Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Category: Ministry (Page 2 of 5)

You Are Not a Failure (Link Roundup)

adobe-spark25

It’s the last day of January as this post goes up, and I know a lot of you are already feeling like you’ve failed in what you hoped to accomplish in this new year.

I just want to stop everything right now and tell you that you are not a failure.

Seriously, y’all. It’s not too late to turn things around. His mercies are new every morning. Just because you caved and ate some pizza and chocolate two weeks into your new diet (…or maybe that’s just me) or haven’t even gotten started yet on your decluttering project (again, maybe just me) doesn’t mean you’ve failed and should give up. You’ve still got 11 months left to meet your goals for 2017 (and if some of them have to get pushed to 2018 it’s probably not that big a deal–the world probably isn’t actually going to end before then despite what the media says and you’ll still have time. Life is a marathon, not a race).

I hate New Year’s Resolutions — they set you up to feel like a failure and a loser. That’s why I’ve been moving away from setting major, concrete goals and instead making tweaks and edits to how I do life as I go (more on that in a future post). There’s no deadline and no expiration date. Just prayerful self-examination and asking God to order my steps and show me which way is best.

With God, every new day is a fresh start. Amen.

For those of you who need some encouragement or motivation, a different perspective, or maybe a little help, here are some links that might speak to where you’re at right now.

How’s your New Year going so far? Did your January go according to plan or was it a disaster? Have any additional links to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

A New Year’s Benediction

adobe-spark21

May we go into 2017 with our arms, hands, eyes and hearts open so that we don’t miss a single thing God has for us this year.

May we shed any baggage from the previous year, lightening our loads as we cast all of our cares on Him to be swallowed up by the unfathomable depths of His love.

May we stop fixating on the unknowable future and start living our right-now lives, appreciating and enjoying the blessings that are right in front of us, no longer missing out on the present good because we’re too distracted with anticipation of what’s to come.

May we learn to relax and savor the journey as we trust Him with our destination.

May we pursue Him with total abandon, trusting Him without reservation.

May we let our roots sink way down deep into His love so that we may stand firm and walk confidently knowing that we have nothing to fear because He loves us.

May we reflect His grace and glory and bring Him praise as we live fully and richly in the present, letting ourselves be filled with the abundance that Jesus came to give us.

May we loosen our hold on this life and hold tightly to Him instead.

May we let go and rest, and know that He is God, and He’s got this, and He’s got us. And He’ll never let us go.

This we pray in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Save

When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating Christmas

adobe-spark18

Not gonna lie: this time of year is hard for us. And we’re not the only ones. A lot of people feel the exact opposite of jolly during the Christmas season, for many good reasons. Some are coping with grief and loss. Some struggle with loneliness or depression. Some are simply worn out, run ragged by overstuffed schedules and the pressure of meeting high expectations. It can be hard to feel like Christmas is worth celebrating.

For my husband and me, December brings the anniversaries of both our first miscarriage and his mother’s unexpected passing. It’s also a rather in-your-face reminder of our inability to have children. While those initial losses are still painful, enough time has passed to wear away much of the sting. It’s the pain of continued childlessness that is the hardest to endure.

Pregnancy loss and infertility doesn’t just bring grief over what was lost, but also over what might have been, and that latter grief stays fresh. It’s renewed with every anniversary, every due date that comes and goes that should have been a birthday, every time you’re confronted with family, friends and neighbors having and raising children. At Christmas, it’s renewed with every sighting of Santa, every lighting of the tree, every animated Christmas special. It’s renewed when you hang stockings for your pets knowing that no matter how crazy you are about your fur babies they’ll never take the place of an actual child. There’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is about children.

But when you strip all of that away, you’re reminded that in actuality, Christmas is about ONE child.

ONE little miracle baby who was born into the world to bring healing, restoration and peace.

Thankfully, that baby didn’t stay a baby forever. He grew up to become the Savior of the whole world.

That child-turned-Savior is the only One that can fill the hole in my heart left by the children I’ve lost and am still waiting and hoping to have. He’s the only One that can turn our grief and turmoil into joy and peace.

Whatever it is that defines your hard this season, Jesus can do that for you, too.

And that is something worth celebrating.

