Don’t Stop Growing

It’s finally autumn! I love fall. It’s seriously one of my favorite seasons. Hoodie and jeans weather! Fire-pits and hot apple cider! Pumpkin pie versus apple pie! Seriously, I love this season!

But…Nothing tells you that your children are growing like the start of a new season. I’ve noticed my five-year-old apparently grew four inches this year, as her pants from last year are at her calves now. I’ve also noticed my boys looking a little more mature, a little bit older. But nothing makes you notice how old your baby is like watching him try to walk in pants and shoes!

Make them stop… no, not really. Ok, maybe… put a brick on their heads…  I’m always telling them to stop growing. But then I tell them, never mind keep growing. I really do want them to grow, spread their wings and fly… and also come home to visit mom every once in a while.

Could you actually imagine what life would be like if they did stop growing? I mean what if I had a five-year-old forever. School would get pretty boring. Her drive for excitement would be redundant. Life would eventually get stagnant.

What if I had a one-year old forever? Diapers for life… NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! He’d never learn to talk! He might not ever learn to walk.

Don't stop growing

I love watching them grow. I know each stage is important and the goal is lifelong learners!

I would never actually want to hold my children back from growing. I want them to grow- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And though, eventually they will stop growing physically, I pray they never stop growing spiritually.

But an honest question- Am I as diligent about my own growth as theirs?

As their mom and teacher, I am often looking for resources and advice to help them grow in faith. I am intentional about finding them biblically sound material. Every morning I make them read their Bibles. Every evening, we make them pray out-loud. I try to find books, television shows, and movies to encourage their faith.

I notice when they seem to know all the answers, but do not understand how to apply it.

My goal with parenting is 100% to have six more souls in heaven.

Do I put this much effort into my spiritual growth? Or am I ok with being five forever?

I’ve heard it said, “If you stop growing, you’re dying.” Now there’s a harsh reality.  If you are not growing in relationship with God, you are dying.

Guys, I have felt both extremes of this… and recently too.

I really think when people come to Christ, they imagine it like a mountain. I’ve reached the top and it’s all downhill from here. Well, that’s not a fair picture… at all. Faith more like a rollercoaster, with twists and turns, scary parts and thrilling parts, slow parts and fast parts.  But the important part of the ride is that we don’t get off. However, equally as important, we don’t push the pause button and refuse to move.

We can’t be stagnant in our relationship with God. We must be diligent about growing.

Think about it- If I let my relationship with my husband go cold, we would be having some serious marital problems. We wouldn’t know each other. We wouldn’t be happy with each other. We would stop caring about the other person’s wellbeing. Relationships take work. And just like any other relationship- we must put forth the effort to grow. We cannot stop growing, because then we are dying.

If you are reading this and wondering whether or not you are growing or dying- let me tell you I’ve been there. Pray! Look up, talk to God. Find a time everyday to spend with Him. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, but that is what tends to work best for many. Open your Bible. Surround yourself with people who will point you to God, pray for you, and help you grow.

If you are reading this and thinking of a friend, family member, or loved one who you fear is not growing, pray for them. Be intentional about cultivating a relationship with them. Be a role-model. The best thing we can do for those who seem lost, is be real. People don’t relate to your perfect social media page; they relate to you when you share real, honest life-moments. We all sin. We all fall short. But because of Jesus Christ whose blood covers us,  we can live in His grace! 

 

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 

2 Peter 3:18

No Show

It’s six in the morning. I’m working. And I am sitting in my classroom waiting on a student to show up to class.

As many of you know I teach for VIPKID. It’s honestly the best job for me. I teach kids in China, from home, during hours my kids are asleep. I have a little classroom set up in my basement with a bunch of props and teaching goodies. I get my “teacher fix” while being able to stay home with my kids. Honestly, the hardest part of the job is waking up.

But here I am “working” and literally quite bored. I am 10 minutes into a class that the student is not showing up for.

I see my props laying off to the side and wonder if I should just put them away. I wonder if I should just set up for the next class.

Is she really not going to show? Or is she just running really late? Did she forget?  Is she having problems with her internet connection?

All of these thoughts have run through my head and left. At least it’s better than trial classes. When I have a trial class, I know it’s a 50/50 chance the child will not show up for the class.

I wonder… what does God think when we don’t show up for our time with him?

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Personally, I like to schedule alone time with God in the mornings. Before I started this job, I woke up, read my Bible, prayed, mediated, reflected, and just enjoyed time with God.

Then I started this job and it threw a monkey wrench in my God time. There was no way I could commit to waking up at 3:30 in the morning.

I had to realize that while spending time with God first thing in the morning is awesome, it doesn’t have to be the very first thing. As my friend Krystal said in her vlog- “There’s nothing more holy about those hours.”

What was important was that I still planned time with Him. 

Let me just say- I love my husband very much, but if I never spent any time with him, our relationship would suffer.  Some days are just so busy that we don’t see each other most of the day. But when we do see each other, we make it meaningful. We put down our phones, games, work, and whatever else we are doing and talk.

Some days this time is in the morning before he goes to work. Some days this is in the evenings when he gets home from work. Some days it’s a phone call because we know it’s just not going to line up. But we make an effort. We communicate. We don’t let a day go by that we do not show each other we love each other.

Our relationship with God is no different. If you want your relationship to thrive, you must invest. You must show your love by showing up when you commit to showing up. Some days are a little more hectic than others, find time. We, as humans, have a time management problem. But guess what- God always shows up. We need to do the same.

I already know what you are thinking- I just don’t have the time. But you do. You have 24 hours in a day. You just choose to use your time differently. Put down that game on your phone. Limit your time scrolling through social media. Turn off that rerun on the television. There is something that you do throughout the day that is a waste of time- and I guarantee you know what it is.

Most Christians I know struggle with finding time to spend with God. But we fail to recognize that all the time we have is His time. He is just waiting for you to see that. 

I want to encourage you- you are not alone. Our culture says stay busy. (It’s a tactic of our enemy.) But God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

There is nothing wrong with having work, hobbies, friends, family, and things that occupy your time. But make sure they are not the priority of your time.

Anything that takes away from your relationship with God is a god.

So make an appointment with God. EVERYDAY!

And keep it!

 

Freezer-Burned

Recently, someone who loves us very much cleaned out their freezer and gave us a bunch of food. So, I decided to make some of those goodies as a side with dinner tonight… only to find out that they were… well… freezer burned.

The sides I thought would go well with our dinner…went really well with the trash can. I had to call on backup of the canned goods and cottage cheese.

I’m not upset about it, but it really got my wheels turning.

They meant well.

They thought they were helping.

But really, it caused me to stumble in my meal planning process.

Has this ever happened to you- well meaning people actually cause you to stumble. Maybe you’re in a situation where you confide in someone and they give you some not so great advice? Maybe they even try to show they are right by adding some misinterpret scripture…Or maybe you’re not seeking advice, but someone insist that you are wrong and here’s their proof…  a quote from a random place in the Bible.

They may have had good intentions, but who’s will were they seeking?

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I’ve been that well-intentioned friend. The one who gave the not so great advice with a little piece of scripture attached.

I can remember having a friend admit to me that she was suffering from depression. I told her, “I’ve been there. God helped me beat my mental battles. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” I meant well. I did. But was I really representing God or was I representing myself?

I told her that God did it for me. I quoted a good scripture. TO MY HURTING FRIEND.That wasn’t what my friend needed. She didn’t need me to quote scripture to her. She needed to know that she wasn’t alone, I understand, and I am here for her. But more importantly that God is there for her. God sees her. He knows her hurt, and He wants her to lean into Him. Cast your burden on the Lord because He cares for you. (That would have been much more appropriate and effective.)

I gave her freezer-burned food. I gave her something that seemed like a good idea, but really wasn’t consumable.

I’ve also been on the other end of that.

Not too terribly long ago I made a very difficult decision. One that I really wish I would not have been forced to make. People who thought they knew the situation were trying to give me advice to get me to change my mind. But their advice was based on their will. They even quoted scripture at me to convince me their way was the right way, implying the choices I made were against God’s will. The worst part about that was that they misquoted scripture. They never read the context that it was written. So, instead of helping, they actually created more problems.

