Category Archives: God’s Plan

The Author of My Story

Truth: I really didn’t want to go to church this morning. I got woken up early this morning and by the time it came time to get ready for church, all I could think was how much I didn’t feel like being around people. I’ve been in a slump lately. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and it has left my emotions feeling strung out and tired.


So I went to church anyway. I sucked up my anxieties, packed the kids up in the car, and we went. I sat in the same spot I always do and I stared down at my phone in my lap in hopes that no one would try to talk to me. My motto: don’t make eye contact with anyone.

Then we started singing. Worship always softens my heart. It’s impossible to honestly worship God and NOT feel something.

“Lift us up, for we are heavy laden,
only need and brokenness we bring.
You alone can rescue us falling
We are weak, but You are strong
Lift us up.”

Those words rang so true in my heart as I sang them. I was singing out to a mighty God to lift me up. I often feel like I’m falling, like I’m going to crash and burn in the rubble of my sin and I know that only He can lift me up.

My pastor is doing this series through Galatians right now. Last week, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t go to church because I had read the passage that he was going to be preaching on and it was so very applicable to my life that I REALLY didn’t want to hear the sermon on it because I knew it would leave me feeling convicted about my secret sins. So this morning’s sermon was titled “God Centered Story” and one of the first things he asked was, what centers us and guides us? (I’m paraphrasing from my notes, of course). Clearly, the good, Christian answer to that question is God…and that’s what I wish my answer was. But if I’m totally honest, what centers and guides me in life is my desire to avoid dealing with or feeling my emotions. If I’m totally honest, I don’t really trust God with my life.

We all have different stories. We all come from different backgrounds and have different biases, but for believers in Christ our stories all share one very big similarity – we were wrong and God intervened. God is the author of our stories. He is writing a beautiful story from the ashes of my life.

My story began almost 27 years ago. My story has taken me through joy and grief, happiness and sadness, blessings and curses. My story has led me to do whatever I could do to find immediate relief from my pain. But one big lesson I have learned is that Jesus is WAY better than any of the immediate relief that I have searched for. Jesus is so much better than trying to bury my emotions deep inside my heart. Jesus is infinitely better than any of the “quick fixes” that I come up with on my own. Jesus is so much better and I am NOT the only one who struggles to trust Him.


God knew me before I was born…I really struggle with this concept. I have always wondered, if God really knew me before I was born, if He really knew my life before it happened, then why did He give me life knowing how much pain I would experience. But I am not God and who am I, as the created, to question the Creator. He chose ME! Me, a broken and wounded sinner – He chose me. He knew that I would walk away from Him and deny Him on countless occasions, but He still chose me. He called me by His grace. I have nothing to bring to Him, just like the song says, “only need and brokenness” I bring. But somehow it pleased Him to show me grace.

You see, if you’ve followed this blog for very long or if you know me at all, I’m sure you know that I tend to shy away from asking for help. I tend to convince myself that I can make it through life on my own accord without God’s help…now, clearly, we all know I’m wrong. Doing life on my own leaves me dead and isolated in my sin. I get scared and trapped by the shame and guilt of my past. But in His infinite grace and mercy, He searches me out and saves me every time (see Luke 19:10).

I get frustrated with God quite frequently because I don’t think my story looks the way it should. I don’t like the way my story has been written. But God didn’t ask me for my editing suggestions.


I am still in the middle of my story. Pastor Dave used the analogy of doing a flip-turn (as in swimming). Being that I am a former swimmer who loved doing flip-turns, I very much loved this analogy. My story is still in progress. God, the Author, knows how it will end. My choice at this point is to trust that He loves me. This is where I can make a flip-turn and trust His grace. This is where I can let the love of Jesus direct me through the rest of this story.

On my own I am nothing, I have nothing. But with God, I need nothing. With God, I am much stronger than I think I am. I can quit turning to those things that have kept my secrets hidden. I can bring my secrets into the light and let God use those as a part of my story. He can, and He will, use my story to bring others to Him.

