I knew our finances were in trouble but I felt like I was trusting the Lord pretty well and wasn’t too worried about it. Today I decided to sit down to write out all our debt and monthly expenses to see where we were at, and how to get everything under control. After doing the math.... let’s just say it wasn’t looking good. I felt myself getting physically nauseous at the thought of it all. My son came in the room and started jumping on the bed where I had some papers set out. I quickly got aggravated. Then decided to do some work on my jewelry; I thought that would feel productive and get my mind off things. I was trying to make some earrings and could not get the wire to bend the way I wanted. At this point, I was about in tears. Obviously it wasn’t the wire or the ruffled papers on my mind but the thoughts of our finances that had me flustered. I felt completely overwhelmed at that moment and went to the Lord. I asked Him to help me to focus on Him. I thought about His word; which made me think in the direction of His mind and thoughts. If He is Lord of my life, meaning, if He is the one in charge: is He sitting on this throne worried about my finances? Is He worried about how He’s going to get everything squared away? That sounds ridiculous to even say! But if you think about it and if you have trusted Him with your life then isn’t He ultimately in control of all things? That’s not say we have no power over our finances or decisions, or we don’t need to work to pay our bills. I’m just saying this is not something God is getting sick over. This is not the big picture. What is on His mind? Does His heart not ache for the lost? His mind is on the nations and that’s where my mind should be too! If I’m going to feel sick about something, shouldn’t it be that there are millions who have never heard the name of Christ and are living their lives only to die without that knowledge? “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 There are bigger things that my heart needs to ache for. I thank the Lord for reminding me that He is so much bigger than the little things I worry about. “ And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:27 I thank Him that He loves so much and He wants everyone to know about Him. He wants His name to be known among the nations and He wants us to be a part of His work. “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalms 96:3 Even if we aren’t able to go right now. We are able to pray right now. We are able to trust Him right now. We are able to share Him right now, right here. He has given us His Spirit and His mind is on bigger things! “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 I do not say all of this to say we are terrible people for worrying about things. I see this as an encouragement! I know that we serve such a mighty God and He is bigger than all of this! It’s gives me joy to get my mind off my worries and to think that the Lord is doing a mighty work in the world and we can be a part of that work!
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"” Revelation 7:9-10
Could there be life on other planets?
At first glance this question may seem to be a humble one. Many people in the world would look at earth and all it’s beautiful life and then compare it to the immensity of space and find it hard to believe we would be special enough to be the only ones. But as believers, when we take another look at that question it still comes back to inward thinking. As if the immensity and splendor of space has anything to do with us. Psalm 19 says “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” Psalms 19:1-2 . If space is meant to declare the glory of God, doesn’t it make sense that all that beauty and wonder is meant to reflect Him?
I often find myself thinking about my life and the life of my family. I get super discouraged when I feel like I’m trying to follow the Lord but He is taking us in a direction that makes no sense to me. Even with good intentions I say “God, I want to do “this” for you”. It makes perfect sense in my mind that the Lord would want to use our family in this way. The only problem is, I can only see my life one page at a time; rather than the whole book God has written for all of time. Are our lives not meant to be for His glory? Or are they meant for our own glory? The thing about this tiny planet in the vastness of space is that we weren’t let alone. We were meant to play a part in bringing the Creator glory. The things we can’t see or don’t understand. The Lord understands and ultimately it’s all in His control. I say I want to live a surrendered life to the Lord; but where does my surrender end? Am I willing to say “for the glory of God” no matter what makes sense to me? The Lord is good, He is faithful. I will strive to bring Him glory in all situations; even in heartache, even in joy.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalms 42:5-8 “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalms 8:1-6, 8-9
A Hope Unknown
