I heard a quote this morning from Steven Furtick that he had to learn to take “peace in pieces.” I love that thought. Anyone with children can relate. You can’t wait for each child to get along, each one to listen and each one to clean up a mess and thank you for being their wonderful mom. I desire a peace that this world can’t offer, the path of peace that I don’t wait for but rather walk in. There are things I didn’t plan for but I am going to use it for His glory. Weakness is often where we find peace. Jesus looked weak going to the cross but he is our Prince of peace and didn’t come in the triumphant display that people expected, although He will come again. You can’t experience peace when you’re expecting perfection. Peace comes in the loss of our pride when we can accept it in our weakness. The presence of Christ enables us to walk in it. These are not all my thoughts but I want to share because I know so many including myself who battled for peace in 2018. It’s Christmas morning and I’m up enjoying the tree lights and quiet of a couple hours before everyone else is up. I believe God wants to give us peace in the process. The process of the lessons of grace we learn to show others. The process of overcoming our flesh and learning to become more Christlike. I made the comment the other day that 2018 has been so “tough” and in some ways it has but I read Ephesians chapter 4 this morning and the commentary asked if my attitude, thoughts, relationships have improved this year and I can honestly say that they have. It is not perfection but a process and I find peace in the pieces of my healing that comes through the washing of His word. I pray that everyone has a Merry Christmas and is blessed in the new year and that the peace that only He can give overwhelms the challenging places of your life.
I heard this phrase on the radio earlier this week and can’t seem to get it off my mind. The speaker described how fresh herbs will release their beautiful aromas often after they are rubbed between your fingers or crushed once fully grown. Think about taking a few sprigs of lemon herb and crushing it down to small pieces so you can mix it in with your dinner. The lemony scent is released and adds so much flavor and life to whatever it is you’re making! My husband could tell you that I don’t grow fresh herbs…but I may need to start after this! Lemon herb chicken for dinner 🙂
The same is true with roasting coffee beans. The fresh, bitter, and hard green beans have to go through a roasting period in the fire before they reach the desired flavor that the roaster is trying to achieve. They lose their old husks and become beans that are ready to brew. The key is to not let the beans get off to the side because they will stay in the fire and burn completely. Who doesn’t want a fresh cup of roasted coffee…so much better than Folgers! 😉
I realized the reason I couldn’t get these pictures out of my mind is because God was trying to say all along that this is what He’s been doing with me and is doing with so many of His people in the church. Back in November, I experienced some of the worst spiritual warfare and anxiety that I have ever been through. No doubt, I can attribute some of it to all the transition we have been through during the last two years. I’m not complaining because I wouldn’t trade one minute of it for anything. Tremendous blessings came during that time but I did struggle with understanding why I could be experiencing these thoughts and feelings when it should be the happiest time of my life. Being a new mom, working full time, being in full time ministry, trying to be a wife, step-mom, daughter, and friend, gets exhausting and I haven’t always taken the best care of myself through it all. People were disappointing me every time I turned around. I became frustrated and cried out to God many times for answers trying to understand what I am doing wrong or how to overcome this season I was in. I heard a lot of silence and didn’t always get the immediate response I asked for. I’m sharing all of this and becoming vulnerable because I believe most of us have been here on some level. I hope this is encouraging because the trial does end and joy does come. When the joy comes, our perspective tends to change about the people that let us down or the trial we went through. Everyone carries loads and burdens that others can’t even fathom and most of us have multiple roles that we play each day. The truth of God’s Word that He will never leave me nor forsake me sustained me through the hardest trial I have ever had to face as a Christian along with so many other scriptures that would take an incredible amount of time to list. My mind was racing and the enemy threw lie after lie at me until I felt like I was going to break because there was no rest. I won’t say that I’ve completely came out of this season of “roasting” or “crushing” but now I see the purpose. After the fire stops and the crushing ends, the beauty begins to emerge if we hold on to our faith and remain in Him who holds our hearts and minds in His hands. Fear and doubt have to go when we cast these anxieties on Him who cares for us. Paul prayed for the thorn in his flesh to be taken away and He didn’t get the answer he wanted but he was reminded that God’s grace would be sufficient and that His power would be made perfect in our weakness. It all sounds good and almost too easy to say but it’s true. We serve a mighty God who loves us when we feel beautiful and unstoppable but also when we feel weary and broken. Beauty comes after the crushing. Hold on.
This quote from Francis Chan really spoke to me about the love of God and how it should inspire everything that we do. Nothing we do even matters if it is not motivated by love. Mike and I were talking yesterday about why we get so distracted by little things people do or say that don’t matter when we are really only called to love them. 1 John 4:7 says “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” We can’t truly love until we are found in Him. It’s an area where I fall short many times because I realize how many opportunities I am given in a day to love.
A couple weeks ago, a missionary from our church was able to go to India and share the gospel in an area where it is not necessarily welcome. He reported that many people gave their hearts to Christ during the trip. He was also able to preach the first Christian wedding in the city where a few hundred people heard the Gospel that day for the first time! The picture below is beautiful to me, seeing these women and men with their hands lifted high and praising the name of Jesus!
To me, there are not many better expressions of love than people who are willing to be obedient and go where God leads them. That obedience could make the difference between someone choosing to accept His love or not. The link below allows you to sow into the ministry of missionaries like this who go to the uncomfortable places and engage with the lost. More pictures of this trip can be found at http://www.bcog.me/missions-photo-gallery/.
I’ve started blogs and forgot about blogs more times than I’d like to admit over the years but it has been stirring in my heart this week to begin another one. I knew this one would need to have a little different purpose and style for me to follow through with it each week! So, I’ve decided to give it one more try and be a little more diligent with posting. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is how God redeems and restores things that we thought were lost or gone forever in our lives. Personally, He has been restoring many things things like passions and gifts in my own life over the past year that I thought were long gone. I think many people can relate to that at some point or another. It seems so appropriate that today is Good Friday and we are coming up on Resurrection Sunday. I believe that life is supposed to be an adventure and a romance with our heavenly Father but too often we hold on so tightly to trying to control situations ourselves rather than waiting on Him. I want to share some of the challenges and joys I see around me through this blog because not only does He restore but He prepares the road ahead of us! Most of you know that Mike and I have been on a crazy journey over the last year between getting married, starting a new job, building our first home, and welcoming our first child together. There have been challenges along the way but it’s only the beginning! I was recently given the opportunity to start organizing missions opportunities and support missionaries that do such incredible work around the world! I’m going to ramble about things Mike and I are learning and doing but I’d also like this to be a place to post about the amazing work they are doing and give an opportunity to pray and support them financially. Below is a link that can be used to support them! I don’t want this first post to be too long but I think the theme here is going to be “One More Time…”
This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.