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Don’t Let The Wind Sway You

Yesterday I was in a meeting with my assistant, catching up on life and working through many details, adding to our lists of things-to-do. As we were talking, we both expressed at different times that we felt there were not enough hours in the day for us to meet our commitments without burning out. After our meeting, as I was driving home, I started to think about how the stresses in our lives had become things we were focusing and fixated on. Checking off the to-do lists, meeting commitments and working 27 hours in a 24-hour day seemed to trump time with the Lord.

Matthew 14:22-32 says, “22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. 23 After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.’28 ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’29 ‘Come,’ He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’31 

Here we see that Peter asks to walk to Jesus on the water and yet, after walking towards him he begins to sink. Why did Peter begin to sink? Peter was so fixated on Jesus at first that he was able to walk towards Jesus on the water. Then, the Bible says that, “When he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.”

Sometimes I feel like Peter in the midst of the craziness of life.

I have every intention each day to wake up and be completely fixated on the Lord but sometimes my to-do lists become distractions and my focus is transferred to something else other than Jesus. When Peter lost focus of Jesus he began to sink. Peter started doubting and lost faith. Sometimes in life, we get so focused on the things around us that we don’t even realize we are sinking and sometimes we forget that Jesus can help us through everything and that we need to have faith so we can focus on Him for guidance.

Matthew 14: 30-31 goes on to say, “30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”

Immediately after Peter began sinking Jesus reached out his hand and saved him. Whenever Jesus finds us sinking, He will reach out to us. It is our decision if we reach back. If I go about my crazy days and focus on the distractions I will sink. Spending time with Jesus and placing my faith in Him should be the number one priority of each day. Something I love about our Savior is that if ever there is a time we are sinking, He will reach out and save us.

One of my favorite worship songs, Hold Onto Me, by Elevation Church Worship says:

“Hold on to me, I am weak without you. I can’t breathe without you. But I can make it through when you hold onto me. When my life is broken. Still your arms are open. Your love can make me new.”

Despite the stresses in our lives, holding onto Jesus and focusing on Him before anything else will help us get through our to-do lists and busy schedules. We can’t do anything on our own but we can do everything with Jesus.

Where in your life have to chosen to direct your attention? Is it constantly on Jesus or are you distracted with other things? Maybe it’s time to reach back to Jesus and place your faith in Him so He can save you from sinking. Our Savior will always have open arms and will always accept you back. Continue holding onto to Jesus and remember that He should forever be your number one focus.

-Abigail Trent

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I shall not be rendered ineffective!

I won’t be ineffective; I can’t and I won’t be rendered ineffective… 

I don’t want to miss out on blessings or God given opportunities because I was “too lazy” to exercise my faith, trust, and boldness spiritual muscles, only to be labeled a lazy Christian because I CHOSE ‘Easy Rd.’. I don’t have to be strapped down and held back by labels or tags against me.

The ONLY name I wish to possess is: DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH KING!!

But – I know I am only human; I will stumble so I just pray His grace will abound.

“But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen, repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place…” (Rev. 2:4-5, HCSB) “So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16, HCSB)

In case you’re in shock too, these verses ARE IN THE BIBLE so please so kindly lift your lip off the ground and listen up: I’ve read these and heard these verses before and I would think, “WOW Lord! How stinking harsh. I’m totally confused: didn’t you say you would fulfill your purpose in me (Psalm 138:8, HCSB)? Didn’t you say you had all these great plans for me to do even greater things in your name Lord (John 14:12, ESV)? So what’s with all the harsh antics?” I know sometimes I lean more on the idea of being inactive because of “dry spells” or “self-induced inactivity comas” because of complacency. How can I fight against that and make my wandering heart stay steady and attuned to God, His heart, and plans for me?

