It’s not our goodness
But His grace
He’s showing us His heart
So his steps
we can retrace
It’s not our goodness
But His grace
He’s showing us His heart
So his steps
we can retrace
You vanquish anxiety
Self will and doubt
You love with no reservation
No demand or expectation
I want to love like that
A thousand angelic voices singing your praise
Still only brush the hem of your embrace
Stand firm, He says
Do not be swayed or dismayed
Stand firm, He says
Knowing I command the waves
Don’t let impatience have its voice
Calling you away or aside
Don’t rush ahead to force change
Convinced by your own pride
No, stand firm, He says
In my will and in my way
Stand firm, He says
For I rule this and every day.
I can’t hear a thing
When did it get so silent in here?
All the answers disappeared
Just waiting for a message from up there
Are my ears clogged
Did you pull the curtain?
Maybe my speech is too flawed
Of this I’m pretty certain.
Thank you for loving me where I am
You remove all rules and regulations
The broken woman that I am
Needs no excuse or explanation
I am free to live and trust in You
I am free from my past restraints
You’ve designed the perfect life for me
The narrative I don’t need to repaint
we just need little pushes
from the unknown
to inspire us, to remind us
we are not alone
Just as I am
I find your embrace
You’ll use me here
In this very place
Not by my merit
But by your grace
“From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:16
If the Lord wills it, it will come to pass
Although his timing looks different than mine
While in the waiting, I can rest assured
Knowing at his determined time, his promises I’ll find
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:19-21
Let my hunger drive me to You, to bow at your throne of grace
But when I’m full and satisfied, may I remain in that place.
Let my blindness lead to a renewed and strengthened faith
But once my vision is clear, may I continue to see your face.
I will not wait for You to rescue me
For You already did so on the cross
You’ve given me everything I need
To thrive, succeed and not be lost
My heart and my life
Are under the blanket of your care
I have freedom to move in confidence
And strength for all trials to bear.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I love you more then you can grasp. My love is unwavering, unchanging.
And, nothing you can do will alter it or take it away.
When you walk or run away from me, I hurt because I long to be with you.
I chose to face death to be with you.
I chose to see your sins no more.
I chose to speak until you heard me.
I chose to never close the door.
You give me a song to sing
When my heart is trembling
When sorrow is knocking on the door
You give me a song to sing
When my life is struck by thunder
When I can carry on no more
You give me a song to sing
To rise my tune above this plane
And on your wings of gladness soar
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Our enemy, the deceiver
Always with something up his sleeve
Seeks to destroy and divide
And works to steal our peace
Be on the lookout, be alert
Hedge your heart so he can’t get in
Once inside the disguise is greater
And manipulates our lean to sin
Remember who the enemy is
Before his attempts begin
Our fight is not against each other
But principalities of darkness around and within.
“Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.” John 13:34
I was blinded
because I chose not to see
I didn’t want to acknowledge
The sin in me
I let it’s roots take hold
And what a grip they grow
But thank God, He sets me free
The truth of our redemption
Is the perfect picture of beauty
It embodies the fullness of your grace
To all who will receive and believe
It represents a new covenant
Through your Spirit and sacrifice
It is You ending our lawless attempts
And uniting us as your bride
concerns and emotions
could cloud the acceptance
of your gifts.
Instead, we wipe the clouds away and with outstretched arms,
Receive them gladly, tearfully,
and simply say “thank you”.
He’ll take the leftovers, the cast aways, the ones forgotten and thrown away
He’ll take the hopeless cases, the given up, the accused, the strays
He’ll take them all, bandage their wounds, love them fully and still have room.
He’ll stand beside them as their proud bridegroom and offer them life outside the tomb.
When He doesn’t raise the dead
But stays longer on his journey instead
When He doesn’t end the suffering
Or the drought with a fresh lain spring
When He allows the boat to capsize
And sits silently while we cry
Where does our faith, then, abide?
