Silence Amidst the Waves: Finding Peace in a Busy Season

Over the past weekend, in American culture, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Along with hosting a party of celebration at our home (where our family dressed the parts of pilgrims arriving to Plymouth, Massachusetts), a group of friends then went to a distant beach to camp. As we followed the caravan further and further away from the busy city life, and trekked further and further into the desolate terrain, something inside of me awakened. As the amount of skyscrapers, Aston Martins, unfamiliar driving habits and chaos of big city living grew further from our present location on the highway, I realized that my spirit was at peace. As the asphalt turned to dirt roads, and we began to follow the natural landmarks to locate the exact place to meet up with the rest of the camping group, the more excited I became.

 

Soon, we began to pass abandoned tire after abandoned tire…and we began to wonder if we had chosen the wrong vehicle for the journey! As we rounded one of the final corners prior to our arrival, all we could see were barren fields—some were not even dotted with desert foliage or a single tree. And then, we began to see something. As we turned at the final landmark, as shown on our map, something unexpected caught our eyes…the ocean! Soon, we watched as the desert scape was transformed into a fertile, water front location. Suddenly, I no longer felt as though we were in the Middle East that I had come to know over the past year and a half. I felt strangely somewhere else.

 

We arrived and greeted our friends whom had arrived before us. Our camp, at the edge of the country of Qatar—where Saudi Arabia lay just beyond the waters—could not have appeared more tranquil or inviting. The teal waters sparkled in the late afternoon sunshine as our vehicles bounced across the sand. It was spectacular.

 

As we set up our camps, the kids all ran to the water’s edge and onto the flat, exposed rocks of the tide pools. Soon discoveries of beautiful seashells, sand crabs and even starfish were all being brought to the attention of those within camp. It was truly a wonderful day of discovery. My husband and I smiled as our children played in the sand and continued to run up to us to show us their recent treasures. After being affirmed in their latest find, they would return to their quest. Their eyes sparkled in wonderment as they noted the sheer enormity of the ocean. I grabbed my camera to capture the expressions of jubilant glee upon their precious faces as they giggled and ran with their friends. There is something truly beautiful about a child discovering various parts of God’s creation in its natural habitat. Such a blessing to behold!

 

Shortly there after, Phil took a long venture out onto the shallow tide pool, which was only a few inches deep, for about a quarter of a mile out with our three and a half year old Ruthie. All from shore could see where the shelf ended and the deep waters began, as the waves broke at that point—leaving only ripples into the tide pools from there on in. Many of the children played and frolicked in the pools. And the further out they would go, the more attentive their respective parents would watch their actions.

 

It was such a beautiful reminder to me of the prodigal son. No matter how much the younger son’s words may have hurt his father’s heart—as he demanded his share of the inheritance (before his father had died) and left to “live the good life”—the young man’s father was the one who saw his now broke and humiliated son returning; while he was still a long distance away from the family property. The father did not forbid the son from going on his personal quest. His son was a grown man. But the father did know that his beloved son would soon realize that the advice and direction that he had shared through the years were not to spoil his son’s desire for fun, but rather to equip him to be successful in life—because the father loved his son. And as the son sincerely apologized to his father, the father was so happy to have his son back that he threw a grand party to celebrate his return (Luke 15:11-32).

 

Bringing this parable into the modern age: Have you ever wondered what some of the major Bible stories would have looked like if depicted on social media? How many approving comments or affirming marks might such a post as “My son once was lost, but now is found!”  receive? How many forwards? Should it matter?

 

In a world that is hyper vigilant of what other’s think of them—I know I fall into this trap more frequently than I care to admit—checking social media sites for recent marks of approval for various pictures, comments or posts—may we be willing to unplug from those who really should not have a say in our lives and return to the Lord and His approval. It took a trip to the literal desert of the Middle East this past weekend to allow me to be reminded of this very thing once more; and how grateful I am!

