I’m not great at a lot of things, but some people say I’m pretty good at planning. I planned my own wedding, I’ve planned over twenty bridal and baby showers. I plan game nights, birthday parties, brunches, and teas. I’m also good at planning out my life. In my head I plan when and where we will move, how many children we hope to have, family vacations, dates, anniversaries—so many things to plan! The problem is, my plans don’t always align with God’s plans (Who knew?!).
Like the time I became an ex-fiance at the age I’d planned to marry. Or the many times I’ve had to cancel plans due to a flare-up of my chronic stomach pain. Or like this week, when we discovered three (benign) tumors on my spine in the middle of multiple major life decisions. My plans are shifting.
Honestly, I’m okay with that. I see evidence all around me of how God’s plans are abundantly better than anything I could dream up.…
Here in Ohio, we’re experiencing what we like to call “fool’s Spring.” It’s where the weather suddenly goes from wintery mix to blue skies. The warmth upon your face from the sun above might trick a fool into thinking it’s the real deal only to crush your dreams in a few days when the temperature drops again. It’s a taste of Spring, anyway, and I’m not complaining.
It stirs my mind to ponder the little “tastes” of what heaven will be like, where flowers never fade and life reigns eternally. We see glimpses of it now in the revival of dead grass and baby bunnies due to frolic in our yard in the coming weeks. I can’t help but hear the song of redemption in the melody of the birds. New branches begin to form on desolate rose bushes and all I can think of is the power of the gospel, calling dead sinners to new life in Christ.…
I bet you’ve been in the middle before too. That frustrating point between God’s revealing of a need for change and a heart that’s struggling to get there. The part in sanctification where you feel exposed—you see your sin and you’re doing all the right, practical things to grow, but the knowledge is taking its sweet time making its way from head to heart. Maybe you’re even frustrated, like me, that you’ve not grown more by this point—that none of your efforts seem to make a difference.
“Why won’t you just change me God?!” He’s sovereign. He could say a word and make my heart feel differently. And yet, in the middle of seeing my sin and feeling my heart change is where my feet still stand.
I’ve listened to the sermons, I’ve prayed and prayed, I’ve studied applicable passages, but I still find myself at the feet of Jesus, begging for his help, asking him to free me.…
It’s my first Mother’s Day with a baby on my hip and we’re in self-isolation. I hadn’t even thought about it until others brought it to my attention. And truly, it makes no difference to me. But many women are saddened by the reality that they can’t attend church on this special day. I’ve been thinking about this holiday in years past and how hard it was at times. I was pondering what I might feel if I was still struggling with childlessness.
While some women might be sad about missing church on Mother’s Day this year, I know some of you are relieved.
This is the first year you don’t have to make the hard decision to either stay home for fear of salt being poured in your wound, or go knowing you’ll have to hide your grief until you’ve found a safe place to cry out, “how long, O Lord?”…
Have you ever had to choose between gasoline and food? I have. Have you ever had to overdraft your account to be able to eat? I have.
As a new believer, I was entered immediately into a series of trials. I was single, healing from the heartbreak of a broken engagement, working two jobs that barely paid more than minimum wage, and not just struggling to pay my bills—failing to pay them. I couldn’t afford rent, let alone car insurance, so when I was pulled over for expired tags (something that completely slipped my mind), I had nothing to show for coverage. One court date later and I no longer had a license.
How was I supposed to pay my rent if I couldn’t drive to work?
Things were tough. I thought my life was falling apart, but truly, God was using these things to put me back together.
The Lord Provides
Looking back, I’m amazed at the ways God provided during that time.…
I was restless. Many thoughts bouncing from one side of my head to the other, colliding and creating more thoughts. Silently, I watched the Black-Capped Chickadees dash across the yard into the white spruce right outside the window, their quickness mimicking the questions and fears racing through my mind.
How do you keep bringing your broken heart before the God who allowed it to be shattered?
That’s what I found myself wondering. It just seems easier to keep our distance and bury our longings in the tomb with all that’s been lost.
The Idol of Self-Protection
Praying for things we desire comes naturally for many people but for me, it’s a struggle. I fear my heart’s quick reaction to such prayers—how it turns my requests into idols. I don’t want to desire the created thing more than the Creator, so I don’t ask. But in not taking my supplications to him, I keep back a part of my heart from him, and therefore, provide fresh soil for the roots of another idol to deepen.…