An Unclenched Moment {A Prayer for Fear & Worry}

Gentle me, Holy One,

into an unclenched moment,

a deep breath,

a letting go

of heavy expectancies, of shriveling anxieties,

of dead certainties,

that softened by the silence,

surrounded by the light, and open to the mystery,

I may be found by wholeness,

upheld by the unfathomable, entranced by the simple,

and filled with the joy that is You.

~Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace

Why must uncertainty feel like fear? Why does it stalk us with unanswered questions and smirk upon our unknowing? Why do our hearts sink so quickly into sands of worry?

Yes, gentle us, Lord. Unclench our moment. Increase our trust.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~The Holy One (Joshua 1:9)

When God Disappoints

Have you ever done the hard work of obedience only to find that circumstances in your life  went from bad to worse? Today I’m talking about that over at Pick Your Portion.

What are you supposed to do when you follow through on your part of the deal, but God doesn’t show up to seal it? God’s command + Man’s obedience = Where’s the blessing? How’s one supposed to react when God can be so wildly disappointing?

Do you still taste the salt from tears you cried wondering why God didn’t show up in power at a moment ripe for his victory? Do you still feel the flush of embarrassment from the time you walked away shamed and shunned by false accusation while the wrongdoers got off scot-free? Does your heart still have cracks from the tremor of the wicked prospering, while the hard working, integrity-filled were laid-off, over-looked, and defeated?

You can read the rest over at the Pick Your Portion site. Join us there!

What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

It’s been quite a week/month/year.  Yes, the last year has been filled with many unexpected and challenging twists and turns.  Crisis seems to come in clusters…at least in my life that has been true.  They say crisis brings out the true you and maybe that’s what’s so scary about it.  In a crisis you realize how weak, incapable, and inferior you are to control your own life.

While I pride myself {dangerous phrase, I know} in always having a Plan B ready at hand, this last year has left me perplexed.  Many a moment has been filled with a shrug of the shoulder and the now all too familiar what-do-we-do-now look.   I believe I’ve uttered “I don’t know” more times in the last two weeks than I probably have in my whole life. 

I don’t like not having a plan.  I’ve never had a surprise party because my hubs knows I would equate this with novicaine-free dental work.  When we started dating twenty-one years ago my common phrase was “What’s the plan for the week?”  Not much has changed in the last two decades when it comes to my delight in having an orderly, predictable and productive life.

So here I am with everything out-of-order…no idea of the outcome on many things…and feeling as if my productivity would receive the same grade as the Seahawk’s first round draft pick.  {Really, that’s the best we can do, Seahawks?  Carpenter, who?}  (Their grade was an F if you’re wondering.)

What do we do when life gets spilled out like a purse violently thrown from its backseat resting spot?  I sat down last week to write out my plan for moving forward.  I titled it, “What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do.”

…and I sat for a very long time writing absolutely nothing.  “Lord, I need your help.  I can’t figure this out.  It’s too hard.”  In the quiet recesses of my heart I heard the familiar voice, “Not if you do what I have already taught you.”

Then I remembered, and here is what I wrote:

“What To Do When You Don’t Know What to Do”

1. Remember your calling–you follow Christ; you don’t have to lead…just follow (I Peter 2:21)

2. Entrust yourself to God’s care (Ephesians 2:4-5, I Peter 2:24; 5:6-7)

3. Love God more than anything (Deuteronomy 6:5; Romans 12:1-2)

4. Love others (John 13:35)

5. Serve others (Galatians 5:13)

6. Consider others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3)

7. Be gentle, forgiving others (Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12)

8. Give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:18)

9. Pray without ceasing (Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6-7; I Thessalonians 5:17)

10. Rejoice (II Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 4:4)

Yes, I do know these things.  I have been taught these lessons over and over.  Now it’s test time. 

But, I have a plan.  Things are so much better with a plan. 

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments” Deuteronomy 7:9. 

Getting Through Stuff: Storms, Scares, & The Stuff that Makes Us Trust

“We get through stuff” were the last words spoken in the darkened bedroom just before the first ray of light broke. 

We do.  We people get through a lot of stuff–we get through broken relationships, broken hearts, broken bank accounts, and broken bodies.  Instead of perishing, we find a way to white knuckle our way through some pretty treacherous storms.

“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.  And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’  He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.  The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him?'”  Matthew 8:24-27

There are many of us who are probably in a boat of sorts that is being covered by the waves.  This week I have been hit with waves of grief, disappointment, and betrayal.  And I confess, it seems like Jesus is asleep in my boat.

I have sounded the alarm.  He appears to still be sleeping.

I have nudged Him with fervent prayers.  Yet on the storm rages.

I have felt like the disciples, like I am perishing.

Yet, Jesus when awakened by the disciples does not recognize the same peril of which they are distressed.  He first addresses their fear, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”

We all want Jesus to rebuke the storms in our life–to seperate the elements, quiet the uproar, and set us safely into “perfectly calm.”

Far fewer of us, most notably me, are willing to let the Lord rebuke my fear and my lack of faith. 

Is it possible that the storms rage on in our life because it is more important to God that we trust Him in spite of the storm and not simply because of the storm?  Jesus knew full well that the disciples would not perish from the storm.  The much bigger threat was their lack of faith.  The storm scared them.  They scare me too.  They’re probably scaring you.  Let the Lord rebuke your fear.  Allow the storm to show you what you do not yet know about trust. 

Today, I am declaring “Christ is in my boat.  Bring on the waves!  Amaze me, Lord!”