Can you trust me?

“You don’t trust me.”

Exhausted, I sit clasping the bread and the cup surrounded by people but feeling empty and alone.

“God, you’re right. I don’t. Help me trust you.”

This has been a long week.

After a few days fighting with a flu bug, my youngest Madi was hospitalized for dehydration.  It was only supposed to be 24 hours.  Compiled with a shortened work week, I was already on sick day number two of a three-day week.

But my kids will always come first.

Yet, as Thanksgiving morning dawned, two days later, her condition worsened.  She just couldn’t get over the hump. Each day I prayed for healing and each day the prayer seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Madi Hosp

It’s in these moments I realize I don’t really hold control.

And it really bugs me.

Suddenly, it’s not about me anymore.

This was the place in my heart God was speaking to.

You see, he had to remove me from the throne of my life so he could take his rightful place.

In a year of big growth, change and opportunity, God had to remind me he was still in charge.  I could whine and mope about how uncomfortable I was, but in reality, it was a thankless attitude. And now, it’s time to rebuild.

So, it’s been a couple of months since you have heard from me.  Here’s a quick update.

Madi released from the hospital the Friday after Thanksgiving. Eight straight days of vomit. If you know me well, you know this is my personal hell. I hate puke. Hate it.

Her condition amounted to nothing more than constipation. What cannot go down, goes up.

True story.

Seriously.  I’m not kidding. My kid was full of poop.

But we knew that already.

Four days later, the washer broke and by December 10th, my kids were certain we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree.

I mean, I didn’t have anywhere to put it.  We had laundry everywhere. I guess we could have strung some lights around the piles of laundry.

(insert sigh)

It was the very moment I stopped fighting for things to go my way and surrendered to the mess that God met me.

He infused me with peace.

He showed me where to start.

He provided resource.

He sent people.

He provided opportunity for service.

What started as a very complicated season turned into the simplest, most wonderful Christmas we’ve had in quite some time.

I’m continuing to learn contentment in wins both small and large.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about that with you as the month goes on.

So, if you’ve made it this far- Thank you.  I know it’s a little rusty but I promise to keep polishing as we go. Today, it was just important to start getting thoughts down on paper once more.

It’s my win for the day 🙂

 

 

 

Draining the Drama: Embracing my struggle

 

This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly all believers.” 1 Tim 4:10 NIV

“Is it necessary to go the hard way?” I ask as I squeeze my size 16 curves through a size 10 passage of a rock wall.

“Mom”, my son states in a matter of fact tone, “you have to go the hard way until it’s not hard anymore.”

Can I get an Amen?

I ponder his statement as we attempt a trail filled with steep cliffs and cozy caverns. Each step is a reminder of the demands waiting for me when I return home. I am in a season of growth. Opportunity abounds from every direction. I send a small request to God asking for relief from the burden of responsibility he has placed on my shoulders. I long for a small glimpse of his presence as I grapple with how to manage all that lies before me. I’m overpowered by good in a season when I refuse to accept anything less than Gods best.

Lord, can’t you take this from me?

Did I say yes too soon? I just want to live simply and safely under the radar. I like my comfort zone.

Lord, I don’t want to mess up again! I desperately long to get it right this time.

In this moment of distress, I sense God directing me to embrace my deficiency while allowing the power of pain to bring perspective. To position myself in the shelter of his wings while he mends my brokeness, prioritizes the pieces of his promise and makes miracles of my messes. Owning my struggle brings humility while traveling the hard way develops resilience for the roads yet to come.

I learn to pray gut honest prayers. I expose every feeling to his healing light.

I learn to power through emotions threatening to overtake me by standing firmly on truth.

I praise God for what is happening before me and I praise him for what is yet to come.

God did not create me to live under the radar. His purpose is profound and it requires much of me. Hard work when I would rather sit down to break from my toils. Sacrifice my preference for easy. Surrender my beloved to-do list in exchange for his plan and purpose for my day. God did not create me for safety. He longs to purify my heart while increasing my passion for his people.

He encourages me to continue taking the hard road until it’s not hard any longer.

We are now standing on the highest rock far above the tallest trees in the forest. There is a big picture I cannot yet see. I know one day I will. I have chosen to own the struggle knowing the creator of magnificence is traveling right by my side.

Regardless of the narrow path, victory will be mine.

 

 

Safety is not guaranteed on the observation trail

“Let’s start on the observation trail”, I suggest to my husband before he can complete his turn.  The backpacker trail sounds a bit risky and we have never hiked here.

I want to know what I’m getting into.

We pull up to a beautiful stone path trail complete with a sign to explain we should  finish the 3/4 mile trail in about 45 minutes.

A paved path with a timeline.  This is my kind of trail.

You see, I’m a girl who likes to live a buttoned up life.  After experiencing a long season of insecurity, I have worked hard to build a life guaranteeing stability for me and my family.  I find comfort and protection in knowing where I am going and how I am going to get there.

Then life has the odacity throw a foil in my carefully laid plans. Unexpected meetings.  Divine appointments.  I find myself in a panic trying to recoup and recover for lost time. Most days I check off every cherished detail on my list feeling like I am in a tailspin while simultaneously wondering if I accomplished anything valuable with my life.

What did I accomplish today? 

Can you relate?

As I approach the well paved path with my family,  I discover quickly this path is not as elementary as it first appeared.  I can take the clean- cut path but in doing so, I miss little adventure stops that can only be experienced by stepping off the paved trails and on to dirt foot paths which lead to some of the most spectacular views our state has to offer.

Garden of the Gods-1

My shaky legs navigate rock cliffs towering over the tallest trees in the forest. My breath is taken away by the majestic beauty surrounding us from every direction. The wind blows in my hair as I embrace my nervous energy in anticipation for what is next.

Garden of the Gods -2

No safety ropes.  No agenda.

No need for the well paved path.

As we complete the observation trail,  I find myself anxiously anticipating the backpackers trail. After all, when you have stood high above the forest, there is no need to worry about what lies within it.

Those who trust in themselves are fools but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26

Walking in wisdom does not mean staying on the well paved trail.  It means prayerfully discerning God’s will for the moment. Understanding my life is fully in his control even when my list of to do’s will more often remain undone in exchange for priorities he has deemed more important.

I can make the choice to remain on the well paved path.  Or, I can navigate the dirt foot trails leading to the spectacular view of life only found when placing my safety and security in his best purposes and plans for me.

Even when I haven’t planned for what is coming next.

You will be secure because there is hope.  You will look about you and take rest in your safety.

Job 11:18

 

What or whom do you place your safety?  Join the discussion at #LiveFree Thursday’s.

 

 

 

Anchoring in Christ allows me rest in the fury of the storm

They gaze in awe.  Is this for real?

Just moments before they launched the Dorothy into the tornado and watched in amazement as thousands of little computers whisk away.

The storm cloud suddenly shifts threatening their immediate safety.

After a life-preserving run through a nearby field, they find safety by chaining themselves to plumbing anchored deep into the ground just as the funnel cloud passes over them.   And for a moment, they allow themselves to rest in the storm until the cloud passes over, wreaking havoc along its chosen path.

It’s my favorite scene from the movie Twister.

After a lifetime of actively seeking resolution from a childhood event, the character, Dr. Jo Harding, rests in success of knowing her plan is working.  Soon she will have the data she needs to create a pre-warning system created to save lives of those who find themselves in the path of the storm.

Dare I say she begins to experience healing & resolution from years of pain in the midst of this storm?

Author Sheila Wray Gregoire suggests that allowing ourselves to feel pain is actually a key to the process of healing.  She states the physical feeling of pain, while not pleasant, will not kill us. It’s a necessary emotion to experience & process.

At the time I received this advice I too was in the midst of a storm.  I knew I could not walk in pain of my storm alone.  In the depths of emotion, I called out to Jesus and anchored myself to him.  Like the characters in Twister,  anchoring myself caused three things to happen.

I stopped running.

When I stopped running and just basked in his presence, I realized how much baggage I had gathered.  Years of bitter memories fought to reach the surface of my heart.  Issues I let slow boil until the pressure became too intense to keep shoved inside any longer.

I surrendered to the storm.

Anchored safely in Christ, I allowed myself to truly feel the depth of the emotions buried within me.  In moments I was most overwhelmed the still, small voice of God called to me, encouraging me to participate in the struggle.  Like a deep wound, healing had to establish within me.  The old and ugly had to fester to the surface so true recovery could begin.

My perception shifted.

I prayed. I journaled. I released memories and emotions as they surfaced. I committed to prompt resolution of the emotions which reigned freely for so long. I accepted accountability for my actions. I allowed Christ to shift my perspective and change my heart.

When I anchor my life in Christ, I can allow myself to experience the depth of the life.  I can feel the wind in my hair.  I can position myself to fend off oncoming danger.  I can see the first signs of light as the storm weakens.

