Tag Archives: courage

As He is, so are we.

Standard

I was graciously afforded a few days at the beach. Weary, taxed, and just plain depleted from the day to day, my husband lovingly booked me a few days away at my favorite place. For some reason unknown to me, the ocean makes me feel ever aware of the closeness of the Lord. It seems as I look out upon the vastness I can see with my eyes, I always seem to consider how much greater is the One who created this ocean. I realize in stark contrast, just how small I am. How small I am and yet, how detailed and intimately He knows and cares and values me. I am always undone by this great revelation and when I stand along the ocean shore, it hits me with such a deep force, again and afresh as each wave rolls in.

I was lying in the bed, looking around at my family sleeping and thanking God for each of their beautiful lives. Thanking Him that I get the opportunity to love each of them and to know them deeply. Thanking Him for how I see His beauty reflected in their existence. I also was hearing the waves. You see we kept the balcony door opened and were each lulled to sleep by the consistent roar of the tides. As I listened and thanked and exchanged love with my Lord, I was noticing how the ocean never sleeps, stops, gets weary, nor depleted. The Lord created the ocean to be exactly as it is, and without ceasing, it continues to produce waves, shelter sea life, bring beauty and majesty before our eyes. And with that thought, I also was considering how the Lord never sleeps nor slumbers. He does not need to sleep. He does not need to, so I can rest easy. I can rest easy because He is watching and protecting and planning and loving me and all the dear ones who are His. I found rest and peace and joy and went sweetly to sleep.

As I awoke, my dream of spending the day soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves with my children was quickly deterred by the dense fog and misty rain and gray skies. This surprised me, but I knew it didn’t surprise HIm. I asked Him what He had in mind for me and my family that day. He showed me this lighthouse a few miles away, and asked me to go there. I grew excited because my song for the year is ” My Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. The song gives testimony to how God is the peace in our troubled seas. I’ve been seeking Him and knowing Him as such this year through every wind, wave, storm, struggle, fear, worry, or anxious place. He is my Prince of Peace and He doesn’t change even when my circumstances do.

So I climbed. I climbed and climbed and climbed. 203 steps up a winding way. Heart pounding but still fixed on hearing His voice as I was literally standing in what I’ve been calling upon Him as. I knew that He had a fresh word for me. I was expecting, asking, waiting. I reached the top and walked all the way around. The rain was hitting my face and I was waiting. Waiting for Him to speak as I was so sure He had something it would please Him to share with me, challenge me, and call me to. And then He spoke, “As He is, so are we.” He went on to share that I have been seeking and finding Him as my lighthouse. He has been the light to help me remember where I was going in the darkness. He has been he One who keeps my journey ever fixed on where the light is. He is the One who leads me safely to where I am called to go. He is the One who doesn’t change and doesn’t dim no matter how relentless the storm is. He is truly our faithful lighthouse and will never fail showing us the way as we seek Him.

And again says, “As I am, so are you Jenna.” You are called to STAND. You are called to remain when the storm is relentless. You are called to be unshakable when the wind and waves batter with no end in sight. You are called to shine brightly before all men while the storm is still raging. You are called to be the light of the world because I live in you. Your light is supposed to show the ones who are tossed to and fro in the enormous waves and winds of life, how to return to Me. How to find safety, refuge, hope. You are called to be a lighthouse to them. You are called to let your light shine so before all men. You are called, by Me, for Me, and with Me, to lead them home, out of the darkness, to safety, to hope, to life, to love.

And I wept. And I asked for help. And I prayed for wisdom. And I’m still seeking. This is what I am learning. How can I stand in the storm? How can I shine a bright light when I myself and being beaten by the wind and the waves? How can I lead anyone home? How can this be possible?

You see, if I take Jesus out of any equation, none of it would be possible, or even worth it. But He says in His word that with Him all things are possible, and I love because He first loved me. Therefore, I can’t. I can’t do any of this without Him. But I’m not without Him. He lives in me. He is the light of the world, and He lives in Me. So all I have to do, is let His light shine through me.

Do you think I can withstand battering wind, waves, lightning strikes, darkness, pain, exhaustion and doing more than I ever imagined or believed was possible for me? NO! But can Jesus? Absolutely and so much more. He can do all things. Nothing is too hard for Him! He has given me everything I need to stand- He has given me Himself. I need nothing more. Further more- through every storm when I have wavered or forgot to ask Him for help- He has still been there. He has been faithful. He has been true. All of my days, and hours, and moments spent with Him is what brings the strength to stand when it’s hard. All of my love and adoration and awareness of His presence in each day good or bad, is the truth even when I can’t see it or feel it. I can stand in the storm because who He is when it’s calm. I can choose to believe what I know when I need it the most instead of choose to question it in that place.

In each day, each choice to live for Him, each moment of decision to believe is what has prepared my feet to stand still, on my Rock, who can’t be shaken, when everything is being destroyed around me. I don’t find strength from the storm- but from the One who can calm the storm and I know Him because He is with me always. In the good and the bad- I can praise Him. When it’s a time of rejoicing or a time of weeping- I can thank Him. He is faithful and He is true and I can trust Him. He is always good and I am always loved, no matter what it feels like. As He is, so are we. I will choose Him. I will choose to love and trust and stand upon Him- in all times and rejoice in all things.

1 John 4:17 17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.

Matthew 5:16Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [a]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [b]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Ephesians 6:13-18The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Job 38:8-11New International Version (NIV)

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

Luke 1:37Amplified Bible (AMP)

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Still standing, firmly rooted

Standard

So my kids have been sick for a little over a month with one well week, in which I worked and worked and worked to catch up on all that fell behind when I was care giving full time. Thinking I would get to the end of that week, and what felt like a marathon, would be over. Then that evening, they started with being sick again- and even last night-another night with no sleep, high fevers, administering medication and breathing treatments. (My 3 yr old had never even taken antibiotics before this October and now he has been on two rounds with a total of three ear infections! THIS IS CRAZY!)

And as my exhausted body laid in my bed listening to the symphony of coughing, I was tempted to ask God why? Why when it would be so easy to keep His children from suffering, is this whole world filled with injustice and sickness and and and????. Then I remembered that a friend of mine recently heard from God about how much time He has to spend with us reassuring us of all that we already know. When we go through storms we often choose to question the TRUTH we have already experienced and that cycle keeps us stuck at that level. By questioning what we have already learned, we miss the opportunity to be ungraded into a new understanding of who He is to us, for us, though us, and with us. (It is SO important to be linked with others who seek Him because we all only hear in part and see in part and we ALL NEED EACH OTHER!) So I decided to pray instead- ‘God I know you ARE faithful, I know You are good! I believe You are protecting my family from more than I could ever understand and I want to thank You for that. God I ask that You would teach me more about You through this unique set of circumstances. Amen.’ And with that I was able to rest a while with peace until I was needed again.

Did my circumstance change? No! But my heart did. I chose not to question all that I know is true- but to position myself to learn MORE! Would my circumstances eventually pass and life return to normal? Yes- I get that this is temporary. However living with the passive mindset of “This too shall pass,” isn’t going to get me anywhere. How I navigate through each unique set of circumstances MATTERS. And as I type that, I feel its important to say that I am not  talking about denial, and faking that I’m okay no matter how long and /or hard it is. Here is the truth- I’m exhausted and kind of sad that this is all happening at Christmas because it’s not the “fantasy” Christmas time experience I had been dreaming of for this year. Another truth is, someone asked me if I needed anything today and my reply was simply, ‘hope’- even though you and I both know I have an eternal hope that is the anchor to my soul-I honestly felt like I could use a fresh dose.

I get tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, and sad-it’s true. But I am choosing to take those emotions to the Lord and ask Him to show me His provision for me right into my very weaknesses or depleted areas. AND HE IS FAITHFUL! Navigating well doesn’t mean it won’t be hard- it means as I share with Him what’s hard about it- He can teach me more about who He is for me in my weaknesses- and if I learn more about Him through any part of life and can share it with even just ONE PERSON- it has been worked together for good and I have not “suffered” in vain.

One other key I find to ALWAYS be fruitful is to give thanks. When I’m exhausted or undone- I choose to give thanks for all that IS good- and not allow a moment in time to define my whole life- I move up and forward- not down and backwards. This too shall pass and when it does I want to come on the other side stronger and more aware of who He is in me and through me and for me and with me. So I am saying yes to being honest about where I am, no to complaining. Yes to giving thanks, and no to questioning what I already have learned is TRUTH. When storms rage- I will choose to stand on what I know is true- not question it. THEN I WILL BE FOUND STANDING, FIRMLY ROOTED in Him when all of it does pass. AND THAT MATTERS! HE WILL GET THE GLORY! HE WILL BE MADE KNOWN! THAT IS WHY I LIVE!

What’s new? I’m a mom of two!

Standard

Wow! I have learned so much in just the last 14 days of being a mother to two children. I have learned how much of a waste it is to worry about things which are not in our control. I would spend all of this time thinking about my older son, and how to not let him feel left out or feel this or that- but you know what? HE LOVES BEING A BIG BROTHER! He is so satisfied in helping and being needed, it is so beautiful to watch. Truly, as Jesus taught, all of that worrying did not add a single moment to my life. God loves my son and took care of him. It is not in my control. I wonder today- what are you worrying about? Can you try handing that worry and need to be in control over to the One who knows all things and works them all together for good?

I have learned how beautiful God’s timing is, no matter how much the waiting hurts. I WAS HURTING- every second of every day for about 20 weeks straight- near the end, it was close to impossible to wake up and face the day knowing how much pain I would be enduring. But here is what happened- one of my very best friends on the planet- who was also pregnant with her second child- and we prayed to be pregnant together- had her baby on the same day at the same hospital. I could not have imagined God would give us such a beautiful gift. So wonderful, so beautiful, and something none of us will ever forget. I am now thankful for the waiting! I wonder today, what waiting are you in that might be painful? Will you choose to trust God to make something beautiful at just the right time?

And even now, as though this season isn’t new enough, my family is adding a new layer of adventure ( it’s just who we are called to be- never boring around here.) So as I face this new layer, I have to face some giants. In my own strength and power- a giant would be terrifying- and for a moment I stood paralyzed by fear- thinking I would be going backwards, and downwards, and allowed anxiety filled, fear-filled thoughts to run through my mind. Oh but Jesus! Jesus loves me! And He has reminded me of how far I have come, how far my family has come, and how we are moving forward and not backwards.  I am learning that even when something appears to look like a giant you have slain before- the battle was long,hard, and left you weary and wounded- YOU LEARNED FROM THE BATTLE! You know what to do. It won’t be the same- because YOU ARE NOT THE SAME! It is ok to face battles you have won before because you have the strategy to be VICTORIOUS! I wonder today, what giant are you being called to face, perhaps again, that is trying to intimidate you with fear or anxiety? Can you trust in the One who has given you victory before? Can you rest in knowing that in Him you will OVERCOME?

I am also starting to see just how small my measure of belief is. Sometimes I feel like I really trust God and I really believe that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE- but the truth is- I mostly believe that for all of you. When it comes to me, I still really struggle believing for the big, impossible-looking miracles to happen. Isn’t that crazy? Jesus has always shown up and shown off on my behalf and yet I still struggle. In this season, I have been blessed with a far greater experience than I could have ever imagined- so many people shared with me that this is what they saw coming for me- but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how precious the goodness of God towards me would be to enjoy. SO much better than I even hoped for. And then I saw a miracle in someone else’s life that the Lord has been saying He wants to do for me also, and I could believe for it more once I saw that it happened for someone else. BUT FRIENDS- faith is believing in what we cannot see. It is trusting in God and believing and thanking Him way before we experience it. So now my prayer is, and I am wondering if you would like to join in with me, “Lord, help me in my unbelief.”

Lastly, I am learning how to take it one day at a time. I am learning how to truly rest in each beautiful, messy, lovely, hard, joyful, and painful moment of each day. Take it for what it is, experience it, be present in it, live it. I am seeing more of Jesus when I slow down and really enter into the moments of my own life. Maybe that sounds strange- but I’ve been on the go and in a hurry most of my days thus far. There is something spectacular about choosing to really show up and be in the moments we have so graciously been given. I am learning  that a lot of the rushing and busyness I was involved with previously was a way of avoiding or denying what was happening that I didn’t want to face. Can I share, it takes courage to be present, and that courage can only come from God. I’m wondering today what place in your life are you rushing through so you can deny or avoid the truth of that situation? Can you trust Him who is, and was, and is to come to be there, to heal, to restore, to redeem? He is Faithful!

Oh, how each of our lives makes a difference. You may not believe you make a difference to anyone- but I assure you- YOU MATTER. This little 14 day old life has so dramatically changed my life and heightened my experience on Earth so far. Your life is changing someone’s world. Will you take the journey with me to continue to learn, continue to be teachable, continue to humble ourselves, so that we can become more and more and more like Jesus? Will you commit with me to learning how to enjoy the moments and get to be and have and do all that He created us for? This life- my life- your life- every single person on this whole planet’s life- is a gift- is significant- and is worth living. Jesus- have your way!