Choosing Peace

Life is chaotic.  I don’t have to plan or try for chaos-that comes naturally!  I have to plan and prepare for peace–and choose to remain in that peace! Jesus warned us that in this life we would have trials of all kinds, but more importantly, He told us we don’t have to fear because He has already overcome them and He is bigger than any problem or challenge we will EVER face!  Our Savior knows how we feel in every situation and He knows exactly what we need to get through it and grow from it and hopefully then bless others after it!

Our family is in a season of trial right now, but we are also in a season of blessing–all at the same time.  We are facing many health challenges while at the same time we are surrounded and filled with the complete peace that is beyond our understanding!  There are simply no words to describe the calm and the peace that come from God and I have never experienced it as strongly as I have recently.  Even in the face of emergency room visits, hospital stays, and debilitating days of pain and fatigue–God is faithful and good to bring comfort and encouragement at exactly the right time. 

Thank You Lord that regardless of what this life throws at us and what trials are swirling around us, You are always faithful, steadfast, and true! You are my strong tower and my ever present help and I thank You for the peace that surpasses my understanding- Your true peace that is not of this world but a gift from You!  Give me strength to not stray from Your peace or allow myself to get caught up in the whirlwind of circumstances around me, but to stay steadfastly connected to You and abide in You- my source of peace! 

My Identity

My identity is in Christ!  It’s easy to forget this, but God is reminding me and teaching me in a very deep way that who I am is not about what I do, where I am, or even how I serve. Even when I am doing the things He has called me to do, those things do not define me and they are not who I am.

I’m not sure why I have had such a hard time with this lesson lately. I know I am a new creation. I know I am forgiven of every sin I’ve ever committed or ever will. I know that works are not what saves me. Yet, this past year of looking for a church home and not knowing exactly where I fit into the body of Christ has been incredibly difficult. God has brought me to a place where I must rely on Him and His presence and nothing else- and while it has taken me some time to appreciate it, oh what a sweet place to be!  

I have spent time in prayer asking God why this has been so hard and why He hasn’t shown us where we should be quicker- but His timing is perfect and now I’m beginning to understand the lesson. I must put Him first above all else, even church and serving Him.  Even the very act of serving Him or finding the perfect place to worship Him can become an idol if it is placed above Him. He must be first and then He will take care of the rest. 

No matter what changes are going on in my life, He never changes and I belong to Him. My identity is in Him and Him alone. That’s it. I am more than the things I do. I am a daughter of the King and I was created to glorify and praise Him. He will use me to the extent I am surrendered to Him. But I am His no matter what. He loves me no matter what. I have known this for a long time, but this has really reached a deeper place within me recently and I am very grateful for the lesson!

My faith is not in my family or my church family. It’s not in my church or my pastor.  My faith and my trust are in my Creator and my King. My place in the body of Christ will be determined by Him and I don’t have to worry about anything (even this!) He will take care of the details- I just have to rely on Him and trust Him. If I am surrendered to His will and trust in Him with all my heart, He will direct my path. He will lead me to the desires of my heart. My God will fulfill every need including my purpose. He will lay out a clear path before me and all I have to  do is follow Him.

Right now, I lay down every concern, every worry, every plan and surrender them to You LORD. Direct my steps and lead me closer to You! Thank You for Your perfect unconditional love!

Living Today

I have been given much advice in my life, some good and some not so good. Most often, genuine help comes from a trusted friend who knows me and loves me deeply and can speak life into my current situation. There have been times I’ve been helped by an acquaintance who may not know me well, but well enough to give advice and care enough to speak an encouraging word.  Then there are rare times when the word of a stranger can touch me deeply.  These don’t happen very often, but they are just as sweet and uplifting and can be a God-given word of truth that I desperately needed. Today, in fact, God has touched me through a seemingly silly sign outside a local church. The sign read: “May you live all the days of your life.” 

At first glance, I thought “how silly” but as I pondered it, I realize I can go through the days and not really live. In fact, I’m sad to admit I do this quite often. How many days do I hurry through my day, check off items on my to-do list, and never really experience life the way God meant me to? Too many!  When I hit the floor running, already late and hurried, I miss the guidance and the plan that God has for me. Every day is a new opportunity to serve, to love, and to fulfill my purpose. Yet, every day I must choose to put God first and follow Him or I will miss it! 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your plan for my life. Help me not miss it. Help me pause each and every morning to spend time with You and find out Your plan for my day. Help me live each and every day of my life and not miss even a single blessing or opportunity. I want the fullness of what You have for me- strengthen me to surrender my plans and to wholeheartedly, with both hands, grab hold of Yours!

Garrett’s Grandslam

Garrett’s second to last game of the season and he came up to bat with bases loaded. What a great hit, right over the 2nd baseman’s head into the outfield. The centerfielder threw it in to the infield who threw it to the catcher just a second or two too late- Garrett slid and was safe for a grandslam!! The whole team went crazy and hugged him and James high-fived the coach- we were all so incredibly proud of him! He even got the game ball! Just that afternoon, Garrett had talked about how great it would be to hit a homerun- “maybe even a grandslam” he said. Well, he did it!!

I think God gives us little encouragements and “God hugs” along the way to remind us that He cares and to encourage us with a smile and hope. Garrett has been practicing hard and hitting great, but the timing of his grandslam is from God!  God never left our side throughout everything with Connor. It has been incredibly difficult and emotional, but there have been smiles and joy along the way too, and peace beyond understanding. The nurse in the ICU that could one-hand clap and actually made us laugh for a moment; Garrett drawing on everyone’s faces and hands and bringing a smile to everyone; small things, seemingly insignificant, but God knows just when we need those things, and brings them at exactly the right moment- just to remind us He loves us!

Garrett has been so incredibly brave and supportive of Connor during this time. When the doctors were sure it was going to be leukemia, Garrett said he would give bone marrow without hesitation even though he knew it might hurt. When Connor was so weak he couldn’t even walk around or play, Garrett sat on his bed and played the Wii with him. Garrett has prayed for Connor every night and wanted nothing more than for Connor to be healthy again.

We are so proud of Garrett and the young man he is becoming! He loves his family and shows love and kindness to everyone around him and he always brings a smile to everyone’s face with his joy and humor. We are proud of his grandslam and will never forget it- but we are even more proud of his love of God and love of others! 

Way to go Garrett!! 🙂