Long awaited….

Were you expecting me to say something else. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I finally snagged some time to upload some pictures. I have been trying lately to take better pictures rather than taking lots of pictures if that makes sense. I can’t take credit for too many of the pictures from the Bible Study Ice Cream social, but can I just say I love kids. They are so uninhibited…is that a word? I think catching candid photos of kids is too funny. Like the picture where the sweet girl got in the back of the bike. She did it all on her own, and it was so precious. Or watching the kids run through the sprinkler. The one little girl asked me to run through it with her since there was a ring of adults around the outside of the sprinkler….I couldn’t resist.

I also loved watching the kids with the dogs. Look at the pic in the upper left corner. It looks like the boy is terrified, but I wish you could have heard the squeals of excitement when he saw the dogs. His mom said he didn’t really want to walk from the car to the house, but when she told him there were dogs, he began almost running to the house. So cute. I think my favorite picture though is the little girl in the middle trying to give Lexi a pretzel M&M. So cute. Would you believe we had adults at the social too? All of the ladies were from the Bible Study, and they brought their hubbies and obviously their kiddos too. Such a fun time of fellowship.

And back two weeks now…my pics from camping with Ethan. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in the original post, but Ethan helped me put up the tent. We didn’t even need Jon’s help! I was SO proud of him. It still makes my heart swell just thinking of how much fun he had. Even yesterday, he asked me if he could go back with us for Labor Day! Love him!

Falling behind….

I’m falling behind! I figure getting the memories down right now is more important than the pictures, but I PROMISE I will get back to the pictures. I do have a lot of great ones.

This week was a bit busy since I was in Atlanta for a few days, but the weekend was packed with many activities. Friday night we had all of the families over from the Bible Study that I host at our house. We had an ice cream social on the patio, and the kids got to play in the sprinkler. They were soaked, but had a great time, and I do believe that everyone enjoyed ice cream. Jon and I supplied the ice cream and everyone else brought the toppings. My chocolate ice cream with oreos, hot fudge, and gummy bears was delicious in case you were wondering. 🙂 The dogs even had a great time. The kids kept them on their toes, and they got a lot of exercise in.

Saturday morning, Jon had signed us up to serve for United Way. Originally, it was supposed to be a mile from the house and we were supposed to be gardening. If I were to be honest, I would have to tell you that I wasn’t really that interested in serving on a Saturday morning by weeding someone else’s garden when my own beds need to be weeded, but I begrudgingly went. Turns out the event was 25 miles from our house, and we would be gleaning. Yes, gleaning…like Ruth did. It was actually pretty awesome. We gleaned zucchini and squash that would be donated to local charities. In a little over an hour, we collected 1,000 pounds of vegetables that were donated to places like the Greer Soup Kitchen, Greenville Rescue Mission, Miracle Hill Children’s Home, and Shepherd’s Gate women’s shelter.

We attended a wedding of a girl that I used to play soccer with which was pretty fun. I always love weddings, because assuming it’s a Christian wedding, I take the charge to the bride and groom as a reminder for Jon and me. Satruday evening brought some much needed rest and relaxation with my awesome husband. He surprised me by making crab dip from scratch with no recipe. It was SO good.

Sunday was relatively normal with church, small group and of course, our spaghetti lunch. I left to go to Switcharoos which is a big children’s consignment sale. As usual, I had so much fun and got lots of great deals! I can’t wait to send the stuff off to the respective parents. I think buying the stuff is probably more fun than them getting it. Not sure if that’s fair to them or not, but it makes me happy. 🙂

I promise to get some pictures up this week from the last two. I know you must be faithful readers to read with no pictures. It will get better!

HOLD FAST

This week was a blessing and a curse. A blessing…God allowed my work schedule to get adjusted, so I would not be in Atlanta. On Tuesday, I helped my sister prepare for Switcharoos, AND I got to see my nephew and niece which made the work well worth it. Switcharoos is a huge consignment sale in Greenville that I go to each year in search of clothes for friends and family. It’s so much fun, because you get a lot of stuff for a really good price.