 

Although I love to share life with others, I have to remember whom I have been called to share each and ever moment with—above all others; the Lord. As I seek the Lord’s leading of each day as a woman within a covenant marriage to the man I love and mother our two beloved children, I cannot allow myself to lose site of the ways in which I have been called to live (Matthew 6:33). I am called to obedience to the Lord and His leadership in all areas of my life (Psalm 91:2). I need to remember to get away to meet with the Lord in a quiet place—and listen. In doing this, my soul is refreshed (Isaiah 40:31) and I am able to be the best wife and mama that I can be—with the Lord’s help—in order to best glorify the Lord (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

 

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14 (NIV)

 

As the sunset over the whispering waters of the Persian Gulf, many of us grabbed our families and cameras for pictures. To see the sunset that the Lord had created that evening was breathtaking. We finished our pictures, shared dinner and began to wind down for the night. Soon, it was pitch dark, with only the light of the campfire providing much light to see by. Over the distant clay mounds, a large moon had begun to rise. The waves seemed to hush the children as they ran through camp to put up final protests regarding bedtime and enjoy a few minutes more with friends. Soon the sand castles and elaborate sand structures would all be a memory, as the waves would smooth them all away by morning.

 

“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” Isaiah 42:16 (NASB)

 

I lay down to put our son to bed, as my husband and our daughter enjoyed s’mores with many others around the fire. I had desperately desired to get alone with the Lord, but responsibilities of “life” carried on. I knew that I could not forsake the various tasks in which the Lord had entrusted to me. Thus, although my heart wanted to grab my journal and run for the clay hill in front of us to pray and be still before the Lord, I remained within the tasks set before me. In the middle of all this, I quickly fell asleep beside our son in our tent, only to awake hours later. I did not have a watch or phone, but was certain that it was indeed after midnight. The hustle and bustle of the children had ceased, the laughter and various conversations were now ended, and even the fire had been put out. All had gone to bed. Yet, the camp was perfectly illuminated—even better than it had been by the fire’s light.

 

As I unzipped our tent, a warm ocean breeze kissed my face as the moonbeams cast a soft glow on our entire beachside campsite. I looked past the fire pit, encircled with camp chairs, to view the stunning waves that gently continued to roll across the tide pools and onto the shore. Each wave had a beautiful, white glow to it, as the moon’s light was perfectly captured by the water within. I was speechless. For the first time, in quite a long time, I was in a naturally quiet place—and my heart leapt for joy! I was alone with the Lord—just as I had desired. My heart recounted the many sweet and life changing things that the Lord had shared with me during such times in the past. I was anxious to wait upon Him to hear what He may say to my heart that evening under the moonlight. As the waves brushed up against the shore with both intentionality and control, I took a deep breath as the gentle breeze blew through my hair once more. I was in the presence of the Lover of my soul; the Lord Almighty. This was a holy moment and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this special time with the Lover of my soul, Jesus Christ.

 

“More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty.” Psalm 93:4 (NASB)

 

Ladies, if you have entrusted your heart to Jesus Christ, do not forget that He is the Lover of your soul (Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 2:4-5, John 3:16, Romans 5:8 & 1 Peter 5:6-7). He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3 & Psalm 103:17). Thus, take the time—make the time, to get alone with Him. Allow Him to refresh your body and soul with the truths of His Word, the Holy Bible (Psalm 119:105). May we realize the refreshment and revival of spirit that awaits each one of us as we passionately pursue His leading in our lives.

 

“For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 (NASB)

 

I gazed at the stars, which seemed to be bursting through the night’s sky. They sparkled amidst the gentle moonbeams and all seemed right in the world as all others dreamed deeply in their tents. The Little Dipper, the Big Dipper, Orion and other star formations could be identified with ease. The night was so clear. I could see for miles across the desert landscape. Far off to my left, with the ocean to my back, I could see the glowing orange fireball that was shooting straight into the air from the natural gas release a great distance away. (Liquid natural gas and petroleum are both plentiful within the Middle East. And this unfamiliar site reminded me where I was in the midst of this sweet time before the Lord). No matter where in the world you may be reading this from today, rest assured, God sees you in your specific circumstances. You, in all the ups and downs of life that you may be experiencing at present, not a single detail has gone unnoticed by the Lord. Rest assured, you have the Lord’s attention.

