The Deal Breaker: Seeing God’s Hand in the Nevers of Life

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

I have a bad habit of saying never.

I will never marry a doctor…

I will never go to a Baptist church…

I will never move to Fort Smith…

I will never use fertility treatments…

I will never work with fifth and sixth graders…

And in all these nevers God had a different plan – a better plan. I wonder if God chuckles at my deal breakers knowing His plan will prevail?

I uttered these nevers in all the wisdom I had at the time.

I was not interested in a doctor, I was an ICU nurse after all.

Baptists are judgmental…I get the irony and now I am a member of a Baptist church.

Who ever heard of Fort Smith?!? We’ve lived here for nearly 14 years.

Why wouldn’t someone just adopt instead of using fertility treatments? Now I know why and have two of my three precious kiddos because of these treatments.

Fifth and sixth graders?!? They are great, but not for me…My husband and I taught Sunday school for fifth and sixth graders for about six years.

Deal-breakers were just my way of telling God I had a plan for my life and He didn’t need to worry about it and I didn’t have to trust Him. I just trusted in my plan.

But life is full of curves and bumps and mountains and valleys. Things I could not know or see or understand. On this side of so many nevers that came to pass I can look back and truly say God’s way is better.

I would never trade my doctor husband, my church, my town, working with fifth and sixth graders, or even my struggle with infertility for the life I planned. All of it has worked together to help me know God better, to learn to trust Him.

And oh to trust God in the bumps and curves in life.

Father God, forgive me for failing to trust in You. Help me to remember that Your ways are best even when I don’t understand, when I’m frustrated, or hurting. Help me to trust that You will be there guiding me, strengthening me, healing me (either this side of heaven or the other). Lord I long to trust You in everything and lay down all my nevers. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Angela

Waiting, Pouring, and Trusting: Finding Your Refuge

Angela

When Healing Drags On: Remaining Faithful in the Process

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7 ESV

My gaze was drawn to them like a moth to flame and my heart flipped longingly – jealously. They were runners simply going for a Saturday morning run. I looked down frustrated at my right foot. My foot injury sidelined me for nearly a year and still there were very few answers. There were a few times the injury seemed better, nearly healed and then something happened…I used a ladder barefoot or I walked barefoot and the pain and swelling returned.

Frustration. Irritation. Anger. It is taking so long to heal. The process is confining, exhausting, and at times feels futile.

God’s gentle nudge shocks me. Spiritual healing takes time too, Angela. The kind where God burns out the garbage I collect, the bitterness I cling to, the habitual anger I feed. And slowly He grows healthy fruit in my life. If only I wait for Him.

But I have to trust Him in the confining moments as well as those free mountain-top healthy moments. I have to trust Him to be near me, heal me, even when there seems to be no end of my habitual sin. And slowly He breaks the cycle. He helps me choose wisely. If only I wait on Him.

Father God I admit that I want to be free from my habitual sins. I confess that I cling to things that I should not and I don’t want to wait for the long healing. Help me to trust You as you slowly rid my life of deep-seeded sin. Help me to wait for Your timing, Your way, and Your healing. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Angela

Falling and Rising: How to Cling to God in the Dirt

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.

Psalm 20:7-8 ESV

Trusting in God’s victory over death and this dark world doesn’t mean that we don’t get dirty from time to time.  Since God’s ultimate victory came in the apparent defeat of Jesus on the cross, shouldn’t we, His children, seek God’s victory in the unlikely places?

In Psalm 20:7 those who rise and stand are those who trust in God. But we would not need to rise and stand if we had not already fallen. In other words those who don’t trust in God eventually fall and stay collapsed on the ground, but those who trust in God fall then rise and stand upright. Sometimes God orchestrates life such that we fall flat on our faces and we find ourselves with dust in our eyes and grit in our mouths. Those who don’t trust God collapse and fall, that is the end of their story. But if we trust in the name of the Lord our God, the dirt is not the end of our story.

And so it is when we rub our eyes and spit the grit out of our mouths we can trust God and rise. When our children choose to walk from the faith, or our marriages begin to disintegrate we can wallow in the dust or we can rise as we trust God. This rising doesn’t mean that all our difficult dusty moments in life will turn out how we want them to turn out. Sometimes God has a different miracle in mind– one that doesn’t reconcile a marriage or heal an illness. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t victorious. It just means that God’s ways are higher than our ways. It means that we can trust God whether we get the victory we were looking for or if it comes a different way.

Still we can stand, dusty faced, but triumphant because we trusted in the Lord.

Dear God, we confess that sometimes we dictate how Your victory ought to come in our lives. We trust You only when we can understand how You are working. Father forgive us. Help us to trust You when we are covered in dirt, give us strength to rise and stand firm on Your promises. Remind us that even if we can’t see it or don’t understand it You are victorious. Help us to trust in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

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Angela