to glorify God... one thought at a time

to glorify God... one thought at a time

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Peaceful Storm

It's been a whirlwind, a storm.  The wind has been whipping for months now, maybe years.  The sky is dark, clouds weigh down like an awning hanging on by one nail.  At any moment, it could fall on my entire family.

I almost feel like it's already fallen.  Pressed, I struggle to breathe.  Weighed down by the circumstances that I am surrounded by.  The thunder is so deafening, the lightening? Blinding.  This storm is so heavy, so out of control, I don't even think we will make it.

I run to the bottom level for safety.  I am told that if you go to the lowest level during the storm, you will find safety.  On this level of my being, Jesus is there.  He is waiting for me to nudge Him.  He knows my heart.  He knows my anxiety, my fear.  He knows it all!  Why is He in the safe level of my heart while I am up on the top, doing everything that I can to keep my family safe from the awning of life threatening to crush us all.  I am trying to run the ship, making sure everything is in order, yet with each attempt I make at trying to "make it work", God makes it that much harder to accomplish.  The wind is louder, the hail is harder, and I just can't make it work anymore.  I scream as loud as my soul will release "Wake up Lord!  Can't You see were dying here?"

There, I said it!  I yelled aloud with all of my energy.  I am just done!  I have walked this walk for years.  I have loved, yet I am so lonely.  I have served, yet I have been walked on over and over again.  I just don't know if I can do it anymore.  I am tired, worn, and just plain exhausted.  I have surrendered my circumstances, our plagues, and my life to Jesus, my Savior.  I have reached in my pockets and emptied everything, including the lint.  Giving all that I have to the One who is worthy.

Haven't I loved enough?  Am I not giving enough?  I am sitting here in the middle of all of my relationships, trying all that I can to make them work.  I am trying so hard to raise children that love the Lord.  I am trying to fix all of their hurts.  I am trying to make my husbands pain to go away, to make at least his day better than his pain.  I am trying to fill in the financial grave that we have dug with any dirt that I can find.  All of the sudden, the gaze between me and my Savior stops me in my tracks.

I cannot tell the difference between the wind and my words.  I cannot tell the difference between the waves and my actions.  I don't know if I am the storm or if I am looking at one.  My anxiety heightens, wait, I didn't think it could get any worse?  I may just explode.  Everywhere I look in my life, something is failing.  Jesus!  Can't You see I am dying here?????

"Peace.  Be still."  and the winds ceased, the waves did as well.  All I can feel is calm surrounding my anxious heart.  I am fearful of this overwhelming calm.  What is this emotion?  What is this feeling?  Peace?  I want to raise my hands and worship Him, yet I am still in the same place.  I haven't fixed anything yet.  Be still?  How do I do that?  How can I be still when I haven't done enough???  "Oh girl of little faith.  Why do you toil? Why do you try?"  "Do you not know that I am the Creator, not you?  Do you not understand that I have given my life so that you do not have to fix a thing?"

Peace, be still.  Peace, meaning the wind ceased.  Be still, stop striving.  Stop trying to make the storm stop.  Why do I climb into the throne of God?  What makes me think that I have any kind of control?  It is here that I question everything.  I have always wanted to serve God.  I have wanted to love others and be in ministry.  Why am I in this place, what are my motives.  Again, He speaks, "Peace girl....peace.  Be still, don't strive.  Don't search for ministry.  Don't fix my gift of your situation.  Maybe this situation is a springboard for the next season."

Standing in that safe place, believing Jesus with what He is asking me to lay down.  I ask Him if I have even heard Him at all.  I feel so small that my storm seems like a breeze, the waves feel like a spritz of water.

Does anything seem to be better, to be overcome?  No, but God is the writer, not me.  God is in the future and He will see it through to the end.  Does this mean it will turn out they way that I hope?  Not necessarily.  I can bet that Jesus' prayer in the garden, the night that He was arrested, was asking for the outcome to be "a more comfortable way" than what He knew was to come.  His surrender?  "Not my will, but yours Father."

Wow, I didn't think I could get any lower.  I am down at His feet, with my face on the floor.  I am face to face with my true image...concrete.  I am a hard hearted, miserable, and a sad excuse for a Christ follower.  But God loves a surrendered heart.  He gently takes my chin and nudges it up.  Jesus takes my hand and leads me up to the exposed level.  The boat is still in the water, rocking with leftover waves.  He asks me a question that I cannot shake, "Who is it that you say that I am?"

You are the Christ!  The Living God!  But as these words leave my brain, I realize the lack of due honor.  I realize my lack of faith.  If this Jesus is my Rock, my Redeemer.  If He is the Beginning and the End.  If He is the Christ and the Living God, then why is there anxiety?  Why do I ask if He is awake and if He even knows that I'm losing it.