Dry spells in my faith are the most painful. See, this thing called complacency isn’t a place or a word that should be in the life of believers – EVER; but sometimes it happens. To be completely vulnerable and honest, I ALLOW it to happen. I know I shouldn’t grow stagnant or still and I shouldn’t allow these dry spells to creep up on me. I’ve heard a new term recently by my pastor (shout out to Community Church of Chesapeake, VA) that could most likely label me well when a dry spell ensues; his word was – ‘staytheist’. Weird isn’t it?! It’s like he fused “stay” and “atheist” together; it is strange but I promise it fits in what I am going to say, so keep in step my friend. A ‘staytheist’ is someone who stays where they are in their faith for fear of what’s next, the unknown, or afraid of possible steps needed to take to walk through necessary doors into a God sized opportunity. To me, a ‘staytheist’ is a doubter, disbeliever, and person gripped and crippled by fear.

I can be a stayeist who doubts, disbelieves, and fears the unknown future or what’s next to see my own God sized doors of opportunity. When this fear, disbelief, and doubt occur, I induce a dry spell; but what gets me out – what breaks up and humbles me, is HIS GRACE! The scales of disbelief fall, my heart of doubt breaks, and my once fear-filled voice returns in gusto, full of life while my self-induced chains of bondage to my spot of staytheism, becomes a place of upheaved rubble in the presence of the Almighty. The very person who could have calmed me and soothed me into peace; I had distance myself. Somehow, I expected that by my very human claim to stay put, would satisfy my momentary state of doubt, disbelief  and fear and could be a match for the tidal wave of unfailing love, grace, and mercy that I needed from my Abba! Through my running, I am still pursued by a mighty warrior – yes, He disciplines me accordingly– but lovingly sets me back on the path of the calling He fashioned for me. It is through His perfect love that all my doubts, disbeliefs, and fears are driven out and put to shame (1 John 4:18, HCSB).

So to all my Complacent Christians or Staytheists out there: Arise sons and daughters! Drop those hole-filled shoes! Cease your striving and turn to grace; allow it to shower you with the love for which you’re desperately searching, feel the acceptance you’ve always wanted, and embrace HIS GRACE. For if we wish to be effective vessels for the Kingdom, we must always thirst for His righteousness (Matthew 5:6, ESV), pursue the things of His heart (Philippians 4:8-9, HCSB), and be steadfast as to be worthy of our callings (Colossians 1:10, HCSB) and worthy of carrying the Gospel (Philippians 1:27, HCSB). It is by His grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV) and by Him and His grace, my dear friends, we are sustained (Isaiah 46:4, NIV). His grace clears the stains of our sin, doubt, shame, disbelief, and fear, to tattoo – inscribe on us a high calling; His grace shows us our purpose (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB) and keeps us on our journey. The peace of walking in His grace is obtained by a life fully surrendered to Christ through the receiving of salvation by His atoning blood on the Cross. By entering into this relationship with our Abba Father, we have everything we need to live.

Complacent living and staytheism can seep in, but even if, His grace abounds all the more!

-Vickee

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God’s Plan > My Plan

 Great things never came out of comfort zones. 

This is a quote that I have heard repeatedly within the last couple years, and for some reason, it has really stuck with me. I have been crawling my way out of my many comfort zones for the last several years and to be honest, it is downright scary sometimes. There is a passage within the book of Isaiah that I have always clung to and it is in chapter 41:10-13.

            “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

            I have clung to this passage for several years because of the peace that it has brought when worry, doubt, anxiety, and fear have consumed me in various circumstances. I have recently graduated college, but I can recall my sophomore year so clearly. Having already changed my major twice by the fall semester, I was beginning to feel the pressure of getting my life together. People always tell you college is the best years of your life, but at that point I was beginning to wonder what the heck I was doing. So as I sat in my education major classes and felt absolutely no passion for the work I was doing, I knew I needed to change my major (yet again). I felt like I was going through a quarter life crisis–people have those right? I began combing the degree completion plans to see if anything really fit me. I dreaded to tell my parents because after all, they were paying for me to get a degree in something. I didnt want them to think I was wasting their hard earned dollars. I began to pray, and pray, and pray. I begged for answers because I honestly just wanted to know the direction the Lord wanted me to go.

