Abiding Faith

This is a season where God is growing me deeper in my faith.  I love that despite the plans of the evil in the world, nothing can stop the Lord Almighty.  I love God’s WORD!!  I love that when someone smiles at me pretending to be friendly, all the while plotting evil in his heart, I open God’s Word and He reveals this person’s heart to me to WARN me to not trust!  How could we possibly navigate this world without Christ?  Without the Word?  Without the Holy Spirit?

Every attempt at evil is thwarted by God for those who love Him! One of my favorite stories of the Bible is the one of King Saul and David.  David had done only good to Saul all his days, but Saul was so very jealous of David that every time David was blessed by God and succeeded, Saul only became more exceedingly jealous, until after great success in battle, David came home to realize Saul’s jealousy, and being wise, he kept himself on guard, and while coming to play music to calm Saul’s troubled soul, Saul threw a javeline at David to kill him and David was able to dart away from it and escape.  If you read the story further, you discover Saul’s intense jealousy and how Saul tries to kill David over and over again only to be thwarted every single time by the Lord.

I love that my days are numbered.  I will go only when God says I will go.  I feel as though the Lord has promised me a long life of blessing and peace and will put me in a position to love and bless my children all my life.  This promise is so sweet to me right now.  I thank God for it.  I know I will go only when He has chosen for me to go.  There is deep comfort in that.  And honestly, my life has had sweet moments here on earth, but many, many hard ones…and heaven will look so sweet to me in my old age.  My right now, at 35, I feel as though God has much work to do in and through me.  His passion in me will not be put out.

Doesn’t it feel like some things or people threaten to quench your fire or passion?  I have had times in my life when I felt so full…and during this season of my life, it is a constant refilling by the Lord that is getting me through my weeks.  He FILLs, the World DEPLETES.  He FILLS, my circumstances DEPLETE.  And you know the most wonderful thing about it?  He NEVER STOPS FILLING.

My heart is SO VERY FULL tonight, only because God has me encouraged. The thought of Him as He DELIGHTS to FILL me up makes me smile.  It is never too much for Him.  He knows we need it.  He delights in doing it.  All the more reason to PRAISE YAWEH.

As I have stated before on my blog, there are two goals on my heart right now to accomplish.  To goals I have felt the Lord pressing on my heart amidst many different tasks.  One is to run a marathon.  Will you all please pray for me as I run 5-7 hours next Saturday, the 4th of November?  I was deeply touched two weeks ago as a older friend from PWOC offered to come watch me run in Savannah!  And as my Great Uncle and Aunt open their home and hearts for me to stay with them and drop me off at the start line.  Truly, as I couldn’t find my last marathon, I cannot tell you how nice this is!!  I am excited for the time I will get to spend with my Uncle and Aunt whom I haven’t had the chance to catch up with in some time.  There is so much I want to ask them and write down before it is too late.  There is so much I want to know.  And I will have 5-7 hours to think and pray during my marathon, so I am excited for the time to do that.

Please send me prayer requests as I run and pray.  I am thrilled I will have so much time to pray.

My other goal is to write a book.  Honestly, I have already started writing one, but my mind jumps to another, and then another.  I think I have a ton of writing to do.  I am most looking forward to finishing my work.  I feel as though it will be deeply fulfilling to me and I hope a blessing to my children as well. They will get to know their mommy’s heart through my books.  They will know the truth about what I think, what is important to me, all about my faith.  No question will go unanswered.  I hope it is my legacy to them….to fill them with information, with TRUTH, with a mommy’s heart that was bent on preparing the way forward for them…to teach them to strive to meet their goal’s, by God’s grace, and to never quit.  For them to KNOW ME.

I have been thinking about this point as I write this blog tonight.  Isn’t that why God left us the BIBLE?  Didn’t He know that Satan would throw us so many lies about Him?  Isn’t that what the Enemy did from the very beginning in the garden with Adam and Eve?  God calls him the Father of Lies.  The Bible was given to us ultimately, I believe, for us to KNOW HIM.  Yes, it is our guide.  Yes, it convicts us of our sin.  Yes, it is a historical masterpiece.  Yes, it is evidence of creation, how we began, a moral guide.  BUT, ULTIMATELY, our loving Father wanted us to know a few things.  FOR CERTAIN.  He wanted us to know WHERE we came from, WHOSE we are, WHAT He thinks of us, WHAT HE did for us, WHAT we should do, WHERE we are going, and ultimately, WHO HE IS.  He wants us to know Him.  God created us FOR HIM.  I was made for HIM.  To know Him, to enjoy HIM, to glorify HIM.  My life is not my own.  And so…He gets to choose when I go to heaven.  Thank God that my salvation is secure.  Thank God that I will ride on wings like eagles to my final resting place in eternity…to which I commit, wholeheartedly to pray for all my beloved from a place far above.

