Picture Day

The windshield wipers squeaked and scraped across the windshield. Misting gray skies muted brilliant colors of the changing season. Wet blacktop swished in traffic, and dreariness attempted frame the day before it had barely begun. Slumped over, choppy breaths evidence of watery eyes, my passenger clutched a cuddly elephant. School picture day meant we would eventually frame 2020 and place it on the fireplace mantel. 

“What’s the matter?” I asked her. She simply shrugged and could not say. The cumulative effect of this year’s anxieties have worn her to the core. She feels beyond my reach, at times, a helpless feeling for a mom. This has been a year full of infinitely more things I cannot explain to her, definitively. Her eyes waver back and forth to me and we both wonder what tomorrow will bring and how we can possibly brace for what it will be like. I want so badly to tell her when this will all be over, that tomorrow won’t be worse, and we’ll all get through it …together. 

Under normal circumstances, parenthood illustrates our daily need for God. The author of Hebrews wrote, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he said down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”(Hebrews 1:3 NIV) The Greek Word for exact defines the instrument used for engraving or carving. 

Numbers, facts, and circumstances change daily in our lives. The author of Hebrews assures us exactly where Jesus is. Our Savior sits at the right hand of the Father. 

Unchanging truth comes from God alone. He knows the number of our days. Nothing changes it. God is the only One who can peer beyond what we see and experience in the present moment. His Truth, alone, is trustworthy and dependable. He is good, and makes good of all things. 

God is personal. Reframe the truth as such. His greatest expression of love for me was Jesus, who came to earth and died on the cross to save me from my sins …and through salvation in the Him the Holy Spirit lives in me and my soul lives eternally with Him. When our lives are built upon this Rock of truth and our faith is rooted in God’s love, we wade through the really hard things with Him.  

Why, then, is it still so hard for God’s Truth to make it past the lump in my throat today? I know Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, fighting for me. Why do I feel so powerless, my prayers seemingly ignored? Because the truth about the world we live in can be pretty grim.

The world’s unfairness isn’t just a fleeting feeling, it’s a magnified fact of life on this sin-soaked earth. There is real evil in the world, intended upon stealing, killing, and destroying us. Our enemy lies. When we feel we are surrounded by unfairness and evil, lies and manipulation …it’s because we are! It’s really hard, and it can make us feel hopeless and helpless to stop it or make things right. Especially when our kids are hurting and there’s nothing we can do to fix or ease the pain. 

Perspective is our rescue. Knowing what is true allows us to see through a different perspective. One of wisdom, peace, hope and love. Jesus is the way we keep moving …because when we can stand anymore …He carries us. 

Letting go is the hardest task in parenting. We ache to see our kids go through pain we wish we could prevent and steer them around. Imagine how God feels about us, when we are in pain, mistreated, hurt, manipulated, and taken advantage of? We have limited power on this earth to set things right, but He is limitless. God, though we don’t understand His purposes or His timing, is in control. We may be manipulated by media, but God is in control. We may be taken advantage of by corrupt leaders, but God is in control. We may not get answers to our prayers in the way and timing we want …but He does hear us …and He will answer. 

The reality of my 2020 is- I don’t know what time I’ll pick my daughter up from school today. But, no matter if it’s normal pick up time and I have her favorite snack and cuddly source of comfort waiting for her in the passenger seat, or a hug and spirit that will share in her heartache and tears, we will turn on the wipers …drive through the cold misty rain …and go home together. And I’m thankful for that …for together.

What Does It Mean? (Christmas Advent Series, Intro.)

Christmas Series Graphic

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The world comes into focus as we discover Christmas. Each year God peels back a layer, rich with newly appreciated memories and formative ones of the present. I look forward to it more and more …and begin to celebrate, decorate, and sing carols earlier and earlier with each passing year …in anticipation of the magical way God reveals Himself during the Christmas season.

There’s something uniquely grand about the birthday celebration that greed attempts to block out and political correctness to subdue. Carefully crafted by it’s Creator, and grandly announced by angels, it’s impossible to squelch the hope of the entire planet birthed.

What does it mean?

Jesus.

Join me as I unwrap new presents of this Christmas’ presence …in the Christmas Series …”What does it mean?” Follow this 4-part series by downloading the free Study Guide that accompanies the videos/posts below!

Happy Christmas,

Megs

Click below or on the image to download the free “What Does it Mean” Study Guide!

What Does it Mean Study Guide best pdf

What Does It Mean Study Guide Cover pic

Click here for Week 1: NOEL

Click here for Week 2: EMMANUEL

Click here for Week 3: JOY

Click here for Week 4: MERRY

A Prayer for Patience While You Wait on the Lord

“Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” – James 5:8 (ESV)

What is Patience?

Patience is the capacity for us to tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. And the Bible has a LOT to say about learning how to be patience – it is a fruit of the Spirit that God strongly desires his children to grow in.

Patience requires endurance. When we are severely pressed, this gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a product of our cooperative submission to His authority. Hearts established in God’s Truth grant us the grace it takes to be patient. James 5:8 connects the idea of an established heart and patience when it says, “Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

How to Strengthen Your Heart and Build Patience in the Process

The NASB version of James 5:8 says to “strengthen your hearts.” The Greek word for strengthen is sterizo, meaning to make stable or place firmly. The heart is the center of our being. God’s Word should be the firm foundation of the heart of our souls. When it is, are prone perspective allows us to be patient. A habitual commitment to read Scripture is the highest priority to achieve healthy spiritual functionality.

Click here to continue reading …

10 Ways Jesus Showed Us How to “Rejoice Always” (Even in the Trials)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This verse has evolved in my heart like a fine wine over time. What used to be a handy Biblical version of my childhood motto, “Don’t worry, be happy,” now drifts through my tired-mom soul like the aroma of freshly-ground. Joyful takes on new meaning when I am striding through life with Jesus. The more I run with Him, the deeper into the concept of joy I go. 

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that “rejoicing might be associated with praise,” and it references some of the following verses: 

“I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:2 (NLT)

“Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing sound praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord- rejoice in his presence!” Psalm 68:4 (NLT)

Joy is more than giddy happiness. It’s praise. Rejoicing. The Strong’s definition of the original Greek word for “rejoice” includes: “to be well, thrive; and in salutations, hail!” 

We see how to thrive, be well, and rejoice exceedingly (regardless of our circumstances) when we observe how Jesus maintained joy though He knew the cross was coming.

Click here to continue reading …

The Bucket. (#jammed daily devo, day 364)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 364: Empty Buckets

“The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5

“What if I never actually surf,” I joked, “It’s a possibility!”DECJAM30

Monday morning Bible study prepares and leads me.

“What if God just wants to teach me something through the process of preparation?”

It’s a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

I’ve trained for a marathon before, making it through the last training run, but never to the starting line. The pain of injury, embarrassment, and discouragement was miraculously never able to overtake the lessons God laced into those faithful strides and Jesus-partnered miles.

Today’s verse reminds us what our buckets should be full of …Him.

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:5-6 (VOICE)

It’s hard to keep our “gentle nature” when things are not going our way. There are things we want to be able to do, and when we can’t it’s frustrating. How do we attempt that seemingly impossible smile in the face of defeat?

“The Lord is ever present with us.”

Somehow we forget that He is there in our failed attempts, too. The discouragement we feel when we fail  is hard. But that’s not what it looks like from God’s point of view. We get so caught up in what we think it will look like to achieve the task He’s given us, that we forget to throw our timeline.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.”

How often do we do that? Stop and spin on our heals to pray. That’s not our natural reaction to failure. We limp due to our fractured state, and immediately melt down in self defeat. It can cause us to question everything about our dedication to God.

“Was I just a wimp?”

“Did I just quit …again?”

“Am I a quitter?”

“Maybe …” might be the response. “But I love you anyway, and I’m not worried about it.”

“He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”

When we set new resolutions and goals every year, none are goals we don’t intend on achieving. If talk to God about our goals before rushing to fill in our brand new planners and calendars, He’s able to readjust our perception of what the deadline should be. A goal could linger on for a long time without a check mark or a line through it …but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little closer to it with each passing year.

The key to joy in this life is know that “the Lord is near.” To our victories and our failures. Through our pain and our celebration. Every time we check something off of our bucket list, He adds something else. The point of life isn’t to check everything off and then just sit around and wait to go to heaven. The creator of time is not in the business of wasting any of it.

WE are to be good stewards of our time, not looking forward to nothing left to do …but finding joy in the pursuit of holiness.

Each day He has something for us to do. If we do the best we can to see Him in it and to bring Him along on our daily journey, we’ll never look back and wonder what the purpose for any of it was. We may not understand it …but Jesus died for us to believe in Him …not to be perfect. He’s got that covered.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for bucket lists, and thank You for growing us through every goal an aspiration You plant in our hearts to achieve. We love You. Forgive for days when we feel like the cross isn’t enough. Bless us to live lives that reflect Your love, and Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Bucket Listing,

Megs

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