            It was uncomfortable. The not knowing what I was doing and the struggle of wondering whether I should stick it out haunted me. Throughout the process of praying and waiting on the Lord for the next step, I realized that the only reason I truly wanted to teach was because I thought there was security in it. I thought that at least when I would graduate I would know exactly what job I was looking for. Crawling out of this comfort zone was difficult. I had to let go of my idea of job security and embrace the Lords right hand in this season of my life and allow him to show me the path He wanted for me, not the one I was trying to force.

            From a young age, I had loved art. I enjoyed arts and crafts at camp and I liked doodling and drawing. While I never took many art classes in school I took one in high my senior year and loved it. I never considered a degree in the arts because I did not think one could make a decent living out of it. Looking back now, I see how foolish I was to put God in a box. I stepped out of the comfort zone of the major I felt was correct and into the unknown major of Graphic Design. My family was a little skeptical at first, especially since this was my third major. I cant say I blamed them, but I felt the Lords presence over the whole circumstance. It was scary to step into a brand new degree plan and start all over. It was scary to step into something that I felt no real security in. That being said, it was comforting to know I had stepped into something that I felt the Lords hand all over. Just as the Lord says in end of that passage, Do not fear; I will help you He helped me in the same way.

            That was two years ago. I had never used a Mac computer, and didnt even know how to turn it on in my first class. I had no idea about photography, or hand lettering, or what the Adobe programs were. All I knew was that the Lord had put me in this degree program and wanted me there. Now as a recent college graduate with a degree in Graphic Design and job that uses those skills I am grateful. I am grateful for the Lords provision. I am grateful for his prodding to step out of a comfort zone and into the unknown because it didnt just change my degree path, it change my life.

 

-Molly Hitch

 

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How to Find Comfort in an Uncomfortable World

If you are living anywhere besides under a rock, you undoubtedly know that this world is feeling anything but comfort right now. It’s as if there is a re-opened wound of hurt and hate that is gushing out into the streets. There is chaos all around, but I’m not naïve enough to think that all of the world’s problems are the ones we see in the news. There are real things that you are going through that I will never hear about from this side of Heaven.  There are real struggles that are keeping you from feeling comforted by any means. If you feel unsettled, confused, unsure, even afraid of your current situation of your life and the world, crack open a Bible with me to Isaiah 40 because the Lord has something for you to hear.

Isaiah 40:1-2 (ESV) reads:

Comfort, comfort my people,

Says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

And cry to her

that her warfare is ended,

that her iniquity is pardoned,

that she has received from the

LORD’s hand

double for all her sins.

I’m gonna let you in on something really cool here.  You are Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter what your name, age, ethnicity, race, political stance, or financial status is.

Your warfare ends with Jesus.

Your iniquity is pardoned.

But let’s go back to that first line. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” The Lord of Heaven and Creator of the universe is speaking comfort over you.  Where are you looking for your comfort? In all the chaos where or who are you running to? Jesus is the one who gives true comfort and peace and He is not sitting in Heaven withholding it to watch you squirm. That is NOT a picture of our God. He is gracious and loving, giving of all things when we ask. So let the Bible be your stronghold, your firm foundation so that when things feel out of control, you have the Word of GOD to remind you that the Lord is good and He comforts us with His love.

Let’s look back at Isaiah for a moment, though, because somehow it gets better.

Verses 3-5 say,

A voice cries:

“In the wilderness prepare the

way of the LORD;

make straight in the desert a

highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up,

And every mountain and hill

be made low;

the uneven ground shall become

level,

and the rough places a plain.

and the glory of the LORD shall

be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it

together,

for the mouth of the LORD has

spoken.”

