From the Breaking Point to the Breakthrough

Do you ever have those perfect storm moments in life?  Those moments when everything seems to come crashing down all at once?  I have experienced several of those moments over the course of my life.  God reminded me recently of one particular time I struggled through a perfect storm.  I came home one night and crawled into my bed.  As I tossed and turned through the night, in the middle ground between sleep and consciousness, I remember this one thought playing on loop in my mind: From the breaking point to the breakthrough, from the breaking point to the breakthrough, from the breaking point to the breakthrough.  I know that was the whisper of the Holy Spirit speaking directly to my heart.  I certainly didn’t feel anything remotely like breakthrough was happening, but I was aware that I had reached my breaking point.

Although I surely hate the breaking point seasons of life, there is a lesson God is repeatedly teaching me: Breaking is good and God wants us broken.  It is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.  I have learned that God wants to break my self-will and my self-reliance.  He wants to bring me to the point of recognizing my limitations and realizing that the weight is too much to carry on my own.  He wants to get me to the place that I am willing to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing, I don’t have it all together and that I have more questions than answers.  He wants to expose my faulty patterns of thinking and relating to my circumstances and make me aware of the holding patterns that have kept me in bondage.

In my brokenness, I am able to truly humble myself before my creator.  I am able to surrender the reigns of control to my heavenly Father.  I am able to lay down my agenda and my own will, to fully pursue and follow His purpose and plan for my life.  When the Lord strips me bear of every false comfort and causes me to look at myself for who I truly am, I am able to recognize my need for my Savior to govern and watch over every single area of my life.  When I am broken, I am able to lay down my pride and be honest before God and others, regarding my true heart condition.

This place of brokenness, honesty and humility is the breeding ground for breakthrough.  God breaks us of every chain that has held us back and hindered us.  He breaks every curse and strategy of the enemy.  He breaks every branch that is not bearing fruit, in order that we can thrive, grow and flourish in ways unimaginable.

Brokenness is a tool that God uses.  Unfortunately, the enemy uses it to.  He has a way of distorting our perceptions, so that all we see in our brokenness is pain.  When all we see is our pain, our brokenness feels dark.  It feels ugly.  It feels forever.  It feels like an end.  It is not.  If we allow it to, our brokenness will be the point through which God shines most brightly in our life.  He will bring beauty out of the ashes.  And what feels like an end will only be the beginning of the amazing work God plans to do in and through you.

If you will allow it, God will use your perfect storm moments in life to display His perfect power in the midst of your biggest weaknesses.

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. (2 Cor. 12:9)

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Finding Dory and the Prodigal Son

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

Not too long ago, I watched Finding Dory for the first time. I live with my pastors and their two ridiculously cute children. So, I get lots of opportunities to watch kids movies and I love them. It might sound a little ridiculous, but by the time the movie was over, I was in tears…overcome with emotions.

The premise of the story (spoiler alert!) is that Dory loses her family. She suffers from memory loss and can’t remember her way back home. At one point, she can’t remember anything about her family. She just knows that somewhere out there her parents must exist. Dory has a flashback of her family that gives her just enough information to begin her journey back home. She perseveres through the dangers of the deep blue sea and despite all odds, makes her way back to her family. When she finally makes it to her parents, she discovers that they have been waiting in the same place patiently for her, believing that one day she would remember where she came from and make her way back to them. They had carefully laid out paths of shells in every direction, so that their beloved daughter would be able to find her way back. That hit me hard. This story reminded me so much of the story of the Prodigal Son referenced above. After arriving at his lowest point, the son remembers the home and the Father he came from. He finds his way back and when he arrives, His Father is already waiting with open arms.

Sometimes we get so caught up and distracted by the cares of this life that we can suffer from memory loss too. We forget our identity in Christ. We forget who we are. We can lose our way. Sometimes we get so caught up we don’t even realize what we have forgotten. But God is so faithful. He patiently waits for us, waiting for us to have the slightest glimpse of remembrance. He carefully lays the path before us to follow, a path that lands us right into His embrace. Despite the fact that I have been a Christian my whole adult life, there are times I get caught up doing things my own way. I try to carve out my own path, but God always brings me to the point of remembering what I have forgotten. I hear the gentle reminder deep within my Spirit, you have forgotten your first love (Rev. 2:4). He lights up the path before me and brings me back to Him.

There was another lesson I drew from Dory. We all have people in our lives that we love and desire the best for. There are people in our lives that we want to sit down, shake by the shoulders and say, “Remember who you are!” This scene served as a powerful reminder to me that I can trust God to lay out the paths for my loved ones to follow home. I can trust that God could lay out paths that I never could, paths that are uniquely suited and designed for that specific individual. God knows if the path needs to go through the valley or the wilderness. He knows all the bends and curves that are necessary and while I may not understand the paths he chooses, or allows, for myself or my loved ones, I can know they are always right. As Dory points out to her parents, she was never alone throughout the whole process. So it is with us. We are never alone.

The motto of the Marine Life Institute, where Dory goes to find her family, is “Rescue. Rehabilitate. Release.” Those three small words made an impact on my heart. It is God’s job to rescue and his job to rehabilitate the brokenness in my own heart and the brokenness that surrounds me. It is my job to release every worry, concern and care into His hands. He is more than able and more than faithful to bring restoration and redemption to the places of my deepest needs and longings and even to my hurts.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

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A Season of Hope and Expectation

At one point several months ago, I was talking with a friend about seasons of waiting. All of us can relate to the feeling of waiting on God for answers to prayers that as of yet, go unanswered, or at least as far as we can tell.  These seasons can be long and painful.  Wrestling with physical and emotional pain, unmet longings and unfulfilled dreams for prolonged periods of time can wear on us and challenge our faith.

As my friend and I prayed for one another, I began to think about Christmas.  Christmas comes every year on December 25th.  The actual celebration of Christmas is a one day event.  However, we celebrate Christmas beginning the day after Thanksgiving and throughout all of December.  Before we ever open or exchange any gifts, we prepare for more than an entire month.  We go shopping.  We decorate.  We bake cookies.  We sing carols.  We celebrate in anticipation of the moment when Christmas morning will finally arrive.  How different would this time be if instead of celebrating, we spent our time complaining that we couldn’t open our gifts yet?  What if we spent our time doubting that there would even be a gift with our name on it under the tree?  It would certainly dampen our excitement and expectation.

I know that God is challenging me to view my seasons of waiting as seasons of celebration.  We are told in Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  If I’m truthful, I spend too much time complaining in my seasons of waiting, rather than rejoicing in what is to come.  I lose sight of the fact that I serve a good God, who gives good gifts.  What He has for me is good.  He has a hope and a future for me that are good.  He works all things out for my good.  I don’t have to question that what He has in store is, in fact, good!  The gifts may not come on my time schedule and they might not come in the wrapping paper I would have picked out, but I can be assured that my Father in heaven knows how to pick out gifts that are perfectly suited and right for me.  The gifts He blesses me with are better than anything I would have picked out for myself.  And what’s more, He knows the best timing and the best manner to present me with the gifts He has for me.  I have often heard it said that it’s all about the presentation.  I think of a marriage proposal.  I think about the planning and consideration that a man goes through when he proposes to the girl he loves.  He considers the date, the setting, the atmosphere, the audience, the ring.  All of these details work together to make the proposal of marriage even more special.  How much more does our heavenly Father consider the perfect timing and manner in which to present us with the special blessings he has for us?

I am challenged to mark my season of waiting as a season of hope and expectation.  I have my mind made up to celebrate all season long.  This is no time to give in to doubt and fear.  I want to usher in the new thing God is doing with an attitude of rejoicing, because I can know with confidence that my blessings are on the way.

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25)

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On Snowstorms and Springtime

For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create dry rivers in the wasteland. (Isa. 43:19)

The first day of spring this year fell on March 20th.  I am the kind of person who loathes winter.  People have tried to explain to me the benefits of winter, but to me it’s dark, cold, snowy and wet and I don’t like it.  Give me spring, summer or fall and I’ll be fine, but something in me dies a little when winter comes around. (Okay, so maybe that’s a bit overdramatic, but you get the picture).  That’s why I was personally insulted and offended when just shy of a week before the first day of spring, my little corner of New England was hit with a snowstorm.  Not even right.  In theory, I understood that the arrival of the snowstorm didn’t mean that spring wasn’t still coming.  It may have taken a little longer to reach those warmer temperatures, but spring weather was inevitably coming nonetheless.  I just needed patience.

When it comes to our lives, we don’t have calendars and timelines to tell us when the hard seasons of life are going to give way to seasons of joy and blessing.  But we do have faith and we do have hope.  I learned something from the snowstorm.  That snowstorm came a week before the day that marked the beginning of spring.  The storms we experience in life lie to us.  They speak discouragement to our hearts and try to make us believe that storms last forever.  What they don’t tell us is that our spring, the new thing God is doing, a shifting of seasons, could literally be right around the corner.  The presence of the storm doesn’t mean our breakthrough isn’t coming.  I believe that our breakthrough is coming much sooner than we think.

