Trusting and Obeying Despite Not Understanding

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It’s embarrassing. I just realized that the last time I posted on this blog was two whole months ago! Sigh. I’ve missed blogging. The truth is, I didn’t know what to write recently because I needed time to process and grow through the challenges that I found myself in the midst of these last couple months. Praise the King that He is patient and faithful to walk us through uncertainty with gentle love! Without Jesus as my anchor I would have surely been swept under life’s wild waves, breathless.

The purpose of this blog post today is not to complain, but rather to show how God has been stretching and teaching me to trust Him-trust who He is, what He does, when He takes action, and how He chooses to do so. I wish I could say I have totally and completely trusted God through the challenges of the last two months, but that wouldn’t be truthful. I have had doubts. I have been frustrated. I have cried. I have pounded pillows with my fists and shouted out, “Why?!” And the whole time, God has lovingly held my tear-stained face in his gentle hands and soothed me just by listening. I would often ask Him to speak to me and tell me what to do next, but He chose to just listen and hold me. I now know that this was best for me. I needed to be still and to stop striving to make the circumstances change.

In the last sixty days our family has changed churches, houses, job descriptions. We have remained in the same town, but most everything else has changed. God asked us to obey Him even when it didn’t always make sense to start attending a church in Portland and to resign from my children’s ministry director and secretary positions here to be home with our one-year-old son. Just a few week’s after giving my notice at church, our landlords asked us to find another rental as soon as possible so their relative could move into the house we were renting. We were shocked. We loved where we lived and thought we would be there many more years. We found another rental on the other side of town that was not nearly as nice for a lot more money a month-money we did not have since I had just resigned from my job. We proceeded to clean, pack, and move the next couple weeks. Then the three of us became quite ill. We are now just finally feeling better.

The world is not just, but God is. The world is not forgiving, but God is. The world is not kind, but God is. Corrie ten Boom once said, “The devil is strong, but his power is limited; Jesus’ power is unlimited.” This has been a great comfort to me. In May 2000, Pastor James Montgomery Boice addressed his congregation in Philadelphia and boldly stated, “God is in charge. When tough things come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by…. God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything He does is good…. If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good.”

Do I understand why God allowed the last two months to be filled with crazy hard challenges? No. He may grant me the privilege of understanding this summer in the future, or He may not. I need to be ok with not understanding His ways. I need to trust the King of Kings anyway. I need to forgive those who have been unfair to our family. I need to love them too. I need to wake up each morning and ask God, “What do you want me to do today with the time you have so graciously given me?” I need to realize there are so many other people in the world that are suffering so much more than us. I need to pray that they find comfort in Christ’s love. I need to focus on the things God has given us, not the things He has taken away. I need to live each day looking for the best-in others and in circumstances.

To end this post, I wanted to share with you just a few of the many blessings God sent our way in the midst of these last two crazy months. Praise Him!
~My parents flew here at the perfect time to help us clean the rental we were moving into, aid us in packing, and even generously purchase household items to help get us started!
~My husband’s parents watched our son while we were moving, hemmed curtains, gave us a window air conditioner, and helped hook up some of our appliances.
~Several friends helped us move on one of the hottest days of the year, made us supper, gave us another air conditioner for our son’s room, and helped watch our boy when we were too sick to take care of him!
~Staying home the last month for the first time as a parent has been so encouraging and refreshing. It’s such a joy to be there for our son!
~Living closer to town has been nice. It’s been fun walking to stores and we have been saving gas money too!
~My husband and I have grown closer through these challenges and our faith is stronger!
~Our family is learning to appreciate the little things more and to not hold onto material items!
~God has been faithful!

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Tidbits

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This blog post is a bit different because after a crazy week, I think we all need just a few tidbits of encouragement. Maybe you can relate-Monday sneaks up on us and we don’t feel prepared at all for the tasks we’ve assigned ourselves. And then life hits like a powerful tidal wave that knocks us off our feet, leaving us scrambling and grasping to get back to shore where it’s calm. How can we possibly accomplish the to-do-list we have created for ourselves plus the unexpected life tasks that are being flung at us each day? Often, we can’t.

How is this encouraging? It’s encouraging because it frees us from wasting energy and emotions on striving to be “God.” We are human. Success is defined differently when we realize this. We need to ask the One in Control to teach us how to honor Him with our daily actions. And most importantly, we need to stop creating our own to-do-lists without consulting the Creator first. Whenever I fall into this trap of thinking my agenda should be blessed by God, I try to envision this mental picture: I imagine a student throwing out her knowledgeable professor’s syllabus and creating her own topics and assignments. And then at the end of the semester she finds herself confused and angry as to why she did not receive a passing grade. Unfortunately, that is often what I try to do with life’s tasks.

I started Monday this week with my own ideas of how life was going to happen. Thank goodness, God reminded me quickly that I needed to change my attitude and actions to align with His plans. The rest of the week I woke up each morning and said, “Lord, please show me what you want me to do, think, and say today. Please tell me your agenda and help me to listen and obey.” Phew!

Here are some tidbits of encouragement that helped me get through this week and better focus on the King’s agenda. May you also be encouraged that you don’t have to do life alone. We have God Almighty to guide us!

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” 
~C.S. Lewis

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.”
~Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.”
~2 Corinthians 5:7

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
~Proverbs 19:11

“God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, sends them in the right direction. He gives the rejects his hand, and leads them step by step.”
~Psalm 25:8-9

“Ask me, and I will tell you things that you don’t know and can’t find out.”
~Jeremiah 33:3

“The Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget.” 
~Deuteronomy 4:31a

SURPRISE!

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Two months ago, my husband booked a hotel and airline tickets for our fourth anniversary. He decided to surprise me by not telling me the destination of our vacation. What a romantic gesture! As the weeks started to count down until our surprise trip, I started getting antsy. Questions bounced around in my head: “What if I don’t pack correctly for the weather? How can I be completely excited if I don’t even know where we are going? What if I build up expectations in my mind unknowingly and then am disappointed when we get there?” I battled with these uncertainties for longer than I would like to admit.

Finally, I chose to stop my negative thinking and start to replace these doubts with confident hope: “If I truly need to pack something specific for the trip, Andy will tell me. I can be excited for the unknown because I trust my husband’s judgement and creativity. I can prepare for this adventure by not trying to figure out what we are doing so I can be pleasantly surprised.” Goodness! This was tough for me at first. I’m such a planner. It took a lot of trust and conscious effort to let go. But after I did, it felt so freeing! I didn’t have to worry about planning a big trip. I didn’t have to figure out childcare for our son. I didn’t have to do a thing except go along for the ride! Fun!

And of course, Andy did an incredible job with our anniversary trip! He took us back to where we met, fell in love, and went to college-Chicago. It was a truly refreshing trip. We have been pouring out so much energy and time lately into others that it was so encouraging to have friends in Chicago pour into us. It was also beautiful to relive our first dating moments and fun college experiences together. We both felt rejuvenated and invigorated to come back home and live life more enthusiastically. Thank you, Jesus.

I’ve learned something really neat through this whole process: God likes to surprise us and we need trust Him so we don’t complicate the beautiful journey. The King always has our best in mind. Even if we don’t like not knowing what the future holds we can trust that God has something awesome in store for us. Sure, bumps in the road will happen. But just because we can’t see past the next ridge of the path doesn’t mean there isn’t a glorious meadow of peaceful rest He has prepared just for us. I can imagine Jesus’ delighted expression as he uncovers our eyes with his loving hands and exclaims, “Surprise!” May you and I be encouraged this week to trust the Creator and let Him pleasantly surprise us along life’s journey.

“Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

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Ready for Change

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I went absolutely nuts at the salon! I excitedly asked my hairdresser to do something wild and different with my hair. Soon after, I looked down at the floor where nearly a foot of my auburn locks rested. I gazed at the spunky reflection in the mirror. The woman staring back at me was smiling. This wasn’t just a simple haircut. This bold decision signified something much deeper-renewal and change.

This last year and a half has been extremely tough emotionally and spiritually. God has been walking me through some scary valleys of growth. I have been gripping his hand with white knuckles most of the journey, but He has so patiently guided my childlike footsteps. The last couple of months, we have slowly climbed out of the dark valleys and we are nearly to the lush meadows beckoning at the top of the cliffs.

God has been teaching me through this long series of hikes that He gives his children freedom to make choices. We don’t have to be wandering about aimlessly, waiting for a large neon sign to show us which path to take. God often lets us choose.

I’ve recently been speaking with several young people who are trying to seek God’s will in making big decisions in their lives. We have been discussing how that old saying isn’t actually completely accurate: “When we pray, God answers with a ‘Yes, no, or maybe.'” This isn’t entirely true because sometimes God is just silent. So how do we proceed then? We choose within His guidelines set in the Word. We can’t go wrong if our hearts are truly wanting to honor the King in everything we choose and do.

God is calling me to change. He is wanting me to choose how to live life more abundantly in Him. I’m ready to get off my keister and make changes:
I’m tired of being overweight and not having energy~I choose to exercise more and eat healthier.
I’m tired of being lonely~I choose to be content in the few relationships I have and invest in them more.
I’m tired of being burned out in service~I choose to focus in on just a few areas of ministry and not try to do it all.
I’m tired of finding out people have been gossiping and tearing down others~I choose to not engage in unwholesome talk, but to turn conversations into building one another up.
I’m tired of feeling stressed out and not having any energy left for my family at the end of the day~I choose to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for in life instead of the negatives.
I’m tired of not being as close to God as I want to be~I choose to make changes in my daily schedule to be more intimate with the Savior.
I’m tired~I choose the stamina and strength that only Jesus can offer.

So this week I praise God with you for change, freedom, and life! May you and I not be afraid to make life-giving choices. May we live enthusiastically with purpose-to glorify and love the Creator!

“For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.” (Psalm 80:3)

Failure and Faith

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I use to find it frustrating that things we work on (like having faith in difficult circumstances) are never really fully learned. They pop up years later and surprise us with their glaring challenges. But now I find comfort in growing through these reoccurring lessons in life-they teach me humility. I can’t learn something and be accomplished in it forever. I have to continually ask Jesus to teach and mold me into His image as long as I am on this earth. It is the process of becoming more like the Creator that brings Him and us true joy.

In light of some of my recent inner struggles, I revisited this poem that I had written in high school. May you and I be encouraged as we seek to grow and be teachable for the King’s glory.

~FAILURE AND FAITH~
Each morning I just push you out of the way, 
Making up silly excuses. 
And when time’s ticked out of the day, 
I’m the one who loses.

Crawling in bed I cover up my head, 
My victories are gone.
All that matters is what you’ve said, 
“Child, it’s been too long.”

My mind wanders back to the busy day, 
I shudder in despair.
“Why didn’t you help me, Lord?” I pray, 
“Child, I was there.”

“I was with you as you buzzed around, 
Busy as a bee.
You refused to hear my voice’s sound,
Or even look at me.

I watched as you tripped and fell,
Striving to be a winner.
I offered you water from my living well,
You chose to be a quitter.

But as a team we can accomplish great things,
Two are better than one.
I’ll make you soar on eagle’s wings, 
Turn your face toward the Son.” 

I reached into His outstretched arms,
Ah! What a hug! 
And soon my Father’s endearing charms, 
Made me warm and snug.

“Never let me go!” I cried, 
“I am nothing on my own.”
“Child, I’ll never leave your side,
This much I have shown.”

Elusive Quiet, Where are You?

 

BeeIt was going to be a beautiful morning. I had gotten up early to enjoy some quiet time before exercise and work beckoned. I made myself a hot breakfast (a rare treat) and poured myself some aromatic coffee. I tiptoed down the hall and gingerly retrieved the well-worn Bible and journal that had been sitting far too still on the nightstand the last few crazy days. With my treasures in hand, I hurried back down the hall like a giddy school girl. I had just taken the first sip of delicious coffee when I froze. A gentle cry wafted down the hallway and rested on my ears. Yes, the precious little one tucked snuggly in the nursery had decided that he needed to be up thirty minutes earlier than normal this morning. I looked down at the words that begged to be read and the pen that longed to flow onto the journal pages. I let out a soft sigh and left my picture-perfect scene to walk back into reality.

Does this sound familiar to you? Maybe it’s not family that pulls you away from quality quiet time. Maybe work, worries, fatigue, lack of motivation, or other outside forces steal you away from those intimate moments with the King. Whatever the reason, we are being drained and worn out spiritually. This leads to frustration, guilt, irritability, and loneliness-I know this because I am feeling all of these qualities right now in life. I am embarrassed to share my “lack of spirituality,” but I feel God is compelling me to be vulnerable so that I can grow and so that hopefully this encourages others in the process.

During Easter week I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I was so down when thinking about my personal circumstances that I used whatever little energy I had left to focus on Jesus instead. The previous week on Palm Sunday I taught the children at church about Jesus’ last days before he died. The coolest thing happens when we teach-we usually learn tons ourselves! I realized when I was reading Jesus’ journey to the kids that He made some interesting choices that fateful, jam-packed last week before being taken captive. He rested. He retreated to a quiet place to pour his heart out to God. These wise choices probably wouldn’t be found on most bucket lists. But the priority that Jesus put into acquiring rest and fellowshipping with God really touched my weary spirit.

So how could I follow His example by making quiet time a reality while working two jobs, raising a child, and running a home? I started brainstorming. Here are a few ideas that I am going to try to implement this coming month:
~Read the Bible 5 minutes before bed at night and 5 minutes before getting out of bed in the morning.
~Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal one morning to read and pray.
~Write a verse on a slip of paper one day and put it in my pocket to look at and meditate on frequently throughout the day.
~Set an alarm to go off a few times one day to remind me to stop for a minute and pray or read a couple verses.
~Turn off my phone for 10 minutes one day and take that time to just be still and quiet.
~Listen to a praise song one day that relaxes me and turns my thoughts to Jesus.
~Talk to God while driving to activities.
~Listen to one podcast a week that encourages my spirit.

I would love to hear some of the ways you are making time to rest and be with the King too. May you and I be faithful in the little things this week and place a priority on being still.

“I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 52:5-6)

“God-you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such a hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains.” (Psalm 63:1-3)

 

 

Savor Every Sip

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There I was, gulping down the fancy blended coffee drink I had just ordered. I’ve been drinking these delicious treats a couple times a week for a while now. It’s a fun splurge. Well it was, until I realized how bad they were for my body!

In an effort to get healthier after having our first baby, I found an app for my phone that helps record my eating and exercising habits. I started writing down everything that entered my mouth this week. It has been such an eye-opener! I discovered that the sugar free blended coffee drinks I had been gulping down contained 350 calories and 74 carbs each! Gross. I liked the coffee drinks, but not that much. I decided to save those 350 calories for something my body actually needed each day.

I still enjoy coffee, but drinking it plain allows me to still enjoy other tastes in my day as well. If I ever want to go crazy and get one of those loaded fru-fru drinks again, I can. But I will do so knowing that I need to give something else up in return. And the next time I indulge in one of those blended drinks, I will savor every sip. I won’t gulp it down because it will be much more of a treat.

I started thinking about how the discipline of calorie counting is very similar to the discipline of living in the present. With eating and living, the little things add up so we need to make every moment (bite) count. We shouldn’t gulp down the moments or rush them. We need to savor them. Rest. Enjoy. We need to assess what our goals are and ask ourselves if our actions are aiding or hindering those goals.

