Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

When Loneliness Creeps In

When Loneliness Creeps In

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

When Loneliness Creeps In…

When loneliness creeps in, a sort of darkness seems to come along with it. There is such a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness can overcome us in the midst of a crowd. It invades like an evil army and marches straight to our hearts and minds, clouding the reality of things around us. Loneliness attacks viciously and veils us with a sense of melancholy. Then, it strikes at us in a way that leaves us paralyzed and bewildered.

Loneliness whispers in our ear that no one else understands and no one cares. Loneliness will try and choke out our hope and light if we let it.

As an only child, I am no stranger to being alone. I actually quite enjoy being alone at times just as much as I enjoy being in big groups. In the past I’ve enjoyed going to the movies, eating at a restaurant, and even traveling by myself. I love the time of reflection and introspection, but there have been times when loneliness has crept in and tried to steal those joyful moments.

Recognizing the Root Cause

Recently, the evil mist of loneliness invaded my space, for no other reason than I believe Satan is trying to keep me from moving forward in what I’ve been called to do. It was suffocating. It was physically oppressive, truly making it difficult to breathe. I know better now that it’s an attack but sometimes I don’t recognize it at first. Do you know what I mean? It’s like I’m blind or unable to identify the root cause as it’s attacking. It was overwhelming.

And then, in prayer there it was–the root cause. A combination of fear and loneliness. I was attacking the fear but didn’t realize loneliness was surrounding it.

Beware of Satan’s Tricks

Satan is so good at what he does, guys!  He’s been at this for a long time. He was over there allowing me to see how he was working fear in my life. He dangled it at me like a little kid saying “Nanny, Nanny, Boo Boo!” While keeping my attention on that, at the SAME TIME he was letting loneliness works its way quietly in. He had me focus on what I thought was the big thing, the main cause, but diverted my attention away from the other things he was doing.

Around the time of my realization, a friend asked how she could pray for me. So honestly I told her, “I’m feeling lonely.” I hadn’t expressed it out loud up to that point because it made me feel weak to admit it. Oh, pride, step out of the way!

God works through our weaknesses. He gives us strength when we are willing to be honest with ourselves and Him about what we are going through. And when we admit it to others we trust, we realize we aren’t the only ones who have dealt with it. We help others release any guilt they might have for letting those feelings overtake them.

Loving My Alone Time While Kicking Out Loneliness

Give whatever you’re struggling with to God openly and honestly and He will give you hope back. A few days later, while memorizing John 1 with my kids, we wrote the next verse on the board:

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus’ bright light of hope shattered the dark mist that had been covering me! Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it! It can’t overcome it!  Praise the Lord for what He has done for us! We do not have to allow the darkness to invade us…it has no power over us. We will not be overcome by it, if we hold on to Jesus and let Him shine His light in our souls. Boldly rebuking Satan in Jesus’ name, let’s allow light and hope back into our hearts and minds.

Jesus would often go off alone to pray. May we too take time to be alone in prayer to our amazing God who can overcome our struggles with loneliness.

When we are alone with God, we are never really “alone.” God is ALWAYS with us.

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, we praise you! We are in awe of how you work in our lives. How you, as the Word, bring hope in our lives. How you are constantly reminding us that our souls will not be overcome by Satan’s ways. He has no spiritual hold over us. Praise you, Lord! Praise you for loving us through our weakness and shining brightly through them. In the One who is the light that cannot be overcome – Amen!

 

When You’re in the Trenches

When You’re in the Trenches

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Latest posts by Tracy Watts (see all)

When you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see your way out. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, because you’re not even sure there is a tunnel. It’s hard to keep slogging through and exhausting to keep your chin up. You feel as if you are covered in slime, in mud, in disappointment and despair.

Perhaps you might have lost hope or energy. You might understand in your mind that this is “worth” it, but your heart is weary and burdened.

When you’re in the trenches, you can’t see your progress or the character built. You can’t see the shape of your heart or the influence of your efforts.