Every once in a while, I reflect on my history with the Lord.  Without exception, the greatest trials and difficulties that I have overcome have brought me to the greatest blessings in my life.  All of those situations had a few things in common.  I could never seem to figure out how to get out of my circumstances and into the breakthrough.  Things always seemed to be at their absolute worst.  And there were always a lot of voices (both internally and externally) attempting to rob me of my hope.  Each time I have found myself in this pit, God has put together for me what I could never figure out on my own.  He has turned what seemed to be the absolute worst around for my ultimate good.  And He has proven over and over again that no matter what anyone says, there is always always always hope.

Don’t lose heart in the storm.  New things are coming.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)
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Demolition or Restoration

Demolition or Restoration?

A couple of weeks before the start of 2017, I was praying about some circumstances on my way to work.  It was one of those fervent, desperate types of prayers.  I looked over and saw right in front of me a big white truck, upon which was written, “Restoration. Recovery.  Reconstruction.”  I felt in my spirit that God was saying that this is the work he is doing in my life and in my circumstances.  Over the next couple of weeks, my excitement and anticipation grew as I began to hear many confirming words that 2017 is to be a year of restoration, a year of recovery and a year of rebuilding.  Every word brought me greater hope and confidence that my life was on the mend!  Everything was coming together.

What actually happened in the months that followed was not something I was prepared for.  Instead of coming together, things in every aspect of life seemed to unravel and began falling apart.  My life was stripped bare and I found myself alone with the Lord.  Standing in the mess of a pile of broken pieces, I asked God, “What is happening in my life?”  Did I not hear you correctly?  Wasn’t this supposed to be my year of restoration?  I was determined to continue trusting God’s process, even though I honestly couldn’t make sense of my world or what was going on around me.

Around the same time, I started watching the show Fixer Upper.  Chip and Joanna Gaines are a wonderful couple with their own home remodeling and renovation business.  In each episode, they help prospective buyers pick out their own fixer upper home and in the weeks that follow, the Gaines couple transform something once run-down into something breathtakingly beautiful.  I noticed something though.  The first step of the remodeling process always involves demolition.  Walls are torn down.  Floors are broken apart to reveal what’s rotting and decaying underneath.  Structures are gutted, in order that new ones can be formed.  I realized that what feels like life crumbling apart is really only the first step in the restoration process.  God is not going to build something new on a foundation that is faulty.  He won’t build something new without first exposing and removing what is rotten underneath.  As it says in Mark 2:22, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.  For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost.  New wine calls for new wineskins.”

If you find yourself in a season where life seems to be falling apart, is it possible that God is building a new foundation?  Could it be that things are falling apart so that God could put your life back together?  Rest assured. When God restores things in our lives, He makes them better than new!  No matter what stage of the process we find ourselves in, we can know that God’s will is to always bring about restoration in our lives.

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
    Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
17 Soon your descendants will come back,
    and all who are trying to destroy you will go away.
18 Look around you and see,
    for all your children will come back to you.
As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
    “they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.

19 “Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land
    will soon be crowded with your people.
Your enemies who enslaved you
    will be far away.
20 The generations born in exile will return and say,
    ‘We need more room! It’s crowded here!’
21 Then you will think to yourself,
    ‘Who has given me all these descendants?
For most of my children were killed,
    and the rest were carried away into exile.
I was left here all alone.
    Where did all these people come from?
Who bore these children?
    Who raised them for me?’”

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
    “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations.
They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms;
    they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings and queens will serve you
    and care for all your needs.
They will bow to the earth before you
    and lick the dust from your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
    Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.” (Isa. 49:16-23)

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From Overwhelmed to Overflowing

I recently went through a season of my life when I cannot read enough about hope. I couldn’t hear enough sermons on hope…what hope in God looks like, how it operates in my life and how I can experience it. When faced with circumstances that seem hopeless, it is a good time to dig your heels into the hope that God offers to the best of your ability and then allow the Holy Spirit to dig you even deeper. One afternoon, I found myself reading every scripture I could find on the subject of hope and Romans 15:13 jumped out at me:

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing (through the experience of your faith) that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. (Romans 15:13 AMPC)

I love it. This verse points out so many life-giving truths that we can apply to whatever situations we are currently facing. First, this verse makes it clear that the God we serve is a God of hope. And let me remind you (and remind myself as well), He lives in us! We always talk about how God is ultimately in control. Who better to be in control than the God of hope? If God lives in us and He is in control, then it stands to reason that we always have a reason to hope.

Secondly, this verse tells us that He fills us with joy and peace, in believing. Whoa. That is powerful. Think about it. Our joy and peace doesn’t come from a change in our situation. It doesn’t come from perfect circumstances. Nope. It comes from believing. What are you believing? Do you believe things won’t go well for you? Do you believe things will get worse? If you are not experiencing joy and peace, then it sounds like you need to change your belief system. Sometimes we need to wait for God to work things out in our lives, but we might as well be happy while we wait. That sense of peace and joy is directly tied to what we choose to believe.

Lastly, this verse indicates that once we get to the place of belief, faith, confident trust and expectation in Him that we will abound and overflow with hope. According to the above translation, we will be bubbling over with hope. I want this kind of hope. Too often, I feel so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by life. Overwhelmed by feelings. Overwhelmed by family. Overwhelmed by relationships. Overwhelmed by work. Overwhelmed by ministry. Overwhelmed by what I do. Overwhelmed by what I don’t do. The list can go on and on. But what if you and I went from feeling overwhelmed to being overflowing with hope? How would that change our lives? I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to find out.

It’s time to overflow.

Waiting For Happily Ever After

Months ago, I had an epiphany while I was sitting on my couch eating my dinner. I had just gotten home from work and settled down in my empty house. I started to reflect on some difficult life stuff. Unasked for and uninvited, some painful memories intruded my thoughts and I immediately felt a sharp sting of pain and discouragement. I think we can all agree that there are certain things we go through in life that feel ugly. I always try to look for the beauty in the midst of painful circumstances, but sometimes I’m hard pressed to find the good in the middle of the hardship I am currently experiencing. When faced with life’s difficulties the cry of my heart is to have the “beauty for ashes, joy for mourning and praise for heaviness” experience described in Isaiah 61. I’ll be honest. It isn’t always easy to hope for that when your own heart attacks you and you feel crushed by your emotions. So, there I was feeling crushed. Suddenly, another thought invaded my mind. It presented itself as a rebuttal to my feelings of despair. This isn’t the end. I was almost caught off guard. I could literally feel the heaviness begin to subside, as I recognized the voice of God speaking to my pain.

This isn’t the first time He has told me this, but trust me, I need plenty of reminders. I realize that simple thought, that this isn’t the end, has the power to lift my hopes and change my perspective. As I sat on the couch, dinner in lap, I began to think about being in a movie theater. What would happen if the reel was cut in the middle of the film and we were led to believe that it was the end of the movie? Everything would be in upheaval. The characters would be in the middle of great crisis and there would be no resolution in sight. We would be left unresolved and it would definitely fall short of a feel good experience. Everyone would leave upset and wanting their money back. I sense God is challenging me to view my life from this perspective. When I feel discouraged about my circumstances, I have to remember that I am viewing my life from the middle of the movie. Sure, things might feel like they are in a state of upheaval, but they usually are when we are in the thick of the plot line. Sticking it out and staying the course may require some tears, some pain and a considerable amount of endurance, but it is necessary to get to the point where we see our happily ever after begin to unfold. We can’t hit the pause button by putting our lives on hold…that would only stop our progress. We can’t fast forward to the end by trying to rush or manipulate circumstances…that would only lead to a less desirable alternative ending. We can’t sit in the theater and complain about the film as it plays out or try to figure it all out before we get to the end…that will take away from the joy of the surprise ending…not to mention annoy everyone else in the theater around us. We must simply enjoy the movie as it plays out and trust that our director specializes in happy endings.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

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Resting or Striving?

I am a person that loves to rest.  I love taking bubble baths and naps and curling up with a book on the couch.  I recently took a long break from several undertakings to rest and do some healthy self-evaluation.  I am realizing though that just because I’m not doing anything doesn’t mean I’m truly at rest.  I have realized a tendency that I have.  Generally speaking, when I force myself to slow down, my mind kicks into overdrive.  I worry.  I stress.  I freak out.  I start planning and plotting ten steps ahead.  I analyze possibilities, scenarios and contingency plans.  I may be at rest physically, but mentally and emotionally I am fidgety and restless.

