This one’s for the Idiots.

tulips of park ave

I got to be honest. There are so many things I can’t say right now, so many feelings I can’t fully describe, and so many situations and people who I can’t expose. Even more, so many reasons why I find it absolutely. useless. to write.

But at the chance that there is someone – anyone – who is out there struggling like me to find God amidst the storm they are in, I will sit down and write. It aint gon’ be fancy, and I have little to no intention of editing this to death, I just want to share a straightforward story about how the Lord showed up in the nick of time… and made my jaw drop.

It was a couple of days before my 30 days was up and around the same time the panic started setting in, as I wondered whether God would show up or not and move mountains in my life? I was reading in the book of Luke about a man named Zechariah, who had an angel of the Lord came to him.

The angel began by encouraging Zechariah by saying,“Don’t be afraid, the Lord has heard your prayer…” 

The angel then continued by outlining (if you ask me, a mind-boggling amount) of things that the Lord promised He would do in Zechariah’s life:

– that despite their old age that his wife would become pregnant with a son.

– that his name would be John and he would bring great joy and gladness

– that John could never touch alcohol

– that God would use John in amazing ways (which he went on to describe in detail) and that he would possess the same spirit and power of Elijah

-Oh, and his favorite color would be indigo (Not really, I was just making sure you were still paying attention!)

There is no denying the miracle it would be to have an angel of the Lord sent to you! To have the Lord make promises concerning your future! Imagine what fears it could calm… what questions it would answer… the hope it would give to face tomorrow!

But Zechariah’s response?

Buckle your seat belts for this one…

“How can I be sure this will happen?”

What an idiot! I nearly slammed my Bible shut at the thought!

REALLY ZECHARIAH!?!?! A FRIKKIN ANGEL comes to you! FROM GOD! Making promises! BIG PROMISES! …And you whine and question!!?!?! 

What I wouldn’t do to have the same thing happen to me!!! 

At the exact same time a loose sheet of paper fell from the pages of my Bible. Squinting to make out the words, I picked up the familiar list and brought it close enough so I could scan what it is that I wrote.

(Insert: Jaw droppage!)

No way…

it couldn’t be…

But THERE IT WAS!

A list… of all the things God has promised ME in the last 60 days!

A list I had started the day everything fell to pieces and when I’d sworn off all books and well-intentioned advice and DEMANDED to hear directly from Him! A list that clearly states what God said… when He said it… and the verses I found it in!

It reads:

– “I will rescue you, I will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

– “Come to me, I can be trusted”

– “I know you don’t know what to do but I will give you wisdom”

– “I am good and my plan for your life is perfect”

– “Continue praying and never give up!”

And yet in my faithlessness I also respond, “But, but, but… How can I be sure this will happen?” 

…How can I be sure that God will fight my battles? That He will guide my every step? How can I be sure that He is listening to my every prayer and that His plan for my life is perfect? 

And just like Zechariah, I’m an idiot! 

We all are sometimes…

We fail to see on a regular basis is that our God is good even when our circumstances are so very very bad. That He is a God that can be trusted even when no one else around can be. That while it’s true our lives may look like a jumbled mess, and we may not know what to do, that He will always give us the wisdom we need. Even when there is no more fight left…and no more prayers left to pray… that He will fight for us (and He will win!) so long as we never give up!

And those are promises!

So for all the idiots out there like me…

May we rest in the comfort knowing that we need not be afraid, because the Lord has heard our every prayer…

and He WILL do what HE promised! 

“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said” Luke 1:45

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When You Fear God Is Done Listening

 

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At the exact moment you fear God is done listening to your pleas late into the night…

you read verses like this:

and you pee your pants.

Luke 18:1-8

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 

“There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy! I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!”

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly!” 

So may we continue driving the Lord crazy, er… wearing him out, …I mean, PRAYING this week!

God knows this is SURELY something I can excel at!

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It’s Not God’s Fault

white river falls

I enter stage right and take the platform. My heart is pounding, and my hands are clammy. All eyes are on me. As I fumble to adjust the microphone, my eyes lock with yours, and a deep sigh escapes me.

“….How are we doing so far?”

I look out at the audience who were all crazy enough courageous enough to join me in my 30 Day Challenge– A challenge to quit thinking, quit talking, and quit trying to solve our problems! To instead, give it to God and ask him to show up and do a miracle in 30 days!

My eyes catch a group of you who respond to my question by sporadically jumping up and down and whoo-hooing like you are front and center at a Katy Perry concert… If this is you, you already feel God working in your life, and can barely contain your excitement for how He will continue to show up for you throughout this month!

I am with you!

Others of you are somewhere in the back. I can’t make out your faces because you are rocking back and forth in fetal position, and are murmuring things under your breath that I can’t quite make out. You desperately know you need to quit, have courageously decided you were going to quit, but equally question whether its humanly possible… If this is you, you likely know exactly how many more days, hours, and seconds are left of your 30 day challenge (I have 16 days, 11 hours, and 46 seconds!) You have also likely gone to bed before the sun set a handful of times last week, because you realized if you couldn’t talk or think about your problems, than really…what is there left to do?

Deep Sigh. I am with you….

Then there are those of you who are breaking for the doors the second you see me hit the stage. You have already adamantly thrown up your hands and QUIT ‘quitting’ and have yet to decide if you are more mad at me for suggesting such ridiculousness, or at yourself, for in a moment of bad judgment, following suit…. If this is you, then you’d likely come hunt me down if it weren’t for the fact that I live with 8.4 million other people, and the chances you will ever find me are minimal, at best!

I get it, I do. The truth is, I’m kinda ticked at me too!

So I’m with you…

ALL OF YOU!

And have danced between all 3 emotions, over and over! In the last 4 hours!

But no matter where you are at, or what you chose to let go of last week-

You should know,

It’s not Gods fault.

In the last couple months, I have been anything but shy about airing my frustrations with the Lord. In my desperation I have demanded answers, questioned why, and wondered what I could have done to deserve this. If you recall, it was only two weeks ago, that I screamed at God, punched pillows, and made no apologies….

But what I realized this week is that my current reality is not the ‘Divine torture chamber’ that I made it out to be! (Torturous, yes.. Divine, no…) and that the answer to every question I screamed and sobbed into my pillow late all those nights (and of course, before I ‘quit’ all that!) was right there all along…

in James 1:16-17  it says,

“Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

My most poignant questions had asked God: …Why me? …Where were you? …Why would you do this?

The Lord’s response: You got it all wrong my child… I am good. my plan is perfect. I am the creator of all beauty, and though your circumstances and emotions may change (often abruptly) I never will.

I believe this verse begins with a warning to not be misled, because He expects that some day we will be! That when things go disastrously wrong that He knows we may lash out at Him in response…. That we may demand answers and throw punches…. That we won’t know where to turn or who to blame…

…And that ultimately, we will get it all wrong!

You see, the last couple of days have been a disaster; a barrage of spills, and toys! …Bubbles were dumped on the rug, UNO cards were found in my bed, pennies were eaten, and it seemed like every stuffed animal got a ‘bath!’ (…and yet, now that I think about it, I don’t know if my daughter ever did!)

When I couldn’t bear to step on, yet another Lego, and was one more “uh-oh Mama!” away from losing my – already dwindling – sanity, I made the decision to shut it ALL down! No more tv… no more “shnacks”… and FREAKIN. NO. MORE. TOYS!!!!

To be expected my 2 year old threw herself on the ground, kicking and screaming in refusal. Once her yelling had died down, she then proceeded to sulk and roam around aimlessly, not knowing what to do with herself amidst the space and silence.

Moments later though, and too my surprise, her whimpering turned to laughter!

I looked to find that she had ascended her Father’s back, and had completely transformed him into a “Ca-BYYYYY-Oh!” (learning also, that if you kick him under the ribs that he will indeed, go faster!)

I watched as she squealed in delight, taking turns between riding him like a horse, and plopping into his lap to glide down his legs like they were a slide.

That day my daughter learned something new (and wildly entertaining) about her father! Something she may not have fully grasped about him, had she kept pouting, or the distractions been present.

We have the same opportunity, in each moment, and through each emotion, of this 30 day Challenge!

And while I hesitate to kick my Heavenly Father under the ribs (…though I secretly wish He would move faster!) I have found that it often takes quieting my distractions, and putting my ‘mess’ in it’s place. It takes adamantly deciding to quit questioning, quit kicking and screaming, and – for the LOVE – to quit sulking, so that I too, can learn more about my Father.

To learn something I had all wrong…

That while our circumstances are unquestionably bad, our God is forever good in spite of them.

While our emotions may change on a whim, that our God never will.

