When Things Aren’t Okay

It has been a rough few months. Your finances have been tight for a while now. With unforeseen circumstances, they came to an all time low. But, “I’m okay.” If anyone asks, “I’m doing fine.”

Enter in a Bible study group that loves God and just happens to love you. And one night, when the ladies are grouped together for prayer, you ask for wisdom. You know you need the kind of wisdom only God can give. You also know that God is a good God who hears the cries of His people and that He is willing to help when asked. So with all of the pent-up stress of the past few months, recognizing who God is as a faithful God, and the passionate prayers of fellow believers, you do what any woman might be apt to do…you bawl your eyes out. It starts with tears coming down and you telling yourself you need to pull it together, but then grows until you start sobbing uncontrollably. The prayers finish, you dry your eyes. And now you have to explain that you’re not okay.

Guess what. They already knew I wasn’t okay. God had clearly given these amazing people the insight to know that their sister wasn’t at a good spot. My beloved Bible study folks had already set up a variety of different blessings to help me with groceries, with gas, and even with some new clothes. With these blessings and the knowledge that God is on my side, I might just be okay.

But then one Tuesday night, my car’s transmission decides to go out. I’ve had small hints that it might be coming, but surely that wouldn’t happen now. Well it does…God, You know this is too much. And that’s the point I think God likes to get us to sometimes, the point where we can only rely on Him.

The amazing thing about how good God is is that I had made it to work 30 minutes away and back home that day. It was only because I decided to go out randomly for a walk at a park that I discovered the car’s problems that evening instead of on the way to work the next day. God made sure I had a similar schedule to someone else that lives nearby who was able to give me a ride to work the next day. The rumor mill did its job and all of a sudden, most of my coworkers knew that I’m temporarily without a car. They give me another financial blessing. My family also gives me a financial blessing to help take care of this extra unforeseen expense. The Bible study members who may have thought their job of providing blessings to me was finished were mistaken. Now they assisted me with transportation to the important things that I needed to go to.

The interesting thing about not having a vehicle and having to rely on friends and the bus for transportation is that you tend to find yourself only going to work and home. Work and home. What do you do with all of that extra time? You rest. Yes, I did spend some of that time working through re-watching one of my favorite shows and catching up on reading. But more, I’ve had the opportunity to rest in God, to draw closer to Him. To recognize His faithfulness in the midst of trouble.

I should be getting my car back today. As I walked to the library, I realized I would miss this opportunity of extra rest. I know I’m about to be thrown into my crazy busy life. But I can go into it knowing that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay (and good) to fully rely on God. He is faithful. I just need to keep putting my faith in Him.

God’s Heart

It started about a month ago. While it’s usually in the back of my mind, God has been bringing it to the forefront of my attention. I have become more than convinced, through various sources, that God has a strong passion- a heart for- the poor and oppressed.

Louie Giglio started it with a sermon I found called A Walk to Remember. He shows how Jesus goes out of His way to help those in need. This got me to start looking at some of Jesus’ miracles, those He ministered to, and how He went about it. Jesus saw needs and He met them, no matter the inconvenience. In Psalm 12:5, 7 we can know that God sees those who are oppressed, those who are poor, and He will rescue them.

Now, believers know that we should care about those things that God cares about. If Jesus and the Father care so strongly about reaching out and helping those who are poor and oppressed, then we should be helping those who are poor and oppressed. We should be keeping an eye out for needs so that we can help meet the needs, no matter the inconvenience. 

What really drove this home for me (and made me want to share) is the scripture I read tonight for my quiet time: Luke 16:19-31. Yes, I’ve read this before and yes, I realize there are a lot of great messages from this passage. But the thing that stuck out most to me was that Lazarus was just outside the gate of the rich man and would have been happy to receive food scraps from the rich man’s table. The rich man knew who Lazarus was, probably could have obviously seen his need, but he did not help him. And we see what happens in the afterlife… Lazarus is taken up and comforted (again, God sees the poor and oppressed and will take care of them) while the rich man suffers in the place of the dead. The rich man begs for a driblet of water from Lazarus’ finger to help cool his tongue, but he is denied.

We do not want to end up like the rich man. We’d be like the frog in this picture hoping to get some water from a water fountain when he was right next to a lake full of water…tortured with less than the best. Let us act like followers of Christ, let us have a heart like His for the poor and oppressed.

Is it okay?

I got the joy of crying at the end of church yesterday. The whole sermon was about who the Church is, but the very last point is that the Church is the Bride of Christ and every day we are taking the step down the aisle…which gets a girl to thinking.

I got to thinking that Jesus is the perfect groom, together we have a perfect relationship because of the blood he shed for me. Then I thought what if this is it, the One I’ve been waiting for… There is no man for me, Jesus is it. In the midst of that and tears coming, the thought came: Is that okay?

Then the song for the invitation says “Give me faith to trust what You say for You’re good and Your love is great. I’m broken inside, I give You my life.” (Elevation Worship, Give Me Faith). That’s when I really wanted to break down and sob it out… but there I stood there trying to pull myself together (the invitation song usually seems pretty short at times like these). Could I be okay?? Could I have that kind of faith???

As I tried to hash this out with God more on the way home, I realize again that Jesus is my Perfect Mate. Everything that has been put on my heart to do, He and I can do together. I would just need a little more courage. So the question comes again: Is it okay? See, I have had a strong desire to be married for quite a while. Is it okay that my husband is Jesus? All I can say is I think it is.

Help me God to be okay. To more fully trust and rely on You.

If you’re wondering about the painting, it’s something I put together with my immature hand. See more at my etsy shop

Bread and Fish

This was my Sunday school lesson this past Sunday…you guessed it, the Feeding of the Five Thousand. The week before that, we learned about Jesus’ first miracle-turning water into wine. 

In each situation, Jesus was presented the need (not that He didn’t already know the need), He was trusted to take care of the need, the people had to do a little something to help take care of the need, then Jesus used that step of faith and performed a miracle…giving His very best and giving in abundance. 

This same power is alive today, it just comes in different ways sometimes. But we still have the opportunity to present our needs to God. All Mary had to say was: There is no more wine. Then we can trust God to take care of our needs. Jesus had tried to tell His mother that it wasn’t His time yet, but Mary just told the servants to do whatever Jesus said -she trusted Him. Now, we may have to do something too as God works in our lives…as is frequently the case… like filling 6 jars, 20-30 gallons each, with water or giving up your sack lunch. We have to step out in faith. When we do all these things, we get to see God work in amazing ways…the absolute best ways and abundant ways. 

I did have some help with more fully understanding Jesus’ first miracle from a Beth Moore study. It is called “The Jars of Life: What’s in Yours?” From A Beautiful Mind series of CD’s. I highly recommend it. 

Family Love and Chaos

 

This past weekend, I got to spend some time with family. I have been blessed with having a family that supports each other and loves each other unconditionally. The card game above-Peanuts/Nerts- is our favorite card game to play as a family. As we have done on multiple occasions, we again played this game over the weekend. It may just seem like a massive mess of cards, but there is a rhyme and reason, and inevitably someone always wins…on rare occasion, me.

How does this compare to God? Sometimes our lives seem like they are in complete chaos like this group of cards seem to be. We may be tempted to think that God is just playing a big game with our lives. But we can rest assured knowing that there is a reason, there is a bigger plan. God knows exactly what He is doing…and you know, we come out winning! Not only are we made victors through Christ, we can know in our day to day lives that God is doing the absolute best for us. Along the way, God gives us family and friends to help us manage the chaos and to encourage us. He doesn’t leave us alone, even if we sometimes feel alone. He loves us and, again, He has the best planned for us 🙂

Happy Day

Happy Friday everyone!

May God bless you and touch your life in spectacular ways this weekend! Don’t brush Him off, don’t breeze past Him. Feel His gentle touch and dwell in His presence. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy 😊

Reflections


On occasion I will look outside my window and see a beautiful sight of the moon, standing by itself in the midst of the darkness (one can’t see the stars when surrounded by street lights). Then I’ll try to take a picture to capture some of the greatness of the moment. With a combination of my hand being too shaky and my camera not always cooperating, I get pictures like the ones above. So I put down my camera and just enjoy the precious sight a little bit longer.

The interesting thing is that the moon reflects light from the sun. It is also the main light in the midst of darkness. It reminds me of who I am to be in Christ. Every believer should be a reflection of the Son. We should be a light shining in the darkness of our world. Let other people see who Jesus is through you!

Being Fake

I have been studying Revelation for a little while now. I’ve just finished chapter 16. We know that Revelation is full of God’s judgement against the world and the completion of His overall plan. 

There are many times we see Christians who don’t really act like Christians, or people who think they’re good enough that they’ll make it into heaven, or people who may be true Christians but are so radically different that a person wonders sometimes. I am in no way attempting to judge anyone on whether or not they are a true Christian, nor should you. Sometimes it’s not clear to us what a person believes, but when Revelation comes, things will start to become clearer. There will be a time when the beast, the antichrist, will require that people wear his mark and without it a person won’t be able to buy or sell. It will be very evident then who will be willing to stand strong for God. Please take note though, that God doesn’t need to wait until the end times to come before He knows who His true followers are. He knows our hearts, He knows who belongs to Him, He knows who would stand strong for Him if/when the time came. He can tell when a person who claims to be a Christian is fake just as easily as I can tell you that nugget in the picture isn’t made of dinosaur meat (and maybe not even 100% chicken!).

Revelation tells us that God will spew the lukewarm from His mouth and the unbelievers will be judged and punished for turning their backs on God. So I implore you today to choose, and if not today, soon. Choose whether or not you will serve the LORD. Choose and be ready to go along with the consequences of your choice. As for me, I choose to follow the LORD (Joshua 24:14-15).

Ornamental Onion

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This flower is so pretty to me and I have only discovered it in the past couple of years. There are many many flowers, all created in such a spectacular way, like God is apt to do. I believe this one catches my attention because of the color, the size, and the fact that so many tiny purple flowers can form an almost perfect sphere. Each part of the body having a special job to do and without it, the flower as a whole wouldn’t be the same.

The same goes for the Church as a whole and each individual body of believers. Each person has unique gifts and talents that God has given them to use to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). When we choose to not use our gifts/talents, the Church is not the same. Yes, the Church will survive without you (sorry to be harsh!), but it is more of a blessing to have you participating in the Church. If you don’t know your spiritual gifts, I recommend you read about them in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and 1 Peter 4. Explore the gifts and see what fits you best, what you feel most fulfilled doing. Then use your spiritual gifts and talents in your local church and your community, overall impacting the Church as a whole. Think of how blessed you’ll be, how blessed others will be, and more importantly, how God will be glorified.

And if you’re wondering what the name of this flower is, it is an Ornamental Onion, as noted in the title. I guess I can see why it is named such, but what in the world were we thinking!

To Read or Not to Read

I work at a Christian bookstore. Today a father came in and bought Bibles for each of his young children, 3 in total. Each child had a say in what kind they got and each seemed excited to have a Bible of their own. As they left, I told them to make sure they tried to read in the Book regularly.

First, let me say how wonderful I think it is when a father takes an active role in the family, especially in regards to discipling his children and teaching them the way they should go.

Second, and the real reason for this blog, is to say how important it is to be in the Word. I am not perfect at this. I got my first personal, special-to-me Bible at 13 or so years old, but I never read it, except perhaps in church on Sundays. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the importance of reading the Bible and unfortunately my reading isn’t as consistent as it could be. I do have some accountability now and I’m getting better. Anyway… The Bible is part of what reminds us how much we are loved by God, of everything He has done for us. The Bible is what shows us how to live (Psalm 119 is a great expression of this). And the Bible might not always be readily available/legal for us to have in our possession…so reading it now might let us be able to recall some of His Word if that time ever comes in our lifetime. 

It’s okay if you’re not in the habit of being in the Word…a person has to start somewhere. If needed, do like I did, find some people to help keep you accountable to reading. Maybe read one or two verses to begin with or find a devotional book to help you get started. Whatever you do, strive to read the Bible, it’s God’s love letter to you ❤