A prayer for my children

Our oldest is starting kindergarten this year, and as we run around trying to get everything she needs to prepare for this new stage in her life I couldn't help but take a moment to sit back and reflect on what is the most important "preparing" we can do for her. That spiritual "prep". How can she be prepared to deal with what's ahead? Not just this year, but the rest of her life? I've come to realize there is no greater weapon against the currents of this world than prayer. The prayer of mother or father can move and shake mountains. Which is why I wanted to share this very personal prayer I wrote for all my children, and hopefully inspire you to pray daily for yours. Whether they are in diapers or graduating college, they will always need your covering in prayer.

A prayer for my children:

"God I pray that ALL my children will know you. That they not only encounter you but that their lives may be devoted to you. That your love may shine through them and minister to whoever comes their way. That they may spread your love and joy wherever they go.

That they dare to love deeply and unconditionally, just as you do. That when they speak they lift others and exalt your name. That their lives may reach the potential of what you have created them to be. That they may look to YOU to find themselves, their Creator.

That they not be deceived by the "glamour" in this world or what it claims to offer. But that they walk in wisdom guided by your hand. That they may never change or alter who they are in you because of a lie. But that they stand strong in the face of opposition and be victorious.

God I pray you make me the mother they need to care for them and send them the right direction. Let my guidance always be love filled with a word of life inspired by you. That my words build them up, not tear them down.

That my daughters may be God filled powerful women, devoted to you, their husbands, and their families. That my sons will be courageous men filled with your power and anointing, fighting for souls and for their families. That they care for their wives and children as you care for us.

Teach us how to be the parents they need. Inspiring and comforting, not judgmental or harsh, leading them to you in all we say and do.

Teach us Lord, we are imperfect but willing. We look to you for guidance and strength against all troubles we may face. We trust in you, you are our rock. Our solid foundation, never changing. God almighty forever and ever Amen."

Beauty in the worst times

In those moments we feel stretched to the limit, where we think we're about to snap or even break….that moment contains the most amazing opportunity to encounter God in way we could never imagine.

We are pastors, and contrary to what some believe our life is not perfect. We go through trials. Heavy ones. We cry, we hurt, we bleed. We cry out to God for things others could not imagine, or even understand. Yet I have found in my worst moments, God has never failed to show up. He has shown me he's there. His presence alone is enough to lift all troubles away, even when the solution has not yet come.

In a recent situation I felt my heart growing heavy, and I let impatience get a hold of me. I asked God questions I honestly don't ask him often…..Why are we going through this? What did we do? Where did we go wrong? After a few minutes of genuinely pouring out my anger and speaking to God with transparency I walked out of the room feeling vulnerable, hurt, and waiting for a response.

A little while later as I rocked my youngest I heard the words to a song my husband was playing in the other room. "All I need is you…..all I need is you, Lord." At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit come to comfort me. My heart began to sing and in an instant the heaviness was lifted. God reminded me at that moment that my security lies in Him, not what my eyes see.

I don't need to have it all resolved to have peace. He IS the peace I need. He is faithful to take care of my situation, but in the meantime he wanted me to know HE was enough for me.

Beloved, HE is enough for you. You don't have to have it all figured out, but talk to the one who knows and is constant. Faithful, loving and perfect in all He does. Even in the worst times, there is beauty.

But I don’t have time

If asked what are some things you wish you had time for, what would you say? It’s ironic how living in a time where everything is manufactured to be quicker, more time efficient, we’re still plagued with this all too known phrase “but I don’t have time…”.  I wish I could…but I don’t have time. Countless things could fill in that blank. I wish I could work out, I wish I could spend more time with my kids, I wish I could read my bible more, I wish I could pray more….but I don’t have time. I can’t even count the times I’ve heard this come out of  people’s mouths, even my own.

It wasn’t until I left my job and became a full time mom that I realized if I didn’t have time for something, it was my fault. For a long time I blamed having a job, responsibilities of ministry, and even having kids as an excuse for things I knew were important but I couldn’t get done. I’d constantly think “If only things were this way or that way, then  I’d have time…”. Then I found myself saying those exact same words even when I did have the time. I simply wasn’t making the time.

More than once I’ve heard my husband quote, “Excuses only satisfy the person that makes them…”. And he’s right. Excuses are just that, excuses. And unfortunately the thing people make most excuses for is their spiritual growth. We think God will understand that our lives are “just too busy” to pray, to fast, to serve in ministry…  We tell God “fix this in my life then I’ll have time to serve” or “then I’ll have more time to go to church”. Sound familiar? I hope not, but if you do find yourself saying this, think about Daniel. Daniel was a man of prayer, he had a deep connection with God because he knew the place God deserved in his life. When you intentionally give God the time he deserves, things will change. Everything will begin to align itself in your life, because you have given Him priority.

What a struggle we have sometimes, giving God his rightful place. Daniel 6:10 says that even while knowing the decree that had been placed Daniel prayed,  “just as he had done before.” Even in the face of death Daniel did not waver in his devotional time with God. But how many times do we give up just 5 minutes of morning time with God for 5 more minutes of the snooze button! It’s not that we don’t have time, we simply don’t make the time! When something is a priority in your life you make time for it. Even simple things like brushing your teeth, taking a bath, and eating a meal. You make time for it because you understand its importance. God forbid you go day after day without brushing your teeth because you “don’t have time.” Or go for weeks without showering because you “keep forgetting” or “things keep coming up”.  Excuses.

I’ll leave you with this, a bible commentary I was reading (because I’m nerdy like that) went like this: ” Daniel prayed openly and avowedly; and though a man of vast business, he did not think that would excuse him from daily exercises of devotion. How inexcusable are those who have but little to do in the world, yet will not do thus much for their souls!” Ouch. Priorities….they are priorities because you make them, not because they have the time to be. I encourage you to analyze your life. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, or to have the perfect handle on managing my priorities. But God has brought this conviction to my heart, and I have to share it. I pray God may become the center of your life so you can enjoy His abundance of blessings. You will never go back!

Helper

    img_3008You may have heard  a common phrase that says “A woman’s heart should be so into God that a man has to seek Him to find her.” This is a helpful concept especially in the beginning stages of a relationship. However once a woman has opened up and has followed the path that now makes her a wife or “suitable helper” (Gen 2:18) things make a slight shift.

Mankind was created with an instinct to lead. This is reflected in Genesis 1:26 “…let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” This authority was given in a general sense to mankind. However when you continue reading you encounter a reflection of God’s thought process when he created Adam and Eve. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2:15) Meaning he was now to govern the earth responsibly under God’s authority. But with every living being God had created “no suitable helper was found” (Gen 2:19). So God created Eve.

Eve was created to unite with Adam and “help” him, not “lead” him. God gave Adam specific instructions and then provided the help he needed through Eve. Husbands have a responsibility to take care of “the land”. What would now be their homes, wife, and children. Wives have a responsibility to “help” their husbands. However nowadays the subject of a woman’s place is a controversial (and touchy) one. Nonetheless God’s original intent still remains. The privileges that a woman carries now in the secular world like that of career, position, leadership are often times confused with her role in her home when she stands alongside her husband. Both positions as husband and wife have a great weight and will both be held accountable before God. They were designed to compliment and balance each other out. That is why when a couple has God as the center and glue of their marriage they will as a result draw closer together. It will unite them in a way nothing else can and become fulfilling not only to both of them, but to the family as a whole.

A “helper” has immense value. They  relieve burden, work together, team up, follow, encourage, lift up….and the list goes on. They have influence as well, are heard and have a voice. A wife is not left behind but rather walks alongside her husband. She supports him and in return receives what she yearns from him and the family; appreciation, value, admiration, and love. That doesn’t mean if she is not currently receiving these things she should diminish her devotion, but continue on because not a detail of her life is overlooked by the Creator. She will be rewarded in due time, as will the husband who takes on with diligence the responsibility that was given to him.

A marriage is a team, and when one role is lacking the marriage as a whole is affected. It trickles down to the children or anything else they lead as a couple. Whether it’s their home, a ministry or a business. Women if you can embrace God’s intent for your role as a wife, you will become a breath of life to your husband and children. Encouraging in everything you speak  and helping your husband in the guidance of your family. Sometimes it’s a difficult task in itself figuring out how to be that, I’m still figuring it out myself. But with God’s help and his Holy Spirit inside of you he will guide you and teach you every day. Embrace your role and its journey, it will not be in vain!

Preserve my life

img_2327Growing up in a Christian home is not easy. What is meant to protect us can be seen as just rules, limitations, being excluded or ridiculed by peers because we can’t or don’t partake in the things they freely do. Without relationship with God, these can easily lead to frustrations, anger, or rebellion. It’s argued that we can’t be ourselves or express who we are because everything is a sin. The current culture mindset never helps, because many don’t realize anything that makes us the “center” of our lives only brings a halt to what can truly fill our lives.

The phrase “Live your own truth” is lived out in many lives. It’s labeled and used erroneously as expressing yourself and celebrating “individuality”. This causes many to view Christianity as just rules that block “being who you want to be”. Many soak up this advice and use it to justify what in reality is just an indulgence in our sinful nature. True expression and individuality can only come forth when you go back to the root of your creation, and your Creator. The one who KNOWS you, better than you know yourself.

What the world sees as being “narrow” or “closed” minded, is meant to preserve my life. What is taught in a Christian lifestyle, when guided by the Word and Holy Spirit is not because it makes us “better” than anyone. Nor does it bind us from being who we are. It PRESERVES who God created me to be and allows me to find myself in Him. Like an artist takes steps to preserve their painting, so our Creator seeks to preserve us.

Being a follower of Christ does not mean my life is limited, full of rules, or expectations of being a “perfect” person. If means true freedom, victory, living a life that is fulfilled, and knowing who I was created to be. It means now my life is preserved, through His Word, teachings and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

If you are searching to find yourself, looking to discover who you are and where you are destined to go,  I encourage you to start by asking the one who created you. His guidance will preserve your life. His Word says in Jeremiah 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”. So why start anywhere else.

 

 

He is good, even when he gives bad.

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When there are no words that comfort, no strength to hold us, no embrace that brings us peace, He is there and He is good. In that moment when our heart is in tears and we struggle to be strong because that is what we are “supposed to do”, He is there and He is good. When deep breaths and suppressing emotions feel like the only way to make it through the day, and when we “know” He will never leave us yet feel so isolated and misunderstood. In these moments in life that bring us pain we are not meant to handle, He is GOOD.

We need pain. It is what breaks us down and points us in the direction we need to go. Right into God’s loving arms. The earth is screaming in pain. Pain that you and I may not see but can experience through what God allows into our lives. We never want it, we run from it, and we sure don’t understand it. But through it all He is GOOD. And in His goodness He takes us through the process to perfect what He is doing in us.

No one likes to talk about the process. The ugliness of it, the questioning, the tears, the desperate longing to reach the end. Yet in the midst of our suffering God continues being God. No amount of pain can take away from who He is. And He is a GOOD God. His word says “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (Psalms 105:4). In Him we WILL find the strength.

I currently walk through my own process as I deal with the pain of suffering a third miscarriage. My heart aches still as I watch my children play and long for the three who “should have been”. Yet after struggling and questioning there was nothing left to do but surrender. Surrender to the process that He wanted to take me through and allow me to discover more of who He is. And I saw more than ever that His goodness is eternal.

If you are going through a painful process, know that he is holding you, even when you have stopped holding on. Let his work be perfected in you and see the beauty in the process. He is infinitely good, even when he says yes to the pain that comes. His word assures us that his love surpasses all understanding. And love is fueling his every stroke in our lives. Believe in His goodness, even when He brings you pain.

He doesn’t NEED your worship.

IMG_0128Yes, that’s right. He doesn’t need it. Our worship doesn’t define God. It doesn’t make Him any more or less who He is. Somewhere in our minds we think that because it pleases Him, it must mean that He’s getting something out of it. When in fact it is quite the contrary. What if I told you that WE are the one who benefit when we worship Him…. There is an immense process that goes on inside of us when we push through the boundaries that our own flesh puts on us making us feel too tired, too busy, too embarrassed, too awkward… you get the point. Your worship does not bring Him closer to you, it brings YOU closer to Him. He has always been there. Hasn’t moved, and isn’t planning to. He is the God who was, is and always will be. The God of all the universe does not grow stronger because people worship Him. We are the ones who grow stronger with each breath we let out in our moment of worship. Feeling guilty? Not worthy? None of us are, but in the midst of our sincerest worship we are made new. We are given a new chance and opportunity to start fresh that very moment. In our worship we are opened up for God to cleanse us, strengthen us, and embrace us in His love. So no, He doesn’t need your worship, YOU have a need to worship Him.