God's Will · TTC Tuesday

I’m Listening, Lord…

At this point, I almost feel like a broken record – except that I have been silent for so long, it is more like a broken record player. Yes, I am a bad blogger – and vlogger, to that point. Certainly beginning work on my Masters of Divinity has cut into my blogging time, as I am constantly writing and reading – but not about blog-able topics to be sure! We have also been grieving, though. Not only in the loss of our pregnancy two days after Mother’s Day, but also in the fact that our second, and last, round of IVF failed – and we have no remaining embryos, and a big question mark as we face our future.

As I sit back and reflect, and try to wrap my mind around the fact, that I may never carry a child, to term, on my own…that we may never have a biological child, I am reminded of the Bible verse that graces our kitchen’s chalkboard: Psalm 113:9.

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD! (NLT)

I can never put from my mind the memory of the vision the Lord granted me nearly four years ago. Interestingly, I know of two other women to whom God gave a clear vision of a child or children who are still ‘barren’. It is easy to abandon hope and believe the God-given dream to be a figment of imagination, but faith reminds me He brings beauty from ashes. If we are to have a child now, after every medical option is exhausted, it is He who is glorified, and even more so. If we adopt a child someday, he or she will be appreciated and loved and rejoiced over that much more.

Our waiting in this season, as I approach my 35th birthday this week, reminds me that I felt like I hoped, prayed, begged, and waited for an interminable amount of time for Craig…and yet, God knew what He was doing. My husband was worth every bit of waiting, and appeared on the scene at precisely the right time in life.

While it is difficult to surrender all to Him in this instance, it is the only choice we have, and that still, small voice beckons me to drop my agenda and rest in Him.

Listen closely. What is His still, small voice asking of you?

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My Choice Monday

My Choice Monday: Joy

Monday

Let me be brutally honest.

Life is hard.

It’s hard to be alone every week. It’s hard to watch all my friends post pictures on Facebook and Instagram of their beautiful children. It’s hard to accept that some people don’t want to rekindle friendship with you and your husband. It’s not fun to wake up and be on the road before the sun in the morning, every morning, and arrive back home – to a husband-less household – after the sun has gone back to bed.

But in spite of all of that, and any other circumstances I may have glossed over, people continually remark at my cheerful demeanor, how happy and carefree I seem to be…and I can honestly say it isn’t my doing at all.

Job 13:15

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Have any of you recently read the book of Job? I’m currently reading and studying this book of the Bible, and if you haven’t read it closely, WOW, Job had it pretty bad. I feel almost embarrassed to complain about anything in my life because, well, there but for the grace of God go I!

Job was not only the wealthiest man around; he also was “…a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8 ESV) He was blessed with ten children, numerous servants, countless livestock…probably the nicest tent on the block! And not only these material possessions were taken away, but his health fell away too. Job 2:8 (ESV) says, “And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.”

Here is a man who was on top of the world, and now he sits on top of ashes, where his belongings had burned. His children are gone. His servants are gone. His livestock is gone. And he is covered from head to toe with itchy boils and sores covering his skin, and all he can do is scrape at himself with a shard of pottery, broken in the midst of everything.

Job’s wife, almost understandably so, says to him, “…Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job 2:9 (ESV)

But his response to her is a lesson for all of us:

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10 (ESV)

Job trusted God. He praised God, and he accepted his circumstances.

Not that my own circumstances come close to those of Job, but I have found in praying about and trying to find reason and comfort for many of the things going on in our life, if Jesus calls you to experience something, He gives you everything you need to get through it. And not only survive, but to do so with JOY and PEACE.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let your heart not be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

It’s the very thing that allows persecuted Christians to get out of bed every morning: their worlds may be falling apart around them, but they are BLESSED with a RELATIONSHIP with the CREATOR – “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

It’s amazing what Jesus can do with circumstances in our lives that seem to be only painful at first glance. I am so blessed to be asked to share Jesus with so many people simply because they hear a part of our story and are amazed at the peace and calm and joy in our lives.

The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29:11 (NLT)

That peace, strength and JOY is Jesus and our relationship to Him, my friends. It’s nothing short of amazing, and He is all you need.

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TTC Tuesday

I Am Weak, But He Is Strong

Dear Friends,

I confess – it’s been way too long since we poured our hearts, convictions and faith out to you via this blog. I have felt guilty –‘wake me up in the middle of the night’ guilty…because I know that the Lord wants to use me, my marriage, my hardships, my faith, as a vessel for leading others to Him. But…it’s hard, y’all. It’s really hard.

You all know we followed His call to Maine this past summer – almost a year ago! But you may not know that we are back in Georgia. After nine months of sharing His love with the precious youth of Southern Maine, God planted the desire for ‘home’…and with that, the desire to adopt a child…and with that, the necessary funds to make all of this happen with a promotion to Captain for Craig and a great job for me.

So, here we are, back in Georgia – ‘home’, and totally neglecting this blog and this ‘ministry’ – after we have been so immensely blessed. And I feel so guilty.

And while you may think this is a shrug your shoulders, no big deal, get a grip lady! kinda thing…it really isn’t. You don’t know the e-mails we receive, telling us how something has touched one of our readers; the requests for prayer from some who follow this blog from prison…Yes, I feel guilty for letting these people down when I am so unimaginably blessed, and so many are broken.

But I confess something to you…I try to be strong. Full of faith. Hopeful. Prayerfully diligent. But I fall so hard.

There are at least two days every week when I sob and ugly cry alone because ‘it just isn’t fair’ that I can’t give my sweet husband a child.

It just ‘isn’t fair’ that instead of going out for lunch with my co-workers, I head downstairs to the building’s gym to work-out during my hour-long break. I don’t eat gluten, carbs, sugar, anything fun. I drink apple cider vinegar with baking soda, and take a regimen of coconut oil, but no matter what, my blood sugar refuses to cooperate, my hormones will not level out and I can’t shed a pound, let alone maintain my weight.

I’ve felt like Job.

I’ve felt like David in a mournful Psalm.

I try so hard to be strong, but I’m not.

Thankfully, He is.

Lamentations 3:19-24 (Contemporary English Version) says this:

‘Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.
That’s all I ever think about,
and I am depressed.
Then I remember something
that fills me with hope.
The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
we would have been destroyed.
The Lord can always be trusted
to show mercy each morning.
Deep in my heart I say,
“The Lord is all I need;
I can depend on him!”’

Peter tells us this truth about our Savior:

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Because friends, we are all human. We all cry and feel helpless and worry. But that isn’t the life the Lord wants for us. We are blessed in that our Lord tells us to hand everything over to Him, and just keep moving forward.

When I start to worry that Jonah will never arrive, that the adoption process will never move along, that I will never be able to have a body that functions like “it should”… I remember that He’s got this.

I remind myself that:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Philippians 3:8-9a (NLT)

And when I lay aside everything else, and focus in on Him and His AWESOMENESS, my troubles melt away and nothing else matters but basking in that love and sharing it with other people.

As my “Jesus Today” devotional reminded me this morning:

“The world applauds self-sufficiency…However, this is not the way of My kingdom. I want My children to recognize and rejoice in their utter dependence on Me…When the strain of living in the fallen world is getting you down, resist the temptation to feel sorry for yourself. Instead say to yourself, ‘I am blessed and thankful – and on my way to His Glory!’”

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My Choice Monday

Give Me Faith

MondayHappy Monday! Here’s hoping all of you had an especially wonderful weekend and Mother’s Day!

Today I wanted to share with you a song (both video and lyrics – so turn on your speakers and watch this post in a browser)…I first heard this last Wednesday evening at church, and was SO.MOVED. by the lyrics and the heartfelt passion with which the singer sang it.

After this weekend, which as you may imagine was a little lot emotional for us, words and music like that which follows is such a beautiful reminder that, although we are far from perfect, He has everything under His perfect control. Waiting on the Lord is not easy. We have total faith and trust in Him, but we are still human and imperfect.

I may be weak, but Your Spirit’s strong in me. My flesh may fail, but My God you never will.

Verse 1:

I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life

Pre-Chorus:
All I am, I surrender

Chorus:
Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give you my life

Verse 2:
I need you to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need you pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me

Bridge:
I may be weak
But your Spirit’s strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God you never will

– See more at: http://elevationworship.com/songs/give-me-faith-the-song/#sthash.5EwDStQ2.dpuf

This is originally an Elevation Worship song, but the small group singing it above (Worship On The Porch) does such a beautiful rendition, and they are SUCH an inspiring ‘organization’. If you like this song, listen to their version of “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture – another one of my absolute faves.

In Jesus, we have it all – truly. But we are still human. Our flesh is still weak. We still battle the enemy and deal with the world on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter how strong our faith is, we need to ask Him for faith and strength every single day.

faithxoxo

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

A Whale Of A Tale

Tuesday

Happy Thank You Jesus Tuesday!

By now, I hope you have all watched our vlog from last week… If not, watch it here and the rest of the post will make more sense to you. 🙂

Craig and I have completely surrendered our fertility to God, and everything that goes with it – and if you’ve watched the vlog, you know that included our long held onto “baby girl name” of Olivia Florence. We are excited to one day welcome into our home and family a little girl named Jonah Elizabeth! What a blessing total surrender to our Lord is!

So, we all know the story of Jonah in the Bible, right?

God asked him to do something, and Jonah was scared. He ran away and was thrown off a ship, but instead of drowning, he was saved by God and swallowed by a whale. He lived in the belly of the fish for three days (the Sign of Jonah), and was delivered by the Lord – this time deciding to obey His commands!

So, Jonah is associated with a whale…And Jonah is typically a boy’s name… and all things whale and little boy are typically blue…

But after we received our revelation from God, and shared it, in faith, with all of you, Craig and I were walking through Target this past weekend and saw these things:

ALL THINGS PINK AND WHALEY!!!!!!!

Craig looked at me and said, “This is definitely an affirmation from God! We have to buy Jonah’s first blanket in faith!” and so we did:

How awesome!!! We serve such a wonderful God, and if we only ask He will respond. Never think your prayer or request is too small. Have faith in Him.

The point of the story of Jonah is that God rescues His people – and He doesn’t require earthly measures to accomplish His rescue! It doesn’t matter that doctors say I can’t ovulate on my own. It doesn’t matter that doctors don’t believe I can become pregnant without their assistance. God doesn’t rely on science and human knowledge. He created science and He operates in the supernatural.

Psalm 46:10

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

10 Let go of your concerns!
    Then you will know that I am God.
        I rule the nations.
        I rule the earth.

xoxo

PS – Don’t forget about Love On Purpose Week! Today is Intentional Kindness Day! Do something for someone else! #loveonpurpose

kindess