Hour by Hour

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God delivers. God saves. God makes all things new.

The residue from our family conflict is being replaced by new seeds ~ seeds of beauty to replace the ugly gunk. Seeds of growth that God plants, even in what seems to be a lifeless mass of junk that this girl would have chosen to discard ~ thinking it’s worthless.

They’re going to become beautiful flowers.

Because He makes all things new.

Healing has begun, but God doesn’t stop there. He uses every situation ~ every circumstance to make things new and better than before. He’s growing a garden ~ a divine one that surpasses what we can even imagine right now.

It’s hard though ~ hard when we are hot in the middle of the messy part. It’s hard to see what He is doing. We can believe (we have to or we are DEAD)…..but we want to see the results faster sometimes than they come. We get tired of just believing, and want the prize right away.

Seeds have to grow.

Today I am thankful that talking and heart sharing has been done. I am grateful that I know that the seeds of the newness of God have been planted. I see the flowers in my mind’s eye. I see them already.

Yet I find myself wondering ~ when will He plant those seeds regarding my health? I find myself wondering if there will ever be pretty flowers to smell in this part of the garden.

Chances are He already has planted them. I think maybe I have stopped fully believing.

  • I believe He is working all things together for my good.
  • I believe His strength is being made perfect through my weakness.
  • I believe He will make something new out of the old in my body.

I just don’t know what it’s going to look like yet. I don’t know that I will get to ever see and smell the pretty flowers.

And that makes me SAD.

Please don’t pity me, friends. I am not asking for that at all. I am simply a weary woman who is sharing what is in my heart and mind today.

I don’t know anything special or wise to share about all of this at this point….it hasn’t been given to me. No nugget of wisdom ~ no secret sauce ~ no enlightening answer as to how God gets us through such things.

It surpasses my knowledge ~ it surpasses my understanding.

I only know that He is not forsaking me. At this point, I only know that there’s something more He wants to grow in me regarding my belief.

It may not look pretty or smell good, but He is growing it. My faith is not strong in the way or area that He wants for it to be. I don’t know how I know this ~ I just do.

So for now, it’s truly hour by hour. For now, I cannot make plans that I know are likely to come to fruition.

For now, I don’t know what the next day holds, or even the next hour.

I only know I have to take it hour by hour ~ with Him.

What will the Lord help you to accomplish this hour? What if we stop worrying about whether we will meet all of our responsibilities in the hours to come and take it one hour at a time? What if we ask Him to meet us anew as we trudge, hope, pray to make it through just this hour? And when the hour arrives in which we don’t “make it” through? Is it really true that we didn’t make it? If He is with us, and we are seeking Him, is that not triumph?

I am so focused on my failures that I fail to see the triumph in what He is doing in and through me in those times. I fail to see that I am already walking through the garden with Him.

Hour by hour, He meets me and is making something new, friends. Some hours I am able to move, accomplish, finish, follow through. And some are filled with disappointment and fear of what may result as a consequence starts to threaten me.

This is when He meets me and tells me that He’s got this covered. I just don’t see it yet.

Seeds are being planted round the clock, friends. I can’t say it doesn’t hurt sometimes. I can’t say I am not impatient to see them grow. I can’t say I get tired of all the planting and want to see the end result more than focus upon the utter KNOWING that God’s work is being accomplished!

But I know that He is planting.

This hour, I know that He delivers ~ He plants ~ and He can grow beauty out of what seems worthless or even dead.

My prayer for us today is that we all forget, even if just for a while, about all that is old, broken or just not working right any more. May we forget it long enough to see that inside, we are being renewed. He is in the process of planting new seeds all the time.

Every hour He is making us new.

Let Him meet you today, friends. Let Him meet you this hour and the next one and the next.

And know that He is God.

Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

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This Is War

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There was a conflict in my home last night ~ a family conflict. It came on suddenly, and it grew, and grew and grew until it had a life of its own.

Words flew, confusion ensued, and emotions ran the show. I can tell you right now ~ it was not a show that I haven’t seen before, but I never signed up for a repeat performance.

