When I Think of What You Did for Me

April 11, 2017

My sweet Jesus, I've been thinking about you a lot lately.  It's not that I don't think about you every day, because I do.  But it's just that in light of the season that's upon us, there are a few things I must tell you.  I wanted to make my words eloquent and greatly poised for you, but I realize you don’t care about fancy words and carefully crafted sentences.  You care about my heart and my obedience.  My willingness to follow you. My openness to your workings. 

I realize I've never said these words to you before and I’m a little nervous as to how it will all come out.  I want to say it right because words carry weight and I need you to know just how much I've thought about this. 

I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me.
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet.
My Saviour on that cursed tree.

I try to place myself there with you on the moment you uttered the words “not my will, but yours be done” (Matthew 26:39).  I try to imagine you there in the Garden of Gethsemane, surrounded by your own creation, knowing what is to come.

I try to imagine your face as you made the decision that affected the rest of eternity.  The decision that crushed the enemy, that allows us to spend forever with you. 

Jesus, when I think of what you did for me, my heart can hardly bear it.

When I think of the betrayal you must have felt from your own men, and how it must have pained you to hear people mocking you as you proclaimed you were The King. They had already decided who you were long before they pinned you upon that cross.  Your own men turned their backs on you and denied you, and yet you continued to love them.

When I think of the burden you bore as they pushed that crown of thorns down onto your head, I can do nothing but weep. I imagine the thorns piercing your head, and tearing flesh off of your face and it sends a shiver down my spine.

When I think of the heaviness of the cross you physically carried up the hill; the hill that saw my sins taken and my freedom born, it makes my heart ache. You must have felt the relentless weight of the wood and of our sin with each gut-wrenching step.

I wince at the thought of the nails being driven into your hands.  It makes me nauseous to think of the pain you must have felt as the sharp nails pierced your skin and veins.  And it was just the beginning.

You continued through the crowd’s blasphemous claims that you were no king, no one special. You looked down with forgiveness and love towards them.

You were still ministering, still accepting followers up until the last moments.  You barely had any breath left and yet you spoke The Truth to the criminal who was hanging next to you. You were always about us and for us, even in your last moments.

When I think of how you must have felt as the sky went dark and you thought Your Father had forsaken you, I must wipe the tears away.  For it was too much for Him to bear.  He could not watch you die, He could not look upon the sin you took for us.

I think of the sour wine they held up to your mouth to help nourish you in those final moments and how those that loved you and truly knew you must have looked on in horror and felt hopeless.

I can hardly contain my tears when I think of how your mother, Mary, looked on as it all happened.  Your earthly mother, the mother that nursed you, kissed your tiny infant hands and held you close, had to watch her beloved Son take the sin of the world.  The world that rejected Him, mocked Him, and never wanted Him to be their Savior.

I try to place myself there and imagine this as it is happening and I simply can’t.  Because when I try to think of what you did for me, I can’t stomach it.  It’s too much. 

I come undone when I think of the spear that pierced your side because the guards wanted to make sure you were actually dead and that it was all over. But you had already muttered your final words, it is finished, and your mission was finally complete.  

How could you do this for us? My human mind can’t fathom it, can’t dream up the reasons for you becoming our Lamb and taking it all for us. Except that it was Your Father’s plan from the beginning.  And God is so very good and so very purposeful. 

When I play this scene over in my mind as I read through the scriptures and think of what you did for me, it just makes everything else seem so small.

It makes the desire for approval from others seem minuscule.  Because my identity is rooted in You.

It makes me want to love others better and offer more grace.  Because that it was you have shown us over and over through your life and ministry.

It makes me want you over the earthly things of this world like money, status, and social media comments.   Because the blood you shed for me is worth more than all of it combined. 

My Jesus, I can never repay you for what you did for me, for all of us.  But I can pledge my allegiance to you.  I can give my all to you by spreading the truth of the sacrifice that you gave. I can only utter these words over and over again.  

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for taking my place.
Thank you for bearing my sin.
Thank you for rising again.
Thank you for being The Light among the darkness.
Thank you for being mercy and grace lived out.
Thank you for freedom.
Thank you for a personal relationship.
Thank you for your sacrifice. 
Thank you for your love.