To the tomb, to the inner room
To the cross where He was forsaken
To the moments before victory
Where his believers sat unshaken
Let not my pride rob me
Nor my unforgiveness blind me
But my eyes of faith provide me
Vision to hope and believe
Let not my doubt corrupt me
Nor my selfishness drive me
But my call of grace guide me
To more than I can think or dream
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20
To walk with You is my greatest desire
Receiving the wisdom of my faithful Father
No other fortunes or earthly ways
Satisfy this heart like your embrace
You humble every lofty idea
Reminding me I am but dust
All while loving and blessing me here
What a gift! The simplicity of trust
“More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8
It will disappear with the wind
If it is something I want to make believe
Unless it is God-breathed
If it is his will
And of this, I’m convinced
I no longer need to see the evidence
I envisioned the path I wanted, so I toiled day and night to prepare it. I cleared out the brush, smoothed the gravel and started to put on my shoes.
I knew exactly what this path would bring, or so I conceded: love, long life, happiness, everything a girl could dream.
So I began my petition “Please Lord, oh bless this road I built. Let me have it. You see how perfect it is to be used for your will.” But He just kept telling me “Be still”.
The brush kept growing over. Soon barriers started popping up. “Lord what are you doing? Are You saying no to my request?” So, I’d clear it again, pray harder this time, keep working, never to rest.
Until the brush grew so tall, there was no way around it. My way was blocked with no recourse. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. So, I sat and mourned, questioned and screamed.
Then one day the brush shriveled up, the weeds crumbled to dirt and the path was clear. But now it looked like a brand new road – a tree lined path with a refreshing breeze. And this is what the Lord said to me:
“While you were toiling and spinning your wheels, I saw just what was in need. I saw the undergrowth that would be popping up on your way. I saw hazards and choking weeds. I allowed the brush to stop you, so I could finish my work and make this path the best it could be. Now go on my dear, we’ll journey from here on this path you’ve entrusted to me.”
You’re working in each of our lives
For You know all the changes needed
Still in the storm, clinging to the one branch left
You’ll let us know when the waters have receded
“When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.” Genesis 8:11
He is not a God of confusion
He clearly lays his plans out
He whispers his intentions
And is faithful to bring them about
So don’t let the waiting or the shadows
Fill your heart with doubt
“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3
Maybe this part of the past
Won’t be reconciled
there may still be gaping holes
But time to let go of the questions
And focus on the truths I know
Although many days
seemed meant for evil
He’ll use them to produce good
Though oft it appeared
the enemy was winning
I’ll see his purpose in the end withstood
Missing a beat
Can’t even weep
With no sight
Wishing for answers,
Night after night
Hope is gone
You can’t be found
Only darkness surrounds
“He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness.” Job 19:8
Every bright light
Has to be tested and tried
Held up to your Word
So the darkness can’t hide
“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14
“We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
I don’t need to make a plan or design my life
My best laid plans are mere rags in His sight
For if I know what He wills will surely come to be
I have nothing to worry as my Savior leads me
Closer closer, Lord to Thee
My spirit gets every day
Trusting You for the desires of my heart
And my earthly needs while on the way
To an ever after in glory bright
Where I’ll behold You, your beauty
Your radiant light
The weight of my heart
Pulls me down to my knees
Where I cry out to You
And in faith, I believe
You hear and You’ll answer
When and how You please
Human reasoning and effort do not
Bring about the changes
Only God’s Spirit can accomplish
So, instead of mustering up strength
Surrender to His work in and around you
With steady, hopeful and patient faith
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Crucified with Christ
My heart will remain
All my sins buried
My old self lay slain
He could leave me here
In defeat to face my doom
Wait, His outstretched hand I see
Lifting me out of the tomb
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
Shine Your light on my heart
In the corners that need You most
Permeate my spirit
So I don’t misplace my hope
“And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
When the turmoil of this day goes away
When healing trumps this sorrow
I will love you better tomorrow
As the lines on my face deepen
And past troubles I learn not to borrow
I will love you better tomorrow
And when He was betrayed, He spoke not a word
For He knew it was all in His Father’s hands
To bring about the worst of earthly conditions
As a backdrop to marvel at His glorious plan
“Look! The hand of My betrayer is with Mine on the table. Indeed, the Son of Man will go as it has been determined, but woe to that man who betrays Him.” Luke 22:22
“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.” Psalm 55:12-14
When I was young, I couldn’t say my R’s. Everyone just thought it made me sound extra cute, or so they would say, so it didn’t seem to bother me. Even though my brothers would taunt me “Jodi, Jodi, say Dr. Pepper!” “Doctow Peppew” And my parent’s friends thought it was so cute for me to repeat after them “Lizards have gizzards”. “Lizzawds have gizzawds”, I would attempt. One girl in my class, Tiffany, blurted out one day that she loved my accent. “Now there’s an idea”, I thought, “I’ll just pretend like it’s an accent”. But my friends standing around her laughed a little and cleared up her confusion that this was not some cool, rare accent. I just couldn’t say my R’s. Once I hit 3rd grade, my teachers started telling my mom she should probably do something about this. So, on to speech lessons I went!
