Tag Archives: trust

Make Time for Yourself by Trusting in God

21 Jun

IMG_20160621_105344An idea that seems rather ubiquitous right now in the online and book world for women, moms in particular, is “Prioritize yourself.” What they mean by that is to intentionally carve out time for yourself to pursue your own interests, to do things because you want to and not because you have to, and to get sufficient rest instead of running yourself ragged.

That this common theme is being touted by many sources in a variety of contexts shows that this is a message moms need to hear. If my experience proves anything, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you always need to “be on”—that if you don’t do something, it won’t get done; and if it doesn’t get done, all hell will break loose.

Just the other weekend, Travis and I took the girls to a nearby waterpark. Usually I’m the one who packs the suits, towels, change of clothes, sunscreen, etc. But that day, Travis remarked that he was packing a bag with our clothes. So despite the weird feeling of not being in control, I let go and let Travis pack. When we arrived at the waterpark, however, I discovered that he had meant he was packing our changes of clothes, and we had brought nothing for the girls—no clothes, no regular or swim diapers, and no swimsuit bottom for Annabelle (we had put sunscreen on before leaving the house). My initial reaction was anger and “See! If I don’t do things, they don’t get done!” After 5 minutes and with diapers loaned from our friends, I settled down and could admit that it really was just a breakdown in communication—Travis had thought I was packing the stuff for the girls.

It’s incidences like that that make us moms feel justified in our “Woe is me, I never get a break” attitude. I often feel bitter at Travis for his asking to do stuff on his own or for himself (like running errands alone, going fishing alone, etc.) but the truth is, I could ask to do things for myself too, but I don’t. Why is that? It’s because of this idea that I need to continually manage things, or they won’t get done.

The bigger and more truthful truth is that they most likely will get done… they just won’t get done the way I do them, or when I would do them. There are those times they really don’t get done, but you know what? The world keeps spinning. All hell doesn’t break loose. And I hate to admit it, but there are even times when I realize that… certain things aren’t even necessary. (Shocker, right?)

That means it’s ok for me to use a naptime for writing, even if it means the dirty dishes and Mount Laundry remain untouched. It’s ok for me to leave the girls with daddy on a Saturday to go on a run instead of run to the store, even if it means we scrounge through the fridge for a hodge podge dinner that night. It’s ok for me to head to Bible study even if Annabelle isn’t down for the night, and it means Travis will have to handle putting both girls to bed on his own (like I have done many times).

The more I’ve analyzed my reluctance to take a break from being the mom and adult, the more I realize that that reluctance comes from pride. It comes from me thinking that I’m indispensable. That no one can do what I do, or more accurately, no one can do what I do exactly the way I do it. And My Way is the Right Way.

Last week, Travis and I had a dinner date to talk through some challenges and communication issues in our marriage, and we realized that all this time, we’ve been thinking that to be on the same team as parents, we needed to handle situations exactly the same way. What a ludicrous thought! We don’t need to be the same parent to be on the same team—we just need to agree on overarching principles and have one another’s back on in-the-moment decisions.

This is why it’s good to remind moms—especially Type A, OCD, control freaks like me—that it’s ok to take a break, and that the world won’t fall apart in their absence.

BUT…

We are humans, which means we are sinners. And there is an aspect to this idea of “Prioritize yourself” that could prove to be unhelpful. Satan knows that we are, by nature, selfish. In his sermon “Splitness” using Romans 7:1-9 and 18-25, and the classic book “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, Pastor Tim Keller agrees with Stevenson that all the evil in the world is caused by self-centeredness: “Every thought centering on the self.”

