Do I really trust God?

We have teenagers…2 (Plus a little guy but he is still mostly just a fireball)! Teens are undeniably erratic and selfish. Life is usually fine and sometimes INSANE! When things are good we read, talk, pray, learn, listen, watch, play etc. When things are bad we cry and pray and yell and pray some more.

Recently things went from good to really really bad. I wept at the drop of a hat and prayed with my tears more than words. But I felt the intense embrace from the Lord during those few days. We encouraged each other and tried to not get short tempered with the 2 other ones not causing immediate pain to us and remember that they were in turmoil too.

In recent months with our small group we have read through the Psalms. It has irritated me that David writes so “whiney” and that he doesn’t seem to just stay within the knowledge and trust of God. Then Friday came to this home, and Saturday, and Sunday, and Monday where we cried out “WHY US? WHY THIS? WHY…WHY…WHY? BUT… we WILL trust in the Lord our God whose plans are for our and our children futures to be full of hope and life.” We did not distrust God even in our painful moments and  yet we felt safe enough that we could pray and cry out to him.

Today… I feel much more at peace with the Psalms. Understanding that David didn’t just lose his faith every time something hard happened, just that he felt secure enough to voice his pain is life giving to me. I did not lose my faith or my trust in my holy, heavenly God this past weekend…I depended on him to listen and take care of the situation in our behalf. I read this morning in Psalm 119 that “your mercies run into the billions, following your guidelines revive me…[I do not want to be one who] walks away from your promises casually!”

So when asked to” pause and imagine God’s love pouring over me” I can do that with joy!

(for those of you that know and love us… please know that all is well. No one is injured or in danger or in any issue that is life lasting. We still covet your prayers for coming days and weeks for things to smooth out but we are all healthy and together)

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Seasons

I learn best through metaphor… so bear with me.

I live in Colorado where our lives are governed by seasons. We pray for winter snows to water our desert land where we plant crops in the spring to harvest in the summer and fall. Our crops freeze a lot of the time. Not only is there nothing we can do about it, we have to wait later in the year for the fruits of our labor or “borrow” someone else’s.  We have a dry season, a tourist season, a slow season, a harvest season, an apple season, monsoon season, yard sale season, fire season, color season, hunting season, calving/lambing season, football/basketball/baseball/soccer season, wildflower season… I could go on and on.

Each of these seasons have emotion attached to them. We anticipate the tourist season so we can pay our bills without sweat and tears. We fear fire season and its destructiveness. We wait ever so impatiently for monsoon season where we revel in 12% humidity during the rain storm.  We love calving/ lambing season as we watch the newborn babies learn to play but fear that there is still so much cold left until spring. We turn our tv satellite service on for football season and fiercely proclaim our allegiance to the Broncos. We yell and coach and try to rest up for our kids sports seasons. We love wildflower and color season as the colors are so vibrant and creative. Again, I could go on and on. As with all things natural I try to apply it to my spiritual journey.

As I dread the coming of winter in my physical self I feel myself dread the winter in my spirit too. But as I have learned to see beauty in cute boots and new snow I am training myself to see beauty in spiritual winter too. Learning to breathe with the seasons of the church has helped in this. The ordinary time does not mean God is far away. It means He is in the ordinary just as actively as He is in the celebrations. In my winter season I use more of the contemplative disciplines to practice his presence. I read. I meditate. I am quiet (yes during winter basketball season when I am the crazy coaching parent in the stands it is hard to visualize this…haha). It is this season where I love “Yard sale” season of the soul. I take something of someone else’s and make it my treasure. During the “monsoon” season of the soul I take in the rain from heaven and store it away. For me this looks like worship services or retreats etc. Where I am immersed in God for a period of time.

There are some seasons I am in now and I keep thinking “will this ever change?” or “I hope this never changes!”. I remind myself that God is always faithful to bring the next season. Winter always follows fall. But spring ALWAYS follows winter. This season too will pass. I will soon look back and say “that wasn’t so bad and went so quickly”. I take great solace in Ecclesiastes 3… There is a season for everything under the sun.  I recently saw a quote that read “The difference between a good [season] and a bad [season] is your attitude.” I am praying that my seasonal attitude will be to see Jesus in all seasons!