 

“Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NASB)

 

Ladies, in this busy time of Christmas preparation, I encourage you to get alone with the Lord.Set aside the recipe cards, the decorations and piling “traditions” in order to allow the Lord to minister to your heart. He has wonderful truths to remind you of and refresh your soul with that are found in His Holy Word, the Holy Bible. If you find that you too are looking forward to time alone with the Lord, I encourage you to make it happen. You will be glad you did—as your peace is renewed, your hope is strengthened and your love and awe of the God of all creation continues to grow with each encounter. Jesus Christ is Lord and there is no other. Allow Him to whisper truths to your soul in this season of busyness, because in the end, He is all that is worth pursuing. And in all honesty, Jesus Christ is the only reason for the season of Christmas in the first place.

May we be a generation of women who are teachable and willing to learn from the Lord how to rest in silent peace amidst the waves of chaos within our life–due to the reality of who God is and His steadfast love. Ladies, He is worth it. Meet Him under the moonbeams sometime; He made them to be enjoyed.

“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:29 (NASB)

Mani and Pedi Sessions with Jesus: Are you ready for some pampering?

10“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Isaiah 46:10-11 NASB

 

As the holiday season is upon us, many will head to the beauty salon for a nice festive color for both fingers and toes. Yesterday, my hubby treated me to some pampering of the mani and pedi kind. It was wonderful! As my feet were soaking in the warm bubbles and my fingers also soaked, I took a deep breath and thanked the Lord for this moment alone with Him. As the two ladies spoke in a foreign language to one another in a playful way, their laughter became contagious. Soon, as my feet were being rubbed and my hands were also being massaged, I too found myself laughing as these sweet ladies carried on. And then, it hit me.

 

When we head to the salon, we have great expectations of pampering; of renewal; of refreshment. We look forward to resting in a relaxing chair and being able to tune out the world for a few minutes. In those moments, our phones do not distract us—as often one hand is being painted and the other is soaking! Thus, we are forced to rest. We are forced to slow down and receive some refreshment and pampering. Whether we decide to speak or simply recharge silently, is irrelevant. This time away from the chaos of the “every day” is a beautiful thing. And, in many ways, a mani and pedi session is much like time alone with Jesus! Allow me to explain.

 

As Christians we are continually reminded to get away from the noise and chaos of the every day to spend time alone with the Lord through prayer and scripture reading. And in doing so, our soul finds refreshment (Jeremiah 31:25), our mind is renewed (Romans 12:2) and our body is literally able to rest in the presence of Almighty God as we quiet ourselves before Him (Matthew 11:28). Ladies, we are so precious to God that the Bible actually calls us His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). This affection and adoration is not the result of your ability to follow fashion, maintain a curtain weight or achieve the latest goal. No, the God of all creation values you—just as you are. You are precious. You are cherished. You were created with a purpose. You are significant to Almighty God—to the point that He took our violations of perfection upon His perfect self, died in our place and raised in victory over death to then lavish upon us the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 2:4-6). Talk about pampering!

 

8God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

 

Ladies, I challenge you in the name of Jesus Christ, allow your heart, mind and soul to receive the refreshment it longs for. Despite what friends, family or even social media may be screaming for you to respond to or forward, regardless of what holiday preparations or traditions may be threatening to take up all of your time—allow yourself to recharge in the presence of Almighty God. Allow yourself to simply sit at the Lord’s feet (Luke 10:38-42). I can guarantee you that you will not regret the time spent waiting in expectation for the Lord as you open the Holy Bible, pray and simply listen for Him to speak to your heart.

