Miracles: My lack of faith

Sometimes I am a skeptic, others times not so much.  I have faith in a God I cannot see with my eyes yet I am confident He exists.  I trust that Jesus was born of a virgin, walked on water and was raised to life again all without ever witnessing it with my own eyes. I believe these things with all my heart. However I struggle with the idea of miracles existing.  What does that say about my faith?  I’m not sure.  I’m truly asking.

Here’s a story.  Last week we were down to our last dollar.  It was a Wednesday afternoon and my husband looked at me and said, “We need gas and are down to nothing.  We need a miracle.  Seriously we need to pray for a miracle.”  I simply responded with “miracles don’t happen.”  The words flowed too easily from my lips and left me dumbfounded.  What happened to my faith?

Over the course of the past year I have been frustrated more times than not with a great number of things.  One is the way in which a man will work incredibly hard to provide for his children (as well as children who are not his own) yet is punished.  The other being those men who do not provide for their children and get away with it.  It has left me doubting and broken hearted one too  many times watching my children go without.  Now God has never failed us. He has always provided in one way or another but it has always been at the expense of those who should not be having to carry the burden.  Praying, asking and waiting for God to answer my specific prayer with what I think is the “right” answer left me doubting the existence of miracles.

So back to my story.  My husband asks his doubting wife to pray for a miracle.  I am not going to lie.  I did not pray, at first.  As I continued throughout my afternoon I felt an uneasiness in my spirit.  I have seen God do a great many things throughout the last few years of my life.  I have seen His will unfold while trusting His hand as He has worked in my life.  However the times in which I specifically prayed for “a miracle,” it didn’t happen.  I wrestled with the notion.  Should I pray for a miracle?  Was it worth taking a minute to specifically ask God for gas money?  Did He really care that we did not have money to put gas in our cars?  Oh the struggle as I argued back and forth with myself.  I just didn’t want another unanswered prayer (or what I felt like was an unanswered prayer). After spending time thinking it all over I caved and said a prayer.  I asked God to provide what He knew we needed and I waited.

That evening we loaded the children into the cars and headed to our weekly church group for a pool party.  I had to leave the party early to get my younger kids in bed on time for school the next day.  As I drove home the gas light came on and the bell chimed.  Tears flooded my eyes.  The frustration overwhelmed me.  It was swallowing me whole.  Enough was enough.

The hours passed and I finally heard the front door open as the rest of the crew arrived back home.  I was sitting on my bed as my husband walked into the room.  He looked at me and said, “remember how I asked you to pray for a miracle?”  I didn’t respond.  He began to read a note as he showed me a gift card.  It was a gift card for gas and a note that said where it could be used.  I just sat there.  Egg on my face.  God showing off 😉  Me left feeling foolish.

God knows what we need when we need it.  He knew my frustrations.  He knew my doubts.  He knows my heart.  He wasn’t trying to make me feel foolish. He was waiting for the right moment, the moment when I was feeling the most desperate and lacking faith in Him to show me He still moves stones.  

I know to some this story may not seem like a “miracle.”  To some it may sound like coincidence but to me, it was a much needed blessing.  Not just a financial need kind of blessing but a ‘I am here and I am real and working in your life’ kind of blessing.  God knows when we need those moments.  He knows we sometimes need a reminder of His presence in our life.  He is the God who provides.  He is our Jehovah Jireh.
We don’t know who the gift was from but we are thankful for a much needed answer to prayer.

Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life.  Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don’t worry about how you clothe your body.  Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up.  Look at the birds in the sky.  They do not store food for winter.  They don’t plant gardens.  They do not sow or reap – and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird,  If He looks after them, of course He will look after you.  Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying?

Matthew 6:25-27

Love Letters and True Love

I am oftentimes amazed at the games the enemy will play with my mind.  Today I found myself feeling down and questioning so many things in my life.  Things I have not questioned in a long time.  One of the things leaving me to feel uneasy today is my marriage or more so the love of my husband.  

I am certain it might sound silly but those days occur when I just do not understand why my husband chose me.  Why he loves me the way he does.  So often I feel like he deserves so much more than what I can give to him.  Those moments leave me with a sense of  insecurity.  Understand that those feelings I experience are not his doing.  I am married to a man who daily reminds me of the love he has for me. Whether through written word or verbally, he makes sure  I know I am his true love.  However because of my own past hurts and baggage,  days come when I question it.  I feel undeserving and doubt it.  It leaves me a crumpled mess as I fight back tears of frustration as I work through what I recognize to be true. He does love me.

Thankfully my precious husband has spent many hours writing me letters and so this morning, I spent time reading through my fair share of those letters.  It is amazing how the heart can find assurance in such a simple thing.  A few words on a page reflecting the heart and love of the writer can bring tremendous healing, confidence and assurance.  

