For the second year in a row, I made the commitment to God and myself that I would take those moments when I felt God whispering in my ear and capture them, whether it be in image or word and married it into a love letter from my Father above.
It becomes a gift that I can go back and visit anytime, a way to knit his purposeful and life breathed word and beauty into my heart, a treasure greater than any other.
May it bless you, may it serve you, may it inspire you, may it draw you closer.
Have been rattling around in my head a lot the last few months.
A constant reminder that no matter how difficult the road may get
No matter how broken we may feel
Whether we are drawing near or running away
On top of the mountain
Or sinking into the depths
Bursting with joy
Or crumbling from sorrow
He is there –
To know us and care for us – He knows us intimately- he saw us before we were formed and he knows every hair on our heads, every tear we will cry, every corner of our hearts and every shadow in our souls. He tenderly finds ways to speak to our spirit in ways that are so uniquely ours – if we would just look up from our sheepy wanderings to see the beauty He has for us in everyday – even when we are at our worst- especially when we are at our worst.
To feed us –to nurture us -through the love letters he has written us in His great book. Words that are alive and always there to help us grow strong and healthy.
To lead us – to show us where to go – the best path for our journey here….and if we wander or get lost- He will always come looking for us. He will stop everything and everyone just to find one of us…because He saves the lost.
And to protect us from unseen and unknown dangers in the world and from ourselves.
He tends to our brokenness and heals us in ways we never thought we needed healing
He cares for us.
He loves us.
He will never leave us.
I find great comfort in knowing The Lord is my shepherd.
My prayer for you today is that you will lean into these words, still your heart and mind, quiet your thoughts and listen for His whisper.
Look up and see where He is leading you
Lean into His healing arms
Fill your cup with His powerful words…and know that Our great Shepherd loves you.
Have you ever just felt drawn to something? I mean…like you can’t NOT read it, look at it, listen to it, even create it?
I think we are designed that way.
To be drawn –
We are drawn to all kinds of things; music, celebrities, authors, art, movies – the list goes on and on, but we were ultimately designed to be drawn to our maker.
That’s not to say those other things are bad, but they are also not meant to rule our affections, time and investments above our author and creator.
Whether we choose to draw closer to God, well that’s a different story.
We have a choice and more often that God would like, we choose not to.
Sometimes it’s a defiant choice, a non-believing choice, an angry at God choice, a “I meant to spend more time with God “choice – that list goes on too.
BUT, when we DO choose to draw closer to God, our maker, he tells us that He will draw close to us.
That’s where my love letter comes in.
Like for so many, the last several years have been difficult and fraught with anxiety and depression and it’s been a struggle to find stability in a season of uncertainties and unknowns.
I’ve found solace in spending time reading the bible, especially on my phone this past year and along the way, I’ve taken screenshots as a passage of scripture would resonate and read as though it was meant just for me in that very moment. It’s one of the fantastical things I love about reading the bible. You can read the same verse over and over and each time it can speak differently to your heart and soul, depending on what God wants to tell you.
I’ve also found calm in the outdoors and the special moments that nature presents in all her glory.
Recently, the spirit stirred strongly in me to go back and read through all of those screen shots of scripture I had taken in 2021. They were interspersed among the many pictures I took.
As I scrolled through and started to sort out the snap shots of the scriptures, there before me, unfolded a beautiful, inspiring, and encouraging letter from God. A reminder of his faithfulness, his love, and his devotion to his children.
I was so moved that I was compelled to create a marriage of his living word and some of the images that spoke to me. It never ceases to amaze me how God can weave the tapestries of our brokenness and trials, our joys and our mundane into something so precious.
May it touch you, speak to you, comfort you, inspire you, encourage you, strengthen you and bless you.
You can have your own love letter too!
Hebrews 4:12 Tells us that the bible is the living breathing word of God.
What does God want you to know in this moment? today? this year?
I encourage you to dive in and get to know this living. breathing word.
Take the screenshot when you feel the words come off of the page and see what God wants to share with you.
Want to share your love letter? I’d love to hear it!
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you. the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you with gladness. With his love He will calm all of your fears.”
I gazed out of the hospital waiting room window, comforted that the ocean was my companion that day in the hours of not knowing. It was peaceful to watch the birds dance among the crosswinds and dive into the water. As I leaned into the window to capture more of the outside’s warmth, I watched with intent as a nearby boat stirred up the currents.
