Child of Weakness

Hi, my name is Rachel and I am a child of weakness.

The more and more I live this life, the more I see this in me. The more I learn of God, the more I see this.

I am twenty three, meaning I have no idea what I’m doing in most areas of my life. I’m just starting the attempt to plunge into my chosen career field and applying for jobs and interviewing and all that jazz. I’m feebly attempting to figure out where to do that, how to do that, where I’m going to live in all these potential towns, where I might go to church, etc. Basically my Type-A tendency has taken over and I’m turning these mole hills into Mount Everest. I have stressed myself out to the point of anxiety and panic. For what? Why? Because I am a human. Apparently a really stupid one who creates unnecessary drama for herself and the friends she has chosen to turn to in this time (shout out to yall for being graceful and understanding with me!).

This life ain’t easy, but that’s because I was not meant for this life. My body is here, but my soul belongs to someone else. My inward and my outward are in battle and there is something hindering me from reaching a point of peace and “it is well.” My cry has been “I believe, help my unbelief.” When life hits it seems hard to simply have faith and not desire to see what’s going on behind the scenes. I know Jesus has covered it all and I know that God has a plan, but my soul can’t quite reach full belief in that. My head knows, but my heart is struggling. I am not God, yet I am demanding the understanding that is God’s. I am not God, yet I am yearning for God’s all-knowing of my life. I am not God, yet I am wanting to insist in the grander design of things when I cannot even fully see what’s happening right here and now.

All of this has further illuminated the fact that I am a child of weakness. I cannot even make a decision without setting off a string of stress induced sleepless nights. I am in weak in my attempts to follow Jesus. I am weak in my attempts to understand God. I am weak in my attempts at turning from sin. I am weak in my attempts at trusting God. My life and my humanity scream of a need for Jesus. Not just could use it and not just an “it would make things better”, a dire need. The dictionary definition of need is: to require something because it is essential or very important, expressing necessity or obligation. Every fiber of my being has a an essential, obligatory requiring of Jesus and grace because I am really good at being a human and not so good at being a disciple of Christ.

I’m reading a book called “Help My Unbelief” right now by Barnabas Piper (totes recommend by the way). In the book, Piper recounts Job’s debacle and questioning of God. Job has just famously endured all the things a man could go through pretty much. He is working them out at this point and turning to God in desperation seeking answers. God in Chapter 38 replies with this:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements-surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone. when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no father, and here shall your proud waves be stayed?” Job 38:4-11

Hashtag boom. Mic drop. Hit the dab. Re-tweet. Whatever else people are saying now.

Y’all…we are not God! God is God. That seems so simple and “duh”, but if it is then, why can we not simply be content with not knowing all the answers to life’s questions? There is beauty in the mystery. The mystery is what prompts intimacy with the infinite, all knowing, steadfast Father. He is the potter and we are the clay. How could the creation possibly understanding all things? We would think that was completely irrational if applied to something in our world. We don’t expect children to know everything or be able to do everything, so why do we expect we can know and understand everything when what we are is children? God is loving and made a way in Jesus so we could have some understanding through the Holy Spirit. Jesus dying on the cross promises a hope of salvation, forgiveness, new life, and a future with God. That hope should outweigh the things we are unable to understand and do. And really, do those things matter? Honestly. If we are content with Jesus and truly believe God, do we need all the questions answered? No! Yet time and time ago we do, and grace swoops in to bring us back. There is mystery and there will discomfort and discontent in the world-its a dying, sin-inflicted world, but we know of a greater comfort that makes this world bearable and often times enjoyable. The world is finite, we are finite, but God is infinite and we can do life here with Him.

Thus far, my twenties has been a season of more questions than answers. I’m working to surrender my seemingly insatiable need for answers and trade it for Jesus and His promises. Faith is simple, and over complicating it just pushes me further from God. I am not going to understanding everything because I am not God. The sooner I come to that realization and my inability to know everything, the better. God is God and is going to reveal Himself as He sees fit. I am a child of God, which in and of itself, is pretty amazing. I am alive because God said so. I can know God, because Jesus paved that way and paying the price for all my sin and questioning of God. I can live with God’s guidance, because when Jesus took His throne, He left me with Holy Spirit. Everything we encounter in life doesn’t need a theology answer, and not everything needs a explanation.  The answer is we are children of weakness who get to find their existence in God and find a new life to live in Jesus. God works the world out the way He wants, we just have to trust that. Not knowing and surrendering isn’t an admittance of failure, it is a celebration of hope. It is plunging into a life of faith.

God recently wrecked my questions and turned it back to Him with the hymn “Jesus Paid It All.” The answers to it all and what to do are right there in the lyrics. Jesus paid it all, sin had left a crimson stain and He washed it white as snow. Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in me thine all in all.

 

How To Be Single

This past weekend, my sister and I went and saw the movie “How To Be Single” because well, we are single and appreciate irony. Despite some humor, a decent message at the end, and co-starring the fabulous Rebel Wilson, we both walked away from the movie a little disappointed. It was not an accurate description of what being single is really like or what I thought it should be like. In lieu of this, I decided to give you my own guide to being single.

In culture right now, on one hand being single has this “fabulous and free” stigma associated with it. There’s this idea that being single in your twenties and thirties means you can sleep around with whomever and stay out partying until whenever. The “I don’t need nobody” attitude is glorified accompanied with the “#yolo” mentality. While  this may seem great in theory and might be feel good for the night, you still go home to the emptiness inside you that you just tried to fill with a night on the town. No amount of alcohol or men or partying can fill this hole inside. Try as you might, you’ll only end up with regret and remorse as opposed to happy and fulfilled.

On the flip side of this, there’s still an air of longing from women to be married with a sense of obligation to do so by a certain point in life passed down by history. Marriage is seen as a destination, a mile marker to reach in life’s journey that will solve all problems and make you a whole person. The idea is held that once rings and vows are exchanged, you are successful and have achieved full adult status, and you will finally be happy and complete. The idea is also held that if you are not married by said point in life, you are a failure of some sorts or there must be something wrong with you for your failed relationship status. Your life being linked to another does not define your value. The romantic union between you and another does not define your potential for joy in life. A relationship of the romantic sorts is an added joy and blessing to an already complete person. A marriage certificate or changed Facebook relationship status will not fill that void in you. A marriage alone will not satisfy that hole inside.

Jesus is the only thing that can fill that void. Jesus alone can satisfy and sustain.

We can gallivant around this world all we’d like, chasing one thing after another, but nothing will satisfy  until we are filled with Jesus. Everything else is “vanity and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).  The world promises, and the world takes away. God promises, and gives us Jesus. Jesus meets us right where we are in the middle of our mess, in the middle of our search for completeness and answers, to give us himself (Romans 5:8). He died so that we could know him, be saved and forgiven from our current selves, and spend forever with him. Could you say the same of a night out or a spouse? As much as these things might promise relief and a happiness, only Jesus can provide rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28). Drink of the world and you’ll come back thirsty, drink of Jesus and your thirst will be quenched for eternity (John 4:13-14). Satisfaction comes from a marriage until things get rocky because without that solid foundation in Christ, one or both are at great risk of crumbling. Satisfaction comes from alcohol until the effects wear off, because while you felt confident in that moment, you’re faced with who you are and what’s going on when the hangover wears off. Satisfaction comes from a night spent with another until the sun comes up, and while you felt loved for the night, where are they the next day? Satisfaction comes from Jesus for eternity, because while we are all sinners and falling short of perfection, Jesus died to save you from the wrath of God and yourself and make way for you to have a new life with God here on Earth and on into eternity.

I’m not a relationship (or lack thereof) expert. I just have 22 years of experience being single, so I think that gives me at least advanced level singleness street cred. Being single is hard, I won’t paint it out otherwise. It’s hard, but it’s also beautiful and brilliant. It’s an exciting and fun time to be you. So, here are my “how to be single” tips.

