Learning to Trust

ah, this life of faith, this walking with Jesus…

for me it always comes down to learning each day how to trust Him a little more.

Have you ever been in a situation where you clearly hear God telling you to do something, you obey, and you don’t get the result you wanted or expected?  Maybe you get a “no” when you were thinking you’d get a “yes”.  Maybe a door closed instead of opened.

I had recent experience with this.  I was in a situation where I was very prayerful about each step I was taking.  I heard God and I obeyed.  And I got “no”s.  Twice.

And just about this time I started putting my hands on my hips (ok, just figuratively) and asking God what He was doing.  Why would he have me do that if he knew it wasn’t going to work?  Did I not hear Him correctly?  Surely it would have been easier and better to do it a different way, God!

As I was telling God just what I thought of His plan (yes, I have some control issues), He gently reminded me of another situation that had happened at the beginning of this year – and the lesson He taught me at that time.  Again I was in a situation where I felt I had obeyed but a door closed when I thought it would be opened.  At the same time, my son and I were doing some Bible reading together.  Part of Moses’ story –  in Exodus chapters 7 -11 if you want to check it out.  God sent Moses to Pharaoh to demand the release of the Israelites, not one, but eleven times.  Eleven times Moses obeyed, and eleven times Pharaoh refused!  When I read it with my son I had wondered if Moses ever questioned why God had him go to Pharaoh and ask each time, even when God told Him Pharaoh would refuse.  In other words, why do it – why go through all that- if it wasn’t going to work?

Sound familiar?

I love how God is so personal – reminding us of the very thing we need to hear right when we need to hear it!!

This story has given me the gift of perspective in both situations, and I’m sure many more to come.  There is no reason to be disappointed when things don’t go the way I think they should – because God always has a better plan and in the midst of His plan rolling out, His glory can be displayed!

Exodus 11:9, …so that my wonders will be multiplied…”

I trust God.  I trust that His plans are better.  I trust that He can use what looks like a bump in the road or the end of a road to display His glory in some way.

In this latest situation, I had to get two “no”s before I got a “yes”.  And the “yes” was a good one.  A perfect one!

Why did He make me go through the “no”s?  Maybe it was for me to learn more how to trust.  Maybe it was for the others involved in some way.  I don’t know for sure and I may never know.

But He does, and that’s enough.

Advertisements

But, Jesus, I’ve only got…

Two of the kids had been arguing for at least a half hour over what to watch on TV.

The oldest had been arguing with me about why we didn’t have anything she liked for breakfast.  (mind you, we had no less than 7 breakfast choices, all of which were perfectly acceptable the day before.  But I digress…)

It was 8:30 in the morning and I was asking myself how I was going to make it through the day.

I don’t have ENOUGH.

Enough patience.

Enough quiet to complete a thought.

Enough creativity to figure out how to make these kids get along!

 

And so went the last couple of weeks of summer.

 

This past Sunday the sermon touched on Jesus feeding the five thousand.  And it made me think about the account in John’s gospel (John 6:1-15) where the small boy offered his 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Verses 8 and 9 read, “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

 

I often feel that way.

Lord, I’ve only got one ounce of patience left.

I’ve only got one minute left of hearing all this noise before I go crazy.

I feel like I’ve only got one volume to my voice left, and it’s not mute.

I can only listen to one child, I can only do one thing, at a time!

 

How far will that go among so many?  (I know many of you have MORE than 3 children, but to me, three is exactly “so many”.)

 

That small boy humbly offered to Jesus his 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Which in human terms were sorely lacking in terms of feeding upwards of five thousand people.  But miraculously, in the hands of Jesus, they all had enough to eat.

 

What mattered was not the amount the small boy had, but who he gave them to.  Jesus Christ.  The one who makes all things possible (Mark 10:27).

 

So instead of thinking “I’ve only got”…

I need to simply offer what I’ve got to Him.  He will make it enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40

I turn 40 today!

And I can honestly say I am not upset about it.  (I think in my mind I’ve always been 40, I just needed my body to catch up.  HA.)

My husband and good friend Jessica planned not one, but two!, almost-surprise parties for me on Sunday.  How wonderful to be fully loved by so many amazing people.  First was a tea party at a local restaurant, filled with beautiful women who are some of my favorite people in the world.  Many of these ladies I have laughed, cried, and shared life with over several years.  God has provided these women to me to comfort me, pray with me, bring joy, and teach me.

Then the surprise continued with a party at home with more of my family and friends.

Again, I am so thankful for the people God has brought into my life over the years.  My husband and kids are precious.  I’m thankful for God’s presence with me (even when I didn’t notice it), his provision, and his protection.   Thankful that He has brought me this far and has granted me more days to do His work and bring Him glory.

 

So here’s a few quotes that either made me chuckle or felt fitting for today…

It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are. 

~Quoted by Raymond A. Michel in The Leaf

A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life:  maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves.  A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. 

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience. 

~Author Unknown

 

Inside Chatter

I read this post on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog this morning, and it really got me thinking. (by the way, she’s got a giveaway there – you might want to check it out!)

I’m thinking not only about how I’ve dealt with those feelings of being “left out” over the years,  but also how I deal with what she calls “inside chatter”.  In other words, negative self-talk.  I am pretty adept at not even realizing that the negative self-talk is going on in my mind… but it is constant at times.

I definitely need to work on recognizing it for what it is – untruth.  Seems to me the best way to combat it would be flooding my mind with God’s truth.

What about you – do you have a lot of “inside chatter”?  How do you combat it?

In 2012, I’m going to work on…

more listening and less talking…

to God.

more “yes”s and less “no”s…

to the people I love.

more “no”s and less “yes”s…

to unhealthy foods.

more reading and less tv.

(I got a Nook for Christmas!)

more order and less chaos.

(I need to get back to doing this.)

more exercise and less excuses.

(why is it so hard to make time to exercise?)

more face time and less Facebook.

(last fall hubby and I started to devote a Sat. morning/month for each child to have one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.  We hope to continue this in 2012.)

 

What do you want more / less of in 2012?

A Christmas Message

Among all the other Christmas preparations that have been going on in our house, I was asked to speak at my MOPS group’s Christmas meeting this past Tuesday.  It was such a blessing and a privilege.  It’s funny, because when I was younger, my least favorite thing to do was to stand up in front of people and talk!  But then I got a job that forced me to do it.  So I am capable, but I still get nervous.  But it’s really amazing how God equips!  The very night I was asked to do this, I prayed that God would provide me with what He wanted me to talk about – and He did, almost immediately.  I find it’s always much easier to speak when I’m speaking His message and not my own!

Anyways, I had a couple of people say they wished they had some way to hear it again, so I’m adding a link here to my speaking notes.  For those of you who weren’t there and are so inclined to read it – I hope it is a blessing for you in the midst of this busy season.  I spoke about something God is trying to teach me this Christmas.  (Notice I used present tense – sometimes I’m a slow learner!) 

If you do read it, I apologize if it seems a bit stiff – I think I write a bit differently when I’m writing something that I’ll actually be speaking out loud because I know I’ll improvise a bit! 

So here it is.  May God speak to you through it, and may you not miss the real gifts God intends for you this Christmas.

MOPS 2011 Christmas Devotion

a letter to my newly married self

Our anniversary last week got me thinking about how we have changed as people over the last 14 years.  And that got me thinking how I have changed.  And that got me thinking about a blog post.  So here you go – a letter to myself with some things I know now that I wish I knew then…

Dear Stephanie,

I’ve been married now 14 years.  You’ve only been married a few days.  Along the way, I feel like I’ve learned a lot.  Marrying this guy was the best decision we’ve ever made.  I’ll admit, there have been moments when I wondered about that – but here we are now, still happily married.

I wanted to share a few things with you.  You’ll be better off if you learn these now.  Some will be hard to believe – and hard to swallow.  But listen and please try to take these words to heart!

  • Just open yourself to considering the fact that what you want out of life right now is probably much different than what you will want in a few years.  Step outside your box.
  • Jesus teaches self-denial.  This will be a hard concept to learn – it still is for me.  But when you practice it, life and your marriage will go more smoothly.  Trust me.
  • Getting your kids ready for school and out of the house on time can feel like an olympic sport sometimes – one we both know you aren’t prepared for.  So take these first few years of marriage and mentally prepare.  Please.  Keep telling yourself that being late is better than acting like a crazy woman, and tell yourself now that kids can’t be hurried without hurting and that no matter how hard you will try to control them – they are their own little people.  And then when you find yourself in the midst of it, take a deep breath, smile, and take it one day at a time.
  • Travel.  You’ve always wanted to do it, and now is the time.  It will be harder to do when you have kids.
  • Focus on keeping your marriage strong.  It will be important to continue that once the kids come along.  Kids need parents who love each other and make each other their first priority.
  • Get into the habit, now, of daily prayer and bible reading.  Again, it will be harder to do when you have kids.
  • Being a mom will stretch you in ways you don’t even understand or think are possible right now.  You will be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained at times.  But you will also be filled up by this God-gifted role.  Filled up, bubbling over, and poured out.  Cherish it.
  • Be a better saver.  You don’t need new clothes, shoes, stuff for the house.  You can find great stuff at thrift stores.  Learn now so it’ll be easier when you decide to stay home with the kids.
  • What????  Stay home with the kids???? Yes, I said it.  And you will do it.  And it will be the 2nd best decision you’ve ever made.  And you will love it.  I know it’s not even a consideration to you right now.  But see #1.
  • Be a better savor-er.  Learn how to enjoy each and every moment rather than skipping ahead to the future or being anxious over the past.  There is joy in God’s presence (and the present!).  Don’t take life so seriously and learn to laugh more.  Your kids will appreciate it!
  • God doesn’t want you to be perfect or strive to be better or improve, etc.  He loves you just the way you are.  Nothing you can do will make him love you more or less.  Let that sink in.  Let it shape the way you live.  Let it shape the way you love.  Remember not to keep trying to be like Jesus – just let him live through you.

Love,

The older (and hopefully better) version of you!