Have you been there? I know I have. Gosh, it can be so hard to stay positive when things feel hopeless or when you just can't see how things will be better. There was a man in Mark that knew this feeling well. You can read all about him in Chapter 9 of Mark. He had a son who had a tormenting spirit inside of him. This spirit would take control of the boy's body, making him convulse and roll around, so much so that he would often roll into fire or water. The father believed the spirit was trying to kill him in this way. I can't imagine this father's pain and feeling of helplessness for his son. As a mother it pains me when my children are sick, I imagine the craziest things when a high fever spikes and if I'm not careful fear can easily take hold. I can only imagine the agony the father was feeling, knowing he could not help him on his own.
The father said no one had been able to help his son, not even the disciples were able to help the boy. In Mark it says the scribes were present arguing with a crowd of people. I imagine the scribes might have been saying things like, "His/your sins are too great." "The boy cannot be healed." "His disciples can't even heal your son." "If He is the Son of God, where is He now?". I imagine he felt like giving up, hopeless, heartbroken, frustrated, exhausted, and the faithless words of others spoken over them resounding in his mind feeding his lack of faith. We hear things like this from people when bad things happen today, we may even be guilty of thinking or saying similar questions. We are quick to ask where God is when bad things happen and Satan is quicker at putting those thoughts in our heads as a method of attack on our faith.
When Jesus approached, the father alluded to his faith crisis when he said, "If you can do anything..". He had allowed his earthly experiences and others around him to affect his faith rather than letting God affect his faith. He had probably also let the disciples' inability to heal his son affect his faith in Jesus' ability. Yet instead of rebuking him, Jesus gently corrected his unbelief and reminded him that with faith anything is possible. And maybe because of Jesus' gentle response, the man admitted he was lacking enough faith and asked for help instead of defending. He had belief, but it was small and his doubt seemed bigger. Yet, no matter how big our doubts or situation seems, Jesus is always bigger. At the command of Jesus, the boy was healed. Much like God spoke creation into existence (Genesis 3), not even an evil spirit can ignore the command of the Son of God. He is THAT big.
While the disciples had access to this power through prayer, according to His will, I think they may have forgotten. They relied on Jesus' physical presence to help them, but as soon as he went for a walk to the mountain and they couldn't see Him, they forgot what they had learned. They let what was going on around them to affect their impact. And even after this, He still had to teach them, reminding them of the power of faith and prayer. I am all too often guilty of forgetting the power of Jesus and letting doubt creep in, especially if I don't "feel" His presence; of letting the world around me affect my faith, making me forget that there is a battle going on that I can't see (Ephesians 6:12). But, remembering produces faith and forgetting produces doubt. So we must be on constant guard, stop allowing feelings to guide us, keep in relationship with God, and remember His promises to us. I pray that if you are feeling hopeless, that there isn't redemption in your story, or that there isn't an end to the darkness in your valley just yet, that you will cry out to Him. He's got you.
Enabling people to mend the wounds of yesterday so they can fully embrace the gift of today.
I believe you. These words are often underrated and not said enough. No one knows the value of these three words quite like someone who has experienced trauma, been gaslighted too many times, or has questioned things like “Did I really see what I saw?” “Maybe I am overreacting.” “It’s really not that big of a deal.” I did something to encourage it.” But it is a big deal, you are not overreacting, and yes you saw what you saw. Yet, you begin to question your own abilities to judge a situation, your gut becomes unreliable, and you often feel like a ping pong ball. "I believe you" is something you want more than anything to hear but it as also terrifies you because in order for you to hear these words means you have to tell your story to someone. It often feels too hard to do. We try to do everything we can to not relive what happened and we know people are broken, they aren't perfect. We don't know if they can handle hearing about our trauma and we know there's a risk that people who should be a safe haven end up not being one, causing more trauma than we began with. And how could they understand the flashbacks that bring every part of you back in time, why you have a hard time trusting others, the physical effects you experience, being easily overwhelmed, the feelings of shame or something being wrong with you? If you have been there. I am sorry. So very sorry. I understand because I have been there too. It caused me to try to stuff the effects of trauma, pretend it wasn't there, second guess myself, and retreat back into my shell; afraid of being hurt again by someone who was supposed to help. It was a valid fear. But, God kept pushing and prodding. Pushing me just enough to grow but not so much that I would re-isolate. Slowly connecting me with people that connected me to others and eventually I found the right kind of people. Those very invaluable people that will listen to your story, not react to it, believe you, and guide you on the road to healing. People that show you the beautiful reality of God's love for you.