I knew if I turned my gaze too far away from the water, the lump in my throat and the hot tears that I had desperately been fighting to hold back would spill and I wouldn’t be able to stop them. I was determined to keep it together because after all, this was a standard procedure done all the time, by a respected doctor and it wasn’t an emergency situationthis time. I told myself all of the reasons logically why I shouldn’t be afraid and yet I grappled with fear that I would be left to navigate this world alone without my best friend and the love of my life. A heavy sigh escaped me as once again, I felt so incredibly helpless.
Have you ever faced a situation that left you feeling powerless?
When life is humming along, we may not be as aware of His ever-presence.
It’s easy to have faith when you know how your bills will be paid next month.
It’s easy to trust God when you are feeling well and healthy.
It’s easy to praise God when your marriage is humming along, and your kids are making you proud.
And then comes the phone call or the knock at the door, the pink slip, the diagnosis, the thing you never saw coming… and it flips your world upside down.
Life can come at you fast and take some hard turns and it doesn’t matter how seasoned you are at dodging dropping shoes, things can get messy. WE can get messy and it’s often in the messy that we are forced to reckon with the fact that we aren’t in as much control as we thought.
So How Can We Take Back Control?
John 10:10 tells us that the enemy is here to steal, kill and destroy, and 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
The deceiver of this world, Satan, is a liar and thief and he is out to take us down any chance he can get. He preys on our insecurities, he weasels his way into our weak spots and whispers deceptions about our circumstances and he delights in our demise.
As I continued to fix my gaze outside, fighting the internal struggle to keep my focus on the one who held my love in His capable hands, a doctor came out to speak with a distraught man and by the looks of the conversation, it was not good news. In that moment, I felt like Peter who had stepped out onto the water and had taken his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink. I begged God – Please, please, Lord, please, don’t take him from me, help me to trust you. I was frozen with fear that I would be the next person to get the bad news. That I would go home alone. I had almost lost him once before and the memories came flooding back with acute clarity and a weight that tapped every root of anguish that, I now realize, I had allowed to follow me for the last many years.
Scripture warns us that there will be trouble in this world (John 16:20-33) and the enemy has no qualms about messing with every part of your life. He will take every shot he can at stealing your joy and your peace, every chance he gets, BUT…
and this is a big BUT, he isn’t going to win because Jesus has already defeated him on the cross.
That bears repeating, JESUS HAS ALREADY DEFEATED SATAN. HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD!
And yet….our flesh is weak and we can waver in our seas of unknown, which is why it so important for us to keep our eyes fixed on Him.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Our loving Father is so faithful at meeting us right where we are.
I was listening to praise and worship music to help keep my focus on Him and in the moments between the enemy bombs of uncertainty and before I had even finished my prayer, a song came on that was like His gentle and patient hand reaching down to lift me up and once again, pull me out of the rising waters. The lyrics resonated in my head,
” Seas that are shaken and stirred can be calmed and broken for my regard…
And far be it from me to not believe even when my eyes can’t see…
So, let go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and the wind still know His name…and it is well with my soul.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
I felt His calming embrace rise up through me and then a series of questions in my head as clear as day….
“Do you trust me?
Will you release your love to me?
If I take your love home today, will you trust me?
Will you trust me to take what matters to your heart the most?
Will you give him to me?”
Was God really asking me to be okay if my husband didn’t survive the surgery?
Philippians 4:7 reminds us that, “God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your minds and hearts safe in union with Christ Jesus.”
It was an unexplainable feeling but somehow amid this painfully difficult internal conversation, I was enveloped with His calm. Even though I was still so scared, my sense of helplessness supernaturally shifted to feeling helped and held.
And I knew that I had to let go all the way and let God.
All the way.
He was asking me to accept that I might go home alone.
Who was I to question God?
I didn’t want to let go of my husband but God was asking me in that very moment to have the faith of a mustard seed, to let go of my false sense of control that the enemy would have me stay enslaved to.
I conceded and laid my husband at the altar of God’s will.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
A short time later the doctor came out to talk to me.
As he approached, my stomach churned, and my heart skipped a beat, but I also felt the unmistakable peace of God rush over me again.
“We’re all done. He is recovering well, and we have cleared the blockage.”
Praise the Lord!! My heart welled and I felt in my heart the Lord rejoicing with me.
When we are faced with what may feel like an insurmountable situation and we get caught up in feeling out of control, remember; the One who knows every page of our story is walking alongside us NO MATTER WHAT!