You see, the enemy entered my house at some point and I didn’t see him coming. I don’t think any of us did.

I think it’s because he snuck into our hearts first. He came in through the back door.

This is what I was writing about the other day: This!

  • This is the ugly I want for God to show me when it’s coming.
  • This is the ugly I want to be on guard for, so I can avoid being caught unaware.
  • This is the ugly that the world tells us is unavoidable, so we get weary of looking for it and heading it off at the pass.

This is the ugly that is not beautiful in its own twisted way.

What is really sad is that we all have a full set of the best armor ~ It’s God’s armor. The sad part is that I can’t even say we weren’t armed…we just armed ourselves with the fake and cruddy stuff. We grabbed the armor of self ~ the glittery and really convenient kind. We grabbed what seemed like it was closest.

News Alert: It didn’t work. Fake stuff never does.

So today…today remorse is trying to win. Today condemnation is trying to win. Today the conflict and the life of its own that spun a web of fire and tried to burn things down has subsided, but the embers are still there ~ threatening to catch on fire again.

Today seems…..dark.

Today it is time for God’s water. It is time for God’s light in the midst of the darkness. Today it is time for God’s mercy and compassion and love. Today it is time to dump out the vestiges of remorse, bitterness, condemnation.

It’s going to hurt.

I am anxious today. I am anxious because everyone has to go their separate ways to do life and their individual responsibilities and we are all separated. I am anxious because there is talking and understanding to be done and we are unable to come together to do it.

I am holding on to the anxiety and struggling to turn it over to God.

But I am believing today, friends. I am believing that God can draw us together in spite of the physical separation.

I am believing.

I am believing that He knows each of our hearts and our desire to make things right.

I am believing.

I am believing that He can heal us and He doesn’t even need our help to do it.

I believe.

I believe He will use the space of separation to draw us together.

This morning, as I took two of my children to school, my son said “I realize I have anger issues and probably always will need God to help me with that.” All I could think was ~ “don’t we all?”

Anger is an ugly monster. So is selfishness.

And so is condemnation.

When we fail to stop in those moments to put on our armor, we give all of our energy to the match of ugly and evil that is trying to grow into an out-of-control bonfire.

I didn’t use my armor. Few of us involved in the ugly conflict did. We all have “anger issues.”

Today I am going to sharpen it and put it back on.

And I’m not going to forget to remember who my enemy really is.

This is war. And I know who is going to win.I need to stop forgetting to remember that. I need to remember that we are on the winning side.

No one ever said that war would be pretty. But there IS beauty in that kind of ugly.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Show us the Ugly!

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I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been really pondering how faked out the world has many of us. It’s the enemy. He is so very deceitful and conniving. He is the master of deceit, and if we aren’t guarded, he’s right there ready to ensnare us.

He gets into our minds. There’s a trickle effect involved with that. What is lodged into our thoughts and minds seeps down into the heart, and vice versa.

What we think soon becomes what we feel. What we feel can start to override our thoughts.

Satan’s goal is to lead us astray in thought and heart and in turn, deed.

He twists everything.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5- 

He either takes a really simple and subtle approach (a mere distraction that grows like a weed) or makes things too complicated so that we simply think we cannot focus ~ focus on the simple truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

He steals! Little by little, he rips away our time and our thoughts and in turn, our loyalties can become fragmented.

We are split into multiple directions and if we aren’t careful, we can end up….paralyzed.

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

To see the beauty of being in Christ, it is necessary to face the ugly around us just as He did when He walked among us. If we cower, hide, or be afraid of facing it ~ that’s when fear starts to cripple and control us.

You see, I think that is one of the enemy’s go-to schemes. I think he wants us to spend all of our time running away from that which we can embrace with Christ on our side and then it just continues to follow us around (the world calls it baggage).

Adam and Eve COULD HAVE talked to God about the temptation they were facing in the Garden.

Eve could have called upon the Lord and said “I am confused and feeling upset because this guy over here told me something that bothers me.”

They could have faced the fear and the ugly with God.

But that’s not where it stops. The the horrible one never relies on only one method to throw us off-balance and draw us into the abyss. He loves to entice us with fake glimmers of light and beauty to feast our eyes upon as well.