The cool thing is that this doesn’t just work within my marriage.  Love letters work wonders as well in my relationship with God.  Just as my husband has written me hundreds of love letters, my Creator has done the same.  Each time the enemy tells me I’m not good enough or my past disqualifies me from belonging to my Heavenly Father, His love letter speaks something completely different.  Reading the words of love from my Creator, I find myself flooded with emotion.  When I am doubting His love,  I can turn to His Truth.  I can read of His unfailing love and it is more than my heart and mind can comprehend.  

So many things in this world work to discourage and cause us harm but we possess an amazing book full of reminders of something greater.   Reminders of Someone who created us and gave up His life all because of His indescribable love for us.  It is awe consuming.  

Be thankful for the love of those who make their love for you known in various ways.  Be even more thankful for the precious love letter written to you by your Heavenly Daddy.  If you avoided reading it lately or never read it at all, open it up and be reminded (yet again) of His great love!

For I have every confidence that nothing-not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing, -can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you.
He will joyfully celebrate over you;
He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.

Zephaniah 3:17

Faith: Is God big enough?

“There is a BIG difference between believing in Jesus and following Him.”

-Pastor Jimmy- Journey Church, Raleigh NC

“Faith does not require an explanation; it rests on the promises of God.”

-Wendy Blight

Faith is a confidence in God’s plan and provision as well as the expectation that He will fulfill everything that He has promised.

Ever have a question where you can’t find the answer?  Experience something that doesn’t make sense?  I think we are wired to want answers.  We want to know how and why things happen. Unfortunately we don’t always get the answers we seek, leaving us to trust what we cannot see and practice faith. Scripture tells us without faith it is impossible to please God.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6

So how do we please Him by our faith? The simple question we should begin with is, what is faith?  Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Faith is believing in something we cannot prove and trusting it to be true.  It is the belief in things we have not seen with our eyes but have read in God’s word. We choose to trust it as truth because God said it.

This can be tough.  There are things in this world that do not make sense and stories in the Bible that seem far fetched and unrealistic. However faith steps in and God reveals Himself.

In the book of Daniel, found in the Old Testament, there is a great story that is an excellent example of faith.  The amazing story of three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and their encounter with a King named Nebuchadnezzar speaks volumes to me about faith.  Because these three men made the choice not to bow down and worship the false god that had been built by King Nebuchadnezzar, he threw them into a fiery furnace.  Their lack of obedience to the king landed all three men in a furnace full of flames in which each one emerged unscathed. Truly miraculous and beyond any scientific explanation.  

Here is my favorite part of the story and the example of their unshakeable faith:
Nebuchadnezzar: It is reported to me that you, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, refuse to serve my gods and do not bow and worship the golden statue I had set up. Is that true?  If you are ready to comply with my order and fall down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, lute, harp, pipe, and all the other musical instruments, then things will go well for you from here. But if you refuse to worship, you will be taken immediately and thrown in a furnace of blazing fire. What god could possibly rescue you from my hands then?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego:  Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to defend our actions in this matter. We are ready for the test.  If you throw us into the blazing furnace, then the God we serve is able to rescue us from a furnace of blazing fire and release us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He does not, O king, you can be sure that we still will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue you erected.
Daniel 3:14-18

Those verses are so awesome to me.  In verse 17, the men declare even if they are thrown into the furnace, God IS able to deliver them from both the furnace and the King.  Those are strong and powerful words.  These three men clearly believe in God’s power. He IS big enough. Without the answers, He alone is all they need. Notice though they do not say God will definitely deliver them but instead if He so chooses to deliver them from the furnace and the King’s hand.  These men believe in God.  They trust in His power.  They believe He alone can deliver them from King Nebuchadnezzar. This is their belief.

Now in the same passage we see the moment when faith enters the scene.  The men proclaim even if God does not deliver them from the furnace, He is still God.  No matter the outcome,  even if God chooses not to save them, the King’s gods would not be worshiped or served by these men.  Those words are such a reflection of God’s goodness because even if they were to perish, it would not change who God is.  He would still be who they believed Him to be.

So the men believed that even if God chose not to save them, He is still good.  How?  Because biblical faith is not placed in the outcome of our circumstances but instead placed in God. Their statement to King Nebuchadnezzar is so profound.  To me they are proclaiming that every battle belongs to the Lord and He alone controls the outcome.  It is a statement of faith saying God is good no matter what happens and believing He can save the day and He does work miracles. It says that following Him is not dependent on whether things work in our favor.  Faith says we will follow Him no matter the outcome!

In the book of Hebrews, there is a great passage that speaks of those found throughout scripture and their faith:

“Those who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning;  they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promise.”

Hebrews 11:33-39

Throughout the passage there are great moments of faith through both good and horrific times.  There were those who conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, and escaped the sword. However there were those who were put into prison, stoned to death, tortured, were sawed in two and killed by the sword.  What a contrast.  But no matter how good or bad, whether they received what was promised in the end, their faith in God was not shaken.  They chose to follow and obey Him even with an unknown outcome.  It was choosing faith in the character of God.

Our Faith in God’s character is what pleases Him.  It is trusting His hand when nothing makes sense.  It is knowing we can follow Him all the way to the end because He knows and has written the ending.

Faith is not a bunch of beliefs and convictions.  It is not having all the answers to the questions.  Instead Faith is trust.  Faith is walking along side the God of the Universe and knowing He is I AM.  

If we want to please God then we must choose to place every ounce of trust in Him even when we do not understand what is happening.  Do you want that kind of faith? I do! And so to have it, you must pursue and draw near to Him choosing to trust Him all the way!

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

James 4:8


Just spent the morning with a friend having coffee which I never do.  I am one of those who prefers time to myself. But during our coffee date,  I was so incredibly blessed and realized that “me” time is not always the best time.  

Now this coffee date had a bit of help as God had to do the nudging to bring us together but we followed through and took the steps to meet.  And WOW!  Just wow!  I have spent weeks feeling flooded by stress and the daily drama of life but this morning, I was refreshed and renewed.  Our time together was like a tall glass of cold water. It was just what I needed.  It was what He knew I needed.  Three hours of honesty, transparency and encouragement along with a ton of laughter left me looking forward to a second coffee date next week.  

God created us with the need for fellowship. Not just fellowship with Him but with one another too as we were not designed to be alone. He created us to have an intimate relationship with Him first and foremost, through Christ. But we are also called to have that same relationship with others. He places special people in our lives, people with similar interests, passions and visions to encourage and to help grow our faith.  It is amazing what happens when you step out of your comfort zone (for me, my safe box) and go where He tells you to go.

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds,  not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.

Hebrews 10:24-25

Embrace it!

Photo credit: Aaron Peck 

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.

James 1:2-4

I cannot adequately explain the love and joy I have for my Heavenly Father. Right now, I am so incredibly overwhelmed.  My heart is overflowing and the words are pouring out in floods, leaving my fingers to attempt to keep up with what I want to say.

My family has dealt with its fair share of struggles. I saw my children harmed and felt incredible anger and sometimes hatred toward those in my life.   I fumbled over my faith and doubted God.  I made huge mistakes which left me feeling God could never love me or forgive me.  I listened to the lies of religious people who preached a gospel that was far from the truth of God’s word.  I allowed those words to impact my choices instead of searching God out on my own. Things happened that made me question God’s plan, leaving me scared, alone and empty but through it all I learned so much.  

Today I know these things to be true:

God is awesome!  His love is unfailing and unconditional.  His grace is sufficient.  His strength is all that I need.  His mercies are new every morning.
I have learned that with every sunrise and sunset, God IS in control of EVERYTHING! 

I have learned that tomorrow is not something I ever have to worry about again because He is already there.   He knows the outcome of every situation and that EVERYTHING is going to be OK!  

Nothing has happened that His plan did not include.  He is surprised by nothing that has taken place even when I am speechless at the absurdity of the ignorance of humanity.  

He knows the choices we all will make and already has a plan set into motion as to how each will be resolved in a way that He will get all glory, honor and praise.  He is AMAZING that way because He IS God!!

There are so many who complain about their issues in this life. I am guilty.  

So many who do not get their way or the answer to a prayer they are searching for and they are left to doubt the love of God.  If we are not getting our way, it must be because God is a mean God who does not love us. I am guilty of such thinking. 

But it is not true!  It is because of His indescribable love that you are NOT getting what you want because it is not what is best for you in this moment. 

Until you reach a place where the only thing you cannot live without is Jesus, you will never be able to appreciate anything else in this world.  

This is my experience. Not something I have read in a Bible but something I have experienced. 

I have tasted the love and joy of my Father and I do NOT ever want to be without it.  EVER. 

I prayed and asked Him for this kind of experience and He allowed me to experience the trials and tribulations needed in order to bring me to this place.  Truly, I would not have chosen this path for myself but He knew what it would take to “break” my will so that I could know Him in a more intimate way.  He knew what I needed.  HE allowed me to make my own choices and mistakes but He loved me through it all and used each wrong turn in the road as a way to draw me closer to Him.  

It is indescribable the journey I have taken but I discovered more about God and life in the past five years of my life than I did the thirty-three before.  I would not change where I have been. I would not change the experiences I have gone through because without each of them, I would have never met the Jesus I know today.

My continued prayer is that God will use me. He will use my story.  He will allow me the honor of sharing His name, His love and His faithfulness in ways that I could have never imagined.  I want to make known the name above all names to those who have never heard His name or to those who need to be reminded.  I want to show people that there is so much more to life than those wants that steal their joy and rob them of the true blessings that God has waiting for them.  God has given me more than I could have ever dreamed possible and  I want to live a life that reflects what it truly means to follow Christ! All I am is YOURS!!