Category Archives: Trusting God

LL School Day: A Not-So-Holy Ghost

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Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first moved here, I made a friend through work, we’ll call her Carol, who was someone that I enjoyed. She was in her mid-20s, a hard worker, and pretty much a great gal. She confided a great deal in me, as I was one of the first people she met when she moved here–so our friendship grew, and she even invited me to her wedding earlier this year. Considering I knew not another single person there, it was still a great time and a fun event–though a bit of a stretch for this introvert.

Carol is super smart and often shared her struggles with me. I invited her to come visit my church several times (though she never did), and even shared some things with her. She was much like a sister to me, and someone with whom I truly connected, even though we had very little in common.

Carol eventually moved on from my company and got a new job, something she had been really wanting to do since moving here last August. I shared in her happiness, as I felt she had been wasting away here at my company. Our conversations thinned out a bit as she was adjusting to a new job and as God was stretching me and teaching me through a tumultuous time with my car. At one point, I texted her in tears letting her know that things just were not going well for me at the time. She asked if there was anything she could do, and I let her know that I might need a ride to the grocery store later in the week. She never responded to my request, so–knowing how busy she often is–I asked another friend to take me.

The next week, I was very caught up in the car drama, and honestly, I just did not have time to text Carol. But the following week, I texted her to see how she was doing. No response. I sent another text the next day, and again, no response. The next week, I texted her and asked if she was okay–on vacation or if things were well. Again, no response. After a conversation with my mother about the situation, I once again texted Carol and again was met with the same non-response. I truly have no idea what happened.

The abrupt ending to a friendship for a reason is one thing. But to have someone “ghost” me for no reason was quite hurtful. But I also know that sometimes, these things happen. Around the same time, I had asked God to remove anyone who might not have pure intentions towards me (I was praying out of the Psalms at the time). I don’t know whether this was an answer to prayer, but I do know that some friends are only in your life for a season. I am at the age where I can accept a not-so-holy ghosting of a friend, not totally understand the situation, but still trust that God knows best. And because of that, I rest peacefully and wish Carol nothing but happiness.

LL: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)–especially in relationships.

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‘Tis So Sweet: ‘Neath the Healing Flood

ID-100463957“Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!”
-‘Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,  Louisa M. R. Stead

“And the Lord said to tell you that THIS TIME, your MIND will NOT get in the way!!”

My friend said those words forcefully during the prayer night as she spoke about THIS MAN. How did she know?, I thought to myself. I laughed a little bit as she said it, remembering all the past hurts I had experienced with guys and how I would obsess to the point of allowing even the smallest perceived rejection to send me spiraling out of control–to reject before I could be rejected. The most recent hurts, even though they were a couple of years in the past, were still on my mind a little bit. But I was pretty much over that stuff, fully accepting of myself and ready to date. So I agreed fully–she was right, God was right. I was in a much better place, and this time, my mind was not going to get in the way.

Honestly, I can’t decide whether I am naive or ignorant. I mean well; I’m not purposely thinking of myself as better than anyone else with regards to how I handle life. I guess for some reason, I believed that when the Lord said “My mind would not get in the way,” it meant there would be no issues or struggles. But that’s not what my friend said, and even more so, that is not what He meant…because that is not how He works. He works by bringing our core issues to the forefront so that we can work them out with fear and trembling. And that does not happen often without struggles.

So the first time I began to experience even a modicum of perceived rejection from THIS MAN, I freaked out a little bit. Mind you, I used the word “perceived” because that is all it was–my perception. A friend that I had (finally) confided in reminded me astutely: “Your mind is not going to get in the way.” I took this as a word straight from the Lord and let it go. But I was not as lucky this past weekend.

I was having my 10 percent day, and in the midst of it, I was feeling again a perceived rejection (again–PERCEIVED) when my flesh pounced. Instead of walking away from the damning thoughts, I waded neck deep into them. I stayed away from church, from the people who love me when I am at my deepest place of despair. I stayed in bed all day (since I hadn’t slept the night before), and I cried the majority of the day. I plotted and planned on how to make an easy escape from the difficulties of facing myself and THIS MAN; how to reject him before I could feel that rejection. I ruminated about it the entire day, making up excuses for why I could never be close to him–my personality was too big for him, he wasn’t mature enough, we didn’t have anything in common–and verbalizing why I perceived he was choosing not to be close to me. I obsessed and spiraled out of control, remembering the hurts that had been piled upon me from past relationships.

Normally, I would’ve done something extreme during those hours–unfollowed him on social media, sent a regrettable message, made my rejected feelings known in some way. But for some reason, I didn’t take any action. Then suddenly towards the day’s end, I started repeating Isaiah 26:3 to myself:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

It was almost immediate, the wave of relief that came over me. I felt like I had been literally plunged into His healing, cleansing flood. Peace washed over me as I settled down. My anxiety faded. My heart relaxed. My mind became focused on the immovable grace, peace, and love of Jesus.

And that was it. He was simply waiting for me to relent, to return. Waiting for me to come to the end of myself. Waiting to remind me that there’s so much more work to do in me than I even can see. And waiting to tell me that no rejection, real or perceived, from THIS MAN or any man can replace the acceptance He has given me as His precious daughter. I just need to trust Him and let His love heal and cleanse me.

I realize now that I will struggle, and that my mind may get the best of me on some days. But as long as I continue to trust Him, my mind will not get in the way. Not this time.

‘Tis So Sweet: Take Him At His Word

ID-100463957‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
-‘Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,  Louisa M. R. Stead

I want to start out by saying that the way I planned out this blog series is not the way the blog series is going to go. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart,” right? Instead of this series being about several things that happened during that prayer night, it’s going to be about the ONE thing that happened during that prayer night–the one thing that has really been affecting me the most, because it is just this one thing that is challenging my trust in the Lord the most. So please bear with me during the shift, and know that the Lord’s plans are always better than my own. (And I apologize for the length of this first blog!)

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone who reads my blog knows that I am single. I have been my entire life; I have had limited relationships–have dated some, but honestly, do not have a storied life in romance. I’m okay with that; I know there are folks who think you should date a million people to figure out what you like, what you want, what you need. Actually, at the beginning of August 2017, I was going to change into one of those people after reading, “How To Get A Date Worth Keeping” by Henry Cloud. I had made a huge decision to finally be proactive about dating now that I am settled here in my new home and city. I had even set up the steps as outlined in the book, had a few people in mind for my “get to know” list, and had a friend to hold me accountable. I was ready. Finally.

On August 19, 2017, when the ladies of my church gathered for prayer–praying over me as an individual at one point, one of the ladies in the group (a seer and prophet) saw a vision of a man in my life. She only called him THIS MAN–but she said it with such intensity that I knew deep within me that it was no ordinary man that she saw. THIS MAN was THE man for me. She said she saw him in a specific situation (she drew a picture of it) and that my mind would not get in the way. And as she said this to me, I CLEARLY heard the Lord say THIS MAN’s name to me. I can’t explain to you what this was like, the general feeling that I had at this moment. First, I knew who THIS MAN was. I hadn’t had too many interactions with him, but I knew him. Second, THIS MAN was one of the guys on my “get to know” list. And third, I knew from my limited interactions with him that THIS MAN was a mercy gift.

I honestly was overwhelmed in the moment. Here was a woman that I respected and trusted who was seeing a part of my life that is so personal to me. She supernaturally knew that my mind has always been a problem in the past; she spoke peace and life over the situation knowing there had been anxiety and death present before. It was a LOT for me to take. But though I left that evening still feeling overwhelmed, I decided to trust God–not my own mind, not my own past, not anything else. I decided to see how this would play out, and I decided to keep THIS MAN’s identity to myself (obviously in case I was wrong about what I heard).

The very next day after the prayer night, something incredible happened. THIS MAN and I had a sudden shift in our interactions. I don’t even know what happened, I just know that things changed between us the very next day. I wish I could explain to you what happened, but I cannot–it was somewhat supernatural, considering I had only had one real conversation with him prior to the prayer night.

Additionally, about a week after the prayer night, as I was beginning to think I was crazy and doubt the word I heard from the Lord, THIS MAN posted a picture of himself on social media in the specific situation that my prayer warrior friend had mentioned and drawn.

To say seeing that picture was overwhelming would be an understatement. I was at a friend’s house when I saw it, and I cried in her laundry room for 10 minutes. It was as if the Lord was not so subtlety quelling my doubts and telling me to trust Him.

Since August 19, that has been my daily challenge: will I trust the Lord to do what He has said He will do? Will I believe what He spoke to me that night? Will I take Him at His Word?

Challenge accepted.

“Do not disbelieve, but believe.” -John 20:27

Monday Minute: Giving Freely

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Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently, a friend surprised me with a text: “Hubby and I want to give you a gift, because we know God has been working with you in the area of money.” A single-income family, she and her husband gave me $150–the day before their second child was born.

I was completely humbled.

The next week, my car battery died. Total cost: $148.

I don’t believe in coincidences–I believe in God-incidences, times when God is challenging our hearts and thoughts to Christlikeness. In the moment, I thought, WOW, God. You knew I would need this $150 the very next week. You delivered it right on time!

But then the challenge came, and I remembered the words of Matthew 10:8–Freely you have received; freely give. 

I asked myself…where do I want my treasure to be? Am I someone who always receives freely but is hesitant to give freely? And what does it mean to give freely to the kingdom in this situation? As I prayed, I knew what the right thing was to do–and I did it.

Then I realized…this is the daily test of a Christ follower. To prayerfully consider the gifts we have been given, to receive them gladly, and to give them away even more cheerfully. So I challenge you, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to give freely–however God tells you to do so.

LL School Day: Rush Our Days

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Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom. -Psalm 90:12

I don’t know how this got ingrained in my heart, but I like to rush EVERYTHING. I used to always vocalize how impatient I am about things, but a recent situation has me thinking about WHY I feel the need to rush everything. Last night, I was thinking and talking to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit whispered: Michelle, why do you always want to rush into everything? Why are you so afraid of enjoying the journey?

I don’t know the answer to that, and I have been thinking about it all morning. I don’t think it’s just me, I think we all have the tendency to do this at times. But some of us (ahem, me) are more apt to do it than others. I tend to future-think everything. If I make a decision to take this job, what does it mean for my future? If I befriend this person, where will our friendship be in 5 years? If I like something or someone, why can’t it progress at a quicker pace? This has been the story of my overthinking life for as long as I can remember.

I believe that some of this comes from my ridiculous need to daydream (i.e. overthink) about the future. I fear that it sometimes means I rush through the present. I rush through my relationships sometimes, trying to get to that “next level” in some of them instead of enjoying where they are right now. I rush through my job, trying to get to that “next level” of accomplishment or my career. I rush through my prayer time, trying to get to that “next level” of spiritual growth. I want these things so badly that I don’t take the time to truly enjoy where I am, right now, with the people in my life.

I was listening to a speaker talk about the Lord’s timing the other day, but in a sense that sometimes, by our words and actions, we actually say things that place curses on our personal timelines. “I wish this day had never happened.” “I hate Mondays.” “That was a whole year of my life wasted.” And I do believe that he’s right. But I also believe that in this specific situation, I’m speaking similar curses into my timeline and life by wishing things moved faster than they do. For example, if any particular situation in my life was moving at a quicker pace–let’s say my business was booming, would I have even thought about this specific place of needed growth in my life, with how I always rush things? Probably not…because I would be too invested in what’s would be happening and what would be coming next (rushing) instead of what I need to be learning while I’m waiting.

This is about more than stopping to smell the roses; this is about a change of heart and mind for me. This is about being present–hoping for the future, but not dwelling there in mind, body, or spirit. I encourage each of you to take stock of your thought patterns…are you dwelling too much on what’s going to happen next that you’re not enjoying what’s happening now?

Father, teach us not to rush our days. Help us to focus on Your timeline for our lives, and to enjoy where we are, right now, at this moment, so that we may gain wisdom and understanding from You. Amen.

 

‘Tis So Sweet: To Trust Him More

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image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

-Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,  Louisa M. R. Stead

I haven’t talked about it a lot here on my blog, but one of the most amazing parts of my move last year has been my church. I switched campuses a few months ago (same church, different campus location), and for the first time in a long time, I really feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. Not only do I feel myself growing more spiritually than I have in the last 10 years, but it’s really one of those things where I feel like I fit. Not because everyone is like me, but because we are all so unique and crazy and wonderfully made–it’s truly a blessing to be in a church that is charismatic and I don’t have to “hide” my gifts or attend elsewhere to get my fill. Every single week at church, I am filled in more ways than I can count.

One of the biggest blessings has been the prayer ministry at my church. I have known that I am an intercessor for many years, but I was never in a church environment where that call was supported and grown. Yes, at past churches I have prayed with other people and prayed for other people, but here, the call to intercession is celebrated and many women are a part of my life who stoke the fires of prayer in me.

In fact, I knew this was going to be the right campus for me when the first Sunday I attended, a beautiful sister came up to me during the church greeting time, pulled me into a warm embrace, and said very boldly to me, “You are an intercessor. You are called to it. You need to be doing it more.” I was surprised–not at what she said, but at her boldness. And though I initially fought it, I knew from that one interaction that this was the church campus for me.

So I was incredibly excited when that sister and others organized a prayer night for the women of our campus in August. I did not attend expecting anything of myself, only that I would experience the Lord’s presence. I received that and so much more.

As the ladies prayed over me, one of our praying sisters and a friend of mine spoke several prophetic truths over my life…truths that have done more to increase my faith and trust in the Lord than anything before. I hate to say it, but I haven’t been someone who has had a lot of trust in the Lord. I have claimed to have it, but I have found it so difficult to trust in Him despite His repeated attempts to show me that He is completely trustworthy. After this prayer night, though, God’s grace has proven faithful once again as He has grown me so much in the area of trusting Him.

This new blog series is going to highlight many of the things that my beautiful sister prophesied over me and their subsequent impact on my life and trust in the Lord. I’m so excited to share with you these amazing, life-changing truths. And I am excited as I continue to grow in my trust and dependency on my Lord. It truly is so sweet.