I Feel Called...Now What?

October 19, 2016

They’re there.  You want to push them away and pretend you don’t constantly feel them.  You can’t quite seem to figure out why they won’t leave you, why you can’t stop them from happening.  You make a lot of excuses for why you don’t acknowledge their presence.  But you can’t deny them, even if you tried.  These feelings, these heart tugs, these constant nudging’s that won’t go away, want you to finally surrender.   Give upPut up your white flag.  Answer the call. 

You’re scared.  You wonder if you’ve heard God correctly.  You don’t even know where to begin.  To put into motion all of these things He has laid so heavily on your heart.  But you want to.  You want to be obedient, willing. 

Oh friend I have been there many times.  I have felt the heart tugs, the Holy Spirit’s constant nudging to obey the call He has given me.  But fear gripped me.  Satan’s lies about my inabilities and unworthiness called louder than ever before.  I stood frozen, unsure of what to do next.  Have you been there?

This past weekend I had the privilege of leading a breakout session at our women’s event on calling and purpose.  I titled our session, “I Feel Called…Now What?” because so often we feel a call that God has laid on our hearts, but we aren’t sure what to do with it.  

I want to take a few moments today to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way to encourage you.  Now hear me out, I’m no expert on this.  I come from a place of personal struggle on the topic and as I shared these resources with our group on Saturday, I noticed it was something many of us deal with on some level.  

Find a mentor.

Surround yourself with like-minded passion people.  I know it sounds strange right?  But that’s no typo.  Look around you. Who is doing what you want to be doing?  Who can help you navigate your calling?

Years ago I was with our Acteens group at a teen conference and I spotted a fellow writer and blogger in the crowd whom I had long admired.  I waited around for the right time to go up and introduce myself to her.  The opportunity finally presented itself and I briefly talked with her about how much I enjoyed her blog and how her posts spoke to me.  Then I confessed to her that I felt God calling me to begin writing again and perhaps start a blog too.  With excitement on her face she encouraged me to go after that call, then gave me a few helpful startup tips.   

I would never have expected it, but right then and there we formed a relationship.  Months later after I had started blogging, she asked me to guest post on her blog.  I was elated!  She introduced me to other writers with similar callings and I found myself in the midst of a wonderful community of women who helped me flourish as a new writer.  In that season I was blessed with several new friendships and several mentors who helped me grow and have a better understanding of my calling.

Is there someone that can help you grow in your calling?  Is there someone who is already doing (in some form) what you feel called to do?  Someone you can look to as a resource?  If you don’t have this yet, pray that The Lord will put these people in your path. 

Some of my mentors have been in my life for a short time while we worked on a project together. Some were my age, some older, some through an online community.  Mentors can come in a variety of forms and seasons of life. 

Let me also stress this: find a biblical mentor.  Someone who is in The Word and can speak encouragement and life to you based on the foundation of God’s word.  This will help immensely as you figure out and pursue your calling.

Equip yourself.

Part of pursuing your calling involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses.  What are you really good at or what have people told you are good at?  Perhaps you are talented in music or making things.  Maybe you are a great writer, teacher, or organizer.  Maybe you are someone who is great at recognizing other’s needs.  If you're not sure, let me encourage you.

Grab a spare sheet of paper next to you and jot down 3-5 strengths you have.  It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy.  It can look like this:

Strengths I have:
1.       ________________________
2.      ________________________
3.       ________________________
4.      ________________________
5.      ________________________

Now take a few minutes and think of 3-5 of your greatest passions.  These are the things that set your heart ablaze.  They give you those heart tugs we talked about earlier.  Serving, human trafficking, children, discipleship, youth, music, missions.  It can be anything. 

My passions:
1.       __________________________
2.      ___________________________
3.       ___________________________
4.      ___________________________
5.      ___________________________

Take a look back over your lists.  Do you see similarities?  Do you see where some of your strengths collide with your passions? 

If you’ve never done so, I highly encourage taking a spiritual gifts test. Spiritual gifts are different in that they are gifted to us by God when we become believers.  The tests don’t usually take a lot of time and can help guide you as you assess your strengths and gifts.

Keep in mind.  Passion is a wonderful thing, but it must be met with skill and purpose.  If I don’t put the work in and equip myself, I’m like an artist who wants to paint a picture but doesn’t know how to hold her paint brush. 

