Remain in me

Since July, my focus has been on my marriage and my relationship with the Lord. It has been the single most transformative period of my life, and I was happy and content to continue as such. However, I had some changes in my schedule come up unexpectedly over Christmas. Changes I felt peace about making room for.

In the past, it’s been hard for me to have a lot on my plate. I just haven’t had the bandwidth for much more than the basics like work, marriage, and family. It’s usually ended badly when I’ve taken on more. But having peace about something makes all the difference. I wanted to follow where God was leading.

But even though there’s peace, there’s still a new rhythm and balance to find, which inevitably will result in trial and error. I’ve gone through this before without much luck. I don’t want to go through that rigamarole this time. Ideally, I’d like to have it figured out before it even begins.

I took to my journal to try to sort it out, and the prompt at the top of the page was, “God can do in a moment what we cannot do in a lifetime. Ask for God’s favor, power, and intervention today.” So I started asking for him to show me what my new life balance is supposed to look like. Instead of mapping out my weeks and trying a hundred different schedules, why not go directly to the one who has the answer?

What I felt was a whisper…Remain in me.

img_4587I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. – John 15:8

It’s not a black and white answer like, “On Wednesday nights you’ll do this and on Friday mornings you’ll do this.” But it’s an answer that I understand and that makes it so completely simple.

Remain in Christ.

Over the last year I’ve seen the fruit of spending hours each week in prayer and in the Word. I’ve been able to handle the curve balls of life unlike any other time. My focus has been on the Lord and I have hidden myself in him. God has indeed produced fruit in my life where otherwise I would have nothing.

I felt peace, so I know that he’ll provide what I need to see it through. He’ll give me the extra energy and time. He’ll bring the resources. He’ll supply my every need.

My answer isn’t a perfectly planned schedule. It’s residing in his presence.


Featured photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

Come back

I’ve been out of whack mentally and physically this week. I’ve been putting all my mental energies on something I’m waiting on, and I’ve had a lot of dairy lately – which my body doesn’t tolerate well. It’s made for a tough week both at work and at home. I feel pretty drained this morning even though I slept for 10 hours.

But even though the ramifications of the dairy are irritating and uncomfortable, it’s nothing compared to the mental energy I’ve spent on this thing. That is truly what is stealing my peace and my joy.

This morning I spent time with the Lord and was reminded of Psalm 46:10 which says,

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

It got me thinking…what can I accomplish with all my thoughts on what worries or concerns me?

Nothing, except for that which is harmful.

All my worries, all my planning and analyzing, get me nowhere. All it does is make me anxious, discontent, and lose sight if the here and now. It adds nothing to my life. My constant thinking does nothing to speed the process along. My worry actually robs me.

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Instead, I need to come back to focusing on today, and stewarding what the Lord has already given me. I want to steward it well. He has entrusted much to me, and just because he is working on something else that may come to pass, doesn’t mean that I also need to work on it. I have responsibilities to attend to. I have blessings to enjoy. I have gifts and relationships to invest in and take care of.

God is omnipresent. It’s good to remind myself of this. He is working in many, many ways and areas that I cannot see. But he is also right beside me. He hasn’t left me. While he is working, he is also still teaching and directing me.

So the reminder today is to not get so caught up in what could be, but to come back to God so he can help us steward well what is.


Featured image by unsplash.com/@federicorespini

Read Until You Strike Fire

My husband recently gave me some really solid advice. I was telling him how there are times when, as I start to think about praying, a stress rises up in me that I can’t explain. There are times that I leave my mornings with the Lord more on edge and tense than when I had started. The feeling is so frustrating.

What he advised me to do was to pray the Lord’s Prayer until I strike fire.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, read until you strike fire? It refers to reading the bible until something jumps out at you. Or another way to put it is to read until something strikes a chord or resonates with you. When you hit fire, stop. Think about it and why it stuck out to you. Ask the Lord what he’s telling you. Maybe you spend a half hour in prayer. Maybe you journal about it.

Luke advised me to do this with the Lord’s prayer. His theory is that you can’t go through it without striking fire somewhere.

I think he’s absolutely right.

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I needed the Lord, but I was feeling blocked in terms of prayer. So I took his advice, and I humbled myself before the Lord and acknowledged that I am weak in prayer and that I need his Spirit to guide me. I then began praying through the Lord’s Prayer, as found in Matthew 6:9-13.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.

“May your name be kept holy.” I stopped there and began reminding myself of who God is.

I then worked my way back a sentence to “Our Father in heaven” and reminded myself where God resides. How he is far above the earth and all it’s powers. How infinitely wise he is. How everything is under his watchful eye. How nothing escapes his notice.

“Our Father.” I am stuck even now on this one. I cannot comprehend this love, but I feel an invitation to dwell on this. He is my Father. Fathers love their children fiercely. Fathers keep an eye on all their children do. Fathers provide, protect, and guide. They are compassionate and understanding. Full of love. If I love my dogs, who aren’t my children and aren’t even human, so much that I am undone when one of them is hurt or sad, how much more does my Father care for me?

Look no further when you are in need. Pick up your bible and read until you strike fire.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
    but rescue us from the evil one.