If some of you think I am getting a tad bit sappy, please know that I am thinking about this right before I spend an entire day running in just ONE week. 🙂

Truly, I am not ready yet!  I am glad my marathon is here now.  I am glad I get to run it.  I am thankful for a body which has cooperated so far in my training.

I praise the Lord who will strengthen me as I run.  By His strength and grace.

 

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Walking on the Tightrope…

Isn’t it amazing when we think from looking at the past, that we may have conquered a fear…but God shows us how MUCH we continually need Him to keep taking our fears away?

Perhaps you’ve heard this story before, but I’m going to tell it again, because it was an amazing story of how God gave me mountain moving faith during a particular season of our lives.  After my son was born spontaneously, 7 weeks early with my first pregnancy and through most of that time, I was quite alone, I was gripped with fear at the start of my second pregnancy with my little girl, when the first words at my first appointment with our Korean doctor were…”pregnancy no good.”  My draw dropped.  Really?  I have a bit of a feisty temperament when running into roadblocks that I don’t consider there…I wanted to walk right out of his office right then.  My calm husband put his hand firmly on my leg…I stayed.  Two more appointments of hearing the same thing…I asked my husband to switch doctors…he agreed.  He is much more perseverant than I am…and I thank the Lord for that…but this time, my heart couldn’t bear the pain of the doctor’s apparent lack of faith anymore.  Perhaps we should have stayed…but my heart was too weak.  I needed to HEAR and SEE Faith in my support group to help build my faith too.  The Lord gave me a doctor with great faith, and a similar pregnancy history to mine.  My heart was in a safe place now and I could go forward.  God spoke and spoke so clearly to my heart.  I have rarely experienced this kind of clear promise, particularly to me before.  It was new territory with the Lord.  I was scared, wondering if I heard Him clearly. I stepped out in Faith, claiming His promise to me, and walking in obedience to lead a women’s study until Hannah’s birth.  She came after the study, after the baby shower at 38 1/2 weeks.  She was a term baby, just like He said…and came on the exact day my doctor predicted!

You would think I would no longer struggle with fear in pregnancy with that kind of history with the Lord.  But, sadly, I am.  There are those moments of “just one more week Lord, get …me through one more week…we’ll just go week by week in this walk of faith.”  I have reminders of friends who have had huge struggles in their pregnancies…what makes me special that my baby could come to term again?  Is this something God is promising me again this time?  I don’t hear His firm, clear voice, His promise like I did with Hannah.  Does that mean this baby is coming early?  Or does that mean, I need to have deeper, steady faith?  I am struggling…with moments of fear…and moments of great faith.

My last appointment took 3 whole hours!  I’ve had two appointments that have lasted this long…due to a back log in patients.  I have seen these times, with a sweet gift of an awesome babysitter from the Lord (thank-you Elaine!!!), as times of prayer…in asking the Lord to relieve my anxiety and fear…and giving me a vision of great faith in Him…the feelings might not be there, but I am seeking for a great faith that is present with or without the feelings to go along with it.  Faith from obedience….faith in darkness…faith in continued exhaustion, sickness, and weakness.  “Give me this great faith, O Lord,” I cried out.  It is a gift.

The Lord gave me this devotion from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling:

“I want you to be all Mine.  I am weaning you from other dependencies.  Your security rests in Me alone–not in other people, not in circumstances.  Depending on Me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there is a safety net underneath: the everlasting arms.  So don’t be afraid of falling.  Instead, look ahead to Me.  I am always before you, beckoning you on–one step at a time.  Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate you from My loving Presence. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Romans 8:39)”

Beautifully, intertwined with this picture the Lord gave me, I was reading to my kids a book about a little girl and the great Bellini.  The great Bellini, who did incredibly, inhuman things on his tightrope…like walk over Niagra falls, doing all sorts of tricks…with no fear…was all of a sudden, later on his life…gripped with fear.  He said that once fear comes on the tightrope…you can never walk again.  This little girl thought he was the greatest and practiced on his tightrope in the hotel he was staying at…when no one was watching.  She got really good at it and showed him one day.  He was cross and told her she could not perform with him.  But, as he saw her confidence and determination grow and grow…he decided to have another try at performing for an audience to show her he was going to overcome his fear.  He set everything up, tightrope, tricks, everything…and began to walk high over the hotel.  He froze, though, and was gripped with fear once again.  The little girl was watching and ran up the staircase up to where he was.  She stepped out onto the rope…he looked at her…she looked at him…she walked toward him, with her eyes only thinking about the tightrope…and his eyes watching the tightrope and her….they walked toward each other.  He let go of his fear….and they became a wonderful act together 🙂

The Lord spoke to my heart.  “You may feel like you are walking on a tightrope right now…but I am there with you, reassuring you, walking with you, holding your hand and heart, and beckoning you forward.  And I shall catch you if you fall…in my SAFE, EVERLASTING ARMS.”