Blessings,
sig-transparent

PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

What the Bible Tells Us about Tumultuous Times

adobe-spark10

Regardless of how you voted, or how you feel about the election outcome, the fact remains that we’re living in tumultuous times and the future seems more uncertain than ever. But as believers in Christ, we don’t need to be afraid. Here are 15 passages of scripture to help put things into perspective as we look ahead and move forward.

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Daniel 4:17b – to the end that the living may know that the Most High “rules the kingdom of men” and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 – Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 62:5 – For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Colossians 3:1-2 -If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Isaiah 41:10 – fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

And that’s not all. I encourage you to read these passages, too:

Psalm 37:1-9

Romans 8:28-39

2 Timothy 3:1-9

Ephesians 6:10-18

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

This election came as a surprise to just about everybody, but it didn’t come as a surprise to God. Rest easy, and remember that God knows how to God.

Have any scriptures to add? Leave them in the comments!

In love,
sig-transparent

Pin this post!

Pin this post!

 

PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

Save

Save

Link Roundup: Struggling Doesn’t Mean Your Faith is Broken

adobe-spark6

Sometimes — more often than I like to admit — I struggle with obsessive thinking. When those obsessive thoughts get stuck on a negative loop, it puts me on a downward spiral into anxiety and depression.

I’ve learned that when this happens, I need to take those thoughts captive and redirect my focus through prayer and time in God’s Word, but at times that is way, way easier said than done. I pray and I pray and I cast my cares on God and I proclaim truth and claim His peace, but inwardly I still wrestle with negative thoughts and feelings. And I in turn feel a lot of guilt and shame because shouldn’t this be working? Shouldn’t this be easier? Is my faith broken? Am I not trusting God enough? Am I a bad Christian?

I’ve felt God speaking truth into my life on this topic this week, and that truth is this: we all struggle like this. We’re made to. Our brains, while not all wired to be obsessive, are wired with a bent toward negativity. Our feelings work against us. This is natural and normal and even Jesus and Paul and King David experienced it. Probably every believer ever has.

The fact that we wrestle like this doesn’t take God by surprise, and it doesn’t make Him displeased with us. It’s not something to feel guilt or shame about. The fact that we wrestle against our thoughts and feelings means that our hearts are turned in the right direction. It just takes our minds a while to catch up to what our hearts already know.

Even more importantly, God uses this struggle for our good. He uses it to strengthen us, teach us, grow us, draw us closer to Him and deeper into His Word.

Today I want to share the posts that helped me arrive at this understanding. These first two laid the groundwork:

When Gratitude Feels Unnatural by Heather Enright on InCourage

“What can we be thankful for?”

His startling words broke the dark night. He knows me well enough to read my thoughts, and so he added, “The Bible doesn’t say we have to be thankful for all things. But God asks us to be thankful in all things. I’m just reaching here. But can we find anything to be thankful for to help us look at the bigger picture?”

The Bible talks about the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. These words never ring more true than when you are stumbling through the valley of loss and searching frantically to find your way to God. A sacrifice of thanks, indeed.

Gratitude When You’ve Got an Attitude by Holley Gerth

We also don’t have to feel thankful. Our brains are wired with a negativity bias. This means we tend to pay more attention to what’s wrong (like a bear charging at us). This instinct keeps us alive but it also means our emotions and perspective can take time to catch up with our wills. God knows this and we don’t have to feel shame or guilt about the disconnect.

And this one gave me my “A-ha!” moment:

What to Do with Tough Relationships by Lysa TerKeurst on Proverbs31

1 Peter 5:10-11, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
(NIV)

In the end, this struggle can be used by God to make me stronger and more capable in my relationships. If I am humble enough to receive from Him in the quiet what He wants to teach me through this, I can rest assured with whatever the outcome is.

It was those words of Peter — “after you have suffered a little while” — that brought it all home for me this morning. Lysa refers to that passage throughout her post, starting with verse 6. Peter walks us through the process of humbling ourselves before God, casting our anxiety on Him, remembering who our true enemy is and resisting him, promising that the end result will be that God will make us strong, firm and steadfast — but only after we have struggled a while.

Y’all, God knows this stuff takes time. He knows it isn’t easy, and He’s okay with that. He doesn’t condemn us for it. Instead He patiently helps us through it.

