This Wonderful Adventure

Over the past several months I have been prayerfully considering my next steps for the future. Having received news which seemed to send my dreams crashing, in the middle of the heartache my faith never failed (sometimes barely held on but never failed).

Through the tears and the confusion I could feel the peace of the One much wiser than I holding me and gently begin putting pieces back together, creating a new dream.

The picture is not complete yet, and that is okay. One of the most exciting aspects of an adventure is the unknown.

However, first step has fallen into place. And I am excited to announce I will be continuing my ministerial education after my graduation this May at Liberty University in their Master’s of Divinity Chaplaincy program.

In the wake of this news I am in awe at all He has done, is doing and will do.

Heavenly Father,

What gifts you give continuously. This morning I awoke fully rested and found my first piece of news to be that I was accepted to Liberty’s chaplaincy program. All of this taking place after your enormous small blessings all day yesterday.

Thank you God for all You do, all You have given. You not only give the day and life but You also bless it in awe inspiring love. All of me shouts Your praise.

You God move mountains, cause the seas to dance and have dominion over all. Lord as I arise help me to discern Your will so I may live out the purpose for which You have created me for and called me to.

I lift up every care of my heart- the minuscule to the crushing. I entrust all I am and all I love into Your Almighty hands. You are my never failing light.

You are the Author and Creator of this life, everything seen and unseen, and You do not allow us to be overcome. In You we can walk across the water amidst every storm.

In Your Great and Holy Name,

Let’s do today ❤️ Amen.

Fast(ing) Forward

Back in the beginning of December 2018 I made a decision to participate in the Daniel Fast at the start of 2019. This would be my fourth year undertaking the fast, and to be quite honest, I was really looking forward to it.

By the end of 2018 I had amassed an impressive assortment of questions pertaining to every area of my life; personal, professional, relationships, financial, physical, spiritual. And while I have full faith in God coming through according to His timing, a part of me seems to continuously search for that fast forward button. From my past experience I knew it was time for the fast because nothing slows me down more than fasting.

Fasting is a period of time where you temporarily give up something to make space for God. I realize that sounds strange, as in what could making space for God possibly have to do with food? Nothing really.

Except that going on the Daniel Fast helps my heart to remember what or who is my first priority. It seems so small, does God really care about whether or not I eat a piece of that cake or if I have one slice of pizza on Saturday night? No, He doesn’t. Remember Jesus’s words in Matthew,

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” v.15:11

What God does care about though is that above having a slice of pizza or a piece of my favorite dessert, I desire to honor my commitment to Him most. It’s not to say I do not feel the temptation to cheat or bend the rules a bit, but that above those temptations He comes first.

Being on the fast reminds my heart of who my hope is in, who I turn to when nothing feels right or who I cry to when I am not sure where the journey leads. By continuously having to remember what I cannot eat on the fast and preparing meals, I am continuously reminded of a God who would cherish such a seemingly small sacrifice. Everything He has ever done and I struggle giving up tea, chocolate and coffee for 21 days.

Actually back at the beginning of December last year I decided I would extend my fast past the 21 day period (reflective of Daniel’s fast which was 3 weeks long) and go until noon on February 4th. This date may seem random but for me it is a date which will set all of 2019, and my future, unto one path or another. I knew I would need the extra weeks to ensure my heart remained focused and my eyes stayed fixed as Jesus led me across the water, reminding me that He is the one who ultimately sets my path.

And that is why I fast, and love it when I do.

It’s not a diet, there is no way I would still have Christmas candy if this was just a diet where I was answerable to only myself. Not to say the health benefits are not great, because the doctor’s will tell you they are, but they are an added bonus.

It’s not a way to earn “bonus points” and get on God’s “really” good side so He will answer all my prayers accordingly. The reality is that God answers all prayer in His time and according to His purpose. No, fasting doesn’t change God’s mind but instead it changes our hearts.

All those questions I had accumulated over 2018 I have been able to lay at His feet, and leave them there. I have handed over every burden. I don’t have answers because I don’t need them. All I need to know is that He is in control and therefore there is nothing to fear. Despite the storms and the waves my eyes are fixed on HIm and He who is always faithful will bring me through.

There are several different fasts. Different time frames, from hours to days to weeks to months. And it’s not always food related, maybe a social media fast or tv fast or just a caffeine fast would be best. The key is to choose one thing you will miss throughout your allotted time without it and then when you do miss it be reminded of your ultimate why. You made a commitment. Be reminded of who you made that commitment to, a commitment which in reality seems so small compared to all He has committed to and accomplished for us.

If you are like me you will be surprised to find that fasting isn’t really something we do that “benefits” God. No, it is actually something which we benefit from in ways we never fathomed before we begun.

One more thing, after every fast in the Bible there was a celebration. I can already feel the joy bubbling up not because I have received any answers but because I am the daughter of a King who loves me uncompromisingly and who hears all my cries. What have I to fear knowing that ultimately that whatever I face is not a permanent state and that something better than I could ever imagine is on the horizon.

Cheers!

**Thank you Kate Remmer on Unsplash for the photo!

 

You Alight My Day With Hope

Reflecting on this past week, I am beyond touched by all God has done, is doing and will do.

Heavenly Father,

I thank You for today, for this past week. God You have been so good, You never fail. Though Lord Jesus I feel I fail You continuously, please forgive me for my self-centeredness and every misspoken word. Please send Your Spirit to create in me a clean heart, a heart after Your own.

You alight my day with hope, and I am excited to join You in today’s adventure. Lord lead me and help me to love all those around me and who are afar.

As I go into the final days of this fast, I pray Lord that You would guide my steps. I came to You with so many questions and I leave them at Your feet. I know that You will never forsake me and will safely bring me along Your path. As I look to the future and what it may hold I am reminded in the face of my doubts that You open the impossible doors.

You bring the ultimate healing. God I rejoice in Your name, in the valley or on the mountain. God I pray you fill my mouth with Your words and hands with Your deeds so my life may be a reflection of You.

Lord I know You are always present and already at work in every situation before we know it’s even begun. You are healing even before we know the diagnosis. God You know what weighs on our hearts and You respond. Thank You God. You bring me through every difficulty, You don’t let me fall, and when it feels too far You carry me.

You are my light Lord Jesus, more precious than anything I could own or do, more precious than any goal. You are my impossible dream come true, the ultimate gift, and I reach for You above all else.

In Your Wonderful and Awesome name,

Let’s do today,

Amen.

Even This Far

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

We love a good “Cinderella” story. At least I do. One where the main character faces impossible odds and it gets to that pivotal moment where all is lost and then… they rise. They make the impossible choice to do the impossible thing that has no guaranteed outcome, no guaranteed success and really through the world’s eyes is completely hopeless. But they do it anyway, they go that far.

Our love for these stories can’t be denied. Looking at recent movies and books which have been released with great success, we all in some way are encouraged by those moments. Moments where they fight the good fight, finish the race and in the face of complete defeat keep the faith.

But living it out… that’s more difficult. I would be willing to bet that everyone reading this has had those in the dust moments, the ones before the epic comeback. The point in the story where everything seems broken, obliterated and all that is left is the debris of what used to be. I know I have been there more than once, and God knows there were moments when I wasn’t sure if I could keep the faith. I wasn’t sure I could be the hero in the story who rose. I wasn’t sure I could go that far.

I would say at some point all of us have hit our knees in defeat. And God, it hurts. We cry out wondering how it got this far. How or why did God let it go this far?

He should have been here by now.

He should have righted the wrongs by now.

He should have….

But He hasn’t. And we find ourselves faced with the decision, are we willing to go that far? Will our faith carry us that far?

The truth is we know that He knows it hurts. We know that He hears our cries. We know that He is good and that He is all-knowing. We know that we can trust in His plan and in His will above our own. Even this far.

This is where clinging to the truth, to what we know God has said over what we see, is essential. And God knows it’s hard. That is why He has given us the stories of others who rose despite the impossible circumstances. Stories of those who were probably wondering how it had gotten this far, and yet didn’t falter in their faith.

Can you picture it? Daniel being led to the lion’s den, praying to God. Believing God was there beside him and yet when they arrive, he is still thrown in. And as he gets up and realizes he is actually in the lion’s den, the king wishes him luck and then seals the door. Literally, a stone was rolled in front of it and was sealed with the king’s signet ring and of the other nobles, so “that Daniel’s situation may not be changed”. Daniel 6:17, word for word.

And in my head I wonder why that far? Why did God let it go that far?

And it’s not a one time occurrence. Moses in the wilderness, the four men in the furnace, Job in the rubble of all he had, David on the run, Jesus on Calvary. Time and time again we read stories in the Bible letting it go that far, not only in the Old Testament but in the New Testament as well.

I am sure Mary and Martha wondered why Jesus had let it go that far.

Lord, if you had been here this wouldn’t have happened.

I am here, always, it is apart of the plan, have faith. There is a greater purpose, even this far.

We could list stories all day long of those who were faced with choosing to accept defeat and lose hope or choosing to go that far. Stories which bring with them a revelation. Going that far has always been apart of the plan. Maybe not our plan, but His plan.

God’s not surprised. He didn’t momentarily forget and then turn around and go “my bad I never meant it to go that far”. God’s plans always serve a purpose. One of those purposes, growing and solidifying our faith.

A faith that won’t flee at the sight of the seemingly impossible. A faith that not only knows but fully believes that what is impossible for man is possible with God. A faith that will carry you that far. A faith that says even this far.

So many times have I cried out, demanding to know why God has let it go this far, pleading with Him to move His hand. And as my pain pours out, His peace pours in. And I know that He is moving His hand. That is has gone this far for a far greater purpose. I need only to trust and to keep the faith, to know that when I cannot run He will carry me. When the den is sealed and the tomb is closed, God’s still working. So keep the faith, because in those darkest moments, He’s about to call you out.

Even now, even this far.

Special thanks for the featured photo Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash