Buried in the Sand

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Sometimes the first thought that comes to our minds when we think of something being buried in the sand is a beautiful sunny day, on a beach, with our toes burrowed in warm golden sand.

But, being “buried in the sand” is not always a glorious thing. This picture looks silly and downright ridiculous, and when we burry our heads in the sand to avoid the tough things, regardless of the reasons,  it’s a downright ridiculous thing to do.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

Just because you are not facing it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Evasion.

Just because your avoiding something,  it doesn’t mean it’s going away.

I’ve been neglecting things in my life out of fear,  out of shame,  out of uncertainty,  out of “busyness”, out of regret.  But the neglect made nothing go away;  it made nothing better.

It. Just. Makes. Things. Worse.

I’ve always believed I was a faith filled person,  but I realize if I’d of had faith,  I wouldn’t have felt the need to bury my head in the sand.

Matthew 8:26  keeps ringing in my ears,

“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

When we stand up in faith,  God rebukes the storms in our lives.

It doesn’t matter how bad we feel. How sincere we are. How much thought we give it. If we DO NOTHING then NOTHING HAPPENS.

God does and will act on our behalf, but we have to DO what He tells us to do.

We can’t do anything or hear anything, with our heads buried in the sand.

Maybe you are like me and it’s time for you to rise up in faith and face the mess you’ve made. What you’re facing might look hopeless. Looking up might be scary. The road ahead could possibly hard and humbling, but we are are called to walk by faith and not by sight.

Maybe you’re like me and your faith seems to be in short supply.  Cling to these scriptures and know you’re not alone. You’re not the only person whose made a mess of your life and God is with us, and he will be. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

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I smile because…

Life. It is messy. It is unpredictable. It is challenging.

Yet, despite the chaos that has brought confusion to my life along with fear, hurt, and tears, I will choose to smile.

Today, I will smile.

Although I want to hide and escape the reality of where I find myself, I will instead choose to focus on the reasons I have to smile.

I smile because the joy of the Lord is my strength. I smile because I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I smile because I have the opportunity to get a master’s degree. I smile because I have a job that allows me to impact lives. I smile because I have a good heart. I smile because I won’t settle, but will always push to be better. I smile because I know no matter how far I stray or how big I mess up, I serve a God who will always welcome me back home with open arms.  I smile because I am intelligent, creative, and encouraging. I smile because I can find joy in the small things like: a pretty day, the sound of rain, and a sunset. I smile because I am not too prideful to admit when I have messed up. I smile because I know God’s promises. I smile because I know deep down I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. I smile because I have friends who love me just as I am. I smile because I am loved.

Even when it feels like the walls are caving in around me. Even when fear overtakes me. Even when I doubt and question who I am.

I will smile.

I will smile because I have hope for a brighter tomorrow.

 

Get Your Feet Wet

Have you ever needed a miracle? Have you ever waited for something to happen, for a prayer to be answered, and felt as though your prayers have been forgotten?

Sometimes we wait for God to work miracles in our lives and when nothing seems to be happening we often question God. I have been there. Not long ago after praying and hoping for a financial miracle, I began asking God why nothing had come through yet. I had tithed. I am active and use my time to serve others. I was expectantly waiting on God to come through and yet nothing had happened.

As I questioned Him, I looked around my house and I felt God telling me “Sell your stuff. You have the money right in front of you.” Now that was not the answer I was looking for. I love my stuff. I enjoy decorating my house and have put a lot of time and effort in to it.  And perhaps it was wrong, but I loved the compliments I got when others saw what I had done.

At first I thought – okay God I will do this. But the time passed and I didn’t sell a thing. I even began to question if it was really God who told me to sell my things, or if it was another one of my wacky ideas. However, as I began to seek God he made it abundantly clear that He was indeed asking me to take a step of faith and sell my loved belongings. I can’t count how many different messages I heard during this time that taught on this scripture from Luke – “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

I heard the song “Go” by Hillsong United at just the right times and the lyrics pierced my heart: We are sold out to your calling. Everything that we are for Your Glory. Take our hearts now. Have it all now. Let our lives shine like light in the morning. We’re giving it all away, away. We’re giving it all to go your way.

At the end of the day I love God more than I love my stuff and I want to be obedient to what He calls me to do.

