“Mustard Seed Size Faith”

“Mustard Seed Size Faith”

It’s another Tuesday sharing for July. Welcome to my Summer Blog Swap. During Tuesdays in July I am sharing posts from four of my writing friends. Sharing pieces of their hearts and perspectives. Blessed to be a part of this, and introducing some of my favorite writers to you. This week I want to introduce to you Lea Turner.

We met through a group called Hope*Writers. Lea is so very encouraging.
So happy to share her words with you today. I hope it blesses and encourages you. Especially if you are wondering where and when your miracle will happen.

When Your Faith Seems Seemingly Small
October 17, 2017 Lea Turner

I sat in the quiet stale room of the hospital, six years ago, listening only to the beeping sounds of the machines.

I wasn’t sure how we got here, except that it all started with an email from our adoption agency asking if we could take a baby with a severe heart defect. I had no idea, seven months later, I would be sitting in the ICU staring at my son with a wired shut chest and tubes running everywhere wondering if he was going to make it or not.

No one could have prepared me for that moment. My mind swirled with questions: Would he live to pass his first birthday? Where was the miracle we so desperately prayed for? Why would You, the God of the universe, not reach down and just stop the hurting? How could I possibly walk through the next few months or even years?

It all seems so overwhelming.

My faith was tired. And maybe your faith is tired too.
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Tired of praying? Tired of fighting? Tired of believing? Feeling unsure of how it will all work out? You’re just plain overwhelmed with it all.

Who knows what’s to come?

Who knows if it will all come together? Who knows if the dream you have believed for years will come about? Who knows if in all the wanting and waiting your heart will ever stop hurting?

I didn’t think mine would. I wasn’t sure how I would recover from the news of the surgeon saying it was the worst heart surgery he had ever performed. He went on to explain that my son, who was only seven months old, had the worst scar tissue he had ever seen. He wasn’t sure what the outcome would be or how long he would live. He tried something new. He

called it a shunt, and he was hoping for the best result.

Hoping? Just hoping?

I felt kinda like the widow in 1 Kings who most likely didn’t like the answer she received either.

“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it – and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first, make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “The jar of flour will not be used up, and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.” 1 Kings 17:12-14 (NIV)

She told Elijah she only had a little bit, but he said to cook what she had and give it to him. He promised it would then supernaturally multiply for not only her current need but for his also. She had a choice to make; place her faith in the words of the prophet of God, or believe the very real evidence of her current situation…her lack.

Maybe, just maybe, I was focusing on the wrong thing. And maybe, just maybe you are too. My attention had been on my lack of faith, but doesn’t it just take faith like a grain of a mustard seed to move a mountain? (Matthew 17:20)

Much like the widow in 1 Kings I had to make a choice. I was either going to believe the negative report of the doctor or was I going to believe the word of the Lord: My son shall live and not die.

When the widow released her “seemingly small bit,” the miracle happened. When we are willing to let go of something that does not seem enough for the moment, a miracle happens.

I chose to release my “seemingly small” faith into the hands of a giant personal God and trust Him with the results.

Letting go of the control and fear and releasing it to God, allows His peace to rule our minds. This release of control is not a one-time thing, it is a daily surrender and sometimes minute by minute surrender. Over and over again replacing the lies with God’s truth and reminding ourselves, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” Colossians 3:15. Peace is our inheritance.

Six years later, I find myself in this same place again. My son is undergoing another procedure at the end of the week and my faith feels weary. A shed of fear of the unknown still robs my peace. I’m learning there’s no shame in my lack of faith because He meets us in our weakness. When my thoughts are leading me into shame, instead of allowing them free rein, I imagine the future with God in it. The freedom comes when we believe God is good no matter the outcome. It comes knowing we never have to imagine a future without His presence. His grace will always be enough to carry us through whatever life may throw our way. No matter what the miracle may look like because sometimes it’s not exactly what we thought. But this one thing I know: He is good!

The journey has been long, and I am continually laying down my questions and choosing to believe God with the results. He is faithful!