You are The Light to the darkness. The Victor over the enemy. The Risen One. The Chosen One.  The King of Kings.  You defeated death on that wooden cross and then rose again.  (John 20).  It is an honor to be Yours. 

I love you Jesus, and because of what you did, I will spend eternity praising Your Precious Name.  

O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead!

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Jesus Paid it All 

You can read about the death of Jesus and His crucifixion in The Gospels below:

Matthew 27    Mark 15     Luke 23    John 19

Let's Stop Playing it Safe

March 30, 2017

For most of my life I’ve played it pretty safe.  I’m usually the girl on the sidelines watching others make brave, bold moves.  You see, I’m not a natural risk-taker.  I’m a risk-weigher, if there is such a thing.  In every situation I weigh the risks and possible outcomes for each decision.  Sounds exciting right?  Yeah, not so much

I’ve watched friends journey to the other side of the world as missionaries to share Jesus with those who don’t know Him.  I’ve watched women be unafraid to pursue their God-given callings.  I’ve seen friends write books and launch new ministries and love on people that others pass by on a daily basis. Through all of it I find myself wishing I could be as brave as they are.

Seeing all of this inspires a bravery I desire, but I’m not sure I have in me.  But I desperately want it.  I want to bravely love Him.  I want to say yes when He calls me to the scary waters.  I want to radiate freedom because that’s what He’s given me through His Son.  I want to walk in His Truth so the enemy has no claim over me, because he has already been defeated. I long to be brave and risk it all for God like others seem to do, but something about full surrender to Him just makes it all too scary.

Over the last year I’ve been pursuing a deeper heart change.  The more I get closer to God, the more I realize that I’ve been playing it safe for too long.  Safe with opportunities.  Safe with relationships and really loving others.  Safe with Him. 

Frankly, I want to stop playing it so safe.  I want to push the boundaries and feel my knees knocking in the way they do when you know something is scary but also worthwhile.  I want to stop being so afraid that I will take a misstep, because I know, like we all do, that sometimes missteps are necessary to get to the more honest place with Him and the bigger calling inside of us. 

I’ve had to step back and ask myself a really hard question. Do I really want God?  I know that I need God.  It’s not a question of need.  It’s a question of want and desire. 

Do I really want God?  Do I want Him enough to be called out of my comfort zone? To go outside of the church walls and love on broken people? 

Am I willing to give up things for Him?  Things that make me happy, things that make my life easier? 

Am I willing to surrender fully to Him?  To His will?  To His calling on my life?  To release the people that I hold the closet to my heart?

Do I really want God enough to follow Him into places I would not normally go? 

Am I living a life that wants God?  Do I want Him over comfort? Over the approval of others?  Over material things and worldly success?

The honest answer to that is no.  I’m not so sure I’ve been wanting Him badly enough to feel uncomfortable.  I don’t think I’ve been desiring Him enough to strap on my boots and really do scary Kingdom work for Him.  To love people that are different than me.  To trust Him in a fearless way.   I think I’ve been living a very comfortable Christian life.  I obey God as much as I want to, but I don’t ever fully surrender myself to Him. 

I recently immersed myself in Acts 28:30-31. 

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

Those last few words about Paul have not left me since I read them.  With all boldness and without hindrance.  Paul taught about Jesus with boldness and proclamation.  He didn’t care what others thought about him. He didn’t care about his comfort or likeability. He cared most about God.  I could take a note or two from this. 

Really what I admire most about Paul is his brazenness for the Gospel.  He didn’t hold back when it came to church conduct or how we should treat one another as believers.  And he most certainly never held back from proclaiming what Jesus had done for him once his life had been changed by Him.

Moment of truth?  I know what it is that holds me back from being more like Paul.  The truth is I’m more afraid of how God will use me if I’m truly set free than if I were too stay comfortable.

I say I want this unhindered life, but I don’t really want to work for it.  I don’t really want to walk it out in faith.  Because what if living a life unhindered and desiring Him above anything else meant giving up a job I love, or relationships, leaving church roles, or moving?