And while He often allows pain and uncertainty in this life to come, that we can be just as sure His goodness and perfect plan will follow suit.

So don’t be misled…

It’s not God’s fault.

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I Quit (And Why You Should To!)

I QUIT

I am an above average quitter. In my years, I have quit a variety of things, not limited to cheerleading, playing the flute, couponing, and subscribing to Netflix. 4 times!

I have also quit Jillian Michael’s Level 2 more than I’d like to publicly admit, and am known to quit checking my voice mails once the number gets too high (…currently there are 9!)

I also semi annually (Read: Every other week) consider quitting writing. Like, forever.

But this last week I quit something I will never regret.

It started when I avoided a phone call from my dad.

I knew he was just checking up on me, but I literally COULD NOT talk about this any longer – Not about my problems, not about what I feel I should do in the future, and/or when I should do it… Notta! Even small talk was out of the question!

“That’s exactly why I need to talk to you,” he responded, “I have an idea…

He had my attention as he began to describe an intriguing idea that was as profound, as it was nutty.

… An idea to QUIT!

To throw your hands up, and give up! To quit talking, quit thinking, to even quit WRITING about my problems! …Don’t lie, you just let out a sigh of relief… And if it makes you feel better, I’m just as sick of hearing my sob story as you are! 😉

You see, people all over the world ‘fast’ from things like Facebook, vanilla lattes, or the likes of Salted Caramel Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts, but that night my Dad and I made a decision to fast… from our PROBLEMS!

Even further, we are asking BEGGING God to do a miracle in our lives in the next 30 days! Because boy, do we ever need one!

Every time our trials creep into our minds (which is on average every 23.6 seconds) we will do our best to stop thinking about it and give it to God and ask Him to work a miracle on our behalf…

Every time those closest to us check in and ask how we’re doing, to ask them instead, to lift us up in prayer every time they think to ask…

Every time the panic sets in, and our hearts get restless… when we can’t make sense of this mess and can’t help but question what God is doing… we will throw ourselves at the Lord’s feet each and every time, in hopes that by the end of the month we will see Him more clearly.

In James 1:5-6 it says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you…”

It’s simple, just ask! And in my case, if you need 5 TRILLION TONS of wisdom ask over and over, every second of every day, for 30 days straight! 😉

It goes on to say, “…but when you ask Him be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver.”

The only requirement to gain the wisdom that we are so desperately searching for, is to trust IN GOD ALONE – Not in our common sense, (which I pride myself in) not in our preferences, our ability to ‘fix’ things, or make good decisions. Not in our closest friends, our parents, or our spouse. In Christ. PERIOD!

In the last couple months I have found this to be true, because while I have an amazing support system in my life (and equally amazing blog readers!) in spite of their undeniable love and support, constant phone calls, great advice and care packages, (Double Stuffed Oreos anyone?!) I am still just as stuck as I was before, and haven’t budged even in the slightest!

While I ultimately desire the life the Lord has for me – and while in the past I have followed Him devotedly – this current journey He has me on, has me traveling uncharted territory, out of my comfort zone, and even more, against my will! I am scared to death, and let’s be honest, if there were a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, I’d play it… Like, yesterday!

So the question is, if I’m up against the wall, with few options and even less hope…

if I’m paralyzed in fear and at the end of my rope…

Than seriously, why am I still trying?

Why not quit?

Why not give it to the one who is far more qualified to get me out of this blunder? The one who doesn’t tremble at the magnitude of the mountain I’m up against? The Lord isn’t surprised by the state of my life, He knew I’d be right here… right now… and that I’d want to puke! Even more, He knows when deliverance will be at my doorstep! (Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later!)

Our God is more than capable to do a miracle in 30 days!

… But will He?  That is the question!

One thing is certain, God can do more with our problem in 30 days than we can!

So join me in quitting….

Join me in putting our lofty dreams, big decisions, and looming deadlines on the back burner! To quit keeping ourselves up late into the night and talking ourselves TO DEATH in an attempt at doing this in our own strength! And instead give it to the Lord and ask Him to guide our every step – our every thought – for the next month!

And while I have no idea what is going to happen in the next 30 days – or even worse, what I’ll do if He doesn’t show up! (Don’t be surprised if in a month I post some bogus recipe for homemade laundry detergent or something!)

…I know that if I don’t take this leap of faith today, that at the very worst,  I will be exactly where I started yesterday.

And so I have nothing to lose…

I quit.

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