Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Heart At Rest

How has saying yes to God through this study helped you find a heart at rest?

Well, I gotta be honest…right now my heart is NOT at rest.  Right now my heart is heavy and sad because I got some bad news.  But that’s okay, because:

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I am going to rest in Him today.  I am going to apply these truths that have been reinforced throughout this study.  I am going to seriously REST IN HIM.  We all belong to Him, and He has written the story.  I need to remember that the purpose of this study is not just to get through it, but to truly come out RADICALLY OBEDIENT on the other side.  That means I will listen to His whispers.  Follow hard after Him.  Not believe the lies of the enemy.

I started my year-long study of Matthew last night and was really inspired by our new teaching leader.  Her lecture was sweet and beautiful and inspiring.  One of the best things I heard was, “Truth satisfies because truth is a Person.”  A disciple is literally translated to “one who looks like Him.”  And that’s what I want.  I want people to see the Lord in me and the incredible work He’s done in me and others and what He can do for you, if you let Him.  My ministry may never reach farther than the 4 walls of my home and the handful of people that read this blog.  And that is okay.  My heart is at rest with whatever He’s got for me.  He is a God of order, and a creative Creator.  He’s got this.  HE’S.  GOT.  THIS.  Just be obedient to Him and not only will your cup be filled, but it will runneth over all over the place and splash everyone around you.  What a beautiful thing.

Jesus is not surprised by my sin – NOT AT ALL.  He knows me.  HE KNOWS TEMPTATION.  If I come to Him, He will give me rest.  If I repent, I am truly forgiven.  Coming to Him is our greatest joy and responsibility.  And when we come to Him, we need to be ready for His command to GO:

Matthew 4:19
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

You can’t be all like, “Okay, Jesus!  I love You and I want to follow You!  Just don’t make me do anything too hard, okay?”   No.  That’s not how it works.  He lays on our hearts what He wants us to do to glorify Him.  And hey, whaddaya know?  It usually lines right up with all the talents and gifts we were given when we were created.  Interesting…

So, here I come and here I go.  Jesus calls us to come EVERY DAY.  Rest in Him EVERY DAY.  Go do His work (in whatever capacity that may be) EVERY DAY.  There is no day off from this once you’re there.  You can try to take a day off, but you will be convicted.  God will lean on your heart a little bit and try to steer you back home.

I pray that God reveals Himself to me in His Son and in His Word as I read and study the Gospel of Matthew for the next 9 months.  I really cannot wait.  I fully expect to meet Jesus in a way I never did before.  And then, once again, every day, every minute, I can come to Him and rest.

What a beautiful thing.

 

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Berks County sunset

The Great Life

Psalm 81:10

I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.  Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

If we open ourselves up to Him fully, He will fill us.  HE WILL FILL US.  We just have to say yes to Him.  It’s a pretty simple request.  So why does it seem so hard sometimes?

One thing that I struggle with is feeling inadequate.  I don’t know where this comes from – past incidents or just human nature or just part of the way my brain works.  But I need to remember that every mistake does not define me, and every weak moment is a chance to become stronger in Him.  To open myself up fully to Him means not only to let Him work through me to help others and glorify Him and all that stuff.  It also means to accept His grace.  If I don’t accept His grace when I repent – if I dwell on it and continue to beat myself up over things – then all that Jesus did for us means nothing.  NOTHING!!!!  He died to close the gap between us and God.  It is not a good witness to treat myself like poop.

I know I struggle with guilt when I screw up because I don’t want people to leave me.  This is just based on my past and has nothing to do with what my life on earth looks like right now.  God will NEVER LEAVE ME.  Jesus is right here with me, peering over my shoulder and whispering in my ear what He wants me to write next.  I don’t have to pray for forgiveness 16 times for that one thing I did.  Repent and reset.  He has forgiven me.  If I ask Him to keep changing my heart to be more like His, HE WILL.  PERIOD.  End of story.  I say this all the time, but it’s the easiest and most difficult thing in the world.

Psalm 81:16

You would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

What does temporary satisfaction look like versus real satisfaction?

That’s a tough one to explain.  The best way I can muster is, real satisfaction is an investment.  If we do the work – rest in His Word every day, develop a meaningful prayer life with Him, say yes to Him and let Him change our hearts – the ROI (Return On Investment – and not to go off on a tangent but I am SO GLAD I don’t live a life where I have to hear, decipher, and then use acronyms like that anymore!!!!) is going to be more amazing than we could ever imagine for ourselves.

