Category Archives: Encouragement

Our Not-So-Perfect Family Story…

I’m so honored to get to share a little of my heart over at my friend Dena’s blog today.  I’m talking about perfectionism and motherhood and embracing our family story.  Hop on over there and check it out! (There’s even a free printable at the end!!) 🙂

EmbraceYourStory_Printable by Little House On The Circle

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Where there are no oxen…

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox" Proverbs 14:4

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4

I read this verse this morning in my quiet time and it struck me. I know I’ve read it several times before, but for some reason it really stood out today. Maybe because I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with the “messy” side of life lately. Whether it’s scrubbing toilets or working in the garden or organizing paperwork or washing dishes or vacuuming up dog hair or picking up a trail of toys for the millionth time…life is full of messy chores, unpleasant tasks, downright dirty work.  Work that no one really sees, tasks that aren’t fun and seem to never end…life is full of manger-cleaning “stable” work.

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean”

I almost rephrased that in my journal to say “Where there are no children, the house is clean” lol. Or “where there are no husbands…” or “where there are no wives who randomly begin projects that are left unfinished all over the dining room table to the point that the family can’t even eat at the table and dinner must be served in the living room…” (Not that I know any wives like that… 😉 )

(and I’m pretty sure these versions don’t have quite the same meaning and inference as the verse intended…but still 😉 )

If you want abundant crops…if you want success at whatever it is you are doing, as a homemaker or a mother or an employee or a boss or whatever it is you do…chances are there will be some “mangers” to clean, some messy tasks to do, some nitty gritty downright dirty work involved.

Sure, the stable would be sparkling clean and smell great if you had no oxen in there.  But without the ox, you can’t plow the fields. “Abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” Oxen are messy. They require a whole set of chores and care. But they are strong. And they are part of the “abundant crops” package.

I don’t have any actual oxen in my life. I don’t farm. At all. I am barely able to grow a little tomato in my tiny backyard garden, let alone harvest an abundant crop of any sort. I don’t even know if modern-day farmers even use oxen to plow their fields anymore. But I think everyone has some kind of “ox” in their life…some kind of necessary (though sometimes messy) thing that adds strength and helps you plow whatever kind of field you are plowing.

So today I’m thinking about what the “oxen” are in my life and I’m thanking God for them, and for the messes and the unpleasant chores and tasks and all the messy stuff that goes along with the work He has called me to do.  Because I know that my faithfulness in even the small, unnoticed, unpleasant tasks is important. It all matters. Even messy manger-cleaning stable work. 😉

One step at a time

We went hiking this past weekend with my sister and her family.  They live near Chattanooga, Tennessee and have some of the most beautiful places to hike all around them.  I love to explore new places when we go there to visit.  Plus, it’s just a great way to spend time together! 😉

This weekend we went to a place called Lula Lake. It was a beautiful day…the perfect kind of day to get outside and explore a little.  And when they said this place had a big waterfall…well, I was sold. 😉

We’ve been hiking as a family for about three years now…and the thing I’ve noticed about all of our hiking adventures is that they always require a bit of effort. Often they require some sort of climbing, some amount of sweat, some extra amount of energy.  But there’s really no way around it…you can’t just drive your car to these places to see these great sights…you have to put in the effort, you have to put feet to the path and take one step after another.

But it’s worth it.  It’s always worth it.

This weekend, we basically climbed a mountain.  We climbed deep into the valley to the very base of this big beautiful waterfall…then we had to climb back up, and then up some more to get to the very top, to the peak, where we could see the incredible view from the bluff.

It wasn’t the hardest hike we’ve ever done.  But it wasn’t the easiest either.

About halfway back up after going all the way down to the waterfall, Emma had had enough.  She was tired. The climb was a bit more than she had expected, a bit harder than she wanted.  So she planted her feet and said, “I can’t do it.  I won’t do it. I’m not climbing anymore.”

I tried to encourage her. I knew the top was not very far away…I knew she could do it…she’s done harder climbs before.  But she didn’t believe me.  “No. I can’t. And I won’t.”