Once I took that step of faith and began to sell my stuff God really began showing me that He has big plans for me and that if I will trust Him, even when it is hard and when it does not make sense, He will provide. God began to show me that if I will focus on fulfilling my calling – the burning passion in my heart to speak in to the lives of girls and women that He will take care of the rest.

God wanted me to partner with Him. He wanted to know that I was willing to go the distance. He knew I valued my home and the “stuff” I had collected. But, He wanted to know that I valued Him more. God wanted to see if I would partner with Him. To see if I would take a step of faith and be willing to sacrifice in order to obey Him and receive the financial help that I need.

God wants us to be active in our faith; after all, faith without works is dead. God wants to know that we will go with Him no matter the cost.

I read this Facebook post this morning and loved it:

God commanded the priests (while they were approaching the Promised Land) to take a few steps into the river when they arrived at the Jordan river. They had to get their feet wet before the miracle came and they entered the Promised Land. Sometimes we need to take a step of faith and not just wait for God to work first.

Time to get your feet wet!

As I get my feet wet and put my hope in the Lord, I am excited to see what miracles He is going to work out in my life. I am excited to show off to the world HOW GOOD MY GOD IS!

Be Fruitful

I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that will last…

John 15:16

After God created the first man and woman, the first command He gave to mankind was to be fruitful. God created us to bring value to the world.

This weekend at our High School Graduation the commencement message was on the importance of living a fruitful life. I love what the speaker said. “In order to have a fruitful life, put yourself in a situation where you have to trust in Him.”

Although this sounds simple, in reality it is often a difficult thing to do. We like to be comfortable. We like safety-nets. We like to know that we have things in order and taken care of. But what happens when God calls us beyond our comfort zone? When He calls us to trust fully in Him and not in ourselves?

I love the story of Abraham. It inspires me and reminds me that when God calls us to step out in faith He often does not show us the whole picture, but if we trust in Him – He will prove himself faithful.

Hebrews 11:8­9 (NIV) By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Sometimes God calls us to obey Him in areas where He doesn’t give all of the details but he expects us to trust him. God stripped Abraham of his security. He said leave your country, your people, and your father’s household. Not only did God ask Abraham to leave what was familiar, He also did not give him the details of where he was going or how he would get there. God was putting Abraham in a position of complete reliance on Him.

When we choose to trust in God and step out in faith that does not mean life will be a bed of roses. Abraham made mistakes and faced trials along the way, but just because we face trials it does not mean that we are not in God’s will for lives.

In scripture James reminds us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Abraham chose to obey God and he persevered through the trials; as a result, God delivered His promise and Abraham’s descendants became as many as the sands on the beach. Not only did God bless Abraham by giving him many offspring, He also blessed Abraham by pronouncing him righteous and giving him salvation.

God sometimes requires that we obey Him regardless of how illogical it seems. That way, we can show that we really trust Him. When we are called into a situation where we must rely on God – He will bless us to make HIS name known.

Be Fruitful

Know your strengths: God created each of us with something to offer this world so that we can live a fruitful life

Know the needs: There are many hurts and needs in this world. How can you use your strengths to meet those needs?

Make a plan: That doesn’t mean you will have all the details, “But don’t begin until you count the cost” – Luke 14:28

Step out in Faith: “Nothing is impossible with God” – Luke 1:37

Comfort vs. Trust

God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.– Crazy Love, Francis Chan

God is calling me to take off my comfortable clothes and to fully put my faith and trust in Him. While what He is requiring of me is scary and unfamiliar, I remind myself that God is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. As I walk through this uncharted territory, I rest in the fact that He has gone before me and prepared the way.

For a long time I have dreamed about the day when God’s promises for my life would come to fruition. Now I realize it will take more than dreaming and even hoping. God is asking me to take some steps, that I am sure to many people will seem radical and irresponsible. Although I am uncertain of the details, I am confident that as I trust in Him He will direct my path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. – Proverbs 3:5-6

I Surrender ALL

As much as I hate to admit it, I am selfish. I tell myself I am giving and selfLESS. But, in truth, when I get really honest with myself I have to admit that I want the best of both worlds. I want to have my plan for my life, and God’s plan for my life. I want to be able to give into my fleshly desires while still receiving God’s blessings.

