Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Enjoy the Journey

Yes we are a work in progress, but do we allow ourselves the pleasure of enjoying the journey?  I don’t know about you but I’m a destination girl.  I decide on a destination and once I get there then is when the fun begins.

But if I live my life the way I take trips I’m in for a miserable time.  God is all about the process or journey if you prefer and I need to learn to enjoy the changes or growth I see along the way and not wait for the day of perfection to be happy.  If I were to do that my life on earth would be one of disappointment and frustration needless to say a lot of anger at myself for being less than.

This is just where the enemy wants me.  Feeling defeated because I’m less than perfect.  When He knows that the only perfect man that ever walked the face of the earth was Jesus Christ and that when he comes again then is when He will be done with His work in us.  As it says in Philippians 1:6

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. –  Philippians 1:6

So I must learn to stop and smell the flowers both in my journeys in travel and in life.  Life is too short to take for granted the growth that you’ve made and to beat yourself up for growth you’ve not yet accomplished.

If God in all His love and mercy and grace is patient enough to wait for the end of the journey, then so must I learn to love myself and be merciful, gracious and patient with myself and enjoy the journey.

I have two choices to be miserable through the journey or to enjoy watching my growth through the journey.  Since God is the One working it to completion it is His job to see it through.  I just need to do as I’m lead to do by Him and leave the rest in His very capable hands.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Struggle with Self-esteem?

I don’t know how many of you struggle with not feeling good enough, but it has been a thorn in my side for my entire life.  It was almost a stumbling block between me and salvation.  I didn’t think that there was anyway that God could possibly forgive me!  My poor self image and my awareness of my sinful nature was so before me that for some reason I thought that God would accept Hitler before me.

Now no at the age of 13 I had not caused the death of anyone or tried to take over the world, but all the same I felt so unworthy that I was certain that no one even God could possibly forgive me for my sin.  It took a long time to realize that it wasn’t a matter of worth that got me into the kingdom of heaven, but a matter of grace.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.   –  Titus 2:11

The passage that really settled it for me and gave me assurance of not only my salvation but my position in Christ is Ephesians 2:1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work is those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature an following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What comforted me about this passage is many things and I’d like to break it down for you.  First of all, as I’ve already mentioned I was keenly aware of my sinfulness, which made me feel totally unworthy of anything God could have for me.  In Ephesians 2:1-3 it talks about our sins and how we were dead in our transgressions and how all of us lived this way as by nature objects of wrath.  When I read that I thought this Book gets me.  This is exactly how I feel.

Then came verses 4 & 5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”  I could hardly believe my eyes, God loved me and not only that he had rich mercy on me.  Though I was dead in my transgressions God chose to make me alive in Christ.  By grace I was saved.  What a generous God.  It was almost more than my eyes could take in.  My heart was pounding with joy as it is now reliving it.

As if He knew that I needed the added message of what my position  was to help me with my self worth, He goes on to tell me that He/God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, amazing.

So that we don’t get it wrong we are reminded that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  This keeps me in the right frame of mind humble because I know that I need God for everything.

Then the writer does us the wonderful blessing of letting us know what God’s purpose for us is. Verse 10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Isn’t it wonderful we know what we are here for to do good works that God has already prepared for us.  That means we need to keep in communication with Him so that we don’t miss out on our purpose.  Since He has planned them out in advance it would be foolish to just go around and do any good work that might not be the one He is wanting you or I to do.  Open communication is crucial for us to know what it is that we are to be doing to stay in God’s will.  Anything else is pride.

Lord thank You for Your Word and for Your will and plans.  Forgive me for my times of pride when I’ve charged off and done things on my own will whether I thought they were for You or not, I was sinful not to come toYou first.  I ask you to forgive me of the sin of my pride and help me to turn to You first.  In the sweet name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Trusting God

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  Psalms 40:1

This comes from the first devotional I read today.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  John 6:38

This was the second devotional, talking about how Jesus had a Potter/clay relationship with the Father.  As the Son of God he had to trust God’s will and carry it out.

Behold, God, my salvation!  I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

This was my third devotional, talking about how when you follow Jesus, God will lead you in what you should do and that you needn’t worry but can have confidence or trust in His guidance.

It would seem that God is trying to get a point across to me today.  I don’t know what all He has in store for me but I do know that a medication that helps with my General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is not here today.  Due to things beyond my control the pharmacy was unable to get the renewal prescription from the doctor yet and I’m without it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked God to take this away from me and put this at the foot of the cross, but it seems today God especially wants me to trust Him through the anxiety.  I say this because it’s past my first dosage for the day and I can feel the anxiety starting to rage.  There is no emotional reason for it.  Actually for a Bi-polar as far as depression or mania I feel remarkably stable.  Not so with the anxiety.  I feel as though I could run a marathon and it wouldn’t begin to touch the surface of anxiety going through my body right now.

