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Finding Joy in the Midst of the Unknown

Child swinging

 

“Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 86:4

Look at the joy on that little girl’s face!  She is enjoying the freedom that comes when we choose to sit down, grab hold, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

 

Do you remember when you were younger going to amusement parks?  Log rides, giant swings that lifted you upwards of 100 feet into the air and parachutes that dangled narrow benches below that you hopped right on with a sparkle in your eye and a knot in your stomach.

 

Roller coasters were my favorite.  They clicked slowly up those steep hills.  With each breath I would glance down to see how much further we had gone.  Eventually, we’d reach the top and the weight of the front of the coaster would pull the rest over the hill.  I held on for dear life while screaming as loud as I possibly could!  I learned that screaming would actually help keep my stomach from dropping so drastically and I ultimately enjoyed the ride even more the louder that I screamed!

 

Have you ever ridden on a train?  You rock along for hours at a time gaining ground at great speed.  You have the freedom to walk around, talk to friends, grab a cold drink or even lay your head over and catch a nap.  The gentle shake of the train car brings rhythm and white noise to the sleepy parts of the mind.  It’s easy to grab a pillow and find a comfortable spot to doze.

 

These things.  Rope swings, roller coasters and railways.  Although we can see them from the surface, we really never know what they are rooted in.

 

That swing is tied to a tree.  Is it a healthy tree?  Has that branch been compromised in the past?  Is the rope of good quality?

 

That roller coaster was built with man-made materials and maintained by strangers.  Has it been serviced lately?  Are all of the parts in working order?

 

That railroad track has been there a long time.  When was the last time that someone did a thorough inspection on every inch of it?  Have the brakes on the train been checked recently?  Did the conductor receive adequate training before yelling “ALLLLL ABOARD!!!”?

 

We don’t like to think about these things, so we don’t.  We put them out of our minds and make the conscious decision to focus on the good.  The fun.  The unknown.  The absolute joy that is found when we swing high, fly down and rock and roll along those metal rails.

 

When we place our beating hearts into these seats and onto these cars, we are extending trust to total strangers.

 

Why is it so difficult to do the same when it comes to trusting God?

 

This is where faith walks in.  Making the choice to trust and acting on it with full abandon.

 

“Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 86:4

When David wrote this Psalm, he was in a bad place in his life.  He was scared.  He had enemies pursuing him.  There were unknowns.

When I read this one small verse I hear a couple of things in his heart.

**David’s desire is to be joyful, despite his circumstances.  He doesn’t want to be dragged down or to walk around in defeat.  He doesn’t want to complain.  He doesn’t want to whine.  He wants to feel alive!

**David has no problem reminding the Lord that he trusts in the One true God.  It’s as if he’s saying “hey, I’m doing what you’ve asked of me, could you fill me with joy in return?”

If we are in fact placing our trust in the Lord, we can ask the Lord to fill us up in return.

It’s okay.  It’s okay!

I believe it’s an honest prayer.  I believe He will honor it.  I believe when we are full of His joy despite our circumstances, He is well pleased.

It’s a win win!

Even when we have a knot in our stomach, even when we look around us and see danger, even when we have zero control over how fast our circumstances are changing, we can still have joy.

Joy!

Full Definition of joy

  1. 1:  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires

  2. 2:  a state of happiness or felicity :bliss

  3. 3:  a source or cause of delight

 

 

Think about that swing, that roller coaster, that train…at any time something could go wrong.  Any time.

 

“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33b

We aren’t called to weigh out the “what if’s”, the worries and wonderings of where God has us.

 

We are called to trust Him.

 

Nothing comes our way without first filtering through our Father.  He knew.  He knows.

 

Rebellious teenager?  He knows.

Your spouse trying to quit on you?  He knows.

Lost your job?  He knows.

Undiagnosed health issue?  He knows.

You’ve lost all of your friends?  He knows.

He’s asked you to give something up?

He’s asked you to give someone up?

He’s asked you to step out of your comfort zone?

 

Can we place our faith in Him, with full-on, wide-eyed, unrestrained anticipation of where He’ll lead?  Trusting Him with every push, turn and bump we may will encounter?

Yes we can!!

 

His limbs won’t break, He won’t let us run off the track and He knows where He is taking us.

 

If we’ve let our circumstances steal our joy, let’s do as David did…place our trust in Him and ask Him to bring joy into our lives despite where we may be…this is where true freedom lies.

 

-Praying for us all to grasp this…

Kellie

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Keep Your Sword Sharp, Ready For Battle

 

Screenshot_2016-07-07-07-21-37~2

Have you ever had a dream that was so real that there was actual truth to it?  A dream where you knew even in the dream that God was in it.  In the story, in the lesson learned and in the thoughts that lingered once you woke up?

 

That’s the kind of dream I had recently.

 

 

This dream was an attempt by the evil one to convince me that God leaves us in times of fear.