What if all that seems scary because the life God calls us to live as His children is one of complete and utter trust and surrender to Him, and that is something that deep down, we lack. We doubt if God will really come through on His end so we hold tight to the things we need most to let go of.  Relationships. Dreams. Jobs. Our marriages and children.

And we tell ourselves that we’re just being protective. We want God to use us, but not enough to feel uncomfortable or sad or scared.  We want Him to use us just enough to feel like we’re doing our part, but we don’t ever let Him really do His.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live with a Plan B.  I want to know that at the end of my days, I’ve given Him everything I could possibly give Him.  I want to know I ran the race with every ounce of courage and determination that I could.  (Hebrews 12:1)  And yes, that will mean giving up things for Him and surrendering it all and yes, that scares me. 

But I don’t want to do it safe.  I don’t want to hinder myself when it comes to God.

And I get the feeling that deep down, you don’t want to do it safe either.  So why don’t we both just go for it?  You jump, I jump.  If we fall, we fall.  But we won’t fail.  The only way we fail is to keep playing it safe, keep daydreaming of a life unhindered but never getting up our nerve to say “Yes God, use me.”

God gives us free will to choose and ultimately the choice is ours friend. Do we want safe?  Do we want comfortable?  Or do we want God?

I confess, I used to judge the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.  I used to read his story and get so frustrated with him. I would sit there and think my gosh man, Jesus is right in front of you!  How could you not follow Him?  Why couldn’t you just leave it all behind?  Don’t you see the personal invitation you’re getting?

I used to judge him until one day I realized that I was just like him.  Afraid to give it all up and terrified to have to be uncomfortable for Jesus. Scared that He’ll ask me to do something that defies all logic.  Fearful of what others may think. Hesitant to think of what a life lived fully for Him really looks like.

Because it doesn’t look like comfortability friends.  It doesn’t look like logic or approval from others. It means we don’t always know what’s next.  We don’t have the control we often crave. It looks like a life of being unsettled in all the very best ways because when He moves, He moves in mighty ways.

Jesus extended a personal invitation to the young ruler.  His command was simple. In verse 21 He says,

If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

“Come, follow me.”  I have the same personal invitation as the rich young ruler.  You do too friend. 

He can’t change his decision now but we can change ours.  We can say yes to the invitation of following Him, no matter the cost and change our course for eternity. The rich young ruler played it safe.  He didn’t want to give up his wealth (vs.22) or his comfort.  He didn’t want to give up the life he was living.  And man, did he miss out.

I don’t want us to miss the same invitation friends.  Let’s stop playing it so safe and let’s start being brave enough to let Him have every last ounce of us.  Let’s get off the sidelines of our faith and want God more than we ever have before.

What do you say?

An Open Invitation to Release

March 13, 2017

I sit with my head cupped in my hands on the back row of the balcony overlooking the seats below.  My eyes scan the crowd of women with their hands lifted high in praise and hope.  Some of them are desperate to know you.  Some of them are struggling to hear your voice, to feel you.  But you are there with them. 

Some women lend their arms as encouragement as they physically pour themselves over the others.  These women know you well.  They have seen your glory.  They have seen your love drip down from the cross onto them and they know the importance of this moment.  They encourage the others to embrace your love.

This is the moment for many, when they will finally know you.  When they will acknowledge that all of them needs every bit of you.  And I’m supposed to have my head bowed and my eyes closed.  Because this moment, it’s so very intimate and personal. 

And yet I watch. I cannot tear my eyes away.

I watch them unhinge their chains.  I watch them cry out in release.  I watch them accept their new identity.  They are Yours. They are made new.

The speaker continues the invitation by inviting those of us who already know you to release the things that hold us back from wanting you more.  I try to hear your voice over the piano that’s playing softly, yet the sound magnifies on the strings of my heart.  She invites us again to let go.  To release.  To give the thing over that we hold so closely.  The thing we put above you.

I know what the thing is.  You know it well too.  Women all around me are releasing their chains to you, and yet I sit frozen.  I sit chained to my seat, chained to my sin.  Chained to my past.  Chained to the things I know keep me from chasing you harder.

