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Surviving and Recovery, Hurricane Irma 9.21.17

Sunday September 10th 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida, flooding communities, tearing apart homes and toppling century old landscape, leaving in its wake a trail of devastated hearts and suffering families. A terrifying interruption to normal life, so disruptive that for most it has created a “new-normal”. As power starts to come back on for most of the communities, we recognize it could have been even more destructive as we reflect on the damage to the Caribbean and that of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, yet in the recovery, there remains an uneasiness and a hesitation among the people, almost as if we are all asking “is it really over?”

In the aftermath of such a traumatic event where do we go, what do we do, to recover life as we knew it? It’s so easy to run on to the next thing, cut the trees down, clean the streets, maybe provide relief for others or get back to our normal jobs, that we miss what God is inviting us into. Whether you survived a hurricane or an earthquake, an abusive spouse or parent, an illness or an accident, life often makes survivors of us all. We cling to self-preservation, attempting to maintain what we have and keeping others from getting too close. Survival is how our body and mind respond when we are face to face with something that threatens our life, but what happens when our mind stays there, contemplating the worst-case-scenarios and preparing for doomsday in our hearts at every waking moment?

Some of us have coped with substances, others with food, others with entertainment or relationships, but silencing the cry of our hearts who long to find safety and rest will diminish what we are made for and ultimately keep us further from what we are longing to find…life. We long to experience real life, the kind where we know love and intimacy, peace and comfort, where we do not need to look around every corner for the danger that seeks to steal our life.

This is what God offers, a chance to find life again, to be whole again, to be safe again, but this time, in a rich and full way that only he can provide. No His Word does not promise that you will not experience another storm, in fact in John 16:33 Jesus promises trials for those who wish to follow Him. But what God does promise is His presence, His provision, and His protection.

We serve an “RE” God. Relieving, Restoring, Rebuilding, Recovering. In the aftermath, take time to sit with God, to listen, and to remember that he never left you, not in your deepest fear or your greatest tragedy. Listen to what he wants to bring to life out of the midst of darkness and death. Examine His word to find out the beautiful truth, that in brokenness comes restoration, and our God is ready to restore you to His intended purpose. We don’t simply want to make it out of this life alive, but we want to be in every moment, present with God and others and ready to share His goodness with the world. To go from surviving to thriving in this world displays to those around you what you believe in, and the power of a God who is sovereign over all.

-Evan

A Life in Pieces

My mother is an amazing person. She works so hard and gives so much of herself away. I remember watching her as a child wondering how it was possible for her to give so much. After my parents divorced when I was eleven she became the primary caregiver with my father being present on and off for the next several years. She worked full time, took care of us full time, and gave her life to making sure her family was as secure as we could be. I remember days when she would sleep in the middle of the day, crashing after weeks and weeks of constant work and pressure to provide and perform.

She was not allowed to breathe, she was not allowed to fall, she was not allowed to break. Whether it was self-inflicted or her response to a harsh world and the demands of life, she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, often times attempting to find the bright side in things, even if the bright side was that it would get better “one day”. Just keep it together, push the problems down or away, and keep trudging forward.

I’m grateful for her unbelievable sacrifice, and today I’m sad for what she had to “be” in order to feel like she succeeded. So many of us live in this world of demands, whether aware or not we have an expectation of perfection that we place on ourselves to perform for those around us. Some of us probably experienced messages growing up that we needed to be perfect to earn love or to keep it, that care was conditional based upon performance and appearance.

It’s an exhausting life and it won’t last long. Eventually, as so many in Recovery have discovered, the façade will come crashing down. And I only have to say one thing about that… Thank God that it does. Thank God that he takes the towers we have built, the walls we have constructed, and lets them fall to the floor, shattering into tiny pieces. As long as those walls of who we are and what we have built stand, we will constantly believe that we are the ones responsible for our well-being.

When our walls of pride fall they break into pieces revealing a story about ourselves. The pieces reveal the things we believe, the things we have clung too, the events in our life that have reinforced messages of perfectionism and performance based living. In Recovery, we let the walls fall, we embrace the broken pieces of a shattered life that we have built, and we bring them to God, like a child that carries pieces of a precious vase to their father and says, “it’s broken, will you fix it?”.

When we begin to admit our own brokenness, the things that make us weak, the things that make us needy, the things that we don’t have answers for, we can begin to experience the help, healing and hope that is offered only through Christ. Psalm 34:8 says “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in Spirit.” Without brokenness we will remain at a distance from God. Our brokenness is God’s invitation for healing.

