40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Day 40


Dear Reader, 

40 days have gone by in the blink of an eye. Half way through, I wasn’t sure I could finish. The enemy surely hit me full force in his efforts to keep me from focusing on really speaking to my Heavenly Father through out the entirety of this series. But here is what I have learned, and I hope you’ve learned too: I can never be as faithful to my Father as He is to me. Prayer is surrender, laying every thought and every plan and every desire into the palms of His hands. Stepping back is what God asks of me once I ask Him to step in. He is the joy giver, the truth bringer, the hope maker, the Grace gifter. Maybe you witnessed a miracle over the course of these 40 days, or maybe your miracle was that God changed something in you. Every plan I had for this series was broken and yet molded by God into something new and better. If I can say anything about what all this time in real and focused and intentional conversation with my Father in the throne room of Heaven has done for me, it’s that it has caused me to know Him better and to trust Him all the more. He has seen my brokenness and yet He hears my voice. Every plan I lay will break, but every moment He weaves will serve a purpose forever. Friends, thank you for praying alongside me and for letting me know how God has been working in you. He gets all the glory, and all my days He will get all my prayers. May His face shine upon you, friends. May you know Him better with every passing hour. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Advertisements

40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Days 34 & 35 


Dear Reader, 

Lately when I pray God has been speaking to me about trust. What does it mean to let go and let God? I often think I’ve surrendered to His will, but then God keeps working on my heart and peeling away at more and more layers that I didn’t even realize existed, and with each layer He pulls away I find that my grip is still fixed tight on things I thought I had let go of. God knows me better than I know myself. That’s a new realization for me, but I used to think I always knew that. God not only knows what’s best, but He knows me best. How beautiful is it that our Father God cares and loves us so much that He has made it His business to know us better than we know ourselves. How beautiful is it that throughout time He continues to grow us and continues to reveal more to us not only about His heart but also our own? He makes beautiful things. Can we trust Him with that tonight? Maybe as we walk through these last five days of continuous prayer, continuous real conversation with the king of Heaven, we can learn to trust Him more and to trust more about what He has revealed about us through our time with Him. We can let Him mold us, even if it’s hard and it hurts because we can trust His intentions for us and we can trust that He is wholly Good. His Goodness is directed at us. We’re the ones He came to save. We’re the ones who can walk this life Brave because of what He has done and what He will always and forever create for us and in us. God is beautiful, and so is everything He so lovingly molds by His hand and breathes to Life with His breath. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

How to Love: Grace When We Don’t Understand 


Dear Reader, 

We love butterflies specifically for their many colors, and yet when it comes to the many beautiful colors of people we find barriers. We see “difference” as something to fear, instead of to praise God for. We see it with many things. We see the harsh criticisms across denominational lines of what we as Christians “should” believe, but the truth there should be simple. As Christians we “should” believe in the Bible as sole truth. However, ask Christians from different denominations and they will explain that truth differently. We can’t agree, even on something as simple as what is truth. If we elevate this to the color of the people in this world, we find the same holds true. Everyone believes the answer is simple, to love. But it would appear that what love looks like is understood differently by many. My husband and I are hoping to adopt our first child, and friends, I have no idea what race our baby will be. But I want them to know they are loved by us fully. I fear for how they may perceive “love” in this world. The “truth” spoken “in love” by this world is often not truth at all, but hatred dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Every single person has great worth, great beauty, great potential to love one another. But we must seek out how to love. What does it mean to love someone who is different than us? It means to speak up when the world has lost its mind and its heart. It means to be humbled and admit when we’ve been wrong or when we’ve been unable to understand. In order to love deeply, we must begin to understand where we have gone wrong and how we can do better. How can we understand what we have done if we never speak to those we have hurt with our silence or with our wrong words? God’s love is so much deeper than the surface love we often offer other people. Saying there is no problem simply means we can’t see the problem. It’s like closing our eyes in the midst of a tragedy and saying the commotion is nothing serious. To love our neighbor takes humility not condescension. To love our neighbor takes real conversation and real concern. Wherever you stand, don’t stand for hatred. Love, and learn what love means. We’re all learning together. Apart we fail.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

The Language of Thanksgiving: Day 10

 

“For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Over the last 10 days I wrote about the The Language of Thanksgiving with the hope that the way we speak about God and to God could change our lives. I had hoped to unearth the depths of my soul that had been in hiding…the ugliness of pride, forgotten identity, a lack of peace, an absence of thanksgiving. And it all comes down to these words from Luke: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”.

