Come Away With Me

Weary.

Burdened.

Just plain tired of being tired.

Sometimes we don’t realize how worn out we are until we have a chance to get away, a chance to rest, a chance to “be still.”  We don’t realize we’ve become weary in following our Father. We don’t realize we’ve become weary in serving others.

This past week we took some rest at a cabin in the woods during our children’s Spring Break.

I noticed that I didn’t feel as needy this year as I did last. Last year I was nearly desperate for some time away. Life seemed so very overwhelming in many ways then. And it’s not that life never feel overwhelming now, either, but it was different then.

I wanted relief.

I yearned for escape.

I thought that by “getting away” from it all, I might find peace from life’s problems. But those problems just followed me wherever I went.

I was looking for rest in the wrong places.

Come Away With Me, Rest, relaxation, get-away, finding-rest-in-Jesus

This year hasn’t been quite so difficult thus far, in spite of the flu-turned-bronchitis-add-to-that-mono months of December and January.  I have only one word for the difference – contentment. In general, I am content.

I’m certain the difference can be attributed to my walk with the Lord, which has been a little closer and a lot sweeter lately. I’m learning that no matter what comes my way, He is my only source of life, love, strength, shelter, and so much more.

In Him, I find rest.

Come-Away-With-Me, finding-rest-in-Jesus,  in-need-of-rest, feeling-weary

 

It’s that rest born from trust that leads to peace and joy beyond our understanding.

It’s a supernatural rest that doesn’t make sense using man’s logic because from the outside perspective our lives might look a little hectic. And the world would tell us, take some time for yourself. Quit serving others and serve self. You deserve it. You neeeeed it.

But I hear another voice that says take up your cross and follow me.

And just when I’m feeling overwhelmed that sweet reminder comes that by His side the burden will also be light.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m not against rest and I certainly need physical rest at times myself. But even more than physical rest, I need spiritual rest.

Do you have it, my sisters in Christ?

Do you have rest? If not, it’s yours for the taking and you can find it by abiding in Him moment by moment, day by day, trust building upon trust.

How-to-find-rest, Come to Me, Come-Away-With-Me. finding-rest-in-Jesus, I-need-rest, feeling-weary

Sometimes we need a rest.

But sometimes we just need Jesus!

Jen :)

While we were away, I had the opportunity to spend time taking pictures.  Lately I’m often reminded of the power of the Cross.  It’s because of the cross we can cease striving and be still. It’s because of the cross we can rest in the gift that is Grace.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

Not By Might: The Power to Persevere

Walking shoes laced tight, I stand at the bottom of the fog-topped hill.  Already I’m weary and I haven’t yet begun the climb. With a sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and I’m on my way to the top.

Halfway up, I find myself breathless with calves and knees complaining, but I’m determined. I must be ready for the race in two weeks, and the hill I will face there is twice as large, twice as steep.

A few feet more and doubts start to creep in about my abilities, about my body’s abilities. And then I remember that persevering isn’t just for the spiritual realm but for this physical world, too, for my straining muscles and my apathetic mindset.

Music pulses through the headphones into my ears…

 “Greater things have yet to come,

Greater things are still to be done

in this Ci-tyy-yyy-y”

If I look too far ahead, I see only the fog stretching before me, creating the illusion that the hill stretches on forever. It will never end, I hear the voice in my mind and it grows louder with each step. This weight battle will never end for you. You might as well just give up now. Did you really think you could do this?  Do you really believe you will succeed?

I face a choice.

I can listen to my cramping muscles and the voice of that snake, the Enemy, or I can buckle down with God-dependent effort, determined to persevere even in this as long as the Lord allows it.  It’s the story of my life, really: keep fighting or give up.

Is there any middle ground between the two?

Often when we face life's "mountains" we feel the need to power through in our own strength. Whether we are on a weight-loss journey, a habit-kicking journey, a faith journey, whatever journey we are on, we depend on ourselves for success. What happens when our strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

 

I hear the chorus again,

“Greater things have yet to come..”

