Give Me An Unstoppable Faith Like Jesus…

baby robin 005I smile when I have been working on a blog for a while in my head and then my pastor delivers a sermon that completes my thought.  It happens more often than you would think.  I am currently studying the book of James with a group of women from our church.  If you know anything about James, it is a book that tells it like it is.  When you get done studying James, you have no excuse for not having faith and trusting God in every situation.  That being said, I have been thinking about my faith lately and questioning how I can grow and believe with an unstoppable faith.

When I spoke at a retreat recently, I asked a question to the audience I said, “If you truly believed God was always going to do something good through your suffering, would you finally be able to say, ‘Lord, here I am, use me.’”  I don’t know about anyone attending, but personally, that question has been ringing in my head ever since.  I often wonder how many times I have missed out on a blessing because I have not had the faith to believe God would get me through the situation He was asking me to endure.

robins 074This summer we have had a robin’s nest right outside the kitchen window.  I think it is the same bird that has laid two sets of eggs.  We watched the first three grow up until they were literally hanging over the edges.  Since then, we have enjoyed watching them learn to fly and explore their new world to the point of total exhaustion where they can’t move if they tried.

This last group of babies has been different from the first ones, though.  There were three to begin with and now there is one.  I think that two of the three are already out of the nest because I am seeing them around the yard.  For some reason, this one particular bird is still there.  My imagination runs wild wondering why.  Is it just a lazy bird and as long as mom and dad bring the worms, it’s decided this is the life?  Maybe it has a disability that I can’t see…a broken wing or something that prevents it from leaving.  Perhaps it lives in fear of a world outside its nest and is frozen with anxiety, unable to make a leap.  Whatever the reason, the parents continue to nourish it and watch after it with high hopes of it flying on its own someday.  robins 076

Since the retreat, I have been thinking, “What is it that God wants me to do that I haven’t already done?”  Is He speaking to me and I am not hearing or has He simply not called me yet to my next adventure?  Did you ever feel like there is something else you should be doing but you can’t put a finger on what it is?  Perhaps you think you know what it is but you have no idea how to get there or make it happen?  Is it fear or circumstances holding you back?  Do you have faith enough to trust God to show the way?

This morning, our pastor delivered a message in Mark 9 using verses 23-24.  They say, Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

baby robin 005I think there is a little piece of that father who wants to believe but wavers and the baby robin in each one of us that wants to stay in the nest.  It’s safe there and someone will take care of us if we do.  Of course, we all want to believe that no matter where God leads us, He’s going to see us through.  However, it’s that old human condition that stifles us and keeps us from believing.  We might all need to say those words at some point in our lives…”Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”

057Just like the baby bird’s parents; God will continue to watch over us while we muster the courage to trust and follow His lead.  However, we are all going to look pretty silly sitting in a nest that is too small for us waiting for the next worm to arrive when we could be doing it ourselves.  For when we take that leap of faith and look to the sky, we will find ourselves flying to heights only the heavens have seen.

GrafittiThere is some graffiti on an overpass on my way to work that I see daily that says, “Can’t be stopped.”  I know the artist probably didn’t mean it for this purpose, but God speaks to me through that message every time I drive past.  I find myself praying, Lord, give me the courage to believe with a faith that is unshakable to know You have got my back.  Help my unbelief and allow me to soar through life with You as my guide.  Give me the courage to do the things You’re calling me to do without fear.  Give me a “can’t be stopped attitude” for Your work I need to do here on this earth!

Is God speaking to you?  What are your fears?  What are your hindrances?  May He give You direction and purpose with a faith like Jesus in the days ahead.  Jesus was willing to do whatever He needed to do to save us from our sins.  He had the kind of faith that never doubted His Father’s promise that He would someday be reunited in heaven with His Father. He didn’t allow his circumstances to discourage Him.  I want that kind of faith…don’t you?  So what are we waiting for? Let’s fly!

I Can See Clearly Now!

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stuff just happens to me.  I don’t know why.  I started feeling sorry for myself this week as the medical bills have begun rolling in and the first one was over $500 just for one visit.  I hate the fact that I have this disease now and Jim gets stuck with my bills at times because my real estate income is sporadic.  He wants to take care of me but I know it just adds more stress to him.  We were discussing the health insurance the other night and how much the maximum out of pocket might be for the year.  I looked at him and said, “I’m just trouble.”  He didn’t miss a beat and replied, “I knew that before you married you and I married you anyway!”  I love that man.

This week I had to go to the eye doctor.  It’s getting to where I can’t see from one end to the next in the grocery store aisle and I knew my prescription was changing.  I always panic when I get my eyes checked.  Many years ago I went to the eye doctor and they put drops in my eyes and left me alone.  The drops were to dilate my pupils so the doctor could see inside.  As I sat in the chair, the room started spinning and I became really ill.  No one was coming back to check on me and I thought I would die.  The only relief I could think of was to lay my head down on the floor.  I think there is something true about getting close to the center of gravity but nonetheless, it just seemed like the right thing to do with what was going on with me.  So I got out of the seat and put my ear up against the floor pleading to God to stop the spinning.  As I laid there on the floor, the assistant came in and let out a shriek for the doctor to come in.  I think she thought I had died or something.  It was quite embarrassing but what is a girl going to do?  Like I said stuff just happens to me.

This week when I went to the eye doctor, Jim convinced me that they have different drops now and they shouldn’t affect me that way anymore.  So I bravely went in and allowed them to do the drops again.  Since my doctors now are also my clients, I try to play the tough guy…you know in control…never letting them see me sweat!  They put one set of drops in my eyes and said it didn’t dilate them enough, then again, and then a third time before they had my pupils looking like big bowling balls in my head!  I made it!  No dizziness, nothing.  I was so proud…and relieved that I didn’t make a scene in their office.  I faced my fears and all was well.

Sometimes in life when we have struggles, we have to be willing to look at them through dilated pupils so to speak.  Am I struggling because I don’t have my faith firmly planted on my Center of Gravity aka God?  Has something in my life happened before that causes my vision to be skewed on reality?  Am I not willing to dilate certain areas of my life to explore and understand where my fears and concerns are coming from?

Just as I had to face my fears and allow the drops to be put into my eyes once again; so you might have to face your fears to open yourself up to some soul-searching and healing.  Once we do open ourselves up to God to reveal what’s really going on inside, He is faithful to help us get through.  All of the things that were clouding our vision before become miniscule when we are focused on Him.  Our view of our issues become so much more clear.  This week I pray that you do some introspection with God.  Take the chance and ask Him to open your eyes so that you can see your world as He does.  He doesn’t stay up at night wondering how He’s going to pay my medical bills.  He isn’t affected by my past experiences.  He doesn’t even fret over my latest diagnosis.  He understands it will all be used to my good and that if I just keep my head to the ground so to speak, my world will no longer be spinning out of control.   I am beginning to see things more clearly.  Are you?

Even when I look like trouble, God loves me.  In fact, He knew that about me before He chose me and He chose me anyway!  Won’t you let God Who owns everything, knows everything, and loves you no matter how much trouble you are be master over your life this week?  I pray for His peace in your storm to be evident and amazing as you open your eyes to all He has for you in the days ahead.  Thank you Lord for showing us through simple life instances of your goodness and your power in our lives.  Are you grounded in Him?  Are you willing to open your eyes to what He has to show you?  My prayer is that we will all begin this week seeing life more clearly and be blessed with the 20/20 vision that only God can give. Let me know how God is working in your life this week. And as always…Be blessed and don’t forget to go out there and be a blessing!

Psalm 119:37 (NKJV)  Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.

Yes, I Have Cancer. Please Don’t Feel Sorry For Me.

God's Promise to Me!