Speech lessons twice a week after school to learn to say my R’s felt like a daunting task, and I wondered if any amount of training would ever change the way I had spoken all my many years of life. After several lessons, I discovered how to correctly pronounce the R… “purrrrrrple”. “I said it! I did it! But, wait, that sure took a lot of learning and work just to be able to say the word 1 time”, I thought. The outcome felt certain that I would have to think long and hard every time I said an R for the rest of my life! But despite how it felt at the time, my teacher reassured me that after repeating the correct R many times, I would soon start to say it the right way without even thinking about it. And, to my surprise, he was right. Sure enough, the day came when I was saying every R correctly without any thought or effort. That, to me, was amazing!
Now when I face a change that feels like pushing 1,000 lbs. every laborious step and I wonder if the effort to change, whether it is adjusting to a loss or learning something new, I remember this lesson with my R’s. I remember that with time and consistency, the load will lighten. It won’t always be this heavy. And one day before I know it, I’ll look and the weight will be gone. I will have changed or grown past that struggle and I no longer have to think long and hard before saying each “R” or taking each step. The same is true for each of us.
Thank You, Lord, for growth, change and our ability to learn new things and new ways. Thank You for promising to lighten the load as we cast our cares on You.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Thank You for my sorrow
For it is in the night
I best see Your light
Thank You for my questions
For it is within doubt
My faith finds it’s sight
Thank You for my hunger
For it is the pain of my need
That seeks filling from Your hand
Thank You for keeping my eyes under cover
For it is not knowing tomorrow
That keeps me surrendered to Your plan
I work in the insurance industry, specifically with property claims. Hurricane season for an adjuster is like tax season for an accountant. Depending on the number of storms and the severity, work can get extremely busy for months on end. So more severe storms tends to mean overtime and much higher pay. Therefore, could it be said that adjusters hope for catastrophes in order to benefit financially?
Maybe a similar question forms when a follower of Jesus reaps the benefits of God’s grace while there is the storm of sin in their life. Is that person intentionally following after sin knowing God’s grace will be there in abundance for as sin increases, so does His grace?
“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20
I believe in both cases, the answer is no. The nature of the world is just that, the nature of the world. It brings storms and disasters. Things aren’t always the way we think they should be. They are not the way they should be in the weather, in our homes or in our heads and as long as we’re on this earth, they never will be. God knows this which is why He gave us adjusters for storms and grace for our sin. So while we may not ask for the storms or seek them, we know within them does rest His security, love and grace.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18
Often times I just get tired of figuring out what I’m going to eat. I wish I could just eat one thing, be full for the rest of the day (if not week) and be done with it. But unfortunately, it’s never worked that way. I eat and feel satisfied just to get hungry again a few hours later and have to start the whole process over again.
Getting fed spiritually feels a lot like this. I wish I could just say a prayer in the morning and be inspired with enough “Holy Ghost” to get me through the rest of the day. After time with the Lord and a word from Him, I chew on it for several hours. I feel blessed and complete and strong. I’m given new revelation that speaks to my heart and feelings of his tender love to help and heal the hurts. But just when I think I have all of life figured out for the rest of time because of this time of refreshing, I start running on fumes. That’s when I realize I’ve come to the end of myself again and must seek Him again for His strength and filling.
I can’t control the way my body hungers for food after one time of eating any more than I can control the way my spirit longs for the Lord after a period of communion.
