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Blog

Filtering by Category: 1 Peter

Moving the Waves

Meg


"A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?”

He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Silence! Be still!' The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then He said to them, 'Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?'” (Mark 4:37-40, HCSB)


Is my faith so little, that I neglect to trust in your provision? That I forget that even the winds and waves are at your command? Is my faith so little, that I don't believe that you'll provide for me and my family on this day? That I lack the ability to face this day with strength and confidence?

In my heart of hearts, I know this isn't true. I serve a risen Savior. You are a mighty God, who rules over heaven and earth. The winds speed up and slow down at your beckoning. Nothing is out of your plans, your hand.
I woke up today a bit grumpy. Grumpy at my little boy, who, at 8 months of age, still wakes up every few hours during the night. Still often wants me to sleep sitting up, him in my arms. In my world this is a major issue. Mama is without a good nights sleep. In my world, it feels like I will never get past this baby stage with him. That I've done something wrong in parenting. That my approach is less than perfect.


But it is less than perfect.

I am less than perfect.

This world is less than perfect.

That's why we need someone greater. Someone to take the reigns and pick up the pieces of our lives. Someone to ultimately be in control. Someone who cares for the struggles in my life, that may seem awful small and insignificant compared to your struggles.

But the beautiful thing is that Jesus cares about it all. He cares about my lack of sleep, just as He cares for you.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you" ( 1 Peter 5:7, HCSB).

The verse above doesn't say some of our cares, or only the most important cares, but ALL of our cares, big and small can be brought before Him. When we give our cares to Him, we're showing that we really do trust in Him. We have faith that He is in control. He will provide. We're showing that we have faith in His provisions today and everyday. We have faith that He sees the stormy moments in each of our lives, whether a single wave or an ocean of them. He sees. He knows. He truly is in control.

What cares can you give to Jesus today? How will you live your live by faith?

When I am afraid

Meg

 “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, HCSB). 

I sat down on Thursday evening, realizing I hadn’t really felt the baby move much that day. I’d had a crazy day, busier than normal.  By the end of the day I was exhausted, unsure of myself, and fearful that I’d missed something. Was our little guy ok? Was he just tired like his mama was? How do I determine if this fear is justified, or if doubts are just invading my brain? That evening was unsettling. I finally felt a few kicks from my little guy, but nothing like the usual gymnastics routine that he usually gives me in the evenings. My mind when to all the books I read, all the horror stories I’d read online. What we read definitely affects our thoughts, doesn't it?  I was truly filled with unsettling worry and doubt. My husband and I prayed for discernment and peace, and then finally, late in the night, I fell asleep. In the morning I was still a bit unsure of myself. Life doesn’t always have easy answers. I prayed that I was doing the right thing in giving little guy a little time to wake up and start his day. After my morning coffee, I was greeted with a gymnastics routine that continued on and off throughout the day. I took that as a cue that my life had been a little to busy. With only 5 weeks to go til this little one arrives, I needed to slow down a bit, listen to my body, and make sure I was in tune with it. Hopefully, next time fear invades, I’ll have a better idea on whether or not to be worried. 
Fear can be God-given. It can tell us when something is wrong. But it's not supposed to stop us from living.  It’s not meant to keep us awake at night, shaking in our boots. Thursday night truly shook me (and my husband) up. Did we do the right thing in not acting, not rushing off the emergency room? I think so. I hope so. We gave the whole situation to God, and felt that we should just wait. Just watch. Just give things a little bit of time.
Oh, the worries of a parent. They start when the child is in the womb and never really let up after that. Isn't it so? The worries and fears just change. Just evolve. What was once a worry about fetal kick counts turns into worries about sickness, separation, how they’ll be treated by others, safety driving, if they’ll find a good job, a good mate, be able to make it on their own. 
I had never thought much about fear being a good thing. Cathy Dickinson pointed it out in our Bible Study on Wednesday (See Taming the Giants, Fight Your Fear). She said that God uses fear to tune us into things, to keep us from doing dangerous this (like walking in front of a moving car during rush hour). It’s what we do with that fear that makes the difference. This, I can definitely relate to. 
When I was fearful on Thursday night, my husband and I took those fears before Jesus. We prayed again first thing in the morning for continued guidance (and some reassuring kicks from our little one!). Sometimes relief from fear is immediate, other times, it takes time for God to answer. I felt extra blessed on Friday when my little guy was sooo active. I truly believe it was God settling my heart. Why wouldn’t He? He knows me, how I tick, and knows how to best comfort my fearful heart.
The safety of loved ones seems to be a big issue for me. While my husband was deployed, I was often concerned for his safety. It was hard knowing he was so far away, in a foreign land, and I could do little to protect him. He was truly in the hands of God. Sometimes I would catch a news story, once again, I was letting my brain and heart be filled with lies and doubts instead of truths, and my heart would clench up in fear. I would wonder if he was ok. Spotty communication didn’t help with these fears much. I truly had to trust that God, the author and creator of life, had my husband’s life in his hands. Those fears were especially real in the evening, after our little girl was tucked in bed, fast asleep. It was in those quiet, dark hours of the evening, before I fell asleep, that the worries would start. I honestly believe that Satan knows when we’re at our most vulnerable. Interesting, in light of my fear story this week, which also took place in the evening! Evening was that time, for me. It was during that time in my life that my dear husband emailed a Bible verse, a portion of scripture that had been on his heart. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how dear these words have become to me: 
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9, HCSB).
It’s all about what we let in. What we dwell on. What we chose to think about. The brain can be such a tricky place, and such a tool of the devil. While my husband was deployed, I had to consciously think about everything good, true and right in our lives. All the ways God had provided in the past, and would continue to provide. I had to consciously replace the fears with God’s truths. For example: Our all powerful God truly knows the numbers of our days (Psalm 139:16). He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1-3). He could handle my worries and fears then, just as He can now (1 Peter 5:7). He can handle my fears about my loved ones and give me the comfort and wisdom I need to make the the proper decisions. His Spirit can tell me when to act, and when to wait on Him for guidance.
My goal is to always live less in worry and more in His strength. What about you? What do you fear? What happens when you give those worries and fears over to Jesus? Are the answers always immediate? 