I think the biggest discovery this week during the calorie counting process has been that the small bites count just as much as the big meals. One extra spoon of peanut butter can throw me over my daily allowance in a split second. So the small victories are actually huge wins. Every time I choose to eat something healthier, I am benefiting my body and future. In the same manner, every time I choose to live in the present and enjoy the moment I am benefiting myself and others around me.

I am excited to be learning new disciplines this week! I am already benefiting from rejoicing over the small victories and living each moment with purpose and joy. May you and I strive to glorify the Savior through our tiny and huge actions today! Let’s savor every sip.

“You desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.” (Psalm 51:6)

Worry: a misuse of the imagination

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It happened again last night. I was tossing and turning in bed, not catching a wink of sleep. Nights like this have been happening less and less, but I was caught off guard by my muddled thoughts swirling around in my tired head. Worry was hindering my precious rest.

I looked up various definitions of the word “worry” to better grasp the sneaky robber of my z’s. These two describers stood out to me in a challenging way: worry is a state of anxiety over potential problems. Worry is to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulties. I did not find a single positive attribute about worry. So why would I allow something so negative to permeate my thoughts? The answer I discovered really cuts to the quick- pride.

Wait, what?! Yes. God has convicted me that worry is selfish. When I dwell on all the problems in my life, I am not able to be a blessing to others around me. I am too busy thinking, figuring out, wrestling with my own difficulties that I don’t have room to have compassion or love for others’ troubles. I’ll be honest-it’s sometimes fun to wallow in my own misery and have a pity party. It gets me attention sometimes. It’s dramatic. It makes me feel like I have more going on in my life than I really do. It’s fun to be selfish…for a little while. Then the attention and drama turns sour and I become miserable, self-loathing, and useless. Worry makes us weak, not strong. It’s never worth it.

I saw an anonymous quote a while back that I try to say every day to myself now: “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” It’s so true! Think of all the dreams we could accomplish if we stopped using our energy and time on worry and started pursuing the things we’ve always wanted to do! The world would be a completely different place.

When my brother and I were younger, we would use our young imaginations to pretend that the living room floor was hot lava and all the pillows on the carpet and the couch were safe rocks that hadn’t been consumed yet. We would ever so carefully jump from pillow to pillow to couch as if we truly thought we would get burned if we missed. If one of us started to lose our balance, the other sibling would reach out and pull the stumbler to safety again. We trusted each other.

Maybe you’ve had someone tell you this before when you were consumed with worry: “You just need to trust God more.” Is that ever really helpful? Worry isn’t defeated by trusting God MORE; it’s conquered by trusting God INSTEAD of ourselves. We are going to stumble in life, but if we quit trusting our own ability and start trusting in the King’s, we won’t be crushed when we need to reach out for His hand to help us get from point A to point B.

So the next time you and I catch ourselves dwelling on our problems and own abilities to fix them, may we stop looking horizontally and look vertically up to the Savior. He is trustworthy. He is imaginative. He is unselfish. He is present. He is Lord.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure our everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Lobster Tails and Apologies

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The smell of sulfuric smoke hit my senses. I ran into the kitchen frantically and gasped. The top element coil in our oven was shooting flames all over the beautiful lobster tails I had just put in it to broil. My courageous husband rushed to the rescue and and retrieved the poor little crustaceans from their fiery doom. I became frustrated after gazing on the pathetic, charred tails and then started apologizing to my brave hero for ruining his main course of supper. He gently replied, “Honey, it’s not your fault. It’s ok. We can still work with this.” He then put the sad looking lobster tails into a sauté pan with some butter and within a couple minutes we were sitting down for supper after all.

I kept saying, “I’m sorry” the rest of the night. This is nothing new. I somehow picked up this strange quirk when I was younger. Whenever I would mess up in even the slightest way, I would quickly apologize to my parents or brother or whomever was around. Yes, I have even been caught saying, “I’m sorry” to inanimate objects. I realized this habit was getting quite out of hand when my brother caught me one day and exclaimed, “Victoria! Did you just apologize to the garbage can for running into it?!”