What I’m trying to say is: our sinful, selfish selves could take this bait of prioritizing ourselves and use it to our detriment. We can fall into the mindset that we “deserve” to have time to ourselves, that we “need” to pursue hobbies for our own mental sanity, and that we’re “losing our true identities” in the throes of motherhood. Some of the most dangerous, discontentment-breeding words for a mother are “All I want is…” “All I want is some peace and quiet.” “All I want is to drink my cup of coffee before it gets cold.” “All I want is to read a single paragraph without being interrupted.” “All I want is for the kids to go the eff to sleep already!” Let’s be honest, we really don’t need anything tempting us to be more selfish. Because we do a fine job on our own, thankyouverymuch.

But, you might say, moms are being reminded to rest and pursue their own hobbies because they are pouring out every single drop of energy and focus on their families! That’s not selfish.

Or is it?

As I’ve already pointed out, my own reluctance to taking a break comes from pride, from a self-concerned need to control everything. In those instances, I’m refusing to do what I really need to do for my own mental health and energy levels because I’m more concerned about the laundry getting done, or Travis not feeling abandoned, or the girls not being a handful. I have a puffed-up estimation of my own importance.

Those are the two extremes. On one hand, there is the extreme of playing the martyr and running on fumes to serve your family. On the other hand, there is the extreme of thinking that we are entitled to our own time and need it at all costs.

But there is a third way. It is a delicate balance between the two, and only possible by depending on God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit.

We humbly come before God and relinquish our indispensable mother role. We admit that He’s got our family in His hands, and we can rest and sleep because He never does. We can see the reality that we have been doing too much, and trying too hard, because we were depending on ourselves to get it all done. We receive the gift of rest, and of pursuing hobbies, and of doing things that simply delight us, and we appreciate the people who enable it to happen.

But we also hold those gifts with open hands, so that on the days that naptimes don’t overlap, or daddy feels sick when he’s supposed to watch the kids, or kids don’t sleep well so our morning routines aren’t possible, we have grace. We don’t mumble or grow frustrated that we were robbed of the time that we needed for ourselves. We believe that God will provide for us exactly what we need. Some days His grace comes in the form of time to rest or pursue hobbies. Some days it comes in the form of sustained energy and patience in the face of kids throwing tantrums and babies who won’t sleep.

Yes, it is good for moms to rest. Yes, it is good for moms to pursue their hobbies, or simply get time away. But let us pursue these things in faith, trusting in the God who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) and who “[supplies] every need of [ours] according to his riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)

“‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” (Matthew 6:34)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11)

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

Worth Repeating {11/10/14}

10 Nov

worth_repeating

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. I struggle with loneliness (because you’re alone, and yet not) a lot, even though I’ve been getting back into the swing of normal life. My kneejerk reaction to emotions that I don’t like is numbness – going through life on autopilot. But depending on God during the hard times meaning acknowledging the hardness, and trusting Him to be sufficient in the midst of it all.

That’s why I like this quote that I found on Pinterest. Such a great reminder that the hard times have their purpose.

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The Truth About Sacrifice

13 May

I’ve been thinking about these 2 verses lately:

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

“And a scribe came up and said to him, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:19-20)

Something I’ve learned over the past 5 or so years is that following Jesus often looks very mundane. Yes, some people are called to sell their house, car and possessions, and become missionaries in Africa. Travis and I haven’t been called to that (yet). Instead, we were called to… move in with Travis’ parents?

I have been tempted to question whether or not moving to Minnesota was God’s leading. I read a book about the Holy Spirit called Better Off Without Jesus by Chuck Bomar around the time we were moving, and he cautioned against the idea that if all circumstances fall into place, it must be God’s will. He pointed out that in the Bible, circumstances worked out for Jonah to disobey God but it was obviously not God’s will (desire) that he disobey.