 If our language toward God in prayer exhibits impatience…perhaps it’s impatience that is filling our hearts. If it exhibits worry, stress, chaos, confusion, or guilt…maybe those are the things we are letting rule us. Our language is only a symptom of deeper things. What we speak and how we speak it is the fruition of what we hold inside. 

Scripture tells us to give thanks in all things…this is to be our language towards God and to the world. But to be authentically and deeply thankful, especially when our circumstances are heavy, our hearts must be rooted in something so much deeper. A language focused around giving thanks to God doesn’t mean we must always exhibit happiness. It simply means that we are rooted in Truth…the truth that we are loved, that we are saved, and that even in brokenness we have the hope that God will bring new Life. 

God can speak into our heart’s deepest chambers. He can illuminate the darkness that hides there. He can resuscitate our Joy. He can heal and mend and reform. So what is your language showing today? What is it revealing about your heart? Who rules it? Is it God and His peace or is it something else? 

The Language of God, His Word, is what brings life to our bones. And our language toward Him, our word, is meant to bring Him praise…and this praise heals us in return. Because the heart of God is wholly Good. From His mouth comes only truth, only love, only justice. Our hearts, once given to Christ, become like His. So the words which flow from our lips can begin to take the form of the language which flowed from Christ’s lips. 

We are redeemed. We are restored. We are changed from the inside out. God gave us new hearts that a new language would also follow. May our words reflect who we really are: restored and redeemed.

Imperishable Beauty Contributor 

Dear Reader, 

I have recently embarked on a new journey as a contributing writer for a Christian Women’s organization called Imperishable Beauty! My first article was published on their website today and I thought you might be interested in checking it out. If you are facing a seemingly unmovable mountain in your life then I’m praying today’s devotional speaks to you. Just head on over by clicking this link: Imperishable Beauty: How to Move Mountains and be sure to check in often as the site will be featuring the writing and stories of so many strong and inspirational women. God is moving mountains, my friends. I am so humbled to be able to witness that firsthand! 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Turning Your Hurt Into Ministry


Dear Reader,

I took this photo at Holy Hill last month. And as I look at it now all I can think about is the word Ministry. Christ holds His cross here, and while He holds it He’s looking at His people…He’s speaking to them, ministering to them. He suffers yet that suffering doesn’t stop Him from seeing their faces, from wanting to heal their hearts. I’ve had the phrase “turn your hurt into Ministry” all morning. And I look at this depiction of Christ and wonder how I’ve missed it for so long. It’s what we are called to do…carry a cross and reach the world. Maybe our ministries aren’t supposed to stop when we’re hurting…maybe that’s when they are meant to start. My struggle with infertility has been a cross on my back for years. And God keeps showing me that sometimes the only way to minister in a meaningful way to someone is to personally know the hurt…what is hurting you today? Can God use you in it? Can a ministry grow from pain? I can’t think of a better way to show the world that Christ has won us. That we are willing to take death and see life, feel hurt and produce growth, encounter obstacles but build ladders and bridges. Christ saved the world, loved His people, and is bringing them home, all because of a cross He carries on His back. Maybe this changes the world. God can take suffering that the devil wants to use to break you, and turn it instead into a story of victory, and courage, and love, and ministry. Christ calls us to be like Him. So take your suffering and nail it to that cross. Christ’s cross left nail marks in His hands and in His feet, and His ministry left a mark on the whole world. Our sufferings will most likely leave us with marks too, and like Christ has shown us, those marks can build ministries in ways that are so much bigger than us. Love like Christ loves. See His face, and follow His lead. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer

The Height of Grace: Humility in Ministry


Have you ever struggled with pride? It’s something that I’ve been learning to juggle the last couple of weeks. I was telling one of my mentors recently that I really have a hard time accepting positive feedback or compliments, because I’m so wary of becoming prideful. This is especially true when it comes to what I write about. I write about Grace and about God and about Christ, and honestly it just doesn’t feel like any of the truths God is sending out into the world through me are really anything I can take credit for. They are His actions I speak about. They are His words that I build from.