Will you acknowledge your brokenness today? Will you invite God into the pieces of your life, the embarrassing places, the shameful places, the un-fathered and un-mothered places, the places you hate most when you see them? Look into the mirror that is the Word of God, let it reveal who you are, faults and failures, gifts and talents, and bring all of you to all of God.

Start by asking these questions…

1.     What am I most ashamed of in myself?
2.     What area of my life am I pretending to be proficient in?
3.     What am I most afraid of people finding out about me?

Bring your answers to God, let Him speak to you in your most vulnerable place, and be amazed at what happens when he responds. Bring your answers to others, let them receive you in your most vulnerable place, and enter a depth of relationship you never knew existed. Step into your brokenness and into full life today. 

-Evan

An Irreplaceable Life  

It was almost two years ago that we lost my wife’s grandmother. A remarkably sweet woman that lived out the role of grandmother in every classic way from baking and singing to listening and laughing, almost as if she had been waiting her whole life to fulfill the dream of loving a big family. She did it so well, and because of that, her loss left a void in the lives of her children and grandchildren that echoes in every cheesecake we taste, every little rabbit we see, and every campfire story with the family.

Nicolas Wlterstorff says in Lament for a Son, “There is a hole in the world now, in the place where he used to be there is nothing, a center like no other of memory and hope and knowledge and affection which once inhabited this earth is gone…There is nobody now who saw just what he saw, knows what he knew, remembers what he remembered, loves what he loved, a person, an irreplaceable person is gone. The world is emptier.”

We give our best attempts to soothe the soul in the absence of a loved one. “They are in a better place.” “They would have wanted us to move on.” “They lived a good life.” And yet, no matter what words we give to their life, we still miss them, they still aren’t there where they used to be, and we wish we could have them back. Why? Why is grief so confusing, why does it throw us through such a gauntlet of unending emotions? It’s exhausting, we go from thinking we will be okay to asking how all of this could happen.

Loss is a violent assault against the soul, and no matter how hard we try, it never becomes normal. Deeply engrained in all of us is the desire for death to die, for pain to disappear, to go to a place where we don’t “have to” anymore. This longing comes from a place that is God given, a center of memory that lives on through how we are made, remembering what we were made for.

The Garden of Eden is the origin of our story, and the New Heaven and Earth is our destination, both places where death and loss wasn’t and isn’t a part of the equation. We long to go home where the pain falls away and we get to be with our loved ones. We were not made for this, our souls were not made to have people ripped from their hands, yet, the payment the world owes until the day Christ returns is that of death. Until then, we need a redeemer for right now, one that can bring comfort in the loss and one that can bring hope in the pain.

Jesus Christ, our Savior, came that death would die, that disease would be crushed, and the pain of evil would cease. So today, as we live in the in-between of what our souls remember of a life we never had (In Eden, Genesis 1-2) and a life we long to live (Restoration of all things, Revelation 21) and we cling to Christ our Savior and hope who redeems us so that we may live. So that when the end comes it is merely the beginning. So that instead of death we find life, because of Christ who bore our sins in His body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24) As we wait, look to Christ, your comforter, embrace your sadness and bring it to the mercy seat, where Christ who is acquainted with your grief and despair, sits ready to receive you. There is no need to try and make sense of it all because we live in a time that has no sense, no compass, apart from Christ and His Spirit. Bring your loss to Him, and let His Word wash over you as a healing balm and the embracing arms of grace.

 

-Evan

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Jesus Doesn’t Run Away

I remember my early days in Recovery, keeping so many thoughts and feelings to myself out of fear. At the time I didn’t realize it as such, but I kept what was happening on the inside, inside, and worked as hard as I could to present on the outside what I thought was the correct Christian behavior and thinking. I was so afraid that if I told the truth about my fears, that God would run from me, He would leave, He would be ashamed of me.

It took a lot of time and some helpful confrontations from people who loved me to help me see my self-defeating ways. As long as I kept my personal truth on the inside and never let it out, the truth of Christ would remain only what I perceived it should be, rather than having the living Christ meet my personal truth, and transform it through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What does this have to do with doubt? Well, every day we come face to face with opportunities to trust God with showing up for us, or, to rely on our life experience and our own abilities to determine what is the safest and most successful next step. Every moment we encounter that involves an unknown outcome we will experience fear, and every moment we experience fear there is an opportunity to walk in doubt or in faith. Either we trust what we see, what we know, what we have come to understand through what life has taught us, or we trust God, who has spoken through His word, and what He has promised, through faith (not sight, Hebrews 11:1).

I recently spoke with a friend who had fear that sharing about his current struggle and past experiences would bring judgement upon him from others. We talked about how this was a usual fear in his life, and that he had the opportunity either to build faith or doubt in his life. Trust God and what His word says (i.e. I will never leave you nor forsake you, I am with you through the waters, I go before you, behind you, and surround you as a hedge of protection…) or trust ourselves which says, “I must keep myself safe, the world will only hurt me, if I don’t fight for myself no one will, if I’m vulnerable I will be abused”.

So how do we do this? It starts with admitting what we really believe, what our heads and our hearts are saying. Then bringing our fear to Christ, trusting Him to show up. And lastly, embracing God in such a way where we place our life, the outcome of our fears, in the center of His care.  

In Mark 9 there is a man who does this with Jesus, his child has been violently oppressed by spiritual forces that seek to take his life. The man looks to Jesus in hopes of finding some form of answer and askes Jesus “If you will, heal my son.” Jesus confronts the man’s doubt and tells him that anything is possible for the one who believes. In his honesty and transparency, he gives his heart to Jesus and says, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus, in His compassion, brings healing upon the man’s son, and shares a lesson with his disciples… Some things, no matter how hard we believe, trust, expect a certain outcome, will not be fulfilled or make any sense outside of prayer. Prayer in our doubt leads us to trust in the one who always comes through.

If you are struggling with doubt, it’s okay. Everything we have experienced and the world around us would tell us it’s not safe to trust, to believe, because it will ultimately end up with me being hurt or disappointed. The good news? In the Gospel we already know what Christ has done. Rather than basing our trust on what might happen, we look at what has already happened in Christ, and we trust Him with our next steps. Are you willing to reach out today? Will you call out “I believe, help my unbelief!”? He is waiting to meet you there, where you are, not where you “should” be. And when you tell Him the truth, He stays, He doesn’t run away.

-Evan

 

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“Second star to the right and straight on till morning…”

My wife has the amazing opportunity to serve as a Registered Nurse at our local children’s hospital, on the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology unit. Every day she faces the realities of a lost and broken world, one where life is not fair and we are left often with more questions than answers. Yet, she continues on, because of what is born in the midst of brokenness, because of what emerges from the ashes of despair…hope. Whether it is looking into the eyes of an addict that has come to the end of their rope, at a bottom that can be described only as a personal hell, or looking into the eyes of a small child with no hair, fighting for her life to make it and her family clinging to the idea that one day she might be okay again, we are all in desperate need of hope.

Recently we attended the funeral for one of her patients, a teenage boy who fought valiantly against the disease of cancer but lost after his body did not respond to treatment. He was dearly loved and brought smiles to all of the nurses and families that were a part of the staff. His family was present and stayed with him through the end, helplessly watching his life pass on, without the ability to change or fix their circumstance. At the funeral, his father was given a chance to speak about his son, and it was one moment that will go with me for the rest of my life.

He reflected on his son’s love for the outdoors, the way he mentored others in their community, and his love for Peter Pan. With tears in his eyes, looking to the sky, he closed his reflection on his boy with these words, “Just remember, son, it’s the second star to the right and straight on till morning.” Amidst such unimaginable pain and suffering, he spoke out into the darkness of night, and with love, continued to love and father his son.

Hope is one of the most amazing qualities of human beings, the ability to continue moving, continue grieving, and still believe that life will be okay, that love still matters and that we are not alone here. Especially for the Christian, we have a hope that isn’t just wishful thinking, but a rock solid trust that begins in the promises of God and finds it’s fulfillment in the finished work of Christ.

Hebrews 6:19 says “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…” which references that our greatest need, restoration of relationship with God and His presence in our lives, has been accomplished through Christ. Jesus has entered into the place we were not able to, the holy presence of God, and satisfied all of the requirements we were demanded of by God. Our hope today is that this life isn’t the end, it is only the beginning, and we can have the eternal life that God promises through faith in Christ. It is with this belief that we can look to God and believe, one day it will be our “second star to the right and straight on to morning”, where we will meet our savior face to face, and all things will be made right. 