Great is His faithfulness

Ever have one of those weeks where God just keeps showing up?  In every situation, no matter how you mess it up, no matter what rotten attitude you exhibit, no matter the mistakes you make.  You attempt over and over again to screw things up with your complete and utter “human-ness”, but there He is.  Making things ok.  Reminding you that He is in control and that all you have to do is rely on Him and obey.  That is exactly the week I am having.

I’m not very proud to admit that trusting God is not really my strong suit.  I teach my kids that they can rely on Him for everything.  I tell them that they can go to God with anything that burdens their heart and if they hand it over, He will deal with it. I tell them that they will look back on those burdens one day and realize that what once seemed so huge to them will look much smaller and more manageable.  But, I don’t always practice what I preach.  I hand my burdens over to God with the full belief that He will work them out in my best interest. And I let Him deal with them. Until I don’t.  Until I feel like I am not getting the results I expected or until things aren’t happening fast enough to suit me.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I don’t consciously think “God had failed me.  I’ve given Him the one thing that He couldn’t handle.”  But by snatching my worries back from His hands that’s exactly what I am saying to Him.  By hanging onto things I had previously turned over, I am suggesting that I am bigger and more capable than God.

But He remains faithful.  He shows up.  Even when He could leave me to my own sad devices.  Even when He could fold His arms across His divine chest and say to me, “go ahead. You wanted to take it back so badly.  You deal with it.”  But He doesn’t do those things.  He walks alongside me and gives me more chances.  So many chances that I feel as though I must be coming to the end of my share.  Until I remember that there is no end to the chances.

I am so grateful for those times when God keeps showing up in unexpected ways.  When I hear the same message in different ways in a short amount of time.  When the same Scripture keeps popping up and speaking to me in different ways.  And when He makes His presence known in a situation that reminds me to stop, go to my kids and remind them of His great faithfulness.

Faith like a child

This is our second year celebrating advent and preparing ourselves for Christmas in our spirits not just in buying gifts. I was unsure at first how much of it my small children would get. I mean seriously how much can a five year old understand, the answer is more than I can know. My five year old son is always amazing me with this depth of connection with God already. As my husband asked him what he knew about Jesus he spoke such a clear gospel message that I wondered how I could have ever thought he wouldn’t get advent. His response for what he is most thankful from Jesus for today was, “His peace”. Indeed his peace is so true. In the last four weeks, peace has come to rest in our house, we chose to do the weeding section of the devotional right before bed and although in the beginning it was a bit hard to keep their attention, our children have never gone to bed with such ease or peace. Very rarely do they bicker or complain at bed time. It has also been a sweet time of them each cuddling up to mom or dad as we discuss how God was apart of our day. We finish each night with a prayer time, starting with our two year old and ending with dad. I can tell you nothing eases a hard days worth of work like hearing your two year old pray a blessing over you from heaven.

On Christmas night after the chaos ended, we sat around the tree reading the story of Jesus’ birth. Once we were finished, Ezekiel lead the family in acting out the story, with his baby brother playing the part of Jesus. It was beautiful, to be lead by our children in remembering what Christmas is all about. You can have faith and find faith for yourself but you can also pass it on to your children and this devotional is helping us as parents do that. On Christmas morning our son couldn’t find his first gift and was very upset about making the whole house look for it. Then we reminded him to pray, to ask Jesus for his help, about ten minutes later it was found and he learned that he could trust God to help him in his time of need. I may not have a wealth of money to pass down to him but if I can give him the full understanding of God’s love for him, my life is worth it.
The blessing is that no matter how old you are there is no limit to God’s word impacting us. The day we read of the last supper and how Peter denied Christ, Joseph was reminded how weak we are, no matter how Godly you think you are or how strong in the Lord, it’s impossible to serve Him without His help.
It’s beautiful to look back at this last month and see how much we as individuals and family has grown together and in the Lord.