I do not feel you and yet I know you are there.  I cannot hear you but I feel you press in on my heart.  I think I feel you telling me to wait.  That this isn’t the place you want to meet me at.  You want me to let the thing go, but it’s not the time. And so I don’t.  I cling to it tightly because I know that soon you will ask me to do the hard thing and let you have it. 

And so for these last few moments I hold onto it.  I hide it in my heart.  I know it is coming.  I know that soon you will call me to the scary waters, and it’s not a place I want to go willingly.

Later I am at home.  It is quiet.  It is peaceful.  There are no fancy stage lights and no decorations.  Just you. 

I check on the girls one last time before grabbing my bible and meeting with you on the couch.  At first I feel silly.  I don’t know where to start and I think I have heard you wrong.  I open up my bible to the psalms because that’s where I always go if I don’t know where to go.  The scripture I read doesn’t make sense to me at first.  It is all about David’s sin and confession and the pledge for you to take it away from him. 

He has slept with Bathsheba.  He has killed Uriah.  He is in a bad desperate place.  And I wonder what I’m supposed to do with this.  This isn’t right I think.  This was nothing like the moment at the conference earlier. 

But you keep at me.  You tell me that I’m missing it.  To dig deeper. 

And so I do.  I don’t know what I’m doing or what you’re trying to tell me but I know it’s something.  Something big.

I start talking to you out loud.  I hardly ever do this.  I try to be quiet because I don’t want to wake the girls up.  But the pain of the thing I can’t seem to escape and your quiet mercy has tears pouring down my face and me lifting up your name in praise. 

I know that it’s the time.  Here is where you wanted to meet me.  In the quiet.  In the dark place.  In the honest place.  No music.  No pressure.  No one else but you and me.

And you direct me to a scripture that absolutely blows my mind.  I have read it many times before but tonight I notice something different.  Something brand new.  I feel you there.  Revealing to me that it’s time to start trusting you more.  Time to start living the life you’ve called me to live. 

Suddenly I put two and two together.  You show me through your word that I cannot keep pushing past you and going before you.  You reveal to me that I need to let go of the thing in order for you to heal me and in return help heal others. 

I understand.  My breath can hardly catch up with the tears as I confess to you that I have no idea what I’m doing.  I want this thing, this chain taken from me, so I can move forward and do the scary kingdom stuff with you. 

I speak life to the thing you are showing me and I ask if I’m right.  Is this what you’re telling me?  Is this the healing that needs to happen first?  I don’t hear verbal confirmation.  I hear the silence and the distant buzzing of the baby monitor. 

But I am confident I have heard you correctly.  That now, after the acknowledgement comes the hard work, the healing work.  And you show me that this is how you do things.  You take ordinary people and reveal the hard places in our hearts, the things that keep us from you, that hold us back from a life unhindered in you and you make them beautiful. 

This is scary.  This is exciting.  I feel relief.  I feel like you’ve let me in on a secret.  But it’s not a secret. It is your love and how you reveal yourself to us time after time.  I immerse myself in what you have revealed to me.  I ask you to confirm it.  So I am sure.  I tell you that if this is not from you to close the door.  Don’t let me think about it anymore. 

But if it is from you, if this is really the answer to what I’ve been asking you for, I ask you to not let me shake it.  I tell you not to let up on me about it.  I hear no audible voice or strong confirmation.  I only feel your presence telling me that you will hold up your end.  You will let me know.  And for the first time in a long time, I feel absolute peace.  I feel complete trust in you. 

I close my bible and go to wash my tear-stained cheeks.  I take a deep breath.  Breathing in every last ounce of you in this moment.  God you are goodYou are so very good.  I want more of these of these honest, raw moments.  The invitation is open.  It is mine.  I am ready. 

Guest Post: Abolishing Fear One Thought at a Time

March 7, 2017

Friends, I'm excited to welcome Jennifer Dickerson as a guest writer today.  Jennifer's words will encourage you to put your fears up against scripture and throughout this post, helps us to navigate how our thoughts can hold us captive.  Thank you for sharing your words with us today Jennifer! 