What if:

  • Your heart turns out to be right?
  • You are in it alone?
  • After all this work, you don’t reach your goal?
  • Despite the prayers and the tears, you come out empty-hearted and empty-handed?

Reach out your hand, and grasp onto the Father’s hand. Grip it with determination and desperation. Cling to it with the last strength you have.

Realize that, despite what you see, what you feel, what you are suffering, you are only seeing a tiny part. Yours is a small corner and one that you see with a skewed view. Just because YOU cannot see, does not mean that there is nothing to be seen.

Sometimes–no, many times–trust must come before character is strengthened. Faith must come before reason and experience can explain “why.”

Take heart. Take courage. Take perspective.

Think of Elijah. After drought and hunger, persecution and hatred, he comes before God’s presence. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah cries out to God: “And I, even I only, am left and they seek my life to take it away.”

Then God reveals the bigger picture:

He would anoint a new king and put to death those who deserved it and the last words are the ones that must have stunned him.

“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

You see, from Elijah’s perspective, in the trenches, he thought he was alone. And yet, there were 7,000 others standing with him.

I pray that God helps you to see over those trenches, to see over the horizon, to see that even if you feel you, like Elijah, are left alone–that you can see a bigger part of God’s plan. That just as God helped Elijah, He can help you too. You are not alone.

God is in Control

God is in Control

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Latest posts by Laura P (see all)

God is in Control, Right?

Does the title of this post spark the memory of a song for you like it does for me?  It brings me back to my childhood, listening to my mother croon the words Twila Paris made so popular: “God is in control. We believe that His children will not be forsaken.  God is in control. We will choose to remember and never be shaken.”

Too bad I can’t seem to take these words to heart when I’m in the middle of a lack-of-control freak out.  Once upon a time I never would have described myself as a control freak.  I mean, I’ve got a typical Type A personality and am true to my birth order description, but I’m also generally pretty laid back.  Aside from my teen years and the random drama of junior high and high school, I have always tried to stay neutral through the ups and downs of life (at least that’s how I remember it).

To Everything There is a Season

Friends, I am here to tell you how the tides have changed.  Whether it is just that I’m getting older and losing that notion of invincibility, or the fact that I now am charged with the care and sustenance of four other lives, I don’t know. Maybe it’s too many consecutive years of stress, or perhaps a culmination of all of the above that sparked my intense need for control.  Yet at thirty-one years old, I found myself winding through the mental and physical implications of panic attacks.  I used to puzzle at the idea of fainting.  I knew people who fainted for various reasons, but I never quite understood how a person could get to that place.  Now I fully understand it. While I’ve never officially fainted, I’ve felt that feeling of “losing control” over my body enough times in the past year to last me a lifetime.

Finding the Pieces of the Puzzle, and Trying to Put Them Together

The most difficult part of this past year’s struggle has been figuring out what issues are actually related to a bodily problem and which issues are a result of the panic that has bubbled up inside of me.  For me, my panic is set off by the fear of physical trouble.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time analyzing my issues, and that alone has given me the ability to calm down most of the time.

However, I do have days where I can’t seem to kick the panic.  It’s ever-present and sometimes encompassing.  It tricks me into thinking that I’m having a heart problem, or a blood pressure problem, or that I might have a stroke.  This alone makes me feel like I’m going crazy.  This didn’t used to happen, why does it happen now?  In reality I know the answer.  A scary birth, my newborn being hospitalized, and the loss of a dear friend who also had young children seems to have triggered a type of control issues all its own.

Who Is in Control?

How can I control what’s going on inside my body?  How can I ensure that my valves open and close at the right times? Or that my heart continues to beat to the right rhythm? Or that I don’t have a stroke at home in the middle of the day, leaving my children to fend for themselves?  I can’t.  Obviously, I absolutely have no control of those things.  I can eat right, exercise, and get fresh air, but none of that guarantees I will carry on to see another day.  Here, in this setting, God is truly the only one in control.

Joshua 1:9 says:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

This is one of the verses that sustains me when I need to calm my mind and refocus on the Lord.  Here’s another of my favorites.