He will not leave nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) and when we keeps our eyes on Him, He will bless us in the messiness of the unknown and empower us to experience a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and he will rescue us from our hopeless helplessness.
The question is, will you let Him?
How has God helped you break free from helplessness?
Looking around at the world today, peace seems ever so distant as a worldwide pandemic marches through a second year, political unrest and atrocities are escalating at a terrifying rate, natural disasters are at every corner and the mental health of a weary world languishes.
Relationships and families are strained, bank accounts are empty, careers are up in the air, front line workers are exhausted and the idea of “normal” seems to be evading our reach.
So how exactly are we to find our peace when the world is falling apart around us?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-33)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get caught up in trying to understand what a bible verse is trying to tell me and I get stumped by the verbiage. When this happens, I will look over other translations to further glean understanding. In this case, I got tripped up over what “yolk” meant. ( TLDR yolk can mean bondage, burden or influence. More here).
And then I settled on the The Message version of this verse to help me break it down more easily.
Jesus asks, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Who wants to live Freely and Lightly?
Ummm, yes please! Sign me up. I want to live freely and lightly! I don’t want to be tired, worn out and burned out on religion. So how do we get there?
Jesus unpacks his invitation in this verse with a great road map.
Come to Me
It starts with an invitation to approach God. Plain and simple. He gives us free will in this world. Wechoosewhether we want Him in our lives or not. But He REALLY wants to be a part of our lives and makes a point of reminding us throughout scripture how intimately he knows us, how important we are to Him, and how very much He loves us. He created us. He knows our every thought and every tear. He wants to have an up close and personal relationship with us and James 4:8 tells us that IF we draw near to God, God will draw near to us.
WHOA! So, the God of the universe, will meet lil ol me if I come to Him?
Not only that, but He tells us that that He will REWARD us for seeking Him with diligence.
I think it’s safe to say that God came up with the first (and BEST) rewards program!
Walk with Me
Not only is God going to meet me if I go to him, but He is going to walk with me?
You bet your bottom dollar! (what does that even mean?)
“For the LORD your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:4)
In walking with me, He is going to fight for me!
Now, I admit, I’m a bit of a nerd and when I read this I might have envisioned God in a Marvel type costume, taking names and kicking butt and it got me super excited because who doesn’t love it when good crushes evil?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
And He is going to comfort me.
The same God who is my ultimate Super Hero, is also right there with me when I can’t get out of bed with depression or in a hospital waiting room, not knowing if a loved one will live.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)
He is going to protect me!
Now, this is the promise that I think we are really clueless about because, well, we don’t know the whole story and the author of creation, who was and is and is to come (Revelation 4:8) is the only one who can truly keep tabs on our rescues. That all being said, I have a feeling I make a cat with 9 lives look like nothing and and am grateful that He has my six.
Work With Me
Relationships take work and there is no exception to our heavenly relationships. However, the work of the relationship with our heavenly Father is WAY different than any other. If we hand him the keys to our car that we call life, he will do a much better astronomically better job of taking the wheel and leading us to our destination without us turning our lives into a demolition crash derby…IF we let Him.
When we COME to Him and WALK with him then we come to recognize His voice more clearly and when we hear Him more clearly,
“…your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. “(Isaiah 30:21)
And then our WORK with Him becomes a concert of love, trust and faith that sets us closer to the work He promised to finish within us.
“You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” (Deuteronomy 5:33)
“Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Psalm 105:4)”
Time and again, especially in the last several years, God has been so faithful in showing me His presence when I’ve kept my heart and eyes open for His confirmation of plans that we have prayed over.
Right before Covid took off, we were desperate to find a more affordable place to live. We had been looking to no avail for 8 months, with several doors closing in our faces. We were feeling desperate, defeated and frustrated.
Then, in God’s “keep us on our toes and amaze us” fashion, He swept in and in a matter of 2 weeks, we found a place, won the bid of approval over several others that had looked before us AND the landlord insisted on moving us in early with no rent due for the extra weeks.
To make it even sweeter and reassure us that we were in His good and perfect plan, we got this wonderful welcome over our new house the day we moved in.
By the way, I’ve not seen any skywriting again since in our neighborhood.
“Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, and remember to be thankful when they come. ” (Colossians 4:2)
Boy, howdy! I can’t tell you how thankful I am that God opened the doors wide for us to move at exactly the right time. Had we stayed at the previous house, we may very well have ended up homeless, as we lost my income right about the time we moved and little did I know, it would be that way for some time.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Worry is the weakness of the flesh that keeps me in chains when I take my eyes off of my peacemaker.
