God’s Will in Six Stanzas

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“To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to choose God’s will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.” – Oswald Chambers

 

A few thoughts from my morning meditations…

There is a trend toward believing life with God is easy, and I would argue it is…and yet, easy is a relative term- we need context. If something is easy, it needs to be clearly shown- easy like …a walk in the park? Easy, like Sunday morning…like running water in the faucet. Easy like, gunshots NOT outside your door, like peace, like safety? By definition easy means without difficulty, painless. I do not find life with God to be “easy”. But synonyms for easy are serene, peaceful, and tranquil. I have found that life with God may not be “easy”, but the peace – the easiness in my soul because of the One who resides there brings stability in an unstable world that continuously offers a variety of reasons to feel shaky…and uneasy.

May I present to you God’s Will in Six Stanzas- yes, 6. For the obvious reason. I pray you know this One who brings easiness, peace and safety to the soul.

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When I am Weak- He is Strong (Moms In Prayer)

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9
This Friday morning our little group of praying moms finally had the first gathering of the school year. I have been allowing myself to be available to God through this ministry despite the nagging doubts, feelings of inadequacy and sometimes seemingly “unanswered” prayers.
As the day approached I found myself feeling overwhelmed. Three weeks into Homeschooling 8th grade and this mom, right here, was already ready to hang it up.
The most negative voices taunted me from the corners of my mind, echoing through my head, as if in an empty corridor, on challenging days. The voices reminded me of every possible reason why I was not fit to pray with my sisters, let alone lead them in prayer. The reality was that these “voices” were voices in my mind, but they seemed to take on attitudes and personalities of their own with one intention:
To take me down.
By Thursday, I hit the ground running, and focused prayer time was minimal. So much to do. Clock ticking…and yet there was this still, small voice, just faint in the background. Not condemning…quietly present. Less a voice perhaps, and more a presence, which seemed to keep me somewhat on track despite the messes, challenges, distractions, and outright opposition.
That night, as I prayed, I told God just how I felt,what I thought, what the voices in my head were saying and how I was starting to believe them. I asked Him to show me His will. I reminded Him that each of these sweet ladies was capable of leading and my presence was not even absolutely needed.
I gave Him my big objection, which was basically the same thing I always tell Him.
The two words I’m convinced He accepts BUT refuses to receive…

“I can’t.”
So I moseyed on up to His throne of grace and told Him, in my bravest, big girl voice…the one He knows I don’t really believe, but use when I really want Him to know that I am s-e-r-i-o-u-s. 

I said, Lord, but if you really want me to do this, despite all of my excellent arguments. Despite all of my imperfections. Despite all of my ME. I am willing. If you promise to show me clearly if it is really not your will. Deal?
Then I slept.
Friday morning I was awake before the alarm. My head was clear. It was Go Time. 
God gave me a perfect extended time of refreshment in His word and prepared my heart. His peace draped over my shoulders like a soft garment. 
The time of prayer with my praying moms turned out to be a  blessing, naturally. 
He was present, and I realized just how blessed I was to be able to pray with this handful of gracious women. It’s not that I am the best candidate to lead. It’s not that I am such an awesome prayer warrior, it’s not that I have been the best mom, or am some kind of Super Christian Chick.

In myself, I am completely inadequate to lead these women.
But somehow, our weakness is His strength…and in the smallest acts of obedience, He runs out to meet us with open arms. 
Can you get this?
It’s not my adequacy, ability or anything me at all that equips me for His will.
Same for you. 
It is all His grace. All gift. 
And that which I think, is mine, is after all really His-
 yet He blesses through that which He calls forth…
even as He calls us to trust and obey.
Is there no other way?
So what are you waiting for?
Is He calling you to step out, again?
What have you walked away from that you suspect He wants you to turn around and walk back to? 
Despite all of your good arguments, do you know, that you know, that you know, He has something for you to do, which will require you to rely on His strength and not your understanding, power or might? 
Trust me, there is no other way…
To be happy in Jesus
is 
to trust and obey.
 Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts
Zechariah 4:6
Are you longing to pray for your children with another mom?
For more about gathering together in prayer with one or two or more moms, 
please check out Moms In Prayer

