-goodness, faithfulness and provision of God. I can’t even being to write everything He has done for me.
-vision of the future and what’s to come!
I woke up feeling excited this morning. Excited about getting some stuff done. Excited about making some plans. About getting outside on this beautiful day. Excited about future prospects and opportunities. About changes. About new beginnings. About starting fresh.
Thank you Lord. For teaching me.
You are not done yet. The good work that you begun in me WILL be perfected.
If you’re wondering if you really love somebody or if somebody really loves you or ever loved you, here are a few examples that show what love does and Who love is.
Love inquires when a need is present.Do you need help? Do you need anything? How can I help you?
Love reminds.Remember how that makes you feel when you do that. Remember what happened last time.
Love insists and follows through.Can I help you? No, really. Let me help you. Come on. No, it’s okay. It’s no big deal!
Love cares and pursues.How are you doing? How are you really doing?I haven’t heard from you in a while. I miss you.
Love expresses.I love you! I miss you! You mean so much to me. I appreciate you. I value you. I’m proud of you. I’m thankful for you.
Love tells the truth.It hurts me to see you like this.It scares me that you’re involved in this. It’s not a good idea to keep doing that.
Love confesses, apologizes and asks for forgiveness.I’m sorry for what I said to you. I was angry and took it out on you. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?
Love respects time and space.I’m here for you when you’re ready to talk about that.
Love takes no offense.I forgive you.
Love sets boundaries. We can talk about this in a civilized manner. If you’re not willing to do that, we can talk another time.
Love is patient.
Love recognizes that by the grace of God, we are who we are. Love recognizes that anything can happen to anybody; addiction, homelessness, bankruptcy. Even when we work the hardest and do all the “right” things, circumstances out of our control can change all of that effort in a blink.
Love surrenders.Lord, I realize that I have very little control over most of the things in my life. I trust that you are good, and that you will always take care of me as I walk with you and obey your commands. Help me love like you love. Not based on condition, but because You loved me first. My life is in your hands.
I have been to the hospital more in the last 4 months than ever before in my life. During the month of November I dealt with a serious infection in my right arm probably due to a bite from a poisonous spider. I was in and out of the doctor’s as she administered different tests and had my wound packed and unpacked. The hole in my arm was 1 inch across by almost 1 inch deep. I’m lucky it didn’t hit the bone. But I will never forget when I saw the slough in my arm and realized there was a hole behind it.
However, I was completely at peace.*
December was rather uneventful health-wise. It was the calm before the storm. Until Christmas. That’s when my knee started acting up. After multiple trips to different doctors and diagnostic centers, I got an MRI and discovered the cartilage under my kneecap is thinning out. It’s called “patellar chondromalacia” and can be due to lateral tracking of the kneecap. This tracking can be caused by overuse, poor form, being a woman, genetics or high impact sports. I have been attending physical therapy for almost a month now and have another month of it before I am re-evaluated.
However, I was completely at peace.*
And just three days ago, in February 2021, I injured my shoulder. Not exactly sure how, but a combination of overuse, tweaking it from getting jerked around, followed by aggravation during exercise. I got checked out and was told it was a rotator cuff tear. A second person said it was more likely a strain. Regardless of what the actual diagnosis is, I’m experiencing sharp, shooting pain and my mobility is much less than it was four days ago. I’m having trouble finding a comfortable position to sleep in and when I turn myself at night, the pain brings forth tears. I also can’t work all this week.
The point of relaying this reality to you is not for complaining purposes, but solely to highlight the fact that I am completely at peace. And this is why.
This is the reason why I am not tripping, why I am not bugging out. Why I am not worried at all about what is to come.
It’s because I am standing upon these promises.
The promises that God tells me.
The promises that declare the following things:
I will never be alone
I will never be in lack
I’ll have a place to weep
He hears my every prayer
He is everywhere
He cares about my desires
He cares about my soul
He’s won my every battle
He’s made me ever-victorious
He is always for me
He loves me
Sometimes, it’s God’s will for me to be s t i l l
So I wait in the quiet. And while my shoulder throbs and I can’t find a position quite right to avoid the pain, I simply call on His name and say the following words;
Thank you Father, thank you Friend.