Somehow, the anxiety is melting like butter.  Please Jesus help me to see You more.  Help me to hold Your hand Lord.  Help me to trust Your ways that make no sense to me at all.  Please Lord, don't let me go.  Please, Lord.  He looks at me and smiles.  In this instant, I know.  I know that I am going to be ok.  I know that my family will not be crushed.  I know that God is the writer, not me.  He will show me the way.  No matter how painful the steps, He will show me the way.  I just need to be still and worship and in doing so, receive this overwhelming peace that comes with surrender.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

ALL IN



These past few weeks in Cleveland have been nothing short of amazing.  To see the Cleveland Cavaliers win the championship, truly seemed like a dream.  For as long as I’ve been alive, there have been chances for our sports teams.  Chances to move ahead.  Chances to win.  It always seemed like we would get so far before the other shoe would drop.  Well not this year!  As far as I’m concerned, the other shoe is on the floor of the Warriors locker room.  

Weeks leading up to the finals revealed the many fans that have been quiet up till now.  The phrase “ALL IN” has been thrown around more than the basketball itself.  When you turn on the television you hear it.  If you drive on the road, you see it on signs.  Many people are wearing the phrase on their t-shirts.  Yes, my friends, our town is ALL IN.

Of course it’s easy to say now that the battle is over, however, how hard was it to say when we were three games down.  I would bet that most people would wager on the side of the Warriors.  But the Cavs fought, and fought hard. They battled back, breaking a record of comeback games in a championship.  

I was thinking about this and I started to wonder how I would label my spiritual walk.  Am I “ALL IN”?  So I began to pray and ask the Lord to search me.  He knows every thought that I have anyway, as the matter of fact, He knows my thoughts better than I do so I might as well admit that I need to be clued in as well.  Unfortunately, as He shows me my heart, what is revealed is more of a fare weather Christian.  

He revealed to me that I am “ALL IN” when it’s going well, however, when I am facing a financial issue or an illness, my heart tends to sit on the benches marked “Drop shoe here”.  As I sit, I find myself frustrated, more so at the fact that I am here again.  My heart cries out “Lord, how do I not live like this?”  Well friends, as I have stated before, if you ask God a question like this, He is faithful to answer.  Let’s open our bibles to Daniel 1.

At this point, Johoiakim was king of Judah for three years now.  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his men and besieged Jeruselem.  In fact, do you know the popular verse “For I know the plans I have for You, declares the Lord…”?  This verse we find tucked in Jeremiah 29 was right before all of this took place.  Think about that next time you see it on the cover of a journal.  So Nebuchadnezzar takes over Jerusalem and takes the strong, good looking, intelligent men as well.  He keeps them with him in his palace to eat like him and learn to be like him.

Verse 8 starts off “But Daniel”  don’t you love that?  When there is a story with a plot that is building and then seems to take a turn.  Two little words show us that the story is not going to go as planned.  In verse 8, the author is telling us that Daniel resolved to not defile himself.  He said he didn’t want to eat of the kings food or drink of his wine.  Basically, he did not want to become like them.  Daniel asks the head eunuch if it were possible not to defile himself.  The eunuch was fearful of the king and didn’t want them to look less nourished, however, Daniel had an answer.  Give me and my men ten days to eat nothing but vegetables and water.  Daniel promised they would look just as good if not more nourished by the end of those ten days.  The best part about this part is verse 9.  “And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.”  Did you get that?  You see it didn’t matter how Daniel said it or what the eunuch was thinking for that matter.  God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.  This is the only reason the eunuch agreed to such a gamble.

If we truly believe that God is Sovereign, than we have to believe that He is the only one who could allow others to have favor.  This only happens if God gives that favor.  For some of you, I would think this to be a game changer.  This made me think completely differently.  It makes me realize the necessity of prayer and bringing everything before God.  I cannot receive anything good from God without His favor.  Also, if I truly believe that God is Sovereign, then we have to believe that anything that we perceive to be bad in our lives, God is allowing it. This means that no matter what you are going through, God’s Sovereignty is allowing it.  So whether you are dealing with an illness, or your spouse just left you.  Whether your bills are just not getting paid, yet you work yourself to death, or you can’t shake this depression you’ve been dealing with.  You are where you are because of the Sovereignty of God.

I would like to stop for a minute and ask you the question, if that’s ok with you.  If you claim to be a Christian, are you all in?   It is at this point when a great percentage of followers become more fair weather fans.  We trade our bibles in for whatever we have to do to escape this situation because obviously doing the right thing isn’t working.  Are you with me here?  Am I on my own with this train of thought?

We are where we are because God has a reason to have us here.  I don’t know why but I have a pretty good idea that the outcome will be God’s glory.   So when you sit there on Sunday and sing songs that vow that we are “ALL IN”, ask yourself if you truly are.  Better yet, ask God if you truly are.  He will answer you.  If you’re like me and you lean more toward fair weather Christian, then keep reading.


“God, here I am again feeling worn down.  I am dealing with (place your struggle here) still and I can’t seem to get anywhere.  Help me God to want to be “ALL IN”.  Help me to want to give you glory then to feel better, or to have that person back again.  God help, because without it, we are not walking the narrow path.  Please help me to look to You first, to worship You for who You are, not what You do.  God, You Are and there is no other!  Help me to understand the magnitude of that sentence.  Thank You for all You do in my life, yep even the yuck.  You know that yuck first hand, but by choice when You allowed Your Son Jesus to die on the cross to abolish sin forever for those who believe and are truly “ALL IN”.  Thank You for that Father.  It’s in His name that I pray  Amen”