By Kelli Wild

 

 

Are you feeling a sense of being “called” to something?  Maybe questioning if God has a fresh assignment for you? When God begins to call us to a new assignment, we will usually find ourselves facing three predictable struggles.

 

In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah discovered some devastating news.  His people had been attacked and thrown into exile. The wall surrounding their community, which was of deep significance, had been destroyed; and God asked Nehemiah to rebuild it. Upon receiving his new assignment, Nehemiah, experienced these three predictable struggles.

 

  1. You will question your positioning.

 

Maybe you feel stuck in a current job, are facing personal battles, or are at home with small children and have little spare time.  It is normal to look at our current circumstances and question how we will ever get where we would need to go in order to fulfill what God is asking of us.

 

Nehemiah experienced this. He was not a person of means. He was not a professional wall builder. In fact, he was pretty stuck. He worked for the King, and you can’t just quit that job.

His solution – he deeply sought the Lord and prayed for favor. He leaned into God’s sovereignty at a whole new level.

Despite how his circumstances appeared, Nehemiah knew that God would use exactly where he was to get him where he needed to go. In the meantime, he fulfilled his current duties while waiting for God to orchestrate the next step.

 

  1.   You will feel ill-equipped.

 

In Nehemiah 3, the massive project had begun.  Many came together building their section of the wall, each being listed by name. Some appear to be community members of clout. But there was one man, Hananiah, who is my favorite.

Nehemiah 3:8b says, ”one of the perfume makers made repairs next to that…”

That’s it.  That’s all it says. Hananiah “made repairs next to that.” I’m pretty sure when you are apprenticed as a perfume maker you are not exactly a wall building expert.  I can imagine Hananiah thinking, “Um, I have no idea what I’m doing.”  “I think you got the wrong guy.”  Maybe others thought that about him, too. Sound familiar?

 

The sovereign God of the universe used a perfume maker who said yes.

We can trust God to give us the tools and training we need when we are obedient to his assignment. The feeling of being ill-equipped is what humbly keeps us clinging to God, so he will get the glory, not us!

 

  1. You will be attacked.

 

Ugh.  This is painful to write, but it is true.  When you say yes to building your section of the wall, the enemy of our souls takes note. Do not be surprised by this.

 

While building the wall, Nehemiah and his people were constantly under attack.  The scripture says they learned how to build with one hand while carrying their weapon with the other (Nehemiah 4:17).  They took a proactive stance.

 

Put yourself in the place to learn how to fight in the spirit.  God will often begin to do some inner work to prepare you for what is ahead.  Soak in God’s word and surround yourself with those who have gone before you, as you become battle ready.

 

For some of you there will not be a manual on how to go about the work you are being called to do. You may be asked to oversee the entire project, as Nehemiah was.  Or you may be asked to come alongside someone else’s vision, pick up your hammer, and build your part.

 

If you are questioning your positioning, feeling ill-equipped or facing attack – you’re in good company! I invite you to join the rest of us perfume makers, and say yes to the section you are being asked to build.

 

 

By Misty Umholtz

 

 

“Give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

With Thanksgiving around the corner, how can we improve at giving thanks in ALL things, even the hard and difficult things in our lives?

 

Recently, I’d been going through a rough patch in this area so I would say out loud everyday what I was thankful for…I figured  that might be a good place to start. I had a list in my head of all these amazing blessings in my life, but the problem was that I spent more time hung up and focused on the things I was struggling with, rather than my blessings.  Maybe you can relate?

 

I started thinking,  What if I am supposed to praise God for who He is and be thankful for even all the hard and difficult things that He has allowed to go on in my life?

 

Do you ever notice how you feel after worship at church on a Sunday Morning? When we spend a few songs praising God, thanking God, thinking of who He is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus. Do you feel lighter? Does your heart feel full? Does His presence feel near like you can almost touch Him? This is what happens when we spend time doing what we are supposed to be doing.

 

The Bible tells us, our Purpose is to praise and worship Him. In fact, it says if we don’t do that, the very rocks will cry out to Him because everything He created was with the purpose of praising Him.

 

When we praise God, it puts Him in His rightful place and us in ours. It automatically gives us the right perspective. This is what gets our eyes off of ourselves. This is what fills our holes, our dissatisfaction, our restlessness, our disappointment, our frustrations.  They get smaller and vanish when we are Praising Him with a thankful heart.

 

When our eyes are on Him, all the struggles in life seem to fade into the background. As the old hymn goes, ‘the world grows strangely dim in the light of His glory and Grace.’

 

Praise is our pathway to Thankfulness. When we are praising God for who He is and what He has done for us in saving us through His Son, then our heart is full of thankfulness.  It is not based on what is going on in our life at the current moment but it’s based on Who He is and what He has already done for us on the cross.

 

The cool thing about praise is we can do it anytime, anywhere. We can do it at home or in the car, just turn on some worship music and start praising Him. What a great example this is to our children who are watching us live out our faith everyday. This is what I want to focus on. I will focus on what I am created to do and I will be thankful in all things.

 

 

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalms 100:4

By Dara LaPorta

 

 

For the first twenty-seven years of my life, I knew God, I loved God, and I was faithful to God, but I didn’t NEED God. You see, up until that time, I was able and sure.  I felt I had my life mostly figured out.  I was confident and relatively successful in many areas.  I hadn’t experienced any life-altering tragedies or the dramatic consequences of bad choices.

 

 

As I approached motherhood for the first time at twenty-seven years old, I was extremely confident and optimistic.  Because I had never dreamed of a glamorous, high-powered career, I dreamed of being a stay at home mom, so I was PRETTY sure this whole “mommin” thing was going to be pretty easy, and I was going to be a total natural (wasn’t I adorable?).

 

Sienna was born on September 4, 2011, followed quickly by Price and Maddox (twins) in 2013, and our baby girl, Tessa in 2016.

 

The shock of motherhood hit me like a mack truck.  I’ve never felt so out of control, so exhausted, so unsure, so lost.  I doubted my ability to survive the day, let alone raise these four small children into decent human beings.  I couldn’t even pick out the right color bowl (purple) for my children, so how was I going to make the bigger, scarier, more life-altering choices?

 

Until I became a mother, I thought I was a pretty good person.  But motherhood quickly brought to surface the obvious sin that resided in me…selfishness, irritability, impatience, bad temperedness, entitlement, selfishness (did I already say that?)…need I go on?

 

For the first time I was brought to my knees, desperate at the feet of Jesus, and four angelic, beautiful, baby faces were responsible.  I always knew I needed a Savior.  I always knew I was sinful.  I always knew about His grace.  But I had never experienced the true depth of that need until motherhood.

 

I now know that I am not capable, I cannot do it all, I do not have what it takes, and I am not enough.

 

WHAT. A. RELIEF.

 

The realization of my inadequacy has allowed me to surrender to the ONE who IS enough, who DOES have what it takes, and who holds me and my four babies in the palm of His hand.

 

All I ever wanted to do was be a mother, but I never could have imagined how it would transform my relationship with the Father. I understand in a glaringly real and authentic way, the ugliness of my own sin and the beauty of His grace.  I have found the hope and peace that only God can give because of my desperate need for Christ.

 

“Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” Hebrews 4:16

 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Have you found yourself in a desperate situation? What is God revealing to you through it?