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Purpose Amidst Imperfection 

Nestled amidst the sunrise of a fresh week and all the promise it holds is an ever faithful reminder of my inadequacy. I am presently, but peacefully aware that I got more wrong than right last week, and that will surely be my truth this week as well.

My keen sense of insufficiency poses a different purpose for me now, though. Growing in grace teaches me that it is no longer about striving for perfection only to be frustrated, but seeking purpose amidst my imperfection only to be furthered.

 It is an incongruent truth that on the other side of our failures is an intention designed for our prosperity. 

Understanding that falling down is not a shameful thing, but a sacred tool is the genesis of praise. Praise opens the door and welcomes gratitude right into our hearts.

When gratitude is our guest, we see through all the heavy right into the heart of the holy, and joy becomes a source of our strength. 

This week, friend, I pray you have eyes to see and ears to hear all the beauty that your brokenness beholds, and your heart will sing, it is good and it is well with my soul.
You are loved.❤️

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God Will Make A Path Through

If you need hope today, remember this, Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. ~ Exodus 14:21

God may not remove your “Red Sea,” but as He did for Moses and the Israelites, He will open up a path and lead you through it.

Trust Him for that provision today, friend.

You are loved.❤️

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Our Scars Are Bountiful Stories

I have a scar on the left side of my chest where there once was a central line that nourished me when I was too ill to eat. I have a scar under my right arm in the upper rib area that is a reminder of a chest tube that once supported my collapsed lung from a procedure gone wrong. Both blemishes were the product of one pregnancy. I see those two scars every day, and for many years they were unattractive to me. What I have learned and love is now when I notice them I feel gratitude where I once knew grief because those blemishes are emblematic of life. My scars are the representatives of a broken story with a bountiful ending. If it were not for them, I would not have my daughter. I was reminiscing amidst the memories of my scar journey this morning, and as I was strolling through the story, I had a vivid visual of Jesus on the cross. There he was in my picture, nailed by evil and dawning scars that the world would deem unattractive; then this thought crossed my mind, Jesus’ scars also represented life. I am confident that He, too looks his scars, smiles and says if it were not for them, I would not have my daughter.

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A Delicate Yet Decisive Wind

As I was sitting outside in silence for a few minutes, the most subtle scene grabbed my attention. The wind blew my back patio gate back and forth before resituating it in a different direction. I was immediately awestruck by the thought that the wind, although invisible and in this situation barely audible, is so powerful. The gate is steel, and the wind was not blowing hard; and because of the weight of the gate, it would appear only movable by human hands. The wind, however, delicately yet decisively, rearranged its coordinates in the most humble manner. God is like that, friend. He may be invisible but never idle, always capable of shifting that which seems stagnant. By nature, we want to take charge because the inconspicuous illusion of control deceives us into believing in our sufficiency. Although you cannot see God, and maybe you are standing under circumstances that bear the weight of the world, do not concede to what you see, cling to what He says. Your Father is able, and when the time is right; He will change that which appears concrete. Ephesians 3:20, Isaiah 60:22.

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The Message of Our Thorns

Friend, that “thorn” you are carrying, we all have them. For some of you, it may be an addiction, a prodigal child or a painful marriage. Maybe it is a chronic illness, loneliness, depression or rejection that is a constant reminder of your residency in a broken world. The Apostle Paul said 2 Corinthians 12 that his thorn was a messenger from Satan, that he begged The Lord to remove. God did not remove it, but He too purposed it as a remembrance of His sufficient grace. What are the messages of your thorns? Are you listening to Satan or your Savior? The enemy tells us our thorns deem us unlovable, unforgivable, inadequate, weak and hopeless. But God. He says “my grace is sufficient for you.” Although the “limps” we walk with in this life make us weak and wobble, in Him, we find strength and stability. Thorns might discredit us as unworthy and inadequate. However, Jesus credited us as worthy and adequate by His sacrifice on the cross wearing a crown of thorns. The reality is, both The Promiser and the persecutor speak to us through our trials. We have the freedom to choose who to listen to, and that choice will determine which one’s purpose will be realized in our life. Will we frame tribulation for our good and God’s ultimate glory or Satan’s gain and our unlimited gloom?

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He is Soverign Over Us

 

We all have circumstances in our lives that we wish were different, and this reality is one of the easiest places the enemy entangles us. You may be in an unstable marriage, parenting a prodigal child, facing addiction, disease or significant loss. Whatever the challenge you have been given may be, it may not have come from God’s hands, but it did go through His hands.  It is hard to live amidst our struggles and remain joyful when we traverse difficult paths. The great danger is that as we walk our routes, it is tempting to compare our journey to another’s. Comparison tricks us into thinking others have it easier or have been given favor. Comparison is a liar, and we believe her far too quickly. Observing others casts darkness into our lives, and it is easy to begin fantasizing about a more comfortable life.  We must recognize fantasy for what it is; a fraud who draws you into his web with unrealistic thoughts of “better things.” In the life of a believer, there ought to be nothing better than walking well in obedience the road our Master has assigned us. Perseverance is not possible if we are self-focused. It is impossible if we are contrasting our journey with someone else’s. It is when we fix our eyes on Jesus, insulate our hearts with His Word, and our desire to please our Savior overshadows that of pleasing our self, that we endure and our weeping is joined by worship, purpose enters our pain and joy joins our journey. Consider 1 Corinthians 7:17~And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches. (The Message). I pray today, friend, that you and I believe in the plan of our good and faithful Provider as hard as it may be. He is in the midst of every heartache. Fight to be still and know that He is God, and He is good. When we live as though He is sovereign over us, His strength and peace will equip us as we travel. You are loved!

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Anyway

b11e7535347810b6a8c6c98199bc4656Life will give us more than we can handle, but we were never meant to handle it alone anyway.

Life will give us more than we can understand, but we were never intended to understand everything anyway.

Life will take us places we don’t want to go, but we were never meant to travel alone anyway.

Life will cause us to question, forget, take for granted, disobey, offend and sometimes be angry at God, but Jesus died for us anyway.

Life will cause us to succumb to this world, but all God’s children are eternal survivors anyway.

You are never alone, and no matter what has happened or you have done, a repentant heart is loved anyway.

(1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28)

(Deuteronomy 29:29, Proverbs 3:5)

(Matthew 11:28, Isaiah 42:16)

(Jeremiah 22:21, Romans 2:23)

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Hope Survives Where Happiness Does Not

It takes great courage, faith, and intentionality to feel the grief of our cross while anticipating the gifts of its resurrection.  To feel the burden without hope of the blessing is a victory for the opportunistic enemy who since the Garden of Eden wants us to believe that God is holding out on us.  We must resist feeding our minds on his lethal fruit, and feast on The Bread of Life.  It is one thing to believe, but an entirely different thing to LIVE as we profess to believe.  Our walk must be congruent with our talk.  Self-congruence does not mean we are happy all the time, (that is not the gospel), but hopeful, yes!  Hope survives where happiness does not.  You are loved.

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Your Story


I want to tell you this morning friend, that your life is an exquisite story.  I know, there are parts that are broken, messy and maybe even down right dark. You are not an anomaly!  That is a common denominator for all humanity. What you need to know is that your story, the broken parts, are what birth the beautiful parts; and someone desperately needs to know your journey.  Your life is a gift that was created to be shared because it was written by the Author of the universe, and He pens masterful stories about messy people who blossom into majestic professors of hope.  You, every part of you, is purposeful and of remarkable value in the kingdom of God. Believe in the power of the script He has written for you!

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A Rare and Magnificent Rose

 

Recently I completed a life mapping activity as a part of an incredible, purpose driven study, pathFinder, offered by Beacon People. (beaconpeople.org). I knew when I began that the life mapping process would be difficult, and it was because the nature of life is messy. However, I found myself looking at my life map and the prominent emotion I felt when I finished was gratitude.

My map reminded me of something so powerful. I am always thankful for the “rosy” moments in life, but I miss out on so much when I limit my focus there. God’s glory is magnified the most through gifts grown in the fertile soil of suffering.

Abraham Lincoln once said: ~ We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

It is easy to be thankful for the roses in our lives, but what about the thorns?

Our lives are like long stemmed roses filled with thorns. Some are bigger than others, some sharper and some cut deeper when they pierce us. No two look alike, and they cannot be compared.

What thorns are you bearing today? I encourage you to remember each one was designed for your protection, preparation, and purpose. You have already seen God’s faithfulness worked through some, and others you are still waiting. Me, too.

Father, sometimes I fail to appreciate the benefit of the thorns in my life. I often see them as a burden instead of a blessing. Give me the grace to remember it is the thorns, not the triumphs that yield the most fruit. Thank you God for my thorns, every single one! Help us all remember today that when we follow you; the state of our hearts is not dependent on the situations of our lives. Amen.

Be encouraged by the power of your thorns, friends. God is the great gardener, and He is pruning YOU into a rare and magnificent rose!