 

God loves you with an everlasting love (1 Chronicles 16:34) and desires to spend time with you. Share your thoughts with Him. Confide in Him. Seek His counsel. Allow your soul to find rest and refreshment in His presence—regardless of the chaos that may be around you. Invite Jesus Christ into your story to refresh, renew and restore your hope, your joy and your peace (Psalm 51:12). For it is in His unchanging love that each person drawing a breath in their lungs will find true contentment and pampering for the soul. Jesus said it beautifully in the book of Matthew within the Holy Bible:

 

“All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” Matthew 11:29 HCSB

 

Jesus Christ is ready to restore you right where you are. The only question is, are you ready? Come soak up some time with the Lord and rest in the knowledge that you are loved and highly valued by Jesus Christ. Get alone with Him and enjoy some time of personal pampering of the soul. You will be glad you did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Leather: For Such A Time As This

Have you ever gone through a time in your life that was so difficult, so truly straining that you wondered if you would make it through? And once on the other side, you realize that you are not at all the same person whom entered the trial prior to the journey? You not only can take courage in the reality that you are not alone, but you are also be encouraged within the hardship by the words of Jesus Christ.

Just before Jesus was to be crucified, by the very ones He had come to earth to rescue, He spoke these words to His disciples.

 

32“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33 NASB

 

This evening as my husband began to buff his leather shoes, an object lesson was born before our eyes. The worn down, dull looking leather shoes really needed some loving. And as my husband and I spoke of our own current hardships, the Lord began to reveal to our hearts just how poignant this lesson from some walking leather applied to our Christian lives. Allow me to explain.

 

For those who have never shined a leather shoe, like myself, it is a beautiful process to witness. A dull and seemingly worthless shoe is given new life through the careful and skillful attention of the shoe owner. Through the use of polish and a coarse brush, what was once dull and worn out, truly begins to shine like new leather.

 

As my husband brushed one of the shoes, he asked me if it was 20:08 yet. I did not understand the significance of the time. I looked at the clock and stated that it was only 20:06. Upon hearing this, my husband said, “I need to let the polish sit on the other shoe until 20:08. I will leave it on a little longer.” And upon hearing these words, we began to think about the hardships that we are currently experiencing—that are being used to draw us closer to the Lord. And with each minute that the hardship stays within our lives, much like the polish upon the shoe leather, there is a purpose. And at the appointed time, just the perfect time, the shoe owner brushes away the polish to reveal the brilliant shine on the newly revitalized leather. How true is this of our Christian lives!

 

Each piece of leather is carefully selected and placed to create the desired shoe. Regardless of whether or not a person walking through a shoe store can see, let alone appreciate, the detail of the certain footwear, the shoemaker knew exactly what he hoped to accomplish. Whether or not the shoe itself understands its own capabilities, the shoemaker does. And it is only through being worn that the shoe is able to really see its full potential. Much like a leather shoe, as Christians, we too become worn down and our outlook can even become dull. It is in these times that we are to call upon the Lord in honest pray for His refreshment as we openly share our situations with Him. Praise God that we can bring all things before the Lord through prayer (1 Peter 5:7). AlongAnd as we ask for strength to endure our present hardship, a fresh peace and strengthening of His divine purpose begins to shine through the polish of the difficult situation to give way to His ultimate purpose—our refinement for His eternal glory and our ultimate joy.

 

10For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. 11You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins 12You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-13 NASB

 

Regardless of the chaotic situation you may find yourself in today, there is hope in Jesus’ name! If you are struggling with depression, hopelessness, a lack of purpose or finding it hard to find the joy that you once received—rest. Although you may not be able to see through the think polish that coats your present reality, ask the Lord to give you perspective on how to praise Him through the difficulty—with the knowledge that He is using this present hardship to further refine your heart and character to more truly reflect His glory.

