Puzzled by Life…?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  I’ve been struggling recently over what my purpose in life is.  Have you ever done that?  After God worked such a powerful display of His love and His blessings in my life, the evil one has crept in and started planting all sorts of doubts in my mind.

…doubts about the job He provided for me

…doubts about will I make new lasting friendships for me here

…doubts about so many things

In my struggles, God has been placing people in my life to gently nudge me in the right direction.  Isn’t our God such a wonderful God!!!  Here are some of God’s words that I have been receiving from people He’s placed in my life … they are SO powerful!

James 1:2-5 – New Living Translation (NLT)

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

WOW!  All I need to do is to simply ask for wisdom and strength … and He will give it to me?  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  So simple, in fact, that I forgot I could ask for it!

I was watching a lesson on television, and the message was about “Wavering Faith“.  He was teaching that whenever those doubts creep in, and my faith starts to waver, I need to ask myself some questions:

  1. Where do these doubts come from?
  2. Has God ever failed me?
  3. Did God not promise to meet all of my needs?
  4. Did He not give me the Holy Spirit to enable me?
  5. Is anything too hard for God?
  6. Is this a fork in the road that I may regret?

Then, to get on the right track again, I must:

  1. Meditate on God’s word
  2. Recall times when God faithfully answered my prayers
  3. Courageously choose to obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him

Today’s message at church was about life being like a Puzzle.  We can only see the pieces as we are trying to put the puzzle of life together.  Some pieces we like, and others we don’t like.  Sometimes we’ve been given a piece that is really bad (loss of a loved one, bad diagnosis of illness, loss of job, etc.) but we don’t have the puzzle box top to look at … to see the BIG picture of what our lives will be.  Only God has that.

1 Corinthians 13:12 – New Living Translation (NLT)

12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

I need to trust God with the details.  God’s sovereignty does not depend on our circumstances.  I must remind myself that in the doubts of today, I must trust in His tomorrow.  He has the master plan.  I am in the midst of the puzzle being built … and therefore cannot see the end result.  I don’t have access to the puzzle box top to see what it is supposed to look like.  BUT, God also promises this:

Jeremiah 29:11 – New Living Translation (NLT)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

I will choose to find rest and comfort in that.  As we say in modern times, “God has my back” – all I need to do is trust and let Him handle all the details.

  • He has never wavered,
  • He has never failed me,
  • He has given me the Holy Spirit to enable me,
  • He promised to be with me at ALL times,
  • Nothing is too hard for God.

“My faith is in God … not in the outcomes I want.”
– Pastor Craig Groeschel, LifeChurch.tv

God’s Purpose for You

I recently started a new bible study with my mom every week.  We’re starting to listen to some older Beth Moore bible studies that were broadcast on TV over the years.  I just love the depth that Beth brings to the messages of God’s word that she shares.  She’s so honest, real, and no-nonsense — and truly connects with her students.  I wanted to share some notes I took this week … as they really hit me in a very powerful way.  Maybe they’ll hit you in a powerful way too.

Our God is a God of perfect timing.

Acts 13:36 New Living Translation (NLT)

36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed.

  1. God has a purpose for us in our own generation … here … today … in 2014!
  2. Personalize the above scripture by inserting YOUR name in the place of David’s

This is not a reference to Debi, for after Debi had done the will of God in her own generation, she died and was buried with her ancestors (family), and her body decayed.

WOW!  That puts a totally different spin on that passage, doesn’t it?  God has created me to exist on this earth at this exact time, in this exact location, this exact year … to fulfill a specific purpose that He planned long before he even created the universe.  Not just a specific purpose … but a relevant purpose in our own generation.  I don’t know about you, but that boggles the mind!  I may not know what that purpose (relevant purpose) is … but rest assured, God sure does.

Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Nothing is more powerful than a relevant Christian in this world.  (quote from Beth Moore)

Nothing happens (or gets to touch us) in our life that is not directly related to God’s purpose for our life in our own generation.  Whatever happens to us has to first pass the purpose test – God’s purpose test.

Luke 22:41-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Even Jesus knew what He was about to face and go through … and in his human form, it scared him.  Note, however, that even in the midst of that fear, He still said He wanted God’s will to be done, not His own.  God knew the purpose would exceed the pain.  It’s the same in our own lives.  Wouldn’t you rather go through pain and have a life that has purpose – rather than have a life that didn’t matter for anything?

Remember Joseph’s life … and how his brothers sold him into slavery?

Genesis 50:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

God had an ultimate purpose for Joseph’s life.  “…God intended it all for good.”

Luke 22:31-32  New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

The trials that we endure in this life are God’s way of having faith in us.  By sanding firm in God’s word – daily … placing it in our hearts (putting on the full armor of God), we will be equipped to endure through the hardships, and ultimately fulfill God’s plan for our lives.  WOW!

She ended the lesson with this question:  So, how’s it going to be?  Will you do the hard thing … walking the tightrope to live a life of purpose?

