so close to shore

I remember about 6 months ago I was listening to a message about arriving to what you are called to, and the journey in between before you get there. I can remember feeling frustrated and telling the Lord, “we are so far from shore.” In my heart it felt so far away, because all I could see were the hurdles it was going to take to get there. It felt like being in the boat, in the middle of the dark ocean, with big waves ready to consume us. So far from shore.

But reflecting back I know we were only following Jesus to the ocean. Never in any real danger as He calms the sea. I’m so thankful for the last 2 years of our lives. Though it felt like some kind of zig zag path, it felt like being lost at sea for a moment, sometimes longer. And the times the waves grew, and fear overcame, I even lost sight of His boat ahead of us. But even with little faith, He is always faithful to calm the wave that is ready to swallow us.

The Father is faithful even when we aren’t, but He is asking us to be faithful in return. And it can start off as a small mustard seed type faith, but when you water the seed and you give it the light it needs, its grows into a strong, faithful tree.

So we are able to get into the boat to follow Jesus, even if we do it afraid. Even if that means He changes our plans and our direction and the future we thought we knew looks so beautifully different. He’s so faithful.

And the water calms, and the morning sun comes out, and I see it all clearly now,

we are so close to shore.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Romans 5:3-5 MSG

(It’s so funny, and so like God, to remind me of mustard seed type faith over and over again throughout my life. I wrote this post earlier today, then this evening at my leadership class a woman I go to church with hands me a mustard seed inside a container with oil. She said, “just a reminder for you.” I told her how I have a mustard seed tattooed on my arm growing into a tree. And the way I had my grandmothers mustard seed in a glass container tied around my wedding bouquet 7 years ago. So thankful for this tonight.)

daughter

My husband & I were praying together the other night, and as he prayed he asked the Father for some things that were desires within us. I’m reading through a book that is making the scales fall off of my eyes. Why I am the way I am and why I view the Father for who He’s not as my Father.

The thing I have never trusted Father with is provision. And the other day after I read my book, I’m making dinner and it felt like the Holy Spirit literally downloaded the revelation of why I don’t go to the Father when I’m in need. I said out loud, “Holy crap!” And had to immediately write it all down. I’m realizing there’s always, always new levels of healing. And as it never gets easier, it’s always so worth it. The new levels of freedom He invites us to always come with a sense of relief and deeper intimacy and friendship with Jesus.

So as my husband was praying for the desires of my heart, he said, “God has been giving us the desires of our hearts. And I know this is a desire of your heart. And I think he’s going to keep His track record. ”

Something in those words moved me. There’s something about being a daughter that leaves you longing to be seen & known & loved & protected & pursued by a father. And I know that will always remain void with my earthly dad. But the Father continually reaches out to hold my hand, taking on that role of a strong dad. And so often He places spiritual father’s in our life to guide us along the way, if we receive them. I’m not an orphan and I know where my home is.

When you know you are really loved by a Father, it changes everything. Even if your earthly father isn’t present and you have no idea how to receive a Father, we have a Heavenly Father who created all things. Though He created the universe, His longing is to be so intimate with our hearts right here and now.

This is just too wonderful, too deep and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.

Psalm139:6

anxious for nothing

There’s a song we sing in church, I’m sure you’ve sung it, by now too. And everytime it’s sung, I believe it and feel it in my bones & deep in my heart. Prophesying it over our life. My favorite part of the song says,

Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working

It’s so true and the truth of the Father working on our behalf, even when we don’t see or feel it, gives us a transcending peace. We are able to sleep at night, full of peace, knowing that even through the night the Father is doing the work and fighting the battle on our behalf.

I’m sure you’ve wandered through a season of anticipation. Maybe it only lasted a few weeks, or months, but sometimes it’s years. Sometimes there are moments in those seasons where an anxious heart takes over. I have found myself asking in those moments, how long, O Lord? One thing I know for sure, is He always provides enough for the day. In times of anxiousness, Sometimes my thoughts take over,

but I’ve learned (and am still learning) to stop and ask the Father if there is a lie I’m believing about the situation.

I ask for prayer from my husband, a mentor or close friend.

I pray and lean into the Father’s chest.

I read scripture proclaiming the truth.

…and seeing the Father comfort, show up, provide over each situation, I continually come out on the other side telling myself,

I was anxious for nothing.

In times of anxiousness, turn to those you know have your best interest in mind. Turn to someone you know will direct you to the Father’s heart, and not let you run wild with your thoughts. I always make sure I go to someone who has always been edifying or someone who has done more life & much wiser than I am.

My friend shared with me last night a piece of a devotional she had read the other morning:

Hope in Me, and you will be protected. Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven. The more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens; thus, you are lightened. Heaviness is not of My kingdom. Cling to hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness.

/////////

So now we come freely & boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.

Hebrews 4:16

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on that is authentic and real, honorable & admirable, pure & holy, merciful & kind. & fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.

