January 7, 2015

Our GREATEST disappointments, God's GREATEST opportunities

I will admit that there are times I am confronted with the COLD HARSH REALITY that I. AM. A. WIDOW.  
                                                       I make the mistake to linger there for a while.......
                                              Thinking of all of the implications of that fact and how my
life has been affected, interrupted, turned upside down, how I've been ripped off....and now lacking a husband where I once had one, my children lacking a father.  Every now and then......I. JUST. WANT. TO. BE. HELD......

I start to list my grievances one by one.  

Then I heard Him....as clear as if He were sitting in my living room....having a cup of coffee with me.  "Haven't I been all those things for you?"

I am quickly humbled to tears.

One of my husband's favorite songs was "HELD" by Natalie Grant.  He found comfort in the words and I thought of them after he'd passed away.

This hand is bitterness.

We want to taste it and let the hatred numb our sorrows.
{BUT}.....The wise hand opens slowly to the lilies of the valley and {to} tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.  

How it feels when the sacred is                                                                torn from your life and you survive.  
That the promise was that when everything fell.....we'd be held.  

Hasn't He held me?
Hasn't He whispered words of Hope when my heart needed to hear them most?

Yes, He is VERY near to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Hadn't He moved Heaven and Earth for me to make His presence known that very moment I was faced with the grave reality my husband wasn't coming home?
Didn't He make it OBVIOUS to me that He had prepared us for this moment in time.  He knew what was to come and as blindsided and shortsighted as I felt......He showed me all the ways He had.  One detail at a time.

Had He not made the crooked paths straight for me.  Made a way where there seemed to be no way?  Provided miracle after miracle to not only prove Himself to me as a provider and husband but as the One Who is called FAITHFUL.


Had He not sent ANGELS to my side as my friends sat with me, grieved with me, held me and helped me stand again. Friends who spoke words of encouragement and never hesitated to be whatever they could be at a moment's notice?

And is He not there in the whispers of the night. In the darkness.....when everything else seems to whisper louder.....
I cry out to Him, "I never wanted to do this alone!"  
How quick He is to interrupt me, "My daughter, you were never meant to."  

The light shines in the DARKNESS and the DARKNESS *HAS. NOT.* overcome it. John 1:5

Not for ONE MOMENT has He forsaken me to do this on my own.
But if I am not careful.....my focus will draw me away from the immense gratitude my heart feels and pull me into a place of bitterness, resentment and fear.

He paid such an expensive price --- for me.
He has made every effort to BE for me and to DO for me.
To heal places in me I didn't know He would heal.  To make provision for me where I saw none. To GRACE me with the ability to do the things I had in front of me to do. To show me BEAUTIFUL things in those places where I'd only known devastation and brokenness.  

To robe my HEART in thankful praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Suddenly seeing things from HIS perspective.
After all....we belong to the One whose vantage point is GREATER than our own.

When we face a crisis we are so quick to misunderstand and misinterpret and yes, even MISS the workings of God in the midst of what we are going through. 
Our emotions hijack our ability to see that perhaps there is a purpose He is working out, something greater.....
That maybe somehow He knows more than we do and might be doing something we could not have possibly manufactured on our own.
Sometimes our greatest disappointments, setbacks and heartaches merely reposition us for something greater. 
After all......our greatest disappointments are His greatest opportunities. 

What we think will be the very thing that takes us under----He shows up with a different ending.
A glimpse of HOPE.  That perhaps.....there is ANOTHER plan at work.
A GREATER purpose.  That He has something in mind and He will do whatever it takes to see you through to the other side.  

.........and in the end He won me over with GRATITUDE.......
HOW could I feel like a victim when I see what GREAT CARE He took to see to so many intricate details....and what's MORE?  Draw my attention to His hand in all of it.  So I could see....HOW MUCH HE TRULY DOES CARE FOR ME.
He has NOT left me WANTING.
He has entered my darkest places and shined a light of HOPE and HEALING.    

January 1, 2015

First things FIRST.....


Every single morning you wake up you have within your possession the same things you had when you went to sleep.
2015 is upon us and as I wake everything is the same.
I am surrounded by my children.
The blessings I had last night are with me still today, the responsibilities and callings placed on me are still before me today. Perhaps there were things you needed to deal with in 2014 that you thought you left behind. Unfortunately they are with you even this morning.  

Deep inside of all of us is this drive....
Wanting more. Wanting the meager to be abundant. Wanting the ordinary to be extraordinary. We dream BIG but neglect those things which beg for our attention NOW.
It's only when we learn to be content with the ordinary and when we are faithful with the meager that we see God begin do extraordinary things with the offerings we pour out day to day.  To do those "first things first...." so we can move on to the GREATER.

The widow woman gave the last bit of oil she had.
As she continued to be obedient and faithful with the little she did have God continued to give her the supply she needed for herself with more to give.

Be faithful with what's in your possession TODAY.
Your home. Your children. The things you DO have. The friends in your life. Your job. The things on your agenda today.
I encourage you to LOVE extravagantly and to GIVE bigger.  Be faithful with the things God is calling you to today...
And as you pour your life out as an offering .. as meager as it may *SEEM*....God will turn your meager little offering into extraordinary things.

May this year be a year full of HOPE, ABUNDANCE, PEACE and JOY!!!