AboutWho I AmShopContact

6.16.2017

El Shaddai [The All Sufficient One]

When first beginning to study this name I have to admit all I could think of was the song by Amy Grant - "El-Shaddai, El-Shaddai, El-Elyon na Adonai, age to age, You're still the same by the power of the name..." I never really took the time to focus in on this name of God even though I've listened to the song countless times.

Upon further study, "El" is translated into "might and power" and "Shaddai," although it is known to be more difficult to decipher, it's root word is often translated into "God Almighty." While God is definitely all-powerful and mighty, in this case His name is relating more to His sovereignty and authority in our lives rather than His actual strength.

In Every Detail

It is neat to think that everything we own, all our possessions, who we are, all our abilities and talents were given by God. He has blessed us with all that we have. It may feel like you obtained and earned them on your own. It may feel like you can take credit for your successes and abilities, but everything was given by God. And just as God provides and is intertwined with every detail of our lives, we too have a desire that can only be satisfied by God. It might be placed deep inside and hidden behind all the temporary satisfactions we desire, but it is there. We have a longing within our hearts that can only be met by God.

Although it may seem like some of the desires and aspirations of this world will fulfill us we often quickly find our heart longing for more or searching for something better. We must completely empty ourselves of selfish desires, lust and pride so we can be filled and used by God in an extraordinary way. When we are empty and waiting to be filled by God it can often feel like we are a broken piece of pottery waiting to be turned into something of worth. We feel like we lack purpose. But in due time God will fill us with the purpose He created and molded us for.




Stripping Away

Lately it has felt as if God has been stripping away everything in my life. Friends. Relationships. Work. Success. Confidence. Through this time it has honestly been difficult to find contentment with my life. I've struggled to accept that the things I once had, desired and attained will not satisfy my heart. Even though this current season that has seemed long and ever-so-quiet, I have been applying this truth ever so slowly in my life - that God is all I need. While it is beneficial to have friends, family, possessions, a career, etc. they will not satisfy our hearts. Without God we will never feel satisfied. While there are days that I feel so empty, God has been continually teaching me to seek after Him and focus solely on Him. Others may reject us. They will let us down. They will fail. But God will never fail or forsake us. He promises to fill our empty hearts and have them overflowing with blessings.

Often times it is hard to trust that God is near. It's difficult when we can't see Him or hear His voice. When it feels like everything is stripped from us, and on top of that, God feels far away, it can often leave us feeling forgotten and forsaken. It's easy to find our satisfaction in God when we feel like we're on top of the world, but when our world is shaken and the mountains are crumbling it is challenging to find contentment in Someone we can't physically see, touch or hear. When it feels like God is all we have left and we can't feel Him life gets hard. We feel like we're alone to fend for ourselves. Please let me tell you that God hasn't forgotten you. He's been there all along. He is still all you need. Rest in the promises He has provided you with.

In Due Season

Almost every year we plant a garden in our backyard full of tomatoes, corn and beans. My mom had just finished planting everything and tonight while I was having one of my long talks with her, as I always do, I got to thinking how seeds work. Isn't it interesting how seeds can still grow even when they have no sunlight underneath the deep soil in the earth? We can't see that they are there or how much they have grown, but underneath the soil it is developing and strengthening. Then the day arrives that we see it burst through the soil and it's life is revealed to us. I thought of how this can relate to our lives. We may not see anything but barren unfruitful soil, but in due time the seed of our faith will burst through and will be revealed to us. We will see that our desire and acknowledgement to solely find our satisfaction in God will be worth it.


Matthew 6:33


But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


Character Example

Job seemed like a good character to correlate with God's sufficiency. I admire Job's life and his reliance on God even after all he owned was taken from him. God states in the beginning of the chapter of Job that he was upright and loved God. Even though he served God and loved him, Satan sought out to test Job's faith. All his children were killed, along with his livestock, wealth and possessions. Nothing would be the same as it was. The pain of continuing on after all seemed like it was taken from him must have been devastating. His wife told him to curse God and die and his friends accused him that the trial he was experiencing was a punishment for sins he committed. God saw potential in Job and allowed Satan to test him to reveal his reliance on God.

All that Job had was taken from him, but one thing remained - God. Although God seemed silent, Job continued to focus and seek Him. Job encountered periods of doubting and questioning why he was experiencing heartache, but he continually remained faithful. Here we can see God acting as El Shaddai. Everything Job knew had changed. He had nothing left to rely on, but God remained. He was able to find satisfaction in God knowing He was present even through the most darkest of times. He didn't know what the future would hold, but he held onto the truth that God keeps His promises and won't forsake us even when He feels silent. God later blessed Job's life by giving him twice as much than he had before and he lived to be 140 years old.



Jeremiah 29:13


You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.


Prayer

Dear Lord, through this time right now it's difficult to find complete satisfaction in You. Please give me the desire to seek after You with my whole heart. Help me not to place other desires before You. Let me entrust them to You and find complete sufficiency knowing that You love me, accept me, chose me and desire to be my Friend. Thank You for loving me and always listening even when I don't take the time to spend with You. Help all of the chaos from this world, the struggles, pain, sorrow, worries, desires and dreams I have fade into the background and allow Your voice to become the only one I hear. Strengthen my relationship with You during this time. When I'm focused on You, I know that You will never let me down because You always are working for my best. Help me crave You more than anything this world can offer!

6.05.2017

Jehovah Shalom [the Lord is Peace]

I'm a person who enjoys the quiet and some alone time. As I sit here writing tonight, the wind gracefully sweeps into my room as my curtain gently floats back and forth. I can hear the fresh green leaves fluttering outside my window in the gentle breeze. All seems at peace while the rest of the world is sleeping and I can sit down and write.

Peace is something that is hard to attain during a majority of the day. Most days consist of stress, worry, panic and frantic duties that we need to accomplish. It's difficult to find a moment and just relax, let alone find time to attain peace. I can honestly say the moments that I experience true peace are times spent with God. Whether it be reading my Bible, writing or spending time out in nature, when I'm alone and able to find a quiet place to spend time with God is when I feel most peaceful. Maybe it's because I can just be me. No expectations to meet. No deadlines. No responsibilities. I can just be me and I don't have to act like I have it all-together. I don't have to seek acceptance. I don't have to prove myself. I don't have to have the perfect words. I can just open my heart to God without worrying if He'll stop listening or loving me. And if I'm lost for words, He's content if I just remain silent and listen.



True Peace


I truly believe that true peace cannot be found in any other place than with God. We may experience relaxation, contentment and rest, maybe even peace, but true peace comes from a right relationship with God. True peace is found knowing that God has everything in His hands. True peace is finding contentment in God, not the things of this world. It's easy to get stressed and worried with everything the world expects from us, but when we're focused solely on God we can find peace that extends into the deepest concerns on our hearts. Even during the most darkest of days and uncertain of times, we can find true peace knowing that God has purpose and He has a great plan in store for our lives.

When times are difficult and we're not sure where God is, we often are desperate to find peace in Him. We crave and seek after it because our hearts are longing for rest from the chaos. God can give us a peace that doesn't change regardless of what we may be going through. The peace and contentment we can find in this world may satisfy us, but only temporarily. It is fleeting and passes away abruptly. God's peace is something we can rest in time after time and come out feeling satisfied. While it is hard to obtain this peace often in our busy lives, when we do experience it, it is priceless.


John 14:27


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

No Matter What

Maybe you're fearful of what tomorrow brings. Maybe you're anxious and worried of the future. Maybe you feel like there are constant worries on your heart that are burdens you are just too tired of carrying. You wish you could let them go, but every time you feel like you've just about overcome them, you find yourself dragging them behind you, unwilling to give them up.


Look to God and seek Him for peace amidst your situations. He may not provide a solution to your circumstances immediately. He may not answer your prayers the way you'd like, but seeking God as our peace can allow us to have a different perspective on our situations. Trust that He will be with you and no matter what happens He remains steadfast in His love for you. Everything we are experiencing is worth it. Everything has a purpose. He's the maker of the heavens and the earth, He created your life with amazing potential. He is involved in every moment of your life. 

Isn't it assuring to be reminded that God is in control of all things and it isn't up to us to work everything out. We play a part, but God's got it. We don't have to worry or fear, because God has got control. Our hearts may hurt and our stress level may be through the roof, but it's not our duty to take it upon ourselves. When we go to God and take our worries and desires to Him, He can give us a fresh perspective that reminds us that it was never our burden to carry. When we are seeking God and entrusting our lives to Him we can rest assured that He is working; He is using all things to strengthen us and glorify Him, even when it feels like our world is crumbling.

Peace may feel like a far-fetched ambition we desire to attain, but with God's help and perseverance we can tap into that satisfying peace that God so freely offers to those who desire to let go of their situations and entrust them to God. Peace isn't about feeling content or happy, it is about letting go and letting God take control. It's about finding a divine perspective to the temporal struggles we face day in and day out. 