Philippians 4

I see a cloud

I see a cloud. ☁️ I’ve learned that when God places something in you, it’s not going to be logical to others. But He moves the mightiest in the illogical. It’s when we are in the tension. It’s when we don’t see a way. It’s when others say you should probably do this, but you know in your heart of hearts the way that doesn’t make sense is where the Father is leading. It’s when we are so close to giving up, but we come back a 7th time, and see a cloud. The best thing about my husband is the way he never loses vision or faith. I often find myself looking to him & reporting back, I don’t see anything.. and I can always always count on him to be in deep prayer with the Father only to speak over me and say, look again.. and I do, and I see a cloud.. Whatever you’ve been praying for, whatever the Father has promised you, Don’t give up. Keep showing up like it’s already arrived. ☁️ “I don’t see a thing.” “Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.” And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “I see a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.” Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily.

1 Kings 18

I didn’t leave you at the door

& where can I go from Your Spirit? & where could I run & hide from Your face? the other day I had asked the Father where He was in my deepest wound, the thing that had shaped me for many years. I thought we had settled the score, but turns out, if we invite Him in over & over again, there’s always new layers of healing in everything. always new revelation & freedom. something He revealed about myself is that I wasn’t trusting him to see me through any wilderness type thing. the ones I’ve gotten myself into & even the ones He guides me to. So, Abba, though I felt who am I to even ask, where were You in my greatest wound? The thing that shaped how I see You and the world? “I didn’t leave you at the door.” & this time memory invades me & I see each room where I felt alone & afraid, full of Angels. I see the moment I turn my head and let tears fall but He embraces me, weeping when I wept. He didn’t leave me at the door, no, the Father walked with me through every moment. Every room. And every day after. It’s impossible to disappear from You or to ask the darkness to hide me, for Your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night. He doesn’t leave us at the door. He doesn’t lead us to any wilderness type thing, only to turn off the lights & expect us to maze through it alone. He is so faithful to heal & set us free & light up our darkest night. I’m so thankful for that reality.

Psalm139

Holding loosely

When I had our firstborn, I held him so tight. He was a gift from the Father that I fervently prayed for for years. And when he arrived, I was afraid to let go. I was afraid that if I did, I would lose him. He was my dream and I was not willing to risk any pain of loss regarding him, I didn’t completely trust the Father with my son and I refused to loosen my grip. The feeling of control that welled within me became too much to carry. The anxiety of keeping him safe at all times caused tension throughout my life.

It wasn’t until a friend gave me a prophetic word over my life a few years ago. She wrote me a letter full of words that no one else would know besides my husband and the Father. She mentioned my burden’s and my grip on the things I wasn’t trusting the Father with. Because I wasn’t trusting Him with the things He gave me in the first place. And it was all weighing heavy on my shoulders. Jesus was asking me to hand over a box full of my things, in exchange for His hand. But I was afraid.

I think the thought of a Father having better things for me was unbelievable. It was foreign to me. The only good memories I have of holding my dad’s hand was when I was a little girl. And the memories of then seemed so distant a few years ago. Trust was broken and I hadn’t held a good father’s hand in a long time.

But thankfully, I handed the Father that box. And I took His hand. And I still do it daily. Before we moved from home, I sat with my husband and our pastor in tears as I knew leaving meant handing over my box again. I had a vision of what I wanted our life to look like, here at home. At our church. And in our ministry. But He was inviting us away for a while. So I took His hand. Then He gave us our second son. The exchange was so worth it.

I stood in church today, it was the first Sunday in our new building. For a moment, the old vision snuck up. What I already gave to the Father a few years ago. I closed my eyes and damned the lie that anything could be better than where we are at now. I told Him the story in my heart this morning and He whispered words over me that allowed my soul to unravel. Then our pastor told us to hold the hands of the people next to us, but I was alone in my row. So I close my eyes and start to pray alone. A pastor in our church quietly said my name and reached for my hand, and I grabbed it. It felt like a father’s hand in that moment and I was overwhelmed.

I know within me I’m always searching for a father’s hand. And I know He is always reaching for mine, like this pastor did this morning, reminding me to hold on loosely to the box, and grip tightly and full of trust to His hand.

Oh Abba, I’m continually letting it all go. The dreams. What I thought I knew. My pride. Sometimes it aches to let go but I know you have the best in store for our family. And anything I’ve ever put in Your hands You restore more than I ever could have imagined. So I’m doing that again, right now. Holding loosely. And reaching for You.

Walk before run

My son had his one year appointment today. I can’t believe he is one. Everyday he wakes and he is doing something new. He’s been walking for the last month and a half, and with each day he grows more balance, he walks a little faster, he needs my hand a little less. Today at his appointment, his doctor smiled as he showed off his walking skills, and said “He is getting the walk down, soon he will be running!”

And my mama heart is in no rush for that. I’m in no rush for him to need me less. To let go of my hand. Though I’m so proud of every accomplishment he makes, I love him being my baby. I love watching him slowly plant his feet firm on the ground, gain his balance and walk. And I know, soon he will run. Soon he will chase his brother off without needing his mama’s hand. It made me think of where we are at in life. I was getting so frustrated with our walking season. I was ready to run. But today the Father reminded me, walk before run. He is in no hurry in teaching us to run. He loves holding our hand in the walking season. Full of compassion as He watches us fall, and loves watching our determination as we get up, gain our balance and walk off again.

