Godly Grit

stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”…(Luke 21:28).

Sometimes before things get better, they have to get worse. In order for us to get to the other side, we have to have Godly grit. Grit is what keeps us in the game when things get really, really hard. Grit helps us experience the blessing that is coming after we wait out the storm that’s in front of us.
 
Grit is what Christians need if they’re going to experience God’s redemption in their life over painful situations. Grit keeps you going when everyone else says to give up. Grit is what Jesus had and grit is what I need if I’m going to continue to grow as a Christian.
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When things have gone wrong in my life, there’s something inside of me that tells me to stick with it. Can I be really honest though? Even though I have grit, I’ve noticed that I don’t always have compassion. You see, in my own pride, because of my ability to practice grit, I sometimes forget to care well for people who are hurting because I have this thought that flashes through my mind of, “just get over it and buck up.” You know what though, sometimes my lack of compassion has gotten me in trouble, not just with those I love, but in my own life too. Since I’m so stuck on sticking things out I’ve allowed myself to get walked on in the past and get taken advantage of by others.
 
This all comes from insecurities in my own heart that tell me I can’t express what my needs are, I just need to get over it and keep pressing forward. Since I know this about myself now, I’m no longer afraid to have hard conversations so that I don’t keep getting walked on.
 
Sometimes our strengths can quickly become our weaknesses if we are not careful. Just because we possess something like grit, a good work ethic, compassion or empathy doesn’t mean we should now deify ourselves believing that we will never allow our strengths to become weaknesses. I am fully aware that in my life, I am very quick to allow my strengths to become prideful pieces of judgment against others in my life. Ouch, yep, that’s me sometimes, and I have to be very careful to let God take control of every aspect of my life and live with an awareness that at any given moment I can live out of an unsanctified place in my heart if I am not careful.
 
Lord, thank you for loving me, a sinner who is being made new. Thank you for taking my heart and giving it new life. Thank you for grit. But, Lord, I know sometimes my grit gets me in trouble because it keeps me from caring well for people. Forgive me for sometimes allowing my strengths to be the place I hang my pride upon. Instead, Lord, I want to live fully aware that without you, I’m sure to make a decision or have a thought that could hurt someone. Forgive me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Finding Your Purpose…

I was cupbearer to the king….(Nehemiah 1:11)

Many of us may believe that we’ll never have a great purpose in life. For example, we may be discouraged because God hasn’t provided for us the job that we love just yet and so we grow weary and stop believing that He will provide for us.
 
But you see, God took a cupbearer and gave Him a great purpose. He used him to lead the Israelites in the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. Not only that, but God took a shepherd boy, of little significance in the eyes of the world, and made him King. Why? Because he saw what was in their hearts.
 
God loves to give Kingdom work to those who simply love Him. To those whose hearts have been captured by Jesus. You see, God isn’t waiting for you to finish your degree or make all the right connections. He’s simply waiting for you to fall madly in love with Him. Then, He knows you’ll be ready for Kingdom work.
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I used to think that my best efforts were accomplished when I was “working hard for God.” However, now I’ve realized that, honestly, my best work for God is simply when I am sitting at His feet and resting in His love. That is when I am at my very best. As we rest, God grows our heart and as our heart grows God calls us out. It’s not that we find out purpose in the things we do, but in the Lord who loves us and calls us His child.
 
Lord, I love you. I pray that my heart is so captivated by you that you are my greatest joy and delight in this life. Lord, I want my life to be one of praise for your glory. Jesus, call me out, I pray, Amen.

There is Still Hope For You….God is Not Done with You Even Though Your Past Says He is

We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel…(Ezra 10:2).
 
Have you ever felt like you’ll never recover from something in your life? Maybe something happened in your life that was catastrophic? You’re certain God could never use you now to your fullest capacity because of what happened in your past.
 
Yeah, I’ve been there, living in that place of doubt. For a long time, I just couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. It just felt like evil kept winning out and I wondered when my past was going to stop resurfacing.
 
I’ve learned though that sometimes our past needs to resurface because we’re not quite fully healed from it just yet. That’s what happened to me. The Lord, in His mercy, wouldn’t let me move forward until I went back and allowed Him to heal those parts in me that had been wounded. Sometimes, the healing process is not a short one. It can take many months, but trust me, the healing is so worth it because of the fruit that is coming.
 
Don’t lose hope in your God who loves to redeem. That’s what I kept clinging to in my life. I saw how God used people in the scriptures with less than ideal pasts for His glory. I saw how He brought them into even greater lengths of ministry after they had wallowed through the mud. That’s what I kept clinging to is that God would do the same for me and my loved ones.
 
Now, I can see His fruit blossoming all around me. Those things that the enemy tried to use to destroy, God is now using for good. Now that my friends deserves a hallelujah. Don’t believe the lie that says God is done with you. He’s not. Just as there was hope for Israel after they would screw up. There is hope for you and me too.
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Lord, you take brokenness and make it beautiful in your time. Please, Lord, take the stories of our past and use them in our lives for greater ministry. Help us GOd to connect with people, people with pasts similar to ours. People with pain similar to the pain we’ve walked through. Lord, thank you that there is always still hope, even for sinners like me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Drowning in Words that Hurt….

The words of the mouth are deep waters…(Proverbs 18:4).

The other day, I deferred to my husband on a decision. Things didn’t go as we would have liked and he said to me after the fact, “Did you not agree with my decision?” Immediately, in my heart, I sensed the Lord say, “Don’t rub this one in his face, keep your mouth from evil and offer supportive words to your husband.” Thankfully, I listened to the Lord and offered supportive words instead of discouraging words that would have quickly cut my husband down.
 
Words, by all accounts really do matter. Therefore, we must choose them wisely. Without wisdom, we are sure to cut people down instead of build them up. Without tact, we are sure to say things we will later regret. Without love and grace, we are sure to say hurtful things that come not from a place of freedom, but instead, from a place of pain in our lives.
 
Some words, said to me in someone else’s pain, still come rushing to the surface to be used by the enemy to send me drowning a pool of self-condemnation and despair. I am learning though, that my best place to be is not fighting against those words, but simply calling out to the lifesaver for His grace to save me.
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Why do we hurt people with our words? It is because we have not learned how to tame the tongue. Truly, without the Lord in control of our tongue, it is a restless evil. Our words will tear people down, cut them deep and discourage them to the core if we have not been made new by the love of God.
 
So today, I’m asking for a mouth that builds up. A heart that is fully content in the Lord and chooses its words wisely. I know what I’m capable of when I’m not leaning into grace, and so because of that, I’m living fully aware that if I’m not listening to God, I’m sure to hurt someone with my words.
 
Lord, I want to be wise with my words. I want to be the kind of woman who builds up and doesn’t tear down. I want my tongue to be tamed by love. Forgive me for my tongue that has hurt people because I did not listen to your Spirit guiding me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sometimes I Feel Totally Out of My League….But, That’s Where God Shows Up

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….2 Corinthians 12:9

The Lord keeps pressing me into these places that are making me feel totally out of my league. Yet, it’s in these moments that His power can be put on display in me. All for His namesake, as I trust not in my own abilities, but in His power to accomplish what my fear wants to tell me, I’ll fail in.
 
Sometimes I think God presses us into these places because He knows we would seek the glory. Especially if we were only in situations that required our own abilities to make things happen. We’d find our comfort in our wisdom. We’d chalk things up to our intellect and education. We may even give ourselves a few kudos for how good we look to others throughout the process.
 
Is it possible that we see so little of the power of God on display in our lives because we keep ourselves in the league we know we’ll be the all-star? I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s where I feel most comfortable. In places and situations I’ve always known.
 
Now the Lord keeps placing things in my life that are literally making me question if this is truly from Him because without Him walking with me through this, it all feels so impossible. So that answer my question then, doesn’t it? It is so true that God will often give us tasks that are much too hard to accomplish in and of themselves. We must continually press into His grace and mercy. We must trust in His power and unfailing love. We must push our own attempts at vain glory out of the way so that He can be put on display for the world to see.
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Lord, I need your grace to accomplish the things you are asking of me. You can level the mountains, so Father, would you please do that for me? Would you level the mountains in my life with your mercy? Fill me, Abba, with your Holy Spirit, I pray, in Jesus name. To accomplish the tasks that are much too big for me to handle on my own, Amen.

Why Do I Care So Much About What Other People Think?

