How will you measure your 2019?

Before I can even think about 2020, I have to get my head around what 2019 has meant to me. 

I spent this morning leafing through hundreds of pages of handwritten 2019 journal entires with one purpose in mind: to remember. This year has been a milestone in my spiritual and personal life and I am particularly proud of the growth I have experienced this year. 

It seems that many of us take this day to reflect back on the last year and look forward toward the next, partly with nostalgia and partly with excitement about the possibilities that exist for us. Many of us might even pray for and about the things we think we want or need to have for the next year; the goals and ambitions that light our fires. I certainly do, but today I wonder: Do we ever stop and wonder in awea at how he got us through it all while we were preoccupied with our business?

I thought I was going to be reflecting on what God did through me this year, but really, I’m realizing that this is only a small part of the story. Maybe even only an afterthought or a side-effect of what he has done. 

And what is the the true measure of a year of our lives? Like really, what are we counting as a “successful year”? Gross income earned? Amount of books read? Miles traveled?

For me, I’m counting my success as a whole lot of unquantifiable grace. 

If I died today I would not regret one thing because I know and He knows that I have done my best to obey and please him in my heart. He knows because he was in it the whole time helping me through it. 

And now that I know where I’ve been I can turn toward the future. Into the unknown with a cloud of glory leading the way and more glory following behind me. 

In 2019 He kept me going. My heart understands this better than my mind. Even now while I’m typing these words, worried about whether I can post this article on time and trying to find the words to put together for you all, He is literally sustaining my drive, passion, and pouring into me the words and sentiment he desires, all while simultaneously upholding the universe.

I can’t move swiftly past this fact. With each word and breath I take, our father is Good. Holy. Sustainer. 

Last New Year’s Eve I chose one word to define my goals for the year. I even wrote it in my best script diagonally across the first page of my 2019 Moleskine planner to set the tone for the whole year: COMMITMENT. And each week I made great and imperfect strides toward that goal, determined never to give up on my commitment to lean into what it really means to pursue God and the calling to which he has drawn me (writing). 

Now in 2020 I want to DEPEND on him and know what that really is like. 

And so we go into the unknown with a cloud of glory leading the way and more glory following behind me.

Isn’t that how we should face every day?

We are forever traveling to our destinations, whether it is to Egypt or Babylon, or back to Jerusalem to rebuild. But the whole way we know that our ultimate destination is to be with our Good Father forever, even though we must spend a while in exile.

Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.

Psalm 28:9b

If my desire is DEPENDENCE, then God, you must also be made BIG. As much as I am weak and in need, you must be made all the more powerful in my life. After all, what is the point of being dependent on God if the God of my imagination is too small and boxed in to help?

Today is a new day and a new year for all of us. My prayer is that God would be made big and gloried above all else in our lives. Lord, fill us with awe and wonder at yourself, so that we may truly rest in your goodness and glory.

The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”

xPsalm 29
  • How did you see God word in 2019?
  • What has God taught you about himself?
  • What is your prayer for 2020?

Who do you trust when things fall apart?

For the Choir director: A psalm of David

The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.

The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?

But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.

Psalm 11:2-4

It’s probably verses like these that are taken out of context and used to accuse God of being a mean and overly critical teacher who is just waiting to catch you red-handed. Not true. He’s so much bigger and better than we think.

While he does look down on the earth ruling and examining the hearts of all people, he has also made his design, will, and heart for us very clear throughout the Bible. The design for your life and for mine, is a life overflowing with peace and good things (John 10:10; Jeremiah 29:11).

David asks a question here that I think every human has asked at some point. The whole world is falling apart. What are we supposed to do about it?

We can’t police every act of evil, and certainly cannot exact perfect justice. Just consider how many criminals are free and inmates are innocent at this very moment. Only God has the ability to perfectly judge because he can discern the intentions and thoughts of the heart (Psalm 139:1-4; 1 John 3:20).

The deeds of the wicked are indeed out of control. We can’t turn a blind eye but we can’t do any lasting good either. Even if we devoted our entire lives, savings, and efforts toward working for justice, we will inevitably die and some other evil will inevitably come to undo our efforts.

What is the answer then, for those “whose hearts are right” and who desire to see justice in the world?

Recognize the Lord is in control 

Do you truly believe this? If this is difficult to grasp, it may be that you are making the problems bigger than God. I have done this before. Sometimes when you focus on a certain problem and get tunnel vision, perspective is lost. Just because we can’t see or understand, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care and isn’t working. Rather, use this to fuel an impassioned prayer: “God, I don’t understand but I trust that you are larger than all the evil in the world.” After all, if he created it all and upholds it all by the words of his mouth, isn’t he able to handle the deeds of the creatures whose lives are only vapor? (James 4:14; Psalm 39:5).

Do everything you can

The Psalm goes on to say in verse 7, “The virtuous will seek his face.” If you conduct your life in a way that works for peace and justice and you trust God enough to weave your story into the fabric of history for the good of all people, you will be doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Not only will you have the satisfaction of a life well-lived, you will have peace. And the Bible promises that you will see his face (Psalm 17:15, Matthew 5:9). Then after doing what you can, show your trust by letting God take over.

Reflection

  • Is there something that seems insurmountable in your life?
  • How have you trusted God in that situation?
  • Pray about one thing you can do today that requires trust. Then do it! 🙂

Not just getting through the day

Let’s check our pulse as we enter into Christmas week. How are you feeling? Peaceful and still, or burnt out and frazzled with the whirlwind of plans and obligations? (It’s okay to say you are not struggling, we are all just jealous!)

I feel like no matter how hard I try to focus on the coming of Jesus and “the reason for the season” I miss the mark. I start out strong with my SheReadsTruth Advent study in the morning before work (click here to read along!) but then by the time I am 15 minutes into my work day, all the familiar stresses overwhelm me and push the peace I had aside. Instead I become full of the normal cares of life and I wander away from the perfect peace I experienced before.

How do we keep that perfect peace of God’s love for us throughout the day?

In Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells a parable about a lost sheep. A shepherd had a hundred sheep but one of them had wandered off and gotten lost. The shepherd left the ninety-nine in open country while he left to search out the lost one. And when he found it, he brought it back on his shoulders rejoicing. 

My first reaction to this story was how irresponsible it was to leave the other 99 unattended. I’m sitting here thinking about all the dangers and risks of doing that. As that shepherd I’d be racked with guilt and dilemma. I love the one sheep, but what about all the others? How could I leave them all in the open country without any other protection? Wouldn’t I rather lose one than save one and lose 99?

Thankfully for us, God doesn’t think this way. He’s not hung up on the burdens and cares. Not that they aren’t important, but that his love is bigger than the cares. His love for us is so huge that to lay aside his heavenly crown and trade it for humanity is no big thing.

This is the mystery we try to unravel each Advent season. Putting together the pieces of prophecy and promise in scripture in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Christmas sets his plan of love in motion.

Be convinced of God’s love

I have made an effort to stop saying “get through the day”. I don’t want to just get through the day; it’s not the attitude I want to have. While we can’t have the mountaintop experience of faith every day, we still can remain in God’s love every day. All it takes is a simple prayer in the morning.

Don’t be discouraged if this is difficult. He sees your heart. He sees you trying. It is, after all, a work of the Spirit and unable to be manufactured by human hands. Pray and ask that the Lord would send you reminders throughout the day to strengthen you.

And then don’t sit around worrying; go, and do what you need to do. After Jesus would heal someone, he wouldn’t say to them, “Now go sit and think about what you’ve done some more and keep feeling bad about it.” No! He told them to “Go, and sin no more.”

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, netiher height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

All of these things are passing away as the earth is passing away. In its place we know will be a new heaven and earth, a perfect situation that won’t change. And in the meantime, though, the circumstances do not determine God’s unfailing love for us.  His love for us falls outside the power of anything or anyone else.

And here I am now – my day isn’t perfect, but again it is. And I don’t even have to wait for eternity to take advantage of it. The joy of salvation is hope. And hope is what I have this very minute.  

Why we celebrate Advent

God knows that it is good for us to practice waiting; he built it into our very design and that of the universe around us. A baby takes 40 weeks to develop in the womb. A bear waits for spring. A diamond is formed. We know this, and yet we still actively or passively forget how to wait. A web page opens 15 seconds too slow, a traffic light takes “forever”. Waiting to conceive, for a proposal, for healing, for justice.

Each year about this time, I go to church where we hear about the beauty of waiting and allowing God to work in his time and his ways. Afterwards, we rush off to busy ourselves with all the shopping, cooking, visiting, and all other kinds of busyness. Once spent with all our efforts and plans, we wonder why we need to decompress from the season. Having waited all year long for Christmastime, I think we have lost the ability to enjoy it for what it is: Waiting.

The season of Advent is a spiritual kind of waiting when believers make preparations for the coming of Jesus and for the salvation he promises to bring for the whole earth. We try to re-remember who He is and why we need him. In the pages of the Bible we learn that we share the same hearts as our ancient forefathers in faith. Longing for salvation has never left us.

God’s purpose in giving us this glimpse of hope wasn’t exactly to invite us into the solution. Sarah knew that God had promised her and Abraham would have as many descendants as the sand on the seashore. But they were very old and it wasn’t happening. She faced the challenge of having to decide whether to trust her own reasoning or to trust that God would be faithful to deliver.

We know that in Genesis 16 Sarah lost her patience and tried to hurry along God’s promise herself. Although this exact story probably wouldn’t happen today, we are also guilty of the same untrust and unbelief when we take action outside of God’s will. 

It’s the motivation to lie, steal, cheat our way forward, because in our hearts we don’t fully trust God’s way to work for us. We try to self medicate and take things into our own hands. It’s easy to point out and incredibly difficult to do.

Whatever this may look like for you in your life, the motivation behind sin is always going to look like a lack of trust in God’s goodness. Because if he was good, you wouldn’t have to wait right?

That God’s goodness depends on our understanding is human reasoning.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

Even so, God understands our impatient hearts even more than we do. Even while we may not understand or agree, we cannot deny that we are utterly limited in all aspects of our being; God is not. He asks us to trust because we will never be able to fully understand this side of heaven. Like a father who is coaxing his daughter to jump in the pool, our Father coaxes us to just trust. Even though nothing makes sense and even though we have seen how heavy things sink to the bottom. We jump because we know that our Father is good and has never failed us in the past. We jump because of his track record.

Abraham had even less information than we do today about God’s goodness and provision. He didn’t have the whole of scripture to bask in, nor did he have as many faithful people that came before to leave behind lives of trust and worship. Even so, he knew the Lord so well, was so convicted of hearing the Lord’s voice and so moved by that command to take up and move to a foreign land that he had no choice but to believe and do it.

The season of Advent then, is our annual opportunity to return back to the question of waiting. Will we await the coming of Jesus with hope and belief? Or will we sink back to our own understanding where we must make a way for ourselves before things get too out of hand?

My prayer for us this Advent season is that we would lean into the waiting and the unknown, taking comfort and refuge in the Good Father who has it all under control.

Reflection

  • Read Psalm 106 
  • Prayerfully consider what you can practice waiting with faith on this season

Looking Back to Look Forward

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 

2 Corinthians 3:18-4:1 NLT

This time of year always grips me with stress and fear. Not necessarily due to the busyness of the holiday season, (although that is certainly there) but because of all the unknowns looming in the year ahead. As disciples of Jesus, however, we are called to allow tomorrow to inform the decisions of today, but return to the urgent business of the living present, in the moment. In other words, we are wise about the future but we do not live there.

In C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters if you are not familiar, a devil writes his nephew a letter to encourage him on how lure men away from God. Regarding the future he says:

[God’s] ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future — haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth — ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other — dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.

c.s. Lewis, Screwtape Letters

Personally, my year has been chock-full of grief and stretching; some for my good and some seemingly pointless. Those close to me have had their share of burdens, and I’m willing to bet that you also have. Be assured: He knows the pain and wrestling over the most honest and raw prayers that keep us up at night. Only He can see the knees bent on cold early morning ground and the tears that fall secretly. I wish it were not only the struggles that bow our heads, but also that praise would elicit just as much desire for you. Whatever the cause or result of sorrow, we must look to Him who holds it all together, who remains crowned and on the throne.

I know there are some sisters out there who are weary and burdened. I want to encourage you today, that you are not alone, you are seen, you are loved by the King of Heaven. But don’t take my word for it; see the evidence for yourself. 

In Exodus, God promises Moses that he will be allowed to see God’s back, but not his face. We can see him looking back, but he does not allow us to see him coming.

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

Exodus 33:19-23

I love this verse because it just reminds me that God can always be seen in everything, even if we can’t understand or comprehend it when it first happens. The Bible consistently exhorts believers to look back and remember.

Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 

Deuteronomy 6:12


Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

Isaiah 46:9

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Psalm 77:11

For myself, He has seen fit to allow me an incredible amount of growing and stretching this year. This year I have come to deeply understand and appreciate how very deep the chasm between the Word of God and my own earthly life.

He has taught me to pray correctly. And has led me to apply the things I am learning. He has led me to holy sorrow and repentance by revealing my sins to me and then forgiving me on the spot.

He showed me that I am a being designed to be thankful all the time as a result of my nature, not because of favorable circumstances.

He has given me a renewed enthusiasm for quiet time in the morning for prayer and to linger over scripture. He has provided me in my quiet times, ample space to analyze, question, wonder, confess, wrestle, cry, laugh, praise and sing.

Reflection

Think back (or make a list, whichever is more helpful!) contemplate God’s faithfulness to you over the past year.

  • How has He shown up for you?
  • What prayers has He answered?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What do you know now about God that you did not know 12 months ago?

And so we find that we must look back in order to look forward; anticipate the coming year, not with dread but with awe and reverence, owning that there is still so much more to learn and puzzle over as we are sanctified. Do not forget. In Jesus’s name we are able to confidently march into the future with heads and banners held high on behalf of the lamb of God. 

Called to Encourage

Yesterday my close friend and I gathered in my living room amidst toys, empty juice boxes, and unfolded (but clean!) laundry. We buzzed with excitement despite the mess as we shared what God has been teaching us this week through Scripture, prayer, and everyday life. Hopes lifted up, tears shed, hearts humbled in prayer. Like that, an hour and a half flew by and it was time for her to leave, even though we could have kept going for hours. After I closed the door behind her,  reality hit once again. My circumstances hadn’t changed one iota, but my outlook was re-energized and refocused.

But be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:18 – 21

God has recently put a strong desire on my heart for committed fellowship. And it’s no coincidence how God brings people into your path because it turns out, I’m not the only one feeling this way. He had stirred up a desire in some of my closest friends in Christ who are also faithfully seeking after God’s will. 

Having received this confirmation, I immediately set to work creating a manifesto for the group. In my vision, these sisters would be privileged and committed in the Spirit to sharing, encouraging, rebuking, and praying for one another. An accountability group, of sorts.

Now, I know that this may sound a little extreme. Like something only people with serious addictions have. To be honest, it’s not that far off the mark; technically we believers do have serious addictions to rebelling against God. The need for commitment to community and fellowship is written all over the Bible:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

Fellowship and accountability is not only portrayed as wise, it is for safety, it is for love, and it is for the good of the whole community. We realize that life happens and circumstances change so this won’t last forever. However, in our desire to remain faithful to the very end we will do what it takes to stay vigilant in faith and not stumble.

This is what I imagine Heaven will be like – an eternal meeting of souls that love Jesus, overflowing with hope and uncontained zeal for his Word. While Heaven is going to be an indescribable experience, we luckily have the chance to enjoy a taste of it here on Earth.

Reflection

  • Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • What would it look like to start an accountability group within your circle?

Put it into practice

Feeling challenged to gather some pals and start doing the same thing? Please download the Accountability Group Manifesto below and make it your own, as the Spirit leads. And then tell me in the comments how it goes!

Music to move our spirits

When I’m spiritually dry and worn out, I turn to worship music. Even though I am all about Bible study and journaling, sometimes I just can’t get unstuck. In these times I find that a little humility (I can’t manufacture the desire to praise you God, you have to do this for me!) plus a little variety is the key to get back on track again.

I wanted to share six of my favorite worship songs with you this week. Each one is incredibly special and has moved me to praise and prayer (and tears) at different points of my journey with Jesus. I pray that these songs might inspire you to praise and prayer too, as the Spirit leads.

Who is this King of glory?

Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, The LORD, might in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in.

Psalm 24:8-9 NLT

Take a little extra break here, fudge on the speed limit there. Tell a white lie to get out of a commitment. Look the other way when a Sister or Brother should really be confronted.  Serve the Lord or serve myself? Decisions, decisions.

This is hardly an exhaustive list of all the ways in which I choose my ways over God’s ways throughout the day. And what a laundry list it can become depending on how closely I keep track (assuming I don’t fudge on that too!)

One thing is for certain, I can pretend that my sins (read: disobedience) just float off into the atmosphere never to be dealt with again, like a lost balloon. Unfortunately, lost balloons have to come down sometime, and thus it is with sin. As a semi-mature believer I know two things right off the bat: 1. God desires obedience…  2. So that I will live the best life possible as I was designed to do.  (Joshua 1:8; Luke 11:28)

From simple experience, I already understand that when I decide to walk away and follow my own path, I start to go down a slow downward spiral, causing separation and isolation from Him. Not to mention from my fellow believers and loved ones. I know that when my heart isn’t in it, Bible reading becomes like a chore and I have no interest in the things of the Spirit. God promises to reveal himself to us when we seek him, but it is a conscious effort that requires our decision to do so. While He makes it possible for us to seek and find him, he does not force himself onto our agendas. Instead, he desires our first step of faith.

Whoever would draw near God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

And so my life is a see-saw of constant conversion. Several times a week, sometimes even several times a day, I have to first identify whom I will serve, and then confess it. “Who is this King of glory?” Who is it that I am effectively worshipping with my words, actions, attitude? Is it the Lord, or is it myself? 

Then as though that weren’t difficult enough to rip my natural impulses away from the comfortable easy route, I must proclaim him as my Lord again. Because if I don’t make an obvious effort to turn back to him, who’s to say that I ever repented at all?  He is the Lord, strong enough to handle my wounds, uncertainties, sins, prayers, questions. He is the Lord, mighty in battle – who battles on my behalf. 

And here’s the best news: No matter what circumstances you may have that caused you to push him out of your heart, however temporarily, for whatever reason, He is faithful to return and restore the brokenness. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Psalm 51:17

He won’t force his way into your love, but he will enter in where invited. Why? Because He loves us more than we can imagine but he also respects our decisions like a good Father (Revelation 3:20).

So dear friend, if you happen to be far from the Lord at this moment, consider this the push you have been waiting for to return to your Lord, your King of glory. He is always good and always faithful.

“Choose today whom you will serve… But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Reflect

  • In what area do you struggle with obedience?
  • What keeps you from repentance?
  • Read Joshua 24:14-15. What would it look like to obey in the particular area the Holy Spirit has brought to mind?

Pray

Spend some time reading and meditating over Psalm 51. God loves to hear from you. Bring it to him in prayer, trusting that he will not reject your heart as you seek his way.

Author update & Lent is here again

Hi friends,

These past few years have been some of my least productive years in writing to date, but busiest in changing, stretching and growing. From finally working out forgiveness with certain people, to becoming a wife, to becoming a mother, learning to weigh a full time job with home and family responsibilities. I’m also very excited to announce that my application to become a staff writer for Tirzah Magazine was accepted and that I am now an official contributor over there too! Tirzah is an online publication dedicated to encouraging young women in leading lives and faith and I’m proud to be associated that team of godly women.

I have at times been overwhelmed, underwhelmed, joyful, grieving, and maybe a little bit crazy. But I’m hanging on to the call to write and to take up my pen in obedience and renewed confidence that only the Lord can provide.

Speaking of obedience and renewed confidence, you may know that today the season of Lent is upon us. I wanted to repost an article from a few years ago, because I found myself being reminded of how if we are not careful, we can turn it into a mere “Christian New Years’ resolutions day” rather than a heart-honest call to turn toward the Lord with renewed zeal.

I hope you enjoy it!


Why I’m dreading Lent this year [originally posted February 8 2016]

Lent is this Wednesday. I know. “What? Already?” I believe my exact reaction was, “AGAIN?”

Every year it’s the same. I spend all kinds of time sitting at Starbucks with my laptop trying to decide whether it’s coffee or chocolate that will get the boot. “Hmm…maybe I should just give up Facebook,” I think to myself, washing down a bite of chocolate-chocolate-chip muffin with a swig of mocha latte.

Lent is like the Christian version of New Years Resolutions. You make up your mind to give something up or start doing something good, only to let yourself slide until you have completely forgotten about the funny promise you made to God 40 days prior. (Chocolate bunny, anyone?)

If you’re not familiar with Lent, it is what Christians call that stretch of time between Mardi Gras and Easter. It is a time set out in the church when believers usually focus on growing closer to God through Prayer, Fasting, and Giving. It’s actually a great opportunity to rekindle the dryness that periodically creeps into our faith-lives. Everyday life and responsibilities cause so much noise in our heads that we forget to focus on the One who is the only source of wisdom, comfort, and salvation. This is why I’m such a huge believer in the practice of Lent. We learn to slow down and establish a structure of prayer that is oftentimes missing from our lives. So why am I dreading it?

Over the past 2 months I my article-writing engines have been on overdrive and I have loved every stressful minute of it. I’m writing for and with God for you good people spread across the Interwebs and all the while, I hear my heart beating in step with each piece. It’s buzzing with excitement: you are doing exactly what you are meant to do. I have SO many ideas for how to glorify God with my writing and my blog.

However, Lent means I have to slow down. It means that I actually have to stop trying, pull it back a bit, and slow down so that I can commune with God. As much as I don’t want to slow my mad productive pace, my soul hangs in the balance if I do not. I’m like a toddler running out the front door and down the driveway before my mom has time to put a diaper on me — I tend to run way ahead of God’s plans before I’m ready.

But this relationship with the master of the universe is vastly more important than anything I post, write, plan to write. I’m hearing his still, small voice in my heart saying, Be still, Molly. Quit trying to prove to me how awesome you are.

I want to be intentional about this year’s season of Lent so I won’t be posting every single day, but only as the spirit leads. I will be listening for God’s voice and striving toward closeness with Him.

Won’t you join with me in search for an intentional Lent? Whether this is your first Lent season or 100th, let’s take Lent seriously together this year. Let’s both commit to being companions of Jesus, instead of competitors. ☩

He is sufficient

Are you desperate for relief from your heavy burdens? For me, the dark early hours of a Monday are akin to staring down the barrel of a gun – but instead of a steel shaft, I see the days of the week lined up and advancing toward me. I can’t tell you how many mornings I have begrudgingly left the warm cocoon of my bed, feeling utterly abandoned by the weekend and unarmed/unprepared to meet the week.

That is, until this morning. Something has shifted in my understanding of a small corner of the Gospel message for me, and I’m grateful because I can finally connect the dots between this Earthly life and God’s promise of abundant life made complete in Jesus.

His grace is sufficient for me. Do you believe this? We don’t have to pray that it would be or ask why he hasn’t made it so… it already is. Lord, give us your wisdom to understand in our hearts, deep inside, that when life is hard, when thousands of burdens rail at us from the business side of a new week, what it means to be satisfied and contented with you.

Not with you and coffee. Not with you and a quiet uninterrupted time to pray and think. Not even with you and a desired outcome to a situation. But satisfied with you alone.

Lord, I confess how UNsatisfied I have been with you. I have passed over this verse with a “yeah, but…” and page turn to seek something clearer, easier, more attuned to my “needs”; some other bible verse that gives the secret recipe to Peace and Rest so I can thrive in this hectic world. I have even had well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ tell me point blank that I was anxious and panicking because I failed to trust in you. That made me mad. I honestly thought I did trust you. Well, at least my desire to trust was pure, and it could not be anything else because at the time I had only the amount of faith measured out to me. (You give us exactly what we can handle.) But now, some years later you have suddenly opened up my eyes to understand.

Lord, show us that we are already equipped with all that is needed to walk confidently through the day, doing good and seeking your face constantly. It took a very confusing detour to arrive at this conclusion, and although I know the winding path will keep on going, we pause today to praise you in this discovery, and like the biblical fathers, build an altar on the side of the road here to mark the place where we finally understood your grace really is all we need.