Scripture Sunday: Isaiah 40:31

This post is going to be a bit transparent…but tomorrow is the first day of school with students. Not for my children- they’ve already gone back to school a few weeks ago. This is my districts’ first day. If I didn’t admit that I am a bit nervous, (lots of positive covid cases here), I’d be lying.

So this verse is as much of a reminder to me as to you all…maybe even more so. This month, I’ve been focusing on verses concerning fear/anxiety/hope/trust, as we have a lot of things to fear in these times.

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

There are many things that offer us false hope; as easy as it is to focus that hope in the wrong area, we must remember to pray. We must remember to look toward our God to quiet our fears. I worry about the safety of my children this school year. I worry about my students. I worry about my self. I’m not only talking about health concerns- we live in a highly volatile society now and I fear what may happen.

I try to remember that God already is aware of all of my fears. He is simply waiting for me to call out to Him.

I’m praying today and tonight for my students and myself as we adjust to a school year that is both more normal than the past two years and also far from normal at the same time. I pray for my own children to make wise choices and keep their primary focus on God. I pray that I will continue to pray and focus on God to keep us safe.

As hard as it is not to worry and be anxious, we can do it with God’s help. This school year, I hope I can inspire and comfort others who fear the same things I fear.

Sunday Musings: Praise You in this Storm

Everyone has a song that holds some sort of special meaning for them. It may be a song that is tied to a happy memory or a song that is tied to a sad memory. For us, it’s a little of everything.

“Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns will always have a special meaning to my family. It’s a song about how God is always with you no matter what, and there are moments in our life that we know without a doubt God was with us.

“Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns

Several years ago, we were blessed to meet the family who inspired the song. We met a man whose daughter had passed away from leukemia. His daughter’s illness, death, and the family’s grief inspired the song. He shared that his daughter knew the band was writing a song about her but she passed away before she was able to hear it.

My mom downloaded the song as her ringtone, but with no way of knowing what that song would eventually mean to us.

About a year and a half later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. After a rough four years filled with surgery, treatments and sickness, he passed away at age 54.

We were devastated at the time and even more than two years later, we still miss him terribly. Looking back on his illness and his death I can think of many occasions when I knew, in spite of everything, God never left our sides.

He was with us as we struggled to navigate a new life without my dad. He was with us as I faced crippling anxiety and depression. He was with us as we grieved.

No matter what trials we face and how many years we shed, God is with us and He knows we are suffering. He also restores us and heals us when we go through those trials. He knows why we suffer and He holds us as we suffer.

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What song holds special meaning for you?

Scripture Sunday: Plans

Scripture Sunday: Plans

How many of you are planners, like me? We know we can’t plan our whole lives, and we know we aren’t in charge, but we still get irritated when our lives don’t go as planned. We know we aren’t in charge, but still we try to put our plans ahead of God’s plans, even when we know his ways are best.

The Bible has a lot to say about plans. There’s Jeremiah 29:11, which you probably have heard preached on graduate recognition Sunday.

God has plans for us, and in fact, his plans are greater than any plans we will ever make. Even though we are conscious of this fact, it doesn’t stop us from trying to plan our own course.

Proverbs 19:21 says this about making our own plans.

We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately what God wants for us will win. So why is it so hard for us to just let go and let God?

I think if I had to choose a word for 2019, I’d choose a phrase: let go. There are many struggles of which I need to let go of at the moment, but more than that, I need to let go of my tendency to control everything and let God handle it.

If we trust in Him and we know he has a plan for us, why do we struggle so hard with letting go and letting God?

Please pray for me to let go of my own will and trust in Him this year.

Have a wonderful week.

Sunday Musings: Philippians 4:8

Sunday Musings: Philippians 4:8

As we are preparing to return to school, there are so many things on my mind. We observe “back to school” in two ways in our home. Our oldest daughter is going in to second grade, and I am a teacher. We do the typical “first day of school picture” each year, but we do some other things too.

