Category Archives: God’s provision

God is not surprised by fluke accidents.

Standard

Aka. Be careful what you ask for. :)

I came home from the Created for Care Adoption Moms conference full of information, strength and hope for the future. Unfortunately I returned back to work the next day feeling like I had no time to really process through and pray about what I learned at the conference. So I prayed that God would help me to know how to balance my time and what to focus on in the coming weeks. That same evening while working out I did a lunge, dislocated my knee and have been in pretty severe pain since. I’m out of work and pretty much stuck to a couch for the next two weeks, not able to put weight on my left leg at all.

While praying through how to handle the unknowns of parenthood and the financial strain that can bring, God put me smack dab in the middle of a situation that I cannot control… where financial strains are once again in the forefront and where I am forced to trust.

But somehow the trusting is coming easier this time around. God has proven himself faithful. I am choosing to look to the unknowns with confidence of His goodness not with fear of how is this or that going to get taken care of or paid. This random fluke of a pretty life altering injury (at least for the moment) is just a blip in my life. And I can choose to have hope in this blip.

I can sense God’s power at work in encouraging me when in my sin I would easily give in to fear and despair. One of the things God reminded me at the conference was “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”.

What hope that truth brings! Troubles have come. More are probably coming. My faith that has been tested over and over is being tried yet again. And through His Spirit I can overcome the discouragement or hopelessness of not being in control and choose to rest in the arms of the One who ordained this day.

Yup. This day where I haven’t taken a shower because I can’t get into the bathtub alone. This day where the sun is shining beautifully and I so long to go on a walk or a bike ride. This day where the house is a wreck and I can literally sit here and count crumbs on the carpet. God ordained it. So I’m just gonna sit here, sip on my sweet tea and remember His goodness to me. He will provide. He knows my needs. If even a sparrow finds a place to rest and even the lilies of the field are clothed, our bills will get paid. If our adoption is delayed because of the financial strain this could cause, He knows that and has a reason why.

My heart still wants to break as I look around and see all that’s wrong. But how can I keep from singing his praise? He’s proven His faithfulness. He knows my needs. And He has overcome the troubles of this world.

20120202-134424.jpg

20120202-134453.jpg

wait

Standard

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, “Wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

“I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

“You’d never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.

“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait.”

by Russell Kelfer

God has promised sustaining grace

Standard

God has promised to sustain us by his grace.

He has promised us the sustaining grace of forgiveness, so that we can stand before him unafraid. He has promised the sustaining grace of enablement, giving us the strength to do what he calls us to do. He has promised us the sustaining grace of protection, delivering us from evil. He has promised us the sustaining grace of wisdom, protecting us from our own foolishness. He has promised us the sustaining grace of perseverance, keeping us until the final enemy has been defeated. He has promised the sustaining grace of eternity, giving us the hope of a day when the struggle will be over.

Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp

glitter through the darkness

Standard

Charles Spurgeon

You can’t do this? Are there mercies which you haven’t experienced? Even though you are gloomy now, how can you forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you, and said, ‘Come to me’? Can’t you remember that rapturous moment when He snapped your fetters, dashed your chains to the earth and said, ‘I came to break your bonds and set you free?’ Or if you’ve forgotten the love you felt at your wedding, surely there must be some precious milestone along the road of life not quite grown over with moss on which you can read a happy memorial of His mercy toward you? Don’t forget what your God has done for you; turn over the pages of your mind, and remember the days gone by. Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they shall glitter through the darkness, and you shall trust the Lord until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

the answer to my fears and questioning

Standard

I found this in my journal today… a prayer and the “response from God.”  I love going back and seeing what God has reminded me of in the past… for I find that I often need the same reminders. 

Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself to me in a way that draws me, pursues me, holds me, and keeps me.  May I grow and be led to better glorify You. May I respond to the Truth You speak, the Word and promise You bestow, knowing Your sovereignty and Your delight in identifying with me, that I might know its hope and truly rejoice! 

 You are forming me!  You are growing me!  Use this, O Lord, to put a fire in my heart.  Let that truth cause my heart to rejoice and to trust wholeheartedly in You!

His response:
Doubt not My ability, nor my willingness to provide graciously and abundantly – I know all that you need.  Fear not!  Take heart.  Know Me.  Be full of faith afresh.  My child, have I not bought you?  Will I not also hold you and keep you?  This is not your home.  This is but a shadow, a season of anticipation to point you to that which is completely other. 

I AM He who has created you and is preparing a place for you that is all of grace and peace unending, yes, unfailing.  You are mine.  Hear My voice.  Receive My love and know My heart for you.  I have caused you to be born into this living and abiding hope.  I will never let you go. 

Dwell on Me.  Submit your cares, your heart, and your fears to my Throne.  You are covered in the blood of My Son.  I am the Trustworthy One. 

 Live.  Be free.  I am a God who loves to give good gifts to My children, My beloved.  Accept this to be warm and satisfying bread, not a stone.  Take.  Eat.  You have been set apart.  I promise to hold you, guide you, encourage you, sharpen you, correct you, accept you, forgive you, and sing over you.  You are mine.  I will care for you, and I can and will to do no other. 

sleepless prayer

Standard

Father I confess that I do not actively place my dependence on you like I should, though every moment is spent fully dependent on your hand over my life. It is the sweet, yet horrible moments like this, moments when I ask, but sleep doesn’t come, moments where there is nothing I can do to make that desire of my fundamental human need happen, moments of sheer and utter exhaustion of mind, body and will, in which I am once again reminded of you. You are the God who does not require sleep. You are the God who guards my life as I sleep, and who guards it when sleep doesn’t come. You watch over me and protect me as the swarm of fears and doubts loom overhead. Your helmet of salvation soothes my tired mind with the truth that I am safe in you and that there is no need to fear. When exhaustion results in emotional worry and tears, I am comforted with the truth that even in my weakness and struggle, that you never leave or forsake your beloved. When the sins and cares of the day robs my rest, you remind me that I am your spotless bride and your cherished, fully accepted child. When pain takes rest from me and keeps it at a distance, you remind me that the power which calmed the stormy sea can also calm the turmoil in my body. Thank you Father that you ordain moments like this, moments I would never choose, to once again turn my gaze to you, grasping for more of your grace. Oh how I need it…both tonight and as the dawn soon breaks. Teach me that what matters is not perfect health or restful sleep but rather a confident trust in your goodness. Your goodness desired that my sleeplesness would drive me not to frustration, fear and anxiety, but to you. I find a refuge in you. My mind, which never seems to cease its running, finds solace in your presence. And you promise strength for tomorrow. Strength for the day’s battle, empowered by you to endure. But greater than that, to rejoice. Father, grant me the grace to rejoice in what you have done for me, given me and promised to complete in me. Let that joy overshadow this sleepless weariness. I pray that I would rest in you, for you are fully satified. There is nothing I need to do, besides still my soul in you like a child at his mother’s breast. You comfort. You hear the prayers of your beloved. And you provide what is good. So I pray that you would, in mercy, grant my weary body a few hours of rest tonight which would counteract the many hours of sleepless regret and worry. And if sleep does not come, father, I pray you would grant me the grace to find my strength in you. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you hear my cry. Thank you that you are powerful to save. I pray you would help me, yet again, as I look to you, my jehovah-jireh to provide in my need.

God’s grace in failure

Standard

The past few weeks have been crushing for me. God has strategically been destroying me… who I am… what I value, etc. I’ve hated every moment of it. The trial started with a description of my sin revealed to me in a disgusting way and has left me shocked in a sense. I know I shouldn’t be shocked by my sin, but I was. I thought we had moved past it… I thought I had grown. I was shown a few weeks ago that the only thing that had grown was my self-dependence and pride.

Then came another shock… mercy. God used a friend of mine to show me what the Father’s mercy is like… in spite of my failure, in spite of my direct sin against that person, they showed me undeserved and lavish. And since that day, there has been not an ounce of resentment or guilt pressed upon me by this friend… rather they have accepted me 100% and have time and time again gone out of their way to remind me of their care and affection. Not because I deserve it, but rather, because it is true. Forgiveness because they love me, not because they have to forgive.

God has used that powerfully in my life. To see such mercy in repayment for my sin simply blows my mind. I don’t know what to do with such kindness other than in joy resolve to live in a way so as to not hurt them again. And so it is with God… as He has revealed and shocked me with my sin and complete inability to change, I am being met with mercy… mercy that overwhelms… mercy that knows me completely and loves me unfailingly. Mercy that picks me up out of my self-made messes and rescues me.

That truth was never so clear as it is right now…

On my vacation, I received a speeding ticket. When I was pulled over, I knew I was speeding yet was begging God to “let me off the hook” or show me “mercy.” He had something else in mind. The officer came back to my car with a ticket for reckless driving… apparently anything over 80 is considered reckless in the state of Virginia and I was clocked going 82 in a 70.

