Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hurdling Over Anxiety

Can I trust that God only wants what is best for me? If something bad happens, can I see beyond the circumstances to focus on the good? Do trials make me a stronger person? Is my character more important to God than my comfort? There are so many questions. Good questions.

I thought I had done a good job of settling this fear/anxiety debate a number of years ago. My husband, John used to travel quite a bit and I was home alone with three toddlers. My fear had risen to new heights as I lay awake every night planning escape routes in case of fire or a break-in. As soon as darkness fell, the doors got locked and I didn't venture outside till the next day. Till the Lord whispered deep within, “Who is your protector, Me or John?” Profound!! It started me thinking so I delved into the Word to see what God says about fear and His protection. Soon I was sleeping at night again.

The funny thing about God's lessons is that as soon as we learn it, He stretches us further. I began to enjoy being home during the trips my husband made. Easy dinners. Time to myself in the evening after the kids settled into bed. Then, boom—the traveling stopped. I guess I passed.

The thing is, there is always a new hurdle of anxiety to scale. And, our gracious God is a patient teacher. The funny thing about being anxious is that most often we never experience what we are afraid of. It is such a joy robber and a time waster.

What circumstances are you anxious about? How are they robbing you of living to the fullest?

I look forward to hearing from you,


Sunday, September 19, 2010

“Be anxious for nothing...” Philippians 4:6-9

Anxious, who me? Well, okay, maybe just a tad!

Be anxious for nothing Philippians 4:6-9

As much as I say I trust God and know He has things under control, I do feel anxious. I have children who live in other states. I worry about my mom after my father's passing. I worry about my sisters who are both dealing with divorce and rejection. I worry about my to-do list. I worry about change. There are times when I can seem to let go, but most of the time, if I am honest, anxiety just simmers slowly on the burner of life.

That must be why Paul says in Philippians 4:6-9, “be anxious for nothing...” I guess things haven't changed much since the first century. They had worries then too. 

So, if the Word is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, then Paul's admonishments are for me too. So how do I make these words my own? How do they become my prayer, sinking deep, bringing me to a place of contentment? How do I live beyond the simmering anxiety, abundantly as Christ says in John 10:10?

Be anxious for nothing Philippians 4:6-9

A few times in my life I have conquered the worry for a few moments and experienced peace as I made Paul's 'whatever is...” list take over my thoughts. Yet, it is something that I don't seem to learn naturally. It doesn't stick and become the default thought path. I need to relearn the lesson every time anxiousness gets the upper hand. 

My desire is to have the hope of this passage root deep into my heart, soul, and mind so that the peace that Jesus offers is real everyday.

Do you have worries that have been tamed by the truths of this passage? I would love to hear your stories. I know they would encourage others too. So, please post your thoughts and over the next few messages we can try to unpack these verses to find the timeless treasure they offer.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Restoring Beauty - After The Locusts Eat

When I was a teen, I got an old chest of drawers from a family member who passed away. The oak dresser had brass handles, small drawers and a cubbie door above and full size drawers below. It was in dire need of some T.L.C., airing out and a new finish. So, I set to work, sanding and brushing on coats of finish until it didn't look half bad. I really enjoyed bringing it back to life and found satisfaction in restoring its beauty.

To restore means to bring to its original state or intent. To relate this to spiritual terms, when we come to Christ, He restores us to our relationship to the Father, one of fellowship and community, just as it was in the Garden of Eden. Scripture says we were made in God's image; Adam and Eve had fellowship with God in the garden. But, sin broke that connection.

The good news is He promises to restore what the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). I can't imagine what it looks like after a swarm of locusts blows through; pretty bleak. Yet, I know there are many with stories of how God restored and redeemed what they thought was lost. God restores our relationship in Christ and then begins our life-long restoration process to become more like Him.

My locusts have been fear and discouragement. They ate away at everything, it was really hard to have hope. I have been living with the effects of locusts for the past few years—so many changes, the death of dreams, and discouragement with a capital 'D'. I struggled with the restoration process because it hurt. My natural tendency was to escape, to do anything to cut it short. But in the end I see how it was necessary in order to bring forth beauty and His intent. God is faithful. I feel the anchor of hope held fast and I am starting to dream again.

My old dresser couldn't be restored without first stripping away the old finish. The same holds true in my life. God is in the business of restoring lives. He specializes in broken people, marriages, families, health, loss of hope and so much more. Yet, our restoration always begins with Himself.

What are your locusts? Has God begun to restore what has been stripped away?
Discover what Scripture says about pruning—how are these topics related in your life?

May He bring forth beauty in you,


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Three R's - Part Two - "Are We Okay?"

As I mentioned, I have been anxious for three couples in marital difficulties. Upon hearing the news of marriage #3 being in danger I looked at my husband and asked, “Are we okay?”
Everything that felt sure and safe suddenly felt wobbly and weak. I needed his assurance that our relationship was strong because of the shocking news. After all if it could happen to other Christian couples maybe it could sneak up on us as well.

In the past several weeks I find myself appreciating my husband more than ever. I think he must be thinking similar things because he has been even more attentive and showing his love in lots of little ways. One thing I have learned in watching these other relationships is that I should take nothing for granted. Marriage is hard work—it is something we have to strive to keep healthy by communicating with one another and putting one another first.

I wonder how I can put into practice the messages in the letter to Philemon as I watch these marriage relationships disintegrate. One's divorce is already final—I don't believe God is done there—but I know it can seem like hope has died. The other two are spiraling fast. Can God restore them? Absolutely! But, the people involved need to be willing. Paul shows this in verses eight and nine when he writes to Philemon about doing the right thing in regard to Onesimus.

I don't know if I can be like Paul and somehow share just the right words to cause a change of heart in another person. But, if given the chance I will try. Paul's message of redemption, restoration and reconciliation is really the message of the Gospel. It isn't new, but it is fresh for every situation. And, I believe with my whole heart that His Word holds fresh truth for today's messes. That's why it is called daily bread. Fresh bread to meet the needs of hungry hearts.

I would love to hear your stories of hope. Have the Three R's made a difference in your life and heart?

Till next time,


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Restoration - Are You Willing?

All around me, marriages are crumbling—long standing marriages of friends and family members. I feel blindsided by the news and watch as divorces become final, and couples crumble. I keep thinking, God can restore these relationships, and He can. But, people need to be willing in order for Him to step in and begin the process of mending. Relationships are complicated and love must be cultivated in order to survive the onslaught of enemy fire. Make no mistake, Satan wants to destroy families. He wants to see relationships die—he chortles in victory every time he successfully darkens the hearts and deadens the minds of God's people.

I need you to know that I am grappling with my next blog post, dealing with restoration and reconciliation. God wants us to be reconciled with Himself and one another. And, humanly, that is a very tricky business. Ultimately it means dying to self.

The question is, are we willing?
Marriages are only one little aspect to this topic, but it is one that is on my mind and heart.

More to the meantime, pray for those who need to experience the restoring power of God.