We were at our final appointment in Houston after the fetal surgery, before we could come back home. We got to the office and the waiting room was full of expecting moms. As we sat there waiting the room started to clear out as they called people back. At that point it was just me and one other lady waiting. I actually didn’t notice she was pregnant and assumed she was waiting with a friend. She began to ask me questions about my baby. I told her all about Elijah, she then started to open up about her baby. She was 27 weeks and expecting a baby girl. A few weeks previously she had been given the news that her baby had a problem with her heart and she would need surgery when she is born. You could just see in her eyes that she was hurting deeply. It reminded me of the day/days when we found out about Elijah. I remember feeling so lost in all my thoughts. I remember feeling deep pain that I had never felt in my life. I remember questioning everything, even questioning the Lord and His plan. I remember feeling helpless and scared. I remember feeling like I was falling into a pit of sadness that I would never be able to get out of. As days continued, more and more people began to pray for us. We began to see the church at work as people stepped in to encourage us and help us with all that we needed. The Lord was restoring us and giving us a peace that only He can provide. It wasn’t long before Jeff and I had our joy back and we were laughing, just as we had before all the madness. In fact, the more time that passed, the more we saw the beauty of the Lord in ways that we had never seen in all our lives. That is not to say we don’t have moments of fear but the Lord keeps restoring our hope in Him and His unchanging goodness. I kept wondering what life might be like if we didn’t know the Lord and didn’t have that hope. It was unimaginable. Yet, here I was meeting someone who didn’t have that hope. As she continued in her story she told me that she didn’t want to tell any of her friends, she didn’t want to pick out a name, and she didn’t want to buy anything for her baby. She even told me that her mother was so hurt and scared also that she refused to even discuss it. I asked her about her relationship with the Lord. She told me she believed in God, but I could tell that she didn’t know Him in the same way that we know Him. I tried to tell her about the hope that you can receive from Christ and asked if I could pray for her. As we prayed, I was called back to my appointment. I finished praying and left to my sonogram. I couldn’t stop thinking about her; I still think about her. That could be me. I remember being where she was, the only difference is: my hope is found in the Lord and I don’t have to stay in that dark place. To see where I so easily could be…it was frightening and heartbreaking. I give praise to my Lord that although I was undeserving, He rescued me from my sadness and we have a hope that now we don’t have to walk through darkness alone. I continue to pray for her and ask that you do also. Please pray that through this trying time, the Lord would bring her near to Him and that she can come out of this situation rejoicing in the fact that the Lord used this to bring her new life!
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
We've gone to a five start restaurant and ordered water...
We've gone to a 5 star restaurant and ordered water... Sometimes that's what life feels like to me. We have been accepted into the family of Christ and the God of the Universe and yet we continue through life with good intentions and nice ideas rather than actually living a full life abiding in our Father's love. Living in the States, it's just a part of our culture to strive towards the American Dream. Be the best you you can be. Build up your empire. And for the most part, that's what we do. We study, we work hard, we accomplish, all the while going to church on Sundays, reading some Word, and saying night time prayers. It all seems good and well, especially if we manage to fit it all in to our day. But what is this all for?! Why are the words of this Book laying so flat on these pages? Maybe life is more than good intentions and nice ideas.
Sometimes I think what life would have been like in that garden with God. You know, not worrying about obligations, or am I doing enough for Christ. Just being secure living unto Him in His presence. In all our striving to get back to a life like that, sometimes it feels as if we are running in the complete opposite direction. . . You know how it says "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." What would that look like? The closest picture to that I can think of is from our time in Africa. It might not have looked like much from the surface: 4 hours of language a day, lots of time in the kitchen making large meals, for the guys some discipling time with the few young believers, lots of travel, and hanging out in local villages sharing tiny sunflower seeds with not much talking but lots of laughing. There are some very obvious differences from life there to here but the main thing was life was not centered around me or my empire. It was life being lived to build up His kingdom. When you're there, that's not really how you see it. Sometimes you spend your days thinking..... "Why am I on the other side of the world? No one even knows we are out here. I can't even speak clearly with the people because of language barriers." But coming back to the States, I now see my eyes were open there, not glued to my computer, tv, or phone screen. I saw and experienced joy and pain with those around me. And not just on occasion but each and every day.
I find myself getting sad and frustrated thinking I'm wasting so much valuable time the Lord has given me. Sometimes all I can think about is experiencing that African life again by moving and going overseas. But for now the Lord has us here, in Wichita Falls, Texas and I don't want to be at this five star restaurant drinking a glass of water. I want Life and to the full. Christ has called us from this life of blah to a life that requires our complete surrender.... Which seems pretty crazy, but trust Him it's a life worth living! " The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 So I'm thinking about trading in those good intentions for real living. My sister told me to start by just having a song on my heart for the Lord and just sing and talk with the Lord throughout the day. Don't worry about accomplishing a list of things you think will make God happy just spend time with Him and the other things will follow. ~Lainey
Declaring His Glory & Capturing Beautiful Life || Weatherford, Texas Natural Light Photographer