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? 

faith, wisdom

Examine Me and Know My Heart

A couple of days ago, I was curled up in my husband’s recliner with the comfort of my weighted blanket hugging me. (Oh yeah, weighted blankets are amazing!) Scrolling through Instagram, I lost focus when thoughts of a nap began to slip in. I don’t take naps often, but when it’s there for the taking, I’m all in! But in an instance, I was pulled out of my sleepy thoughts and stopped my scroll with this quote from @bethmoorequotes.

Wait… what?

At first glance, there’s not much that makes sense with this quote, but as I stared at this picture, my brain went into overdrive and all thoughts of a nap vanished with a dose of what could be hard truth.

Wanting to know what other people thought, I clicked on the comments to find a bunch of Amens and Yeses. But honestly, I felt pulled in two different directions with these words.

You can’t really have sincere and pure devotion to Christ and still be completely seduced by the devil… can you?

To have a sincere and pure devotion to Christ, don’t you need to know Him? Knowing Him is getting into the Word. Building a relationship through prayer and trust. I know Him. I have a relationship with Him. I trust Him.

But on the other hand… can’t we think we are ok in our relationship with Him and not really be ok? Sure, the church is full of people who think they are ok. But do they really show the fruit of being ok? Do I?

This rattled me enough that I looked up the meaning of seduce. “To attract (someone) to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy.”

To attract… sounds pretty benign. Ok, what am I attracted to? Am I attracted to the things God wants or what I want?

Then another question came. When is the last time I said, “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”

Psalms 139:23-24 NCV

Honestly, it’s probably been a while. Because, I’m ok, right? I’m in the word, journaling, and praying daily. I’m trusting God in the process… or at least I think I’m trusting the process.

But am I really? Or am I just saying I am?

What are my recurring questions with the latest issue going on in my life?

God, what’s going on here? What are you doing? Why won’t you tell me which way to go? Why am I going through this? Where are Your promises? Where are Your blessings?

Does that sound like someone who trust God in the process?

No, it does not.

***Side note: questions are ok—good even, but when they get stuck on repeat that is where a problem slips in.

Am I being seduced by the enemy? Is he attracting me with the things I want to happen? And because I really don’t like the answers (or lack of answers) I’m getting from God, am I playing into the devil’s seduction?

Can you be seduced and not even know it’s happening?

Well, yeah. Isn’t that how seduction works? The first step: Enticing a person with something they want. They become so focused on it they will most likely forget the bigger picture.

The truth is we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), whether or not we are sincerely devoted to Jesus. Being a sinner won’t change until the day we step into heaven. We will always have something that trips us up. The enemy knows exactly what that is, and he will use it every time.

Am I too prideful to believe that because I am sincerely and purely devoted to Christ that the enemy won’t or can’t seduce me?

Ouch! Now that’s a hard question, but one that needs to be asked.

Here’s the thing, once seduction is recognized and we continue to focus on the attraction to the things we want, not what God wants, it’s no longer seduction… but a choice. A choice we make.

With this quote, I ended up with more questions than answers. But it did change my recurring questions from less-me-centered to more God-centered questions. And that can and will change my heart to be a little more like Christ. And isn’t that the goal?

When is the last time you said, “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”?

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. 

friends, silence, wisdom

Wisdom in Silence

I have a friend who has an amazing gift of keeping quiet when needed. To me, this shows a great amount of self control and wisdom on her part. 

I’ve admired this quality in her for as long as I’ve known her. 

But there’s a flip side to it, too. There have been times I have desperately wanted her to give me answers but she has remained quiet instead. Irritation can rear it’s nasty little head if I let it, and the gift I so admire, suddenly, becomes the gift I want her to ignore and just tell me what to do. 

But you see, it’s not her job to tell me what to do—that is … unless the Holy Spirit tells her to. 

And to be honest, I’m seeking answers from the wrong person at this point. 

We all need great friends. Someone who we can be real with. Someone who knows all the good, bad, and ugly—and still loves us. We need these people in our journey of life. 

But there are times, if we’re not careful, we can get so connected with a person that when a crisis arises the first person we call is that friend.  We forget to run to our Father. He’s the one with all of the power. Our friend is just a supporter, a carrier of burdens, and a comforter. 

But the Holy Spirit is all of these and more. He has the power to soothe our soul and intervene on our behalf with God who has the power to heal, change a situation, or help us see something in a different light.

“Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way God wants.”

Romans 8:26-27 NCV

Our friend can only do so much. Why is it that we expect more from them? 

Maybe because we unintentionally put them in the place of God? (Ouch! That’s stings a little. And not the message I intended to share, but it’s good, so it’s staying.) 

I want to be more like my friend. I want to know when to share wisdom and when to sit quietly. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that I hear Him say, “share this” or “Shhh, they aren’t ready. Give Me time to work in their heart to hear the truth in the way it’s meant to be heard.”

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 3:7 

Which leads us to my point of this blog. Sometimes people are not willing (or in the emotional state of mind) to hear some truths. We must be careful with our words, even when our words are truth.

One of the most popular things said to me after my sister was murdered was “God is in control”.

Well…  yes, He is… but… 

In the middle of traumatic grief (grief that had a wide variety of crazy emotions attached to it) that was not what I was ready or wanted to hear.

In fact, my anger (in my grief) grabbed a hold of that and chewed it to bits. 

So, if God is in control, then what you’re saying is that God allowed my sister get raped, murdered, and dumped in the woods for 6 weeks until someone finally found her body? (Uhm… pretty sure that’s not what they meant to happen when they said it.)

With all of the crazy emotions I had running through me, that is immediately where my mind went. 

So you see, probably not the best thing to say to someone in a situation of loss. (Just a little inside tip;) 

It’s truth. But not a truth a grieving person may be ready to hear during this season of their life.

Better truths are to remind them “God loves you.”  “What was meant for evil God will use for good. Maybe not right now, but He will use it at some point. Hang in there. I’m with you.” 

It could be that we are suppose to remain silent until the Holy Spirit tells us to speak. It’s hard to be quiet when someone you love is hurting. It hurts us when they hurt. We want to comfort. We can even be afraid they may wander from God. So we force words (truth) on them in an attempt to control the situation.

My friend walked with me down a dark and ugly road for a long time after my sister’s murder. There were times I pushed her away, times I allowed her near, and times I was not a good friend to her at all, but she hung in there with me. Never giving up on me. And guess what, 90% of the time she was silent. She was there, giving me the comfort I needed and refusing to allow me to completely isolate myself, but without words. And in that 10% of the time she did have words, I trusted her words. I listened.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”

Job 2:13 NLT

This one verse is such a powerful statement to us as we walk with someone through grief. More often than not, we get it wrong simply because we become uncomfortable in silence. 

Oh, my friend was praying, pleading, and even found herself angry at God at times, but it was all behind the scenes. She was my intercessor. Held my arms up when I couldn’t. And she never once left me.

Her silent strength means more to me than she will ever know. And I hope, if ever needed, I can be the same for her one day. 

“Later, when Moses’ arms became tired, the men put a large rock under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands—Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. They kept his hands steady until the sun went down.”

Exodus 17:12 NCV

**I also had a Hur, another friend, who stood beside me and never left me. (More about her in another blog.)**

We need friends in our lives. We need them to hold our arms up when we are tired, but we have to be extremely careful not to place them higher than God. (If they are a good friend, they don’t want that position anyway.) 

And last, we need to learn to be a friend who listens to the Holy Spirit, speaking when He tells us to and practicing silence when He commands. It’s not our place to fix. Yes, we desperately want to help them get better, but our place is to walk beside them and be an intercessor in prayer for them.