-Evan

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 Luggage Carriers

My wife and I recently took a trip of a lifetime together to Australia so that she could be in her best friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful trip on all fronts but one…the travel. We had our suitcases packed, our carry-ons overflowing, wearing a couple of extra layers to make it all on the plane. 3 flights and 28 hours was a long time. When we arrived to the first airport to check our bags, we played the classic game called, "What can we take out of her bag to put into mine". Men, you all know what I’m talking about, and ladies, you do too even though you’re pretending to be confused right now… “Okay, if we stick the hairdryer in your shoe and put my 3 coats in your side pocket we should make the weight!” Her suitcase is like the Narnia closet; I have no idea where this stuff keeps coming from.

As I thought about it, even with the difficult travel, there was no question I would carry some of her luggage until we landed and made it where we needed to go. I wasn’t going to say, “Sorry babe, you’re out of luck, hopefully you can keep up and I’ll see you when we get there!” And this is our great opportunity. Marriage is one of the most unique ways to display the steadfast love and kindness of God by carrying the burden of the other. Marriage is God’s design, it’s His plan, His institution that whoever enters it would grow into a deeper maturity in Christ as a result of being in that relationship. A part of this design is that we would love and serve one another by carrying each other’s burdens and brokenness.

To come alongside, to love and to cherish, by holding one another up through the power of Christ by saying, I can carry that with you. Now, we don’t carry the person, that is the job of Christ. It would have looked pretty silly if Amanda asked me to carry her jacket and I threw her over my shoulder and said “I got this!” Though it would be somewhat romantic and comical to me, and most definitely embarrassingly traumatic for her, I would grow weary and exhausted eventually because I am not made to carry her. God, however, is our strength, he carries us. (Psalm 28:9)

But, as Christ demonstrated by carrying his cross for us (John 19:17), and ultimately our cross for us (Isaiah 58:6), we have been given a picture of how to carry the burden of our spouse. To see their suffering, to hear their cry, to come to them with Christ, and to help them carry their pain as we go to Jesus together. This is a great call and responsibility, to share in one another’s brokenness, and to lift up each other’s arms as Aaron did for Moses until God’s people were victorious in Rephidim (Exodus 17:12).

Galatians 6:2 says we are to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Husbands and wives, look at your spouse today and ask them, “How can I help you bear your burdens?” And ask them, “Will you help me carry this burden?” Carry the burden of brokenness together, and so fulfill Christ's call.

 

-Evan

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Made for Relationship

One of my favorite movies to this day is Castaway with Tom Hanks. It’s a great story of survival, a man who is lost at sea after a terrible plane crash and finds himself isolated on an island without hope or anyone else to share in his loss and loneliness. At his most frustrated point, the main character lashes out in anger about his plight, and from his deep cry emerges my favorite character in the movie… Wilson. I love Wilson because of what he represents. The main character’s personification of the volleyball is his expression of a deep need he has within, his need for relationship, to be connected, to be known. Rather than ending his life on the island, rather than entering into the dark cave of isolation, the character emerges with hope and someone to share it with.

Now that is of course a silly example of what a friend is, what relationship looks like, but it illustrates a deep truth about how God has created us… to be in relationship with Him, others, and ourselves. Every human being has been created to be connected, and it is when we begin to lose that connection that the darkness of our vices, addictions, and habits begin to hold tighter and tighter. When our loneliness calls out for relationship, we either reach out or we act out. We reach out to God or another person to be comforted, to laugh, or to cry. We cry out believing our cry will be met by the presence of another. Or, we choose to silence the cry with a temporary fulfillment like food, pornography, alcohol, or shopping. We run fast and far from our need to be in relationship by covering our pain, but the roots of how we are made are deep, and no amount of covering will make the need go away.

So then, we go to God to know what we were made for. We look at His word and see first that it is not good that man should be alone (Gen 2:18). Then we see that the cost of sin is isolation, being cast out from the presence of our greatest relational need, God (Gen 3:23). Because of sin, our intimacy with God and others was severed, but because of Jesus we have been given the opportunity to be brought back into real relationship (John 1:10-13). If we receive the offer of relationship from Jesus the longing we have is satisfied in Him no matter what our circumstances (Phil 4:11-13). Finally, it is through Christ that we can have real relationship with others where transformation and mission come alive (Acts 2:42-47).

Are you willing to come out of hiding, out of your cave, off your island, and be known in relationship with God and others?

Who can you share your desire for community with this week?

-Evan

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Am I Worth It?

