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I read Genesis 48 today as I’m at the point in Beth Moore’s Believing God study where she takes us through the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews. Today was Hebrews 11:21: By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

She touched on one point and it stood out in a major way to me. Jacob, when blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, purposely crossed his arms so that his right hand was resting on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh. At that time, the blessing given to the first born was to be given by placing the right hand on him, in this case, Jacob intentionally put his right hand on the younger of the two sons. Joseph got a little fired up and told Jacob to switch his hands back, but Jacob knew it was God’s will to bless the younger over the older.

There are a few things here that are fascinating, but the one that really spoke to me today is the fact that the blessing was to be given to the first born yet God decided, in His sovereign plan, it should go to the second born in this case. Fabulous, big deal you might say. But that’s the thing, it IS a big deal. God decides what the “rules” should look like and He decides when to “break” them.

I like order. I like organization. I like things that have steps laid out for them A, B, C, etc. And while I know I commune with the God of order, I felt this passage showed me yet again (I need to hear a lesson 110+ times before I get it and even then I’m bound to forget it down the line) that my God, the Sovereign God decides how His story will look. How He will receive the glory.

In this case He decided number 2 would get the blessing. Why did God decide it had to be that way? I don’t know and even if I studied this in depth I’m sure there would still be some kind of mystery behind it. Because that’s just the thing. God doesn’t need a reason. He’s God. He’s in control. He’s got a perfect plan. And sometimes, His perfect plan “breaks” the rules.

The question to apply here is, will I trust Him in my life when He “breaks” the rules? When the plan He sets before me may seem contrary to what I thought would glorify Him most?

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i’ve heard people say forgiveness is a choice. i think trust is too. yes, i think people need to earn trust. but i think it is a two-sided equation, you need to give trust to those who desire to earn it. the more you give, the more they earn. the more they earn, the more you give.

so today i did a search for vereses that talk about trust in the Bible. and wouldn’t you know, a passage of scripture i have read 100+ times, heard 100+ times and in fact have stated that when i get married i will not read this passage at my wedding, is the very passage the Lord used to speak LOUDLY to me today.

from 1 corinthians 13:

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

wow. love trusts. i love. i must trust.

i’ve been a huge advocate for titus 2 ministry (let the older women teach the younger women) yet i never really found myself in a place where i’ve seen it in full motion like i did this past weekend. it began friday when i met with a wise and wonderful woman from my church for lunch. she spoke into my life in such a way that only God could make happen. she didn’t judge me or my situation, she just listened, smiled at me as i talked – i could see it in her eyes, that “i know exactly where you are kiddo” look. and she did. she’s been there, done that, has lived to talk about it and is ready to equip me so i don’t have to make mistakes i might have if i were to “go it alone.” the peace and comfort i felt by the time our lunch ended was totally something that can only come from a God-ordained and anointed conversation.

it also encouraged me to see that one day, Lord willing, i will sit where she was and counsel a younger woman in my shoes. for now though, i am more than happy no, delighted really, to be on the receiving end. oh Lord, bring wisdom and courage my way :-)

then on saturday we had a women’s event at my church, the first of its kind we’ve ever done and it was powerful! we began with powerful worship and then my pastor’s wife brought a word and then gave her testimony. both were incredible! afterwards there was a time for women to pray with each other and for each other. i know God moved that day in many, many lives. we then had a time of Q&A with a panel of women in various seasons of life: single, married, single mom. there were so many questions and so much wisdom offered. it truly was a massive titus 2 event.

i am so grateful for the body of Christ, so grateful to be surrounded by such strong and courageous women of faith.

I’ve been emailing with a sweet friend this week and besides hoping this keeps up (it is a HUGE blessing) I’m reminded how important it is to be in community and to dialogue about His Word and what the Lord reveals to us through it.

We are two women, in different seasons of life, yet both lovers of Jesus. And that, the love of the Lord, has made us fast friends.

I shared with her something the Lord showed me regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus, a year or so ago. And it went something like this:

In Luke 1 we read about Mary’s encounter with Gabriel:

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

What the Lord showed me here is that even Mary, who had great faith and instead of saying to the angel, “heck no, I can’t be the mother of the Savior” she essentially said, “ok, but how is this gonna work?” Even she needed to hear the testimony that her cousin, old in age and considered to be barren was with child. God knew she needed Gabriel to testify to His incredible power with a tangible story, a tangible miracle.

