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 8, 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, out 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

When God Says "Not Yet"

August 2, 2016

This dreaming thing can be hard sometimes can’t it?  It is both simple and complex all at the same time. There are so many unknowns.  We step out in faith, pursuing what we believe God has called us to do.  It’s scary.  It’s exciting.  It’s knee-knocking work.  Along the way we store up dreams in our heart and anxiously await the future. 

But what happens when you are ready to pursue those dreams and God whispers to your heart not yet.  Why would God place a dream on our hearts and then tell us it’s not the right time to pursue it? 

I think the answer lies somewhere between a combination of protection and preparation

For years I have felt very strongly that my calling involves writing and ministering to women.  It started off with tiny tugs at my heart.  Leading a small group at church and hearing messages about serving and growing.  Then those tiny tugs turned into more frequent pangs.

I received confirmation to start writing again. I started this blog.  And God revealed to me in so many ways the need for community among women.  I kept seeing this need for a safe place to take all the brokenness and messy stuff to each other.  I saw that women needed encouragement and support more than ever.  So my friend and I began a women’s ministry at our church.   I thought that was probably enough to satisfy what my heart was hearing from God. 

But God is so much bigger than just satisfied.

Those pangs on my heart begin to beat even louder as I discovered more about my calling and purpose.  To be honest, sometimes I still don’t know what this calling is going to look like in the long run, but I can tell you this.  I feel very strongly that writing is a large part of my calling.  I dream of writing books and having my words leap off a page and onto your heart.  I (hopefully) use my words to let you know that you are not alone.  That there is someone else out there that gets you.

I dream of writing Bible studies and speaking to groups of women.  I dream of making the Bible come to life for women.  And I do feel God has confirmed a lot of that for me.  But there is also something He has been speaking to my heart the last few years on all of these God-sized dreams I’ve stored up.

 Not yet.

Two hard words to hear for this dreamer.  Not yet.  It is not time for that dream.  Have you ever sensed God telling you that it’s not time for something?

Now you may think that’s a pretty Debbie Downer way to look at dreaming.  But I would like to encourage you that it’s actually a good thing and I’ll explain why. 

Why God Might Say Not Yet

He is preparing you. I can attest to this idea very much.  Spiritual maturation is an important piece of understanding and pursuing our calling.  I have certain responsibilities that have been handed to me in the last few years that if given to me five or so years ago, I would not have had the experience or maturity to fulfill them the way they needed to be.  It is preparation for a greater calling.

In the season of not yet, God is showing me that He is preparing me for what’s coming.  I need to be sound in His Word if I am to fight the enemy’s lies about my calling, lead women to understand Him more, and have a better understanding of who He is.  I need to figure out my strengths and weaknesses and work on improving certain skills. 

What does this preparation look like for you?   Maybe you need to let go of some things in your life so He can work.  Maybe you’re not in the Word as much as you would like to be.  Maybe you are walking through a hard season and He is trying to draw you closer to Him.  Maybe you are making some decisions in your life that are putting a distance between you and God and God wants you to confess those and return to Him. 

Something else needs your attention first.  A few years ago, I was asked to consider taking a new leadership position.  As I spent time in prayer over it I really felt that God was telling me it was not the right time to take this position on.  As much as I wanted to say yes, I knew that I needed to say no.  A few months later, my husband lost his job and we also found out we were expecting our second child.  When I think back to that decision now, I see God's protection in it. 

God’s protection is not always physical.  Sometimes it is protection of our hearts and minds.  He knows what makes our hearts overwhelmed.  He knows what distractions pull us further away from Him.    

God knew that a hard season was ahead, even though I didn't.  He knew I would need to carry a heavier load and that my family was going to need me more than ever.  That leadership position would have overwhelmed my schedule and more importantly, my heart.  

Sometimes God says not yet because He knows the season ahead and what we will need to face it.  

God knows what we can handle well and what we cannot.  Maybe there is a tough season ahead for you that you’re not even aware of yet.  But God knows.  And He knows exactly where you need to be planted to endure that season and come out stronger.  

Preparation & Protection.  I can't help but see this played out in David's story.  

There were many times when God told David not yet.  As a young boy He was told by Samuel that He would be King.  God had anointed and appointed him.  But did he go straight to the throne?  No way.  God prepared and protected David by calling him into hard seasons and showing him that He was with Him on the darkest days.    

David had to keep shepherding the flock (1 Samuel 16).  He continued to go back to work, hard labor work mind you, and work on his skills.

Then he faced Goliath.  Well hello, Mr. Giant, didn’t think you were part of the plan. (1 Samuel 17)  Sometimes you must first face your own Goliath to get to a higher place of faith and trust in God.

Then we see that David was on the run for many years. (1 Samuel 21)   He was chased and targeted by his father-in-law of all people, for years.  He had to flee for his life.  What a dark season for David.  That definitely wasn’t in the job description for becoming King.  Oh but it was.  It was in the fine print. 

God’s protection, God’s preparation for David.  Do you see this journey?  Then after all of that, David becomes King.

 “So there at Hebron, David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel, just as the Lord had promised through Samuel.”
1 Chronicles 11:3 (NLT)

But David had to walk through some really hard, really difficult faith stuff before the promise of being King was fulfilled. 

So what do you do in the season of not yet? 

Continue to pray.  Read your Bible and immerse yourself in the Word.  Ask God to confirm things for you.  Pray that He will put people in your life in the exact moments and seasons you need to help you grow in your faith.  Hone your strengths, work on your weaknesses.  Because trust me, your calling will bring both to the surface and you will need to be prepared. 

I know that God is placing certain people in my life during this season of not yet to help me work on my craft and calling and they are also inspiring me to dream bigger.  Look at the people in your life right now.  Do you have someone who is pushing you in this season to keep trying and keep dreaming?  

The timing of when we get there and how we get there is different for each of us.  How God equips us is different.  But it all works together for His Kingdom, His glory. 

So maybe you’ve been hearing God whisper to your heart “not yet.”  It can be a hard pill to swallow. But not yet doesn’t necessarily mean no.  And it doesn't mean to stop dreaming.  God is for dreamers, I know this.  We must keep being faithful, keep pursuing our dreams and keep trusting that He is preparing the place and time when He will speak to our hearts now is the time.

Now is the time, sweet child.

-Have you ever experienced God saying to you, “not yet”?

-How have you seen God’s protection over situations in your life?

-Is there something you feel God is using this time to prepare you for?

Still struggling with the season of not yet?  These are some resources that have helped me in the waiting (preparation) period.  I hope they continue to encourage you!

Maybe I Need to Let God Talk More

July 27, 2016

I curled up in the corner of our couch with my Bible and my journal.  I had just a few small moments before the kids woke up and I needed time with Jesus. 

I began my time with prayers of thanksgiving and started to pour out my requests to Him fervently.  Speak to me Lord.  Let me hear a word from you this morning.  I waited.  Then waited some more.  A few minutes pass by as I sit in the silence.  So I began to pray some more.  Soon after, the girls woke up and we began our day together.

Later that morning, I had a few moments to myself in my car before heading into the office.  I hopped on my First 5 App and read through the day’s devotion.  Come on Lord, I need a word.  So I began to pray again.  More requests, more questions.

That night in the shower, I found myself needing more time with Him.  The day had been long, my heart heavy with so many things.  Lord, please talk to me.  I know you hear me.  I need to hear from you. 

Have you ever had time with Jesus in your shower?  It’s one of my favorite places to go to be with Him.  That probably sounds super weird, but let me tell you why.  I know I will have at least 5-8 minutes uninterrupted time with Him.  Since having the girls, it’s quickly become one of my sweet spots to actually be able to pray and reboot.  Although I can’t read my Bible while I’m in there. (unless you know of a waterproof Bible.  If so, please tell me!)

All day I had been petitioning for God to speak to my heart.  I struggled to understand why He wasn’t speaking to me.  But in the last few moments of my uninterrupted shower, I finally got my answer. 

You aren’t letting me speak.

I love how God often speaks a gentle whisper to our heart, but other times, like this one, He just comes out and says it like it is.  You need to stop talking so much and start listening more.

I was so preoccupied with presenting my requests and asking Him over and over to speak to me, that I didn’t leave much room for Him to do any actual talking.  Which led me to a revelation about my quiet time.

Maybe I need to let God talk more.

During my prayer time I'll pause for a few minutes here and there and ask God to speak to me.  After a few minutes of waiting I just keep moving on with my prayers or my thoughts start running together and I start rambling.  Oh my goodness, I thought.  I really do cut God off a lot. Why don't I let Him talk more?

I've come up with a few reasons why I think I do this.  I hope it will give you some encouragement if you find yourself doing the same thing.

I don’t like the silence.  I know in order to hear Him, I need to let my heart and mind be still.  This often requires silence and distractions to be low or preferably non-existent.  This is hard for my on-the-go brain.  But sometimes what my heart needs most is to simply sit in the stillness with God. 

So many things can preoccupy our time.  And even when we’re not physically doing something, our minds are thinking about doing something.  The stillness is good for our hearts.  It can help us refocus on The One we need most to keep the chaos at bay.  I have to learn to be content in the stillness and silence. It doesn't mean that God isn't trying to talk to me.

I get frustrated when I don’t receive an answer right away.  This is a big one for me.  I can be so impatient.  You too?  I can sit and pour my heart out to Him, only to become disappointed when He doesn’t answer me right away. 

But God is not a Magic 8 Ball.

We cannot pray about something, shake Him up, and expect to see “it is certain” or “outlook good.”  I will admit, sometimes that would be nice.  But it isn’t the way God works.  He molds us in seasons of waiting.  He draws us closer and calls us to further trust Him.

Just because I may not receive an answer right away, doesn’t mean God has not heard my heart.  He may not choose to answer me at that time and I must trust that He will in His timing.  

Sometimes God doesn't answer us during our quiet time with Him but He does speak to us in various ways throughout the day.  There have been many times when God has given me a word through someone I encounter during my day, a blog post I read, or a song that comes on the radio.  

It is the same for you friend.  God hears your prayers.  He knows your need.  Look for those special and creative ways He tries to connect with you. 

During this discovery I've also realized I need to ask myself a hard question:

Am I only hearing what I want to hear?  Because I can be so guilty of doing this too.  Maybe God is speaking certain things to my heart but I pick out bits and pieces of what I want to hear and leave the hard faith stuff for another season. 

Recently I’ve been seeking guidance on a few big things I’ve been struggling with.  To help me discern God’s voice in my decisions, I’ve been asking Him to confirm things to me in various ways.  Confirm it through Your Word {scripture}, confirm it through others, and confirm it by giving me peace about the decision.  

I have even asked Him to confirm it in such a unique way that it could only be Him speaking to me. 

Are you only hearing what YOU want to hear?  Or are you letting God speak into the hard places of your life?

When I actually take the time to let God talk to me, I receive such a blessing from it.  It doesn’t always look like I thought it would and sometimes I get a very different answer than originally expected, but it is always worth the time spent with Him. 

God wants to talk to us!  Like He really wants to.  So much so that He gave His Son, Jesus, to die for us.  So we can have that personal relationship with Him. 

And when I think about that and His plan for my life, His eternal love, I can’t help but think that I need to stop talking so much and start listening more. 

Maybe you struggle with some of the things I do.  Maybe today you quiet your own inner voice and the lies from the enemy so that God can speak to YOU.  Let’s encourage one another.  Let's become less so He can become more. 

Do you struggle with letting God speak to you?
How do you discern God’s voice?

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