A couple of years ago while I was reading a book about prayer, an author’s comment struck me as if I had gotten hit by a baseball. She stated that Satan could not read or know our thoughts. It seemed so simple but something that I had missed completely in all my studies as a Christian. 

I took this comment to my husband, who is a pastor, to get his take on it. He said, “Of course! He is not all knowing. Therefore, he never knows your thoughts.” I guess I have never really thought about it that way. That sent my mind reeling.

If Satan does not know my thoughts, then my thoughts are totally reflective of myself.  This hit me hard in my own struggle with fear.  

The truth is that Satan has no control over my actions (as in the phrase “the devil made me do it”), just as he has no control over my thought life. The fact is that Satan does have the power to put pressures around you to guide your decisions and thoughts.  

When I was younger, I had an affection for particular types of television shows that glorified the supernatural and downright satanic (now that I can reflect on it clearly) world. During that period of my life, I remember having outrageous fears that controlled my actions, thoughts, and even my dreams. When I was confronted with my un-Christ like affections and began to abandon this guilt like pleasure, I began to notice a change in my thoughts. I even had a strength that I never had against these types of entertainment.  

I even remember allowing a so called friend talk me into seeing a very violent and scary movie at a local movie theater. When the movie began, I realized that the pressure in my friendship would create unnecessary fear and chaos in my thoughts. I looked at my friend and said that I couldn’t go through with watching the movie. I then very happily walked out. That lesson cost me about ten dollars, but resulted in a strength that still continues.

Today, I have two beautiful children, a son and a daughter. My son has very strong anxieties and fears. A lot of his fears stem from thoughts that he has created. I stress “he has created.” I remind him that in Philippians 4:8, it says 

“…Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.” 

I am teaching him to take his thoughts and measure them up to this verse. If he cannot say yes to the criteria stated in this verse, then we think of ways to change his thinking. Most fears that we have can also be measured by this verse. They are created by the pressures and situations that revolve around us. 


In Colossians 3:1-2 it states, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” We, as believers, are to be setting our minds on heavenly things. It requires an action on our part. If we dwell on a circumstances or situations without the truth that Christ brings, we are not looking at it with a heavenly perspective. We see it with “earthly-tinted” glasses. We see the anxiety, fear, and pain, not the hope that Christ provides.

Our thoughts that are not grounded and measured by heavenly standards can lead to us not following God’s will or missing out on opportunities that God has placed before us. Writing has been a goal that has been in the back of my mind for a long time. God has put me in the right place to pursue that dream. However, in my thoughts, the fear of failure often creeps up. Will I succeed at this? What if I can’t do this? These kinds of fearful questions often pass though my mind. 

However, I prayerfully measure them by the Philippians passage. The thing is I do not know if I will succeed at my goal. But I do know that trying and following God’s will for me is success. The pressure to be great will not crush the truth of God’s success. That success is ultimately obedience. Fear caused by misguided thoughts can pull me away from what God wants for me.

Thoughts can affect us tremendously. They can be uplifting. Christ can be honored through our thoughts. However, thoughts can also lead to insecurities and fears. They can lead us away from the God that we love and serve. They can separate us from others and cause havoc. We must take action. Our thoughts must be held up to the test of scripture before they take hold of our lives. Seeking heavenly things must be our goal in our thought life. This is one way to abolish fear from our lives.

About Jennifer

I am a wife, mother, teacher, and believer in Jesus Christ. I live in central South Dakota with my husband and two children. Before starting my family, I graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC with a MA with emphasis in Christian Education. I love teaching from the Scriptures and hope to use my experience and education to help other women find hope and encouragement through Jesus Christ.

You can visit Jennifer's blog and website here.

Guest Post: Investments of Confidence: The Lies and The Truth

February 28, 2017

I'm thrilled to welcome guest writer, Anthony Laricchiuti on this week's blog.  Anthony and his wife Sierra are precious people and they are living out what we've been talking about lately on facing fears and chasing dreams.  Anthony writes today on something that we don't often think about when it comes to fear. Confidence.  How often do we let lies and fear affect our confidence?    