When the Lord showed this to me I was like WOW!! Lord, You are AMAZING!! How you know our every need and desire and how you lead us just as we need to be led because You created us. I was and still am just mystified by this and so grateful. So grateful that the Creator of the universe would testify to us about His greatness. Like we deserve that? Thank you Lord.

Praise God this ministered to her and then she responded to me about how this passage ministered to her, and essentially this is what she shared with me (I’m paraphrasing and taking the liberty to explain how what she told me ministered to me as our conversation is private :-)

She explained how she was Mary and had to accept that the Lord was asking to grow in her. To accept that no one would be able to see him right away and no one would know that she had Jesus in her until she started to grow! And then came Joseph, he had to take Mary at her word and believe her that the Christ was in her. And then the vision came to Joseph and he believed. Mary and Joseph together were amidst others who may or may not believe their story. All they could do was tell the truth and remind each other.

I went on to add: and it was nine months until the Messiah was born and 30 years until He performed His first miracle. And yet Joseph believed Mary, not without struggle I’m sure, but he believed.

This challenged me greatly. Will I believe God that He is birthing something in me? Even if I can’t see it right away? Will I believe God that He is birthing something in the people around me like Joseph believed Mary? Will I believe God at His word, the scripture promises He has given me even if I don’t see the fulfillment of them for what seems to be a long time to this small human mind? Will I believe God to change my focus from being all about me and my struggles to being all about Him and the work He has created me to accomplish for Him?

Walking by faith when you struggle with unbelief―how does that work? That’s what I’ve been asking the Lord and this is what He showed me:

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

“We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength.” -Oswald Chambers

Time to put up a glorious fight and remember what the Lord has promised.

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Oh, to have faith like Mary.

What was I made for? I’m really not sure, but one thing is for sure, I was made for something. Last night in class we received our groups for the final project and I must say, I am super excited. And I must declare that because I really never thought I would feel that way about a group project let alone one from this super challenging class. But, nonetheless, I am super stoked. Maybe I do like working in groups? Or is it simply I like working with women (I was placed in the only single-gendered group in the class)? Regardless, I am eager to see what God does in each of us and as a group through this experience. Maybe God will use this experience to bring me closer to what He’s made me for? We’ll see!

so dr. j likes to give us rather out of the box homework assignments and sometimes, as i mentioned in my previous post, we submit them for the entire class to read and other times just for him. this was one of the assignments we had to submit just to him, a prayer for the semester addressing our hopes and fears. i thought i might as well share it since i bared it all in my last post :- )

Oh Holy Spirit,

I am so painfully aware that there is nothing I can do on my own. So painfully aware that not by my might but by Your Spirit is anything possible. I have such a desire to know the Word, to know my Father and to be a fruitful part of His Kingdom. The greatest privilege is to be able to serve and be a part of bringing His children unto Him, but oh Holy Spirit, I am so afraid of this next step you have lead me to.

I am a rather linear thinker Holy Spirit, and I know you brought me into a class with a professor who is quite the opposite of me on purpose. It has not been lost on me that You, who desire me to face my fears; you who desire for me to watch You move me over them and through them, would place me in a class where I must be vulnerable.

Oh Holy Spirit, I ask you this day for a holy boldness. I am so afraid of looking dumb, of not measuring up to the rest of the class. You Holy Spirit, You know how I process things slower than the average individual; You, Holy Spirit know how I clam up in an academic setting—draw close to me in this season. Let every victory bring the Father glory and may this season bring me closer to You. Make me more like my Lord and Savior and let this class serve as a tool to bring me to a place that I might be used to bring Your children into closer relationship with you. Let this be the beginning of an explosion in the ministry You have called me to.

I ask all this and believe all this in the Mighty Name of the Most High God, Jesus Christ—Amen!

I’m a student again. And I am a fearful student.

I knew going in to this class (hermeneutics) that my professor, Dr. J, and I are very different. I spoke to plenty of people who have taken his classes before and became well aware that we approach things much differently. The best way I could describe our differences is as follows:

Lindsey thinks like this: A + B = C

Dr. J teaches like this: M + ½ of F + parts of T + X might = D but it could also = P or perhaps W.

After one night in class I felt that example summed it up well. But I also knew, for the various ways the Lord has been revealing and challenging me about my fears that this is exactly what the Lord wants. Even though I might think it’s best for me to be in a class with a professor that teaches linearly, I felt strongly, and still do, that the Lord desires me to be challenged in this way.

The first night of class started out fine, even though he called us to the front of the room in small groups to tell the class about ourselves (my introverted self was not to happy about this, but kind of expected this from him).

As the evening progressed it became more and more overwhelming to me. At one point he asked us what verse do we think is a good verse to show the importance of hermeneutics… my first thought was, “pleeeeaaaasssee do not make us tell the class what we think!” I kind of freak out under that kind of pressure and definitely could not think of a verse that fast, I was a little too concerned about being called on. Yes, I know this is ridiculous, but it’s really how I feel.

Then he continued to explain how our homework will be submitted—apparently we will submit it electronically for the entire class to see and comment on if they would like. This is horrifying to me! I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, nor do I process things quickly. It takes me quite some time to get my head around a concept and to have to share my thoughts with people in that way sounds simply awful to me. At least with blog posts I can decide when I’ll post and what I’ll talk about. Hence why I could go an entire month without posting—I have nothing to say.

Again, I see in this how the Lord is really trying to challenge me out of my fears. I have had the luxury the past few years; essentially since I graduated from undergrad, to stick to the activities I am good at naturally. This school thing is not something I am good at naturally but I want to be a better student of the Word and I know this will benefit my ministry, for others and myself.

Help me Lord!

i’m being tested right now, tested in fear. i really had no idea how much fear grips me. granted, it’s not every area of my life, but definitely in certain places. all of it circles around being vulnerable, risking humiliation and truly trusting God. all the while remembering and trying to understand that my God is not a God of feelings and emotions, but a God of Truth. feelings and emotions come and go and aren’t all together bad, but the Truth never changes no matter how i might feel.

i took the liberty of “adjusting” a psalm the Lord showed me the other day:

Psalm 91:14-16
“Because he [Lindsey] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him [her];
I will protect him [her], for he [she] acknowledges my name.
He [She] will call upon me, and I will answer him [her];
I will be with him [her] in trouble,
I will deliver him [her] and honor him [her].
With long life will I satisfy him [her]
and show him [her] my salvation.”

i’ve never been consistent with memorizing scripture, yet i’ve known for a long time that i need to be… so here i am being honest and vulnerable, seeking accountability (in a weird, internet cyber-oriented world). if i am going to fight off these fears, fears that only come from the enemy, then i must lift up my sword. but how can i lift up my sword if i don’t have it in my hand (in this case, in my head)? so hears to memorizing these verses as well as the memory verses from my church (psalm 37:3-6). Lord help me!

maybe this will bless someone else as well :-)

i’ve been inconsistently, yet in the Lord’s perfect timing, following a recent study of the life of joshua. currently we are camped out in exodus looking at the battle between the israelites and the amalekites. if you can remember, this is the battle where moses commissions joshua to lead the israelites into the battle while he, with God’s staff in hand, watches over them from a nearby cliff/hill. moses must keep his arms raised as he holds God’s staff. each time he lowers his hands the amalekites advance against the israelites, but once his hands are raised, the israelites come back. this is a long battle and hours of fighting, moses gets tired. so aaron and hur some along side him, offering him a stone to sit on and their strong able bodies to help hold moses’ arms up for the length of the battle.

i’ve heard this story many times and always looked at it from the perspective of friendship. aaron and hur were just the friends moses needed at that time to hold his arms for him. after all, he was 80 years old, and that’s what friends do, they help you fight the battles. and while this is true and a great lesson to glean from this story, i was exposed to another angle today that really hit home.

when moses had his arms raised and was offered the stone to sit on, he sat. he didn’t say, “no, it’s okay, i got this one guys.” he wasn’t so caught up in being the leader of this great army below him that he couldn’t recognize when he needed help. he knew, the battle wasn’t being fought and won because of him, he knew it was being fought and won by his God.

i was so convicted of this picture, realizing that in my own selfish insecurities, if i were moses, i wouldn’t want to sit for fear that people might think i am weak. for me, sitting would be weak, would indicate that i can’t lead, would mean people would see i am vulnerable, would open people’s eyes to the fact that i can’t do it all.

but then i remember, it is when i am weak that i am strong, as then it is the Lord’s power that gives me strength.

moses was strong, not weak. a weak man would have said no to the help his friends offered. a strong man says, i need help. a strong man is humble and dignified before the Lord. admitting when he knows he needs help, and humbly accepting it.

i learned a lot from this passage today and this new perspective of it. Lord, help me to humble myself and not be afraid to let the women in my life come along side and battle with me. for then, with Your power flowing through us, will i be strong.

a few months ago i posted an entry about my next mountain adventure, the grand teton. my partner in crime this go around, my roommate, asked me what i felt the Lord was saying about us going. i looked at her like she had two heads and proceeded to tell her nothing… because i hadn’t asked!

in that moment i could feel the Lord “looking” at me and i remembered a day last summer, while training to summit mt. rainier, when i realized i had jumped into that adventure and not once asked the Lord if it was His will for me to do it. it had never occurred to me to seek His will for something like that. sure, to go on a missions trip or take a job, serve in a ministry… all those seemed like times when i should seek the Lord’s will. but to climb a mountain? really?

it was then i realized, my time is not my own no matter the situation. every minute of every day belongs to Him and is on loan to me. and up until that realization while training for rainier, i realized the Lord had been blessing me and my training efforts despite the fact that i never asked Him if i should take on that adventure. in His kind, gentle nature He blessed it in spite of me. and it was at that moment i promised not to do anything without the Lord’s permission first.

needless to say, in my eagerness to embark on another mountainous adventure, i forgot to ask the Lord’s will. so when shelly said, what do you hear the Lord saying about it? i was dumbfounded. i had forgotten what He had so gently asked me to do.

so for the next few days and weeks i sought the Lord’s will. i had no peace about the climb. something about it wasn’t sitting right in my spirit and i knew this wasn’t the Lord’s will.

and then one day, in my quiet time with Him, i heard, “let me provide your adventure.”

to which of course i said, “ok, let’s talk mountains.”

but God doesn’t work that way. but He does give us peace when we are in His will. i have no idea what kind of adventure He wants to take me on, especially considering i feel like just living life in Him is an adventure. but i do know, whatever it is, it’s gonna be incredible!

i know that the last few posts haven’t had anything to do with mt. rainier, and that’s mostly because i’ve realized it’s really not healthy for me to be totally focused on this one adventure when there are many adventures i get to participate in (duh, linds). so, i’m going to keep posting training stuff and life stuff… who knows, maybe this blog will continue even beyond the conclusion of the rainier adventure!  

the post i published on april 3 requested serious prayer for my roommate’s best friend. well, they still need serious prayer and now they’ve created a blog so we can keep up with their lives and how little catherine is doing in her mommy’s tummy. the blog, letters to catherine, is all about katie and donnie’s journey as parents of a child they may not have much time with. i can’t even comprehend what it must be like for them. i am amazed at their faith and so thankful that we have a God who cares and loves us. and even more thankful that because we can trust Him, we don’t have to know the answer to the question why?

please pray for this family. we can believe our God for the impossible, for His Word says nothing is impossible with Him. i believe Him.

went for a run today on this good friday and second day of spring. when i was still at home the weather looked a little unsettling, but really not that bad. so i laced up my shoes, put on my winter running gear and out the door i went. the next 3 miles turned into such a picture of faith…

good-friday-2008-c.jpg

(is it really the 2nd day of spring?)

i began my run and it really didn’t seem that bad out. as i ran closer to the lake the snow picked up and started pelting me in the eyes. i was definitely the only insane runner out at this time. at points the wind almost blew me over and i even had to run with my hand over my eyes to shield them from the icey snow. the closer i got to the lake the worse it got, especially when there was a gap in high rises and the snow and wind could blow directly off the lake onto the street. it occurred to me as i ran, that this run truly was a metaphor for a life of faith.

we choose to run, with perseverance, the race marked out for us but never does the Lord tell us it will be easy. we know that if we trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding, He will make our paths straight. but it doesn’t say He will make our paths easy. He tells us we live by faith not by sight, and as i ran with my hand over my eyes, i couldn’t help but think of blind faith, hoping i wouldn’t run into a pole or something! so much like our faith journey, trusting God to lead us, for what is faith? being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

man, i went for a simple run and was reminded of a simple truth, yet a hard truth to live by.

good-friday-2008_b.jpg

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