Equip yourself and evaluate yourself.  What areas do you excel at?  What areas can you improve on?  Ask yourself these questions often. 

Attend conferences, training's, or read blogs that relate to your calling.  If you want to run your own non-profit one day, you could take a class on obtaining a 501(c) (3) status or go observe other non-profit directors at work.  Whatever this may look like for you, find those helpful resources, do your research, and prepare yourself as much as you can to serve in the way you desire to.

Gather your army. 

A little backstory to share with you.  Before our women’s event this past weekend, I found myself full of nervous energy.  I was anxious of how everything would turn out.  I felt prepared but also nervous about leading a breakout session and I just needed someone to speak encouragement and pray over me.  I texted my sister in law and told her how I was feeling and asked for prayer.  She not only prayed for me, but shared some reaffirming words that my soul needed to hear.  She is in my army. 

An army includes people who can pray specifically for you and for your calling.  It can be family members, friends, church community, and mentors.  It will look different for everyone.  

These are the people that help you, encourage you, and go to battle in prayer for you. 

Do you have people around you that lift you up?  Pray for you?  Pray for your ministry?  Do you have people that help you with projects, events, etc. that are in this work with you?

I know some of you may be thinking, why do I need an army?  How can that really help me?

You need an army friend.  Because there is a real live enemy out there waiting to derail you, waiting to shift your focus off of God, off the Kingdom work He has called you to.  He is ready and more than willing to attack.  Gather your army, your spiritual army, and be ready to fight back. 

Gathering your army is important because at some point, you’re going to want to quit.  You’re going to want to throw in the towel and give up.  Your army can give you that encouragement to keep going and keep pursing what God has called you to do.

It’s important to have an army of believers around you, and it’s just as important to be in someone else’s army.  Be that person who is praying for other ministries, other callings of the women around you.  If you haven’t experienced some of these relationships yet, pray that God will reveal these people to you. 

Stay disciplined.

I know you've heard it before but it's worth mentioning over and over again.  It’s going to be very hard to pursue your calling in the fullest sense if you are not in God’s word.  As believers and followers of Christ, we need to be in the Word of God.  We need to continue to learn more about God and who He is.  We need to continually have a relationship with Him that includes letting Him speak to us and through us from His Word. We also need to be able to recognize Satan’s lies.  We can only do that when we are grounded in the foundation of God’s truth.

Some final thoughts on calling.

It’s not going to look like everyone else’s and often we want so badly for it to.  We want to model our calling after what others have done or the ministry they have.  And while many of us will share the same passions and similar callings, each of us has a special calling that is unique to the work God wants us to do.

Your calling will probably lead you to some scary, messy places.  But that is how we reach others for the sake of The Gospel.  At times it will push you out of your comfort zone.  It will take you places you never imagined.  Isn’t that scary and beautiful all at the same time?

Pursuing your calling is a life-long process.  God gives each of us purpose, but He will continue to call us deeper in our relationship with Him. 

Maybe for some of you, you aren't sure what God is calling you to do.  Maybe for some of you something is holding you back from pursuing your calling.  Don't worry friend.  Keep being obedient, it will come in His timing.  

Whatever stage you are in with your calling, I hope you are encouraged to keep going.  I would like to end with three simple questions that I think can help you no matter what stage you’re in with your calling. 

What’s stopping me from pursuing my calling?

I think God is calling me to:

One way I can pursue my calling is:

So you feel called and you wonder, now what?  Now my sweet friend, you begin.  You take small steps.  You reach out to someone, share your dream.  You take a class, attend that conference or retreat everyone is always raving about.  You center yourself on the foundation of God’s truth, His word. 

You just start.  It doesn’t matter what you do really, just that you start.  It’s not going to be perfect and it’s not going to be easy.  But you can trust that God is going to work it all for good and for His purpose.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

What My 3 Year Old Taught Me about Bravery

September 23, 2016

“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked my three year old as we waited in line.

“Yes, mama. I wanna ride that thing.” She could hardly contain her excitement as she pointed to the ride and looked up at me with fearlessness in her big brown eyes. 

