After watching I Still Believe tonight, I am in awe of the power of God, yet again!
I Still Believe
This movie is based on the true story of famous Christian singer, Jeremy Camp; of his rise to fame and his beautiful love story of him and his first wife.
My heart both hurts and is joyful. So full of the Holy Spirit, I can’t sleep without telling you all about it.
Our faith is strengthened by adversity and struggles, not cupcakes and unicorns- sorry to disappoint you.
This time in our lives is so unique in that everyone is struggling. Everyone is acknowledging a common struggle and banding together to find hope.
The problem is, anything they find that’s not Jesus will disappoint and fail them.
Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to share your faith. Time and resources are not an excuse in a quarantined world.
What are you waiting for?
Speak up and let your faith do the talking. Be real, be honest, be faithful.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Picture this. Your daughter has a birthday party coming up. Their 3rd birthday, and you want to make it as special as possible.
To prepare, you plan a month in advance for this birthday party. You even ask your birthday girl what she wants for the cupcakes and decorations. Things are going so well!
Finally, it is time to shop and bake. You take your birthday girl to the store to buy decorations and party favors for her friends. Don’t forget the special, helium-inflated birthday balloons, matching the party theme.
Your cart is so full, you wonder how over-the-top this party is getting. Your fears are confirmed, when the checkout lady literally says to you, “You are overdoing this, Mom.”
You know she’s right, but don’t want to admit it to a total stranger.
Party Favors and Cupcakes
The week of, you, the birthday girl, and her siblings, all work together to put the party favor bags together. The excitement on their faces is so inspiring, more for the candy than anything else, you know these are perfect for your guests.
Two days before the party, you bake the cupcakes. The night before, you make the extra cupcake decorations, so they are ready for the morning of, when you freshly frost and decorate them.
You place them in the fridge, and you feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment.
Last but not least, you stay up until midnight, with your tired husband, decorating. You start to pull out all of the decorations you purchased with the birthday girl, and your husband gives a sigh and intense eye-roll.
It takes hours to perfectly decorate with the party signage, party favors, streamers, balloons, even a large, plastic mural background for pictures and added scenery for effect.
The Perfect Party
Finally, you’re done. Perfectly planned, purchased, and executed birthday party plan. You slip into bed, relieved, and happily anticipating the next morning.
You can’t wait to see the look on your birthday girl’s face when she beholds all your work for her party. You hope she feels as special as you know she is.
Then it hits. The screaming, vomiting, and complete misery from – guess who? The birthday girl herself.
The stomach flu or some similar, awful virus has hit your house, literally hours before the party is supposed to start.
You have to break it to your precious, birthday girl that her party is cancelled and now she has to spend her birthday sleeping and drinking water – no cupcakes.
Reality Stings Sometimes
As you might have guessed, this happened to me and my family last week for one of our daughter’s birthday. Let me tell you, it has been a rough week for all of us.
However, somehow God used this atrocious sickness to change something in my mind and heart.
As her mom, I was not only buying and doing things for her to make her feel special, but to show off to our guests, “Hey, look at me and what I can do? I’m such a great mom, aren’t I?”
My Aching Heart
Wow, that was a slap in the face and a prick in my heart. In my heart, I had let pride and the fear of insignificance drive me to spend more money, time, and energy than necessary.
Also, I realized I was justifying my behavior with a false sense of what my daughter actually expected and wanted for her party.
I knew exactly what she wanted. We had planned it together, and the plan itself was pretty simple.
In my own prideful heart, I was making her party about me. How selfish is that?
The Real Party
Now, tonight is the night before her party. We have rescheduled it for tomorrow.
Most of the decorations we left up from decorating last week, but not all have stayed on the wall. The cupcakes are done and decorated, but I let my daughters help me, instead of pushing them away, and doing it alone.
For my daughter’s sake, and for my own good, I laid down my expectations of attention, glory and honor from my efforts as her mom. God is teaching me to be content in the simple, not frantic in the complex.
Finally, the party did not go according to my perfect little plan. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t. I had more prepared and done last week, so I can just relax and enjoy my daughter growing up.
God’s plan is always better than my plan. If I am not careful, I will trade fear and anxiety for peace and joy in the Lord.
Which will you choose today, your finite plan or God’s perfect plan?
These verses really helped change my expectations this week. I hope they help you, too.
Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
This may be an odd title for a post, but it is on my heart to share with you today.
How many times has God asked us to do something or tell someone something, we don’t follow through?
Lately, I have been feeling stuck. I have been praying and praying for direction, what to focus on in my life, but nothing clear.
Then I realized yesterday, it has been clear for a long time, but I was choosing to ignore God’s direction.
The Miscarriage Project
Most of you know of my recently published book, The Miscarriage Project: Testimonials of Parents of Who Found Hope in God.
Finally becoming a published author is a dream come true for me!
However, I didn’t expect the before, during, and after process to be so hard! To name a few challenges:
First, you have to write your manuscript. Short like a children’s book, or long like a novel, both take a lot of time to brainstorm, write, edit, rewrite, etc.
Next, finding a publisher willing to publish your work is the hardest part. This is something I had to do a lot of research to find.
The publishing process is such a waiting game and is necessary to have business and marketing knowledge (or know someone who does), I’ve had to learn most of this from scratch – research and asking others a lot of questions.
Once you are published (and beforehand), comes the marketing. This, for me, has been the most challenging part.
How do I help people find out about my book without breaking the bank? How do I convince them to then read it?
Asking the Wrong Questions
I will be the first to admit, it is so easy to get caught up in the ways of the world.
Be this way, and people will love you.
Make this sacrifice, and it will be worth it. Your family will understand.
You have to work 24/7 to make any dent in your business.
You will never make it in this business, unless you take shortcuts, compromise relationships for progress, and think of yourself first.
None of these statements are true, but we believe them so easily.
Instead of writing to make money or to sell books (to provide for my family), I am only effective if I use my gifts for God’s glory.
The world makes so many empty promises. Why do we continue to believe them?
Our true purpose of our existence is not to spend our lives afraid of insignificance, and striving for impossible perfection, according to the world’s ever-changing standards.
We have God-given purpose – to love God, to love others.
The world leads us to believe we deserve whatever we want. As long as we work hard enough, we can do or be anything we want.
This is faulty logic, when God really created us for a specific purpose.
No matter how hard I want to be perfect, only Christ is perfect. Only through Him can we be sanctified – continually made more and more like Christ in his attributes.
The God-Shaped Hole
When I think of this concept, I think of these song lyrics, “there’s a God-shaped hole in all of us.”
There is always this lingering emptiness in our hearts. A desire to matter, to be whole, to find peace.
The world offers so many counterfeits to fill this whole, but only our true Lord and Savior, Messiah and friend, can fill it and truly complete us.
We lost this fullness and unbroken connection with God when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Ever since then, we have lived lives of brokenness, sin, and chaos.
However, our story doesn’t end there. Jesus Christ made this connection possible yet again with his death on the cross, and resurrection to the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Hope in the Struggle
The amazing news: God doesn’t leave us alone in our pain and struggles. We have hope of a new, eternal future:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Rev 21:4 NLT)
Now that is the true “happily ever after” you’ve been waiting for.