Thank you Faithful, you’re with me until the end.
Thank you Jesus, God with us, Holy Spirit, you’ve revealed it to me, your peace.
The truth is, God could put a stop to this pain. Any moment. Any moment in time. Even now. Even right now, His almighty hand could touch me and put a halt on this pain in the name of Jesus.
But whether He heals me or not, I am still at peace. He is in control over every aspect of my life. It says in Psalm 139 verse 16-17:
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!…”
This day was ordained for me before I was even born. This pain that I am experiencing coupled with the peace that I am experiencing. I don’t know all of the reasons for the pain and I don’t know when it will all come to an end. But I do know this for sure; God is surely and truly and lovingly caring for me with the utmost quality and permitting this trial to carry on for as long as is necessary in order to complete God’s work within me and bring glory to Himself.
He has never shorted me from any blessings and in fact I am often told by others how blessed I truly am and I know it for myself too. And the reason for my blessing is this:
To be a blessing for other people. And I want to encourage you right now, dear brothers and sisters, that whatever trial you are in the midst of currently, God has not forgotten about you or lost sight of you. No, dear one, He is with you in the middle of the trial right now and He knows exactly what you are feeling and He will provide all that you need to endure the trial until it’s over.
That peace of mind encompasses everything from physical to financial. God holds all of those details in His hand. 😉
So Lord, I thank you for this trial. From the bottom of my heart. If only the purpose of this trial is to write this post to encourage other people that they are not alone in their trials and that you have the good of your children in mind through every bout of suffering and at every moment of every day. You are constantly working all things together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose in Christ Jesus.
I love you Lord, and trust your purposes completely. Even and especially when I don’t see the outcome and I don’t understand the reason. You alone are good. You alone are wise. Your plans alone I trust in. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
His name was A, and he was nine years old. He lived in a motel up the road and his parents were nowhere to be found. They said they were painting, but they wouldn’t answer the phone. His mom and dad shared one phone number and didn’t have a car. They had been gone all day and it was 10:30 at night when I found him.
He was on a street corner and a man was talking to him through his car window. Immediately I felt that something wasn’t right and came to a stop. I waited and watched for a minute as another car pulled over and two Hispanic men got out of the car. From where I was sitting, it looked like all parties involved were trying to find directions to a place. I decided to step in.
“Everything alright?” I said as I walked up to this group of three men and one little boy at 10:30pm. We were on a busy street corner and I wasn’t worried about being a solo woman. I wore sweatpants and old, ugly t-shirt that doesn’t belong to me. I sized up the scene and saw that the two Hispanic men were probably in their late twenties. The older, white man was preppy and appeared wealthy. I was going to threaten him if necessary. If I sensed any sort of funny business at all.
As the story goes, apparently A was left alone and told to stay in his motel. He got scared and was on his way to a friend’s house. He would have to cross a couple of major roads to get to his friend’s house. Late at night. As a nine year old. Where he could easily get picked up and taken away forever. But he didn’t know. He was nine years old, after all. Nobody sets out to be trafficked. But it happens all. the. time. Trafficking is most common in the United States. It’s said that there are between 20 and 40 million people in this type of “modern slavery” internationally. 50k new people are trafficked in the U.S. each year.
So A agreed to let J (the white guy) drive him back to where he was staying. The Hispanic men and I followed behind him in our cars. The motel was right around the corner and the door was unlocked. Inside, it smelled like dog urine. A small, barking dog was in the back corner of the room. God knows how long it had been in its’ cage. I wanted to take the dog outside but there was no collar and no leash.
It grieved me, seeing the state of this room, this boy’s life.
“A, you have to stay in this room. Will you promise to stay here?” J asked A sincerely.
“I don’t like it here. I don’t want to be here.” A said with sadness in his eyes. He was lonely and scared, and his parents weren’t responding to any messages. The man at the front desk said that A and his parents checked in five days ago. God knows how long his parents had been away or when they were coming back.
