Worth it All.

This was a post I wrote back in 2011 but I am so grateful I just came across it again today and I wanted to re-post it on this new blog. I hope that it encourages you today like it did me!

After leaving the most amazing church service I believe I have been to in years I couldn’t help but want to come home and write. I wish every single one of you reading this could have been at this service with me. With that being said…. it’s gonna be worth it all. It is worth it all.

Mary didn’t give birth to Jesus in a fancy inn, there was no room for her there. Jesus was born in a stable…. I have never had a child but I honestly couldn’t imagine that giving birth in a stable would be remotely comfortable or easy…. but it was worth it all. When Mary looked into the eyes of Jesus, it was worth it all.

Jesus is with each of us in our “stables”

Emmanuel….God with us, not God far away who doesn’t see us. God is in divine control, always, even when we are in a stable, He is with us. Maybe your stable is a loss of a loved one, cancer, divorce, whatever it is, whatever pain that you are going through know that God is with you. When we don’t understand what or why God is doing what He is doing we have to know that whatever it is good or bad it’s gonna be worth it.

When we take a step back and look at the big picture, when we lay down our wants and desires to live a radically, sold out life of giving Christ’s love away, when we realize that it is not about us, it is not about acquiring stuff or having the most or the best of everything, when we take our focus off of ourselves and put it where it belongs we can realize and trust that God is in control… always, He is Emmanuel, God with us, Always. This song by Rita Springer is just absolutely amazing in every way…

“I don’t understand Your ways, but I will give you my song and I’ll give You all my praise, You hold on to all my pain and with it You are pulling me closer, pulling me in Your ways Now around every corner, and up every mountain I’m not looking for crowns or the water from fountains I’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing The sight of Your face is all that I’m needing It’s gonna be worth it, It’s gonna be worth it It’s gonna be worth it all….I believe it..

I want to get to the point where I am desperately seeking, frantic believing that the sight of God’s face is all and everything that I am needing.

I just believe so much that if we could all get to that place of trust with God, where we honestly do reach and seek out His face first in good times and bad times we would see such a radical change in Christianity. We would see real, authentic Christians, passionately seeking and pursuing a real relationship with the Almighty, All knowing God. How awesome would that be for each of us individually…. and how awesome would it be to see God’s children living the sold out life that He wants so bad for each of us to live….

I pray that I see that day come soon, starting in me. I know that it is going to be worth it all. Everything that in my natural mind I think I am going to have to give up, every pain that I am going to walk through, every mountain and every valley I know that when I look into the eyes of Jesus, just as Mary did, it is gonna be worth it all.
Blessings<3 Ashley
Watch the full lyric video here.

Staying Faithful in Your Position

This can be hard at times. To be honest with you this is something I have failed at over and over and over again. Staying planted…staying faithful… whatever you want to call it, it’s hard. If you are anything like me, I see the end, or the dream, or the life “they” are living that I want, or the life I thought I would be living by this time but I am not, and then you make a rash decision that seems like it will lead you to that “life” quicker than the path you are on now only to find out… it’s a lie. You find out that the things you were supposed to learn in the last position are still the same things the Lord is trying to teach you wherever you landed. It doesn’t matter where you landed because…

It’s not about the position, it’s about the purpose.

Our job, our title, our bank account, our family life… everything has a season. Good seasons are better than bad seasons, yes, I couldn’t agree more, but the lessons we learn in those bad seasons, if we will allow them too, draw us so much closer to the Lord and show us so much more about His faithfulness to us. Those lessons prepare us for the purpose He has for us.

I have been reading through the book of 1 Samuel and I am just captivated by David. I know that David & Goliath is pretty much in the top 5 of the most popular Bible stories, but I am captivated by the “Pre-Goliath” David. This David was a just a Shepard boy that kept watch of the families sheep & goats. A low position. A position so low that when Samuel came to David’s father’s house to anoint the next king, David’s father didn’t even mention him in the line up! But the Lord saw David. Sometimes you may feel hidden, forgotten or passed over… but take heart because the Lord SEES you and He sees me too. Even in those seasons where it may not feel like it.