1 Peter 5:7


Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you


Prayer

Lord, life right now feels like it is burdening me with worries and fears. Things that I can't fix. I don't know what else to do so I'm giving them to You. I'm letting go of them and asking You to give me an eternal perspective that only You can give. Give me peace in this situation to rest, knowing that You are taking care of things when I feel like they are slipping through the cracks. You are working when I can't see it. Remind me that I won't find peace in anyone or anything but You. Calm my heart and remind me that in all things You are working for my best. Your plans far exceed the plans I have. You are with me even when the world abandons me. You will be my strength when I am too afraid to step out. Lord, I'm letting go. Help me to hand this over to you so I can find peace solely in You.




5.31.2017

The Lord Will Provide [Names of God Series]


I'm continuing my series on the names of God with another one of my favorite names of God - Jehovah Jireh. "Jireh" in the Old Testament literally means to "see." Yeah, you're probably thinking we already discussed how God "sees" us, but in this case it is actually referring to how God "foresees" the future. The word "see" signifies provision. While looking up the definition for "provision" I came across an interesting description of the word.


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary provision can be described as:
"the fact or state of being prepared beforehand."



How often we remember that God will supply our needs, but we fail to trust that He's got everything under control. There is a plan to what we are going through. It's not by chance. Our days and circumstances aren't just haphazard events that God's just trying to rush to throw into place to keep up with our lives. There is purpose. There are intricate details that have been masterfully planned out before time began. God isn't just providing for us now, but He always has been and He always will be providing just what we need. He is using even the smallest details in your life right now to mold you into the person He desires you to be.

Prepared Beforehand

Just as the definition from the Merriam Webster dictionary states, we are being prepared beforehand for a future purpose. The things we are experiencing now may feel like we're lacking something pretty important in our lives, but God is preparing us for something amazing. Either God's lack of provision or the fulfillment of provision in your life is preparing you for the future. The things you are experiencing right now in this season of your life and the things you have gone through up until now have all been preparing you for what lies ahead - the rest of your life here on earth and your eternal home as well.

Sometimes when reading God's promises to fulfill all our needs in Scripture makes me question why He is still withholding things from my life. Why has He gifted others with the very things I've been seeking and praying that He would provide me with? Why do they acquire them so easily when I have to work so hard to attain them? Why does He answer prayers regarding other menial day-to-day things but fails to answer or provide any direction with the prayers I've been praying about for years? Why is He silent regarding certain areas of my life but involved with the areas I am already content in? Why are the things that are most burdened on my heart the things that fail to be provided?

I've really struggled with these thoughts over the past year and questioned what God was doing in my life. I had circumstances placed in my lap that I had dreamed and desired for years, and now they were becoming reality, but certain things were bothering my heart. Something just didn't seem right. I had to make a decision. God's will or mine? Something I desired and sought after for so long was right in my lap, but I didn't feel God in it. It was a hard choice, but I knew the answer. Of course it wasn't the answer I wanted, but God is more important to me than the happiness this earth could provide. And I knew that if God wasn't in this situation I wouldn't be happy long-term. Through this hard season of my life and letting go of the past I questioned God's current provision in my life. I chose to put Him first with this situation, but now I felt so alone and didn't know how to move on from the past. I doubted how I could find happiness and know God was providing for me after it felt like I lost everything.

If Only

Through struggling and hard times it's easy to question how God is providing for our needs when we feel like we're missing big chunks of necessities in our life. We look around and see others with large homes, luxury cars, a gazillion friends, the latest clothes, a flawless appearance, the perfect spouse, living their dream job and we grow discouraged in why God is withholding the things we desire the very most from our lives. We begin to think the "if only" questions, that "if only" I had that, then I would be happy. How many times in my life I've thought that once I reached a certain stage of my life I would be happy, but whenever I reached that stage, it brought along it's own struggles and problems. And even when things were going well, I'd find myself wanting more. Isn't it strange that when we reach where we thought we'd be happy we still find ourselves not feeling as content as we once thought we would. We still desire more.

Maybe you've done all you know to do and you've prayed every prayer there is to pray and God still feels silent. It's easy to question God's sovereignty and His provision when we don't see Him working. When you feel like God is blessing others with the very things you've been seeking Him about it causes discouragement in His faithfulness to you. Let me tell you though that He is teaching you and strengthening you by withholding the very desires you crave the most in order to test your faith. He wants you to place Him first above the things you desire most. When we've done all we know to do, we don't have to "do" anything else but have enough trust in God to give Him the control and rest assured the He knows what He is doing by leaving the rest up to Him. Continue to keep pressing into God and seeking after Him. Wait in prayer. Trust in His Word. Remember His promises. Give Him complete control. He will provide exactly what you need in His timing.