I was crushed. I am barely “making it” as a result of all my stupid financial decisions in the past (and sadly, present). God’s been working on my heart for a while now that I need His help to overcome this sin area in my life. But how can I ask God to help when I’m so aware that I’m in a mess of my own making? How can I cry out to Him for mercy when if I were only wiser or more cautious, I wouldn’t be in this boat?

And yet my God has been saying to me “I am a God of mercy… come. Come broken and ashamed and humbled and I will heal your wounds. Come not in your typical “I can fix this” arrogance, but rather come needy. Come desperate and watch Me work. Come trusting. Come expecting to receive mercy and grace in your time of need, for that is what I promise to you. Come in faith that My promises are true and that My love will never let you go! Come with empty hands and watch me fill them.”

So, I have come. Come and asked God to do the impossible… to fix what I have messed up. To heal what I have broken. To restore what I have crushed.

Last week my hours were cut at work… again. Is this God’s way of answering prayer? By making things worse?? Really?!?!?!?!? Yet in my frustration and questioning, I still heard simply “Come. Trust. Look. Believe. Know.” So, I have been praying and asking God to provide… not because I deserve it, not because I have earned it and not at all as a result of my works, but simply as my friend did… out of love and because of His faithful compassion.

Because I often have bad dreams, I leave music playing throughout the night… I find it helps me refocus my thoughts if I wake up scared (which I often do). I woke up several times last night… not from bad dreams, simply because… Every time I woke up there was a song playing on the radio that spoke specifically of God’s relentless faithfulness to the unfaithful or His love to the undeserving.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was “it’s Monday… a new day and a new week… that means that God is promising new mercies and new help today too.” Now believe me when I say that this is NEVER my first thought in the morning. Its typically “is it morning already?” “why does my body hurt so bad?” or “geez, I overslept again!”

From there, God just began to overwhelm me with His kindness. The first way was through a conversation on facebook which served as a reminder of what He has saved me from, granted me freedom from and the hope He has given me through it all.

Not 10 minutes later, God again reminded me of His care. This time it was through a dear friend, who stopped by my apartment at 7am with a card. In the card was a check… blank. The card stated that God had impressed on them to pay for my ticket… to pay off the debt that I earned and owe. To pay it willingly, aware that it was my own fault which caused this debt.

I am overwhelmed. Speechless. There are no words to adequately describe this. It is humbling. But I am rejoicing. I am low. Yet elated. Gratefully forgiven. Yet humbly aware of my weakness. I’m beginning to understand what Paul meant when He described himself as sorrowful yet always rejoicing. What a dichotomy this life is.

How great and humbling it is to know this God, who is not limited or hindered by my sin. Who loves me with all my weakness and who simply says “Come. I love you just the way you are.”

what are you doing, God?

Standard

ever have those times where you ask “What are you doing, God?”  I know His ways are higher than mine.  I know that He loves me and give and takes for my good.  I know what He’s given me, He also has the right to take away when He should choose.  And I know looking back that every time God has taken something from me its always been for my good, even though immensely painful and gut-wrenching at times.  I know that though things can be taken, that nothing can separate me from His love.  How I need that love to hold me close today.  How I long for my war-torn heart to rest there. 

God seems to be shifting me from one furnace to another.  And I am as unhappy with this appointment as I was with the last.  How I long for it to end.  Trials are a funny thing like that… you beg and beg for them to end and as soon as they do you realize that you’ve learned so much more than ever possible had you not gone through that trial.  So as incomprehensible as it seems to your feelings, you find yourself thanking God for what you just walked through.  And simultaneously you pray that you’d never have to go through it again.  In many ways, that’s where I’m at.  I’m grateful for the trials that God has carried me through because I know to a greater degree the depths of His love, care and compassion towards me.  But as I face yet again another trial, I approach it with the same dread and horror as I faced the last.  Horror because as God is calling me to pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m seeing the death, pain, suffering and heartache that accompanies that cross.  And nothing in me wants to go there. 

Yet somehow my loving Shepherd has promised to be with me each step of the way.  He has promised to complete what He has begun.  He has already cared for me time after time and He is faithful.  Because of that, through His strength to hold me, with His help, I will rest in His control over this.  I am choosing to look past the pain, to look past the cross to my Strong Deliverer, who defeated the power of death and the cross.  He will preserve me by His mercy.  He is my Rock in the middle of the storms.  God has promised to complete what He’s begun, therefore I can have hope that He will keep me safe and true in Him…even here, even in this, even though nothing in me wants this.

Somehow I’m excited to see God provide.  As He keeps taking and in my mind its getting even more difficult for Him to provide, I look to my Jehovah-Rophe with hopeful anticipation to meet my needs and comfort my sorrows.  I haven’t really known what to say lately because it seems there are no words to describe the unutterable ache in my soul.  Nothing seems sufficient other than crying to my Maker… the One who knows me and will never leave me alone.  So, in my loneliness, I look to the One who will never leave, abandon or forsake.  In my pain, I look to the One who suffered in my place.    In my despair, I look to the only One who was ever forsaken by God with gratitude that He will not leave me here.  And in my moments (or days) when I just want to complain, I remember how good He has been to me.  The God who restored my broken soul and gave me life, the God who gives me a reason for joy in my mourning, the God who drew me through His kindness and irresistable love… that God will not quit.  So I look to Him.

one year ago today…

Standard

one year ago today i was scheduling an MRI because the doctors feared I had a brain tumor.  one year ago today was day 10 of the worst migraine pain, numbness and other physical problems that I ever thought my body could endure.  one year ago today, I was staying at a coworkers house dog and cat sitting and my allergies were going haywire. one year ago today i was working in a job that i hated.  one year ago today i was afraid that the previous 10 days would kill me. 

but now, 365 days later, i am rejoicing in God’s faithfulness.

sure, in the last year, i had more days with migraines than without.  and in the last year, I was diagnosed with countless severe food allergies.  this last year has been physically, emotionally, financially, mentally and spiritually very very difficult for me.  but God in His kindness, has graciously not allowed me to stay where I was one year ago today. 

i remember my fears about the MRI.  i remember thinking that i might have a brain tumor and that it might kill me.  i remember thinking that it would kill me.  i remember that roller coaster.  it was scary.  i cried a lot.  i questioned God a lot.  i was consumed by fear.

in many ways, i’m still on a roller coaster.  just a different one now.  its still scary.  i still cry a lot.  but looking back, I don’t think i question God as much.  i don’t think i’m quite as consumed by fear.  i think my love for God is deeper.  and i know my desire to live for Him is stronger (though I still fail and fall every day).   and in God’s mercy, I do not have migraines every day like I did one year ago. 

one year ago today, God knew I’d be here now.  I didn’t.  Had He told me, I would have asked for another path.  many days, i did ask for another path.  but by His strength, I survived the last year.  well, not merely survived, but i think He has brought me through and has made me stronger.  not stronger in myself or stronger in my abilities, but stronger in my trust in Him to be the sovereign Guide for all my steps. 

i have no clue where i’ll be one year from today.  i dont’ know whats in store for the next 365 days any more than i could have anticipated the prior ones.  but I do know that my God, my Father, my Shepherd, and my Comfortor will be my Guide every single step of the way.

click here to read my post from one year ago today

fear, finances and snow

Standard

so this past weekend, i attended a ladies seminar on the topic of “faith when fear comes knocking.”  it was great, i left with 6 pages of notes and a head full of thoughts to process. i left encouraged that my God is truly in control and that He knows my every need and that His faithfulness is enough to still the noise of doubts and questioning that often goes on in my head.

little did I know that less than 48 hours later, i would yet again be confronting one of my unwelcome fears head on.

as I was driving home yesterday afternoon from Charlotte, the heavy rain turned to a cold, wet, sticky snow.  All schools were canceled for Monday which means that the plant was also canceled.  Due to the downturn in the economy lately, we have had quite a few non-production and non-paid days called for the first quarter of the year.  By God’s grace, I’ve known about all of them in advance to budget appropriately and have not experienced any major setbacks.

then comes the snow…unexpected, wet and a great revealer of fear…pretty white stuff that seems so harmless.  immediately, my heart welled up and overflowed with fear.  fear of not having the money needed when the impending bills are due in the next 2 weeks.

then God assaulted that fear in my heart with a reminder of this past weekend… with a reminder of His faithfulness.  with a reminder that He has provided for my EVERY need in the past and that He is sovereignly ruling over even a snowstorm.  that He knows due to the snow I’ll only be working 28 hours this week instead of 40.  And that He knows that 28 hours just isn’t financially enough.

the struggle is there to think that somehow it all won’t work out, but God has been faithfully reminding me today that He is good, that He is my Jehovah-Jireh (the God who provides) and that He knows my needs.  I’m learning, in a new way, what it means to praise God for His faithfulness despite my circumstances… to thank Him that I’m employed and physically able to work at all… to thank Him for safety as I drove home yesterday in pouring rain and poor visibility and to thank Him that even when I don’t see the way, He always provides for me.