And another voice echos in my mind.

Greater things not just for this city but for you, Daughter.  You will reach the top. By my power, you will see success. With My strength, you will persevere. You CAN do this.  And greater things will come, but you must fight for it. You must fight the whispers of the Enemy and the desires of the flesh.  You must learn to lean on Me, even in this. I will give you the power to persevere.

The fog clears as I near the top and my strength is renewed. When I round the corner and the incline levels off, I feel a sense of relief, but I also want it to be over. I long for rest.  However, the walk isn’t finished yet. In fact, it’s only just begun.

I keep plodding ahead, one foot after the other, asking the Father’s glory to be revealed in even this small thing, asking for knees that bend without pain and breath that comes easier.  A few blocks later, I realize I’ve come full circle to face the hill again.

But this time, I have faith.

I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, with His help. And no matter how much my body protests, I drag it up the hill once more.

It strikes me then, the connection between the spiritual and the physical. How I often run straight to complaining when I face “hills” in life. I start out grumbling and already thinking about giving up.

Believing I might be able to “power through” until the trial is over if I could just see the finish line, I search the foggy path ahead, eyes straining to see through to the end.

But the end is not for me to see.

What I am given is just a few feet ahead of me.

As long as I focus on those few feet in front of me, I remain strong, but when I look ahead to the stretched out future, my resolve falters.

 It’s then that I turn to the Father.

I’m reminded of the prophet Zechariah, faced with the task of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. They faced many obstacles and nay-sayers, as well. In fact, they were just the remnant of the Jews who lived there before, only a few compared to the former.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground…”

Zechariah 4:6b-7a

In this passage, Zechariah experiences a vision. Through this vision, the Lord Almighty reminds the prophet that the work needing done would happen not by human strength, but by the power of His own hand.

He also promised to give the remnant the power necessary to complete the construction of the temple.  Even more than that, He reminded Zechariah of His almighty power to remove any obstacles (mountains) that might get in the way of completion.

Continuing on, verse nine contains a promise that He will complete the work. And the next verse down in that same chapter we read this powerful phrase:

 Who dares despise the day of small things…?”

Zechariah 4:10

According to Nelson’s Quick Reference (Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary),

“To the eyes of men, the temple project was but a small thing…but to the eyes of God, it was a source of great joy.” (p. 614)

My friends, we will face many hills in life, and mountains will stand in our way. Often, we’ll be tempted to quit before we’ve even really begun. The power to persevere on our own quickly walks out the door when the going gets gruesome.

It’s when we turn to Him for strength that never ceases and the will to persevere that we finally hit our stride.

Often when we face life's "mountains" we push through in our own strength. What happens when that strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

Keeping in mind that He delights in even the small things, small acts of obedience, small steps up a great hill, we cling to that power to persevere.

Even more, those hills that we face can feel like level ground in grip of His grace.

But not by our might,

only by His Spirit.

Greater things…

Jen :)

Sharing this with: Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals

~One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals~

I’ll admit, I tend to resist goals. You?

My perfectionist nature resists setting a standard for fear that I might fail. It’s one of the reasons I had such a hard time finding my “one word.”

I don’t like to be wrong.

I don’t like to fall short.

But the flip side of that is never stretching myself, never reaching for something more, never giving myself a chance to succeed.

It’s not that I never have any goals for myself at all for; it’s just that I don’t often claim them, don’t voice them aloud, don’t share them with others, and don’t hold myself accountable.  I’m guilty of keeping my goals general rather than specific because that makes them easier to meet.

However, this year I recognize the need to risk a little more, step out in faith while trusting in the God who is at work in us and promises to complete that work (Phil.1:6).

If I get up with this long list of "must do's" each day, I'll be worn out and discouraged before lunch. Setting and reaching goals can be overwhelming for some. Focus on this simple way to meet your goals instead! 1Simple Way to Meet Your Goals from Being Confident of This

One of my goals for the year is to do my part in restoring my health.

