By Kesha Webb

 

 

Once upon a time long before I met my husband I dated a guy who was quite wealthy. He started the relationship lavishing me with his attention and expensive gifts. Being the independent person I was, I rejected the gifts because I thought he had ulterior motives. It took a while for him to convince me differently, but when I began to receive the gifts, and his undivided attention, the experience was euphoric.

 

I began to believe I met my prince charming, and that I was Cinderella destined for a happily ever after. However as the relationship developed with only me as the center and focus, it began to fall apart. The gifts stopped coming and soon after he stopped returning my calls. Initially I threw a tantrum which pushed him away further. I went from a tantrum to pouting, and the grand finale “full blown depression”.

 

I blamed him, and when that didn’t work, I blamed myself. The relationship failed, and whenever I saw him, I held him hostage to that failure, without saying a single word.

 

I saw the parallel in my relationship with God. When the blessings are overflowing, my faithfulness is steady, my worship is precious, and my gratitude is abundant. But as soon as the blessings dry up, and his attention seems far far away, I throw tantrums, pout and work myself into a full-blown depression.

 

I blame Him, or others and myself for the valley. I hold God hostage in my emotions…. Saying I love Him with my mouth but secretly resenting Him in my heart.

 

 

2eace66d2e4fe9621072015c2d73c4b5The irony behind it all is… If it wasn’t for His AMAZING GRACE, I would’ve started in the valley and ended in the valley, without a clue of how precious it is to be Loved by Him!

 

I was guilty, but when I began to seek God on what to do about this little frenzy I was in, His response was unexpected. A still small voice in the back of my soul said, Can you trust me when you can’t trace me? Do you really love me unconditionally as I love you? Or is the measure of your love predicated on your interpretation of my performance? Can you serve Me with the same faithfulness and passion when you were adorned in my blessings?

 

 

I AM YOUR God and the measure of your love and maturity is not contained in your emotions. Your feelings are way too small a container to stuff Me in. Stand on my promises and not your feelings! One of my promises is “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

 

My heart began to soften, and I began to sweetly surrender my tantrum. In patience and peace, I began to simply trust God with the circumstances that just seemed so unfair at the time. After all He is the Creator of the Universe and His Grace is perfectly crafted just for me even in my frenzy.

 

God, help us to trust you in the valleys and trade our frenzied emotions for the constant companion of your grace and mercy.

 

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

By Sue Nichols

 

Two years ago, God brought to my attention that I was living my life too busy. The thought of tackling this issue was extremely overwhelming. There were several facets to the pace my life was taking: being a mother, a wife and an entrepreneur while working full time, serving at church, and doing everything I thought my family and I should be involved in.

 

I prayed a long time for God to show me how to change. In January, my husband and I were having an honest moment. He told me I have expectations. Hearing that word pierced through me. It was at that moment I realized my expectations were setting this outrageous pace. I could hear Matthew 11:28-29. Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

My expectations had created a tired and weary environment for my family. I had placed undue pressure and burden on us all.

 

1

 

I thanked God for opening my eyes. Now, I needed to take another step and change my thinking. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy task.

 

The first place God lead me was my marriage and home. I began to surrender those expectations and asked God to continue to open my eyes. It was freeing to walk into the house and not get upset that my husband hadn’t done something I thought he should’ve done. Then I realized I had placed the expectations on me, not my husband. What enlightenment! My husband had never said he needed me to be perfect or the house to be perfect. Yet, I had placed so many expectations on myself in every area of my life.

 

The next area God showed me was in my job. He had blessed me with a new job in December, but by April I was feeling the expectations I had on myself bearing down on me. I kept hearing God say, “Trust me, I have this.” I tried to surrender.

 

May was supposed to be my best month yet. Management was impressed with my numbers. However, in the end, I had just met my goal. I was trying to make this happen on my own. God needed me to trust Him and surrender. June came and I knew I could not keep up my pace. Finally, I surrendered my expectations and believed that God would guide me in what I needed to do. What I found was less stress and more time. It was amazing!

 

Each day I am focusing on being intentional about letting go and trusting God and He confirms to me his power and love. Are you living with expectations? Have you let the expectations of yourself or of this world make your life so crazy busy that you are tired and weary? God has a better way. Let Him teach you.

 

By Nancy Strackany

 

Have you ever picked up an old pad of paper only to discover some random to-do list from years ago? I have to really look at it because some of the same things are still on my lists these days.