Well, she and I both knew that not moving was not an option.  She had to keep going. I knew that. Deep down, she knew that – but at that moment, all she could see was the enormous task ahead of her – and it was too big, too much. So she just stopped.

It took a bit of prodding, and some encouragement from her Aunt Joy, and eventually Emma started moving again.  One step at a time.  Sometimes slowly.  But eventually….we made it!  She did it.  That thing she thought was too hard and too big…she did it!

Inevitably on most of our hikes, there is at least one of us who hits a point where going on just seems to hard.  They want to quit.  They don’t want to go on.  The task ahead seems too large. The distance left ahead seems like too much.  They don’t think they can do it all, so they don’t do anything at all. They just stop.

Sometimes the enormity of what lies ahead overshadows the small task right in front of us – just one small step.

Just take one step.

This journey that God has mapped out for me is quite the adventure. Deep valleys, high mountains, difficult climbs, amazing views.

But how often do I plant my feet in the ground and refuse to go on?  How often do I grumble and complain about the path?  How often do I get overwhelmed by the climb I see ahead of me instead of just focusing on the next step right in front of me?  Whether I’m tired or scared or hurting or overwhelmed, how often do I say “I can’t do it, I won’t do it,” and refuse to take even one step because the whole big thing just seems impossible?  How often do I miss the beauty all around me because I’m too busy worrying about all the things I can’t see or don’t know or don’t like about this path?

How often do I miss the joy of the journey because I don’t trust my Guide?

My dad used to have this old saying that he would repeat to us over and over and over as we were growing up.  I think it’s an old Chinese proverb or something, but I heard it so many times, it is forever engrained in my head.  It got to be kind of annoying back then…but I can now appreciate the wisdom in these words:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The journey ahead may seem long – too long.  The mountain in front of you may seem insurmountable.  The steps may be steep and the climb may be hard.  But don’t let the enormity of the journey overwhelm you – don’t stop.  You may not be able to do everything right now – but you can do one thing.  You may not be able to climb the whole mountain today, or even this year – but you can take just one step.  Then take just one more.

And then…just take one step more.

Because every great journey is taken one step at a time.

***

Pssst…I’ve made a little printable of this quote, with three color options, just for you. 😉 Simply click the color you would like to print and it will take you to the PDF file which you can then save and print 🙂  Enjoy!!



Sink My Feet

I’ve had this song playing on repeat these past few days…


Just Keep Me By You

My prayer today.
To sink my feet deep.
Not asking for anything…just to stay by Him.

 

On being quick to hear

I haven’t had a whole lot to say lately…and I don’t really have much to say today.  But I just wanted to share this verse that I’ve been thinking on this week:

JamesOneNineteen

Our life group is reading through the book of James together…digging deep and really studying it.  When I read this verse, I got hung up a bit on it.

Because the world has been loud lately.  Really loud.

This broken and bleeding world has been crying out, yelling out, screaming so loud it is sometimes hard to hear anything.  Crisis upon crisis…injustice upon injustice.  Lives lost, nations at war, arguing and bickering and chaos erupting.  It’s easy to just want to shut it all off, and tune it all out…to deny and ignore.

That’s what I usually do.  I’m typically a quiet person anyway…an introvert who avoids conflict like the plague.  So when others are loud, I usually just stay quiet.  I say nothing.

But silence is not the same as hearing.

I may be quiet, but am I really listening?

“Be quick to hear…”

The Message puts it this way: “Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue”

What does that mean, to lead with your ears?  What does that look like in day-to-day life…in this broken and loud world…in the middle of chaos and emotionally-charged problems?

I’m not entirely sure…I’m still figuring it out.

But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean to just be quiet and ignore problems.  I do think it means that it’s important to take the time to slow down and listen first.  To lead with my ears.  Not with my mouth, or my opinions, or even my eyes….but my ears.

Listen to someone enough…I mean really listen, really hear them…and you begin to see them as God sees them. Take the time to really hear them, and you start to really see them.  Because everyone has a story.  Every person is a soul created by God, loved by God, valued by God….and every soul, every single one, can be redeemed by God.

Those who are hurting…need someone to hear them.

Those who are crying out…need someone to hear them.

Those who are abused and neglected and treated unfairly…need someone to hear them.

The orphans, the widows, the homeless, the sick…need someone to hear them.

Those whose hearts have been broken and whose lives have been shattered and whose innocence has been stolen…they need someone to really hear them.

This world is really loud.  It’s hard to hear.  Hearing takes time and patience and empathy and humility.  And it takes love.  Because listening is a kind of loving…and when we are quick to hear, when we lead with our ears, we can follow up with our tongues with words of love that can build bridges and mend hurts and turn hearts to Jesus.

And the amazing grace of it is…sometimes it ends up being our own hearts that get changed and healed when we slow down and lead with our ears.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not know it all…I have my own tinted lenses through which I see the world…and by listening to others, sometimes it’s my own perspective that changes, my own heart that gets moved, my own eyes that are opened.

Because when I take time to really hear, that’s when I really start to see.

 

{ If you would like to print this verse and have it as a reminder, I’ve made it into a little printable for you to enjoy.  Just click the link below! }

James One Nineteen 5×7 Printable

Tending my soul in a season of change

As certain as the sun rises and falls,
as sure as the waves stretch to kiss the shore,
there will be change.

One would think that someone who has experienced as much change as has been crammed into my life would be somewhat of an expert in change.  I should be able to take change in stride, to handle it with grace, to face it without this fear that literally shakes me to my very core.

I grew up in a military family.  My dad was in the Air Force, and change was just a constant part of my life growing up.  We moved every 2-3 years.  Every couple of years we packed up all our stuff, our lives, and moved someplace completely new, surrounded by strangers.  I attended 3 different elementary schools, 2 different middle schools, and 3 different high schools across several different states and 3 different continents.  Change was the story of my life.

So you would think I’d be pretty good at handling changes now, that I’d be resilient and adjust quickly…that it wouldn’t bother me.

Oh, how I wish…
Sadly, that is not so.

Anxiety, insecurity, doubt, and fear have plagued me every time change comes around.

Although we no longer move all over the planet every couple of years (I’ve now lived in the same city, in the same state, in the same country for almost 18 years, which still sometimes seems crazy to me), changes are still a constant part of my life.  They may not be big changes to all new places surrounded by all new people, but the changes that shake me today tend come as subtle shifts – changes in jobs, shifts in relationships, transitions into new life seasons.  All of these changes, big or small, typically have a way of sending me into a whirlwind of anxiety and fear.  I feel unsteady, unsure, unable to find my footing.  I struggle against changes, against the unknown.  In short, I am a mess when it comes to change.

But I am learning, ever so slowly, that I’ve been seeing change through the wrong lens all along.  I’ve been viewing these shifts and changes from the wrong perspective, from the wrong angle.

The fact is, change is not going to change.  Things will change.  Life will change.  Seasons come and go and change is just a part of life.  Life is a constant series of changes.  And fighting against it and struggling with it has only ever caused me to miss out on all the gifts God has for me within and through each change.  Because in each change is an opportunity – to grow, to learn, to trust, to find joy.  And my goal should not be to reduce the number of changes in my life, or to control the changes, or even to manage the changes.  What I need to do is to simply learn how to tend my soul in the midst of change.

Tend my soul.
Care for my soul.
Keep my soul.

 

When I allow my heart to fill with fear and anxiety and worry and doubt, my soul hurts.  I feel unsteady, unsure, uncertain.
I lose my center.
Because I’ve put something other than God at the center.

It’s easy to say that God is the center of my life – but the proof for me is when change comes and when life gets bumpy and when storms roll in and beat down hard…

John Ortberg writes in his book, Soul Keeping, “A soul without a center is easily thrown.1

Sigh…I am far too easily thrown.

John continues…
My temptation when my soul is not centered in God is to try to control my life.  In the Bible this is spoken of in terms of the lifting up of one’s soul.  The prophet Habakkuk said that the opposite of living in faithful dependence on God is to lift your soul up in pride.  The psalmist says that the person who can live in God’s presence is the one who has not lifted their soul up to an idol.
When my soul is not centered in God, I define myself by my accomplishments, or my physical appearance, or my title, or my important friends.  When I lose these, I lose my identity.” 1

How often have I found my identity in things other than God?  Maybe that’s why changes in these things unsteady and unsettle me so much – my soul has been centered in something other than God.

If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life.  If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life. 1

For my soul to be healthy, God must be at the center.  And my soul must be with God.

The soul seeks God with its whole being.  Because it is desperate to be whole, the soul is God-smitten and God-crazy and God-obsessed.  My mind may be obsessed with idols; my will may be enslaved to habits; my body may be consumed with appetites.  But my soul will never find rest until it rests in God. 1

God wants to fill every moment of my life with His glorious presence.  Every. Single. Moment.  But in order to live in His presence, in every moment – including every good moment, every hard moment, every sad moment, through every change and every season – I must be aware of His presence, and surrender  to His presence in every moment.

John writes it this way, as a question for every day: “How many moments of my life today can I fill with conscious awareness of and surrender to God’s presence? 1

How many moments?  How many moments in the middle of change can I live in surrender to and awareness of God’s presence?  How will this change the way I handle changes?

God wants to make every moment of my life glorious with his presence….it’s not just that he wants to be with us, but that he desires to make our lives ‘glorious’…he wants to fill our souls with beauty, splendor, wonder, and magnificence. 1

Every moment.  Filled with His presence.  Filled with His goodness.  Filled with beauty and splendor and wonder and magnificence.  Every. Moment.
Even the moments of change, when life is shifting and everything else is unsteady and uncertain.  To be filled with His presence.

 

Can anything really shake us when we are fully aware of Him holding us?  Can any change, no matter how great or how life-shifting, be able to strip us of joy and peace if we are fully surrendered to His presence in every moment?

My life seems to have been filled with change over the last year or so.   And now my oldest, Emma, is starting Middle School in two days.  MIDDLE SCHOOL!  Sigh…this whole middle school thing and the teenage years to follow, they kinda scare me a little – I just feel so out of my element, so inept and unsure – I don’t know what in the world I’m doing.  But these girls just keep growing up…time just keeps ticking by, no matter how hard I try to slow it down.  And this transition to middle school, for some reason, has hit me rather hard.

So I sit here on the cusp of yet another change, and I have a choice.

I could be anxious and nervous and desperately try to hold on to how things used to be – OR…I can let go of control and invite God into these changes, and I can live each moment with Him in the center.  Because that death-grip of control that I hold onto so tightly?  All it does is squeeze the life right out of my soul.  But when I let go of that grip, it frees me.  It frees me to fully embrace each moment – whatever comes – and have joy through it all, knowing He is with me.

So I can fill these days, these moments with worry and fear…OR I can fill them with a conscious awareness and surrender to His presence.

I can hurt my soul by focusing on everything other than God, OR I can tend my soul through the changes by trusting Him and giving Him the control, and simply allow His presence to fill me.

That’s the whole point of tending to the soul – to fill us so completely with his presence that the brilliance of his love shines through us. 1

I want His love to shine through me, through every change and every shifting season.

So instead of letting the anxiety and fear and worry slip in, instead I will invite God into this moment.  Because no matter what comes and no matter how hard the winds of change blow, my soul can find rest, my feet can find a sure and steady footing, and my life can be filled with His glorious presence, when I am centered in the One who is holding everything together.

 

{  1all quotes are from Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg.  If you want to read more about intentionally caring for your soul, I cannot recommend this book enough. }

When you have a bad day…

Sometimes things just don’t go the way you plan.

Sometimes the calendar doesn’t reflect reality.

Sometimes a day can bring surprises that can throw everything into a whole new level of crazy.