 

Ya’ll, he didn’t say a word, all he had to do was to look at me.  He used fear and intimidation to chase me away from my security, and he had me running scared for a minute.  Just for a minute.

 

 

This is what I woke up with…these principles…they are truth, they are timeless, and they are transforming if we allow them to be.

 

  1.  There are two powers that are at work in the unseen.  Two.  They both have abilities that we cannot even fathom.  Abilities that would blow our minds!  We have to know who to grab hold of.  Who has our best interest in mind.  Who can hold us safely from the other.

 

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12

 

2.  Satan has 2 tools that he loves to use on us.  Fear and intimidation.  Let’s be aware when we feel these creeping into our thoughts. They are not from God.

 

It might look something like this:

 

“If you leave this boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re risking being alone for the rest of your life.”

“If you take that job offer, you may fail and wind up with no income”

“If you leave your abusive husband, he’ll come find you.  May as well stay put”

“If you stay in your young marriage, you’ll never experience being wild and free”

“If you post that blog, no one will read it”

“If you start that ministry, people will talk about you.  You wanna live in a fish bowl?”

“Adoption?  Fostering?  Too expensive!  You could never afford that!”

“Get that t.v. on credit.  You’re expecting a crowd over for the game, right?  You’ll look dumb if you don’t have top-notch equipment”

“Gotta watch your back everywhere you go now, people just can’t be trusted anymore”

“Better not let people know you’re a believer, they’ll think you’re all ‘odd for God’ and back away”

“Don’t speak to those people at church, they stink and have no teeth.  They’ll think you’re taking pity on them and everyone else will be staring at you”

“Homeschooling?  Ha!  He’ll never be smart enough for college.”

“Public school?  Ha!  He’ll lose his sweet innocence and be indoctrinated by the government all on the same day.”

“Private school?  Ha!  You’ll never be able to afford it AND your family will think that you think you’re better than they are!”

 

Do you see how this plays out?

Fear.  Intimidation.

 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:17

 

3.  When we are in the company of those that do NOT have our best interest in mind, we will eventually begin to look more like them and less like ourselves if we stay there.  Our outer appearance can change.  We can become unrecognizable in a matter or sheer moments.  We have to know who we are, whose we are and surround ourselves with those that will encourage us to stay close to the Lord.  We have to pay attention and recognize when we are being taken down a path God never planned for us to take.

 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33

 

 

4.  The Word is a literal sword when it comes to the devil.  It scares him off.  Stay in it.  Memorize it.  Eat the words.  Keep it sharp.  Swing it.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

 

5.  We who are born again believers of Jesus Christ, we are never alone.  Never.

This is where satan would like to have us thinking that we should be afraid.  He wants to create an atmosphere that has us convincing ourselves that God has left us to be tested.  Like He’s standing over to the side rubbing His chin, shaking His head thinking “let’s see how she’ll do now…bahahahahaha!”

No.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

When you feel fearful or intimidated, there are some things you can do immediately.

  1.  Pray.  Call on the Lord.  Talk it out with Him.  Tell Him what’s going on, how you’re feeling and what your fears are.
  2. Trust.  It’s a decision.  It’s intentional.  It’s a verb.
  3. Move.  He will lead you away from those fears.  Follow quickly.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 56:3

What are you afraid of?

What is satan using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

Who is he using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

The evil one is  not afraid of you.

But he IS afraid of your heavenly Father and THAT is the good news!

Let’s quickly recognize when we are being bullied and remind the master bully-er who we belong to…and then let’s act like we believe what we say and keep moving even if we are trembling when we do!  Let’s lean hard into God’s word-which is unchangeable, immovable and trustworthy.  And let’s let others see, especially in the wake of recent events, that even through our own concerns, and yes, sometimes, fear…that we have an anchor that holds us in a place where peace and comfort are found.

For those of us who intimately know the only true source of security and peace, we must swing our sword for those who just can’t.

Prayer.

It’s an obligation and a privilege to do so.  Jesus did it.  Let’s follow His example.

Praying with and for you,

Kellie

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Keeping Your Chin Up In the Dressing Room-The Struggle Is Real

Why do clothing manufactures pick swimsuits to skew the sizes on us?  Why can’t it be something like socks-or bras-that you have to buy 3 X’s your size to get a good fit?

 

But the bigger question is, why do I let that 5 minute time span in that 2X2 room of mirrors still affect how I feel about myself when I know my true worth has nothing to do with clothing sizes or mirrors or smiling store employees who take those rejected suits (that are my actual size #) and ask with a slight tone of pity “these didn’t work out for you hun?  Oh, I’m sorrrryyyyyyy”.  blah blah blah

 

Recently I wound up buying a swim suit 3 X’s my regular size.  3 X’s!!  That will mess with you!  It’s whatever.

 

So why?

 

And what do we need to do about it?  What can we do about it”

 

The why is simple.

 

We live in a performance based, sight-driven society.

 

A preacher who gets ready for Sunday morning services at his church can’t even stay 100% focused on teaching God’s Word and loving on people.  In preparation for his time on that platform, he has to make some decisions, and no matter what he chooses, someone will judge.

 

Tie or no tie.  Jacket or no jacket.  Ripped jeans or slacks.  Keds or loafers.  Clean shaven or scruffy.  Stand or stool.  Dimmed lights or bright.

When in fact it’s the heart…the Pastor’s heart and the congregation’s heart, are all that matters.  All.

 

We all know what a visual society we are living in.  We all know (as believers) that we should be living for an audience of 1 and He does not care what size the tag on my swimsuit states.

 

So, let’s get to the good stuff.

 

The what.

 

When we are in that booth with fluorescent lighting, standing all alone, mirrors on all sides, our senses seem to heighten.  In the booth to the right of us, we hear a mom saying “wouldn’t you like to see if they carry a longer version of this skirt?” to her eye rolling teenager.  To the left, we hear 2 friends giggling because they’ve just found the perfect dresses to wear to an upcoming party.  Let’s take a breath (3 or 4 if necessary) and remember who we are…and it has nothing to do with what size a total stranger thinks we need to be in.  The size is just a number, it’s not tied to our worth.

 

As a believer, the spirit of truth lives in you.

 

I love one of the definitions in Merriam-Webster for TRUTH.

truth

noun \ˈtrüth

(1) :  the state of being the case :  fact (2) :  the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized :  a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality

 

Truth just is.  It’s like when God said “I am that I am” Ex. 3:14

Truth cannot be argued.  Well it can.  But, that won’t change anything.

 

 

” the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 14:17 NIV

The Lord does not look at the things people look at…

“7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7

 

Now, we only get one body and one life to take care of it all.  Scripture tells us to do everything as if we were only doing it for the Lord and I think that applies to caring for our temples.  Eat right…exercise…yes.  I’ve always said that we never know what God may require of us some day and we need to be prepared.  If we had to jump in a raging river to save someone’s life could we do it?  If He asked us to spend a Summer in a dry dusty country to tell others about Jesus, could we do it in the body we have now?  Let’s be ready.

 

” you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

I Corinthians 6:20

 

His truth is what we should be focused on.  This is good news!  The BEST news!

 

This is where freedom lies.

 

When we’re having a bad hair day, our panty lines are showing or we’ve discovered the spinach that’s been between our teeth since lunch.  When we look in the mirror and our eyes go straight to the spare tire developing around our waist or those acne scars that we can do nothing about.  God whispers…

 You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.”

Song of Solomon 14:7 NIV

Beautiful.

No flaw.

Darling.

 

At 46, the Lord had to remind me of this TRUTH in the dressing room.  As my thoughts began to run away to focusing on my physical flaws or the glares I might get if I wore this or that to the pool or the beach, He brought His words to my mind.  Now, I had memorized them years earlier.  THIS. IS. KEY.  Scripture memorization isn’t just for our small children in their cute Bible classes.  We HAVE to plant it into our own minds because we NEVER KNOW WHEN WE WILL NEED TO SHOUT IT OUT!

 

“During our moments of fear and panic, God is whispering promises to us.”

                                                                                                               -Stacy Reaoch

 

When we remind ourselves of these truths about who we are and whose we are and what He thinks of us, arguing becomes a waste of time and energy.  We can’t argue with the fact that God is only interested in our heart.  We can’t argue with a pine tree until it turns into an oak tree.  It’s just pointless.

 

His truth wins every time.

 

If the spirit of Christ lives in us, we are His, and as some of us were taught from a very young age, God don’t make no junk.  Let’s not argue with our maker that He made something ugly or flawed or inferior.  He takes offense.

 

Let’s not let what other people (clothing manufacturers, billboard designers, commercial makers, sit-com writers, soccer moms, dressing room attendants, ______) beat us up.

 

Let’s not beat ourselves up with our own thoughts either.

 

beat-us-up.png

 

Let’s deposit these truths into our hearts and minds (scripture memory)  and stop arguing with God.  It’s a struggle I know (as usual, I’m writing from the heart, exposing my own issues).  In reality, it may even be an ongoing process before we realize that the best “looking” people out there are the ones with an inner confidence that no one can touch, and this confidence that has been placed into believers, this truth, is the ultimate source of confidence.

 

This confidence is not man-made or self-made, it’s directly from God.

 

Let’s keep our chin up and encourage and build up that which God hand crafted…that would be YOU and ME!!

 

If you are looking for this kind of truth to be planted into you and this confidence that no one else can touch…reach out to me or another Christian in your life.  Ask them how to tap into this.  Don’t brush it aside.  It’s the only place where true freedom can be found, His name is Jesus!

 

Praying for you,

Kellie