Praying “Thy Will be done….” When I Really Want mine!

Have you ever stopped to think about the prayer Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane when He asked the Lord to let the cup pass from Him, but ended His prayer with, “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” {Luke 22:42}

Here Jesus was about to go to the cross, to die an awful death, and experience true loneliness and agony. He laid His desire before His Father, but Jesus was willing to accept the will of God the Father.

There are desires I have in my life that I really really want. I honestly want to whole-heartedly pray, “Thy will be done”….. but at the same time I really want what I want!

Praying, “Not my will, but Thine be done” is challenging sometimes!  It is tough for me at least, because I think I have some pretty amazing plans for my life!

When my husband and I got married one of the dreams we had was having at least half a dozen children. Eleven years of marriage and nine pregnancies later, we have three living children with us {which we are extremely thankful for!} and six in the arms of Jesus. To be honest, I have struggled with praying, “Not my will…. but yours…” in this area of my life.

At the risk of sounding childish, quite honestly the easier prayer to pray is, “Why her and not me?”

In April of this year we lost our sixth baby at the beginning of my second trimester. This loss brought me face to face once again with the reality that God will often allow us to go through crushing times. Not to simply leave us broken, but to let the breaking of us be the making of us.  We are each left to answer the question, do I really want His will?

Wanting His will means I will let go of every single one of my dreams and lay them down at His feet.  Not letting go begrudgingly.  Not going through a white knuckling tug of war over His will and mine, but simply taking my dreams and my will for my life and laying them before Him. Praying, “Not my will, but Your’s…” and really meaning those words.

I cannot pray that prayer while holding onto my will with one hand and extending my other to Him. No, it is prayed honestly when I surrender my will to Him.

Even when it hurts, even when it is hard to let go of what I want, even though I may not see His will and how it will all unfold, I can trust Him. His plans are far better than my own and His will come from a love so deep for me.

Sometimes we lack submitting our will to Him because we do not understand the depth of love He has for us. It will be hard to pray that prayer, until we realize that His thoughts and plans are so much better than our own and that He is completely trustworthy and loves us beyond measure!

Our plans may seem good, but God doesn’t want us to settle for just good. His plans for our lives are AMAZING!

Dear friend, what things are you finding yourself having a hard time laying at the feet of Jesus? What is it that keeps you from honestly praying, “Not my will, but Thine”field-summer-sun-meadow-large?

Today, let’s take that step of faith. Let’s ask the Lord to help us believe that His love for us is as deep as it is wide, vast beyond measure!  Together, let’s ask for His help to honestly be able to pray, “Your will, not mine.”

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

Ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it with others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Artist At Work In Us

We have an aspiring artist in our family.  I have found artistic work all around my house in various places. The world is her canvas, or so she thinks!

One day I left our living room for a few minutes and when I returned I found a gigantic smiley face on our tiled floor.  I’m talking huge. It was quite obvious that the artist had struck again and she found out {once again} that Mama was not thrilled with her choice of canvas.

I recognized the artwork and I knew exactly who had created it because I recognized her artistic flair. You see, I know the artist personally and have seen her work before, but I do not always appreciate her masterpieces because of her choice of canvas.

You know, we are all a masterpiece under constant construction. Just as my little one takes great care in the pictures she draws, Jesus takes great care in the way He works in our lives also.

Scripture actually refers to Christ as our potter and we are His clay.

Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”potter

As we go throughout our life there are times when our Creator makes tweaks and changes in us.  He works with loving hands as He molds and fashions us, removing what does not reflect Him.  He is creating a masterpiece, but just as I do not always appreciate all of the art work my little one does because of her choice of canvas, I do not always appreciate how {and where} God is at work in my life.  Instead of recognizing He is trying to create a masterpiece in me, I can be blinded by what seems an inconvenience, the hurt, and often by the way He chooses to make those changes in me.

Instead of always seeing Him as a loving God at work, I can choose to feel rejection.  Instead of letting Him teach me, I can choose to not be His cooperative pupil.  Part of my heart can begin to harden as I kick against the pricks of change.

This is not how a child of God should be, and I know this in my head, but getting that into my heart is sometimes very difficult.

Some places God chooses to work in our lives can be painful. He often chisels away at areas  we may be sensitive in, He may reveal idols in our lives and work to remove them, He will even ask us to step outside of our comfort zone, for His sake.  His goal is not to ruin our lives, but rather to transform them!

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

God is creating a Masterpiece in each one of us. The trials, the changes, the woman1transformations, all of them are part of His hand at work. All of these are evidence of His love for us. He works patiently, carefully, with loving hands, not to leave us hurting and broken He loves us far to much to leave us that way. Rather, He is making us into who He created us to be, a beautiful masterpiece transformed from the inside out!

Many Blessings,

Wendy

Ps: If this post has encouraged you, please feel free to share it with others!

Rejection Does Not Define Us

Rejection. What swirls through your mind when you hear that word? Do memories flood through you and put you right back to the very moments when you experienced it?  Wounds so deep and numerous tears, some still fairly close to the surface.

All of us have a need to belong, to feel loved, to know we are accepted. So when rejection strikes, it hurts far more than we know how to express.  We begin to doubt who we are, we doubt our worth, we allow the words and actions of others to control our thoughts about the value of our life.

For three years the words written by someone were what I let define me.

It was actually in a letter written to my husband and along with hurtful words written to him, they threw my name into the letter as well with phrases like, “Your wife just is not what we were expecting….” and “she is to quiet….not fit to be a Pastor’s wife.”

The rejection washed over me and all of my perceived notions came true in that instant. I could sense the rejection for awhile, but when I read the words in the letter everything was confirmed.

“No good…. you hold your husband back….how can God use you?  You are way to shy….how can you think you can be the wife of a Pastor?…..” all of these thoughts and more haunted me off and on for three agonizing years.

I allowed the words spilled out on that paper to define me, to devalue my worth, and to fill me with fear.  In order to protect my heart from that kind of hurt again, I built up walls that would be inpenetrable.

Can anyone relate?

Rejection is something all of us experience at one time or another. It is absolutely impossible to please everyone and make everyone like us!  All people pleasers who find this to be tragic news say “Aye!”  Yes, this recovering people pleaser right here is saying it with you!

Let me share a simple truth with you that the Lord is {still} teaching me: Our worth is not defined or based upon by the opinion of someone else.  We are valuable because God has made us that way! 

Listen to what Isaiah 43:4a says, “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee

Friend, we are LOVED with a constant unfailing, consistent, unchanging love by our great God!

He has made each of us with a unique personality for a specific reason, some loud, some quiet, all incredibly valuable!  You-are-Loved

What should we do when the sting of rejection comes?

I love this quote from Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Uninvited.  She says, “Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”

All of the love we will ever need can be found in the One true lover of our souls, Jesus Christ!  He longs to fill the need of ours to be loved and accepted.

Live in the knowledge of knowing you are always loved, no matter the rejection you have faced from others.  Oftentimes the rejections people hand out comes from a place of insecurity in their own heart. We all need love, we all need grace, we can all give these to others, and we can all find them in Jesus.

I really encourage you to look up Lysa Terkeurst’s new book, Uninvited.  It is so full of wisdom and encouragement!

Be Encouraged,

Wendy

 

Ps: If this post has been an encouragement to you please feel free to pass it along to others.

I asked for change and God changed Me!

For quite sometime now my husband and I have been praying for God to do a work in our church.  We have asked Him to change our church in order for us as a body of believers to reflect more of Him. We have been on the front lines of battle fighting for different hearts and souls, asking the Lord to draw those who have strayed back to Him.  As we have prayed, do you know what has happened?

We have asked God to do a work in our church and He really began to change me.

Now this sounds wonderful, right? We read God’s Word, we pray, we attend church faithfully, we live for Him, and we ask the Lord to help us draw closer to Him. These are all things healthy Christians should be doing.

You know what though? It hurt. I didn’t like it. God has been at work in my own heart, chipping away at what is in my life that does not reflect Him and I did not enjoy how He was working on my heart.

Isn’t that just like how we humans are?  We ask for something….then when it begins to happen we find something to complain about.

“Lord, draw me closer to You!” we plead.  God begins to work and we say, “No, not like that!! This hurts way to much!”

This summer I have been slowly making my way through the book of Psalms and not long ago I read these different passages,

Psalm 145:17, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works” and 145:19, “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” 

As I read these verses my flesh reacted in a way I did not expect. The journey God and I have been on does not feel like He is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works.  I have desires that have not been fulfilled, even though I am fearing Him! I wondered if He really was hearing my cry!

Instead of feeling like the beloved child of God that I am, I felt more like a rejected child kicked to the curb, and that my friends is exactly where the enemy wants us. He wants us to feel distanced from God because if the enemy can take an inch from us he will have plenty of room to take a mile!

Can I share a little nugget of truth with you?  God knows what we need to go through in order for our hearts to reflect more of Him.  He knows just the amount of pressure we need to be under, the exact circumstances to go through, the right amount of brokenness we must endure in order to sincerely reflect Him.

I found myself at a crossroads, I could either wallow in self pity or I could willingly let God work with a tender transformable heart. {Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me:”}  The choice really was mine.

Am I really willing to be who God wants me to be?  Am I truly willing to give up what only matters here on earth so that I can gain what really matters?

My husband and I continue to ask God to bring change to our church.  We ask Him to shake up His people so that they will awaken from their slumber.  We seek revival and ask Him to help us be the light in the community in which we live. His answers may look different to me than anticipated, but He is answering our prayers.

We have asked God to change our church, and I have found He is changing me.

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

Ps: If this post has been an encouragement to you, please feel free to pass it on to others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement for Moms, pt. 3

As a mom there are times when I honestly feel like I’m just not sure if I am doing this parenting thing right! How do I raise my kids in Christ? What does that mean? How do I handle different parenting moments?  Discipline?

There have been moments in my life when the reality that is parenting overwhelms me!  I want to do this SO right. but how do I do that?

My third and final encouragement in this mini series is this, seek after wisdom!

Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

I don’t know about you but I need that wisdom and knowledge from God! We only have one shot at raising these kids up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. One.Shot. That adds all kinds of pressure!  We have one opportunity so we had better do it right!

The good news is, Christ says that if we seek after God’s wisdom, we will find it!

What does seeking after wisdom look like?

I’m sure this won’t surprise you when I say it but, getting into God’s Word daily and spending time in prayer are your top two ways to seek for wisdom!  That alone time with God is invaluable! Pouring over God’s Word and spending time in prayer will help to better equip us as Mom’s! We need a lot of wisdom raising these children, so let’s get on our knees and ask God for it!

Another way to seek after wisdom and find encouragement is to stay faithful to church. Pastor’s spend hours studying God’s Word each week and the Lord gives them messages straight from Him for us! How are we going to hear what God has for us if we are not faithful in attending services?  I remember a time when my dad was not living with our family and we had no other vehicle but the one he drove off with.  We lived maybe 1/2 a mile from our church and my mom was determined that she and her children would be faithful to church no matter what.  Even though our lives were full of uncertainty, our home was kind of a mess, she wanted her children in God’s house. So you know what we did? We buckled on our church shoes and we walked all the way to church. It didn’t matter what was going on at home, we would be in church every time the doors were open. I do not look back on those times and resent my mother for making me go to church.  Instead I am thankful she loved me enough to take me, even if it meant we had to walk there.  I think that is a beautiful testimony of my mother.  It was never a guessing game or even a question if we were going to church Sunday and Wednesday.  Rather a, “we are leaving for church at this time and you had better be ready by then.”  Our children need to know that Sunday is different than any other day of the week. It is the day we go to church and everything else can wait.  I want this kind of testimony in my family!

Next, seek out godly council from older, godly mothers who have raised their children well.  This council can come in a few different ways.  One is through actual relationships with other women in your church or that God has brought across your path who love the Lord and all of their children love the Lord as well and are living for Him.  Ask them questions!  Invite her over for coffee and ask for wise council on child rearing.  This is actually a Biblical thing to do. Titus 2:4 states in reference to older women, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”  Seek godly advice from women who have been where you are and survived to talk about it!   Wisdom from older godly women is priceless!

Another way to seek out godly wisdom is through listening to or attending conferences on the home.  I often turn to Sermon Audio and search out sermons on the home because I oftentimes crave messages like that! {You can find some great messages on the home by any of these speakers listed in my precious post here.} Listening to them helps me keep my focus, realigns my thoughts, gives me insight and helpful tools that I can practically put into use in our home. Also, investing in good books by trusted authors on the home are very beneficial.

Ladies, being a godly mom will take discipline and work on our part but these things are worth our time and energy!  We are investing in the lives of our children and we only have one chance to raise them right! We will never have it all down perfectly, and God never requires that of us. However, we can run to the One who is perfect and knows how we ought to raise our children. Keep asking, seeking, knocking! God wants to help us be the best Mama to our children that we can be!  Let’s draw closer to Him!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

PS: If this has been an encouragement to your heart, please feel free to pass it on!

Encouragement for Moms, Pt 1

Nine years ago my husband and I were full of anticipation!  We were about to become parents to a little girl and we were ready for this new adventure!  We had read a lot of books, we had a plan together, we wanted to take on parenting and just knew it would work out exactly as we planned.

Then she came.

Funny how that works out, right? We think we have it all together and then reality comes and we get humbled.

Though she was cute as a button and we have loved the journey of parenthood, we learned real quick like that we really didn’t have it all together when it came to parenting! Our first was an easy baby, never exerted a strong will, was very compliant and sensitive.  Then God gave us our second born.  A little boy who by the age of two had me envisioning him as a teenage delinquent and questioning my ability to parent at all!  My ideal of having it all figured out as a parent crumbled as my child was the one screaming in the store and throwing himself down in a fit of rage despite our best efforts of consistent training!  It was a journey the Lord knew I needed to go on to help me learn more about Him and chisel away in me what was not reflecting Him.

As my husband and I have journeyed through parenting for almost a decade, we know we still do not have it all together and we are in a constant state of learning, but the Lord has been so good!  We are still right in the middle of the training years and maybe you are also!  I just want to take a few minutes over the next week and share with you a few things the Lord has taught us in our short time as parents.  I hope these posts are an encouragement to you right where you are!  Again, we are definitely not perfect parents, nor will we ever be, but by God’s grace we are learning and my hearts desire is simply to encourage you in your parenting journey!

When it comes to being a Mom the first and best thing we can do for our children is pray for them! prayerWhat should we pray about?  Pray about everything!  From the moment we found out we were expecting our children we began praying for their salvation.  We have asked repeatedly that they will see their need for Jesus as their Savior from a young age and that they will accept Him!  The most important decision of their life needs to be bathed in prayer!

Pray that your children will walk closely with the Lord all the days of their lives and as they grow physically ask the Lord to help them grow spiritually. Pray for protection over them! When my husband and I pray for our children, we even go so far as to ask the Lord to blind the eyes of those that would want to do our children harm so that they cannot even see them.  Pray for blessing on their life!  Pray for strength and for their faith to grow as they will go through trials.  It may seem odd to think of our kids enduring trials, but as they grow they will go through some difficult seasons and they need encouragement and prayer as we walk with them through it.

As a parent, we know our children well and we see their strengths and weaknesses. Ask the Lord to help them lean on Him and ask for His help to overcome temptations.  Pray that your children will be tender towards the leading of the Holy Spirit, that they will grow in wisdom and discernment. Pray for their purity in every aspect. Ask the Lord to bring godly friends and influences into their lives {and be sure to guard against ungodly influences}. Friends make a big impact on us do they not? Godly friends for our children are so very important! There really is no limit to what we can bring before the Lord in prayer for our children! Also, let me mention right here how important it is for our children to hear us pray for and with them. Let the testimony in our homes be that our children always knew Mom and Dad prayed for them!

While you are praying, don’t just pray for youprayer1r children but pray for yourself as you raise them!  Proverbs 22:6 is a well known verse about child rearing.  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  My husband and I often find ourselves asking the Lord for wisdom beyond our years to know how to raise our children up in the way they should go. Parenting is hard work, but is always worth the effort!  We will need God’s constant strength and wisdom to be consistent and  faithful in teaching and training them.  Ask the Lord to help you take the opportunities He creates to teach your children about Him.  Opportunities present themselves every day to point our children back to Christ, the problem is we tend to not always recognize them as opportunities.  Pray that you will be a godly testimony to your children. This can be tough right?  When we are at home we feel we can let our guard down, but that only gives the enemy ample opportunity to pounce.  It can be through lack of patience, inconsistency, lack of discernment, a harsh tongue, or even distractions.  Oh how we need to be in prayer much more often then we are on behalf of our kids!

The Lord has used my own children to often humble me and make me realize how much I need God’s strength, wisdom, and discernment in parenting! Being a Mom has taught me much about my need to depend on God for helping me parent the right way!  I have eaten humble pie! I have had to apologize to my children, I have had to confess my faults to the Lord and there are some days when I just feel like all I did was fail all day long!  What does Proverbs 24:16 say though? “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:”  It may have been a rough day, but tomorrow morning we will get up, pray over our children and ourselves, by God’s grace we will depend on Him more, and it will be a better day!

Don’t forget to also stop and praise the Lord for answered prayer! As we look back we can see how God has faithfully brought us through to where we are.  He has grown our family and brought us closer. Even on the tough parenting days, there are MANY things to thank the Lord for!

I just can’t say enough about how much prayer needs to go into parenting!  Prayer accesses the power of God that we need to do our job diligently, faithfully, consistently.  These children are such precious gifts from the Lord, they are worth getting on our knees before God and interceding on their behalf.

Join me next time as we continue this mini series on encouragement for moms!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

When The Miracle Hasn’t Come…. What Then?

 

Have you ever had something you have been praying about, pouring your heart out to God over, even pleading with God for a miracle?  You long to see God perform a miracle right before your eyes!

My husband and I have had several different occasions where we pleaded with God for a miracle and He answered!  It was incredible to see God work in our lives!  There have also been other times when we have done the same thing, we cried out to God for a miracle, but the miracle never came.

What happens when that miracle does not come?  What then?

This is the question I have been mulling over in my own mind the past several weeks.

What happens when suffering remains and the miracle just isn’t there?

Earlier this year my husband and I discovered we were expecting another baby.  We were pleasantly surprised and very hopeful! My doctor had run all kinds of blood work and we begged God to let us keep this baby.

Appointment after appointment, a strong steady heartbeat could be heard. A growing little baby was forming inside of me and God was performing a miracle right inside my body! We were at the doctors office quite often and I was continuously poked and prodded, but I didn’t care! Anything to help us keep this baby alive was fine by us!

One particular afternoon we headed to the Dr again, it was an appointment simply for peace of mind and to hear the heartbeat. There is nothing quite like that sound, is there? A beautiful rhythm of life beating inside causes both comfort and hope to wash over an expectant mother!

Day after day my husband and I pleaded with the Lord on behalf of our baby and before we went in to see the Doctor we prayed in our car.  My heart was beginning to feel a bit anxious but taking my fears to the One who can help calm me is exactly what we did. On  this particular day however, when the doppler was placed on my stomach, there was only silence.

Deafening silence.

Just as there is nothing quite like the sound of a beating heart on a doppler, there is nothing quite like the sound of silence when all you long to hear is a heartbeat.

All the hopes and dreams we had for this sweet one, lay shattered in our hearts. Again.

Our sixth baby was in the arms of Jesus instead of still growing in my womb.

This was a tough tough place for me. I really wanted that baby!

My heart began to battle with the Lord. Questions of “why” and “what am I doing wrong?” were now what my prayers were filled with instead of expectant hope. This loss filled me with a brokenness I had not known for a long while.  A grief so deep it would take something only God could do to pull me out. I just could not believe we found ourselves in this place again, for the 6th time.

Have you been there before?  Expected a miracle from the Lord, heart full of faith, and yet that miracle did not happen.

During this time I had been reading in the book of Psalms and as I read through Psalm 119 one particular morning, I was struck by one verse.  I stopped, re-read it, underlined it, and wrote it on my bathroom mirror so I would see it often!

Verse 28 says, “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

This verse was written just for me!  Seriously though, isn’t it incredible when we are reading through Scripture and a verse we have read numerous times before suddenly seems to jump off the pages and it is exactly what we need.

My soul really did feel like it was melting. I was so discouraged and hurting, but the latter half of that verse reminded me of where I needed to find my source of strength. In His Word.

The past few months I have slowly been taking my time reading through the book of Psalms and have been finding a balm for my heart in the Word of God.

I still have days of struggle, more days than I care to admit!  I still get tripped up and battle with the flesh and spirit, but the Lord always has a way of reminding me what I need to get back to. Where I can find my encouragement and my true source of healing.

Two months ago we said good-bye to our expectant little baby boy, and though tears still tend to be numerous because I miss him terribly, though my heart still aches to know him here on earth, to kiss his soft little baby cheeks, to love on him as only a Mama can do, I trust. I know that our little guy is being loved on with a love so much greater than mine!  A love so much more perfect than I ever could give. I trust in our good God because He has proven Himself time again that even when I do not understand, even when I hurt, He is so worthy of my trust. I can run to Him with all the cares of my heart and let His ever capable shoulders carry my hurts.

Psalm 116:2 says,Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.”  That verse tells me that God is leaning in, just to hear my prayer! The God of the Universe is interested in hearing the prayer of my heart. The incredible truth of this verse is something I cannot even wrap my mind around!  How can I not help but pray, when His ear is turned towards me?

The verse currently  on my mirror is one that the Lord recently reminded me of.  Lamentations 3:24, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” 

When hurts come our way, when life seems to not be turning out how we anticipated, when our miracle is taking a little bit longer to happen than we anticipated, we can hope in Him! We can find rest in Him while we wait {Psalm 37:7, Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him} but keep on hoping in Him!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

 

ps: If this post has been an encouragement to you, please feel free to share it with others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Life Hurts and the enemy is Bearing Down

It had been a long night that had accompanied an even longer day.  Sleep was evading me and I quietly slipped out of bed, found my favorite cozy pair of slippers, and silently tip-toed my way into our living room.

Curling up in my familiar spot on our brown micro-suede couch I reached for my Bible. With puffy eyes I cracked open God’s Word, not really knowing even where to begin reading.  My heart was so broken.  I had a desperate need to pray but no words could even form on my lips or in my head!  I needed to hear from God!  I needed to know that He saw every tear that had trickled down my cheeks, the heart-wrenching sobs that wracked my body.  I needed that reassurance of knowing that He understood and was close by.  At the moment all I was hearing was the lies the enemy was telling me.  “Failure. Disappointment. God doesn’t really love you.  If He did, then why does He continue to not answer this one simple request? You say you know He can, so why doesn’t He? He doesn’t care in fact He isn’t even listening!”

My world had been rocked.  I had had so much faith in God, I believed with every ounce of my being that He was going to answer the pleas of my heart.  But on this particular day, it became evident that His will and my prayers were not matching up.  My heart was shattered, again. prayer

I began searching for a familiar verse that I often share with others who are hurting, but in my search for the particular reference, I landed in Psalm 143.  As my eyes scanned the verses tears pooled in my eyes and I thought, “Yes, this describes exactly how I feel!”

Psalm 143:1-4, Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.”

Everything David was saying in this passage could be echoed in my heart.  I felt beaten down by the enemy.  The weight of the burden felt impossible to bear.  My spirit truly was overwhelmed and yes, my heart felt desolate.  “God, where are You?” was the question racing through my head.

Trials, they have a way of knocking the wind out of us sometimes, don’t they?  We long to hear from God just as David exclaimed in verses 7-8, Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

While in the midst of our difficulty that is when the enemy most often strikes.  We are worn out, weakened by our affliction, and more prone to the  attacks of our enemy.  That is just how cunning and low our enemy really is.  He delights in kicking us when we are down and doing his best to drive a wedge between us and our Savior.

I really believe David knew this and recognized the fingerprints of the enemy throughout his trial.   I love how David ended this precious chapter. Read these next few verses with me, will you?Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.”

Even though David was going through such heartache and felt utterly defeated, he remembered Whose he was.  He remembered that no matter the lies the enemy fed him, he fought back and spoke truth to his soul and proclaimed “God, I am YOURS! Reveal that to my enemy!”

Friend, even when we don’t feel like it, even when our flesh wants to believe the lies the enemy whispers (and even shouts!) in our ears, we must remember, if we have claimed the free gift of salvation we are HIS!  We must speak truth to ourselves first, even if the feelings aren’t there.  Sometimes our feelings need a little bossing around, don’t they? This is something I am still learning myself!  When the enemy speaks lies shout back with TRUTH!

God is there.  He is here!  He is with me in my trial just as He is with you in yours.  He is on your mountain top and also in your valley.  When we can’t sense or feel or see His presence, remember, He is still there.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He will make beauty of our ashes, one day.  He will work it together for good.  In the meantime, hang on and cling to those promises!  You are not alone and you belong to HIM!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

Ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share this post!

 

Books On My Nightstand

As a younger ministry wife and mom I didn’t really seem to have time to read!  I had the desire, but the time seemed to slip away each day and I would fall into bed exhausted!  Anytime I picked up a book to read I would fall asleep!  I know many of you all can relate!  I was good to squeeze in my Bible reading for the day, know what I mean?

However, two years ago I felt the urge to purposefully make time to read once again.  Since my time to read is somewhat limited, I wanted to choose books that would help me in my Christian walk.  I LOVE books that help point me back to the Lord, books that help me grow as a Christian woman, teach me things I need to be taught, or better yet reminded of!

Here are a few of the books I have worked my way through in the past few months.  Now I don’t have a lot of time, but I have learned to couple my devotional Bible reading with some other reading.

Unglued

 

Okay ladies, how many of us are willing to admit that our tongues can oftentimes get us into trouble?  Um. Can you see my hand held up over here?  I start my day completely intending to tame that tongue, but find myself by days end having had to apologize or really regretting that tone of frustration that came out.  This book hit me right between the eyes.  It has such practical truths in it!  It is a book I recommend for every.single.woman. whether we think we have an issue with our tongue or not, this book is full of wisdom!  I absolutely LOVE how Lysa writes. She doesn’t use flowery or over zealous words.  Have you ever read a book and while reading you think, “Why didn’t they just use a word I understand?!  I don’t have time to flip through the dictionary too!”  Lysa writes as if she was sitting on the couch next to you and I love it!  If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend running out and getting it!

BecomingMoreReRelease-Cover

So many who are avid readers have exclaimed their disappointment once they reach the end of a great book. The story has swept them away, carried them right into the story with the characters. The end of a good book seemingly means the end of a new friendship! This is exactly the way I feel about this book, Becoming More!

I have sat on the corner of my couch for several weeks now, soaking in and gleaning from this wonderful book. Conviction has swept over me, encouragement has helped lift me, truly God has used this book the challenge my heart to become more…. for Him!

When I finished this book I found myself wishing it were just a bit longer, it was just that good!  Once again practical applications that could be used in our every day personal Bible study.  Though I recently finished this book it was so good it makes me want to just start reading it all over again!  This is a great read that will really challenge you to pursue God more than you ever have before.  Not just reading His Word to check it off your list, but to read it because you want it to become alive and you want to grow closer to Him than you ever thought possible!

 

This next read is just a little bit different.  A couple of months ago I was invited to attend a ladies Bible study at another local church.  This book is a seven week Bible study with a daily devotional each week.  I have been so challenged and yet completely encArmorouraged by this study.  We have so much in Christ, friend!  This Bible study not only teaches you about putting on the entire armor of God and what that looks like on a daily basis, but also to use the weapon of prayer!  The author has pointed out that as a child of God we have an enemy and whether we choose to engage him or not, as a child of God we are already in open war with our enemy.  He has strategies he uses against us simply to try and make us stumble and become useless and feel worthless.  This book will encourage and help equip you to fight back and to be more on the offensive than the defensive.  All we have to do is look around us and we can see that the enemy has gained waaaay to much ground in our families, our churches, our communities, even our country!  It is time to fight back!  It is time to go to war!  Can you sense the passion this book helps instill in your heart?  Oh, I cannot emphasize enough, this  is such a great Bible study!

Last but certainly not least is a book my husband recently got me for my birthday.  After going through the Bible study above I knew I wanted to read this book!  I have just begun to dig into it but I know it is going to be a great read and I cannot wait to tell you about it when I am done!  Listen, if you all haven’t seen the Ferventmovie War Room, it is a must see!  We cannot recommend it enough!  It is worth having in your library of movies!  Our country and our world may be in trouble, but we need to remind our enemy that greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world!  Christ has won the victory!  Let’s take back the ground we have handed over to our enemy!  Let’s get a serious prayer life!  It isn’t a cliche, there really is power in prayer!

