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my void

this morning i was compelled to confess instead of attending my water aerobics class :).

over the last couple of weeks i’ve been dealing with fear, insecurity, and worry.  just in the last two days it’s seemed to be centered around fetal movement. is my baby moving enough? she hasn’t been moving as much today as she was yesterday. what if…

i know that fear is normal for women to go through. everyone is speaking of kick counts; you’ve heard heart wrenching stories of others…but i know that God is not okay with this being my “normal.” i know that i could justify these average fears and insecurities as normal and dismiss them. but if i’m honest they are ruling my thoughts and robbing me of complete peace. and it’s not just about this baby i’m growing, there are many other fears swirling in my head that have zero to do with a baby.  if i listed out all of my fears and insecurities you would probably stop reading and chalk me up to being an overly emotional woman ;). i know myself far too well and know that if given the opportunity to fret, i will surely fret. all specific circumstances aside.

rewind to last week: we were in florida having ourselves a little vacation when i heard some disappointing news from a good friend. she’s amidst suffering. suffering that has lasted many years.  my heart was heavy for her. the Holy Spirit woke me up the next morning at 6 a.m. and lead me to prayer for her. i cried for her, prayed for her and searched God’s word for verses that could encourage her. i looked up “suffering” in the bible index and scanned every verse that spoke on the topic. as i read through each verse i began to realize that those verses apply to me at this time in life just as they do to her.  here are a few that i read that morning:

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
declares the LORD.”

1 Peter 2:20-21 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (God is not punishing us with trials and suffering.)

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

while meditating on these verses, and praying for my friend, i realized a common theme. no, the common theme is not suffering, the common theme is GOD. all of these verses on suffering point to Him. the verses don’t point to specifics in the suffering. these verses don’t go into great detail of the ways these people are suffering. that tells me that God is less concerned with the reason i’m struggling and more concerned with reminding me that HE IS ENOUGH. this is not to say that He is not a God that doesn’t care about our specifics, he just knows that he is far bigger than our struggles. i was convicted about my own abilities to be far too focused on my specific story and my specific circumstances. i felt the holy spirit tell me to take some time off of asking God for what i need and start to pray and plead that He would be enough for me.  simple right? this doesn’t come easy to us because our default is to be focused on ourselves.

we are all suffering.  even if you don’t have a huge circumstance in your life at this very time that screams suffering, you are in fact suffering.  this is valid, and incredibly important for us to realize because it’s our suffering that leads us back to God. it reminds us that we are in need of Him. i bet if you got honest with yourself about your feelings you may realize you’re more broken than you think. we are broken not only because of our circumstances, but because we are separated from him. He says that the earth groans. our souls long for our creator and living in a fallen world means that there is a disconnect between us and God.  we search this life for affirmations that we think will bring us peace, but really only he bears the peace that we so desire.  i’ve been wrestling with this for months now. months! and i’m assuming this pursuit will continue until i’m reunited with my sweet creator. so when i’m fearful or struck with worry i default to confessing this as sin.  you see, the changes in life (changes in our circumstances) breed new weaknesses and reveal our true view of God. it’s really not all about our specifics.

to sum up this morning, as i was googling “fetal movement at 26 weeks” my heart stopped and confessed that…

HE is Lord,

HE is omnipotent,

HE is sovereign,

HE is all-knowing

HE is never-changing

and my heart was overcome with peace. a humble submission that he is enough.

well now that i’ve shared our exciting news on facebook about our baby essian coming this fall, i suppose i can make some sense of my last post. 🙂 you can read that post here if you’re interested in the “before.”

my “wanting more” was a baby…we had kind of decided last september that we were ready for babies (as ready as you can be!) most friends close to us knew this. i knew early on that i needed much prayer about not trying to take matters into my own hands and “making” it happen, or assuming i could make a baby happen. after all God is definitely in control of this isn’t he? and well let’s not kid ourselves, i’m creeping up on 30. time takes on a whole new meaning when the number 3 is the first number in your age! well, for me being in my 20’s it does anyway. i knew i didn’t want to become consumed with having a baby so i knew i needed prayer from friends to help me with this. even though my heart was in the right place most of the time, one month turned into two, into three, into four…and there were definite moments when i was disappointed, or discouraged. and not really that it was taking the time that it was taking, but i wondered if we would be able to have a baby, or if we had some kind of complication i didn’t yet know about.  when we’re excited about having a baby it can be very easy for us ladies to impose other’s difficult experiences onto ourselves, and that’s exactly what i would do from time to time.  not to mention there can be this pause with those around you who know you’re wanting a baby and watching the months pass by with you…maybe feeling a little pity that it hasn’t happened yet (not at all saying my friends did this, they were great!)  which is no good for us to do with one another because God is in control and he has a purpose.  that purpose may not consist of having a baby the 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc…month/year we want one! what God taught me about his character in those few months was far more of a blessing then a baby would have been at that time in my life.

i learned that my worry didn’t have a lot to do with a baby. it had a lot to do with my trust in the Lord. it had a lot to do with my fear of suffering. i like to take the approach of “life might be tough for me from time to time” so that i can be prepared, and not surprised by life’s ups and downs.  but unfortunately this is to my glory, not God’s. this is me trusting in myself, not God. and the even more unfortunate part is that i didn’t even know this was my approach to life.  i remember speaking to those around me early on saying “God may want us to adopt, so that’s always an option.” this was in fact true, but again unfortunately for me this was my default thought to protect myself from disappointment. i hadn’t really felt that conviction from the Lord. i got the glory in that sentence, not God because he’s not the one that told me that.

warning; T.M.I. ahead…there was a 2 week time frame when my aunt youknowwho was late, which is very uncommon for me. i never liked to take the pregnancy tests because i just wanted to wait it out and see if my body would tell me.  so you can imagine what i was thinking…i mean 2 whole weeks!! it was during that time God revealed to me my fear of suffering, and the truth about my lack of faith. i remember those 2 weeks being such a heavy time in my heart (i did finally take a test that was negative, but still didn’t start my auntflow) God was definitely teaching me and convicting me. it was a sweet time of feeling broken because of my lack of faith, not because i wasn’t pregnant. he pressed on my heart to enjoy the free time i had with my husband before a baby came into the picture. he reminded me of the crazy year we have ahead of us with my husband starting a church.  he revealed that it was plain sinful for me to worry.  a hard thing to swallow when it seems like such a natural human feeling, and hard because i was really good at convincing myself that i wasn’t worried at all.  at the end of the two weeks i felt so loved by him, and so close to him that i didnt’ care what i had to go through. i didn’t care what suffering was ahead because i knew he was in control and he would give me strength.  and finally, oddly when i think i got the point…aunt youknowwho arrived :).  i knew why i had been 2 weeks late. yep. God made me miss my aunt youknowwho.

so from this moment (2 week girl hiatus) on i was good! i was not worried, i trusted and resolved within myself that it would be a while until we got pregnant and that was okay, because i was going to enjoy my husband! i think it was the next 2 months that i came up pregnant! and boy was i shocked!!! like i said i resolved within myself it would be a while and i was going to live it up.  i remember waving the test and the directions at my half sleeping husband at 6:30 in the morning with the most confused look on my face.  now 4 months pregnant i still pinch myself…there’s a little heartbeat in my belly, and it beats faster than mine! i have such a peace and a joy in this pregnancy, that i know i would not have, had he not revealed himself in such a real way to me the months leading up to our exciting news.

remember how i said above that maybe God wanted us to adopt so maybe that meant we wouldn’t have biological children…well he did speak this to me but it was in a way that i felt more convicted to not assume that just because i’m a woman and just because i want a baby that i’m entitled to one. “i’m entitled to have one, when i want one, the way i want one.”  no i’m not.  who knows, God just might plant a seed in our hearts to adopt in the future and this would be wondeful!

these words from my last post still bring me so much comfort:

“i don’t hear him telling me to quit hoping, i hear him telling me to rest in him because he knows my heart. He knows my heart.  He’s given me enough strength to suffice for today, i’m not yet equipped to deal with tomorrow.”  matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

although we didn’t have to wait too long to become pregnant (thank you jesus) what he taught me in that time felt like all my life wrapped up into just a few months.  many of my fears and my lack of faith were revealed.  i got to see and learn his character more through my worry.  and that is so sweet to me. i’m so thankful that we serve a loving God that uses life’s blessings and trials to teach us more about him and his goodness.  he loves us too much to let us stay in our sin and our discontentment. he loves us too much to see us give up our lives for something that cannot possibly fill the void of him, because he is to be glorified and no other thing or person is worthy of this glory. in fact, no other thing or person can even handle the responsibility of his glory.

my prayer through the time before i became pregnant, and even now is that i would trust him with my whole heart; that my desires would be his will for me; that my heart would line up with his plan for me; that no matter what comes our way through this journey i would trust in him and remember that he will be glorified in all things good and bad. he will not disappoint himself.  it’s scary to pray that from time to time because for some reason acknowledging that God is that in control in that vulnerable of a way can make me feel like i’m giving him permission to bring huge trials my way. but then once again i remember that he makes good of all things. Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


wanting more?

do  i want to know HIM more?

i find myself pausing at this question in my life.  i tend to default to the thought that if i want something really bad then that probably means God will seize the opportunity to teach me patience :).  i know that i choose to think this way sometimes to protect myself from disappointment. whether we’re wanting a husband, a job, the job we really want, a home, a family, success…you name it, these are the things that can distract us at times from wanting to know God’s character more.  today i felt my heart ask me which i want more…to know HIM, or my hopes in the things i think i need now?

if he was there when i was being formed in the secret place, if he knows every hair on my head, if he knows the number of days set before me, if he knows the good in me, as well as my sin, if he knows every thought i will have from now until i die. i think he knows what’s best for me right this second.  i don’t hear him telling me to quit hoping, i hear him telling me to rest in him because he knows my heart. He knows my heart.  He’s given me enough strength to suffice for today, i’m not yet equipped to deal with tomorrow.  matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

as i was typing this out i got a picture of hands painstakingly stitching a needle point design. in its slow process at times, it can be hard to see the picture in the early stages.  it may end up with many mountains, many valleys, many trees, many flowers, many homes and a cute family of 5. but until it’s completed we really can’t tell what the picture will end up looking like, but once it is complete we see the beautiful creation, and at that time it makes sense – the picture is whole.

today i’m meditating on this verse:

Romans 8:24-25

24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

we wait for it patiently because he is Lord, and he promises to make good of ALL things.

tree

not me [sin]

to say that God is convicting me of my sin lately is an understatement.

[SIN] in my terms:

lacks *complete* humility

is human nature

separates me from God’s peace

hurts those around me

opens a breeding ground for satan’s lies

etc…

why did i feel the need to put [SIN] in my terms? because this word sometimes lacks the thought-provoking depth it needs.

at times i desperately run from this word [SIN]. “sinners” are liars, thieves, abusers. i’m none of those things. “what’s the big deal?” these are things i surely have subconsciously told/tell myself – the problem is my sin consists of lies, it only steals from me my joy, and hurts those around me . liar, thief, abuser.

now my sin is personal to me. i’m no longer focused on my ideals of sin or sinners, instead, i’m focused on how this word pertains to me and my relationship with God. i feel convicted of making my sin seem smaller than it is.  but the cool thing is that i don’t feel shame, or guilt. i feel an urge to repent and ask God to show me how to flee from my sin. this is His grace that i’m unworthy of, and this is how i know i’m convicted by the Holy Spirit who dwells in me. i know that if i’m feeling guilt or shame that it is not of God, but just another one of satan’s lies.

sometimes our sin can cloud our view of God. he becomes a dominator, intangible, and unbelievable…

jesus

so i left of by sharing that God revealed that i was fearful and insecure.  heavy stuff, but i’m sure we all struggle with this from time to time. right :)?

what i wish i knew was that my view of a “submissive” wife was all wrong… all wrong. God lovingly made us ladies so that we have a natural pull in our hearts to submit to our husbands.  now this doesn’t mean that something along the way didn’t intercept this pull, in fact sin intercepts this pull, but  i believe that when we look at the way God intends for our marriages to be, we see the pure harmony it creates.

it’s like a perfect dance. the husband leading and loving his wife the way that Christ leads and loves the church. and the wife submitting to her husband in reverence to Christ. ( i know i know, it’s starting to sound like a bunch of cheesy Bible talk. it gets better, keep reading :))

Eph 21:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.

understanding my role as a wife became more clear when i began to also understand the husband’s role in marriage.

read this with me…27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. this is the way God asks our husbands to present us as their wives, holy and blameless, without spot or wrinkle…isn’t that beautiful? that is a sweet picture now isn’t it?

i’m blessed to have a husband who does this for me, he truly knows how to be a leader and i can’t help but want to submit to his leadership out of the calling that God has for my life, but also out of love for him.  but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when this isn’t difficult for our marriage. if we’re being honest it’s just hard for humans in general. there’s times when jim chooses to love me regardless of my bad attitude, or fears (just an example, i mean i really don’t struggle with these things ;)) because jim answers to God, not me. likewise, there are times when i have to choose to submit to him out of reverence for Christ. (we all fall short to the glory of God.) here’s the key…wait for it….not because i’m submitting  to only my husband, but because i’m submitting to Christ.  this, my friends, is the beautiful dance, and really has nothing to do with legalism.

we can find freedom knowing that a.)  the husband and wife’s Biblical role is hard, and it should be, and b.) we know that God asks us to trust in him, that we live by HIS power not our own.  so when it’s tough, we can call on him and he will surely answer us because he’s the one who designed this.  He ultimately will be glorified.

i look at this now as an honor. i see that there is a plan for my marriage and it’s bigger than what the world tells us.

mx1


this title used to scare the crud out of me…what do you mean i have to do everything this man tells me to do?  that doesn’t sound like fun. or so i thought…

early on in mine and jim’s marriage God revealed my sin to me through Ephesians 5: 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. I remember struggling to read this passage because for some reason it just made me feel uneasy.  It was at this time that the Holy Spirit convicted my heart that i had a hard time with submitting, and this sin was mine all mine, and really had little to do with my husband. gosh, don’t you hate not being able to ignore your own character flaw?…how comfortable we tend to be blaming others 🙂

i would like to say that my conviction led me to repentance, and now i never struggled with submitting to jim, but…it was only the beginning of God breaking down the walls and revealing  a very insecure, fearful girl.   (more tomorrow…)

lock

little [heather]

well, i’m not good at writing my thoughts on paper. my handwriting is terrible,  i think so fast that my hand can’t keep up and i eventually exhaust my vision. so i thought blogging might be a good start :).  i hope to find out more about myself, God, and you. {in no particular order}

seeing God’s glory in my life is humbling,  and i can’t help but share it!  i want to know his peace, i want to know the depths of Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is
seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

“who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross”

with God’s grace and mercy i desire to press on through life with joy despite my worldly circumstances. with the prize in mind of worshiping Jesus Christ for eternity. this seems to be nearly impossible, but as my sins are revealed, and my repentance begins, i begin to see just how small i am, and how very big HE is.

i hope to know your thoughts by the comments you might leave. 🙂

bench