So Mackenzie and Rylinn have this book, Little One’s Bible Prayers, and I have been reading it to Mackenzie before nap time. Now, Mackenzie won’t go to bed until we read her prayers. It is so sweet and innocent, it fills me with joy. I want to plant a seed of faith in my children and I think I might be doing just that.
As a parent, I know we all have times when we feel like we’ve totally blown it. But these smart, absorbent, and innocent children remind us that even though we may feel like we’ve blown it, it’s never too late to fix things. Hearing Mackenzie say, “Mommy, I want to read my prayers,” brings such a joy to my heart. It reminds that I am doing something right, if nothing else, I am planting that seed of faith in my girls.
I did not have a seed of faith planted in me while I was growing up, so when, as an adult, I began to hear the gospel, I was really taken aback about what all of this really meant.
Next investment for the girls, The Jesus Storybook Bible. I’ve heard amazing things about it and how amazing it is for young kinds, that it makes the gospel easy to understand. I am so excited to share what I know about Christ with my girls. And in a way, since I am just a baby in Christ – the girls and I get to grow together.
In case you don’t already know, I am going on a mission trip to Guatemala next month with my church. And anyone who has known for very long, knows that going on this trip is so far out of my comfort zone that you’re probably shocked that I am going.
So here’s the scary part. I am just a baby in Christ. I am only beginning to understand the gospel and God’s amazing love for us…and I am going to be sharing the gospel with other people. I’m not sure if I am ready for this.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am so thrilled that God has given me this opportunity to be able to grow in Him and to share His Word. But I am so worried that I am going to mess this up. I know that God is and will be with me while I do this and He won’t put me in a situation that I’m not ready for. I know that God will give me the words to use to share what I do know and understand.
So why am I still afraid? I HAVE NO CLUE!!! Why am I still worrying about something that, I know, God is in control of? I think this is where I’m still learning how to trust that God will take care of me. I know in my head that there’s no reason to worry, but sometimes my heart loses the memo, lol.
I’m asking everyone, if you think of me over the next few weeks, please say a prayer for this mission trip. Please pray that I will listen to and follow God’s guidance and thank Him for giving me this opportunity.
My life, I surrender
And my heart, I lay down
Asking for the grace
I’ve seen given in bounds
Am I deserving?
We both know I’m not
But I’m on my knees
Begging just for one drop
One drop of Your grace
That can heal my pain
Your unending grace
That can clean the stain
The stain of my past
The stain of my sin
Can be gone in a moment
If I’ll just let you in
This morning, something amazing happened inside of me. As I listened to the sermon, I was reminded of an email that I recently sent to a close friend about the things that I need to release control of and hand over to God – and let’s just say, it’s a pretty long list. I need to follow Jesus unconditionally; and unconditionally means just that. I need to remove anything from my life that keeps me from being everything I should be, everything I was made to be.
God made me to be so much more than I am today. I am not defined by the things I have done or by the things I have; letting those things define me keeps me from following unconditionally. It doesn’t matter is all of my outward actions are good and nice, if my heart isn’t in the right place, then it doesn’t amount to anything. If every kind or polite act is to serve my own selfish interest and not in the name of Jesus, then I am wrong. I need to follow Jesus without throwing my desires in there.
Since I started going to Grace Bible Church I have come into contact with some of the nicest and most Godly people I’ve ever met in my life. I have met some amazing men and women who have come beside me to help me understand God’s Word and how to understand and follow His will for my life. These people, who God has placed in my life, have shown a whole other side of humanity – a side that I never knew existed. I didn’t realize, before, that there were still people in this world who could love and give and care for others for no reason in particular, but just because we are all children of God. I have seen my fair share of brokenness and hurt in the world but now that I’m also getting doses of love, peace, and joy along with it, I’m beginning to realize that the world is not such a bad place after all.
This morning, I saw God’s grace in the face of an amazing woman whose kindness touched my heart. It truly is an amazing thing when we realize that one person can completely impact another person’s life. It kind of hit me this morning, even though I already knew this; I was reminded how my actions, good or bad, can affect someone else’s life. I need to remember that one small act of kindness can show another person of God’s love and of God’s grace in a way that no one or nothing else can.