David was faithful to his position and to his God. David had a heart after God and that is what the Lord saw. I just can’t imagine how hard, scary and frustrating some days of David’s life as a Shepard were, how unseen he had to have felt. David daily protected his herd and fought off the predators that were trying to attack them. His position at times had to be scary. But in the midst of that position the Lord was teaching him what he was capable of. He was showing David how strong he was and most of all he was showing David that HE was with him in this position and in whatever battle that David would face.
On the day that David would kill Goliath, David was just being faithful to his position, like every other day. David’s father Jesse asked David to bring some food to his brothers that were in the battle, so he did just that. David however had no idea that this day would be the day that his current position had trained him for. You see, we have such limited vision. We can’t see all that the Lord is doing behind the scenes on our behalf. We can’t see the whys, we don’t have all of the answers, He just wants us to be faithful and trust Him. When David arrived he heard Goliath yelling and taunting the Israelite army about their God, the God David served and loved. David was infuriated that no one was doing anything about it so he took matters into his own hands. David’s brothers as well as the king told him he couldn’t do it, they told him he was too small, they told him he should just go back and tend to his sheep… but David knew the Lord was with him… why was he so confident in this? Because David had watched the Lord help him fight off every predator that came his way so far, so why would the Lord let Him down now? So David faced Goliath and said…

“You come to me with a sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies- the God of the armies of Israel who you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you…” 1 Samuel 17: 46-47a NLT

And as the story goes… David defeated Goliath… but as David said … the Lord conquered Goliath… David was just the vessel He used. David was able to be that vessel because he was willing to be faithful in the position that he was in. He was able to be the vessel because he was willing to stay planted in the hard times to see that there was a greater purpose than what his current position looked like.

Maybe you are like me. Maybe you get too far ahead of yourself and try to push forward on a path that hasn’t been cleared for you to walk through yet. Stay faithful. Stay planted. Allow the Lord to show you what all He has for you in this season, soak every bit of it in so that on the day of battle we can turn to whatever we are facing and say boldly like David “You come to me with a sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord… today the Lord will conquer you…” David was able to face Goliath and move forward in his purpose with bold faith and confidence because he experienced the Lord’s faithfulness over and over and over again and he remained faithful to the position the Lord had him in. Remember it’s not about the position… it’s about the purpose.
❤ Ashley

The Struggle is Real

Disclaimer…… this is longer than my normal blogs but I sure hope you will take a few minutes to read it if you can 🙂

I was recently asked to speak at a women’s event in our area. To be completely honest with you all I was so scared. Speaking is something I feel very called to do, especially speaking to women, but when the opportunities arise so does my freak out mode.

As I was praying about what I was going to speak about at this event I was personally studying about unrealistic expectations and what those looked like in my life. I thought and was hoping that would be what the Lord would lay on my heart to speak about… in the midst of studying He lead me on a journey to so much more and I was so grateful. I wanted to share with you all 3 things that the Lord showed me that hinder us, or at least me, from becoming the women that He created us to be.

The first thing is what I was originally studying… Unrealistic Expectations.(I wrote a past blog called “Failed” that this first points stems from so some of this first part my be familiar to you if you have read that!)

As I was studying this and preparing, I keep thinking to myself “This is for sure the one that I struggle with the most” but then I kept looking at the other two and realized I just really struggle with all 3 of them in different ways and in different seasons.

For me unrealistic expectations have really buried me at times. My greatest dream was to move to Nashville and be Gretchen Wilson. I did make part of that dream happen by moving to Nashville, but if you know anything about me or country music you know that other than my redneck tattoo on my shoulder (if you know, you know) I am nothing like Gretchen Wilson.

Growing up I was always the girl in the spotlight. I was a singer, dancer, cheerleader… You name it. If it had a stage I was on it. As much as I loved all of those things and had a wonderful childhood, those formative years of my life put so many unrealistic expectations on my adult life. I began to believe that if I wasn’t on a stage… if people didn’t know my name… if I wasn’t doing something great enough or big enough then that meant “I” wasn’t enough. It meant that I was wasting my life. It meant that I moved away from my family and I failed at what I was supposed to do. I failed at who everyone thought I would be. Looking back I can so clearly see how the enemy planted those seeds in my life at such a very young age. His goal is to ALWAYS rob us of our faith and to steal, kill and destroy us. Jn 10:10 And I almost let Him. But God.