Like Joseph said Genesis, what you meant for evil, God will use for good. God never wastes a hurt. He is spinning all the ugliness and hurt in my life into a beautiful story centered on His grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not perfect. I struggle daily. But the Author of my story knows what He’s doing and I will trust He knows more than I do.



You Lead, I’ll Follow

Finding God’s will for your life is hard….but I think that’s the problem. We’re all looking so hard to do great things for God that we miss the small opportunities that He gives us. We miss the ways in which He is using us now. We want to serve Him in magnificent ways, and we seems to somehow forget that sometimes, the most magnificent service is the mundane, ordinary, and boring everyday tasks that not many people want to do.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I get stuck sometimes…frustrated…because I want to serve God. I want to share Him with everyone around me and tell people all that He has done in my life. But sometimes, that just means living my life, trusting Him to get me through every day, raising my children to know and love Him, honoring him in my relationships with other people. Most often, He asks us to serve Him in ways where we don’t even realize we are serving Him.

Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

I think, at least for me, the biggest focus should be on trusting Him to get me where I need to be. I hate stepping out of my comfort zone, but some of the best memories I have are when God has used me to serve Him in areas that extend from my comfort zone. God has recently presented me with another opportunity to serve Him. It’s an opportunity that I am excited about…but it is also an opportunity that asks me to exit my comfort zone and trust Him more. It’s an opportunity for God to continue to show me how faithful and trustworthy He is. It’s an opportunity for me to extend to others the grace, love, and mercy that have been extended to me.

Matthew 20:28 – Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

God has given me passions and dreams and He has gifted me in certain ways. It is my job, no matter how small or how large, to use my gifts in a way that honor and serve Him.

You Lead, I’ll Follow
Where do You want me
My heart wants to know
Is it here, is it there?
Guide my steps as I go
I’ve walked around blindly
Looking for Your will
All the while You were asking
That I simply be still
Am I longing to serve You
Because of Your grace and mercy
Or do I seek recognition
Which is just serving me
I ask You to search me
Show me the truth
Take away anything
That’s not pleasing to You
You say You will use
The wounded and weak
So here I stand now
Ready to hear You speak

When I was lost
You brought me Home
You showed me love
When I thought I was alone
My heart, once empty
Has been filled to me brim
With the life You gave me
When You freed me form sin
I’m not who I was
And I’m no longer in chains
I’m not bound to my past
You took away all my shame

So let me take this new life
And make it be known
With my Father, my God
I’m never alone
Bring me to places
That will challenge my fears
Through the thick and the thin
I know You’re right here
So wherever You want me
That’s where I’ll go
No questions asked
You lead, I’ll follow

Fighting with God

Sometimes, I just wish God would take my advice. Seriously, wouldn’t life be so much easier if He would do things according to MY plans instead of His plans…

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, I’ll go ahead and also say I’m selfish. I wish God would give me my way so that things would be easier…but that’s not the case. In my heart, I trust Him, I really do, but my mind is fighting with Him in anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness. I just don’t understand the plan and there is absolutely nothing I can do…and that terrifies me.

But I’m glad, that even in my doubt and anger towards Him, even when I question whether or not He knows what He’s doing, He continues to show me His love, grace, and mercy.

Things don’t make sense now, but one day they will…and I live in hope for that day.

My Fight With God
If I can be totally honest
God, I think Your plan stinks
Are You sure this is right?
You want to hear what I think?
I’m sure that You don’t
But I’ll tell You how I feel
All these things that are happening
It just seems so surreal
Why don’t You answer me
Or show me what’s next
Just a glimpse would be great
To prepare for the steps
You tell me to trust
You tell me to pray
But quite frankly I’m mad
Because things won’t go my way
Yeah, I know that is selfish
But do You know that this hurts?
This world that I live in
Just keeps getting worse
You tell me You’ve been here
You say You know my pain
So why does it feel like
These cries are in vain
I don’t want to “be still”
And I don’t want to wait
I want to change this
Where are You? You’re late
I can see You moving
In the world all around
But here in my life
You’re not making a sound
Am I asking too much?
You’re right, maybe I am
I just feel so alone
Like You’ve let go of my hand

If we let truth be told
I know I can’t see
I know You haven’t moved
You’re still reaching for me
You know how I hate
To be out of control
Life feels like a twister
And it’s hurting my soul
But what I’m holding on to
Is nothing but dust
And dying to myself
Is an absolute must
Help me hold on
To the strength of Your truth
Fighting on my own
Is a battle I’ll lose
My strength has diminished
I don’t have much anymore
Just my hope in You
That You offer much more
So if I say that I hope
But I fail to see
Am I really living a life
That shows what I believe

I believe You are good
I believe You are near
Please help my unbelief
And meet me right here
I don’t understand
This life that I live
I don’t have much to offer
Myself is all I can give
Please forgive my anger
And my cries of doubt
It may not make sense now
But I know You’ll work it out

Fear and Faith in Deployments

The deployment is happening soon…too soon if you ask me. It’s all creeping up on us so fast and I am struggling to trust God through it. The truth that God is in control of whether or not my husband comes home is a scary and reassuring one. Scary because that means that Robert, even if he does everything right, may not come home, if that is God’s will. And reassuring because that means that God already knows what is going to happen and He will take care of me either way. I know that this is a time that I need to trust and lean on God more than any other, but I am really struggling with it becuase I am so afraid.

Faith and Fear
The pillow next to mine
Right now, it holds his head
But it won’t be long until
I’m lying in an empty bed
When I got married to a soldier
I knew that this would be our life
But that doesn’t bring me comfort
In bed, alone at night
People ask me how I do it
Truth it, I simply do not know
On my knees with falling tears
I don’t want to let him go
He reassures me he’ll come home
But doubt lingers in his eyes
He’s going off to fight a war
That could cost him his life

I’m trying to stay strong
In the truth that God is near
But I’m struggling to trust in Him
As I wrestle with my fear
What if he doesn’t make it
If he never comes home
Will I hold strong to my faith
If I’m left here on my own
When we were first married
As two, we became one
If I lose half of me
Will I forever be undone?

I know that God is faithful
I know that He is true
So why am I not trusting Him
To know He’ll get us through
His will, will be done
Whether I like it or not
He has a plan for all of us
He has lessons to be taught
Am I willing to let go of fear
And hold on to His love?
Will I hold on to things of this world?
Or to those from up above?

God, please hear my prayer
Please bring him home to us
Keep him safe and hold his heart
Let him feel Your love.
Your plans are better
Than mine will ever be
Help me to hold on to that
Please help me to see.
Help me to see that You are love
You give mercy, You give grace
Help me see the joy of who You are
Even in this horrifying place
You already know
What our futures hold
Please help me to rest in that
So in Your love I may be bold
Take my heart and keep it
Safe in your loving hands
I’m crumbling under all this weight
Without You I can’t stand
Give me strength to trust in You
And grace for when I’mlost
Help to lay all of these fears
Down at the foot of Your Son’s cross

The Sacrifice of the Military Family

I am a proud Army wife. My husband proudly serves our country as our kids and I cheer him on from the sidelines. He is wonderful man. He loves his wife and kids and would lay down his life for us if need be. His job also proves that he is willing to lay down his life for people who don’t know him, let alone appreciate him.

But the personal pride and honor that come with serving your country also comes with great sacrifice.

The Sacrifice of Time

When Rylinn was a month old, Robert left for 6 months of training. We saw him twice during that time and talked on the phone regularly. But nothing will ever replace the deep sadness that we both felt about everything he was missing. But we managed to get through it, looking forward to the time when we’d be back together again.

When Rylinn was 7 months old and Mackenzie was almost 2, we got to spend almost a month together as a family before he left again, this time for Afghanistan. This separation was harder. We didn’t get to talk on the phone very often and we didn’t get to Skype. Our main form of communication was through Google chat. For me, it was hard to not talk to him. I never knew how much you could miss the sound of someone’s voice.

In the first 14 months of Rylinn’s life, he missed about 12 months. He was deployed when Rylinn turned 1 and Mackenzie turned 2. He was deployed for his birthday, my birthday, and a handful of other holidays. He missed Rylinn’s first words and steps. He missed Mackenzie’s first stitches. He missed my baptism. The sacrifice he has made astounds me and the pain he must be feeling hurts me.

