Let me tell you a little bit about a place located in Allentown, PA. It actually sits in Upper Macungie Township. One of the fastest growing townships in PA. Allentown is the fastest growing city in PA. This place has been doing ministry for 102 years in Allentown. Continue reading
I was reading this morning the parable of the Vineyard worker found in Matthew 20: 1-16. Jesus is telling the story of a man who owned a vineyard who needed workers. So he went to the marketplace to find workers. He hired them through out the day and promised them all a days wage. Continue reading
My word for the year is trust. I should expect circumstances that help me grow in my ability to trust.
And really even though the plans aren’t going like I thought, I still do trust Him. I believe that He has the best in mind for all of us. I don’t doubt Him or His plan.
So I spent a lot of time thinking about my plans vs His plans. And really I believe that the plan that I had laid out was His plan, He just wanted to shake it up a little bit (or a BIG bit.) See my plan did include construction and prayer, just not now. It did include a makeover for the youth room, just not today. My plan did include prayer, just not on this level.
This is how life goes though. We have hopes, dreams and plans. God honoring dreams and plans. I know because my life has been filled with such things. And because we are human and only see the right now we make the best plans we can with what information we have. Sometimes we see the death of dreams take place so that better dreams can happen. But only hindsight shows us those things. In the moment we feel the sting, we mourn the loss, or we question the why?
Here is the key and a question only you can answer… Do you believe God has your best in mind? Do you believe that God really wants what is best for you, your family, your community, your church? And if I am honest, sometimes I just think I know what is best. Only to realize I don’t know what He does. And then….trust comes in the door. Faith takes root a little deeper… I read a quote by Nancy Willard…
” Live in your roots, not your branches”
I love that. If we live in the roots of our faith, we won’t be blown away when the plans change. Because we are safely secure in the roots of the One who created us, who loves us and has our best in mind.
So the journey of trust continues…
Have you ever had a really good plan? I mean you knew that it was the best next step and you were prepared to take it? This year I laid out a plan. I wrote out a calendar. I even shared it with a few others. I knew the plan. I knew the best next strategic plan for our church, for our family and I was so excited about it. I even prayed over it and about it. I sought counsel! I did all the things you are suppose to do….
Then all of a sudden, the plan isn’t working. Things happened. Big things. Little things. Medium things… and all of the sudden I don’t know the plan. I know Who is writing the plan and I trust Him, but the plan I had isn’t the plan anymore.
Instead the new uncharted unplanned plan is leading me to intense time of prayer. It is leading me to lead others in a time of spiritual renewal and seeking. Instead the new plan will involve a huge construction project in the middle of Easter Season. In the middle of what I thought I would be doing, I find myself on my knees more and learning to wait in the hallway of unopened doors. The new plan requires more faith than perhaps I have ever had. The new plan will ask me to take risk, make big decisions. The new plan will propel me, my family and my church into the next chapter a little quicker than I thought we would go.
Maybe like me you thought you knew the plan…and like me you find yourself just riding the waves of uncharted territory. I am thankful that even in the middle of the new plan I can rest in Him, Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), is He not? He knows what each chapter looks like from beginning to end, and He laid it all out before I even took my first breath.
I wrote about Margin in my last post. It’s my word for the year. Since then I have been walking the tight rope of scrambling and resting in finding my normal. I was recently speaking to some people who are allowing God to transform their lives in BIG, HUGE ways about how sometimes we hold on to things because it has become our normal…our comfort zone so to speak…and I thought back to my word: margin. I really think that I have held on to things that I should have moved away from because holding on to them was normal. I had become so used to being known as busy that I felt like I had to live up to it…its what I knew…its what had become…comfortable. Except it really was not comfortable – it was exhausting. Since I wrote the blog, lots of life has happened. It was like I was declaring I must put margin in place and Satan stepped up his game. The journey of finding the new normal became unexpected, unscripted, exciting, terrifying and left me a little empty.
Empty is an interesting concept, because I believe empty is how God really wants us. When we empty ourselves of “us,” we let loose of all that we have been holding on to so tightly and we simply come to God, it is then that He can truly fill us with Himself. When He talks about us being jars of clay to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he can only fill empty things.
I found myself empty and sick. Physically sick. Emotionally drained. Spiritually empty. It was during this time that I found some truths that I needed to be able to move forward. I know this was confirmed in those days…I have to have margins. I have to create space in my life so that I can sing and say and declare “it is well with my soul.”
No one can make my soul well except the Author and Perfector of my faith, and for Him to be able to make my soul well, I must pay attention to the soul. To pay attention to my soul I have to control my schedule, my time, my commitments…I have to be intentional about spending time in the presence of the King. I do not want to sleep through the wonder of His holiness!
“Those who live at the ends of the Earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.” Psalm 65:8 NLT
I wish I could write that I have this all figured out…that I have achieved margin. I cannot! What I can write is that I am on a journey with the my Abba Father. He is writing my story. He is directing my journey, He is so faithful to correct, to encourage, to pursue, forgive, offer grace and mercy and hold me when it all seems too much to bear. He is filling me with things I didn’t know I needed and subtracting things I thought I couldn’t ever let go of. He is showing me that this journey is unexpected and unscripted only to me… He has not been surprised by one single step.
I am learning that whatever I face I can cling to Jesus, as so many who have gone before me have done. In the midst of whatever it is – saying goodbye to loved ones, letting go of hurts and anger, fighting unimaginable battles – we can cling to Jesus and sing it is well with my soul. It is not about the unscripted and unexpected. It is about trusting Jesus to see you through it…no matter what.
Challenging as it is…my soul has become my focus. My soul-care is vital to me being the daughter of the King He has called me to be. I choose to focus on Jesus and the full life he has for me…and when I say full I do not meet full of busy. I mean full of Him.
So this wonderful, messy, unexpected, unscripted journey continues…