 This past weekend, I took eight women from my Bible Study to Charlotte, North Carolina to see the amazing Beth Moore. After you see the pictures, you will think they were all crazy.  We recently finished her Living Beyond Yourself study, so seeing her was a great finale to an amazing study. Leading up to the trip, I was getting more and more discouraged in the details of the trip. It felt as though everyone had an opinion how things should be done, when we should leave, what we should do, etc. Most were supposed to be helpful comments, but my sleep deprivation, attitude, and the devil were winning at stealing my joy.

 We left Greenville at 3:30. The event did not start until 7, and we hoped to arrive by 6 since it was general admission seating. As you can imagine, the trip was going great…well, until the 7 mile backup on 85 due to the tractor trailer accident. So, since we are brilliant women, we started navigating an alternate route. Well, as you are probably guessing right now, we were stuck in another traffic jam due to construction and the other drivers who had the same idea. We arrived at the Time Warner Center at 7:15, and we sat in the worst possible seats. Imagine the nosebleed section way up high, and then imagine like three stories above that, but we could still hear! God had a great message for us for the weekend. But another awesome thing was I didn’t want to have to pay for three cars in Charlotte for the conference since our original plan was to drop one car at the apartment that we were using, but alas we didn’t have time. Would you believe, some lady was standing at the parking garage and gave one of our cars a free parking pass. It was a small gesture that meant a lot! I had never worshipped with so many women before. They said we were about 9400 strong, but it was AMAZING! We actually all kept joking about our first ever Bible Study, because we felt like it was the same kind of force against us that was there that night…but we are still going strong a year later.

I wish I could say that I quickly grew up and got over my irritations, but sadly, that wasn’t the end of the devil working on me. My girlfriend and I were together on the trip, and it has just seemed the last few weeks that we were drifting apart for some reason. I couldn’t necessarily pinpoint the reason, but it kept escalating and finally boiled over. I struggled the entire conference to listen to the messages. I was emotional as all get out with no real reason why. Somehow I got all of the notes down and still learned a lot looking back over them, but it was weird how that happened. I had to apologize to our group for being so stressed and allowing my attitude to get the best of me. They were gracious and the apology led into a great time of testimony about what this conference did for each of us. What a reward to hear that each woman needed to be at that retreat including myself. My girlfriend and I got to talk and make EVERYTHING wonderful. Restoration and growth were achieved this weekend which to me means the retreat was a success in spite of all of the trials. I also was able to deepen some relationships and build new ones with some amazing women. It still amazing how God has brought people back into my life from high school that I never hung out with previously.

However, in spite of all of my attitude problems, traffic jams, and melted cupcakes (Sorry again Carissa), we got to have a great time together. Did you know grown women like to stay up until 2am to talk? Yes, we had our own version of a slumber party. I would also be awful if I didn’t thank Courtney’s sister-in-law for coordinating free lodging for us. Who says you can’t cram 9 women into a one bedroom apartment….what you can’t do though is use only one bathroom…now, that was a challenge. I also need to thank Courtney’s brother and sister-in-law for hosting us for breakfast on Sunday. Take a look at the pictures…Keith made an amazing spread for us, and we were incredibly grateful.

Some of you may be wondering what Jon does all the time while I’m away. He suffers let me tell you. If you noticed yesterday’s post, that was him wake boarding. He went out on the lake for five hours on Friday with his co-worker, and he went jet skiing on Tuesday while I helped Becki with the Switcharoos stuff. On Sunday after church, he even went golfing in 104 degree weather with some of his friends. His life hasn’t been too bad, but according to him, he missed me, so I’m fine if he fills his time with fun things until I return.

This is getting longer than I intended, but I wanted to share with you what Beth shared with us. She based most of her message around Deuteronomy, but she created an acrostic for us to remember why we should HOLD FAST to God.
His affection is set upon me.
Only He is my praise.
Loving Him awakens my true heart.
Doing His will does me good.
Fleeing to Him means fleeing with Him.
Any tighter embrace will also replace.
Satan wants what we have.
The Lord is my life.