I need more sleep. I need more exercise. I need to eat more balanced meals and to take in less sugar. This past month or so of illness has been eye-opening. I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

Pray for me, sisters!

Another goal for the year is to use my time more wisely through better planning.

Time management affects so many areas of my life, but to be specific, I plan to spend at least two mornings a week writing and working on this blog.

Previously, I’ve squeezed writing in here and there, but I’m finding lately that if I don’t plan time to write, it just doesn’t happen. And then I lay awake at night with all of these great ideas and phrases and sometimes whole sentences or paragraphs swirling around in my mind. Anyone else? :)

I want to obey the Lord in best using this gift of writing. I don’t want to put that on hold unless He asks that of me, and lately He seems to be asking more, not less in this area.

Women everywhere understand this pull to be involved in ALL of the good things, but often in our attempts to do so, we miss out on the best things. If I want the best for me and for my family, I have to learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and not man’s wisdom.

I make it my goal to please Christ.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Gal. 1:10

If I get up with this long list of "must do's" each day, I'll be worn out and discouraged before lunch. Focus on this simple way to meet your goals instead! One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals from Being Confident of This

A final goal is to love my husband as Christ does.

It’s been a really tough year for both of us. The trials have been nearly constant and there is always the temptation to withdraw into oneself in order to survive the refining fires. But we cannot! For the sake of our marriage and our family, we must learn to suffer together, to support one another even when we already feel the weight of our own burdens.

I see already how the Father is working that understanding into us, teaching us a better way. I know He will be faithful to complete the work in our marriage, as well.

he makes all things beautiful verse, goals in marriage, setting goals for the year

One practical way I can love my husband better is to consistently reach out to him, whether through words or actions or touch. I can hug and kiss him when he leaves for the day and when he comes home. I can look at him and ask him how his day was even if I’m busy when he comes in the door.

My goal is to intentionally seek connection with him, to encourage him, and to help him feel loved – every day.

The simple way to meet your goals

When I read all of the words above, I am easily overwhelmed!  I see all of the flaws, the areas that need work. There are so many and I…

well, I am only one.

Do you feel that same lacking, sisters?  That same inadequacy?

However, the Father reminds me that I can accomplish these goals by doing one simple thing: abide in Him.

It’s true! If I focus on abiding in Him, I will be sensitive to His leading and these other areas of life will fall into place so much easier than if I try to work towards these goals all on my own.

If I get up with this long list of “must do’s” each day, I’ll be worn out and discouraged before lunchtime.

But if I get up with the goal of abiding in Him and following His leading, I can be at peace. You can too!

That’s the simple way to meet your goals – make it your goal to please Christ.

It comes back to that work-in-progress truth, my sisters in Christ.

He promises.

And I believe Him.

Jen :)

 

More to read on goal-setting and goals:

5 Methods for Setting Goals Rooted in Faith

3 Fears to Overcome When You’re Feeling Stuck

How to Persevere in Life

Need help with goal-setting? Here’s my favorite faith-based goal planning resource: (affiliate link)

For those ready to embrace change, but uncertain where to start. This method helps you plan from a faith-based approach. Grace Goals

Sharing with: The Loft, Grace and Truth,

“One Word” Disappointment

Here’s the thing about “one word” for 2015: I’m just not sure how much I buy into it.

There, I finally said it. :)

It’s not that I doubt others when they claim to have received a word from the Lord to focus their year around, and I would never tell others to quit choosing a word, especially when they find it meaningful and purposeful. I’m just a skeptic in general. And to be honest, I’m not sure my word has changed all that much from what the Father was teaching me last year.  So, I find myself struggling with whether to really embrace the idea or not.

It feels a little forced to me, I suppose.

Yesterday, when I read about the same ol’, same ol’ from Grace Covers Me, I felt so relieved! I’m not alone in my doubts or frustrations over the one-word frenzy.  I’m not the only one lacking in the one-word department. I’m not a spiritual failure.

Maybe that’s what it really comes down to: fear of failure.

I’m afraid to choose a word – what if I get it wrong?  What if it’s my will doing the leading in choosing it and not the Father’s? What if I don’t like my word for the year 2015?