We have a good, good God, you guys.

In Love,
sig-transparent

 

 

PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

Save

Breaking the Mould

adobe-spark5

I’ve never fit too well into any one mould. I’m a walking jumble of contradictions. I’m intelligent, but also spacey and forgetful. I love people and new experiences, but I’m also a homebody who craves and cherishes time to myself. I’m a Christ-follower who lives and walks in the light but who has also always been drawn to stories about the dark. I’m very much a Thinker, but I’m also both a Doer and Experiencer.

Those are just a few of the contradictions that often make me feel like I don’t really fit. And it’s not just me–all throughout my upbringing teachers, parents and authority figures did their level best to trim off my weird angles and force me into whatever mould they thought I should fit into, believing that they were doing me a favor. Eventually, I took over for them, trying my best to shed my contradictory traits and cram myself into a number of different moulds, one after the other. I battered and bruised myself in the process, but I kept trying because I so desperately wanted to fit.

And then, eventually, I figured out that I wasn’t made to fit a certain mould. And do you know what? Neither were you.

None of us were.

God didn’t make us by pouring us into pre-made moulds. He didn’t shape us with a cookie cutter. We’re not products of an assembly line, with personalities and temperaments stamped into us from a template.

We’re custom jobs, each and every one of us. We’re works of artistry and craftsmanship, lovingly designed to a unique set of specifications, created for a specific purpose, hand-crafted down to the most intricate detail.

Some people might look at my jumble of contradictions and call me a mess (maybe even a hot mess). But some people also say that about a Jackson Pollock painting, or a Picasso. God looks at me, at His handiwork, and calls me His masterpiece, perfectly made to fulfill the purpose He has had in mind for me since before any of us even existed.

He says that about you, too.

Stop trying to fit a mould, sweet sister. Just be who you were made to be. Lean into Jesus, and let Him heal all those cuts and bruises that were inflicted from trying to conform to a shape you were never meant to fill.

In love,
sig-transparent

 

 

PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

 

Pin this post!

Pin this post!

Link Roundup: Posts that have ministered to me lately

adobe-spark

We’re in the midst of an interesting season here in the Bauhaushold. It’s not super-hard in comparison with some of the awfulness we’ve been brought through in recent years, but it sure hasn’t been easy-going lately, either (I’ll be sharing in more detail in my next Daydreamer Dispatch, my semi-regular letter to friends of the blog, so if you want to hear it all, be sure you’re signed up to that). It seems like we’ve been under constant attack and pressure from the enemy–nothing majorly serious, but a steady onslaught of stressful stuff to deal with that is enough to keep us feeling discouraged and very, very tired. I’ve been having to fight for enough margin to keep myself centered, and my husband and I are both having to work very hard to stay mindful of reasons we have to be thankful.

To be honest, it’s hard to be an encourager when I’m in a place of needing encouragement. Thankfully, there are plenty of other encouragers out there in the blogosphere, several of whom really ministered to me over the last week or so, and I thought I’d give myself a break from blogging and share their posts instead. Hopefully, their words will minister to you, too.

You’ll Have to Believe You Are Good Enough by Alia Joy at SheLoves Magazine:

We’re talking about pitching articles and I admit that I never have. I’ve been writing for four years on the web and never have I really pitched an article, submitted an unsolicited guest post, or sought out a place to feature my words without first being asked, without waiting for an invitation.

I waited for someone to tell me, You’re good enough.

Show and Tell for Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee at InCourage:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. . . . We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. (Marianne Williamson, as quoted in the post)

When God’s Faithfulness Sounds Like Silence by Karina Allen at InCourage:

Sometimes we are the Moses who obeys God and sees the supernatural occur. But sometimes we are the Moses who needs an Aaron and a Hur to hold up our arms during a battle when we are too weary.

How Can We Wait Well on Our Dreams by Alecia Simersky at God-sized Dreams:

Today, as I work on my dreams of becoming a writer, I have my days of wishing God would make the path easier.

I wish all the hard work and learning I have been doing magically translated into success. But it doesn’t. I have to wait.

Have you come across any posts that have spoken directly to your heart lately, dear reader? I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Blessings,
sig-transparent

 

 

PS – Find more encouragement at the #DreamTogether link party on God-sized Dreams.

Save

Save

The Hard Work of Rest

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.Last week was a doozy. My husband had surgery on Thursday, and all week leading up to that was filled with appointments and errands and preparations. Our routines were completely upturned, we both had mild anxiety about the procedure, and as if that wasn’t enough to stress us out, I began the week with a sore throat and had to deal with all of the above while feeling achy, run-down and struggling to breathe.

It felt like everything I’ve been saying here about rest and grace and slowing down went out the window as we lapsed back into survival mode.

The thing that’s hardest about survival mode, or one of the things, anyway, is getting out of it once the crisis has passed. In a lot of ways, I’m still struggling to completely climb my way out of this mode after a long, drawn-out season of hardship and grief. It started nearly eight years ago with the loss of a good job. This was followed fairly shortly by back-to-back miscarriages, and we had just enough time to catch our breath from that before both of my in-laws passed away in rapid succession. Then we managed to go a whole year without anything devastating happening before my website business went belly up and left us in dire straits.

I could probably write dozens of blog posts about all of the ways God provided for us and sustained us during this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was stressful, and that kind of chronic stress, drawn out over a period of years, isn’t something you can just turn off once things are better.

And things have been better, for a few years now. Not perfect by any means, but better. Even so, I still struggle with anxiety sometimes. God used this long period of hardship to bring me to a place of surrender, of learning to be completely dependent on Him instead of trying to exert control over my life, but it’s been a long, slow process of learning, healing and yielding, and I’m not completely there yet. I may never be completely there in this life. I’m still at a point when any kind of crisis or stressful situation, even when I know it’s temporary, puts me right back in that place where I’m walking around with my entire body clenched like a fist and my gut constantly churns with a vague sense of dread.

It hasn’t been as bad this time, but it was a struggle. It takes effort to rest in the Lord. It takes mindfulness to hold onto His peace. Rest and peace are there in these stressful, anxious times, but we have to consciously reach for them and fight to hold on. We do this through prayer, through making time to just be in God’s presence, and by keeping our minds steeped in the truth of His word.

It also takes trust and letting go. Letting go of our own efforts to control the situation. Trusting that HE is in control and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, and that no matter what the outcome, He’ll be with you, strengthening and sustaining you, holding you and carrying you.

One thing this long season of hardship and healing has taught me is that the more I’m able to loosen my grip on life, the more rest and peace I have, and the more He’s able to move and establish His plan for my life, which is so much better than anything I planned. I keep learning to get out of His way.

Still, old habits die hard sometimes, and it can be easy to forget what we’ve learned and lapse back into old patterns. Lord, help us when we do so, making us mindful and reminding us that You are in control and it’s not our job to fix things or hold things together. Our job is to trust you and draw close to you for rest and peace. You are our battle fighter, and You hold all things together. Help us, Father, to get out of your way.

Amen.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14

Do you struggle to get out of crisis mode? Is there something that’s got you in survival mode right now? Let me know how I can pray for you in the comments.

Love,
sig-transparent

 

 

PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

The LORD will fight for you.

Pin this post

 

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance coming October 31st from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

R.E.M. is right. Everybody hurts.

turn-away-my-eyes

I should confess something.

I’m an idolater. I covet stuff that’s not mine. I get envious of other people’s blessings. I indulge in self-pity far more often than I’d like to admit, convincing myself that I’m a victim of life. I compare and contrast until it makes me depressed, bitter and full of resentment.

I’m working on this. I’ve actually gotten a lot better about this stuff over the last few years, but it’s still a struggle sometimes.

But God keeps teaching me lessons about compassion. He keeps reminding me that life is hard for everybody. EVERYBODY. Every single person on this planet is under pressure.

People feel chronic stress the same way and suffer the same psychological and physiological effects regardless of whether that stress comes from overworking yourself to maintain an upper class lifestyle or taking on too many commitments trying to please all of the people or mothering multiple small children and being chronically sleep-deprived and literally having no time for yourself or struggling with infertility and daily fighting to take control of your own body and grieving lost pregnancies and mourning lost dreams or working multiple jobs and living paycheck to paycheck or living in a third-world hut and having to hike miles and miles just to get potable water to drink.

Wherever you fall in there, life is hard–not all the time, not every single moment of every single day–but sometimes, maybe more often than you’d like. And hard is hard no matter what it looks like. And people deserve compassion and kindness whether they wear a power suit and sit behind a desk in a high-rise office or they wear a nametag and a hairnet to work or they never change out of yoga pants and feel overwhelmed with ALL THE LAUNDRY or they wear tattered rags and sleep on a dirt floor or in a cardboard box.

People are people. Hard is hard. Stress is stressful no matter where it’s coming from, and pain is pain regardless of the cause, and it HURTS. And we are all–every single one of us–just doing the best we can to survive and to find reasons to hang in there and be joyful.

Your hard is valid. So is your neighbor’s. So is that Supermom’s whose Instagram feed looks like some kind of professionally photographed fairytale who makes you feel like your life doesn’t measure up. Guess what? Hers doesn’t, either. Not really. So there’s no use in comparing.

So when I start to play the comparison game, when I start to covet, when I feel my eye starting to turn evil because the Lord dared to be good to someone else while I’m still waiting for my prayers to be answered, I stop. I repent. I open up my gratitude journal and start listing all of the reasons I have to be joyful. I give my hard stuff to God and thank Him for the things on the list. I get my eyes off of myself and onto Jesus.

If you want to play the comparison game, compare your life to the one He lived. Nobody’s hard will EVER be harder than the hard He endured. And He did it willingly so that we could give all of our hard to Him and let Him carry it for us.

 

“Incline my heart to your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes
From looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.”
{Psalm 119:36-37}

Love,
sig-transparent

PS – Linking up this week with Holley Gerth and Missional Women. Check out their blogs for more encouragement throughout your week.

Don’t Fence Me In

dont-fence-me-in

 

I’m a country girl. I mean, I didn’t grow up on a farm or anything like that, but the housing addition I grew up in was out in the middle of the country, next to a lake, surrounded by woods and, beyond that, farm pastures and ranch land. The neighborhood itself was pretty spread out, with houses that sat on lots of an acre or more, the majority of which offered at least a glimpse of the lake, and plenty of empty, wooded lots, teaming with wildlife, scattered in between. There were few fences of any kind, and no privacy fences. You had to drive at least a dozen miles to get to the nearest grocery store. Life moved a little more slowly. There was plenty of space to roam and stretch out. Plenty of room to breathe.

When we bought our house in the city back in 2008, it was so exciting, all the hustle and bustle, being right in the middle of the action. We have multiple grocery stores within walking distance, not to mention restaurants and takeout places and drug stores and gas stations. We pretty much never need to travel more than a mile from our house unless we just want to. It was nice. For a while. But it didn’t take long for it to start feeling a little too exciting, too much action, too closed in. I feel claustrophobic here, and my soul yearns to return to the country, or at least someplace with a little elbow room, where the view beyond the fence offers something other than more fences and rooftops.

I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while now, puzzling over why God hasn’t responded to my yearnings and answered my prayers by opening a door for us to move out of the city. Why He seems to want us planted right here, seemingly indefinitely. I feel so limited here. So stuck. So hemmed in.

That feeling doesn’t just come from my physical location. I’m limited in many other ways. Chronic illness. ADD. Introversion. Only having so much energy and focus to give each day before it runs out and I become useless. God’s been working in me to get me to accept my limitations, even embrace them, recognize how some of them can be flipped around to become strengths.

But this morning I realized something: limitations are not limits. God doesn’t give us limitations in order to fence us in and place boundaries on what we’re able to accomplish, but to provide us with opportunities to rely on His grace and strength in order to overcome our limitations and accomplish more than we ever even dreamed of.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:10 (emphasis added)

I’m coming to realize that God has us planted here because this is where He’s growing us. And I have faith that when we’re mature enough, he’ll transplant us somewhere else — somewhere with plenty of room to unfurl our leaves and achieve full blossom. Meanwhile, I’m learning to see beauty beyond our fence, interspersed with the chimneys and satellite dishes. And I’m learning to find joy right here in my own back yard. And I’m learning that the more I invite Him in and rest in His grace, the more I’m able to breathe, right where I am.

« Older posts Newer posts »