What a good way to remind us to stay close to Him and never think we have to go through life on our own. He designed us to need Him. We just have to remember to keep coming to the table.
“Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3
Sorrow only seen with our own mind’s eye
will continually tear us apart.
We have to look to Him and ask for the sight
to view life and tragedies through His heart.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Maybe it is a gift
When You don’t make things here
The way that we want
Because here is not the purpose
Or the goal
Our unrequited requests and desires
Refuse to make us whole
And instead point our eyes towards home
A home where all our troubles
Will be washed away
Our tears forgotten
No more dreams tattered and frayed
But all of our hopes finally realized
And our joy completed
On that fateful day
Does Christlike to you mean perfect?
Does it mean proud for all you give
Is it a list of your accomplishments?
Just another boast for how you’ve lived?
Or does it mean humble?
Does it mean sick and dependent on His grace?
Is it awareness of your weakened condition?
And finding peace in His embrace?
My sin has caused me to stumble
My failure causes much pain
But Your loving grace and discipline
Puts to death my own thinking and ways
Each season I rush to reach the end
Of the lesson at hand on my own
Instead of trusting the timing
In Your omniscient Hand is known
“If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins-and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”
1 John 1:10- 2:2
Not near the rose pedals
Or lavished with ease
But fighting with the devil
And down on your knees
Trust Him, Trust Him
In bitter tears and strife
His peace He’ll give
As you surrender your life
I am the daughter of a King
Richly blessed, redeemed
I am a warrior, clothed in grace
Equipped and strengthened for this very place
My rags are removed, washed in His blood
Replaced with a crown sealed with His love
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Photo credit: https://www.artstation.com/irinaplachkova
Living in mansions of gold
May have turned my heart to stone
Traveling a carefree road
May have left my need for You unknown
Instead many troubles were designed
Further deepening my search for You
Delivered at specific times
For reasons only Heaven knew
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
If God leaves you in a place you don’t like, you can either stay miserable or find ways to experience peace and joy in the midst of it. And where is our only source of eternal joy that rises above our circumstances? In Him alone.
My earthly mind says
Make it all the way I want
Just do as I please
Don’t inconvenience or burden me
But His heart says
I’ll cause you discomfort
Uncertainty and unease
Until You place all your trust in Me
I don’t need fame or busy-ness
I don’t need success
Just a roof over my head
And Your rest
I don’t need recognition
Or constant activity
I don’t need to be seen
Just Your Spirit
Surrounding and indwelling me
I don’t need to join the crowd
Or make everyone hear my voice
I just need Your promises
Your truths not muted
By the competing noise
Peace like a river invades
When You get me alone
Seeking no one and nothing else
In Your presence, I am home.
Re-posting from a prior New Year’s…
Caleb (one of my 3 sons) dropped a wooden block on his pinky toe tonight. From experience, I know dropping anything on your pinky toe can be a painful experience. But, boy oh boy, did he throw out an over-reacting crazy cry drama display (yes, I believe that is the proper technical term) for all the world to hear. I put an ice pack on his toe, gave him lots of TLC and he eventually settled down. An hour or so later, he came back to me and said “Mom! My toe has been NOT hurting SO much that I forgot I had hurt it until I just felt it again and remembered.” I reassured him (as a toddler who has a hard time understanding that not every bruise and scrape is permanent) that the moments of absent pain are evidence that his “owie” is healing and soon enough the pain will be gone completely (until the next wooden block, playground slide or bike ride, of course).
In the midst of our conversation, I felt reminded that this applies to emotional pain as well. Often times, like my precious baby, we wonder if the pain we feel will ever go away and healing seems like an impossible task. Thankfully, we have a Heavenly Father just as interested in giving us an ice pack, wisdom and TLC as we are for our own children. And eventually the sting of pain subsides or maybe even shifts to a dull ache. And although total healing may take a long time and may not leave us the same as it found us, we should let these moments of “NOT feeling the pain SO much” remind us that healing is occurring. I wish everyone a wonderful New Year full of gratitude, strength, joy and healing.
“The Lord does not cause pain without allowing something new to be born” (Isaiah 66:9, paraphrased in 20 Lessons Learned by Debbie Stuart.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ( Psalm 147:3)
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:17)