Isaiah 61:1-7 is a beautiful picture of God's heart, of what He instills in the helpers, those that are truly wanting to help. "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...proclaim freedom for the captives...release darkness for the prisoners...comfort all who mourn...bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes...joy instead of mourning...praise instead of a spirit of despair...they will rebuild...and restore...renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations...instead of your shame...instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance...everlasting joy will be yours."
Every part of these verses scream God's heart and character. He heals the brokenhearted, He comforts, He gives beauty where ashes used to be, He rebuilds, restores, renews, and gives freedom from the chains that once held you down. And knowing we do not do life well alone, he instills this heart in so many. If you aren't ready to talk to someone, talk to The Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He is listening. Ask questions, cry, let out your anger, He understands it all. He will not turn you away. God can handle your emotions. He has never made one of His children feel ashamed for their feelings. He already knows we have enough shame on our shoulders, He will not place more.
I'll end with this. The church body, those who love God and His commission, are supposed to be a place of safety. A safe haven, a place for the broken and fearful to feel safe. The church sometimes is not the first place of safety for those who have experienced trauma, suffer from addiction, mental health illness, or suicide. And many are afraid to have a conversation about these things. If you are reading this and in a place to listen to another, just listen. Listen to their story. Be aware that they may have been hurt by other Christians. Educate yourself on the affects of trauma. Be the one to change the culture.
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In case you haven't heard it lately, we believe you, we're sorry you've experienced that hard stuff in your past and we are here for you. God is fully able to heal your heart, but He will not rush the process for you. When you're ready to heal, we're ready to help.
Unless you have lived in a cave, you know we are currently in the midst of a pandemic. I’m pretty sure I have gone through all of the feelings one goes through during these types of things. Isolated, fearful, insecure, worried, sad. But I have also felt hope, love, and peace. A few days ago I was really struggling with the sadness of everything. All day I would have tears well up out of nowhere not really knowing why I suddenly felt so dang sad. The day after the sadness was replaced with fear. I spent the new few days spiraling in this fear, leading to the absolute worst anxiety attack I have ever experienced. During this whole time it was like I was in this paralyzing fog filled with all of these horrible fears I couldn't get out of. I would get sucked back in to researching and reading article after article. More information, more knowledge, more control right? What I was really looking for, like most of us are, is a little bit of hope in the midst of the confusion. I was hiding under the illusion that if I wasted my whole day researching and educating myself on this disease I would feel better. That I would find something that would make me feel like everything was going to be ok. Instead of hiding under the perfect Father, the absolute source of hope, I let Satan trick me. I KNEW that God is referred to as our hiding place so many times for a reason. I had experienced that peace and calm that only comes from taking refuge under God. Yet, Satan was keeping me busy obsessing and in the process, I missed out on time I could have been spending with God, more time with my family, more time helping someone else and I completely forgot all the things that God promises when we operate from the Spirit; peace, courage, self-control, patience, and joy. The tricks on him (satan) though, because he just pushed me toward my Father's arms. Because in the midst of all the confusion and fear there was a little whisper, a little pull. I still sought out my Bible, still sought after God, and reached out to my community. The truth of God and truth spoken over me from my cherished friends was really what kept me from completely unraveling.
One morning a day or two after being in this mindset, I opened my Bible again. The next chapter I was reading was Psalms 116. I read "Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Peace washed over me and something like a switch flipped. I went from anxious and depressed to smiling and felt like laughing. I felt joy. . It didn't make sense how just two minutes before that I was anxious, fearful, sad, and discouraged. But then I remembered a verse from Nehemiah. In Chapter 8 he told the Israelites to not grieve because the joy of the Lord was their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And it clicked. He wasn't talking about being happy and everything feeling fine and rosy, because it definitely wasn't like this when he spoke this over the Israelites. At that time in the Bible the Israelites were living how they wanted, choosing their way over His, forgetting His promises which led to terrible consequences. They were definitely not happy even though they thought their way would lead to happiness. But instead it led to exile. Sounds familiar doesn't it? And when this was spoken over them, they were participating in a ceremony to renew their commitment to God. Part of this ceremony was coming to realize their mistakes and where they had missed the mark. They were weeping because they were overcome with grief in what they had been doing wrong. While we usually respond to convictions with shame, covering up our wrongs, running from them sometimes, the Israelites did the opposite. They confessed and then praised God. They remembered His goodness, faithfulness, patience, and grace despite their mistakes. They realized how amazing and great God is and they were joyful. This is the joy Nehemiah was referring to. Not happiness as the world defines it, but our joy in the Lord is His constant presence, His patience with us, His never-ending grace, His goodness. And this joy is our protection, our hiding place from the world's constant attempts at filling us with fear and anxiety.
Now I'm not going to say fear and anxiety hasn't tried coming back, but I'm fighting it with truth...and staying off social media.
The truth I know despite what lies get thrown at me is that God is real, He is good, He's not up there sitting back while all these bad things happen. There are things going on that we can't see, being worked out for good and honestly we don't need to, we aren't God. He wars with us, feels with us, but sometimes allows us to go through trials to strengthen us. Yet he doesn’t walk away during those trials, he’s stuck to you like glue. Literally nothing will make Him leave. He is right there beside you to give you strength when you have none left, to encourage you, to remind you that you are loved and cherished, remind you that there is more than you can see, and there is nothing to fear. He's there to remind you that He has given you a place to go that no sickness, no trial, no evil can touch. No matter what fire you are walking through, lean on Jesus. He gives us living water, Ruach, the Holy Spirit to counsel, direct, and guide us out of the fire. Imagine walking through a fire with Jesus by your side, and the Holy Spirit raining down, tamping down the flames to make it easier to walk through. This is what you have access to, what you can take joy in. So lean in, avoid all the junk, seek Jesus, and take joy, so much joy.
One thing I like to do is save the pictures with the quotes on them that float around the internet. Some are motivational, some are funny, some have bible verses. This particular one said, “Be an Esther, bold and courageous enough to stand for the truth, to voice your opinion and fight for the good of others. If God has put you in a position, it is for a purpose. Never be afraid to heed that inner voice.” I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I saw this right after our pastor prayed over us to be bolder in truth and in helping others. There’s a reason so many, me included, struggle with being bold and courageous. We are flooded with so much information daily it’s so easy to become discouraged and confused on when to speak up and when to hold our tongue in today’s culture. You only have to flip through the news channels and scroll on the various social platforms to start hearing and seeing opinions on everything under the sun. And half of the responses we see and hear are often handled the wrong way. So we camp on one of two sides, not saying anything and holding it in or saying it all. Alasdair Groves said, "Mixed emotions are the right response to a mixed world. Life in this world means the delightful glories of God's handiwork always get the muck of sin and suffering spattered on them."
In the past I had zero self control when it came to my mouth (or what I typed) when I felt something or someone needed defended and it has never ended well. I have had to really let God teach me what it means to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and practicing the pause. Thank goodness for His patience, because it takes a lot! Some questions I'm learning to ask myself are: Is what I am thinking truth or opinion? Where is this coming from? Will this be helpful? What is my motive? Is it kind? Will this produce good fruit? While I feel like I'm getting over that hurdle, I am learning a new lesson. I have been fighting not saying or doing something out of fear. I have second guessed myself, felt voiceless, and not heard. Other’s voices have been louder, stronger, more persistent. It has caused me to fall back when I should have spoken up. I have let the fear of judgement override doing or saying the right thing. There have many times when I have been in situations where there is a little nudge to do or say something. And when this happens what do we usually do? Start arguing with ourselves and questioning if it is God nudging us. Worried about what the reaction will be. Being seen as a little cray cray. But, as I grow in my faith and security in Christ, He helps me fight these fears.
