February 2014Walking Worthy: February 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mumblings from the Valley

Tomorrow my husband and I leave for Passion. We are taking with us 21 college students. And to be quite frank, it feels like the enemy is closing in. I’m not sure what God is going to do this weekend, but it must be big. So big that the enemy is working to distract us, make us angry, make us feel tired. And here I sit today: tired and cranky. It’s a beautiful picture isn’t it? Just trying to keep it real friends. I feel  so worn. I feel like I am sitting in the midst of the valley along with the much and the mire.

Tonight I will sit down with a group of college girls and teach Ephesians 1. God has been beating me up all week with this lesson. We got iced out last week, and I know that was God’s plan. I needed another week to steep in this truth and for God to poke, prod, and expose me.

This morning I walked across the street to my gym to shower at 6:40am (because our water had been out for almost 24 hours due to a water main break). The Lord reminded me that I am blessed and that He is faithful. He reminded me that He is moving and working even when it seems the enemy is winning. He is calling me to seek Him hard and trust Him with the details.

At work, I preset dessert for a luncheon and God met me as I listened to the musicians warm up. I pushed back tears. The musicians had no clue how they ministered straight to my soul. God sweetly reminded me who He is and who I am in Him.
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour's love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
I needed to be reminded of this truth today. I needed God to whisper and encourage me.

A text from my college daughter asking for wisdom. I know my answer seemed too simple. She wanted me to give her the right words to say. Instead I told her to pray. I shared with her how God is showing me we need to talk less and pray more. Prayer is more than enough. It is more powerful than we believe.

You see there are days when the enemy seems to be closing in and we fear that he is winning. Yet I know, we serve a great warrior God. And He is moving and working. He is there as a protector. And God calls us to faithfully trudge on against the flow of the craziness, trusting Him. He calls us to stand firm in His truth, believing He is enough.

So here I sit in this valley, weary and worn, yet knowing I am not alone. The enemy seems to be closing in. Yet I know God has not forgotten me. He continues to meet me, encourage me, and shape me. So I stand up, dust myself off, and plant my feet hard in the Rock who is my Firm Foundation. I wait for Him to tell me what He wants from me. I wait for Him to take my hand and lead me on. Knowing He has a plan and is working all the madness out for good. Knowing that the enemy can never defeat Him, because He is the Great I Am.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spiritual Face Plant

I feel like I am in the middle of a spiritual face plant. I feel like I have fallen flat on my face and the air has been sucked out of me.  Year two in college ministry brings with it changes and surprises and hurt. I am left asking myself “What did I do wrong?” Hurtful conversations ripped my voice right from me. I am holding on to what once was while all the while realizing I need to move forward. I am wondering if God is still moving behind the scenes. I am not trusting Him with His people. All the while the enemy is slamming  me with lies, telling me it’s all my fault, criticizing the way I do everything, telling me I have dropped the ball, encouraging me to live in “if only”.

I’m not sure what it is about the hard times that make us stop and take a look at ourselves. But I am doing a lot of stopping, looking, and praying. And here is what I am realizing.

My identity is not based on the “success” of the college ministry God allows me to serve in. Last year was a good year. People grew quickly. I saw girls faithfully desiring God’s word. Somewhere along the way I allowed my identity to be found in my relationship with others and how awesome our college ministry seemed. And God is opening up my eyes and breaking down walls and showing me, this is sin. And sweetly and fervently reminding me to come to Him and remember who He has already said that I am. (I have no doubt, that is why I am teaching Ephesians right now.)

Relationships are a blessing not an affirmation of who I am. This is connected to where I find my identity. But the Lord is showing me this week that I am seeking affirmation in relationships. And when relationships change I freak out. I hold on desperately. But like my identity, my affirmation is in Jesus. I am affirmed not because others think highly of me, but because of who Jesus says I am. And that is enough. When people walk away, that doesn’t negate what Jesus has already said about me.

The enemy is roaring around like a lion seeking whom he can devour. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us this, but I believe it in a way that I haven’t before. I realize my need to be on guard, to wear the armor of Jesus, to take every thought captive. The enemy wants to destroy me, confuse me, get me down, make me believe I am the answer instead of the truth that Jesus is the answer.

God is moving even when I cannot see it. Yesterday God encouraged me through this blog post. I am so grateful for Christine Hoover. She blesses me and encourages me in a way that only a ministry wife can. And through her God is sweetly reminding me that He is on the move. And my role is to pray and trust Him. So that is what I am doing. I am praying and trusting Him to move.

This ministry is about faith and obedience while allowing God to claim the victory. This goes hand in hand with my last realization. Christine Hoover also wrote about how her second year of ministry was about faith. I believe it will be the same for me. Year two will be about me stripping away myself in this ministry and trusting God to move, work, and build. Now I realize that doesn’t mean I do nothing. My role is to have faith, but to also walk in obedience when He calls me to do something. That means I must be talking to Him on a daily basis and be willing to walk in what He calls me to…whatever that may be. That may mean my role looks different than I expect it to, but I must have faith that God knows better than I do.

I must seek the Lord for encouragement. God is sweetly encouraging me this week. Through different people. Through times of prayer. Through words of encouragement. Through the prayer of others. I am realizing that I cling too much to the encouragement of people and that I must seek the Lord to encourage me. Now, sometimes He does use His people to bring encouragement. But I cannot cling to others for this encouragement, I must cling to Him. He must be the first place I go.

So here I am raw, face planted, belly flopped. And I remember, Jesus is better. He is moving. He is worthy of trust. His grace is sufficient for my weakness. It is only by His grace that I am who I am.
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