It turns out that worry and anxiety is not a new thing.

Turns out that the good Lord knew what kind of trials we might face, even those within our minds.  Alongside all of my introspection, I have also taken time to really consider the mental struggle Jesus must have endured during His last days on the earth.  Knowing that He would ultimately have to face not just death alone, but the persecution and hatred of people around Him.  Jesus often went off alone to be in prayer.  I have to wonder if many of His prayers were for mental strength.  How easily He could have been consumed by the fear of his upcoming crucifixion!  Fear of the pain and torture, fear of the hatred.  Spending time with the Father would have been the only comfort for Jesus, and the same is true for me.

Do you struggle with panic and anxiety?  I’d love to hear what helps you through it!

Interested in reading more about control?  Check out Toni’s post and Sara’s post.

When Satan Attacks: God’s Armor as Protection

When Satan Attacks: God’s Armor as Protection

April E

April E

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E

Latest posts by April E (see all)

Not “If” But “When” Satan Attacks

It’s not really a question of “if” but “when” Satan will try hard to fight against the plans of God. I felt like Satan was especially on the attack during the summer of 2015, when my family led a campaign to Germany. So many things didn’t go as planned or were frustrating, and it seemed like Satan was trying to ruin our excitement and efforts. But thankfully, we were able to use God’s strength to push through them.

when-satan-attacks-pin

As we prepared to leave for our trip overseas, a couple of things happened that were not in the plans. About a week or so before we left, we found termites in our house. Ugh! Thanks to a great friend and pest control guy, he was out quickly to get rid of those awful things. Then, only a couple days before we left, we had a strong rainstorm and our office ceiling started to leak. It was a holiday weekend, so of course no one was really open until THE DAY we were scheduled to leave on our trip.

Once again, friends stepped up to help. A friend knew a roofer and personally called and asked if they could come out as soon as possible. Thankfully, we weren’t leaving until later in the day. The roofing company came out first thing that morning, checked everything out, and fixed the leak. Thank you again, Lord! God showed us again that His plan was greater than Satan’s.

romans-8-vs-31

One Problem After Another

What, then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32

I felt like I actually got to see this verse face-to-face during that summer campaign. What a testimony to His goodness! One thing after another kept happening, yet God continued to work and allowed us to go on with the plans He gave us to do. We had a cancelled flight on the way to Germany, causing us to arrive one day late. I was feeling sick when we left and ended up going to the doctor in Germany for antibiotics. So, for the first couple of weeks of our trip I was without a singing voice. This was a problem since I was the music director and was also supposed to sing with the group!

One of our campaigners fell on some stairs and hurt his foot and needed to use crutches for a majority of the trip. My husband Clint got a bug bite or tick that got infected and had to take a strong dose of antibiotics in case it was Lyme disease. Clint also pulled his calf muscle at the end of our trip and needed crutches the last few days and for the trip home.

Realizing Satan was Behind the Attacks

Can you see why I feel so strongly that Satan was attacking us and trying to prevent the work we were trying to do? I’m thankful that in those moments, I realized it was Satan just trying to discourage us and prevent us from going on. That realization gave me the great motivation to not be discouraged, but to keep reaching for our goals and to do everything we could to ruin Satan’s plan.

ephesians-6-vs-11

Our Protection Against the Attack

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Fighting Back with the Armor of God

If we can acknowledge when Satan is attacking, we can fight back using the armor of God to protect us. God has given us this armor to protect us from evil and to keep us close to him. First, we have the belt of truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

imageJesus needs to be our first protection. He is the truth that gives our lives purpose. We need to trust in Him to fight our battles for us and to guide us through all evil.