I typed out these verses exactly how they appear in my Bible and I know that they look like some kind of poem or lyrical phrase but these words are truth. The Lord is going to come to us and look at how badly He wants to. He will literally lift up every valley and He will literally bring down every mountain and hill to make the ground level so that His glory can be revealed. I don’t know about you, but that comforts me.

We have a God that can do all of these things, and yet He is so relational and loving that He cares about how we feel. You can look at Isaiah 40 as see what the Lord is capable of doing and yet He will take your burdens away and pardon your sins! He will make the ground flat in your life so that the walk is easier and HE can get the glory.

My prayer is that you would go to Jesus for comfort. Don’t ignore the brokenness that is filling our country; that’s not the solution. This is possibly the worst time for Christ followers to back down and hide from the issues we’re seeing unfold. This world needs the same comfort that we have in our Lord and it’s our job to let them know where it is. Fill yourself so that you can fill others, because when you know the truth of the Gospel, how can you be anything but comforted?

-Taylor Hughes

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God Will Be Your Strength

Are you fully aware that your body is completely and utterly breakable? So many things that keep you breathing and alive depend on your body and sometimes it can fail. Maybe this is a little known fact, but there is an enzyme that your pancreas produces in order to break down your food to fuel your body so it can do the things it’s supposed to do. But what happens when that enzyme just suddenly disappears? What happens when you’re given a diagnoses that forces you to come to terms that your body has failed you?! “My flesh and my heart may fail….”

There are many things that fail you like friendships or even your body, but the One who formed your body; the One who breathed you to exist never will. I have had to come to terms the past few years with my shortcomings, being diabetic is one, but the steadiness of my Father’s faithfulness has kept me in His perfect peace. He has had to carry me through bouts of depression after being diagnosed and the frustration living with this illness had brought me but he always seems to bring me back to this verse: “My flesh and my heart may fail…” but He doesn’t stop there, the hope is coming…”but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”(Psalm 73:21) I don’t have to waste my thoughts on wishing away this failure, I can rest in knowing that even though I feel like I’m not good enough He is my strength.

I still may not understand the why of this situation but I can stand in His strength and rest. My body may fail me but my God never will. Sister, I don’t know what you’re going through or what you’re facing but just know that no matter what, lean on Christ; He’s all the strength you’ll ever need.

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A Day in the Life of Junior High Me

I was thirteen, in seventh grade, and felt a sense that I just didn’t belong. My hair was breaking off. I had just hit puberty, and had acne like CRAZY! My self-esteem was so low it was sickening. I hated myself. I hated the way I looked, and I was taking it out on everyone; especially the ones who loved me, my parents.

No one wanted to be my friend. A boyfriend? Ha! Please! Forget about that.

I just wanted someone, other than my parents. to love me, but no one did. WHY?!

In March of 2003, I couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t getting along with my parents. I couldn’t find peace at home or school. So, one night after a big argument with my mom and dad, I went to my room and closed the door, hoping to never have to open it again. In one of the corners of my room laid a picture that had fallen, and its broken glass. I picked up the longest piece and put it to my wrist. I wanted to bleed out. I wanted  to feel the pain, because I was sure it didn’t feel as bad as what I was going through. At the time, I was wearing a gold cross around my neck that had been given to me by my mother.

Moments before I made the first cut, the necklace fell from my neck, in front of me onto the carpet. I remember, at first, staring at it, and then beginning to weep. That’s when I knew I needed Christ.

Once aware of this, I went to my mother, asking to go to church. We were invited to a church by a friend of my mother.  Soon, we were going to church every Sunday, and I got involved with the youth ministry. During one of our youth plays, an invitation was given, and I presented an outpour to God telling him that with Him is where I wanted to be. With that, I gave my life to Christ.

Since accepting Christ, I would be lying if I said that life has been a cakewalk. Dealing with our sin nature is never an easy task, but my journey towards spiritual growth has been awesome.

