In All Your Ways

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I won’t even pretend that this whole home search has been easy. I honestly tried to think about all of  the houses we have looked at over the past ten months and we have looked at least 30, maybe even 40. That’s a ton of different houses all in different locations between the town we have called home for all of our lives and my husband’s new job. My mind has been completely overwhelmed. I totally felt like Goldilocks eating the three bear’s porridge. Viewing each house, we would find something that one or both of us didn’t like and then mark it off the list.

I’m sure you guys are probably tired of hearing about it, because honestly I am! But some exciting things are coming our way, we finally after t-e-n looooong months of searching have a house under contract. YAY!

I love to Bible Journal real time things that are happening in our lives, so that later I could look back on them, and I wanted to incorporate this house hunt in that. I thought that Proverbs 3:5-6 was perfect for this time. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

You see, in this house hunt we both struggled with location, we were looking at such a broad area we never could pin point a town where we wanted to live. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to give this burden of finding a house to God. I knew then that when we found the house we were supposed to be in, we would both know.

Thomas and I both had our own ideas and wants, but God knew where we were going to end up, and that’s why we could never find what we were looking for.  I was being incredibly selfish and didn’t want to sacrifice what I am familiar with. I let fear override my mind and all of the unanswered questions keep me from giving any house a chance. It’s funny because we went and looked at the house that we now have under contract back in January, and I found a million reasons why it wouldn’t work then.

One day I opened my Bible to Proverbs 3 and I thought of the house from Up. Ya know, Carl ties hundreds of balloons to their home to take him to the one place Ellie always wanted to go. So I thought what a perfect illustration for what we were experiencing. We had to tie balloons to this dream of finding a house, and let God be at the helm and guide us where we needed to be. The scripture doesn’t say in some of your ways, but in ALL of your ways. We can’t say that we have all of our faith in Him, when we are still adjusting the sails to make things work in our own favor. We have to give every ounce of our thoughts to Him and allow Him to work through us and use us in ways only He can and let His plan for our lives come to fruition.

I started working on this page in my journaling Bible on a Thursday and by that Sunday we had revisited that house, had put an offer in, it was accepted and under contract. It always blows my mind how God works. Sometimes we need something as simple as a animated movie to remind us that we don’t always have to be in control to get where we are supposed to be. God knows exactly what He’s doing, and sometimes we have to get ourselves out of the way and just trust, follow and be obedient to His plan.

Getting Ourselves Out of the Way

 

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Trusting God is simply that, believing that He loves you, He has good intentions for your life, will help, guide and direct you. Too many times we as Christians start trusting ourselves, what others say or think, or maybe even a bank account to make decisions instead of following God’s will for our lives and listening to his direction. More times than not, I start beating myself up and fill my head with thoughts of negativity. Like if I don’t have laundry done and put away, supper put on the table, the bed made after we get up, just normal day-to-day things, I get so overwhelmed and start thinking that I’m a horrible wife. A few weeks ago in a message at church, someone asked us to write down five things that we had done for God that day, and all I could think about was the focus that I had placed on all of the unimportant things I hadn’t done that I just mentioned. When really, if I would have been focusing on serving God the way that I am supposed to, all the other things would probably have fallen right into place.

I attended a funeral last Friday and a man got up and sang a song acapella and it’s been engraved on my heart and mind since then. The first verse and chorus says, “I thought number one would surely be me, I thought I could be what I wanted to be. I thought I could build on life’s sinking sand But I can’t even walk without you holding my hand. I can’t even walk without you holding my hand. The mountain’s too high and the valley’s too wide. Down on my knees, I learned to stay. And I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.” The next verse is the one I LOVE because the message is so clear. “I think I’ll make Jesus my One and my All From now on when in trouble, only His name I’ll call. And if I can’t trust Him, I’ll be less of a man, cause I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.” I am just simply amazed at how if you think about it, we truly can’t do anything without Christ. And if you keep on thinking, when you put God first and make Him your one and only His plan starts falling into perfect place. John 15:5 it says “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And that’s so true, I can’t help but think of what I have kept myself from, or even more importantly who I could have witnessed to, if I got myself out of the way and put God first in everything.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think of you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I read this scripture the other night, and really paused at the end of the verse. Before, I came to Calvary I didn’t use a KJV Bible, and several years ago, I had posted this verse on FB, coincidentally right after I had become friends with Mark. The NIV version ends with “to give you a hope and a future.” Mark quickly commented and said, the KJV says this. And I am so thankful that our God promises us an expected end. This verse is my life verse because of the promises that it speaks. That if we, would turn from our sin and give our lives to him, He will provide a life of peace, not evil, and would fulfil His promise of an expected end to us.

“Isaiah 41:9-10 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” The verse doesn’t say I’ve brought you this far, now I’m going to let you figure out things on your own. He’s always there right beside us leading us, guiding us and ready to use if we only trust in Him. God has chosen each and every single one of us for a different purpose in life. I thought I knew what my purpose was on this earth, but I was living in my will instead of God’s. Since I’ve drawn closer and put more of my trust in Him, especially through Bible Journaling, He’s shown me that our plans were completely different. When we get our self out of the way, when we stop worrying about how we are going to do little things like put gas in the car, God always shows up and provides.

When feelings of doubt and insecurity creep in we, as women, tend to feel depressed, unworthy, or like a failure and we get stuck there. However, we weren’t created to be depressed, defeated, guilty, ashamed, or unworthy; we were created to be victorious and be a light so others may see Him through us.

A friend posted this on Instagram the other day and I fell in love with it, so I’m going to close with this. “Apart from the blood of Jesus, I am a flawed mess. I don’t have to beat myself up about it anymore. I understand it; I accept it. I am flawed – temptations will come. But I am His!! No matter what, I’m His. He takes me as I am, and loves me fully, the blemishes of both dark and light, steadfast and wandering, good & bad, happy & sad, strong & weak, driven & sensitive, courageous & anxious, energetic & tired, health & sick. He loves me, and I have learned to do so too. And this, has freed me to be. To simply be. ALL That He has created me to be.”

“A Cord of Three Strands…”

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” 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” | Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This verse has been on my heart all week long. On Monday, it was all I could think about. We had Bible Study Monday night and Ms Mary shared on marriage, so I knew that last night I would be Bible Journaling this scripture.

Isn’t marriage just such a beautiful thing? My husband, Thomas, and I recently got married in October, and before the ceremony, everyone was asking us if we were excited for our wedding. I probably came across rude when I said that I was more excited about our life that we were going to start and build together than the actual ceremony. I know that God gave Thomas to me as the other half of me, he truly is my help-meet. I am so thankful that God blessed me with him to spend the rest of my life with.

When we got married, we wanted to incorporate God into our ceremony, because He was going to be a big part of our lives. I’ll go ahead and pre-face with this, we aren’t perfect people, we fail him daily. We don’t have a perfect marriage but when we face trials we have learned to fall to God and we are so blessed with what He reveals to us. Marriage is this weird thing where two completely different lives collide, and become one. There are new dynamics, new roles to fill, new things to think about each day. Part of marriage is washing clothes, paying bills, cooking dinner, taking care of each other but the most important part of it is trusting God, worshiping Him together, and leaning into Him for understanding, guidance and patience.

Have you ever heard the song, “Little is Much When God is in it?” I love it, and just the name of the song is so true. I could not imagine our lives without Christ. I couldn’t imagine not having the hope and the future that He has promised to us. I couldn’t imagine not having His Word to cling to and turn to when temptations, trials and disappointments arise. In our wedding ceremony, we had a board that my husband had made and had Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 painted on it. {Thomas pieced it together from the deckboards that he proposed to me on! Pictures below!} He drilled three holes for the three ropes and during our ceremony, I braided them together. This piece sits on our hearth in our living room. I see it, look at it and read it every day. I am so thankful that our marriage involves three, not just one or two, but three because we would truly be nothing without God.

