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? 

Christmas, faith, life, love, wisdom

Is God in the Details?

Is it just me or do you ever wonder where God is in the details of your life? 

I mean, we see the big stuff. The healing of sicknesses. Redeeming of hearts. Restoring marriages. Overcoming fear. The miracles which cannot be explained other than it had to be God. 

But what about the details? What about the little things? 

As I sit here, I am eternally grateful God healed my broken heart, that He restored my marriage, and has done (and continues to do) so much more than I ever expected. Yet, I find myself wondering . . . God, where are You in the little things? Do you care or have time to worry about the details of my life? 

Which makes me ask a hard question. How much faith do I really have? Do I truly believe the scripture “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV? 

Or is my faith so limited I believe God will only turn His head to me when the big things arise? 

It’s easy to see God in the big things. We praise and shout the big miracles to the world! But do we miss the little things? 

At church yesterday, my pastor talked about the details of Jesus’s birth, and the not-so-comfortable environment Jesus was born into.

“All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:3-7 NLT

There… we see it again. God in the big! He sent His only Son to the earth to save us all. To give us a way to spend eternity with Him!  

But wait…  He allowed him to be born in a stable? He didn’t, at least, work out a cancellation at the Inn to give Jesus a little comfort as He entered the world? 

Poor Mary, nine months pregnant, riding a donkey across country. And, of course, because of that long, bumpy, donkey ride, she goes into labor! I mean how many of us mothers got up and started doing crazy stuff just to get that human out of our bodies because IT WAS TIME! 

Maybe we all should have grabbed a donkey and took off for a trail ride. Just a thought. 😉

God sent His Son to save us. Me. You. Huge Miracle! 

But God sent his Son to two very unlikely, unmarried teenagers, that had to travel across country at the most inopportune time. And then God didn’t even work out a place for them to stay. What’s with that?

If I were Mary, I would have been thinking, “God, we are trying to be good servants here! What do you expect from us? You sent your Son for me to birth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored and grateful, but I don’t see any help from You in this. Your Son, the Savior of the world, and there is no glory in this situation at all. Joseph and I have been ridiculed for not being married yet. Then we have to travel to do this dumb census. There is no bed for me to rest. I’m stuck in this smelly barn with animals! And now… I’m in labor! I’m scared out of my mind and poor Jospeh won’t stop pacing and just be still. A mid-wife would be nice. Couldn’t you have stopped a minute to work out all these details before hand? Did you just drop this miracle on us and leave us to figure out the rest?”

But if we look at the story closer, maybe God was in the details. Yes, it was not the best circumstances. We would think God being born unto earth would be held to a much higher standard than a dirty stable, a feeding trough, sleeping in itchy hay, next to cows—and their manure. If I were God, (thank goodness I’m not) Jesus would have been born in the most extravagant palace of all the lands! Lavish celebrations would have gone on for months, maybe years. Everyone would have been there. Mary would be the most honored lady in all of the kingdom! 

Yet, she was not. And Jesus was born in a rickety barn. 


Maybe, just maybe, God was in the details and it played out exactly as He planned.

If they hadn’t been traveling and in Bethlehem, would the shepherds have come? Would there have been anyone to tell people about the Son of God’s birth? The Innkeeper didn’t turn them away completely. He gave them the only space he had left. Not perfect, but still better than a field and having a kid on pile of jagged rocks.

Would I be able to believe Jesus had experienced all I have experienced if He were born in a palace and celebrated as the one true King from the very beginning? Probably not. Often times we don’t see celebrities as real people. We can’t relate to them. They are untouchable. 

Maybe being born in a stable was a way to make Him more real to us. 

Maybe God was in that details fateful night in Bethlehem. 

This simple entrance to the world allows us to see Jesus as a human first. And it was the beginning of Jesus’s proof of how much He loves us. It showed us His heart and humility. That even He, the Son of God, didn’t have it easy. He chose to be like us. He didn’t have to. But He wanted to.

You see, God is in the details. The problem we have is remembering that His thoughts and ways are not like our thoughts and ways. His way of dealing with the details may look different than our wish for Him to deal with our details. 

God is not like us, with limited abilities and focus. He can be in every detail of every one of our lives all at the same time. And not only can He, but He promises that He will! His word says “I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you” over and over. 

We must believe this and allow our faith to spread into the details of our lives.

Thank you, Pastor Dan, for sharing an inspiring message that made me think deeper about the details of the birth of our Lord and Savior. 

faith, friends, life, love

Fierce Love

In my last blog, I mentioned another friend and promised to write more about her. So here we go!  

Like my other friend, she’s pretty dang awesome! 

I giggle at the differences in my two friends, because this one does not have the gift of silence in any way or fashion. In fact, silence may actually be painful for her! But she has an amazing gift of her own. 

Her gift is loving the broken. Since I’ve known her, she’s always had this gifting. There have been times I’ve seen her fight it, but she can’t for very long. It always shines through. Even if she refused to act on it, it was burning in her heart. 

She is one of those people who will crawl down in the pit of muck and grime with you, wallow, get messy, and set up camp until your ready to leave, all the while reminding you that you’re not suppose to be there. 

She has a heart for the unlovable and broken in a way I deeply respect and admire. 

She’s taken in abused wives. Loved on hurting children. Walked with the alcoholics. Bailed people out of jail in the middle of the night. Fasted for months on end, as an intercessor in prayer. Stood in the faces of Pharisees and spoken the truth of God. 

Her love reminds me so much of Jesus’s love. Eating with the sinners. Choosing the tax collectors. Not judging the prostitutes. Leaving the ninety-nine for the one who strayed. Welcoming the prodigal home. Fighting for the sinner. And even, flipping the tables in the temple.

Although we can’t fully understand Jesus’s love, I think she “gets” it better than most.

After my sister’s murder, our family was so devastated and consumed by irrational emotions that we had an emotional limit as to what we could handle. The slightest little thing could be overwhelming to us. 

There’s not a lot I remember of those initial days, but I will never forget her stance. Anytime we were in a crowd of people, she was always near. Standing guard, ready to step in if it looked as if we couldn’t handle talking to one more person or if someone said something inappropriate (yes, unfortunately, that happens). And there were times, she acted on this stance. I remember seeing her guide people in a different direction so we could slip out the door. 

I find it a little funny now, because I picture her head to toe decked out in steel armor, shield and sword at the ready, fully prepared to fight anyone who might compromise us—and also the ones who might not. Lol! 

She is a mighty warrior. Standing guard. Ready to fight for that person’s cause, especially when they don’t have it in them to fight for themselves.

She has a fierce unbreakable love that, to be honest, can sometimes get her in trouble. 

But, oh, to have that kind of love for unlovable, broken people is something far too unseen in today’s world. Not only in today’s world, but in today’s churches.

I want to love like she loves. Just like I want to have wisdom in silence like my other friend in the blog post before. 

God put these two women in my life for so many reasons, but I’m confident that one reason is to teach me both of these unique gifts. I learn a little more each time I’m with them. 

I’m thankful for my circle, my people. Life wouldn’t be near as entertaining without them. 

Do you have someone in your life who teaches you how to be a better person? I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments below.