Peace

I recently went on my honeymoon, after a year of being married. We chose NewYork City. Neither one of us had been. The trip was restorative.

God is so good, even in the hard.

Let me back up and start from the beginning. God has laid on my heart someone needs to hear this, so I’ll share the raw. I was angry before my honeymoon trip. I had been married twice before, this is my third marriage, his second. Both of us are widowed. I’m divorced and then widowed.

I wasn’t a Christian until a year or two before my deceased husband became terminally ill with colon cancer. God laid on my heart that I would be married again. After my husband died, I held onto God’s promise of a Christian marriage.

I also held on to my expectations. I had never had a wedding. I expected a wedding in a church. I wanted to proclaim we were going to follow Christ. I have never been the second wife, so I expected to be my husband’s first marriage. I expected God to show up fulfilling my expectations. I knew,  how I wanted my life and new marriage to go. I wanted Job’s redemption on my terms, not his.

But Job didn’t choose his story, nor did he choose how and when God restored him.

I’m the second wife, with children being blended from both parties. I didn’t have a church wedding. I eloped the same way I did both times before. God didn’t follow my plan with my timeline.  God’s timing was faster and slower than what I wanted.

Here’s what I can say. God is good in the hard. Our children have seen two people love God and fight for a marriage.  The oldest is an atheist who is seeking because he has witnessed the hand of God at work. The middle has a step dad who will skype and do college homework until late hours in the evening. The youngest has struggled with all of the loss. She lost her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother in a short time span. But through all of the struggle, she still has joy. God has reconciled some relationships through our marriage. His hand is working with grace and mercy.

We have also lost. We have lost friendships and family over our marriage. Expectations of others were not met.I have lost the innate ability to be selfish with my time. The selfishness is still there but I’m a work in progress. I love quiet. Quiet is elusive in our home.

BUT GOD….

He has softened my heart to his work. Slowly I have laid my expectations down.

When we were in New York, sightseeing was a must. Our tour guide explained that when the One World Observatory was done there wasn’t a grand opening it was quietly opened with out fanfare. People asked why? Why wasn’t it more joyous? I knew. At that moment God softened my heart.

The One World Observatory, the building was beautiful. Tribute was paid to the past, so much death and loss. Then the building exhibits point to the future.  Reverence is experienced.

Two people died for Ken and me to be married. They are a part of our story. A wedding would have been too disrespectful. We hurt people by following God’s calling. We also gave others hope by seeing the restoration.

The duality of seeing an amazing building with breath taking views, while knowing the sorrow was humbling. God spoke to me, you may not be the first wife, you may not have had a wedding, you might be working hard a year from now and still blending your family, but you my child are enough. I picked you to be his wife and her mother. I picked him to be your husband and a father figure to the boys. I chose this family

I don’t know why life is so hard sometimes. The evil in this world doesn’t make any sense. We can read Job’s story to glean some wisdom. Job had a choice to worship in the hard or become a victim. Victims choose embitterment mixed with pride. I have been an example of both. I have praised God knowing all things will work for good for those that love the Lord. I have also held onto pride for far too long while being a victim for life not going according to my plan.

Prayer for today:

God,  please let me rest in you. I want to lay my life before you. I am the clay and you are the maker. I am sorry for my selfish pride filled selfish ambitions. Please soften my heart for your ways. In Jesus name, Amen.

The words that come out…

I revisited James chapter three this morning. I hated that chapter as a kid. One I didn’t believe in God, two it was a punishment to write due to  the  lack of control over my words, and three I didn’t feel like it was being modeled very well to me.

I am such a hypocrite. The words that I have muttered hurt others sometimes intentional and at others times the words that I spoke meant to be helpful only caused harm.

I must have been told as a child to stop at verse 12 because the next section is on wisdom. I don’t remember writing this part of the chapter.

I like that James points out once again what an idiot I am. He talks about being gentle not having bitterness and selfish ambition. I believe these two sections  are tied together. How many times have I been prideful? Can’t even begin to count. I am a planner and through selfishness I can plan someone’s life to help them. Really? Verse 16 was a true moment of clarity. Every kind of evil comes from envy and selfish ambition.

I grew up watching and hearing people being angry at one person or another because of a real or perceived action. Sometimes it was because it was the infraction of not doing their life the way the person thought their life should go.

I have had to really fight against this in my own mind. It is an easy distraction from my flaws if I point out  another  person’s flaws. I can put someone under a microscope of negativity and feel really good about myself or feel pity on someone because their reality is far worse than the fantasy world I create for them. If they would just do my plan. I can talk to others about said person tearing down instead of building up.

I don’t want that for me or those around me. I have had to give this mindset over to God. I pray to God instead of talk to people about other people’s flaws.  I’ve handed that over to God. And the truth of the matter is, God only knows a person’s heart or their circumstances, and eventually the outcome.  I don’t need to talk about it with others. If it is something between me and that person, I need to approach that person with gentleness to resolve conflict not impose my will.  Prayer changes hearts, circumstances, and behavior. God is in control, not me.