 

30I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. 31And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs. 32The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive.” Psalm 69:30-32 NASB

 

Let your heart revive. How beautiful to grasp hold of the truth that no matter what has worn your heart down or waged war against your spirit, there is hope in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Just as the shoe is willing to go where the owner walks, so we as Christians, must be willing to walk the mountaintops and valleys where the Lord takes us. Why? Because with each step that we are willing to further surrender our lives to the Maker, the more our likeness will better reflect His and radiate His glory. Despite what we can see, or not see, from our current situations, praise God that there is hope and divine purpose for each day in Jesus’ name!

 

15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 NASB

 

*This article is featured on Wonderfully Made’s Official Blog Site. Click the title in teal below to view.

Walking Leather

 

Shared Tea At the Table of Honest Confession: There is Hope in Jesus’ Name

Grab a cup of something warm and join me at the table of honest confession for a comforting reminder of God’s security in times of chaos and heartache. Despite the chaos or hellish situation you may be a witness to or experiencing within your own life, allow me to encourage you over a little cup of tea. I have my steaming cup! You’ve got yours? Great. Here we go!

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Despite the depth of pain and suffering you are currently holding inside your heart, you are not alone my friend. God is walking beside you, if you allow Him into your story. God is more faithful than any doubts we may feel regarding His goodness or attention to our lives and mankind as a whole. Remember-He is stronger than our strongest weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10). God is not just an element–like the wind or water. He is the WARRIOR General of Heaven’s Army (Psalm 46:7). That’s pretty sick…you gotta admit. 🙂

 

I know what it feels like to slump along in the faith…and to really come to times of QUESTIONS. Now, this isn’t bad! The thing is, take it to Christ (Psalm 55:22, Psalm 62:8, Isaiah 41:10 and 1 Peter 5:7). HE is ready to answer your unknowns and bring light to dark spots you now identify. Do not back down girlfriend. YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR…and this is exactly what Christ has done for you when He stepped down from heaven to redeem our lives by His atoning blood (Romans 5:8).

 

Call out to Christ in honesty. If your day sucks…tell Him. What I love about our Lord is He’s real. Thus, we never need to sugar coat anything. Never do we need to pretend with God. Why? Because He already sees our hearts and desires to STRENGTHEN us for His work and calling (1 Samuel 16:7, 2 Timothy 3:17 & Ephesians 2:0) . The Lord says…

 

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.”

Revelation 3:8

 

Keep the faith my friend! Christ has NOT dropped you. HOLD FAST.

 

The Lord knows all the desires within your heart. He sees the hurts. He knows the fears. He hears the uncertainty. AND, God wants to work all things out in your life. How cool is that?! 🙂 I myself went through a long time of WAITING…and waiting…and just for a change of pace, I WAITED some more 🙂 for direction from the Lord. And nothing happened–so I thought.

 

What I didn’t realize then, but am seeing more through time, is that God DELIGHTS in His kids (Psalm 147:11). Thus, He is willing to do what it takes to get us ready for the situations and circumstances that will be brought our way in time. WHY? Because He cares about us enough to prepare and equip us for the trials and hardships that will come our way in this life. Pretty cool if you ask me. 🙂

 

For me, I had FEARED going to Africa or having anything to do with it since I was a little girl. But when I was a little girl, probably in 3rd or 4th grade, I remember seeing a map of Africa in school and feeling led to go there. Yet, in all honesty, this HORRIFIED me! How could I someday go to a place I knew NOTHING about? I didn’t understand…and stayed away from the idea for MANY years.

Then while in college, the Lord gave me a dream. In it, He showed me a few scenes that looked to be out of a movie of sorts where I could see myself. Well, I then awoke and felt compelled to learn Arabic! Spanish was my college major at the time. So, this seemed really funny, too. Yet, I knew it was indeed from the LORD. And as the months continued, He provided for an opportunity for me to head off to Africa for the first time (Zambia). It was interesting to see how the Lord had prepared my heart to go. And in the meantime (while still in the U.S.), Christ, being the gentleman He is, allowed me the opportunity to let go of my fear and hold on to His mighty leading. I came to see that Christ will never lead us to a place He hasn’t prepared for us as we continue to pray for Him to lead. How reassuring to remember–He cares about us more than any other can. And He knows our hearts better than even we know ourselves–wild.