A looked at me and said something that about broke my heart. “Will you stay here with me?”
“I can’t…” I told him with sad eyes. It was such a tough call but we had to call the police. A wouldn’t stay in the motel alone (he shouldn’t have done so anyway) and his parents were M.I.A. We didn’t want A or his family to get in trouble but there was nothing else we could do. The police arrived on the scene soon after.
After some questioning and phone calls, and thankfully, even a couple of laughs, it was discovered that A had been in this situation before. In fact, more than once. CPS had been in and out of A’s life. They came and took A away that night. They left a note for his parents and at the front desk.
Meeting A made me wonder how many other children are in the exact same position as him. He was tired, lonely, scared, confused. He could’ve been trafficked or killed. His parents had to work at night to make some money (supposedly, though God knows all the details). They didn’t have a car. Maybe they had been kicked out of their prior residence. A had been left alone times before. I wondered how it was possible that they really had nobody to help. Not even one person? How does somebody get into that situation?
I don’t know. But I do know this: I thank God that I was in that time and place when I was. I thank God that A is okay now. I thank God for my life and friends and connections and opportunities. I thank God for the ability to make a difference in a child’s life and to make darn sure that my future children will NEVER suffer in that way. No matter what, as long as I can help it.
I’m praying for A. I’m praying for his parents. I’m praying for his little dog. I’m praying for all of the people and families that A represents; people that are suffering in the same exact way. And maybe worse. With drug abuse or sexual abuse.
I was only able to give A a few hours of my time, but I wish I could have given him more. I wish I could have stayed with him. But I can pray. And God moves when we pray according to His will. And it’s His will for all people to be saved. Therefore, He will do it 🙂
Don’t give up hope. If you know someone in a seemingly hopeless situation, remember these words: while there is breath, there is hope. And if something doesn’t seem right, stop. Help. Lend. Serve. Look. Listen.
requires stopping the ongoing thought train in my own mind and being attentive to what God is saying to me. Sometimes stopping the train is difficult, but I have found ways to help me listen to Him speak.
Velvet. I have something to show you. Will you come and eat with me? Will you join me for a moment so I can share my heart with you.
If God is everywhere, how come it seems so hard to hear Him sometimes?
I think it’s because we’re not waiting in His presence for long enough.
It’s like working out. You can’t go to the gym for 2 minutes a day and expect the same results as someone who goes for 2 hours a day. Building up our faith muscles takes time and effort. Distinguishing between God’s voice and the enemy’s or our own is a skill to be honed. And it happens through time spent with God.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
He is everywhere. When we are at home, He is there.
When we are at work, He is there.
At the grocery store, He is there.
At the gym, He is there.
Alone in the car, He is there.
At the beach, He is there.
In the dark, He is there.
And He is waiting to commune with us. We have the choice. To choose spending time with Him, or not. To choose hearing from Him, or not.
Lord, I thank you for your pursuit of me. I thank you for never giving up on me. I thank you for always sending me to the right places at the right times.I thank you for sending me the right people at the right times. I thank you for always taking care of me in the best way possible. Even with challenges and suffering. Thank you for making my ears attentive to you and for teaching me how to trust you. I wish I could trust you more easily. I wish I could believe your Word like I say I do. But I know that this will become easier the more time that I spend in your Word and in Your presence. Your word unto my ears and mind is like a fresh lens. The more I “put it on” and “put on Christ” and apply your teaching to my life, the more clearly I can see the design that you have for your people and for the world. Forgive me for always running ahead of you. Forgive me for choosing to focus on my problems and not trust you in this season. Forgive me for choosing to focus on what I DON’T have instead of all that I do. Thank you that you are my shepherd, and I lack nothing because of you <3
Listening to God. How could I not want to listen to Him!!! The Creator of the Universe… my goodness! The creator of all wants to commune with me. The God of everything is also the God of each person. My God. My Father. And He wants to commune with you too. He has a message for you. Will you carve out time today to listen to what He has to say? What is more important than communing with the One who knows you better than you know your self?
It smells so good that I almost wonder if I’m doing something immoral when applying it.