Put on Your Breastplate and Shoes

The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart. We must make the decision every day to choose God’s righteousness over the evils of this world in order to protect our hearts from being overcome by darkness. The shoes of readiness could represent the need to stand firm in our faith and be ready to bring God’s gospel of peace to others.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

Romans 10:15

Take Your Shield and Helmet

The shield of faith protects us from the flaming darts that Satan throws at us. Maybe those darts are doubts, worries, temptations, or difficult times. Whatever Satan hurls at us, we have to trust in God to be our protector and strength. The helmet of salvation is what helps sustain our confidence and assurance in our salvation through God. Satan wants to break our confidence in order to tear us away from God. Have you have had thoughts of doubt, worry, anxiety, and hopelessness start to take root in your mind out of nowhere? I know I do at times! I feel very strongly that these thoughts come specifically from Satan and this world’s evil forces. Praise God that He gives us so many promises of peace, hope, and love!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Don’t Forget the Sword

The sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, which the Holy Spirit led men to write these divinely inspired words. We must continue to go to the scriptures to learn how to navigate through all of Satan’s attacks. By strengthening our knowledge of God, it will bring us closer to Him. Other ways we fight against Satan’s attacks are praying in the Spirit. Let the Spirit speak through our prayers by listening and keeping alert with all perseverance. Ephesians also says that we should be in supplication for all the saints. It’s important we encourage each other and pray for one another in times when we are under attack. If we share with one another when we are attacked, we will have our brothers and sisters to lean on and fight with us.

Have you ever felt like Satan was attacking you?

How did you fight against these attacks?

I would love to hear how God helped you through these times!

Embracing His Love

Embracing His Love

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Last Thanksgiving my husband’s parents generously hosted Thanksgiving at a condo in Branson so that we could enjoy the holiday festivities at Silver Dollar City. It was truly a wonderful idea! We were very excited about taking our then two-year-old daughter to experience such a fun place!

embracing-his-love-pin

It just so happened that Silver Dollar City’s holiday hours were a tad bit inconvenient for our daughter’s nap schedule and so we went in the evening, a time that is usually not her happiest. In addition the crowds were heavy, which meant we couldn’t let her toddle around very much, and it was so, so cold. As you can imagine, she wasn’t very happy. She cried and cried. My husband’s sweet parents soon took her back to the condo where she could play in a more comfortable setting.

Of course, we were not angry with her for causing stress on our delightful plans. We could see her tiredness and frustration. Understanding her limits as a toddler, we had compassion for her. (As a side note, we really had a great trip and thankfully everyone was able to have a fun time. We just had to work around the limitations of our young daughter!)

The Lord’s Compassion

Psalm 103:8-14 says:

“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens of the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.”

psalm-103

Do you ever feel distraught over your mistakes? Perhaps you were given a wonderful opportunity to do something marvelous but ended up making a mess of everything. In these times it can be easy to let fear and embarrassment keep us from approaching our Heavenly Father. We might even back away from our church family. It is so easy to be overcome by our pride and insecurity. How easy it is to forget that God loves us as a father does his children, that he understands our limits and frailties.

I’m reminded of the prodigal son. He begged for his inheritance money and foolishly blew it all on worthless things while living a lazy lifestyle. When he humbly returned home with the plan to work as a servant, his father RAN to him and threw him a large party. His son’s return filled him with joy! Christ explained that God’s enthusiasm is the same when one of his precious children returns to him.

Embracing God’s Love and Presence

Our Father God is rich in love for us. We must be kind to ourselves when we mess up. We should humbly seek him at even our most shameful times. He understands. He will welcome us! When we rest in His love for us, we will be able to move past our mistakes and shortcomings. We can dare to do great things for Him without worry and doubt in our way!

So be encouraged, sweet friend! How freeing it feels to know the pressure to be perfect can dissipate when we truly embrace that we are His child, whom he dearly loves.

I love the music video for Andrew Peterson’s song “Be Kind To Yourself.”.” Two of his children are featured in the video with him, and the affirming words of his unconditional love for them are a gentle reflection of God’s love for us. I hope it will encourage you today if you are struggling with insecurity or past mistakes. God loves you so deeply! Embrace his presence today!

Click HERE to watch “Be Kind to Yourself”.

*A discussion topic found in The Lifegiving Table Experience by Sally Clarkson inspired this post.

 

you-belong-to-me

 

Pin It on Pinterest