We were at our local county fair when she spotted the kids trampoline jump.  Kids were placed in a harness and attached to these rubber band like strings that would allow them to jump on the trampoline and catapult them into the air, flipping back and forth.

She had ridden the small children’s rides; but a little car that goes around in a circle for a minute and a giant kid bungee are two different things.  At least for my mama heart they are. 

I didn’t want to discourage her from trying something new, but I also wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting herself into.  So I asked her again if she wanted to do it, just to make sure.  She jumped down out of my arms and ran inside the jumping zone to claim her spot.  Go with her, I motioned to my husband.

As the ride worker put her harness on and began to attach the rubber band strings, I stationed myself near the exit gate because I was sure at any moment she would realize what was happening and bolt.  As the machine came on, sending a loud buzz signal to the jumper to start jumping, there she went.  She started off lightly bouncing.  And then the ride worker, who meant no harm, gave her a startup pull-sending her flying into the air.  Shock and panic immediately came across her face. 

I was ready to fly past everyone and get her down myself.  There’s nothing like your baby being scared to enact that mama bear response.  And mama bear here, who had not had a single bit of funnel cake yet, was ready to get my baby down and quickly.

“She’s fine.  Let her be. Give her a minute on it.” My husband said as he walked over to me.

I wanted to smack him for saying that.  Not really.  But you mama’s know how that goes.  I saw the panic on her face.  I knew she wanted off.  But He encouraged her to stay on. 

Here’s the amazing thing.  She did stay on.

She stayed on that trampoline bungee-they make these to scare the mama’s-ride and she started to enjoy herself.  My husband was right.  I needed to let her be and let her experience something that was a little scary but fun at the same time. 

As she finished her ride and ran out to greet us on the other side of the gate, I couldn’t help but tell her how proud of her I was.  She had done something out of her comfort zone, something scary and she ended up loving it. 

As we walked away I realized how often I run when things get scary or when I’m pushed out of my own comfort zone.  She had no idea, but my daughter had just taught me two valuable lessons about bravery.

Don’t be afraid of the ride.

When I was about fifteen, my youth group took a trip to an amusement park.  Everyone was so excited to ride all the rides; especially the roller coasters.  I shared a smile with everyone else and pretended to be excited to ride all the coasters.  But the truth was, on the inside I was completely terrified.   

My palms started to sweat and my heart began to race as we all got in line for the first coaster.  One of my friends took my hand and encouraged me to get on.  “You’ll love it if you just try it,” she said.   And I did.  Oh how I loved that feeling of my stomach flipping and the air coursing through my hair. 

But facing my fear of getting on a roller coaster and facing my fears when it comes to my dreams is a little bit harder for me.  At times I’m afraid to ride out my dreams, to see where they will really take me.  Where God will really take me.

I let the fear of failure stop me from trying.

I let the fear of rejection keep me comfortable in my own safety net.

I fear my abilities aren’t what I think they are.

I fear it’s not what God has planned for me, so it will never happen.

Walking away from the fair that day I realized how much I let fear stand in the way of my dreams.  There have been many times that I’ve let fear take over my desire to pursue something. Perhaps you’re like me and you’re doing the same thing.  You’re afraid to even get on the ride. 

Satan loves to use fear to stop us from fully seeking God’s will for our lives. If we’re too afraid to pursue what God has put on our hearts, then we can’t do the Kingdom work He has called us to do.

And doing real Kingdom work is scary.  But oh so worth it. 

Sometimes pursuing our dreams can be terrifying, just like getting on a ride.  Sometimes it feels like your stomach is going to fly out of your mouth.  Sometimes it takes every ounce of faith to keep going. But we must keep going.

Stay. Even when things get scary. 

I saw the panic spread across Brooke’s face in the instant she went flying up into the air.  Suddenly she was out of control, experiencing something unknown to her.  There were a few split moments when fear took over, but she stayed on and kept jumping.  I could take a note or two from this. 

Stay.  Even when it’s scary.  This one is so hard for me.  Maybe it is for you too.  Releasing control, releasing hopes, dreams, desires, even fears to God-so that He can take us into a deeper relationship with Him, well that takes a certain amount of faith. 

I want so badly to say I do this but the reality is, when things get hard or uncomfortable or scary, I want to run.  I want to do the comfortable Jesus thing. 