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He said as he saw me scraping the old wax off this board and starting to rewax it. “That sport requires too much prep.” Hey buddy, it’s not for everyone… but I’m not gonna trade it for a few minutes of TLC.
Though there are SOME things in life that can definitely feel that way. Laundry? Dishes? Cleaning? Can I get an Amen?! Lol like can these things maybe do themselves?!
Everything we have requires maintenance. Tangible things like our bodies, houses, cars; and intangible things like relationships with God and other people. If we neglect maintenance, things break and fall apart. God didn’t make us to sit around and be idle. He created us to work! Prepare. Care ❤️ bear burdens.
Not to say there’s not a time to cease. Pause. Delight. In fact, resting, delighting and remembering is extremely VITAL. And I’ll do that when I get out on the water 🙂 but in the meantime, maintenance is required. And I choose to view it as investing in future opportunites to delight even harder. From a unique oceanic viewpoint 😉🌊 #workhard #workhardplayhard
I have a very literal brain, so when I think of “making idols” I picture a potter in a shop making things on the potting wheel.
Little cups and bowls, pitchers, vases. Some smooth and well-shaped. Others bumpy and misshapen. I picture the messy process of wearing the apron, hands covered in wet clay. The air smells earthy.
But when the Word of God talks about making idols, it is referring to the human heart.
Humans are very good at “making idols” on the regular. An idol is something you greatly admire and love and revere. Something you can’t stop thinking about. Something at the forefront of your mind. Think of how cartoon horses have been driven by a dangling carrot.
Our idols are like those carrots. Idols can be our motivation. It’s okay to have things that motivate us. People, goals… The problem lies in loving that person or thing or goal more than God. Because when that person, thing or goal becomes an idol, unbelief starts to take place.
So how do idols cause unbelief and how do we determine what’s an idol?
Idols cause unbelief in this way:
We start to put our hope in the idol. We start to attempt to glean our happiness and satisfaction from that idol. It becomes our catch-all. The thought we return to at the end of the day or first in the morning, or if we’re having a bad day. Idols actively fight to take the place of God.
When we’re living for an idol instead of for God, we are heading in the wrong direction. Our motives become catered towards our idol instead of God’s will. They become selfish and self-centered. Whatever it takes to uphold the idol.
When we’re living for God, everything else is secondary. Living for God means elevating Him to the highest position of authority. When we recognize His authority and have a reverence for Him, we bear obedience to Him, no matter what.
If we’re looking through a tainted lens, we might call an act of idolatry “obedience”.
So what determines an idol? I think the most simple way to understand an idol is this: anything that you think about more than God.
If you’re somebody who doesn’t believe in God, you might be thinking: well gee, I guess every thought that crosses through my mind is an idol. Let me be more specific.
An idol is your love for any person, thing or goal that is greater than your love for God.
Believer or unbeliever, you may be thinking: what thoughts and actions determine loving something more than God? Or you might be thinking: that’s ridiculous, I could never love something more than God.
My responses to those two hypothetical responses:
When your motives for doing something is out of concern for this idol and not for the glory of God, you are practicing idolatry. For example, I am a salsa dancer. Let’s say that there is an event coming up that I really want to go to, but the Holy Spirit is giving me a nudge that I should not go. However, I am convinced that I NEED to go to this event. I am idolizing salsa over listening to God.
If you think you could never love something more than God, think of the last time you committed a premeditated sin. That in itself shows a lack of belief and love for God. (Hey, we all sinners hahah I’m not the judge, there is only one judge!).
The takeaways are this: idolatry is sin. God hates sin. We make idols. We mustn’t bow down. Every part of our lives should be continually offered up to God. People, things, goals. God wants to be in all of them. He wants to reign over them. He wants us to trust Him with them.
I dunno about you, but I do NOT want to be a part of ANYTHING that contradicts God’s will for my life. The way idolatry leads to apostasy is scary. And incredibly easy.
Will you join me in bringing every aspect of life before God and offering it up to Him? He is our sovereign Lord who will ALWAYS lead us in the way we should go 🙂