But after prayer and consideration, I feel confident that our move to Minnesota was God’s leading, for a number of factors:

  1. In the back of our minds, we had always planned on moving back, unless God led us differently. For the full 6 ½ years we were in Denver, He didn’t lead us differently, and our desire to move back didn’t go away. We prayed for several years that if it wasn’t God’s will for us to move to Minnesota someday, He would make it clear.
  2. With his current job, Travis works from home – meaning he can work from anywhere – presenting the possibility to live in northern Minnesota instead of a Cities suburb.
  3. Travis’ boss told us that he’d be okay with us moving to Minnesota before we ever brought it up.
  4. Travis got a bonus at the end of the year, which paid for the expenses of moving and getting our house ready to sell.
  5. For various reasons, we were ready to transition out of our church in Denver, and things were changing at my job to the point where I might’ve still wanted to quit, so things would’ve changed even if we had stayed.

Even though God has been obviously leading us this direction, it has not been easy to continue trusting Him! The house hunt is going very differently from what we had expected or wanted, and I have had a hard time dealing with a life that is ‘on hold’ in every sense except motherhood. (Emma is definitely not on hold! She’s growing up fast.) My new rural existence is also a challenge, though it should get slightly better after Memorial Day, when more tourist-y things are open for the summer.

Sometimes I think that the sacrifice of leaving behind house and friends would be easier if it were for something radical, like living abroad. Then it would be expected to be hard, and it would be for something that’s obviously kingdom-focused. But since the sacrifice is “just to move back to Minnesota” and we’re currently living with Travis’ parents, it seems mundane. Annoying. It doesn’t seem spiritual. It’s not kingdom building. It’s just me, living in the middle of nowhere, with nothing in particular going on.

At least, that’s what Satan wants me to think.

He’s always getting me to focus solely on what I think things should look like. For many years, I felt guilty about “not doing more”, but I just couldn’t fit any formal volunteering into my schedule. Finally, I realized that serving others doesn’t have to be a formal thing. It doesn’t have to happen every Monday from 6-8 pm. It could be random thoughtful gestures, things done whenever a need is noticed. Some weeks, there would be more things to do, and some weeks less. Once I got off the idea of a formal volunteer time, I felt freed to serve as I felt moved by the Spirit.

So Satan wants me to think that moving back to Minnesota is less spiritual and sacrificial than being a missionary. Because the Christians who do radical things, they’re raising support to go live in a hut, learn Lingala and teach hygiene to sick orphans. They’re the ones really living out their faith. Me? I’m just being a coward and moving closer to my family, instead of farther away, and being a typical materialistic American looking for a house that has a master bath and gas fireplace.

Of course that’s not true! (Though I did think that way several years ago.) God has different plans for different people, and for some reason, His plan for us right now is in Minnesota. Our destination may not be Brainerd/Baxter in particular, but until He leads us differently or truly shuts all doors enough times that we get the hint, we will keep patiently looking for a house in that area. We hold our future with open hands, wanting whatever God has for us, and act with the faith that God will reveal His plans in His perfect timing.

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” (Psalm 138:8)

“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:23-24)

“Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

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I’ll be back soon with Emma’s 13-month update!

From Urban to Rural

15 Apr

20140413_170254Being in northern Minnesota is like being in a different world. You wouldn’t think that things were so different in the same state that I grew up in, but they are.

It feels weird to say but I think I’m struggling with culture shock. I grew up in a town of 80,000 people, but after living in major metropolitan areas for the past 12 years, even that feels small to me. Now I’m out in the middle of nowhere: 10 minutes from a town of 350 people. I’m used to there being 3 Targets within 10 miles of my house. Now the closest one is 65 miles away. I expect businesses to be open 24 x 7 x 365. Here, they close at 5 pm on Fridays and aren’t even open on Sundays. And because this is a tourist area, a lot of the ‘area attractions’ are only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Travis’ parents have deer carcasses hanging in a tree – a tree you can see from their kitchen window. They shoot porcupines and beavers for being nuisances to trees. They hunt and fish year round. They have more guns than I have fingers. They lease land from a logging company specifically for hunting.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my in-laws (hence my willingness to live with them for several months while we look for a house). And it is true that they’re farther out in the boonies than many people. But a lot of these things are just realities of living in a rural area. To visit specialized doctors or go to a real shopping mall, they drive all the way to Fargo – 3 hours away, one way. Just Walmart is 25 minutes away.

It’s one thing to visit during holidays; it’s another to actually plan on living here. To be honest, it has made me start questioning my desire to live in Brainerd (with neighboring Baxter, the population is 20,000). They have a Target, Kohl’s, Menards, Home Depot, JCPenney, Walmart and Fleet Farm. They have a Starbucks and a library. There’s no shopping mall, but I hardly ever shop at full-price stores anymore anyway.

I have a friend Emily who lives in Park Rapids (the nearest town to here, population 3,500). She grew up in Ramsey, a northern suburb of the Cities, and she said it was a big adjustment moving to Park Rapids. It took a couple of years, but now she feels like Brainerd and Bemidji (13,000) are the big cities. So it is possible to adjust.

I think a common question for city folks like me when they come up here, especially in the winter, is “What do you people DO here?” I grew up in Minnesota and have been around Travis’ family enough to know that there are lots of winter activities: snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, broomball, ice skating. Only problem is, it’s often too cold outside to do that stuff!

I think a lot of my apprehension comes from having Emma, at the age she is. There’s a very limited amount of things she’s willing to do, and those things have a time limit – either because she gets bored, or I get tired from pushing/holding/lifting her. And for pretty much all of those winter activities I listed above, Emma is too young (though she will be old enough next winter for some of them). In the city, it was nice to have lots of parks, museums, shopping malls and playgrounds (open year round) to choose from. There were walking trails near our house. So part of my trouble now should get better once we move from tiny Nevis to bigger Brainerd.

The other part of my apprehension comes from just not being plugged in to our new life here. We’re in this limbo stage, where we’re too far from Brainerd (1 ½ hours) to start getting plugged in, and the people we meet here will be too far away to stay in touch with once we move . So I don’t have many friends or activities to occupy my time other than hanging out at home and venturing into town a couple times a week. The relaxation has been nice, but after another couple months of this…?

But when I think about why I question moving to Brainerd, my main reason is fear. Fear that I’ll be bored to death. Fear that there will be nothing to do. Fear that my city-girl self won’t be able to adapt – or won’t want to adapt – to small-town ways.

I have to admit that it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of feeling superior in a small town. “These small-town folks – how in touch with the real world are they? Look where they live. Look what they wear. Look how they decorate their houses. Look what they drive. Look what they do for fun. I’ll never be like that.”

That judgment, though, is just me trying to rid myself of some of the awkwardness I feel from being out of my element. It’s also very arrogant – saying that I know everything there is to know about the world from living in a big city, and small town people are small-minded and have nothing to teach me.

God’s love frees me from having to judge others. Being grounded in His love for me enables me to be confident in who I am in Christ, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. When I am confident in who I am, I don’t feel pressure to completely conform to the culture and lose my identity, but I also don’t need to dig my heels in against everything that is different from what I’m used to.

For example, I’ve been thinking about running in the winter up here. Often it’s so cold that I will have to run inside. Brainerd does not have an indoor track (that I know of) so it will be either a treadmill or nothing. I could get frustrated and grumble about not being able to run in the winter, saying “This sucks” and “Stupid small town” or I could embrace the opportunity to expand my horizons, and snowshoe and cross-country ski more. That is a big benefit of the small town! The trails for that sort of thing are MUCH closer than they were in Denver.

The anxiety and uncertainty I feel about moving to Brainerd reminds me that this move requires faith. Just like moving out to Colorado required faith. Faith that God is leading us. That we’re leaving behind everything and everyone we know to forge a new life, in faith that God is everything He says He is, and will do everything He has promised.

The Jesus Calling devotion today was EXACTLY what I needed to hear:

“Trust Me, and don’t be afraid. Many things feel out of control. Your routines are not running smoothly. You tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable. Let Me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances. Take refuge in the shelter of My wings, where you are absolutely secure.