Thank You, God, for the grace You have given me and for the love You continue to show me every day.
Last night’s Bible study was amazing. 1 Peter 2:13-25 is a life changing passage. So what did I learn? I learned something I already knew but that I haven’t been able to fully understand which has hindered me from fully trusting in Him.
1 Peter 2:19 – For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.
You know, it’s almost hard to wrap my head around the fact that God is telling me I am going to suffer, I have to suffer. My struggles in life are what turned me away from God to begin with, so to know that my suffering will bring me closer to God is almost breathtaking.
Next, I started thinking, if I had never suffered and been broken I would’ve never turned to God. God used my suffering to bring me closer to Him. What a wonderfully faithful God we serve!!
In my suffering, I have been blessed. Now I can thank God for the things that have gone wrong in my life.
Rejoice in Suffering
I’ve often wondered
God, What have I done?
Rejecting you for so long
Then I remember Your Son
He showed an example
Of how I should live
The things I should sacrifice
And what I must give
He showed me how to suffer
In God’s glorious name
And to praise the One
Who casts out my shame
So in my suffering
I will rejoice
For the safety I’ve found
In the sound of Your voice
Did you ever realize how one aspect of your wellbeing, physical, emotional, or spiritual, affects the others? I never really thought much about it, but it’s almost like a common sense type of thing. But, once again, the wonderful pastor at my church made me have a revelation today about something I probably should’ve already know. And that revelation was: to really be able to be all that God made me to be all aspects of my wellbeing need to be cared for and nurtured. If my any part of my physical, mental, or spiritual wellbeing are being ignored then I am not going to be able to function at my hightest and I will not be able to carry our God’s will to the best of my ability.
Which makes total sense right? How come I never thought about this sooner? It seems almost silly sometimes, the things that God is teaching me that seem to be so blatantly common sense that it’s like a child would know it; but I guess that’s why Jesus says that we must have a child-like faith. I think, as adults, we tend to get over-analytical about things and we can’t fully understand what God has done for us because it just seems so unnatural – which it is, that’s why it is so amazing!
I love those little moments, esspecially on a long, busy, stressful day, where I am reminded just how amazing our God is. Because I believe and have faith in Him and in what He’s done, He helps me. When I am not at my best, when I haven’t slept well and I feel sick – He brings hope into my life. He brings me something that I never thought (before October 2011) that would ever be attainable to me.
My analyzing mind just couldn’t understand
How all of this was known and planned
Could it really be a love that I never knew
Knows all my steps and is seeing me through
Common sense statements seem to make sense
But I still stand here on the defense
Unfathomable actions from a Heavenly Father
And all He wants in return is an obedient daughter
Unconditional love, I just couldn’t get it
Since I’d never felt nor had I seen it
But when I step back and forget what I know
Let my guard down and begin to let go
The hungry child inside me shows God her heart
He scoops me up and sets me apart
But I must look up with innocent eyes
So I can understand what’s in the skies
A child-like faith is growing in me
It has opened my eyes, it has let me see
See my Father who loves with all of His soul
Who held on to me until I gave up control
This poem was motivated from Lesson 2: Powerless, of the Celebrate Recovery ciriculum.
Why is my pride always in my way?
When all that I want is to send You my praise.
At the foot of the cross, I will be humbled
As You pick me up from where I stumbled
If only I’d known, of Your love sooner
Would I still be here, angry and bitter?
But does it really matter when I found out?
Either way I’m still fighting the matter of doubt
So why do I worry on what I can’t control
God, You win. Here’s my life. I fold.
What can You do with this life I have wrecked
Can You really move my sins to the west?
I tried to escape but still You pursued
You only wanted to see me through
Can I escape into Your loving arms
Oh, Father won’t You just hold me unharmed
Will You help me forgive those who I resent?
As You forgive me once I repent.
Why did I hold on to anger for so long?
I never let go of every last wrong.
When I am lonely, what will I choose?
Will I choose to give in or come running to You?
You want to save my soul from sin’s cost
So You came to find me where I was lost
Emptiness in my life and a hole in heart
This is where all my sins have left me scarred
But You won the war and showed me the lies
The glory of a soul that is fully alive
Human nature is selfish, to think of ourselves
But Your mercy saved me when I deserved hell
You reached out and called me to serve
And daily I’m finding, it’s a learning curve
You bridged separation up on the cross
Jesus’ death brought me to found from lost
I am convinced, You’ll remain in my heart
I know now what missed while we were apart
Where You Are
Sometimes I wonder where You are in my pain
When my heart is drowning in the world’s falling rain
When I’ve lost my heart, my love, or a friend
When I’m crying to sleep at every day’s end
Sometimes I wonder where You are in the world
When lives are taken and souls are unfurled
When children must suffer by trusted hands
When life knocks me down and I can’t understand
Sometimes I wonder where You are in my life
When I forget that Your love is greater than strife
When I can’t feel your love in this horrid place
When I can’t see the evidence of You great grace
Sometimes I wonder where You are in the shadow
When I can’t figure out just how to follow
When I have fallen into a dark valley
When the devil’s temptation directs my follies
Sometimes I wonder where You are in death
When ones that I love take their last breath
When I’m caught up in life, the pain and despair
When all I can see is that things are unfair
Even when I’m angry, even when I doubt
Your love conquers all and casts my pain out
When my human mind doesn’t get all You’ve done
And I’m crying out, won’t You call me home
Even when I hate, even when I wonder
Your merciful heart won’t let me hunger
When I am lonely, I’m ashamed and I’m scared
You remind me of the promise, You’ll always be there
God’s beauty is all around me. I’ve see it in the glorious sunset over the pacific coast (one of the things I miss the most about living in San Diego). I’ve seen in the smiles and laughs of my little girls. I’vee seen it in the sweet, gentle love of my husband. I’ve seen it in the rain that washes troubles away. I’ve seen it in the wind that blows through the trees. I’ve seen it in the fall, when the leaves change colors (something I missed out on by growing up in San Diego). I’ve seen it in a bed a flowers that smile at me, as if their beauty was created just for me. But today, I saw it in the pure white snow that was falling from the sky. A clean, white blanket over the world.
This world that God created is filled with natural beauty in its purest form. Every person finds beauty in different parts of nature. But for me, beauty is found in the serenity of a quite, cold day, watching snow fall. For me, it’s a reminder that Jesus blood washed my sin white as snow. It’s a reminder that God is merciful and gracious and that regardless of my sins, He loves me and wants me to be filled with joy and live in a way that glorifies Him. The beauty in this world is just a small taste of what I can expect in Heaven. Even my greatest dream cannot hold a candle to what Heaven really will be like. A wise man once told me, I cannot out dream God 😉
I need to remember all of the amazingly, wonderful things God has brought in to my life. I need to remember to thank Him for all that He has done for me and not take His love for granted. So where do You find beauty in God’s creation? Have you thanked Him for that lately?
I know that I can’t possibly be the only person in the world who looks back on their life and thinks, “wow, how could I have been so stupid.”
My life, at times, has seemed to be crumbling beneath my feet and I tried every possible thing in the world to ease the pain…except God. For some reason, seeking help from God wasn’t even something I ever considered. I don’t remember what age I was when I decided that there was no such thing as God. If there was a God, how could He allow such pain in this world? How could He allow so much hurt in a little girl’s life – hurt that she had no control over. What kind of God is that?
I wish I could go back in time and talk to the 16 year old me. I would tell myself that God really is there in the midst of the pain, anger, and fear. Quit doubting Him because of how much you hurt. He never promised life’d be easy, but He did promise that He’d see you through.
You see, Jackie (that’s how I spelled my name back then), you’ve experienced your fair share of hurt in life – but God never wastes a hurt. I know that you can’t see it now, but God will use you to speak into other peoples lives.
Hold on kid, life will be alright. I know you don’t understand it right now. But one day your eyes will be opened as if for the first time.
Your older self