I must admit that I have slowed a lot of my own progress because I wanted to do my own thing, or got myself distracted over someone or something that had no relevance in my life.

One of the things that I love about God, though, is that He never makes you start over, but simply presses play from where you left off.

I dedicate this blog to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing me so far. As I fight back tears writing this, I know that you’re not done with me, and have so much more in store for years to come.

—Day M.

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Joy in His Timing: It’s Worth the Wait

Today, I am in a season of waiting—a season that God has put me in as I wait to be healed. I have been waiting for almost three years. Though this seems to be a long time, I am thankful for it.

So you may be wondering,” What is this girl dealing with?”

In the summer of 2012, I was given the opportunity to go to Zacapa, Guatemala. When I found out that I had been selected to be on the team, I was overjoyed—and that is an understatement. The day came for us to leave, and little did I know that in the next 48 hours I would face sickness, death, and the scariest moments of my life. We finally reached our mission base, and an hour in I began to have a breathing attack—this is an attack that is similar to asthma but caused by my vocal chords. I was rushed to a local public hospital. There, I was not allowed to have a translator, was held down by Guatemalan doctors as they shouted words in Spanish and much more that would leave anyone traumatized and asking many questions. Upon returning to the states, it was found that I had broken and fractured ribs, as well as ripped muscle and cartilage. To this day, the doctors are still not sure why I have pain in my ribs, which leaves me still looking for medical answers.

During my waiting, I have often questioned:

Why God has not healed me yet?

 Why he allowed me to go through such a traumatizing event?

Yet, I have come to the conclusion that it is not my place to ask.

Instead of looking at this event with such a “poor me” outlook, I must look at all that God  has done, and is still doing through this event and my injuries. During the accident, God did not leave me; he kept me alive and protected me. He has drawn me closer to him through this, and is continuing to draw me closer to him daily, as I rely on his strength to continue through life.

The fact is, I have seen God work in my life more in these past three years than ever before. Now do not get me wrong, it is a struggle to get out of bed, get dressed, and go on with my daily duties. There have been days (and weeks) that I have not gotten out of bed, times that I have been angry and sad; but,  looking back on these almost three years, I have had to rely and have chosen to rely more on God then I ever thought was possible.

I have learned to find joy in God’s timing. Psalm 27:14 states, Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (English Standard Version). In whatever you are waiting for in your life today, be patient and joyful in the Lord’s perfect timing.

–Chloe S.

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Freak.

The one word I hated most in this world – the foulest word to me. It’s funny how one word can change your life and how you view yourself. Wanna know why I hated that word? I’ll tell you.

 

I have trichotilomania, a condition to where I pull out my hair, just like how people bite their nails until they bleed; but I just go bald. One day in second grade, I went to school with a head full of hair, and then came home with bald spots, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, and patches on my arms of missing hair. Stress is not something that just haunts adults, it’s something that creeps in and takes hold of the young and old alike. Since then, I was called a freak. Hence the reason I hated that word for so long. I started to believe what they said; I believed I was a freak. I believed I was stupid because I had ADD and ADHD. I believed something was wrong with me. Until a year ago, I hadn’t realized how beautiful and unique I actually was.

 

God was the one who finally made me realize that I was beautiful. I opened up my Bible and saw this one day.

 

Isaiah 40:26 “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.”

 

And God asked me, “If I made these exactly the way I wanted them to be, how come you don’t see yourself the way I do? I made you exactly the way I wanted!” And it made me realize, that all this time, I was trying to change something that was already beautifully perfect in the eyes of God. He created us all as original masterpieces of art! We are his art, and He is the Artist. We are exactly the way He wanted us to be. We are the starry hosts – each one with our own unique beauty, and not one of us is alike.

 

So, beautiful star, how do you see yourself? Are you a masterpiece or are you still a damaged canvas? Because I know exactly what you are; the only thing is that you’ve got to see it too.

