Obedience & Frustration

I love telling my story, it’s a story of rebellion, a modern-day prodigal daughter story. A girl feels the love of her Father, knows that all of his goodness is at her fingertips but can’t quite believe that great love for her. So she tests the waters and runs towards a Rebel Life, spending two years doing whatever she wants. At the end of two years, she is more empty than before and she runs back to her fathers arms, begging for forgiveness.

Often, when I have told my story, it’s met with sympathetic looks and comments of “But you can’t beat yourself up about that”, or “You know you’re forgiven, right?”.

I really do believe that I need to embrace all aspects of my story, the good the bad and the ugly, in order to truly see God’s work in it. When I admit my faults, my terrible decisions, my flaws, I can show people who I used to be and how much God has changed me. I can be a reflection of God’s relentless love and overflowing grace. When I admit how bad my story really became, I show people the power of God’s transformation.

Tears are a part of my story but they’re not tears of shame. They’re tears of acknowledgement. Tears of wonder. Tears of gratitude. God rescued me from the pit and brought me into the light. He gently showed me what I had done wrong and how I could correct it. He led me through the steps it would take to return to myself. And he’s given me strength to deal with the consequences that came with my sin.

As much as it frustrates me sometimes to follow what God is asking, I need to do it. I need to keep my heart soft to his voice and to obey his requests. He is my true love. The only one that knows my heart and it’s desires. He is who my soul craves intimacy with. He sees what has been and what is to come. Even if his direction isn’t something I want for myself right now, I need to remember that there is more to life than what I can see. God knows me and his direction for me is because he sees what the next phase of life will bring and he is preparing me for it.

I see life with God and life without him like a comparison between casual sex and deep intimacy. Life without God is like sex. It can be pleasurable, but there’s very little connection with just that act and it leaves you feeling less-than. Life with God is like intimacy, there’s no comparison to the heart to heart, soul to soul connection you feel when you’re involved in that type of relationship.

God desires to be close to us and sometimes, often actually, this takes some sacrifice. It means we need to trust his direction and allow him to take the lead. It might not make sense right now, but one day it will, and we will be grateful we were obedient.

My biggest fear is to be outside of God’s plan for me. I have felt the sadness, the unsettling feeling that it brings to have built up walls between my God and I and that is a place I never want to go again.

 

 

Pray Recklessly

Have you ever felt you needed to pray for something, but couldn’t bring yourself to say the words?

I had a friend ask me a question the other day, “Is there hope for restoration? Should I pray for that?” she asked. Valid question. I laughed and replied “It depends who you ask”.

My ex-husband proposed to his girlfriend the day that I sent him a letter of repentance, asking for a second (third…) chance. I had felt God tell me to write this letter and as it sat there in my Outgoing Messages, I prayed…I let it sit and marinate for a bit. Did God really want me to write this letter? Was it just my emotions taking over? I hadn’t found out about the proposal until a couple days later, so it wasn’t that detail that was affecting me, but maybe the emotions of Easter weekend, maybe being in my home town again, maybe being with family…

So the letter sat for a day or so, and I prayed, asking God what I should do.

I felt an overwhelming, heavy feeling that if I didn’t send it, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

So I sent it.

Sometimes our steps of obedience don’t make sense in that moment. The results are confusing and we wonder if we even heard God correctly. But just because they don’t make sense for now, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have taken that step.

“Is there hope?”

I don’t see any.

He’s remarried and seems to be happy.

But should that stop our prayers?

It’s as though we think that our words will confuse God. We can’t pray for something that will throw him off. If we ask for something outside of what he’s doing he might just answer it and then where would the plan be?! We’d ALL be in a mess!

That’s not how it is at all.

We can ask whatever we want of the Lord. We can ask for hope for restoration, even when it looks like that prayer won’t, or maybe even shouldn’t, be answered. We can ask for prodigals to return, even when it looks like they’re actually making the best of their situation. We can ask for changed hearts, impossibilities to become possible, doors to be opened, hearts to be softened…it doesn’t mean that God is going to say yes. And if he does, it’s in his will.

You can pray for hope even when it may seem wrong that you ask for that.

The only catch is that you need to be aware that the answer might be “no”. We need to hold our conversations with God in high regard, knowing that we are able to present our requests to him no matter what they are, and that he has the foresight to say yes or no.

Our prayers have the power to change the world and the people around us. They are POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE but it doesn’t mean that God will scramble to answer them if they’re not in his plan already. Our prayers for the impossible don’t send God into a frenzy. They don’t make him panic because they’ve thrown off his groove. Instead, they’re communication with our Creator and that’s what God wants and our hearts crave. They soften our own hearts to knowing Gods answer is the best for us, even if we can’t see it in the moment.

“God, this is where I’m at, this is what I desire, if it’s your will…and if it’s not, guide me through that as well.”

So when my friend asked if there was hope and I laughed, it was because there’s always hope, regardless of how we view the situation. There’s hope that God has a plan and it will most likely look much different than we predict. Just because we view something as hopeless, doesn’t mean it’s true.

So go ahead and pray for hope. Pray for restoration. Pray for changed hearts. Pray for the impossible. Our prayers are heard and welcomed. God may say no, but we don’t have to feel guilty for praying for something that seems strange. We just have to realize that whatever happens with that prayer and with God’s answer was in his will and plan.

