Friday, December 23, 2011

When the Job is Too Big

It's so hard when the very thing with which you are encouraging and counseling others slaps you right in the face. (I thought I had this all worked out?) And immediately the accusations come and bring their friends...feelings of unworthiness and the thought that God must have gotten me mixed up with someone else more together or more "spiritual."

Do you ever feel like a big, fat nothing? A nobody? A complete failure? Like, who am I kidding and what am I doing?

It seems like every time I start on a project (article, devotional, study, etc), I immediately feel unworthy and inadequate...ill-equipped to successfully complete the task before me. Sometimes it feels too big and out of my league. I am, after all, just a small town country girl who got pregnant before marriage, never finished college, has piles of laundry, occasionally yells at her kids and gets mad at her husband.

It's so tempting to say, "No, I can't do this."

But I know God has another plan. And He IS all-sufficient and more than adequate and overly equipped...and He will equip me and you to do whatever it is He has called us to do. No matter how many times we fail or how many times we sigh the sigh of frustration or cover our face in anguish or clench our fists or lay prostrate in desperation...He is there to pick us up and hold our hand and take us to that place of refuge and restoration. Again, and again, and again.

In our stretching, in our enlarging, in our growing...often we break open, spilling and exposing junk that has been there all along but covered and hidden and deceiving. It feels good (to our pride) to think we have arrived...we are among the spiritually elite (whatever that means). But, really, none of us have made it, nor will we until we meet our Savior face to face.

We are all on a journey to becoming.

Are you overwhelmed or frustrated or discouraged today? Do you feel like God must have made a mistake because the job is just too big? Do you feel like you have messed up one too many times and you're now disqualified?

You are not alone, friend.

You are not the only one who gets tricked into believing these lies from time to time.

God does not measure our worth the way we measure ourselves or determine our value by our accomplishments, education, past mistakes, or other people's opinions of us.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

For 2011, I had a word for the year: Fearless.

For 2012, I have a scripture. It fits well in this post and my life.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

As we continue to peek inside the Word of God and allow Him to reveal things, expose things, purge things...our journey of transformation continues. Our lives are living, breathing testimonies of what He can do when we cannot. Of what He can forgive when we fail. Of what He can do in His strength when we feel like we are going to pass out from weakness. Of what He can do when the job really is too big for us, because it usually is...and I think He planned it that way.

When you mess up, don't disqualify or count yourself out. Your Father doesn't.

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.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding ~Proverbs 3:5.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ~ Psalm 19:7.


Thank you, God, that no matter how many times I mess up, You do not disqualify me. You are taking my blemishes and scars and wounds and traditions and unbelief and restoring my whole person. You have plans to prosper me and give me hope and a future. Help me to lean on, trust in, and be confident in You with all my heart and all my mind. Thank You for mercy and grace on this journey of transformation. I am a big fat nothing without You, but with You I am a daughter of the King. All praise and honor and glory to You, my God.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

And the Stockings Were Hung

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care  on the iron thingee I bought from Kirkland's because I don't have a chimney...

Sometimes our lives are not storybook or fairytale material. They may start out that way, but usually change somewhere in the middle of the first sentence.

Over the years, I have learned that we each have our own story. Different characters, different setting, different plot. But it's our story. And it's the one God wrote for us.

December is a great time to refocus and get back to the basics. Spend quality time with your family. Cherish them. Love them.

Let them know how special they are and what they mean to you. Don't just buy gifts, give yourself.

One of the ways I like to give to my children is to fill their stockings with personalized, fun, and sweet surprises. I think it takes really knowing someone and what they like to make it special. If you're not careful this can get expensive, but it doesn't have to. The dollar stores have something for everyone!
Examples are:
  • fuzzy socks in favorite colors or designs
  • favorite candy, gum or mints
  • hand-written coupons to be redeemed for their favorite things (favorite dinner or dessert, chocolate chip pancakes, movie night, game time, get-out-of-a-chore...although I wouldn't do too many of these lol, 2 hours in their favorite bookstore, a foot or scalp massage (my kids love these, too), popcorn on the stove instead of microwave, a ringtone for their phone or single song download from itunes, etc)
  • puzzle books or magazines
  • movies (I got some on black Friday for $1.96!)
  • cards or other small games
  • lipstick or nail polish
  • homemade cookies
  • items from the travel size bins (toothpaste, hairspray, body wash, body spray, hand sanitizer in favorite scents, etc)
  • a new toothbrush and flavored floss
  • favorite character bandaids
  • a new ornament for next year
  • ear buds
  • craft supplies (beads or string for making bracelets, scrapbooking items, paints, glitter, etc)
  • key chain or mini-flashlight
  • inexpensive bracelet or necklace
  • car scents
  • mini-devotional
  • $5.00 gift cards from Sonic, McDonalds, Starbucks or Blockbuster
  • and I could go on and on and on...the possibilities really are endless. Use your imagination and get creative. :)
This year, in addition to the material gifts, I am going to add a hand-written letter to my spouse's and each of my children's stockings. I want to encourage them, build them up and let them know how much I love them and believe in them. I am going to remind them of promises from God's Word that apply to where each of them are at this point in their lives. Will you try it, too?

And just as we love to give gifts to our children, even more so does our Father love to give gifts to us (Matthew 7:11). All those years ago, He gave a gift that is unending...His Son and the reason we celebrate.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

What are some special things you do for Christmas or plan to do this year?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When I Don't Want to Pray Anymore

Setting this post up like our church service: Announcements first. :)

(These are cell phone pics so not great quality, but you can see now that I was telling the truth. I am a writer & a doodler.)

Now on to more serious things (not that I don't take my doodling serious).

What do you do when God is silent on a matter? When prayers go unanswered and mountains don't budge? When you say all the right things and pray all the right prayers and it doesn't seem to make a difference?

How do you keep praying and believing and standing and Keep. On. Keeping. On?

How do I?

With thundering voices shouting in opposition and hard circumstances contradicting your prayers and challenging your faith and demanding that you just give up, how then?

When strength is gone and you're tired and you don't want to pray anymore?

And what happens if I never receive the answer I want? Do I trust Him enough to allow Him to determine the outcome?

Do you think God has previous knowledge of the probability of our getting tired some on this journey of ours?

Of course He does.

He knows that our strength in itself isn't enough.

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" Galatians 6:9.

So in times when I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall without breakthrough and tempted to throw in the towel, I remind myself that even when I am depleted He is more than enough.

"He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me..." Psalm 50:23.

And I give thanks. Because gratitude and thanksgiving take the focus off me and recognizes that God is here.

"Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not grow weary, They shall walk and not faint" Isaiah 40:30-31.

And I trust that in my waiting, He is renewing my strength.

Keep on keeping on, sister. Remain in a place of gratitude and allow Your Father to renew your strength today. In your waiting, find assurance in His promises by meditating on scriptures that build your faith and remind you of His goodness. Soak in His presence and fill up once again so that you can continue pouring out into the lives of those around you.

He is more than enough.

Linking up today for the first time with three new communities: Good Morning Girls for Women in the Word Wednesdays, Tracy for Winsome Wednesday,  and Internet Cafe Devotions for Word Filled Wednesday (I realize my post is publishing on Thursday so I'm technically a day behind...story of my life Lol).