I can experience the mighty power of God without fear of being overtaken by the waves.

Anchoring to Christ does not take away the storm.  Anchoring to Christ does not relieve the tension of living in a broken world. Anchoring to Christ does allow me to rest in the storm, even when there is work yet to finished.  Anchoring to Christ allows me freedom to move towards completion of God’s purpose for my life. Anchoring to Christ positions me for safety and keeps me from moving in a direction that could take me off path or place me in harm’s way.

Anchoring in Christ keeps me focused on my surroundings wisely judging each moment from a place of security as opposed to the storm clouds of my emotions.

Helicopter Momma, it really is out of our control!

I’m freaking out.

Not had too much coffee before breakfast, freaking out.  More like box of Miss Clairol in one hand with a handy dandy brown paper baggie in the other.

I’m sending my 15 year old to Mexico on a mission trip.  With responsible, god loving adults who are not me.

I’m sending my 7 year old to church camp.  For a week.  With responsible, god loving adults who are not me.

I’ve always allowed myself to believe that I am a laid back momma.  My goal has always been to raise my kids well balanced in the tension of this world.  I work hard to make my home a safe place for them to land.  A place for them to take comfort.  A place of unconditional love and acceptance.

My kids know Jesus. They have had first hand experience of his peace and presence in their lives.  They know how to serve others in their community and they enjoy doing so.  They are learning how to construct healthy boundaries.

But one day, they will leave.

It might be to go down the street to play with a friend, or an overnight trip to grandma’s. It might be to summer camp or a mission trip.  It might be in a car with a driver license that just came hot off the press or off to college to pursue the hopes and dreams of their heart.  It might be to serve our country in the military.

But one day, they will leave.

It’s irrational, but I often times trust my kids more than I trust other people.  I just don’t ever want them to stray too far away.  I mean, what if they come across negative influences.  What if they are exposed to drugs, alcohol or pornography?

What if they find themselves in a position needing my protection and I am not there?

What if they think little Annie’s mom is more fun than me? It might be true, but I don’t want my kids to know that!

What if my teenager makes a choice that goes against what we have taught her in faith?

One day, my kids will leave my cocoon of protection.  Whatever is a mom to do?

Helicopter momma, here’s the thing.  My kids are only mine for a little while.  But, they belong to God forever.  At some point, I have to let them leave my influence so they can grow to fulfill the purpose that God handcrafted them for.

In the meantime:

I can build them up in his word.

I can teach them how to live their faith in a broken world with broken people.

I can help them build a community of like minded people that they can fall back on.

I can allow them the possibility of exposure- in small doses.

I can let God work in their lives without getting in the way.

I can pray, everyday, for my kids to know a personal relationship with their savior.  No matter what.

I can’t raise my kids in a “what if” mentality.

I know they will make bad choices.  I know that they will crash and burn.  I know that God, and I, will love them unconditionally.   I know that I will always be their safe place to land.  Their safe place to receive coaching, instruction, and preparation to get back into the game of life.

But I also know that they will make good, God honoring choices.  They will experience success.  And then?  I will be their place to celebrate and praise God for the amazing work he is doing in their lives.

For now, I will catch and release.  I will make the commitment to let go in small doses.  Allow them to make choices, good & bad.  Draw them back in. Coach them.  Teach them.  Love them.  Point them to God and release once more.

Helicopter momma,  I don’t believe raising kids is the hardest part of being a parent.  I truly believe it is the fine art of letting go and knowing that God is in control.

I’m praying for you.  Pray for me, will you?

 

www.compeltraining.com

#Compeltip:  I have been working to tighten my writing as well as reduce redundancy. Behind the scenes, I have been applying the 5-f’s from tired, typical writing. For more tips like these, visit www.compeltraining.com!

 

The fall of pride. A review of motives. A lesson in humility.

I stood at the altar clutching my fleece creation as I finished my call for volunteers.  I had a great project in mind and I was in need of some extra hands  to pull it off.

I met eyes with the head of personnel as I turned to exit the stage and nodded a brief hello.  Which is the exact last thing I remember before hearing a collective “OH!”, as I tumbled from the edge of the altar and on to my hands and knees.

No stairs required.

I did a quick pain check and prayed a quick prayer that God would maybe just take me away from the moment.  A little vanishing act to finish the show would certainly be appropriate.  To no avail, I stood to my feet. I looked back to the congregation with a brief wave acknowledging I was okay and immediately left the room in a rush to get back to my office.  No harm.  No foul.