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fall)” by Hillsong United

How many times do you find yourself in need of God to carry you … rescue you … to help you through some kind of situation?  More and more, I find myself asking Him to take over and help me get through a hard day … moment … or period of time.  …and you know what?  He has NEVER let me down!  He ALWAYS comes to help when I call upon Him.  I find great comfort and peace in the words of this beautiful song.  I just absolutely LOVE it!

Sit back, relax, and let the Holy Spirit move within you as you listen.

Obey … and you’ll be blessed

What happens when you ask for something, and then receive it … and then you’re happy?  Well, if you’re like me, you slowly start to fall back into your normal daily routine.  That’s exactly what I had done … until we had another powerful series at my church.  It was, again, about tithing, however, this time it was taken to an entirely different level.  During this series, we had a guest pastor teach it … that pastor was Robert Morris.  He’s written quite a few books – so you may have heard of him.  The material he was preaching on was based on this book he wrote, “The Blessed Life“.

Layout 1

Image found on google.com

To say that this sermon series had a BIG impact on me is an understatement.  He was building upon the tithing series I had heard in January earlier this year (that I also blogged about on this site).  After his message this particular week about exceptional giving (giving beyond the 10% tithe) he shared how God multiplies his blessings on you when you do this.  I felt the tugging of the Holy Spirit on my heart.  What he was telling me I had to do scared me to death!

After church that Sunday, I went about my normal errands (grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.) but couldn’t get out of my mind what the Holy Spirit had brought to my heart earlier during church services.  So, with tears in my eyes, praying to God telling him I was afraid  … but that I place my trust Him … I gave and exceptional gift to Him that was well above my normal tithe.

The next day, an amazing thing happened.  I received a call for an interview at a company I had recently applied to and was hoping to work for.  I was blown away … again!  This entire experience was all too familiar of what had happened earlier this year as I was trying to relocate half way across the country!  Why is it that we find ourselves so surprised when God is true to His word?  He tells us that if we obey Him, He will take care of us … and we are even told:

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (NLT)

I’m happy to report that I did get that job … and just finished my 2nd week working my new job.  I am learning a lot … as it’s a very fast-paced environment that can’t ‘slow down’ while I learn my new job — so I’m leaning on the Lord to carry me through.  After-all, I have this job because it is part of His plan for my life.  My dad recently reminded me that I can’t do anything to mess it up, because it is part of God’s plan — as He placed me there.  How’s that for taking some of my self-inflicted stress off?!  Thanks for that reminder, Dad … it made a BIG difference!!!

Praying for BIG stuff … continued

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written more of this story … so I thought it was a good time to add another post.  I left you last time where I had just driven across the country alone to my new home state.  My husband was left back home to sell the house, and would join me afterwards.

Our house sold and closing was set for late June.  I flew up to help my husband drive down with the 2 cats in the car to boot!  That was going to be an interesting ordeal – or so I thought.  As we drove, the cats were much better behaved than I had imagined they would be – especially being cooped up all day in a car.  Animals are smarter than we think they are, and they clearly knew something was happening.  After all, the house had been packed up and loaded on a truck – and they first-hand witnessed that.  Then we had them in a hotel room with us, and then they were in a car with us all day for 3 days in a row.  To say they were very well behaved for animals is an understatement.  Just another blessing from God.

When we left the home we’d lived in most of our lives … and the state we’d lived in for several decades, we were unsure if my husband would have a job upon arrival in our new home state.  Everything had been left ‘in the air’ as no-one could confirm if he would be able to transfer within the company in our new state.  That was very unsettling, but I had put this all in the Lord’s hands … and knew that He had it all planned out and would take good care of us.

Photo found on Pinterest

Photo found on Pinterest

Upon arrival in our new home-state, I returned to my new job, and my husband stayed ‘home’ in our temporary home – the RV in my brother’s back yard.  This allowed him to be available to be ready – at a moment’s notice – for the arrival of our household belongings to go into storage, and also for the arrival of one of our vehicles, that was also being transported via truck.  In the meantime, he met with the company district management to see if he was able to transfer down or not.  As would be God’s providential timing – my husband was available for both the arrival of our household belongings, and for our vehicle.  Each of these ended up taking a substantial amount of time – an entire day for the household items, and a half of a day for the vehicle.  Clearly, I would not have been able to take such time of after starting a new job, and neither would my husband.  God knew just what was needed, and when – and He provided it at the precise moment it was needed – and not a second sooner.  After the last of all of our items was delivered to our new “home”, my husband received word that he could, in fact, transfer down within the same company, and started his new job the following week.  Isn’t God amazing!!!!!?

I’m also happy to report that we’ve been blessed with a beautiful house that we were able to pay for with the proceeds of our house sale in our former state.  It’s a new house – only 6 years old – so it doesn’t really need any work done on it.  God has truly richly blessed us!  As I prayed 1 ½ years earlier, God answered the prayer of his beloved daughter – and even handled every single detail along the way!  What an amazing God I serve!