For years these unrealistic expectations in my life buried me. No job was good enough. Every time I tried a new one I would describe it to my family and friends as something so much more than it really was because I wanted them to see me as being up on this platform of life that I was so tirelessly chasing after. I wanted people to look at me and think that I had done something really great with my life! That moving to Nashville wasn’t wasted. That my life wasn’t wasted. But no matter what I did or said I still couldn’t shake feeling like I failed at life in general. I wasn’t a singer, I was in my 30’s and not married, I wasn’t a mom, I wasn’t on a platform. I wasn’t any of the things I was supposed to be. So in my mind the only thing that I was, was a failure.

I finally stirred up the guts to go see a Christian counselor and after I exhaled my entire life story on her as fast as I could she asked me a question that changed my life. She said to me “What is it that you have really failed at?” When I stopped and took a minute to look back… there was not one thing that I talked to her about that I truly failed at. Nothing. At that moment I began to realize that what I saw as failure all of these years was really unrealistic expectations that I put on myself.

The chasing, the striving… I was exhausted. I was mad at God because I believed that He let me down. But all along He was waiting for me to stop chasing after the things of this world. To stop trying to please people with my life. To stop trying to be accepted and celebrated by people. He didn’t created you or me to be accepted. We are created to stand out for Him. He didn’t create us to be celebrated… we are to celebrate Him. How easy it is to fix our eyes on our on situations, on our own desires, on our own plans and miss it completely. That is the goal of the enemy!!

All the while He is calling out to us..

.Daughter! Stop striving! You are chasing and running and exhausting yourself trying to become someone I never called or created you to be. Stop striving. You are loved. There is nothing that you could do to make me love you one ounce more than I already do. Nothing. There is no way that you can look that could make me think that you are any more beautiful and perfect than you are this very moment. You are enough and you are mine and I have a great and specific purpose that I created you uniquely for, if you will just stop looking to this world for approval and fix your eyes on me.

That is the key. We have to fix our eyes on Him. We have to lock our eyes in so tightly to Him that we don’t get swayed to the right or left but stay on the straight path that He has for us. Pr. 4:25-27 We have to take off the heavy burdens of these unrealistic expectations that we have been carrying around and lay them at His feet. We have to fully surrender our plans and dreams to Him.

I pray that you can begin to see what expectations you have on your life that you were never meant to carry. I pray that you and I can be so locked in to Him so aware of His presence in our lives that nothing else matters. No ones approval is needed but His. We are enough.
The second thing that can hinder us from becoming the women that He created us to be is Comparison.

Can I just start this one with a confession… if you have posted on social media within the last few years that you are expecting a baby I may or may not have unfriended you. RIGHT! Come on. Don’t act like you haven’t been there.. Maybe you didn’t unfriend the person but maybe you did unfollow them… You know that way they don’t know that you did it!

Social media has made it so much easier for us to compare ourselves to each other. Especially us women! My husband thinks I am 100% insane sometimes. It has come to the point where I have said to him so many times… “Did you see so and so is pregnant?” “Did you see they are pregnant again?” All the while I am sitting their stewing because I am not. He finally said to me “ While I guess I am either going to have to impregnate you or you need to get off social media!” Of course I heard the first part of that statement and agreed. But you all, I also remember doing this to him while we were dating about people getting engaged too. It doesn’t stop.. (Sorry Bobby!)

There will always be the next thing to compare our lives too and strive for if we are looking for our contentment, peace and fulfillment in this world or in the lives of others.

I know that I am not the first one to say this and I am sure that you have heard this before but so have I and it still obviously hasn’t completely sank in… We are comparing our lowest moments to someones else’s social media highlights. The majority of the time that I am on social media I am bored and don’t have much else to do. By the end of my endless scrolling I am still bored but now I am also mad, lonely, fat, broke and have downed an entire bag of baked lays. Why? Because I have sat there and allowed myself to compare myself to her. Or my marriage to theirs. Or my thighs to hers. Why is it so hard for us as women to understand that we are created so beautifully unique. So perfectly set apart. Each feature is perfect in His sight. He made us, He formed us, everyone of us and every part of us. He numbered our hairs He is ordering our steps! We are all equally needed. He has no favorites! Acts 10:34

We have to understand that just because she may have someone you want doesn’t mean that God is keeping something from you because she has done more, or she is a better mom, or christian or wife. It means that you are not her. It means that He is writing your story. It means that what may feel like the Lord keeping something from us could very well be the process we are needing to go through for Him to bring something even better to us! His story for me is perfect. His story for you is perfect.