And so for me, to pursue my dream which is to write for Christ, is also to find a balance between what is healthy encouragement and what praise I direct toward God. With social media it is all too easy to get caught up in the how many likes, how many shares, how many comments, how many views, aspect. I have found myself clicking multiple times a day on my social media apps to check the updates and the stats. It can be overwhelming, both if a post is doing well and having to keep up that type of quality, and if a post is not doing well and questioning whether or not I have really done God’s will in writing it. I have found that I begin to experience burn out when that becomes my focus, and in return I struggle to produce the type of quality content that God’s Kingdom deserves.

Lately, I have been praying that God would give me words to keep and words to share. In other words, that I would know what God wants me to store in my heart and what God wants me to send out into the world. While I am not in formal ministry, (my ministry is really only this blog at the moment), I think this bodes true for any of us serving God by speaking to the world about Him. We have to continue to maintain and to grow in our own personal relationship with God. We can’t keep pouring Grace into hearts and lives if we are empty. And friends, if the social media aspect of our ministry is draining us…then we need to summon enough Grace to walk away for awhile…to go out into our boats across the sea like Christ did, and just be with God on our own.

Even if you’re not in ministry, it can be true for any of us followers of Christ. We feel as though going out into the world is more important than the sitting at Jesus’ feet. We are called to be on mission, but we weren’t called to give up our own Grace. We weren’t called to exhaust our relationship with Christ.

This is the height of Grace, that God who is higher does the work that only One who is Holier can do. He does the building. He lays the foundation. He opens the windows and the doors. We simply walk inside. We sit in His presence. We overflow with His message. We experience His love. We witness His faithfulness…and we yearn to be like Christ. We hunger for humility, and we thirst for Grace. We cover ourselves in prayer, and we take time with the Father. And we love others, we lay down our lives and our egos and our pride for the world…just like Christ did. Because we know that something better than all of those things is coming.

And this is what we all need to know, that Grace can only come from the God who created it. That life giving words can only flow from Him. That anything we manage to build in this life is actually established by the God who lays the foundation. It is in Him, and through Him, and by Him, that we have our being. And it is by His power that we have the work that we do set before us.

He may be using you to bring His people home to Him, but He is also speaking to you to bring  you there as well. God is doing mission work in your heart too.

Matthew 6:43-45 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Our mission work should be the overflow of our  hearts. And to have an overflow means that we first must be full. If we are running on empty because we’ve poured everything that God was intending to fill us with out into the world to essentially build a bigger base, then we will not reach a point of overflow  again and our ministry will essentially become something we use to build our own kingdoms…instead of God’s.

Our words should be an echo of what God has already said. We look for the best ways to spin the story, the most beautiful words with which to most accurately display the splendor of our God, but God doesn’t really need our dressing up. He’s already more beautiful and powerful than we make Him. All He asks of us is that we remain honest and true to Him, that we stick close by His side in Grace, that we keep looking up towards His face for assurance, that we keep our ears tuned to His voice, and that we reflect the Life of Christ. That our own lives remain filled with the fullness of His Grace. And out of the overflow of all of that building up in our hearts…our mouths will speak words worthy of the Kingdom and our ministries will exude the humility of our Christ.

This is the height of Grace, that we who are nothing possess everything in Him. That our words are washed clean and poured out through the filtering, refining, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. That our hearts are filled to the brim with life that God places there. It is only out of the overflow of these things building up in our own hearts that our ministries can point to Him.

Ephesians 3:14-20 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”