A lesson in humility learned in front of an audience of about 100 people.

No biggie.

Except it was.  Because when you fall off the altar in front of the entire church, everyone wants to follow up and make sure you’re okay.  It was like reliving the fall over and over again which was a hard pill to swallow.

Because in this season of ministry, it was all about me.

How can I make a name for myself?

How can I turn heads? 

How can I win more people to my cause?

It didn’t take me long to acknowledge my error.  Let’s say this moment was the beginning of the end.  It was in the weeks and months to follow that I realized that the purpose of ministry is to point people to Jesus.  Not to me.

I told myself I was pointing people to Jesus but that was a lie.

The truth is that it fed my ego when people acknowledged me and the success we were having in our children’s ministry and my motive for taking the director position was not exactly pure.  It was a chance to make a name for myself and prove that I was not the screw up that I believed myself to be.

God did a powerful work in my life in that season.  The most powerful work occurred in his silence.  At times when I desperately needed to hear his voice for wisdom and direction, he was quiet.  He was with me, but he just didn’t have much to say.  There were many moments when I had to stand on my own against popular opinion.  There were moments when people I respected shut me out.

Yet even in silence, God is still good.

It was in those moments I knew I was running the ministry God gave me in the exact way he was calling me to run it. I wasn’t doing it for me anymore. It was all for him.  And regardless of the noise happening around me, I was at peace.

At the end of that season, I left the ministry he gave me and started a new chapter in my life.  A new church.  It was a while before I got involved in a new ministry.  This time, I wanted my service to be different.  I wanted my service to be for him.  So I waited.  Nearly two years I waited.  At some points, I felt that maybe I had burned my bridges, so to speak.  I had my chance.  No more doors would be opening for me.

The thing about God is that he is not finished with me. Even now.

 In that time of waiting, I have rebalanced my priorities.  I have prayed.  I have reconnected with him. Even though I’m still under construction, he is starting to open doors for me once more.  Not only for me, but for my family as well.

I am done forcing open doors and windows of opportunities for service.  When ministry starts to feel like a burden, I do a heart check.

Is this really where I am supposed to serve or am I blocking someone else’s opportunity to serve joyfully? 

Does my choice to serve in this capacity offer an opportunity to point people to God? 

 Is this just an opportunity to make a name for me?

Each day I wake up and ask for ways to serve the Lord.  I am grateful for every opportunity he gives me, even when I receive no earthly recognition for my efforts. I ask God for a heart of contentment in knowing that I am his fragrance here on earth.  The girl longing for recognition still lives inside of me.  But with prayer and intentional surrender, God helps me to keep my focus where it belongs.

On Him.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4: 1-2

Coffee Shop altercations: A story of mistaken identities

I was checking the balance on my smartphone ap while digging correct change from my ashtray in the parking lot of my favorite afternoon beverage stop.

It’s a venti kind of day.

I shut down the ap satisfied I have enough to cover my craving when I look up to meet the eyes of a middle aged woman staring me down from across the parking lot.

By staring down, I mean ready to snatch me bald.

Hmm.

I take a deep breath, close my ashtray and straighten my posture.  I put on my “you’re gonna love me” smile as I get out of my nondescript sedan and head in her direction.

“Hi.  How are you doing?”  I say in my attempt to kill her with kindness.

She stares me down with an owlish expression.  Blink. Blink.  Head shake. Shoulder shake.  Deep Sigh. I grow concerned as I wait for her response.

“I thought that was my car you were in.  But my car is parked over there.” She says as we both turn our heads toward her nondescript sedan.  Otherwise known as my car’s doppleganger.

“Happens to me all the time.”  I reply.

Really.  It does.  Ask my kids.

As I head into the shop I recall my pastor saying that we should follow Jesus so closely that we can say with confidence, “Just follow me.  I’m following him.” My life should resemble the belief that lives inside of me.

The truth is, I cannot always say I am following the footsteps of my savior closely enough to be mistaken for him.

I want my wrongs to be made right.

I want my comfort zone to be restored.

I want to give my emotions the key and the driver seat.

I want to go my own way.  And, when I go my own way, I’m not following Jesus any longer.

Please tell me I am not alone in this.

The bible tells me that I am not alone in the process of transformation from me to he. He gave me his powerful Holy Spirit as a seal and a ransom for my life.  I am marked as his.  I have an advocate for prayer when I don’t know what to say. A mighty power that fills the void on days when I’m feeling particularly human.

The best promise is that his mercy is made new every morning.  I have fresh grace and fresh mercy to call upon each and every day.  A new opportunity to take the mistakes I made yesterday and turn them into opportunities for witness today.  His redemption is powerful.  And, it’s mine. (It’s yours too!)

When people see my life, my words and my choices, they should see my savior.  They should see my flaws, refined and restored, in his amazing mercy and grace.

They should be overcome by His love overflowing from me.

 

Maybe it’s not her. Maybe it’s me.

The darkening sky is reflecting the stormy atmosphere inside of my car.  My daughter is singing along with the radio while my son’s fingers are jammed into his ears as far as they will go without the need for surgical removal.

Lightening strikes.

“Chloe, if you don’t stop singing, the lightening is going to strike you so you can’t sing anymore!”

Sometimes, people just get under your skin.

Lately, I have found myself challenged by difficult people. People different than me.  People who annoy me.  People who choose to go their own way and have a tendency to throw a kink in my well thought out plans.  People who act as a speed bump to the flow of progress.  And, when my flow of progress is bumped, my inner mean girl comes out.  Thoughts start to circulate in my head.

Thoughts like:

How can you be so oblivious?

I would love to put her in her place!

I really dislike that woman.

The real tragedy occurs when I allow premature judgement feed my annoyance.

Finally, all of you should be of one mind.  Sympathize with each other.  Love each other as brothers and sisters.  Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

1 Peter 3:8

What if, instead of making snap judgements, I rephrased my line of thinking.

Is the individual truly going her own way or does she just not grasp the vision and the plan we are trying to achieve? Am I threatened by the gifts and talents of this individual? Or, perhaps, the attention she is receiving?  Is my snap judgement and assumption of motive the cause of our delayed progress? Or, is it my unwillingness to communicate that keeps us from achieving our goal?

Maybe it’s not her.

Maybe, it’s me.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

The problem wasn’t her.  The problem was me.  As ugly as that sounds.  The next time the ugly emo of annoyance raises its head, I’m going to reach out to the person at the root of the cause.  Not in aggravation, but in love.

Love is the only emotion big enough to cover petty differences.

Love is the only emotion I wish to allow free reign in my life.

Love is the only emotion big enough to soften a heart hardened by annoyance.

 

 

Seeking the Sabbath

 

 

“Your coming straight to bed?”, my husband asks in shock, “not even bringing your kindle to read?”

“I’m exhausted.” I reply.

Lately, my schedule has run me ragged.  My days start early and end late.  As I pursue this dream of writing, I have been adding daily journaling, blog design, web development and a training schedule to a list that already includes my roles of:

  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Sales and Marketing Director of a Supportive Living Community
  • Chief financial officer of my home
  • Household upkeep and maintenance
  • Church Volunteer
  • Community Volunteer
  • Band Booster Secretary
  • Workout & Weight loss champion (kinda)
  • all other duties as assigned.

I’m married to a man whose roles include:

  • Husband
  • Father
  • Production worker owning lots of OT
  • CEO of discount mowing service for elderly
  • Primary Chef in Landrusland
  • After school car pool king for the kiddos
  • Homework coach
  • Household Maintenance and upkeep (yes, it takes both of us)
  • A phone call away from saving the day
  • All other duties as assigned

Sound familiar? Can you relate to our chaos?

Sure, your roles may differ a bit from ours, but the bottom line is this:

We live in an overwhelmed society!

The idea of taking intentional time to rest gets farther away from the top of my priority list.  Rest equates to lost work time.  Lost work time equates to the possibility that someone  might get ahead of me and gain an advantage.  It means a tic mark left unchecked on my to do list. It means that someone might perceive me as lazy and carefree instead of driven and successful.

But what does God say about rest?

“By the Seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it Holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2:2-3

According to God, seeking the Sabbath is important!  If the mighty creator of the universe requires rest then so do I!

There remains, then, a Sabbath- rest for the people of God for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:

So when do you enter in rest from your works?  I find my Sabbath best met on Saturday.  A friend of mine who is a Pastor’s wife & youth leader experiences her refreshment on what she calls #recoverymonday.  Nothing defines the Sabbath as Sunday, but as the seventh day.  In theory, the idea of traveling together for church service is great.  Then, a lunch that magically prepares itself  followed by a nap and an evening of quiet family time.  Reality is that our family is up early for church and head that way in separate vehicles to accommodate our volunteer commitments.  We come together for lunch and hopefully a little downtime.  Then, the older two kids head to youth while the hubby, youngest and I begin our preparation for a new week.

Again, when do you enter into rest from your works? 

This is something I plan to begin scheduling week by week as an intentional effort to take a break from life.  I know that this is not a perfect solution.  We all have seasons of chaos that prevent us from taking more than a few moments of rest in an otherwise crazy schedule.  However, if crazy is your norm, it may be best to start creating some whitespace in your schedule.

Then the Lord replied, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Let’s talk about how to rest.  True rest comes from God.  How we rest is as unique as you are from me. The bible defines rest as a break from work or toil.  For me, this is a nap on the couch or a picnic in the park with my family. Reading a new book in the hammock, beach day or a hike.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as reading a book at the lake on my lunch hour.  Desperately needed moments of escape from my reality.

How can you seek the Sabbath today?

The Sabbath is simply about taking time to refresh and renew.  Recharge your battery.  Reconnect with God. Calm and rejuvenate.  Kick start your creative juices.  When resting, you’re to do list doesn’t go away, but, you can trust that God is going to give you exactly what you need to handle it when you return.

So go! Rest.  We’ll be right here, waiting, when you return!

What is your favorite way to break from your busy?  What are some great escapes that bless you & your crew?  Workaholics (like me) want to know! 

Leave your comments here:

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

The cost of contentment

It was the second week of my very first bible study. Being a new member of our church, and the body of Christ, I was trying to learn and absorb as much as I possibly could. Last week, Judy, our bible teacher, asked us to write out our favorite verse. Mine was a no brainer.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13
 
Apparently, I was not the only one. Four of us wrote that as our life verse. The problem, as a new believer, is that I believed that calling on that verse was a sure sign of prosperity and blessing upon whatever project I was working on. It was my cure all verse to conquering whatever ailed me. Fear in making sales calls. Guaranteed success on whatever business venture I put my mind to. The trick to making me an amazing wife and mom. A sure fired verse that would help me accomplish getting the home of my dreams and a life of accomplishment. My error was when I made this verse all about me and how Jesus would serve me. How Christ could help me achieve my dreams and ambitions. How Christ could take me from the struggles of being a young, insecure wife and mom and transform me into a confident woman who could handle anything with success and ease. A woman that other women longed to be. It was not about Christ at all, but about me and my own selfish desires to succeed. It was a few years later when I discovered the verse in context:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phillipians 4:11-13)
 

You could say the Apostle Paul, then Saul, was on the fast track before Christ caught his attention. But on that road to Damascus, everything changed. Paul was willing to sacrifice everything to proclaim the name of Christ. His life work. His good name among peers. His comfort. And he did it all through Christ who strengthened him. He was humble in riches and peaceful in poverty. Oh, that I could achieve Paul’s belief that no matter what, Christ will give me strength.  I challenged myself to rewrite this verse in a way that applies to my own life.  Here is what I came up with:

I am not saying this because I am in need, because you have something I covet or envy. I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, even when they don’t make sense to me, or line up with what I think should be the promises of God. I know what it is to be in need. To be empty and lonely in my deepest places. To not have enough to cover all the bills for the month. To be without the wisdom I need for the moment. To feel lacking and incomplete. And, I have known what it is to live in plenty. Moments when I can’t lose. Money in the bank. Time spent well. Everything rolling exactly as I would expect it. Perfection. I have learned the secret to being content in every situation. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I used to think I could use that verse as a magic wand to pull out for a tough situation. Abracadabra- I closed that sale. Abracadabra- Super balanced Super Mom. Abracadabra- selfish plans and motives instantly transformed into God’s will and plan for my life. But that isn’t it at all. It’s a commitment to contentment. It’s me, surrendering my life like a blank page, handing the pen to God and saying, “It’s all yours.” It’s leaning on Christ to step out in faith, intentionally and passionately, to pursue the calling he has for me. Even if I’m stepping into places I don’t want to go. Seeking only God’s face. Letting go of my selfish pride and ambition. At times, making choices that don’t make a lick of sense to those around me. Trusting God to be there when I step. He promises to be the light in my darkness. He promises his power will be made perfect in my weakness. The cost for contentment is death to self and rebirth in the promise of my Savior. Lack of concern for my life, while passionately and intentionally pursuing his purpose in the time he has given me on this earth.
Lord, in this moment, may my life be an open book in which you can write my story. Lord, grant me the strength and courage to pursue my purpose passionately and intentionally. In Jesus name, Amen.