 

So, as I got ready to leave, I would need to continually come back to Him (in my prayer journal) with my FEARS of going. And each time, our gracious LORD would calm my fears and affirm the route I was walking. He was leading the whole thing and I was SO blessed by this fact. And I can tell you in all honesty, as I let go of my concerns; the Lord began to sprout excitement and a love for a people I had never met, deep within my heart. It was wild! And as I returned from the short time in Zambia, I was told by the Lord that I would be going to Africa again. And I was THRILLED!!! haha

 

And as I was getting ready to leave for long distance travel again–longer this time–I was again, writing prayers and crying out to the Lord for His guidance. I did not desire to do anything without the Lord. I am lost without Him. And each time, the Lord was faithful in answering my cries and responding to my fears–because as a Christian, we are not to be ruled by fear. If we are walking in the path that God has directed us, then we are to walk in boldness (Isaiah 26:4, Psalm 115:11, Psalm 118:8 & Proverbs 3:5). As I prepared for this extended journey, I would daily ask the LORD to have His will in this day as well as in the upcoming adventure, because I knew that I could not do it alone. And in all honesty my friend, this is what it’s all about.

 

The Lord desires for us to be SO dependent on Him that we involve Him in even the “little” decisions of our days. Why? Because He is madly in love with us and desires us to know that we are never, ever alone (Hosea 3:1). And this is sooooo sweet in my opinion. How sweet to know that we share a relationship with the Creator of the universe–and He longs to be involved in every area of our lives out of the utmost love and concern for us.

 

Prior to leaving for this extended journey, the Lord had spoken to my heart, to state that I would meet my husband while pursuing Arabic in this new exotic land. I was floored to say the least! I had never even considered  getting married until only a few years previous. So, to say I was speechless, is totally an understatement. 

 

To fast forward a bit, it was through this very process–returning to Africa–that the Lord spoke to my heart to assure me that I would meet my husband while pursuing Arabic in this new exotic land. The Lord also assured me that I would reside within this land for two years…and that I would be leaving America in six months to begin the journey! Oh, did I mention that I did not have a full-time job to fund all of this? I had only just returned from a missions trip to a very different part of the world–and now the Lord had spoken to my heart about leaving soon–for a long time away with Him. I took a deep breath, prayed much and sought hard after Biblical counsel. When it was all said and done, I found myself with a team of financial supporters, cheering me on and waving good-bye at the tiny airport of my hometown in California–as I was now embarking on the extended journey back to Africa. 

 

It was there, in Africa, that my heart was drawn closer to the man God had prepared for me. And just as the Lord had told me, from the time I was there alone, during our courtship, it was one calendar year. My husband was then assigned to the U.S. Embassy in that specific country for the following year. Thus, the second year of my stay, I was no longer a language student, but now the Embassy wife of the love of my life!

 

While we were there, the Arab Spring was kicking off. It was a touchy time to live abroad as youtube videos and Facebook posts were not exactly friendly towards those of different nationalities and religions. I will never forget the trip that my husband and I took down to the southern portion of the country for his work. Protests had been becoming more frequent and only a few days previous, I had been trapped in our Toyota 4×4, by a mob, down a main thoroughfare of the capital city. All was well. As we now drove south, my husband received a phone call from the Embassy asking of our exact whereabouts. Soon we learned that there had been an explosion at a street cafe just a few miles from us–and there were many injured. It was a surreal time. Yet, the Lord had prepared me for this. We knew that the safest place to be was the center of the Lord’s will for our lives. God had called us to a time of enduring chaos.