“When you are shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip My hand tightly and look for growth opportunities. Instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new. I lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit for My kingdom. Say yes to the ways I work in your life. Trust Me, and don’t be afraid.”

Are you a city-goer or small-town folk? 

Have you ever made the switch from urban to rural, or vice versa? I can see that going either way would be challenging!

{Reblog} A very present help in trouble.

19 Jan

I was thinking about these ‘customized’ verses this morning and thought I’d share them again. Though they’re not authoritative like God’s Word, they are still good reminders of Truth, and of His love. Enjoy! (I’ll be back soon with my 9-month… almost 10-month… postpartum update!)

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Originally posted June 9, 2010

The past two months (since April 8, the day we got Charlie*) have been a blur. As a person who does not handle busyness well but who has been ridiculously busy (in my book), I have been pleasantly surprised more than once that I have only had 1 or 2 meltdowns. That, my friends, is a new record.

I have not handled every situation well. I have yelled, cried, slapped, whined, slandered, complained, pitied, and doubted God. All of which Satan pounced on to make me feel like a horrible person who deserved nothing but a swift kick to the head.

Then I stumbled across Psalm 46 one morning (after having searched for the verse the previous morning and not been able to find it):

God is our refuge and strength, 

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though it waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

This was exactly what I had needed – and wanted – to hear. The storms of life aren’t evidence that God doesn’t love or care about me. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has been teaching me in this season of life how to weather storms with Him instead of apart from Him. Clinging to the truth of His love for me, instead of believing lies like “God doesn’t care about what’s happening to me” and “He won’t help me with this; I have to do it myself.”

To make this hit home even a little more, I rewrote that passage of Psalm 46 in my own words:

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore I will not fear though all order breaks loose,

though everything I do immediately gets undone,

though I am overwhelmed and underequipped,

though my sanity is upheld by the tiniest thread.

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help with dogs who are trouble.

Therefore I will not fear though I cannot tame them,

though they do not listen to my commands,

though they destroy my home and possessions,

though they try my patience to its breaking point.

  • God is my refuge and strength,

a very present help in trials.

Therefore I will not despair though I feel condemned by my sin,

though I feel insufficient and worthless,

though I am accused of not being enough,

though my flesh is weak and my heart fails me.

No matter what life or Satan or my own stupid fault throws at me, I have hope because “This I know, that God is for me.”

Another rewording of mine, from Psalms 46 and 70:

The river of grace is a constant stream.

It makes glad the dwelling of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God lives within her; she shall not give up.

God will help her when she needs it.

Though she is poor and needy,

God will hasten to her rescue.

He only is her help and her deliverer;

He will not delay!

……………………

* Now, this could be changed to “since April 7, the day Emma was born”!

{Repost} Breathe in freedom.

28 Sep

So our Minnesota trip was a little rough. It was great seeing my parents but Emma had a hard time napping and sleeping at night – I think it must’ve been that she was in a new place, and she has a little bit of a stuffy nose. I’ll admit that I was VERY angry that Emma needed to be bounced and rocked, and sometimes held, or she refused to sleep. I was there to help my parents and she was making that next to impossible.

That situation, combined with the rest of everything going on and my general feeling of ‘meh’ and stress, has sent me back to blog posts from last year, to remind myself of the Truth I was learning then, and am still learning – or needing to relearn – now. That’s where this post comes in. It’s just as true now as it was when I wrote on June 1, 2012. Enjoy.

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When your body is challenged in yoga and weight lifting, the natural response is to hold your breath. We need to be reminded to breathe with the movements. Inhale, lift. Exhale, lower. Inhale vitality. Exhale tension. It may not seem like it at the time but breathing actually makes the postures and exercises easier because it gives you something else to concentrate on than just the muscle fatigue and supplies your muscles with oxygen.

I’ve been thinking about this the past couple of days because I realized that this applies to life too. This week, I have felt tired and lazy. And I found myself emotionally gritting my teeth to “just get through” the week – essentially, holding my breath to survive.