Temporary satisfaction is like, “Oh, if I buy that dress I will look so cool and everyone will think I look awesome and when I go out to the bar to get my drink on people want to know where I got it and think I am so with it and together because I am in this hip place with my hip dress and hip friends WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

(Not that I did it.)

1 John 3:18-19

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.

How do I apply this verse to my life?  It’s not what I wear or do or look like or watch or listen or even say that defines me…unless I am speaking from my changed heart about His truth.  To set our hearts at rest in his presence (which is such a beautiful phrase) means that when I do that, HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST.  That is ALL HE WANTS.  When we say YES to Him, when we REST in Him, when we listen to Him when He speaks to us, we are living in His truth.  Example:

On Saturday morning,  I was reading my Bible.  Sometimes I just flip through and scan the pages until something jumps out at me and then I kind of roll with it.  Somehow, I ended up on Psalm 139:23-24 and I loved it.  I circled it, highlighted it, drew my famous squiggles on it.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

So, then I wrote down the key words on the back of my Bible:

SEARCH

KNOW

TEST

SEE

LEAD

A few minutes later, I popped on Facebook on my phone and was reading the comments of one of the Proverbs 31 posts, and what did I see?  THAT SAME VERSE.  This is how God speaks to us.  He was telling me to pay attention to that verse.

So, that is my challenge today.  To let Him search my heart and really listen to Him so I can say yes to the challenges before me.  Maybe you would like to do the same.

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I found that leaf in a Bible at church a few weeks ago.  I opened it up and it fell out and it was such a perfect leaf…I wonder how long it’s been in there, and who put it there…I just love stuff like that.

Whoah.

Lysa Terkeurst, author of “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” (the reason I started this blog) and “Unglued” and “Made To Crave” and a slew of others, is offering up writing training.   Tips.  Tricks.  Secret Sauce.  WHOAH.  This is VERY MAJOR.  I am sharing this because I said I would in the comments of her blog (thus entering me into a contest to win this free for a year).  But I’m also sharing it because I know there are other writers reading this that want to find their voice, glorify Him, and make it not only readable, not only interesting, but AWESOME.

I saw Lysa speak at a conference in May, and I’m going to another one with some ladies from church in November.  I highly recommend seeing her speak if you are a fan of her writing.  She is a total blast and so in love with the Lord.  It’s a hoot.  Do it.

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#FreshVision (Fresh Passion)

The Lord made me a passionate person.  Period.  When I get into something, I GET INTO IT.  Big time.  Like, I can remember every male celebrity obsession I had since I was 5 years old (yes, I had a celebrity obsession at 5 years old.  It was Bob from Sesame Street).  I moved on to Henry Winkler (Fonzie!!!), and Robin Williams (Mork!!!)  and then on to John Schneider from the Dukes of Hazzard, then Ted Danson from Cheers (I was in 4th grade.  It still seems wrong), then Jack Wagner and then Michael J. Fox and Kirk Cameron and Michael Hutchence from INXS until I finally settled on Jim Morrison.  That lasted all of high school and a little bit after.  And who am I kidding, just a teensy eensy bit now, too.  I still get into my Doors moods when I just think they are the bee’s knees.

God made me this way so I would eventually figure out that my passion needed to be on HIM.  Not some bloated dead rock star or a goofy teen idol.  I have always loved to write…I’ve wanted to be a writer since 1st grade when I wrote that as the first sentence in the first journal I ever started keeping:  “I want to be a writer.  I want to be as famous as Shakespeare.”  Bold aspirations for a 6-year old.

So, my fresh passion is this:  I want to write about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and crazy things about my life and my walk in faith and what I think about things and how I do things.  I want to keep doing this blog as long as it takes to refine my writing, my style, my voice, until I get to a place where I figure out how I’m supposed to continue with this thing.  This is my passion.  Okay, let me rephrase that:  God is my passion.  I want my gifts to be used for Him.  My gifts include my husband and children, extended family, friends, church family, and my writing.  I enjoy doing many other things, but nothing else can really reach others like this.  Sometimes when I speak one-on-one to people, I insert a lot of “dudes” and “mans” and “knowwhatimeans” into the conversation.  This is somehow easier for me.

I want people to know the God I know, see the Jesus I see, feel the Holy Spirit I feel.  It has transformed my life and I want to share it with others.  This comes naturally through writing.  So you might see a lot of posts this week.

One thing I wrote in my journal yesterday:

“I must let go of some worldy things that constantly tempt me.  I want to stand WITH God, not oppose Him!  He is so good to me, and I have seemed to lose my obedient spirit this week.  Where did it go?!  Is this normal, to face more opposition the closer we get to Him?”

And then I wrote, “YES!!!!”

I also wrote that is is pointless to navigate through this life obediently without Him RIGHT THERE WITH ME.

I like that.  It’s true, too.  I am learning that I am really, REALLY hard on myself when I mess up (I always have been this way).  And I don’t have to be.  I don’t get any special extra points in heaven if I dwell on my mistakes for a week.  We ALL fall, and we all have our different things that bring us down.  I need to remember to repent, reset, and MOVE ON.  MOVE IT ALONG, PEOPLE…NOTHING TO SEE HERE.  God forgives us in that moment of repentance (that is, really truly intending with all your heart to follow Him and not repeat that transgression).  Jesus suffered in ways we cannot imagine so that we can have that.  Our suffering in comparison to that is like…well, I can’t even go there right now.  That’s for another time.

God uses our experiences to equip us for our calling.  This usually means “bad” experiences.  Tough experiences.  I’ve got a lot of those.  Let me stew on that and write about it soon…

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The Day I Didn’t Fall Into The Gap And Said YES Instead

The last item in Chapter 3 of “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” says the following:

“Lastly, journal your thoughts below about this statement:  ‘Soon, saying yes to God will no longer be a discipline of your heart but rather the delight of your life.'”

I was always a fan of steam-of-consciousness writing.  Here goes:

I had a total Yes To God moment a few minutes ago…I know this might be weird, but sometimes I like to do online shopping and fill up my cart with a new outfit or whatever and then I just delete it.  I am also in the middle of finally trying to seriously lose some of the baby weight (it’s so hard because my body is just so different after having twins…my belly!  MY.  BELLY.  Oh, my belly.  It’s the bane of my existence.  Actually, pantry moths are the bane of my existence.  Next, it’s my belly).  I decided that I was going to try to go down one jeans size by October 22.  That is TOTALLY doable if I just actually try.  I have NO JEANS.  NONE.  Well, that’s not true.  I have lots of jeans.  But none of them fit.  So, I opened up my Gap app and guess what?  ALL SALE ITEMS ARE 50% OFF TODAY.  WHATWHAT!!!!!!  I filled up that cart with smart items that I totally need.  A pair of jeans in my current size.  2 t-shirts and a pair of socks.  I had to get over $50 so I would get free shipping.  Then I used my 50% off code and PEOPLE – I had a pair of jeans, 2 cute classic Gap t-shirts (one grey, one white) and a pair of argyle socks for $36 with FREE SHIPPING.  WHATWHATWHAT?!?!?!?!  I KNOW.  I almost – ALMOST – bought the stuff.

And then God spoke to me.

I was all like, “God.  Seriously.  I know I’ve been praying for you to speak to me literally every single day for the past two weeks, but I didn’t mean when there was a killer Gap sale.  I have to look cute, right?!  How am I supposed to get through the first part of fall without jeans that fit???  I realize that I am a stay-at-home mom and the only places I regularly go are church (and you don’t care if I’m wearing ill-fitting jeans) and Bible study (same thing) and storytime at the library (I assume Miss Corinne doesn’t care about my jeans either) and my mom’s house (and I KNOW she doesn’t care about my jeans).  SIGH.  Yes, I know we are financially strapped, like, all the time.  Which is the sacrifice I promised to make in exchange for the AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL experience of staying home with my kids.  And didn’t I just blog about self-control the other day???  Sigh.

Fine, fine.  I’ll delete my cart.

Oh look, here’s a cute Gap khaki skirt I bought a million years ago in this pile of clothes that I never wear that I was going through so I could pack some stuff away and is the magical next size down I want to be by October 22.  I’m gonna put it on to see how tight it is and continue the pity party I want to have for myself because life is sooooooooo harddddddd…

Oh.  It fits.  Huh.  I need to wear a big shirt to cover this twin skin, but IT TOTALLY FITS.

Thanks, God.  Now I won’t have to have an awkward convo with my husband when that Gap bill comes.  Because now it’s not coming because I have plenty and I don’t.  Need.  Any.  More.  STUFF.  I have plenty of stuff.  And now I’m still on track to lose a few pounds to fit into those jeans that are draped over my great-grandmother’s dresser as a reminder to not put a zillion teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and not to bake anything until October 22.

God, I know this was a totally inconsequential event, but it felt really good to say yes to You.  And maybe it’s not so inconsequential…my husband trusts me to not spend money unnecessarily.  Even $36.  I asked You for help in that area, and also in the realm of my health.  That purchase (no matter what a crazy awesome killer bargain it was and no matter how cute I would have looked in my new outfit on the first day of BSF in a few weeks), I would not have been saying yes to You if I did it.  So thank you.  And thank you for making that skirt fit.  I love you and you are so awesome and you just take care of me always…through really big stuff and through little stuff like that cute distressed boyfriend-fit 1969 Gap jeans.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

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#SayWhat ?

Something different this time: Instead of talking about how God is speaking to me right now, I want to list some times that He spoke to me before I really, REALLY started following Him. Because he doesn’t just speak to those who have decided to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, you know. He speaks to people who are resisting Him. Ignoring him. Hearing Him, yet pushing Him away. I used to be one of those people. I believed in Him, but I didn’t quite “get it” yet. I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t pray or didn’t believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But I was a total mess and God saved my butt a zillion times. For example:

The time I was driving in a snowstorm and spun out on the road and my car spun and spun while there was oncoming traffic and my car just stopped suddenly, in the opposite lane, facing the right direction, before I crashed into the guardrail. I mean, my car just STOPPED in position inexplicably. That was God.

Or the time that I was attacked by a dog, and all of this teeth were centered directly around my windpipe, and the doctor told me that if the dog got the slightest bit more pressure on my neck, I would have been dead. That was God.

Or the time that I was dating my husband, and we had a rocky start to our relationship, and I felt him pulling away from me, and I cried and cried and prayed and prayed about what to do, and I just went over to his apartment and broke up with him. I don’t know where those words came from. I would have never done that on my own – I loved him!!! But we needed to be apart at that moment to figure out what we wanted. We soon got back together forever and ever. That was God telling me what to do.

And the time that I got pregnant after what seemed like a lifetime of longing to be a mother, and I lost the baby. And I was devastated. Gutted. I mean, really. A total mess. But I really, REALLY clung to God and truly accepted that this was His will for us right now, even though it didn’t make any sense to me. And 3 months later I got pregnant with twins. That was God.

And that time that He allowed me to have good health, and a home, and a family, and food to eat, and freedom to worship Him. Those are the things that we too easily forget to thank Him for and see that yes, He is speaking to us. He is keeping His promise to take care of us:

Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It’s all God, all the time.ImageMe and my babies, back when they really were babies. Awww. Little schmooples.

Less of me, more of Him

The “Say Yes” study officially begins tomorrow!  I had a really long car trip today, so I started a tad early and dug into the first chapter and a few of the questions.

I’ve decided I’m through messing around. I’m digging deep.  I’m trying to be a living, breathing, real-life example of what God is trying to do in my life.  The hard part about this is listening to Him and stepping out of my comfort zone and give what He wants me to give to who he wants me to give it to, and do what He wants me to do when He wants me to do it…no matter what it is or what the cost.

So what is holding me back?  Fear?  Intimidation?  Being able to truly lay down those things that separate me from Him?  Why do I want to cling to some piddly little things that will never fulfill me?  Those earthly treasures?

Which brings me to the sermon at church this morning.   We’ve been covering the Sermon on the Mount all summer, and today was Matthew 6:19-34:

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, [a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, [b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life [c] ?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

This has always been such  meaningful scripture to me, so I was really excited to hear that taught this morning.  Around the time we finish up the Sermon on the Mount, I will be starting my year-long study of Matthew. And this online study is about telling God that I am ready to SAY YES. It’s all obviously working together in my life right now.  I really feel like God is trying to tell me something.  Prepare me for the next step.  Use me for something good. At least I hope so. At the very least, I feel ready to really allow Him to work in me.  Remove some of that clutter. I laid it all down for Him this morning.  Yes, I will mess up.  Yes, I will fail to hear Him sometimes.  Yes, I will hear Him but pretend that I don’t sometimes.  But I want to give Him the best that I’ve got.  There is just no other way.  And that’s why I really am thankful for the opportunity to fine-tune
my “saying yes to God skills.”

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My notes from church this morning