What the Chaos Teaches Us About the Creator

A few weeks ago we had one of those rains where it seems like the whole sky opens up. Trees bent under the weight of it. Birds scurried to find shelter.

Every living creature seemed to realize the need to stay dry except my dog, who I inadvertently left out while running errands. She just laid there sopping wet, hanging her face when I remembered to let her inside.

She had a huge covered porch where she could stay covered, but she chose to take a cold shower.

Afternoon came and the rain stopped but the storm clouds stayed. I drove to the bus stop and was struck by the scene around me.

Trees and flowers and glowed against a backdrop of stormy sky, their leaves all sparkling and wet. It was beautiful.

The dark clouds provided a canvas that illuminated creation. Living, thriving. Not in spite of the storm, but because of it.

It reminded me of situations I’m facing now and the lives of dear friends. Storms are everywhere, and yet life goes on.

I ache for those who fill my conversations and enter my prayers. I curse the devil and wish he’d go away, never to threaten those I hold close.

And then I see my dog laying there in the rain. I see the God’s creation flickering in the storm.

I know his greatness is not limited by these clouds, these distortions to my vision.

Sometimes instead of evading the storm, we have to let it drench us.

We have to let it hit us with all the life lessons, the cold, and even the pain. We can grieve for what’s stripped away from us in the hard rain and we can yell when we don’t understand it, but we have to let it do its work.

And when we do, our roots grow deep. They aren’t ripped up by the tide rushing around us, but are held tightly by promises that surpass all the temporary things of this world.

Christ’s hope doesn’t equal the absence of chaos. It’s found right there in the thick of it. In the tears, the sleepless nights and the questions.

It’s then that we hear him whispering, “Come to me.”

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out and your life is perfect. Come to me in your mess. Come to when when you’re weary and burdened.

And when we do, we find he brings beauty right there in the middle of our storm. He doesn’t wait until the clouds pass and the sun breaks through. His Light shines in the darkness.

His glory isn’t hidden in the chaos. As we draw near, it’s illuminated because of it.

 

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Why the World Needs Your Voice and No One Else’s Will Do

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I saw the look of frustration on my son’s face. We were leaving his classmate’s birthday party and he tried to get her attention, but his voice was drowned by the noise of the skating rink.

After he called her name several times with no response, he gave up.

“It’s loud in here, buddy,” I said, trying to reassure him.

And it was. I could hardly wait to get outside into the sunshine after two hours of musty air, loud bass and sticky floors. But I knew he felt a little defeated.

For better or worse, he’s inherited my quiet demeanor and his voice doesn’t always project. When he has something to say, he’s intentional about it, but his words sometimes get lost on those with a short attention span.

I can relate in more ways than one. All it takes is a few minutes on social media for me to feel overwhelmed by the influx of voices.

“What do I have to say?” I ask myself. “No one is going to miss my words.”

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m sharing over at PurposefulFaith.com about why the world needs your unique voice in a world that’s loud. You can read the rest of my post here.

When the Road Is Weary and You Want to Give up

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“I feel so much opposition lately,” I complained to my friends. A writing deadline was approaching, and several road bumps made me question whether or not I would get it done.

Stressful life situations collided all at once and I felt overwhelmed by the weight of it all. At thirty-five weeks pregnant, my internal clock continued to click forward, reminding me of the passing time and the things that needed to get done.

I wanted to quit. But quitting wasn’t an option.

I tried to look back at the road behind me and remember God’s faithfulness. To see how far he’d brought me and fix my eyes on the stepping stones that took me here.

But when I looked back, all I saw was wasted time. I saw time spent writing something that would never be seen by a publisher. I saw hours spent doing research I couldn’t use.

The word “failure” followed me around like a shadow and I questioned whether I should have spent my time doing something else. Like laundry. Or dishes.

Both were things I was good at.

As I wallowed in my trench of self-pity, a dear friend did what a true friend does-she showered me with grace and truth. I was listening to lies and whispers of discouragement, but she brought the light of life.