 

Since the time I was a little girl, I was never drawn to situations that were “safe”. Perhaps you yourself can relate! My heart was always drawn towards danger–risk–and high stakes. As each year of my life would pass, it became clearer that the Lord had been preparing me for something that would excite my adventure seeking heart. I was drawn to situations of chaos. And, as funny as it sounds, after the first date I had with my husband, the Lord assured me in my heart–“He’s the one”.

We now live in a different part of the world, the Middle East, with our two young children. My husband has been assigned to this U.S. Embassy for a specific time–where we have had the privilege of watching the Lord work amongst the Arab people. For the many stories of praise that have come out of the sands of this desert land, I thank the Lord! For, no matter what season of life one may currently find themselves, we all need refreshment. And, true and lasting satisfaction can only be found in Jesus Christ. And if I would have been crippled by fear, I would have missed out on all of the blessings along the way!

What a MIGHTY God we serve! 🙂 

 

Grief is here and heartache is real. Yet, as believers in Jesus Christ, we do not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). It is a sincere comfort for me to recall that salvation and rescue are available to all who call upon His name (Acts 2:21). We may still remain in our chaotic situations, but as believers in Jesus Christ, we can rest assured that better days and true rest from heartache are coming in the Lord’s perfect timing (Isaiah 40:30-31).

 

I think far too often we picture God like a superhero…able to rescue and fully save—only one at a time. Yet, this is not true of the Almighty God, Yahweh. AMEN! We serve the God of creation and the lover of our souls. Thus, no matter the time period in history, the color of our skin, or the complexity of the chaos around the globe—Christ is there and ready to rescue whenever called upon.

 

And as we pray for help, as we cry our in our weakness and allow HIM to be in sovereign control of our lives, things will change in a drastic way. Now, this may not mean we’ll be taken out of the situations, but God will orchestrate the situation for our ultimate rescue. Christ desires to walk with us through our journeys–ministering to our hearts all the while. Why in the world would He do this, you may be asking?

 

Because WE ARE WORTH IT. True love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). And for this reason, Christ was willing to come to this earth, where He was tempted in every way, never sinned and was then willing to DIE for our stupid decisions and hurtful choices (1 John 4:10). He paid a debt that you and I could never pay for on our own. Regardless of the circumstances that have brought you to this point in your life today, God has already provided a way out!

 

Stop and think about that for a sec…reread that last paragraph if you need to. Let it soak in.

 

You are loved (Romans 5:8). There truly is no amount of words to express this fully. It comes down to a realization and peace within your heart that only Christ Himself can provide. Pray for God to reveal His peace and direction for your life as you follow His will for your life. Don’t be afraid to seek after God. The Lord assures us that we will find Him when we search with all of our heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Again, it is a heart issue. God too me through the same process and I am fully confident that He will do the same for you. Why?

 

Because YOU ARE WORTH IT. His death and resurrection from the dead proved so (Acts 10:41 & Romans 14:8-9)! Don’t allow the devil to feed you lies about your identity. YOU ARE ROYALTY. If you have entrusted your life and eternal destiny to Jesus Christ, you are the daughter of THE MOST HIGH.

 

Whether your personal world is falling apart or you are watching the global events that continue to unfold horrific tragedy and bloodshed, take heart. God has not checked out of the picture. It is time for all who call upon the name of the Lord to rise up and fall to our knees before the Throne of God. It is time for us to pray that God would move the hearts of both individuals experiencing heartache as well as world leaders, to bring compassion, justice and mercy to those experiencing devastation and abject horror. There is hope in Jesus’ name. Jesus assures us of the victory that we can claim over each and every circumstance of life within the Holy Bible.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

 

May we pray that the Lord stir our hearts, as believers in Jesus Christ, to be used to further His message of hope and restoration to this hurting world. Why? Because each heart is worth it to God—Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead is proof of this beauty amidst the thorns of present heartache. Ladies, may we earnestly pray for each hurting heart to experience true peace for Christ alone is the answer.