H.O.L.D.F.A.S.T. God has sent His love upon me.

Priorities….

I’m thankful that we serve a God with a sense of humor and a God who is patient. Have you ever had an instance where your dad wasn’t patient with you? I have had many of those instances. Whether it wasn’t holding the flashlight still enough or reading part numbers too fast or slow during inventory, impatience would lead to an argument. Thankfully God is also not like my earthly father (as we learned in Chapter 2) – Lies we believe about God). God is patient even with people who refuse to acknowledge Him…or in my case, those who believe they are just too busy to acknowledge Him, but truly want to.

The past two weeks, I have neglected my Bible reading and my prayer time. I have been overwhelmed with life. I have spent my time discontent with my surroundings in life. I have rushed from one volunteer activity to the next trying to keep my mind off of the fact that my husband will not be coming home until the weekend, and when he does come home, we have so many activities scheduled that we will only get the time we are asleep together.

On Monday of last week, I thought to myself, I need to do my reading for Bible Study. Only a bad leader wouldn’t do that before Thursday. Monday passed, Tuesday came and went, and Wednesday came. I fully intended to read the whole chapter Wednesday night, but the two pages I read was enough to get God’s point across. I sat down after cleaning the house, doing the laundry, talking to my Mom Sutter and Emily, and was exhausted. I got a lot accomplished, but was still feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself because it just seems there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish all that I want to accomplish.

I opened the book to chapter five – Lies Women Believe about Priorities. Did you feel that? God just smacked me upside the head (in a very gentle way). It didn’t stop there though. The chapter was completely spot on to where I have been at in life. I struggle with being a people pleaser and doing activities to help people out or make them happy. The example from the book that has stuck with me, and I want to remember long term is regarding Christ’s ministry on earth. He did not accomplish what everyone else wanted Him to accomplish. His disciples wanted Him to overthrow the government. Followers wanted them to heal their loved ones, but God wanted Him to redeem the world. At the end of the day, the only person Christ pleased was God, and He is ALL that matters. Are you doing activities to please others or to please God? At Bible Study, the ladies shared that they struggle with the same thing as me….doing activities (which are not necessarily bad) to honor others which draw us away from our relationship with God.

So, I was very refreshed after Bible Study Thursday night. God had so gently reminded me that I am His child, and that a relationship with me is very important to Him. He could have chosen to make the activities I am involved in to fail, but rather He privately guided me back to what I needed to be doing all along, but God’s gentleness did not stop there. I had started about a month ago reading through Joshua. I never know what to “study” during my quiet time, and our church does expository preaching (studying sections of scripture), and I have learned a lot from that method, so I thought I would do the same thing but in a different area of the Bible. I had recently read a book about Rahab, so the book of Joshua interested me. Anyway, I am reading my Life Application Bible (KJV), and it has commentaries at the bottom of each page. I do not have my Bible handy with me, but I believe it was in Joshua 4 that it talks of Joshua assembling the tribes of Israel. He calls them out to hear from the Lord before crossing the Jordan river. The commentary discussed that you can’t go into situations without God’s guidance and expect everything to work out just as planned. No lie, it said, “you must get your priorities in order.”

Was God still talking to me? I think so, and man am I thankful! Not much has changed with my schedule, it’s still crazy. I still try fitting too much in a day. I still struggle with discontentment over my schedule and my husband’s schedule. I still struggle with people pleasing. So, what’s different? My priorities are getting in the right order. I can lay those struggles that I have been hording in my sack at God’s throne and fill my sack up with promises that God has given me.

