Grow Your Spiritual Muscle

For no word from God will ever fail….(Luke 1:37)

I used to be a pretty avid weightlifter. I would constantly push myself to failure, because I knew that failing, plus rest meant growth and new gains. Failure was actually something I welcomed and didn’t avoid, because it meant that after a period of rest I would get stronger.

Have you ever felt like such a failure that God couldn’t use you? Do you fear failing and so you avoid trying something new or taking a risk? Is failure embarrassing to you so you blame others for what happened instead of take personal ownership?

Friend, just a muscle doesn’t grow without getting to the point of being pushed to failure, your life won’t grow much without failing either. Think about it, when you fail, it humbles you. When you fail you realize that things can’t be done in your strength. Failure often gets us to the end of ourselves. Don’t let the enemy cover you in shame, but instead sit in a place of rest with God. As you rest with Him and believe Him for good things in the midst of your failure, He fills you with renewed strength and purpose.

Friend, the best things in my life have been produced after failing and then resting with God. New ministries have been birthed. Even a child was birthed in my life because of it. Friend, you better believe that this thing you’re going through is not wasted. Let God grow new spiritual muscle in you through it as you rest with Him in the waiting.

Lord, no word from you will ever fail. You make good things out of dark places. You restore all things. You can take our failures at grow us into stronger people if we don’t let shame be our driver. Lord, grow me, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

He’s Birthing Something New

The day I found out I was pregnant it was a little bit shocking. I didn’t “think” I was pregnant. But when the blood test came back confirming pregnancy I was overwhelmed. Little did I know, God had started growing something in me- a beautiful child, weeks prior. That beautiful child would continue to grow inside of me for 9 months as we anticipated her arrival.

During that time, I struggled with not being able to sleep, had major hunger pains at times and dealt with such terrible back pain, but something was growing inside of me. I was about to birth something brand new. The hope of bringing something new into the world helped those sleepless nights and many trips to the chiropractor seem a little less burdensome. As I held the name of our daughter in my heart, I waited with great hope, love and joy for her arrival.

Friend, you might be in a season where God is growing something new in you. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable and you don’t like it. I understand all of that. I have been there. What matters most is not the pain, although its so easy to focus on it, but the new beginning. The fresh start, the good thing God is growing in you. Keep believing that He’s working this thing out for your good and your growth as you cling to Him.

Becoming a parent has changed me completely. I think, it many ways, it has made me a better person. It’s slowed me down and taught me more about my need for grace. It has taken more of my energy, time and strength than anything else in this world. But that’s what new birth does. It changes us. It stretches us and grows us into new people. If we’re willing to wait with God in the growing process, He’ll birth new ministries. He’ll created within us a renewed and deeper love for people and a purpose that is bigger than the one we held before.

Won’t you wait with God in this season? Friend, if it feels painful, trust me, He’s working out something new. Just hold on and believe the best. He’ll get you there. Stay in the process and don’t leave the growing stages until He’s finished birthing something brand new in you.

Lord, you are light and love. Your word is truth. You make new things out of bad situations. You grow us into your likeness. We love you. Continue to make us more like you, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

give thanks in all circumstances;…(1 Thess 5:16-18).

The other day I ran into a woman at the park. We got to talking about church and our faith. Then, the Lord impressed upon me to share the marital crisis and separation my husband and I endured a few years ago. After I shared, this older woman said to me, “After 42 years of marriage, just this past year, my husband and I walked through a major crisis in our marriage too.” Then, she opened up to me about what they had walked through.

I couldn’t believe it. I was standing next to a woman, a sister in Christ I barely knew, and we were connecting ourselves through our pain.

Friends, these are the moments when we can look up and praise God for all things. Even the hard, embarrassing, and painful parts of our story.

A couple of years ago a woman was siting on my couch. Again, the Lord impressed upon me to share about the destructive behavior that used to ran amuck in my marriage and this woman, who I barely knew began to weep. She said, “I feel like you’re talking about my life, except, it’s been going on for 28 years.”

Another moment to look up and thank God for all things. Even the hard ones, because my husband and I became friends with this couple and were able to be there with them as they saw God do a similar work of transformation in their lives as He did in ours.

Friend, I know what you went through and what you’re going through is so hard. But we cannot be healed if we do not share with someone what has taken place. We also cannot thank God for our pain if we do not lift it up in the light, share it, and let Him give it purpose.

I don’t know why you’re walking this journey. I don’t know if you’ll ever know this side of Heaven, but someday someone might be sitting on your couch and they need to hear your story. There might be a person at the gym who needs to know they aren’t alone in their story too and hearings yours will give them hope and peace for tomorrow. So friend, share what God is doing and what He has done in your life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Your transparent life will become a safe harbor for others to start their own journey of transformation. We can all praise God for that.

Lord, you are so kind. You use even the ugly parts of our story to bring you praise. Continue to use my life and my pain for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Feel Like I Deserve More

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living….Mark 12:27

There are things in my life, that if I’m being quite honest, my sinful nature just doesn’t wan to keep trying to breathe life into. I feel myself, at times, start to entertain thoughts of defeat. Since I’ve started giving into defeat I’ll daydream about something better. At least, in my mind it feels better. So instead of breathing life into that hard thing, I’ll just start to let it die because I just want something easier.

Friend, it is true that He is the God of the living, but we must work alongside of Him, believing the best, and giving our best to see hard things grow. I know what you’re thinking though. This whole family relationship, ministry effort, job or educational pursuit is so hard and you feel like giving up. After all, it feels easier to cut the cord and start over with a new job, spouse, friend, or ministry. I can understand how you would feel that way, but beloved, God can make good things out of your situation if you’re willing to start believing the right things and then apply wisdom to them.

Don’t get so stuck on all the bad that you can’t see the good God is doing. That’s my default most days. I start to get so stuck on what God isn’t doing for me that I forget to rejoice in the work He is doing and has done for me. It feels unfair because in my sinful flesh the thing I tell myself is that I WANT MORE from this and I’m not getting what I want so this is unfair. Then, if my defenses are down I’ll start to entertain thoughts about something better. Thus, forgetting the hard thing in front of me, because a mental escape from it just feels better, even though, it’s not.

So friend, if you have something hard in your life, keep breathing life into it. Until God calls you away from it, give it your best and believe the best too. The truth is, we don’t deserve better, we really should simply be thankful that we have God and we have His grace and that is enough for each day that comes upon us.

Lord, forgive me when my mind starts to wander to places that just aren’t where your Spirit would take me. Meet with grace in the hard places of life. I have your grace each day and so I thank you for that, in Jesus name, Amen.

God is With You in the Wilderness

for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ….(1 Corinthians 10:4)

I have been through my own personal valley’s over the past few years. Times when life completely flipped upside-down. Moments when things didn’t go as planned and my plans were crushed. My dreams were no longer becoming a reality and my life was now brought to an abrupt and painful stop.

I was now thrust into the wilderness, with only God to provide for me. There were moments, sadly, when I tried to get water from the rock out of my own strength, but the second wilderness journey God put me through, I waited for Him to provide for me. Through that, I saw Christ bring water and provision from His hand. Truly, dear friend, God wants to provide for you in miraculous ways in the wilderness.

Just the other day, I was praying to the Lord, because I wanted to take something into my own hands and “help the Lord out.” Really I just was tired of waiting and wanted to try and get some real answers. As I quieted myself before the Lord I heard Him say, “I’m working, keep waiting.” That brought me comfort, because I know that means He’s working out something great for me and I also know that in the meantime, He’s going to provide for me no matter where I find myself. Even if I’m thrust into the wilderness once more.

So friend, if you’re in the wilderness, remember that just as Christ was there with the Israelites, He has there for you too. He’ll provide for you something better if you’re willing to submit yourself to this place of wandering. Watch as He brings water from a rock for you and rains down manna from Heaven. I’ve seen Him do such things for me with checks coming to my house I didn’t expect and other provisions I didn’t see coming.

Just remember, as God is flipping your life upside-down He’s working to dump some stuff out so He can flip you right-side up. Let Him shake out the pride, unbelief and anger. After all, the wilderness is a gift from God to make you new dear friend. Embrace it, in Jesus name.

Lord, i don’t always love wilderness journeys but I love you and I love how present you are with me in them. Grow me in your image and likeness as I submit myself to you, in Jesus name, Amen.

That Gift Isn’t For You

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him-…Matthew 7:11

The other day, I took Adah to the store to pick up some things to fill our boxes with for Operation Christmas Child. I explained to her on the way that we’d be getting toys, but that these toys were not for her. This was an opportunity for us to share God’s love with some other kids by getting gifts for them that their parents couldn’t afford, I explained. She understood what I was saying, but after we got to the store and starting picking out the gifts, it became increasingly harder for her to accept the reality that these gifts were not for her.

The reality is, I love giving gifts to my child. I love watching her face light up. I too share in her joy when I’m able to give her a gift.

Friend, I know you want that gift to be for you, but right now, God is giving that gift to someone else. Don’t get angry about it. Your time will come when the Father will pour out His gifts on you. After all, He loves to give good gifts to His children.

You have a wonderful opportunity to share in that other person’s joy. To be happy for them, because you know your Father in Heaven has given you good gifts too. It might be the gift you wanted, but friend, God knows what you need, when you need it. Just as I love to give good gifts to my child, not every gift is meant for her. If it was, she’d be spoiled and never be able to share in the joy of seeing others blessed by a gift.

Today, lets rejoice for those who have what we wanted and be content with the place God has us. Truly, if we will embrace our own journey, we’ll see that there are actually gifts all around us if we’re willing to place ourselves in the mercies of God for each new day.

Lord, thank you for your blessings on my life. Fill me with your love and peace. May I rejoice for others who might have the gifs I want so I too can share in their joy and yours, in Jesus name, Amen.

I Had To Prove My Point

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice…(Proverbs 13:10)

Yesterday I had a really good conversation with a veteran official about some of my play calling and interactions with coaches. After our conversation I realized what was driving me in many of my conversations with coaches was my pride. In my mind, I had to prove to them I was right, because I couldn’t stand the thought of them thinking I’m so kind of idiot.

However, my need to prove my point causes me to argue with coaches and get caught up in all of its drama instead of focusing on simply officiating the game.

Pride has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? One of my biggest hang ups over the years has been feeling like I needed to prove my worth to people who couldn’t see it or at least, I didn’t think they saw it. I’d give the issue unnecessary space in my heart and mind as I’d mull over the fact that these people couldn’t seem to see my worth. Which of course, makes me feel like I have something to prove. Maybe they’ll see me now, I’d tell myself, after really knocking something out of the park. As if my work for God was some kind of performance I’m seeking to win the approval of people. Lord, forgive me.

So friend, check your pride. It just might be driving you, creating all sorts of unnecessary drama or strife. Learn the simple ways to be at rest as you please your Heavenly Father. He sees you and loves you. That’s something I’m still trying to understand fully. What it means to simply be a child of God who is loved not for what she does, but for who she is as His daughter and beloved.

Lord, you are so good to me. You are all I need. I don’t need the approval of people. I just need you. Show me the way, each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Make Room For This

Take nothing for the journey except a staff….(Mark 6:8)

I used to be immensely arrogant. You might not have known it, but my heart and head lived in arrogance often. In fact, sometimes my pride like to convince me that I’m better than most. I deserve more or if I was given the spotlight I would shine brighter then whoever else is currently standing there.

However, over the past few years, as God has been stripping me of my pride and arrogance through humbling circumstances. The Lord has been challenging me to leave behind all my giftedness, abilities, education, etc. and come before Him with just my heart. After all, dear friends, it’s not what we have accomplished that we offer to others that really makes a difference. People care very little what your gifts and accomplishments are if you don’t make space in your heart for them. So instead, I want to offer my heart today, for others to experience His love, because I’ve let go of pride and arrogance to make room in my heart for people.

So, today, I’m going out with nothing for the journey except the parts of me that God is making new so I can love people a little more. Friends, you’ll find that when you do this, people see you, not for your gifts, because you see them. Because of that, they experience His love in you through the risen Lord Jesus.

Father, use my life to reach people. May my heart grow so deep in love that your love would reach them. I pray my life might have space for others, because you’re changing me, in Jesus name, Amen.