Oceans Deep

Finding & Following Jesus in the Deep End of Life

Category: Meaning in the Mess (page 2 of 2)

Cultivating Community: Not in Charge

Happy Monday, readers! Today, I’m excited to bring you words from fellow blogger and COMPEL sister, Kelsey Townsend-Remmelts. I have so enjoyed getting to know Kelsey through her writing and her story of grief, faith, hope, and love. She is a living example of how God can work redemption and bring incredible blessings, even  through our most painful and heartbreaking trials.

Today, Kelsey shares with us some thoughts on how we are not the ones “running the show,” no matter how much we think we are–plus, words of encouragement for how we can learn to embrace God’s sovereignty and will in our lives. I pray her words bless you today!


Not in Charge

By Kelsey Townsend-Remmelts

People  have always listened to me.

I am not being cocky or arrogant–it’s just that, ever since I was a little girl, I made decisions, gave instructions, and people tended to follow. I remember my mom describing me as the bossy one in the neighborhood. I was the youngest and smallest on our street, yet I would be the one to pick the games to play, assign who was on what team, and the kids listened and followed. It is a running joke in my family when I am described as bossy; I correct them and say, “No, I have leadership skills”.

All my life, I have been a take charge, make decisions, kind of gal. I saw it in my high school years when I was one of the captains of our drill team. I had a company of girls who I led in class and on the field.

I started in the corporate world at the ripe old age of nineteen and worked my way up the ranks to a manager position. I worked for and completed my degree while working full time for the same company.

I made decisions for my family (many times my husband was indecisive) and was looked at as the one in charge. As the saying goes, if Mama’s not happy, nobody is happy! Life went on like this…until my husband died.

All of the sudden, I could not decide on anything. Nothing mattered, and my confidence had been blown. When it came to family matters, I may have been the one to make the decisions, but I had a partner with whom I discussed and bounced the ideas around. Now it was solely on my shoulders, and I crumbled.

But God was there.

As I made my way through the messiness of grief, God was there to remind me that I am not in charge. When I fully surrendered to His will, a huge burden was lifted, and now I see the beauty and grace in His resolution. Here are three key lessons God taught me during that time:

Surrender

The night my husband died, I fully surrendered to God’s will. Yes, He gives us free will so we can make choices and decisions for our lives. BUT there are consequences to choices, and now I pray on decisions and consult my Father. When people ask me my opinions for decisions, I encourage them to pray on it as well. Sometimes decisions need time to rest and marinate before resulting in a final step. I ask for God’s wisdom and discernment in any major, life-changing, and permanent outcome which would affect my family and me.

Patience

This is a huge, daily challenge for me. God’s will is perfect in His timing. I have to surrender to His timetable and wait for guidance. God teaches me restraining to move on my will is part of the process in achieving His will. Patience is a virtue which I strive to practice daily.

Faith

In order to surrender and have patience, I need to completely trust God. It is not easy to fully surrender and have faith in whatever the outcome, especially if it is a devastating event or a painful lesson. Developing and deepening a personal relationship with God takes effort and time. As my faith grows, my need for control becomes less.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Throughout this process, understanding and accepting I am not in control has been one of my biggest life lessons. Perhaps you and I share the same “being in charge” type of mentality. If so, I challenge you to surrender to who is in charge of it all and experience the freedom of following God’s lead. I have peace and comfort in understanding my role in His majestic plan.

Oh, and for the record: it’s okay for me every now and then to make the decision of where the family will be going out for dinner because Mama doesn’t want to cook. And believe me, it is not about being bossy but showing the leadership skills! Blessings!


Kelsey’s Bio

My perfect little world disintegrated fifteen and half years ago when my husband died suddenly, leaving me and three little ones behind.  BREATHE!!!  My journey involves grief, faith, hope, love, and continues to grow and mature.  I am awestruck at how God uses my pain to define, develop, and deepen my character.   What trials are you experiencing?  How can you move forward and discover your purpose?

God has been my strength, support, leader, listener, and matchmaker to bring another man in my life (my current husband of 10 years!).  I have asked God to show me how to serve him and his Kingdom.  In my 50th year on earth, it has been revealed to me to write about my experiences in grief, faith, hope, and love. I am amazed to see this unfold and excited to learn and fulfill my purpose. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, three beautiful children, and 2 granddaughters who make me smile daily.  I volunteer for an awesome non-profit called Ragan’s Hope who supports families with critically ill or injured children.  In my spare time I love to read, write, and be a little crafty!