Tonight, God made me painfully aware that I have some things in my life I need to let go of. I was in a tug-of-war with myself. Do I let it go? Do I keep it? Do I let it go? But, when I counted the cost of not letting go, I realized hanging on was not worth it. I don’t want to be guilty of trading the temporary for the eternal. My life is only a mist, and I don’t have time to waste being selfish. I don’t want to miss God’s best life for me because I insisted on hanging on to my fleshly desires. If I want to save my life, I must be willing to lose it – for Him.

I surrender ALL to you, Lord. I know you don’t want just a part of me. You want all of me. I am going all in. I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given me. Acts 20:24

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)  

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (Mat 10:38)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature, with all its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24)

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Counting the Cost, By C.S. Lewis:

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.

Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.

When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother–at least not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain, but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists; I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie. If you gave them an inch they would take a mile.

Now, if I may put it that way, our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take a mile. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of… or which is obviously spoiling daily life (like bad temper or drunkenness). Well, He will cure it alright: but He will not stop there. That may be all you ask; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment. That is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’ before becoming Christians. ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘If you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less or other than that.

Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life… whatever it cost Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect–until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.

The goal toward which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point. I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do. And we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone.

But this is the fatal mistake… The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us….

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself!

Writer’s Block

Day: Tuesday, September 27th
Time: 11:50 am
Place: In Beautiful Green Country  
Mood: Lost
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For the past several days I have sat down to blog, but nothing comes out. I cannot make sense of anything. So I decided I am doing to just start typing. It might not make sense, but maybe something will emerge.

Honestly, lately I have felt very lost. I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know where I am supposed to be. I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing. I just don’t know. It is hard to job hunt when you don’t even know where you are supposed to be looking. When I am asked for my address or asked where I work, I don’t know what to say. Sometimes I think, what in the heck am I doing? Why did I get myself into this situation?

I could have continued down the path I was going. I could have swallowed my emotions and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. At least then I kind of belonged. At least then I kind of knew what I was doing.

But, it is undeniable that I am on this journey for a reason. The things that have happened: the way God has affirmed me, the way I have grown, and the truths I have uncovered all remind me I am here for a reason.

I have been battling with tooth and ear pain for the last month, and Saturday night it came back with a vengeance. I could not sleep. I could barely move. I did everything I could to take the edge off of the pain: I took meds, I sat up, I massaged my ear, put pressure on my jaw, I rocked back and forth, I took more meds, I cried, I prayed, and when there was nothing else I could think of to do, grabbed my bible opened it and just rested my head in it. I did not know how I was going to make it through the night, but I did. I watched the sun rise; a new day had come.

This reminds me of a song by Josh Wilson: Before the morning:

It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

I have to remember that I just need to lean on Jesus. Right now there is a storm going on inside of me, and although I feel like I won’t make it out, I will cling to God’s promises. I will rest in Him. Even though I feel alone and lost, I know I belong. I belong to the King of King and Lord of Lords and He promises me a life that is filled with prosperity, safety, hope, and a future. There will be a light that comes at the end of all of this. I believe it!

The word that seems to keep popping up is “How?” How would that work? How could that happen? How can I do that? The answer is always God. I have heard a million times “”Don’t pray for patience.” We’ve all heard the joke,” I prayed for patience but I’m just not getting it fast enough!”

I have let our microwave society the ““I want it now”” mentality to creep into my life. Sometimes being still is sooo hard. I want to act. I want to do something, but I just don’t know what that something is supposed to be. I have to remember ““good things come to those who wait”” and I have to stop tapping my toe with impatience.

Like in my last post, I have to make sure that I have given up all control. I can’t be in the driver seat, I have to let Jesus take the Wheel (Maybe I need to listen to some Carrie Underwood :P).There are a few factors I have assumed are supposed to be in the equation. Maybe I need to stop assuming and totally let go. Yah, I think it is about time to do that…

Dear God,
I feel lonely and confused, but I know that you have promised that you will never leave or forsake me. Even though I feel lost I know that you are at my side. My life is yours. I give you my ears and my full attention. When I hear your voice instructing me on where to walk, I will do so boldly and with confidence that I am on the right path. The only person I will seek to please is you. I know it will be worth the wait.
In your name I pray, Amen.