My father talked to me one afternoon in high school about my increasingly frequent apologies. I remember his wise words: “If you say something over and over, it loses the weight of its intended meaning. If you apologize all the time over little things, how will people be able to believe you when something substantial arises?” Ouch. Good point. I didn’t realize how detrimental two little words could become.

Why was I apologizing all the time? I didn’t really figure it out until the lobster tail incident a couple weeks ago. I finally realized I apologize frequently because I don’t want to disappoint anyone. There. I said it. In other words, I am a perfectionist who wants everyone to be happy. If I feel that I have jeopardized someone’s happiness, I immediately apologize. But this is just the beginning of the issue. What I also realized that fateful night while trying to cook those beautiful lobster tails is that I even feel the need to apologize for things that are completely out of my control. It wasn’t my fault that the oven element burst into flames. I couldn’t have foreseen that malfunction. So why on earth did I feel the need to say I was sorry over and over again?

I used to think I apologized frequently because I cared so much about others and their feelings. That is only part of the truth. The other piece to this puzzle I have finally put together is that I apologize frequently because I am a perfectionist. I have such high standards of myself that I don’t allow myself room to disappoint others. For pete’s sake-I don’t even allow myself room to bump into the garbage can! It’s so ridiculous. This is not ok. Having unachievable standards is detrimental-to me, those around me, and to my relationship with Jesus. It cripples me. I focus on the procedure, rather than the outcome. I hurt people by being more concerned about my performances than about them. I beat myself up again and again by building impossible tasks and goals to achieve. I forget that I am nothing without Christ.

Only Jesus is perfect. Anytime I try to be perfect without relying on His power, I automatically fail before even beginning. So should I stop trying to be holy as He is holy? No. Should I stop apologizing altogether? No. I should ask Jesus what his agenda for my day is before making my own plans. I should be ok with failing multiple times daily. I should apologize on the really important instances where I truly have wronged someone. I should put others first and my pride last.

Thanks, Perfect One, for being patient with me and for loving me despite my many imperfections. Help me to give grace to others and to myself as you have done.

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” (Psalm 18:30)

Treasured Feelings

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I just witnessed something beautiful while sitting in a coffee shop downtown. A little girl walked into the shop. Her eyes immediately were drawn to a neon pink Gerber daisy that was resting in a vase on one of the tables. While her mother was ordering, the curious girl quietly went over and gingerly plucked just one petal from the vibrant flower. She then placed the soft petal in her tiny coin purse and pressed the purse to her heart. It was as if she had found the greatest treasure in the world.

I found myself grinning. Why was this small gesture so touching to me today? I then realized the wonder and amazement that this little girl expressed were traits that I used to also feel when I read the Word. I used to jump out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, ready to dive into the Bible and learn. I used to carry that precious Book with me wherever I went. I used to memorize at least one verse a day. I used to.

I then found myself frowning. What happened to my wonder and yearning for Truth? My mind ran through various poor excuses like studying it too much in Bible school, feeling displaced being half-way across the country from my home church, being drained of all energy and motivation to get up early in the morning due to new motherhood, etc. Then I stopped myself. I realized the real heart of the issue wasn’t found in a particular circumstance, but rather, my deceiving feelings.

Feelings are tricky-they morph, flee, return. Feelings warble and cloud our thinking. A wise woman once told me that we need to be careful with putting too much energy and thought into interpreting our feelings because they come and go; they are not stable.

So maybe right now I do not possess the feelings of wonder and amazement that I once had when studying the Bible. It’s ok. They will come again. I don’t need to stress over trying to get those same warm, fuzzy feelings every single day. Those feelings are fun, but they should not be the end goal. Here’s what I can do: I can pray and ask God to give me spiritual yearning again. I can open up the Word and be ok if I don’t find some miraculous nugget of mind-blowing wisdom that day. I can obey.

Thank you, little girl in the coffee shop, for causing me to pause and remember what’s important to treasure.

“It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)