Website: https://amensistablog.wordpress.com/

Facebook: Amen Sista-Kelsey Remmelts

Twitter: @KRemmelts

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/remmtown

Leaving the Past in the Past

Like most women I know, I’m a big fan of the store Homegoods. Seems like even when I’m not looking for anything in particular, I’m always finding something I “need.”

Funny how that works.

On a recent trip, I came across a little canvas sign that resonated with me and became one of those “need” purchases that now adorns a previously empty spot on the wall of my home office.

Don’t stumble over something behind you, it says in a pretty, clean font.

It’s a simple saying with profound implications, and it struck a chord with me because I’ve lately found myself tripping over events and occurrences in the past. It seems natural that a past event would be just that—in the past. Yet unfortunately, the ghosts of yesterday’s hurts have a way of creeping into the present all too easily and often.

This small piece of wall décor revealed a big problem for me: namely, that on many occasions, I’ve allowed past occurrences to dictate future ones. In doing so, I’ve allowed bygones to undermine the future’s joy and happiness.

Can you relate? I don’t know about you, but I continue to be amazed at the difference in forgiving and walking in forgiveness. Finding the strength and grace from our Father to forgive a grievance is hard enough … but how can we learn to then walk forward in that forgiveness, leaving the past where it rightly belongs?

Walking in forgiveness, especially when we’ve been deeply hurt, requires us to dig in and stay digging in—to God’s power and sustaining resources, and to obedience as we make the choice to not allow the past to reach into our future.

God continues to impress upon me how incredibly vital it is to hone and cultivate this skill. The unfortunate truth is, we hurt each other—often the ones we love most! Whether intentional or not, we bump up against each other, rub one another the wrong way, say or do the wrong thing in the blink of an eye … it isn’t always easy to live and function on this earth with one another, loved ones and strangers alike.

But unless we plan on isolating ourselves in some far-reaching mountain home (which sounds kind of nice sometimes, right?), we have to learn how to function and thrive in the messiness of difficult relationships.

Last year, I wrote an article about this very topic for the Inspire Forgiveness Anthology, and I have to laugh a little at how God works. He is always faithful to keep me honest and humble. Just when I think I’ve “got it,” He lovingly pulls back the layers of my heart a little deeper and presses in a little firmer … that refining fire never seems to go out, and its heat reveals how deeply I need Jesus, every moment of every day!

So I’ll share these tools for leaving the past in the past, both for you and for myself, since I’m often in need of a reminder. If you find yourself likewise struggling to walk in forgiveness, I hope this encourages and inspires you to lay it down and leave it there:

Embrace the Process

We’re all familiar with the saying “forgive and forget,” and while this sounds great in theory, the truth is, we must be intentional about forgetting past hurts and grievances against us.

Forgiving someone may be an act, but walking in forgiveness is a process. The Apostle Paul addresses this issue in his letter to the Philippians:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV, emphasis added).

Paul acknowledges the ongoing process of “forgetting,” and we are wise to embrace this truth. In doing so, we refuse to grant the enemy any room to plant a seed of bitterness in the fertile soil of our wounded hearts.

It may take days or months or even years, but with God’s strength, we can consistently choose to set our minds to forgetting and press toward the goal of walking in forgiveness.

Capture Every Thought

The path to consistently walking in forgiveness begins in the kinetic, volatile battleground of our minds. Romans tells us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Rather than allow our minds to dwell on what’s been done to us and the witty comebacks we’d love to go back and say, we must commit to the daily, difficult work of taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

Leaving the past in the past is truly an inside out process. While we may control external behavior for a time, eventually the muck inside will work its way out if we don’t address and let God handle it. As wise King Solomon said so many years ago:

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23 NLT).

The battle is fought and won or lost in the realm of our hearts and minds—so thank goodness we serve a God who is greater than our feeble hearts! (see 1 John 3:20). When I’m longing to wallow in self-pity and justify my anger, he is able to lift me above my fallen self, enabling me to let go of all my perceived “rights.”