I am guilty of always being in a rush.  I feel if a situation isn’t coming together, it’s my responsibility to fix it.  If something is broken, just pass the duct tape and I’ll try to mend it.  If something lacks resolution, I feel it is my job to resolve it and if something is in process, I’ll try to rush the outcome.

I have been guilty of feeling the need to respond to circumstances and people right away, without taking the time necessary to really hear from God and to act in accordance with His timing.  God isn’t in a rush and He isn’t under pressure.  God is teaching me that His desire is that I would always act out of a place of rest, peace and confidence in Him, and never out of a sense of pressure or striving.  This means learning what it truly means to rest, to lay down every burden physical, mental and emotional.  It means learning to take the pressure off myself and to lean on Him.  It means accepting the fact that God reveals His plan and His purposes one day at a time and despite all our striving and futile attempts to figure all this out, we will never be successful in figuring out God’s plans one second sooner than He intends for us to.  We need to shift our focus from analyzing, fixing and planning to simply loving Him with all of our hearts, minds and souls.  Any energy we spend should be spent seeking Him with our whole selves.  God is good and He can be trusted.  He won’t leave us in the dark.

We will have so much more joy in all of this, if we learn to relax in the process.  Anywhere in our lives where we feel stressed, confused, or frustrated, is an area of our lives where we are striving and haven’t surrendered to God’s control.  Let it go.

I am have made the choice to allow myself rest.  I am giving myself permission to take the pressure off and to submit to God’s will and ways.  If God isn’t stressed out or in a rush, why am I?  I am asking God in this season to train my eyes and my ears to recognize at a greater level the way He speaks and He leads, so that when this season shifts I’ll be led by the peace of the Holy Spirit, rather than by my own unrealistic expectations and limited strength.

As the Psalmist writes:

The Lord is my shepherd.  I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. (Ps. 23:1-3)

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The Middle

The Middle. Have you ever heard the song “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World? The chorus goes:

It just takes some time. Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything, everything will be alright.

I, recently, am just coming out of a season of feeling terribly stuck in the middle. Maybe you can relate. Not where you were, but not where you want to be. Maybe you have endured some disappointments. Maybe some things haven’t worked out the way you wanted them to. Maybe you have encountered some difficulties and delays on the road. Maybe all of this has left you feeling uncertain, unsettled and if you’re honest, even a little scared.

Every journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. We usually set out in the beginning with optimism and enthusiasm. Our hopes are high and so are our expectations. We set out on the path excited to see what the future holds and where God is taking us. We tuck away the promises of God into our hearts and set out on our journeys. Eventually, we all encounter the middle. The place of uncertainty. The place of making strides and taking steps, even though we can’t be sure of the outcomes. The place of wondering…Why is this taking so long? Why is the path taking me this way? Sometimes the middle takes so long that we even start to question…will the dream ever come to pass?
I totally get it. So did the Israelites. God delivered them out of Egypt with a great show of His miraculous power, as He parted the Red Sea. They emerged from the other side victorious over their enemies and bursting with confidence and joy. However, it didn’t take too long before the journey in the Wilderness started to weigh on them and they began wondering why they ever left Egypt in the first place. Aren’t we all so much like this?

Here are some lessons that God has taught me in The Middle.

1. The Middle is about obedience.
Sometimes God leads us to make a choice, or a series of choices, as an act of obedience to Him. Usually this requires a leap of faith, because obeying God rarely leads us to the easiest or most convenient path. It often requires enormous (sometimes painful) sacrifices and what’s more challenging is that we never know the outcomes. Obedience to God leads us out of what is familiar and requires that we leave our comfort zones. We are asked to take each step in blind faith, as the path that stretches out ahead of us twists and turns in ways we can’t foresee or prepare for. But we can be sure that God rewards obedience. He doesn’t trick us or deceive us. His ways are always intended to bring out the best possible blessings in our lives.

2. The Middle is a process that requires perseverance.
One thing I am learning is that our initial step of obedience, that initial leap of faith, is much easier than staying on course. I think of Peter who stepped out of the boat and made a few initial steps before sinking in the sea, as he took His eyes off Jesus. Our initial choice to obey God can be marked with exhilaration and excitement. But weeks and months into the journey, when there is no visible change, we can easily become discouraged. The Middle requires perseverance. We must be resolved and determined that no matter what it takes, or how difficult it becomes, we will stay the course and won’t shrink back. We must decide that we are not going to try to jump over the fire, or walk around it, but that we are going to walk through it. We can be confident that we will walk out refined on the other side. And remember, even when things don’t appear to be changing on the outside, God is changing us on the inside. This process is preparation for what He has for us. He wants to be sure that when we reach where we are headed that we will be ready. He wants to be sure that we are prepared and equipped to receive whatever blessing He has for us. I have heard it said before that this journey is more of a marathon than a sprint.

