Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Missing Mommy

July 25th, 2010

Little John misses his mom. I sit him on my lap until he feels he can function again. He ventures away to play. I move on to new tasks. I hear a couple of deeply drawn breaths and ask my compatriot whether she’d heard a cry coming on. She hadn’t, but when John starts crying again, she looks at me and suggests that I’m telepathic. I’m not. I’m just attune to his sorrow.

Jarell misses his mommy too–but my lap isn’t enough to calm this little fellow. He wraps his arms around my chest and buries his head in my shoulder. He wants to be as close as he can be. I understand the feeling. I hold him close and let him take comfort in my nearness. It takes him almost half an hour, but eventually, he is ready to move forward, returning every so often to remind himself that I’m still here.

Cooper is generally stoic, playing happily with the other children. Today, he plays almost as usual, except that he periodically turns to me to say “I miss my mommy.” His little lower lip quivers as I respond: “I know. It’s hard missing someone.” I know.

McKenna asks me if her mommy will be back soon. I tell her it will be a while. A couple minutes later, she’ll be back to ask me again. She misses her mother, she wants her back. She cannot comprehend the scale I see, the hands of the clock ticking away the minutes. “I know it’s hard,” I tell her, “but trust me. She’ll be back.”

I am McKenna, Cooper, Jarell, and John–sometimes almost unaffected, sometimes incapacitated by the pain. I don’t understand what’s going on outside the walls of my nursery. “Where is my mommy? What is she doing? When will she be back?”

God, omniscient, knows what’s going on even when I don’t. He watches the clock, knowing the time when my suffering will end. “I know it’s hard,” He says, “but trust Me. It won’t be long.” Still, every few minutes I ask when the pain will be gone.

Does He feel my pain as I feel theirs?

Certainly He knows of me what I know of them–that this present suffering is only momentary.

And thus He calls me to rest, to trust, and to enjoy the place I’m at right now.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
~II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

I don’t feel…

February 9th, 2010

Love Month Banner

I don’t feel like talking about being single today.

I don’t feel like talking about being content today.

‘Cause today I don’t feel particularly content. Today I’d rather not be single.

The apostle Paul speaks of learning contentment. And it certainly is something that must be learned.

“For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:11-13

How has Paul learned to be content? I dare say that he learned to be content by having ample opportunity for discontent. He had been placed in each of those situations that required contentment.

And how did he do it? How did he become content in each of those situations? He did it “through Christ who strengthens [him].”

He didn’t learn contentment by relying on his own strength. He didn’t learn contentment by trusting in his feelings. He learned contentment by relying upon Christ’s strength, by trusting God’s direction.

I’ve had ups and downs in my single journey, as I’m sure many of you have. I’ve had times where I experienced, where I felt incredible peace and purpose and contentment in my singleness. And I’ve had times where I felt conflicted, torn, overwhelmed, and utterly desirous of anything but singleness.

One thing has enable me to continue in this journey to contentment. That is, that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Through Christ who gives me strength, I can repent of the sin of coveting my neighbor’s home, her children…her husband. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can take deliberate steps to bless her and to avoid temptation. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can choose to be obedient to the word of God above my feelings.

Through Christ who gives me strength, I can resist the temptation to lust. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can put down the book with the engaging story-line, but with sexual or emotional content that arouses my body and heart. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Through Christ who gives me strength, I can honor God with this season of my life. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can serve the body and the lost in this time. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can budget and change my oil and work a job.

Through Christ who gives me strength, I can rejoice with those who rejoice in their engagements, weddings, children. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can bless the well-intentioned but hurtful comments that others make about my singleness. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can bear up under the misconstrued assumption others make that I’d rather be a career woman. Through Christ who gives me strength, I can do all things.

The problem comes in when we focus on our circumstances rather than on Christ. The problem comes in when I look at all the things I don’t have–instead of the One I do have. The problem comes in when I look at the paths God has closed to me–instead of trusting Him with the path He has chosen for me.

Earlier this week, I was reading the story of the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and I was struck by the purposefulness of God.

When God delivered the people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, He didn’t take them by the most direct route. He led them by a longer, more circuitous route. Can’t you just see the people questioning? “This isn’t the way,” they must have muttered under their breath. “What on earth is God thinking?”

They didn’t know, but Scripture tells us what God was thinking. “God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.'” (Exodus 13:17) God knew that the test along the “direct route” would be too much for the people to bear. It would induce them to return to slavery. And God didn’t want them back in slavery–so He led them by an alternate route.

Yet opposition came along this alternate route too. With the sea at their front and their pursuers behind them, the Israelites were stuck in an impossible situation.

Unable to see God’s plan, the people complained that it would have been better for them to stay enslaved than to taste freedom only to be destroyed.

But God had a purpose, a reason for choosing this particular route. He knew that Egypt would pursue. He knew that the way would be blocked. He planned it that way–so that “I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 14:4)

God deliberately chose to place Israel in an impossible situation so that He could show Himself as God by doing the impossible for them.

God had a purpose both in the path that He closed and in the path that He chose.

If God has you as a single person right now, there is a reason for that. There is a reason that He has closed the door to marriage and chosen singleness for this season of your life.

If God has you as a married person right now, there is a reason for that. There is a reason that He has closed the door to singleness and chosen marriage for this season of your life. (Don’t whack out on me about this season thing–I’m not intimating that marriage is not for life. However, you have no way of knowing when the Lord might call your spouse home. You may very well find yourself in a new season–you just can’t know. You have to rely on God for the season He has for you right now.)

You and I don’t often know what purposes God has in the events of our lives. Often we don’t see God’s plan. Sometimes we are tempted to doubt either God’s sovereignty or His goodness. But let’s not give in to the temptation.

We may not always see God’s purposes. We may not always feel that He is sovereign and good. But, in Christ, we can be sure that He does have a purpose–and that His purpose is for His glory and our greatest good.

So I don’t feel like a contented single right now. Right now, I don’t see God’s purpose in the path He has closed to me–or in the path He has chosen for me. But, through Christ who strengthens me, I can be a contented single right now, regardless of my feelings. Regardless of my feelings, I can trust that God has a purpose in this season of my life–and that His purpose is for His greatest glory and my greatest good.

Assurance and Trust

February 6th, 2010

It’s amazing how you can read something or sing something a hundred times, but it can continue to have new meaning each and every time.

A little over a month ago, I was overwhelmed by the task that seemed to be looming before me, fearful for what the future might bring. And when I sat down to sing some old hymns, the fifth verse of “Trust and Obey” struck me.

Then in fellowship sweet,
we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear, only trust and obey.

He relieved my fears and gave me grace to trust Him for that particular path.

Now He has blocked the way along that particular path.

And new verses comfort my soul.

Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay
For the favor He shows
and the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.

I don’t want to lay my heart, my desire on the altar. It truly is a sorrow, a grief, a loss. But if, in giving this up, I can somehow prove the delights of His love, then surely my loss is not in vain. I will choose, despite the pain, to trust and obey.

Today, I moved from “Trust and Obey” to the nearby songs, categorized under the heading “Assurance and Trust”.

And God ministered to my broken soul through the words of “Be Still, My Soul.”

Be still, my soul!
The Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still my soul
Thy best, thy heavenly friend
Thro thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

God IS for me (Romans 8:31). He is faithful (I Thessalonians 5:24). He will work all things (even my pain) together for good (Romans 8:28). I can be still. I can trust Him–in every change.

Be still, my soul
thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still my soul
The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below

God does not change (Hebrews 13:8). He was sovereign yesterday, and He is still sovereign today. Even though I don’t understand why, He does. And the circumstances are still under His power.

So be still, be still my soul. Rest in the arms of your Creator, your Pursuer, your Lover. Amidst the sorrow of this world, take delight in His unfailing grace. Find rest in Him alone.

Scared if I do

January 13th, 2006

I’m scared if I do and I’m scared if I don’t. Last November, I knew exactly what to do this summer. I was going to Jacksonville. There was no doubt in my mind that that was the right thing to do. And then I got back to work at home and everything became muddled. I went back to thinking that the church needed me–I couldn’t leave. (Hello, Rebekah! Even our Pastor has gone on sabbatical! Why can’t you?) And I started to think that since my scholarship is on the way out the door, I can’t afford to give my summer to God. (Hello, Rebekah! Didn’t God promise to provide for you if you put Him first? He always has in the past.) And I started to think that if I went to Jacksonville, I’d have to grow. And I wondered if that was really what I wanted.

I’d convinced myself that I couldn’t do STP during the month of December. And then came January. I realized with startling awareness that all those excuses were the same excuses I’d been telling God before November–when everything became so clear. God had already roundly refuted those excuses. So why was I going back to them again? And so I knew that I must go to STP. I flirted with the application, thought about putting filling it out on my to-do list. I wavered, then my resolution grew. It was God’s plan. Just as I’d known in November, I knew now. I was supposed to apply for STP.

I hadn’t yet filled out the application when Jackie approached me tonight. She asked me to think about being a team leader. And all the questions that filled my mind threatened to make me rip up the application and say to heck with it. Can I really lead? Can I lead my peers? I don’t think they know what they’re asking. I’m not really that spiritual. I’m not sure that I’m really that good of a Christian. Can I really do it? Or have I just been really good at faking in the past? And what about leading anyway? I’ve never actually led anything at Navs before. Ever. Not really. I mean, I’ve given my testimony, served. I talk to people and participate in discussion and stuff. But I’m not a leader here. How do they even know that I have any potential–if I have any potential?

And what about getting away from a performance mentality? Would this put me right back into it? would this destroy my chances of taking time to spend with the Lord and with fellow believers instead of trying to be super-Christian and hold the church on my shoulders? And what about only being able to work a part time job? Lord, do You really provide? But I want to do it so much. Do you know how I’ve longed to lead? How frustrated I have been at having so many opportunities to serve–which I love–but never having the opportunity to truly lead. I want so badly to be able to live life with another person and help them to grow. I want so badly to learn to lead others into the Word. I want so badly to learn to empathize
for others–to weep when they’re weeping and laugh when they’re laughing. I want to be a leader. I want to learn it. I want to teach and be trained to do so. I want to lead and be trained to do so. I want to disciple and be trained to do so. But I’m scared to death to even try.

Are You really sufficient
When my cup can’t hold any more?
Are You really enough
When I’m empty?
When I sin
Are You still the One
Who ransoms?
When I’m lost
Are You still
the Good Shepherd?
And when I long
for a husband
Are you still my bridegroom?
Jesus are you?
Are you really enough?
How can I do this?
I’m dying inside?
Are you still my life?
I don’t feel it
Are you still interceding?
How I need it
Jesus, my Saviour
Jesus, my Lord
Jesus, my Lover
Jesus, my Life
I need it, I need You
Help!

Hope in God

June 5th, 2005

For the past few months I’ve been contemplating the concept of hope. Hope is such an elusive thing to my mind. When I try to define hope, more than often I come up short. Hope is expectation, anticipation. Yes. That’s true; but that’s not definitive. Hope is believing, knowing and acting in accordance with that belief. Yes. That too is true, but more apt in describing faith than hope. But what then is hope?

If I were asked to describe my concept of hope as of right now, I would describe it in this way: In Luke 8:22-25, a great storm rises over the lake and the disciples wake a sleeping Jesus, saying, “Master, we are perishing.” Like men who had no hope, they panicked in the face of the storm. Jesus, on the other hand, personifies hope–as the storm passed, He was resting in the back of the boat, secure in the arms of Almighty God.

Hope is the faith that sits back and lets God do His work. It is the trust that rests in His arms when every earthly shelter fails. It is the faith that, rather than jumping to take on God’s tasks, stands back and lets Him complete it without our having to be in control. If faith is what enables us to step out when God says “Go” not knowing where our destination will be; then hope is what enables us to relax as we take the step, certain that whatever we may encounter on the journey, the end is beyond our wildest dreams.

Within the approximately 15 Greek and Hebrew words that are translated hope, three common threads can be discerned. The first element of hope is trust–the words betach, batach, bittachon, kesel, mibtach, chul, yachal, chasah, and elpis all carry this connotation. The second element of hope is anticipation–miqveh, seber, tocheleth, and tiqvah allude to this. The third element of hope is rest–displayed in the definitions of the words machseh and chasah (refuge), and in the definitions of seber, chul, yachal, sabar (meaning “to stay” or “to wait upon.”) These elements are never more clearly seen than in the Psalms, in which nearly a fifth contain hope and its corollaries as a major theme.

As I learn more about hope as God reveals it in His word, I pray that God would also teach me this hope–hope that trusts God completely, anticipating His goodness, resting in His mercy.

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