matthew 6:30

And faith is a gift of God and nothing that God gives is weak.

For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Romans 5:8

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more 
highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, 
as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  
Romans 12:3

And Paul writes of their faith being enlarged.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 
2 Thessalonians 1:3

So I think it is more a matter of the size of your faith or maybe even not having faith at all.  When we appear to have "weak faith" it's a reflection of a belief problem.  We don't believe God and therefore we don't have faith in what He says or who He is.  So let's pray for God to grant us more faith to trust Him!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Good-bye 30's!

Good-bye 30's, thank you for...
-first time ever living alone
-introducing me to solo trips
-lymes disease and food allergy craziness
-multiple trips to Africa
-seeing God move and radically change lives
-making me Aunt Zuzu
-an amazing decade of working with amazing people I love
-beach trips
-seeing provision for and being a part of  the building project
-deepening of friendships and new ones developing
-Estes Parks
-many marriages and births
-conflicts and reconciliations 
-more sunsets than I can count
-orphans sponsored 
-Israel family trip
-NKOTB reuniting 
-Costa Rica and crazy laughter
-sweet last memories with grandparents
-more ice cream and queso than was totally healthy
-peeps, peeps and more peeps
-amazing picture opportunities
-time in Haiti
-deeper understanding of God's grace and unconditional love 
-a great runway to head into 40!

The 30's have been pretty incredible! Can't even begin to imagine what the 40's hold. Here we go...