 

I’d had a good week, I felt God’s love and grace in so many ways. I was praising His goodness as I walked into the house to find my husband in a state of hurt and anger over his efforts to reach out to our somewhat distant daughter. Old hurts, painful memories and unresolved issues all came flooding back, and I was unprepared. I wanted to be supportive, I wanted to respond in a Godly way but the words we exchanged then and in several conversations over the next few days ended only in more hostility.

 

I had only been looking at how my husband was lacking understanding towards our daughter, how his words were hurting her. I wanted to protect her. I felt hurt by his counter attacks on my lack of support and care about him. Can anyone else relate? I was feeling hurt, my strength gone in moments as I felt the old stings of perceived indifference that came from my own father. I even knew and said I was projecting my own feelings but it was too late for that. Feelings were distracting me from my faith.

 

0bf84a3907f6beaeb922e1197112ce19In the wee hours while my husband slept, I finally turned to God for help. I brought those hurt feelings to the One who could do something about them. I asked for forgiveness, I forgave my daughter, I forgave my husband, I prayed for Gods love to flow through me. It was then when God finally saw a humble heart He could work with.

 

Two days later, I stopped my husband and was able to say, “I’m sorry, forgive me, I want you to heal, I want the whole family to heal.” I cried. In that moment he saw my heart instead of my anger. It was what God wanted him to see and what God wanted me to say. I got it… I am not my husbands judge. It is my job to love and respect him, to meet his needs and be a help to him. He had asked for my understanding and I had given him judgment instead.

 

During that time, we said we loved each other and I know we both were relieved that this was in our past. Most importantly, I know I am forgiven by God, and yet still working out the process of becoming more like Christ. It is not an overnight work and and it’s still on my daily “to-do” list. It’s work that sometimes has to be redone until I get it right. I am trusting that God is true and loving and has a good plan for me and my family. I can rest knowing that his mercies are new every morning and His forgiveness is forever.

 

FullSizeRender-10

 

Gods to-do list for me was checked off in one costly project. “It is finished,” Jesus proclaimed as He took His last breath, took care of every wrong, sinful and selfish thing done by me and every person who has ever lived. That is God’s power and that is His plan. It’s beyond my full capability to understand but despite my finite view, I am able to see that humble power and especially love played out daily if I keep my eyes on Jesus.

By Dawn Smiling

Have you noticed that many times God uses the things that we are facing in the natural realm to show us a spiritual principle? This year for me it’s my health, and specifically my weight. It seems like only yesterday that I started my adventure to a healthier lifestyle.  In reality, I’ve been working diligently for some time.

 

blackandwhitebwroadwalkingwomanbare-8dda43f26cdb3bef5afbd9f29dd629f3_hAfter my weigh in this week, I discovered I am twenty-five pounds lighter.  Did you know that approximately 3,500 calories must be burned in order to lose a pound? That means I burned 87,500 calories. On this journey, I’ve had a lot of time to examine my situation.  I had become comfortable in my heavier self.  I could hide without exposing all of the wonderful things God knew about me.

 

As I let this first 25 pounds go, I reflect on other areas of my life where different types of weight consumed me.  The weight of fear, doubt, insecurity, disappointment, and placing expectations in my timing. These are things I discovered when I decided to let God have this part of my life.

 

Abraham was 75 years old and Sarai was 65 when God made a covenant with Abraham and promised him he would be the father of many nations.  Yet, Isaac was not born nine months later.  Through a different set of circumstances, Ishmael was born.  Ishmael was loved by Abraham, but he was not the promise God spoke of.

 

Isaac was born twenty-five years later when Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 years old.  Where was God for Twenty-five years? I believe God’s Word that he did not forget His promise to Abraham.  God was working things out for the benefit of all nations.  God could have opened up Sarah’s womb, but He chose not to do so.  God knew the perfect time to extend grace to Abraham and Sarah, and God has a perfect time to bless you!

 

During those twenty-five years of waiting, Abraham let go of the weight of doubt and insecurity.  Sarah let go of the weight of moving ahead of God.  After twenty-five years, Abraham’s faith was stronger.  This time built Abraham’s faith when God told him to take Isaac to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him.  Abraham was a different man twenty-five years later.  He was transformed.

 

God’s ultimate plan will always be carried out in His perfect timing.  God will keep every promise He made to you.  When you release the weight of fear, you will transform to new territories.  When you release the weight of doubt, you will speak boldly in God and claim His promises for your life.  When you release the weight of disappointment, God will bring new joy.  When you release the weight of living in your time instead of God’s time, no matter how long it takes to see a change, healing will come.

 

I want to be transformed.  I want God’s timing, not my timing.  I want my faith in Him to grow.

I am determined to stay on my journey… twenty- five and counting.

 

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.  Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.”  Genesis 21:1-2 NIV