Rylinn will be 2 in 9 days, and he will be in the field. So now, he has missed her first birthday, he will miss her second, and, unless things change, he’ll also be deployed for her third.

These are the sacrifices of a military family. I’ve been asked, “How can you handle that? Doesn’t it just make you angry?”

1 Corinthians 13:7 – Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

And here’s my answer: I handle it because I love him. We make it through the separation knowing that one day, we’ll be together again. He misses a lot and we compensate for that by making a lot of home videos. It makes me very angry! I hate seeing the sadness in him when he misses a big event in one of our girls’ lives. But love is what gets us through and love is the only thing strong enough to get any military family through any type of separation.

The Sacrifice of Love

Jefferson Bethke has a video on marriage that says, “it’s not the love that sustains the promise, it’s the promise that sustains the love.” I love that statement and I feel like it’s a great reminder for military families. It’s good to remember, that just because I don’t feel love the way I want to when he’s deployed, that doesn’t mean that the promise we made to each other on our wedding day is any less valid. The promise that we’d love each other and be together until death doesn’t go away when physical love isn’t there. During those times of extended separation we can’t forget that it’s the promise we made to each other on our wedding day what helps to sustain our love.

1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

The sacrifice that we make isn’t easy. Some say that it gets easier with time, but it doesn’t – it only gets harder. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder either, I hate that saying!

God is there and He knows what I am going through. The great thing is that even when I feel lonely because my husband is gone, I am never truly alone because He is always with me. I feel like He makes His presence more known to me when Robert is gone because He knows I need that. What a loving God we serve!

The Sacrifice of Fear
Death is a very real fear for a military spouse. We live every day not knowing if our loved one is still alive, not knowing if you’ll talk to him, and not knowing if you’ll ever see him again. If you dwell on, it’s terrifying and it’s easy to live our lives in fear of the “what if’s”.

It’s in those moments of fear that I think it’s even more important to trust in God.

Isaiah 41:10 – fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

We don’t have to be strong enough to handle the fear that come with deployments, but we simply need to know the one who can.

Psalm 112:7 – He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Trusting in God when the fear seems overwhelming is easier said than done. It’s hard to trust that God has it all under control and that He’s in control of what happens. I know I struggle with it. It’s hard to let go of it and give it all to God. To admit that God is actually in control of whether or not Robert comes home alive is a terrifying realization.

I know that I don’t see things the same way He does and I struggle with seeing the bigger picture of things. It’s comforting to know though that He has a plan for all of us, a plan to glorify himself, whether we can see it or not.

Isaiah 55:8-9 – “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

So in the meantime, we’ll pray for protection and safety, but we’ll also pray that God’s will will be done, whether I like it or not. I’ll accept God’s ways even if I don’t agree with Him. Because who knows better how anything should work than the One who created it? In the fear, in the separation, in the sadness, and the pain, I will turn to God because He knows!

Because I am His

Over the past few weeks I have been bombarded, in nearly every study I have been doing and books I have been reading, with the truth of who I am in Christ and who I was made to be. I did not realize it until a few days ago, but it seems like God is trying to tell me something. Something I really need to tune in and listen to.

Ephesians 1:5, 13 – he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

When I came to know Christ, almost a year ago, I did not know who I was or who He was for that matter. I was lost, with no clue how to get to where I needed to be. It’s like I was wandering in the mess I had made of my life and I did not know where to begin to get out. It seemed the more I tried to fix things, the worse I made them. It was a cycle…a cycle that I was trapped in.

Then, as a crazy turn of events, I met my dad. With his faith, he contradicted everything I had believed. And through a series of serious and life changing conversations, my dad led me to believe that this whole Christianity thing might not be so crazy after all.

Through another series of unexpected events, my mother-in-law led me to Celebrate Recovery. When I first showed up there, I was like, “Seriously, what am I doing here!!” The first lesson I heard at CR was on Sanity. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. It was when I heard that, that I realized there might be something wrong with me after all and maybe this program would be good for me. I felt like I had spent the previous 24 years of my life doing the same things over and over and over and over (you get the picture) and always expected something to be different. It never dawned on me that if I wanted things to change – I would have to change.