Having a source of truth that can help you sort through the mess and embolden you to speak up when you need to and put a hand over your mouth when you shouldn't is what we need. It is a process. You have to learn to listen for God's voice, learn the difference between responding out of flesh or out of righteousness, and be willing to learn from mistakes. Jesus tells his disciples (and us) that when the Helper, the Holy Spirit comes; (after Jesus is crucified and resurrected) the Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus (John 15:26). This is part of His job. And as believers in Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit will also be in us (Acts 1:8). Knowing this, we have no reason to not be bold and courageous. We have access to all the boldness, courage, and knowledge we need, through Him. So why do we continue to live timid, afraid, and confused? I honestly don't know that there's just one answer to this but I do know that God's word, daily relationship, and partnership with Him does equip us to be bold, to stand for the truth, and to be the voice for others when they can't speak for themselves. How many more lives would be changed if we were to live completely from this relationship with the Spirit? I believe that there will be a new generation of people that are tired of trying to find answers from the world. They are tired of fighting and striving and will start to search for answers. God will use this to guide them to Him. And there will be a new generation of true believers, passionate about truth, the inerrancy of scripture, and seeing lives changed because of the truth of Jesus. They will be bold truth tellers, courageous, fearless, and free.
Hey guys! It’s that time again. That time when we reflect on the past year and make New Years Resolutions. I’ve never really got into the whole resolution thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many make them and fail to keep them so I haven’t been able to much stock into the tradition.
Don’t get me wrong, most resolutions are great. Things like trying that new diet, swearing to eat better, paying off that debt that’s been haunting us. But do we ever really intend on keeping them? Most of the time I don’t think so. I read somewhere that only 8% of resolutions are actually successful. I‘m sure there are many theories and ideas on why. My experience has shown that in order for change to happen, there has to be conviction rooted in a belief you build your life around. Not tradition, not because it’s what everyone else does, but because it’s important to you, there is a reason for doing it that is deep and meaningful. This is where change happens. And it’s not usually easy or comfortable.
Change like this takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and our salvation wasn’t accomplished in a short amount of time either. Jesus needed time here on Earth to not only bring a way for our salvation, but also to experience free will, temptation, sadness, death as we do. We can be comforted that He knows our pain, our struggling, and the battle of hard choices. Jesus wept often even though He knew it would work out, because He felt what we felt. The death of Lazurus, the coming betrayal of Judas, the rejection of the Jewish people. He asked God to change His path, to figure out a different way, much like we often do. He understands your doubt, your questioning. He even understands the temptation to do the easy thing over the difficult one. His journey to the cross was full of difficult choices. At any point He could have chosen different, but He didn’t. He chose the hard thing, the right thing. He chose you. Knowing He would be denied, and taunted, and hated. Yet, he still chose you. To be chosen despite all of this is the greatest expression of love. To waste this precious gift by living any way other than for Him is a disservice to His sacrifice.
I challenge you to instead of trying to commit to a resolution you may or may not keep, to choose things of Jesus daily. Learn what His ways, learn about who God is, and start to grow in His ways. Choose to keep making decisions that will break toxic patterns, that will end damaging family cycles, that will heal you. Choose love over hate. Choose speaking well of others over gossip. Choose to help someone else when you feel like sitting in your pain. Choose your family over whatever is trying to steal your attention. Choose instead to make changes that are rooted in truth and hope, changes that will change not only your future but future generations. It doesn’t have to be big or grandiose. It only takes a few small steps in the right direction, continuing to choose the next right thing to change the trajectory of your life. He chose us, so let's choose Him.