If we can learn to hang on during the times when things seem crazy.  If we can learn to lean on the everlasting arms of our sweet Creator, to trust that when He brings us to things-He will bring us out of them.  If we can learn to use fear in a good way, to push us farther, deeper, then we will reap the blessing of that relationship with God.  

It's not easy to stay when things get scary.  Most of the time our natural response is to do the thing that isn't scary to us, that isn't uncomfortable, the thing that keeps us at a safe distance.  

But I don't want to be at a safe distance from God.  I want more.  I want to keep going even when everything in me tells me not to.  I want to keep chasing Him, knowing He will put me places that feel out of my comfort zone, out of my safe place. 

But there is purpose in all of this.  Yes, this dreaming thing is hard.  This faith walk is hard.  It takes guts.  It takes bravery.  It takes humbleness. It takes an unending amount of grace and love that only The Lord can provide.  But I'm ready to be brave.  

So how bout it?  You want to be brave with me?  

Do you want to stay on even it's scary?  Even when you're afraid to get on the ride in the first place?  Do you dare to go deeper with God, to see where He really wants to take you?

"Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Voice)

We're in great company with this bravery thing. Did you know?  Check out some of our Bible brothers and sisters brave moments below.  

-Deborah & Jael (Judges 4)
-David (1 Samuel 17)
-Daniel & his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Daniel 1) *one of my favorites!*
-Rahab (Joshua 1-3, 6)
-Moses (Exodus, Deuteronomy)
-Ruth (Ruth)
-The Disciples (Gospels of: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
-Our precious Jesus
-Paul (much of the New Testament letters to the churches)

Do You Even Hear Me God?

September 9, 2016

I have a certain spot on my couch where I like to sit with Jesus.  I snuggle myself into the corner spot of our sectional and I barricade myself in with about three or four throw pillows.  Let’s face it, five would be overkill.  I love this spot. It's super comfy and inviting and I feel like there’s plenty of space for me, Jesus, and all the junk I’m bringing to Him. It’s ours.  

One recent night, I went into my quiet time with a mission.  I needed to hear a word from Him.  Things were stirring inside of me that I couldn’t quite make sense of and I needed help sifting through it all. 

I decided to spend a few moments reading Breathing Eden because this book has just been wrecking me in all the good ways I need it to.  One of the reflection questions at the end of the chapter centered on the frustrations we have when we can’t hear God.  Oh my goodness do I struggle with this.  There have been so many times I have cried out in frustration and desperation to hear Him more. 

Back when I was brand new mama of two and I felt like I was hanging onto life by the skin of my teeth, I had one of those raw honest moments of frustration with God.

My two year old was screaming in the next room in a battle cry against bedtime with my husband and my newborn started to stir in her bassinet in the corner of our bedroom.  I was overwhelmed and exhausted and felt like I couldn't do anything right. I needed to feel God’s presence in that moment so badly. I laid down prostrate on the floor and buried my face in the carpet. 

God, I know you hear me.  Please speak to me. I need you to speak to my heart in this moment.

And nothing. 

God I know you’re there.  Speak please.

The silence mounted with every passing moment and I only grew more frustrated.

God I know you hear me.  I am not one of those people who doesn’t believe you are real.  I know you can speak to me. I know you feel the weight of my tears. I know you see how much I need you in this moment.  Why?  Why won’t you speak to me?

After some time passed with no word from Him, I got up and wiped my tear-stained cheeks with my old faded t-shirt.  I wondered, do you even hear me God?

Sometimes I get so envious of my brothers and sisters from back in Bible times. Some of them talked to God and had fellowship with Him. Heck, Adam and Eve got to talk with God every evening as they walked around the Garden of Eden.  And I often think, I want that closeness too.

Instead I am left lying on the floor feeling unheard or sitting in my cozy nook of the couch feeling unsettled. And I find myself shrugging it all off, the whispers of my heart speaking so loudly.  Do you even hear me God?

I’m wondering today how many of you are asking the same question.

Do you even hear me God?

You want answers.  You want to know why things are the way they are.  You want God to speak to your heart.  You want to understand him more, know his will.

Some of you may be looking for confirmation for something.  Some of you need to release some pain to Him, but don’t know how.  Some of you question if you even are His child.  