Maybe you’re in need of a miracle today, and your faith is tired. Go ahead and choose to let go of your “seemingly small” faith that does not seem to be enough, and watch as God works a miracle.

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“Finding Jesus in the Little Things”

“Finding Jesus in the Little Things”

It’s Tuesday. In July. Once again it’s time for me to share a friends’ writing.
Welcome to my Summer Blog Swap. Over the next few weeks, I am sharing posts from four of my writing friends. Sharing pieces of their hearts and perspectives. Blessed to be a part of this, and introducing some of my favorite writers to you. This week I want to introduce to you Tara Dickson. Tara is another of my friends from Hope*Writers. As a widow, some of her writing focuses on grief and the Hope that there is as you walk through that journey. Blessed by her encouraging words here about seeking and finding Jesus in the nooks and crannies of life.

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Photo by Marta Pawlik on Unsplash

We were walking along the harbor in Beaufort, South Carolina. Well, I was walking, Ava was dancing. The sun was just beginning to set, casting a glow of golden light shimmering across the waters.
I found myself sharing with Ava,”It’s beautiful! Look at the beautiful water God gave us, Ava!”
Yesterday, it was a spontaneous walk to the park near our house. Jake is home on a 10 day leave from the Marines and he just wanted to do all the little things. So, we walked Ava to the park lingering on our way back, by the creek. We have been here a year and half now and have never seen a crawdad at this creek but today one scuttled across the ground near our feet and we stopped and lifted it gently for Ava to see. Talking about all the things one must know about crawdads.

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Photo by Laurie Waters Photography on Unsplash

The walks, the talks, the soaking it all in. It took me back to the years my children were little, when the days were long, their energy was abundant and we saw the Lord in every twig, every bird song and every bright star above our heads.
When your children are small it’s more natural to share your knowledge with them. We understand that everything is new to them and if we want them to know something we must tell them!
I remember feeling the weight of being the one to introduce them to The King of Kings. I wanted them to have eyes that recognized his presence and understand how connected He was to us all. He was not this abstract being far above them in the sky but that He was very near and had created the things around us for our pleasure and His glory.
What I didn’t know was that God was setting us up to find Jesus in the nooks and crannies of life. The conversation once begun would continue and become very natural. We didn’t have to wait for Sunday to find Jesus and discuss him. We found him in the rocks in the driveway, the pinecones that fell from the trees and in our stubborn disobedient hearts.
I remember as a young mom carrying guilt for the seasons of life that we didn’t have regular “family devotions”. I felt frustrated over the times we would read a missionary book together (which they loved) and one child would fight with the other or ask how many more pages were left?
I didn’t see at the time that life was not this puzzle that was meant to be put together perfectly. Instead it was a magnificent painting that God added to each day, sometimes filling in or taking away but adding layer upon layer.

As the kids grew older we continued to talk, the walking turned into driving, to soccer and football and play practice. We saw Jesus in the sky and the people we met. We saw those that had him and those who needed him. We talked about truth and lies. We talked about conviction and repentance and what holiness was. We had long talks about how our weaknesses revealed to our hearts the strength of our Great God and how we needed him.

Life was not perfect nor were we, but in those tween and teen years when the tears were plenty and the arguments could be heated I felt the the Spirit gentle my heart.
“I am the author and perfecter of their faith, not you. Show them me! Show them how YOU need me! When you have no answers, show them who you go to.”
Now, two are in their late teens and the other two are in their early twenties. They have experienced the death of their father, along with many other hardships I don’t have all the answers to.

Still, when life feels overwhelming I feel the Father remind me once again to “Lift Up My Eyes.” To watch them see Jesus in the nooks and crannies. To listen to them talk and talk and talk some more, to me, to each other to the people they do life with.
There is a bent to their hearts. It isn’t always easy and sometimes they have to remind each other but their hearts are bent to Jesus. It wasn’t because I orchestrated the perfect bedtime devotions, (although I think those are great.) It wasn’t even that I drew their attention to all the right things at the right time. It was Jesus in the nooks and crannies, day after day, year after year.