“Look at this beauty over here ~ don’t look at that ugly stuff! Let me give you the positive stuff to dive into ~ let me make you feel better!”

It’s hard, but we can recognize the fake stuff if we listen to the Holy Spirit. It’s usually the stuff that comes with a cost ~ a sacrifice of what we know to be RIGHT.

Sometimes, we are scared to open our eyes because we know somehow….we know inside that we have approached the line and we are afraid that if we open them, there is going to be a big ugly monster staring us in the face.

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:4

But when God shows us the truth about that shiny, glittering object that the enemy is putting in front of us ~ the one that is meant as a distraction from real goodness, real truth, real love ~ we can see the ugly that makes up the core of what it really is.

AND……….He is there with us. He is there and He will help us face the monster.

We have to ask. We have to put on the armor daily. We have to WANT to see the ugly for what it is.

And then, we don’t leave it at that: we seek Him to tell us what ugly is from the disgusting one, and what ugly is simply a trial we are going through that the beautiful One wishes to make new.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil Ephesians 6:11

We must believe that He will never forsake us, friends. We must believe that He will be with us. We must listen and see what He wants for us. What ugly does He want us to face down today, with HIM? What ugly does He want us to recognize early on and to turn and run to HIM instead?

Show us the ugly, Lord. Show us the ugly that we are to run from and give us guidance to move right beneath your Mighty wings. FAST!

Show us the ugly, Lord. Show us the ugly that is part of what you are doing in our lives ~ the stuff we are to embrace because it is part of YOUR beautiful story. It’s a testimony of your strength in our weakness.

Show us the ugly, Lord. Show us the ugly and give us your wisdom and discernment to know the difference. Help us to listen ~ to see.

Show us the difference between the evil kind of ugly and the kind that is a testimony of the beautiful work of sanctification that comes out of what You are doing in our lives.

  • Even through our weakness.
  • Even through our disobedience and prodigal and sinful natures.
  • Through our mistakes, our challenges, our failures to see.

Show us YOUR beauty in the ugly, Lord. Help us not to close our eyes. Help us not to live in fear, but the full knowledge that You are the faithful One.

You are the Almighty One.

You are the Faithful One.

You are the truly Beautiful One.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

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. Isaiah 41:10

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There’s a Yes in that No!

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The Word of God admonishes us to “let our yes be yes and our no be no.” That is truth we need to live by, as so often, we fail to be honest ~ we waver ~ then we are tossed to and fro. We often add emphasis to our yes or no to make our point. This is unnecessary and according to the Lord, comes only from the evil one.

We are not to swear by anything or anyone else ~ just to say yes or no.

Sometimes circumstances change though, and we have to change our minds. If that is the wise choice, then our answer may have to change along with the situation. Then, we must stand firm in that new answer ~ once again.

We may have to give a new answer ~ a different one. But in that moment, we still need to  simply answer….. yes or no.

Again.

This will bring about a time of testing for us, friends. It is hard to stand by our answers, especially when they have to change. We get caught up in thinking that our first answer should remain no matter what happens.

But it can’t always be that way.

  • The person who has cancer, and thought they would be able to continue to drive or attend PTA meetings for another six months…but the test results show that there needs to be a change of plans.
  • The play you said you thought you could attend (on time) for your child’s drama performance, but traffic decided otherwise for you.
  • The commitment you made months ago to help out in another area in church, at work, or at a friend’s special party ~ and illness changed things on a dime.

So yes being yes and no being no is not about whether or not your answer will ever have to change. It’s about not adding to it by swearing by any other power outside of your answer.

Was your initial “yes” not true? Certainly not! Circumstances simply changed.

So let’s look at another part of the struggle in our need to sometimes say No. This part of it is the part that I am dealing with currently, and it is WAY harder for me than the kind of things I listed above.

It’s about the perspective thingie.

For me, the struggle is not about whether I stand firm in regard to my word, barring circumstances that I cannot help. Instead, it’s about how there is always a “yes” to be found in our need to say “no”…..IF we are now having to say “no” after prayer and consideration from a Godly perspective.