I believe it is a duty to pray for others, to act when called, but most of all to love unselfishly. God has never once said to me, as a christian please judge those around you harshly. The Bible does point us to look at our own flaws and help others with gentleness, kindness, mercy, patience, love, grace, joy, and self-control.

I think if my heart is better, my words will be as well.

Abide

The four year old looked  at me this past week stating she wished she had her real mother  with her. Granted she was being disciplined, but those words stung cutting straight to my heart.  I know I’m not her biological mother. We talk about her heavenly mother often. And for  most of our time spent together it is pleasant and loving. When she doesn’t get her way then the fantasy mother comes out on what she would do if she were still here on earth. I reminded her daily of mother duties as  I was doing them. She finally relented stating that we use words to build people up and not tear them down. She apologized.  We moved on.

Sunday’s  sermon was abiding in Jesus. I’m really good on abiding if it is going my way, my plan. I am so independent that laying down my life daily to follow doesn’t come naturally. I like my fantasy life better. I’m sure God looks at me some days with the same look that I give my children. I’m wiser just do what I am telling you to do.

My life goes better when I’m abiding. Why is it so hard then? Are expectations my idol? Or control?

Ouch! Not comforting thoughts. I’m sure some days to God, I look as ridiculous as the four year old telling me how her life should go.  God is gracious enough to give me a reminder, I’m your father. Just do what I’m telling you to do.

I am going to meditate on John 15. While I might not like the pruning part,  who does really? I know his ways are so much better than mine.

I don’t really blame any of my children for stubbornness or being independent.

I want the best for them. How much more would a Heavenly Father want for me and others that are his?

I want to lay expectations down. I don’t need to control everything. I definitely don’t want to have my words and actions sting to my Heavenly  Father.

Prayer for today:

God thank you for your ever-loving kindness gently reminding me to abide. Please help me to lay down my plan and idols. I want your way more anything.

The Best Pathway

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I have meditated on Psalm 32:8 for the past few months. Noticed I said months, I’m stubborn.

David in Psalm 32 is confessing his sins. He rejoices in forgiveness. He then acknowledges that God will direct his path for life.

I have let bitterness and pride seep in. My plan was better. How arrogant of me. I do not understand God and his ways. Frankly to serve a God that I understand wouldn’t be much of a God.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t wrestling. I’m just tired of being, Jacob. (Genesis 32)

I want to take comfort that I serve an all knowing God who is good, when all I see from an earthly perspective is bad.

I don’t want to be the stubborn mule unwilling to follow, even if sometimes that means one foot, one step, one breath at a time.

God never promised easy. He did promise to love and cleave to us.

I am never alone.

Today I rejoice in the pathway before me. I am looking for what God would have me learn from it. I want God’s plan not mine, my perspective is so small.

I want to trust in him.

Amen

Humbled

If you are like me, self-esteem doesn’t come easy. I try my best in life but often feel like I fall short. God really convicted me today.

I’m the apple of his eye. He knows me and loves me. I am worthy.

I promised God through a weak prayer to try.

I want to try to  accept these truths for me.

I can see the value in others easily.

After I accepted Christ as my savior, I saw all people as souls either lost or saved.

I’m saved.

I’m his.

I was and am  pursued.

I am a daughter of the king.

And I look at myself as less than.

I replay words that have been said.

You are not enough.

You are unlovable.

You should be a better .

You are dirty.

 

Dear friend if this is you as well.

Stop it!

Fix your eyes on the King, know your place. You have value. You are his. God loves you.

I want God’s love to permeate every  insecurity that I have. I want to be more in Christ to love others the way Christ loves me.

Today I choose grace. I choose to be humble before God. I choose to lay down the worthless negative words that have been spoken over me. I refuse to wear those labels any longer. I choose to live life abundantly. I hope you will as well.

Progress

Have you ever wondered? Why God has you or had you in the place you were at? Why my life? What is the purpose to all of this?

I have. I know God is sovereign, I know that, but sometimes I just don’t feel that way.  I look at others and think they  have no clue what I have been through. I then have to remind myself I don’t know what their life has been either.

I do know I am to comfort others as God has comforted me. 2 Corinthians 1

I rely on scripture for wisdom not emotions.

I found comfort today from  1 Timothy 4:11-16

The scripture says to love, live in purity, have faith, be an example  in speech, teaching,  publicly reading  the Bible, here is the best part….. practice these things  so others can see  progress.

Get it!

PROGRESS!!

We don’t have to be perfect. This scripture is addressed to ministers, but I love the idea of having grace and practicing.  We should look different in our walk with God as we mature not be perfect.

I don’t have to worry about were God has me or why. I don’t have to rely on my emotions. I can rely on placing scriptures into my heart, putting my faith in Him, and being the best example I know how to be. Pretty simple stuff, Love me some Jesus.

God never wastes

I gave my testimony last night to a small group. I had told my friend what I was doing. Her advice was to talk about my year of  dating. I dated after my spouse died and was a mess. Still am, far from perfect. Thank goodness people crucified the only perfect person who walked on earth.

I did seek God during this time. I would pray and still pray for each person I dated. I would pray before each date for wisdom and discernment. I truly felt led by God on each person until I didn’t get my way. The process in my mind was taking too long. I went out on my own and got burned.

