Faith

Am I Making a Difference?

Am I making a difference?

Isn’t that a question we all ask ourselves from time to time? Does the effort I make really matter? Or is being a couch potato a viable option with equal impact?

I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” a few years back and ugly cried at the end. George Bailey gets a glimpse into what life would be like if he’d never been born. An angel showed him the impact his life made, even in the small and unexpected ways. Sometimes I feel like asking God for a “It’s A Wonderful Life” moment.

Hey God, can you show me what my  _________ (workplace, church, school, ministry, business, family) would be like if I’d never got started?”

Wouldn’t it be nice along the way if God granted us sneak peeks?

In real life, God doesn’t give us glimpses into alternate realities. However, He does give us His word. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I appreciate this verse, because it reflects God’s patterns in nature. We sow seeds and we don’t see anything happen right away. There is progress, but it’s below the surface, where the eyes can’t see. The seed sprouts, it breaks open, it slowly grows…but it takes a while before it peers into the visible plane. We water the seed and position it for optimal sunlight, but there comes a point when we’ve done all we can do with the seed, and the outcome is in God’s hands. Our job is to keep sowing seeds. We will reap a harvest eventually, only if we don’t give up.

I haven’t posted a blog in a while, partly because I am working on a book. It’s a study on the book of Esther, and how God invites us to trade our broken past for a new family legacy. It’s such a fun project, but it feels a little like planting seeds every day, hoping one day they’ll sprout to the surface. I think sometimes parenting feels this way too...are they really getting it? Are they understanding what I’m teaching them? Are the seeds sprouting? The other day I gave my 9-year-old son a compliment about being much wiser than I was at his age. He said, “Well the credit goes to you and Dad for teaching us Christ.” 

Big exhale for these glorious moments. Some days, God gives us little sprouts like this…moments when we get a fresh wind to keep plowing and planting and trusting God for the increase. No, it’s not a George Bailey-alternate-reality-glimpse, but it’s enough to keep us going. It’s enough to remind us we walk by faith, not by sight, and though we plant and water, it’s God who brings the increase (2 Cor. 5:7, 1 Cor. 3:7).

Maybe you have moments like me, wondering if the work you do makes a difference. Whether it’s the hard work of parenting, or marriage, career, or ministry…don’t grow weary. Keep planting. Keep watering. Don’t give up. Watch and see, your harvest will come.

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you for the reminder today not to grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. I pray you would help us today to stay faithful and grateful for the beautiful work you’ve called us to. I thank you that when we see dirt, you see a harvest in the making. I pray you would help us to lift our eyes up to your higher perspective and help us to have fresh fervency in our labor today. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Vegas Strong

A photo my husband took at dinner last month. This city holds a special place in our hearts. Vegas we love you.

 

My heart breaks for those affected by tragic massacre in Las Vegas. We called Las Vegas home for four years, it is the birthplace of our first daughter, the place we started in ministry and marriage. It holds a special place in our hearts. My husband and I sat by the pool at the Mandalay Bay just a month ago, visiting our old stomping grounds and reminiscing about a city with special memories.

I couldn’t stop crying watching the footage. For a moment, I got a glimpse of how terrifying that night was for so many people. In the process of wiping tears, praying for Las Vegas, and looking for ways to show support, there are a few things that bring me comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us the comfort God gives is meant to be shared.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. It’s just my personal list of a few things that bring me comfort and hope in light of the tragedy. I hope they will bring you comfort as well.

  1. If you live your life in fear, he takes one more victim.” – These words shared from a counselor to a women at the concert are words not just for her but for many like me, who may be tempted to live fearfully.

2. This video by Pastor Craig Groeschel reminds me of the heart of our Father in heaven.

3. Acts 9:31. It has become my prayer for the churches around our nation. “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” 

During this time where many feel uncertain, I pray for God’s church to rise up in peace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. For those who are hopeless, searching, and in need of comfort, I pray the Church would be the arms of Jesus wrapped around the hurting. So many churches already are.

What brings you comfort during times like these?

Fake or Faith?

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a young woman struggling in her marriage. She said, “I just gotta fake it until I make it, right?”

I hear that phrase periodically and it doesn’t sit well with me, I’m a girl who treasures authenticity.  I hugged the young woman and said, “How about FAITH it until you make it? God doesn’t want us to be fake.”

“That’s good! I like that.” She said before we parted ways.

One little word can make a big difference in how we see God through our circumstances and approach him. Fake is different than Faith. Faith is not being fake, there is nothing fake about making the choice to focus on God’s greatness.

I used to have a motto when it came to prayer. I would say, “The only ingredient to a successful prayer is sincerity.” My passion for sincerity was in an effort to avoid being like the scribes who prayed for pretense (Luke 20:46-47). They were being fake, they were praying for show. I also noticed others memorizing prayers (like the Lord’s prayer) and reciting them like the pledge of allegiance. In an effort to pull myself and others towards an authentic relationship with God, I emphasized sincerity. I still believe 100% in sincere prayers, but I’ve also noticed the power of adding one extra ingredient: Faith.

Jesus said in Mark 11:22-24, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

I recently made my first Facebook live video on our tendency to “worry-pray.” Instead of praying in faith, we can have the tendency to magnify the problem rather than the problem-solver. I wrote out a faith-declaration about who God is (all based on scripture), as a way of setting my mind on the greatness of God first before I bring him my concerns. When I set my mind on His greatness, my (once) mountain of a problem starts to look more like a speck. It’s not fake, it’s focus.

If our prayers magnify our problem to be bigger than God and His power – our faith is in the wrong thing.

Yesterday, my daughter came to me overwhelmed with homework. As we sat on her bed, I pulled out my faith-declaration and read it to her. Tears fell down her face as she was reminded of our God who is limitless in strength and power when she feels weak. She asked if she could hang a copy up in her bedroom. The privilege of paving the way in motherhood never gets old. I want her to know what real faith is. Fake smiles through gritted-teeth and says, “I can do this.” But faith is different. Faith says, “I can’t do this, but my great God certainly can!”