Category Archives: God’s faithfulness

little glimpses

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sometimes God gives us little glimpses of how He works.  life has been that way lately.

The last year has been a season of strange and frustrating loneliness.  I found after getting married that suddenly I’m not invited to singles events (duh, because I’m not single) but most of my close friends are single.  We joined a new care group, but didn’t really know anyone.  And due to many other reasons, the fellowship just didn’t “click” like it seemed to with some of my other friends.  Its been an item of prayer for months now.  And lately God has been working. And giving me glimpses of what He is doing in relationships around me.  I’m grateful to see Him working.  I’m grateful to be growing in these new relationships.  I am excited to be getting to really start to know the ladies in my care group.  I have much to learn from them…

ok, another glimpse.  Pots and Pans.  We’ve been using Ted’s old cheap set since we got married last May.  You know when the non-stick coating stops sticking to the pan, that they have had their last useful day.  Yeah, that day was about a month ago.  Well, a friend told me yesterday that she just “happens” to have an extra set of brand new pots and pans… still in the box… that she doesn’t need…that someone gave to her.    Its funny, we’ve talked about those pots and pans for months now, but neither of us ever put the links together and realized that she has an extra set to give away and I need a set.  Hm…  yea, I’m picking them up tomorrow.  Yup, thanks God.  And thanks Jess.  :)

as I mentioned in my post yesterday, I just started working full time again.  Had you asked me a month ago what my ideal job is, I couldn’t have planned something like this.  I’ll be working 3 days a week in the office and 2 days a week from home.  I can wear jeans (that’s always been a dream of mine for some goofy reason) and the job itself is a weird and unique balance of right brain and left brain.  I’ll be working as the Client Relations manager, but will also be doing infrastructure building and creating/ updating the documentation, organizing, project management, finance, marketing, advertising and long term planning.  oh, and I have a MacBook laptop that I can use…  :) so fun!  And the financial help is an added benefit.

God uses moments like that to give me hope for the other areas of life.  praying for a friend who’s struggling with singleness.  helping a friend who’s fighting major health issues and depression.  wanting to start a family.  wanting to grow to be a better friend and wife.  encouraging a friend who’s working through a difficult past.  trying to help point friends (and my own heart) to hope.  so many areas.  so much need for help from our God…

so grateful for the glimpses of God’s faithfulness. changes my perspective in areas that I consider “suffering” …  seems there’s a purpose behind it all…

 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

 

i like these little glimpses.

a steadfast heart. and unwelcome news.

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this morning I was praying and thinking of Psalm 57 “My heart is steadfast O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music.”

I wrote the poem below as I was thinking through that passage and the fact that my heart is  steadfast because of the nature of my God, not my circumstances.  I had a moment last night where I thought “what did i just do!!??… i just quit my job and walked away from it all.” and immediately my mind went to this verse.  My heart has felt such peace since Ted and I made the decision to quit my job.

We know that this is what God is calling us to do.  My last day will officially be September 10th.  So, right after lunch, I got a phone call.  It appears my grandfather had a heart attack last night.  I don’t know the details but it seems it wasn’t a major one (whatever that means) though he was crying and begging God to just take him home at one point because he was in so much pain.  So, I call my husband to give him the news and where is he but stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire on his lunch break.  Great, just great.  Instantly I feel the freak-out-ometer rising…

And then my mind goes back to this morning… steadfast because of God, not circumstances.  Steadfast because the God who changed my life controls my days as well.  steadfast because I have example after example of how trustworthy He has been.  So, I trust.  God loves my Pop-pop.  He knows what will happen.  I will choose to be steadfast there…

Steadfast is my heart o God
As I fix my eyes on you
Through every test and trial, Lord,
To me, you have been true.
You’ve guided through confusion
You’ve led me every step
With patience, care and tenderness
You brought me from the depths.
So I sing with joy, for you’ve redeemed
This sinner from the grave.
You’ve change my nature, changed my name
No longer to death a slave
With joy I serve you Lord, my King,
My Master and my Guide
I trust you hand to keep me safe
From the trials on every side.
Guard my heart, keep my thoughts fast
As I fix my gaze on you
With confidence and trust may I
Trust what you plan to do.
My heart is steadfast, Lord, it is
Steadfast with trust for my King.
The One who redeemed, the One who gave life
The One who caused my heart to sing.

joy in Your presence

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In your presence, Lord, there is joy.
Am I far from your presence?
Am I missing your glory when I focus on my pain?
I am weak.  You are great.
Have I forgotten what is truly important?
Why do I not feel the joy that once proved so precious to me?

If you can be glorified through my weakness, will I be content with it?
If you become bigger though my pain, will I give you thanks?
Can I live in gratitude despite exhaustion? Or frustration? Or confusion?
When it’s a sacrifice, will I still choose to praise You?

How long, Lord can I go on like this waiting for your voice?
Help me to listen. Help me to see it.
Help me not to focus on a conclusion as my answer, help me to focus on You.

For You are my answer.  You are my hope.
In Your presence I find my joy.
You drew me out of my pit.  If you’ve done that, why do I doubt?
Why does my heart cry out in anguish and fear?

You’ve proven your faithfulness time and again
Why is my soul downcast yet again?
I look to You. My feet are on You, my Rock.
My ways are secure.  Though hidden in darkness for now.

I will rest.  I will hope.  I will have joy.

when treated unfairly…

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Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  1 Peter 2:18-23

I read this verse today just after finding out about something at work that is completely unfair.  It seems to me as if I’m being taken advantage of and am struggling with how to respond.  I know that my current job is where God has called me to be in this season, but there are days like today when I just struggle with that current placement for my life.  So, I guess the question is “how do I respond?”  Do I look at the injustice and demand my rights?  Do I stand up for what is “fair”?  Sometimes the answer to that might be yes.  I’m sure there are times when we need to stand up for something and fight against “the man.”  But God has made it clear to me that my response in this situation should be like that of Jesus in 1st Peter 2.  I am being treated unfairly.  God knows that.  I want to cry because it honestly just hurts.  Jesus understands that pain.

When He was treated unfairly, he did not respond in sin.  He trusted God.  In the middle of his suffering, he did not utter threats or retaliation.  He was quiet in the middle of that storm because He was at peace with God’s purpose and plan for his life.  According to Phil. 2, I am commanded to let the mind of Christ dwell in me.  I am supposed to follow that example.  I am supposed to trust God in the middle of storms too.  I have a coffee mug that says: “peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I think that’s the heart of this matter for me.  Am I calm in my heart? Am I trusting that God knows the unfair actions?  Am I trusting my own ability to vindicate that or am I trusting my sovereign God?

Its funny, I wrote a devotional post about that this morning…. about thanking God in ALL things because every situation reveals another opportunity for us to see God at work.  So, where is God at work in this injustice?

He is at work in me… in teaching me humility (aka I don’t have to demand my rights).  He is empowering me to respond like Him and He is growing my faith in His plan for my life.  Does that feel good right now?  No.  But all I need to do is look back at the events of my life.  Every step, every valley, every storm shows the imprint of a faithful God’s hand upon my life.  So, I will trust Him in this too.  He is good.

  • “Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers, for they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Ps. 37:1-6).
  • “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord: He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (Ps. 37:39-40).
  • “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land” (v. 34).
  • “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things”

when a dark cloud hides God… remember this…

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There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God is faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a profest brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us.

We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises.

But God is true. His Word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people God is faithful. He may be safely relied upon.  No one ever yet really trusted Him in vain. We find this precious truth expressed almost everywhere in the Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him.

A.W. Pink

a look back

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thanks for your patience with me as i’ve been noticeably absent the last month or so.  i hate that my blog has taken a back seat so drastically, because if for no other reason, it is always encouraging for me to go back and look over what God has done in my life.  I was especially encouraged a few weeks ago to look back and see an overview of what God did in the past few years.

So, keeping up with the tradition, here is a brief overview of 2009…

The year started off on a very low note – with me working through some very difficult issues from my past and having to face some personal heartache that I would have much rather left buried.  Thanks to the help of Matt and Julie and many others from my church, I continued to learn what forgiveness looked like, but not without many tears.

That struggle began several months of discouragement and at times hopelessness.  Looking back now, I am so grateful for my friends who stuck with me, upheld me, and encouraged me each step of the way… and at times, did everything necessary to turn my gaze off myself and back to the hope found in the cross.

I learned through that time, that my safety and comfort must be found in Jesus alone.  That though others disappoint, and at times cause severe hurt and pain, that Jesus never fails.  I learned that like Eustace, in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that at times God strips away ourselves, but it is always done with a hand of love and mercy.

2009 also was a year in which I started to see my health improve.  This year brought for the first time in years the first consistent season of sleeping normally and the first period of weeks with no migraines.  I’m grateful to God for the help of the doctors and others, but ultimately, for His hand guiding my health and my life.

then began a season of questions… should i remain at my job? where should I live? should I pursue moving to another state?  if so, where?  i began pursuing a long-standing desire… to move to the Washington DC area… for months, I investigated, prayed and talked with people.  By late spring, I felt a peace about pursuing it and by mid summer I was convinced I was moving… as soon as God provided a job.  I spent 10 days in the DC area on a fact finding mission, found a place to live, spent hours driving in traffic and was excited about the pending change.  Then God closed the door.  It was clear to me that the door was closed tight and that I was not to pursue any further.  Yet it was also abundantly clear that this change was for my good and was given to me by a God who knows what is best for me.  So, my roots are in Greenville.  But my hope in God grew through that time, and though the “move” was unsuccessful, the lessons learned were well worth the months of questioning.

This fall brought changes once again to my life.  September 13th was my first date with Ted Riley, a man whom I have since grown to love.  We met in August via e-harmony and i am grateful for how God (not merely 29 dimensions of compatibility) brought the two of us together.  I could not imagine a better fit for me and look forward to seeing what God does with our relationship.

The past 4 months have been times of continuing improved health (despite the doctors telling me in August that they thought I could have pancreatic cancer) and new areas of learning to trust God.  Contentment looks different in this season (not “is there even possibly a good guy out there who would like me?” but “when will I get married / when will I have kids / when does the next “season” start?”) but the struggle remains the same… so I keep learning that no matter the circumstance, that my confidence and hope must be in the only One who remains unchanging.

In October, I began writing weekly online devotionals for Devotional Christian.  It has been an encouraging and challenging step for me… in learning to be more thoughful about what I write and growing in being more theologically informed.

I’ve seen reconciliation in relationships this year.  I’ve seen improvement in health.  I’ve seen new changes.  But through it all, I’ve learned more of the faithfulness of our God.  Through every change, He has remained true to me.  And through every time I haven’t remained true to Him, He lovingly corrects and draws me back.

What a God we serve.  I look forward to the challenges and blessings of 2010, confident that through every step, He will be by my side.

Ezekiel 16

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Abandoned straight from birth you were
Left alone to die
Hated and rejected no one
Listened your cries.
Your heritage and lineage is
From the unredeemed.
No one had compassion; you were
Helpless and unclean.

Then I passed by and saw you there
Writhing in your blood
No one washed or cared for you
Or dared your soul to love.
But my soul had compassion;
Wanted not to see you die
“Live” I said, “grow and be
I’ll make you now, child, mine.”

I made you flourish like a tree
You grew up proud and strong
But naked still you were, and had
No place where you belonged.
When I passed by again and saw,
I came and covered up
Your nakedness, and then declared
A covenant of love.

I bathed you, made you clean, and then
I covered up your shame;
Gave robes of silk and linen, and
Beauty became your fame.
You grew as royalty although
From birth you were so poor.
Favor was bestowed on you
Through God, your redeeming Lord.

But you trusted in your beauty and you
Chose to be a whore.
Though everything to you I gave
Your heart desired more.
You took the good gifts that I gave
Made idols out of them.
I fed you, but you hungered still
For approval and love from men.

Did you forget, my child, I found you
Wallowing in blood?
Did you forget your nakedness?
Did you forget my love?
In spite of all I’ve done, you left;
Rejected all my care
For that of men. My child, you must
Listen and beware.

This path you’re on will bring your death.
Destruction’s sure to come.
Woe to you, for you chose to turn
From the Redeeming One.
Through sin, you’ll find no joy or life
Your heart will always long
For more. It can’t be satisfied
Apart form Me, your God.

How sick your heart, your ways despised
For all that you’ve done wrong.
You’ve turned to lovers for payment
And rejected your true Lover’s song.
So, prostitute, now listen:
Your nakedness will be known.
Rejected by all you’ve chosen to love
You’ll find yourself alone.

I’ll judge you as the whore you are
And it will be severe.
My wrath and jealousy will come
And you’ll learn Me to fear.
Remember your heritage?  It’s what you’ve become.
You’re living as the unredeemed;
Forgotten that I am He who gave you life;
Forgotten my love, so it seems.

My child, please listen, and turn from your ways
Repent of the deeds you have done.
Forget not my mercy, forget not my grace,
Forget not the covenant of love.
See your actions for what they truly are
Injustice against the Holy God
Look to me, remember the great things I’ve done
Find merciful grace from my rod.

Do not forget, my child, I found you
Wallowing in blood.
Do not forget your nakedness.
Do not forget my love.
In spite of all you’ve done, I came,
Pursued you with my grace.
So, return to me, your Redeemer God
Return to your Lover’s embrace.