Character Example

In the Old Testament God used a woman to show His provision. Hannah was one of two wives married to Elkanah (yeah, I totally don't agree with him having two wives, but I'd like to focus on another part of this story). Hannah's husband loved her very much, but Hannah often felt undervalued in comparison to his other wife, Peninnah, since Hannah wasn't able to have children. Peninnah knew just the right words to say to Hannah to wound her heart and cause the hurt to run even deeper into her soul, causing her to feel unqualified and unworthy to her husband. Hannah remained strong and still sought after God even amidst the cruel treatment of Peninnah. Hannah's unwavering trust that God would provide her with a child is such a great example of God's provision. God saw her longing heart and unwavering faith and heard her prayer. Although it wasn't an immediate answer and Hannah still experienced the struggle of waiting and preserving through Penniah's criticism, she remained faithful. God saw her dedication and He did answer her prayer. Even after God gave Hannah her son, she remained close with Him and gave him the name of Samuel, meaning "God has heard." After Hannah had her child she could have turned from God and thought it was happenstance that she was able to have a child, but Hannah remained close to God and glorified Him because she knew He provided. Not only did Hannah have one child, she had many to follow.

Perfect Timing

God's timing for others is not always the same timing for us. We are all have different lives to lead, which means we all have different times in which God chooses to bless us with things. What may be time for one person, may not be time for you. What God chooses to bless someone else with, may not be what God chooses to bless you with. God blesses us with so much every day but sometimes we are so caught up in what we want and focused on the things we're missing that we totally miss how much He is involved and providing for us in our lives.

As we can see through this story of Hannah and Penniah, Hannah's faith in God grew and was strengthened in seeking Him for provision of a child while Penniah's faith was shallow and non-existent. When God withholds things from us it isn't to hurt us, but grow our faith. He is teaching and strengthening you through this time of suffering in your life. He wants you to grow in wisdom and knowledge about the very things you've been seeking Him in prayer about. He is allowing you to grow in a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him while others are having their needs being met through temporal satisfactions. He is withholding the things that could maybe steal your attention and allow you to seek and grow closer to Him for a more satisfying reward. He is opening your eyes and revealing to you that He is all you will ever need. He's the source you can tap into and find joy and contentment in when the world around you is ever-changing. Once we realize He is the source to all we have and He is all we ever will need, He may choose to bless you with what your heart desires because you chose to put Him first.


Hebrews 10:35-36


So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.


While we all may know that God is our provider and He is providing for our needs, it takes more than just knowledge to know that He is providing. It involves faith. A deep faith that remains even when we feel like we are being deprived of the very things we need. A faith that doesn't doubt even when we feel like God's taken the very thing from us that we don't know how to live without. He is supplying everything we possibly need to fulfill His purpose for our lives. He knows our hearts. He knows our desires. He knows the anguish it inflicts on us when we feel like the things we value most are withheld or taken from us. When everything feels like it is taken from you, God is teaching you and leading you to that quiet place with Him to remind you that He will always be there for you. He cares so deeply about your life. If we can't trust God with the things we currently have and give them up to Him, how will we see Him provide and bless us with more?

Through Life's Seasons

When things are withheld or taken from you, He is protecting you. He's seeking your best. He wants to teach you something through the desolate seasons of life so you can better appreciate the seasons when you see Him working. Even through winter, the most bleak of seasons, when all looks dead from the outside, yet underneath all of nature is still alive. It is just waiting for the appointed time to bloom. Same with us, God is using the bleak times to prepare us for the time we were meant to bloom. It may look like nothing is growing during this current season. It may feel like a lull or you're stuck in a rut. It may feel like nothing is happening. Just wait. Spring is coming. For everything there is a season. For everything there is an appointed time God has established that it should occur. God's timing isn't our timing. We were meant for more than the struggles we're facing here. We were meant to lead a life for Christ and show the world His love. Not to find happiness and contentment in the things we can get from this world, but what we can use with what God has instilled within us to display and inspire others; leading them towards God and ever-growing in our relationship with Him.


Ecclesiastes 3:1


For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Prayer

Lord, right now my life feels like it's in a rut. I can't see You working. I don't know what You're doing, but give me the strength and faith to keep trusting that You are up to something. Remind me that I can't trust my feelings and emotions. Use this time that I'm in. Prepare me for the future. Strengthen and restore me. Remind me that when I feel like I'm missing big pieces of my life that I feel are vital for my existence, that You have provided all I need. Help me to use what You've given me to glorify You and deepen my relationship with You. Use this time for growth. Even when I don't see You working, help me to know You are near. You hear my prayers and You are working for my best. When my prayers aren't answered the way I wanted, remind me that You are protecting me. Help me to trust in your perfect timing and not rush ahead. Allow me to be content and joyful during this time. When I'm trusting and seeking after You I can rest knowing You are working and it's in Your hands. You have the control that I no longer need.