I know that exercise helps and since I have a bum knee I won’t be doing any running but I will be doing some walking.  Actually probably a great deal of walking.

Trusting God that He will help me through this is my only other recourse.  I do trust that He will get me through the day.  As Psalms 40:1 says, “He inclined to me and heard my cry”.  I know that He hears my cry and He cares for me and will help me with this.

Unlike my sweet Tessa my dog who has “Separation Anxiety”.  Every since the first day I got her from the shelter I’ve been trying to get her to trust me that when I leave I’ll come back.  Yet, every time I come home from somewhere be it 5 seconds or 5 hours she acts like she thought I’d never get back.  Love her as I do her trust level is very low.  She knows I’ll feed her so she at least trusts me for that.  She also knows I’ll love her, so she can trust me for that.

I wonder how God sees my trust level?  I know and trust in His love.  I know in my head and trust in my heart that He will provide my needs.  But like my puppy when I haven’t heard from Him for a while, do I question if He’s there?  To be honest maybe yes sometimes.  My head want’s that proof and maybe if I were really honest maybe my heart becomes insecure.

For now I can say with assurance He is here during my struggling time.  My time of need.  When my heart cries out, “Help me Father, I am hurting and I need You.”

Oh, how good it is to have Him to be able to go to.  Today would be a dark day indeed without Him.  Thank you Lord for your trust worthiness.  You are truly an awesome God.  Without you I would be lost.

How is your trust level? Be honest with yourself and with your Lord, He knows already anyway.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Are We Willing To Hear A No or Say A No?

The messenger who went to call Micaiah said to him, Behold now the prophets unanimously declare good to the king.  Let your answer, I pray you, be like theirs, and say what is good.  But Micaiah said, As the Lord lives, I will speak what the Lord says to me.

– 1 Kings 22:13-14

How many times in life do we have the opportunity to stand up for God and we choose to become yes men instead?  Ready to give the populous the answer they crave, rather than the answer that they so desperately need?

Reading this passage I’m convicted at the conviction with which Micaiah remained true to God.  He was getting not just peer pressure but pressure from the king and his advisors to fall into line with everyone else.

Denying their request could have had horrible circumstances to it, but he shows no fear in his answer. “As the Lord lives, I will speak what the Lord says to me.”  No there is not a shred of fear or doubt or waving of what is the right thing to do. He is confident in his Lord and in the relationship he has with his Lord.  He hears His voice clearly and will not bow down to men but only to his Lord.

God was saying, “No!” to this people and Micaiah was the only one who was willing to listen to God and carry the message to the people whether they liked it or not.

Are we like the hard hearted people that Micaiah kept speaking to?  Unable to hear when God says, “No.”?  Or are our hearts open to the voice of God speaking to us and saying for our benefit, “No.”?

With a softened heart we are not only open to His no’s but His yes’s and not yet’s and maybes’.  When we have an open heart to His voice we have opportunity for relationship.  That is the sweetest thing of all!  With relationship we can handle the yes’s, not yet’s, maybes’ and no’s.  Even if He chooses not to tell us why we can trust in His goodness and faithfulness that whatever the answer it is for our best.

Are we unable to stand up to the peer pressure and say, “No.” when appropriate? Would Micaiah or the Lord be proud of our stance?  Did we stand up to the king and his advisors when they were wrong or did we cower?  As if we didn’t serve and have at our side the Master and Creator of the Universe, The Alpha, Omega, I AM, The Bright and Morning Star, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  If He is for us who can be against us?

We must take courage when given the opportunity to share our hope and strength and courage and faith to step out on faith that the Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to touch the heart we are talking to.  After all this in not our work we are doing but God’s work and He will not let His work fail.  The only way it won’t work is if we don’t share.  Even then God will find someone else to share with that person.  But we will miss out on the blessings of sharing our faith with someone and possibly, just possibly even the blessing of introducing that person to Christ and being there as they commit their life to Christ.  Surely that’s a blessing that is too great to think about missing.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

We Serve An Amazing God!

This is a graduation photo of Tessa.  This is more honorary than deserved as her mommy did not work with her enough to get her really trained.  Had I trained her better maybe Sunday could have been avoided.

As I came home from church Sunday and running errands I came home to find out the my sweet little Tessa a Chihuahua Shitzu mix had gotten a hold of a bottle of Cytomel a thyroid medication and overdosed on 25 of my 30 pills.  I was panicked stricken and didn’t know what to do other than pray that God would protect my dog and not let her die and take to the pet hospital.

The made her throw up and did blood work and I was to watch her and take her back the next day.  The cone was to stay on because they didn’t want her chewing on the IV.  They wanted it in incase I had to take her to the emergency hospital.

We slept together (If you can call it sleep) on the sofa and every time I felt her soft face I had to wake myself up completely to put the collar back on.  It kept popping off.  I also checked to make sure she was still breathing.  She was fine.

I later found out that her blood work was through the roof and there may be some residual damage but since she is doing so good the doctor is very hopeful.

Stress like this would have normally sent me running to food. I’ll admit amongst my constant praying I did eat 4 ding dongs but that is nothing compared to the bad behavior I had recently been doing.

God not only helped me with the crisis at hand but He helped me on how to deal with the crisis.  The answer as always, turning to Him.

It never ceases to amaze me that it is just that simple.  God wants more of us.  More dependence.  More faith.  More trust.  More resting in Him.  What does He do in return?  He shows more of Himself.  He proves Himself dependable.  He proves Himself faithful.  He is that soft place to lie down.  All this the creator of the universe does for us!

Why you may ask would He care to bless me with the life of my dog?  He knows how much joy that little one brings to me and He doesn’t want to see me grieve.  Why would He do anything for us?  He surely isn’t obligated to.  He chooses to because of His great love for us.  A love so amazing that it is awe inspiring!

So thank You Lord for loving me and loving me enough to protect me naughty doggy.  I don’t deserve it.  I can’t earn it.  But I’m so grateful for Your mercy and grace and love shown to me and my beloved Tessa!

What have you got to be thankful for?  Praise Him for the amazing, awe inspiring God that He is!  He deserves it and you’ll feel better for it.

Is It All Bad Or Is It Good In Disguise

When the car breaks down or we lose a job or a relationship ends we look at those things as bad. The problem with that is that we are looking at them through our eyes. In our way of thinking. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let’s chew on that verse for a bit. It is not only telling us that we do not think or behave like God, but that we are no where close to His ways or thoughts. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways…”, that’s quite a comparison. Mankind has no idea how high the heavens are. They appear to expand forever one universe and galaxy after another. This is how different God’s ways and thoughts are from ours, so different that our minds can’t even comprehend the vastness of them.

But He does promise to give us wisdom if we ask, so that we might understand what He chooses to reveal to us.

In God’s economy a broken down car when you don’t have the money to fix it may be an opportunity to grow in trusting God. He may surprise you with unexpected funds at just the right time or the blessing of someone to fix it out of the kindness of their heart.

In God’s economy everything works together for good. It may not come right away or in your timing but that would be your way not God’s way. Even though He may tarry He is never late.

The lost job, as unsettling as that is is an opportunity for a better job or the start of a new career or as it was with my father an opportunity to retire early even if that wasn’t his choice. Though it was not my father’s choice to retire early with health problems or mine to leave the work force and become disabled long before I was 40, God took care of my dad and continues to take care of me. It has been a walk of faith and trusting God. What I thought at first was a crisis has freed me to be a blessing to others in whatever way God shows me.

If it is a relationship that is ending believe me when I say I feel your pain. Twenty Two years ago when I was going through my divorce I thought my life was over and the world was coming to an end. I had gone from my father’s house to living with my husband. What did I know about being single? How would I ever survive? Because of my stubbornness it took me a long time to get to the point of being okay alone and learning how to rely on and trust God for my needs. He met those needs in a myriad of ways, sometimes through people, sometimes I had to truly cling to Him alone. Looking back the pain and suffering that came from the end of that relationship has matured me into the woman of God I am today. Stable in my relationship with my LORD and whole as an individual that has something to offer another individual should God choose.

So you see what seemed horrible, unthinkable, and beyond my abilities to cope turned out to be the very tool God used to draw me closer to Him and to mature me, to grow my faith and trust and reliance on Him and for that I am eternally grateful.

Would I have chosen the divorce? Never! Am I grateful for what God brought out of that situation? Yes, yes a thousand times yes!

I have even seen God use death for good. When my dad died at his celebration of life the gospel was shared and that next Sunday three new people where going to that church. One of them being my dad’s wife my stepmom whom I always called mom. She did not only start going to church but the Holy Spirit lit a fire in her soul. She would invite us kids to join her or more honestly highly encourage lovingly to come with her. It did my heart well after praying for so long for her.

I honestly don’t know anything no matter how painful it is that God can’t use it for good.

Precious ones if you are in the midst of a painful time please don’t misunderstand me and think that I take your pain lightly or flippantly. Finding the good in things varies, with my divorce I was a broken woman for a very long time. When my dad and stepmom died they had both been sick for a long time and in a great deal of pain, so I was comforted by the thought that they were no longer in pain and rejoicing with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong I have my days when I miss one or both of them terribly. Its then that I talk to God and talk to them as if they can hear me from heaven. I know God hears me and that gives me comfort and talking to my parents gives me comfort also.

When things start going wrong ask God to be able to see His ways and understand His thoughts. Then ask Him to help you to trust Him to get you through it. You’ll be a much healthier and happier person if you do. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed sprit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) You see if you have a cheerful heart it’s good  medicine, thus it stands to reason that you will be healthier. As one who fights depression I can attest to the fact that “a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. It feels like you’re withering away.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart