finding God’s will

Learning to live with a heart that is broken but a life is not.

Living with a Heart that is Broken, but a life that is not!

Beth Moore at Living Proof Ministries is hosting her women’s summer Bible study. I signed up at Women’s Bible Cafe to join over 600 women who will participate in this study via online and community small groups. We are studying the book of Nehemiah and using Kelly Minter’s book Nehemiah: A heart that can break. 

There is still time to join over 600 dear, like-minded, passionate “Siestas” in Christ. You can follow along personally, join a virtual small group (what I am doing), or hook up with a group in your area. Check out any of the above links for information.

Brokenness isn’t an activity your normal human being would sign up to experience. Everything about the word screams run, but when we are straining to “see the unseen”, and to live for the “Eternal” versus the temporal, brokenness should become our hearts desire and aim.

Over the next few weeks I will post thoughts and insights gleaned from this study. My heart has all ready been blessed as I have joined in prayer with women I have never met, yet feel great love and compassion for. What a powerful image six-hundred women, on their faces before the Lord, crying out for brokenness, evokes!

To ask the Lord to break my heart with the things that break His, is a daring prayer. It is not a self-seeking desire to suffer for the purpose of winning the praise and accolades of man, nor is it an attempt to obtain righteousness through works. The desire to have a heart, broken by God, is a desire to see and feel as He sees and feels. It is a prayer to have myself moved out-of-the-way so I can see and be moved by the pain, suffering, need, and hopelessness of man. A heart, broken by the Spirit of the Living God, is to posses a heart that mourns over the destruction that sin is wreaking in the hearts of fallen man.

 

Today, as we studied the prayer and heart of Nehemiah found in chapter 1:1-5, A verse kept coming to mind:

Psalm 17:15

15 As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.

I believe this desire should be the heart and sum of all we strive to do and be as children of God. A broken and contrite heart He will not turn away! Would you be daring enough to embrace the cry, “Lord break my heart?” Can you utter with me. in Your brokenness, let me become Your likeness, and in Your likeness there let me dwell satisfied?

The truth and reality of the fallen world we live in is  that everyone we will be broken.  The question we must ask ourselves is what will we allow to break us, sin or a Savior?

 

Matthew 21:44

And whosoever shall fall on this stone

shall be broken:

but on whomsoever it shall fall,

it will grind him to powder.

The world will crush and break us ruthlessly, our Heavenly Father breaks us with love, compassion and a divine, God glorifying purpose.

Only One can promise fulfillment with abandonment, and bring beauty from ashes. Only one Master can satisfy and fulfill the desires and yearning of the yielded and broken heart.

Lord God Almighty, posses and reign my heart and life. Make is soft so that it weeps when you weep, delights when you
delight, and breaks at what breaks yours. O Father, I shall be satisfied only when I awake with your likeness, when there is less of me for the world to see. Amen

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May you Rejoice!

I Chronicles 16:8-12
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,

There are no other memories I cherish more than the moment I first caught sight of my husband-to-be, nervously waiting for me at the altar.  That surreal moment in time represented the culmination of so many hopes, dreams, and prayers. My job of “Watering the camels” had come to an end, and if you could have looked inside my chest, you would have seen my heart leaping in sheer joy as I made my way down to David. Every ounce of my body, soul, and spirit exalted and rejoiced as I made my way to the God-given answer to years of waiting and hundreds of tearful but resolute prayers for a husband and companion. Had there been time that day, we could have spent hours recounting the most amazing story of God’s guidance, protection, mercy, and provision in our lives. Our story was a testimony of His glorious faithfulness, as He patiently worked and moved to intersect our lives and hearts to become one. On that day, we Rejoiced!!!!

Today my husband, I am giving thanks to the Lord for you. Our lives are beautifully marked with the fingerprints of the Holy, Righteous, Living God. Every page of our story contains the unmistakable bold, rich, strokes of His abundant mercy, love, and grace. My heart rejoices as I think back over the past 10 year and my spirit exalts as I look ahead with curiosity to the future that has been set aside for us since the beginning of time.

My prayer today is that He would bring to mind the innumerable moments in time when He demonstrated His love, compassion, and faithfulness to you. May your heart be overcome with a sense of awe and wonder as you recall precise Divine interactions with Him. May these moments wipe away any doubt or fear of His love, presence, power, or favor for you! My prayer is that the 33 years of His presence and work so clearly evidenced in your life would be a source of joy. May His deeds in the past be a cause for you to rejoice today regardless of the pressures and trials you face. He has loved you with an everlasting love, revel in His love, and the endless provision of power and grace evidenced in your life.

 Photo Credits: http://www.halbergphotographers.com/blog/2011/04/

Praying for my Husband A to Z: C is for Calling

Calling

2 Peter 1:10

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren,

give diligence to make your calling and election sure:

for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

 

My husband never ceases to amaze me. He assumes so many roles during a 24 hour day. He wakes up early every morning and is my breakfast buddy, Bible study partner, leader, husband, and friend. We chat over coffee, cramming in as much “us” time as we possibly can before footfalls on the wooden stairs announce the arrival of our kids. With the quiet morning interrupted David assumes the role of “daddy” to three energetic kids who clamor for his undivided attention. Once David backs out of the driveway and passes through the doors at work he adds boss, accountant, teacher, counselor, advocate, and mediator to his growing list of duties.

 

Not all his tasks are enjoyable, but in order to provide for us and help his guys provide for their families, he does what has to be done. His days are spent sustaining, leading, and sacrificing for others, but his day does not end when he clocks out return home. He has been chosen and set apart for the Lord’s work and and for the Lord’s glory and testimony. A fifty hour work week, demanding wife, sick child, or broken down car does not excuse him from his God-given calling, “Be Holy as I am Holy, Love the Lord with ALL your heart, study…rightly dividing the word of truth”….Somewhere between the necessities, duties, and responsibilities of life, my husband is called by the Lord to embrace and fulfill God’s purpose for his life, to live, love, and serve his Creator with every ounce of strength and passion within him.

 

Our husbands are amazing men, with complicated, stress filled, demanding lives.  Somehow a midst all the physical demands and battles they endure, they have to simultaneously wage war on second front, the spiritual one.  Today my prayer is that the Lord’s calling upon my husband’s life would embolden, impassion, and drive him throughout  every aspect of his day.

 

Father, your hand is upon the life and work of my husband. He is flesh, with limitations and weakness, yet at the same time he is a spiritual, redeemed, and living creation called out by you. As he engages in the spiritual and physical arenas of life, help to never loose sight of eternity, and the only thing that truly matter or will stand when he meets you face to face. Help him to discover, fulfill, and accomplish the one calling that matters most, his relationship, walk, and service to you. Give him eyes to see, ears to hear your voice, wisdom, and council. Let his heart be consumed with a desire and passion for you alone. Amen

A to Z: S is for Overcoming the Challenges of Single Life

S is for Single

Overcoming the challenges of Single life

When I was 28, I could recall a number of vividly painful moments when the world around me seemed to flaunt the relationships and opportunities I yearned for yet had not experienced. I would like to suggest a valuable piece of advice for those of you with single friends.There are certain times you should avoid telling a single woman she should enjoy her freedom and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities she has been given because she is single. Avoid these obvious nuggets of wisdom on valentine’s day, weddings of siblings or close friends, major holidays, or when 90% of her friends have just left for a special “couples only” retreat. If you are brave enough to do so, be sure to protect your face while bracing for the dreaded “Hairy eyeball” because it is coming!


Myth: I am Lonely because something is missing from my life.


For years, I dutifully attempted to exploit the benefits of “single awareness day.” Honestly, I did enjoy my freedom but many days loneliness and uncertainty pushed my faith to the edge. An entry from my journal describes the emotional battle I engaged in so frequently as a single woman.


8/27/00
“Life is so very interesting & complicated. Each day becomes a painful mirror into the imperfections and weakness of body and spirit…. sometimes I struggle so violently to cross over from knowledge to experience.” 


Crossing over

If you are single, how do you cross over? How do you transform your desires and emotions  so that they line up with what you profess to believe? As I walked through life, seeking God’s peace and direction, I discovered a truth that empowered me to cross from knowledge to experience. The key was found in my understanding of God’s name and nature.


The more time I spent in His word and in His presence, the more clearly I began to understanding that my single status did not interfere with His love for me or His desires for my life. Being single didn’t mean I was waiting for God’s best. God’s ultimate plan for my fulfillment and happiness wasn’t a gift that would be handed to me on my wedding day. Every new day of life I was given, whether single or married, would be filled with all the goodness and love God could give me. His offering of grace, mercy, peace, and love was the same to every one of His children. Our Heavenly Father does not withhold love.My marital status didn’t need to change in order to obtain purpose, peace, and happiness but my perspective did.


The Truth of the Matter

If it is impossible for God to lie, then I can cling to any promise of truth I find about himself in scripture. This brings me to how I overcame the feeling that I was missing something I needed in order to be content and happy because I was single.


Psalm 84:11-12was the key.


The Lord God is a sun and a shield

The Lord will give grace and glory

No Good thing will he withhold to them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of Host, Blessed is the man that trusteth thee.

Are you ready to have your faith supercharged? These verses will do just that, because they present an intimate glimpse into an amazing attribute of your Father’s nature. These revelations provide a foundation you can anchor your desires and dreams upon.  Verse 11b is an integral key to the kind of faith able to sustain and empower you as you accept the Lord plan for your life.


Verse 11 states that each morning the Lord is present and ready with “every good thing” you needed in order to get through the day. Christ faithfully prepares and will pour out upon you, to overflowing, all the strength, encouragement, wisdom, and blessings you need. Anything truly necessary to navigate through the trials & temptations, joys & sorrow, excess & need today is at your disposal. Your loving Father is there with it all, so that tonight you can testify to the world and for the Glory of God,


My Father has withheld nothing!”


As a single woman, some of the emptiness I struggled with was the result of an attempt to peer into the future to see if God’s will lined up with my desires. By doing so, during momentary periods of discontent, I trampled over hills and valleys paved with His Grace, Glory, and Blessings.


As I struggle to be content with my life (yes it is still a struggle today), the Lord still uses these verses to rebuke me with the truth, my emptiness is the result of a self-imposed, narrow sighted, earth-bound vision and a failure to look at life with spiritual eyes.


My prayer has become, “Today Lord,  give me eyes to see, that I might not miss even the smallest blessing that you, in love and Mercy, have prepared for me.” These verses spoke to me as a single woman and they still minister to me today. This promise sustains me as a mother of three when my days consists of mounds of laundry, disappointments, and mundane trials of life.


We should never hesitate to enter into the presence of  the God who formed and knew us intimately before we uttered our first cry. As we place our will at his feet in humble submission, may we never lose sight of the fact he has all ready given His best, His most precious and beloved Son. He will withhold nothing of lesser value.


When you have unburdened your heart and submitted your will to His, do not forget to gather up your basket with faith unmovable, and eyes set to the heavens. Purpose to recognize, accept, and receive  “every good and perfect gift” prepared for your life by the Creator of the Universe. You may be missing a ring, an invitation to a couples party, evenings with company, but you are not missing the key to happiness, peace, and fulfillment.


How full will your basket be tonight when you lay your head upon your pillow? Did you see, accept, and use all he prepared for you today?


What are some other myths about single life you struggled with? What advice can you offer to women enduring the challenges of single life?


What truth about God encourages you heart, chasing the shadows of unbelief away?

A To Z: Q is for Quietness

Quietness

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;

and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Isaiah 32:17 (KJV)

There is a time to fight, but there is also a time to be quiet and still. The ability to discern when to do which is critical when it comes to overcoming.

 

As a kid I was terrified of quicksand. No, I had never seen it, felt it, or come remotely close to the stuff, but the thought of something sucking me down into the darkest depths of  earth, slowly sucking life from my lungs, scared the snot out of me. I mentally went through the actions, or should I say inaction I would take so that in the event I ever did find myself doing the backstroke in a pool of it, I would be able to escape. At that young age, I understood that in order to survive, to had to “do nothing.”

 

Quicksand moments of life

Sometime life hands us fight/flight situations, times when there is no getting around confrontations, battles, disputes, or disagreements. Then there are the days when we are thrust into  “quick sand” moments of life. These are instances  when words, actions, and confrontation only make matters worse. No matter how cool, calm, and collects we are, anything we do or say sucks us deeper into the suffocating quagmire. I have found this to be true on both a physical and spiritual level.

 

I have a broken and sick grandparent. No matter what I  say, do, or don’t do, I can’t win. I can’t rationalize with her or make her see the truth. I can’t refute her illogical reasoning and distorted view of life and our family. Like my husband puts it, by doing so I “only get myself a blot.” It is maddening, but for the sake of not being engulfed into a bottomless pit of bitterness, anger, and strife, all I can do is nothing. I just walk away.

 

I love my sister, and have no idea what I would do without her. She has given me a few “quick sand moments” of a different sort. They start something like this, my phone rings and Amy is on the other side. “Jody, I have something I need to talk to you about. Your not going to like what I have to say, but please just hear me out. If you want to hang up when I am through I understand.” This might astound and even offend you, but you have to understand and personally know my amazing sister. She has never been wrong and true to her word, I did not like what she had to say. It was a “quick sand moment”,  I had to relax my heart, mind, and emotions and allow the love and truth of her words sink in, and guess what I survived, but better than that, I was a better wife, mom, woman because of it.

 

On a spiritual level,  I had some similar conversations with the Lord. As Beth Moore explains in her book “Get out of that Pit,” Sometimes were pushed into pits, sometimes we innocently fall into them. Then there are the times we just jump in headfirst.

 

There have been moments when I had to claw my way out of trials. Times when my fingers were raw, my skin bruised and bleeding, and I needed to, had to fight. BUT There have also been times when my battle wasn’t a pit I needed to claw out of but a pool of quicksand I had to relax in and yield to.

 
Sometimes the Redeemer doesn’t require we fight, He just asks us to yield, to relax, to rest. To believe He is who He says He is, and who He has all ready proven Himself to be. It is during these “quicksand moments of life” that He who is True and Faithful whispers

“…Your strength is to sit still.”

Isaiah 30:7

Quietness, it is an absence of striving, clamoring, protest, questions, doubts. Quietness is the ability to embrace an absence of words and explanations because I understand the absence of His voice by no means indicates an absence of His presence. Quietness is an opportunity to  receive things I might otherwise not see, hear, feel, or discover.

Do you know how to be quiet? Do you know how to let quietness envelop your heart, mind, body, soul and spirit? You can overcome through quietness. You just have to know when it is time to fight and when it is okay to relax, be quiet, and let another work and move on your behalf. Yes, there are moments when your strength to overcome is through sitting still.

Lottery Tickets and Life Lessons

How A lottery Ticket changed My Life! …………

Actually, it was the absence of a lottery ticket that changed my life…………….

I was standing in line at a local store, with my head in the clouds when the cashier abruptly asked “So are you buying a ticket?” It took a few seconds for his question to register, but the moment it did, a host of memories flooded my brain. The clerk was referring to the $600,000,000+ mega millions jackpot to be drawn Friday, but I was thinking back to one of the most vivid memory I have of my childhood.

I was out alone with my dad, and without explanation he looked down at me and exclaimed, “Jody, I want you to promise me that you will never buy a lottery ticket.” Lottery tickets ment nothing to me, so without hesitation, I made a promise that I believe altered the course of my life. Years later, I asked my dad what compelled him to ask me to make that promise and to this day, not only can he not tell me why, but he also can’t remember the incident.

When I made that promise, I barely understood what a lottery ticket was, and I most assuredly never felt the urge to buy one. With all my heart, I believe that day my heavenly Father stirred the heart of my earthly father to make that request, in order to protect me from a weakness neither of us knew I would have years down the road. Every time I pass an instant lottery machine, I think of that day. Every time I see a lottery grow and a frenzy erupt, I remember the promise I made to my dad and I praise the Lord for the gift of a parents spiritually prompted intuition. Now, thirty-seven years later, I have kept my promise and passed the story along to my kids. I have not asked them to make the same promise to me, I have never felt the Spirit leading me to do so but we have had many discussions about the foolishness of gambling and how destructive it can be. When we exit our local Drug Mart, often I will hear one of my kids exclaim to the others, “never put your money in that machine, it’s just like throwing it in the trash.” I feel no embarrassment, and I have never told them to be quiet because I know the lesson of the lottery machine trash can will be engraved into their heads, and that they will remember mommy’s story when they are tempted to part with their own hard-earned cash.

As parents, we can’t guarantee sin free, addiction free kids, by insisting they make a string of promises and vows to us, guaranteeing upright moral living, but we can vigilantly seek wisdom and direction from the Lord for each precious life he has given us. Parenting isn’t a mechanized process. My father never asked my sister or brother to make the same vow he did of me. My father never asked me to make promises to flee other sins I did struggle with as a teen and young adult. I do not know what compelled him to ask what he did, but my prayer is that the Lord would give me the same wisdom and insight for my kids. My time of teaching and instructing, protecting and building is quickly passing. Their eternity is in His hands, but He has seen fit to make me an instrument to be used to shape and mold them in preparation for the future that He has ordained for them from the beginning of time.

I pray the Lord continues to patiently mold and transform me into His likeness so that my kids see Him in me. As Gary Thomas so eloquently and wisely wrote, the purpose of my life, marriage, and family is to make me holy, not happy. My husband and I are responsible, not simply to make our kids happy, succesful, and without need, but to help maintain a sensitive heart that is willing to submit to the transforming power and authority of the Holy Spirit so He can make them holy, through God’s grace and mercy.

Will you join me and cry out to the Lord of Wisdom for wisdom? Will you choose daily to die to yourself in order to serve, teach, and train your children. May our hearts and minds be ever filled with the whispering of the Spirit. May the silence of His voice be deafening, quickly bringing our hearts and focus back to Him and the purpose and callings he has given to us through our children.

Let nothing be lost!

 

John 6:8 “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

 

This verse intrigues me. The setting presents Jesus surrounded by a throng of people, most are not true believers, but those seeking entertainment in the form of miracles, and perhaps some even looking for a handout of their own. This crowd came needy and left needy. An opportunity of a lifetime stood in front of them yet their physical needs and selfish desires blinded them to this moment. They wanted miracles and they received one, but their response clearly showed their shallow thinking and spiritual blindness.

 

The Son of God stood in their midst, but instead of asking for eternity, they vainly grappled to secure a king to rid them of the tyranny of Rome, a momentary and temporal predicament. It would be akin to a billionaire offering a blank check only to have the recipient spend it on a pack of gum. So very needy yet so very blind to their true needs and the power and ability of the one who stood before them.

 

So Jesus performs a miracle, a shadow of what He had come to do, he fed their bodies. With bread and fish he met their basic physical need, but He yearned to give them water so that they would never thirst again. They wanted freedom from occupiers who threateded to take their physical bodies and earthly lives, while he offered salvation from that which would take their eternal souls and spirit.

 

Jesus knew their hearts and he knew within moments of feeding the crowd sadly he would be forced to flee from their midst. He had come, not to reign on a mortal throne of man, in a mortal and fading kingdom, but to reign over all the universe in heaven above and in the earth below for all of eternity. Before they made their attempt to crown an earthly king, he made a decree in their midst, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

 

Why did he command his disciples to do this? Twelve basket were collected, one for each disciple perhaps? Or was there a deeper meaning?

 

Jesus Christ had performed a great miracle and its meaning and purpose had fallen on deaf ears, blind eyes, and dead hearts. “That nothing may be lost.” Did he want to keep the leftovers of his blessing and purpose ladden miracle from being discarded like worthless trash and trampled under their unworthy feet when they departed after realizing they were to receive nothing more from His hand?

 

We may never know what if any meaning laid hidden in these words, yet a lesson can be taken from it. How often do we come to Christ with a need but also a predetermined solution in mind, our spiritual hearts have been darkened by selfish needs and proud hearts? How often do we come to him with a request, yet blind to the true needs our trial has exposed. He stands able and ready to provide an answer propelling us into the midst of His eternal and glorious purpose yet all we seek are bread crumbs.

 

All trials, needs, blessings, and opportunities are for a purpose far greater and more glorious than ourselves. Our neediness is the doorway to God’s glory and power revealed. The means with which He reveals our true nature, condition, and need is also the means with which He accomplishes the purpose of our existence, the revelation and proclimation of His power and His glory.

 

He pursued you when you were dying, desperate and needy. In your sin, brokenness and need, His Glorious love, grace, righteousness, and power broke forth. In Him you found a Savior, an Advocate, a Brother, a new life. Would you now come to him asking for bread? Empty your hands of all expectation. Cry out to Him for spiritual eyes to be opened, that you might see past the flesh and gaze instead into the glories of eternity. You can trust the Lord of the Universe with the when, where, how, and whys. He can provide bread, but do not settle for just crumbs when He has promised to hold back nothing of lesser value than His Son!

 

Your life is no mistake, neither are your present need, trials, and desires. Do not settle for bread crumbs. Do not settle for good. God’s best has been promised. Labor for it, strain for is, press forward, let nothing distract you, or turn you aside. If you can not see it, if your resolution falters, cry out to Him for strength, faith, and power to press on. There is a purpose, there is an end, there is an answer, there is a wealthy plaCe!

 

Psalm 66:12 Thou hast caused me to ride over our heads, we went through fire and throu water but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.