I read this today during my devotions and thought I would share. I wonder how often we plan to a point that we “schedule” God out of the equation? I know I needed to hear this.
As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly—God meets our life “. . . when it pleased God . . . .”
Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.
I’ve had such a love-hate relationship with social media, but lately it’s been more about love than hate as I learn to filter through blogs and twitter profiles that are edifying versus the ones that are simply distracting. Today a friend posted the above image on her Facebook profile and I had to share it here. One of my friends has nicknamed me “boot-straps” as when a difficult situation rears its ugly head my way I tend to stare it in the face, take it for what it is and continue to walk forward knowing that in Christ I’ll conquer it.
Well, I think this image pretty much says what I could never put into words. By no means do I live in this every day, but I certainly would love to be this woman as often as I can be.
Are you living this way? Are you living like you are a woman made in the image of her Creator God? To quote a pretty incredible pastor I know, “BIG God, little devil.” Let’s live like it!
1 Corinthians 16:13-14: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
PS. I promise to be back here more consistently soon. I miss this space a lot!Read More
Quotes on Pinterest via leanneshapton.com
On Thursday and Friday of last week I had the privilege of attending Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. I’m still processing a lot of what was said there but thought I would share some bits and pieces of it through a smattering of quotes from the incredible leaders I got to hear live.
thank you again pinterest
Women are beautiful, and God intentionally made us that way. But there is something that happens to a woman when she is finally set free. When she relinquishes control to her Savior, her Abba Father, her King, she glows in such a way that only He can make her glow. She has a peace and grace that leave you wanting what she has. It spurs you on to seek your God to know Him intimately, to desire to be like Him. You wonder, what does she have that I don’t have? What she has is the assurance that she is loved, she is delighted in and she was created for a purpose. Most likely she has fought the battle and fought hard, knowing the war was won on the Cross. She has cried, prayed and begged her way through the valley, clutching at every Word her Father gave her along the way. Even when she didn’t feel His presence she trusted He was there. She learned how to take her thoughts captive and how to cling to what was true no matter how she was feeling, no matter how dark and lonely the valley may have seemed. She fell in love with her Lord more and more as she trusted His Word and He came through every time.
No matter how she felt at any given moment, she went back to the Truth and it did indeed set her free. And now, she stands in the victory that was hers along. She walks with grace and dignity and has put shame and despair behind her. And she will comfort those who need comfort in the same way she has been comforted by her Father. She will use her victory to bring her sister to victory. She will not be ashamed of her past, or the scars she may bear because of it, but rather walk alongside others, bringing them to their victory. And one day she will see, even her scars have been healed.
Women are beautiful, but when we meet with the Loving God, when we fight the battle that has been won for us, and we don’t give up, there is an unexplainable beauty and grace that comes upon us.Read More
I want to share a story with you today—a real life, work in progress story that involves ordinary people living for an extraordinary God. I have tried to capture this story well, but truth be told, I’m still not satisfied. If only I could convey what is welling up in this heart of mine. Nonetheless, this is a long post, but PLEASE bear with it and read the whole thing. I beg you to.
It is only appropriate to begin the story this way:
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
I met Sara and Andy five years ago when I started to work in the same department as Sara. They were really just swinging through Chicago on a short, I believe two-year, stint for Andy to go to school. This couple struck me as they were different. They were only a year younger than me yet seemed light years ahead of me in their maturity. They really ‘got’ each other. They LOVED Jesus. And they were full of peace and hope. I hadn’t seen this in a couple my age before and was drawn to them.
At work one day I was telling Sara about my new condo (the one Mr. Z and I currently live in) and that I was trying to figure out how to hang a few things. I desperately wanted to decorate but didn’t want to reenact the chaotic scene that occurred in my previous place when I tried to us a drill for the first time. Let’s just say there was a much larger hole than necessary after I tried to hang a simple curtain rod. In that moment Sara joyfully volunteered her husband to come to my place and take care of all my hanging needs. I was SHOCKED. Never had someone, who wasn’t family, been so kind without even the thought of me paying them for it.
So one day Andy and Sara came over. Sara and I talked for quite some time while Andy hung blinds, wall fixtures, vases and mirrors (all of which are still where he placed them). We had a meal together, that was the “payment,” and we called it a day. That specific day with them has never left my memory. Their kind, gentle, loving hearts made a significant impression on me.
So recently when Mr. Z and I were planning our trip out to California I contacted Sara via Facebook (we weren’t “friends” yet) as I remembered she lived out there now. I messaged her to see if she had any recommendations on restaurants and things to do in the area. Turns out when I had contacted her she had just been thinking of me the day before. We hadn’t talked in almost five years. God is funny like that ;-)
And this, I suppose, is really where the meat of the story begins. Mr. Z and I were not going to have the opportunity to visit with Sara, Andy and their sweet little boy Owen when we were in Cali because they were in Uganda. Adopting.
Since I have learned of their story I have felt certain things I’ve never felt before. The greatest of which is a HUGE burden to pray for them and to tell anyone that will listen about their story and to ask other people to pray.
Sara and Andy have been in the process of adopting two children from Uganda for a little under two years. You can read all about their journey on her blog at Let Love Guide. They began the process with one child in mind and have been given custody of their sweet Bauer, a beautiful boy, but along the way the Lord burdened their hearts for a second child and they are currently waiting on a court date for their precious little Nya.
Sara, Andy and Owen headed to the birth country of their children planning to be there for 6-10 weeks. They have now been there for 16+ weeks. As I mentioned, they have been given custody of their little boy but are waiting on another court date for their little girl as they were denied custody in their first hearing. The appeals process takes time and as such Andy has gone home with Owen and Sara is in Uganda with Bauer and Nya. Soon they will swap so Sara can come back to the states for a little rest and wrap up some loose ends, as she will then fly back to Uganda with Owen in tow so they can keep their family together.
And this is why I am writing about their story. Our extraordinary God has chosen this ordinary mother and father to be the parents of these beautiful children and of course, their journey is not without difficulty.
My heart bleeds for them. As I watch their story continue to unfold and consider what it would be like in their shoes I am compelled by their example to want to be more like Christ. I want to be careful here as I don’t want to paint them as saints nor would they appreciate that. I’m just in awe of their love. The love of Christ in them that compels them to love each other, Owen, Bauer and Nya. A Love that brought them to Uganda and has kept them in Uganda.
Throughout this process I have witnessed (thank you Facebook) the unwavering faith of this mama. And I simply want to use our little platform to help spread the word in hopes that you too will pray and ask God to move mightily and powerfully for this family.
James 1:26-27 says, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Will you join me in praying for this family? I ask you to pray.
BIG. BOLD. PRAYERS.
Prayers for favor and a definite court date, prayers for financial provision, patient endurance, joy in the midst of the struggle and great FAITH.
I cannot fathom what it would be like to split my family between two continents and an ocean, yet they remain strong in faith and certain that our Almighty God is working out all things for the good of those He has called.
Please also pray that their testimony would speak to the hearts of those who are resisting the call of God on their lives right now and especially for the lost that they will encounter on this journey. May their love of the Lord compel others to come to know Him. May they also be blessed with great belief and encouragement to know that their faith amidst the struggles now will bring about a heavenly blessing here on earth and in heaven. THIS I am certain of.
Thank you for reading this long but important post today. It would be really awesome if you could post a prayer for them either in the comments section here on The Block or even on Sara’s blog. Will you join in and embark of this prayer journey?
If you are interested in financially supporting them in any way, I will add the information for donations to this post as soon as I can.
I’m kind of amazed right now, two ‘Hope in Action’ posts in the span of one week! Let me introduce you to my newest obsession. I learned of this company less than two weeks ago on a blog I read pretty frequently and am kind of amazed by them.
While reading about them I felt like I was following them down Inspiration Lane and I didn’t want to stop. Doesn’t everyone desire to be inspired and to inspire others? And these ladies are doing it. And they’re YOUNG.
Okay, so what do they do? Well, as their website states, they are:
USING FASHION AND DESIGN TO EMPOWER WOMEN TO RISE ABOVE POVERTY.
“31 Bits Designs is a socially minded business designed to give internally displaced women in Northern Uganda an opportunity to counter poverty. By giving our beneficiaries access to the international market, they are able to earn an instant income, providing homes, food, and education for their families. Our program equips women by providing literacy education, financial and vocational training, holistic care, and strong support systems, empowering individuals to further their careers and attain social equity.”
When you have a moment I encourage you to read through their site and see all the programs they have in operation. They are not only helping bring income into this community, but it is with the intent to empower the women so then 31 Bits can train up other women.
“ We are committed to working with each woman until she has graduated from our program and attained a sustainable means of income within her own community.”
The first class will be graduating in 2012. Here you can read a blog post about the group. When reading their site and trying to get to know them better, this is what stood out to me the most:
“Love, because love stems from Christ and is a catalyst for positive change.”
At the heart of it all is the Love of Christ, a love that compels us to action. A love that mandates we care for the least of these.
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt. 25:40)
These women, in the US and Uganda are an inspiration to me and I hope to you too. The next time you are considering buying a piece of jewelry, would you consider 31 Bits? I just bought my first necklace and can’t wait to wear it!Read More