Yesterday, I walked for an hour, and after I walked, I came home and Hannah and I played outside in our yard.  It was full of leaves, dog poopie, and trash (we share a yard).  It has been weighing on my heart to clean it up…and it was a beautiful day outside.  Should I do more work?  Will it be too much after my walk?  Lewis came early, as my water broke spontaneously after a slow swim, so I try to really listen to my body.  I looked around and thought, “I’ll just pick up the trash.”  Then, after I cleaned up the trash, I saw a rake (lying in our yard, but not ours–we don’t have a rake yet, as we’ve never had a proper yard).  I looked up at the sky…and fearfully, said, “should I do this Lord?”  I felt peace.  I went forward and raked the yard.  I was so excited to have a clean yard for the kids to play in.  Brian came home later that day, cleaned up the pile of leaves, and wanted to go for a long walk.  I felt that fear pop back up.  “Will that be too much for me, Lord?”  I felt peace.  We walked and had one of the loveliest times talking…our kids sang songs to each other in the stroller and fell asleep (this isn’t their usual 🙂 ), and we talked about what God was doing in our hearts and it was incredible.  It was just the time I needed to talk with my husband with all these nights he spends working so diligently studying, writing papers, and attending classes. We miss our time with each other…and the Lord is providing in so many ways.  But, this time, FEAR was not to come in the way!  I am praising God for continually reassuring this weary, fearful heart.  For giving me the gift of faith over and over again.

Building Faith: Strong Tower

Where once faith stood so strong, other times, it must be rebuilt like the walls of a strong tower that have fallen down.

As Lewis got out of bed this morning, he showed me his “strong tower” that he built with daddy last night.  He urged me to try to knock it down.  He said, “you can’t make it fall mommy.”  I nudged it…carefully 🙂  And told him it sure was a strong tower.  Of course, my mind wandered to the Word and how God tells us He is our strong tower too.  And I told buddy about that.  He said, “mommy, I did not know that.” 🙂

This was the start of our day…a fitting start for this day.

I know I have faith that all things are possible with God…but my faith has been tested lately during times when each day seems to be so hard to get through.  When my body is weak, my days can be hard.  Here and there, I feel the Spirit enable me to do things I cannot do in my own strength…but it is not the Lord’s intention to take care of everything for me (although I know I wish for this on those days!).  Making smooth and steady paths doesn’t mean taking care of everything for me.  I’ve never thought of myself as one who averts hard work….but when my body is sick or weak…day after day…it does take extraordinary strength to do the ordinary things.  I have to trust that if I give all the strength I have in this moment…that the rest of the day won’t be impossible to get through.  It is a step-by-step process of relying on Him to continue to give me strength to do the things I need to do that day.  He provides every single time–through extra strength that He gives to me, through a friend, through a babysitter, often through my husband, through sweet obedience in my children, through so, many, many different ways.

Today, I stepped out of my house with my littles, knowing we needed to get out (we couldn’t go to PWOC, because Hannah was sick), with all these days inside with sickness and snow storms. I couldn’t set my mind on where exactly we would go…but thought an idea would come to me during the process of getting out.  As the door closed, My heart froze.  Amongst Hannah’s screams, I thought “Did I just close the door?  Did I have my keys? Oh, please don’t tell me that door locked itself again!”  I felt the handle.  It did.  Our door seems to automatically lock when we step outside, no matter how many times we’ve had it fixed.  The last time this happened, I prayed, I texted Brian for help, and then I thought I’d try the other door that is usually locked.  Due to our fun snowman playtime a week or so ago (pictures to come soon!), the door was still unlocked.  “Thank-you Jesus,” I whispered under my breath.  This time, however, the other door was locked too, even after Brian and I ensured it stayed unlocked just a few days ago.  I guess both doors just automatically lock…  I wondered how the Lord would save me out of yet another predicament I found myself in.  It was very cold.  The neighbors I know around my house were not home.  I prayed, I texted Brian to help me, and then I thought maybe I would take the stroller and walk the kids around while an idea came to me.  The stroller was locked to the railing.  The keys were inside.   My mind was searching, searching….I looked up and a man was coming down from the top of our staircase from the door of our upstair neighbor.  I asked him…if by chance, he was from housing and could help me get into my house.  He said, nonchalantly, “sure, I always have a key.”  “Really??!!!,” I said. Sure enough, he pulled out a key and unlocked my door.  I thanked him and chuckled and then got into my car and cried.  I really don’t understand my days right now.  My body isn’t all there.  My brain certainly isn’t.  But God is 🙂  And His everlasting arms are waiting to catch me every time I fall.  There is so much comfort and safety in that.

We had a wonderful day.  It takes great faith to trust God to turn tough days into wonderful days, but He can do it…every time.  He is my Strong Tower.