Yup, worry is a sin and I dance with the temptation pretty much every time I read the news (hmmmm, maybe I need to rethink my news reading habits more seriously).
That’s when it’s imperative to tap into that yolk business! Easy and light is a tool He has handed us that makes life much easier to navigate.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
Learn from Me
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
There is a LOT of drama in the bible!
From a literary standpoint, it covers all the bases and then some. There are compelling characters and countless stories with layers of intent that can suck you right in! Every word was scripted with purpose and ultimately, hope. It demonstrates that anything is possible when God is involved!
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)
And if you’re not sure about what you are supposed to do in any given situation, it circles right back to our first clue on the roadmap, COME to Him and ask!
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
Spend time with Me
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation3:20)
God wants to go to breakfast with you, or walk on the beach with you. He wants to hear about you day, your dreams, your thoughts.
Yeah, yeah, I know, He’s omnipotent. He already know all the all the hairs on your head, so why bother sharing all of that with Him, and why would He want to take time out of His busy schedule to have waffles?
BECAUSE HE LOVE YOU!
And because living in this fallen, broken world, He knows that a close communion with Him will help us find that “free and lightly” that He promises when we keep our eyes on Him.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33)
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
When we come to Jesus, we get to know Him better and as we walk with Jesus, we find protection, comfort, direction, and love.
And as we watch and learn from our Father, at least in my own experience, I desire to spend more time with Him and find I can hear His voice and leading more clearly.
When I choose to keep my eyes on Him, I find myself tasting the sweet elixir of the unforced rhythms of grace that scripture describes,
I find peace.
Are you ready to find your peace?
I encourage you to put this verse to the test and see how you too, can find you peace!
Not sure where to start? Try spending 5 minutes at the start or end of your day reading the bible. A great starting place is Psalms or Proverbs. Talk to God! Not sure what to say? That’s okay, He’s just happy to have waffles with you!
I don’t like my thighs, my skin is too pale, I wish I could get rid of the belly, I don’t feel pretty……
Do you spend time looking around at the others and wishing for their tan or their height,or their straight teeth?
Do you look in the mirror and focus on your flaws? Is that all you see?
Do you feel inadequate because you don’t look like you think you should?
The world would have you think that you MUST look a certain way to be successful, to be accepted, to be worthy, but listen my sister (or brother)
That is the lie of the enemy and you better believe that he is going to take as much advantage of your self image issues as he can and he is going to run with it and use it against you.
The bible tells us that we are God’s workmanship ( Ephesians 2:10)
If you look at the synonyms for workmanship, you will find words like, artistry, expertise, skill and know-how.
Another version of the bible uses the word masterpiece, which invokes other words such as jewel, treasure, prize and perfection.
So, another way of reading this verse is, we are His artistic creation that is made perfectly as he intended, with great skill.
It’s sometimes hard to remember this when we are popping pimples, or struggling with our weight, or losing our hair to chemo or when we feel our bodies(or minds) don’t measure up in any number of ways.
But we MUST STOP the negative narratives we are having about ourselves.
When we undervalue ourselves, when we look at ourselves with disgust, are we not in turn undervaluing our creator Himself? Have you ever stopped to think that when we belittle ourselves we are in turn, saying that the creator of the universe made a mistake?
To take it a step further, the bible teaches us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves ( Matthew 22:29)
Have you ever stopped to think how our negative self image can affect how we love others?
Proverbs 27:19 says that “as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”
I am not saying that it is easy to flip off our nitpicking Nellie ways – there are many complicating factors that come into play such as when others in our lives feed into our negative self image with harsh criticism, abuse and neglect.
Some of us have a bigger hill to climb when it comes to overcoming our self-deprecating ways, but the enemy would have us believe that it is normal and acceptable to see our imperfections and flaws as failures. In his deceptive ways he can lead us to feeling we are unworthy and that self love is unattainable. These feelings of shame and unworthiness can lead us to believe that we are undeserving of love from others and even our own creator.
Listen to me!! That is not the life your heavenly Father has for you and He loves you right where you are, as you are, and He reminds us in Proverbs that (IF we let Him)HE will be our confidence and keep our feet from being ensnared (Proverbs 3:26)
It’s not easy to break those bad habits of sabotaging ourselves, but if we are to allow the Potter to shape the clay that is our lives in the way that He can bless us the most ( because He wants to bless the pants off of us!), we have to start being more aware of the ways the enemy is trying to take us out. He’s never fair about it and he is going to be sneaky about it. How many of us don’t give much thought to when we tear ourselves down? How much of a habit is it for you?
I find that one of my favorite Psalms gives me the stepping off point of reclaiming my self worth the way my Father intended. It is a simple, yet powerful prayer that reaches far in helping us find healing and purpose in embracing all that the Lord wants for us, which definitely includes loving ourselves.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24
When we tear ourselves down, we are offending God because God does not make mistakes!
“For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double edge sword- it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. “ Hebrews 4:12
That’s intense and incredible and terrifying and encouraging and….life changing.
I am so grateful that we have a God who has taken so much care to give us a living guidebook on how to navigate this pilgrimage that we are on.
I am grateful that it has so much power.
I love that as we change and grow the same chapter and verse we may have read or heard a thousand times over can breathe new wisdom into our lives in so many different ways, depending where we are on the trip and how God wants to use it.
So….COVID-19. What an opportunity to delve into this alive and active word of God.
It’s been over 8 weeks since I last worked, and I have no idea when I will be able to go back or even IF I will be able to go back anytime soon. It’s a career that has been my passion and a major love in my life for over twenty years. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I know in my heart, it is clear that I have to walk away – at least for a season. How long will that season last? Only God knows. And what do I do next? Only God knows!
It’s a time in history when all of our lives are being turned upside down in ways we never imagined, the repercussions yet to be fully felt.
We don’t know when this season will pass (but it will – IT WILL)
and it will never be like it was – as all things change.
It is a season where our awareness of the unknown, as a world, is suddenly much more acute and our battle to try and control might have us curled up in a ball paralyzed with fear, or self-medicating to numb the crippling anxiety, or trying not to lose our temper because anger is eating at our insides because we feel so helpless. It has us reaching and searching for how we can get back to normal…whatever that is.
The struggle was never more real. We feel trapped and confused and any array of emotions at any given moment. Some of us are rocking our inner introvert and some of us have never been so lonely. Some of us are ready to get away from the people we live with while some of us are connecting more deeply, and some of us are just feeling… a bit crazy.
But we are all in this together and we all have choices to make. We can choose to let it define us or we can be bold and brave and let God define it for us and through us.
This is a moment in history where we have an opportunity. We have a choice.
To be the light in a dark world.
“Because whoever walks in the dark, does not know where they are going” (John 12:35)
“So that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
To embrace action in our thoughts, words and deeds.
“For we are to take captive every thoughtand make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:5
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and tolove kindness, and to walk humblywith your God?” Micah 6:8
We have a choice
to be kind
“Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24
And we have a choice
to be patient
“Be still and wait patiently for the Lord to act.” Psalms 37:7
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ” Isaiah 40:31
For many of us, our circle of influence may very small right now, maybe even just the people in our homes. You may be saying
“How can I be a light in the world when I haven’t even left my driveway in ______________days?
How are my thoughts, words, and deeds that big of a deal? I live by myself.
How can I possibly be any more patient? This homeschooling is a beast! Or my family is making me nuts!!
Ministry starts at home! All of that stuff above
Starts. At. Home.
I think it can be one of the toughest places for us to reconcile ourselves to God’s calling and yet the ripples of impact can be far reaching in the kingdom.
Is it easy? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. At home, we are with the people that know us at our best and our worst. That is why (especially in this season) it also gives us a chance to REALLY examine and practice loving the way God wants us to love. Look at this as practice for when we are more out in the world again. Are you going to fail? Yup. Probably a lot, but that gives us yet another opportunity to dive into the word of God, seeking out how alive and active it can really be – in grace and forgiveness (that’s another post!).
But how can I be light when I am by myself?
Maybe this is a season that focuses more on what you are putting in your mind which can ultimately affect how you shine into the world. Is loneliness or depression affecting you? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What are you reading? Who are you talking to?
While I do live with my husband, he works 10 hours a day, so I have had a fair amount of time alone in this season. I know for myself, that it’s when I am lost in my own head that the enemy can mess with me the most if I am not careful!
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. “Romans 8:6
So, maybe this is a season about taking inventory of what you are putting in your mind and heart and asking God to
“Search me God, know my heart, test my thoughts and point out in me anything that makes you sad.” Psalms 139:23-24
You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat” well, the same goes for what you put in your mind. The thoughts in your head can affect your heart and what’s in your heart can spill out into the world. What are you eating this season? Spiritual fruit or junk food?
And then, there is patience.