And this weekend, I feel I was blessed for being obedient. God gave Jon and me a lot of time together which was SO needed. So, while that wasn’t much of a play-by-play of Bible Study this week, I hope it was an encouragement to you to get your priorities straight. God should be at the top of those priorities, and the lie that we can survive without prayer and time in the Word is a LIE. We must be seeking a relationship with God in order to maintain our sanity. So, if you haven’t read your Bible today, and you don’t have a pre-scheduled time to read it today, get off your computer and go read it now. Keep me accountable, and if you need me to keep you accountable, I would love the opportunity to walk along side you. You can even join me in Joshua if you would like. We’re getting ready to conquer Jericho……

The Truth about Sin….Uh Oh….

 

Well, I thought to myself, this week should be a relatively easy week in Bible Study because, well frankly, I’m a good person. 😉 As Nancy Leigh DeMoss begins the chapter, I’m still holding strong to my I’m a good person. I mean I don’t look at pornography, I don’t have extra marital affairs, etc. However, as soon as I’m getting this haughty spirit, DeMoss hits on the topic of food addiction…of course, I would never admit that I have a food addiction (okay, maybe I will), but did you realize that’s a sin too? Crazy thing…it’s equivalent to looking at pornography. She discussed the food addictions when talking about the first lie, “I can sin and get away with it” (p. 93). However, she points out the truth. “So it is with sin. Though it may entertain us, play with us, sleep with us, and amuse us, its nature never changes. Inevitably, it will always rise up to bite and devour those who befriend it” (p. 92). Right after you get over this punch to the gut that you can’t get away with sin, DeMoss doesn’t let up. She leads right into, “My sin isn’t really that bad” (p. 98). She quotes John Bunyan when he said “One lead will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner” (p. 99).

This led us into the discussion of confronting sinners. It’s so important to keep a short account with God. Many times (speaking from personal experience) when you try to approach someone who is living in sin…even if you are doing it with the right spirit in love, the first remark is “what right do you have to judge me…you’re not God.” We were just encouraged to live a repentant life. Part of the Christian walk is failure, but it’s in that failure that we see God’s holiness and can learn from it. Never approach a brother/sister in Christ about their sin if you have un-confessed since of your own, and always remember that you are a sinner too struggling through the same walk. Rarely will I use absolutes, but I think those two are legitimate.

The last three I will list:

“God can’t forgive what I have done” (p. 100)

“I am not fully responsible for my actions and reactions” (p. 102)

“I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin” (p. 105)

The other lie we spent time talking about was that I’m not fully responsible for my actions and reactions. Our society promotes this “it’s everyone else’s fault attitude.” We need to take responsibility!

This Bible Study has been an encouragement to me, and I hope it has been for the others coming. We started talking about our next study. Don’t forget to e-mail me any ideas you might have for our next study. I would love to look into any ideas you have. Don’t forget also to look at your reading schedules. Due to Thanksgiving, there will be one week where we meet back-to-back, and then we will be back on the regular bi-weekly schedule.

Week 3: Lies we believe about God!

Well, we have survived. We are on to week three of the study! This week’s Bible verse has me excited, and I hope it will you too! We are learning Psalm 16:11.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fullness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

There are so many nuggets and promises in this small verse. 1) God will always show me the path I should follow. The question is will I follow it? 2) When I am with God and seek His face, I will be full of joy no matter the circumstance. I have seen this lately where believers face adversity are still showing that they have joy! 3) We are promised that we will have “pleasures for evermore” when we are with Christ. Can you even imagine eternity knowing that we will have pleasures forever! This verse will help us remember why we, as women, do certain activities. Our next chapter is about the lies that we believe ourselves. I won’t spoil the chapter by telling you what some of them are, but as we talked about last time, for many of us, the main reason we did things was because of pride and caring what those around us thought of us. This verse reminds us that we are living for those pleasures for evermore….with GOD, not with that person we seem to place so much esteem on.

This week we talked about Lies that we believe about God. Here are a listing of them from DeMoss’ book Lies Women Believe:

  1. God is not really good.
  2. God doesn’t love me.
  3. God is just like my father.
  4. God is not really enough.
  5. God’s ways are too restrictive.
  6. God should fix my problems.

