Truly knowing someone takes time and intention; it doesn’t happen overnight with the snap of a finger. We experience this not only in our marriages but also in our everyday lives. I don’t meet someone on the street and instantly know their whole story and what makes them the person they are. However, when I was younger, I thought because I went to church every Sunday, I knew everything there was to know about Jesus. But here I am at 32 still learning new things about Him everyday. For that, I am so grateful and it never ceases to amaze me when God reveals something new to me.
In Mark 9, we see Jesus and his disciples leave where they were. Verse 30 says that “Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were because he was teaching his disciples.” Jesus took the time to train his disciples in depth. He spent intentional time with them and they with Him. Deep spiritual growth isn’t instant, regardless of the quality of experience or teaching. The disciples lived, ate and traveled with Jesus every day. If they needed to lay everything aside periodically in order to learn from the Master, how much more do we need to set aside time to spend with God to get to know Him better?
As I write this, my husband and I have been married almost ten years. In order for us to have a healthy marriage, we have to continue being intentional about pouring into our relationship and spending time together. The same is true of our relationship with Christ. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, we still have room for growth.
Friend, if you want to know more about Jesus, find a way to draw closer to Him today. For you, maybe that is reading a chapter in Proverbs, listening to a new worship song in the car, or spending an extra five minutes in prayer today. To know Jesus better, return to Him day after day. He will continue to meet you and align your spirit with His truth. Rest in the comfort of knowing that the longer you walk with him, the better you will understand who He is. Ask Him to meet you where you are and reveal more of himself to you.
Memory Verse: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
When I first started seeing these things within me clearly, my thoughts jumped to “God how can this be? I felt like I was growing closer to you and strengthening my relationship with you. Now I see all these sins evident in my life.” I felt defeated and unworthy. Then I felt the Spirit say, “This is what you prayed for; now let me help you.”
As David cried out in Psalm 139, with desperation to grow closer to God, we, too, can do the same. If we truly mean the prayer, we have to understand that we will probably not like the results. How are we to recognize hidden sin unless God points it out? If God never revealed the sin in our life that we try so hard to cover up, then how would we be able to fix it?
These revelations of sin don’t make us more distant from God, but rather is what is needed for us to recognize how we still have a ways to go. He does not reveal it to us to condemn us or make us hate ourselves. Instead He does it to set us free and draw us closer to him. Confession, repentance and reconciliation bring us into a deeper relationship with God.
Those revelations scared me at first, and made me feel unworthy; however, I am now thankful for them. Because now that I am more aware, I can repent and ask for forgiveness. I can also be more mindful of when I am tempted in the areas that have been revealed and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. This acknowledgement, confession, repentance, and reconciliation has continued to draw me closer to God.
Christ is truly with us to lead us, heal us, and forgive us. We are not called to dwell in our sins and past mistakes, this only further discourages us. Instead, we are called to dwell in the love of Jesus and allow Him to lead us in the way everlasting. After all, He is the One who has paid for all sin.
Trust me, I know this is a dangerous prayer, but I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through these last two verses of Psalm 139. This prayer has only deepened my relationship with our Heavenly Father. Invite the investigation of your innermost self. Ask Him to reveal the things that you may not even know about yourself. No matter what He reveals to you, and how hard it is to see, He will be faithful to lead you in the way everlasting. To Him you are completely worth it, so much so that He gave His life for you.
Memory Verse: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
We were told many times that having a baby in the NICU was a test of patience. During those weeks, there were many days that I just could not see through to the other side of this trial.
When we read James 1, notice he doesn’t say, “IF you face trials,” but “WHENEVER you face trials.” Trials in this life aren’t meant to break us, but to strengthen our perseverance. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook because of what trials can produce in our lives. When we find ourselves entering times of trouble or sudden change, we can take comfort in knowing that God has it under control and there is a purpose for our pain. We must choose to learn and grow in our present circumstances, whatever they may be. Face each day with the assurance that God will be with us and see us through.
In the middle of the scariest time of our lives, God was right there. He was not worried or wondering or asking “why?”. He knew exactly what was going on and where we would go from there. He used each trial we went through to prepare us and produce the strength we needed for the next trial. The five weeks I spent in the hospital, away from Brianna and trying to keep Brayden in the womb, helped prepare me for the weeks that he was in the NICU and I had to split my time between home and the hospital.
Yes, we had a very challenging season, but we also got to witness some amazing miracles firsthand. With God by our sides, my husband and I were able to navigate this season on His strength. Not only did he strengthen Brayden, but he strengthened us.
In September of 2020, after what seemed like an eternity of ups and downs, we got to bring our sweet, healthy baby boy home to meet his sister. That, my friend, is nothing less than a miraculous testament to the faithfulness of the loving God we serve.
Friend, if you are in the middle of a trial or a time of waiting right now, rest in the comfort of knowing that God loves us too much to answer our prayers at any other time than His time and in any other way than His way. He is with you, whether you see it right now or not. Ask Him to help you trust in His plan for your life and place your fears in His hands, knowing that He is strengthening you while you walk through this trial with Him.
Memory Verse: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV
The book of Esther is an example of God’s divine guidance and care over our lives. God’s sovereignty and power are seen throughout this book. Although we may question certain circumstances in our lives, we must have faith that God is in control, working through both the pleasant and difficult times so that we can serve him effectively. Esther’s circumstances may seem coincidental; however, they were part of God’s grand design. It may have seemed coincidental that Esther was placed on the throne, or that Mordecai uncovered a conspiracy, or the king was not be able to sleep and decided to review the history of his reign, and just so happened to stumble upon the truth of Mordecai’s good deed. However, the truth is that God was at work.
Around the time we moved to Kansas we were also struggling with infertility. Once we got settled in Kansas, I started a new job that through a series of events led me to a fertility specialist who helped us get pregnant with our first child. It would be easy to say that those events were merely circumstantial, but I know that God had it all planned from way before we even knew we were moving to Kansas. God also prepared a place for us there. He provided us with a wonderful home, a beautiful church community that quickly became our second family and so many amazing friendships that I still cherish to this day. I could talk all day long about the blessings that move brought me.
God is always at work. God has been working quietly and patiently throughout your life as well. The events that have come together for good are not mere coincidence; they are the result of God’s sovereign control over the course of your life.
If you are changing jobs, position, or location and can’t see God’s purpose in your situation, rest in the truth that God is in control. Where you are is not a coincidence. I believe God has placed us all, intentionally, where we are for “such a time as this.” God may be placing you in a position so you can help when the need arises. Look for God’s hand at work in your life, and trust that God will be faithful to complete His good work in and through you.
Memory Verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
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