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just a little encouragement for today :-)

isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

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Last Friday was a BIG day and I didn’t realize it until it was almost over. I was full of emotions and even as I type this, various feelings are welling up inside. The more I think about it, the more I see how this was such a significant anniversary not just for Peter and I, but for me as an individual. It was three years ago this past Friday that he and I ended our engagement and ended our relationship.

I was in a dark and painful place. I wanted to believe God that I would get out of it; I wanted to believe that He had more for me. But I was hurt. It was a pain I had never known and to this day would not wish upon my worst enemy. But He, the Lord Almighty does indeed make beauty from ashes.

I never thought I would stop believing that to be married meant you were successful, I never thought I could love God more than anything else, I never thought I could be a woman capable of marriage, I never thought I would have a love affair with Jesus, and I certainly didn’t believe that God could redeem and restore Peter and I like He has. I am just amazed at what the Lord can do in such a short time.

It has been a hard tearful road. But I’ve learned sometimes you have to fight for the good things, even when the Lord has given you the blessing. I’ve learned, my Jesus is my everything and He is all I need. I’ve learned to grab hold of Him and not let go. Everything else is to be held with an open palm.

My mind has been flooded with these promises:

judges 6:12 (of course!) “the Lord is with you mighty warrior!”

psalm 37:4 “delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

eccl. 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I will never know this side of Heaven just how incredible You are Lord. Thank You for the parts You allow me to see.  Thank You for writing my story. A story that could truly only be written by the uncreated One. Only You could be both the builder and the wrecking ball.

Just when my tears were falling deep enough to drown
Down in the valley of the shadow of a doubt
When I gave up that’s when He came to lift me out
And set me high, yeah

When I saw it as a gift of matchless worth
I started thinking it was something I deserved
He pulled the rug from underneath without a word
And left me dry, yeah

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

He gave them freedom and a fertile promise land
They took for granted their deliverance at hand
Thirty-nine years later they’re still walking through that sand
Wondering why, why

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And He builds it up, and He knocks it down
Just to build it up even stronger

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Jill Philips – Wrecking Ball

i have a best friend. yes. i have A best friend. it sounds silly to be 30 years old and mention a friend like i might have when i was 5 and on the playground. but it’s true, i have a best friend. i love all my friends and they stand out each on their own with something beautiful in their own rights, but this best friend is special. i don’t know how to explain her or our relationship. it’s been through a lot the past year and as we embark on different seasons it’s hard to navigate the new course we’re on. but one thing will never change, she’s my best friend.

i heard this song for the first time a few years ago. i thought christy nockels was singing about her husband. my best friend told me christy wrote the song about her very best friend. i didn’t understand how someone could write something like that about a friend, at least back then i didn’t. now i know though. i have a best friend whom i could have written this song about.

if you don’t have a friend like this, i pray the Lord will bring you one. love you shell.

Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways
you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it’s ok to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I’ve been with God
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

Chorus:
Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies for me
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah

You had faith
when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn’t think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I’ve been hoping that I’ll
do the kind of praying for you that you’ve done for me
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

Chorus

You have carried me
You have taken on a burden
that wasn’t your own, yeah
may that blessing return to you
A hundredfold
oh oh yeah, a hundredfold

Chorus:
Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know.

(Watermark – More than You’ll Ever Know)