(pray for each other so that you may be healed)….James 5:16

Yesterday I sensed shame and fear try to weasel their way into my heart and mind. Honestly, the fear I was dealing with was really ridiculous, but the devil has a way of convincing us that his lies are the actual truth.
 
While talking on the phone yesterday with a friend I sensed those lies creeping their way in and I was fearful to tell them something in my life that God has been doing. I thought they might react negatively, but eventually, I did tell them. The problem is, I was trying to read their reaction because I wasn’t quite sure if it was truly positive or just faking it.
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At that moment I had to quickly as myself two things, why do I care so much about what other people think over this issue? If I get myself into a place of caring what other people think, am I really going to allow one response that didn’t meet my expectations steal my joy over what God is doing?
 
The answer is no, but if I could be quite honest, I let Satan whisper a few deceptive lies into my heart over this issue a few days ago and so now I’m being challenged to lay down those fears and place my trust, not in people, but in God who goes before me and stands behind me. I said to this friend, “I’ve gotta be honest, I have some fear over this issue that it won’t be received well.” They said, “Heather, don’t let one person who doesn’t see what God is doing steal your joy over this.”
 
I think a lot of our problem, at least, a lot of my problem is that I care too much about what other people think. Sometimes, I just do.
 
Sometimes I have a hard time determining if something gave God glory if people aren’t responding positively. I’m learning, however, that my ultimate goal in life is not to please people, but to walk in true submission to the Lord Jesus. Truly, He is pleased with me as I walk with Him. What I have found, for me, is that in order to battle this, I must live in a place of thankfulness to the Lord. You see, when I am constantly thanking God for His work in my life, I won’t be so quick to fall into a pit when someone from the outside doesn’t approve.
 
Lord, I am stubborn and sometimes I let the enemy whisper his lies into my heart and mind. Forgive me for my lack of courage. Today I stand on your promises. Thank you that they are true for me. I give you control. I ask for your grace and I rejoice over what you are doing in my life. I lay down my need to have the approval of people and I rejoice in your love instead, in Jesus name, Amen.

Is God Punishing Me?

Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid…(Ezra 6:3).

Have you ever struggled with the thought that your life will never be the same and that God is punishing you over and over and over again? Like, maybe His love tank for you ran out and so now His only modus operandi is to continually discipline and bring judgment down upon you?
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I’ve been there, struggling with those thoughts that try to steal my heart and mind away from the love of God and into a place of despair and hopelessness.
 
I believe it is wise to live with a healthy fear of God, but we should never think that God wishes only to punish or discipline us. Truly, even with His discipline is His hand of love and grace.
 
I had to walk through a season of waiting where it just seemed like one disappointing thing after another kept happening and this thought kept flashing across my mind. “Lord, am I sinning, is this my fault? Is there some sin in my life I’m being disciplined for that I am not aware of? Am I being punished still for some sin I repented of long ago?”
 
I came to realize that how I view my circumstances is really all about what I see. I can choose to see the grace that was provided for me daily or the fact that I’m not getting what I want. I’ll be honest, it was hard for me to see the grace of God, even though it was so present in the midst of waiting. I kept focusing on the no of God instead of the grace that was available for me each day. It was hard for me to give myself the grace that was offered to me through the hands of my loving Father.
 
You see, the waiting was good because it humbled me. There was long term work the Father was doing in my short term pain. Now, I have reached a point where I am so done with me, that I can’t imagine going back to the person I once was. My heart feels so thankful, even for the smallest of things. Now, I don’t need as much as I used once did to find satisfaction and purpose in life.
 
That’s why when the Lord provided this new job for me, I was excited, but honestly, over this past year and a half, I had already received the greatest gift. That gift is the love of God in the person of Jesus, who met me in my darkest and deepest hours of need. I came to realize that no job, title or accomplish could compare with the simple fact that I am a child of God. Truly, that is my greatest purpose and my greatest joy in life.
 
Lord, you are so good to your children. I am loved by you. What a joy and what a gift! Truly, it is the greatest of all gifts! Thank you for working in my life in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. You are such a mighty God. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting, all sustaining love. Thank you for showering your gifts of love and grace upon me these past few months. You are so good and all I can do is praise you, in Jesus name, Amen.