Read Anthony's encouraging words and real life examples below. 

Why do we tend to invest our confidence in the world?

According to my recent research of confidence, I have understood that there is self-confidence (the trust or faith that you have within yourself and your abilities) and self-esteem (the opinion you have of yourself).

"Confidence is a complex quality that plays tricks on us, which is why we sometimes lack confidence when we shouldn't, or become overconfident at times when we should show some humility. In short, maintaining confidence takes work." 

 Andrew Tilin,Confidence: A Vicious Cycle

I believe that there is some truth to this statement. First of all, like having a relationship with God, maintaining confidence takes work. Secondly, there are always times when we need confidence and God would never want us to lack that. Lastly, we should not be overly confident as to have this quality replace the humility within our hearts. 

It is super easy to build our confidence from our worldly surroundings. Why? Because it is easily attainable. 

I know that I have my worldly sources of confidence because...let's be honest...I'm not perfect...

My deepest intentions in this post is to break down those sources and how I can use my faith in God to restructure my ultimate source of confidence. 

  1. Work/School
  2. Relationships 
  3. Appearance 

Here are the LIES that come with these investments:

  • Work/School:
    • "I'f I'm not doing a good job, then I'm not enough...I'm worthless." 

  • Relationships:
    • "If someone doesn't like me, then there is something wrong with me...I'm not a good person."
    • "If I do something to make someone upset, I'm a bad person." 

  • Appearance :
    • "If my outfit isn't 'put together,' then I have 'no style'." 
    • "If I'm slightly over weight, then I'm fat, unattractive, out of shape, etc."  

Here's the turning point.  How does God intervene with the Truth?

  • Work/School:
    • "My grace is sufficient enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

  • Relationships:
    • "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:1

  • Appearance:
    • "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14

    • "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7

What am I taking away from this?

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

 2 Corinthians 12:10

I find relief in knowing that my confidence can be restored in God's glory. I am able to "let go" of my weaknesses when God's perfection takes the place of that. God's word has given me grace in the fact that HIS truth is my confidence. His word also shows me how to be humble and grateful for what he has molded. 

I want to conclude with you all a couple of key scriptures that have helped my heart settle in this topic: 

"Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance for what we do not see." 
Hebrews 11:1

My faith in God should be the ultimate source of my confidence, not in the world. This verse has been THE verse that has shaped my faith throughout my life. 

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." 

 2 Corinthians 12:8

This verse is a reflection of how I should naturally plea to take away all the burdens of my heart and all the worldly things that try to measure up my confidence. 

My encouragement to you: let go of what the world says about you and the lies that surround it. Put your faith in a source that never fails and that can always be attainable. My hope is that God, as the ultimate source of your confidence, will provide encouragement, hope, and humility for your heart. 

Credit: Anthony Laricchiuti

Anthony and his wife Sierra make their home in central North Carolina.  You can check out Anthony's blog, The Lord's Day here, where he writes about everyday life as a newly married man, a soon to be therapist, and most importantly a servant of Christ.  

If You Want to Move Mountains

February 14, 2017

I sat on that rustic wooden church pew for what seemed like forever.  Waiting.  I was waiting for God to point someone out to me that needed prayer. Perhaps someone to sit with and pray over.  But that wasn’t what happened.  As I sat on that pew, looking up at the dimly lit cross hanging from the ceiling, I felt God whisper to my own heart.    

Are you going to release this to me?  You’re not wrong.  Yes, I am asking you to step out in faith and do this.  Stop fighting me.  Stop doubting.

It happened at our annual women’s prayer retreat.  I was one of the ministry team leaders hosting the event.  The morning was filled with problem solving, greeting women, and making sure things went smoothly.  It’s funny how God will remind you of who is actually in charge of how things go. 

I walked into the room where I had carefully crafted each prayer station for the morning.  The stations were designed for women to discover areas in their lives that had become a barrier to a closer relationship with God. As I sat down, I waited for The Lord to prompt me with someone who I could help pray for in the room.  

But all I could feel was a heavy weight on my own heart.  I sat there, paralyzed in fear at the thought of truly surrendering myself to what The Lord was calling me to do. I could do nothing but repeat, are you sure Lord?  His words kept replaying in my mind. 