Pray, Pray, Pray!

Finally, in one of those “I wish this wasn’t in the Bible” passages, Jesus said:

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:44-45 NIV).

This is such a difficult principle to apply, but it’s truly like a “wonder drug.” One moment of genuine prayer on behalf of someone who has wronged you has the power to soothe your soul and release those chains holding you in the past.

These chains our enemy would have us believe to be unbreakable are broken by the redeeming power of His grace. What I’ve learned beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the Lord is faithful to those who love and earnestly seek and obey Him—even when it’s excruciatingly hard, and perhaps even especially in those times.

Dear reader, I know it’s hard to put these principles into practice—I struggle with them regularly! But give God a chance to show you just how powerful He is in your hurt—step out in faith and let it go.

We can’t reverse the offenses that have been done to us, nor can we change our past … but we have a loving Heavenly Father who can change our future!

You have nothing to lose but the dead weight of a past that’s over and done. Let’s commit to refusing to stumble over something behind us. Set it down, leave it there, and walk forward in the glorious freedom of His all-sufficient grace.

Blessings,

Mere copy

 

 

 

 

This post is a part of this summer’s series Finding Meaning in the MessAll summer, we’ll be diving into the faith lessons we canSummertimeTheme learn in the midst of our everyday lives. God can teach us through all kinds of trials, big or small–let’s commit to drawing nearer to Him and hearing His voice!

So what about you–how are you learning to walk in forgiveness, even when the past threatens to undermine your future? Share your thoughts with us!

When it Feels Like “The End”

One of my favorite features on Facebook is the “On this Day” memory that pops up from day to day. Just the other week, I was reminded of a picture frame I purchased shortly before we left Atlanta for California—a lovely, sweet picture frame, perfect for a nursery.

I bought this frame on faith, tucking it away for a nursery I wasn’t sure would ever exist. I had no idea that just 3 months later, I’d be holding a positive pregnancy test in my hand, dumbfounded and overwhelmed with happiness. That frame now holds a picture of Aaron and me with our firstborn son, and it brings me deep joy every time I look at it.

Now, nearly four years later, I find myself with heart and hands impossibly full. I find myself living in a home filled with the boisterous laughter and cries of a son and daughter more precious than I could have imagined. I find myself cherishing tiny baby kicks as we anxiously await the arrival of baby #3.

And as crazy as it sounds, God has been speaking to me through those Facebook memories.

He has been speaking to me of His deep, abiding love for me. Of His goodness towards me. Of His tenderness and devotion.

Truthfully, these are all things I’ve struggled with believing over the past several years. Looking back over my life with some time and perspective, I’ve seen how failures, sins, and deep heartaches began taking their toll on my belief in God’s unwavering devotion to me.

Have your circumstances ever left you feeling this way? That somehow, God loves other people more than He loves you? I have struggled with this insidious belief—and it’s a lie straight from the smoldering, black heart of our enemy.

When we received a diagnosis of unexplained infertility in December 2010, I cracked. It was the proverbial straw that broke this tired camel’s back. A seed of doubt and mistrust planted itself in my heart and began to sprout, even while I continued in faithful service to and relationship with God.

Yet it grew, leading me to view every event, circumstance, and painful trial through the budding branches of doubt in God’s love for me. In such foliage, Satan has his field day.

If you were as good as so-and-so, you wouldn’t be experiencing this trial.

 God blessed so-and-so more because He loves her more than He loves you.

 God will never love you as much as He once did because of that sin you committed.

These hideous lies hung over me during an intense time of “sifting” in my life. I thought by now that every trace of their existence had been removed, yet God has been “cleaning house” in my heart, deeply scrubbing and washing away the lingering remnants and manifestations of these agreements I’d made with the enemy.

As I wrestled through these agreements early one morning, sitting in baby girl’s budding nursery with tears of thankfulness streaming down my face, God impressed upon me a powerful word that I want to share with you all. It isn’t new or unique, but it came to me at just the right time, and thus I am compelled to speak these words to you in the hopes that you too are in just the right place to receive them:

Your story isn’t over yet.

The truth contained in these five simple words has the power to change everything about the way we live and perceive God.

In 2010, when I drew conclusions about God’s goodness towards me based on our infertility struggle, I was drawing conclusions about who God is based on imperfect, impartial, and incomplete information.

My arms were empty at that point, but the story wasn’t over yet. I’m guessing God would have loved to reach down, give me a little shake, and say keep going! Keep reading! This isn’t the end!

And the same is true for you. Whatever you’re facing, wherever you are in this very moment—your story isn’t over yet.

Your broken marriage isn’t the end. Your job loss isn’t the end. Your battle with addiction isn’t the end. Your heartaches, hang ups, and struggles are not the end of the story God is writing in your life.

And even more amazing for us as His children? Even death is not the ultimate end, for we will share all of eternity with Him and the family of believers.

Whatever your story, dear reader, God is not finished with you yet! No matter how final your circumstances may feel, this is not the end. Don’t draw conclusions about who God is and how He loves you as if it is the end.

The disciples did this upon Jesus’ death—they disbanded and ran for cover, afraid and confused and hurting. I can only imagine how utterly miserable that Passover must have been for them …

… but in reality, that Passover was the Passover to end all Passovers! The definitive Passover Lamb had finished His work. Thousands of years of prophecy and scripture came to fulfillment. What an amazing, unbelievable thought.

The greatest event in History was taking place, all while Jesus’ disciples cowered and cried, and His most enthusiastic follower denied His existence three times over.

But as we with the advantage of time well know, the story wasn’t even close to over! And Peter, that most animated of followers, went from denying Jesus to becoming the rock upon which God built His church (see Matthew 16:18).

Your story isn’t over yet.

Hang on, sweet reader, hang on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep pressing on as Paul did (see Philippians 3:14). Keep reading—you’re not to the end just yet.

Cling tightly to the truth that God is good, even when your circumstances are not, and let the ultimate Author continue writing His divine masterpiece in the broken mess of your dearly loved human life.

Blessings,

Mere copy

 

 

 

 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV.

Bumps, Bruises, & All

I recently heard through the proverbial “grapevine” some shocking truths about a long-ago acquaintance and the trials she’s been experiencing. For days, my mind had a difficult time reconciling these facts with the shiny, perfect exterior that’s been displayed over the years.

Truth is, we rarely know what people’s lives are really like. It reminds me of that quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Indeed—no matter what someone’s Instagram account may look like.

My shock turned to sadness and then to great empathy—how I know all-too-well the realities of living a mismatched life, where the outside and inside don’t necessarily agree. Aaron and I ran into marriage troubles quite early in our journey, and for a long time I carried the burden in secret—doing my best to ensure we looked like the perfect “Southern Christian” couple on the outside while my heart was breaking on the inside.

The whole thing sent my mind to pondering how amazingly gifted we humans are in the art of rug sweeping. In effortless fashion, we are adept at hiding, disguising, and covering over all the broken, crooked, and ugly places in our stories. With the skill of a Hollywood makeup artist, we conceal all our flaws; only we know the truth that lies beneath the layers of foundation and powder—the bumps, bruises, and all.

But I can’t help but think that perhaps we have it all wrong: we gloss over anything unpleasant and imperfect, yet this is where the good stuff lies. This is where God’s incredible love, power, and redemption can take center stage, bringing Him glory and us abundant life … but here we are, sweeping it all away.

God’s power isn’t displayed in the achieving of false perfection in our outward veneer—His power is displayed through the supernatural redemption He brings in the very middle of our mess!

In the broken relationships with family and friends. The bad marriage. The wayward child. The sick family member. The disastrous career or finances.

Such trials set the stage for the power of Jesus to blow our minds.

The gospel of John tells the beautiful story of a blind man whom Jesus healed. This man, blind from birth, not only carried the burden of living with a severe disability; he also carried with him the intense stigma of sin, as the culture of that day believed that his blindness was directly caused by either his sin or that of his parent’s.

Even Jesus’ disciples held this belief and asked Jesus outright, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:2 NIV). The response Jesus gave holds just as much relevance and meaning for us today as it did that day:

‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’ (John 9:3 NIV).

And was it ever! This man morphed from blind and stigmatized to fully seeing, fully rejoicing, and fully committed to Christ, becoming a loyal spokesman for Him. The Pharisees could debate the deity of Jesus all day long, but they couldn’t argue with the proof of His divine and miraculous healing power.