 

– Emily Sumner

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Seeking His Will

Traveling back from the West to the East Coast on Sunday night, I had a lot of time to think. My wife and I had just been in Northern California for my little brother’s wedding, which was a great moment for our entire family. We had then stayed at my parent’s house the next week and the normalcy of my other sibling’s life and the things happening in our marriage started me thinking about prayer.

 

What is prayer? Is it an empty conversation to a god that is not present or listening? Is praying for a meal in public just an outward message to people in a restaurant that you are a “Good Christian?”Could prayer be much more than all of the previously mentioned questions and hold the key to a relationship with God?

 

My wife and I have been living on the east coast for a little over a year now and I am feeling the pull to get back onto the west coast to be closer to family and other loved ones. I could easily put ourselves into some serious trouble, by putting the entire move on a credit card and go today, but I want to make sure that Christ is at the center of the decision my wife and I would make. Speaking with a very close friend of mine, he suggested prayer; I knew he was right.

 

We had made other decisions in our life together and only through prayer and speaking with our Heavenly Father did we find rest and peace in those decisions. He said I needed to pick a specific time and daily go to God with my hopes, fears, and questions. He said I needed to get on my face and ask for God to show Himself and His will to me. One of the stories in the bible that we talked about was Moses, when Moses went up Mount Sinai and spoke with God for the people of Israel he did not come off that mountain till he had an answer from God and I wasn’t coming off this mountain till I had my answer either.

 

Never growing up where I was raised to pray like this made me quite anxious I don’t really know what it looks like to be on my face before God. What do I say? What if I say something wrong? Then I remembered Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

I began the morning after speaking with my friend I got up at 5am and I walked out into our living room got down on my knees and then bowed down and was on my face. At first this seemed strange for me, I had prayed many times and had felt like God had worked in our lives before, but I had never been on my face before so why do I need to do this now. I began telling God what my hopes for my life were, where I felt like I had gone wrong with decisions of career, and questions of what I could do to change where we were at in that moment.

 

I didn’t hear anything, but I got up the next morning and got on my face again and went to the Lord in prayer. I did this morning after morning for a week, at the end of the week we received an email from a family member knowing what we were going through asked us to layout our priorities for our lives and pray over them and when we are done praying, seek wise counsel and then pray again. I can tell you that I began to feel a sense of peace about where we felt like the Lord was leading, now we are continuing to pray over decisions and asking God to continue to reveal His will for our lives, but first and foremost we want Him in the center of those decisions.

 

We can only have him at the center of those decisions if we are seeking His will through prayer and time in His word.

 

I challenge you, dear friends if you are struggling with something, do not be anxious in decisions that need to be made; instead, boldly pray for what you are asking for and God will provide all your needs.

 

– Chad Homesley

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Purpose for Your Delay

This summer I was challenged about why I hate waiting for things so much and I am going to go out on a very short limb when I say that I am not the only one struggling with this. A little background from that day, what should have been a fun day of sleeping in, going out to breakfast and packing for our trip home, quickly turned very sour. My husband and I spent most of the day bickering and snapping at one another over stupid things like snap comments and facial expressions. It all culminated as we made our drive to our temporary church home for the summer. What had been small back & forth all day turned very ugly & major (to the point where I dropped an awful word to him and we walked separately into church). We coldly sat next to each other, my husband glared forward without singing a single song or looking at me for the next 75 minutes.

During that sermon though God spoke to both of us about several things. It personally convicted both of us. So much of what our pastor, Leonce Crump II, shared spoke so personally to our struggle with infertility over the last 13 years but equally to the heartache & frustration of waiting.

