When God Doesn’t Take The Pressure Off

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives….(James 4:3).

I have found myself lifting up these prayers to God recently, “Lord, provide. Lord, do this for me. Lord, why didn’t you do that?” The heart behind all my asking is very much being motivated by fear. Fear that something bad might happen. Fear that the bottom might fall out, or that the Lord will somehow let us go without what we need.

I don’t know why i allow my thoughts to go there from time to time. Thinking that God somehow won’t come through for us. Doubting His lead and His hand. The truth is I just can’t see how it’s going to work out in our favor, so I grow discouraged. I become discontent with what He has provided because it doesn’t completely take all the pressure off.

But friend, as I am learning, sometimes that pressure has to stay because God is squeezing something out. He’s taking us deeper. He’s molding us further and the pressure is really a gift and in the end, it’s just a mirage too. It’s not really real. Because fear makes up things, it tells us all the bad that could happen. Fear makes us think that God isn’t sufficient, so instead of trusting in today, we worry deeply about tomorrow. There’s not enough food at the table, or so we think, so we go running to fill our stomachs once again elsewhere.

Friend, maybe this season has felt hard, because it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to crush things out of you to bring you to a deeper place of freedom, not sink you into deeper captivity. After all, sometimes, before God can lift us up, He has to empty our hands before we take His. That’s where I’m at today, emptying my hands so that God can grab them both and lift me up as I watch Him provide for me and my loved ones today.

Lord, I am afraid, forgive me. I don’t want to be. I want to be more like you. Grow me up in your love. Shower me with your new morning mercies, each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Mercy Is Not Something That Comes Natural To Me

Mercy triumphs over judgment….James 2:13

Each morning as I am praying with my sweet girl, one of the prayers I say is, “God, give us eyes to see those who are hurting, a mouth that praises you and a heart that fully receives those who need your love today.”

It’s really all about trying to develop a lifestyle of being someone of mercy.

That’s not my natural bent, to be merciful. My natural inclination is to think, “Buck up, get your act together and let’s go.”

I have not had all that much time for hurting people in the past. I would try to fix them, tell them what they needed to do and move along. It’s only been in recent years that mercy has become something I’ve sought for my life. Mercy for those who are hurting and who need someone to listen. Mercy for those who have a story to share. Mercy for those who have messed up time and time again. Mercy for people, just like myself who are being made into God’s image but get caught up in sin along the way.

Mercy is something I’m trying to put on each day. It’s the set of lenses I’m trying to see people through. Because honestly, if I don’t I’m sure to become self-righteous and right. Right about how they’re supposed to live their life. Right about what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Right about all the things they need to do to make their life better.

But friend, mercy grows when we stop talking and start listening. Mercy becomes the joy we bring to those we meet who have a story to share and need a safe place to bring it. So today, just as I pray each day with my daughter, that God might give me eyes to see, a mouth that praises Him a heart that fully receives those who need God’s love today.

Father, I want to be a woman of mercy. I know this is not my natural bent. Forgive me for my self-righteousness. I want to be like you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Is God Really Working?

Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.(Psalm 116:7)

Do you ever question if God is working? You’ve been praying for quite some time and all you can see is the evidence of things not moving towards your favor. Life keeps going, but God seems silent on the matter. People still walk away, the healing didn’t take place, and what was broken still remains.

I understand all of that. I really do. But friend, what God is teaching me is that prayer is not about the answer. It’s more about the waiting. The waiting teaches us to trust and hold on. It reminds us that we are not God. It keeps us humble and growing. It makes us wait because God has something better if we’d be patient enough to wait for it.

I know what you’re thinking though, but what if God doesn’t come through! What if all this waiting is for nothing! Friend, each time you wait, you’re simply allowing God more time to wrap the gift He’s been wanting to give. There’s things He’s working out you can’t see, people’s hearts He’s changing, along with your own.

That’s where God meets us. Not so much when the gift is received, although He certainly meets us there, but when we’re waiting for the gift. I understand though, you want the gift now. But friend, if you got it now, you wouldn’t be ready for it. Don’t you see, whatever He’s wrapping for you is what’s best and there might be parts of your character that need to grow first before you receive it.

There might be a mission He wants you to complete before He hands this gift to you. Stop looking for the gift and live on mission for today. We will miss opportunities to be His hands and feet if we keep looking instead of resting in His promises for us today. So don’t go thinking your life will have purpose, safety or security when this gift finally comes, but realize that is available for you today, even if the cup isn’t overflowing with what gives you a deep sense of purpose, safety and security. God might just be trying to strip you of that self-reliance first. After all, He’s teaching you that rest in Him is what you need, because He will provide for you there.

Lord, why would I ever doubt your love? Why would I question your provision? Forgive me when I do. I want to be like you, now and forever, Amen.

Be This For Someone Today

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds….Hebrews 10:24

Yesterday I had the privilege of mentoring some young, new officials. When I say new, I mean it. I remember being brand new as well. It was intimidating and hard. I questioned whether or not I had what it took countless times. It was the mentors who I found that kept me going and encouraged me to stick with it. It was there positive investment in me that helped me grow and not give up. Therefore, I wanted to offer the same kind of encouragement to these young officials who are just getting started.

As the games began they were supposed to take the lead and I was simply a shadow behind them, coaching them, and hitting the whistle to pick up any calls they missed. They missed lots of calls. There was lots of coaching I was doing because of the many mistakes they made, but with each mistake that was made I made a point to offer words like, “You’re going to get there, or, “You may have missed that call, but you’re doing a great job.” I also made sure to highly praise them for any small thing they did correctly, a strong whistle, the correct signal, etc.

I can’t help but think how much we need this kind of encouragement in the church. As new believers struggle, make mistakes and wonder if they have what it takes to follow Christ what they need are mentors, people willing to walk alongside of them to offer encouragement and to remind them that they have what it takes.

So if you’re wondering if God is asking you to be an encourager to someone today, the answer is yes. Now go and find someone to speak life into, because your words of encouragement just might be the words they need to keep fighting the good fight of faith.

Lord, may our words always be seasoned with encouragement. We want to be like you. Help us in this endeavor to be your light to everyone that we meet, in Jesus name, Amen.


And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back…. (Heb 10:38).

The lion was asleep. It was anti-climatic and a bit disappointing. A lion awake however, with its mighty roar is fierce and commands authority. However, at the zoo while visiting grandpa and grandma we were all met with a sleepy lion taking a nap instead of walking around showing its strength to us.

I can’t help but think how many of us have become that sleepy lion in our faith. We have the strength of a lion, but instead of using it we shrink back and let ourselves be sung to sleep. We buy into the message of the enemy that tells us just to take a nap instead of prepare ourselves for battle.

Friend, we have something to show to the world. It’s His strength in us. It’s a lion, the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ who is mighty in battle. Not with weapons to destroy people but to save lives. Now i don’t know about you, but I want to save some lives. But friend, this kind of faith requires courage and that courage is available for you through Jesus. He’s the one who meets us in our time of need. He’s the author and perfecter of our faith. He’s the lion that lives inside of all believers to do great and mighty acts for God.

So friend, if you want to see more victory in your life, stop taking so many naps and start getting up and be alert because your enemy the devil prowls around “like” a roaring lion, but he is no lion. He’s a fake. You have inside of you the true lion, so let Him roar in victory over your life and in the lives of those around today for the glory and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, I want to be like a lion in my faith. I don’t want to shrink back and take a nap. Please forgive me when I do and make me more like you, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Discerning God’s Will

If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here(Exodus 33:15)

Many of us are waiting for God to do something. We’ve been seeking Him for quite some time now and we wonder if His hand is with us. I get that. In many ways, I feel like I’m living that now. Waiting, seeking, praying and discerning God’s will for my life is always a challenge.

Moses was faced with the same issue. He didn’t want to move unless God’s presence went with him. Friend, if I’m being totally honest, sometimes I have impulsively went ahead of God. I’ve wanted Him to work and so I came up with a few good ideas to help Him in the process. But what if God doesn’t need our ideas? What if He just needs us to rest.

Whenever my child sits still long enough to rest in my lap I’m able to give her things I’m not able to extend to her when she’s on the go. I can give her more hugs and kisses, more smiles and words that build into her. Friend, maybe God needs you to stop and be still long enough to offer you the very same- His presence and love. Maybe that’s what you need first before you go running for what’s next. At least, that’s what I’m learning.

As you discern God’s will, remember that when you rest, the words of grace and encouragement flood your soul, not words of discouragement and defeat. If that’s where you are, then maybe it’s time to rest so that you can hear His words to you of love, grace and encouragement. Then as we practice this kind of faith we can move forward with Him in grace as we rest with Him first in His presence.

Lord, I want to be still long enough to hear from you. To be transformed by Jesus. I need that more in my life. Help me, as I grow to do this so that Christ might be magnified in me, in Jesus name, Amen.

Those 45 Pound Plates Staring Back At Me

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give upGal 6:9

I used to be really big into lifting weights. Now I just don’t have the time for it like I did. Back in college I had to silly goal to be able to do one rep on the bench press with a 45 pound plate on each side. I don’t know why, I thought it would be a fun goal to try and hit and that it would look cool. We do silly things in our 20’s because we think it looks cool, don’t we?

Regardless of how silly my goal was at the time, I set a goal for myself and started training. I’d come back to the gym and keep working towards my goal. I had a friend help me in this effort. I needed someone to spot me for those heavy lifts.

Eventually, I reached the point where I was able to hit my goal. Those 45 pound plates were staring me down on both sides and I went for it- I accomplished my goal. It took time though and lots of hard work. It took perseverance.

Many of us have something God has ordained for us. A goal, and a gift that He’s given us to use for Him, but in order to reach the place God wants us to go we must practice perseverance. You see, dear friend, sometimes its not so much about the place God is taking us as it is the journey along the way. At least, that’s what I’m learning. Those hours I spent in the gym years ago grew some grit in me. It taught me about the value of hard work. It also taught me about the value of rest. Because you can’t just get into the gym and lift every day. You have to let your body rest so that your muscles will grow.

Friend, this season that you’re in, this place God has put you, I want to encourage you to not give up. Keep going and moving forward. If He has set the path before you, don’t give into all the discouragement along the way. I really believe those are just 45 pound plates staring back at us trying to get us to give up when really they are part of the goal of seeing God do something great along the journey and path we’re walking for Him.

So friend, if you feel like giving up, that’s probably just the devil. Don’t do it. Keep moving forward in faith and believe that God is working even though you can’t see it. You’ll find that with time as you work hard, rest and trust God, you’ll grow and you’ll grow into something beautiful if you keep persevering n the journey.

Lord, I want to be like you. Grow me into your image, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Practicing Patience With God is Hard For Me

The Lord is good to those who wait for himLamentations 3:25

My beautiful two-year-old daughter can be immensely impatient. She has to have things immediately. She needs my attention, help and answers right away. She has a very hard time understanding that I want to bless her if she would just simply wait.

I can’t help but think that I’m looking at myself and how I often respond to God. I get angry and upset when God doesn’t come through for me right away. I think He must not want something for me because He’s not coming through for me on my time. But friend, maybe God wants to bless you, you just need to wait a little longer.

Most of my life has been about doing things. Creating things and expecting God to bless me. Waiting on God is vey antithetical to my nature. I wish it were second nature, but it’s not. I have to fight against my personality to truly hear from God. My personality tends to always tell me to keep going, keep fighting, keep moving forward, but God says, wait. If I’m being honest, sometimes my personality and the way I’m wired speaks louder than God.

So friend, if you’re like me and waiting feels like punishment, trust me, it’s not. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around sometimes because of the way I’m wired, but wouldn’t you rather have God’s very best because you waited for it instead of paving your own way because you couldn’t wait on His?

Lord, help us to wait with great patience. To trust you in all things and to not grow weary. We become weary when we are striving. Forgive us for trying so hard that we forget to rest in you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Wait With Others In The Garden of Growth

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness…(Hebrews 5:2)

Shame is a powerful tool found in the hands of many Christians- myself included. I can recall many times in years past unknowingly being so right and trying to correct such poor behavior that instead of being a field for people to grow, I was pulling people out of the garden, because I wasn’t patient enough to sit with them in their process of growth.

Since then, I have learned the valuable lesson of practicing deep patience with others, being their support and encouragement in the garden, instead of protecting the garden from people who do wrong things.

Friend, that’s the beautiful journey we’re all on. It’s a journey that is hard and challenging. It requires such deep humility that we might even be shocked by the level of it we have to practice sometimes. I know I have felt that way. But humility isn’t something we practice because we have to, it’s something we join with God in so that we can become a safe place for other people being made into His image. That they might come and grow, mess up, grow some and mess up again.

I get it though, sometimes you just want to throw the baby out with the bath water, you want to be done with that person or thing. It just feels easier to push it out and start over. I understand all of that, I really do. But how can we become people of compassion and grace if we’re not willing to sit with people in their pain and struggle just as long, if not longer, than we are willing to dance with them on mountaintops?

Friend, much of what I have experienced these past few years has challenged me to grow as a Christian, because I’m walking not on the mountain, but placing myself in a position of prayer, waiting and trust. Waiting is not something I’m good at, but prayer is where God works to prepare something good as we wait long enough for Him to bring it forth. The longer we pray for people, and wait with them in the garden, we can be certain we will see a good thing spring forth from it. All for the glory of God and for the growth of our own hearts too.

Lord, I don’t want to be arrogant and prideful. I have been that way. I want to be humble, kind, patient and long-suffering. Make me more like you, each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Give Your Child This And Watch Your Relationship Grow

the children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them…. (La 4:4).

Yesterday, my daughter and I were playing. One of the ways I feel most connected to her is when we’re doing something active together. The shared smile we have with each other, to me, is priceless. As her face lights up, so does mine as we enjoy a shared experience together.

I try to be very conscious of making sure to give my daughter not just my time and energy, but my full eye contact. Something happens when we lock eyes. Trust and love is being built. Those shared moments are creating something between us that God is building into something great.

I have to be careful though, because my phone can steal so much of my eye contact towards her. Sometimes I’ll make quick glances only to return back to my phone, but she needs me with her, not me there, but somewhere else.

Friend, I cannot stress this enough. Our children need our attention. They need our eye contact and presence. If we are not giving that to them, then we have neglected to give them our hearts. When we give them those parts of us, it grows their confidence and love for others. It softens them. It makes them feel deeply safe and secure.

So if you do anything today, offer your child one thing- your eye contact. Be present with them, not walking just beside them, but looking into them, offering them your heart.

Lord, I want to be a mother, friend, wife and daughter who is present. Forgive me when I become so distracted that I don’t offer my full presence. Make me more like you, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.