But the thought of me having to change terrified me. I did not like who I was or where I was headed, but changing meant facing the unknown and I did not know if I was ready for that. You see, my life had been built up of mask upon mask, and removing those masks terrified me because I did not know who was under there and what if, when all the masks were removed, I found out I hated that “me” just as much as I hated the masked “me”.

But God put some wonderful people in my life to help me through the scariest parts of the transition. As I began my Celebrate Recovery step study, I was forced to answer some hard questions about myself. I really had to look at myself and look to the core of my emotions and pent up feelings. It was quite overwhelming when I realized I had suppressed my feelings for the last 24 years and was forced to face them. I’ve never known how to deal with anger, sadness, frustration, betrayal, etc.  For most of my life I just pushed those feelings away because I was afraid to feel them, but I was learning I had to feel them if I wanted to be healthy. So I processed through things that hurt me when I was 8 as well as things that hurt me just the week before. The feelings were all so fresh that is didn’t feel like there was any time lapse.

Throughout most of the journey, I struggled with who I was in Christ. I struggled with seeing myself as God sees me and not as the world sees me. I struggled with not being ashamed of myself and who I was because He isn’t ashamed of me. I struggled with realizing that He really could love me even after all I had done. But thankfully, God gave me a wonderful sponsor and spoke words of love and wisdom into my life. She helped me to see that I am loved and I am cherished by my Heavenly Father.

I never got to be “daddy’s little girl” growing up, and that is what I wanted more than anything else. And even though I now have a healthy relationship with my dad, a relationship that I wouldn’t change for anything, I will never be able to change those years of longing for him and I will never be able to go back in time and be “daddy’s little girl”. But what I now know is that it’s not too late to have that relationship with God. I am His daughter and He wants me to come to Him, as a child who just wants to crawl up in her daddy’s lap and know she is loved.

Psalm 68:5 – Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

Over the last year, specifically the last eight months, I have come through a tough battle with myself and drawn closer to God. I have cried, I have laughed, and I have felt more love that I ever knew existed toward me. I have learned who I am in Christ and I have been able to rest in that.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 – For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.

But now that I am nearing the end of my step study and planning to share my testimony and become a leader at Celebrate Recovery, I have been faced with a lie that I am not good enough. I have forgotten who I am in Him and for the last few weeks I have been faced with an immense amount of insecurity about who I am. I have really struggled with fear of becoming who I used to be, forgetting that Christ died so I could be set free from that slavery and because of Him, I now have the power to say no to temptation and turn away from my sin.

Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (What an amazing truth that I don’t have to EVER go back to where I was; He freed me from that.)

Thankfully though, God hasn’t given up on me and He still continues to show me more love and grace than I deserve. He continues to pour His blessing into my life. In the last few weeks, He has really been showing me that I am who He says I am, not who I believe myself to be. After all, He made me and He knows me better than I do, I’d rather believe and trust Him anyway.

Romans 8:17 – and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Who am I: Loved in the Son

Yesterday’s sermon was a great reminder of things that I REALLY need to remember right now. I need to be within the protection of Christ to be able to do the things that God calls me to do. I may not be able to see how it could possibly get things done by my abilities and knowledge but if He calls me to do something, He will also provide a way for me to do it.

Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Recently, I have felt God’s call in my life. I have felt moved to do things that I wouldn’t have done before because of my severe introversion. But since I’ve hidden my life in Him (Colossians 3:3 – For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.), He has transformed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still broken, but I think I’m just more happy about it because I know I’m loved through it.

God sees me as more beautiful than anything I could ever imagine. He adopted me as His daughter because He loves me, not because of ANYTHING I have done. And because of that, He can do great things through me.

Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

Apparently, in the Greek, redemption literally means the price of freedom. The first century Jews would’ve thought back to the Exodus when they thought of redemption because God redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. But what the New Testament is pointing towards is that we still have a need for redemption even if we’re not physically in bondage to slavery. We are in bondage to sin.