  1. First and foremost, I pray you dig into that hole inside. Let it creep up. Let it convict you. Let God move in you! Explore the gospel. God is a powerful and mighty God, but He is also a gentle and loving God. Because you see, He sent His son to pay the debt we owed.  Jesus gives life. Jesus is love. Surrender this exhausting life you’ve tried living on your own and be freed by the cross. Find what it means to truly live! Embrace the most important and sustaining relationship you will ever have.
  2. Find what you like to do. Explore the heart God gave you. You are uniquely designed with exact specifications. What are those? See the beauty in them.
  3. Unashamedly enjoy what makes you happy. Like nerdy stuff? Rock it. Like girly stuff? Rock it. Whatever it is that you like-rock it. Don’t let the world’s standards morph who are you. Own that girl inside and let her do her.
  4. Take yourself out. Girls, don’t lie, you know you have rom com induced ideas for a date night or romantic evenings out and about. If you think it sounds like fun, why wait for a guy? Go! Take a group of your girls or fly solo. Take yourself out to the movies or to dinner somewhere cool. Take yourself for a drive. Take yourself out to do what you like to do every now and then.
  5. Intentionally see the joy in this time. You can go wherever,do whatever, be whoever. It’s just you doing life with God, so the possibilities are literally endless! See the excitement in that. I know it’s hard amongst the seemingly endless stream of engagement pictures and wedding hashtags on social media…trust me, I know. But intentionally (because let’s be real, our brains will more than likely revert to a sarcastic, subtly cynical comment otherwise), seek to see the joy for you and those around you in this season. Singleness is a blessing and can be a lot of fun if you let it be and quiet the voice inside that says otherwise (*cough cough Satan*).

Please don’t take this post hating on relationships and marriage. There is immeasurable joy in a Christ centered marriage. The intention of this post is for you to see there are alternatives to the “typical” single lifestyle portrayed by Hollywood. Rock and enjoy your singleness!! Singleness isn’t a punishment or pointing to something wrong with you or the pool of people around you or because you didn’t forward the chain messages of 2008. You are here for a reason, and I don’t know what that it is, but I know it’s great one. This has potential to be a joyful, strengthening, and empowering time for you! There is a crucially important relationship that needs to be explored between you and Jesus though, single or not. Singleness just happens to be an opportune time to dig in because there is not the distraction of an earthly relationship. Nothing else can satisfy and sustain except that relationship with God through Christ. Everything else gives moments of happiness, but will not fulfill or make you whole. Jesus does though.

My prayer is that when that moment hits late at night when you’re feeling alone and feeling like there is no hope or you’re feeling terribly single, that you will talk to Jesus about what you’re feeling. Let Him cradle your heart. God’s arms hold the universe, He can handle you too, hot mess and all. Jesus endured the cross to give you an enduring love. Let Him show you love like you could never dream of. Love and grace that defies human logic (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 8:38-39).

So cheers, my single sistas, to this crazy, amazing, wonderful life we get to live because of Jesus! #singleswag

 

The Best Is Yet To Come

the best

I’ve been reading through John lately and that has been a recurring theme. If you’ve kept up with the blog any, a theme lately in my life has been hope. In my last post, I expressed how I’d forgotten to hope. It had been an element of the gospel I’d unintentionally trained myself to forget, which robbed me of a lot of joy. This truth has reignited that hope and joy.

While reading through John, Jesus alludes to the cross. Throughout John’s recounting of the gospel, foreshadowing of what was to come is prevalent.

John 2 tells the story of a wedding at Cana in Galilee. At this wedding, they run out of wine and they all start freaking out and they go to Jesus. At first Jesus is all, “woman..” ( no, literally, he says that), then he tells them to fill the jars with water. Scripture says they filled them to the brim. Completely full. Whatever we need, Jesus fills to the brim. Lacking nothing. Jesus then tells them to take off the top and give it to the head honcho for the evening, the master of the feast, and head honcho says, “Everyone serves good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2: 10). He saved the best for last.  He saved the best for them. Jesus is the best, and we have been given the best. Jesus gave us what we did not deserve in dying on the cross; forgiveness of sin and life with God. The best was yet to come then. Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross yet. We live in the day where Jesus has already died and risen again and is seated in heaven, but one day He will come back. God is still moving. Jesus still has to come back to Earth. The best is yet to come.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If is were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.” John 14:1-3

Jesus is coming again! He has died, been pierced for our transgressions, and by His wounds we are healed. He has died, risen, and gone to prepare a place for you with Him in heaven. The best is yet to come yall!!!

