A Spinning Top

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty….Psalm 91:1

The other day I was reading a book to my daughter and her little eyes spotted something in one of the pictures she hadn’t seen before. She said, “Mommy, what’s that?” I said, “Honey, that’s a spinning top. It’s a toy.” She said, “No, it’s a popsicle.” Of course I reminded her that it was not and her was response was, “Well, it looks like one.” Which is true. It does look like one. I told her that a spinning top spins and spins in one place until it finally spins out of control and lands back down on the ground.

Doesn’t life feel a little bit like a spinning top? Life is headed in the right direction, spinning the way it should and then after some time life starts to spin a bit out of control once more. Maybe its because of something you did or its quite possibly because of nothing you did, but because life is simply taking place.

Yesterday, I said to a loved one, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Their response was to ask, “How do you do that? How do you wake up and rejoice in the Lord when things aren’t going well?”

Friend, what I have learned is not to view life like a spinning top, but just like that refreshing popsicle my daughter mentioned. One that you can enjoy in the shade while you rest a little while.

Truthfully, before this moment, I was dealing with some fears and worries. Thinking, really? This again Lord? But then, as I positioned myself in a place of prayer, asking God for His voice in all of this. He said, “Heather, I will take care of you.” So friend, life might be spinning a bit out of control for you. Things are not as they should. Life is a bit less than ideal, but God is still on the throne. Yes, God is still good. What I have learned over this journey is that even when I am met with the reality of facing the consequences of someone else’s sinful choices or when life just spins a bit out of control once more God still sits on the throne. He miraculously gives me grace, provision and His joy to lean into. He graciously provides what I need- a place to rest with Him.

So friend, don’t get so upset with the people or circumstances that made life spin out of control, but rest with your Heavenly Father in His comfort. Truly, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, you are good. You provide what I need. Thank you that you are enough for me. Today I choose to rest in your love because it is so very good, in Jesus name, Amen.

Accept Your Mistakes

he who keeps you will not slumber…Psalm 121:3

During an intense basketball competition I must constantly be engaged in the battle, because if I check out for even a moment or dwell on a mistake I made in the game I am not able to stay in the competition. Living in the past, dwelling on the mistakes that we’ve made will keep us ineffective in the battles we face for today. Friend, truly, each day has its own troubles. Why worry about the troubles of yesterday or even moments ago?

Sometimes I have a hard time seeing and understanding what God is doing in my life. My heart loses focuses on the daily bread that He has given me for today because I’m just still so mad about what happened yesterday. I’m not engaged in the battle because I’m dwelling on the past. I’ve lost my focus and I’ve given ground to the enemy to fill my thoughts with deep discouragement and disappointment.

There are nights when I get home from a difficult basketball game when I have a hard time shutting my thoughts off. I keep going over the mistakes I made in the game. Instead of accepting them and living at peace with them, I lack the ability to be at rest because I can’t let go of what I didn’t do perfectly.

Earlier this season, during an extremely intense, high stakes match up I had a thought that ran through my mind, “This is too much pressure.” Friend, life can be like that, cant it? But if we are walking closely with God, in step with His spirit and holding fast to His joy than the pressures of life simply become agents of love to press us into His joy and rest in the Shepherd’s field of His love.

As this thought flashed through my mind I simply told myself, “Heather, stay engaged in the battle and accept your mistakes.”

Friend, that’s all we can do. Accept our mistakes, learn from them and stay engaged in the battle. God is working, so stop trying so hard to accomplish something for Him. Instead, rest in Him. Let Him do the work and take your hand off the wheel.

There are moments, in the game, when I start to officiate for the people around me, but that is absolutely fleeting. Friend, don’t you see, we have an audience of one. Live sacrificially for Him today and realize that your battle is already one, so don’t live so defeated in it.

Lord, you hold all things together and I have the victory through Christ. Be my joy and hiding place today. Be my source of strength, in Jesus name, Amen.

What is Your Need?

but Ruth clung to her….(Ruth 1:14)

As Naomi and Ruth dealt with the reality of being widows in the ancient world their futures looked grim. Naomi had little hope. She was bitter and angry with God, yet Ruth, her daughter-in-law clung to her in her darkest moment. Naomi expressed her grief and even says things about that aren’t true about God. Yet, God doesn’t seem upset with Naomi’s honesty- her real, authentic honesty. In His goodness and mercy provides for Naomi what she needs through an unlikely companion. A Moabite woman named Ruth.

Friend, I don’t know what your need is, but won’t you be willing to express it? When we do, God brings in unlikely people to help meet our need and be the companion we needed to get through out darkest moments of struggle.

You might be thinking, but God, how on earth will I ever get there? How will this need ever be provided for, yet you have not expressed your need to others. Sometimes God sends checks in the mail from random people He prompts, but more often than not, God works through the agency of His people who are bonded together Christ-like, communal love to meet the needs of each other.

So friend, don’t be afraid to share with those who love you in the body of Christ about what your need is today. Be encouraged that your realness and rawness to share is met with God’s mercy to accomplish something for you. That’s His divine mercy at work to bring something for you through unlikely people.

Lord, you are so good and kind. You meet our needs. May I be willing to always share what my needs are and not be so prideful to hide them. You are so good, so Lord, work in my life today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Get Ready

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house….(Prov 24:27)

Last night I had the opportunity to officiate a high level, high stakes, very intense game. Both teams were one and two in the conference. The gym was packed with people and so very loud. It was exciting. The tension was so thick at times in the gym you felt like you could cut it with a knife.

It was a tight game the whole way through. Part way through the end of the 4th quarter with only a 3 point difference between the two teams, during a timeout one of my partners said to me, “This is why we do it.” I smiled, nodded my head and said, “Absolutely.”

Over the years, I have been preparing myself as an official for games like this. I have been applying what veterans have taught me. I’ve asked lots and lots of questions and I haven’t been afraid of critical feedback. In fact, I have welcomed it on many, many occasions. All of that time I’ve spent in preparation prepared me to handle the intensity of a moment like this so I could stay calm and relaxed and be able to call the game despite all the noise and chaos around me.

The truth is, as a growing official, I’ve made many, many mistakes, and I still do. I’ve officiated extremely boring games (more than I can count). I’ve officiated absolute blow outs and games that just weren’t very high level. But all of that was part of the preparation.

Friend, I get it. What you’re experiencing right now is just not fun. It feels boring, monotonous and without much purpose. But could it be that God is preparing you? That seems to be the theme in my life as I go through one more season of preparation after another in my spiritual walk. Truthfully, there have been moments when I wondered what God was doing and how on earth this could ever be accomplishing something good, but friend, believe it. There’s something about your character He’s growing in this season to prepare you for the next.

It’s much easier to look forward with anticipation to the next big game on my schedule. It’s not always like that with God, because sometimes our opportunities just show up and what God was preparing in us in those mundane, seemingly purposeless moments is what He’s going to use to help us shine for Him in these new moments of divine purpose. After all, every moment is sacred and one thing I tell myself, even in those games that don’t seem to matter much is that I must give my very best because that’s what honors God and so friend, go ahead, give your best in this season of preparation. Even though it doesn’t feel important God is using it to accomplish bigger things that you can’t see.

Lord, I love you. Thank you for growing, shaping and changing me. Forgive me when i forget that growing seasons are very purposeful. Help me to stay faithful in them, in Jesus name, Amen.

Who is God to You?

The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”…(Ex 3:13)

We were very intentional in choosing our daughters name. Knowing that in the biblical period your name spoke into destiny we wanted a name that would do that for our child. I’ve been speaking the meaning of her name into her life daily from the time she was born, believing that with God’s help, one day, she’ll live t out.

Does she always live up to her name? No, not at this point and truthfully, because of humanness she never will fully and completely live it out. Neither will I live up to my name. Only one person can be that faithful and that is God.

So, I have a question for you, who is God to you? What name have you believed Him to be?

Is He God almighty or is He simply God, the one who is mad at you? Is He the Good Shepherd or is the God who forgot about you and your needs? Is He God, a good father or is He God, the one who just doesn’t seem to care?

Truthfully, during life’s most painful moments I have wondered if God was mad at me, had forgotten about me or if He just didn’t care. Friend, what about you? Who do you believe God to be for you today? Is it possible that something in your own heart needs to change so you can rejoice in the God who sees you? Your provider, protecter and sustainer? Friend, replace what you feel with we know to be true about God. After all, He has proven Himself faithful, time and time again and He’ll continue to prove Himself faithful, good and trustworthy even after you take your last breathe. Believe that He is for you today and change your mind about all the things you’re struggling to believe are true of Him.

I’m with you in it because I sometimes forget, in the midst of those dark moments just how good God has been to me.

Lord, I pray that I would always know you by your true name. Not ones I feel, but ones that are based on truth. You have proven yourself good and faithful, Lord thank you, Amen.

Do You Fear God?

But the midwives feared God…(Exodus 1:17)

Do I fear God? That’s the question I posed myself today.

As I was contemplating and wrestling through these thoughts things like power, money and prestige all came to mind. Truth be told, in the depth of my sinful heart I can easily love them all more than God. Why? Because I easily forget that He owns everything and when the decisions of people don’t go in my favor, He still owns it all. The power still belongs to Him and His no doesn’t mean He doesn’t have the power to do it. It just means He has something better.

But that’s the thing. I’ve been having a very hard time embracing what God has placed in front of me. I want something more. My heart feels conflicted and not at rest with God. I want too much. I always do. I’ve spent most of my life being too busy and now God is slowing me down. He’s attacking my love for power, prestige and money. The truth is, I’d much rather be somewhere else than in this present spot, but there’s something about my heart He’s transforming here. Do I fear Him enough to know that He’s got something better in this and on the other side of it? Truthfully, not always, but I really do want to believe, trust, obey and worship Him in this place.

So friend, today I’m coming with a heart that is willing to lay aside what I want to trust and believe in God’s very best. I pray I’ll continue to believe as I do my best to walk in fear of God, believing that He’s a good King. A mighty King and that when He’s ready He’ll supply all that I need. If you’re like me and this season feels uncomfortable it’s because He’s working something out in you that you can’t see, but He and others can. I’m believing that God will make me a new creation through all of this. Through the heartache and pain. Through the wanting and waiting. Through it all I’m praying He transform me more and more into the image of His Son.

Lord, I love you. I really do. Forgive me when my love for you is not as strong as my love for all the things of this world. Grow and change my heart, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

God Will Do It….Wait on Him

For nothing is impossible with God….(Luke 1:37)

The other day I was talking with my husband in the kitchen, expressing some frustrations to him about something I thought God was going to do for me. I shared with him about how in the past if God called me to something nearly everything I touched had great success and it would happen very quickly. I suppose I thought the same would continue to happen, but that has not been the case.

My life, in recent years has moved at a much different pace with God. I don’t fully understand why. I’m still in the process of figuring that out. As I was sharing these things with Rodrigo, he said to me, “Maybe in the past it was mainly in your own strength and now God wants to show you what He can do as you trust in Him to do it.”

That statement really stuck with me because I realized very quickly that what he had to say was very true. I have relied most of my life on my abilities. In fact, I still do to some degree. If I work hard, stay humble and teachable I tend to live a fairly blessed life. At least, that tends to be the case, but this season of life, the past number of years has been so strangely different for me. My spiritual abilities and gifts feel as though they are spinning their wheels, ready to move, but its as if God is placing His finger on me, telling me to wait for His power before He lets me go.

Friend, I don’t like waiting, but striving in my own effort has left me defeated and frustrated. That’s where I was in the kitchen the other day as I was talking with my husband, defeated and frustrated because I was trying so hard to make something happen in my life. When I finally surrendered those things to God and asked for His power He started to show me things. He brought someone to mind and after reaching out to this person they said, “Hey, it’s so funny that you called because I have been thinking about wanting to do this very thing but didn’t really know where to go.”

I say all of this to encourage others out there, just as my husband did for me, to wait on God to display His power in your life. This might mean, as it has for me that you’ll be put into frustrating seasons of growth, but friend, we can never go wrong waiting on God. If we don’t we’ll be frustrated, defeated and worn out. We need God’s power and His power alone to accomplish His kingdom mission. Won’t you wait on Him and rely on Him to do the work that needs to be done to accomplish great things in your life?

Lord, I am blessed. I don’t always see your blessing because I’m striving too hard. Forgive me for striving instead of waiting on you. May my life bring you praise as I wait on your power to do great things, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Approval of People is Not Your Reward

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward….Col 3:23

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend who realized that they needed to change their attitude about their current situation and praise God instead of becoming mad at people. Their children weren’t receiving the recognition from some adults in their life they felt like they should have been receiving. My friend realized her attitude was wrong and that she needed to switch her expectations to heavenly ones.

Truthfully, don’t we all wrestle with that though? I know I do.

I spend for too much of my mental energy upset because people, on this earth, don’t give me the kind of recognition I think I deserve.

The Lord has chipped away at that over the years, but there are still parts of me, at times, that feels a bit gipped. Trust me, I know that’s wrong, because I know my reward isn’t supposed to be in this life, but in the life to come, but sometimes, I forget that. I forget to store up treasures in Heaven. I forget to remember that this is not my true home. I forget to look towards Heaven, my true home where I will live forever with God because of the risen Messiah, Jesus.

So maybe you feel like my friend and myself at times too. You forget that your rewards and your loved ones rewards are not supposed to be in this life, but in the one to come. As I was reading this morning I was reminded of the Hebrew name, Isaachar which means, “There is a reward.” Friend, there is a reward and its not in this life. It’s not in the promotion, the new job, title or status. It’s not in the home, the trophy for your kid or the applause you or they receive from people. It’s in the joy of knowing that in Christ, one day, the Father will say, “That man, that woman, they are mine. Enter into the life to come where there is no crying, death, sickness, sadness or pain.”

What a day that will be my friend. Keep your eyes on it and remember, that as you walk in humility and with great faith, even if no one notices this side of Heaven, your Father in Heaven sees you and He is glad.

Lord, my reward isn’t in this life. Forgive me when I forget. Make me more like your son, Jesus and may my heart wait with great anticipation to live eternally forever in Heaven, Amen.

Accepting Your Reality

the name the angel had given him before he was conceived….(Luke 2:22)

One of the things I look forward to the most as a young mom is seeing who my child will become. What will become of her life? What will be the things she values? What will God do with her life? Those are all questions I have. Only time will tell how those questions will be answered.

The truth is, God has a plan for my child, one I am deeply unaware of, yet a plan that I can trust will be for her good and for my own personal growth. It might not be a plan that I’ll understand at the time, but it will be one that I can believe the best in.

Friend, this current place your in may not feel great. It may feel scary or uncertain. It might even feel like God is doing nothing. You may have been praying and praying and seen very little fruit. Chances are God has been doing quite a bit, but you’re focusing on all the wrong things. Instead of praising Him for the little victories you’re getting caught up on all the small stuff that hasn’t turned around just yet.

Here’s the thing though friends, and trust me, I am learning this very slowly. God moves mountains, yes, but sometimes He just does it by an inch or two. Therefore, He is working, but He didn’t throw that mountain out and put a new palace in for you like you’d hoped Instead, He just lowered the mountain a bit and gave you a place to camp. I know, I know, you don’t want to camp here any longer, but maybe there’s something about this mountain that will never completely change the way you want it to, because you need to change your expectations of what it means for God to be good in your situation.

Just as my daughter will face many trials someday, I pray that I can show her how to embrace them and not run from them. I pray also that I would be brave and wise enough to say that God is good, even when those around me are facing their own challenges. Instead of creating a way of escape for them, I pray that I would have the patience to watch them grow with God in the valley.

Friend, maybe that’s it. Maybe your journey is not what you thought it was going to be, but its really all about learning to embrace with joy where God has you, so you can show others the way to peace and contentment with God. No matter what season, diagnoses, crisis or stage of life. Believe the best and know that in Christ, the best is yet to come.

Lord, you are light and peace. You’ve proven yourself trustworthy. Therefore, I don’t have to fear, but I can believe the very best. Let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.