It was because God is the keeper of His Word!
“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. ” Deut.6:6,7
“Run with endurance the race God has set before us…by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Heb.12:1,2

“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil.1:6

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Trust Him to be the Keeper of His Word beloved and fill the nooks and crannies with Jesus!

“Walking in a Spiritual Desert”-Summer Blog Swap

“Walking in a Spiritual Desert”-Summer Blog Swap

Welcome to my Summer Blog Swap. Over the next few weeks, I am sharing posts from four of my writing friends. Sharing pieces of their hearts and perspectives. Blessed to be a part of this, and introducing some of my favorite writers to you. This week I want to introduce to you Natalie Guy

We met through a group called Hope*Writers. Natalie is always encouraging about life, family and walking with Jesus.
So happy to share her words with you today.

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Photo by Katerina Radvanska on Unsplash

Have you ever gone through a dry season in your walk with the Lord?

You are going through the motions but your prayer and worship don’t feel genuine. That has happened to me at times, and it can be discouraging. You may feel like you are in a desert. You are parched, wind-whipped, frayed around the edges, burned out, and begging for some refreshment. You desire to have those rivers of living waters flow through you.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God_- Ps. 42_1-2
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Here are some suggestions for what to do when you are in a spiritual funk.

Listen to worship music.
Play some praise music you love, songs you have worshiped along with before, or try some new tunes.

Be honest with God.
Confess to the Lord what you are feeling. He knows and He understands.

Talk to a trusted friend.
Share your struggle with another Christian friend and ask for prayer.

Remember this is just a season. Don’t be hard on yourself. No season lasts forever, so trust God that He will deliver you.

Listen to a podcast. There are some great faith-based podcasts that will encourage you and your walk with Jesus.

Switch it up.
Try reading different versions of the Bible than you typically read. Pull out some devotionals you haven’t read in a while, buy a new one you’ve heard of, or borrow one from a friend. You may even try listening to the audio Bible.

Spend time in silence.
Sit in God’s presence and listen. Open your hands and your heart to receive His words.

Try coloring in a Scripture coloring book.
This can be a great way to read the Word and bring some life back to your dry bones.

Go on a retreat/day retreat.
Find a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and focus on your relationship with God.

Open up your Bible and read passages that have previously brought you comfort.
The Lord is faithful and will woo you back with His kind and familiar words.

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Here are some podcast suggestions:

The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman

Dear Daughters by Susie Davis

Gospel in Life by Tim Keller

Bethel Podcast by Bethel Church Redding

Here are some Scripture coloring books for adults:

Sweeter Than Honey: a Coloring Book to Nourish your Soul

Promises of Joy

Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship

Here are some devotional suggestions:

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotion

Five Minutes with Jesus

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms

Other blog posts you may enjoy:

Things Your Pastor’s Wives Wish You Knew

Chatting with You about the Hard Times

Chatting with You about the Hard Times Part II

*****

I hope you found some helpful tips for what to do when you are in a spiritual funk. May the Lord bring you to a place of amazing faith and overflowing joy.

Please feel free to email me for additional podcast, devotional, or Bible suggestions at everydaynatalie@gmail.com. You may also email me if you’d like prayer.

FMF FRIDAY- ADAPT

FMF FRIDAY- ADAPT

ADAPT

A Five Minute Friday Freewrite exercise.
One word, five minutes.

It seems easier some times than others to adapt. I don’t like change, big or small. So being willing to change is difficult. When a large (to me) plan ceases, adapting to that loss is not easy. I still grieve that loss. Still wonder what will happen in the future.
But I am l

earning, in the pause, in the margin that has now been created. Learning to adapt and move on. Looking at others it seems I am the only one who is effected. But maybe I’m looking from the outside. I’m not in others shoes.
Yet, in this margin I think in some aspects I’ve adapted well. I don’t yet see what all God will do. But, I do see what God has opened up when other doors closed. There are things that may have been more difficult if I had stuck in the rut of the ‘why’.
While there is still disappointment, I see the God -things in that new margin.

Further proof that He does work all things out for good.
STOP