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When Days Don’t Feel Like Gifts

March 28, 2017

My keychain says each day is a gift from God. While I know that’s true, some days just don’t feel like a gift all tied up in ribbons and bows.

You know what I mean? Those hard days. The ones when we ask…

Why, God?

When, God?

How, God?

The Father gives good gifts, and every good gift is from above. So when the day doesn’t feel like a gift, we have a choice to make. What are we going to trust as truth?

You know what?

When life takes a difficult turn, lift up your head and turn to the Son.

His love will satisfy the deepest places no feelings could hope to fill.

What is the gift? Is it the day itself?

God’s unconditional love every day. It never ends. His mercies they fail not and He is faithful. Everyday. That is a gift no matter what happens in that 24 hour chunk of time.

Have you ever taken a walk on the wild side, because you know what’s wild?

God put on flesh and got His feet dirty. Then He washed other people’s feet. God did this. A gift.

He taught us how to live, how to love, how to serve. He took our sins upon Himself, died on a cross, rose on the third day after being shut up in a tomb, reconnected with the people He loved, then ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us. God is getting a place ready for us.

Now say this:

God is preparing a place for me.

And if that’s not wild enough, He is wild about us.

Maybe the question isn’t whether today is a gift, but rather, what are we doing with the gift of today?

When our today doesn’t feel like a gift, we can ask God to help us unwrap it. Inside is the purpose and plan for the day. No matter what it is, He is in it. He is in all of our days, not only the rest of our life days on earth, but the rest of our eternal days at that place He is making ready for us.

 

 

 

 

 

Why God is Not Our Safety Net

July 1, 2016

Have you been to a circus?

I know what you’re thinking, our lives can be a circus, but I’m talking about the three-ring kind.

I’ll never forget my first experience attending the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. My Uncle Joe and Aunt Janet took my cousins and me to this exciting event at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I’ll never forget it. Who cares that I got car sick on the way there (I may have thrown up down a sidewalk grate), because once inside, I was mesmerized. At the end I nearly dislocated my wrist waiving to the performers parading around the rings before their final exit stage left.

So why do we love the circus? The animal acts are cute, the clown acts are funny, but it’s the trapeze and tightrope acts that have us scooting to the edge of our seats.

Why do we watch?

Two words. Daring and dangerous.

But is it really all that dangerous? Maybe we can watch bodies flying through the air or balancing on dental floss, because it’s comforting for both them and us to know if the bough breaks and the cradle falls, the safety net lies waiting to catch them.

But here’s the thing about safety nets. They give a false sense of security. Though they are tangible and we can see them, safety nets can fail. They are designed by humans, manufactured by humans, assembled by humans, and erected by humans. Google it. They’re not a sure thing.

God is not our safety net. A safety net enables people. A safety net is something we depend on to catch us.

God doesn’t merely catch us, He carries us.

God is not our safety net. He is our refuge.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describes it this way:

hope, place of refuge, shelter, trust

Or machceh {makh-seh’}; from chacah; a shelter (literally or figuratively) — hope, (place of) refuge, shelter, trust.

So what’s the difference between a safety net and a refuge?

According to Merriam-Webster, refuge comes from the Latin word refugium. Although this word is Latin, the term is not foreign to aquarium enthusiasts…

“A refugium is a ‘refuge” in the sense that while it shares the water of the main tank, it is somehow set off from the tank. A refugium is generally used to provide delicate species with safety, protecting them from the larger fish in the main tank.” (taken from: ratemyfishtank.com).

God’s refuge does that for us. We are set apart from the world while we are still in it. When we are weak we are strong in Him. We are safe and we are protected, and while God may allow us to free-fall at times, nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing.

We tend to trust a safety net because we can see it, but seeing is not always believing. Not everyone who saw the miracles of Jesus, believed. Not everyone who sees the miracles all around us, believe.

When we trust in a refuge we cannot see? That’s called faith.

What about hope and trust? We can hope a safety net won’t fail but we can’t totally trust it.

We have absolute hope God’s refuge won’t fail and we can put our total trust in Him.

While I don’t recommend intentionally walking a tightrope, life can happen that way sometimes. We look down and we don’t see a net and that can be scary. And sometimes we fall. But God has been holding our right hand the whole time. Whether we make it all the way across or fall flat somewhere in the middle, we are safe and it will be okay.

While God is not like a safety net we can see, God is a refuge that is guaranteed to envelop us.

So what would you choose? A safety net, or God’s faithful and loving refuge we can trust in with all and total certainty?

And those props, like umbrellas and balancing poles tightrope walkers use?

We have something better to keep us steady. The Holy Spirit.

God’s ways are higher than the high-wire. Keep walking straight ahead in faith and don’t look down.

Have you been walking the wire?  Share things you’ve learned along the way.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.  Psalm 46:1-5

 

Shortest Post Ever on Trust

June 3, 2016

Well friend, this takes the cake for being my shortest post ever. Aren’t you glad? Just kidding. So why so short? Because I’m missing community. I want to give you an opportunity to chime in. I don’t want to do all the talking, I want to have a conversation. Your voice matters to me. Your voice matters.

Today I’m sharing a quote from my book “Goodbye, Regret” on trusting God. Some days are harder than other days, aren’t they?

Hard to breathe, hard to pray, hard to take just one more step. It’s in those times and on those days our trust is tested.

Will we trust God with the outcome? Will we trust that God knows best? Will we trust God enough to surrender our fears, our provision, our kids, our lives? Will we trust Him enough to use our past for His glory? Could my past mistakes somehow be used for a purpose?

Surrendering my worry and fear to God has been a true test. I’ve come a long way. I’d say for me, surrendering my children and grandchildren has been my trust test. Truth is, we don’t get everything right.  We’ve been entrusted with these precious ones, but they truly belong to Him anyway. It was key for me to grasp that truth and it helped me release what was not mine to begin with; I’d have to trust God no matter the outcome.  The result of that trust? Peace.

“Trust God, even when it’s hard –

because the true test of trust doesn’t happen in the easy.”

                                              Goodbye, Regret ~ Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes

So now I invite you to share.

When has trusting God been especially hard for you? What has been your trust test?

 

Are You Struggling With Insecurity?

August 12, 2015

Insecurity.

We girls can sure struggle with this, can’t we?

I was fine from about K-4th, then I went through an awkward stage, how about you?

It was fifth grade, weighed more than I care to say, and was first in my circle of friends to get my period. Oh. My. Word.

No fifth grade girl should have to endure such awkwardness. My first taste of insecurity.

Who knew tampons had been around since antiquity? I didn’t. I endured the dreaded belt and pad. I equate it to wearing a diaper, and I may be a slightly bow-legged to this day. I think mom was afraid of tampons, so it was like Christmas when I finally discovered them. I know, TMI.

Fast forward a few years, and the awkward stage passes, praise God (although my mom still has pictures, Lord help us).

I moved to Florida.

New school, new friends, new challenges, new insecurities.

I stopped eating lunch in ninth grade.

True, I wanted to be thin like the photo-shopped magazine girls, but I didn’t have an eating disorder.

It was because I dreaded going up to the lunch line. I feared dropping my tray, being stared at, having my clothing scrutinized. That bully Insecurity stole my lunch.

Perhaps you have similar childhood memories, or maybe your insecurity stems from harder issues, like abuse or neglect. Maybe it caused a real eating disorder, or some other hurtful byproduct.

Our only hope? Trust God, and ask Him to free us of our insecurity, because insecurity is all about self, and it redirects focus away from God. That doesn’t mean we don’t hurt people, and people haven’t hurt us. Hurting hurts, and experiences can shatter our lives like glass across a tile floor.

God takes a shattered life and rearranges the shards into something new.  Something beautiful.

And this: We’ve got to stop comparing ourselves to that other girl. You know that girl who seems to have it all together?

Don’t judge a book…

We never know what others are struggling with, and I imagine even the got-it-all together girls struggle with insecurity too.

Let’s not just sit here and take it:

When we come down on ourselves, go to that woe is me place of insecurity, let’s stop and allow the dots to connect.

We can say:

I’m feeling insecure about ___________________ because ____________________________, but God’s Word tells me in Christ I am a new creation; I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am a child of God; and my security is in Him, who provides all my needs; and I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

Now say this:

When I allow my insecurity to overwhelm me,  I miss becoming the woman God is calling me to be. Through Christ I can overcome my insecurity, and live out my purpose as the woman He created me to be.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,  2 Corinthians 3:4-5

We are confident through Christ, and our adequacy is from God.

Insecurity doesn’t come from God. He doesn’t call us to a life of insecurity, He calls us to a life of humility.

Let’s throw insecurity out with the trash where it belongs.

Have you struggled with insecurity?

 

Why Are We Afraid of Change?

June 21, 2014

We were out of milk. We were out of bread.

A short window of time and a decision to make, I had two options: hit the closest grocery store where I shop less often, or drive farther down the road where I could shop with my eyes closed. Surely the advantage of knowing the exact location of every item would make up for lost travel time, right?

A few minutes after reasoning myself past store #1, I was entering my favorite store #2.  All was according to plan, or was it?

To my surprise, the milk aisle had vanished. Let me rephrase that, the aisle was still there, but the milk wasn’t.

Suddenly, I felt lost in what used to be familiar territory.

So what I’m trying to say is this:

Change is uncomfortable, so we run to the familiar, only to find our familiar has changed. Nothing in this world stays the same forever.

Look forward to change, be excited, and do not fear what could be the greatest growth spurt of your life.

God uses change to help us seek. When we seek, we will find Him.   tweet it

He changes relationships; environments; jobs; ministries…

Whether our change is huge like moving to a new country, or small like moving our milk, one thing never changes: God. He is our constant.

