Giving Up Control

It was an easy question to answer.  “What are some things we want to have control over?”

Our Kids

Our Home

Our Schedule

Our Spouses

Our Reputation

Our Health

Our Finances

Our Future

Our Days

Did I mention kids?

Did I mention Spouses?

Did I mention health?  You get the idea…

I guess the question really should be, what don’t we want to have control over?  And we try our hardest don’t we?  I know I do.  And I think that is where the fear can creep in.  We are smart in enough to know that, try as we might, we will never really be in full control of our lives…and that is scary.  Its scary because it is a scary world, with scary diseases, scary people, and scary tragedies.  We fear because we cannot control.

It was a funny thing.  As I prayed about it and dug through the Bible I wondered why “Thou shouldest give God full control” was not one of the commandments.  Why was there not more about “letting go and letting God.”  Well…I think its because…we can’t give God something He already has.  He already is in control, we just don’t accept it.

We don’t accept it because we cannot see it.  What we see are pretty normal days intermixed with some annoyances that stress us out and we lose focus.  What we see are news story after news story after news story of horrific happenings, things too terrible to speak of.  What we see is how things never go as planned, someone is always hurt, people are always living in sorrow, and we lose site of the bigger.  We think because our fingertips control our minutes that our lives are not fully in HIS hands.  Oh but He is, and I know that He would love for us to rest easier remembering that He is…instead of constantly grappling at control.

What about providing for our families, our lives?  Bring peace and comfort for your family?  We could kill our everyday trying to stress out of our minds to make more money and find more and creative ways to do more…be more…get more.  Or we could Proverbs 3 it:

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
 for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.” v. 1-2

Learn God’s teaching and keep His commands firmly in our hearts…now that sounds much nicer.

What about our reputations?  Do you want people to think highly of you?  To be the talk about town in a positive way?  We could post minute to minute Facebook postings that only capture the best and brightest and constantly strive to eat less and look beautifuler…or beautifulest…or at least good enough to get attention for it.  Or we could Proverbs 3 it:

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.” v.3-4

Love and faithfulness, that seems simple enough.  I think my days (and husband and children) would thank me if I only spent my times on those two in replace of all the other crazy things I put into my day.

What about our Future?  Our kids future?  Paying for college?  Retiring? How about not having anyone I love die?  I think I would really love to control that one…big time!  We could freak out.  I mean like every second, freak out because the more I think about the future the more it worries me.  Stresses me.  Brings nothing but fear and anxiety to the long list of things that I cannot control.  Or we could Proverbs 3 it:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.” v. 5-6

Its the understanding thing.  My own understanding, my own control, my own ideas…they lead me so far away from the truth sometimes.  From the things that truly do matter.  The things in this life that lead to real living.  I pray these verses over my children every single night.  Not only for them but for myself too.  That if we could just become masters in trusting the Lord with all our hearts and seeking His will in all we do then we will be good.  Then we could all be okay.

What about our health?  We could spend every waking moment we have on this one.  We could do our best to constantly keep up with the latest trends in health and nutrition, the rules keep changing and the information never…stops…coming…at us.  Or we could Proverbs 3 it:

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.” v.7-8

This one makes me giggle a little because my brain does not easily connect what one has to do with the other.  What does not being impressed with my wisdom, respecting God, and turning from evil have to do with my body and health?  According to God…everything.  The endless chasing after the wind of stress after stress after stress probably does far worse for my body than food ever will, and so there is something here to be said about seeking the greater thing first.  If the foundation is built well the house will stand.

Its a interesting dance, that is for sure.  The teeter totter between working hard with what we have been given and the responsibilities that are ours keeps us on our toes when we ask ourselves “Do we really acknowledge that God is the one in control of my life.” And then, “Can I let go of the things I hold so tightly in my grip, the things I hold onto too tightly?”