And I ask, Lord don’t give us the things we aren’t ready for. We don’t want a single thing prematurely. We want to hold Your hand in the growing season, we want to learn from You and walk slowly with you, though there are moments when I try to run ahead. Your hand picks me up, and we start again. Thank you Father, for those you’ve surrounded us with that walk with us, believing in us, and calling out the best in us. This season is a treasure as we walk before run.

Photo by the lovely Anna Moos

I notice you

It’s Sunday and I volunteer in the nursery, so we got our kids up and fed, dressed and out the door. I thankfully noticed the dirty diaper attached to my jacket before I closed the door behind me. I felt anxious from the rush and the time so I ask my husband to turn it from the Moana soundtrack to worship music.

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me”

The worship calmed my heart. And I look to my oldest son who is pointing out the window to everything under the sun. My baby reaches for his brothers hand and they laugh at each other. I realize we are raising great men who will love deeply and do greater things than we will ever do. Our greatest ministry will always be in our home, raising our boys together.

and I’m thankful to be their mama.

It’s been an on-the-go week (and weeks) and chores at home often pile up. It’s a season of motherhood that often feels unseen. And I’ve often felt unseen.

But this morning our pastor was praying at the end of worship and my mind started drifting when I heard the Lord say to me clear as day,

“I notice you.”

He notices every kiss we give on our babies boo-boo’s. He notices every prayer we say with them before they close their eyes at night. He notices the laundry we try to keep up on. The diapers we change. He notices our worry when our children come down sick and the temperatures we take when a fever runs high. He notices our tired eyes on an early Sunday morning but we go to church despite it all, because we want to know Him even more. He notices when we look in the mirror and find those grey hairs. Feeling older than the day before. He notices the sacrifice a woman makes when she because a mama. And He notices the way she doesn’t count any of it at all a loss.

And when you feel unseen. When you feel anxiousness in the depths of motherhood, He’s in awe of you. Your tender heart as you mother your babies. He notices every moment. Every kiss you give. Every prayer you speak. And He’s reminding you this is your greatest ministry yet.

Best Yes

Thinking about today’s message on Mary. Her best yes gave us Jesus. I watch my two sons sleep and I imagine the way her heart must’ve swelled for her baby boy the night he was born. And each moment after that. She probably had tired eyes in the morning after sleepless newborn nights. She probably had frustrating moments in the pits of motherhood. She probably watched Him sleep, memorizing his chubby toddler cheeks, soaking it all in. All of these moments she held in her heart must have all came crashing in when He was hung on the cross. And I’m so thankful she said yes, because when I worship Him today, hands reaching to Heaven, I think of all His goodness, His gentleness, His sweetness. I think of how He turns everything around for good, I think of these two boys, such a gift, and I cherish all of these things so deep in my heart.

ends of the earth

Sometimes we drive at night. Ever since we started dating we would go for a night drive. To anywhere. We dream together. We look at Christmas lights like my mom did with us when I was a kid. Tonight, we put the dogs in the back and strapped our babies in, and we went for a drive.

Sometimes things we live through feel all for not, but not this. I’m always searching for Him in everything. What are You saying? Where are You in this? What are You going to do next? But for almost a year He felt a little silent. Truthfully, what feels like silence can be frustrating for a while, until I started listening deeper. Realizing He’s trusting me to live this out, to seek Him harder, and to see what I will choose. We drove in the dark, and I told my husband I love Father more for this. For this season. And I feel His love for me more. I’ve realized He loves us so much, that He gives us our desires though He see’s the journey it will take us on. But because we desire it so deep, sometimes He gives it to us because He’s our Father and He can. He loves us so much. I can’t fully fathom that love. And I’ve never felt so consumed with love for Him in return. And that’s all He’s ever really wanted from us. For us to want Him back.

I remember a conference we attended in Grand Rapids where a man named Dan spoke at, it changed my life. He told a story about a time he was just driving, and He heard Father tell him to pull over and meet Him out in this field. He did, and Father told him just how much He loved him. Dan stood there in Father’s love for a while, consumed. He got back in his car eventually and drove off, and asked why He couldn’t just tell him this on the path he was driving. He told him that He wouldn’t have listened as intently if He hadn’t taken him off course.

Tonight I told my husband I know that He brought us to where we are to change my heart for Him. To be consumed by Him. To give desires just so I can realize that they are not what fulfill me. To be fulfilled by Him. I see even now what He was hoping I would. And I know through the years there will be moments that stop us in our track, where we will see even deeper still.

at the end of the day, we worship Him. We answer to Him. We trust in Him. We do our best to listen to His leading and follow. We aren’t perfect but He’s not asking us to have it all together before we can encounter Him. Just asking us to bring it all to Him and fall at His feet, stay there a little while longer, until all we see is Him. And He will go to the ends of the earth to tell us He is so in love with us, and for us to actually, really believe it.

You don’t give your heart in pieces, you don’t hide yourself to tease us