I know it’s so hard to watch and celebrate others getting things you so desire. In this season for me it’s so hard to go to baby showers. To walk those isles at target to pick out that perfect outfit or toy and then have to give it away. It’s so hard. But you know what… He knows. Though it may bring me great grief at times, He knows, He sees me, and I know He is still good and my story is not over, it just looks different than hers. He is always good and He always has good in mind for us no matter what process we may have to go through to get there. Just think about the cross and the process and pain Jesus had to endure for us. But without the cross where would we be?

This comes back again to the same place.. Fixing our eyes and locking them on Jesus. Our Father. Taking our gaze off of others and their lives and placing it on Him. Taking the focus off our ourselves and desires and choosing to live a fully surrendered life to Him… NO MATTER WHAT.
The last thing that can hinder us from becoming the women He created us to be is Our Past.

Every single one of us has a different story. I don’t know what your past looks like, I don’t know what you did or what may have been done to you, but I do know that there is Someone greater than any of it. He is the great Forgiver. He is the great Healer. He is the great Redeemer. He is the only One that can take every single thing, every single thought, every single pain, every single trial that has come against you in your life, every dart that the enemy has thrown at you trying to take you out, He is the only one that can take ALL OF IT, all of it that was meant to bury you and leave your for dead and breath life into it and turn it around for good. Rom 8:28

In your life you may have done so many things wrong, in your life so many wrongs things may have been done to you BUT GOD IS ABLE. And He is willing.

The life of Paul has to stand out as an example for us… if an author of the Bible can stand and say “ I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Rom 7:15 I think we are in good company. We have all made mistakes. I look back over my life and it breaks my heart some of the things that I have done and some of the things that I have said. How hurtful I could be. I would love to say that all of these things were before I knew the Lord but that is just not the case.

How grateful I am for the grace, mercy, forgiveness and love of Jesus. How grateful I am that when He breathed His last breath the veil was torn and now I can come freely before the Lord and lay it all out there! I can repent, I can praise and worship Him and I can be forgiven.

There is nothing that the enemy would love more than to keep you bound in chains by your past, than to make you hold on to bitterness, offense and unforgiveness so you can’t push through and become the woman God created you to be. Nothing more.
But if you will allow the Lord to show you these things that are harboring inside of you that you may have never dealt with I can promise you with everything in me that you will find freedom there. He is so good guys. He has such an amazing story that He is not finished writing in your life. We can’t let the enemy keep us locked in these chains of our past, of our hurts, of our unforgiveness, or bitterness or offense and end the story before it was finished.

I know this was super long… I warned you 🙂 but to sum it all up my greatest prayers for you and for me today are that we can leave our unrealistic expectations of who we think we are supposed to be behind us once and for all. That we can learn to celebrate and champion each other instead of compare ourselves to each other, that we can pray to the Lord to search our heart and help us uproot and deal with anything that may be hindering us that is in our past and we can be obedient and faithful to deal with it like He wants us too. I pray that we can lock our eyes so tightly on Jesus that we don’t need the approval of anyone else to know that we are loved, we are enough and we are beautiful.

If you read all of this know that I wish I could give you a big hug, a cup of coffee or a least a cookie! Or maybe a Taco? I don’t know… Obviously I am hungry now. Thanks for journeying along with me though and always know I would love to agree in pray and pray for you if you need. You can email me at ashley@ashleymcclain.org and I will do just that!
Love you all.

The Truth will Set you Free

As I was reading through a book on discipleship this morning, I came across a verse that I have heard preached and read myself SO MANY TIMES. I am sure you have read, said and heard it said many times as well…

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 CSB

You have heard it before right? This morning in the book I am reading the author Kandi Gallaty also referenced the verse before it… John 8:31 which says…

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples.”

Okay so what You’re saying Jesus, is that there is an active part that I play in this as well…. MIND BLOWN. Maybe not blown completely but for sure a reality check. Let’s read these verses together…

John 8:31-32 CSB
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

After reading this verse over…and over.. and over this morning I got an image of a prison in my head and began to think about what it takes for someone who is in prison to get out of prison.. time served. Freedom for a prisoner requires time.
Maybe it is just me but I know I have so many invisible prisons that I live in. These prisons are in my mind and if I let them they can just completely take over and destroy my day, or let’s be honest weeks or even months. Here is where my revelation came in this morning… I can’t just hold onto the Bible and open it in church on Sunday mornings and expect to know the Truth that can set me free from these invisible prisons that I have. I have to put the time in…

I have to read His Word to know the Truth that can and will set me free.

We have to do our part. A relationship with Jesus is just that a relationship, a two-way line of communication between our heavenly Father and us, His children. If we are just going through the motions of our faith we lose the relationship with the Author of our faith. We invest time in so many other relationships throughout our days. Whether that is our family, spouse, kids, friends, co-workers… you fill in the blank, but how easy it is to get “too busy” to invest time in the relationship with the Creator. The One who made us, knows us and loves us. The One who is our ever present help in time of need (Ps 46:1) The One who can lead us, guide us and instruct us on the way we need to go (Ps 32:8) The One and the only One who’s very Words can set us free.

The Bible is the absolute truth. The living word of God. There is Freedom there. We have to take the time to put His Word in our heart. The Word is the weapon that we have to tear down the invisible prisons that we have in our lives. Let’s take this weapon that the Lord has given us and let’s spend time learning, knowing and growing in it so we can break down the prison walls that we live in and walk in the freedom that Christ died for us to have (Gal 5:1)! Will you join me?

Freely Come

This morning I was reading in the book of Leviticus. Before we continue and you think I am some kind of bible scholar who daily studies the Old Testament… I started a 2 year through the Bible reading plan in January… which is why I found myself in the book of Leviticus today. I started this plan to help me focus on these books that I naturally wouldn’t rush too to read 🙂 Moving on…

I am in the very beginning of the book still and we just came out of Exodus where the temple was built and now the Lord is telling Moses how to instruct the people of Israel in the proper procedures for offerings. There are burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, then it goes on to list what sins require a sin offering, what sins require a guilt offering and on.. and on… To be honest with you all, at first I just skipped over these chapters due to A: it being kind of boring and B: all of the different slaughtering of animals and what organs and body parts of them to burn, what blood to splash where… and you see my point. But this morning as I was going back through this section of Scripture I couldn’t stop reading it and hearing the Lord speak to my spirit the words “Freely Come.”

I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed by what Jesus did for us on the cross all over again. He made a way for us to be able to Freely Come. He made a way for us to come boldly into the presence of God! (Heb 4:16) He made a way for our sins to be forgiven. We don’t have to bring a cow, 2 turtle doves or cook bread without yeast … we just simply come. Jesus was the final offering for sin. My sin and your sin.

The question that I can’t seem to shake this morning is “What is your excuse?” Moses, Aaron, the priest & Israelites that I am reading about had so many different “things” and “rules” that they had to follow to get what the blood of Jesus has offered us freely… The forgiveness of sins, the presence of God, the love of God, the peace of God… and yet we still don’t come. Why? Are we just too busy?

This morning I challenge you, take a moment today and tomorrow and make it a habit to Freely Come and spend time with our Savior. We don’t have to bring Him anything. We don’t have to “Fix” whatever issue we think is too great for Him before we come. We don’t have to kick that habit or sin before we come… we just come.. freely. We come with everything we are, everything we have, everything we have done.. good and bad. We just come and meet with Him. Is there repentance of sin… yes. Is there a time to confess what is in our hearts… yes. But if we could just get ourselves to the point of “Freely Coming” into His presence I believe that once we are there in His presence experiencing His love and peace that can only come from Him… those things will naturally begin to flow from our hearts because we are allowing Him to change us. So let’s not miss this. Let’s not miss out on what is offered to us Freely. He has provided us an open door to walk through at any moment. There is no veil stopping us or limiting us to how far we can come. He already tore that. There is no offering that we need to bring. He already was that. There is just Him waiting on us to come… Freely. Let’s start today and just see what change it could have in our lives.

And also.. can we just take a moment to praise Him that we can eat bread with yeast in it all the time! 🙂

Advanced Maternal Age

36. How in the world did I get to be 36? I remember waking up one year ago on my 35th birthday and all I could think about was that I was now officially “advanced maternal age” … a “high-risk pregnancy” .. we didn’t have a baby and we weren’t really trying or planning for one at that point. I remember so vividly wanting a baby so badly at the beginning of last year, it was all consuming… but not because I thought we were ready.. because I was “high-risk” and I thought my time was running out or even passed. I remember thinking throughout last year “by my 36th birthday I will for sure have a baby so it will be okay!” Once again I woke up yesterday on my 36th birthday with no baby… but this year it was different.

