It’s Not About Me


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

Some of my Girlfriends in God are not going to like this devotion. I’m not even sure I do. But I’m going to put it out there anyhow. During the month of February, I write devotions on marriage. It is the month of love, and marriages certainly are in shambles all around the world. Each February, I am flooded with e-mails: some are appreciative for the reminders on how to love their husbands; some are filled with hurt because they are in their own struggling marriage, and some are broken-hearted because of shattered dreams. These women are so thankful for the balm of God’s truth in a very tender area of their lives.

But I also receive e-mails from women who are not married, who do not like the attention to marriage at all. They are flat out angry and frustrated because the devotions do not pertain to them. “Don’t you know that all of your readers are not married?”

“Oh honey child,” as my grandmother would say.

I’ve seen the same attitude in church. “I didn’t like that sermon.” “I didn’t like the singing today.” “I couldn’t relate to that teaching.” And on and on we go.

You know what I’ve discovered…it’s not about me. It is all about God. If the pastor is preaching on a topic that is not my struggle, I pray that God will open my eyes to new truths that I’ve never seen. If he is talking about losing a loved one, I pray for those who have lost a loved one recently…even though that might not be my struggle at that particular time. Is the teaching on raising young children? I have a grown son, so I pray for those who are raising the next generation.

One Sunday, I was singing in church. Barely singing, I might add. It was a dry old hymn and I just wasn’t into it. Then I looked at an older woman a few seats down and she had tears trickling down her wrinkled cheeks. She was moved to tears by that old hymn and was taken to the throne room of grace.

“Oh Father,” I prayed. “Please forgive me. This is not about me. It’s not about what I like or don’t like. It is all about You. Truth is truth. Worship is worship. Help my focus be on You and You alone. It’s not about me.

Here’s a truth I want you to underline, memorize and ponderize (I know that is not a real word, but it should be.) Say it out loud: As long as I think the world is all about me, the angrier and tired-er I will be. The more I realize it is all about God, the happier and freer I will be. (I know tireder is not a word either. I’m just feeling feisty today).

Listen to how David focused on God during worship:

So let’s commit to remember together…it’s not about me. It’s all about God.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

WAIT…

Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
Child, you must wait.
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heart?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.”
My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a “yes,” a go-ahead sign,
Or even a “no” to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry;
“I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taught
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”
He seemed, then, to kneel
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.”
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun,
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be,
You would have what you want-
But, you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You’d not know the power I give to the faint;
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust I’m there;
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me;
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.
You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Yes, your dreams for your loved one,
Overnight would come true,
But, oh the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!
So, be silent, My child, and in time You will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know ME.
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “WAIT.”

~author unknown

Whatever your struggles, know God has a plan.  All things are in his time and not ours.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You are Accepted

Thank you to Jennifer Rothschild for today’s message:

Several years ago, my friend Lisa was going through a crafty phase and wanted to make a piece of word art for me. So, she texted this question: “If one word could become a reality in your life, what would it be?”

Girl, this took me awhile! The one word that kept coming to mind was “accepted,” but I was too embarrassed to admit that feeling accepted was what I really longed for.

I was a Christian, so I knew God accepted and loved me unconditionally. Wasn’t that already a reality in my life?

The reality was, I was afraid God accepted everyone but me.

In pondering my one word, God began to show me that I associated my performance with my acceptability.

Here’s what I (wrongly) believed: If I am good, I am acceptable. If I help people … if I am a blessing instead of a burden … well, then I am accepted. But, if I fail, blow it or mess up, then I feel like a reject — not acceptable to me, not to others and certainly not to God.

My skewed belief was I was acceptable only when I was at the top of my game or in the center of God’s will. Clearly, I had not truly embraced my identity in Christ because acceptance is what I already have.

So, I texted Lisa back with my one word that I needed to embrace and believe: accepted.

Lisa’s gift showed up in the mail a week later. It was a wooden ledge with the Scrabble letters A-C-C-E-P-T-E-D glued on it. This is a treasure to me because it is a constant reminder to see what I already have in God rather than seek it in the wrong ways and places.

Lots of us struggle with trusting the truth that we’re acceptable to and accepted by God. We are accepted not because of what we do or don’t do; we are accepted not because of how we succeed or if we’re good. We are accepted not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and to as many as receive Him, He gives the power to be sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). Talk about accepted!!

We are not only accepted “in” the beloved, we are accepted “by” the Beloved Himself!

My Scrabble word “accepted” reminds me I already have what I want. When I am feeling less than acceptable, I hold it in my hand, wrap my fingers around it and the truth it represents, and tell myself, “This is what God gave me. This is who I am.”

Can you take that truth in?

If you feel invisible, it may be because, deep down, you never really embraced the truth about yourself — that you are accepted by God, admired by Him and have His full and unconditional love.

Just like Lisa glued the word “accepted” to a Scrabble ledge for me, ask God to glue the word “accepted” to your heart so that, with every heartbeat, this truth is reinforced and becomes woven into the very fiber of your being.

Oh my friend, you are accepted by God. That is your reality.

When you accepted Christ, He accepted you. You may sometimes feel rejected, but how you feel is not who you are! You are acceptable, accepted — no exceptions!

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

When Worry Weakens Your Soul 

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message focused on one of my favorite passages in the Bible…

My husband, Steve, and I sat anxiously in our seats. I wondered if I was going to be able to endure the ride, especially knowing my propensity for motion sickness. But we began nonetheless.

The guide strapped all passengers into the tiny boats and gave last minute instructions. Of course there were life preservers, but what good would they do in the fierce rapids that threatened to suck its prey below the surface?

The crew boarded and began the journey down the mysterious Amazon. The calm meandering waters quickly gave way to fierce torrents, rushing rapids, and rocky crags protruding from the foaming waters. Alternating between plunging into the water and flying into the air, the boat made its way through the first set of rapids. My body relaxed, thankful that was over. Several times along the journey calm gave way to chaos as passengers maneuvered to keep the boats afloat. Often, I closed my eyes and waited for the turbulence to pass.

When we finally reached the end of our journey, I picked up my popcorn and walked out of the theater.

No, I wasn’t really on the Amazon River strapped in a tiny boat. I was comfortably sitting in a cushioned chair in the IMAX Theater watching a documentary about the Amazon River. In the five-story domed screen covering 6532 square feet of projection surface, large images put you in the center of the action, and the surround sound gave the illusion that you were indeed wherever the screen took you. It wasn’t real.

Yes, I did get a bit queasy from the larger-than-life movement down the river, but I was never in real danger. Even though the producers and engineer tried their best to create a realistic experience, I knew it wasn’t true. It was a movie. I would walk out unscathed.

That is the peace of walking, or in this case sitting, in the truth. Every day the enemy seeks to trip us up by stirring up worry about the future. It’s not real. It’s imaginings. Something that most likely will never happen.

Worrying is like sitting in the IMAX Theater watching a documentary about the Amazon River, but thinking you’re really in the boat. You’re not. It is your imagination running wild.

So what do you do?

Stop looking at the screen…the imaginings in your mind.

Leave the theater…the cinema where the worriers in you heart loop round and round.

Trust in God…the only One who knows what the future holds. He’s got this.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Are You a Titus Woman?

I am blessed with many positive people in my life who encourage me, support my efforts and know just the right thing to say.  When health struggles plague me, when fear and doubt creep; I am grateful for the reminder I am blessed to be a work in progress.  I am grateful God continues to refine me to be the woman he calls me to be…

I stumbled on a blog which talked about the qualities young women should learn from older women.  I guess in years – I would be the older woman but I am still a work in progress.  Here are the qualities as they are listed in Titus 2:3-5 which says:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

1) Self-Control – definitely a work in progress here.  She is self-controlled with her spending habits, her words, her temper, her appetites, her priorities, and her use of time.   Yea, I would have to stay this is a HUGE struggle for me.  I call out for help when I am in a weak moment or in a crisis .  My prayer life is getting stronger as I some to God each morning.  As she pursues intimacy with God, her soul is satisfied and she finds contentment and strength through his Spirit. For me, contentment leads to self-control and with God’s help, I work on this daily.

2) Purity.  By God’s grace, this is something I obtained over the years.  The greek word for purity here is ‘hagnos’ and is referring to moral and sexual purity.  Unfortunately this was not the case growing up, but with a gift from God – my daughter Belinda, I was able to work towards this.

3) Working at Home.  A Godly woman is not lazy – she is to be a hard worker.  Okay, I am sure God did not mean for me to be a workaholic, unable to put down the “gadgets” and stop working.  The passage does talk about being skilled in our homemaking abilities as well.   We should shine like lights in a dark world. We should love maintaining a warm cozy home for our family and those passing through.  I have never professed to be good at the homemaking abilities – dust bunnies can count on a home for a little while BUT we are always neat.  I love to care for my family at home and am really more of an introvert.  I am a work in progress..

4) Kind.  A kind woman is a woman who is careful with her words, generous, thoughtful and compassionate. She is cheerfully helpful and gracious when wronged. Without sounding like I am bragging, I would say I am kind.  This is why my career in social work was a success.  I pray each day I am able to apply the same principles to my Thirty One business.  Yes, I can look back on the work I did and say “you did well”.

5) Submissive to their own husbands.  There’s just one specific relationship where God has called us to submit and it is to our husband.  She stands out in this modern world as a woman who allows her husband to take the lead.  This is definitely a work in progress.  On most days, I am okay with this and am willing to let hubby take the lead. Then there are those days when the independent woman kicks in – and he will let me know about it.  I am grateful he understands it is not intentional but comes from years of being an independent single mom.

I talk a lot about being a Proverbs woman as Thirty One is based on Proverbs 31 – The Virtuous Woman but the description in Titus made it a little easier to see myself as a work in progress.  I am a work in progress and JUST FOR TODAY, I will continue to work on this.  What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!