The Faithfulness of God

I was encouraged to reflect on the things God has proven Himself faithful in towards me, but I will be transparent with you that for the past few days I have battled discontent and disappointment. And though they are working hard to overtake me, I choose to stand and fight because I know the truth:

God is for me. He is on my team.

Your hand guides me as I work with students or lead my team drawing our congregation closer to Your heart. You grace me to extend Your love and mercy to those I cross paths with each day. You are teaching me how to speak the truth in humility and gentleness.

He reminds me of His truth, daily.

I read it in His word. I hear it through so many wonderful songs with phrases like “All My love will remain.” Lord, You put together some amazing playlists for me. Sometimes it’s on the radio and other times it’s the way You put lead me to put together a set for worship. Those are often the songs that I need to hear and sing over myself just to get through my week. I love how You wake me up in the mornings at times with precious truth sung over me, about me and who I am to You, reminding me that You are fighting for me always, that You chase after me when I start to walk away. I know those words are from Your heart and meant for me because You know what I need, when I need it.

He provides at just the right time.

And the way that You do is so much better than I could make happen on my own. The home where I live, the car that I drive, the job You have positioned me in, all of these things came about because You knew what I needed and when I would need it. Even when I need encouragement like today, You brought me to a place of hope in Your word that I so desperately needed to read.

God didn’t leave me to live life on my own.

God has placed me in several families so I’m not alone in this world. I know there are many people who love me, cherish me and will pray for me whenever I am in need. They even pray when I don’t reach out to ask and those times are the most incredible because they didn’t know I was in the midst of a hurricane, but they responded to the voice of the Lord when I had need. Lord, You heard me at a low point in my life when I considered what I had to live for and answered my prayer for friendship. I have had some amazing people in my life over the years and still do. Thank You Lord for responding.

His love holds no conditions upon my behavior, what I do or don’t do, how good I am.

Your love is never ending. Nothing separates me from Your love. It extends the far reaching corners of my mind. At times I have no understanding or comprehension of how deep and wide and high and long it really is, not just for me, but for the entire world. It’s unfathomable!

Your unfailing love is perfect and dispels any fear that I am unworthy or inadequate to be called Yours.

I don’t have to earn Your love or affection. I don’t have to perform for You or persuade You to pay attention to me because You already do that intentionally. I may fall down. My enemies may laugh at me, mock me, taunt me when I fall, but I have great confidence to trust that with Your help I will stand up again and move forward because You won’t let me stay stuck.

You have given me a new lease on life.

I don’t have to stay in a place where I am stuck in habits and unhealthy thinking because You have given me second and third and fourth and oh so many chances to get up and keep going. Your grace is sufficient for me. It’s greater than I know. Each day I discover victory more and more in conquering unhealthy habits and wrong thinking. I thank You Jesus that the desire to care for my body, my mind, my heart is growing all the time. This change from the inside is helping me to become the woman You’ve called me to be.

He hears me when I cry out to Him.

And You respond in a powerful way to provide support in the places where I serve, to bring relationships that pour into me those things I need in order to be the woman You destined for me to become. You are intentionally working in me for Your glory, for Your kingdom.

He is always with me. He won’t ever leave my side.

You are always calling my name, asking me to sit with You in the quiet of the morning and the stillness of the night. The picture someone gave me almost a year ago of God right alongside, helping me as I serve in ministry has helped me tremendously and I have applied it to my job, working with challenging people, accepting myself right where I’m at. Whatever I’m going through I have a greater confidence that I can do the things He has called me to do, to receive all that He wants for me.

God opens doors that no one can shut.

There are countless times when I didn’t know how I would get through a difficult situation or I wondered if I was really in the place You wanted me to be in and every time You confirmed it to me, again and again. AND You always provided the strength, the endurance, the courage to keep going when I wanted to throw my hands up and run out the door. You also close doors that no one can open, for reasons like You’re protecting me or You have something better in mind. Thank You Jesus for looking out for me.

With Jesus I have complete acceptance.

Lord, You don’t leave me ever because my pain and brokenness don’t offend You. Instead You show me great compassion and kindness. You long to lavish Your love on me. You ask me to give You all of the things that weigh heavy on me in this life so that You can carry them.

So why should I be discouraged when things are different from what I had hoped for? I will put my hope in God and believe that He has good for me and that whatever it is I’m facing, whether it feels good or not, it is for His glory, not mine. It is because He has good things for me and wants me to be blessed. Thank You Father for Your faithfulness towards me.

Yet I Will Praise You

Sometimes I read the devotional Jesus Today by Sarah Young (she is the author of Jesus Calling). Today I was reading about receiving whatever we face in life with joy and making it a practice to give back to God all that He has given us.
She also spoke to looking for those same blessings in the midst of grief. She writes “The Holy Spirit empowered Paul to find Joy in the midst of adversity, and He can do the same for you.”

2 Corinthians 6:4, 10
“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

I know of many who are grieving so much at this moment. They’ve lost a parent or friend. Others are searching for a job or asking themselves “what is my purpose here?” Some of us have waited many years to have family of our own, to find a husband or wife, to receive the blessing of a child or their family is broken and the hope for reconciliation is not in site.

For me it is the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of stressful relationships and situations where so many things seem out of my control and cause me to feel helpless and hopeless. I am exhausted and feel the deep pain of my brokenness in so many ways physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s a challenge to hold fast to my faith, to believe that God is still with me, that He hasn’t left me to face these things on my own.

So I intentionally look at how God has made good out of my loss. After my mom died, I became more serious about addressing the state often health. I began changing things in my life so that I could have more energy, respond to and manage stress in a healthful way. I decided that I wanted to live a full life because I began to believe that God had greater things for me than I believed for myself. I’m still in the process of this transformation, but because I have a greater confidence that He is with me, it doesn’t matter what happens to me because I don’t have to face it alone anymore.

When I am overwhelmed with stress and its affecting how I think, I remind myself that I have the mind of Christ.
When I don’t know that I can continue or even want to face the adversity and hardship that comes in this life sometimes, I tell myself that I can do ALL things through Christ because He gives me the strength I need.
When the battle is way too intense and I cannot fight it alone, I call on my prayer warriors to intercede for me, trusting that God will use them to bring about His glory at work in me.

The words of this song resonate deep within my heart as I write this blog:

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise and when the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say “Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name.”

Lord, I will praise You no matter what I have to face. I thank You that I don’t have to walk through this life alone because You are with me, every step of the way. If I walk away from You, You still call my name and welcome me with arms open wide, full of mercy. You know my situation and all that I will face this day. You go before me and prepare the way. Even when I am staring down the enemies of my soul in the fierceness of what I have to battle tomorrow I hear You say “Come, receive My rest, My provision, My help for you.”

So I choose to rejoice and be hopeful that You are working ALL these things out for me, for my good because of Your crazy and compassionate love towards me, because I am child, I am Your beloved and You have wonderful plans for me.

Joshua 1:7-9 The Amplified Bible
Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.