“Martha didn’t need to earn God’s attention. She already had it simply because of the grace of God.” ~ Finding Rest in a Busy World (devotional)
I’m learning to find my significance in Him rather than from the “idol of productivity” (approval from others and self for performance).
This does not mean I’m doing nothing. It means, rather, that I’m learning to be content with doing what only God may be seeing. Since God has led me to this season, it seems He has deemed this a lesson I’ve needed to learn.
People tend to measure worth by the evidence of the presence and quality of productivity. But God sometimes calls us to obscurity so this cycle can be broken in our lives.
This is what it means to “Be Still.” It’s soul rest. It’s learning to trust that one’s place in God is enough.
I’ve discovered in my quest to make a difference, there are some situations that confront me when I don’t know how to do it. Yet, I’m the one being called on.
Even though the one standing in front of me may lack understanding, my lack of discernment could actually be what causes the door of opportunity to shut. I am accountable to that.
Walking in step with the Spirit is as much about the lives of others as it is about my own life. While I stand firm in the convictions God has given me, I must also give room for people from all walks of life to find a place to see Jesus. Everything about me must be diminished while the light of Christ penetrates.
This doesn’t mean I walk backwards. But, rather, it means the fruit of the Spirit must be present in my life and play a significant role—fruit like long suffering, kindness, and meekness. And my knowing when to speak up or when to stay silent is key.
Throwing truth around will not facilitate the process of people being changed into His image....
Suffering is felt at different levels—through loss, physical pain, persecution, difficult relationships, financial strain, abuse, mental-emotional stress—more severe for some than others.
I would categorize my own suffering to be at the less severe end of the spectrum. God has blessed my life, and my suffering is paled when compared to His mercy and grace He has shown towards me. Nevertheless, any level of suffering, even when God has blessed, is not easy to deal with.
Suffering has challenged my thinking. One suffering season distorted my view of God so much that I spent most of my life believing difficult times were God’s punishment. Yet, another season taught me how to rely on God. The next season challenged my confidence in hearing God’s voice and my ability to wait patiently on Him. So, my experiences with suffering have revealed that suffering will sometimes be used to break and at other times be used to heal; sometimes for both. Whatever the purpose, suffering has been difficult t...
I also realize I have not perfected morality in my life.
No, I don’t lie, steal, kill, nor engage in sexual sins.
But, I do make mistakes. I fail to forgive. I talk about people. I act on my anger. I hold grudges. I justify myself. I forget to pray. I forget to read my Bible. I fail to witness. These are sins, as well. According to the Apostle Paul, to him who knows what to do but doesn’t do it, that is sin. I know what I should do about all of these failures I’ve listed. So it is sinful when I don’t do what I know to do.
Though I’m not sure I’m correct, I don’t think there are levels to sin. I have never believed one can get by with just a little bit of sin while others go to hell over big sins.
But I’m not the judge of what is “little sin” or “big sin”. And I don’t decide how God judges. As a matter of fact, I hope there are people in Heaven I didn’t expect to see. That might be how it will be. Maybe I’ll be the unexpected one.
It took God less time to change me than it took for me to become who I had become. But it cost me more to change than it did for me to become who I had become.
God’s work in me and my sacrifice to accept what He was doing in my life is too great of a price for me to succumb to the pressure to go back to who I was. I can’t jump back over the paradigm shift that happened to me — the span is too wide. But the push is there, and it’s uncomfortable.
But God says, “Stay steady and be ready. I will use both your change story and your faithfulness story to make a difference.”
So, I’m doing what I know to do when I don’t know what to do. I’m staying faithful to who He has called me to be (steady), and I’m studying to show myself approved (ready).
Hurt people hurt people because of our drive to preserve self. We live and learn then feel justified with our actions that are intended for self-protection.
I’ve discovered one of the most difficult challenges of human nature is living unscathed by hurt from others. The truth is, we can’t live unscathed, which is why we struggle. We strive for an untouched life when that is impossible for people who are living life. So, life happens and hurt people hurt people. They hurt us and we hurt them.
But God gives grace to the humble!
It’s easy to call out and negatively judge others when they hurt us. But we tend to find easy excuse and be unwilling to acknowledge and take ownership when we are the one being hurtful.
True humility acknowledges our own wrongful behaviors and embraces the journey of change. In this God gives grace to overcome both others and self. He helps us rise above becoming hurtful people out of the hurt we have received. He teaches us how to be better.
Recognizing there is a problem and identifying that problem is the first step to change. The second step is willingness to change. The third step is activating change.
Chronic offense is running rampant in our world, today. It seems everyone is offended about everything. Unfortunately, I have found myself to be among the offended, and I am prompted to consider why. I am also compelled to change this about myself since I am an advocate for change in others.
Offense happens for a variety of reasons: self-centeredness, pride, the hurtful behavior of others, lack of empathy, misunderstanding, prejudice, differences of opinion, etc... Upon reflection of my own offense, I have asked God for answers. Why am I offended and how do I stop being offended? How do I stop being self-centered and prideful? How do I ensure that I never engage in hurtful behavior towards others, never respond with lack of empathy, or never misunderstand another’s words or actions? How...
The Lord gave me exactly what I asked for — what I dreamed about as a young girl planning my future. He gave me two children — a boy first and then a girl — just as I asked.
But I didn’t end up being the kind of mom I thought I would be. And, through the years, I have battled a lot of shame over my mistakes. Of all the things I wish I could do over, I wish I could redo my early years of motherhood.
I read the “What To Do...” books that were supposed to give me all the answers to my mom questions. But those books didn’t have the answers to what needed to be fixed in my life.
Thankfully, along with all of the other attributes I asked Him for with regards to my husband, God gave me a man who was willing to pray for me and stick with me through the long haul until God could reach me and heal me of my brokenness.
Today, in spite of my regrets, I bask in the blessings of motherhood. My kids have grown into wonderful adults who love me and who, most...
Upon reflection of how my life has unfolded thus far, I am thankful for God’s work in me.
Back when I was transitioning into adulthood, there wasn’t as much pressure to have a set plan in place like there is now. At least, I didn’t feel the pressure like how my kids have experienced. So, I didn’t know where I was headed beyond my few small hopes. Yet, here I am, at 51 years of age, successfully living out purpose.
I have a BA in Psychology and MA in teaching, I’m a full time Special Education teacher, I’m a mom to two young adults, and I’m the wife of and co-minister with a successful husband. Now, I’m going for my doctorate.
I never planned any of these things for myself. I only hoped to marry a tall, black-haired, blue-eyed preacher who could play the piano and then, eventually, have two kids— a boy first then a girl. I’ve come a long way from that young girl.
So, I’m amazed. God’s work is perfect even when we don’t have our own plans. I certainly can’t take the credit for who I have bec...