The Christmas season is upon us. I love everything about this season. The garland, the lights, the music, the anticipation, the excitement. But, I know the excitement and anticipation is only a fraction of what those felt that were waiting on the birth of Jesus. I have been reflecting on how this may have been for the Israelites. There was no hope quite like the awaited Messiah promised. For years they had heard prophecies about the coming Savior. No one knew how He would come, but what they did know is that He was coming to end sin, he would come from the line of David, he would rule over all kings, and when He was here God would be with us. Can you imagine?! What amazing promises to anticipate, to wait for. So much better than the latest Xbox game or AirPods. In the times before Jesus arrived, the Jews faced slavery, imprisonment, and many hardships. Day to day life was extremely hard and discouraging. I’m sure they often questioned the promises from God. It would be hard not to. Yet, they remained faithful, hopeful, and still believed every single word of scripture. Do we?
I recently discovered that a well known Christmas song, O Come Emmanuel, was first written in the perspective of those waiting on Jesus. Verses like,
‘O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear’, ‘O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem, unto your own and rescue them! From depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o'er the grave.’, ‘O come, O Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home. Make safe for us the heavenward road and bar the way to death's abode’
speak to the hope they may have felt and what it would mean for their eternal future. Israelites were in captivity, in exile, they needed rescued. God was going to be with them instead of at a distance. The Emmanuel was their hope for freedom, for peace, for conquering death and ending all pain that sin brought to this earth. While Jesus did all these things and more, it looked much different than what they expected. But isn't that often how it is? Expectations rarely end up being reality. But thank goodness God's reality is better than ours.
Many things have changed since biblical times. I’m sure if someone from Jesus’ time could see things now, they would be amazed and maybe a little saddened. We are much more blessed with the things around us, especially here in the United States. But, we also have so much now that many feel as if they don’t need a Savior, which in my opinion makes the Israelites much more blessed than us. They were well aware of their need for Jesus. In your face aware. We often aren’t. We don’t face slavery or imprisonment in the way Israelites knew to be theIr “norm”. Most of us know where our next meal is coming from, we live in a home often bigger than we need, have clean running water, and have access to education and health care. Things we often take for granted are the very thing many struggle to have. Yet hardships like slavery, abuse, and sickness still exist because sin still exists. We try to figure how to prevent these from happening often forgetting the reason all these are here and the answer to it all, even during Christmas time. We forget the manual we have at our fingertips and we forget that peace was not promised until Jesus’ return. That is when all pain will end, every tear God has been counting since sin entered in will be erased. We still need to sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel because we still need Jesus. Don't let the world fool you. Let us wait as the Israelites did. With hope, with faithfulness to His word. With anticipation towards Him not things. Let’s run to Him. He is the answer and the reason for it all.
You might remember my post from September referring to a sermon by Louie Giglio. We are now in a church wide study with his book, Not Forsaken, on fatherhood and learning how God is first and foremost our Father. There are so many broken homes and gaps that fathers can leave in many different ways. But knowing in heart and mind that no matter how our earthly fathers fail us, we have an everlasting Father who is good, faithful, loving, steadfast, full of grace, and never failing is healing. When we live from this knowledge we can live fearless, free, and joyful. But, I want to be clear this doesn't mean we won’t be fearful ever again, that we won’t struggle with things that have enslaved us in the past or rather that Satan wont use these to tempt us. Or that we won’t have days that feel less than joyful. But it does mean that we have the ability to push pause, tap into the power of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us through our struggles, to live freely, to receive His peace that surpasses understanding.
