This Pain is Producing Something Good

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait or it patiently….(Romans 8:25)

I remember the days leading up to my daughter’s birth. Being first time parents, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Our daughter, in true Quiroz fashion, arrive 4 days after her due date. I labored as long as I could at home, which means that for about a day and a half, we just waited. Went for walks, took a quick trip to Lowe’s, and sat around, just waiting. Obviously, we knew something big was coming, but the time it took to come just drug on for what seemed like some of the longest hours of my life.

Of course, when our daughter arrived our whole lives changed in an instant. Something sprang to life in our hearts, a deep commitment to love, cherish and care for our child. We have made many sacrifices of our personal time since that day to make sure she has what she needs.

Friend, I know that you’re waiting for God to do something. I am as well. You’re waiting for those birth pains to stop so that the beautiful thing you’re waiting for might be placed in your arms.

I’m telling you, during our child’s birth, those birth pains we so real and so very intense, but a dear friend of mine shared some encouraging words that strengthened me to move forward with a natural birth. I avoided taking any drugs that would mask the pain. I’m thankful for that. It’s not for everyone and that’s fine. I just knew that the pain wouldn’t last forever and that I was willing to endure it because of the good thing that would be produced from it.

Look, I get it, trust me, I do. I know what you’re walking through is painful and if you’re being honest, you’d really just like to mask the pain somehow so that you can get onto the blessing. But friend, the pain is part of the process. The pain guts out wrong beliefs and behaviors. It often gets us to the end of ourselves. It changes us to make us a people of greater compassion.

I think what I’ve learned about painful experiences that just don’t seem to go away is that we must learn to accept them and believe that God will do good things through them. I get myself in trouble whenever I try to take a mental escape from them or daydream what my life would be like without them.

Somehow, by God’s grace, what we must learn to do is become greater equipped through them. Did you hear that? These challenging circumstances have not been sent for your undoing but for your equipping. Which means that sometimes we must let go of the life we thought we would have to embrace the journey God now has for us to live out for Him.

Which means, we must learn to wait patiently with Him. Believing that these birth pains are producing new life in us for His glory, in Jesus name.

Sovereign Lord, whom have I in heaven but you? Earth has nothing that I desire besides you. Forgive me when I try to mask the pain by taking a mental escape. By the power of your Spirit I say thank you for this journey, in Jesus name, Amen.

He’s Not Finished With You Yet

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me….(Psalm 18:20)

I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve been there as well.

How on earth can the Lord redeem this one? How long will I have to wait? Is God really going to come through this time?

The death, decision and delay has us thinking that maybe this time things just won’t turn out. Maybe God won’t do what we need Him to. It’s quite possible that we’re living a place right now, brought on by certain circumstances outside of our control that have brought trouble upon us.

But with every trouble comes an opportunity for our faith and our resolve to grow. You see, friend, what I have found in life, is that whenever we are put into a season of waiting, it’s actually a season of preparation. Where God is drawing us into a deeper place of humility, asking us to wait with Him there before He sends us forth again.

Don’t believe the lie that says God won’t come through. Don’t think that this time in your life is unfruitful either. It’s just quite possible that this season is more about planting something in you than it is about reaping some sort of fruitfulness.

You see, my life used to be all about fruitfulness and success, but the past few years have been a deep humbling and a chance to grow. I think, for the most part, I have submitted myself to the process and because of it, I feel changed, and I care more about people than I ever did before.

But friend, we have to be careful. In those seasons where God decides to take us off the stage we used to stand on to put us in a place of deeper growth, we must believe right things about His plan. Don’t ever think for a second that this is it, and God has no more fruitfulness for you. Believe that, in His time, and in His way, He’ll cover you with the fruitfulness of the Kingdom, because He’s planting it into you now.

Father, thank you that you’re never done with us. You are so loving and kind. You’re faithful to us. We want to be faithful to you. Thank you God for who you are to us, we pray you would keep planting and bring forth a great harvest through us as we submit ourselves to you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Do You Need To Be Right?

but in the new way of living in the Spirit….(Romans 7:6)

I have this issue in my heart that I’m noticing. It’s a lack of humility in the areas I don’t want people to challenge me on. It’s really all about some sort of insecurity in me, placed there by a wound made long ago.

If I’m being honest, part of me is so blind to it, feeling so right about my behavior, or maybe just not wanting to change that I’ll side step other people. When they challenge me I’ll get defensive instead of humble. I’ll make myself seem “right,” but friend, I’m actually really wrong. Because whenever our “rightness” causes us to side step people we’re always outside of the will of God.

I’m getting better though. I do see myself growing in humility very slowly in this area. I’m starting to care more about how my actions affect others and I’m doing my best to act in ways that would not offend them. But, God knows that there is still much needed growth in my life in this area.

So if you want to keep holding on so tightly to being “right” and never be challenged, you’ll always lose. You’ll lose closeness to others, trust and the opportunity to grow closer with God. So won’t you join me today on a deeper path of humility as you let others in and truly consider them better than youselves?

Father, make me more like you. I know that means I must let go of me. Take up a brand new life and let go of being so “right.” Forgive me when I side step others. I want to be humble, in Jesus name, Amen.

What’s Your Motivation for Asking?

Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor….(2 Chron 1:11)

Insert something you love so much you feel like you can’t live without it or you can’t truly be at rest without it.

A super comfy bank account.

A really healthy child.

An exciting and successful career.

Your dream home.

That really nice car.

….You get the idea.

Many of us, myself included have lived for things. We’ve asked God for so much and wanted Him to make us great and give us great things.

But Solomon asked for something that wasn’t about something he wanted for himself, but he asked for something he could use to bless others. He asked for wisdom to govern God’s people. He wanted to be a good steward of the people God had placed before him. Since his request was made in true humility God didn’t just give him wisdom. He gave him so much more.

Yesterday, as I was talking with a family member I said, “God always blesses the prayers that ask for things that please Him.”

Friend, believe in faith that God loves you and wants to bless you. It’s possible you need to change your requests to align more with His heart. Come to Him not expecting things for yourself, but ask Him for gifts to share and give to those around you. He always honors and blesses that prayer.

Lord, you love to pour out blessing. I pray that I would seek first your kingdom and that your life might be made alive in me so that I can share that life and love with others, in Jesus name, Amen.

What My Toddler is Teaching Me About Worship

I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me…(Psalm 13:6)

My daughter absolutely loves going to our church on Sunday’s to hear the music. She dances, claps her hands and tries to sing along to the band. We also love to go during the week to play in the gym. Yesterday while we were playing in the gym Adah spotted a microphone in the corner on a stand. She ran over and started to pretend like she was singing and praising the Lord to some worship music.

Of course I joined her in this impromptu worship session as we sang a few songs together and offered up our praise to the Lord.

Friend, can I say something to you? There is so much to be thankful for in life. Truly, life is all about choosing to find joy in the little things. I know things haven’t gone perfectly for you. I get that. I’ve lived that too, but there’s a microphone that God has placed in the corner of your life and He’s inviting you to simple come and worship Him and praise Him for His goodness.

As a mother, my heart swells with joy in those moments with my daughter. As we’re singing and enjoying each other and shared the experience we’re having. Honestly, in those moments of being fully present with my child, enjoying a time of singing to God, I cannot see all the bad or things that didn’t go my way. I only share in her simple joy. The joy of a child-like faith, found in praise.

I know that she doesn’t quite understand that she’s worshipping the Lord. She’s just doing what she sees others doing. But friend, maybe that’s where you and I need to start. Maybe we need to start doing what we see others who have joy in their lives doing. I think we’ll always find that those who have real joy, have a vibrant and robust life of praise and true worship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So friend, choose to be thankful and to offer up your praise. There’s so much in this life to be thankful for, if you’re willing to look for it.

Lord, I choose to praise. You are the greatest song that I will sing. Be all I need this day and everyday, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Lord Examines You

He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.
..(Psalm 11:4)

I have spent much of my time in life convincing myself I have heard from God when that was not the case at all. We all do that, don’t we? Tell ourselves the thing we want to do it from the hand of God. Surely, this is what God wants for us we think to ourselves! This is His will, it must be and so we keep walking forward in it believing that God will somehow bless us. Yet, what I have found in those moments when I am pushing my way forward into my will hoping God will take charge and rain down His favor on my life is that what actually awaits me are consequences and pain.

Pain comes because we cannot press ourselves into something outside of God’s will and experience His true joy. We cannot mount up on those wings like eagles and fly forward with God if we keep trying to push the cart forward down below.

So friend, wherever life finds you today, let God examine you. Let Him weigh out your motivations and be willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to find His mercy for your life there as you accept the fact that you might need to let go and wait a little longer.

Lord, help us all to wait on you. Forgive us when we don’t. Weigh out our motivations so that we might walk faithfully with you, in Jesus name, Amen.

What Role Does God Have For You?

 He is the one who will build a house for me(1 Chronicles 17:12)

The LORD loved David, but it wouldn’t be David who would build God’s temple. God chose his son Solomon to do it instead. David was zealous for God. His intentions were pure, but God’s purpose for him was not to build a place for God to dwell. Instead, God’s choice for David was to offer a promise that David would never see fulfilled in his lifetime. David’s role was to wait and trust that God would bring it forth through his son Solomon.

Can we all just sit on that for a moment? Maybe many of us have a dream, something to do for God, yet it’s not in His plan for us, but for someone else. Are we willing to trust and believe that God will bring it forth through someone else so that we can play the role that He has truly chosen for us?

If I’m being honest, that’s sometimes hard for me to accept. I’m a doer, make things happen kind of person. I love creating new things and seeing them through, but I have to be careful to not start and try to finish new initiatives because I wanted to. I have had to really discipline myself and put myself in a posture of listening, trusting and waiting on God. This is hard for someone like me who’d rather be doing things than sitting back and waiting on God.

But friend, David had a son to invest in. A child whom he could pour his life into. One whom he could prepare for the mighty task of building the temple of God. I’m sure once David heard the news that his son, Solomon, would build the temple he put in motion a plan of discipleship that would prepare his son for the task. Maybe there was a certain gifting in Solomon that David lacked, we don’t know, but there was something in him that was meant for the task.

Friend, what if we spent more time investing ourselves in the people around us? Finding the things inside of them that God has placed within them. Then discipled them so that they might be prepared for the role God has for them to play? What if….instead of building a kingdom for ourselves and our gifts, we built God’s kingdom into other people instead?

Playing the role God chooses for you takes humility, patience and a willingness to be at rest in His love. At least, that’s what I’m learning. Won’t you join me there?

Father, you are LORD of all and I trust you. Thank you for loving us and for showering your new morning mercies upon us today. Be our King and Savior, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

More About Mercy

….no mercy…(Romans 1:31)

For many, many years I thought I was right. About a lot of things. It wasn’t until I was immensely humbled that I realized that me always being right was actually revealing something about my sinful nature. Back then my life really wasn’t about Godly things like mercy, it was about me. I would judge people who didn’t seem to measuring up in their faith the way I expected them to. I would do more holding them accountable to my standard of living in God’s ways than I would to my own life.

But then I was humbled and I started to understand and apply the gift of mercy. I stopped being right so often, offering all the right advice and doing all the right things. I started listening, caring for and loving those who needed mercy. Because I finally got to a point in my life where I needed it deeply.

Truth be told, I’m not fully there just yet. Lord knows I’ve got a long way to go. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend and I asked her how I could pray for her. She asked me to pray for her child. If I’m being honest, old Heather would have thought that she was somehow avoiding the question that was directed towards her. That she didn’t want to go somewhere deeper in her own life so she just had me pray for her child, but now that I’m a mother, I truly understand that praying for your child IS in fact praying for you too. You see, I used to be the captain of judgement, making all the right assumptions about a person although I had not walked in their shoes nor taken any time to put myself in their situation.

Friend, there are just things we cannot understand until we have walked in them. Apply mercy to those situations instead of judgment. Don’t look for ways to be right, but instead for moments to be God’s love and grace to those who need a place to rest their weary heads. Doing that that, I believe, has made my life so much less about me and so much more about mercy.

Lord, you are my eternal hope. Thank you for loving me and making me more like you. I pray this day that my peace would be in Jesus and that I can offer His mercies to everyone I meet today, in Jesus name, Amen.

He is There

For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive…(Acts 27:33-34)

Recently my daughter has been dealing with some issues that I’ve been trying to help her with. As a mother, sometimes I have felt powerless on knowing how to help her. It’s in those moments I have pressed tightly into the Lord. Last night as I was praying for her I was asking God for wisdom. For some reason, as I have been praying for my child, the Lord has been bringing the word, “rest” to mind. I wasn’t exactly sure what that was supposed to look like though.

I had been reassuring her that things would be fine. I told her time and time again she would be OK, but it wasn’t until I got down on her level, looked her in the eyes, spoke gently to her and reassured her that mommy was here that she decided to let go of her fears.

Friend, God speaks to us in the same way. He gets down on our level and speaks gently to us, reminding us that He is here.

I kept thinking that there was a spiritual lesson for me in the midst of my daughter’s struggles. As I was reflecting on this, God kept showing me things about myself that needed to be laid down at His feet. I can’t help but think that God has given me my daughter as a gift to serve a reflection of my own heart. In the areas that need growth and change.

Could it be that my internal anxiety was causing something in her to become anxious? I believe that is true. Truth be told, our children will pick up on the good faith we have and the lack of it. There’s just no getting around it. They’ll either believe God as good and trust Him because we do, or they’ll lack faith in the same areas as us. The only way out for them will be because that they chose to fight apart from us towards their personal freedom. But friend, I don’t want to put that burden on my child. I want to be a place of rest for her as I place myself in the safety of the Lord Jesus. Only He can be the reassurance that we need and friend, be reminded that He is always there for us. His presence never leaves and that in His will, we are safe.

Just as Paul and his companions needed rest, so do our families. Away from all the suspense and into the trusting arms of our Heavenly Father.

Lord, we trust you. I want my life to reflect a deep and abiding trust in your will. Let that be what my child picks up on. Not on fear. Transform my heart and life, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Is It Too Big To Overcome?

But now I urge you to keep up your courage…..(Acts 27:22)

Paul and his traveling companions faced before them something that seemed impossible. It was a mountain too big to move, a circumstance far too big to overcome and a situation completely out of their hands.

Many of us, if we’ve taken any risks at all in our faith, or if we’re just living daily lives with others in our family are experiencing the same realities.

God may have called us into something; a new ministry or job, school, becoming a parenting, fostering, adopting, etc. Things start to stack up against us now and what God called us into seems like it’s just not going to work out, but one thing we can be certain is that the one who calls us is faithful. There is always something to learn along the journey. Something to grow our faith and build our resolve. Yes, we will be stretched and we might feel like giving up, but we have to remember the Lord’s call on our lives and choose to believe with all faith that He will see us through.

Today might feel discouraging, but tomorrow brings new hope for us. The enemy wants us to forget that God is working and become so discouraged by today that we just stop trying. We give up. We forget the faithfulness of God and we start to believe the lie that says, “Yo didn’t hear rightly from God. You’re not going to make it. God isn’t coming through this time.”

Friend, if there’s anything I have learned its that we need to keep moving forward in faith, each step, every day, until God stops us. Each step along the journey will grow us. It may seem impossible whatever is before us, but if we would choose to have the same faith as the Apostle Paul in the midst of adversity we will remember what God led us to and let Him walk us through it.

Father, whatever we are facing today I know that you are trustworthy. You lead us in hard and challenging things. I pray we don’t give up, in Jesus name, Amen.