I hate writing them out. It makes me think of which ones I “believe” (i.e. live out), but would never verbalize. Which I guess a blog is verbalizing them, but there are two on this list that I struggle with #3 and #4. #4 is the hardest to verbalize. I have all of the book knowledge to know that God is more than I deserve, but somehow my schedule, wants, and desires tell God that He isn’t enough for me…that I need that new outfit, more friends, bigger house, or even children. Hmmm….again, as I have read the chapter, I will still need to pray on this one for help to practice believing truths.

The women shared areas where they have believed lies about God, but we ended our discussion time with talking about believing truths about God. We even saw truths exercised by God during our time together, and for those that were there, I think it was really exciting to see God working in that way!

Hoping to see each of you next week. If you lost your meeting/reading schedule, check out the previous post, and you’ll be set. Hope to see each of you next week! Praying for each of you.

Bible Study: Take 2

Sorry for the long delay on the write-up from our last Bible study. Let me start by saying, it went 1,000 times better than the first one. The Lord brought about eleven people to this week’s study of the first chapter of Lies Women Believe. We spent the first part of the study reviewing our previous memory verse and discussing our new one. We are working on James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Some of the women shared that there are current situations in their lives that this verse can be applicable.

For me personally, I frequently turn to my girlfriends or my husband when I want advice or “wisdom,” but God promises me in this verse that He will give me wisdom, and that He gives it liberally or in great abundance to those that ask. I pray that this verse has been and will be a challenge to you until we meet again. I have specific instances in my life that I can apply this promise, and having the verse memorized and in my heart makes it much easier to apply to my life.

We spent the majority of our time discussing the first chapter about lies and their consequences. Since it would be impossible to re-cap our discussions, I want to list a few quotes that we discussed from the book just to encourage you in your walk.

“Regardless, the point is that as fallen women, we are particularly prone to fall prey to Satan’s deception.” (p. 33)

“Listening to counsel or ways of thinking that are not according to the Truth is the first step in developing wrong beliefs that will ultimately place us in bondage.” (p. 38)

“The important thing to remember is that every act of sin in our lives begins with a lie.” (p. 40)

We specifically discussed that women have a very persuasive power in many relationships, and it’s very important that we be following God and believing His truths so that those “powers” are used appropriately. If you are believing a lie, the book gives a step-by-step approach to breaking that belief and filling it with truths. 1) Identify the areas of bondage or sinful behavior, 2) Identify the lies at the root of that bondage or behavior, and 3) replace the lies with the Truth.

For those of you who missed our get together, we will not be meeting this week as I will be travelling to New Jersey for work. Here is our schedule for the rest of the study. If you have any questions or concerns, drop me a line. Or, if you have an update on a prayer request, please share so we can all be praying for each other.

September 16 – Chapter 2
September 30 – Chapter 3
October 14 – Chapter 4
October 28 – Chapter 5
November 11 – Chapter 6
November 18 – Chapter 7
December 2 – Chapter 8
December 16 – Chapter 9

Bible Study – Humorous Re-cap of Night One……

So, last night was the first night of Bible Study. I had been nervous about it all week, but was excited too. The last few weeks I have been trying to be better about cleaning the house and what not, so I had vacuumed like three times this week, the couches had been covered with blankets to avoid re-cleaning those (which I have been doing on the weekends), etc. All in all, headed for a stress-free time of getting some fruits and veggies ready for Bible Study (keep in mind, Jon is still gone in ATL). Throughout the day, I had some people cancel because of sickness, but I wasn’t too concerned because I was still expecting a lot of people.
 
I came home from work with one hour to prepare everything and hopefully grab supper for myself. I open the door and smell dog poo……Ugh. I go look in the cage, nothing is in there other than Lexi’s chewed up collar and the pups of course….I guess Mocha didn’t like her wearing it. Things are looking up. I let the pups outside and hear Lexi have some not so good diarrhea (gross, but you will understand it’s importance shortly). I think nothing of it. I quickly get their food because I want the monsters fed before the ladies arrive. Lexi will have nothing to do with her food (not a good sign). Mocha eats hers and tries to eat Lexi’s food before I rescue it. As Lexi is walking away, I notice that she has blood coming from her bottom again….she had this issue two weeks ago which prompted the expensive emergency vet visit. I did better this time not to panic. Called the emergency vet and asked if I could push taking her to the vet off until the morning since it would be significantly less expensive. She said yes….as long as she was not vomitting….relieved, I hung up the phone because Lexi had not vomited. Not one minute later, I look in the dining room (yes, the only carpeted room downstairs) to find Lexi heaving all over the carpet (Remember, this was the “stress-free” veggie and fruit prepping time). I call the emergency vet back, and she tells me I really need to bring Lexi in, but timing is all wrong, and I really don’t want to pay the high costs. I hold off. 
 
No time to clean up the mess in the dining room, and I can’t get it out of the carpet….cover it with towels, spray some Glade, and pray the evening starts going better. Ladies start arriving….we had eleven counting me (which looks like we may have 15-20 each evening because a few were out with sickness or meet-the-teacher nights). After we get settled, do some introductions and get going, Mocha starts whimpering that she now needs to go outside. I pass out our memory verse that we will work on over the next two weeks and ask everyone to meditate on it for a few moments and to think of an example of God being good and everything He does is good (Our verse is Psalm 119:68). I told the ladies we would start sharing once I let Mocha in assuming she didn’t jump the fence….look outside….Mocha is in a dead run to the fence body half over…NOOOOOOOOO….So, I quickly run out front to get her which every other time she runs right to me as if she is saying “look mom I did it!!!” This time…she looks at me….and runs the opposite direction. Thankfully, she ran onto our neighbors porch so I quickly corralled her. Back to Bible Study…..
 
Once I get back in, we get started on talking about the verse……the power goes out! Seriously? It wasn’t raining….no wind, etc. but the power goes out. So, the power stays out the rest of the time we are together. It starts getting hotter in my house because it’s nice and muggy and in the upper 90’s this week. Nothing else can really go wrong, right? Well, my lovely little Mocha decides to get sick….thankfully, she didn’t do anything too horribly embarrassing until everyone left, but she did gas the place up….SO embarrassing. We wrapped up a bit early since we aren’t starting into the book until next time and since the power was out. Some ladies stayed after to chit-chat which was nice.  I get some candles to try to see each other, but literally (and I do mean literally) as the last lady left the house the power flickered and turned back on, and about ten minutes later Mocha gets sick all over the dining room carpet, but no she couldn’t be considerate and do it in the same spot as Lexi’s mess. 😉
 
SO, all in all, it was a great night. 😉 All of the ladies took everything (even the crazy smells and noises coming from Mocha which I had never seen or smelled from her ever before) in stride which was rather encouraging. Some even said they will come back (j/k all said they would see me at the next one). After everyone left, and I had some time to pray, I realized that God had answered my prayer. All week I had been praying that I would be abased. I truly wanted to see God work, and I wanted absolutely no credit or honor for it (this concept and prayer is against my typical nature…I’m still a work in process). With all of those issues tonight, I realized it was God’s way of making sure that no one said “man that Ashleigh girl has it all put together” or whatever. It was an opportunity for us to see God, not my house, not anyone’s outfits, etc, but to see God. While I do pray that we have power and A/C for our next Bible Study (26th), I do pray that we would still only see God and His power during our gatherings.
 
 

My Acrostic Prayer….

In church, we have been doing a study of the Psalms and how to turn down the noise of the world (i.e. stress, worry, news updates, etc.). One week Pastor Boyd asked us to read Psalm 119 each day….well, he compromised and did 5 out of 7 days. That was a committment…which I did not complete the five days, but I determined to do as many as I could.

