Biggest Change in My Life

This was the question asked at the end of today’s devotion. It made sense for the question to be asked since there were only two more devotions after this one. Luckily, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how my life has changed since I began writing this series of blog posts in February.

I’ve become braver like the devotional says, and I’ve gained more courage. I’ve learned I don’t have to bury who I am much as I might feel some people want me to. God made me the way I am, and if people don’t like it, too bad for them. 🙂 The only person whose approval I want is the approval of my Lord and Savior. And if it comes down to it, I don’t need to be approved of by my fellow believers either. That’s not what God made me for. He made me to bring Him glory and not anyone else.

I also learned God is in control of everything. Yes, I already knew that in my head, but my heart caught up when I was in Honduras last week. I didn’t have control over anything. Not when we worked, not when we ate, not even when we traveled somewhere or when we were waiting to get rescued from the side of the road. God was in control of it all. He gave me the strength to endure at the roadside and the energy to work and play with the kids at VBS. He was present in my trip just like He said He would be.

Trusting the process was my second lesson. I didn’t need to have anything specific to tell people like I thought. The author had some poignant words about courage that I thought applied well to my own life.  “It’s (courage) for your relationship with God. It’s for your dreams and your calling and your work.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) (parentheses and addition mine) She also had this to say about bravery. “You can be brave during all the changes of life. You can be brave in the face of pain. You can be brave with your health. Brave with your money. Brave wherever you are!” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) (emphasis mine) And because I’m brave, I can trust the process as I consider what comes next.

I’m grateful God will be with me through all of this change like it says in Scripture. I Chronicles 28:20 says, “David also said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.'” God will be with me and with all of us until our work is finished. May we truly believe that promise today!

God’s blessings on you all today!

The Messiness of Life

As I said a few days ago, life is hard. I’m sure all of you have figured that out by now. I would say I have too, but I’m still surprised when the bad times come. I shouldn’t be, right? Jesus said we would have trouble in this world, but many of us who are believers still think our existence in this world will or should be trouble-free. There have probably been a number of thoughts spoken on this, but I’m going to add my two cents on the topic today. You didn’t expect any less, right? 🙂

John 16:33 says it best, I think. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!

So, it says it right there. In clear and plain language. Why don’t we expect trouble to come then? I believe there are three reasons why we are surprised when trouble comes.

We haven’t read or understood enough what Scripture actually says. There are many people who say they are Christians who either don’t read the Bible or read it rarely. So, it’s understandable they don’t know, but I think it’s sad too. They miss out on a lot of what God wants to give us through not reading their Bibles.

Then, there’s the teaching they receive. I guess I could understand not wanting to tell a new believer right away that all their problems aren’t going to be solved by becoming a Christian. It might make them run away in fear. 🙂 But, to teach that God will always give us physical well-being and financial prosperity for believing in Him (Yes, prosperity gospel proponents, I am talking about you.) when it’s clearly not true, well, I consider that reprehensible. When people don’t see their Christian leaders grieving and hear that it’s okay to grieve the bad things that happen in life, they won’t know that God feels their pain too.

Along with this, some Christians consider themselves better than the ones who have suffered because they haven’t suffered or they’re able to hide their suffering better. God doesn’t want us to do this either. We are to carry each other’s burdens, not walk away and say good luck to the person who is suffering.

Lastly, we just don’t think bad times will come our way. We think that everything will keep going the way it usually does until…it doesn’t. That’s when we’ll truly understand what it means to have the peace of God.

This is my 60th post on the devotions from the book 100 Days to Brave, and what I’ve enjoyed the most about this devotional is that the author is real. So very real! Even with this topic. It’s given me permission to be real with my own feelings in return. I especially liked what she said today about life being hard. “You can be sad. You can be angry. You can be confused. But you don’t ever have reason to despair.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) God knows. God knows when we hurt, and God knows when we feel shame. It’s okay with Him, and we’re not going to be thrown out of our faith just for having bad feelings. We are still in the palm of His Hand when we’re sick, when we have a financial setback, when we lose someone we love, and when we’re just sad. Thank you, God, for giving us peace in all situations whether they are good or bad!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

The Ordinary Moments

In my quest to learn more about writing, I have followed several authors over the past few years and have learned a great deal. One of them has just come out with a book that has an intriguing premise. I’ve not read it yet, but probably will at some point so I’m not going to mention the title. The premise is intriguing enough though that I decided to think about what this actually meant in my life. Now, you’re waiting for me to mention what it is. Well, it talks about how we are usually waiting for the next big thing to happen to us. In the cycle of life, there are several moments that qualify like graduating from high school, graduating from college, getting a first job, getting married, having a first child, going on vacation, having the last child leave the nest, etc., etc. You get the picture. 

There are a lot of ordinary moments in life though. In my life, some of those might include: getting hugs from my kids when they get up in the morning, having them ask me to watch a baseball game with them, baking loaves of bread, going out for Friday night dinners with the family, enjoying the scenery around me when I walk in the mornings, having the chance to write words on a page with the hope they will encourage someone, and having the chance to develop relationships. 

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to look forward to the big moments. But, when the big moments become so much of a focus that you forget the ordinary ones, I believe life is somehow diminished, and it’s not how I believe we were meant to live. With the ages my kids are at now, I have come to realize there is not a lot of time left for me to enjoy the ordinary moments with them, and my resolve today is to spend more time enjoying the ordinary moments.

Hope everyone has a great day!