When we face change in the midst of unfamiliar territory, our Unchangeable God holds our right hand.

Trust Him, He knows where the milk went.

You have heard these things; look at them all.Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.”  Isaiah 48:6

What changes are you currently experiencing?  How has God caused you to seek Him?

Change Seek Milk

EMERGE~From Invisible to Unstoppable

May 13, 2014

When I was a little girl, my favorite super-hero power was invisibility. I thought it both adventurous and advantageous to wander around totally undetected, spying on friends, and listening in on conversations. Don’t judge, forgive me I was ten.  Besides the obvious advantages, my favorite benefit of being invisible was protection. I could step out and explore, day or night without fear, because evil couldn’t see me. I’m sure I’m not the only child who dreamed of becoming invisible.

So when did we go from childhood fantasy, to actually believing we’ve acquired the super-hero power of invisibility?

If you are feeling invisible today, I have an important message from God. You’re not.

I have another important message; the only thing that matters, is God sees you.

The God of the Universe sees you. The One true God has many names, and El Roi is one of them.  El Roi, “the strong One who sees me.” Even if we were invisible to everyone else on earth, God sees us, and He is the only One who matters. His plan for us is not to remain unseen and unheard, and here’s why…

I don’t usually do the “word of the year” thing, but God gave me a word this year:

“EMERGE”

What does it mean? Here’s a tidbit from Merriam-Webster:

  • move out of or away from something and come into view
  • to rise or appear from a hidden or unknown place or condition : to come out into view
  • to become manifest :  become known  

Sounds quite the opposite of invisible, doesn’t it? God is calling us to emerge into the light and be the light. It’s time to step out and explore adventurous faith without fear, not because evil can’t see us, but because God can.  We may not be invisible, but we are protected by Him.

Let’s be careful we are not thinking more of ourselves than we ought. We can get locked up in pride when we are focusing on why we aren’t being seen, acknowledged. All we need to know, is God sees us. Did I say that already? No matter, we all need to hear it again. I’m right there in it with you.

Did you know, in the Bible God is referred to as being the invisible God? Satan has devised a plan; a lie he whispers into our ear: we are invisible and invisible means insignificant.  Well, that’s impossible if the word invisible is used to describe God. Can I get an Amen?

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”  Colossians 1:15 (NKJV)

Jesus is the image of the invisible God; and we are made in His image. It’s time to emerge from feeling invisible, to trusting God and becoming unstoppable. Are you ready?

 EMERGE

 

“We’re going to drown!”

April 3, 2014

As a young girl growing up in north Jersey, opportunity to see the Atlantic Ocean came maybe once a year.  It was quite a drive to go “down the shore” as we called it.  I have fond memories of those summer vacations; excitement of the first hint of salt air, the caw of seagulls in flight.  There’s just something special about a “beach town.”  However, one summer vacation nearly ended in tragedy.

I must have been eleven or twelve.  My dad taught me to body surf, and I had no fear of the water, loved it.  Unfortunately,  my feelings of fearlessness rapidly changed, as I found myself being pulled farther from the shore.  I remember struggling to tread water, trying to keep my head above the surface.  There was a boy not far from me in the same boat; or rather we wished we were in a boat.  I scanned the beach for the lifeguard, and there he was, paying no attention to the drowning children while investing in his social life.

This was by no means any fault of my parents.  They kept a sharp eye on me, but if you’ve ever heard of the terms rip-tide, rip-current, undertow and the like,you know they can be more quick and deadly than a man-eating shark.  This quiet force sneaks up on you; very subtle until you’re too far gone to help yourself.  Swimming toward shore is useless, pointless, and exhausting.   Thankfully, my dad, who incidentally had been a lifeguard at one time, spotted two bobbing heads in distress.  I saw him dive into the water, and within seconds, he was dragging both of us like a tugboat safely back to dry land.

My earthly father saved two lives that day; and I know my heavenly Father was there too. He always is.  He Is.

How many times in our life have we found ourselves drowning in the middle of an ocean?   Overworked, overcommitment, our plates so full, we’re too tired to scrape them off and wash them?  Family stress, financial stress…you get the picture.  Are we flailing our limbs without a life-preserver, because we swam too far away from the shore? Lost. Discouraged. Exhausted from treading water.  Were we literally dragged away, or did we go voluntarily?

Even the best swimmers grow weary treading water; isn’t it time to walk on it? tweet that

The good news is, well,  the Good News. Hope.  Jesus.  He’s our life preserver; our lifeline.  Salt water up your nose is very unpleasant.  Jesus is the most qualified lifeguard on duty 24-7.  We can call out to Him in our distress, and He will see us safely back to shore.  Call to Him, pray, and have faith.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  Matthew 8:25-26 (NIV)

Funny, I now live in Florida; just minutes away from the majesty of crashing waves, and miles of beach.  I no longer fear the ocean, for I see God’s glory in its breathtaking magnificence; and I see a girl saved by grace who lived to tell His story.

In Him,

Doris