God literally had to wrestle me into a submission hold.  I didn’t want to accept what had come into my life.  I didn’t want to acknowledge that my little baby son would die and I wanted to some how figure out a way to fix it…to control it.  I tried everything humanly possibly to do.  I contacted St. Judes, UNC, and spoke with literally every single doctor at my practice.  None of them gave me what I wanted and I realized, for the first time in my life, that any control I thought I had had was simply an illusion.  Trickery that I let my mind believe so that I could pretend everything would also go well for me.  Why?  Well because I became so good at controlling I actually thought I could keep bad things away.

Well I can’t.  And now I don’t want to.  Because when the bad things come, and my ideas have run out, I want the peace that comes with remembering….it is not mine to make new…it is my Heavenly Father’s.  

 

Can I Trust God In the Worst?

“I just can’t find you Lord.

You feel distant, a whisper in the wind when I feel like I need an up close, load, and strong lion.

I am wearied from this sadness and journey…yet I know you continue to call me to trust in you.

Each minute feels like an hour and each day feel likes a year. How am I going to make it through this?…

I am begging.

I feel like I am desperate for more miracles and right now.

Desperate in a way that I feel as though I will stop breathing, stop living without them.

I will wait for you Lord.

I will wait here for you, but know that your child is hurting and I just want to know you are here.”

On January 24th these are the words I prayed as I wept them into my prayer journal. I needed a miracle. Not a give sight to a blind man or raise a life from the dead miracle…but a I need something just to pick myself up off of this floor type miracle.
Before I had been through the worst, I had often wondered how exactly God can help during those times. As a result of not being able to define it or put my finger on it, I feared. I feared the worst of times because though I believed that God would be there I couldn’t understand how. Honestly fear became a form of disbelief. Disbelief that God is who He promises to be.

As I sat there and prayer, out of the whisper came these words to me…”

“My sweet Maria, in he whispers of your soul I am here.

Do not be afraid to listen, to hear me, and to believe. I will not let you down.

Though the circumstances of this life and the hardness of your days tempt you into thinking I don’t love you…you know that I do.

I have promised I will be there for you. And I will.

I have promised you I will never leave you or forsake you. And I won’t.

I love Gideon Maria.

Oh how I love him and how I desire great things for my children. His life, Maria, is not sad…it is eternal.

Your baby Maria, your precious Gideon, he is helping me to make all things new in you.

He is my worker, my precious child that I have chosen to bring you through this. Maria this is what life truly is. It is not of this world, it is not of these days, it is not in the pleasures or distractions you experience here.

It is with ME.

Only with Me.

So…come

Come you who are wearied and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Even in your sorrow and even in your grief and sadness and loss…come to me and rest.

Give it to me and know that even the greatest of losses cannot surpass the glory that will be yours someday in my Heaven.

Where you and all of your children with play and laugh all…day…long.

With me, forever.”

So, can God be trusted in the worst? What can He actually do that will make any difference? In the pain, in the loss, in the sorrow, and the tragedy in this world…can we trust God even then?

Yes. Even then, actually it is mostly then when God reveals sides of Himself to us that we have never seen before. His presence, His Holy Spirit wells up in power and in strength and he soothes the aching soul. He gives us, in each day, what we need to survive and He hears and answers the pleas of our hearts.

If this is true, if God can be bigger than the worst. If He comes blazing in to answer the cries of those who ASK Him to come and HELP…If this is true…what then do we have to fear?

In Lamentations the Israelites saw the desolation of their entire city. Once bustling with laughter and joy, now laid entirely taken over, defeated, pillaged, destroyed. Everything was taken from them and sorrow and grief lived thick like smoke in the lives of all who survived. Lamentations 3:19-25 says this:

“I remember my affliction and my wandering,
The bitterness and the gall.
I will remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
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.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’
The Lord is good to those whom hope is in him, the one who seeks him.”

From Camera 052

From Camera 154

From Camera 229

 

 

From Camera 442

None of these smiles would have been possible if God did not provide during the worst times. In the times of all these pictures I was experiencing the most sorrow, loss, and fear than I have in my entire life…yet joy was possible because God is good and He is present in times of need.

Is there pain, loss, failure, and sadness in this world?
Yes.

For those whom hope is in God and who seek Him, do we have to fear any of it?
No.

How do you know?
Because many people (including me), who have gone before…who have suffered loss and pain unimaginable…for those whom call of the name of the Lord in their time of despair they are not consumed. And JOY comes in each morning.

What then, shall we have to fear?

Things too Wonderful to Know

This past Sunday, an unexpected gift came upon our family…a glimpse into the view of our life that God sees.  A tiny sliver of the full picture that God put together.  A small example of exactly how vast, and large, and powerful God is.

At church Sunday morning my parents got up to share a little bit about Gideon and how God used him in our lives.  They said this:

If the Lord had not been on our side—

When we lost our son Matthew at 22 weeks, the loss, the fear, the sorrow could have swallowed us. If the Lord had not been on our side, 
When our daughter tearfully told us her baby, our grandson Gideon Matthew, did not have kidney’s, a bladder or renal arteries and would not survive outside her womb;
    
When all we could do was watch helplessly as our daughter, OUR precious child, struggled to keep her head above the raging waters of despair for 8 months and through Gideon’s birth and death…
a flood of anguish could have engulfed us, Praise be to the Lord, who has raised us up on Eagles Wings!Our souls rest in HIS embrace and we experienced, first hand, a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
After the service people came up to us and shared what Gideon’s birthday was like for them.  People we have never met before ran up to us, tears in their eyes and said…
“The morning Gideon was born me and 50 other men stood in a circle and prayed for your son and your family.”
“The morning Gideon was born our small group and my men’s group prayed for you.  We are still praying for you.”
“The day before Gideon was born my father gave Mitch the water from the Jordan river that Gideon was baptized in.  Mitch wouldn’t share with us your names, he wanted us to meet you in God’s timing.  Thank you for sharing your story.  I want you to know that every Sunday the greeter outside (his name is Jamie) he collects the kids name tags and prays for them all throughout the week by name.  I wrote a name tag for Gideon…he needed to have one too.”
I was overwhelmed, humbled, overjoyed at what God did and continues to do.  To think that people, so many people that we don’t even know, surrounded us in such a way gives testament to how amazing the kingdom of God is.  It is unlike this world, it doesn’t function like this world, and it carries outcomes far beyond what our greatest hopes and fears can dream up.  That’s one of the problems I think with fear and worry, our brains cannot conceive the beauty of God’s providence and so we fill in the cracks with far inferior details and ideas.  We assume nothing can be more accurate than the situation we conjure up in our minds and so we fear.  We worry and we stress because God’s plan is full of things too great for us to know.  Too great for us to know right now anyway.
When I look back at old pictures now, they all seem like "before Gideon" or "after Gideon" shots.  I see the pictures of me like this one, 9 years before Gideon, and I wonder what the woman in this picture would have done if someone told her what would happen someday.  I don't think she could have handled it.  I think she would have focused on the fear and would have missed out on so many joyful days.  I'm so thankful there are things we are just not supposed to know.

When I look back at old pictures now, they all seem like “before Gideon” or “after Gideon” shots. I see the pictures of me like this one, 9 years before Gideon, and I wonder what the woman in this picture would have done if someone told her what would happen someday. I don’t think she could have handled it. I think she would have focused on the fear and would have missed out on so many joyful days. I’m so thankful there are things we are just not supposed to know.

I was struck one day as I was praying through a very specific set of fears I was having.  The sentence implanted in my brain “Future telling is God’s territory.”  I immediately struck back with thoughts like “I’m not future telling I’m just anticipating what could happen!”  Sounds like an attempt at future telling to me Maria (that’s what it sounds like when I talk to myself).  So I thought and I thought some more and I rallied through a list of my worries and fears and alas it seems that it was true.  We don’t know the future.  We can’t, and so we try to and it always turns out a MESS.  It feels naive to picture the future and make it all roses and candy and so instead we decided every dreadful thing will surely come our way and there we stand…fear crippled.
For this I jumped to the book of Job.  The book of Job has always been intriguing to me because Job literally lived out every single worst fear imaginable.  If its on your list of fears, it pretty much happened to Job and so I would obsess over his story.  In all honesty I obsessed over it because of my own fears.  Its like I was hoping that one time I would read it and it would all of a sudden say, “Nah, just kidding.  None of that stuff happened to Job because no bad stuff ever happens to good people!”  I honestly was hoping that one time the ending would change.  But it never did.  Job always lost all he owned, he always lost all his children, he always became sick, his wife always cursed God, and his friends always failed him.  Everytime, same story…an amazing man of God and all his worst fears came true.  And so the book of Job is 42 chapters long!  All of this calamity happens in the first 2 chapters!!  So 40 more chapters??  Of what???Its 40 chapters of Job wanting to know why.  To be able to somehow, someway accurately wrap his brain around God’s plan.  God’s providence.  God’s motivation.  And rightly so.  I would do the same thing in his situation.  He seeks fervently for understanding.  He wants to UNDERSTAND.  If maybe he could just have an answer, if he could just know the ending then he would feel better.  And can you blame him?I find myself reading through the chapters and saying, “Mmm Hmm, that’s right Job you go!  You are right, you ask those questions cause I want to know the answers too!”  I cheered Job on for 40 chapters because I get it.  Something doesn’t resonate well when tragedy comes to people we don’t think “deserve” it.  And then…finally in chapter 38 God speaks.

Job 38:1-8

“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

 “Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
 Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?”

This makes me initially, very uncomfortable.  Where is the compassion?  Where is the grief, the grace, the help?  Job just lost everything, isn’t that what he needed?  Yes he needed those things, but sometimes I think even more so, we need a powerful God.  One whom we can trust how the power to make all things good in His timing.  A God that has been there for all time, who created the powerful waves and the vast mountains and who knows FAR more than we ever can.  A God whom we can trust with our future.  A God whom we can relinquish the control of our future too so we can stay fully engaged in our present.

So many times when I was pregnant with Gideon the same thought would pop in my head as I would hold my children: “What if I lost this one too?”  The temptation came to spin my mind out of control with all the what ifs.  But in God’s asking to stay in today I would push the fear out of my brain and replace it with “For now, they are mine.  In this minute I get to hold them and nothing in the world can take the minute I’m in away from me.  The future is not in my hands, but I have been trusted with this minute and I am going to make the best of it.”

What about when the minute I am in is a crappy one?  Well than that minute has enough trouble of its own and I am surely not going to add to its trouble with fears that have not come to pass yet (Matthew 6:34).  And so, in today I sit.  In today I trust and in today I fix my feet tightly on a God who can gather 100s of people I don’t know to cry out to God on my behalf.  In today I have what I have and what comes will come, but as for tomorrow?  I leave that one up to God.

The reality of it is this, in the words of our friend Job “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”  Job 42:3

In what areas of your life, fears, or worries is God calling you to let go of your attempt at future telling?

When Fear Comes, We Have a Choice

And they will come.  Fear will always find a way into our brains, our lives, our hearts.  How could it not?  We were not made for this world.  We were made for so much more, and fear is a direct result of the fact that we know this world is unpredictable and mean.  That people will let us down sometimes, crappy things will come into nice days, and (at some point) we will lose the people we love the most.  Of course we will fear.

But…when the fears come…whether they sneak in slowly or hit us like a tidal wave, we have a choice as to whether or not we will let the fear grip us.  We don’t have control over the things that creep into our minds, but we do have a choice over what we will do with them once we are there.

So, what then, do we do?  We know that God asks us to be brave, be strong, and do not be afraid.  But then what?

I constantly sift through the Bible for answers, for stories to show me hints and glimmers into the fuller life God wants for me.  This week I found Saul.  Once the chosen and anointed first king over Israel, Saul soon literally feared his way all the way to death.  Success came upon him, but when failure threatened he feared.  In 1 Samuel 15:24 “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned.  I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions.  I was afraid of the people and so I gave into them.”  Later on in 1 Samuel 18:12 “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.”  Saul became a slave to his fears, acting only in accordance to what he thought could solve the problems his mind came up with.  He committed his life to killing David, running always faster away from God and towards the ever changing, unreliable paths that his own fears created.  As I thought on this more, I wondered…how Saul-like have I been in response to my fears?

Somehow I bought the lie that the only way out of fear is trying to fix it.  Whatever the “it” is, my brain needs to find a way to make it better and so I react.  Hence my extensive research on how to escape from sinking cars, understanding the tell tale signs a shark is around, and obsessively studying parents magazines to learn how not to mess up my children.   And what about learning I would lose Gideon?  Fear led me down roads that literally had me paralyzed with fear and sadness and at every “action” point I tried to take I found myself at a dead end.  My Saul like fear actions finally caught up to me and it was either let the fear eat me alive or…find another way.  There had to be another way.

There is something about night time that makes fear run wild.  It happens for me, it happens for my kids...too many nights I hear "Mommy, I can't fall asleep.  I'm scared."  And what can a Mommy do except pray?  Pray for peace, God's perfect peace to bring calm in all the tired and scared parts of our minds.

There is something about night time that makes fear run wild. It happens for me, it happens for my kids…too many nights I hear “Mommy, I can’t fall asleep. I’m scared.” And what can a Mommy do except pray? Pray for peace, God’s perfect peace to bring calm in all the tired and scared parts of our minds.

David was the man Saul was trying to kill, and yes, David was very afraid too.  In Psalm 55:4-5 David cries out:

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.  Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.”  And for some reason I find that this comforts me so!  To see that fear is not associated with weakness and frailty, and that I don’t need to be ashamed when I afraid.  To see that Saul feared, David feared, and yet they both handled it so differently.  Psalm 56 :3-4 David goes on to say “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?”  And so, when I am afraid God I will trust in you.

It takes time and practice and a willingness to fight.  But here are some David inspired steps that help me when fears come:

-Ask God to listen.  Loud and clear, with boldness, let God know you need His full attention.

-Tell Him you are afraid.  You might feel like it goes without saying, but there is power in confessing “I am terrified.”

-Unpack your crazy.  For David this looked like literally asking God to kill Saul dead in his tracks.  For me this looked like telling God, in detail, what I did not want Gideon to be like when he came.  What I didn’t think I could handle and what wanted God to do.

-Acknowledge God’s promises.  The Bible is full of them, here are a few that I love…you might have your own.  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22 “In all your ways remember Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:6  “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

-Claim your trust in God.  Say it.  Mean it.  Psalm 55:23 “But as for me, I trust in you.”

-Give God thanks.  There is always something to be thankful for.

-Leave your fear there.  Tomorrow it might be back, but for today?  Leave. It. There.

Do you have examples in your own life of acting on your fears like Saul or trusting God with your fears like David?

-

From Fear to Faith, Week 1

They let me be me in all of my crazy, and I love them for it.  Last Thursday it started, my Fear to Faith class, and as I stared into the faces of the twenty women I have been praying over for months…I was in awe.  I was excited too.  Also a little high strung on coffee, but ya know, that’s part of a woman’s study right?

To be honest they have no idea what to expect, we all know we are studying what God says about Fear and we all know our end game is Faith…but the in between I have left a mystery.  Mostly because I don’t think words do justice to what God has in store.  Secondly because I don’t want pre-determined fears to stop us from being there, really there, open to whatever God has in store each week.  I promised them I have an outline, 10 weeks that I have prayerfully toiled over, studied, and lived through myself.  But I am floored with their trust, and thankful that these women (who don’t know me) will come each week to be with me.