But is that really what God wants for me? Are I really reduced to just gritting my teeth to get through life?

The trouble is that I associate the fullest life with being on top of things, things going my way, falling into place, being easy.

The fullest life is still available even when life isn’t that way (which is often). Even on the days, weeks, or months when things are hard, I’m tired and feel overwhelmed, and everything feels like a burden. Instead of holding my breath to survive, I can breathe through life’s challenges with God. 

Just like holding my breath doing a Half Moon, it seems easier and less painful to not think too much and just go through the motions. To not care. To resign myself to life being crap for the next few days.

In reality, I’m making the situation worse. And when I actually think about what I’m doing, it seems ludicrous. Why do I think that hard situations are easier to handle without God?

It’s because I think He’ll make me (wo)man up and deal with the situation. And the last thing I want to do is deal with the situation. I want to escape, withdraw, ignore.

What I forget, though, is that living in dependence on God is where I find joy always. Not just when I feel up to it, or when life is going well, or when I’m naturally happy. Always.

I also forget that living in dependence on God doesn’t require me to feel me up to it, or life to be going well, or me to be naturally happy. In fact, living in dependence on God comes most easily when I am starkly aware of my weaknesses and insufficiency. When I feel too small for something too big. When I’m struggling with the same thing yet again. When I’m having trouble even mustering up the energy to not give up.

I find freedom in acknowledging reality. Instead of shutting down and going through life on autopilot, I can admit that the situations I’m facing are affecting me and that it’s not all coming up roses. Jesus promised us peace in the midst of difficulty – not peaceful circumstances.

I stop trying to change reality. Once I acknowledge the tough circumstance, I stay there. I don’t try to change, fix, or manipulate it. That’s God’s job. My job is trust. This is the challenge I come back to time and time again. Asking me to live with God in the midst of my weaknesses and insufficiency is like asking a dog to walk on its hind legs. It’s not impossible but it takes a lot of work to actually stay there because it’s not my natural inclination.

I focus on the moment and give thanks. In yoga, you breathe with the movements to get your mind focused on the here and now. Stop thinking about all the things you’re going to do later in the day, all the bills and laundry and dishes piling up at home. Live in the now. Jesus told us this too: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). I especially like The Message’s paraphrase:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

And the best way to live in the moment (I’m discovering) is to give thanks, for everything. Specifically. Audibly. Remember God’s blessings. Remember His faithfulness. Remember His grace.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a quote or two from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts:

“Life is so urgent it necessitates living slow.”

“Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.”

Nothing to Do But Trust

19 Sep

The past couple of weeks have been rough. It feels like everything has hit all at once. Work is busy. Emma hasn’t been sleeping well. Travis is traveling for work and now working Saturdays because of their crazy workload. Colorado got pounded by rain and devastating flooding. It’s hunting season, which means I got to spend my Monday night after Emma went to bed grinding and vacuum-sealing antelope meat. And the worst of it all is that we got some bad news about my mom’s health, so we’re making an impromptu trip to Minnesota this weekend.

All of this has caused me to think a lot about trusting God in trials, and why we cling to the hope of the gospel in times like these. Some days, the only answer I have is Peter’s: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” I trust God because what else is there to do? God doesn’t always answer our questions of WHY. He doesn’t always show WHERE He’s leading us, or WHEN we’re going to get there. He just asks us to trust. Trust that He is good and loving. Need proof? Look to the Cross.

I’ve been loving Laura Story’s song Blessings lately, especially the lines I bolded below. Such a great reminder that God is bigger than our human reactions. Bigger than our worry, our fear, our discouragement. He’s weaving a bigger story. He has a plan. And the pain and trials of this life aren’t meaningless or inconsequential. God is revealing His will for us through them, and using them for His glory, even if we can’t see HOW right now.

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We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

……………………

“My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

“I believe. Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)