And what I've learned about God is that he's more than willing to handle our questions. So give it to Him.  Every bit of it.  He can take it.  He hears it all.  The praise. The frustration. The anger.  The uncertainly.  The prayers of unbelief. 

We are not alone in this.  Elijah experienced much of what you and I do when we struggle to hear God.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NIV)

Elijah waited for the Lord to speak to him in a big way, but God chose to come to him in a gentle whisper.

A lot of times we expect God to speak to us in these mighty big ways, but sometimes God appears in subtle ways, in the little things and moments. God speaks to us in so many forms-through music, other people, through the beauty of His creation, through His grace and protection.

Our task, much like Elijah’s is to open our hearts and listen through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  

If you find yourself really struggling to hear God, try asking yourself some of these questions to help guide your time with him:

Am I open and ready to hear God with my heart AND mind? Because sometimes our focus lies elsewhere, preventing us from hearing him.

Am I only being open to what I want to hear?  
Am I expecting God to tell me something that I want to hear, therefore shutting out his real response to my heart?

Is my prayer life reflective of my relationship with God? Am I having time with him everyday? Am I reading His word? 

Is there an unconfessed sin in my life?  It can be hard to open up ourselves to God if we are holding on to past pain or sin. If you're not sure, ask God to reveal this to you.

If you have gone through these questions and still feel like you're struggling to hear God, know that you are not alone.  During the times when you find yourself wondering if God even hears you, go back to the things you know to be true of Him. 

God is a good God.  He will work all things together for a purpose and for good (Romans 8:28).  He has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).  He will help you overcome whatever obstacle you are facing (John 16:33). 

As frustrating as it can be to have more questions than answers, there is one thing I do know is certain.  He is there with me.  While I can’t hear His voice, I can feel His presence.

I felt His presence that night when I fell to my knees and sobbed into my bedroom carpet.
I felt His presence the night I sat on my couch wondering why I felt so screwed up if I knew I was deeply loved by Him.

I feel it when my questions for Him far exceeded His answers for me.

I feel it on the days when I feel I am not enough.

On the days when it seems I can’t bear one more burden.

And I have learned that that must be enough.  God absolutely hears our prayers, our outcries of desperation and need for hope. He is there with me and he is there with you too.

Yes, God hears your prayers sweet friend. He may not always answer you, but absolutely He hears them.

To the woman who longs to cradle her belly in joy, wondering why you haven’t see those two pink lines yet, God sees you and He hears your desires.

To the stay at home mom who stands at her kitchen counter surrounded by screaming little ones and cheerios on the floor, who worries if she made the right decision in choosing to stay home-He hears your cries of uncertainty.

To the young girl who cries in her bed late at night because she doesn’t look like the other girls in her class, sweet girl He hears you.

To the mama who spends her nights worrying about her older children-where they are, what they’re doing, just praying they make good choices and decisions-He sees your weariness, He hears you too.

To the woman standing in front of her bathroom mirror, pointing out every imperfection she sees, wondering if He hears the longing in your heart to be loved, to be wanted. He hears you beautiful sister. 

To the woman sitting in her car, gripping her steering wheel because it’s the only thing she has control of at the moment-God sees your fears, your anxieties.  He hears you friend.

Keep seeking Him. Look for Him to speak to you in the less than obvious ways. He is there. He always will be friend. 

To the Early Childhood Educators

August 24, 2016

Is it just me or has the summer gone by faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 meter race?  My goodness it was quickI’m not sure where you’re reading this from today, but around here the school year is getting ready to gear up. School supplies are being purchased, new clothes are hanging in the closest, and mandatory pictures are being taken to mark the milestone of starting and returning to school. 

You may have read some posts on this subject already.  The posts dedicated to moms who are sending their children off to Kindergarten for the first time (I’m bookmarking those for when it’s my turn).  They are so very good and encouraging.  You may have read some dedicated to teachers and other school staff.  Oh my goodness, teachers…what would we do without you all?  You are such a gift. 

All of those posts are well warranted and very much needed.  That’s the beauty of this whole blogging thing-it takes a village to get the message out.  But today, I wanted to say a special thank you to some of the people that perhaps aren’t normally recognized during this busy time of year.  A post for the ones that often lay the ground work for our children and their future. 

Today I want to take a few moments to love on and extend my gratitude to all of the early childhood educators out there.  You have a special place in my heart.  Here’s why: 

The first day I dropped my oldest daughter off in her classroom was scary for me.  She had only been cared for by family up until that point.  I had so many questions.  Would she be loved on?  Would she cry when I left her?  Would she nap well?  How would she be around other kids her age?

You not only answered every one of my questions, you so gently loved on me, still a fairly new mama, and assured me that she (and I) would be alright.  Looking back, I don’t remember if she cried but I do remember feeling peace when I closed the door behind me.  Peace you gave me.

As a working mama, one of the challenges is often finding care for your children during the day.  A place where you know they are being loved on and cared for. That is why what you do is so special and unique. 

You have a unique calling placed on your hearts.  A calling to care for little ones, to help raise them up.  Perhaps to some it seems that what you do is not as important, but for me and so many other parents, it’s immeasurable

Let me tell you, I could not do what you do.  I was not designed for it. In all honesty, a full day with my girls prompts several opportunities for me to question my sanity.  And here you are, classrooms full of little's.

Many of you start early in the morning and do not leave until late in the day.  Like school teachers, you spend your own money on classroom supplies and use your artistic talents to make your classroom warm and inviting to the children you are working with.  You get children excited about letters and numbers and reading.  At an early age, you help spark their love of learning.  What a truly amazing talent. 

I want you to know that I view you not just as my children’s teacher, but as a co-laborer in this Kingdom work of raising them.  You have an influence on so many things, probably some you don’t even realize.

When my daughter came home one day and knew that her name started with the letter B, that was because of you. 

When we played hide and seek one evening and she counted 10, 11, 12, 13….that was because of you.

When I announce that it’s time to say the blessing at dinner time and my 15 month old folds her hands together and starts singing God, (more like “Gooooddddd”) that is because of what you do.

And when my three year old was able to recall the story of Jesus’ death to me, it wasn’t simply from my teachings, it was from yours as well.  You are helping lay the foundation.

You are very much part of this Kingdom work.  I’m sure that like any job, you feel that your role can sometimes become mundane.  I’m sure there are days when you feel like you aren’t making a difference.  I’m sure there are days when the day seems like it can’t end soon enough.  I know you wear many hats that I’m pretty sure are not in your job description.

Boo-boo kisser.
Conflict manager
Creative artist
Parent re-assurer (yes, I made that up)
Playground referee

That last one encompasses so many things doesn’t it?  You are so many things, but teacher is one of those words that carries with it more weight than we realize.  That’s why what you do is not just a job.   It is a calling. 

The patience you have is a gift.
The compassion you offer is countless.
The special love you give is priceless.
The calling you have answered is a worthy one.

What you do is hard work.  It is often selfless and unappreciated.  But that is the thing about a calling isn’t it?  It is so often hard and unrelenting, and we don’t always see the fruits of our labor. 

So while there might not be a bunch of fancy pictures being taken on the first day of school, I want you to know that for all you do and for so much more, I am so very thankful for you.  

You are important.  Your gift of working with children is unlike any other.  You are loved by so many. 

If you are an early childhood educator, may I leave you with this prayer?

Almighty Father,
What a gift you have given us in early childhood teachers.  I am often at a loss for their patience and compassion for young children.  What a treasure they are.  As a new year begins, my prayer for them is that they continue to find fulfillment and joy in their callings.  I pray especially for their strength and endurance on the difficult days.  For the days when the children test their patience and they feel they are not making a difference.  I pray you will continue to whisper perseverance to their hearts.  Thank you for the blessing of teachers who do this hard work.  Confirm their callings to this Kingdom work and lead them to you so that they can lead children to Your Son.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

When You're Overwhelmed with the Brokenness

August 18, 2016

You don’t even have to turn on the news to know that our world is in a desperate state of brokenness.  Countries are divided.  People are endlessly suffering.  Nothing seems secure or even safe anymore.  Brokenness is everywhere.

I’ve had to stop reading the articles.  I’ve had to turn off the TV and get off social media.  I cannot hear about one more child being abused.  One more brothel being raided (though this is a good outcome) or one more issue dividing God’s people.  Shootings.  Wildfires.  Severe flooding.  My heart is just hurting for God’s people.  It’s not that I want to keep my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening.  I know it’s happening.  I cannot deny it. 

I am simply overwhelmed by all the brokenness.  

Do you ever feel this way? 

You want to help.  You want to reach out and comfort those that are hurting.  You want to take the pain away from your brothers and sisters.  But you don’t know where to start or even if you can help.  There are so many people who need help. Who need love and compassion.

What do you do when you’re just plain overwhelmed with all the brokenness?   

What do we do when the problems of the world seems so vast and unreachable?

We must simply begin.  We begin by acknowledging that as individuals, we cannot take on everyone’s burdens.  That is not our job that is Jesus’ job.  He already took care of that when He died on the cross.  I once heard Jill Savage say in an interview that she found great peace in knowing that even Jesus during his years of ministry went to bed every night knowing not everyone was healed.  There was always more healing to be done. 

We begin by recognizing that not everyone’s brokenness looks the same.  As believers who are supposed to be the Body of Christ, we have to stop deciding whose brokenness is worthy.  Friends, we are all broken in some way.  Brokenness doesn’t fit into a box and neither does Jesus.  As The Body we should acknowledge and encourage each other no matter the struggle. 

When I look at our world today, even when I look at The Church today, sometimes I get very sad.  I get overwhelmed with how much work there is still to be done before Jesus comes back.  I look at the state of things and I’m often discouraged.  There is no way we can do all this Kingdom work.  It’s too hard.  The suffering is too great. 

But then I am gently reminded about this whole bearing brokenness thing.  You see, it’s what the Body of Christ was designed to do.  Reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters regardless of any differences, helping to bear the weight of their heartbreaks and struggles. And while it breaks my heart to see people’s pain and the devastation of certain situations, I know that’s how God has designed us-to hurt for one another.

If we weren’t created to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens, then what is the point of being The Body of Christ?

Ultimately we know that the brokenness and suffering of the world will go on and it will not cease until Jesus returns to take us home.  He is the answer to the brokenness.  He always has been. But there is something we can do in the meantime.  

Being part of The Body means we must put on our armor and go out and fight for our brothers and sisters.  Fight in prayer.  Fight through loving them fiercely.  Fight for The Kingdom of God to bring healing to those hurting.  (2 Corinthians 10:3)

And you my sweet friend, have the opportunity to be a part of that if you would like to. When you’re overwhelmed with the brokenness, do you know what you do?

You start small.  You do what you can for people.  (2 Corinthians 8:12)

Start with your family, your friends, your church or community.  Sometimes it’s as simple as spreading kindness.  Pay for someone’s order next time you go through the drive thru.  Compliment someone you normally wouldn’t.  Offer grace and compassion instead of judgement to the next person you see in line to get help or assistance.  You would probably be surprised at how welcomed that emotion would be.  You see friend,

Every action we take has the ability to point others to Jesus.

Use your callingIf you feel called and overburdened with the issue of human trafficking, go volunteer for an agency on the front lines of the issue.  If it simply breaks your heart to think of someone going without food or shelter, start there.  Do a mission project for families that are homeless or in transition, or go volunteer at a shelter or agency that helps families. 

God will break our hearts for many things as The Body, but He will break our hearts for some very specific things that relate to our callings.  He will impress certain areas of brokenness on us that point directly to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.

Maybe for you it’s helping families.  Maybe it’s working with animals.  Maybe it’s world hunger.  Disaster relief.  Women’s issues.  The list could go on.  Don’t ignore those heart tugs. 

Friends, we are called to do better.  We are called to help our brothers and sisters.  To use the gifts and strengths that God has given us to help heal the world’s brokenness until Jesus’ return. 

Sometimes I do get overwhelmed with the sadness of our world, our fellow people.  But I rejoice that there is a day coming when brokenness will no longer exist.  We will be whole. 

Until then, I find great encouragement from Paul’s words to the church in Corinth: 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11 (The Voice)


Unleash Your kingdoms power
Reaching the near and far
No force of Hell can stop
Your beauty changing hearts
You made us for much more than this
Awake the kingdom seed in us
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ
We are Your church
We are the hope on earth

Build Your Kingdom Here, Rend Collective

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