And so it is with us: the tough places in our lives, the places we’d rather cover up, can become the materials for miracles! Our greatest agony can become our greatest avenue for displaying God’s work.

Satan wants us to cover up and sweep away. He’s desperate to keep our mouths shut, lost forever in the trap of thinking I’m the only one with this problem. We look around and think everyone but us has it all together. But I truly believe, whatever your trials—wherever they fall on the spectrum from first world to third—you wouldn’t have to look very far to find another person similarly situated.

I want to whisper a scary but incredibly freeing truth into your ear: you don’t have to live a lie. I know it’s terrifying to lower that mask, even a little, but the freedom found in embracing your story far outweighs the momentary fear.

The blind man in John 9 couldn’t hide his blindness … perhaps we shouldn’t hide ours anymore, either?

When we willingly and humbly bring it all before God, we are bringing Him pure gold with which He can work. There is power in story, so much power in seeing how God can take a marriage in ruins and breathe new life into it. How He can bring back the wayward child. How He is able to heal relationships that once seemed beyond repair. How He is able to sustain, strengthen, and give joy in the midst of illness, even if the healing doesn’t come.

Rather than lie about the less-than-shiny parts of your story, God wants you to leverage those tough parts for a place in His ultimate story.

I’m not suggesting everyone go out, start a blog, and begin spilling your guts … God calls different people to different things, certainly. But perhaps you might begin, ever so slightly, to let go of that need and pressure to pretend everything is perfect.

Perhaps over this next week or two, you could begin thinking of a trusted someone with whom you can pull back the rug and simply be yourself—warts and all. Someone with whom you can simply exhale, setting down the burden of chasing perfection, even for just a moment.

I know it’s scary … but don’t allow the enemy to entangle you with fear …

There’s freedom waiting for you.

There’s encouragement for others.

There’s peace in having your inner and outer lives reconciled.

What are you waiting for? Take a chance and give your loving Heavenly Father the opportunity to display His power in your story.

You just might find yourself living with new eyes and greater vision for all God has for you in the midst of that story—bumps, bruises, and all.

Blessings,

Mere copy

 

 

 

 

This post is a part of this summer’s series Finding Meaning in the MessAll summer, we’ll be diving into the faith lessons we canSummertimeTheme learn in the midst of our everyday lives. God can teach us through all kinds of trials, big or small–let’s commit to drawing nearer to Him and hearing His voice!

Come back next Friday as we’ll continue the discussion on story and how God is purposefully and lovingly writing out the story of your life!

That Time I Went to “Babies R Us” Looking Like a Hot Mess

Yes, that time—as in, that time just this week.

I took my tiny minions of the apocalypse children to Babies R Us this week, splotchy-face and puffy eyes and all, and I didn’t even care who saw me or how bad I looked.

Why?

Because I was so darn tired of the slamming doors.

So incredibly tired of my son opening and closing every single door, rummaging around upstairs while I sat helplessly trying to get my daughter to flipping pee in the potty.

Tired of him dragging the rocker over to his sink and overflowing water onto the floor. Of emptying all his drawers. Of eating lotion (the third time this week). Of squirting out the rest of his tube of blue toothpaste all over the carpet, right where I’d just managed to clean up the first half.

Tired of him raiding the refrigerator and stealthily cracking open a dozen new, organic eggs on the floor and licking them up while I was—you guessed it—sitting helplessly on the floor with my daughter, trying to get her to flipping pee in the potty.

Tired of him eating chocolate syrup and squirting bright yellow mustard and unrolling a roll of toilet paper while I looked and sounded like an idiot, waving my hands enthusiastically to a song about poo. About poo, people.

And you know what? The poo still ended up on the floor, as well as the pee, where my daughter and the dogs had a grand old time splashing and squealing in it while I was cleaning up aforementioned lotion, toothpaste, cracked eggs, chocolate syrup, etc. etc. etc. Toddlers 1; Mom, 0.

But let me tell you: my house is now more secure than Fort Knox. So we should be good until my kiddos figure out how to undo all these baby-proofing devices, at which point I imagine we’ll just move to padded walls and straight jackets.

If my exasperated tone hasn’t already given it away, we have been in the middle of potty training our daughter (though I feel it’s dishonest to call it “potty training,” as my idea of potty training is that your child’s waste actually goes in the potty and not anywhere and everywhere else). And, to say it has not gone well is kind of an understatement.

To say I’m more than a little crazy and losing what was left of my mind is not, in any form, hyperbole. Seriously.

My kids are amazing. They are smart and bubbling over with personality and life. They were sleeping through the night—12 hours—by 3 months of age and never regressed.

They are not, however, potty training prodigies. And so, after much wrestling and innumerable tears, we are pulling the plug for now. I know half of you get it, and the other half is saying oh, don’t give up!

But stepping back for now is what’s best for our family.

Because I’d like to stay married.

I’d also like to keep from researching toddler rescue programs (that’s a joke, people, no need to alert CPS!).

So for everyone’s sanity, we’ll press pause and revisit the issue when we don’t have an impending cross-country flight and preschool and the arrival of a new baby breathing down our necks.


If you’ve been reading along the month of May, you know we just finished up a series all about motherhood—specifically, how to thrive in this phase of young motherhood. I have to release an ironic laugh and confess that lately, I feel I’ve been doing anything but thriving in this thing called motherhood.

And oh, how ready the enemy is with his whispers and accusations—see, you have no business writing. You can’t even practice what you preach on a consistent basis! Who are you to say anything?

Anyone else feel me in this struggle? I’m amazed at how I always seem to forget that, once God shows us truth, Satan comes right along behind Him, doing his best to snatch it all up.

It also amazes me how our enemy can use pretty much anything as a weapon against us—even something as strange and seemingly innocuous as bodily functions. But yes indeed, pee and poo have brought me to my knees—a variation on the whole “bowing down to the porcelain throne” thing, if you will.

The whole experience has shoved me into confronting truths about myself that I’d rather not confront. I’ve always thought of myself as a determined, stick-to-it kind of person, and in many ways I am …

… but I’ve also seen up close and personal my lack of persevering grit. Within just the first 24-hours, I wanted to give up a few dozen times. I wanted to take it all back, pull out the diapers again, and pretend this is something that will magically take care of itself—without intense effort on my part—at some mythical, future date (hey, a girl can dream, right?).

It feels as though I’m being forced into running a marathon, be it potty training, discipline, cultivating relationships, or motherhood in general. And can we be clear about something else?

I don’t run marathons.

I don’t run marathons, and I don’t ever want to run marathons. But the hard truth I’m learning? It’s not really up to us.

Many of us are running marathons we never intended to run—difficult marriages, difficult jobs, difficult financial circumstances, strained family relationships, troubles with children, illness and disease, and a whole host of other possibilities.

Whatever you’re facing, the tough truth is that life on earth itself is a marathon. God’s Word is filled with race-themed metaphors:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).

As followers of Jesus, we are called to run the marathons we encounter—whether or not we consider ourselves marathoners or not! This thought could threaten to discourage those of us who, like myself, would rather sip fruity drinks on a beach than train for a race …

but, the really awesome, encouraging news is that we have a divine Trainer, and thus we are not alone.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, living and active in us, we are able to dig in, persevere, and keep going through whatever circumstances we face.

The critical question becomes: in whose strength are you running your marathon? Your own, or God’s? On our own, we’re not capable—we will hit a wall at some point. I’ve been smacked across the face lately with the reality of how much I’ve been depending on my own strength, without even realizing it! Independence and rebellion have a funny way of sneaking up on us (just ask Eve).

So I say to you, as I say to myself, stop trying to run life’s marathon in your own strength. Lay it all before the feet of our Heavenly Trainer, the one who promised that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26 NIV).

You may feel so very weary and at times think but I didn’t sign up for this. I’m with you—there are things in my life for which I certainly didn’t sign up for … but we can have victory. We can have the abundant life Jesus promised.

I don’t necessarily believe the idiom that “God will never give you more than you can handle,” but I certainly do believe that God will EQUIP us to handle whatever trials we encounter. And in doing so, our lives bring Him glory as we reap the benefit of all we’re promised in Him.

Hang tough, my fellow marathoner. Sip some water, take a moment to breathe, and regroup with your very own personal trainer, who just happens to be the God of the Universe.

The prize is ours for the taking.

Blessings,

Mere copy

 

 

 

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