It’s about how hard it is sometimes to see the Yes in the No and know that God’s got plans. Plans to work all things together for our good. Plans to show His mighty strength through our weakness.

Plans to prosper us and not harm us.

HE knows what the Yes is in the No.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Let me tell you, friends. I cannot COUNT how many “No’s” I have had to dole out lately.

Here are just a few:

  • I have to say “No” about serving or attending church on Wednesday nights right now – it’s the middle of my work week and I have to use Wednesday as a day of rest, a day of not going out in the evening. Period. And I hate it.
  • I have to say “No” about doing more than one or two errands at a time ~ even when it’s something that might mean a lot to my kids if I could say “Yes.” Hate that too.
  • I have to say “No” to doing the big grocery shopping trip every week ~ this means my husband gets to do this chore after working way more hours than I do during the week, along with the many other things he has to take care of on the weekends. Really hate this one!
  • I had to say “No” to several things at work that would not only benefit me career-wise, but really benefit the company for which I work if I could pull it off right now. Hate, hate, hate it!
  • AND…..at work: I can’t have a “normal” workspace….I can’t wear normal headphones like everyone else around me. I can’t sit just anywhere. I can’t volunteer to do extra things that would benefit many people, even though I am skilled to do the tasks. My boss has to build me a special cubicle just so I can cope with the sensory stimuli issues this Fibro is causing me and the pain that ensues as a result.

No. Can’t. Sorry. Unable to at this time.

Did I say I hate it yet?

BUT….God is working on me, friends. He is helping me to see the “Yes” in all of these “No’s”.

I don’t know about you, but right now in my life, it doesn’t bother me to miss out on opportunities as far as work is concerned. I don’t care about moving up the ladder, getting a new and more challenging  job, or making more money. So I don’t have to contend with that whole set of angst that comes along with that.

But I hate to disappoint others. I hate to say “Yes” and then have to change it to “No” if circumstances with my health change. I dislike immensely having to inconvenience others and make them do more work to make things work out better for my health.

I forget about Jesus and how He allowed the other man to help Him carry the cross.

I forget what I know about all the Yes’s I find in Him. And they are often found in saying No here on earth.

So I have to LOOK ~ I have to SEARCH ~

I have to look hard for the Yes in the No.

  • I am saying Yes to God and the prodding inside to take care of my health right now, even if it means that others may be disappointed (although they are understanding at the same time).
  • I am saying Yes to being open to going down whatever path God leads me by not walking through doors that swing wide open just because….they are open.
  • I am saying Yes by saying No to all that glitters in front of me and around me, and embracing the glitter that’s in the mud right where I am at for this moment.
  • I am saying Yes to allow others to help me bear my own burdens.
  • I am saying Yes by saying No ~ Yes to whatever the Lord has in store ~ for all of us.

I will rise up out of the mud some day and the Lord will choose to open a different door. We don’t have to go through every door that is already open, dear friends. Maybe someone  else needs to walk through one of those doors.

Just cause it’s open doesn’t mean it’s mine to walk through.

How about you? Do you find it hard to have to say No to things that seem like they would be great for you or for others IF the circumstances were different? Is it hard for you to have to do it, even though you know it’s the right choice? Can you see the Yes in your No today, and if not ~ have you asked God to help you see it? And have you cried out and asked for Him to comfort you in the part of it that feels like you are missing something, or letting others down?

I can practically guarantee it when I say that it’s not all about the person saying No. I can assure you that others involved have their own process to go through in relation to how your decisions impact their own. Maybe God is working in their life through you or in a way that they don’t know about yet.

We have a responsiblity as Christians to move out of the way and let God be God, right?

Newsflash for Annie: My “NO” may be a big “YES” for someone else.

Oh yah ~ it’s that thing again ~ It’s not all about ME.

I don’t know about you, but here is what I have started to see. I can have the fullest of confidence that God is working in each of our lives if we are seeking Him. I can rest and find peace in my No, even when it makes me uncomfortable.  And I have the hope and the assurance that my No will do good somewhere ~ because God’s got this, friends!

I pray that you will know this too.

That you will know that your No is meaningful. That your No will help you to know God better and say Yes to Him more of the time.

That you will know that in your No, God’s got you. Yes…He does!

That your No means Yes, Yes! ~  When you turn it all over to Him.

Yes. God’s got you.

Yes, He knows.

Yes. He plans to prosper you.

See the Yes found in Jesus, even through all the No, No, No’s.

That’s the only real Yes that we need! And there’s NO doubt about it!

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

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Glitter-Mud and Secrets

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Yesterday I shared how my heart is learning much about the asking we must do as we are truly seeking Jesus about a difficulty or a trial that we are burdened with in our lives. His will in our lives ~ wisdom and direction ~ patience and perseverance ~ many, many things require that we humble ourselves enough to ask of Him and then listen for His answers as to what the next step should be.

Even if it means we might be crawling, if we are seeking Him, dignity can be embraced upon our knees.

Dignity in Christ.

We ask everything according to His will, but we also ask that He grow our faith in the process of the waiting. We ask that He help us to remember when we fail to cry out to Him or don’t even bother to do any asking. We ask that He slice and dice our own will and make His clear and give us the power to obey Him.

But as I said yesterday, it’s not only about the asking. There’s so much for us to learn about the listening too, friends.

The listening and the obeying.

I also mentioned a bit about what happens along the way when we find ourselves asking, seeking, listening, and waiting upon the Lord regarding decisions we know we must make.

What are we to do in the midst of the waiting?

We embrace the beautiful parts intermingled with the ugly ones.

We seek to find things ~ be intentional about looking for grace, receiving it, and doling it out as well.

We look for the glitter that is sprinkled throughout the mud that we feel we are trudging through, friends.

Because it’s there.

Today my pain level was not much better than it was before. But my glitter-seeking antennae were up and running before my feet hit the ground. They were working better today ~ far more receptive ~ far more tuned in than they were yesterday or the day before.

They were ready to look for it, recognize it, and snap it up and hold it tightly.

I had to do things that were hard for me in the midst of the already hard stuff.

But I found the glitter. In Him, and in the grace poured out by others.

I stand in awe at the beautiful relationships and hearts that I saw around me yesterday and today. They have been there before ~ this is most certainly not the first time these people that I call friends have showered me in such lavish grace and care. But today and yesterday ~ well, I was hit with an avalanche of glittery grace that brightened up the quicksand my pain has been making me feel trapped inside of for a couple of months now.

It didn’t take away all of the mud, but it glitterize’d it for sure, my friends.

And it was less heavy.

And I know that God sent them to me, these friends. I know these are grace gifts that He orchestrated to come my way.

What are we to do along the way?

I thought of Jesus and the agonizing trek he had to make that led to His crucifixion ~ the day that His battered physical body could no longer carry His cross completely alone during part of the journey.

He allowed someone to help Him carry that burden for a while, friends.

He received the grace and the help.

And as dark as things looked, I believe it to be a beautiful example of humility, love and grace when the Savior of the world allowed a man to help him to carry the cross that He would be crucified on later that day.

Only Jesus could bear the burden of all our sin on that cross and save us. He chose to go willingly. He also chose not to walk alone.

We are to bear one another’s burdens. We are to give our grace and love freely, but called to receive it as well. It’s part of humility, dear friends. It’s part of listening. It’s part of obedience to embrace the glittery grace that others offer to us in the midst of our pain or difficulty.

It’s a gift for the receiver as well as the giver of the glittery grace.

It puts the mud to shame, even if it won’t completely relent.

It redecorates the space that we are in so that more glitter can breed and spread and eventually light overtakes the dark.

It invites others to share in our most vulnerable and intimate spaces and make them a part of it all.

This is relationship.

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We can give some of our own out too, you know. Even when we are on our knees and still partly submerged in the quicksand, we can reach into our glittery pockets. Even if we have to throw it up in the air behind us and hope our aim is halfway decent.

Part of the way that we can be givers of grace comes from being the ones at times who are receiving of it.

If you are stuck in the mud and all is ugly and sticky and dark and heavy, would you look for the glitter that’s around you too, dear friend? If you cannot see it, cry out to the Lord and ask others for help. Are you willing to submit your pleas for help? Are you ready to receive it as a child would?

We need to allow others the gift of being there for us, just as we wish to be there for them in times of need. Instead of seeing ourselves as helpless animals stuck in the mud, let’s look upon it the way we would if the roles were reversed! Would we want to help a friend in need if they were stuck? Would we want to do everything we could to help them along the way? And if so, would we want for them to receive it graciously?

It’s part of what we must do along the way ~ open ourselves up to be the receivers of mercy and grace.

No one should set themselves apart from giving or receiving such grace.

No true giver of grace is someone who refuses to receive it when it’s their turn.

Jesus didn’t.

I am grateful for the glitter in the mud today. I am grateful the Lord gave me the eyes and the heart to see it and celebrate it. I am grateful for the grace givers and the ones who have received some of what the Lord provided to me to dole out to them at one time.

I am grateful. I am a muddy, glittery, mixed-up, probably frustrating, but ever-so grateful gal.

And as I get ready to rest for the night, I find myself being grateful for just one more tiny little thing.

That although I might be muddy ~ there’s glitter stuck all over me.

Maybe someday I will be able to testify that I have become better at living out the entirety of this little secret:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Philippians 4: 12-14

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About the Asking

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“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24

Yesterday was a full day for my mind and my little heart. I was grateful for the day off from work and the fact that I was able to get much done that had been following me around, weighing on me.

I promised the Lord that I would NOT do ONE thing on my very long list of tasks until I spent time with Him. That is one of my HUGE goals this year ~ to spend at least three or four of my mornings each week seeking Him in Bible study and prayer before the day gets started.

Often, I study at night, which I still plan to do on the other days. But I wish to change that around, at least part of the time ~ so as to make sure I am spending time with Him first.

Doing this yesterday cause a lot of good things for how the events and tasks ahead of me would unfold. One of those things was it caused me to realize I need to fully open a new door of listening and hearing~ not just cracking it open part way.

You see, this nagging feeling in my gut has been back with me, and at me for quite some time, but I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it.  I have been seeking Him and thinking that I’ve been listening, but realize I have been limiting the ways that I have been following through on it all.

I’ve still been allowing my own will to get in the way by not listening for any and everything He might want to tell me.

I haven’t really been asking. Asking with the expectancy of hearing and then, here’s the kicker: obeying.

We don’t truly listen if we aren’t open to what it might mean for us next. Are we going to do something with what we hear, or not? Are we dipping our toes in the water because we are not sure what the Lord’s will is yet, or are we reluctant because we haven’t fully surrendered?

After yesterday, and after praying with my husband last night, I woke up this morning knowing something…..more. I didn’t have all the answers and I still don’t, friends. But I know that the more is that I have been withholding something.

I still don’t know what the nagging means.

I still don’t know what the turnout will be in regard to my health issues and being able to keep working outside of the home.

Part of me thinks that what I want is to be healed and be able to keep doing my job. Part of me thinks…“fine, I will quit if I have to, Lord and I know you will provide. But I need to know that if I do that, that it is YOUR will. Not mine, just because I am weary.

But what is it that HE wants? Is He going to tell me?

I still don’t know if the Lord is asking for me to wait upon Him and His answers or if He’s leading me to a place in which I have to choose ~ choose a new door to walk through, or at least, redecorate the room that I am in.

I still don’t know that.

But I know that I haven’t really been asking. Not all the way.

  • I’ve asked that He tell me what to do. At least tell me what not to do.
  • I’ve asked that He heal me so that __________ can happen. (I’ve given Him a multiple choice list of options ~ yea, yea, I know ~ I know!)
  • I’ve asked that if it’s not in His will to remove the physical problems from me yet, that I grow and learn, but that He make a way for __________ to be better.

I was here before, friends. About two years ago, I was in a very similar spot. And although the circumstances are different this time around, I feel like I am living out the definition of insanity.