 

*This article is featured on Wonderfully Made’s Official Blog Site. Click the title in teal below to view.

Coffee Shop Convo for Days that Hurt

 

 

Emerging Praise from the E.R.

“13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13-17 (NASB)

As we left the ER this morning, after our daughter Ruth received her first ever two stitches, my thoughts were swirling. Over the past few years, we have experienced more ups and downs that have landed us in the hospital due to toddlerhood. Parenting is not for the faint of heart!

As I have chosen to obey the prompting on my heart to stay at home with my children—to “wash their feet”— not all days have been filled with sunshine. There is real hardship—just like in any job. And praise God, that with Jesus Christ (Matthew 19:26), we are MORE than capable to succeed at the honored post of motherhood.

Despite high falls, nearly choking on food, running out in front of cars, almost getting backed into by a car, chipping teeth, dog bites, splitting the chin open, putting razors in the mouth, climbing furniture—and a 200 pound dresser falling to trap legs underneath as well as acquiring head wounds—God has sustained our children.

I praise God that despite all of my efforts to “safe guard” each situation in which my children are present, God is ultimately in charge. I am so grateful that we have prayer warriors on both sides of our family whom also bring requests on behalf of our children before the Lord. What an absolute honor! Yet, do not be discouraged when cuts, scrapes and E.R. visits still take place. God’s plan for our children, all of them, is bigger than our biggest dream and greatest ambition for their lives. And for this reason, He is the best protection our children will ever receive.

“For you will not leave in a hurry, and you will not have to take flight; because the LORD is going before you, and the God of Israel is your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12 (HCSB)

Thus, mamas, may you each be encouraged—no matter what injuries your little ones have experienced—God has a plan to bring about HIS will for their lives that is for their ultimate good. Not only are hard circumstances used for our children’s stories, but also for the betterment of our own stories as deeper communication with Father God in Heaven is built (Jeremiah 29:11-13). As we seek Him with all of our heart on behalf of our children, we are honoring God and placing the ultimate outcome in His hands.

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

When my husband and I married, I had resolved that I did not want any kids. I was content with being married. What needed to be added? Yet, as time went on, we really wanted kids of our own. We were blessed with our sweet Ruthie while we lived in the national capitol region. And a year and a half later, we were blessed with our mighty son Daniel during our time in the Deep South. We were so grateful to have our girl and our boy. Yet, the reality of having two under the age of two years old quickly proved to be challenging. And in retrospect, how blessed I am to recall the myriad of opportunities I have been given to wait on the Lord!

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 (NASB)

Regardless of the phase of parenthood your own family may be in, no matter what floor or wing of the hospital you may need to visit on behalf of a loved one, no matter what chaotic or turbulent time your loved ones may be going through—hold fast to the Word of God. Claim the promises of God found in Scripture and declare them back to the Lord in earnest conversation.

“At daybreak, LORD, You hear my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 (HCSB)

“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.”            Psalm 62:5 (HCSB)

Ladies, may we be a generation of mamas that clothe our babies in prayer. May we be women of great internal fortitude that is rooted in Jesus Christ alone. We are promised in the Holy Scriptures that we can do all—not just some—but all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

We have an opportunity to rise above our stressful circumstances. May we quell the fears and negativity that may run rampant in our hearts as a result of these stressful circumstances by laying our troubles at the foot of the throne of God. May we be filled with confidence in God’s unfailing love and divine plans for each of those we cherish and hold dear to our hearts.

“He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20 (NASB)

This is our moment ladies. This is our time! May we rise above the unknowns that may cloud our present realities regarding our children and hold fast to the Lord—who is faithful to lead with perfect sovereignty and complete love.

“15 They wander about for food and growl if they are not satisfied. 16 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my strength, I will sing praises to You;For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.” Psalm 59:15-17 (NASB)