We live in a broken and dying world. Our world is plagued with sin. BUT that is not where our story ends because of Jesus. We don’t have to live in this dying world as dying people, we are given life through Jesus and can spend eternity with Him in heaven! Not only that, the best is yet to come because, you are still alive. God’s not done with you yet! His unique plan for you is not finished, He still has more to accomplish in and through you. The best is yet to come!!

This isn’t a grand theology post. This doesn’t have much deep value, but this is truth. Jesus is still to come someday. You are still here and God is on throne. The best is yet to come!! My prayer for this post is that you will rejoice in that simple truth. Rejoice in the truth of the gospel that we get to partake in Jesus’ resurrection and be given new life in Him and one day spend eternity with Him. The best is yet to come in so many ways!!

 

Hope Amongst the Rubble

Something God has been bringing to my attention lately is hope. I have forgotten to hope. Or I guess, better yet, inadvertently trained myself to not hope. There’s been a few things recently that I thought God was doing.  I was so certain I was in tune with Him, but I was wrong. I had missed the point and lemme tell ya…not so fun. Actually fairly sucky. I think through God working in all of this, I have seen a whole new side of Him.

Let me tell you a little something about God. He is a dynamic dude. Through all of this, I’ve seen just how intimately God knows me and my heart and how He has held my heart so gently and placed me specifically where I am to go through all of this. Another side of this incredibly tender, loving God is a God who has humbled me these last few months. Any ounce of pride or “I got this” attitude has been wrecked. Like spotlighted then obliterated by God. Again, not so fun, but so necessary. Through all of this, I’m learning to get back to basics, back to the Rachel God intends for me to be.

Towards the end of college, I think I had so many ideas and things I though would be cool, I got wrapped up in these ideas and fake dreams that I got so tangled up and had no idea what I wanted to do. Thankfully, God provided means for me to have this season of life to unravel a bit. It’s so easy to get blindsided and distracted…

wreck it ralph

These jobs and places to go became fake dreams–things I thought would be really cool to try and experience, but not something that I was uniquely supposed to partake it. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with any of these, they are actually all really good things, just not good things for me. They became bad things, and I think idols. I looked to them and made reasoning to God how awesome they were and how I could share Him through them. I missed the whole point. Along the way in this, I lost sight of where God wants me. I lost sight of true dreams. To sum it up, I just lost sight of truth. I got so bogged down, and “poor me, “what am I going to do”, that I belittled Jesus so much. I had this terrible attitude and approach to life. Jesus died to give me this life. He died so I could have a relationship with God. He died for so much more than for me to play this victim twentysomething who has no direction. I have a direction: the cross. That’s my direction. Return to it, time and again, and let God take it from there. Something so simple and powerful, I managed to muck up pretty good.

Anyway, back to the point of all of this: hope. While my world seemed to be crumbling around me, I figured out hope was what I was missing. I think as American Christians we say “your will God”, but don’t really mean  it. Not truly. We say that, but then we expect the worst. We don’t anticipate the best, we don’t expect a miracle or the greatest possible outcome. We expect the worst or nothing to prematurely soften whatever blow we think might come. Yall!!! Why??? Why do we do this to ourselves? That is not how God wants us to live. Like seriously. God-perfect, holy, creator of  the universe, creator of us, creator of life-loved us so much, knowing that we would fall into sin so hugely, made a way for us to still have a relationship with Him and known His love and have the ability to spend eternity with Him, by sending His perfect, holy son to die an undeserved death to cover our epic sin with His even more epic grace. If this is true, and we state that we believe it and want to follow Jesus with every ounce of our being and share His name with the world…WHY ARE WE LIVING LIKE THIS?! We have the greatest hope that could ever be. We  have Jesus. We have the hope of knowing (not just optimistically wishing) that the war is already won. We have a valid hope. We can charge into this battle of life valiantly, knowing Jesus. That is so much reason for hope its insane!

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

#boom. Jesus induced mic drop.

mic drop

I was recently reading through Mark and something I noticed was the repeated use of the word “immediately.” It’s used roughly twenty times. Jesus is immediate. He may not work in how we think He’s going to work immediately, but He doesn’t just put things on hold and kick back in heaven watching Netflix avoiding the world. No, He’moving. You can’t see behind the scenes things most of time, because well…they are behind the scenes, but Jesus is Lord of those and using them. He is working immediately. Yet another reason to hope! Jesus is moving and moving immediately.