God’s Promise to Me!

I appreciate all of the prayers, well wishes, encouraging notes, fighting cancer tips along with some extra hugs from those I see on a regular basis since revealing my diagnosis of breast cancer last week.  My hope is that as I walk down this path; God might be glorified.  I don’t want your pity or please don’t avoid me because you don’t know what to say.  It’s OK.  I started 2013 with two things on my mind.  God was telling me to pray harder—even to the point of putting on the full armor of God in my prayer life.  The second thing was my prayer telling God I wanted to go deeper with Him.  In my life experience, I rarely grow in my faith when life is easy and all is well.   It has been the times when I suffered the most that I drew closer to God and found His Faithfulness in new and different ways.  Times like when I was wondering if my daughter was going to live or die just after birth, or when I went through my divorce or said goodbye to my son as he left for Afghanistan for a year life were not fun.  However, God used those situations to build a faith in me that is deeper and stronger than it would be had I not gone through those circumstances.  I can actually praise Him today for my suffering!

Someone was saying yesterday that they wished God would do something miraculous in their life so that they too could see that He was real.  I thought about that and looking at that person’s life, I can see many times that God has intervened.  He saved them from a suicide attempt, protected them from a horrible accident when they tested God, and gave them loving parents that will help guide and direct them towards God in their life journey!  Those are just a few I know but I am sure if that person asks God to reveal the times where He was at work in their lives, guiding and protecting them, He would show them more.

You see, it all depends on where our focus is.  If we are going through life in our own strength or doubting God, His works will not be as evident to us because we’re not truly seeking Him.  However, if we seek God with our whole heart, He is faithful to be there and not leave us doubting.  The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 4:29 (NKJV) …from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. There might be things in your past that you need to rebuke and ask God to remove from your mind.  Perhaps you may have dabbled in darkness and allowed other things to penetrate your thinking that were not of God.  Tell it to get behind you.  As a child of the King, nothing of darkness has any more power than what we give it.  If we tell it to be gone in Jesus Name, it has to go.  It’s a simple as that.

So here I go again.  It’s another test or should I say faith lesson in trusting God.  I am only human and know that there will be times when I am not happy about this valley I’m being taken through.  However, my prayer is that through it all God might be magnified.  I promise to be watching and waiting for God’s intervention throughout this process and will be praising Him as I see His Hand at work in my situation.  He has already taught me He will be faithful, I need not doubt.  But when my body is tired and I struggle to find the praise, I will remind myself of His Goodness.   God has given me a voice to tell others about Him and I intend to do just that.   Psalm 105:1-4 (NKJV) explains my thoughts for the upcoming months more eloquently than I could ever do:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!

Are you looking for God in your life struggles?  If you seek Him with all your heart, I promise you, He is there if your trust is in Him.  The night before I went to the surgeon last week, God spoke to me in a sunset.  It was a beautiful, beautiful sunset.  I didn’t know what the next day was bringing and there was concern on my mind for my prognosis.  When I saw the beautiful sunset, I felt that God was saying, “It’s going to be OK”.  I can’t really tell you why, but other than I found peace in it because my mind was set on God.  I know He loves me and is watching after me.  Why wouldn’t He calm me with a sky that told me everything was going to be alright?  The next day when I went to the surgeon, she said if I have to have cancer, I have the best case scenario that I could have.  They feel the prognosis is good as long as nothing else appears in future tests.  In my mind, either way I win.  If I lose the battle with cancer and die, I’m in heaven free of worries worshipping my Savior all day long.  If I survive the battle, I get more time with my family, friends and ministry here to spread God’s Good News to a struggling world.  So don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m at peace.  I hope that you too might find peace in your struggles.  Seek God with all your heart.  Praise Him along the way.  Most importantly watch for Him in your circumstances!  He is faithful to meet you where you are when your heart is set on Him.  Have a great week, be blessed and don’t forget to be a blessing!

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