Trust Issues

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So, I’m done with this COVID thing! Can anyone else relate? It seems everywhere I turn, there’s more bad news. It’s just getting worse. When will it end? Will it EVER end? Come on, God! Where’s that miracle? And then there He is again… ‘Do you trust me?’

So I start reeling in those thoughts and fears. 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. YES LORD! I hear you and I’m sorry you have to keep asking me. I do trust you. But this is hard! And it’s taking forever! And it may last forever! But I’m not you, God. And I can’t see all you’re doing in the midst of this. And I know that even though there’s so much hurt and pain in the world, you can, no… YOU WILL bring good from it.

I start searching your word again, God. Trust… Hmmmm, what does it say about trust? As I’m searching, a page in my journal falls open to something I wrote a while back.

Romans 4:20-21 Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised.

Then below that verse, I had broken it down for my blonde brain to process. (Ha ha!)

Abraham…did not waver. He kept the faith through everything. He was strengthened by his faith. He gave glory to God in ALL of his circumstances. And he was fully persuaded of God’s power. Not just a little persuaded, FULLY persuaded. Now that’s trust right there! Wow! And can I just say that being a woman with trust issues, that is really hard to do?

Funny I should say that because on the opposite pages in my journal, I wrote…

Do you really trust? Or are you giving conditional trust? Are you trusting God only with what you think He can or will handle and trusting yourself for the rest? He needs your full trust, your full faith! Not lukewarm faith, not trust in only certain things. FULL TRUST! Revelation 3:15-16 says, ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Whoa! What a conviction to my heart that is! And I wrote that to myself! For years I’ve picked and chosen what to trust Him with, which has affected my faith. Which ultimately affects my relationship and love for Him. And I certainly don’t want Him to ‘spit me out of his mouth’! I can’t handle life on my own. I’ll for sure make a mess of it again!

So where do I go from here? Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. 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 4:8-9

Yes, do what Jesus did! Trust God, even when things look dim. Find the good things. And know that God is still in control! He’s still in control, guys! He’s got this!

The Search for Joy

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I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life. Made stupid decisions, said stupid things, believed stupid things, allowed people into my life that were not good for me. In my heart, I believed in God and I believed in Jesus… however, as a teenager and young woman, I wanted to do my own thing. And boy did I!! (We won’t go into specifics here, just suffice it to say I was dumb and young, or young and dumb, definitely both!)

But you know what is so awesome and still amazes me? That whole time when I was choosing my way, and not God’s way, He was still loving me! He was still taking care of me. He was still being patient with me. Even though I know I must have broken His heart multiple times… He never stopped offering me His unconditional love. The Message version of Romans 8:35 says…

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in scripture…

Well thank goodness!! Because I’ve screwed up a lot! And I’m pretty sure that I’ll screw up again in the future since I’m not perfect.

When I was a younger woman, it seemed pretty amazing to me, and too good to be true, that someone could love me that much. I mean, so many people had let me down, abused me, and basically broken my heart. It seemed impossible to me that that kind of love even existed. So, even though I was involved with church, I would still go my way, and pick and choose the things that God was asking me to do for Him. And I was unhappy. I had no joy. And I couldn’t figure out why. I mean… I was going to church and serving in a ministry, how come everyone else was so happy and full of joy and I wasn’t? And why wasn’t anything going right in my life? I mean… what do you want from me God?

Then I remembered that day. It was a day I’ll never forget. It was the first time I heard Him speak to me.

I had just left my abuser and I was living in a shelter. I was alone, and to top it all off, now a single mom, with nothing to my name. I was in the bathroom on my knees, crying. Crying out to God, asking Him, ‘Why?? Why do I have to go through this? Where are you? Why don’t you help me? What do you want from me?’ I had never spoken that way to God before. I mean, I was yelling at him. I was mad, and hurt! And then I heard that still, small voice, ‘This. This is what I want from you.’

That was a special moment for me. I felt His love in that moment. Like He was holding me as I cried. He had listened to me! And I’d like to say from that day on I was making better decisions. That I was listening more to God and trying to do what He wanted me to do, but that wasn’t the case.

It wasn’t until years later that I remembered that specific day during a sermon at church about prayer. A little light bulb lit up above my head. He wants to hear from me!! And He wants me to hear from Him!!

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him, He also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:18-19

So I decided to try these ‘quiet times’. I decided to sit and listen. I decided to talk and share things with Him. I decided to say ‘yes’ to Him, instead of ‘yes’ to only myself. And you know what? Something started to shift. I started feeling more relaxed, more calm, and wait… what’s that? Is that?… It is!… JOY!! I finally felt it! And it felt amazing! It FEELS amazing!

Pastor Rick Warren defines joy as this, ‘Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.’

‘Settled assurance’ – I can feel that now. ‘Quiet confidence’ – I’ve got that (even though I’m really loud sometimes). ‘Praising God in every situation’, I am doing it, even when it’s hard. Of course it didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen, and if I start to lose that joy, I know where to go and what to do to get it back!

Do you want that joy? Are you ready to believe and know that God loves you so much and that He’ll never stop? Talk to Him. Listen to Him. And trust Him enough to do what He asks of you. Knowing that He will bring you joy in it. Just give it a shot! I promise He won’t let you down!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the holy spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises. Romans 15:13 AMP

In the waiting, God is working

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This pandemic has got me so annoyed, and frazzled, and annoyed, and stressed, and, did I say annoyed yet? I’m so tired of it! I want to leave my house! I want to go to a restaurant! I want to go to church and worship with my family! Why can’t they find a cure? A vaccine? Something to make this all go away? My son wants to go back to school! He wants drumline and marching band season back! (Boy do I sound like a spoiled rotten kid!) But I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way.

And yet I hear God telling me, ‘Be patient. I’m not done yet. Do you think I have no control over what’s going on? Do you think this is all a surprise to me? That I’ve been caught off guard? Do you trust me?’

Whoa, there it is again! That same question God has been asking me a lot lately. Seriously, for the past year, He’s been posing that same question to me. Do you trust me? Do you trust me?

Remember how Aladdin is standing on a flying carpet and he reaches out his hand to Princess Jasmine and asks her, ‘Do you trust me?’ I mean, he’s basically doing something that seems impossible, he’s standing on a carpet… that flies! But she makes the choice to trust him, takes his hand, gets on the carpet with him, and ends up going on the ride of her life.

Right now this pandemic seems to be the ride of the world’s life. No one knows where it’s going, what will happen next, and when it will end. But you know what? God does!

Corrie Ten Boom once said, ‘We can trust an unknown future to a known God.’ Whoa, did you read that? Read that again! ‘We can trust an unknown future to a known God.’ And what do we know about God? We know that God is good. We know that God is always working for our good. We know that God is in the business of bringing good things out of bad situations. Romans 8:28 says, And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (emphasis mine) We also know that God loves us too much to allow us to stay the same and not grow into the people he wants us to be.

Could it be that God knows better than us? That because He is the almighty and the creator of all, that He can see how things will turn out more than our feeble, human minds can? I love it when Job, after losing everything and getting sick with a disease, says to God…

“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.” Job 42:2-3

The Message version says…

“I’m convinced. You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.” Job 42:2-3

That’s me!! I’m the babbler! I’m sitting here babbling on about how this is just going on and on and not ending. I’m over here pretty much telling God how to fix it, even though I’m not Him. I’m not God.

Kind of like Sarah and Abraham. Instead of trusting God when He said they will have a child, and being patient and waiting for God to finish His work, waiting on His timing (which is perfect, by the way), Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She goes and offers Hagar to Abraham so he can have a child with her. They jumped the gun. Then she gets mad, and jealous and blames Abraham! If they just would have trusted God, they would have saved themselves a lot of hardship and trouble. Ultimately, though, it does happen. Sarah does have that child. God was still faithful. Nothing stopped His plans. And nothing will stop them now.

I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’. I can’t wait to see what good God will bring out of this horrible pandemic. The evil one once again thought he would triumph. But I know how the story will end. Yes, Father, I trust you! And I will continue to trust you. And when this pandemic is over, my worship, my singing and my day to day life will be a lot less taken for granted. And, hopefully, God will have, and will continue, to work through me for His glory and His good.

I’m Struggling

I wrote this on April 7, 2020, but I think it is still very valid right now.

A little honesty here in this post… I’m struggling.

I’m struggling with this quarantine. I’m struggling not knowing how long this will last. I’m struggling not seeing my church family face to face on a regular basis. I’m struggling… with depression right now.

And I know that it’s good to be positive. I know that I need to get into the word and remember God’s promises. I know I shouldn’t give the devil a foothold. But I have to be real and admit that I’m struggling. This sucks!!

It’s horrible that so many people are losing loved ones. It’s horrible that the professionals don’t know how to stop this virus. It’s horrible that we can’t go out somewhere and meet a friend for coffee.

If I’m being real… I’m going to admit that, even as a Christian woman, knowing what I should do daily is really hard for me right now. Not that I am not having my quiet time, or getting into my bible reading, I am. But, it’s just hard right now.

And I think it’s OK to feel like this, but not live in it.

I’m giving these feelings to God. Allowing myself to feel them. Telling Him everyday ‘I’m done with this! But Your will be done’.

Praying for our world, for healing.

And it’s OK if you’re feeling that way too. Just don’t stay in it. Tell God! He already knows what you’re feeling anyway, He just wants to hear from you. I’ve been blowing up his ears daily!

And ask people to pray for you and with you. I have! The devil wants nothing more than to make us feel alone and think that what we are going through is too stupid to ask people for prayer. It’s not!

I just wanted to put this out there for those of you who may be feeling the same way. You may be hearing others say to just keep being positive, but it’s OK if you’re not always positive! It’s OK to feel. JUST DON’T STAY THERE. And tomorrow morning, wake up and give it all to Him again. Trust Him, because He knows how to handle this. He’s the King of the World.

Pity Party

I feel like I’ve been under attack. Not by people, but by that pesky evil one! Anyone else been feeling this way? Anyone else feel like it’s one thing after another right now? Ephesians 6:12 says…For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Man (oh man!) do I feel exhausted, beat down, helpless, useless, and just plain sad! And yet, as I sit here wallowing in my pity party, in my ‘woe is me’ train of thought, this verse pops into my head… (Wait, did I hear that? Yup, that’s the holy spirit talking!)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

So let me get this right, God, I’m supposed to consider this ‘pure joy’? Exactly how do I feel joy in these times when all I want to do is have a pity party? As I open my bible to this verse and read further, to my surprise it says…

Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be made mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

You mean there’s more? I’m not done? Can’t I just wallow in my own misery for a while? Can I be done yeeeet? (Said with a whiny voice) But I mean really, can I??? Then I realize the longer I sit in my pity party, the more I’m giving the devil a foothold in my life. The bible says…

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

When I’m wallowing in my pity party, I’m not being alert and of sound mind. When I’m living in my pity party, the only voice I’m allowing in my head is the devil’s. When I’m wallowing in my pity party, I’m not allowing God’s sweet whisper to come through and remind me how much He loves me. How He has never left me. How much He desperately wants to hear from me.

The Message version of this verse says this…

‘Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. (Or in my case, stuck in a pity party) Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are – will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does.’ 1 Peter 5:8-11

Wow!! Are you sure I’m not the only one, God? Cause it sure feels like it! The devil loves to make us feel alone though. Which will cause pity parties all over the place! And where there are pity parties, there is loss of faith. Where there is loss of faith, there is loss of trust in God. And when we’re not trusting, we are losing hope. It’s a domino effect. The enemies sly way of wearing us down.

So we need to put on the full armor of God. We need to put on…

The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and hold onto the sword of the spirit.

We need to pray on ALL occasions. Even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we just want to sit in our pity party. Because our heavenly father is GOOD! He is ALWAYS good! And He has good plans for us!

‘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

I’m starting to feel that joy that James was talking about now. I’m starting to remember that God is in control and these bad times won’t last forever. And tomorrow, if I want to start a pity party again, I’ll pick up His word and His truths, and flood my mind with them again.