Some of you reading this might be thinking "OK that sounds great, but what does pushing pause mean?" Let's walk through what “pushing pause” may look like. Someone may say something or do something that triggers a memory from your past. All the feelings come rushing in and you feel as if you are right back there in that moment. Fear and anxiety take over. And you react without even thinking about it, much like a reflex. You may start to feel stuck in this tendency to react. Maybe feeling like you will always react this way, nothing will change, that you will never heal from what happened to you. I've been there. But, that is a lie from the devil. He will use this lie to keep you in a victim mentality, to keep you isolated, to keep you from reaching out, and to keep you enslaved to your past. But, there is another option. You can push pause. It is something that takes practice, but once you master it, it can be life changing. Ask yourself if you are reacting to the past or the present. Because just because something FEELS like a past experience doesn’t mean it is. Sometimes I think we can be more afraid of a trauma response than the very thing we are afraid of. So we will do whatever it takes to not feel that way. So try to take a moment before you react. Go somewhere quiet if you can, ask the person if you can have a moment before you respond. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you if this is something that you need to be guarded about or this is just a completely normal response to a past traumatic experience. You may need to get clarification from the other person, but meeting God in this place before reacting so you can respond well protects, heals, and creates a relationship and reliance on God that is irreplaceable. We can sometimes become codependent on other people instead of God because of trauma and we need to replace this reliance on others onto reliance on God. We need to be so dependent on God that He is the only codependent relationship we have.
Holy Spirit is there to guide you, to teach you (John 14:26), to help when you don’t quite know what to pray for (Romans 8:26), to counsel you and help you understand (Isaiah 11:2). We literally have the knowledge of Jesus and the key to our own freedom at our fingertips but we need to ask and ask specifically. I pray that you grow in learning how to live your life from the freedom you've been given. It may not change the world, but it will change yours.
Where is God now? A question that I have battled with (as most have) because let's be honest the world is hard, unforgiving, and full of evil. Cancer, car accidents, predators, trafficking, slavery, addictions, divorce, the list goes on. I see a glimmer of Satan at work in these big things, but also in the small things. Every fall begins with many small steps. All these things big and small are meant to create division, make us forget who our God is, who God has even created us to be. So why won't God prevent it? I don’t have all the answers to this because, well, I’m not Jesus. But one thing I know is that we are supposed to be an extension of Jesus. Follow His example, spread the Gospel, live as He did. That's a scary thought because I know I fail daily, as does every single human on earth.
Despite our sinfulness and unworthiness, there are still those who get it right, in the ways that matter. I truly believe this is our purpose, to not replace Jesus in someone’s life, but to show them what it means to be loved by Him. It is absolutely terrifying and sometimes debilitating to lay it all down face to face with someone. But when you do and it is responded to with no judgment, no assumptions, just the love of Jesus filtered through a daughter or son of God, it truly is priceless. It’s so important to find your people AND find a mentor. You will know them by the words they speak over you. By the way they encourage you and push you to be better, and do better because they believe in you by your ability to be completely transparent with them. They will encourage you to keep praying, keep pushing, keep growing, even if it feels like it’s an inch at a time. They listen to God’s direction. They truly want to help guide you to Jesus, see you changed by Him so that you may help others find freedom. These very special people aren’t perfect but they do give a glimpse of Jesus on earth. You will find people like this here at Value Unconditional. They love fiercely, believe in you, will fight for you, and will see you through your healing to the end. It just takes one small step. God will do the rest.
That blessing is his affection, to hear him say I love you, to know you have his approval, attention, participation, and belief in you. He also gives light to the fact if God wants us to know him as a father, the enemy is going to attack fatherhood. Louie Giglio, Summer Reading Series We see it all the time. Fatherhood is being reshaped and has been for awhile now. Women being overly independent (I used to be one and still fight it), the lack of value in “just” being a mom, decreasing moral standards, fathers running from their responsibilities, the list goes on of things contributing to the attack on fatherhood. Many of these problems have been created by a family pattern that hasn’t been broken. And there is no family pattern that happens overnight, it is years, generations of slow habits, mistakes, behaviors that bleed into the next generation.
I’m sure many of us would have different definitions of what our “perfect father” would look like. My idea of the “perfect father” would be one that doesn’t shame but teaches when I make a mistake, one that comes home from work and puts himself aside to spend time with his family, one that encourages, praises, and knows me well. One that shows up for the school program, follows through with his promises, someone who is trustworthy. Something I realized is that whatever your idea of what you are missing in your earthly father is often very close to the qualities of our Heavenly Father. Yet, we often don’t think of Him like that because of what our earthly fathers have shown us. The Bible has a lot to say about Fatherhood, particularly how we should think of God as our Father. The word father is mentioned over 900 times throughout the Bible and God is compared to fathers many times throughout the Bible.
