Happy Over the Hump Day!
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I’m always amazed how the Israelites doubted God when I read Exodus. Regardless of the miracles and words spoken from the Lord they just didn’t want to believe him and instead wanted to choose fear over freedom. But, then again how many times have I done the same thing? Unfortunately, I’ve allowed fear to speak louder than the voice of God. I’ve seen his miracles in my own life, witnessed how he can transform circumstances, and experienced his provision yet and still I’ve at times remained in fear and discouragements. I guess I’m not that different from the Israelites. After the Lord had spoken through Moses and told them that he would free them from being slaves and redeem them in Exodus 6:9 it says, “Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.” How many of us are so accustomed to whatever chains that hold us that we remain in bondage to it and are unable to break free? Don’t get me wrong freedom is only through Christ and not on our own accord. But, are we allowing the discouragement and disappointment wrap so tightly around us that we have stopped listening to God? Has our faith weakened and the chains tightened?
Bondage is cruel. It robs us from ever fulfilling God’s potential for us, it takes away precious time, and it stifles are gifts that are meant for the glorification of the Lord. When I let the chains tighten I literally feel like the life is being sucked from me and it is! It is as though I have nowhere to move, I’m helpless, hopeless, purposeless and can’t see the light. It is an awful feeling that doesn’t come from God. How do we get past it? We don’t, we walk through it with God. The slavery stops when we allow God to unlock the chains, when we place our faith in him, and believe that he is stronger than the bondage and the discouragement. He is in every season of our life but we have to recognize him and turn to him. Christ broke the chains of slavery when he died for us on the cross, so that we no longer had to bear them. The chains slip back around us when we lose sight of who we are in Christ. Sisters, rest in him and the chains will loosen as your faith keeps growing.
2 Corinthians 12:10 – “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
One of things I want to give up for lent is complaining. I want to release complaining and embrace gratitude. I don’t consider myself a big complainer, but I’ve noticed I’m agitated with things a little more. For example, I find myself complaining a lot about Maryland and how I’d rather live somewhere else because the cost of living is ridiculous. Ah see there it is, I can’t even write about it without it slipping out! There are other little nuances too, things that I would mainly like to change have been at the forefront of my complaining.
Today, I was thinking about how God places us exactly where we need to be at least until he’s ready to move us forward, whether it be in jobs, homes, relationships, or anything else. There is a reason for every season in our life. Instead of fighting against it I think it’s better to embrace it and let it evolve in God’s time instead of living in a state of complaining or always wishing for a different scenario. Contentment in all circumstances happens when we have faith and trust in God that he is moving us through every chapter and each scenario in our lives.
Being content isn’t always a simple thing to do. I find myself wrestling with those life scenarios and becoming frustrated because I think wait a minute, God clearly can’t want this for me! Doesn’t he see what I’m facing? How can this be okay with him? Then I have to remember I can’t see what he sees for me, his time is not my time and he doesn’t make mistakes, but I do! So what do I need to do? Well, here is what I think:
- Pray- I need to pray. Pray for his will, his guidance, for patience, to be obedient and for contentment. Contentment in the sense of knowing that God is in control and he will work it out not for my good for me, but his good for me, which can never be topped!
- Choose to Thrive Where I Am-I have a choice. I can either sit around and complain and pick apart everything that bugs me or I can embrace where I am at this present moment and seek opportunities that will allow me to thrive personally and spiritually and also to be a blessing to others.
- Choose Happiness– When I think about the beauty of life even on the worst days there is usually one thing that can put a smile on my face and if there isn’t it, I can look at my child or recall a memory and then I’m struck that life isn’t so bad. Actually it’s pretty incredible and I can create my happiness in the moments I’m still here!
- Count My Blessings– Am I breathing? Is my daughter healthy? Do I have a roof over my head? Is there food on the table? Did Christ save my life? What do I have to complain about again?
- Not Allow my Circumstances to Define Me- Circumstances are not who I am. I am a child of God. Circumstances change, but my identity as a Child of Christ does not, it is everlasting. Who I am will outlive my circumstance. Circumstances will change and that old saying this too shall pass will cross my lips more than once. When we’re in difficult circumstances it is important to remember that God is allowing it and he will see us through it as well and they will change, it is temporary.
- Find Joy in Contentment- When anxiety, worry, fear, negative thinking are all absent from my life I allow joy to enter in and find a home in my heart. Joy in the assurance that my God is with me and when I stumble he will pick me up.
- Know God is Doing Something- I have to remember that in everything God is doing something. I say something because I don’t know what it is he is up to! But, I believe that each experience, each trial, each circumstance he is preparing us for something bigger maybe even something wonderful! Remember we are His workmanship. God is constantly molding and sculpting us into his perfect masterpiece, so be patient you are a work of art!
“The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Whatever may come your way, be assured that you are under God’s wing of protection, today, yesterday and always. Move forward every day knowing that your steps are protected.
Technology has given us one gift and that is being able to hear the word of God everyday, anytime and anywhere! I listen to broadcasts and podcasts daily. I love how they recharge me spiritually and keep me uplifted. Here are some of my favorite broadcasts that I encourage you to listen to when you get a chance!
My Top 5 Favorite Christian Broadcasts/Podcasts
In Touch Ministries– Charles Stanley is hands down my favorite minister.Every morning I tune into Charles Stanley and get my spiritual breakfast! Visit his website and dive into all the rich resources In Touch offers. Take time to listen and watch the television and radio broadcasts, and don’t forget to sign up for the free monthly magazine.
Beth Moore on Life Today- Who doesn’t love Beth Moore’s style of witty honest teaching of the bible? I could listen to her all day and sometimes on a Sunday it’s me, Beth and a cup of coffee. Every Wednesday you can tune into Beth Moore on Life Today and watch her previous shows in the archives, it’s a real treat.
Focus on the Family – These daily broadcasts cover a number of topics that are relevant, practical and useful in parenting and in the Christian life. I love Focus on the Family so much I have their app on my phone. If you’re looking for practical application of the word to your family’s daily life this is your go to broadcast.
Homemakers By Choice– This podcast has a special place in my heart. I’ve been listening to Donna Otto, the founder of Homemakers by Choice for at least 7 years now. I have devoured her books, implemented her Otto Mottos in my home, and have enjoyed her podcast immensely. Mrs. Otto gets you excited about the many aspects of being a mom, wife and Christian. Once you start listening you’ll be hooked.
Revive Our Hearts– Nancy Leigh DeMoss provides us daily broadcasts on a number of topics that speak to the heart. I always come away from this broadcast encouraged and with a deeper insight into the word of God.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Parking is always a challenge on the days I have to pick Anya up from ballet so today I was thrilled when my eye caught an open space. But, I had to drive up the aisle next to it and make a turn to get back to the space. So I’m inching closer and closer when a big old SUV took my spot before I got to it! Man are you serious I thought! Then I looked over to my left and there in front of me was the PERFECT space directly in front of the elevator. As I said a quick thank you God, these words came to me, “You think you know what’s best for you, but if you let me guide you I will always give you my best, better than what you ever expected.”
Wow! What a reminder that God’s plan is always far better than we could ever plan for ourselves! The parking space may be something small but it was a big analogy for me in other areas of my life that I have trust in God to do even more than I expect. We just have to release our expectations and rest in his plan and will for our lives. God is the perfect author for our life.