Somewhere along my journey in my 35th year the Lord brought so much peace to my heart. He taught me and is still teaching me how to surrender fully. How to enjoy my journey. How to enjoy my husband and our season together. How to celebrate others and what season they are in without jealous and questioning in my heart. Just peace. Peace that I could never understand and didn’t even realize until I woke up this morning with the words “advanced maternal age” on my heart once again. But this year that felt different. Those words didn’t weigh on my heart as heavy as they used to. I was OKAY that I was waking up today in the season that I am in and I am going to continue to celebrate and live each season to the fullest. I don’t want to miss the gift of today wishing and hoping for my tomorrows. I wasted time doing that for WAY too long in my life already 🙂

While I was laying in bed thinking about this I began to think how “advance maternal age” or “high-risk” doesn’t only apply to carrying a physical baby. I know that in my heart there are dreams and desires and visions that I have for my life that have yet to be birthed. I know that at times I feel like they are never going to happen, or I am too old now to pursue that or how “high of a risk” it would be if I did. Or what if I try and I can’t do it. What if I can’t give birth to that dream.. what if I can’t carry it…what if I fail. The Lord brought this verse to my mind..

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6 NLT

He is faithful. He is good. He is going to complete what He started in me.. and in you too. If I have learned anything at all in my journey so far, it’s that it doesn’t happen in my time it happens in His. When my character is more like Him. When I have matured in Him to be able to fully carry and give birth to what all He has planned for me. It may not happen today, but I believe His Word to be true and I believe Him to be faithful. So what I CAN do today is become more like Him. I can fully surrender myself to the season that He has me in. I can learn and grow and trust that He is working on my behalf to bring forth His good plans for my life (Jer 29:11; Rom 8:28) I can be faithful right where He has me right now… and so can you.
That doesn’t mean that I just stay in this season and get stuck. That means I am serving faithfully, fully and joyfully where I am right now but I am continuing to grow, strive and perfect the things that I hope to do, the dreams that I have. I am striving to become more like Christ so when His time for me is right I can carry and give birth to what He has for me.. and you can too. What I have learned when I strive to live this way is that He gives so much peace. He gives so much joy. It’s amazing how when we live surrendered lives the weight of the world lifts. The pressure of who we think we are supposed to be or have to be… lifts. The work we do that used to drain us… fills us. Why? Because we are not doing it for ourselves anymore, we are not forcing something to happen before it is time anymore, we are trusting in His timing and plan for us… we are doing it surrendered to Him and IT CHANGES EVERYTHING. I am 100% living proof of that and I know that it will change everything for you too.

Are there hard days still.. of course..it’s life on planet earth.. not heaven. Do I want to be traveling the world like Kari Jobe still.. yes..duh. Do I wish the Lord would work in my timing.. YES! Always! Do I wish I was at a baseball park watching our twin boys play on a Saturday morning, YES! (BTW you can add twin boys to your prayer list for me if you ever think about it haha! TIA) But I am okay where I am at and I am choosing to enjoy every second of it because life truly is a gift from Lord and gave His life up so I could have mine… so why should I wish any of it away! I trust that His time and plan is so much better than mine and when I deal with those thoughts I remember that and then there is peace once again. And the same can be true for you today. I 100% believe that with all of my heart!

Today, I am praying for every single person who reads this. I pray that whatever you are waiting to give birth to, whether that be a physical birth of a child, a dream, or both (like me!) that the Lord brings you peace today. That you can rest in His timing and fully surrender to it. I pray that today as you go through your normal weekday routine you find joy and fullness that you didn’t even know existed or could exist in the season that you are in right now. I pray that the lies of the enemy that are in your head, that you may be too old, high risk or whatever it is will be replaced by God’s Word and love today. That you are fully known, fully loved and that He does have good plans for your life, that He is good, and that He is faithful to complete what He started in you. I pray today you can fully surrender, fully trust and live fully in the joy and peace that He wants to give you today as you continue along your journey.

Getting out of the Boat

I have read this story many times in the Bible. It came up as one of the passages in a Bible reading plan I am doing on youversion a few days ago. I kept reading the last verse over and over where it says:

“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus”

He went over the side of the boat. In a storm. Far away from land as the Bible tells us (v.24). When I read this I kept thinking about a time in Florida when I was with friends and we were on their beautiful boat but we had gotten stuck on a sandbar. I could still see the land and it was a beautiful sunny Florida day. Then my friends dad told us to jump out and push us off… wait what? Are you kidding me? You want me to jump over the side of this boat into the water and push us off of a sandbar? This is not happening, have you even seen the movie Jaws??? BUT… over the side of the boat my friends went and ONLY because I was afraid of their dad… over I went too… I was terrified.

I bring up that story because I can’t even imagine what faith it took Peter to go over the side of his boat..in the middle of the ocean in a storm when the story already told us that they were afraid and distressed. I know that when I am afraid or distressed it’s so easy to just shrink back in my fear and stay there. But God is calling us to Him. Asking us to get out of our boat… step out of our fear… walk towards Him by faith and faith alone. Peter knew it was not physically possible for him to walk on water… but he went over the side of the boat anyways because of his faith in the Lord and he walked on water towards Jesus. Wow… are there even any words to describe the measure of faith and the power of God..

What boat is the Lord asking you to get out of? What storm in life are you in the middle of and He is calling out for you to trust Him and just walk to Him by faith? It’s so scary sometimes. To try and walk by faith when we can’t see the next steps. To take that step of faith and obedience but not know where it may lead… to trust God fully.. The next part of Peter’s story shows us that he was scared and doubted too..

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

Even though Peter had the faith to go over the side of the boat in the middle of the ocean and WAS walking on water he still was afraid… but Jesus didn’t leave him in the ocean to drown because he doubted Him. It’s says that Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out for Him. Immediately. What love the Father has for us.. it’s unconditional and never ending.

If you are afraid to step out of whatever boat you may be in today… do it afraid. Walk towards Jesus… trust Him. If you get scared He will be there to rescue you. He won’t leave you to drown in the storm… He is good. Always. Even when we can’t see or understand what He may be doing in our life or why we are going through what we are going through… He is still good and His love for us is unconditional and never ending.

I am writing this blog as much for you as I am for myself. I recently got out of a boat that I was holding on to for too long. It’s scary. Even through I knew that boat was not where I was supposed to be, it was a comfortable boat and there were things about it that I loved and was passionate about.. the hardest part about getting out of that boat was that there wasn’t exactly another boat like it waiting to pick me up, carry me off to the land flowing with milk & honey where all of my dreams will come true. It’s hard to walk away or out of something when you can’t see what is next. But I believe with everything in me that the Lord honors obedience and that me walking on the water with Him, waiting for Him to reveal His plan for me is infinitely better than staying comfortable in my boat. And I believe the same is true for you too.
So today… what boat are you needing to get out of and are you willing to do it?

Would You Give it all Up?

We sang a song Sunday night that has a line in it that is so powerful but yet so easy to sing over without counting the cost of the words we are singing. The lyrics say “bring me to the end of myself, take me to the edge of something greater.” (Frontiers) Sunday morning when I was reading in a devotional I am going through a quote from A.W. Tozer was mention, here is what it said:

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”

I knew the Lord was speaking to me. Immediately. I knew that He was asking me to fully surrender. The only words I could utter out of my mouth after reading this were “Jesus, I fully surrender to You.” Over, and over and over.
After going through a really hard year full of change, disappointments, why me’s, questioning God, asking when, it all caved in a brought me here… to what I am praying, will be the end of myself. It brought me to the question of “Am I willing to give it all up?” The dreams, my future that I have planned out in my head, the way I think it is supposed to be, how I think it is supposed to go… am I willing to fully surrender to the Lord, come to the end of myself, stop seeking what I think should be and fully seek Him and let Him complete what He started.. just like His word promises He will. (Philippians 1:6)

What you are seeking, chasing, dreaming up may be wonderful things, God honoring things! Things that you are so passionate about and possibly things God has even called and created you to do. But if we don’t come to the end of ourselves and give up our agenda and plans we will make little forward progress.

Maybe you are like me. Maybe you were told that you can do anything and be anything and dream big and that God has called you to great things and you will do them! But yet here you are in the normal, ordinary, everyday life wondering if it was all a lie. But maybe we just weren’t going about it the right way….. What if we came to the end of ourselves and in this normal everyday life realized that it is a gift from the Lord. What if the only thing we chased after was Him. What if we took the standards of the world and expectations of others off of our shoulders and just let ourselves be who He made us and enjoy everything He made for us. What if we stopped thinking about ourselves and just freely gave our life away to others.