Sometimes an ordinary day can take an unexpected turn, and can end up knocking you down and wiping you out.

Because you can make plans, and you can make lists, and you can think you know how a day, a week, a life, is going to go – but then that day, that week, that life happens and it throws you a curve you didn’t expect, and you realize, again (because you knew this already, you’ve learned this already, but you forget, you always forget) that you really don’t have control over everything like you think you do. And sometimes your perfectly planned day gets flipped upside down and jumbled all up and you end up feeling a lot like Alexander, wishing you could just go to Australia.

Because sometimes your kid comes home from camp and you find the dreaded lice in her hair.

And sometimes the other kid gets sick and throws up all over her room in the middle of the night.

And then sometimes the one with lice also gets swimmer’s ear and has to go to the doctor and is awake all night in pain.

And sometimes the dog gets sick on the floor and the toilet clogs up and then you spill a bowl of boiling water down the front of you…and you wonder if life really would be easier in Australia…because these past few days have just been a series of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days…and will it ever let up?

So I sit here in my pajamas, in the middle of the afternoon, after combing through hair again, and putting drops in ears again, and cleaning up messes again…I sit here too tired, to worn down, to even go shower and get dressed…and part of me just wants to disappear, or cry, or both.

But the other part of me knows what I need to do…I know how to make it through these “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” days…I know, but I must make myself remember.

I must remember to give thanks.

Because gratefulness in ALL things is how I make it through all things.  Because this life, all of it, every day of it…the good and the bad and the sad and the horrible and the trying and the disappointing and the glorious and the overwhelming…they are ALL a gift.  Life is a gift.  Each day is a gift.  And each day is FULL of gifts.  I just have to slow down enough to notice.

So I go outside and I cut some flowers.  I grab a handful of hydrangeas from our bushes out front and a few marigolds from the garden out back.  I bring them in, and in the middle of all the crazy, I fill some mason jars and small vases with water, and I add my fresh flowers…then I place them around the house…I add these gifts of beautiful grace to each room.  And I smile.  And I count this gift.

And then we bake some chocolate chip cookies.  And I give thanks for these yummy gifts of grace and this moment of sweet enjoyment.

Then I sit with my sweet girl whose ear is hurting and who is just about as tired as I am from having to wash her hair and pick through each strand yet again (because oh my word, these lice are resilient and so hard to get rid of!)….I sit with her as she holds her ears, and I pray with her…and I thank God for His grace, and I thank Him that we can trust Him because we know that He is working every thing together for good…even when we don’t understand, and even when we don’t like the process. We can thank Him because God is ALWAYS good, and we are ALWAYS loved.

“Every little thing is going to be ok, because God is working good through every little thing.” (Ann Voskamp)

So I pour myself yet another cup of coffee…and I give thanks for this grace in a mug and for a moment of peace in the middle of the crazy.

And I come to the window when Lilly runs in, so excited that she saw a lizard out on the fence, and I pause and enjoy the moment with her and we take a picture so we can show Daddy later…and I give thanks for the grace of this moment.

And I strip the beds and wash the sheets and pillows (again)…and I give thanks that I can do this…that I get the joy of serving my family this way. I give thanks that we have a washer and a dryer and a home and a life that is so very very blessed.

And I pull out the book and I read it to the girls again – about a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day – and we laugh about our days this week…and I give thanks. Because really, the bad days aren’t so bad when you can see God in all the days.  Even the bad days are full of good…full of grace.

Because the truth is, sometimes schedules change and plans fail and lists go unchecked and projects go undone. Sometimes friendships fade and paths fork and hurts happen and storms bear down hard.  Sometimes the unexpected happens, sometimes the unplanned things trip us up and threaten to steal our peace and our joy.  And in those moments, in those days, it’s so easy to throw a pity party and to fuss and pout and complain about our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…week…life.  It’s easy to just want to disappear or escape to Australia.  But some days, some seasons, are just like that…even in Australia.

And the way you get through them is the way you get through everything in this life….by giving thanks in ALL things.

My verse this year is Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts…and always be thankful.”  I want that verse to not just be words on my lips or thoughts in my head…I want it to be ingrained in my very heart and soul.  I want to live every day with His peace ruling in my heart, and with thanksgiving always on my lips, even on the bad days when everything goes wrong…especially on the bad days when everything goes wrong.

This takes practice…I have to be intentional. In the middle of these “Alexander” days is when it is the hardest for me, and I have to literally make myself stop and refocus on giving thanks.  I have not been perfect at it these past few days…I admit, there may have been more than a few tears shed and a pity party or two thrown before I remembered to look for the good and not just focus on the bad.  But today, I am claiming peace. Today, I will comb through hair and put drops in ears and wash clothes and clean the house with a heart that is focused on giving thanks, even in these things.

Because the truth is:

Even when plans don’t work out….God is good and I am loved.

Even when lists and projects go undone…God is good and I am loved.

Even when the unexpected happens…God is good and I am loved.

Even when things don’t work out the way I thought they would…God is good and I am loved.

Even when the day falls apart…even when life seems to fall apart…
God is ALWAYS good, we are ALWAYS loved, and ALL is grace.

Always.

On Psalms…and trust

I just finished reading through Psalms…again.  I love that book.  I have highlighted and underlined and journaled about so many verses in that book.  Each time I read it my soul is reminded of truths that I know, but sometimes forget…this chronic “soul amnesia” a constant struggle.  Psalms is good for that.  For helping me remember.  The whole Bible is good for that, I know…but lately Psalms has just been the book that has tugged deepest at my soul-strings.  And the word that keeps resonating and staying with me, every day, through every verse, through every string of beautiful words…is trust.  Just trust.

Want peace?  Trust God.

Struggling with anxiety?  Trust God.

Have problems with enemies trying to tear you down and beat you up?  Trust God.

Unsure of the future?  Trust God.

Hurting?  Trust God.

Soul feel crushed?  Trust God.

Bearing a heavy load?  Trust God.

Just. Trust. God.

Because He is great, He is worthy, He is powerful, He is trustworthy, He is our rock, He is our shelter, He is our refuge, He is our strength.  We can praise Him, we can be filled with joy, and we can have peace…no matter what we are facing, no matter what we are feeling, no matter what is going on around us…because we can trust Him.  He who parts the sea, He who hears every cry, He who collects each and every tear, He who goes before us and follows us, He who knew formed us and shaped us and knew us before we were even born…He has everything in His hands, and we are safe under His wings, and we can trust Him…always.

Did I mention I love Psalms?

As I’ve been reading, I have been randomly making a few of the verses into little graphics and sharing them on Instagram.  They are nothing fancy, just little reminders to me of the big truths in these amazing verses.

I’ve made a few of them into printables that you are more than welcome to print and use 🙂  These are just 8 little verses, a handful in a loooonnnng list of my favorites.  There are so many wonderful verses in Psalms. If you haven’t taken the time to really dig into that book, I encourage you to take some time to slow down and really meditate on the words in there.  It took me about a month to read through the whole book, and every single day there was at least one verse (usually several) that God used to stir my soul and remind me to trust Him, to praise Him, to love Him, to follow Him.

Maybe some of these verses will encourage your soul today too… 🙂

Psalm 63:1

Psalm 77:19

Psalm 105:19

Psalm 111:2

Psalm 115:1

Psalm 130:5

Psalm 139:5

Psalm 145:14

~~{ To get the whole set, in 4×4 square printables, CLICK HERE }~~

(or you can click on each individual graphic to download the individual image)

On Peace and Trust

At the beginning of this year, I chose the word “peace” as my one word for the year. (You can read all about that in my first post here).  Since then I have been really trying to wrap my heart around what real peace really is.  I’ve been reading and thinking and praying and reflecting…trying to unwrap this one word that shows up almost 250 times in the Bible.

Peace.

This year has not exactly been full of peaceful situations.  Finding peace every day has not been easy.  But then again, I don’t think God could really teach me about peace without bringing in situations that are the opposite of peaceful.

On easy days, days full of roses and sunshine and smiles…in those slow, calm moments when no one is fighting and everyone is happy and the flowers are blooming and birds are singing…it’s easy to “feel” peaceful on those kind of days.  And I think that’s often the kind of situation that we envision when we think of the word “peace.”  Calm. Safe. Happy. Beautiful. Peaceful.

But the more I read, the more I pray, the more that God shows me in His Word…revealing to me slowly, because I am such a slow learner…what His peace is all about…the more I am coming to understand that peace has nothing to do with feelings, or with circumstances. Peace, real peace, is found in a Person – in Jesus.

Peace is not about how I feel…peace is about Who I trust.

Because, let’s be honest…those calm, safe, beautiful, happy, peaceful days that we dream of as “peaceful”…those are so very rare, aren’t they?  They do come along, those beautiful calm days, every now and then…and some seasons of life may have more days that feel peaceful than others.  But real peace is going to be most evident in the days that are everything but “peaceful.”

When my heart is broken…when the kids are fighting and screaming…when dinner burned and ruined…when friends turn away…when feelings are hurt…when they say those words that cut deep and hard…when sickness invades…when we have to say goodbye…

In those days…days of uncertainty and sadness and pain, days of change and loneliness and unrest…it’s in those days that we can experience peace that goes deeper than any feeling, because it goes right straight to the Person of Peace, the One in whom ALL peace is found – Jesus.

And we have that peace when we TRUST Him…through it ALL.  We have that peace when we keep our thoughts on Him, not on the waves of circumstances crashing all around us.  Because when we keep our eyes on Him – when we trust that He is in control and He is working it all together for our ultimate good – the Bible says that He will keep us in “perfect peace.”

Isaiah 26:3

I’m printing out this verse this week.  I’m going to write it on my heart, so that I don’t forget.  Because I do tend to forget.  I lean toward worry and anxiety, when I should be leaning into Jesus.  I tend to dwell on the problems and the pain instead of trusting in the One who holds it ALL in His hands.

And it’s really all an issue of trust.  Because trust brings peace.  If I really trust God…if I truly trust in Him, that He loves me and that He has a wonderful plan for me, and that He can work everything out for good…if I truly trust that, then my soul can always have peace.  If I keep my thoughts, my mind, my heart fixed on Him – on His goodness, on His grace, on His love – then I have no need to worry, no need to fear, no need to be anxious.

I can have peace, because I have Him…and He. Is. Peace.

 

{Would you like to print this verse too? Here are a couple of different sizes for you}

Isaiah 26:3 – 8×8 Square Print

Isaiah 26:3 – 4×4 Square Print

There’s Wonderful Joy Ahead {a printable}

There's wonderful joy ahead ~ 1 Peter 1:6

Often when I’m reading my Bible I come across a verse that I’ve read many times before, but for some reason it stands out, shouts out at me, resonates deep within me like I’m reading it for the first time.  It’s amazing to me how I can read the same passage over and over again, and yet still see something new, something I didn’t quite notice before.

This was that verse for me today.

1 Peter 1:6 ~ “So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” (NLT)

We can be truly glad.  Truly…not some false happiness based on our circumstances…but really, truly glad.  We can have real joy, no matter what we are going through, no matter what we are facing.  Because we have a promise.  These trials, though they may be many, will only last for a little while.  And after that?….there is wonderful joy ahead!

So no matter what is happening right now…no matter how hopeless or desperate your trials may seem…there is wonderful joy ahead.  God is still writing His story through your life…He’s still working…He’s still there.  And because we know that this is not the end, we can be truly glad.

Our happiness is not based on the severity of our problems,
but on the security of God’s promises.

There is wonderful joy ahead.

Maybe you are like me and could use a little reminder of this promise?  I made a little printable to hang up on my wall so I can carve these words into my ever-so-forgetful heart…and I’d love to share it with you!

Click HERE or on the image below to download the PDF printable.

Wonderful Joy Ahead_5x7

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