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Our Obedience reveals how much we Trust God.

Some Tuesday thoughts…would we be willing to step out on faith and cleave to God? Regardless of how dark something may seem, God’s will for our lives is far greater than the circumstance of our days. We, as Christian’s, can cling to the fact that no matter the outcome it’s all going to be okay.

This morning I spent some time really studying Genesis 12,

“12 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the LordAnd Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.” 

Have you ever read scripture before, and it’s the third or fourth time you’ve looked at it, but this time it really hits home what it is about? You can’t help but look at it and think, how did I not grasp hold of that fact when I heard this the first time?! That’s the exact point that I came to today, but it’s all part of God’s perfect timing. He reveals the true meaning of scripture to us when he knows we are ready for it, and can take heed to it and grow as Christians. Like Abram, we may have to leave our Ur, {Usual Routine} to step into the greatness that God has planned for us. I had to stop and ask myself, would I step out on faith and obey God like Abram did? Or, would I let fear consume me and stop me from following God’s will for my life?

10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

This part amazed me, in my Bible, it’s titled as Abram’s Deception. When Abram found that there was a famine in his land, he fled. Rather than trusting in God for life and prosperity, Abram went his own way. He fled into Egypt and stepped out of God’s perfect plan. Sarai was barren but God promised Abram that He would bless them. When Abram developed the scheme to lie about his and Sarai’s relationship, God had no other choice but to step in. God intervened to protect that perfect plan of His when Abram followed his own path. I think this is a beautiful depiction of something that so many of us struggle with. Even when we step out of God’s plan, He will direct our paths back to where we need to be and will still bless us. After all, God had promised Abram when he sent him out that he would bless him and make his name great, if he only obeyed.

The moral of it all is that even when we don’t understand what may be going on, we have to cling to the promise that God’s plan is far better than our own. We are human after all, we make mistakes daily. Our God had the most perfect plan for each of us before we were even conceived. God had the plan for Abraham and Sarah long before they were put on this Earth, and look at what they did for Him, by stepping out on Faith and Obedience. Our obedience reveals how much we trust God. After spending several hours studying this chapter this morning, I’m going to really pray that no matter what God says, I obey Him instead of stepping out myself for worldly gain.  IMG_7462

Be STILL, and know.

Seriously, how great is our God? I am so thankful that He knows what all of our tomorrow’s hold. I’m so thankful that he provides exactly what we need before we even know that we need it.

Almost a week ago I finally decided to purchase my first journaling Bible, and I have become obsessed. I’m not creative when it comes to drawing, I’m sure there are three year olds that draw better than I do but I’m using this as a way to dig deeper and build my relationship with God. And, can I just say, after not even using it a week I already feel closer to God than I ever have before.

Last night, I sat down and opened my Bible, laid out my colored pencils, pens and markers and prayed. When I started this, I had started out just depicting random verses that God led me to then decided to tackle Genesis and start at the front and work my way through. But, obviously God had other plans in mind. When I prayed before my quiet time last night it’s like He told me just to open my Bible. I did, and this is what it opened to. I’ve heard “Be Still and know that I am God” countless times in the past year. But I had never really sat down on my own and dug into this particular scripture.

I started reading Psalm 46 from the beginning, the first verse is “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I continued reading; “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the seaThough the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

So why do we doubt God? Why do we turn from Him, not to Him when things start to go haywire. Let’s make a pact to dig a little deeper and cling to Him. Let’s shout His name from the rooftops because He is worthy.

Little did I know that this morning I would set myself into a state of panic over something I had ZERO control of. At that same moment, someone liked my Instagram photo that I posted of my journaling last night, causing my phone to light up. I swiped to the right to open the notification and there it was:

Be Still

My God knew what I would be facing today, long before He ever placed the scripture on my heart last night. He knew that during my moment of panic this morning someone would like that photo and show me the reminder I needed to see.

I need only to be still, because I know that He is God.