I often have tried to, and have heard others in moments of crisis, attempt to justify their anger and self-protective ways by repeating the phrase “I’m worth it”. It almost comes as a mantra, like a wish, "if I say this enough then maybe it will come true, maybe I really will believe I am worth it one day". My concern does not lie in the question of worth, but rather, where is this worth coming from? At some point I just don’t believe myself anymore, I don’t hold enough significance to convince myself of my value and I end up spiraling into thoughts of shame and fear about who I should be, what I could’ve been, or how I can make changes to become the better me.

Well, the phrase that creates real identity is not, “You are worth loving” it is, however, “You are loved”. The difference? It wasn’t something we did or innately contained within us that forced God’s hand to love us, that led us to be desirable to a perfect God, but it rather puts the ownership back on Him. It goes from depending on our character to depending on His. So instead of my best efforts determining worth, really identity, by saying “I’m worth loving so love me” (which is what we are really looking for), it is God saying “You are loved because I love you”.

Why is this important? This makes our identity sealed by an immovable, unshakeable, unconditionally loving, unchangeable Being that is so much greater than who we are or who we could ever wish to be. Psalm 102:27 “But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end.” To have a sealed identity is to live confidently in a confidence not your own. To have a fixed identity is to live passionately with a mission given by the one who loved you.

So how can we know? How can we be sure that this is who we are and out of that begin to live in this new identity? A simple but profound verse… John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” We know because He has proven it on the cross. We know who we are today because of what happened to Jesus.

In other words… For God so loved, for God was so in love with, for God so deeply cared for His beloved, that he gave his only son, his most cherished relationship, his closest friend and most deeply loved, that if anyone would simply become like a child again and believe, to simply hope in and put faith in this truth, it would give you all the life you need, to restore your identity completely and fully to being back in relationship with God as His son and daughter.

Is this your identity today? Are you the beloved? Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you answer that. Am I motivated to love others because I am loved or so that I will be loved by them? Is there any weakness, fault, or failure I feel is unacceptable today? Am I afraid I won’t be cared for if I tell the truth about my mistakes and fears? Am I more concerned with my appearance (physical, works, accomplishments) than my presence (loving God, loving others)?

PrayerFather, I have focused so long on becoming loveable that I have forgotten the deepest and most profound truth of all, that I am loved by you. I am you beloved and there is no circumstance, person, or decision that can change that. I am yours and my identity is “Child of God”. Thank you for sending Jesus to restore me back to you so that I can live freely as your son or daughter. Amen.

-Evan

ARTICLES

• What God thinks about you

• Brother where is your identity

RESOURCES

Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life
By Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

The Search for Significance

Nebuchadnezzar had a nation of people bowing down to him in worship (Daniel 3:5). Solomon had a limitless list of women at his beck and call (1 Kings 11:3). The rich young ruler had every possession he could ever need and then some (Matthew 19:22). Zacchaeus had a fortune and lived better than the rest of his countrymen (Luke 19:2). And yet, all of these men were found wanting. All of them discovered in one way or another that in order to step into God’s purpose for them it meant sacrificing the things they had used to create their sense of significance. To find out what they were made for they needed to sacrifice the life they made.

What do these stories teach us about our purpose in life? First, if we are going to find out what we are supposed to do we need to first find out who we are, and this comes as a result of laying down the things we have used to earn approval in life (See Identity Blog). Second, living out our purpose in life is a reflection of what we believe to be true about God, ourselves, others, and this world. If it’s all random and none of it matters, then we will spend our lives figuring out ways to experience as much pleasure as possible. If God is mean and the world is hopeless we will spend our lives trying to protect ourselves from experiencing the hurt and sadness of those things. However, if God is good and the world is broken and in the process of being restored, we will center our lives on becoming a part of the restoration.

So first you have to ask yourself before you can find out what you are called to and made for in this world, “What do I believe about God, others, myself and the world?” Next, if you believe you are created, as the bible teaches, then you can begin to ask why you were created. “God, why did you make me?” is one of the simplest and most basic questions every human has at their core. The beauty is that God’s word teaches us not only that we were made beautifully and uniquely, distinctly human but not quite the same as any person that ever was or ever will be, (Psalm 139) but it also teaches that we are given a unique opportunity, to accept a call that has been placed on our lives in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 explains that we were once broken and separated from God but we have been reconciled (restored relationship) back to him and because of this we are called to live out this message of reconciliation for the rest of our lives. In our greatest need, reconciliation, we found our greatest purpose, reconciling the world back to God. Rather than focusing on what we can accomplish in this world to gain significance, our worldview is reoriented so that we begin focusing on pointing the world to what God has accomplished in order to bring Him significance. This is the act that we call “glorifying God” and it is the glorious purpose we were made for.

