When God Wants to Show Up and Show Off, But I Keep Shoving In and Showing Up

Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said… (Mark 8:1).

Sometimes I forget that Jesus sees my need, even before I ask. I get caught up in worry and start fretting about what I don’t have. I’ll get anxious over what I need from God instead of trusting that He already sees my need before I even ask.
 
Sometimes I think God wants to fill our cups, but our bellies are already full. Full of our own self-sufficiency, full of our own good ideas, plans and ways we will provide for ourselves. You see, the feeding of the 4,000 came about because those people in the crowd stayed long enough with Jesus where they needed His provision. I wonder if we ever stay long enough anywhere with Jesus to actually need Him?
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Here’s what I mean. Do we sit with Him in silence, asking Him to dig deep into the junk of our hearts, waiting for Him to reveal something that needs His renovation? Do we take risks in our faith that put us in places with Jesus where we actually have to start trusting Him? Do we give of our finances in a way that hurts? Are we generous in giving or stingy for fear of losing it all? Do we hang on tightly to what we own, or do we recognize that everything we have is really just a gift from God? Have we ever journeyed somewhere with Jesus, maybe back into our past, letting Him stay their long enough in the painful parts so that we might be healed or do we fall back on our unhealthy coping mechanisms instead?
 
Maybe God wants to show up and show off in our lives, but we keep shoving in and showing up. We’re impatient so we take matters into our own hands. We don’t trust God so we operate out of fear. We can’t see that everything is going to be OK so we never let God take us somewhere that stretches and challenges our faith. We hang onto our children out of fear that if we really let them go, they’ll never come back. You get what I’m saying. This journey of life is hard, even more so when we never learn the gift of letting go and trusting God.
 
I wonder what Jesus might want to do for you today? Consider asking Him to show you where you’ve run ahead of Him. Ask Him where you’ve provided for yourself instead of trusting in His sufficiency and be willing to stay somewhere with Him long enough that it starts to hurt a bit because it challenges all of your unhealthy coping mechanisms. I promise I’ll do the same.
 
Lord, show me where I am not trusting you. Please forgive me for using any unhealthy coping mechanisms. I so badly want to be like you. Grow, shape and change my faith to become more like you, I ask, in Jesus name, Amen.

It’s Time to Let Go and Move On

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them…. (Mark 6:5).
 
Have you ever tried to stay somewhere too long when God just wasn’t working there? I have. Have you ever thought that one more good idea could surely make this thing happen? Yep, that’s been me too. Better yet, have you ever overstayed your welcome? Yeah, I’ve done that as well.
 
I get it, it’s hard to let go, especially if we’ve poured much of our lives into something. Yet, there are times and seasons for everything under Heaven. Which means there are also times of letting go, moving on and trusting God with the results. At least for me, some of my most meaningful moments in ministry were not when things were great, but when I have to make the hard decision to step away, get off the bus and start moving a different direction.
 
Sometimes I think God allows for this in our lives because He wants us to practice discernment, He wants us to learn how to let go. Walking forward with God is not about having every answer at every moment. It’s really about learning how to let go and walk forward with empty hands ready to receive from God when He’s willing to gift us with something new.
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I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t really like walking forward with empty hands. I like having a plan in place, something to show for myself and results that others can be proud of. Yet, I have learned over these recent months that the best me is not a full me with great ideas and outstanding plans, but an empty one. An empty vessel ready to be filled by God, but not one who comes already with her hands full and her ideas locked in for the future.
 
There’s something I’m learning about patience, endurance, and trust that was never part of my life before. It’s better here. I don’t feel so much pressure to perform. Instead I feel a deep sense that life in Christ is not about doing, but instead, it’s about becoming someone new in the fullness of grace. The only way we can get to this point is to be rid of ourselves. To empty our own lives of our self-sufficiency, goals, and plans. When I get to that point, I’m in a good place because now I can hear from my maker and trust in His unfailing love.
 
So, that ministry you’re leading, dating relationship you’re in, the job you’ve got, I know you love it, but be willing to let it go if God’s asks you too. God cares more about our need for transformation than He does about our great ministry plans and strategies. If that ministry is holding you back from growing in Christ, don’t be surprised if God asks you to give it up. I know, because I walked that and trust me, He is worthy and will grow your heart as you let go. My greatest grip should never be on the things I own, but instead, on the grace of God.
 
Yes, as I hold on tightly to that I can live secure knowing that my performance doesn’t define me, but grace does. When I get to that point I don’t need the relationship, the ministry or the place in this world that looks really good to other people.
 
Lord, I never want to hold on so tightly to something that it becomes my god. I want to walk in your freedom and in your fullness. I want to live with empty hands knowing that you can fill them by your mercy. I praise you that you ask me to give things up because it is for my good. I want to live with great faith so that you can do mighty things in and through me. I surrender all of myself to you and ask for your wisdom, in Jesus name, Amen.

Fear Came Knocking

“Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm…..(Mark 4:39).

This morning was one of those mornings where my heart started screaming thoughts of fear into my mind. Thoughts that seek to steal my joy in Christ and my purpose in Him. Thoughts that want to whisk me away into a place of worry, doubt, and anxiety.
 
Since I know this I realized I had but one choice to make. I had to submit my fears to Jesus. I had to stop, pause, reflect and let go. There’s still this slight apprehension in my soul even though I am submitting myself. I’m realizing that the Lord is using this pregnancy in my life to go somewhere very, very deep in my heart to free me from some deeply embedded fears. If I could be quite honest, I don’t like it here, but I know it is for my good and I certainly can see that it is for my growth.
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When our hearts and minds feel anxious, worried and afraid chances are its because we’re hanging onto something in our past that has brought us comfort. Something we’ve used before to convince us that as long as we have this, life will be OK. The Lord is taking me somewhere, shattering me of that piece of control to help me see that my truest identity is found in His love. My greatest comfort is not in having, but in letting go so that I can simply enter into the arms of His love and not keep holding onto the things I have held onto for far too long.
 
Abba, papa, daddy, sometimes I’m afraid. I know it’s because I have some wrong beliefs about you. I know it’s because I have comforts I’ve held onto for too long. I know it because sometimes my first inclination is not to trust you. Please forgive me. I want to be a woman who trusts fully in your love. I surrender my fears and worries to you today and ask to be held instead in your love, in Jesus name, Amen.

When the Burdens Becomes Too Great To Carry

The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone…. (Ex 18:18).

Have you ever tried to shoulder too much, taking on a load that was too heavy to carry? I have. I can recall the many times in life when it felt like I’ve sat under a great crushing weight and the sad thing is that I told myself I was alone in my struggle. Little did I know there were plenty of people willing, able and ready to help, but I had not gotten up the courage to simply ask for their help.
 
What happens when a load becomes too heavy to bear? It cripples us, breaks us and disables us from moving forward. It starts to change us, not into people free in the Lord, but people embittered by life who just want to give up on everything around us. I’m only saying this because, in those unhealthy seasons in my life, I’ve lived there under the crushing weight of it all. Something inside of me told me I couldn’t reach out for help or if I did it showed a sign of weakness.
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Then there were other lies that I believed. Lies that told me people had certain expectations of me, so shouldering that load was my responsibility. I also believed that if I shared what was going on in my life I would be looked down on, so I kept shouldering my own load, trying to keep it all from falling.
 
But sometimes, things need to fall. They need to fall because its the only way we’ll let go. They need to fall because its the only way we’ll ever be free. We’re too stubborn to share the load, so when it falls, although it usually comes with a great crash, it is needed and necessary for our souls. The thing is, we must be willing to stay long enough to pick up the mess and ask others to join us in the process. God is constantly trying to get us to a place where we learn to ask for help. A place where we become place-sharers with others, who invited the messes of others in. This is when the beauty of the gospel and Christ’s church is lived out most gracefully. When the church and God’s people become a place where we seek to shoulder the load of others, not just when life falls apart, but in the day to to day grind of following after Jesus.
 
So if you’re shouldering a great load right now, please know you were never meant to carry it all alone. Go ahead and ask others for help. You’ll find that freedom will meet you as you. do.
 
Lord, may my life be an open book. I long to share it with others. Forgive me when my independence leaks out and I become stubborn and headstrong. May my heart trust in your unfailing love instead. For you, oh Lord are so good and I trust you, in Jesus name, Amen.

We All Need This

“Here are my mother and my brothers!….(Mk 3:34).

All of us want to belong to something, do we not? On many levels in life we’re looking for family. If we lack a place that feels and acts like family, we’ll be missing some main ingredients for growth within our lives.
 
If the home is not safe, then family has become a place that you want to run from, but rest assured this person will go looking for family elsewhere. Because we all need somewhere or someplace to belong. Sometimes they find it church, other times they find it in friends, or relationships, albeit healthy or unhealthy.
 
There was a time in my life when I needed family, outside of my immediate family the most. Unfortunately the door became closed for me and what used to feel like family now felt like prison bars I stood behind, only hoping to get in. That was such a painful experience. It was heartbreaking on so many levels, because the place where I needed family the most became a place where the door became closed.
 
Maybe you’ve experienced something similar. It’s quite possible your own family has shunned you, a child wants nothing to do with you or some other place you used to call home has now shut their doors on you for whatever reason. If that’s the case, I am so sorry.
 
If there was one thing I learned through my season of trial it was that God is my husband. He is my provider, my daddy and my friend. If others shut you out or forget you, be reminded that your Heavenly Father never will. Most likely, them shutting you out really has to do with an issue in their heart that has yet to be surrounded to God, so don’t take it personal.
 
What I have found is that people stop receiving us like family because they forget that, as Christians, family is what we are. We are not a building, a program or a even a vision. We are first and foremost, a family, working together, in all our messiness. Being held together in the arms of a loving Father who receives us as His own.
 