So now that I’ve shared how God answered the amazing prayer of His beloved daughter … I ask if you’ve trusted God with answering a BIG prayer in your life?  I’d LOVE to hear stories from my readers on how God has moved in BIG ways in your life as well.  If you have not trusted God with BIG things, why not give it a try?  You may just be surprised and get an amazing answer to your prayer too…

“Sinners Creed”

I just listened to an audio book that has brought up a lot of emotions – emotions from my childhood hurts and emotions of my relationship with the almighty God.  In this audiobook, I was so riveted by it that I could hardly get myself to press the ‘pause’ button.  I was nearly knocked off my feet by the parallel paths that our childhood experiences were.  I had felt so alone most of my childhood … like no-one would understand, no-one would believe me, or worse – that no-one would … care.  Now, I’m listening to another person’s memoir – of someone who just happens to be famous that I’ve identified with over the years through his music.  Now, I’m hearing, in his own words, what his childhood was like … how his foundational relationship with God was built through the childhood experiences he lived through – and I find myself in utter stunned shock!  Almost like we were kindred spirits living scarily parallel lives, just several years apart.  The book I’m talking about is called “Sinner’s Creed – A Memoir” by Scott Stapp, the lead singer of the group Creed.

Photo of Scott Stapp - found on Pinterest

Photo of Scott Stapp – found on Pinterest

Scott clearly had more struggles when it comes to chemical dependence and reliance than I have, thankfully.  I praise God that my life never went down that path, but it so easily could have.  I have, however, had almost identical struggles with my trust and belief in organized religion (i.e. churches), my father (although we are not estranged like Scott’s are) and with people who call themselves “Christian”, just as Scott explained.  Additionally, I also have struggled with an undercurrent of anger that can come to the surface quickly if the situation is set up just right, as well as having had the seeds of bitterness in my heart for many, many years.  Throughout it all, however, I have never wavered in my trust in God.  Scott, in this memoir shared the same.

Then, I also read an excerpt from a book called “Chasing after the Heart of God” by Jennie Allen – and was struck at the comparison she was making of David‘s life in the bible.  He was a man after God’s own heart … but he was a man who did many bad things (murder and adultery) but he always longed for God … searched for God … in his heart.  That’s what mattered – not the fact that he had some horrible and very obvious sins in his life.  We all have sins in our lives … just some people have more visible sins than others.  What mattered most in David’s life was that he longed for and was constantly searching out God.  That, I believe, is why he was referred to as a man after God’s own heart.

My prayer is that I, too, am found to be a woman after God’s own heart by my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

Praying for BIG stuff … continued

So, I just received a job offer, and we have now listed our house on the market.  The time has finally come for me to say goodbye to lifelong friends as I plan to drive over 1700 miles to my new ‘home’.  With every ‘goodbye’ comes extreme sadness.  The emotions were overwhelming … and hard to put words to.  There are a handful of friends whom I pray the distance will not cause the end of our friendships, but only time will tell.  Thankfully, one – in particular – I have faith and hope will remain a lifetime friendship!  (…and I know you’re reading this and that you know who you are!)

As the last day approaches before my big trip, I need to say ‘farewell’ to my husband … and as I do this, I have no idea how long it will be until I see him next.  I’ve put my trust in God to handle all the details, and have faith that the distance will help our love to grow stronger and for us to have more appreciation for each other as a result.

The night before I leave, I receive a phone call from a dear friend.  She is clearly worried sick about me driving such a distance alone … to cities that could be dangerous, should I have car problems or find myself lost or something.  Her husband had contacted an old college buddy, who lives ~1 hour away from the first city I’m traveling to, and asks if he would be my “knight in shining armor” should I find myself in need of help.  They provide me with his number, and I do the same.  Then, although I was never nervous about this trip … I find myself feeling a sense of relief – and view this as God sending one of his earthly angels to help, if I need it.  I fully attribute this to God … as part of his plan to keep me safe on my journey.

As I walked out of my house for the last time, walking toward my car – I am overwhelmed with emotions.  I know the next time I come back, the house will not be the same, as it will be empty.  I also know that the house is only a building … that it’s the memories that it holds that is making my emotions so strong.  Isn’t it amazing how we can become overwhelmed by emotions over such a ‘material’ thing as a house?  Nevertheless, after shedding a few tears, I start my 1700-mile drive across the country.  Shedding more tears as I drive down roads I’ve driven down for many, many years – knowing that this time – EVERYTHING is different. 

I programmed the address of my hotel for the evening in the Garmin and started driving.  I popped in the CD’s that a childhood friend had given me, to keep me company on my journey, and head off to my next great adventure in life!  (Thanks Kevin – they were perfect and kept me company most of that long day’s drive!)

(Photo found on Pinterest)

(Photo found on Pinterest)

As I drove that first day, I marveled in this great country and all of God’s beautiful creation.  That day, I passed through many farmlands with freshly plowed fields, vast fields with wildflowers, miles and miles of beautiful vineyards, and lakes.  In all of this, I felt His presence protecting me all the way.  I arrived safely at the hotel that evening, and never needed my “knight in shining armor” to rescue me – but thank God that he sent me angels in friends who were concerned, and offered help, should it be needed.  It had been a very L O N G day!  God is SO good!