*I have been praying with a Moms in Prayer group since 2008 and have been blessed beyond belief. I have been “leading” which is to say I have been praying alongside women who are gracious enough to allow me to be responsible for staying on track, starting and finishing on time and never talking too much (Can you see God’s sense of humor in this?) since 2010. 
God is Faithful.
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Mannequins

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They stand 
faceless, watching
stiff
white
cold
They stand
lifeless, yet staring
dressed in the latest fashion
still
without passion
What are you really selling?
Taunting
perfectly sized for whom?
Flaunting certain doom
oxygen not needed
for position
What size is that really?
Do my eyes deceive me?
red dress
stripes
hipsters and leopard
pencil skirt sweaters
But,
What are you selling, really?
 What are we buying, really?
I’m not a mannequin,
not a clothes hanger
You’re not a mannequin!
Stop taunting, flaunting
death
Why are we chasing lifelessness?
Why do we love death?
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:16-18

This is what happens when you seat a poetic mama in a mall (with caffeine, pen and paper) for two hours while tween daughter and friend enjoy roaming time.
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Nevertheless (Thoughts on The Will of God)

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There is a drum beat in my head as of late, tapping out the words, “The Will of God, The Will of God, The Will of God.” There has been a theme pursuing me, calling after me, causing me to pause and turn my gaze from my  current path. To question my direction, and be sure I travel the way that matters. There is a voice I hear, and it tells me to look up. 
My flesh has been drumming up some of it’s own beats, they sound like this: “What about me?”, That’s not fair!”, “But, they are are wrong.”. My fleshly objections to the will of God always start with “But” and end with me. Actually, capitalize that: Me. To be more precise, and I quote directly, “But, what about me?”
I have a suspicion God’s Will and my will are so diametrically opposed that it will take a miracle for them to merge into the one. Fortunately, I need not be reminded, that has already been provided. That supernatural, flesh killing, miraculous transformation is painfully and joyfully underway. It started the day I said, Yes to Jesus. It started despite my doubts that anything had actually happened. It began even though I did not understand all of the theology behind the belief. It happened with my teeny, tiny, mustard seed wretchedness. Because spiritual birth occurs not through the will of man, but because of the mercy and miraculous power of God. With a teeny tiny, doubting, kicking and screaming seed, sinners are made saints. Some come more willingly, some come more readily, some are just knocked right off their high horses. Some make the journey more smoothly than others, and some are rebellious even in the safety of the Father’s loving eternal arms. 
Most come to this place thinking they know the Will of God. It usually looks a lot like their top three wishes. But in the hands of a God who molds, and forms souls for eternal purposes, these desires must be laid at the feet of the One who knows now and forever. As for some (myself included) some things must be taken from clenched tight hands, like dangerous toys in the hands of a child. Transformation is a painful process. Knowing God is not like finding a Genie in a bottle. He is not here to grant all of our wishes. God is not our Magic Wand. Although, I am convinced, more than ever, some believe that is what He is, exactly. 
When I first became a Christian, my biggest desire was right in front of me. Two “perfect”candidates. I believed that since I was now a Christian, this must mean I have hit the My Way or the Highway Jackpot. I assumed God must want me married to one of these perfect candidates, of course, because I was consumed with the desire to be married and get on with the happily ever after I assumed marriage was going to be. Um, no. Not so much. It would be about ten years later before God revealed who my husband would be, and when He did, it was the least likely person I would have expected. Besides that, I thought I misunderstood Him or (gasp) He had it wrong. But He made it clear. After my first round of Assuming God’s Will for Christians 101, I went on to do the same, again and again with different aspects of my life. 
See the fact is Jesus did not say to the Father, on that fateful night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, “By the way, I have a better idea for this whole eternal salvation thing, hear me out, Dad. Plus, I don’t have to die that brutal death on the cross. I am having some second thoughts about that whole deal, let’s have a little win-win, shall we?” No friends, He said “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Nevertheless. The power of one word to change the direction of humanity. God’s Will is not like a slow curve on the road. It is like a sharp veering off the road. Make that a cliff. It is a radical departure from your cozy, comfy presumptions about how your life should be, and all that you should have, and all of your happily ever after dreams. Beyond that it is more painfully, beautifully, graciously better than anything you can imagine. In ways you cannot fathom-Not because it is perfect. It won’t be. But perfect is coming, down the road anyway. In His time. 
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10

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A Simple Plan To Follow Your Man

Trust in the LORD and do good;dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 

 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:3-4

No, he ‘s not perfect. Neither am I. We are alike in imperfection yet opposite in many ways as individuals. We are united in marriage, in Christ, who has given us everything, despite our personal preferences and differences. Today I want to take a moment and  tell you that your husband does not need to be perfect for you to learn from him. You see my hubby and I are as opposite in personality, background  and make-up as you can get. But I want to tell you I still learn from him. God desires that I do. Even though sometimes I make it difficult for my sweet husband, God has blessed him with patience and humor which make the journey somewhat easier for him. Hopefully. Ahem.

Today, I will to share three ways we can follow our husbands regardless of their choices. I say this because we can tend to be distracted by the various splinters our husbands sport, while we stare through beam filled eyes the size of telephone poles. OK, maybe I am preaching to the choir, but at least now you see a clear image in your mind, yes?

God has a simple plan and when we follow it, even somewhat reluctantly, He blesses each step and encourages us in His ways. What I lack in domesticity, I make up for in my heart to please God and willingness to allow Him to conform me to His image. God is patient with me and He will be patient with you. We can do it, through Him who does indeed promise to PROVIDE when we DECIDE in our hearts to commit and follow Him.

1. Commit: When I used to train for competition, once I was committed to a certain date to compete, regardless of my feelings, it meant I was committed to my training plan. Some days I would not feel like going to the gym. I learned that if I wanted to remain competitive or potentially win, I needed to train consistently whether I had the warm fuzzies about my training on that particular day. Sometimes I had to push myself to get to the gym, or through the workout, BUT in the end the commitment carried me on to progress and victory. It’s the same with marriage (and most things in life). But Christ will empower us as we rely on Him. Don’t wait for the feelings, the feelings may or may not follow. But your continued trust and reliance on something- in this case some-ONE- outside of yourself will get you through and carry you to victory. One day at a time.  


Commit to the LORD whatever you do, 

   and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3


Commit your way to the LORD; 

   trust in him and he will do this: 

 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 

   your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:5-6

2. Lay Down: So often that which seems good can undermine a marriage. I am talking about “rights”. I know this is not popular and I do not have it all down, but marriage is a continual laying down
of my rights to myself. Period. The minute we forget this, we are going down roads that lead us far from God and His plans for our lives as women and Believers. I know there is a balance and uniqueness in each circumstance. But this reality should be a reminder that we always can choose. We must weigh carefully in light of His words and our commitment to Him and others. Last night my hubby came home tired after a hard day at work. He sweetly brought home two boxes of dye and became my hairdresser, because I was whining about my grey hair and a presentation I needed to make. In this he modeled, once again his own laying down of his desires that my needs may be met. This is what we do. Now don’t get all upset because your hubby would never do this for you. Instead consider the way he uniquely serves you that you may not even be recognizing. Of course, most of all learn to lay down. I know I am learning. Slowly. 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, 
but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 
Philippians 2:3
3. Decide and Delight: Decide to trust God and delight in Him. Decide to delight in your husband’s strengths, uniqueness and positive attributes as opposed to his perceived shortcomings. I know earlier, I said I was reluctant. God knows our true heart’s desire. Sometimes we think we know best. This must be balanced by the wisdom of His word. He knows my reluctant heart and is the process of transforming and conforming it to His own. He will make me into that cheerful giver, I long to be. He is doing the same for and in my husband. This  does not always work out in the same manner and he uses our marriage as a grand arena for it all to be won or lost.
Decide, Delight and Fight for God’s plan of victory for your marriage!

The LORD makes firm the steps 
   of the one who delights in him; 
 though he may stumble, he will not fall, 
   for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37:23

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
   neither are your ways my ways,” 
            declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8
Remember this: 
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, 
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, 
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7




Hope this makes sense!


There you have it, my simple plan for following your man!
By the way: My secret to getting my hubby to read my BLOG is by writing about HIM! Hi Honey! Love you!

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