Lean In

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Is there anything more precious than having a sweet baby lean against you?  And if you get the blessing of rocking them to sleep, you know when they’ve drifted off because they become as limp as a forgotten houseplant and they lean all their weight on you.

Recently I’ve heard several people use the term, “Lean in” when referring to trusting in the Lord during a hard time.

I love that!

It conjures up in my mind the picture of that little baby leaning in so hard that they rest completely on the one holding them.  Isn’t that exactly what we need to do with our dear Savior?

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying today, but can I encourage you to lean in with all your heart, your emotion, your baggage, and burdens?  Lean in until you feel your weight being transferred to Him.  Allow the Lord to carry you and your struggles today, and then enjoy the rest that will follow!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him (lean on Him), and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5,6

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Dealing With Sudden Fear

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In light of the recent horrific shootings in Las Vegas, I’d like to re-post something I wrote a couple years ago.  I’ve seen normally “chatty” bloggers and You Tube channel hosts at a loss of words as a result of this tragedy.  These are frightening days, aren’t they?  How should we deal with this kind of news?  I believe God’s Word answers that question in Proverbs 3.  Read on and be encouraged to trust God in these troubling days!

The phone rings and it’s the doctor’s office, calling to give the results of the lab work that was recently done.

Sudden Fear.

Your teenage daughter has a painful look in her eyes.  She has seemed distant and removed from you and the Lord in recent weeks.  She asks to speak with you.

Sudden fear.

Your boss sends an email telling you he’d like to speak with you at your earliest convenience.

Sudden fear.

You pick up the newspaper and read the headlines about yet another shooting where innocent people lost their lives at the hand of a crazed gunman.

Sudden fear.

There are hundreds of scenarios in which we could find ourselves filled with sudden fear – that terror that falls over us quickly due to some event in which we have no control.  You’ve been there, I’m sure.  We all have.  We weren’t really prepared for the news or the event. Maybe we didn’t handle those situations so well in the past.

But for those future moments, we can prepare ahead of time, simply by hiding a secret piece of ammunition on our person – it’s the Word of God.  Open up your heart and tuck this truth away:

 Be not afraid of sudden fear,
neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
 For the Lord shall be thy confidence,
and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Proverbs 3:25, 26

At that moment when the sudden terror wants to grab your heart, your emotions and your will, pull out the Truth that can enable you to handle this difficulty wisely and calmly.

  1. The Lord will be your confidence – Pray. You don’t know what to do, but He does!  He will show you the next step to take that will lead you to victory, rather than defeat. Turn to Him immediately and ask for His intervention and guidance.
  2. He’ll keep your foot – Rest.  He’ll not let you slip!  Remind yourself that the Lord will keep you safe and secure.  “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”   Anything that He allows to touch your life has come through His sovereign hands first.  You are still in His grip.

The best way to deal with anything is to be prepared.  The Lord has given us everything we need to keep us from sudden fear – the Truth of His presence and the help of His hand!  Don’t be afraid!

What sudden fear has you quaking?  Pray and rest in these Truths today!

Lovingly,

This Trial Is Killing Me!

Not long ago I had the blessing of a lovely summer afternoon in the swimming pool. I grabbed a pool noodle, sat on top of it and floated and drifted a couple of hours away. Had I worn a device to track my exercise, it would have only marked my steps into the water. There was little effort or difficulty in my afternoon. It was leisure that I loved, though it had little bodily profit!

A day later I saw a You Tube video of a woman showing how to make the pool a place of exercise. With the guidance of a coach, she did several kinds of swimming strokes, making long, difficult laps the length of the pool. She kicked, bobbed, and pushed her way through a regime that literally took her breath away. She did everything the coach was telling her to do. At one point she said to him, “You’re killing me!” It was hard work but it was truly profitable to her!

The contrast of those two pool adventures reminds me of how life is for the believer. There are times when we float along, enjoying the refreshment of God’s grace, yet we aren’t stretched or changed by those careless hours. It’s in the time of trial when we find ourselves kicking, bobbing and pushing; clinging to God’s instruction and listening to His voice that change really comes. When the bodily movements are not resisting the Lord and what He wants to do, it will truly benefit our Christian life!

Proverbs 12:28 says,

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

God knows that we need seasons of difficulty to strengthen our prayer muscles. Our heart muscles of faith in His Word may need to be greater. The very breathing in of our knowledge of His character may require stretching, so He brings resistance and difficulty. We may cry out, “You’re killing me!” because we’re tired. We want the straining and hardship to be over. We would rather be floating on a raft, gazing up at the clear sky, than being splashed in the face of our own weakness. But when we call out to the one in charge, our sovereign God, who loves us and wants us to grow and change, He comforts. He marks out a pathway of life – deep, strong, eternal life that is far better than the weak one we would choose if we might.

If you’re in the midst of the hard laps of trial right now, look beyond the poolside and see the change that will result if you listen to the One who is guiding you. He’ll know when it’s time to allow you to float again. And when you see your reflection shining back at you in the water, you can be sure that it will look so much more like Christ!

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The Storm Will Pass

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An hour before I took the picture above, a real spring storm blew through our area. It blew in from a completely different direction than most storms. The winds were really whipping, causing debris, porch pillows and vegetation to blow and bow down.  Earlier in the day I had heard we were in for storms, but it seemed unlikely at the time, because it was lovely in the morning.  But sure to the prediction, they came in just as they said.  I was glad I had secured things outside, and I was especially glad that I was inside where it was safe and dry!

I went about the work I was doing, and kept an ear and eye on the outside, for safety sake.  It wasn’t long, though until I looked through the window and saw the clouds clearing.  Then I saw the sun hitting the backyard.  I stepped onto the back porch and everything was cool, refreshed, and though dripping with the drops of the precipitation, it was evident that the storm was over.

I know many people who are going through storms in their personal lives.  I would have to add, that the storm is in their personal Christian life.  It’s a storm sent by the Lord for His purposes.  As I watch, I see the pressures of the trial causing them to bow, just like the trees in my front yard bent as the wind pushed against its branches.  They are bowing with the ache and the pain of the trial, but they are not broken.  They are trusting the God of their life to do His work, and they are firmly planted on His Word, even when their hearts may want to waver or ask why.

We’ve all been warned that trials will come to us.  Maybe you’re one who is experiencing one right now. Perhaps your trial is just around the corner. It’s easy to get caught off guard because the “sun is shining” today and we can’t imagine that dark clouds may be ahead.  We must prepare now for the storm that will come.  Like my friends, we must anchor our hearts in the Scriptures.  We have to know God’s character because we know His Word.  His Truth will keep us from breaking.  Knowing the Sender of the storm will remind us that He is there with us. And though we may never know why God sends or allows difficulties to come our way,  we can be sure that they went through His sovereign hands before they touched our lives.

When we find ourselves in the storm, we need to also remember that they won’t last forever.  There will be an end.  If not here, for all eternity, there will only be peace.  We may feel like quitting and throwing in the towel, but we must endure so we can see the joy of the blessings of the storm. When I was waiting out the storm yesterday, it didn’t last for long, really.  I’ve been through worse spring tempests.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth that though it seems that this trial is going on forever, there is a day when it will be over.

Hopefully when the storm is over, we won’t forget the things we’ve learned.  The lessons will be like the water droplets on my roses – little reminders that the storm was there.  There will be a freshness, a newness, and even sunshine in our hearts afterwards if we prepare for the storm, endure the storm and remember the storm.  

It’s time to go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  The storm is over.  To my friends who are experiencing difficulties today, I say, your storm will pass and the sun will shine again and God’s presence will refresh your spirit through it all.  

This won’t last forever.

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Are you going through a storm?  I’d love to pray for you.  Just leave a note asking for prayer – no need to share about the trial – God knows.

Lovingly,

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I’m Not Going!

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Reflecting back on the retreat I was privileged to be a part of this weekend makes me shake my head in amazement once again at my great God.  That He would allow me to share His Word with ladies and teach them from the overflow of what He’s taught me, is absolutely amazing!  It is a  joy beyond compare!

It’s also the hardest thing I ever do.  There is such an overwhelming understanding of the responsibility to handle God’s Word correctly and lead ladies to Truth, and to do it in a way that God alone gets the glory.

If you could hear me before I go to speak, you might wonder why in the world God would send me!  Seriously!  I go through the agony of:doubting that what I’ve spent many hours preparing is what I should be doing.  I gasp and wonder what in the world I was thinking when I was sure this is what God wanted me to share!  My husband and close friends will hear me say,

I’m not going!

It’s then that they know they need to pray much for my weakness.  It’s also at that point that I fall on my knees before Him once again and give Him everything – myself, my words, my outline, my heart, myself.  It’s  a cycle that happens every. single. time.  But it’s necessary, you see, because it empties me of myself and makes me realize that I indeed do NOT have what it will take to go speak and help anyone.  I CANNOT make anything happen in myself.  I am totally nothing without God’s empowering.
My words are empty. My strength is weak.  My plans will fail.

But God…

  • is strong when I am weak.
  • is almighty.
  • is able to do exceeding abundantly .
  • is my all in all.

I sincerely believe that the Lord allows me to speak so that I will continually be drawn to Him in utter dependence.  I’m so thankful for that!  I don’t want what I can do because I’ve seen what He can do!!

What is it in your life right now that is making you realize that you are so very unable to do what is before you?  God gives each of us at least one thing to cause our eyes to look upward, pleading for His possible power when the situation seems impossible to us!

Lift your hands toward heaven and remember that He is your All in All!  He can do the impossible in and through you when you let go and trust solely in Him.

Do you have an impossible situation?  Will you allow Christ to be your All in All this moment?  He is enough. Take it from someone who knows because she DID go, and God did all the work.  Praise His name!

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

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While visiting my parents in Kentucky over Thanksgiving, we took a drive to some old home sites and places I grew up.  One drive took us to a small town where I had originally thought I’d go to college.  My husband pulled the car into the entrance gate and my mind played back the scene as I looked through the car windows and recalled the last time I was there…

My plans were made, and in my heart, my future was set.  As a senior in high school, I thought I was sure what God wanted for me.  I would attend a local college, literally up the road.

I would live at home.

I would become a nurse and serve the Lord with that ministry.

It was settled.

Then one Friday night I drove through the entrance of the college pictured above for a weekend visit of the campus. This was a time for perspective students to visit and get an idea of what college life was like on this campus.  It was labeled as a Christian school.  I was excited about that, because Christ is my Savior, and I desired to live my life and be in places that honored Him.  I had visited a large Christian university in another state earlier that year, just for a fun weekend, and was so impressed with the spiritual temperature of the campus and in the lives of the students.

However, what I had anticipated seeing and hearing on this weekend was not at all what I saw or heard.  Though this was supposed to be a Christian school, that was definitely not the testimony I witnessed.  I was heartbroken.  At the end of my visit, I got in my car, pulled away from the school, and cried the 15 minute ride home.

I couldn’t have been more sure that God was saying a firm, “No” to all my plans.

At the time I remember how devastated I was.  I wasn’t sure what I would do now.  I had literally had the rug pulled out from under my feet.

I cried and I prayed.

I also talked with my parents, whom I knew were much wiser, and would give me godly counsel.  I suggested the Christian college that I had visited earlier in the year, but they had valid concerns and they lovingly said, “No.”

When you’re an 18 girl who is a child of God, and you live at home, have no job, or no idea about where to get an education, you quickly enroll in the school of prayer.  As I submitted to my parents counsel, and prayed for God’s direction, He provided me with a job at the Coca Cola Bottling Company, working in the accounting department.  That was totally of the Lord, seeing I had NO experience in this field, and didn’t even do super well in my math classes!

I went to work there, and enjoyed my life as a young single adult, all the while praying that if God would allow, He would open the door for me to attend the Christian college eight hours from my home.  In the middle of the year, my mom asked if I was still desiring to attend school there.  I answered that I was.  She gave me their blessing!  I finished out the summer working at Coca Cola and prepared to leave in the fall.

That move to the large Christian university in September changed the direction of my life forever and in wonderful ways.

God’s timing was perfect.

His provision was complete.

His grace was sufficient.

His plan was perfect because He is God.

I learned some really important lessons during those months of waiting and wondering that have served me well as an adult.  In my mind’s eye, when I visit that driveway of the other school, I don’t just remember God shutting that door, I remember the lessons I learned about trusting Him, the sweetness of prayer, and of Him opening the next door – in His time and in His perfect way.

What are you waiting for today?  God’s will to be revealed?  A test result?  A mate?  A provision?  An answer?  Don’t give up and do your own thing.  You can trust God with every detail that He will arrange in His sovereign ways.  Wait and trust.  You’ll be glad you did.

So thankful,

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What I’m Doing On Election Day

Today is an important day in our country, but I will not fear.   God is on the Throne and everything is good in my Father’s House!

I did choose to vote!  It’s my right, privilege and responsibility as a citizen of this land.

I choose not to watch and listen to the reports until it’s all said and done.

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I won’t be anxious.

I will not fuss.

I will pray and trust our God who is

GREATER

STRONGER

BETTER

than any person.

I will rest in Him.

At the end of this day, no matter the outcome, we can say:

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Resting in a sovereign God,

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