faith, fear, life, wisdom

Take This Cup From Me

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

Jesus is talking about the cross, but we have all had or will have that “cup” we wish to be taken from us. It’s a major thing in our life we desperately want God to remove. It’s easy to pray “Father, take this cup from me,” but do we have the guts to add the rest of the verse in our prayer? “Yet not my will, but yours be done” 

For those of us who have seen things turn out not the way we wanted, the end of this prayer can be extremely difficult. 

I used to think praying “God, your will be done” was a little bit of a cop-out prayer. Maybe “cop-out” is too harsh to describe what I mean, but I thought it was a safe prayer that people prayed when they were afraid to ask God for the impossible things. To put faith in and believe God will do the specific, outrageous, crazy things we want or need. 

Oh, I think there are still some out there who loosely throw that phrase in a prayer wishing for the best. But five years ago, when my sister came up missing for six weeks and I prayed that she would be found safe and alive and then wasn’t, I learned that His will and my will aren’t always the same.  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Sometimes, His will can be followed by a trial, struggle, or even heartache. It’s not that God isn’t good and does things just to hurt us. It’s simply that we cannot see the whole picture. I only see me, God sees everything. He knows the beginning to the end. And there’s no possible way for me to understand it all. 

But God loves us more than we can imagine. And if His will turns out to be a time of struggle or heartache, He can and will use it for good. 

Now, I’m not saying it was His will for my sister to get killed or for any of the other evil happening in the world today. It’s absolutely not. His intention was for us to live with Him, protected and safe. Just to be with Him. But we changed all that in the beginning with Adam and Eve. He gave us free will and we made the wrong choice. 

But praying, truly praying, “God, Your will be done. Whatever the outcome is, I want Your will in my life” is an act of pure faith. It’s a sacrificial prayer. Letting go of what you so desperately want, and giving it to Him. It’s trusting Him, even if…. even if it turns out painful. 

It’s all about unwavering trust in God and His ways and plans. 

So, as I face the “cup” I so desperately wish to be taken from me, I’m crying out to God, “Please, take this cup from me,” but I’m also adding, “yet not my will, but Your’s be done.” It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I know this is something I have to do, and then I have to allow God do the rest. It is not for me to control. 

Oh, I still believe in those specific, impossible, outrageous prayers. You absolutely should be praying for these things because he says in Ephesians God can do more than we can ask or imagine, but I also believe there’s room for us to pray “Yet, Your will be done”.

When this is prayed with a humble, not a fearful or complacent heart, praying for God’s will is another step closer to Him. 

Jesus, Himself, specifically taught us to pray “Your will be done” in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10), so when we do this wholeheartedly, it’s got to be something pretty big in our Christian walk, right? 

dreams, faith, fear

Dream Killer

Dream Killers

Do you have a dream to do something big? Well, big from your standpoint. Maybe not big for someone else’s, but it’s HUGE in your eyes. 

I did. I do. 

It scares me to death. 

I don’t know how to achieve this dream. Honestly, I feel a little lost in the whole process. The thought of chasing this dream scares me enough that I have prayed, on and off, for nine years for God to take it away from me. And yet… I’m still dreaming. It’s still burning in my heart. So, that’s got to mean something, right?

But isn’t that what makes a dream a dream? If it scares us, then probably, it’s beyond what we can do or control. We know somehow, someway, God is going to have to step in and take the reigns on this baby.

I recently asked my friends on facebook, “Why do you think we have big dreams but refuse to chase them?”

All of the answers were great! They ranged from “procrastination” to “laziness” to “feeling alone” to “I’m too old” to “not enough time” to “overthinking” and so on and so on… 

But the most common answer was fear—or an answer stemmed from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of stepping out. Fear of man.

Even I said, “It scares me to death.”

Gosh, I hate fear… it’s downright nasty. If we could see fear for what it is—a means used by the enemy to stop us from doing the will of God, do you think we’d rise up and stand up against it? 

I’d like to think I would. I don’t want to be used in the devil’s ploys. Uhmm… no sir, you don’t get to have that power over me, because the Word tells me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in me! (Acts 2:24) You, Satan, are under my feet. (Romans 16:20)

But I gotta be honest, I’ve allowed fear to stop me for a very long time. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of what people will think or if they will take me seriously. Mean and ugly fear. 

But guess what, fear only has power if we give it power. The enemy can throw a little fear our way, sure. But that fear doesn’t have any real power at all … until I listen to it. Until I entertain it. Until I believe it. Until I allow it to stop me.

How do you ignore dream killers? First, we have to recognize it for what it is and what is at the root of our dream killer? Is it fear? Most likely, yes. Even the “not enough time” can be fear of saying “no” to something or someone else. But if God has placed a dream in your heart, then that, my friends, is called a calling. Who would you rather say “no” to, people or God? 

I, also, think we need to step back and evaluate where our focus is. When we allow dream killers to come into our lives and stop us (especially, when the dream is from God) we are not focused on God. We are focused on ourself and our ability. When we focus on God then His perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and we believe He will do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). And you know what? He will do the impossible! We just have to trust Him and His timing. 

God is going to help, but we have to make the first step and continue the steps along the way. We have to make a habit of ignoring the fear and keep moving forward. No matter what.

As for me and my scary dream, my first step is saying it out loud (writing it here for you to read). So … here goes: I wrote of novel about nine years ago, and I dream of one day having it published. This dream is covered in fear from the beginning to the end. I’m afraid of taking the leap to try, AND I’m afraid of what I’ll need to do if it were to get published. Every outcome of this dream scares me! Pretty strange to have fear of failure and fear of success at the same time. LOL.  But it’s there.