“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” (Psalm 139:16, HCSB).
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil” (Psalm 46:1-3, HCSB).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6-7, HCSB).

 

 

Loving earnestly

Meg

"By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:22-23, HCSB).

Taking a quick look at one of my favorite resources, blueletterbible.org, found that "earnestly," is from the Greek verb ektenōs, which means earnestly, fervently, intenselyy. Loving earnestly is loving with all that you are. It's not holding back. It's showing little reserve. Yesterday, I let my little girl talk online with one of her best friends. The look on little E's face when she saw her buddy was priceless. She was suddenly talking a mile a minute, half real words, half baby talk. She had so much to share, so much love to give. That's friendship, that's love. The distance of time means little to her. Friendship, fellowship means everything.

This is apparently the month of the military child. I've seen a lot of things posted throughout the online world, supporting the military child's strength, resilience and independence. Apparently they're strong because their world is always changing, because they can't depend on anyone but themselves. And sure, I want my daughter to grow up strong. But I also want her to love. I don't want her to hate us for all of these years of moving around. Instead, I want her to learn what true love looks like. The love of a Savior, whose given us this unique calling as a military family. The love of friends, that only grows stronger with distance and time. I want her to earnestly love, to seek out ties and friendships, being well aware that she might only have a few short years to love. Because the choice is always there. She (and I), could stay reserved, chose not to let others see the real us, chose not to love, because the hurt is so deep when we have to leave. Or, we could invest, share, grow, reach out, and see what God might have in store for us in each new place. We could earnestly love with all that we have. And be beautifully blessed through the process.

Pain with a Purpose

Meg





My little girl turns one tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that a year ago today the labor pains were just beginning to start. The natural process that brings babies into this world was beginning in me.

That pain had a wonderful purpose, but oh was it painful! After having my baby I never wanted to experience that again, but you know what? It’s made me stronger. Now, when I look at other obstacles, such as running a 5k, I think “if I can give birth, I can do this!. The pain only made me better. Isn’t life like that? We experience some horribly painful times, but God uses the experience to make us stronger. He is constantly molding and making us into something even more beautiful than before. Yes, it’s often impossible to see this in the midst of things, but when we look back, we see how awfully far we’ve come.

I’m praying that this deployment is like that for my family. I’m praying daily that the lonely months ahead only draw us closer to God, and that some beautiful things come out of this in the end.

What trials have you experienced? Have they drawn you closer to God?

Some verses to ponder:

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.  (Isaiah 64:8, NIV).

For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. (Psalm 66:10, NIV)

“This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” (Zechariah 13:9, NIV).

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1: 3-7, NIV).

That Thing Called Fear

Meg

Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Right now I’m sitting on my porch, looking at my beautiful flowers, and enjoying this fine August afternoon. This past month has been a crazy one, but for once, I’m at peace with what lies ahead. Things are starting to come together. My husband’s “deployment check-list” is almost completed. Before I know it I will be saying goodbye. That day will be hard, I know. I’m sure some tears will follow, accompanied by a big bowl of feeling-sorry-for-myself ice cream and a lonely night in a big house. But for today I’m no longer fearful about what lies ahead.

What about you? Are you scared about anything? Or have you given that area of your life back to God. For me, giving fear back to God is something I do on a daily basis. Satan knows how to push buttons in my life. And one of those areas consists of fear.

What do I do then, what I start to become fearful?

I turn to God’s word.

Consider these versus. I hope one of them speaks to you personally today.

• “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

• “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).

• “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).
•    "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).
•    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If you’re fearful, remember that God is with you. He is ready and waiting to comfort you and help you through this rough time. But you have to reach out to him: “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8).