Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Giving Up Control

I've been writing a lot about trust this year, and for good reason.

But there's another lesson I'm being taught that I haven't jumped to write about. 

And there's a good reason for that too...it's not as "pretty". 

It's just as raw and real as learning to trust, and it's even related - in an ugly step-sister kinda way.

That lesson is humility.

A lesson I didn't realize I needed to learn.  A problem I didn't realize I had. 

When you think about it, it makes sense. 

Not trusting comes from wanting control. 

And being in control means the power is in YOUR hands.

Power is a heady feeling that doesn't play well with humility.

You see, the definition of humility is:  the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
When you think you're in control, you have an inflated opinion of your own importance, whether you realize it or not.

For me, the first inkling of a problem with humility came when I was faced with the very real possibility of being homeless.

Those who follow this blog know that I am in the process of selling my home with no profits to use to go elsewhere.

I have been forced to look at assistance programs and affordable housing which has wait lists many months long while I'm measuring time in weeks and days.

When I explain that to those assistance organizations, I am handed phone numbers for crisis situations, and those situations involve shelters.

Those who also follow this blog know that I am very involved in outreach, especially to those living in shelter situations.

But live in one?

The thought - and I am not proud of it...in fact, I am ashamed of it - crept in.

"But I'm not like those people."

Even though I don't live in an expensive home in the good part of town...even though I live hand to mouth...I had lifted myself above others.  I had a pride problem.

It was a disturbing and eye-opening truth to discover about myself, especially given my ministry.

Someone commented on my last post that she was sorry I had to go through this testing to learn what I am learning...and my response was one that has been rolling around in my brain since I wrote it.

I think the deeper our relationship with God, the harder the tests.

They have to get harder, because as we mature in our faith, God begins to dig deeper to get at those things that aren't as obvious.  Those things that hide in the corner of our hearts where we may not even realize they've taken root.

I thought about writing this sooner.  I thought about not writing this at all.  I thought about what others would think about me if I confessed my thoughts.

But when a sister sent me a snapshot of a devotional this morning, I knew it needed to be said.

It started out with "Sometimes My Sovereign hand - My control over your life - places you in humbling circumstances..."and the accompanying scripture was from 1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time."

I don't know what my immediate future holds. 

If staying in a shelter is part of it, I pray I can humble myself to be thankful for a roof over my head. 

Make no mistake.  It is not what I desire and I pray that God will spare me that difficulty.  But I am told to "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." 

I am thankful that He has exposed this part of my heart and brought it out into the light where He can now deal with it. 

In Psalm 139 23 & 24, David prayed "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

That's a brave prayer to pray.  You have to be willing to give up control.  To be humble.  To take the test regardless of the outcome. 

Are you ready to give up control?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

There Goes That Trust Word Again...

Two weeks ago I began to write this, but was too weak to finish...

I'm on the couch wrapped in a blanket and propped up with pillows.  Face pale, hair askew, sporting the same sweats I've worn the past three days.

I'm sicker than I've ever been before and the timing couldn't be worse.  

In one week my church will hold it's Spring outreach - an event I oversee.

In three weeks I need to be packed and my home "broom clean" for closing.

A double-whammy of bronchitis and pneumonia has rendered me weak and exhausted.

The simplest task sucks the life out of me.  

I'm not used to inactivity.   To handing over the reins.  To being weak.

I've talked a lot about trusting God. But I confess, right now, staring at everything that needs to be done, knowing that the clock is incessantly ticking toward a deadline, I really want to ask Him if He's checked His calendar lately...if He's aware of exactly what's going on down here.

Two weeks ago, I labored under the illusion that if I only had the strength, I would be in control of things.

Fast forward two weeks...

A recheck by the doctor and another chest x-ray confirm it.

I am on the mend. 

God took care of the Spring outreach.  He empowered my team, the site leaders, and over 100 volunteers, equipping them with what they needed to carry out the day. 

I was present, but there was no need for me to be hands on. 

The buyer contacted my real estate agent to say he'd be out of town the week we were to close - so would I mind pushing back the date a week? 

I have "regained" my lost time.

All the things I thought I had to do, God did or is in the process of doing.

There is one thing I have been doing however.  Seeing one central theme...one singular message, as I read my Bible and a variety of devotionals.


Oh that word!  Look at just some of the verses and reminders that have come my way in the past few days...

Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

From The One Year Walk with God Devotional: "We are called to believe God with reckless abandon — not just believe that He is there and that He is involved with us somehow; but that He is actively, personally seeking our good and answering our prayers. We are to give up our own strategies and ambitions, to relinquish all "Plan Bs," to recklessly, irrevocably cast ourselves completely into His arms."

Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you."

From "Trust...a godly woman's adornment": Sometimes we stop believing that God will keep his promises; other times we attempt to reinterpret his promises to suit our plans and our schedule. If we stop trusting that God is able to act or to make clear how we are to act, then we are certain to seek our own solutions by laying hold of what lies right at hand. The bottom line is that we hate to wait. We crave a life we can control, and if we give into this craving, we are going to be tempted to wrest our circumstances away from God when he doesn't act as we think he should."

John 14:1 "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.

From "Jesus Calling":  I am a mighty God.  Nothing is too difficult for Me.  I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes.  Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power.  Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day's demands against your strength.  What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources.  When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic.  Remember that I am with you.  Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.  I am not a careless God.  When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you to fully handle them.  Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Today, my prayer is that...

I will learn to trust BEFORE the worry. 

I will learn to trust THROUGHOUT the storm.

I will learn to trust that He sees the END when I can't even get my bearings in the now.

I will learn to trust in His strength.  His goodness.  His power.

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"

Are you trusting Him today?  Will you join me in my prayer?