Alright, I’m done, for now!  I’m curious what you have been reading though!  What books have you been reading that are challenging you in your Christian walk?  I am always eager to learn about more great reads!  These are just a few from my nightstand!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

PS: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to pass it along to others!

Failure or of Great Value?

There I was, pushing my shopping cart and trying to hold it together.  My toddler was not interested in sitting in the cart, holding onto the cart, or even acting as if I was their mother!  Their desire to run around the store was overwhelming their very being and if I could just get the cart out of the way and get this toddler to the car life would be so much better.

I could feel the stares as my toddler protested their confinement.  Embarrassment, guilt, frustration, and even the feelings of failure all washed over me.  “Why can’t I get this parenting thing right?” I questioned myself as I carried my flailing little one.

If I really knew how to mother my children, fits in private or public would not happen, right?  My children would always obey no questions asked.  They would never ask “why” or pout.   I could shine my “Good Godly Mother” crown daily as I adjusted it on my head.

But there I was, daily finding myself frustrated, in tears, wondering if this consistency of discipline would ever pay off, especially with my strong willed child!  “Mom Failure” seemed to be burned across my forehead and without realizing it, I had allowed my mothering to become what I found my value in.  If my children were quick to always obey and did not throw a fit, I would feel I was doing well on the mommy scale.  The days where the strong will reared it’s head and my child acted as if they had never been disciplined in their life, I felt I was failing.  The thing is, my husband and I have a strong willed one, which meant battles pretty much came up daily.  Because of this, I felt I was apparently failing, therefore in my mind I had little value.  I walked around feeling the weight of failure so incredibly heavy and my child was only 2!

Then one day during my quiet time with the Lord I felt the Holy Spirit prick my heart.  “Child of mine, find your value and worth in Me!  Your worth in my eyes far surpasses your understanding and it goes much deeper than your parenting struggles.”  Basing my value on my ability to mother was akin to that of a roller coaster ride!  Up one day and waaaay down the next!

I love the verses in Isaiah 43, the beginning of the chapter when it says, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” and skip down a little bit….. “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.”  Friend, God loves us!  Let’s let that truth soak into our heart and mind a little bit.

His love for us does not change based on how well our children behave or any of the things we do (or don’t do)!  Our value in His eyes does not diminish when we have “off” days, or try to find our worth in other things.  His love for us is steady, constant, unchanging.  Our value in His eyes stays the same, no matter what!

I was so used to finding my value in something other than Christ that I needed His help to show me how to find my worth in Him and Him alone.  When we ask the Lord for His help, He delights in answering!  When we strive to do it on our own, our pride stands between us and Him and we find ourselves feeling empty and alone.  We have to remember that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. {James 4:6}  I sure need God’s grace in heaping doses, don’t you?

Help me to remember, in the heat of the moment, or dealing with my child’s temper tantrum, that my worth is still found in you!  I am not a failure!  I am simply raising a sinner in need of your saving grace!  Help me to point this little one to you….. and please bend their will in the direction of submission before I have a breakdown!” I pleaded.

Slowly the “Mom Failure” sign across my forehead began to diminish.  The more I looked to Christ for my value {instead of looking to my mothering skills for that value}, the more contented my heart was.  When emotions run high it is easy to get caught up and carried away in them, isn’t it?  Letting how we feel speak to our soul instead of feeding our soul truth.

The truth is, I am a sinner saved by grace, raising little ones in need of that same saving grace!

Here I am, 9 years into parenting now and I still have so much to learn, but praise the Lord He is willing to teach me!  He sees every single one of my victories and failures and He still says, “I love you just the same.  Keep looking to me for your value.  You are so precious in my sight!”

Friend, wherever you are today, my prayer for you is that you also find your worth in Him!  Not in beauty products, or fashion clothing, husband/boyfriend, children, popularity, none of those things will fill your soul like that of Christ!  Let’s find our worth in HIM!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it with others!