We are not everything God created us to be because of our bondage. We are broken and bent and tied down by our own sin, and often times, we don’t even know it. In fact, if we think we have it all together, it’s harder to recognize our own sin and brokenness that has us in bondage.

We all sin, which means to miss the mark, and we all have trespasses, which means to deliberately do something you shouldn’t. But the glorious part about that is according to the riches of his grace. He renews up daily and one day at a time He is liberating up from our sins. In Jesus Christ, I no longer have to be a slave to my sin. I now have the power to walk away from my own evilness because of Him.

Jesus is like a protective big brother who wants to pull you out of the pit you’ve fallen in to, but once He’s gotten you out, He wants to continue to keep you safe by hiding you within Himself.

For a long time I didn’t realize that I was in bondage to my own sin, I just thought that it was other people who needed to fix their problems and then my life would be perfect. I didn’t understand how deeply my own slavery to sin was a part of my life. But I have learned A LOT over the past year and have gained wisdom and insight that I before didn’t have. I’ve learned passing the blame doesn’t make things better, it just makes me bitterer and if I want to live a peaceful life and be able to love other people I need to accept the blame for my own sin. I can’t love others very well if I am busy blaming them for my sin.

Ephesians 1:8-9 – which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

Because we are in Him, we have all the wisdom and insight we’ll ever need. Wisdom is basic life principles and insight is everyday practical knowledge of how things work. At a foundational human level, Jesus has taught of all we need to know in life.

When I first started coming to my church and getting involved, I was terrified. I thought I didn’t belong or that I wouldn’t be accepted. I felt like I didn’t understand anything. It seemed like everyone was so happy, and I didn’t know I wasn’t. I was terrified.

When Paul uses the word mystery in this verse, he is turning the word totally upside down from what people would’ve used it for during the 1st century. Back then, mystery referred to a secret society where you have to be initiated and welcomed in to have the inside knowledge of how it worked. That kind of reminds me of like a sorority. In college, I joined a sorority. It was my sister’s sorority and I was a legacy so they had no choice but to accept me. But generally, the sisters would decide whether or not they liked a person before inviting them in. I really didn’t understand much about it and I was a bit confused in the beginning. I wasn’t really sure if I fit in. Then there was initiation and after that the secrets were revealed to me and I realized I still felt like I didn’t fit in.

I am socially awkward…yup, I’ve admitted it. It’s out in the open now. I think this just might make social engagements even more awkward now that people KNOW I’m awkward. But I’m confessing it anyway because I am loved regardless because of who I am in Jesus Christ and not because of my social awkwardness.

I have, for about as long as I can remember, been terrified of social situations, of large crowds of people, of saying the wrong thing, and/or of doing the wrong. But I think this all boils down to the fact that I’ve ALWAYS been afraid of rejection. For me, rejection has always seemed like the worst type of pain imaginable.

So often, I have felt like I wasn’t a part of the “in crowd” because I didn’t understand or know the dynamics of the group or I wasn’t the same as everyone else (similar to how I felt with the sorority). But the cool thing is that in Heaven, none of that matters. Through Jesus bloodshed on the cross, the mystery is revealed to us and God invites everyone in. God doesn’t pick and choose who he likes, like a sorority does, and He doesn’t tell anyone their too broken to get in. Instead, if we accept Jesus and have faith in Him, we are invited into a new inner circle. There’s no need for social awkwardness here (oh, how I am looking forward to that day).

There’s a security in knowing that I am accepted by God. I am still painfully introverted, however, I’ve also learned to accept that it doesn’t matter what crowds I am or am not a part of because ultimately, I am a part of God’s crowd. I’ve been educated and initiated into His inner circle.

Ephesians 1:10 – as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Christ IS God’s plan. It is through Him that God is bringing everything together.

My pastor taught us all a cool new word yesterday that I’d never heard before: danuma. It means the resolution of all things. I like it 😉 Jesus is the danuma. He is the resolution. Every story needs to have an ending and if the ending doesn’t make any sense, the story wouldn’t be very good. God doesn’t write bad stories, so His story ends with Jesus bringing everything together in Him.