 

Single-For-Now

Being called to a single-for-now life has it’s struggles. Obviously. Have you ever tried living against the flow of culture?? Everywhere you go, there are messages telling you that where you’re at isn’t good enough.

You need him.

You need her.

You should feel like that.

You should do this.

Dress like that.

Flirt like this.

Sex. It. Up.

There’s magazine covers, posters, TV shows, movies, social media…even taxes tell you that if you are with someone, they’ll go easier on you. The world shouts that there is more benefits to being attached than there are to being an individual.

The world, and unfortunately a lot of the Christian community, tells the single person that they won’t be happy until they’re with someone (“we need to find you someone”). And then when they’re finally dating, they need to get married (“has he proposssssed yet?!”). And then when they’re married, they need to have kids (“so like, are you guys trying??”).

We’re told as singles that we will be more fulfilled when we have a partner.

But what about those that God is calling to be single, even if it is just for a season?

I am convinced that this is a stage I am in. I have my reasons, God breathed reasons (I’d change them if I could, trust me), but still, when I tell people this they have a worried look in their eyes. They still subtly hint at matching me with one of their friends. Or tell me that “*shrug* maybe you just need to heal”. Girl, it’s been seven years of working through healing, I’m pretty sure there’s more to this season than getting over past hurt.

I do believe that this is a stage. A, God willing, temporary stage. But if God continued to lead me to be single for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Often I wonder who would be the right fit to stand beside me in this journey God has given me.

What sort of man would be willing to accept that so much of my ministry revolves around my previous marriage?

No, it’s not fear of this that keeps me away from a relationship. But it’s a question that I often think about.

If the human life is created to have relationship with the Lord and to bring Glory to His name and an individual is doing this well without a romantic partner, why isn’t that our focus as a Church, instead of making sure they meet someone special?

Our focus as the Church body should be centered on relationship with our Saviour, not relationship between the sexes.

Are we living on fire for God’s word, striving towards obedience, communicating with Him and keeping our eyes on His prize?

Or are we frustrated with our relationship status, trying to rush a stage that isn’t there yet, or maybe forcing a single guy on a single girl because they both ‘need’ someone?

Singleness is a blessing! It’s a frustration in some ways, I understand that. Man, do I understand that!! It’s not easy when the entire world is telling you that your single status makes you incomplete. But it’s a blessing.

You are free to make choices for yourself. You have quiet time when you need it. Your issues are your issues. Life as a single person is simple. Your finances are your own, your time is your own, your body is your own, your bed is your own.

That’s not to say that I want it to stay this way for me my whole life, but if God lead me into that, I know that not only would He sustain me, but blessings would wait for me in that season too.

As a Christian community, let’s learn to support our singles where they are, not where we think they should be.

Let’s wrap our arms around them, encourage them, build them up, provide for their love languages, pray for them, pray with them, feed them, change the oil in their car, let them babysit (ok, seriously, are my friends getting these hints?!).

Let’s love on the singles in our community and encourage them in whatever stage they’re in. God has so much blessing in singleness, let’s not encourage them to rush through this part of the process. Their singleness may be where their breakthrough happens.

 

Calling

I feel like God has a special calling on my life. It’s a big calling, a scary one, but the more I live within that calling the more it fuels the fire inside of me to continue in it.

I look back on my life and I see where I have felt God leading me to this point. I also see those times where I’ve had Mission Drift.

I know what God is asking of me. I know what He wants me to be speaking about. I know what part of my story is to become my testimony. But isn’t it just so easy to become distracted?

We are so lucky to have such a gentle and patient God that allows us to make mistakes and quietly leads us back to where He wants us to be.

There’s so many things that I love and that I want to be involved in. So many good things that can take my time and focus. Yes, they are good things. They are time with friends, education, helping others, volunteering etc. But what is it that God wants for me? There is good and then there is great.

When I was younger I was working full time from home selling a body-care product. I loved this product and where I saw it taking me. I loved the work I was putting into it, the women I was surrounded with, the passion I felt.

At a training conference with this company, I looked over the stadium filled with over 8,000 women and a thought crossed my mind. If I spent just as much time and dedication on God, what would my faith look like? If we were all here for the Lord, how powerful would that be?

Of course, at that time, I didn’t go further with that thought. It was just an interesting moment that crossed my mind. But now, hindsight tells me if I had acted on it, my marriage most likely wouldn’t have failed.

Now, every time a good opportunity comes across my path, I balance it with my relationship with the Lord. Will this further my faith-walk? Is this what God wants for me? Is this within my calling?

I need extra money and I could sell products again. But what if God wants to show me that I can rely on Him for the extras and to spend that time on Him instead? He has taught me that every moment doesn’t have to be filled but that I can rest and let Him look after me.

I often feel myself easily flowing towards Mission Drift and I catch myself. I don’t want do fall off my path only to realize later I’m way off course. I want to keep my eyes firmly focused, with stubborn faith, on my Jesus. I know that His journey for me not only is better for me, but that it follows my personal passions, the ones that were built inside of me. I know that sometimes He will ask that I put things aside because He has something better in store up ahead.

His mission for my life will fill my soul and quench my thirst for purpose and meaning, which I think the world is desperately searching for. I continue to be reminded of this lesson and continue to balance myself with Jesus as my focus. And I hope that by being obedient to Him I can help lead others around me to God’s calling in their lives and help their souls feel the peace I’ve been blessed with.

Focus on Him and everything else blurs on the sidelines.