On a grand scheme of things level, with the state of the world, it pains me how much we have lost hope. I have been so convicted by this. With everything going on, we all feel this weird need to form these big opinions and ideas about how to fix this when it’s so much bigger than us and what our human brains could think up. Everything right now can only be fixed by Jesus. God has hit me so hard with this. Spreading the gospel, the love of Jesus and hoping in the truth of the cross is imperative and a necessity. On a personal level, I’ve changed myself and tried to make myself fit these fake dreams and this image I thought I should be striving for. I’ve lost sight of the truth that God has a plan specifically and uniquely designed for me. I can hope, knowing that I may not know where God is taking, but the HE is taking me, and that is enough. I can prayerfully pursue real dreams put in place by God and my heart with unwavering faith.

Things personally may be crumbling. God may be tearing down walls within you, and I pray that He is because that if often where true intimacy with Him derives from. The world may be crumbling in multiple ways. You may be standing amongst rubble, whether big or small, but there is hope in the rubble. There is hope because of Jesus. There is something to believe in and have faith in. The rubble is broken and in pieces, but Jesus is solid. Jesus is truth. God knows the rubble you find yourself in the middle of and has sent His Son to meet you right there in the middle of that rubble to help you navigate your way out through the amazing power of the Holy Spirit. For now, we have the Holy Spirit, but one day Jesus will return (whoop whoop!!!!)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14: 26-27

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life is ever changing, but Jesus is coming and God is on His throne. Find hope in that, be it the big things or little things in life!

 

Weak.

Weak: having little physical power or ability; little power or force; likely to break or not work properly; not able to handle weight or pressure

This is us. This is me. I am weak.

My prayer lately (very hesitantly at times…) has been for God to humble me to His majesty, just to the magnificence of who He is. I constantly put God in a box or relate Him to human standards when He blows all of that out of the water. I wanted to see God more everyday for who He is.

While reading through Matthew in my quiet times, I came upon this in Matthew 26–

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Yes. So much.

doh

I am willing to lean deeper into God and trust Him with this weird season of life, but my flesh is weak bro. My human instinct says to doubt God, be upset with Him or myself, and to doubt myself. My natural reaction is to go into this stupid pity party mode. You know how your phone has airplane mode and now all you have to do is swipe up and click the airplane? Well unfortunately my tendency is to have a self doubt button that I hit just as quickly and easily. I have been hanging out there in the Rachel Pity Room, Party of 1 for weeks, questioning why God has me here, dwelling on how inadequate I feel, and how things arent’t going the way I thought. Like why?!?! Humanity. Sin. Dumb.

Anyway…back to Matthew 26. At this point in scripture, Jesus is headed to the cross. Verses 36-46 depict Him praying in Gethsemane before He is arrested. In the first few verses of this Jesus is basically like, alright y’all (disciples), I need to go pray, sit here and watch out. Jesus goes and wrestles with God, displays the proper response to God (ya know, just changing the world) and comes back to some disciples sleepin’ on the job. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. They couldn’t even stay awake! Jesus is pleading with God to spare His life, but saying if there is no other way, God’s will be done. He’s willingly headed to the cross right now and they couldn’t even stay awake. This just hit me like a freight train with our need for Jesus. Jesus has paid the debt we owed. We couldn’t even dream up how we might ever pay that debt. We can’t even keep alert when asked. We are weak!

We are dying, decrepit beings and need God. We can do nothing and be nothing without Him. He literally made and beautifully orchestrates it all. Our spirit may want. We may want to resist falling asleep at the wheel in our walk with Jesus. I;m sure the disciples didn’t intentionally fall asleep. We may want to watch out for sin creeping in. Our flesh is weak though! We give in. We miss the mark. That is why we so much need Jesus! We are willing, but without Jesus we cannot. I don’t care what the question is, we are willing, but without Jesus we cannot. We need Jesus to bridge that gap to God for us.

I am humbled by my own humanity and my own weakness. I see my need for Jesus in them. I thankful for those now. God’s using my stupidity and weakness to show me more about Him and who He is. While I’ve been off in la la land, God’s been right there (story of my life). I am so amazed by how He has held my heart and knows me so intimately to know that right here is where I need to be in this weird time in life.