We talk about how we need to behave and how, as Christians, we need to treat others. As my daughter gets older, I want to make sure she understands that how we act, and how we treat others aren’t the only important things- we also need to pay attention to what fills our thoughts and what we listen to or watch on TV. I had a teacher several years ago who told me she used to keep her mind clean by reading Philippians 4:8 each morning before school.

 

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There are so many things we give our time and our attention to that aren’t Godly. I recently went to church with my grandmother, and her pastor preached on guarding your heart. He talked about how listening to or watching unGodly things invites things into our minds and hearts. He also talked about how we are accountable for what our kids are exposed to, and how it’s important to guard their hearts as well.

I want to teach my child to memorize this verse and carry it with her as a reminder to think only on those things that please the Lord.  When we keep our minds and hearts pure, others can see the difference in us as well. This is what I want for myself and my kids this school year- to radiate the love of God.

I plan to print off this Bible verse and hang it on our fridge, or somewhere where we will see it each day and be reminded.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy school year. May you learn much and make many new friends.

Scripture Sunday: Philippians 4: 19, and How God has provided for me

Scripture Sunday: Philippians 4: 19, and How God has provided for me

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about God’s provision and how he never fails to provide for us. Even though sometimes He answers our prayers with “No,” or “Not right now,” He does provide all that we need.

There isn’t enough space my domain for me to tell you all the things God has provided for me, or all the ways He has blessed me. I can tell you the main ones, though.

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1. He gave me my family

This one is obvious. Years ago, after a string of bad and unhealthy relationships (including one who was emotionally abusive), I prayed God would send me a Godly man who would go to church with me and who either was saved, or would get saved soon. He did. We also dealt with infertility and pregnancy losses, but the Lord gave us these two sweet girls in His time. If you’re struggling with being single, or desperately wanting a child, don’t give up. Trust in Him and he will give you the desires of your heart.

2. He blessed us with jobs, transportation, and a home

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been out of work or looking for a new job, and the Lord has blessedly, abundantly provided it for me. We have lived now in two homes since marrying nine years ago, and both were places we loved and enjoyed living. We’ve never had to worry about having food to eat, clothes to wear or a place to live. We’ve never lacked for anything we needed, and even though there have been times when things were hard for the moment, we trusted in God and he brought us through it. I’m not bragging; this is nothing we did. I am grateful for all that the Lord provides for us.

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3. If He brings you TO it, he will bring you THROUGH it.

Ya’ll, this past year has been difficult. I lost my dad and my grandpa in the same week. People will say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Yes, He does. There was no way I could handle that, and truthfully, I didn’t handle it. But while God does give you more than you can handle, He doesn’t give you more than you AND God can handle together. He delivered me from the darkest, most difficult season of my life. I wish I could say I handled those days with grace, but I didn’t. And even though I was depressed and angry at God, He never left me. Months later after the chaos is fading and order is returning, I can see where His hand was on me through all of it.

4. God sends you the people you need when you need them…even if you don’t know you need them.

I was talking to a dear friend from high school this week. It was her aunt’s birthday and she shared that her aunt had saved her life the day she was born. Her mother was fading, and doctors were working to stabilize her mother. In the rush to save her mother, everyone forgot about the tiny newborn in the bassinet (my friend). She was turning blue and near death herself when her aunt held her and began to help her body temperature increase. Had my friend’s aunt not been there that day, my friend wouldn’t be here now.

The same is true in my own life. I have a very good friend I met through church. She is no stranger to loss, having lost her first husband at a young age. I leaned on her heavily during the losses of my dad and grandpa. She comforted me, she listened to me, she let me cry on her shoulder. She prayed with me and most importantly, she never judged me when I told her I was dealing with depression months later. God knows who and want we need before we know it.

God may not send us everything we WANT, or he may not send us what we want WHEN we want it. But He does provide for those who seek Him.

Trust in God today, friends. You’ll never do anything more important.