If you’ve ever shut someone out, please seek their forgiveness. If you’ve ever experienced a shutting out, please know that your Heavenly Father loves you.
 
Usually when people are shut out it has something to do with an issue in their life, a failure on their part or a brokenness they’re still working through. But you see, what people need is not a reminder of their failures, but a push towards their potential. As we draw out the potential of people being who are made in the image of God, we can help them, like any family would, become the very best they can be as image bearers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
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We my friends are a spiritual family. Do not forget that you were once an alien and a stranger, but God who is rich in grace brought you into His family. Do not take that for granted and do not lack grace towards your brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where they are in their journey.
 
Lord, thank you that in you I have a place to belong. I have a papa in you. I have a friend and a provider. Truly, everything I have in you is enough. Thank you for being my daddy and my friend. Thank you for being a safe place for me to land and thank you for never leaving me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sometimes I Feel Too Broken….

for I am the LORD, who heals you.” ….(Ex 15:26).

Has your life ever felt too broken- too messy? Mine has. Has the enemy ever filled your heart and mind with shame because of it? Yep, that’s been me too.
 
I have learned that brokenness is actually a blessing from the Lord because although He allows us to be broken and walk through painful seasons, He also heals. You see, your brokenness is not a scarlet letter you wear, it is your victors crown that is leading you towards glory. It is a gift from God to make you more like Jesus.
 
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After all, isn’t that what you desire as a Christian? To become more and more like the Son of God? Why then do we forget that in order for Jesus to reach His destiny He first had to walk the road of suffering? Truly, this is what the Father used to bring about the greatest blessing in all the world.
 
Why then don’t we believe that God can do the same with our broken moments? I think it’s because we allow the enemy to convince us that brokenness is for failures. So he covers us in a cloud of shame and we live our lives trying to convince ourselves and others that we don’t actually have brokenness. Sadly, there is no healing in this place. There is only bondage. I have watched people, myself included try to hide from brokenness. Eventually, it all comes rushing to the surface. Then, all we’re left with is the after effects of us not dealing with it and that is never pretty.
 
You see my friends, He is the Lord who heals you. That is a promise for you and for me. In order for us to experience His healing, we must first admit our brokenness and be OK with the fact that we have it. When we do, we can find healing from years of anger, control, fear, a critical heart, impatience, and pride. So today, do not hide your brokenness, bring it out into the light and bring it to the Lord who heals you.
 
Abba, you are so good. You walk me through painful seasons, but you do so because you’re trying to heal me. Thank you for healing me. Thank you for making me new. Continue to heal me. I know I can quickly fall back into unhealthy patterns, so today I choose my proclaim my freedom in you instead. Lord, shower your grace upon me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

It’s Time To Let Go and Move On

Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on…. (Ex 14:15).

Some of us are stuck in the past. I’ve lived there too. I’ve struggled in my life to let things go. I’ve spent a lot of time crying out to God over and over again when what I really should have been doing was letting go and moving on.
 
I get it, sometimes life is unfair and we don’t understand what God is up to. We don’t get why or how or when. Life becomes confusing, painful and injustice comes knocking at our door. Yes, we should mourn painful losses, injustices done to us and difficult seasons, but we must realize that those seasons are not meant to stay. We must pick up our hurt, entrust it to the Lord and move on.
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I remember I had a dear friend who I trusted and would go to often for counsel and advice. Something deeply painful and unfair happened in my life and so I would call them to talk about it. This friend said to me, ok Heather, I’m going to let you talk about this until the end of the week and then after that, we’re letting it go, no more talking about it. You’ve got to entrust it to God.
 
I remember their statement just kind of hitting me right between the eyes. It challenged and convicted me and if I could be quite honest, it challenged me in a way that, for a moment, at that time made me mad. I was mad because in my own hardness of heart I wanted to keep talking about the wrong done to me. I wanted to vent about what this person had done until I felt like I was satisfied with what came of my situation. Yet, my friend reminded me that we must learn to let our hurts and pains go. We must entrust them to God and leave the results to Him.
 
As the Israelites stood before the Red Sea with Egypt in hot pursuit they kept crying out to Moses. They thought for certain they would die there in the desert as Egypt’s army got closer and closer. As Moses goes before the Lord, He tells Moses something so simple yet so profound. He tells him the same thing my friend did, “Tell the Israelites to move on.”
 
I’m not sure what hurt you’ve been hanging onto for too long, but we’ve all experienced them. If you still have a tight grasp on it, it’s time to let it go. It’s time to give it to God and leave the results to Him. Mourn your losses, yes, but don’t let them keep you in a place of grumbling, complaining and bitterness.
 
Lord, I entrust my life to you. Sometimes life takes difficult turns that don’t make sense. Sometimes people hurt each other. Lord, if I have hurt someone, please show me so I can make things right with them. If I am holding onto hurt please show me so I can let it go. I don’t want to hold onto something that should really be in your hands. Fill my heart today with your grace, I ask, in Jesus name, Amen.