Life is intricately woven by God for your good and His glory. See your need for Jesus and taste and see that He is good!! We are weak and wretched, but with grace we have been saved, and by grace we can live this crazy, amazing life through Jesus that’s been designed and created by God. Like wassup!!!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:16
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he show show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 4-10

Behold.

Behold. A hinge word. A word that means, you best look up at what’s going down.

I’m currently reading through Matthew in my quiet times right now and I noticed this word popping up in Matthew 9. It was used several times, so I dug into it a little deeper.

Behold: verb; to see or observe, a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one; synonyms: see, observe, witness, gaze upon

Now a look at this word used within scripture. I first noticed it in Matthew 9 as stated, but I looked back and it’s used in Matthew 8 as well. At the end of Matthew 7, it ends with Jesus basically establishing His authority as Jesus (And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one who had authority and not as their scribes. Matt. 7:28-29). Matthew 8 starts out with the first “behold”. I found it cool that right as Jesus has shown the crowds by being Him who He is, we start really seeing Him do some legit stuff during His earthly ministry and crushing every possible doubt we could have.

Matthew 8:2-3–> And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched Him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Jesus as healer. Jesus as the redeemer.

Matthew 8:24-27–>And behold, there are a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Jesus as peacemaker. Jesus with authority.

Matthew 8:34–> *Prior to this, they came upon demon possessed men, and Jesus cast out the demons into some pigs nearby and the pigs jumped off a cliff and died* And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their region.

Jesus as God. Jesus rejected. (#btw so telling of us, how many times do we see Jesus doing something cool, come watch then say k bye?!? Ugh.)

Matthew 9:2–> And behold, some people brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus as the forgiver. Jesus as the giver of grace.

Matthew 9:3-7–>And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”-he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.

Jesus as God. Jesus as forgiver.

Matthew 9:20-23–>And behold, a woman, who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was well. 

Jesus as restorer of life through faith.

Matthew 9:32-33–>As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to Him. And when the demon has been case out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.”

Jesus once again distinguishing Himself.

Each of these are key moments and components of Jesus. How many of these key moments and components do we see on the regular and pay them no mind? That’s all this word keeps me thinking on. I don’t treat Jesus with “behold”, as if something amazing and remarkable is about to happen. Behold is a hinge word, a game changer. It is a verb, a call to action. That’s what Jesus is! He is the game changer; offering healing, grace, life, forgiveness, restoration, and God. The verses above are just a few of many that declare this truth. The gospel demands an action. The action of following Jesus with the surrendering of your life (discipleship), but as seen in the above verses, Jesus works in lives beyond our humanly comprehension. Grace and discipleship go hand in hand.

Our walk with Jesus is kind of like this clip from Pitch Perfect 2. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a gif that showed the whole things…thanks for nothing Google and YouTube…but right before she slides down the stairs, Fat Amy yells, “Behold!” I feel like we should be yelling, “behold!” every morning in anticipation of what God is going to do that day. Jesus is like the trash can lid we slide down on, it’s got us, its taking us down when we put our trust in it. Can you stand up and change your mind about going down the stairs? Sure. But is that what God’s call of discipleship is? No. Might you get a bump or bang on the way like Amy did when her head hits the wall on the way down? Sure. But you can trust that Jesus has got you and it is for a reason? Absolutely.  When you get to the bottom and it all makes sense, you can see how God crushes it through His son because Jesus crushed sin on the cross. I know this analogy is pretty cheesy and a bit out there, but this is what it comes down to:
Behold Jesus yall. Behold what He did. Behold who He is. Behold what He’s doing. Behold!!

The Green Arrow

So I had a “Jesus moment” while driving the other day.

I’m currently going through this study by Priscilla Shirer on discernment and hearing God’s voice. I have been so hyperfocused on trying to hearing from God and attentively, expectantly listening for Him to tell me my life story. On one hand, that’s something productive in my walk with Christ that I’m learning to do, while on the other hand…it is very discouraging. I don’t really know where I got the idea that if I started earnestly seeking God and His plan for me that He would lay out the whole timeline right then and there, but I did, and I got discouraged when the whole plan wasn’t there. Stupid human brain. I’ve gotten so wrapped up in seeking God’s plan that I’ve gotten distracted from seeking Him. So I’m starting to approach the throne rather than the throne’s agenda.

And it hit me while at a green light the other day. In this season of life, I’m constantly in prayer over one thing or another. Career.  Ministry. Relationships (or lack thereof). I’m waiting for the green light from God. Every time I think I know what He’s saying and I’m given the green light, I jump. I go immediately, mostly with some slight uncertainty, but with the desire for said thing to happen, so I go for it. While yes, the Bible clearly says when Jesus says to do something, follow immediately, but I’ve learned through this study God’s Word comes with peace and certainty. God works in HIS timing, not mine. While yes, He may have put the inkling in my heart that [fill in the blank] is where He wants me, it may not be just yet. His timing is just as important as His call.

Sitting at this green light waiting to turn left, I had an epiphany. God may have given me the green light, just like whoever or whatever robot runs the traffic lights. When turning left at a green light though, if its just a light, I can technically go, but caution must be shown. I’m not protected. I’m vulnerable, open to being hit. I’m yielding to the world. It’s not always the right timing. God doesn’t just give us green lights to go. He gives us the green arrow and the protected green arrow. Green arrows where we can safely go where He wants us. Things can happen and just because you turn at an arrow doesn’t mean you are in a bubble safe from anyone on the road. Same with God’s plan. It’s not always totally safe and dandy. You may get a ding or into a fender bender (or your right side by the tire hit like that one time in high school…), but when you turn at a green arrow, it was your time to go, you did what you were supposed to. You were where you were supposed to be. You are yielding to God, not the road. God may allow us to be dinged or bumped along the way, but its where He wants you.  We are to respond in obedience when God speaks. It’s for your good and His glory.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5–God will teach you the paths. Life surrendered to Him in relationship with Him via Jesus will result in the Holy Spirit in your life, teaching and guiding in truth and His ways for you.

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. John 16:33–There will be those bumps. Fact. Life sucks sometimes. Fact. BUT (that hinge word though!!!), Jesus defeated the enemy. Jesus won the victory! We GET to celebrate and live in this victory!

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:4-15–Life is intricately woven. That word choice. Carefully and specifically designed. Goosebumps just thinking about it yall.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Luke 4:19-20–Jesus was clear. There was no inking. They didn’t think He said to follow Him. He was clear. God is truth, not confusion.

You can rest in the assurance that when God says go, you don’t have to tread lightly into the world, throwing the utmost caution to what may happen. God gives you a protected green light, your own turn, beautifully orchestrated by Him. The gospel is a really cool picture of this. Was the road to the cross without its dings and bumps? Of course not! Bro, read the New Testament. Was the end result beautifully complete and perfect? I’ll say. #UnderstatementOfEternity

Something hit me today, adding onto this green arrow analogy. I’m currently a nanny and since the weather’s been nicer, my little buddy and I have been taking walks (well…I walk, he rolls like a boss in the stroller). Today was great. There was a cool breeze. The Spotify app was on point with pulling songs from my playlist to play. It was just beautiful. While talking to God, thanking Him for this serendipitous moment in the day, He hit me. I’ve been so tired of seeking and searching to come up with little to nothing. I’ve been frustrated and weary with God. I’ve expected a full detailed outline. God will give me the answers to all my question in HIS timing. He will reveal the details of my life and where He wants me in His time. I’m right where He wants me right now. I’ve been so busy seeking what He wants me to do with my life, I’m missing actually living where He has me. I’ve seen where I am as a waiting room and missed the joy in this season! God doesn’t do waiting rooms. He is a gracious and LIVING God! Keeping with the analogy…I’m sitting at the light, and while I wait for the arrow, I will be aware of what’s happening around me, what He’s doing, while eagerly awaiting His next step, but not forget to turn the radio up and roll the windows down and find the joy in where I’m at right now, right here where He has me.

leftturnsignal

When Jesus calls, I will respond with obedience. While He has me right here, I will serve Him, fall more in love with Him and see the joy in who He is and where He has me. The green arrow is coming, but why be in such a hurry to go when God’s doing something right here? Relationship involves the big moments, the turns, and the daily walk. Be still at the light, and enjoy it.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of host is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant. Psalm 25:14