Her advice? Keep going. Take a breather if needed, but press ahead.

weary-road

The opposition wasn’t a sign I was doing something wrong. It was a sign that I was doing something right. There was a battle raging and although I couldn’t see it, I could feel effects of it.

The father of lies wanted me to believe I wasn’t making progress and my efforts were a waste of time. But the Word says no time spent pursuing Jesus and working for his glory is wasted.

Even when no one sees it. Even when it’s rejected and cast in the shadows.

I turned to the pages of Hebrews, often referred to as “the faith chapter.”

Do you know how many of the men and women who fill these verses received what was promised? None.

Not because God was being callous or going against his word, but because he had something better waiting for them. An inheritance that surpassed anything this world has to offer.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV

These men and women had a faith that still inspires us today. Their work wasn’t futile because they did it for the Lord, and they kept their eyes fixed on a prize surpassing all the praise and acclaim this world has to offer: Jesus.

Friend, if you’re in a place where you’re wondering if anything you do is making a difference, know this- he sees. He is honored by the work you do for him, and your efforts are not in vain.

The work no one else sees if often the work that honors God the most.

Because it is those works that are done with a willing, unselfish heart. A heart full of desire to serve God and not men.

Keep pressing ahead and listening to his voice. Nothing you do in his name is wasted.

Don’t Give Up

Don't Give Up

A few days ago, I took a trip back to middle school. Not in the literal sense, but in my head. I was surrounded by sticky floors, kids racing around on bright wheels, and 80’s music.

We were at the neighborhood skating rink.

It was my oldest son’s first time on skates and for thirty minutes he spent as much time on the floor as he did on his feet. Within an hour, he was ready to leave.

“It’s hard, Mama,” he complained, giving me his best tone of defeat and stepping off the big rink.

I knew it was. I could see he was trying. But I also knew if he kept going and allowed his body to adapt to feet on wheels, he would love it.

“I know it’s hard, buddy. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to give up.”

He skated slowly back over to the small rink, struggled over the lip of outer edge, and made another lap. Then another, and another.

When an hour passed and it was time to leave, he was hot and sweaty, but he didn’t want to go.

“Can we come back again next week, Mama?”

I smiled and told him we’d be back soon.

In the short time it took this local business to blast some of my favorite flashback tunes, my son went from frustrated and defeated to proud and ready for more. He went from complaining to celebrating. And all it took was a little push.

You can do this. Keep going. Don’t give up.

The situation reminded me of a conversation I had with God as I walked our dogs on a cold, star-filled night. I told him I was tired. There were areas in my life where I was ready to quit, and I needed wisdom and guidance.

Sometimes, when I pray these prayers, I believe somehow God is going to make everything better and the situation will miraculously change. Occasionally, it does. But often, God’s response is the same as mine was to my son.

You can do this. Keep going. Don’t give up.

I once heard someone say there is nothing in life worth having that doesn’t require a fight. A struggle of some sort. An inner decision where we say no matter what, we’re going to keep at it.

The apostle Paul tells us,

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12 NIV

Deep down, I know I have to keep fighting. I look at everything in life I hold most dear: faith, marriage, kids, ministry, writing and relationships. None of them are easy. There are seasons of joy, doubt, and suffering.

But when those moments of clarity come, I see how God uses each one to refine, to grow us, and mature us into beautiful reflections of his glory. Even when I don’t feel his presence, he carries me through those moments of weakness.

The struggle isn’t a signal to stop, but a sign keep going.

Can I come alongside you and tell you a few things today?

God sees your work. He sees your effort and each step you take toward him.

He knows your struggle. He is there with you and will help you, just like I helped my son in those moments when his feet faltered.

He’s a good father. He isn’t up there, looking down his nose or pointing his finger at you. He longs for you to come to him with your struggles, your worries and disappointments.

His Spirit will help you. Keep going. Don’t give up.

 

*Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday, #TellHisStory