Some of my favorites that show who God is as our Father are:
Psalm 103:13-Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. are you not worth much more than they?
Matthew 7:11 If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children,, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him!
Deuteronomy 8:5 Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.
And one of my favorite is when Jesus is telling us how to pray he begins the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9 Pray then this way, Our Father who is in heaven.
Our God is compassionate, merciful, provides comfort, a father to everyone, ultimate provider, the best gift giver, is trustworthy, knows the best for path for us, and most importantly despite the failures we have as parents we ALWAYS have a loving Father in heaven. This characteristics should also be what we aim for as parents, but this job we have as parents is a tough one. We fail every day. I haven’t met one perfect parent yet. Every single moment with our kids is shaping their view of God and even the probability of them truly following Him in their lives. And the most important part in their lives for this influence are dads. A lot of parents don’t know how to handle this responsibility well because they weren’t shown how to parent well. But, thank goodness we are not on our own with this. Goodness knows we need grace, forgiveness and the very best parenting book. We can learn from it, adjust, ask for forgiveness if needed, and most importantly make sure our children know that when we fail them, because we will, they have a Father who loves them deeply, that they can run to, regardless of what is going on around them. It is the greatest love story ever told. A kind of love each and every one of us craves, the only one that will fill us. It doesn’t make sense to our logical minds, yet this story of love resonates deep in our souls and meets needs we didn’t know existed. He is it. Everything we need is in Him. And despite what we know to be true here on Earth, in Him nothing, nothing we do, say, think, feel will keep Him from patiently staying by our side and loving us as a child should be.
Hello friends! I am excited to share what I sense to be on God’s heart as I go through life. This may very well look like how a newborn calf looks, wobbly and unsure. But I promise to be real, raw, and write only truth. I hope that what I share will be uplifting, convicting, life-changing, and always pointing to Jesus. He is worth it all.
“I am not enough. Jesus is.” These words hit me hard as I read them. This was exactly what I needed to read, to accept, and to live out. I realized I was spending way more time than I thought relying on my own strength. It was the key to unlocking all the anxiety, fears, second guessing, and insecurities I was battling. I share this because I also think this is a message our culture needs to hear. God wants us to bring light to the sin of putting ourselves above Him. The self love movement that has taken storm recently has a great message but as with most good things Satan will twist it and we end up relying less and less on God and more on ourselves. The irony is in an effort to be true to ourself we lose who we are meant to be. Jennie Allen said it perfectly, “Jennie, I want you to stop doing things for Me and start doing things with Me. We have some fields to plow and your eyes have been straight ahead, working and striving and pulling this heavy thing. Look next to you for one minute. Look over. There I am, little me strapped in next to an enormous Ox, and it’s God. He was always there. The reason I could rest wasn’t because the job is easy, and it wasn’t because I am capable of achieving it. It was only because I was strapped in next to GOD. He would do the work, and I could rest because He is so strong, so good, so kind.” Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
How many times have I put so much weight on myself, thinking it was all up to me. That I had to carry it all on my shoulders. My burdens. Other people’s burdens. The burdens of the world around us. We are not meant to carry that weight. I imagine Him pausing, sitting on a rock while He waits for me to get back on track. Patient, loving, steadfast. And when I return He says “I missed you daughter. You bring me such joy. Come beside me as we move forward. I have so much in store for you.” Stop striving, stop performing, stop pretending. Love yourself yes but also remember who is with you and live life fully as He intended. In community, being real, authentic, transparent, living out the plans He created for you, not the world. He’s got you. Lean on Him in all things. Remember that sometimes we aren’t enough and that’s ok. He knows that and still loves us, still chases us in all our imperfections. Let Jesus fill the gap.