i posted this a year ago, but thought i would repost to participate in a project proposed by one of the blogs i follow. i tried to write something else about beauty but it just wasn’t right. this was and still is.

~~~

Women are beautiful, and God intentionally made us that way. But there is something that happens to a woman when she is finally set free. When she relinquishes control to her Savior, her Abba Father, her King, she glows in such a way that only He can make her glow. She has a peace and grace that leave you wanting what she has. It spurs you on to seek your God to know Him intimately, to desire to be like Him. You wonder, what does she have that I don’t have? What she has is the assurance that she is loved, she is delighted in and she was created for a purpose. Most likely she has fought the battle and fought hard, knowing the war was won on the Cross. She has cried, prayed and begged her way through the valley, clutching at every Word her Father gave her along the way. Even when she didn’t feel His presence she trusted He was there. She learned how to take her thoughts captive and how to cling to what was true no matter how she was feeling, no matter how dark and lonely the valley may have seemed. She fell in love with her Lord more and more as she trusted His Word and He came through every time.

No matter how she felt at any given moment, she went back to the Truth and it did indeed set her free. And now, she stands in the victory that was hers along. She walks with grace and dignity and has put shame and despair behind her. And she will comfort those who need comfort in the same way she has been comforted by her Father. She will use her victory to bring her sister to victory. She will not be ashamed of her past, or the scars she may bear because of it, but rather walk alongside others, bringing them to their victory. And one day she will see, even her scars have been healed.

Women are beautiful, but when we meet with the Loving God, when we fight the battle that has been won for us, and we don’t give up, there is an unexplainable beauty and grace that comes upon us.

Yep, that’s what I’m doing. I’m choosing JOY. Not sure how long this deliberate documentation of joy will last, but that’s what I plan to do. Every day from now until yet-to-be-determined-date, I am going to write about something that brings me joy each day. And I’m challenging myself to find Scripture each day that somehow addresses joy, whether that is through a direct mention or a discussion of something that is guaranteed to lead to joy.

I’ve been battling about this blog in my mind, asking the Lord if I should keep this up, take it down or even just break from it for a bit. But I think this might be the perfect use of it for now. It will keep me accountable and force me to take my thoughts captive and give God glory in ALL things, big and small :-) I suppose if I practiced Lent this would have been a good thing to start last week…. Anyway, I know joy only comes from the Lord and sometimes more often than not I have to choose it. Glory be to the most High God for this deliberate choice of JOY :-)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

i’ve found there is nothing more beautiful and profound than God’s word. and perhaps the byrds knew that when they used the Bible for their lyrics. i wonder how many have heard their song and felt the draw to the living God…

today this is what the Lord has washed me with. a beautiful passage of scripture that speaks for itself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

someone very dear to my heart wrote this to me today:

“i really believe that as we accept what He has in store for us in our lives, He can move mountains through us.  i know this well as i surrender more to Him each day.

do your best to walk and talk in the joy of the lord even as He works on you.  not covering up and hiding your feelings and battle but happy to be alive, your confidence will lift and others will know your grace as you battle.”

thank you Lord. that is my prayer :-)

A week or so ago I got this message on Facebook from a really good friend, it’s from the social interview application (I still don’t know how it works and I’m not going to find out).

The question it asked her was, “If Lindsey starred in a TV show, what would her character be like?”

My friend answered: “Adventurous, smart and a little mysterious!”

When I read it at first I thought, wow, that’s pretty cool! I’ve always wanted to be an adventurous person but never really considered myself one. I know I’m not smart but if she wants to think I am that’s totally cool. Mysterious? Really?

Hmm… I think I’ll sit on this for a little while longer.

Why is it that the majority of bios of women of faith start out at as follows:

Susie Q is a wife of 17 years, a mother of two young women, a talented speaker and author…

Now to be fair, there are some who start their bios as follows: Betty, a nationally recognized speaker and award winning writer travels to various churches and organizations across the country delivering messages of freedom to women. (sorry that’s not very creative, I didn’t want to “rip off” someone’s actual bio…)

