A Jello Day

Yesterday was a jello day. I stood with a family as the doctor delivered the news “It’s definitely cancer”. This isn’t a new experience. I see it all too often. And every time I want to jump in with “But we can apply for a Wish!” or “You can get a baseball cap signed by your favorite celebrity!” or “A local organization has financial assistance and summer camps for kids with cancer!” It’s all about the timing. I obviously don’t interject these “perks” immediately into such a serious conversation, but I have that desire to make it better with the resources I have at hand.

It got me thinking about John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(NKJV‬‬) God delivers a hit: you will have troubles and trials. BUT He’s already won. He knows the ending, and it’s a victory. He offers the best “jello” ever. It’s not just a temporary fix or a bandaid on our wound. It’s a promise that He knows our story from beginning to end. No matter what hardship He asks us to endure, He will be with us every step of the way. Because we know this, we can have peace, just like the verse says. If I am faced with a tough situation, a change of plans, or even a devastating blow, I can rest assured that God ordained it. Nothing anyone says or does can change the number of days God has given me. 

If I had the choice to skip the hard parts, I would in a heartbeat. But I can tell you that I grow from the hard. I learn to cling that much tighter to my Savior, and our relationship becomes that much sweeter. He knows what He’s doing and He is faithful. As Scripture says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭(NKJV‬)

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The Rise of the Prophet

As you may have guessed, I’ve been reading A LOT! Between the 40-day journey through the New Testament, my newfound love of audiobooks, book launches, and my book challenge, you can basically call me Rory Gilmore. I recently read a book called The Rise of the Prophet by Rodney Coe for a book launch and for my reading challenge as “A book published in 2016”. I wanted to give a few thoughts on the book and encourage you to read it. It was different than other books I’ve read before, and it really challenged my prayer life.

The Rise of the Prophet is an allegorical story of the people of Habareet. (It’s not a real place, I Googled it.) This nation, once followers of Adonai (God), had turned away from Him, and were drawn to teachers of false doctrine. One man, Joel, feels the calling of Adonai to bring Habareet back to Him. Some are welcoming, others feel threatened, some reject it. Notice any similarities to our world today?

I don’t want to give away the main story line, but I do want to share some ideas that really struck me. Joel takes a huge leap of faith, risking his life and the life of others, but as Coe writes “Nobody is ever ready. Adonai just calls us to be willing.” Whether it’s sharing the Gospel, feeding the homeless, making a move, speaking light in the darkness, or what have you, we may never be ready, but we must be obedient when God calls. I don’t know where this came from, but I read somewhere that courage is doing it scared. We may be shaking in our boots, but we should go where God leads. The people in this book, while fictitious, are inspiring. Adonai calls them to do some seemingly crazy things. Socially awkward things like showing up at a stranger’s house and supplying an unexplainably unlimited amount of diesel to a financially struggling farm town. These people are pray-ers. Their constant communication with Adonai directs their every moves. They have the faith I long for.

I didn’t feel guilty that my prayer life wasn’t where theirs was, but I felt empowered. I put down the book feeling fearless, like I was part of their team. And really, even though these are characters, we, as Christians, are on the same team. We are all working toward the same thing- to live a life that leads us to God, following where He leads without looking right or left. I’ll leave you with a paragraph I highlighted. I really hope you check this book out. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. (The Kindle version is only $2.99, and the hardback is Amazon Prime eligible!)

“Nothing prepares us for the twists and turns life brings us. We cannot begin to shield ourselves, or those we love, from pain and heartache. We do the best we can and trust Adonai. Sounds almost too simple, but that’s really how life goes. We will all fail from time to time. But it’s how we get back up and go on that defines what kind of person we will be. When the battles come (and they will come), we have to get through them the best we can. I don’t know what Adonai has in store for me, or my children, but I trust His plan. No matter what, life will go on.”

Spring

“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12a NKJV

It’s a good season. I have seen God working in ways I never thought possible. My eyes have been opened to His Word, and I am learning more and more about God’s character every day. And I love it. There’s a reason why God told us to have faith like a child (see Matthew 18:3). Their eyes see a wonder that we forget as adults. Just yesterday, we were at a friend’s house, and Harrison (2 years old) was running up and down a slight slope in the yard, giddy as he shouted “I runnin up a mountain!!!” We laughed so hard at his excitement, but I couldn’t help but think “This is how we should live!”

Ever since the Linger conference, I have felt a renewed sense of worship. Sundays can be stressful, and I tend to lose the exact meaning of worship when I am worried about singing the right lyrics or if or not people will respond well to the songs we’ve chosen. But I’ve truly turned this time into singing to the Lord. Do I still feel defeated when someone complains about a song? Yes. But it doesn’t last quite so long. It’s hard to be frustrated when you’re singing “Hosanna! You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises!”

I also watched the movie War Room recently. If that doesn’t put a fire under you to deepen your prayer life, I don’t know what will. I was so inspired. (And after our bathroom renovations are done, I will have my own War Room!) It did shed light on writing down prayers and praying over your requests with Scripture. In the past week, I have seen miracles happen as prayers were answered in amazing ways. From a dear friend having a great report on her growing baby in her belly, to a person I only know by name beginning a road to addiction recovery, to a patient coming through successfully on a risky surgery. I have no other words than PRAISE GOD!!

I have also been working through a 40-day journey of the New Testament. At first, I was using my Bible app, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of reading that was required each day. And then I felt guilty because I could read a novel for hours. So I tried changing it up a bit. Get ready- my inner nerd is about to come out. I bought Bible-safe highlighters. It was like the first day of school, without the peer pressure and awkward junior high years. I started reading out of my Bible instead of on my phone, and highlighting verses that particularly spoke to me. This morning I was ready to tackle some Thessalonians.

As I think on how long I waited for a spiritual Spring, I can honestly say that it’s here. I don’t know how long it will stay, but if it’s preparing me for a Winter, I can say with confidence that I will trust God and cherish these warm weather days. I’m praying for you, readers! Happy Monday!