That stuff I listed above is good asking ~ but it’s not all the way.

It’s not complete.

What do I mean about all the way?

It’s this:

  • Asking with the absolute and total surrender needed to accept the answer ~ whatever it may be.
  • Asking the way that Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Asking in His name, according to His full will.
  • Asking and being willing to accept that He knows what is better for me and my family than I do and that the present circumstances, if they are to remain, will get better.
  • Listening more and asking for the strength to obey (maybe that is what the waiting time is for ~ to prepare me)
  • Being willing to do the hard thing if He doesn’t make the way any easier for a while.

And yes, the thought has crossed my mind  that maybe He has a surprise right around the corner!

You see, I’ve been doing that thing that I do again ~ that thing where I think it’s A or B. But I tricked myself because I had big A, little a, big B, little b, and lots of little bullet points in-between them.

Whatever the answer ends up being and whether it’s some variation of A and/or B or not, God is here with me.

And I am asking.

But I think I’ve been asking more for His will, but His will to be something that works out to make things “easier to cope with” for me.

That’s not what Jesus got for an answer in the Garden……

You see, there’s another thought that is not lost on me in regard to all of this, friends. I haven’t failed to consider that I am possibly being taught about how to really embrace how to be content in the present circumstances.

Oh, I’ve tried. It’s just….that nagging thing.

So I am asking about the nagging too.

Oh ~ and that other pesky thing…my physical health.

Is the nagging just my flesh because I struggle so badly with being content when I am deeply uncomfortable, Lord? Is it going to be the real thorn in my flesh that I carry with me until I go home?

Is the nagging really a prodding from the Holy Spirit to do something different, when I am not sure if by doing that I would be opening and closing my own doors without being patient and listening for YOU to make clear to me what YOUR will is?

I don’t know the answer.

But I am going to start to ask. I am going to ask about the nagging in His Holy name, friends.

I am going to ask for Him to help me, even if nothing of what I think is my heart’s desire is how it all turns out.

Because guess what? I honestly no longer know what my heart’s desire is in regard to this. I just want to be able to put one foot in front of the other and walk like Jesus.

I am going to ask for Him to prepare my heart to receive whatever it is He has for me and make that clear.

Maybe there will be more trudging and blood and sweat and tears for a while.

I am going to ask.

I am going to obey Him and take steps one moment at a time and one day at a time and hope in Him and believe ~ this too shall pass.

I am going to obey.

I am going to wait upon Him to speak to me clearly and help me separate fleshly challenges and self-will from whispers from the Holy Spirit.

He is going to answer.

I don’t know that the answer is going to come in the form of one final…”here it is, and you can rest a while.” So far, it has not been that way, friends.

So it’s not just about the asking. It’s not just about the listening. It’s not only the obeying or the discernment or the waiting or the courage to follow through upon each whisper and  put it into motion.

It’s about Jesus. It’s in the not knowing and what I do with those moments that He has me tightly in His grip, teaching me to surrender, ushering in His daily mercy and grace and lavish love upon me in the midst of bone cracking pain and utter uncertainty at times.

He will provide. He will answer. And I will crawl over each earthly finish line if I have to in order to finish this race the way that He sees fit.

Even if it means that my crawling entails being at a complete halt, an utter standstill.

Dignity can often only be truly had while upon our bleeding knees.

Is there something you think you have been praying about and seeking the Lord’s will over and you just find yourself knowing that something is just…missing? Ask for Him to reveal what you have not surrendered to Him yet, friends. Is there a situation you find yourself in where you wish to be faithful to show the Lord that you are grateful, content, thankful, persevering, willing to stick with or give up, but you find yourself struggling beyond belief as to how to remain in it if things do not change? Don’t give up and ask in His name for His will to be revealed and the courage and strength (His) to step out and obey. Do you think you have told the Lord that you are willing to obey, but still conflicted about what the thing is that He wants for you to do? Ask.

How do we know if we are supposed to step out into the water?

We ask.

We ask just who or what is on the other side.

When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”…Matthew 14:26-27

And we meet Him there.

Wherever “there” may be.

Probably while on our knees.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1

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