My question is, if one of the greatest struggles for women of faith is finding their identity in Christ and not the roles they play, the mistakes of their past, etc., shouldn’t the female leaders of this time pave the way in identifying themselves as such? It might seem like a nitpicky thing, but I wonder, what if I showed up at a conference, read an author’s bio or heard a woman introduced as: Lindsey is a woman of faith that loves her God above all else and is grateful to be counted as a chosen child. She has been blessed with… (you decide if you want your work credentials, personal credentials, athletic accomplishments, etc. to follow that)? What if that is how we began to identify ourselves? I think that might make a difference…

i’ve been reading through the book of hebrews for a little while now and it has been such a blessing. one of the many things i love about the Bible is you can read the same passage over and over again, set it down and even not come back to it for a year or so, and when you pick it back up, the Lord exposes new truths and ministers to you in new ways.

this week He opened my eyes to the following verses:

hebrews 10:36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (emphasis mine)

and then hebrews 11:17-19 – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (emphasis mine)

and even still hebrews 11:32-33 – And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions… (emphasis mine)

these verses jumped out at me because of the word PROMISE. God NEVER takes back His promise. when we step out in faith, when we push through, when we fight for an undivided heart, when we believe Him for what might seem impossible, He WILL give us what He has promised.

this was such a sweet word for me this week and i hope for anyone that might read this post, it might encourage you as well. our God is a God that will not hold back from His people.

romans 8:28 – and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

He is faithful and as we delight in Him, He delights in us and He does give us the desires of our hearts. the Lord is taking me down an unfamiliar road right now, yet all to familiar at the same time… it’s as if He’s saying, look, i made promises to you, you have forgotten, but I have not. Whoa!

if you feel you are in a similar boat, take heart. He is faithful, we must persevere and when we have done His will we will receive what He has promised!

psalm 20

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
Selah

May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

O LORD, save the king!
Answer us when we call!

a little more than a month ago i went back to connecticut to hang with my family and meet my new niece (who is sooo stinkin’ cute!). one evening we had some folks over for a barbecue. on the menu – my mom’s potato salad. which, in my opinion, is the BEST potato salad in the world. yes, the entire world :-)

the thing is though, i like it cold and the rest of the fam likes it room temperature. despite this knowledge, i asked my mom anyway if we were going to chill it before we serve it. her response, “oh that’s right, you like it cold. everyone else seems to like it warm but i can put a bowl in the fridge for you so you can have it cold.” i said, “oh no, that’s okay.”

i simply didn’t want to inconvenience my mom. everyone else likes it warm, i don’t need to be the difficult one and add more work to the process of preparing for this barbecue.

well, the barbecue came and went. everything was so tasty as always, and when it was time to clean-up we headed in the house and got to work. i was putting away the leftovers when i opened the fridge and there was a bowl of potato salad. my mom had prepared a separate bowl just for me so i could have mine cold. but i didn’t look for it before we sat down to eat. i can’t tell you how sweet it was to me that she did that. such a small gesture, but so intentional and thoughtful. even though i’m the only one who likes it cold, she thought to set aside a bowl just for me.

lately i’ve noticed i do the same with the Lord. i settle for warm potato salad. i have deep desires that i look forward to seeing filled, yet i don’t necessarily ask for them. and why don’t i ask? because i look at other people’s lives and see they have much greater needs than i do. and the current situation or circumstance i might find myself in really isn’t that bad. so why should i ask to be moved from where i am, it’s not that bad? and that’s just it. God wants to give us the cold potato salad. even though warm is still good, cold is better. even though life isn’t hard, even though i might find myself content with where i am, that doesn’t mean get comfortable. that doesn’t mean stop asking God for the deepest desires of my heart.

who knew potatoe salad could be so profound.

matthew 7:7-8 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

april 1, 2009

yesterday, for whatever reason i decided to listen to some bebo norman… i haven’t listened to his music in a LONG time. and it was such a profound time with the Lord while i listened to the very music that helped get me through the hardest time of my life, thus far. it brought me to a place of realizing just what the Lord had done, and WOW, what an amazing work he has done!

I Will Life My Eyes (by Bebo Norman)

God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God, be near, calm my fear

And take my doubt
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

I will lift my eyes to the Maker
Of the mountains I can’t climb
I will lift my eyes to the Calmer
Of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
Of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You

God, my God, let Mercy sing
Her melody over me
God, right here all I bring
Is all of me

‘Cause You are and You were and You will be forever
The Lover I need to save me
‘Cause You fashioned the earth and You hold it together, God
So hold me now

this song in particular, i thought of mt. rainier and not making it to the top. not making it to the top of the mountain God created, the maker of the mountain i can’t climb. and that’s just it, the attempt to climb was the goal of God, while i thought the goal was to make it to the top; it was on the side of the mountain that the Lord showed me what i needed to know. that was His goal, for me to see that the God who created the mountains i can’t climb has plans for my life. and oh how i need Him so much right now and always! and i needed Him then too, but now i know and that it isn’t just on the side of the mountain or in the rough times, but in the good times and in the blessing, i need Him just as much! His presence is so necessary in EVERY SEASON. to be desperate for Him at all times is the only way for me to live.

oh Lord, how i love you! and i can’t help but smile, cry and laugh all at once, the maker of the mountains i can’t climb loves me! WOW! and THAT is all i need!

He was the same God when i was in despair, in a place of utter desperation as He is right now. He meets me in all stages and seasons of life, I AM BLESSED to know my God and be loved by Him. hallelujah!

mt_rainier_framed

Lord, may i never forget this time, where you have brought me from. may i always remember how great You are, how small i am, yet how You love me. help me to never keep this to myself, but profess Your love all the days of my life!

Women are beautiful, and God intentionally made us that way. But there is something that happens to a woman when she is finally set free. When she relinquishes control to her Savior, her Abba Father, her King, she glows in such a way that only He can make her glow. She has a peace and grace that leave you wanting what she has. It spurs you on to seek your God to know Him intimately, to desire to be like Him. You wonder, what does she have that I don’t have?What she has is the assurance that she is loved, she is delighted in and she was created for a purpose. Most likely she has fought the battle and fought hard, knowing the war was won on the Cross. She has cried, prayed and begged her way through the valley, clutching at every Word her Father gave her along the way. Even when she didn’t feel His presence she trusted He was there. She learned how to take her thoughts captive and how to cling to what was true no matter how she was feeling, no matter how dark and lonely the valley may have seemed. She fell in love with her Lord more and more as she trusted His Word and He came through every time.

No matter how she felt at any given moment, she went back to the Truth and it did indeed set her free. And now, she stands in the victory that was hers along. She walks with grace and dignity and has put shame and despair behind her. And she will comfort those who need comfort in the same way she has been comforted by her Father. She will use her victory to bring her sister to victory. She will not be ashamed of her past, or the scars she may bear because of it, but rather walk alongside others, bringing them to their victory. And one day she will see, even her scars have been healed.

That is why I love women’s ministry. To come alongside and watch a woman as she goes through this experience is one of the greatest joys on this earth. Women are beautiful, but when they meet with the Loving God, when they fight the battle that has been won for them, and they don’t give up, there is an unexplainable beauty and grace that comes upon them.

is having a hard time believing life gets better than this! 

yes, that was my facebook status last thursday and this is why:

a friend of mine sent me an email earlier in the week challenging me on the “comfort” of my quiet time with the Lord. he said he was going to pray that something “unusual” would happen this week to in a sense shake me out of my comfort but not create disruption per say, rather draw me closer to Him. whether that be through people, music, a conversation, who knows. but that my time would be “unusual.”

well, it was. and that is where my status message came from.

tuesday evening i worked out and it was a very hard workout. the kind of workout where i knew that i was going to sleep like a rock. i was so fearful of sleeping through my alarm that i set it ridiculously loud (my roommate wasn’t home for a couple days). i think my alarm was loud enough for the neighbors to hear… but apparently not loud enough for me! i still managed to oversleep by 45 minutes, which meant i had to sacrifice my quiet time. (i know, you see where this is going).

so when i got home that evening i went for my run (i’m training for a race) and then got ready to do my quiet time. but i decided to try something i had tried months ago but didn’t have “success” with – i dimmed the lights in my living room, lit a bunch of candles, put on worship music and that’s just what i did. i sat in my living room, all by myself and worshipped my God, prayed, journaled, read His Word and enjoyed His presence like never before!

i have never, in my time walking with the Lord, felt His presence in my own home like that. He was so near and i could feel His delight in me, to the point of laughter.

i said, “who am i Lord that you would care this much to be here like this right now. to let me  feel not only Your nearness but Your delight!?!?”

it was truly the most incredible evening. i went into it with expectancy and the Lord answered. i even asked Him to reveal to me how i should pray about a few things in my life right now (things i may share in the future but right now they are between the Lord and I) and He answered! and very specifically too!

i am so grateful for a God that truly loves and cares for His people. and so grateful for friends that aren’t afraid to challenge me and friends that will pray for me (and the fact that the Lord has brought me to a place where i’ll accept the challenge and not buck the challenger!). what a serious blessing in such a cold world.

when i moved to chicago and started to find my way back to church my roommate at the time and still very dear friend and i prayed for solid Christian friends. after all, the Bible says as “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

well just as His word also promises, He has done exceedingly and abundantly more than i think either of us could have asked or imagined.

i can say with utter confidence, that each of these women the Lord has blessed me with knowing, are incredible. every single one possesses qualities that challenge me to love my God more and to be more like Christ. all of them have a desire for one thing, to follow-hard after God and stick to His pleasing and perfect will for their lives.

when the israelites went to battle, with joshua leading the way, moses stood on the top of the hill overlooking the valley where they fought. as long as his arms were raised the israelites could take ground, when he got tired and his arms fell, they would lose ground. in comes aaron and hur, right by moses’ side, holding his arms high, and by the end of the day, the israelites won (exodus 17).

i am forever grateful and thankful to my Lord for all my girls. like joshua they will fight the battle for me if i need them too, like aaron and hur, they will give me strength and support when i grow weary, and like moses, they will encourage me and watch over me when i am in battle. truly, they are some of the greatest blessings in my life.

wow! it has been an incredible week and if i tried to blog about it all it would take forever. on wednesday night this past week, the choir at my church, chicago tabernacle, choirled the founder’s week audience in worship before billy kim preached a compelling and convicting message. i could blog all about his message and how incredible it was but instead, i want to talk about my dear roommate and spiritual sister.

i have no idea what it is like to be a mom, but after this week, i can’t even imagine what it must be like. shelly (my roommate) is an incredible woman of God, but this past wednesday, she took it to the next level – or should I say, the Lord took her to the next level. and I’ve been ridiculously proud to say “that’s my roommate!” (cause it is all about me, right? totally kidding!)

anyway, anyone who knows her knows what a prayer warrior she is, and that is an understatement. she knows her God, and knows Him well. and when she prays you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord is listening.

well, she’s the same way on her guitar. she doesn’t play just to play. she plays to bring God glory, to worship Him and usher others into His presence. it’s never about her, it’s all about Him. and wednesday night that is exactly what she did. people have been complimenting her on her skills and telling her how great she was, and she consistently sends the praise back to the Lord.

I’ve never been so aware of how blessed i am to have this woman of God as my roommate. and going through this experience with her, having the privilege of seeing the hard work, prayer and diligence that went into preparing for that night, i can’t help but wonder if this how a mom feels when she sees her child work hard and “succeed” (not that she’s a child, but just that kind of love and adoration that i imagine is synonymous with being a mom). shelly “succeeded” wednesday night, but not because she played well, she succeeded because she was all about God and nothing less. she was focused on using her skills to glorify the King of Kings, to worship Him as best she could despite any distractions, the size of the audience or the magnitude of the event.

i hope and pray that every woman i know has the privilege of having a shelly in her life and i hope one day, when i grow up, i will be like her. i am so blessed to know her.

my roommate loves birthdays apparently, which i know, and is why this morning i was putting off getting out of bed, debating in my head, do i get up now while she is still here or wait until she is gone? i decided to face her and get up. as i exit my bedroom there she is, bummed i have emerged from my cave as she was hoping she would get to sing me happy birthday. i on the other hand was glad, i’m not a morning person. especially when i haven’t showered or had my coffee yet… needless to say, that didn’t matter. when i walked into the kitchen and toward my coffee pot to turn it on, i was greeted with this:

birthday_2008_027

she got me. i thought i had foiled her plan by getting out of bed later and not letting her sing happy birthday (no, i promise i am not mean, i’m just not a morning person) but alas, she had other plans. so i laughed and told her she was crazy. little did i know this was just the beginning… i walked back downstairs and into my bathroom and was greeted with this:

birthday_2008_033

she got me again. all i could do was laugh. and feel incredibly loved. little did i know, this too was not the end. when i got to work there were two more gerber daisies at my desk as well as a bag of mini reese’s peanut butter cups. and then, i had to run errands at lunch and in my car was a note and gift card to starbucks… seriously, she is the best!

This week in our study Walking by Faith, the last two days focused on fear vs. feelings. Which lead me to think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. A little less than a year ago, her story really hit hard with me for some reason. And it does again today.

In Luke chapter 1 we are introduced to her. We all know the story, I don’t need to recount it for you… I went back to read her story and the scripture started to jump off the pages yet again.

After the angel has told Mary she will conceive and have a child she asks how this will happen. The angel answers her in verses 35-37. But I want to focus on verses 36-37, where the angel says, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she is who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

I love this! God knew that this news would scare Mary, who wouldn’t be scared, overwhelmed, etc. None of it makes sense to our human brains, in fact it seems rather bizarre and highly unlikely. But that’s just the beauty of it, God knew that’s how the news would appear so the angel testified to another miracle taking place right at that time: Elizabeth’s pregnancy. I love it, God used His angel to testify to His servant about His power.

Such a picture of the Lord meeting us right where we are, knowing what we need right when we need it and providing it. He met with the mother of our Savior right when she needed it. And Mary’s response:

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Perhaps Mary is just all that much holier than I am, but I can’t help but believe, reading this passage again, that it was a little easier for her to choose to trust her God because of the angel’s testimony to the impossible taking place in her cousin’s womb at that very moment.

I’m sure questions and uncertainties were raging through Mary’s head at that time, and I can’t imagine it was easy for her to say what she said – to immediately commit herself to the Lord like that. But reflecting back on my own journey, where I have been and what I have been through, hearing stories of God’s people persevering, stories of God’s people receiving blessings, experiencing the miraculous, I know those stories have helped me face the task at hand with much greater ease. To believe God for what might have seemed like the impossible to my feeble mind. And I think that was the case here, the Angel of the Lord knew, from His master that this servant needed to hear the testimony of a miracle.

Thank you Lord for stories like this, real encounters with the Living God that encourage me to move forward in you. To trust you more, to choose to trust you and not my feelings of fear, inadequacy, helplessness. You are a mighty God who meets me right where I am, indescribably incredible!

i decided to spend lunch with Jesus today and the neatest thing occurred, i fell even more in love with Him – ok, how uber spiritual and uber cheesy can you get?!?! but it is what it is, and that’s what it is.

earlier this year i was reading up on a missionary organization that i just think is the coolest. it’s call climbing fo christ, and their mission is to take the gospel to high places where other missionaries can’t or won’t go (aka. remote villages in the mountains, etc.) and on their site they have a journal entry of a former member who was killed in an avalanche. her name is lygon, and she had a huge heart for the Lord and lived her life to bring Him glory. when i read the journal entry on their web site, i was so moved. you can tell from her writing just how much she truly loved Jesus. and you know she is dancing with Him right now. what a beautiful picture!

after i read her journal entry i remember thinking, i want to love the Lord that much, so much that i would just start dancing for Him and Him alone (all of you that know me, know that i DON’T dance, ever!) well today it happened, well kinda. i was spending time with Him, praying for various people and things, and writing in my journal. i began listening to the song captivated by vicky beeching (if you haven’t listened to her music you’ve got to, she rocks!) and i couldn’t help but want to get up, right there and just start dancing with the Lord – i didn’t of course ’cause i was in a public place and while i’d like to consider myself bold, i know i’m not that bold!

but the point is, the desire is there, to love with reckless abandon the one that loves me enough to die for me and give me a freedom that i’ve never knew. ah, i praise you Lord!

so, anyway, dancing with Jesus just might be on the agenda for this weekend : )

here are the lyrics to captivated:

Your laughter it echoes like a joyous thunder
Your whisper it warms me like a summer breeze
Your anger is fiercer than the sun in its splendour
You’re close and yet full of mystery
Ever since the day that I saw Your face
Try as I may, I cannot look away, I cannot look away…

Captivated by You
I am captivated by You
May my life be one unbroken gaze
Fixed upon the beauty of Your face

Beholding is becoming, so as You fill my gaze
I become more like You and my heart is changed
Beholding is becoming, so as You fill my view
Transform me into the likeness of You

This is what I ask, for all my days
That I may, never look away, never look away…
No other could ever be as beautiful
No other could ever steal my heart away
I just can’t look away…

tonight was the most incredible night! it was the first evening of the women’s bible study at my church, chicago tabernacle. last fall i presented a proposal to my senior pastor’s wife about conducting a bible study for the women of our church. the Lord had laid out a plan in my head and i put it on paper. i met with her again earlier this year and we agreed the time to start it would be after the easter season. this was also the meeting in which i discovered i would be leading this adventure (not the actual teachings, i know my limits! that’s why we are doing priscilla shirer’s study, discerning the voice of God).

so i got to work praying for the study, planning the evenings in my head, and asking for God to show me the facilitators He would like to use. it seemed like out of nowhere, today was here!

i thought for sure i was believing God for big things by planning to have 40 chairs set-up in the fellowship hall (we are not a very big church), but sure enough, our God who loves to show-off brought close to 50 women! hallelujah!

all these women are so excited and hungry to hear God’s voice and learn more about him. one woman came up to me and said:

“you know that part in the DVD when Priscilla said she likes to study and learn more about God when she has a quiet moment? well that just spoke so loudly to me. whenever i have a down moment i like to put my feet up, it never occurred to me to spend that time with the Lord. and that’s what i want, a more intimate relationship with God!”

praise the Lord! i am so excited for this study and how God is going to move among the the women of our church. the Lord’s timing truly is perfect and the women are so ready for this. they are hungry for God’s Word, eager to learn and eager to hear the voice of the Lord. i am so humbled that God would let me witness this adventure. all i can do is sing His praises!

as i type this i am eating a frozen pizza. the fact that it is an organic vegetarian trader joe’s pizza makes me feel better about not cooking something healthy (and no i am so not a vegetarian, just like the veggies on the pizza) .

anyway, i’m home and eating when according to my training schedule i should be doing 45 minutes of cardio tonight. i have been so tired lately though, i know this is a much needed evening off. i thought training for marathons was hard, but the discipline and strength required for this adventure really makes marathons look like a walk in the park.

recently though, a dear uncle of mine sent me an email and wisely reminded me that He who is in me is greater than any strength i might be building while training.

ephesians 1:18-20 says, i pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. that power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.

wow! God gives that power, the power that He used to raise Christ from the dead, to those that believe. amen! His word also says that i can do all things through Christ and His power is made perfect in my weakness. hallelujah!

so no matter how tired i might feel, no matter how weak i might seem, i will boast all the more gladly in my weakness as his power is made perfect. if i can pull this- rather, when i do pull this off, God will get all the glory, He has given me the grace, discipline and stamina, through His mighty, mighty power, to stand on that mountain top!

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