I know they meant well, but really, they stirred up a lot of emotions in me. Had I not already been leaning into God with all I had, I would have had some real problems with God since they were quoting scripture out of context and implying that my convictions were wrong. The decision I made; I purposely did not tell them details behind. One-because it was none of their business. But more importantly, I needed to be respectful of all parties involved by not creating drama and spreading gossip.  Though God gave me peace over the situation, I ended up hurt and confused by well-intentioned people using the Bible as a stone instead of for what it is- love.

These people were serving me freezer burnt meals. They were trying to offer me scripture, but really, they were manipulating scripture to fit their will.

Please do not misunderstand me. Scripture is a powerful tool to use to help a friend in need. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, and correcting.

But it has to be the correct scripture, in context, and led by the Holy Spirit.

Any time you are doing something for your will and claiming it to be God’s, you are misrepresenting Christianity.

If you have to do a google search on Bible plus the topic you are looking for, make sure to read the entire section that the quote comes from. A quote taken out of context can wreak havoc on another’s faith.

So when you see a hurting friend, make sure to serve them good solid food. Pray for guidance. Recognize their needs. If God puts a scripture on your heart, share it. A friend loves at all times. Be sure to be sharing your love and God’s love.

 

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”

Proverbs 17:17

Fuel

So, we have officially started trying to feed the baby solid foods. He’s not the best eater, but he’s only six months old. Generally, he eats the first couple of bites just fine. But then he’s a drooling mess and not much more is actually consumed. But he’s just learning. We will keep trying- obviously!

Anyways. Yesterday morning as I was feeding the kids breakfast, one of my kids brought me a jar of sweet potatoes.

“Mom, why does he have to eat sweet potatoes, and green beans, and squash…” her voice trailed off.
But her brother quickly gave some input, “Wouldn’t it be cool if they had pizza baby food.”

“Or macaroni baby food.”

“Or fried chicken baby food.”

They went back and forth listing their favorite foods wishing they could share them with their baby brother.

But me… I’m thinking- “Gross! Why in the world would I feed my baby fried chicken, macaroni, or pizza…” Then my thoughts continued, “Wait why do I feed my big kids that if I wouldn’t feed it to my baby? Why do I eat that?”

Because it tastes good. Because it’s easy and convenient. But definitely not because it’s good for me…

fuel

You know our physical diet and spiritual diet have quite a few similarities.

What we put into our mouths gives us energy and fuel for our physical bodies. Likewise, what we allow into our hearts affects our spirit.

I remember seven years ago; I was watching TV. My boys were very young. But as I was watching I thought, “I don’t want them overhearing this content.”

So, I shut their door and turned the volume down.

But as soon as I did, I was overwhelmed with conviction, “If you don’t want your children hearing this, why are you watching it?”

This was the start of a strong conviction to guard my heart. I turned the TV off for a solid 7 months. I still rarely watch TV. But when I do, I am now more aware of the worldly content and able to distinguish what I should let influence me and what I need to disregard.

I have learned that what you allow into your mind, will affect your heart. And you need to guard your hearts, for everything we do is an overflow of our hearts.

Our world is full of hang-ups for Christians.

When listening to the radio the songs are filled with chasing love, drinking, and partying. Is this what you would feed your baby?

When watch TV the shows are filled with drama or inappropriate sex jokes.

Is this what you would feed your baby?

Then why do you feed it to yourself?

I am in no way telling you to stop listening to secular music, stop watching TV, and go join a convent. But what you allow in mind will affect your heart.

Moderation. Use moderation. And recognize what you are putting in. A sugary treat every now and then is ok. But eating cookies, cake, and ice cream for every meal will have an impact on your physical appearance as well as your mood. Your body needs fuel. What you put in your body fuels your body.
The same is true of your spiritual diet.

What you put in your mind fuels your heart. So use moderation.

How do you know if you are using moderation? Well, I’m not you. But for me, it’s when my mind keeps going back to that thing. Maybe it’s a TV show that I am clinging to wondering what will happen next week. And I have my schedule completely surrounded by making sure I can be home then.

Maybe… it’s a game on your phone… I can actually remember being addicted to Candy Crush. I had dreams about crushing candy. Obviously, I was not using moderation here.

If something consumes your thought outside of the time you are dedicating to it. You probably need to pray that the Holy Spirit will convict and guide you to make better choices.

It’s an easy trap to fall into.

My boys just recently realized they did it with video games. (We don’t even own a console- on purpose.) But they love playing it, learning about it. They checked out books at the library about this game. They were constantly drawing pictures of these characters. The video games eventually consumed their little lives.

I pointed out to them that it was a god. They were like, “No mom, we just like it.”

I asked them, “What did you draw today? What did you read about today? What did you pretend to be when you were playing today?

This look swept across their faces as they realized I was right. “Anything that consumes your thoughts is a god.”
Video games are a lot of responsibility to put on young minds. We have to teach, model, and discuss moderation.

Or we and our poor children will fall into the traps.

Not just for video games, but anything that could consume their hearts…. TV… drama… romance…chasing after boyfriends/girlfriends… money… food… social media… sports…

What you allow in your mind is fuel for your heart.

We need Jesus to be our fuel. Read His word. Pray. Join in fellowship opportunities. Change the radio station to Christian music. Read books from a Christian worldview.

If you want everything you say and do to point to God, it starts with what you allow to fuel your heart.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

Clean Up First

A couple nights ago I was preparing dinner as my children played outside. My husband came in and said, “FYI, the kids are covered in mud.”

“Like, they need to wash their hands, covered? Or like they need to shower, covered?”

“Covered!”

`Great,’ I thought as I pulled dinner out of the oven.

And they were covered in mud… clothes, shoes, in their hair, in their ears, everywhere!!! One by one I called each child in to shower, change, and come to the table for dinner. Luckily, dinner was not cold by the time all five of them were clean.

My kids were dirty. They needed to get cleaned up before coming to the table. Once they were clean, we could enjoy a family dinner together.

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I think many of us can relate to this feeling. We’re dirty (sinful). We must clean up before we can come to the table (God).

I’ve sinned… greatly… now I have to get my act together before God will allow me to experience Him…

Why would God accept an apology again for that same trap I keep falling into?

I’m too far gone. I have to straighten up a little bit before I can go back to church.

Oh, dear sinner, I wish you could see how wrong you are!

God knows that your life is messy. He knows your past, your present, and your future. And guess what? He still wants a relationship with you.

You don’t have to hide like Adam and Eve… wonder like the Israelites in the desert… Or run like Jonah.

Repent like David!

Seriously, David is known as “A Man after God’s Heart” but David messed up big time. He coveted a married man’s wife. He acted on that sinful desire. Then he tried to cover it up. When he was unsuccessful in covering it up, David had her husband killed and married her.

How can a man who was an adulterous murderer be known for his love for God?

Because he repented.

David still had to deal with the consequences of his actions. But he did it with God by his side.

Walking with God does not erase your past. It does not free you from the realities that come with the consequence of poor choices. Walking with God gives you peace, comfort, and purpose.

We have a war going on. A war between our spirit and our flesh. Even the most famous Bible characters struggled with this war. But God used them despite their sin for His glory!

Nothing you can do, say, or think surprises God. All you have to do is turn back to him.

Yes, you may be dirty. But that doesn’t mean you have to clean yourself up. Turn to Him. Ask Him for help. Let Him show you how to clean up and avoid that mess in the future.

Do you think Paul allowed the dirt to cover him and prevent him from walking with Christ? No! He recognized where he messed up, repented, and allowed God to use his transformation as a witness to the Risen Savior!

He didn’t need to hide. He didn’t need to apologize over and over again. Jesus already died. Jesus’ blood already covered his sins.

I get it…you sinned today. How about this- instead of allowing shame to separate you from God, take your shame to God so that He can clean you up. I have been there before too. I have sinned, began to pray, but quickly shut it down as if I felt like there was some type of waiting period before I could go back before my Father. That sound so crazy!

Do you have a situation where you feel unworthy… where you keep apologizing for the same thing… Let me say this- Jesus died for you. His blood covers all your sins… once and for all! You do not need to keep nailing Him back on the cross. Accept that free gift! Forgive yourself. Accept the forgiveness. Let God use you.

So many times, we think Christians are the perfect people sitting in church pews. That is not it at all. Christians are broken people (sinners) in need of a Savior (Jesus.) Don’t continue this misconception.

Share what God is doing in you and through you. Maybe God intervened in a marriage falling apart. Share that story. It matters. Someone needs to hear that story and that hope!

Maybe you’re struggling with an addiction- food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gaming…  I promise you another Christian is also struggling here and needs to hear what God is doing in your life.

Maybe you struggled with _______ (you fill in the blank here. For me, its drama and gossip). Share how the Holy Spirit is showing you how to overcome it, make better choices, and glorify God.

Seriously- Share that! Someone else is also struggling there and they need help. Sometimes just knowing that you are not alone is what another person needs to hear.

If you are struggling in your sin, you are not alone! Trying to do it on your own is not the answer… it’s prideful! All you have to do is turn back to God. Don’t try to clean up by yourself. Let Him walk with you. Let Him lead you. Let Him show you the way.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Romans 3:23

Hitting the Nail

The first Saturday of the month I try to take my kids to the Home Depot children’s workshops. They love using the hammers, nails, screwdrivers, and screws while building the project of the month. I’m pretty sure their favorite part of the project is the painting though!

This month, I told the kids they couldn’t paint… mean mom, I know. (We had places to be afterwards, and I didn’t want to have to mess with paint covered kids.)

Anyways. There’s only one of me and now five children who are trying to follow directions, build, and properly complete the project. My older kids have gotten pretty good at reading the directions and working on their own.

However, as I was helping #4 hammer some nails into her project, one of the kids comes to me with frustrated tears. “My nail is bent.” I helped “said-child” pull the nail out and get another.

Seconds later another child has a similar complaint, “My nail won’t go in straight.” Once again, I pulled the nail out and gave the child a new nail.

“Guys, your nails are not the problem. The way you are hitting them with the hammer is the problem. You have to hit it straight on. If you hit it sideways, the nail will go sideways.”

I watched each kid hit the nail, made some slight adjustments, and then sent them back to complete their task.

However, I realize I have bent some “nails” in my daily walk with Christ. Specifically, with my prayers.

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I so quickly throw up my arms and wonder why God isn’t hearing me when I pray.

I want things my way. Why don’t I see results?

Well, the truth is that there is no problem with God; there’s a problem with my prayers.

Prayer is a gift from God. A way of communication with Him.

When I pray me focused prayers, I miss the mark. When I start treating God like a fast food restaurant demanding things “my way,” I will always be disappointed.

See, everything around me is HIS work. He has graciously invited me to be part of it. Instead of expecting God to do things my way, I need to recognize His ways. I need to submit to His will, His plan, always.

A bent nail I come in contact with often is when my praying is more of a “wish list.” Even my “wish-list” for others. It’s good to present our request to God, but prayer has the power to be so much more! Prayer is not meant to be solely an intercessory thing. It’s communication with God. It’s glorifying Him. It’s acknowledging how Great He is!

Ok- Here’s another bent nail that I don’t like to admit. Sometimes when people ask me to pray for them, I don’t. I used to keep a list of prayer request. Then in my alone time, I would present these requests to God. This is a really good thing to do. It helps remind you of who you agreed to pray for. However, I am a mom of many small children. Many times, the people I said I would pray for never made it to my list. I needed to make some sort of change.

At the same time, I was playing a game called “Clash of Clans.” I have been part of an awesome Christian clan for a few years now. One of the members recognized she did the same thing and said she was going to stop saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and start praying for them. So now, when people ask for prayer. I stop what I am doing and lift that person up in prayer. If I am scrolling through social media and I see a prayer request, I stop scrolling and specifically lift that request up to God.

Prayer is a powerful tool that Jesus gave us by taking our place on the cross. And it works…when done with the proper heart and posture.

But so many times I feel like we all miss the mark. Prayer should not be just about us, but all about Him! Our prayers should praise God, thank God, ask for forgiveness, pray for provision, pray for intercessory, peace, understanding, and ask for God to show you where He is already at work so that you can join Him.

When we simply pray prayers centered around us, we are hitting the nail… but slightly to the right or left. Something’s not quite right. If we keep hitting the nail like that, it will bend or break the wood.

I’m sorry to say that people stop praying when they don’t feel like their prayers are being heard. So instead of setting yourself up for a broken nail, pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and show you how to realign your prayers to be within His will.

 

king of my heart

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

 

 

But, I Want to Help…

So… our washing machine and dryer decided to stop working properly. The washing machine slowly stopped spinning out fully. As a result, our dryer was having to work overtime and slowly stopped working correctly too. For the last couple of days, I have been in denial as the laundry pile continues to pile higher and higher. I never actually realized that dirty laundry stinks… Usually, I have it in and out in the same day.

My wonderful husband went out and bought a new (to us) washer and dryer. Within the first hours of owning these machines, they did three loads of laundry with a huge stack to go. Then it happened… our new(ish) dryer broke. (Don’t worry my husband has already ordered the parts and is fixing it.)

But here I am with at least 4 more loads of laundry and 2 wet loads… I have to go to the laundry-mat… with six kids…

Immediately after breakfast, we piled the laundry baskets, laundry soap, coloring books, crayons, books to read, and the Chess board into the van and headed to the laundry-mat.

When we arrived I told my kids to make themselves at home in the corner next to a seating area. Coloring books scattered, Chess began, and I was off to put the loads into the machines.

I have really good kids. They did exactly what they were supposed to do. When I asked for help switching the loads, I had five eager helpers (the baby was asleep.) I asked one of my children to stay next to the baby. He did not like that request.

The look on his face was like, `But mom, I want to help.’ He had no idea how much help he was actually being by staying with his sleeping baby brother, so that I could do what I needed to do.

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I get it, kid. I do.

Some of you may know that my husband is now a youth minister/pastor. It’s so exciting to see him doing exactly what God called him to. And I really want to volunteer to help out at youth. I really want to be involved.

BUT… I have six kids… and dad doesn’t usually get home on youth nights until well past bed-time.

At first, I was supper bummed. I want to be involved. I want to volunteer. I want to impact the Kingdom like my husband gets to do.

As I was praying about this (and many other frustrations) I was gently reminded that THIS IS my ministry. My kids. My home. My family. I have 18 years with each kid. If they live to be 70, that’s not even one-fourth of their lives. But these years are so important, so formative.

I love to listen to people share their testimonies. One thing that every testimony has in common is the mentioning of parents. Sometimes it is positive… sometimes it is negative… but no matter what, your childhood effects your testimony.  Parents are part of every person’s testimony.

I have six children that I pray grow up to impact the Kingdom in big ways! I know that I am in no way a perfect parent, but I hope I am pointing them to their perfect Heavenly Father.

So right now, volunteering for all these other ministries and such can take a back-seat to my role as mom.

It’s just a season. This season will end. When it does, I can happily accept roles in other areas. But my first, primary, and most important earthly role is to my family. Seeing the importance in my role helped me be at peace with this season in my life.

So when I recognized that look on my son’s face at the laundry-mat, I knew, I recognized, I understood.  He had no idea just how important the job was I asked him to do. After I explained to my son why I needed him to stay with his baby brother, it was like a lightbulb went off in his head. “OHHHH… ok no problem mom.” He went and sat down next to his sleeping brother and happily read a book.

Sometimes the jobs we are given to do, don’t seem that important. It’s hard to see all the moving pieces of the big puzzle of life. Sometimes I wish I knew the big picture. I wish I knew where I would be in 20 years. But then I am selling myself short. I would be just like the Michael in the movie “Click.” (Who kept fast forwarding to the big events and realized he lost what matters most in the process.) The process, waiting, the unknown journey, is just as important as the big events. The big events are awesome, but we have to submit to what seems less important. It’s in those moments that character is made. That learning is going on. The growing occurs.

Sometimes I forget, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).” God knows what he’s doing. Even when we can’t see it. He has a plan. And we are so blessed to be part of that plan!

It’s not our job to understand. It is our job to trust Him.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all you heart, and lean not on your own understand; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV