Sent as Grace

Today I am super excited to by sharing my story at (in)courage. You read the first part here:

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The day I turned 37 my husband was deployed to Guam. Three weeks prior to my birthday, I had packed up my household along with my three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son and relocated to Texas.

It was a desperation move, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Only a few months prior, on August 29, 2005, our little family had huddled together with so many strangers, glued to the television in a hotel lobby in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As we watched in horror, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, bringing a 30-foot storm surge to coastal Mississippi, just west of my husband’s duty station, not far from our home. Southern Louisiana was devastated as well, especially New Orleans where most of our family lived.

We were displaced for a few weeks. We drove to Miami, Florida to stay with my Aunt Peggy, then my military husband returned to Mississippi to help with relief efforts. Finally, after a few weeks, the water was safe to drink, the gas stations had gasoline, and there was a pediatrician in town, so I came back with the kids.

When we returned, people were shell-shocked, some were homeless, and many lived in partially destroyed homes. Small businesses stood vacant. There were long lines at gas stations. Grocery shelves were often empty; it was often a 2-hour wait to check out. Weeks after my return, my husband deployed with his unit and I was left alone there with my little ones.

The Lord had been gracious and we’d had minimal damage, which was repaired quickly, so it was easy to sell the house. We spent the holidays at my sister’s house and set out to Texas from there. We moved to San Antonio, our next duty station, and waited for my husband to return from overseas. We got along pretty well, but some difficulties took me by surprise…

You can read the rest over at (in)courage by clicking here!!

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Good Thoughts for Bad Days

fight my feelings often, and sometimes I lose. What brings me back to a good place is Truth. Maybe the scriptures that help me, would help you too?

You can print the scripture collage below on card stock, if you like. Just
click here for the printable version!

Good Thoughts for Bad Days, scripture printable

 Or if you prefer, you can print the sheet below and cut them out separately,
click here for the printable version!

Good thoughts for bad days, scripture printable 2

This is my first attempt to provide you with printables—let me know how it works for you!

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Ashamed to Admit: I Get Anxious

book of Matthew, anxiety, do not be anxious So, when you have a big upcoming event, do you ever get overwhelmed just by the thought of it? Have you ever planned a dinner party and stood at the sink muttering, “What was I thinking???” Have you responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” to a friend’s invitation or a request for help at church, but then felt dread over what was to come? Have you planned an amazing trip, but become paralyzed while packing your suitcase?

Sometimes we taste regret before we actually do anything…

I am going to the wonderful Declare Conference this week.  The vibe at this meeting is accepting, loving, encouraging and open. Yet, conferences always make me introspective (and homesick).  I am packing my suitcase tomorrow [Tuesday], prayers appreciated. 😉

So, when we feel the crush of anxiety weighing on us…it is best to remember that it’s all smoke and mirrors.

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Which of you by being anxious
can add a single hour to his span of life?

I am thankful that we can trust the Lord. He is good and wise and powerful so:

“We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love. For all creatures are so completely in God’s hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.” —The Heidelberg Catechism, Answer 28.

I still wake up with dread some days (for no good reason) or I fear the future (even the “good” things)—these thoughts come without invitation—but they CAN be asked to leave. Turning to the Word is the remedy.  Later this week, the scripture printable I promised when I wrote this post!

Do you ever feel anxious about new things? Old things? Serious things? Silly things?

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“The Lord knows our frame [how weak we are],
He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

Ashamed to Admit: I Lose Heart (part 2)

 

When I lose heart…

 

When I lose heart, it sometimes it has to do with fear about God’s plan for me…will it be too hard? There have been times when God’s plan did not feel like His best for me…did not feel like He could be both loving AND in control and “let that happen”…and yet that is the flesh talking.

When I come to my senses, by coming to His Word, I recall: God IS love (1 John 4:8). He is powerful, and wonderful, and good and wise.  

Is 40.28

I lose heart when I try to apply human understanding to the practice and purpose of prayer. God’s ways are unsearchable. We cannot completely understand Him or what He does. But we can grow in our knowledge of Him which, in turn grows our faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).

Studying God helps us to understand the practice and purpose of prayer.

Think of the thing that you pray about as the fruit of a tree. And remember that God created trees to bear fruit, and this fruit bears seeds that grow into trees of the same kind. These trees have roots that go down deep. All of God’s creation works in this predictable way, including us. This knowledge can guide us as we pray.  —Pastor Ernie Williams

This repeating cycle of fruit production (the natural and spiritual principle of sowing and reaping, as in Galatians 6:7is great if the fruit we are producing is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).  But that is not always the case.

Let’s look at the fruit of Impatience to see how we might “miss” an answer to prayer. People always joke, Don’t pray for patience or God will give you lots of troubles for practice.  Here is the sort of prayer that scares me:

“Lord, do whatever it takes to make me more like You.”

The fruit of Impatience is born on the tree of Self-importance, which has deep, deep roots, grounded in the sin of Pride.

When we pray for God to make us better mothers,
more patient ones,
we are really praying to be more humble,

more like Jesus

When we pray for patience—then completely lose it in the grocery store line—we are humbled in front of a host of people.  Believe it or not, our prayers for patience have been answered!

We might wonder, Where is my help?  God has not answered my prayers; I prayed for patience and had none.  When we don’t see the fruit we have prayed for, we should remember that trees can take years of maturing, before they bear fruit. Patience and love grow out of humility.

God provides us with ample opportunities to grow to be more like Him, but sometimes we miss the forest, looking for the trees (or maybe we miss the tree, looking for the fruit?). This song says it perfectly (if the video does not display, please refresh your browser!).

God’s goals for us are higher than our own. I keep going back to this scripture again and again when God perplexes me. When Jesus’s ways were hard to bear, many abandoned him. He asked the disciples:

“Are you also going to leave?”

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:67-69, NLT).

The more we study the Lord and His Word, the more we know how much we don’t know. And that is good. Tell me, how has God taught you this week?

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