3. The Middle demands surrender.
This is perhaps the most challenging lesson that God has taught me in The Middle. He wants me to surrender. He wants me to give up control and to stop taking the steering wheel. In order to surrender, we must be willing to trust God. Easier said than done. Recently, God revealed to me some areas of my life that needed realigning. I was already aware of this, but my problem was that I kept trying in my own strength to fix things that I ultimately had no control over. I tried so hard to keep things together, to manage my own life and circumstances the way that I saw fit and to keep myself from losing that it had the opposite effect. Eventually, it seemed like my whole life unraveled. I wasn’t willing to take my hands off my circumstances and allow God to lead. Eventually, I smartened up and realized that I will never experience God’s ultimate best for me, until I raise my hands in surrender and allow Him to do the work He wants to do in my life. For me that means loosening my grip and opening my hand to the Lord, allowing Him to take over in some areas of my life that I previously held unto with a tight fist. It means trusting that God truly is good and that He really wants the best for me. And it means recognizing that I don’t need to know what the outcomes are to choose to trust Him. I guess if I knew the outcomes, I wouldn’t need faith huh?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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Imagination and Possibilities: The God of Something out of Nothing

Recently, on my way to work, I began to pray in great faith for my future.  I’m in another season of transition.  Over the next few months, I will be changing jobs and living situations.  As of right now, everything is completely up in the air and I have no sense of where I’ll end up.  This is a combination of frightening and exciting.  But I have been dreaming, dreaming, dreaming through the process.  I have been stepping out in bold faith and for once in my life, I have begun praying for what I want, rather than what I feel like God wants to hear.  Rather than asking for a job, I’m asking for a specific position, what would be the “dream-job” for me.  Rather than asking for an apartment, I’m asking for a water view.  Instead of praying for opportunities and alignments, I am praying to be connected with specific people and individuals.  In Psalm 126:5, it says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”  I am somewhere between sowing and reaping.  I have certainly sown my tears and am eagerly anticipating a harvest of joy in my life.  But I am in the waiting process.  I have been so bold as to ask God every day, bring my season of reaping into now!  Accelerate the process!  Lead my steps and walk me straight to destiny’s porch.  I’m ready to kick the door in and walk into my breakthrough.  Bring it.

I’m not sure if God will do things in the specific ways that I am praying, but I do know that it tells me in His word (Ps. 37:4) that if I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart.  I am recognizing more and more that God delights in my dreaming.  He wants to hear, from my lips, the things my heart longs for…and it’s in His plan and purpose to meet those longings!  Maybe not according to my specifications and timelines, but in ways that exceed my comprehension and go beyond anything I could ever plan or wish for myself.  Sometimes He grants our specific desires, sometimes he leads us along a different path and blesses us differently than we would have expected and sometimes he takes our desires and grants them with interest and upgrades!

My faith has been brewing.  My expectation is high.  And I wake up every day in anticipation.  My Pastor said it this week in church, we are only one breakthrough away.  It’s on the way.  As I was praying on my way to work, it occurred to me that even with great faith and expectation, sometimes we don’t see anything on the horizon.  The phone doesn’t ring.  The mailbox is empty.  The routine doesn’t seem to change.  Then the Holy Spirit reminded me, our God is the God that makes something out of nothing.  Not only does He make something out of nothing, He makes greatness out of nothing.  He makes constellations, galaxies and the universe out of nothing.  Romans 4:17 tell us He brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing.

God has given us the ability to imagine for things that do not yet exist.  We are born that way, but some of us have lost it due to life experiences that disappointed and hardened us.  But think about a child.  A child can look at a box and see a boat.  They can look at a strainer and see a crown.  They can step over a crack in the sidewalk and imagine they are leaping over the Grand Canyon.  They can take nothing and make something out of it.  They can take the most mundane day and live it like an adventure.  There is so much we can learn about God from the faith of a child.   There is so much we can learn of His infinite ability to create opportunities and possibilities from the “nothing situations” of our live.

Don’t be discouraged by your “nothing” and start dreaming with the Lord over the big “something” He is about to do with your life.

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