Are you going to release this to me?  You’re not wrong.  Yes, I am asking you to step out in faith and do this.  Stop fighting me.  Stop doubting.

My neck got hot and the tears started to pool in the corners of my eyes.  I sat there gripping my hands around the edge of the pew, practically on the edge of my seat.  I could muster only one word.  Yes.  Yes Lord, if you’re calling me to this, then I will obey.  If you’re asking me to release my dream to you, then yes, I will do that.  Yes Jesus, I will trust that you’re going to be with me on this journey. 

You see, I desire to be a woman who moves mountains for God.  A woman who sparks change.  A woman who calls for generations of women to come together for Kingdom purposes.  And I’ve had this one dream tucked away in the back of my heart for years.  A dream that I thought was merely a daydream but is now being called out and put right in front of my face. 

And I’m absolutely terrified.   But throughout this journey of calling dreams to life, God has reminded me not to focus on the mountain in the distance, but on the hill in front of me.

Sometimes our dreams can feel like huge mountains.  Sometimes our lives can feel like we’re endlessly climbing uphill to get to the view we’re promised will be a good one.  And if I’m being honest with you, as much as I want to be a woman who moves mountains, I’m terrified to start the journey up the hill to get there.  But friends, I know it’s in those very hills where Jesus becomes more real to me than if I’m standing in the valley.

Maybe you find yourself there today too.  You want to be a woman who moves mountains for God but you find yourself looking up at this ginormous mountain in front of you and you’re thinking it’s simply impossible to climb.  Maybe it’s your marriage being restored.  Maybe it’s a prodigal child that won’t return home.  Maybe it’s a dream you have tucked away in the secret places of your heart. 

If you want to move mountains, focus on climbing the hill in front of you.

Some hills are small and we conquer those easily.  They restore our trust in God and we’re able to see his provision during times of difficult circumstance.  Some hills are treacherous, full of thorns and muddy ditches and overgrown bushes.  We need every bit of faith we have just to keep climbing.

Friend, if we start worrying about the big mountain in front of us and remain fearful of the big dream inside of us, then we miss the good work God does in us on the hills.

It’s on the hills where the molding takes place.  It’s on the hills that our character gets defined and we learn our strengths and weaknesses.  It’s on the hills where our callings are shaped and developed.  It’s on those very hills where our dreams become deeper Kingdom-seeking works. 

It’s in climbing the hills that God equips us, steady’s us, and draws us closer to Him.  It’s on the hills where He centers our focus on Him so that when we get to the mountain top, we proclaim His glory and goodness. 

Right now I find myself staring at a monumental mountain.  This dream that I believe God has planted in my heart, it seems so very impossible when I stare at it from the valley.  Because you see, from the valley looking up it seems that I might as well forget this God-sized dream of mine.  It’s seems too hard.  Too scary.  Too unknown.  And yet I sense God continuing to prompt me to start my journey up the hill. 

If you want to be the kind of woman who moves mountains for her God, for her Jesus, then be the kind of woman who bravely takes the first step without knowing where the hill will lead. 

I know it’s scary.  I know it takes a lot of faith.  I know everything inside of you probably wants to run from what He’s calling you to do.  But fear is no match for our God.  So start up the hill.  Your hill.  

It’s in those moments, the moments when you do things even though they are scary, even though they make you tremble, that make the view from the mountain top all the more worthwhile. 

 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

This post was inspired by the newly released book: Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie.  Fear Fighting is one of those books I will pick up time and time again.  Kelly writes from an honest place of experience and hope.  I read the basis of the book months ago and knew that as soon as it was available for release I had to have it.  If you’re someone like me, like Kelly, like so many other women who struggle with fear, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Fear Fighting.  It shines a light on something women need to talk more about-fighting our deepest and darkest fears and claiming victory through Jesus.  

If this post encouraged you, would you consider voting for this post in the Fear Fighting Writers Contest?  It would truly mean so much  and this writer girl would be forever humbled and grateful.  Simply head over to this site and vote for 48!  
Thank you friend!

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