I then went back to God and humbled myself. The ironic thing was I was being impatient,  then  God rushed the process were I wasn’t comfortable with the speed. God’s timing is never my own.

Every experience that I had led me to my husband now. The men God had placed in my life spoke truth over me, things I needed to hear. The one man I dated and was burned by was a minister. The world would have looked to some of the men that I dated and the actions with judgement. I didn’t feel convicted because God was with me. The one that the world would have thought highly of was wrong for me and I was going against God.

Ministers are great and speak truth, but if one isn’t speaking truth use caution. I don’t want to turn people away from the church or a minister. I just want to say the church is made up of imperfect people. It is  everyone’s responsibility to have a personal relationship with Christ. I am truly sorry if the church has hurt you. Please do not walk away because of an experience, there are some very good loving people in the church.

I had loving people who prayed over me, the relationships, and the men I was dating. They listened to endless rants and cries. I was frustrated.

When I laid my life down finally and gave it over to God. He could use me. I was done being  in the way obstructing his plan.

I have not blogged much this year. God had a different mission for me. I will blog when God lays on my heart to do so.

I hope this gives you hope. God has a plan for you. God has a spouse for you if it is in his plan for you to have one. I wish if I could go back I would have been able to see the plan unfolding before me. I now have more trust in God’s ways not mine. He is an awesome, good,  great father who I can rest in.

Prayer for today:

Thank you God for never wasting. I am so thankful for a God that uses everything for our good for those that love you. I don’t deserve your grace or mercy. You are truly amazing. I am humbled to be yours. In Jesus name, Amen

Peace

My word for 2016 was peace. I wanted desperately for God to show me how to have the solid peace that is promised in the bible.  I prayed for God to take away the day to day highs and lows, the volatility of my emotions.

God had to break down my  idols. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to follow God, but  wanted people’s  approval of me  more than God.

I wanted a husband. I thought a husband would fix my worry about the future. I wouldn’t be alone. I was scared to face a future of uncertainty.

I was broken. Searching for what I thought would bring me peace.

God has a way of teaching me the hard way. Stubbornness has brought me resilience.  Stubbornness has also given me more hard  lessons than I care to admit.

I was more concerned about being liked, than what God was asking me to do. God’s timing and his ways usually don’t align with human logic or acceptance. I thought that when God called me into a ministry, his ways would be obvious. I was wrong.

When you feel like people are watching for God in you, and you don’t even have a clue, it’s hard. Hard to lead from the pit.

The pit of rawness drew me closer to God. I was in the pit of desperation. I was worn, trying to fix my problems, worn out from  dating, tired of loosing people,  fighting to get through just one more day,  wanting more and not knowing how to get it, listening to others while I was dying inside, tired of smiling, tired of crying, TIRED.

Far from peace. Peace seemed so elusive.

But God. God let me come to the end of myself. I laid down my life. I fasted and prayed. I didn’t care if I ever got a husband, didn’t care if people liked my choices, didn’t care unless it was God’s way.

God showed up. He took away my idols. He brought me  peace. I wanted a relationship with him more than anything. I didn’t  care what it looked like on the outside.

I was finally given peace.

By the way God did bring a husband into my life. I am extremely thankful for him and my marriage. I do not look to my husband for peace, only God can give me that.  No-one can fill a void that God was designed to fill. God dictates my future.

I am so thankful to God for the gift of peace. I wouldn’t want to go through this year again. The pit was hard.

I encourage you to look inward at what idols you may have. Lay your idols at the cross. Peace is worth the journey.

Further reading: Philippians 4

 

 

I’m an idiot.

I am an idiot, that is what I keep getting when I pray. I am an angry idiot at best. I don’t understand. I’m shocked.

We had a death in the family. I miss her. I’m mad and praying. Crying out to God. Why?

I’m frustrated my family has been through enough. I can relate to Job. I can see God’s hand in some of the process of  restoration. BUT right now it feels like God is kicking my family while they are down. I’m confused.

God gently reminds me, for lack of a better term. I’m an idiot!

He is a loving God even when it doesn’t feel loving. It is prideful to think I know better. Bitterness sets in when I want my future to be different from what he has dictated. I am grieving but I can choose to lean into God for comfort or curse him for the life I didn’t want.

Love is always a choice.

I am learning to lean. I have read Psalm 139 and meditated on those truths. I realize all that I don’t know. What a loving God to gently direct me back from pride and to guide me in the process of leaning into him with trust.

I don’t like that my family is hurting. I don’t like not seeing people on earth again. I hate it actually.

I do love God even in the pain.

Prayer for today:

Thank you Lord, for the gentle reminder of how sovereign you are. Your ways are not my ways for they are higher than anything I can understand. Please help me learn to trust in you and not myself. Please give peace and comfort to those that are grieving today. In Jesus name Amen.

Time Off

I am in the process of blending families, moving households, and having children from various stages of life. I am a bit overwhelmed. I am taking two months off from blogging. I need to update my website and work on my writing. The past few months I have tried to push something out on Friday just to make a deadline. I want to write what God lays on my heart, but right now my heart needs to make my family a priority. See you in two months.