What if we truly come to the end of ourselves and meet Him there and allow Him to refresh us and restore us like only He can. We let Him use us and lead us like it was really meant to be all along. This year I want to wake up every morning and have the first words out of my mouth be “Jesus, I fully surrender to You.” This year I want to stop thinking about myself in every decision I make. This year I want to give my life away to others. This year I want to live fully surrendered to the One who made me and live daily at the end of myself where He will be waiting. This year I want to take off the weights of pressure, standards and expectations of others and this world and live with my eyes on Him.

When I first asked myself if I could give it all up I honestly couldn’t even imagine what that would look like because I have lived so focused on my plans and dreams for so long. But when I considered what life could be like at the end of myself, fully surrendered to Him I made a decision that I didn’t want to let one more year pass living any other way. Maybe you find yourself wanting to live at this place today as well and if you don’t know where to start just simply start by saying “Jesus, I fully surrender to You” and let’s see together what life could be like at the end of ourselves.

Dry Season Rain

The words “Dry Season Rain” woke me up out of my sleep last night and I felt the Lord’s presence all around me and He simply gave me these words. I hope this poem encourages you if you are in a Dry Season. Let Him be your rain.

Break Camp or Stay

I have recently been infatuated with the Israelites and their journey through the wilderness. I was researching and trying to find any kind of Bible study that had to do with it. My search came up short so I decided that I would just study what the Bible has to say about it.. novel idea right? I know. Don’t judge me for not looking there first! Anyways, I began reading in Numbers where the first eight chapters talk about how the Lord was instructing Moses to prepare for this journey. Some of it was talking about building the tribes and how to do so and how many people to bring and then there was math and really high numbers…and then I skipped a few pages.. I know you do it to, so we can be friends. Then I came to chapter 9 where the portion of the chapter was titled “Receiving guidance for the journey.” I jumped into that and was blown away by the scripture I found that followed…

17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp. 18 In this way, they traveled and camped at the Lord’s command wherever he told them to go. Then they remained in their camp as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19 If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed and performed their duty to the Lord. 20 Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days, as the Lord commanded. Then at the Lord’s command they would break camp and move on. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and lifted the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and moved on. 22 Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23 So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses. Numbers 9:17-23 NLT

I have personally been going through a season… (a really long season if I am being transparent with you) where the Lord is teaching me to Stay Planted. This is not something in the past that I have done well with in any area besides my marriage.. PTL for that right! I am a dreamer. I feel like I have promises from the Lord. I am ALWAYS trying to press on to that and make it happen in my own timing. I get impatient. I question why the Lord would bring me to the place I am at, and how it could possibly be a part of His plan, because in my fleshly eyes it looks NOTHING like what I thought it would. That is where I come to this question and maybe you do too.. and we have a choice to make. Is He asking us to break camp or to stay?So often we Break Camp because we are uncomfortable or hurt or offended.. confused.. bitter.. mad (you can insert whatever it is here). We break camp while the cloud is still over this place we want to run from. We break camp before the Lord has shown us and taught us what He has for us there. We break camp, push on to the next thing in our own strength and power just to realize that we are at another camp site feeling the exact same way and the Lord is still trying to show us what He is wanting us to learn. In my own journey I have found that sometimes we break camp, move on to the next camp site only to look back and wish we would have stayed. UGH, let me tell you that is the worst feeling. BUT the Lord is faithful and He will not leave us or forsake us. If you have broken camp to soon, let me encourage you that He still sees you and knows exactly where you are at and in His loving grace and kindness He will once again meet you there.Sometimes we stay. Sometimes the cloud is FAR GONE but we are too comfortable to get up, break camp and move on. Sometimes we stay because deep down in our hearts we don’t trust the Lord will do what He says He will do. Sometimes we stay with the fear of being alone, the fear of being exposed, the fear of being forgotten or talked about or whatever it is we choose to stay when the Lord has said GET UP AND BREAK CAMP! I have moved on and I want you to come with me and trust me on this journey we are on together.After reading this passage this morning I find myself pondering what it is going to look like for me to stay. Do I trust Him that much to be uncomfortable in the places that I am in to stay with Him and let Him mold me and change me to be more like Him there? I don’t know what you are going through this morning but I would love to challenge you to ask yourself if there is an area of your life that He is asking you to either Break Camp or to Stay. Run to the Word for confirmation and let Him speak to you there. He will meet you at whatever camp site you are at.. I can promise you that.