One Word for 2015, disappointed in your One Word,  one word struggles

And you know, that’s exactly what happened.

I’ve been praying, even begging, the Lord to give me insight. To open my eyes to His plans for this year. To provoke change this year.  I’ve wasted too many moments worrying about this one word, as if the word itself held power over me rather than Christ Himself.

Finally, I decided maybe I wasn’t supposed to have a word for this year. I quit looking for my one word everywhere, quit justifying the words I wanted to choose for myself.  I decided I could skip the one-word link-up or just choose one of the verses that keep popping up for me instead and run with that.

But then one morning we had this quiet heart conversation.

…………………………………………….

Persevere.

What?

Persevere. That’s your word.

I don’t really like that word, Lord. It sounds hard and possibly painful. And we’ve already done a year of trials and suffering. We’ve already been discouraged and overwhelmed.  What about “Overcome?” That word sounds better to me. It’s joyful and final, and I know the ending of that word is good. That word means triumph, and isn’t that true, Father? We have victory in You!

But your word is Persevere, Beloved.  The triumph is coming, don’t doubt that. The victory is at hand, and is in fact, already yours. You’re like a child who sits willingly for a little while, learning the lesson, yet too quickly you hop up from this place. You think you understand, but you’ve only grazed the surface of the banquet of learning I have to offer you. Be patient. I know you’ve struggled long. Be patient; be still. Sit for the full lesson. Do not leave the table so eagerly, sure you have have found “the answer.” Sit. Wait. Stay (Ps. 27:14).

But in your staying, don’t lose heart, Daughter, Beloved One. I promise growth, imperfect progress (Phil. 1:6). I promise blessing (Luke 1:45). I promise rescue and deliverance and victory (Ex. 14:14). You will overcome! You will prevail. I am the God of the impossible and the God who keeps His promises.

I am.

Don’t run ahead; stay by my side and let me shelter you.

Don’t lose faith now. Persevere.

one word 2015, one word worries, persevere

Oh, Father, I’m so weary and so frail. I’m so ready for the rescue. I want a different word, yet not my will but Yours. Help my unbelief. Help my trembling heart. Give me “chazaq,” courage to persevere even in this. When I am weak, then I am strong. Don’t let me forget it!

I will never let go, Daughter. I will never leave you or forsake you. You are not in this alone, for I walk by your side, even more I carry you.  That’s the deliverance you receive now. I carry you. I am with you. I don’t ask you to persevere alone and by your own strength, but by my Might (Josh. 1:9).

Persevere!

Ok , Father. Ok. I see now, although not yet fully. I see there is power in persevering. I see the hopeful waiting, the strong assurance that You will not leave us here to waste away. I see the strength in that stance. I feel the joy in it!  I hear you calling me to stand, yet not to run. No, not yet. But soon. I will follow You and wait on You. You are the Lord God, the lover of my soul. You make all things new in Your time. So, I will wait and only by your grace, I will persevere.

…………………………………………….

I’m certain this conversation will keep playing out for me, stubborn, sinful thing that I am. :)  I still have a few lingering doubts about “one word” but I find value in this process, for it required much abiding in Him. And that’s never a bad thing.

My friends, if you find yourselves lost in the one-word frenzy, don’t despair. You are not alone. Even more, if you’ve heard His voice, yet find disappointment in what He has to say, take heart. He will carry you through.

As my friend Arabah Joy wrote in Trust Without Borders:

“Why do we languish when we have so great a salvation?  He will not remove His compassions from us and His mercies are not without effect! ….We can throw ourselves fully upon His mercy and on His good character, knowing that he who trusts in the Lord will never be disappointed.”

So there it is – the same ol’, same ol’.

But as Christine wrote at Grace Covers Me,

“OK, so maybe “same-old”, minus the negative connotation, isn’t such a bad choice after all. Same-old dependence. Same-old faith. Same-old consistency. Same-old ministry. Same-old following. Same-old day-in, day-out walking with the Lord.”

I can’t say for certain that this word will be mine all year long, but I do believe it’s mine for now.

Same ol’ truth; new perspective.

Persevere.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace & Truth Christian Living

Sharing with: The Loft

Just a Closer Walk~ #TheLoft

My sisters in Christ, I’m very excited about this week’s topic for The Loft. I look forward to reading what each of you have to say about your walk with the Lord.

I know in my own life, I get easily distracted. I struggle with consistency and self-discipline so often.

And I used to believe that the sweetest times with the Lord were on the mountaintops, when I chose to abide closely in Him. I spent large chunks of time reading the Word and praying.  But lately I’m learning there is a sweetness to be found in the valleys as well because what I’m hearing from Him in the valleys would have been impossible to hear on the mountaintops.

The last few difficult years have challenged my view of God like never before.  His grace is much greater, His love much deeper than I ever could have imagined. He faithfully loves me even when I cannot love myself. Even when I loathe myself.

Perhaps it’s maturity at work in me or just life circumstances, but I find it easier to abide in Him, especially in the dark times, when I’m really honest with Him.  I realize now that much of my “young” Christian life was spent trying to please a God who was already pleased with me.  I held myself, and others, to high standards, and although I thought I understood grace, I think I was probably a little legalistic, maybe even self-righteous. I’m sure I still make that mistake sometimes even today, we all do at times. :)

And then came the valley of the shadow of death, or at least it felt like it, that filled these last couple of years.  At times I didn’t even want to leave my bed. At times I begged the Lord to come quickly – everyday life felt like too much to bear. I questioned the Lord like never before. I wrestled with him like Jacob as one blow after another fell upon my life. I quit trying to act the part of perfect Christian and begged for understanding. I got real with Jesus.

It was (and still is in some sense) a most difficult struggle.

Yet my faith has been strengthened!  Out of my honest conversations, out of my most desperate cries, came an understanding that I am perfectly loved, perfectly wanted, perfectly accepted.  I knew a brand new Grace, and it blew my mind – still does!

Because when I was my ugliest self, He loved me still.

He loves me still.

He loves you, too, my sisters, even at your ugliest, your most unlovely, your most unworthy.

And when we come to Him honestly, then He can begin the real work of “creating a clean heart” within us.  He gives us “grace-colored” glasses and teaches us that progress is what really matters, not perfection!

He teaches us confidence that only comes from fully understanding our Daughter-of-the-King status.

Walk with the Lord, Abiding in Him, Just a Closer Walk, Spiritual Life, Christianity, Christian Living, Growing in Christ

 

I’ve come out of that valley with a closer walk, not a perfect walk, but a closer one.  Not because I do my devotions without fail, not because I am sweet to my family, not because I serve Him at church, not because of the words I type out here.

But because I know Him more deeply.

I trust Him more deeply.

You can trust Him, too, sisters. Whatever your valley may look like, He promises to carry you through.

…For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,

The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”  Heb.13:5-6

Even this.

Even this.

Jen :)

Also sharing this with Tell His Story.

 

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!

 

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

This Week’s Topic: “Intimacy with Jesus” (What does that look like for you? How do you abide in the vine? What barriers do you face or victories you’ve discovered in maintaining intimacy with Jesus? Let’s encourage each other!)

Get a running start on Next Week’s Topic:”Fall Recipes” (Please do share your favorite fall recipes so we can enjoy too!)

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic :)

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

Click to Add Your Link Below:

 

Arabah Joy’s “In Christ” E-course

A few months ago, I had the privilege of joining an online e-course for bloggers developed and led by Arabah Joy, a blogger friend of mine.  The e-course was free for those of us who responded to her offer, but I wasn’t really certain what to expect.  After all, I was relatively new to blogging and even newer to things like e-courses. :)  However, I was so blessed by the wisdom AJ shared from the Word.  She has a gift for taking people deep into Scripture and for asking thought-provoking questions.

At the same time, I found AJ’s lessons to be incredibly encouraging.  Truth poured forth accompanied by much gentleness and personal honesty that I found refreshing.  AJ isn’t afraid to be authentic.

So, my sisters in Christ, I’m really excited to share with you today an opportunity to learn from my friend, who is also a mom to 4 (one via adoption), a missionary, a wife, a writer, and a committed Christ-follower.  Arabah Joy is offering a new e-course (an online bible study) and registration ends tomorrow!!

Make 2014 a year of spiritual growth with the “In Christ” eCourse by missionary and blogger Arabah Joy. Understanding our identity in Christ is foundational to successfully living the Christian life. This spiritual growth course will aid participants in understanding their identity, how to abide in Christ, and will impart tools for letting the word of Christ richly dwell in the heart and mind (Colossians 3:16). The unique blend of story, scripture, community discussion, and practical application is thoughtfully geared for participants to experience ongoing life transformation.

The 4 week course will begin February 4 and run through March 4, 2014. Registration closes January 31, 2014. Course fee is $19.99

For full course details and to register, visit Arabah Joy’s “In Christ” eCourse page Click here to view more details .

If you are interested in participating in this bible study, the discount code Arabah has given to affiliates to share is “InChrist25″ and don’t forget, registration closes tomorrow!

Praying you’re finding strength and rest in Him today,

Jen :)

Power to Produce

Image

If you are anything like me, then cleaning out the fridge is low on the totem pole. You might occasionally reach in for some sustenance and pull out rotten food instead. Instead of giving life and energy, the food is wasted, worthless, and sometimes even downright disgusting.

Our spiritual fruits can be that way, too!  Have you ever tested your fruit?  Held it up to the Lamp, the faithful Word of the Lord?

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love,

joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control;

against such things there is no law.

 

In my bible, beside this passage I have written two small words: the test.  Do you want to know how closely you are walking with the Lord? Examine your fruit of the Spirit!  Do they pass the test?  Are you overflowing with patience, joy, peace, kindness, love, goodness and so on?

All too often I find myself trying to produce these fruit all on my own. I wake up in the morning thinking, I’m going to be patient with my children today.  I’m going to be kind and loving to my husband.  And later in the day, when strength runs low, I feel frustrated and out of control. I wonder, “Why am I acting this way?  What is the matter with me today?”  as if some sort of spell has come over me, and I’ve been rendered incapable of obedience.

Finish reading this post by following the link to its new location here.

A Blogger’s Prayer

This weekend marked the one month birthday of this blog, Being Confident of This.  It’s a blog I started, but I’ve decided not to call it my blog anymore because it really isn’t.  It’s God’s blog. The reason I say it’s His blog is because He’s done greater things for it in this short time than I could have ever imagined!

I’m happy to tell you that today “Being Confident of This” is being featured on two other blogs! Exciting! :)  My cousin, Angie, at http://www.angieknutson.com/ has been a huge help to me in my blogging journey this far.  She has a wealth of knowledge and has been kind enough to share it with me, in spite of her own busy schedule, on multiple occasions.  I really appreciate her support! Tomorrow she’ll be sharing a brand new post from me about how to handle dreary mornings, so stay tuned for that!!

So far, He’s used this blog to reach others, but even more, He’s used it to reach me.  How often do we set out in life to lead others, to teach them, only to realize we are being taught ourselves?  That’s how I feel about this whole blogging experience so far. :)

A Blogger's Prayer

So, here’s my prayer as I continue on in this journey:

I see what you did there, God.  I see how you used that post about Mary Moments in a Martha World to remind me that the best thing is spending time with you.  I see how the post about  being a Transformer convicted me to live out truth in love.  I see that the biggest flaw in our Sanity Saving Chore Charts is whether or not we as parents are consistent in our follow-up.

At the same time, Lord, I’m learning that I have to be careful with this blogging thing.  I heard my little boy the other day when he said I was spending too much time on the computer. I know I need to watch how much time I pour into this.  I have to find balance between my time with you and blogging and family and church.  It’s not easy, but I know You’ll help me.  I see now that it’s part of the process, part of that work in progress.

Father, I’m also learning that you just want me to be me and to trust You to give me the words to say.  When I try to create a fabulous post on my own – it flops. :)  When I trust You for the message, it soars.  I see how that works, God, and I’m trying to get out of the way so that You can use me.

I am the vine

I also see, Lord, the potential to find my worth in the numbers (now I know what my pastoring husband feels like!).  I don’t want numbers to be a measure of who I am.  I want who I am to be found in You alone.  Help me to be obedient to You in sharing the messages You give without worrying about how many people are visiting today, tomorrow, or the next day.  Help me to remember that the value is in the obedience to You.

Most of all, Lord, I want to remember that it was Your idea to create this blog, not mine!  Like anything else in my life, it ultimately belongs to You.  Help me to surrender that control!  Help me to remember that You can bring an audience all on Your own with no help from me.  I’m simply the vessel.  Make me a humble vessel.

Thank You, Father, for this amazing journey.

In Christ alone,

Jen :)

What is God teaching you lately?  If you feel free to share, leave a comment! :)

Also linking up at any of these lovely blogs.

Choosing Mary Moments in a Martha World

Like many women, I’ve been really busy this week with a lot of good things.  In addition to my everyday tasks, two things in particular have taken up a fair amount of time: a Mother’s Day talk I am working on for church and a future blog post that just isn’t quite right yet.

They are both really good things, both uplifting to the Body of Christ and instructive for me, the writer.

However, last night and this morning God was working in my heart to show me a truth that I had learned before, but temporarily forgotten.  Good things can become bad things when they distract me from the BEST thing – my relationship with Him!

You see, I thought I was doing good by feverishly working on these projects in my spare time, which you can understand as a mother of four children is indeed very spare.

In my zeal and enthusiasm for this good work, I forgot to turn to the Source from whom the words flow.

I neglected the best work!

Sounds an awful lot like Martha, doesn’t it?

 

Luke 10:38- 42 reads:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was busy doing good things – taking care of others, preparing food to serve them, and so forth.  They were necessary preparations.  But when she expressed her frustration to the Lord about her sister Mary, He actually rebuked her instead!  He told her that Mary’s choice to fellowship with and learn from Him was the better choice, the BEST choice.

Jesus audaciously suggests that perhaps Martha should be choosing some Mary moments!

In a fast-paced world, we neglect the best things because we are busy with merely good things. Focus on choosing Mary moments in spite of your Martha world.

 

I had the opportunity earlier this year to attend a women’s conference, and the main speaker, Kimberly Sowell, so aptly narrated this story to us.  She reminded us that we live in a Martha World – full of work and busy schedules.

Those tasks, those good and necessary things that we do on a daily basis (raising up children, working, serving others, preparing meals, even work related to ministry) have to be done, but we must be careful not to let them distract us from the most important thing – abiding in Him.

Don’t make the mistake I made; don’t choose simply good things over the BEST thing.  Choose to make time for a Mary moment in spite of your Martha world.

In a fast-paced world, we neglect the best things because we are busy with merely good things. Focus on choosing Mary moments in spite of your Martha world.

And as soon as you start choosing Mary moments, don’t be surprised if something needs your immediate attention.

This morning, as soon as I sat down on my bed and opened my Bible, my preschoolers who were playing so nicely together suddenly needed my TOTAL attention.

Thankfully, God reminded me that Satan is always at work, and rather than getting frustrated and giving up, I was able to quickly attend to their needs and come right back to my Bible.

It wasn’t easy with two distracting 4-year-olds at my feet (and on my bed, sometimes even in my lap), but it was worthwhile, and I know He was pleased with my obedience.

I know because when I finished, I had peace.

Will you be choosing Mary moments today?

Jen :)

Question:  What “good” things tend to distract you the most from the BEST thing? (feel free to share in the comments)

For practical advice on how to focus on the Best thing, read more here.

*After writing this, several readers mentioned this book. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks excellent! (affiliate link)