Posts

To the Weary Mama

,

“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it will all your might
Come to the Fountain and you can be satisfied.
There is a peace. There is a love you can get lost inside.
Come to the Fountain and let me hear you testify.”
                       ~NEEDTOBREATH “TESTIFY”

 

Motherhood is a gift that easily gets tainted. I know I am my own worst enemy most times. So much anxiety and thoughts race through our minds.

Am I doing this right?

Am I doing enough?

Do they know I love them?

Do they feel loved enough?

To the weary Mama, I see you. I see you trying to hold it all together on the straight and narrow path of deception. A path so wide and straight that many find their way so easily to an unfulfilled thirst for acceptance. We want to know that we’re doing enough. We want to believe that the daily decisions we make will guide our children to a better path as they grow.

I see the worry. I see the masked concern when you drop a little bit of your motherhood that you have clung on to for so long, when one of the plates fall.  It’s a constant nagging when Inadequacy drowns out all the love noise of the One who is calling you to His well.

We want to be confident in who we are, but the world constantly battles for our attention and tries to fill all those voids. The world offers us a drink and we leave still feeling thirsty. When I take that cup from the world, I leave with a false sense of knowing where I am. I leave with a parched mouth.

I know that all consuming thirst all too well. It’s that thirst that can only be filled when I drop all that I am trying to carry and come to His well where His Word fills my soul.

I want to be lost. Lost in His love that I can’t see a way out. I want to wander in the deep cave of His mystery. My feet kick the rocks on the ground in His canyon of peace.

He takes my hand and shows me His Word that’s written on my heart. I gently hand Him my heart that has it all figured it out and in exchange I receive His truth.

There are times when I trip and fall as I walk through the vast valleys of victory in Him, and it’s then I am grateful for my weakness because it’s in these moments when I know really how strong I truly am in Him.

If I am always looking back, questioning my worth as a mom, then I trip and fall. When I look side to side, I lose direction. But when I look forward, towards Him, I am lost to all that is around me. I’ll never look back again.

Wont you be lost with me?

I let go. I let go of the expectations I put on myself. I let go of comparison. I let go of my anger. I let go of myself.

I sing my song of redemption. I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Let go and sing with me.

I find His well of wild love and drink deep. I am satisfied in the lostness of knowing Him.

Peace Mamas,
Glo

Do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Does your faith feel empty? I know the feeling because I have been there too.

When I Can’t See His Truth

Coffee is gurgling from the corner of my kitchen. I need this cup this morning. Time has slipped through my grasp and I need to stop and breathe today. An overwhelming sigh escapes me. Coffee, Bible and journal in hand, I sit at my kitchen table that has seen many of my tears and fears on numerous ragged, dark early mornings.

As I open my journal, I am guilted by the gap in the dates marked on the top of the pages. Almost two months since the last time I made an effort to seek out God for his guidance. Guidance on my journey as a new mother, a new friend, a loving wife and writer.

I found something I was drawn to, led by the Spirit and began a spiraled crawl down my own path. Why is it when God gives me an opportunity to serve him, I find the need to take the opportunity and make it my own? I grab it, dress it up in an outfit I picked out, show it off on the runway of my life and call it my own work? My own doing. By the time I’ve come to the end of myself, I am enveloped by a sickness. God shows me the way to a bountiful path and I stuff my face.

It’s the sickness that usually brings us back.

I fumble with an overwhelming sense of insecurity. What if I made the wrong decision? What if I’m not supposed to be doing this with my life? As I search down the wrong turn I’ve taken, I see others in the distance who appear to be on the same journey as me. They look like they’ve made some similar decisions as me. All I see are their successes.

I start falling. Falling into jealousy. Anger. Fear. A dark pit I can’t see out of. I feel like I’ve reached the bottom and I can’t find my way out. I get kicked around by my emotions. They slither around me, rearing their fangs, ready to bite at my weakest moments.

These are the moments when we’ve come to the end of ourselves that we feel God’s hand holding us. We realize we aren’t in the bottom of a self-destructive pit. We are being held. Held by the One who never let go. God’s love is unconditional and will always be cupping us when we fall. It’s our pride that masks the floor from us.

We put ourselves in our own dark places only to find God re-lighting the path for us every time we take a detour. His Word says in Isaiah 41:13 that He is the the Lord our God who takes hold of our hand and says “Do not fear; I will help you.”

I think of the verses we’re taught as children. Verses that become cliches. They get tossed around as platitudes, losing their power in our lives. Until we need His power to rejuvenate us. Until we hear Him whisper the truth to open our eyes and see that He is with us.

I hear him whisper His truth in my dark kitchen that morning.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord our God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I don’t sit at my kitchen table to feel like I’ve earned points with the man upstairs. I don’t journal about my journey to feel good about myself. I sit down for coffee with the Creator of the universe. I write to clear away the weeds I’ve sown so I can see the beauty He has always had for me. The beauty of His Word. The beauty of seeing others with His eyes. The beauty of seeing myself with His eyes.

This post was originally published on Her View From Home.

Struggling in your faith? Comparing yourself to others? Read more to find encouragement in your walk with Christ.

What Should I Tell My Children about Trump Being President?

This morning I woke up and dreaded looking at my phone. I knew no matter the winner, I was going to have to reconcile my feelings with the new President of the United States and God. If you would have asked me when I first started writing that I would be writing someday about “Donald Trump as President,” then I would have looked at you and laughed. But here we are. A day full of so many mixed emotions and so many questions. I just keep asking myself, what now?

Of course the instant I turned to my phone and began reading everyone’s comments and status updates about how they felt, I couldn’t help but have a heavy heart. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed for the people who are tormented about our new President. I couldn’t help but feel my heart break when I read posts of victims of rape who couldn’t understand why a country like ours “choose hate over love.” The many women who feel personally affected by the nomination of a man, who quite frankly, is a sinner like the rest of us.

On the flip side, my head shook when I saw those in favor of Trump, gallivanting their statuses as if they think Trump will be the change our country needs. The ignorance of a misplaced trust in a new President.

The reality is, no matter who are next President was going to be, the truth still remains. A truth that squeezed my heart of all the heavy and replaced it with hope. A truth that says this:

God is bigger than a Presidential election.

I certainly don’t write this to say that we shouldn’t have hope in our government. Having hope in one another and the people who help make our country what it is, need our hope. But more importantly, they need our prayers.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to pray for those in leadership positions. We are called to respect our government. That is a TOUGH pill to swallow when you feel like you are in a situation that seems like a lose-lose.

But that’s the real hope we can have with our prayers. A real hope that remembers God is bigger than Donald Trump. God is bigger than our government.

We make a mistake when we put our trust in man to bring a change.

Donald Trump is not going to be there in the night when a woman who was assaulted by a man can still feel his hands on her body. Trump is not going to be there when a mother and father hear their son refer to a girl in their class in a sexually degrading way.

But God is there. He is here. Now.

God is there to wrap his arms around that woman who can’t shake her attacker’s face. God is there to guide those parents as they talk with their son about what it means to cherish a woman and how God created her.

I keep thinking about how I would talk to my children today if they were old enough to understand the confusion and anger that fueled this election. What would I say to my son? To my daughter?

I would tell them that sin is real and Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. That our new President is a sinner like us and he is a fallen man whom we can’t put all our trust in. I would remind them that Satan will use this President to continue to drive our country apart and that as Christians, we need to put on our armour of love, now more than ever.

I would tell them that God’s love is real and He is out to shower us with His mercy and grace if we would open our hearts to Him. That no matter what Trump or anyone else for that matter has done, that God still loves each one of us unconditionally. God is love. And He uses his love to draw us closer to him.

It’s times like these when we need to hold fast to the truth that is His word.

Not platitudes or false teachings that make us think Man is our rock. There is only one Rock and His name is Jesus.

If there were ever an election to teach our children about Christ and the struggles that come with learning to trust and seek His truth, then this one would be it. Think about that for a minute. I can honestly say that the few times I have voted for a President so far, this was the first one when I was on my knees almost nightly, seeking God for guidance on how to vote this year. And I would be sure my children knew the struggle I went through and the basis for my decision came from His word.

It won’t be long and the buzz will die down around Trump–that is until something new comes up and we can start pointing the finger again. And that’s when the lessons will begin again.

How will our children respond and what will they learn from us if we show an utter disrespect to our President and our government because we disagree with our nation’s decision? What will we be teaching them if we continue to bash those in leadership, when the Bible clearly calls us to respect them? 

If I show respect for one I like and think is morally better but show disregard for one that I think is the wrong choice, then I am showing my children that different sins have different value which in turn clouds the truth of God’s unconditional love.

I want to teach my children the value of respecting our governmental authority, while learning to exercise their rights as citizens to vote and protest. I want them to learn that disagreement doesn’t come in the form of bashing those we disagree with or breaking the rules. Disagreement comes with prayer. Prayer for those we disagree with and their hearts and prayer for our own hearts to stay open to the Holy Spirit and how He would lead us to respond.

God has given us boundaries in His Word and when we choose to live outside those boundaries, the result is sin. It’s not my place to put others in their place. I hope my children will see that when we see sin in others, it’s our place to pray for them and love on them ever more. We don’t have to accept their sin, but we can leave the judging to God and keep our eyes on Him and His truth.

I want my children to remember that God is bigger than we can imagine and it’s His love that pursues us every minute of every day.

I want them to know that God is bigger than a Presidential election.

What about you? What will you or would you tell your children?

Peace,
Glo

How to respond to the 2016 Election with your Faith. What to tell your children about Trump being president.

 

What It’s Like to Grieve Without God

It took about fifteen minutes.

From seeing the sun just barely above the horizon, to it dipping down below the fields, signaling dusk, we buried my mother in fifteen minutes on an unusually cool summer evening in Kansas.

No service. No big memorial. Just her children and some grandchildren in a place special to my mother. Just how she wanted it.

It took about fifteen minutes.

Mom had been on hospice for barely a week before she left this earth. The night of her death, I remember it was about fifteen minutes after the last of her six children said his goodbyes when she took her last breath.

It took about five days.

Mom passed on Sunday night and we had her apartment cleaned out by Friday. Grief hadn’t actually hit me yet. I was too busy still taking care of her even after she was gone. Years ago I moved us into that apartment and I was going to move her out. It took us five days to clear everything out, like she was never there.

It took about two weeks.

I had been busy getting all of mom’s accounts in line and organizing everything, that grieving for my mother had taken a back seat. I was avoiding my grief, keeping it at bay. Afraid of the torrential waves that might not stop. About fourteen days after my mother left this world, I realized for the first time that my world was a lot more empty without her. As I reached for my phone to call her during our morning ritual, the truth sank in. Truth that said I hadn’t fully grieved the loss of Mama.

I had had my moments of tears and bursts of anguish. I would see a picture of her and quickly lose my breath. As my son would toddle into the room, my heart would ache, wishing my mother was here to see him. Then it really hit me.

All this time I had been grieving, I had been telling myself it will get better. I reminded myself that God would give me peace and comfort. I remembered the kind words of others to help ease my pain. I worried about the rest of my family and their grieving process, praying for all of us nonstop. Yet. I realized my prayers were empty. My words were powerless. My belief was robotic and formulaic.

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything under the heavens. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance (NIV). And in the New Testament we are constantly reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5, NIV). When I remembered these verses I saw my emptiness for what it really was.

was allowing myself to grieve without God.

I was expecting Him to fix me. I was waiting on Him to fix my heart. All the while I was blind to the truth that God was actually grieving with me. The Creator of the universe had a broken heart for the loss of my mom and He wanted to grieve with me.

While I truly believe my mother is in heaven, the hole that gets left behind when you lose someone seems unfillable. So wide does that hole seem that I pushed away the only One who could fill it. My Father of the fatherless who has always held me in his hand, even when I was blind to His grasp was pushed to the backseat as an afterthought.

I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love.

The moment I decided to actually feel His presence and to recognize His tears for my loss, that was the moment the Prince of peace filled my heart. I had placed Him so high on this pedestal as the “fixer” that I forgot the reality of His love. The love that says I will never leave you nor forsake you. The love that is truly sad when we are sad.

A love that gets angry with us.

A  love that will stand up for truth with us.

A love that pierces through all the darkness that can so easily shroud around us during grief.

When you are grieving the loss of someone that you believe is in heaven, sometimes the saying “well, at least they’re in heaven” gets thrown around as a platitude because, as humans, we don’t always know how to respond to grief. Let me remind you of the great power and real peace that can come from the deep down gut belief that you’re loved one is in heaven. You’re loved one is with the Spirit who holds the world. She is with the One that was with Jesus on the cross when he came to save us just so she could one day join Him. She is dancing with the One who placed the stars in the sky and created a world so full of life and diversity that we may never know the full extent of it.

She’s free and whole for the first time.

It took me countless moments of unsatisfying tears to realize that grieving without God is an endless road, empty with no restoration in sight.

It took me losing my mother to understand what it really means to believe in heaven. And that is something I will never lose hold of again.

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

meandmama

Have you lost someone and felt overwhelmed in grief? Have you felt like God was missing in your grief? So have I.

Gratitude: Disarming the Lies We Tell Ourselves

, ,

It starts when I lay in bed for the night. I don’t know what it is about elusive sleep, but I seem to get most of my revelations when I can’t sleep. I started going through the ongoing list I like to title “ME.”

No one does the laundry for me.

No one cooks me dinner.

No one takes care of me, I mean right?

Clearly I do everything. I remember to feed the dogs. I remember to book the appointments. I am the brains behind family vacations. I am the one who bakes for the group fundraiser. I am the one who makes plans for date night. Am I the only one who likes romance?

Me. Me. Me. What about me? What about me?

We live in a culture that is constantly telling us that we need to love ourselves, take care of ourselves. Keep ourselves first. While I believe that taking time for myself and putting some of my needs at the top of my priority list is important, because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, but I struggle balancing this.

I tell myself I am neglected. I tell myself it’s someone else’s fault I lose my joy. I convince myself that others are responsible for my happiness and peace.

But if I am being brutally honest with myself. These are lies. 

Joy is a choice. Happiness is a choice. A choice that says I trust you God with all my heart. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Not if my husband decides to cook dinner one night (although I”m not saying he shouldn’t ever do that, you know 😉 ).

I can’t look past the two greatest commandments Jesus gave his followers. I find I am at a constant battle with one of these commandments.  A battle I am always fighting, with gloves held high. The commandments that say “Love the Lord with all your heart and soul” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

OK, God. I love you with all my heart and soul. Sure. No problem. At least it’s no problem today. It’s that “simple” second one that holds me up. 

How do you love others but still feel like you aren’t running on empty?

Feeling like I am the one who is always doing everything makes it hard for me to sometimes love others as myself, particularly those close to me, like family members or my husband.

I want to be intentional in my life. Intentional in loving others. I want to be intentional in giving thanks for God’s love in my life. I want to be intentional in strengthening myself in the Lord.  I want to choose the Lord to fill me up when I feel like I am running on empty. I want to make positive choices to try and prevent that feeling of being empty.

I want to be intentional while I am doing laundry.


I want to take the focus off of myself and focus on Him.


To help me stay focused on Him and the strength I get from Him, I plan to spend the next month being intentionally thankful each day. Taking my eyes off of me and looking to Him. Focusing on others. I’ve got this nifty little dry-erase board on my mirror in my bathroom where I brush my teeth. I have this here so each morning, as I get ready, I am reminded to start the day with gratitude.

GratitudeBoard

 

What about you?

I challenge you to choose to be intentionally grateful each day this month. There is no time like the present. This isn’t about some rules to try and please God. This is about striving to trust God with your hurts or worries or maybe, just maybe, those feelings of feeling neglected, and bring peace and joy into your life.

I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, I can easily convince myself out of anything because I am exhausted. I’d like to still reflect at the end of the day, but I also want to try and start my day with being grateful because I know I am more likely to have a refreshed mind then.

For you, maybe that means the drive to work. Maybe it’s during your lunch or a quick coffee break at the office. Maybe it’s during nap time for your littles. It doesn’t matter when it is! Think about a time that lends itself to you being able to be intentional.

As I was lying in bed, throwing myself a pity party, I heard Him. I hear him. I hear Him call my name. I hear Him say “Gloryanna, you are mine. You are doing that laundry for me. You are remembering and taking care of others for me.” He encourages me to focus on what I am grateful for in this life. That the constant renewal of my mind is a process that begins with thanksgiving. I think of how many times Jesus started to pray by giving thanks. How many times prophets and servants of God in the Bible began their missions, their letters, their prayers, with giving thanks.


Gratitude doesn’t leave room for the lies I tell myself.

Gratitude leaves room for Grace. And we all know we need that. We just have to accept it.


I know, I know. I’m jumping around a little bit here. But bear with me. Join me.

Join me in being intentional in gratitude and disarming the lies we tell ourselves. Join me in choosing to trust God each day with our fears, our angers, ur worries, and remember who He is and be grateful for what He has done and what He will do.

Prayer for Today:
Thank you, God for reminding me that I am walking this life to serve you and bring Glory to your Name. Thank you for wiping out the spirit of self-pity and replacing it with your love for me. By trusting you with my fears and anger, I am releasing them to you. Trusting that you will work it out.
What else can you thank God for today to start out on an attitude of gratitude?

(This post also appears on gloryannaboge.com.)

GratitudePINTitle

 

Dear Readers: I Haven’t Been Honest Lately

,

I woke up at about 1:00 AM with a long night of tossing and turning. The fan droned in the background as my thoughts just wouldn’t stop. I had started to feel it a few weeks back. This feeling of always being unsettled. It was like I couldn’t breathe. I was questioning myself. Worried about what people were thinking.

As someone who likes to write and put it out there on the Internet in hopes that it reaches someone and meets them where they’re at, you are always running the risk of anxiety. Worry that someone will misunderstand what you’re trying to say. Worry that you’ve said too much about your perspective that you end up crossing the line of someone else’s privacy. Worry that you sound, well, like a jerk maybe. Judgmental. Whatever it is, you worry about the representation your words bring to the table.

Worry that you might lose yourself in the process and start writing for your audience instead of yourself.

At 1:00 AM in the deep of the night I had lost myself. Lost myself to a world that I slowly walked into.

When I started blogging, I knew that this was something God wanted me to do. I had made a big transition in my life going from a teacher to a stay-at-home-mom and I saw writing as an outlet. I saw writing as a way to still “teach” others one might say. I saw writing as a way to encourage others in their relationship with Christ. It didn’t matter if you were a mom or dad or aunt or uncle. What once was a vision to write to edify others, became a morphed road that I hijacked. God showed me an opportunity and I grabbed it with greedy hands and let it devour me.

In the middle of the night I was starving to know why I was empty without any of the peace I had once had when I started this little blog. Scenes started triggering my mind.

The first trigger came in a conversation I had with my sister. She made a comment about who my target audience is in my writing and she said, “Well you are writing towards stay-at-home-moms, right?” My response was that writings about my faith and walk with Christ could be for anybody. Later that night I couldn’t shake that feeling. The feeling that I had veered off what my original intent was with all this writing. I wanted to reach anyone in their faith. Not only moms, let alone stay-at-home-moms. Granted, God has given me this new role of being a mom, so there will definitely be times I write about that journey, but forgiveness? Grace? Those are for everyone. Looking over some choices I’ve made, my writing has become well, a little like tunnel vision and I feel like I am becoming blind.

The second trigger came when I got sucked into the bumpy road that is social media and started equating my writing success based on the interactions I would get via social media. God has opened my eyes to these sneaky, yet heavy chains and is growing in me about it. At this point, I rarely check my blog stats anymore and try to keep all social media outlets to a minimum. I use a post planner for social media as much as I can so I don’t have to actually be on it all the time. God has broken the chains in this department and His peace is starting to fill me up more. If you want to talk about losing your peace in a snap, spend too much time on Facebook. Let me just say, and as obvious as it might sound, life is not about likes. But that is another post for another day.

The third trigger came when I was cleaning up old photos on my computer and the original photo with my blog tagline popped up. It was only a few months ago, but in that time I had completely forgotten. I had chosen the name of this site for a couple of reasons. As we go through this life, we are constantly moving through the different seasons, and they happen in the blink of an eye. The baby that won’t sleep through the night? It’s only a season. The rough patch with your friend? It’s only a season. Not so much as in, “it’s only a season, get over it.” No, it’s like it’s only a season, slow down, work through it, or pause and enjoy it. Enjoy this season because it will go so fast. While I was pregnant with Asher, I clinged to Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

Asher was 12 days late and this verse was the only thing that got me through that time of waiting. Knowing that everything happens in its time. Hence, my blog name was born.

What I didn’t plan for, was to let myself get sucked into a blogging world I wasn’t ready for. THERE IS SO MUCH OUT THERE FOR BLOGGERS. It is overwhelming. I soon became engrossed in approval addiction and statistics for viewership on my site. I slowly started writing differently, driven by these suffocating emotions. I sort of gave myself this “momblogger” identity that I hadn’t originally planned to be. I changed my website header, got rid of the Bible verse and started brainstorming like crazy over all these topics I could write about that would draw in the mom crowd. All the while, losing my identity as a writer. You would think as a mom, that writing about being a mom is a no brainer.

I have met some awesome mom bloggers and I have gained some phenomenal support from women in the blogging world. Unfortunately, I let some of these circumstances change my goal for writing. Instead of staying honest to myself and writing about what God was revealing to me in my heart, the raw, honest stuff about my faith, I started writing about the best way to cook homemade dinner rolls. Instead of writing about God changing my character as a wife, I started writing about the best baby food meals. Don’t misunderstand me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing about these things and I love reading about them and the world needs this stuff!! What became wrong for me is that I wasn’t writing about what I knew I should be. Writing became a struggle each time I sat down at the computer. Posting on social media became a task. The joy was slipping away.

I have realized that I haven’t been honest with you because I haven’t been honest with myself. I have been so busy writing to appeal to the masses at times, that I have lost site of why I originally started this. So, all of this to say that if you’ve been following me along this bumpy way, and have seen how I keep changing on here, well, I can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again, but hopefully you’ll see the real me continuing to emerge and it will encourage you in some way. Hopefully, you’ll draw closer to God in your relationship with Him.

I’m not in this to make money or some kind of blogging celebrity fame. I just want to write. I just want to stay honest to myself and be comfortable in my own skin. I don’t know if I’ll keep falling into the category of a #momblogger or #faithblogger or maybe #mombydaybloggerbynight.

Better yet how about a Child of the true God who writes for His kingdom.

I know one thing for sure. I will stay true to the calling God has placed on my heart right now and that is to grow closer to Him on this journey. Even if this writing gig is only for a season.

honestPIN

Can You Ask God for Too Much in Prayer?

I try to make it a point to have prayer time with God. Like officially sit-at-the-kitchen-table-with-my-Bible prayer. The Bible is a good touch, you know. I might get some kind of divine thought or something. Add a cup of coffee and I feel like I can really check my list off of “goody two-shoes.” But you know what? When I don’t do that, I tend to feel guilty. When I don’t always set aside time, I start to feel bad about it. Like God is getting upset with me and maybe I’m not going to get answered prayers or receive some special blessing.

One morning as I had finally sat down to just relax, I thought, “Oh, this is a perfect time to pray!” Right away I started to get that feeling. Guilt. The feeling started to grow when while I was praying, I realized I was asking for a lot of things. Everything was a request, a concern, a worry, or a stress. Asking God to help heal this, bring restoration to this, bring peace to this, and thanking Him for being faithful and guiding me. I decided to look up “prayer” in my Bible’s topical concordance. The first verse that was listed was 1 Timothy 2:1-3:

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

You know, this doesn’t say anything about asking God too much or too often is a bad thing. Check out Luke 11:10:

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.

I mentioned I had concerns and worries. One of my favorite verses about prayer and worry is found in Philippians. I think this might be a popular one for many of us in our prayer life. Philippians 4:6-7:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

When I used to read that verse, I always felt some sort of assurance or affirmation that it was good for me to always ask God for help. As silly as that sounds, I think as humans we tend to take that human open-book-981405_640feeling of guilt for asking too much and apply to our relationship with God–which is definitely not human. Not even close to the same characteristics in our human relationships. God is unconditional in his love for us. All he asks is that we believe that. In John 15 Jesus said that if we “make ourselves at home with me, [Jesus] and my words are at home in you, you can be sure whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (MSG Bible).

I realized that I let myself not feel “at home with God” because I thought I wasn’t following some little routine in my relationship with him. I am a person of routine but God doesn’t make me feel this way. What a lie Satan wants us to believe. Another measure we put on ourselves and believe that it comes from God. I find myself having to purposefully pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to remind me of God’s Word and truth. I sure can’t remember it all. And feeling bad about not always remembering is certainly not what God wants. He wants us to ask for help. He wants us to ask for His revelation, He wants us to ask. Asking is part of our free will in our relationship with Him. Asking sounds like a foundational element in our relationship with Him. 

Being “at home” with someone is a comfortable conversation that might happen over coffee. It also means I can be comfortable when I’m at my worst. I can pour my heart out and not worry that God only sees me as a minion who always asks for stuff. If you really start to think about it, we most likely pray and talk with God all the time. An utterance in the car while waiting at the light, thinking about your Mom who is probably missing her mom she lost some years ago, especially around the holidays. The quick praise when you are glad to find out that your little one made a new friend today and he’s been struggling at his new school. After all, you might have asked God to help your little one at school and probably wouldn’t being saying a quick praise if you hadn’t asked to begin with.  Who knows!

Sometimes when I’m asking, I feel like there’s no answer. I never see an answer. I can’t find one anywhere. I feel like my prayer just goes to God and I don’t hear anything back. I might even start to get angry about it. Frustrated that all I do is ask and don’t receive. The only “answer” I feel like I have for this is like what Jesus mentioned earlier about how prayer is not some kind of game, like hide-and-seek. I come to God with full faith, (OK, maybe not full faith alllll the time), knowing that I am making my requests known to him, but this also means that I am trusting Him. Knowing that He is in control. Sometimes asking for his help or for healing doesn’t necessarily mean that specifically what I asked for was answered, but you know what I almost ALWAYS experience, a reassurance that God is with me. His peace washes over me. In a way, that is an answered prayer. Having God’s incomprehensible peace hold you. That alone makes “asking” worth it. So keep on asking.

Peace,
Glo

Can you ask God for too much in prayer? Do you find yourself feeling stuck in your prayer life?

 

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

I’ve never been one to agree with the phrase “Everything happens for a reason,” but I’ve got to say, I feel like the answer to this is “yes.” If you really think about it, clearly the answer is yes. I had been praying for the people in California and the ugliness those families are going through. The heart ache. The pain. I began to be overwhelmed with the feeling of how much hurting there is in the world and I always seem to find myself asking God why does this happen. I know I’m definitely not the first to ask this. So many have given their own answers to this. I can only share where I’m at and what I feel the Spirit ministering to me.

Yes, there is a reason for bad things that happen. Sin. God gave us free will and choice, and because of that, we have sin. We have awful things that people choose to do to other people. We have flawed human bodies that are capable of producing life-threatening sicknesses. I don’t think I’ve ever really meditated on what it means to live in a “fallen” world.

I know sin began with Adam and Eve in the garden and their choice for sin (stupid tree), instead of what God had for them, but when I start to think about that, I yet again, find myself asking God, why did you even have to put the tree there? Why couldn’t we have all been happy and perfectly content to only know You and live in blind joy with one another? Why do You allow sin?

This might seem weird, but I immediately thought of a scene from Hunger Games when Katniss and Peta arrive at the party in the Capital and are offered a drink. The party goer explained that if you get full, you take a drink and it will make you throw up so you can keep on eating and try all the different foods.

The people at the capital had NO IDEA what it meant to be hungry. They didn’t know what it meant to savor a bite. Relish in the opportunity to have a full meal and to go to bed without starving for once. As Peta mentions, people are starving and they are throwing up food to eat more!


God loves us too much to keep us in a box of blind joy.


He wants us to know what it means to really experience unconditional love. To savor it. Relish it. By giving us free will, we will know what it means to be starving. To be so hungry for something that we can’t hardly live without it. We will know what it means to experience a pain that is unbearable. To feel like we have nothing. We will know what it means to feel hopeless. Yet. you can only truly know what you have if you know what it’s like to not have it. There have been times in my life when I felt truly hopeless and alone. In those moments, I had to surrender myself and let God wrap me in His arms. I mean TRULY let myself experience His love. His forgiveness. His grace. That can be a tough choice when you are full of anger.Does Everything Happen

I think of so many stories in the Bible when bad things happened to people who didn’t deserve them. Do you think God wanted Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery? To be thrown in jail for years for being falsely accused of rape? Do you think God wanted David to have Bathsheba’s husband killed on the front lines in battle? Do you think God wanted Job to lose everything, including his family? Those awful things happened because someone somewhere had a choice to make and he chose selfishly. What is amazing in those stories is how God is faithful. He never left them. He was there, holding them. He was there to lift Job out of his pit of despair. He was there when Joseph was alone in prison.

I love it when Joseph’s brothers finally realize their brother is the big man in charge during the famine in Egypt and as he reveals himself to his brothers, who thought he was probably dead after all these years, Joseph says to them, “God sent me ahead to pave the way…it wasn’t you who sent me here but God.” Joseph could have easily blamed his brothers for choosing what they did. Instead, he saw God’s faithfulness in it all. He chose to see God and let himself experience whatever it was God had for him. God revealed himself to Joseph during his trials. In Genesis 39, scripture says that “God was with Joseph.” Joseph experienced God’s faithfulness, during what seemed to be Joseph’s end of the rope. Joseph had been “starving” for years, and God satiated him.

There are so many starving in the world. So much ugliness. But then, there is so much beauty. So many people reaching out to the hurting in the world. So many working to feed the hungry, to educate the homeless. So many who are trying to help the starving find their way to God. Yes, there are a lot of bad things that happen, but I believe that God is always faithful during times we don’t understand. Believing that is not always an easy choice, but I choose it. I’ve seen the evidence of his faithfulness operating through others. The neighbor who drops by a bag of food because she thought the family might need it. The school who decided to raise money for a little girl with cancer.

We don’t always get the answers. We go through something that may never make sense to us. But God can make sense for you. He can bring order out of chaos. Man can choose ugly things, but God is available to anyone who believes, and He can hold you during the ugly times and He’ll be there during the joyful times too.

Because then, in those moments, you’ll truly know what it means to be alive.

Peace,
Glo

 

 

Does everything happen for a reason? Seeking God when you feel confused in your faith in understanding why things happen.