At the edge of my self I find myself reading more, praying more, and not just for myself.  And because these are means of grace, I am experiencing more of God, receiving more help and strength in my time of need. Fresh perspective. Hope. So while I am being challenged more than ever before, I cannot complain too much because I am gaining something far more valueable than anything I feel I am losing. More of Him. My center. My everything. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God.

The 5am Experiment: Rejected and Thankful?

Day #17 – In these 17 days, there has never been a morning when I was more grateful to have spent time with my precious Lord. He is so faithful, and so consistent. I was just telling Adam the other day that we all have our stories with God, and none of them are the same. The Lord always prepares my heart for what’s coming. He sets me up to face the storm that lies ahead. And here I am at my desk, with the news that I did not get the job for which I applied, the job that I believe that I more than qualified for. The job that I believed would help me reach my goals both at work and at home. The job that I thought would help solve my problems. (You know, as if the problem did not start first in my heart.)

When you don’t get the job, you can’t help but wonder what’s  wrong with you.

As disappointed as I am, I am so thankful to have a verse to cling to, Psalm 26:1-3.

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. (Psalm 26:1-3 ESV)

While thinking and praying over this verse, it really struck me that the Lord loves me. Period. And the Lord is always faithful. Period. The reality of this truth under-girds unwavering faith. When I understand that the Lord loves me, I understand that everything he does, and even allows, is drenched in his love, I see the world differently. I see that he is working all things out for my good and to conform me into his likeness. When I remember his faithfulness, I can walk throughout my day knowing that every step I take is a step in his faithfulness. I am walking proof of his faithfulness. My life with him is a part of the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. His Spirit residing in me is evidence of his faithfulness. He will keep his promise.

And he’s answered soooo maaaaaany prayers. And, no, he did not always answer the way I wanted him to, but he was always faithful, always good, always working, wasting nothing. So today I can look at this minor setback and know that this position was not part of God’s plan, which means it is not truly good for me and it isn’t how the Lord is choosing to accomplish his purposes in my life. Well, I don’t want to do anything other than what the Lord has prepared for me to do since before the ages began (Ephesians 2:10)!

So today I am thankful. I am thankful for this experiment. I am thankful for your prayers and for the encouragement of friends. I am thankful for the balanced perspectives offered by both my husband and my friend, Hannah. I am thankful for Danielle faithfully calling me each morning. I am thankful even though I DID NOT COMPLETE MY ONE TASK YESTERDAY.

I was ambitious. I thought I would work 8 hours, catch up with a friend for a couple more hours, and then come home and complete this project. Riiiiiight. And today Adam and I are going on a date. Here’s my solution–break the project down into smaller tasks. Today, while Adam is figuring out how to send back one of the side mirrors for his car, I will empty the cupboard. I think I can manage that.

I will let you know how it goes on Monday. By then, this little project should be done. And remember, I was initially convicted about the way I serve the Lord and my husband because I saw an ugly pattern emerging in my daily life. A pattern that involved my doing nothing and Adam doing everything. As loving as he is, such a pattern would eventually cause him to become resentful. More than that, I was sinning against the Lord, and a pattern of sinning against the Lord only ends in the hardening of one’s own heart. Not exactly a great plan for a successful marriage or a fruitful life. I call this problem laziness. It may also be linked to a lack of self-control, discipline, and/or faithfulness. Either way, I am praying for a changed heart while I take a step in the right direction.

What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

-Francis J. Crosby

You Are Lovely

Everyone was singing. The music began to fade. The leader asked everyone to lift up their own praises, their own Thank You’s to God, because it can be so easy to sing along to familiar songs without truly turning our attention to the Lord of all.

So people clapped. And people whispered prayers of thanksgiving. Others sang their own songs, while others gave thanks loudly. One man, a few decades older than me proclaimed, “Your love, O Lord, is better than life! My lips will praise you!”

His words were like cool rushing waters washing over me. They were the words of God. Taken from Psalms. Spoken without shame.

“You are lovely!” he proclaimed. And those words were his own. Beautiful. His looking to God. His recalling the character of God. And his holy perspective–”You are lovely!”

So refreshing to hear people declaring what they believe about the Lord. The Lord the world hates and works so hard to change. The Lord we are often tempted to run from and sin against. The Lord of All. Creator of the heavens and earth (everything). Savior. Jesus. Holy Spirit. You are lovely.

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3-4 ESV)