This concept of everything coming together for good seems to be showing up quite frequently for me lately. Which I am glad about because I truly need the reminder right now. It is extremely comforting for me to know everything will come together in Him and for His glory. But the truth everything is coming together in Christ should leave us in awe at wonder of Him.

Other people should be able to see Him in our lives. Before I was a Christian, I thought all those Christian people had perfect lives that were neat and put together and that they never had any problems. Boy, was I wrong!! Our lives are just as messy and broken as the lives of non-Christians, but the difference is that because of Jesus Christ, we have a hope and joy that they don’t. We always want other people to see us doing good things, but we also need to let them see us fail as well. People need to know that we’re human just like they are and that we fail too.

Bottom line of all this: there is refuge in Christ and it is only being protected in Him that will get us through whatever we’re facing. We are not perfect, in fact we are pretty far from it, but in Him, we are loved and protected and He will never leave us.

For HIS Glory

Just a few days ago, Robert and I got word that a friend of ours had taken his own life. And our Sunday school lesson this morning seemed to hit right on the pain and anger I’ve been feeling.

I don’t know all of the specifics of the incident or why he felt like that was his only option. What I do know though, is the pain that is left in the aftermath of his death. He left behind a young wife and their two young children. And my heart breaks for them. He left behind many, many friends who were like family and who loved him very much. This is a terrible tragedy that really has had me upset about God’s sovereignty. It’s one of those times where I’ve just wanted to cry out, “God, if you could’ve stopped this…why didn’t you?” But I know it’s not my place to question God (although I still do it quite often).

Through this, I have watched my husband and some of our closest friends experience pain and sadness that just seems so unnecessary. It’s a reminder that we live in a fallen world and of just how desperately we all need Jesus.

I’ve been talking with a few close friends about the things I’ve been feeling regarding the situation. I feel guilty for not loving him and his family enough and not sharing the love of Christ with them. I feel confused about why I’m hurting so much about it when I didn’t know him very well, my husband is the one who was close to him. I feel angry that this had to happen.

But I have had some wonderful, Godly friends pour many words of wisdom into my life about God’s sovereignty and love for us. One sweet friend pointed me to Psalm 56:8 – You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. That same friend also reminded me that God has a plan for us all. God’s plan is for good. My friend’s suicide was not a part of His plan; however He was not surprised by it. He knew it would happen and His heart is breaking right along with mine. God is not emotionless, He hurts when we hurt. He doesn’t like to see His children living in such pain and chaos.

Another friend reminded that all I can do is trust God and be light and salt to those around me who are hurting, that maybe God is going to use this situation to bring everyone involved closer to Him.

Then one of the main take away points of this morning’s Sunday school lesson was that God is still sovereign and use all human action for His purpose.

Humans do stupid things, we are sinful by nature. And yet, God can still take all of those evil things that we do and use them for good, to glorify Him. Now THAT is a powerful God.

I reminded this morning of child-like faith. In discussing this lesson with my 5th and 6th grade class, their child-like innocence and adoration of God blew me away. Their simple faith and trust in Him was a gentle reminder of just how good He is.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Ephesians 1:11 – Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

I can already see how God is using this great tragedy for His glory. The pain is still there, and it will take time for it to heal. But this is one wound that I’m not going to let fester. I am giving it over to God and letting Him show me what to do with the pain and allowing Him to heal me. It will all work out for His glory, whether I can see that or not.

The Significance of Insignificance

When you look, and I mean REALLY look at how big God is and everything He has done, it can make you feel pretty small and insignificant. And it rightfully should, I think. If we think we are useful to God and that He can do something with us, we’re useless to Him and He can’t use us. It’s only when we humble ourselves before God and admit to Him that we know we are useless without Him, that He can use us for His glory.Needle in a Haystack

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about just how small I am in this HUGE world that we live in. There are billions of people on this earth and I am just one single person in a sea of many. It’s like the needle in a haystack analogy, and I feel like the needle. It’s hard to imagine HOW God can use me or WHY He would use me, when there are so many other, less broken, people to choose from.

