God Renews

Renew is my One Word for 2015. I didn't choose it. God chose it for me.

I didn't even hear Him at first, even though I'd been asking Him what my word would be. Thankfully, He is patient and will keep repeating Himself.

It was during a worship service between Christmas and New Year's when I finally realized Renew wasn't just a word that kept coming to mind. It was MY word for the new year.

In that moment of realization, I felt uplifted. Renew sounded hopeful and full of possibilities.

I'm excited to be sharing with the One Word 365 community today. I hope you'll join me there to continue reading my story.

In Christ,

Not Broken

I’m joining the Five Minute Friday community with Kate Motaung this weekend…5 minutes, no rewriting, and a one word prompt…

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.”
Jeremiah 17:5-6 NLT

Sometimes I feel like life might very well break me.

Illness…broken relationships…disappointment…fear…discouragement…losing loved ones…financial hardships…grief…

It’s all enough to take everything I have.

That is—when I’m dependent on my own strength.

But rooted in Christ, I don’t rely on what I have because God supplies—and He says, “Draw from My strength.

I may be bruised, beaten, and bent-over weary—but I’m not broken.

Rooted in Him, I am nourished in His strength, and I persevere.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT

In Christ,

Restless for God

A few days ago, I was really restless. All afternoon, I moved from thing to thing—doing chores, making dinner and cleaning up, baking cookies, and writing a blog post. I got quite a bit accomplished, but something was still off.

It was after dinner when I figured it out…I hadn’t spent time with God all day.

I thought I had—I spent all morning going through Scripture. But…as part of the church ministry staff where I work, that time in Scripture was for a project I was working on, not a personal Bible study.

My morning had been about God, but not spent with God.

Once home, my afternoon was quiet and I thought about sitting down for some quiet time with Him…but I was antsy. So antsy I wouldn’t be able to sit still. That’s what I told myself. So, I mopped the kitchen floor instead.

After dinner, I baked cookies because I couldn’t imagine sitting still to watch TV with my family. I thought about how I didn’t try to sit still that afternoon and talk to God. And I wrote about it.

Then…I asked my daughter to read what I wrote. I value her opinion and ask her to read most of what I write before it goes online.

In her gentle, I-don’t-want-to-hurt-mom’s-feelings way, she suggested I let it sit and see what I thought of it in the morning. I don’t remember her ever suggesting that before, so I started to wonder what had gone wrong.

That’s when it all started to make sense—my morning was about God, but not with Him…I mopped instead of spending time with Him…and then I wrote about it—but still hadn’t had a conversation with Him.

God had been trying to get my attention, but I’d been too focused on my restlessness. It didn’t even occur to me that I was restless for Him.

That post I wrote never made it online. I haven’t even reread it yet. But I thanked my daughter the next day for her honesty. And I thanked God for pursuing me.

I did enjoy the warm cookies that night and my clean kitchen floor, but more importantly, I relearned a lesson that easily gets forgotten…

Being about God is not the same as being with God.

It’s an easy place for the lines to get blurred, especially when you write about faith—both personally and at work. I need the reminder to pay attention and surrender to the nudges from God.

Because He knows, before I do, when I’m restless for Him.

In Christ,

Photo credit: Stock photo:Cookies 3

Get to Know Me – A Conversation with God

Photo credit: K. Rath 2015
Me: (closing my Bible) God, I keep trying to read Your Word…but I just don’t understand it all.

God: I don’t expect you to understand it all.

Me: Shouldn’t I get some of it? If I’m reading it, then I should be learning something.

God: You are learning something.

Me: I don’t feel like it. I just feel frustrated.

God: You’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

Me: What do you mean?

God: What were you thinking when you opened your Bible today?

Me: Honestly?

God: Of course.

Me: I was rushed and knew I didn’t have a lot of time. I wanted to read, but felt frustrated because I wasn’t focused and didn’t know what I was reading.

God: And yesterday?

Me: It was different. I wasn’t in a hurry. I still didn’t understand what I was reading, but I felt calm. I felt like I was spending time with You even though we weren’t having a conversation, like we are now.

God: And you didn’t hesitate to talk to Me today. Why?

Me: I feel more comfortable now.

God: I want you to open your Bible—read and explore My Word—and spend time with Me. You won’t be able to make sense of everything you read. And I’m not asking you to try so hard. I will meet you where you are, and as I feel you’re ready, I’ll open the Scriptures to you. Little by little, you’ll find wisdom and understanding as you’ve never known before.

Me: So, even when I don’t know what the verses mean, I’m still spending time with You.

God: Yes. When you first meet someone, do you believe everything they tell you is true?

Me: Not always.

God: Do you feel comfortable and tell them everything you’re thinking and feeling?

Me: No, I have to trust them first.

God: Would you know that person’s voice if you didn’t see them speaking to you?

Me: No, not until I really knew them.

God: Like you’re getting to know Me now.

Me: (lightbulb moment) So, I’m learning even when I can’t explain it, and I’m getting to know you better every time I spend time with You.

God: That’s right.

Me: And You’re not waiting for me to figure it all out—You’re meeting me here…right where I am…everyday?

God: Yes. I AM.

Me: (big smile) Thanks God.

Lord, thank you for meeting us where we are…for speaking to us individually in ways You know we’ll hear…and for continuing to reveal who You are to us. Thank You for not expecting us to figure it out all on our own, but instead, giving us wisdom and understanding as You know we’re ready. Please continue to draw us closer to You every single day, and let us never lose the desire to spend time with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep reading, keep searching, keep exploring…He will meet you where you are.

In Christ,

Linking up with Sharing His Beauty, #TellHisStory, Give Me Grace, Playdates with God, #SmallWonder, Grace & Truth, Coffee for Your Heart, Everyday Jesus, Thought Provoking Thursday, Faith Filled Friday, Blessing Counters, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Faith 'N Friends, Spiritual Sundays, The Weekend Brew, #RaRaLinkup

Today…I Will Smile. Yes, Today I Will...

Today...I will smile, even if it doesn't come naturally. I'll look past the trouble and annoyances and find reason to smile.
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. Proverbs 15:13 MSG
Today...I will pay attention to those around me. Family, friends, someone I happen to see once...I'll notice and see them. And I'll share kindness.

Today...I will find the positives in my life...the good in the midst of the trials. And I'll give thanks.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

Please join me at 5 Minutes for Faith to continue reading.

In Christ,

(Thanks to KJ for her work on the picture.J )

Linking up with: The Weekend Brew, Sunday Stillness, Spiritual Sundays