5.19.2017

Enduring Singleness

Singleness. It's the word we all know and love. It's what some of us have overcome and what others of us feel we will never escape from. We all encounter different seasons of life that have purpose and meaning. While some of us may be the same age, God has called each of us to embark upon different circumstances and seasons at different times.

My Singleness

Growing up I was never one who was popular or attractive by any means. In fact I was probably known as the girl who was invisible, the outcast and socially awkward. I didn't have any true best friends, let alone romantic relationships. Over the years after high school there were a few instances of a guy or two having romantic interest, but none ever really worked out.

Being 24 and never being on an official date has left my heart feeling discouraged and worried that I'll never find someone who truly loves me for who I am. I constantly feel like I have to keep up with all my friends who are dating, engaged or getting married. I feel like my life is lagging behind while everyone else's is coasting along perfectly with everything falling into place. I feel like I'm not accepted or included because I'm not married and don't have a spouse. I feel like the girl who isn't attractive enough to be noticed. I feel like my quiet demeanor battles against me to feel comfortable in being myself. I lack confidence because I don't feel accepted. It's an endless cycle and I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. Sometimes I feel so defined by being single. I hate the labels put on me because I don't have a boyfriend. You're ugly. You have a unattractive personality. You have quirks. Flaws. You are unaccepted. Rejected. Abnormal. Unloved.

Looking to the Orchid

I have been trying to grow in finding joy in my current season amidst the unknown future and I stumbled upon something the other day. While I was looking at one of our flowers in our house and I realized a truth applicable to singleness. Our family had received an orchid as a gift a year or so ago. While it bloomed for a brief time, it has been dormant for many months. I've been awaiting it's time to bloom. Month after month - nothing. I was beginning to wonder if it was still alive. It had green leaves, but no shoots or flowers. Then it seemed like one day there were tiny buds forming. And then more waiting for another few weeks until the buds finally grew larger, but still they hadn't opened yet. Then the moment came. The buds began to open, displaying the vivid colors and beauty that was developing inside all these months.



While sitting there looking and gazing in awe at the newly bloomed orchid I began thinking how it related to my own life, or anyone who is enduring waiting or singleness. We may be enduring a waiting season in our lives that seems so hopeless. It feels like nothing is happening. We feel dead and dormant. But we can rest assured that God is working, and just like the orchid, we are still alive, but God is getting us ready; we just might not see it yet.

While looking at the orchid in comparison to the other flowers in our house I realized that the other plants bloom everyday and remain all year round, but the orchid is different. While I enjoy the beauty of the other flowers, when the orchid bloomed it was special. I waited for the time to come and anticipated it's beauty. When I look at it now I appreciate it's beauty even more because of the waiting I had to experience. The same is true with singleness. When we have to wait for something it means so much more to us than if it was an everyday occurrence. When we wait for the right one to come along, we will find so much more pleasure and appreciation that we waited for the right one and trusted that God would provide.

Seasons of Growth

We all have unique seasons of our life to grow in. Some may feel like seasons of waiting, discouragement, silence and frustration. But through each season we can learn something. God is teaching us something. Nothing we go through is wasted time. Let me leave you with six beautiful reminders relating to singleness that I have found evident over the past few months.

1. God is Protecting You

Often times God closes doors because He is protecting us. He isn't trying to withhold good from us. How many times I've had to remind myself of that truth. If you feel like God is closing a door on you and you just don't understand why, rest assured that He knows best. This time in your life may feel like God's trying to discourage and withhold good from you. It may feel like the door just slammed shut right in your face. Take comfort in knowing that God has better plans in store for you that couldn't be met through that door.

2. God is Working

It may feel like silence is the loudest noise you've ever heard. You can't take it anymore. It feels like God has just left you to fend for yourself. God is a God of His promises and He will never fail or forsake us. It's impossible for Him to fail us. He is up to something great in your life if you trust Him. I've grown to realize that true faith is shown when we cannot see what God is doing. I've also discovered that my faith wasn't as strong as I once thought when I felt myself doubting God when I couldn't feel or see Him working. God is present whether we feel or see Him. He is there. He has never left our side. Usually in times of silence it reminds me that God is testing my faith. He's seeing whether I will be weakened by this struggle or whether I will come out strengthened and restored.

3. Be Still

How many times I have tried to take things into my own hands and take control. I've learned over the past few months that no matter how much I harbor over something, waste my tears or try to work things out on my own, I will get nowhere. If you find yourself trying to control things. Don't. Seek God and let Him take the control you desire. We weren't meant to carry burdens on our own. You may be searching for your future spouse, but trust Him with it. We don't have to do anything but entrust our lives into God's hands and seek after Him. God's got a plan and it far exceeds what we see. We may desire something and are trying to force it to happen, but without seeking after God's will we will be working against the tide to get what we want to occur. We have to let go. Let go of the desires you have. Give them over to God and rest. Be still. Find peace in where God has you right now.

4. God is Providing

One of the promises that I have been slowly trying to comprehend is that God has provided all we need. It may not be what we desire, but it is exactly what we need. So many things have felt like they have been stripped from me recently. I have felt alone and questioned what God was doing. I often still doubt this truth, but God does provide what He knows we need. I can't count the times that I have desired something so deeply and I can't understand why God is choosing to not fulfill the overwhelming need I think should be met. God Has many purposeful reasons why He does things that we may not understand. Maybe your future spouse needs to grow spiritually. Maybe you need to grow spiritually before you meet. Through this time of seeking God and feeling like there is a void in your life, remember that God will provide what you need. It's not a question. It's a fact.

5. God is Enough

I've heard the overused lines that "God is all you need." While it is definitely such a valid statement, I have struggled the most in this area. Sometimes God just doesn't feel like enough to me. I want a physical someone who cares, listens and understands. I desire to be that someone for my future spouse as well. I want to feel needed and to use my love to encourage in return. While I don't think desiring a physical relationship is wrong, it should never take place before God. Find satisfaction in God first. Remind yourself that even without the acceptance or love from others you can find joy knowing that God loves you. There's a relationship between you and God that will never be replaced by someone else. Nobody's relationship with God is the same as yours. It's unique. Find comfort in knowing you are accepted and loved by God and let the world fade into the background. It is here in the quiet place with God that you can find true peace and rest knowing that He will never change how He loves you if the world consistently lets you down.

6. Pray without Ceasing

Use this time to pray. Seek God on a deeper level than you ever had before. Write down your prayers. Keep a journal of what you're going through. I had asked for a prayer journal this past Christmas and since the beginning of the year I have been writing down prayers every so often. When times were difficult I found myself filling up the pages endlessly. And honestly, a lot of the pages I've been using for prayer regarding my future husband. Pray for your spouse. Not just that you'd meet soon, but pray for their heart. That their relationship with God would be strengthened. That they would seek and follow after God. That He would prepare you both for your future relationship. Pray for your heart. That you would seek and have the faith to persevere through this waiting season of your life. Pray for strength and guidance. Pray that God would give you a peace of mind that He is working all things out for your best. Pray that God would fill you with a content and joyful heart even through the discouraging times. Prayer is the most important piece that ties all of the things I mentioned together. It's the piece that connects our hearts with God and transforms our perspective on our circumstances. Our circumstances may remain the same but prayer can change our hearts and allow us to see our struggles differently.

Don't let this time of waiting become a time that you grow weary and lose heart. Take this time and choose to focus on what God wants to teach you. Every struggle has something that God is trying to teach us. You may feel like God will never answer your prayers and desperate pleas, but God is working. He's got a plan. He's up to something. He sees the pain it causes you. He's protecting you. And just when you think you can't take any more of the emptiness you'll find that right around the corner is your chance to bloom!


5.09.2017

The God Who Sees [El Roi]

If you've been following my blog for a little while now I've been choosing topics to write about and turn them into a PDF download. Over the past few weeks I've been seeking God on what study I should write about next on my blog. Through devotions, reading and other ways it became quite obvious to me and I felt God leading me to write about the names of God. While this really didn't feel something I was super passionate about initially I have found that through the studying I've done so far I've felt it ever so applicable to my life. I've grown encouraged and found it comforting to discover more about God through His names and characteristics. So I'm sharing what I've learned so far with you. I thought I would post each name out individually over the next few weeks as I go through and study them out. I hope you all can take something from the names that I felt God calling me to write about!




Have you ever felt like the life you lead is insignificant? Invisible to the rest of the world? Hidden and behind-the-scenes? Have you ever felt like all your hard work never amounted to much. Others receive praise, yet your effort goes unnoticed?

Have you ever felt used and mistreated? You respected and cared for someone and you received nothing in return? You felt rejected. Ignored. Unloved. Unnoticed. Your feelings and hurt emotions were cast aside and completely disregarded. The very thing you desired and offered from your heart was thrown away like left-over crumbs.

When we're mistreated and feeling invisible it's easy to let it get to our heart. When a fresh rejection occurs it's easy to allow that computer-like memory to pull up all the old "files" of past hurts and pains. The feelings come flooding back in and replays through our mind as if it just happened yesterday.