Two weeks ago, he did his second part of the look at Psalm 119. He encouraged us to look at the Psalm as a prayer. The Psalmist was minimized in the prayer and God’s attributes were maximized. The Psalm is also written as an acrostic prayer (i.e. using the all of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet). For that week’s assignment, he asked each of us to pray, rather praise, God as the Psalmist did using an acrostic prayer. Now, I will admit I cheated on X, and I skipped Z all together to avoid potentially falling into silliness, because I really wanted the prayer to be a reflection of God and not of myself. I will admit, it could be more eloquent, it could be more proper, but what it can’t be is an exageration. Our God is each of the items listed and even more to be listed at another time. My girlfriend is also writing an acrostic prayer, and I hope to use that to praise God about the attributes that she highlights that I may have forgotten or not used in my prayer.

Have you tried writing one? You should. It’s harder than it looks. I did it in two evenings. It was even fun one night because as I struggled to come up with a letter Jon would help me think of some attribute of God. So, here it goes.

All glory and honor do you deserve.
Before your throne I humbly bow. You
Care for even the least, including me.
Dignity surrounds you!
Every new day is a testimony to your power and grace.
Father, forgive me when I falter.
Greater are your ways than my ways.
Holy are you!
Invincible against all my fears and struggles.
Joy will come in the morning because of you.
Kind are your thoughts and ways.
Loving are your actions and words.
Majestic is the creation around me.
Numerous are your wonders.
Only you can complete me.
Patient are your ways when teaching me.
Quiet will your mockers be in the day of judgement.
Righteous and just in your dealings.
Sin cleansed by your gracious gift.
Thankful for your forgiveness.
Undeserving am I of your grace.
Victory over all my enemies…you shall be!
Washed by your Son’s blood
eXclaiming your majesty shall be my one and only job!
Yahweh……

Desert……

How many times have you felt as if no one…including God is listening to you? You pray, you read your Bible, and you just feel empty. While I haven’t done any form of scientific research, I believe it’s common, and I don’t think you are less spiritual than others if it’s happening. It’s natural, and I believe that if anyone tells you differently, they aren’t being truthful. I know for me, I struggle when I pray for something and pray for something and well, pray for something some more, and I don’t get an answer one way or the other. I was speaking with a girlfriend earlier this week, and I came to a realization about our culture….which I like to blame on Google. When we have a question or need a fact, we type it into Google, and voila….we have our answer. God is not that way. He demands our attention, patience, trust, faith, hope, etc. Sometimes, He may answer us immediately, others…..He may require us to wait.

While waiting, what do you do? Our church has been going through the life of Joseph since December, and I have been amazed by what a powerful character Joseph is. As a kid, you learn of the “coat of many colors,” but there is SO much more to Joseph’s story. Joseph knew so little about God. He didn’t have the Bible, let alone multiple translations of it. He only had heard the stories of Jesus. What was amazing about Joseph is that while he knew way less about God than we do, he clung to what little he knew with his entire being. He formed his life around those beliefs. So, while waiting…..do everything possible to mold your life around God’s. Surround yourself in God’s Word and sometimes just stop and listen…don’t read, don’t pray, just listen for God to speak to you (I REALLY struggle with this one) Pray that God would give you a fresh look at His glory and might.

Last night, I started attending a Bible Study at my church which is a bit intimidating since I’m the youngest person there, and the next youngest person is 40. Definitely out of my league I guess, but I’m excited about the study. It’s a study by Ann Graham Lotz, and she is taking us through Revelation in her book called The Vision of His Glory. Even last night’s introductory meeting about learning how to read the Bible in an effective manner, I’m encouraged to know that my God has a plan for me and my life. I may not know it, and I’m frequently like Peter who blurts out the first thing on his mind, but God still loves me, and He will still accomplish His work in my life. Here’s some lyrics to a song that my church plays frequently, and it expresses my struggle quite literally, and reminds to me to always bring praise and glory to my God no matter the circumstance.

The Desert Song Lyrics by Hillsong
Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

Chorus:
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it’s way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Bridge:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow