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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

fundraising pic

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  These simple words hold the secret to great power.  They seem so simple, and yet, they end up being so elusive.   Every time I think I understand these words, I am thrown into a situation in which its quite clear that I don’t.  Back in April, my family took a huge plunge into faith.  We decided to send my oldest daughter, Anna, to Honduras on a mission trip with the youth group, and to send my other teen daughter, Abbi, and myself to Swaziland for a mission trip.  Crazy!  Here we’ve been struggling financially for 2 years and we decide to do this while my husband is enrolled in the police academy.  Insanity is the word I would use, but God calls it faith.

I personally determined that I would not worry about the $6,500 we would need to raise in two months time.  God would take care of it, right?  But as reality hit and the tickets were purchased by the church, there was no turning back and panic set in.  Once again, I launched into “moving my own mountain” mode trying to be creative with fundraising ideas.

Then my husband got a job!  After 9 months of testing and interviews, he was accepted into the police academy.  Another reality hit, he would be gone for the summer and the responsibility of family, my job, raising funds, and our non-profit rested on my shoulders.  I freaked!  “God, you have to close a door!”  Never in my life have I prayed for God to shut a door, instead it has always been to open one.  “I can’t handle all this!”  I complained.

God began whispering into my heart, “Don’t worry about fundraising.  I just want you to enjoy preparing for the missions trip and enjoy it while you’re there.”

“Sounds great, God, but this is a lot of money and you’re asking me to sit back and relax?  What about working for it, earning it?”  I asked confused.

“What about belief?  What about surrender?  What about the rest I’ve promised to you if you would just let go?”  He asked back.

This wasn’t the door I expected for Him to shut, but I was quite relieved and happy with it.  Still unsure if I heard God correctly, I tested the waters.  Instead of trying to come up with a nifty fundraiser this weekend, I weeded my yard and helped my husband study.

I just came into work this morning and was faced with some amazing news!  Donations had come in over the weekend to help my daughters with their trips.  They are now both completely paid for!  Two down and one left to go.  I know God will take care of my expenses without my help.

Belief. Faith. Surrender.  Three simple words that create the greatest fundraiser of all!  God is true to His promises, and if He calls you to something, He will make a way for you to obey.  To God be ALL the glory!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory…  Ephesians 3:20

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falling down a hole

Believe.  That word has been rattling around in my head for a month now, but I’ve been struggling to grasp it.

The insecurity of life became too much for me, and so I retreated into a corner, hugged my knees, and closed my eyes in an effort to provide a false sense of security.  That only lasted for so long, when I began to feel my body being moved and turned.  A breeze swept over me as I lost my equilibrium.  It felt as if a deep cavernous hole had opened up and I was spiraling downward towards the inevitable.  At first, I resisted, but then growing weary of the fight, I found solace in the darkness that was sure to come when I hit bottom.

Believe!  The soft spoken word pierced through the dark thoughts.  Believe what?  Believe that someday I’ll be able to wake up without fear gnawing at my heart and stomach?  Believe that I can someday accept who I really am – a daughter of God?  Believe that joy will come in the morning?  A spark of hope flickered and was instantly snuffed as I twisted and turned in my fall.

Believe! The word seemed to bounce off the jagged rocks that formed the deep pit.  “Believe what?”  My mind screamed in confusion and horror.

“Believe that I have called you.  Believe that you are mine.  Believe that I see you and won’t let you be harmed!  Believe that I love you!”  The unseen voice sounded desperate almost pleading.

“I want to, I really want to, I just don’t have the strength anymore.  All I see is darkness, and all I hear is the wind swirling around me, and all I feel is the weight of gravity pulling me down.”  I frantically rambled.

The tender voice responded, “Open your eyes and look up!”

“I’m too scared!” My voice squeaked out.

“Open your eyes!”

Ever so slowly, I pried open my eyes and looked up.  Instead of seeing pitch black darkness, I saw a handsomely rugged face peering anxiously down at me.  “You’re not falling, I’m carrying you!”

“But I…”

“You became scared of the world around you and you closed your eyes.  When I picked you up, you thought you were falling.  If you had opened your eyes, you would have seen that I am carrying you to safety.”  He gently explained.

“Believe,” I whispered.

“Yes, just believe and you will see the truth.”  My Abba hugged me close as I clung to him realizing that I had been safe in his arms all along.

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broken car

I’m sitting here at work desperately trying not to give into the temptation to grumble and fret.  I made a commitment this week and I plan on sticking to it.  My half day Friday has ended, and excitedly I packed my things up to go home and get lunch before heading off to the Trail to serve coffee, but that is not meant to be.  After turning my car on, it huffed and vibrated, with all the warning lights turning on.  Much to my dismay, I’m back at my desk wondering how are we going to get to the Trail with all the supplies on time and how will my daughter get to work.

But I made a commitment!  God promised that ALL things would work together for good, so there’s a blessing in this situation.  I just need to find it.  🙂  So, Father, thank you for the car, thank you that it didn’t break down while I was driving, and thank you that I can wait in a warm place.  Blessings come in disguises.

In all things will I give thanks.

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20140106-191706.jpg

After spending the weekend feeling discouraged and fearful, I decided that I would focus on finding little blessings throughout the day.  As I found things, I would text them to my husband.  Blessing #1:  the ability to text so I can stay in touch with Josh all day.  Blessing #2: God provided lunch at work, etc.  The discouragement and fear were beginning to be replaced with peace and joy, that is, until I received a phone call.  A doctor’s office called informing me of a medical bill that I had no idea I even had.  They were very unsympathetic to my surprise, all they cared about was when they would receive payment.

“God, really?  I’m trying to do the right thing here by not grumbling and complaining.  What’s this all about?  Why can’t we get a break?”

In the quietness of the moment, God answered, “What about the commitment you made this morning about be thankful for the blessings?”

“Yes, BLESSINGS, not more bad news!”  I complained.  “You know we’ll never be able to pay this!  We can’t even buy a roll of paper towels!” (fact, not exaggeration)

“But who’s to say that I didn’t just give you a blessing?”  God challenged.

“What?” I retorted, but then I stopped and thought about it.  Our helpless situation required a miracle, and the only one that could perform the miracle was God.  There was the blessing.  I would be able to see God provide for us in a way that only he could do!  Through this my faith would be strengthened.

Quite humbled and filled with gratitude, I responded, “You’re right, God, this bill and this situation is a blessing.  No matter what, I will praise you.”

That night, my husband and I shared with our children the situation that we were in and our commitment to give thanks in all things.  As our kids prayed asking God to meet our needs, they also made sure they thanked him for all that he has given.

Sometimes blessings come in disguises, we just need to have a different perspective.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(I Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

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blessings

Abba, things are looking pretty bleak right now.  It feels as if we are going backward not forward in this trial.  How much longer will this go on?

Even though I am truly discouraged, I know that you want me to fully trust you and to give praise no matter how I feel.  So, please help me to see the little blessings that you provide each day and help me to learn to be joyful and content even when things are uncertain.

.

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hope

Hope vs. Fantasy. Last week, I came to the place where I reevaluated my past and my present and decided that the hope I clung to was just fantasy.  For years, I kept clinging to the hope that circumstances would get better, that there was a purpose for me, and that God had a future in mind for me, but last week, I gave up.  I don’t know what brought this on, other than just discouragement.  My hope switch flipped to off.  I convinced myself that it was better to give up than to continue on in my “dream world”.  I didn’t realized that when hope disappears, it would create an empty void rather than bringing peace.

God knew I had hit rock bottom and as I shared last week, the very next day he shared a verse talking about hope. He continued with that conversation this weekend by placing several people in our path to help us take the next step toward the “fantasy” future, and then today a friend stopped by my work and left me an audio book to listen to on hope.  Once more, God was reassuring me that my needs were very real to him.

Which brings me to a question – all those years of dreaming of a future filled with purpose, was it really just fantasy or was it hope? I now believe it was hope, not something I made up.  And that hope was based upon Jesus and a belief that he has started a good work in me and will bring it to fruition (Philippians 1:6), and that his plans for me aren’t for failure but for success. (Jeremiah 29:11) Without hope, life became pointless, but with it, life is worth living once more.

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squarepeg_roundhole

Hope. This is the word that my husband and I kept coming back to in our conversation yesterday.  By the end of the day, I was beyond discouraged, I was losing hope.  Several months ago, someone had shared a great encouragement with me about what I would someday do.  I hung it on my wall by my bed so that I would always remember, but yesterday, I snatched it off my wall and crumpled it up.  I no longer believed it.

My philosophy about faith (which I’m not sure is a good one anymore) was based upon a story I heard. It goes something like this:  two farmers prayed for rain.  One farmer went out and plowed his fields preparing for the rain.  Which farmer exhibited faith?  Of course, the answer is the farmer that plowed his fields.

Looking back on my life, it seems as if I’ve always been plowing my fields in anticipation of future “rain”. Even now with starting a non-profit, my mentality has been, while we are in the research/development stage, I need to get a master’s degree to prepare myself, or we need to do this and this and this and….all in preparation for the day we become supported and full-time.  But, I’m not sure this is quite the right mentality to have.  Forgive me.  This is a rambling blog in which I’m trying to figure out how I feel.  I gave up all hope yesterday.  Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a room with four walls with no means of escape, with hyper-active classical music blaring, and fingernails scraping against a chalk board?  You get the picture.  Hope of rescue may have sustained you for days, but it begins to die out as the weeks go by.

That’s pretty much where I was at. For a year, I’ve thrived on hope working towards a certain future, but when I look back, most of the fields I plowed in my life never received the anticipated rain (maybe it’s still coming).  My husband suggested that I was placing too much hope in an unsure future and not placing it here in the present.  “All we know is what God gives us today, so find peace in that, and let him guide you into the future.”  He advised.

But how do you find peace when you feel like a square peg fitting into a round hole? I guess it’s back to faith and hope – believing that God has you in a temporary situation to better you for the future, and that when the time is right, He will let you out of the 4 walled room with loud classical music and nails scraping on chalkboard.  Until then, I guess I’ll learn to focus on the hope of today – God, my family, and the relationships I have right now.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” – Psalm 39:7 (NIV)

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” – Psalm 28:15 (NIV)

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