If you’re wondering what this means, if you are asking the question, “why was I made?”, then you are on the right track. My question for you is, are you looking in the right place? Many men have spent their entire lives searching only to come up empty (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). If you want to begin the journey of stepping into your purpose then start by admitting the truth about how you are made, a creature in desperate need for relationship with God, yourself and others. After you admit who you are, begin loving God, learning about Him, and living out the mission He has given you to share this message with others. It’s not easy, but its good, and the riches of this mission last for eternity. 

-Evan

 

 

Purpose: Steps 1,2,3

 

 

 

 

 

Purpose.  This is something I have always longed for and run away from at the same time.  I want to feel included, have meaning in the every day, and be successful, but at the same time I want seclusion, less responsibilities, and not be accountable to others.  It is an inner battle between my introverted hermit soul and my outgoing servant’s heart. 

Recently I was reminded of the purpose God has for my life.  Growing up I always thought that purpose revolved around occupation and that success was based on financial standing.  At times, this way of thinking continues to haunt me.  During this month where Recovery is focusing on our Purpose and Identity in Christ, God used it to open my eyes to how quickly and easily I allow this old way of thinking to slip in and distract me from His true purpose for me.

It was a quiet evening after my husband and I had put our children to bed and out of boredom and curiosity, I pop open Facebook.  I was struck off guard by someone’s post about their at home business (a current trend in our society that I have found myself indulging in either in purchases or membership) and was immediately triggered by it.  God, why didn’t you bless me to have success in this area?  Why when I had put in this kind of effort did every door that cracked opened feel like a slam in the face?  Why can’t I stay at home enjoying my natural hermit tendencies by making a living through the unsocial world of social media?  I stewed in this for some time and quickly recognized that I needed to open God’s word and focus my mind on Him.

Even as I prayed, I did not hear God answer.  My husband reminded me that God has me where He wants me and blessed me by my current position, and yet my soul remained troubled.  So I began applying recovery principles to my struggling mindset.

1.     Lord, I am powerless over how I feel and my lack of “success.”  My thinking has become unmanageable.

2.     Lord, I know that you are greater that I am.  That you gave me all that I have.  Help me to be grateful and to see things through your eyes.

3.     Lord, I surrender my feelings, thoughts, and actions around my work.  May my life be glorifying to You, that others may see You through me.  Soften my heart.  Bless me with joy.

The next week, a mother of one of my students at school asked me if I had seen a Facebook message she had sent me the week before.  I had not seen it and said that I would check it later that day.  I hadn’t received a notification but when I went onto the site, there it was.  As I opened it up and began reading her words, my heart began to fill with joy. 

This unchurched family was seeking my opinion in a decision they were considering.  They had chosen me not because I am successful and intelligent, filled with the answers to life decisions.  Hardly!  Rather, they were asking me simply because I am a mother who works at the school, who sometimes carries around a little pocket Bible, and who has a strangely joyful, loving, and trustworthy quality about me.  Of course, I know that these qualities are not my own but the fruit of Christ living inside of me and my willingness to live dependent on Him.  What joy it was to hear that others see Him, my Lord Jesus Christ, through me!  And on those days when that little leather bound book is in my hand, those are the days when I need Him the most.  The mornings where I got up on the wrong side of the bed and need an attitude adjustment.  The mornings where my children are arguing and my voice becomes louder than their bickering.  Those mornings where I am at my ugliness but know that I have been given a responsibility to love and minister to the students in my care.  But also on those mornings, others are watching; others are seeking their own purpose in life; others are wondering what identity in Christ is truly about. 

Each day I am living in His purpose and it is not defined by an occupation.  It is not measured by financial success.  It is simply living dependent on God.  And with that dependency, it is doing what He has called me to do in each moment of each day, trusting in His better plan and greater purpose, and allowing His light to shine through me in this dark world.  In a moment on Facebook, my thoughts went straight to my own definition of purpose.  But in a completely separate moment on Facebook, God pulled me out of my own head and into His loving heart for the world, and He gave me a glimpse into His greater purpose.  What a blessed moment to recognize that He is using me as a part of His redemptive mission!  What fulfillment there is in living in God’s plan and purpose for my life!  My mind set has once again been adjusted and contentment fills my soul as I go about each day living for Christ, doing the next right thing and trusting in Him.

- Amanda

 

ARTICLES

• Message: Called according to His purpose
• God will fulfill his purpose for you
A quest for more

RESOURCES

Don't Waste Your Life
By John Piper