Shoulda, Coulda… Woulda.

What’s the moment you run back to in your mind? We’ve all got one. Maybe you run back because you think you could have changed something? Maybe if you said something different or made a different decision, would life be any different?

I have a couple of these moments. And I’m learning how to let go of the illusion that things could have been any different.

One of these moments was right before my husband coded and died very unexpectedly. The doctors brought me in before moving him to the ICU to see if my voice would calm him down. He wouldn’t let them place the NG tube.

I sat down on the edge of the bed and I started to talk to him. He opened his eyes and I tried to explain what was taking place. I told him he was going to the ICU and then soon, into surgery. He was groggy from medication. I think he was finally getting some relief from the pain.

I remember that when he opened those blue eyes I said, “I love you.” And he said “I love you, too.” And I said “Let them do what they need to do, okay?” He nodded.

I stepped back and they finished doing what they needed to do. They wheeled his bed out to go and I remember him saying he couldn’t breathe. The nurse told him he had oxygen and to take some deep breaths.
I remember he said it again and then he gasped.

I remember machines beeping. I remember people scrambling. I remember hearing them yell to call code. I remember it like it lasted forever but it was only seconds. It’s one of those slow motion replays. I remember something told me to get out of their way. I ran out into the hall.

I run back to that moment on occasion. I remember when I used to live that moment over and over. I don’t do that anymore. It never changes. It’s still heartwrenching and he still dies. I still have to plan his funeral. I still have to live without him.

I love you is one of the last things I said to him. I would never change that. But sometimes I wish I would have said more. There was so much I could have said if I had known it was our last conversation.

And so there it is, our last moments, permanently etched into my heart and mind. Sometimes I ask myself, “What would you have said to him if you had known it was the end?” And let me tell you that it’s fifteen years later and I still don’t know.

I mean I’ve imagined the tear filled goodbye. But I can never get all the words out. I can never really say everything I want to say. It’s impossible to put into words.

So I stopped trying to because I knew that it wasn’t going to change anything. And after a while I realized that part of me is relieved that I didn’t know it was coming. I don’t know how I could have ever said goodbye. And I’ve realized that God knew that too.

I don’t know where you keep running back to my friend. I don’t know if it’s a happy moment or one that makes your heart break all over again. I don’t know if you said what you had to say or you couldn’t say it. Either way it’s hard.

I do know that the more you run back, the more you’ll need to. The past is funny like that. It beckons and then it offers nothing new. I’m not saying that you have to stop completely. I’m just saying that the truth is that if you were given some sort of miraculous do over, there’s a good chance that you wouldn’t change anything that you could control.

Life is full of beginnings and endings. And we don’t always know which threshold we are standing on. Eventually, we learn that life is full of things and people that mostly come and go, and we don’t really control any of it. And once we wrap our minds around this it makes more sense to trust that God has some bigger plan. A plan that won’t make sense in this life.

So, maybe we’ll always run back to the moments that shaped us, the ones that we felt so deeply that they are part of who we are. Those “shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments that we all hold on to so tightly. But I just want to remind you that when you run back nothing is going to change. You’re just going to feel it all over again. And I guess that makes sense if it’s a happy place. But I honestly believe we revisit more tears than laughter.

I want to encourage you to look to the future. Forward motion is always best. We don’t hold the power to change the past. And the truth is that we don’t even know what’s best for us anyway, most of the time.

In Genesis 19:17, the angel warns Lot’s wife not to look back and she does and she turns into a pillar of salt. In Proverbs 4:25, we’re told to let our eyes look straight ahead. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God says He’s gonna do a new thing. And in Luke 9:62,  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

It’s really difficult to plow straight rows if you’re constantly looking backwards.

I don’t believe it’s sinful to think about the past. But I do believe God wants us to be more concerned with the present and the future. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself living back there. And that’s not really living at all.

My prayer for you this evening is that you will won’t let the past haunt you. I pray that you will remember before you run back there again that it’s going to be just as you left it. My prayer for you is that you will lift those beautiful eyes to the hills and brace yourself for the incredible future God has planned for you.

Love in Christ,
Cassie




Don’t Beg For The Key

“Trust God. Let Him close doors.
Let Him open doors. And when He closes them…don’t start begging for the key.

As I was sitting in my quiet time early this morning that is the thought that came to me. And then as blog posts normally do, my mind and heart flooded with words.

I’ve been a little distracted. I’ve had writer’s block for a little while now. So I was relieved to feel inspired to get back to it.

If we’re all being honest, we’ve all begged God to open a door. Some doors that we know He closed, others that we desperately just want Him to open for the first time.

And sometimes those doors aren’t opportunities, jobs, or destinations. Sometimes it’s information, wisdom, a tiny glimpse into the future.

Is this just me?

You know the scripture that says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

(James 1:5|NIV)

I may be wearing that one out. And I might be pushing it a little too much. I know that God can’t reveal everything to me. And that’s not what I want. But I do find myself wanting more information than He’s willing to give at times. Thank goodness He’s patient.

Lately I’ve found myself begging for the key to a door that I know isn’t a destination but just would certainly give me confirmation about whether I should take a detour.

And friends, I don’t know if you’ve ever prayed, God please just give me a sign.” This is a prayer that I don’t pray. I haven’t prayed that prayer in years. But lately, I’m finding myself throwing that one in at the end of my prayers.

A couple days ago, I was driving along and I saw something. Something that to me, actually felt like a God wink. You know those little things that you could chalk up to coincidence but there are so many other factors that it just seems like the timing is God for sure.

Well, I had one of those moments. It was almost like God let me peek behind the door for two seconds.

So, I went back to God with it. And I felt in my spirit so strongly that it was God giving me confirmation about the thing I had been praying about.

But I still found myself asking for confirmation of that, too. He hasn’t given me that. It seems ridiculous that I think I need that, too. And this is probably why He doesn’t let us peek behind doors too often. When I realized that He gave me what I wanted, or at least a vague hint, and it only made things worse… I had to repent. It was a lesson I needed. Honestly, one I learned a long time ago, but apparently forgot.

Deep down I know when God is speaking to me. Sometimes I find myself wading in doubt. I knew that I was asking for more than I needed to know. And once I got the confirmation that I wanted. It was too much and too soon. I was overwhelmed.

As always, I’m a work in progress.

This morning I want to encourage you to let wherever God takes you and whatever God shows you in this season.. be enough.

Let it be enough.

I can look back on my life and say He knows what He’s doing. He knows that too much information, too much wisdom in these human hands creates more problems than solutions.

He reveals enough to keep us motivated. It’s up to us to keep going. When He opens a door… go. When He closes one… say thank you, Lord. And when you feel uncertain, pray for direction, don’t start begging for keys to doors you aren’t ready for…

The right thing in the wrong season is the wrong thing. But the right thing in the right season, well that’s miraculous.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your guidance and love. Please help us to always trust that your ways are higher. Help us when we are compelled to run ahead of you. Help us wait for you to open and close the doors in our life.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

It’s Not Cancelled…

“Oh, what we could be if we stopped carrying the remains of who we were.” – Tyler Knott Gregson

Moses, David, Rahab the prostitute, the Samaritan woman at the well… just to name a few.

God used them in amazing ways despite their pasts, despite who they were or what they were working out within themselves.

He was well aware of their pasts. He was well aware of their weaknesses. He knew their struggles. He knew them. And despite all this, they still carried out His purpose for their lives.

God didn’t stop and decide to choose someone else to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He could have. But He didn’t. And in Exodus 4:13, Moses basically asks to tag out. Asking God if He could just send someone else. (I’m paraphrasing)

Sometimes it’s tempting to ask God if we can tag out too. “Send someone else, Lord. I don’t have it all together, I probably won’t be able to do it. Seems like a pretty lofty goal, I think we both know I shouldn’t aim that high. I could never reach, Lord. I don’t have what it takes. And you remember who I used to be, Lord.”

We often forget that God can’t work through the “perfect” people. Not because He lacks the ability but because they don’t leave any room for Him. He prefers us ragamuffins. His strength works wonders through our weaknesses.

God didn’t decide to have Samuel anoint one of David’s older brothers. They were all right there. But David was the chosen one. And he certainly made his share of mistakes, but God still used Him.

And Rahab… my goodness. God used the fact that men were often seen “frequenting her house” to carry out His plan. She hid the Israelite spies, and found favor with God and she and her family were spared. And in Matthew she’s mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

God gave Rahab grace. It’s beautiful how He looks at hearts. It’s overwhelming how He waits for us to hand Him our sins. It’s ridiculous how we think He wants to hold them over our heads. We do that on our own.

When Jesus intentionally sought the Samaritan woman at the well, being there at the time she went to draw water (to avoid the other women because of her lifestyle) it’s clear that she is the person He wanted to use to tell others about the Living Water.

Jesus saw her sin. Jesus still actively pursued her and showed her love. He then sought to reconcile her to Him. Jesus didn’t tell her how unworthy she was, because she wasn’t unworthy.

All of these people at some point had to be carrying the guilt and shame of their past sins. Some of them even carrying the shame of their current struggles.

But God used them anyway. He wants to use you, too. I know you think He can’t. You may even be audacious enough that you’ve decided that He won’t use you because of __________________.

Just fill in the blank with whatever it is that you think you’ve done or struggle with. The thing you have decided is so terrible that God has cancelled your purpose.

God hasn’t cancelled your purpose. And guess what, you can’t cancel it either. Trust me, I have certainly tried. If you haven’t repented for whatever it is… right now is the perfect time.

And if you have repented. Please stop dragging it around and dwelling on it. That’s just the enemy making you think you have to keep punishing yourself.

Remember how scripture tells us that on the cross, Jesus said. “It is finished.” Well, it’s finished. All the stuff you did or didn’t do, buried with Christ. So, let it go. In Christ, you are made new.

There’s freedom in laying it all down at His feet and running to embrace your purpose. God created you to be amazing.

So, go be amazing. Reach for the stars.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 (NLT)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive us for not accepting your forgiveness when you offer it to us. Help us each become the person you created us to be. I ask that you show us how to get out of our own way. We hand you our struggles, our sins, and the remains of who we used to be. Guide us forward in the freedom of your love and forgiveness. Help us embrace the beautiful purpose you have for us. Help us to remember that our past cannot stop Your future.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Morning Devotion: Only God Can Complete You.

The longing that you feel, the empty spaces within you… whether you are single or in a relationship… will never be filled by another person, even if they are perfect for you. Because you were created with a soul that longs for its Creator…and if you will let Him, He will complete the work He began in you. And as He begins to do this, you will feel more alive and full of purpose than you ever have. You’ll be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee, girlfriend, a better human. Because what you’re looking for, what you really long for is the place where your yearning meets His purpose.

… You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

“Dear Heavenly Father, today I pray that you will help me remember that I am only complete in You. Help me stop chasing everything else and run as fast as I can to You.”

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Completely Surrendered.

{SURRENDER} ~ I remember a long time ago when that word scared me. It was many years ago. It was before I came to fully trust Jesus Christ. I can recall sitting in church, youthful and full of plans for “my life”. I heard lots of sermons about surrender. I heard lots of talk about laying down your life for Christ. As an older teen, handing the reins over to the guy in the sky was an outrageous concept. “What if I don’t like His plans?” No thanks. Even after I came to salvation, I was yet to realize He actually would require complete surrender. I also didn’t know that He would walk me through the valley to the place where I would realize I had no business making plans that were not filtered through His will. I had no idea His plans, they were the best plans.
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The Bible tells us in Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.”
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Yes and Amen. I want that. I want nothing but God’s GOOD and PLEASING WILL for my life, for the lives of my family and friends. I want that for everyone.
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But only Christ gives that, and it requires an individual to completely surrender their hearts and lives to Him.
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Sometimes we give our hearts to Jesus, but we keep our bodies, or we keep our plans. We say we love Jesus, but we can dress however we want. We say we love Jesus, but we don’t need to pray about life decisions. We say we love Jesus but we don’t need to pray… at all.
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We can’t keep some things and toss a prayer of salvation at Him. He’s so patient and He helps us work this stuff out. New Christians often need a little time to learn and grow. But if we have been “Christians” for years and our fruit isn’t totally obvious, well, we lack surrender.
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My prayer this morning is that you will completely surrender every nook and cranny of your heart and life to Jesus, so that you can experience His good and pleasing will for your life.

Divine Appointments & Chocolate Milk

I truly believe God puts people on our path. I also believe if we aren’t completely wrapped up in our own nonsense, we notice. This happens to me often. It might happen more often but since I’m human, sometimes I am wrapped up in my “stuff” and I fail to see an opportunity to witness or encourage. Today I was shopping and I noticed a little lady having trouble getting a gallon of chocolate milk down. She was on a little scooter. I asked if she needed some help and about that time she got it down. She said “I’ve got it, but I think that’s about my weight limit”.

Amen, Sister. I hear you. I read so much more into that statement than a heavy jug of chocolate milk.

“I’ve got it, Lord… But that’s just about my weight limit. It’s heavy. I can’t carry anything heavier, can you send some help.”

I’ve been there. It’s a street I often travel down. Heavy, hard to carry… Life.

And then she laughed. She had beautiful white hair, bright blue eyes, and a countenance that I deemed joyful, but a little sad. She wheeled on over and began to chat. She told me she just had surgery. She said she still had quite a bit of pain, then she started to share her other difficulties. I had a lot of shopping left to do but I know from experience when God puts someone in my path that my agenda needs to take a backseat. We continued to chat and she had really been through a rough season. And then she said it, “And in the middle of all that my husband died”. It’s the phrase I am familiar with and sometimes my Heavenly Father leads me to mention that I have walked that treacherous road as well. But today, as I tried to be completely Holy Spirit led, I just listened and encouraged and her countenance seemed to brighten up and I wished her well. She just wanted to talk about it. She just needed to talk about it. And the strangest thing is that not five minutes before that I ran into someone who I really hardly ever see and it was someone who spoke the most genuine, funny, heartfelt thing to me when I hadn’t been a widow but just a few hours. And she and I talked about something completely different and I didn’t even think about it until later. It’s just a reminder to pay it forward. Stop being so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t see the widow, the poor, the heartbroken, the sick, the single mom. The little lady today probably blessed my heart way more than I blessed hers. But I am so grateful that my heart is willing and can hear His direction even in a crowded grocery store. My heart aches for the times I missed it, the times God had to send someone else to minister, to listen, to chat, to encourage. He certainly does not need me. I am certainly not His only choice. But I never want to be too busy to be His hands, His feet, to shine His light.

I loved that she was buying chocolate milk. There was just something about her and that big jug of chocolate milk that makes me smile. I pray she continues to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. I’ve never been so glad to have been out of coconut milk…

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the people and things that make life joyful and full. Thank you for letting us bear one another’s burdens in big and even the smallest of ways. Thank you for divine appointments and holy conversations. Thank you for being in our midst even when we begrudgingly go to the grocery store. What a beautiful blessing that you never leave us nor forsake us. Help us speak kind words with patience to others. Give us eyes to see, to really see the needs of others.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Evening Reflection & Prayer

This is not the time during Lent when I normally read these verses, but I just needed to think about this tonight. I needed my eyes on Jesus and I needed His agenda firmly in front of me…I thought I would share.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1-17 (NIV) 

Jesus washing the disciples feet… He knows they won’t all be able to make it through what is about to come, they need His grace and mercy tonight. It’s going to be hard to stand beside Jesus soon. It gets that way for us sometimes, too. It gets difficult to trust the outcome when everything grows grim and dark. John is the only disciple who makes it to the cross…Jesus knows. Peter still doesn’t get it. Jesus even knows what Judas will do… And Judas… walking so closely with Jesus and still not getting it, with His mind on earthly treasures, what must that have been like as Jesus kneeled to wash His feet… Was he past the point of conviction or was he simply satisfied to choose the world over his soul… Did Judas just not even realize he was walking with the Son of God? Watching miracle after miracle, or was he even paying attention? Maybe he was giving glory to someone or something else for all he was seeing. It’s not hard to believe, do we do that? God moves a mighty mountain, God heals, brings us through a trial, opens a door for us, closes a door for us, sends us help, answers our prayer, do we praise Him? Do we know where our help comes from? Do we give glory to God. Or do we pat ourselves on the back? Do we chalk it up to happenstance or our own abilities? No one thinks they could ever be anything like Judas. What? But we all have our moments.  Maybe we don’t go as far as he did. But we should remember  we are not better than Jesus, and just like the enemy tempted and tried to sift Jesus, he will tempt and sift us, too. Doesn’t that make you want to walk a little closer to Jesus.? That should shake us all up…I hear people say Jesus needed Judas to get to the cross. Something like, your enemies are part of the plan. Maybe. But I’m pretty sure Judas is just another example of God using evil for good. Because Jesus was going to the cross regardless. And, in my opinion, eventually, the soldiers would have found Jesus. I don’t believe God’s redemptive plan for all of humanity hinged on Judas being some kind of puppet. We all get to make the decision. Judas didn’t choose Jesus. 

Jesus First. Others Second. Ourselves Last. Crucify Pride. Crucify your agenda. Judas didn’t. 

And Jesus still washes Judas’ feet. Jesus still loves Judas… But I can’t imagine how Jesus washed Judas’ feet. His grace and mercy is too much for my human mind to fathom… Jesus has a servants heart in a royal body… The King of Kings and Lord of Lords says wash your enemies feet… He didn’t just talk the talk… When He said Love was the greatest commandment, the Savior of the world meant it…

PRAYER:

“Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for the gift of wisdom. Thank you for allowing us to reflect back on your earthly walk. It’s a beautiful blessing to walk with you and read about your life. It’s insightful to read about Judas and his failures, even though it’s heartbreaking to think he walked so closely and somehow still did not choose you. Please Lord, help us be strong when the enemy sifts us, may we always keep your agenda above our own. Help us remember what a sacrifice you made for us all. Help us love our enemies, and help us keep our eyes on You. ”

In Jesus Name,

Amen

And This is What I Learned…

I honestly have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly feel like any day is a good day to start making better choices in any and possibly all areas of one’s life. Sure, probably back in my twenties, I made resolutions. I probably did not keep them a minute and a half.

If you make resolutions, I think that is awesome, no judgement. You go ahead and do you.

But I have found that more often that once every 365 days I need to pull on the reigns, come screeching to a halt and hand them back to God. I do always like to set goals. And usually toward the end of the year, I like to reflect over the year gone by and prayerfully consider how I could have made it better.

Last year, I did feel the usual yearning to dig in my heels and clean out my spiritual closet for the coming year. I knew I needed it. Every so often it’s a must. I prayed a lot about it asking God to show me some direction for the new year and He was pretty silent. I saw everyone posting their “word” for 2018. Things like “courageous” and “fierce” and “love”. Those are all great I thought, clicking the red Insta-heart and the blue thumbs up. But I just didn’t feel a “word” in my spirit. I really felt all kinds of words. But nothing I wanted to be my mantra for the new year.

Later in January 2018, thumbing through prayer and devotional notebooks I keep, I came across something and realized that 2018 would be the year of less of this… blaming the devil, for everything and anything. Anything difficult, inconvenient, scary, and just plain hard to walk through. And so, I resolved in my heart to change that. Little did I know that 2018 was going to bring some difficult days and I was going to feel like the enemy was having a free for all.

And God already knew that I was going to need to get it together and see it all for what it was… God working out His purpose in my life.

I wrote a post on January 22, 2018 titled, “What Did You Learn?”, the point of that post was to be clear with myself about one thing, 2018 will be the year where I would stop blaming the devil for everything. At the end of the post, I was hopeful that at the end of 2018, I would have risen above the urge to do so.

So, over the last year, whenever something was less than ideal and I started to be really aggravated about the situation there were many times I started to say, “This is nothing but the work of the devil”.

I would stop myself and take a deep breath, remembering that I was going to be more intentional in 2018. Sure, I’m human and a few times my flesh won. But honestly, it didn’t happen very often. I spent quite a bit of time over the last year thinking about what it means to belong to Christ, to walk alongside Him through the trials of life, and also celebrate the year’s victories that were possible because of Him. I spent a lot of time thinking about Job, too.

Life got pretty dark for him, he wasn’t thrilled about it, but he kept his faith in God. I thought about how God’s hand covered everything Job owned, everything Job loved. I thought about how God knew Job’s heart to be faithful and true. And God pulled back His mighty hand, laid down the rules and let Satan test Job.

No, thank God, my year has not been anywhere near as difficult as what Job endured in that season.

And although the year brought lots of great moments, other times, it was hard. There were many times that I felt like one thing would pass and not long after another problem would arise.

And yes, that’s life. But sometimes life does gets really hard. Even if you’ve proclaimed you’ll be “brave” or “fearless” or “tenacious” in the coming year. There’s always going to be a moment when you don’t feel that way.

But as hard times came and went this past year. I realized that whatever made its way to me, would have to certainly pass through the hand of God. He would have to give it a nod, He would have to move the hedge. He would have His reasons. They would be merciful and good for me in time.

And if I spent the whole time with the wrong perspective, I would miss the opportunity to grow and refine my faith.

So, over the last year, I’ve sat quietly at the feet of Jesus. At times, afraid, sometimes full of tenacity and optimism. But always, reminding myself that it all comes from the same hand. So, I need to learn to breath that truth in, if I am walking in truth, in love, in light, it all comes from the same hand.

He knows best.

Is that easy to understand? Nope. Is that scary at times? Yep. Do I have to rebuke fear and trust God often. Yep.

But I am not going to waste time and energy fussing about the devil. If I’m right with God and hard times show up, I’ll trust God is still there and I’ll trust He has a reason to let me walk through them.

So, 2018, that’s what I learned. I already knew it, sadly. But I got too focused on whatever was going pear shaped and less on what I know to be true about God.

And I’m going to take it right on in to 2019.

I hope you will too. Have a Happy New Year…

Love in Christ,

Cassie

His Mercy is New…

January… it’s honestly my least favorite month. Cold, dreary, rainy, and way too much implied/unimplied pressure to make yourself over into some much better version. It’s not a bandwagon I’m going to jump on…I much rather always be working toward a better me. January may be the beginning of a new year, but every morning God’s mercy is new. Every single day of this year is a new opportunity to be your best self. So, don’t get caught up in what everyone is doing. That honestly has the devil’s handiwork written all over it. You will never measure up. You might fail. You might eat something you shouldn’t and you might not work out today. Guess what, it’s ok. Just start again tomorrow and throw the quest for perfection out the window. It’s not Godly, it’s exhausting. I hope 2019 brings you the strength to make healthy choices everyday. I hope 2019 brings out the best in you. Take care of yourself. But stop getting caught up in these perfect Insta posts, no one’s life is perfect. Focus on yourself and your family. Unplug a little. Read. Work on your Spiritual Growth. Have a great day. Let’s make January beautiful…
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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 ▫️

The Bigger Picture

I wouldn’t call myself a control freak. I mean, I wouldn’t call myself that. (Haha) But I could understand if someone else might recognize my struggle. I don’t have a control issue so much with people as I do with details and circumstances in my life. I pray everyday for God to have his hand on every area of my life and family. I believe He is present and in control. I believe God is good. However, I find myself struggling with the need to control certain circumstances.

But I guess I am in good company. Jesus hung around with a few control freaks as well. Peter was a bit of a control freak. So much so, that when the soldiers showed up to arrest Jesus in the Garden. Peter went a little crazy. Cutting off ears and such, and in trying to stop what was inevitable and necessary, he displayed his need to control the situation.

It gives me great hope to know that one minute Jesus is telling Peter that he is in the rock He will build his church on (Matthew 16:18) and a few verses later in Matthew 16:23 Jesus rebukes him and says “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Jesus goes on to tell Peter that this is all necessary. Oh, how Jesus understands this pitiful flesh. One minute we have it all together and the next, something storms up and threatens our normal, and we, like Peter, lose our peace and ability to be still. One minute we are posting about how we know our help comes from God and the next we are spouting “approved Christian curse words” because there’s a wrench in our plan. Just like Peter out on the water, we take our eyes off Jesus.

When things start to go off track, we always need to put down our sword and look and listen to our Savior. Just like Jesus told Peter, (I’m paraphrasing) your problem is that you have your mind on temporary, earthly things, this situation is eternal.

I know there were times when our Savior struggled with situations He wanted to, but chose not to control. The garden, being questioned before the cross, and then being crucified. Jesus had the power to stop it all from happening. But He had His mind on eternal things.

There will always be situations I cannot control. Some of them will be insignificant, temporary things, and some of them may hold the potential to make a lasting impact on my life. But either way, God is in control. I remember praying and begging God to intervene and save my husband when it looked certain he would pass away. There I was 24 years old, asking God to intervene and change the direction of what was happening in that moment. He did not change the course of that moment. I could not change it. And so, that chapter of my life played out (as they all do) just as He had written. I did not understand it, I did not like it. And certainly not right away, but over time I realized that this was one of those eternal situations, and so I asked God to help me see it that way. And along the way, I have had some moments where I didn’t want to but I just had to get my eyes higher. Because that is where the healing, the redemption, the grace and mercy reside.

I believe strongly that standing in the face of a heartbreaking trial and having to trust that God knows best doesn’t come easily to these human hearts of ours. Honestly, it shatters the very ideal that you can control life’s circumstances. I think it may make us a little more of a control freak after the fact. For me, I feel like it has left me with a struggle to control all the circumstances that I might have any chance of controling. I default to this even when I know it’s absurd.

I feel like Jesus shakes His head every single time. I can hear Him gently whispering, “get your mind higher, set your gaze on me.” I know He’s right. His track record is impeccable. I can always look back and see His best for me doesn’t always look the way I imagined.

Isaiah Chapter 55 (v.8-9) tells us that His thoughts and ways are higher than our own. We cannot begin to comprehend why He takes us down the narrow path. But again, that’s where we find out that He restores our lives and makes them beautiful in a way we could never imagine. I am so thankful that He waits while I wrestle for control. I am so thankful He pours out mercy while my hands hold on so tightly to the thing He has asked me to let go of.

It’s hard not to worry when things get chaotic. It’s hard not to want things to go smoothly and never spin even a little out of control. Jesus understands, He has been there, too.

So, get your mind higher, get your eyes on Jesus. Pray about the long haul. Most of these ole worldly trials are necessary. Uncomfortable, inconvenient, sad, costly, overwhelming, and necessary. That word helps me put down my sword and let Jesus fight for me. Sometimes, most times, the only thing we can control is whether or not we will simply rely on Jesus.

From one recovering control freak to another, let’s hold on to our peace, there’s a bigger picture…and it’s beautiful beloved…absolutely beautiful.

Love in Christ,

Cassie

I would LOVE to hear from you! Do you struggle with a need to control? Do you need prayer? Email me or comment below. 💙