The church has been working through the book of John for the last two years and that night we started Chapter 11:1-16 the story of Lazarus. I know we have read/heard this story a million times but if it’s been a while, go read that now. What he shared with us that night helped me to pay special attention to verse 6. At this point in the story we know that Jesus has a special relationship & cares deeply for this family. It even says that He LOVES Lazarus. So why then, knowing that he is dying does Jesus choose to wait two additional days before going to him? Here are the notes I wrote down as well as some things I learned… stick with me…

  1. Christ allowed Lazarus to die so that He would be glorified as well to help the disciples understand that God allowing us to go through difficulties isn’t Him distancing Himself from us but allowing our lives to shine Glory on Him
  2. Often God will be glorified in and through our most despair-inducing trials
  3. Though it’s difficult for us to accept & understand, a delay from the Lord is often a display of His love

Why then do we reject His delay in our despair?

  1. We fear pain
  2. Our idolatry and worship of being comfortable
  3. Our story, how we endure it, and God’s ultimate intervention in it, is often what leads other’s to faith
  4. God’s glory is revealed even in hardship and trial, His love displayed even when we feel that His answer is delayed

So how do we move beyond the thought above towards understanding and trust?

  1. Confess to God our fears & failures to believe and trust Him and in Him
  2. Ask God to give you the faith to view:

–    His glory more than our comfort

–    Peace to wait for His answer to the delay

 I realized those are the notes that stuck out to me and not all of them may speak to you about your struggles, but what I can say is something that I learned over the last few years. I had to become ok with a few ideas

  1. I was allowed to process my emotions (anger, despair, grief, loss…) at & with God. There have been a ton of times where I was sobbing, yelling, begging, pleading and mourning in prayer to God. I had to learn that I could trust Him to take each of those emotions. He has taken on a lot worse and would not be angry at me for being real with Him.
  2. I had to come to a point with God where I could say “even if I never have children of my own” For so many years I was afraid to even say those words. I would say “God, whatever is in your will” hoping that it would never be in His will for us to not have kiddos because I was doing everything “right” What I was really doing though was not placing my trust in Him because I didn’t believe He would really give me what I wanted most. I thought I was giving God an out but really I was giving myself an out. Thinking that if I said “His will” and we didn’t have kiddos than my disappointment would have a purpose.
  3. I had to change my thought process about what my life is doing now. I know this part sucks. When we are in the midst of pain and torture of despair the last thing we want to do is use what we are going through to glorify God. However that is what Christ shows a perfect example of through the story of Lazarus. By waiting and allowing him to die, He was able to show His power over sickness and death. He showed that our timelines mean little to Him since He is the author of time and has all control over all things, including time. So I could either sit in my frustration and pain alone or I could push through the uncomfortable and see what God would do with me and the story He designed for His glory.
  4. I had to learn how to start processing my feelings differently. I had to look at what I was believing about God’s character every time I was processing anger, what did I believe when I was feeling the loss every time someone else would tell me they were pregnant. Which in my world was happening 6-8 people at a time. I often believed the lies that God had too much on His plate to care about me and my issues, after all I could see Him working for everyone else around me, just not me. I went to lies that He was mad at me for my past behavior and choices. I struggle with lies that He didn’t want me to have kids. I had to REPLACE each of those lies with truth about who He really is. I found scriptures that specifically spoke about His goodness to His children. I started looking at the bible not as individual stories to help me but as many examples of God’s people failing Him, and God pursuing them to rescue them. Not because He had to but because every time He pursued them and rescued them He was given glory. If He didn’t care about them, if He didn’t care about us, it would be easy to wipe out generations but instead He loves us, He pursues us and He rescues us.

While you can find ways to satisfy that thing you are waiting for and that may give you what you want temporarily, God has a different plan in mind for you. He has a purpose for your delay. While it’s hard to understand His reasons and purpose for the delay, we have to learn to trust Him no matter the length, intensity, and pain of the delay.

I know that this was long. I know that there may be parts of it or the whole of it that may have been uncomfortable to read or maybe felt like they didn’t apply to you but that message from our Pastor and the things I have learned through my own delay felt like they needed to be shared with you!!!

-Lisa Homesley