Where are you?
This is a major struggle point for many of us! Especially right now. Will I ever be able to ___________again? Is that person ever going to stop________? There are a lot of fill in the blanks for everyone and not all of us are acting our best while we wait. We have all heard the term, hurry up and wait – well, nothing like a global pandemic to get up in our kool-aid and force us to get eyeball to eyeball with our level of patience.
The dictionary defines patience as this – the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering withoutgetting angry or upset.
I don’t know if you have looked around lately, but there is a heap of angry and upset floating around (often tied in with fear of the unknown). And it is in that vein, as believers, that it is REALLY important for us to set the tone, starting at home.
I know, I know…it is soooo much easier sometimes to bow out and throw a tantrum, be condescending, do it halfway, settle, speak before thinking, rush the process, quit or a myriad of other actions that result from impatience.
Getting uncomfortable yet? I know I am…cause a lot of that list came from a close and personal heart to heart with the Holy Spirit about my own struggles with patience. Ouch!
And I am asking you to practice that at home? During a pandemic? You bet I am!
Developing patience can be such a game changer and the payoff is spectacular.
Just not spectacularly immediate.
Patience boils down to being all about the wait.
And speaking of wait, it has occurred to me that I still have way too much to say about the importance of patience (see what I did there?)
But I will leave you with this sneak peek before we dive into that spectacular payoff I was talking about.
“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice;blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
Hei Hei was a big part of my move to Florida. He represented how I think we all feel about life sometimes when it gets overwhelming and upside down and scary. When we are thrown into the unfamiliar, uncomfortable and unexpected.
I mean really, Hei Hei became the poster child for us when we would start to feel the “meltdown freak outs” of ” are we really doing this?” I even taped a picture of him to my “Moving to Florida” journal.
And would you believe, we still refer to Hei Hei when referring to change on the horizon?
We were moving from everything we had ever known to someplace where we knew absolutely no one and would be starting over completely.
It was a leap of faith – we had felt God call us a full year before it was time to move and we were terrified, but we trusted God . We left without jobs and barely found a place to live before arriving to our new life but just as He has always promised, He was right there with us and gently ( and sometimes not so gently) guiding us along the way.
Fast forward to almost two years later and once again we are in a Hei Hei season. Ha! As a matter of fact, just last night my hubby had exclaimed “Honey, this feels like a Cat 5 Hei Hei!” I am not quite there (truth be told, it depends on the minute) but overwhelmed none-the-less. I have struggled in my thoughts and have had to be mindful of reminding myself to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, that just like when we left everything behind in Texas, Jesus was right there along side of us, keeping us on track, even when it didn’t always feel like it.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 is a verse I have clung to often in the ups and downs of life, and really sums up a rather poignant way we can grow and bear fruit in our faith.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for POWER is perfected in weakness. ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It doesn’t feel good – the weakness, the insults, the distresses, but I have noticed on my own path, that in my focus on my weakness and His strength, it somehow softens the blows that this world can bring – almost like I am in a bubble and it buffers the full sting of whatever may be hitting the fan at the time and yet refines the work that He is doing in me. It still doesn’t feel particularly great, but there is comfort in knowing that you are not in this world alone and that God can use it for your benefit and His glory.
A dear friend of mine recently took to attracting caterpillars and butterflies and giving them a place to turn into their magical selves and I loved living vicariously through her experiences! And to hear the joy of her recalling how they spent the morning watching this amazing creation happen! It reminded me that we are so much like the caterpillars in this world, being pruned and refined and restored and changed to be all that God has created us to be….made new.
The Hei Hei days can really get me down sometimes. Despite that, I have noticed that they are also laced with great nuggets of joy that God plants along our path to encourage us and remind us of his Greatness and his perfect, never changing love. I am ever so grateful that I am a daughter of a king that likes to remind me of that! The Hei Hei days keep us more reliant on our Father, and remind us that He has us and our best in mind. We may not always understand it, or why it happens the way it does but ultimately we can find blessings in our Hei Hei days.
I love that we have a Father that will scoop us up into his arms in our Hei Hei moments, and patiently, gently, remind us that He has us in the palm of His hand and love us and will be with us and that He will bless us – we just gotta keep looking to Him.
On a particularly bad day recently, I followed the breadcrumbs He left me through Facebook of all things, and this song found me. He so often speaks to me in music and this was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you Father for putting up with my Hei Hei and using it to bless me despite myself. Your love never ceases to amaze me. Selah