In the midst of my thinking and wondering and contemplating, I came across Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

This verse really caught my attention this morning. I don’t believe in coincidences; I think God sent me this verse for a very important reason. You see, I’ve really been struggling with my insignificance. I know I am just one person in this world and sometimes I forget that I really can make a difference. Sometimes I forget that God’s hands were hard at work in the making of my life. Sometimes I forget that He crafted me, like a piece of art. When I look in the mirror and see a flawed picture of what I should be, I am forgetting that when God looks at me He sees His flawless daughter; a daughter who He loves and who He created. When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior I gained a new identity in Him and now, when God looks at me, He doesn’t see the broken, flawed human being that I see – He sees Christ’s righteousness.

God has things planned for me; wonderful things that I am not aware of, nor can even fathom. God is using my brokenness and insignificance to bring glory to Himself by giving me the strength and courage to share that with other people. Over the last few weeks I have had a handful of people tell me how I have encouraged them, and I am always taken aback when I hear that. I always think, how could little old broken me be an encouragement to anyone? Then I am reminded by God’s Word that it is because of my brokenness that I am able to encourage others.

There’s a beautiful song that is constant reminder to of Who I belong to and how valuable I am to Him, even in my insignificance. Alexa Willis – You Are His.

My prayer for myself and for you is that we will let God work, through our brokenness, so that we can glorify Him; that we will reach out when we need help and stop suffering in silence; that we will love those around us and share our struggles; that we will depend on Him and seek only His will for our lives. But mostly, I pray that we will learn to live Ephesians 2:10 and that we will recognize that God made us His priceless work of art and He has a purpose for us. Are we willing to let Him use us? Are we willing to admit the significance of our insignificance?

Really God, THIS is Your plan?

It’s hard to remember sometimes, that we have a sovereign God who is in control of all of our lives. Especially in the midst of my circumstances, when all what I really want to say is, “Really, God, this is Your plan?” I often have to remember that evil does not come from God. The truth is, we live in a fallen world and the sins of this fallen world have circumstances. Whether it’s our own sin or someone else’s sin, we get caught in consequences.

Philippians 4:11-13 – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Sometimes, I find it hard to be content in whatever situation I’m in. My mind often wrestles with my heart over my belief that God is good and God is in control. I know, from experience, that God is in control of it all and is with me, even in the bad times and that He’ll bring me through whatever life throws my way (even if I don’t want Him to be).

This is something I have really felt convicted about lately. Sometimes, I just wonder why I am where I am. Why, if God is so sovereign, is this where He wants me? God knew, before I was ever born, about me and what my life would be like, so why did He choose to let me have life? Did God really know this is what my circumstances would be?

Jeremiah 1:5 – I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart

I need this constant reminder. There’s something powerful in knowing that I didn’t just drop into this world by accident but that God knew me before I was ever here. God knew me before I ever knew Him. God loved me protected me even when I didn’t believe in Him. Why? Because I am His!

Psalm 139:16 – You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

This verse can settle my anxious soul. When I am worrying about my circumstances and why I am in them and why God doesn’t remove them, this verse calms me. God knew MY ENTIRE LIFE before I ever took my first breath. He knew the choices I would make, He knew the sins I commit, He knew the sins that would be committed against me, and He knew how I would respond to all of that. That kind of power pretty much boggles my mind, but I think that’s one of the MANY reasons God is amazing.

Maybe my life would have been a lot different had my circumstances been different, but I wouldn’t be right where I am today if they had been. You see, I’ve seen my fair share of bad times and felt my fair share of pain, but even before I understood who He was, when I didn’t want Him, and when I didn’t know He was there, He was right next to me helping me make it through. God isn’t going to bring you to anything that He won’t bring you through.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God has a plan for me and as long as I am willing to follow His will instead of my own, He will give me a future and a hope.

I need to start letting my actions coordinate with my beliefs. If I believe God is control of everything, then I need to act like, even when times are hard and I feel like God is punishing me. I need to remember that the evil in my life doesn’t come from God, but that God is there to help me through.

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