Monday, November 29, 2010


I saw a wise friend this weekend.

We chatted about my last blog post. She commented wisely and humorously,

"Free counsel is worth as much as you paid for it."

Friday, November 26, 2010

"I just want you to pray."

It's so easy isn't it?

To add our two cents of what we think a friend should be doing. Or how they should view their situation or circumstance. We attempt to encourage them with truth they already know. And all they asked was for us to pray for them as they're wrestling with things.

We want to "fix" it.

We don't want them to struggle.

But. When a friend is just being human...our weak attempts of "building them up" can easily come across as input. Instruction. Even correction or minimizing of their struggle.

Years ago a wise woman once explained to me how she appealed to a "fix-it-friend" and asked if her friend could just let her struggle. She knew the truth. She was fighting to believe it. And yet, amidst her human-ness, it seemed her friend was simply bypassing the "struggle" part and wanting her to "arrive" on the other side. When what she really needed...was to be ministered to amidst and in the struggle. No rushing ahead. Simply enduring pain or forbearing circumstances. Someone to rub her back amidst all the mess and tell her, "I'm sorry." and pray with her. and for her.

She wasn't asking for a circumstantial change. Or even complaining about what was transpiring. She was asking for a friend to bear her burdens with her.

It's easy to do. We want to help. We mean well. It's only our love that's being revealed.

But when a friend is struggling, and something is difficult...when someone's grieving, or there's not really much to say...

...often we can help the most when we keep our mouths shut. When we don't try to pretend like we understand. Or explain to them how we can in some way relate.

Nope. Sometimes no words are what serve best. Letting each other be weak, and be a mess. And asking God to fill our hearts with hope and fresh faith.

I am reminded of Job and the additional agony his friends brought him amidst his need to just be cared for. I think there is so much for us to learn in this story...

And I am reminded of Jesus. And how He asked His friends to pray with Him in the Garden...the hour of His greatest need. And they fell asleep on Him. May we respond in grace as Christ did when we find ourselves on the other side of the scenario as well...

And may we learn to JUST PRAY for our loved ones when they need it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The worst that could happen...

So, in owning my own business, I'd say the temptation to worry about "doing things right" financially has increased tremendously. What about taxes, what about marketing, what about maintaining clients...yadda yadda yadda. It feels like my "human responsibility" in life has like quadroupled.

Do you feel like that? Like you're trying to keep up with life?

I don't know what I'm doing in having this business. I feel like its what God's lead me to do for this season. So I'm doing it. But, I don't know all the laws and rules and forms and...stuff I don't even know to mention because I don't know about it...

Sure, I'm asking a lot of questions and getting a lot of help from others...but what if I miss something major?

Today I drove around running errands, and verbally confessed aloud once again my anxiety. Repenting. Asking God to help me trust Him. Confessing to Him that I know He is not looking to trip me up, and repenting of my wrong thoughts about Him. He sees my heart- my desire to be honest and be above reproach...and He can be trusted. He provides financially out of no where EVEN when I mess up.

My mind has been racing about how much I could owe (even though every person who's helped me has assured me I'm doing things right and this should be no problem for me), feeling a burden to save every single penny I'm making "just in case..." etc. etc. Anxiety.

Then. In the Holy Spirit's kindness, I had a thought just moments ago, "So, what's the worst they could do to me?"

"They" being the IRS when it comes to tax season. Or some business regulator somewhere. Or. Something. Someone who's big and powerful and wants my money. Who wants to destroy me. And my business.

I followed that through. "They could fine me tons and tons of money. Like. Enough money that I couldn't ever pay it back in my lifetime. Even if I worked all day everyday for the rest of my life."

"Ok." I thought to myself. "Then what?"

"Well...then I'd live a whole life in debt." (yes, you are reading about me talking to myself :)

"Ok. And...then...?"

"I'd die...and go be with Jesus forever."

Oh. huh.

Doesn't sound so bad.

Immediately Romans 8 was running through my mind..."If God is for us, who can be against us?" and "What can mortal man do to me?"

There is one enemy: Satan. He wants to destroy me for real. Destroy my faith and my soul. He won't do that by emptying my wallet (or, maybe he will try) but he will pester me and bother me and bug me until I am anxious and worried and fretting...even when the Most Powerful Sovereign King of the Universe has come to this lowly earth to bear my sin and shame, redeem me, and give me life eternal with Him. This God's ways cannot be thwarted. I am His daughter. And I have been promised His faithfulness.

I then want to look at Satan and say, "HA! BRING IT ON!"

Talk about perspective change. Glory to God.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hope-filled waiting.

You're waiting. I know you are. Because you're human.

You're waiting on something. Or someone. Waiting for a circumstance to change. Or to receive "news" or an "answer". You're waiting on someone to change. Maybe to repent. Or waiting for someone to find you and want to marry you. You're waiting for the next season and wondering what it will be like.

Maybe it's news from a doctor about a diagnosis. Maybe you're waiting for your friend to desire reconciliation too. Waiting for your parents to finally start letting you wear make-up. Or to have a later curfew. Maybe you don't know what you're waiting for and you feel like the "best part" of your life is over.

Lately, as I've been thinking about the things I'm waiting on, God has been impressing it upon my heart to pray that my waiting would be hope-filled.

Hope does not put us to shame. Fact.

See, waiting isn't bad. It's apart of life. It doesn't mean we're discontent. But what we wait ON and what our hope is IN...will reveal our hearts and where our trust lies.

Immediately I recall Ps. of my favourite verses in the entire Bible.

"For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation."

I am SURE I've written a post on this verse (or chapter of the Bible) before. At least once. So for right now, I will just highlight the words "alone" and "silence". ::long pause:: Ugh. I can't. I can't stop there. We can't wait for God alone and in silence until we know who this God is...and there He is! In the next sentence...from THIS God comes SALVATION.

SALVATION. Being saved. He initiates this. He completes it. He finishes it-- sees it all the way through. Not my idea: His. Not in my control: in His. In our waiting we mustn't put our hope IN circumstances or people changing. We hope IN GOD as we wait. THIS God. The God of salvation.

Hope in Him alone. AND. Without a word. No questions. No suggestions. Watching Him work without a thing to say because we so trust His hand. And timing.

And hope does not put us to shame. We will not be ashamed at any point in our lives because we were "hoping" and we shouldn't've been...

...that is. If our hope is in the right place.

Whats the difference? Well. If I'm hoping in circumstances...maybe that looks like hoping I'm married by a certain age. Or a specific situation has a certain outcome. I would be embarrassed if I boldly walked around declaring "Something was going to be as such" because I was "hoping" in it...and hope wouldn't put me to shame. Uh...NEGATIVE. That's not what Paul is getting at. We are to hope in GOD. Hope in the PROMISES of God.

So instead, I have hope not that I will be married by a certain age, but I hope in His promise that He has plans for me. He knows them. They're for good. Not harm. To prosper me. To give me (EVEN MORE!) hope. And a future.

THAT. Will never put me (or you) to shame.

We can have hope that in our affliction...His Word will give us life.

Hoping in the truth that this present not worth the glory that is to be revealed.

I can soar with hope as I anticipate God not doing an "old thing"...but a new thing in my life. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

What are your favourite promises of God? What do you enjoy hoping in?

As we wait, let's "link arms" together in the promises of God. Reminding each other of the glories that we have to HOPE IN...

...that will never put us to shame.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lies vs. Truth

Envision this:

Christ looked in Judas' eyes when being betrayed. The Saviour stood there as ungodly, wicked men stood around Him waiting to sin against Him grievously. Essentially foaming at the mouth to devour Him. And in that very moment of utter rejection and treachery, Jesus looked at His enemy and said, "Friend, do what you came to do."

Wow. I will never get over Jesus calling Judas "friend" here. Ever. Not in this moment. I cannot comprehend the mercy demonstrated in that one word…

And Christ continues, "Do what you came to do.” He essentially communicates, "No matter what you do to me-- I trust what God will do through even your sin." UGH that hits home. Can I say that to a friend sinning against me…in the moment they’re sinning? Can I stare my circumstances in the face and say, "Do what you came to do..." while viewing that circumstance as a FRIEND...whom God will use to do good in my life...even when it hurts so bad?

What is it for you? What feels like your enemy?

Are you being treated unjustly? Do you have a wayward child who refuses to listen? Is your marriage in shambles with seemingly no hopes for recovery? Do you experience chronic pain every moment of every day? Are you willing to work hard and unable to find a job anywhere? Weary in your singleness as another friend walks down the aisle? Tired of training your children who just don't seem to be changing at all?

What circumstance feels like your enemy right now?

…and then we pile on the lies.

Does God really know what He's doing? Doesn't He know this isn't what I asked for? The Bible says this desire is good…didn't God get the memo? Doesn't He see how He'd get so much glory if He just ______?

Did God really say not to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden?

Huh. Sounds familiar. The character of God is assaulted point blank; no denying it...since chapter 3 of Genesis. And the Liar isn’t very creative. He’s using the same stuff. And sadly, it works. We totally buy into it.

He confuses us about who’s our friend…and what’s our enemy. Even though God has always been faithful…our first thought is to doubt His faithfulness. God has always been wise, yet…we question His wisdom. He predestined that He’d have to send His Son to die for us…and He still created us—yet, we wonder if He loves us really.

Oh, would we trust who He is. Even when circumstantially we cannot see. Trusting His character. His promises. His grace to sustain us. To carry us. To bear us up. To do that which we cannot even imagine to pray.

It is with each doubt and question that we must embrace an opportunity to allow the enemy to do the very opposite of what he wants...preach the Gospel to us.

You see, when we question the wisdom, love, power and timing of God...our distrust is cured instantly if we consider the cross. And we can take these lies...these questions...the temptation to be suspicious of God...and we can walk straight to the Gospel. We can let the enemy create a pathway with which we then answer the questions with hard-fact evidence that God really is who He says He is; He's really worthy of trust. And we expose the lie for what it is.

For His thoughts...are not our thoughts. Oh! Would we learn to be comfortable believing this when we have no evidence of circumstantial change!

We are told that nothing can separate us from His love. Not things present. Not things to come. No current circumstance or fear of what’s ahead. Even when we walk in unbelief in His promises…He is still faithful to keep them. I love this about God.

So whatever it is you are facing today, and in this moment...may I encourage you? Keep going. Keep talking to yourself. Keep speaking Truth. Find the root of your doubt about God...or the aspect of His character you are suspicious about-- and flee to Scripture. Study how strongly God reveals Himself as your Loving Father, Compassionate Friend, Strong Helper, Wise Leader, Peace-Giver....etc. etc. And embrace the grace He's giving you in this trial. May it be sweet and rich to your soul. And enjoy being carried by Him through this.