GOD SEES THE PAIN

To begin healing from past hurts, unfair treatment, rejections and insignificance we can start by recognizing that God sees our pain. He sees. He sees the things that tore our hearts apart. Although they may seem insignificant from an outside perspective, and it feels like nobody truly understands, He knows the deep heartache it caused you. The pain that broke your heart. The pain that runs so deep. The hidden suffering you endured. Only He knows your full story. He formed you and created you exactly as you are before time began. No mistakes. No oversights. No second-guessing what He created was incorrect or flawed. You were created on-purpose. With a purpose. A special purpose only you could fulfill. God sees you. The real you. The inner you. He knows all things and sees all things. Nothing gets past Him. He's aware and He sees.

GOD ALLOWED IT

Even though things are hard and sometimes God feels far away, we can rest assured that He knows what's going on. It's nice to take a step back and look over your life and get some perspective. Take a moment and see how God has worked in your life up until this point. It may seem like you've endured a lot of struggles, maybe some regrets, shame and pain, but through it all it was shaping you. God allowed certain circumstances in your life for you to become who you are today. The circumstances that changed you, made you and molded you into the person you are now. Every hurt, insult, rejection, hard day, all had purpose into creating and making you into the beautiful person God created you to be. You may see a person who is undervalued, incapable of being used and feeling like your life is a big mess in comparison to others, but God is using you. He has a purpose for you. And God is working now to continually shape and grow you.

It may seem difficult to accept that the things that broke your heart were allowed by a loving God. How could He be okay with tearing me apart? Doesn't He see the pain this causes? Why isn't He stepping in? How could He allow this for good? All questions which I've asked before. When pain arises in our lives it's easy to question and wonder what God is doing. Isn't it interesting that when things go wrong we end up finding ourselves seeking after God. It may be through doubtful questions or it may be through incessant prayers for strength. No matter what the reason, when we experience difficult times God knows that it is an opportunity for us to strengthen our faith. Whether we acknowledge this is up to us. We have a choice. Through hard times it shows how strong our faith in God is. Whether our faith will deepen or dissipate. Thrive or wither. Don't look at your circumstances as God trying to harm or hurt you, but as a time to strengthen and deepen your faith with Him. He is trying to teach you something. He is allowing your breaking heart or hidden struggles to draw you closer to Him, because only on the darkest of nights do we look up to find the Light.

GOD HOLDS THE FUTURE

God just doesn't see you now, He's known you before you were born all the way up to where you'll spend eternity and He knows every detail in between. He knows your life from beginning to end. Every detail. Every thought, action and intention. In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Just as He has directed and led you up until this point, He will continue to lead you. Sometimes it's easy to see how God worked in the past, but looking to the future our trust gets dampened by the great uncertainty. Don't grow weary in looking to your future. Have hope that God has every season of your life perfectly planned out and there is purpose to every small detail. Nothing is overlooked. He sees the purpose of your life. He has not forgotten you. You're on His mind every moment. Nothing is overlooked. He is working! He is using your life for something far better than you could ever imagine, because God doesn't forsake those who place their trust in Him.


Psalm 9:10


Those who know your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.


CHARACTER EXAMPLE

When Jesus first met Simon, right off the bat he gave him the new name of Peter. Yeah, kinda weird, I know. It would be odd to receive a new name when you first met someone. Anyways, a little later on, Jesus and Peter were talking and Jesus led him to a place and mentioned that Peter would be the rock of His church. The rock in which they were standing on is where Jesus's temple would one day stand. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus first met Simon he gave him the new name of Peter. The amazing irony here is what Peter's name truly means. Peter's name translates into "rock." Isn't it amazing to take note that God knew way back to when He first met Peter what his purpose would be and the tiny detail of naming him "Peter" to represent his future purpose. He saw the whole picture. It's neat to see that God does see our lives. Not just in the present. Not just the past. Not just the future. But God sees our life from beginning to end. He sees the full picture. He's got a plan. Not just an ordinary plan, but an amazing one. Not just for your pastor. Not just your parents. But YOU. For each of us. We each have a vital role in His master plan. God cares for each of us personally. He has a relationship with you that only you and Him could have. Nobody else's is the same because we all are uniquely created.


Philippians 1:6


Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


God sees your significance when others overlook your full potential. God sees your effort when all others see is the end result. God sees your broken heart when others reject and neglect you. God sees your heart when everyone else fails to discover the real you. God sees your inner beauty when others judge you on your flawed appearance. God sees your pure heart and intentions. He sees your amazing purpose. He sees a future for your life. He sees your willing heart and is cheering you on. He sees you as His child and loves you unconditionally. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing.