I have to trust that God will give me the knowledge I need each step of the way. I must stop focusing on me and start focusing on Him. 

I have to give my God-given dream a reality and allow Him to do the supernatural. 

My reality is, if just one person reads my book and is blessed by it, then my dream fulfilled a purpose. And if God wants to take it and roll with it, then awesome! Keeping God in charge of the supernatural keeps my pride in check, because I can do nothing without Him. 

And the last little nugget God spoke to me today, we can’t get caught up in the discouragement of the dream not moving forward fast enough. We need to learn how to be happy in the small beginnings.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zachariah 4:10 

So if you’re like me, been stuck in the small beginnings for close to ten years, God is rejoicing to see the work begin! 

I’ll leave you with this last scripture to hopefully jump start you chasing that dream! 

“If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in the large ones…” Luke 16:10 

In other words, be faithful with each step, one step at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with the big picture. The big picture doesn’t happen all at once. It grows bigger as we take each step. 

So let’s stop focusing on the dream killers and focus on the Dream Maker.

What is your big dream? Maybe your first step is telling someone. Write it in the comments below and start really praying about what your next step should be. 

anxiety, faith, fear, forgiveness

I Am Shaken But My Foundation Is Not

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25

I received some unexpected news today. No, let me take that back, it wasn’t unexpected news, because I knew, at some point, this news would come. It was more unexpected timing. No matter how much I have tried to prepare my heart for this news, I was still shaken by it.

I am still shaken by it. 

You see, five years ago my sister was murdered, and today we got the call that the trial was set to move forward in a couple of months, on one of the two dates they had requested. Of course, there is a possibility this will change—we have learned nothing seems to be set in stone with the justice system as far as scheduling.

As much as I want to see justice for her, this news is packed with fear. How can we trudge through that excruciating time all over again? Memories brought forward. Testimonies spoken. Arguments given. Photos shown. All so the jury can make their decision. 

And my biggest fear: Will my faith be strong enough to cling to Jesus through this? I have failed before. Will I fail again? 

What if she doesn’t get the justice she deserves? Will I trust God if He says to me “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”? Will I be ok if His vengeance looks different than what I would like it to look like?

I have forgiven the man who murdered her. And short of salvation, this has undoubtedly been the most supernatural work God has ever done in me. Without His grace, I would have never been able to walk out this type of forgiveness. But if things go unexpected in the trial and it doesn’t end the way I want, will I still offer that forgiveness? 

I desperately want to. I know the insurmountable freedom it has given me. I know deep in my heart my healing started the moment I decided to forgive this man. But will I be strong enough to continue?

I am shaken.

Like the scripture above, it was like the rain came down again, the flood waters rose over my head, and the wind blew with terrifying force, beating against me. Threatening to destroy everything God has done over this past year. 

“… yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

For me to not fall or fail, I must remember my Foundation on the rock. My Foundation is stronger than any raging storm. I will not be destroyed because my Foundation holds me in place.

Yes, I may be shaken, but my Foundation is not. 

My Foundation is my Peace, my Strength, my Defender, my Commander, and my Father. He is God Almighty. Ruler of all. Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals you).

I will have to take one day at a time. I cannot focus on the future outcome, but I can focus on my Foundation.

So when the wind blows, ripping pieces of my heart like shingles from the roof, when the waters rise, threatening to pull me under, I will cling to my unmovable Foundation.

anxiety, faith, fear

Where Does My Help Come From?

“The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?” Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.”2 KINGS 6:15-17 AMP

I woke up this morning with a knot burning in my stomach. My heart constricted tighter with each beat, vibrating off my chest. My breath came out in fast spurts, and my mind immediately went to everything that could go wrong. That has gone wrong. Fear sank it’s nasty claws into my insides threatening to rip them to pieces. 
You see, my family is in a spiritual battle. A hard one. One that, at times, feels as if victory is impossible. 

For a brief moment, I wanted to hang on to it, to figure it out. To control it. To fight it in my own power or even allow the panic to consume me. I wanted to analyze it, think about it, and maybe strategize against it, but then the story of Elisha and his servant came to mind. 

His servant woke up surrounded by the enemy with no visible escape. Paralyzing fear seized him. But Elisha told him, the army who fights for us is greater than the army who fights for the enemy. Elisha prayed to the Lord that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see the vast army, and they were. He saw the Lord’s army surrounding them, ready to fight for them. Horses and chariots of fire standing ready to defend them. 

Whether we are aware of it or not, there is always a spiritual battle, either brewing or in the midst of an all out in war around us. Battle cries, we cannot hear; fighting, we cannot see. Swords clashing. Shields being thrown in front of us. Blows being blocked. Warrior angels stand at guard in front, behind, and on either side of us. They stand war-ready to protect us. 

With fear gripping so tight, the only thing I needed were my eyes opened. Now, I didn’t literally see these angels this morning, but God opened my heart for my faith to see them. And once I trusted God had sent His angels to protect me, the fear I felt lost its power over me. (Perfect love cast out fear.)

We all feel fear. Unfortunately, there is no way around it. But fear can be beaten. Our job is not to control the situation or fight the things we see, or even the people we think are responsible. 

Our job is to be warriors, prayer warriors. Our job is to KNOW who fights the battle and TRUST Him to fight it.

We need to “see” where our help comes from. 

“I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let you be defeated. He who guards you never sleeps.”Psalms 121:1-3 NCV