A Year Ago

All week God has been speaking to me about faithfulness. It seemed to be a reoccurring theme. This morning I received a text from a friend with this verse.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.

Psalm 145:17

Later, I was driving when I suddenly remembered it was a year ago this week that we had our garage burned down by an arsonist and we thought we would lose our home.

I had no idea what a life changing day that would be for us. We reevaluated a lot of our priorities as we watched the flames soar. The meaning of life became more wrapped up in Jesus Christ and our family than ever before. God already had us on a journey, but this seemed to be a crossroad moment.

The path that the fire took us down is one I am forever grateful for. But I’m even more grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness. He protected us and used a situation that seemed for bad and used it for good. He blessed us in so many ways through it and taught us not to hold on to our stuff too tightly.

Sitting tonight in a different house, in a different city, with a new life inside me reeking havoc on my body, I am reminded that I will not ever be consumed. Whether pain, fire or death, nothing can come between me and the fresh mercy of my faithful God.

Lamentation 3:21-23

GO & PUT

I can think of many times in my life where I haven’t felt like following through on my relationship with God. A desire to pray hasn’t been burning in me and a passion to read the scripture was not in my heart. Those times are usually desert seasons. Sometimes I was simply tired of it all.

Ironically, the only feelings that ever came after that were ones that pulled me into a deep hole of despair. I certainly didn’t feel rested from my break from God. In fact I needed him more than ever.

While reading in Psalm 43 today, I was struck with the actions words that were used to talk about getting back to God.

Psalm 43:4

There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.

The word GO really spoke to me. When I am in a place of discouragement, I can’t just sit around and wait for the answer to come to me. I know where the answer is found. I know where my joy is. Yet, I still have to take the step to GO to God and receive from him.

Psalm 43:5

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!

The word PUT jumped out at me in this verse. This is a purposeful placing of our hope in God.

When I can stand back from a circumstance that is weighing me down, it can be easier to see where our hope is being placed, or where our joy is being found. If either of those things is being placed in something other than God, then we will be sad, discouraged, and unfulfilled.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of placing your hope or joy  in something apart from the invisible God. We are drawn to tangible things, that we can taste, see, smell and hear.

Here are two questions we can ask when trying to evaluate where we are at with this.

Where am I GOing for joy?

Where am I PUTting my hope?

Sometimes I’m going for joy in chocolate! Or I am putting my hope of making it through the day in my husband coming home early to rescue me from the chaos.

Chocolate and extra help aren’t bad, but they won’t provide lasting joy or hope.

Get up, go and put yourself in the hands of God again. Go to church. Go pray. Go worship again. Put your hopes, fear, doubts, joys and anxieties at His feet, and experience a restoration of joy and hope.

Life is much too short to be rendered useless for God by discouraging thoughts and lies from the enemy. Remember your responsibility to actively be accountable for your spiritual health.

GO and PUT are not passive words. We can come near to God, and he has promised to come near to us!

Come near to God

Surrender

Baby, baby, baby. That’s about all that is on my brain these days. With six weeks to go til our due date, I feel like I have so much to do to get the freezer and pantry stocked, clothes cleaned and organized, and all the other last-minute things that need to be done.

As much as the countdown feels like it’s on, my chiropractor reminded me that this may also feel like the slowest point of pregnancy. She asks me every week if I’m doing too much considering the messages my body is trying to send me.

When meeting with our doula the other evening, she said that when labour starts to come on, it’s going to be important to simply surrender to what my body needs to do. It’s not about stopping the pain or fighting it. The only thing to do is to embrace it, and ease it.

This really started me thinking about surrendering to these last weeks. As much as I want them to go quickly, this is the only time I am going to be pregnant with this little person. Once she is out, she is out. Her fingers won’t poke my pelvis, or her toes rub along my ribs.

As I think of surrendering to my body, I’ve been asking myself what’s the most important things are.

Rest.

Time with my family.

Rest.

Spiritual readiness for this next chapter of life.

Rest.

As much as my nesting hormones urge me to exhaust myself cooking enough food for the next few months, that’s not of the utmost importance in my mind.

I don’t think I have found it easy to surrender throughout my life. I fight for control and am a slow learner to relinquish my desires to God. But this has been a good picture of what surrender might look like.surrender

A painful test, or a difficult trial could be coming toward us. We can brace ourselves for the impact and end up with some jarred bones and aching muscles. Or we can try to relax and take the situation as it comes and embrace the challenge as a chance to grow us a person.

So much easier said that done. However, if the reward of making it through is even half as joyful as the feeling of holding your new baby at the end of labour…it will be well worth it.

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