If only we could grow and desire to know God as much as His understanding and love is for us. If only we could see just a small glimpse of His unfathomable love for us. How often we fail to find love and acceptance in things other than God. I often have a difficult time understanding God's immense love for me. Outside of family, I've honestly never really felt a sincere love that remained steadfast. Most relationships end abruptly, so I'm always expecting a sudden rejection since that's what I'm used to. I have a hard time understanding God's love for me. I know He loves me, and at times I've sensed it, but it's hard to grasp His love for me personally. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Seek Him and pray that you'd be able to see yourself through His eyes. Ask Him to help show you how He sees you. The real you. No outside perspectives. No faulty assumptions. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. That you might grow to gain wisdom and knowledge of who He is.

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for seeing me for who I am inside. You see the past hurts that broke my heart. You see how they still affect me. You see the unfair treatment. You see the kind acts done for You that seem to be hidden and go unnoticed. You saw my life before I even was born and You know what my future holds. You've got it all planned out and I thank you that You will never leave or forsake me even when others do. Thank You for believing in me and for all the ways You are involved in my life. Sometimes I fail to see how You're working, help show me that You are near. Reveal Yourself to me. Help me to see myself the way You do. Help me to see others the way You see them. Provide me with a new perspective. Remind me that when You feel far away and my life seems forgotten that You've never left me alone.

4.13.2017

When Life Feels Small

Sometimes the life I lead feels quite small. It feels invisible at times. Sometimes just when I feel like my life is headed somewhere, all of a sudden tragedy happens and I'm left with empty hands. Sometimes it feels like God just strips everything from my life and it feels like I'm left with nothing.

Confidence is something I struggle with when I feel like I have nothing to offer. Nothing to bring to the table. I have found that when everything is stripped from my life. Desires. Relationships. Talents. Possessions. Fame. Everything that boosts my esteem. When they are all removed from my life I seek God more. I realize I need Him. I crave Him. And even though I desire those other things so deeply in my life, I grow to realize that they will never fully fill the void I have in my heart. Although they can sometimes take up a large place in my heart, they lack any substantial value in comparison to God's place.

When we desire more for our lives. More fame. More money. More friendships. More success. Whatever we're seeking. If we desire to seek more, hoping to find happiness and contentment with what this life can offer us, we're looking in the wrong places. The things I once desired and I presently have in my life now don't seem to fill the void I once thought would satisfy my heart. Somehow I always want more. I will never be happy if I'm looking to the things that this world can offer. Only Christ can satisfy the emptiness I feel inside. Only He can quench my thirst for more.


Maybe your life feels small. Maybe you feel like the circumstances you're facing seem insignificant from the outside, but they're effecting you ever so deeply. Maybe you feel like your talents and abilities are too insufficient to be used by God. Maybe you feel like your life has no impact. No purpose. Maybe you feel like you have nothing left to give. You're empty and broken.

Let me tell you that God is using the "small" things and doing something amazing with them. You may feel unqualified or unworthy, but God uses those who are humble and willing to be used in great ways. Others may view the struggles you are facing as "small" or insignificant, but God sees the pain you're feeling and He understands. Nothing is too small to be seen by God. Nothing is too insignificant to be used by God.

It's so easy to get caught up and let the interests and desires we want from this life to overtake our thoughts. We will always desire more unless we look to the source of where everything comes from. When we focus on God, the giver of all things, and not what we can get out of this life, we will find our heart being filled and content through even the hardest of situations. Not because the trials go away or they cease to exist, but because our focus is on Christ, He doesn't change or fail us. His love is constant. His promises never will be broken. We can look to Him and know that He is working.

It's easy to look at our lives and feel like what we once desired and obtained has been taken from us. We may feel like everything we had was torn out from under us. We question God and wonder what He's doing with our life. Maybe you feel like you have nothing left to be in control of. Being in that place often makes us feel vulnerable and broken, but that's exactly where God desires us. We may feel broken, but God is strengthening us through it. We can seek Him at a deeper level because we have nothing left to lean on. We learn that we don't have control, and that's okay because God's got it.

God's using your seemingly small life and using it in great ways. No life is small to God. We all have purpose, worth and importance to Him. When it feels like everything is taken from you and you have nothing left you can rest assured that God is providing exactly what you need. It may feel like you have nothing, but God has supplied all your needs. Not some. All of them. Every season of our life has a purpose. Every season has something we can learn. When you feel discouraged with your circumstances, look to God and place your trust in Him. Seek His truth. He is providing for you. He is protecting you. He will never stop loving you. He's got a plan. He sees the pain. He wants the best for you. It's impossible for Him to ever fail you!


"When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone"

// Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells 


Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

I Corinthians 1:28  
God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.