I wanted to share some with you too!  Maybe, if you can’t be with us in person, you would like to study alongside of us and pray along with us.  Here are a few challenges we established from the get go:

A Prayer Journal

For 10 weeks we are going to take the prayer journal challenge.  All of our prayers, thoughts, struggles, tears, and learnings are to be written down in one place.  Keeping record, hard ink record, of what is going on in our hearts over these weeks.  Some of us do this all the time, others have never done it before…but we are going into the business of fear redemption and we don’t want to miss a beat.  We want to be able to scroll back to the beginning, we want to be able to write down every answered prayer, we want to be able to confess every deep dark fear and SEE with our eyes what God does.

 

Active Listening

In order to be able to have a shot at fighting our loud, boisterous, and often all consuming fears we have to learn how to listen and hone in on the quiet still voice of the Holy Spirit…through which God wants to help us.  We have to believe in Him first, we have to strive to know Him second, and we then have to listen for Him.  So many days I sat on my bed crying, weeping because I felt all alone in my pain and sorrow.  Google came up short again, kind words couldn’t help pain so deep, and no one knows your own pain and fear except…well…except you and God.  Listening was my only prayer.  Listening, hearing, and writing.  I pray that over these next 10 weeks you might try too.

I joked in class about how at first I felt funny writing down what I heard God telling me.  Like I was being blasphemous for putting God speak down in my journal or self conscious that someone would call me crazy.  But those nudges?  Those little heart prompts that you aren’t really sure what they are but they grab your attention?  Write first, and test later.  You can always scribble out or erase…but its a good practice to get into.  This was a big way God used to encourage my heart and love on me in my darkest moments.

 

Day to Day Trust

I didn’t pass out a syllabus.  What the heck kind of a teacher am I?   I know its crazy, and I know I maybe should have…but we don’t…always…need…to…know right?  I mean if you are me you need to know everything!  Whats happening for breakfast?  Whats happening after that?  What’s happening tonight?  Tomorrow too, I want to know what the plan is for tomorrow.  Also next week, next month, Christmas time, and we had better start planning that summer vacation before the calendar fills up!!  And its this exact need to know where so much fear can come from.  We can’t know all the time.  In fact most times even when we think we know, we don’t really.  And so there is value, even in the small things, practicing day to day trust.  That sure I will pencil in the fact that I will go to class, or commit to following from afar…but the details are God’s to fill in.  Sure I will pencil in the commitment to get up in the morning, take my kids to school, and keep my coffee appointment with a friend…but the details are God’s to fill in.  How about for 10 weeks, give a practice to not…needing…to know.

My penciled in plans said I was going to Connecticut to help my friend with her newborn baby.  The details?  God had plans for those I never could have imagined and I am so thankful.  Here I was expecting to go be the helper, but holding Naomi and being with sweet friends blessed me more than I ever could have imagined.

My penciled in plans said I was going to Connecticut to help my friend with her newborn baby. The details? God had plans for I never could have imagined and I am so thankful. Here I was expecting to go be the helper, but holding Naomi and being with sweet friends blessed me more than I ever could have imagined.

Another unexpected detail...would you believe we have been friends since we were 5 years old?  It was like we never left Kindergarten.

Another unexpected detail…would you believe we have been friends since we were 5 years old? It was like we never left Kindergarten.

 

Those are some of the nitty gritty’s.  I would love for you to journey with us too!  As I told one of my good friends who is in the class…I really think God has something up His sleeve.

“Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled” John 14:1

Do you trust Jesus?  That really is the question.  It is the question upon which everything in our lives, in the Bible, in our fears, and in our faith stands upon.  Can we trust Him?  I mean do we even believe He is trustworthy?

If the answer is “Yes,” if the answer for you is yes…I mean really yes, then it carries certain implications.  It means that you believe Him when He says to you “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God.  Trust also in me.”  John 14:1

When Jesus said these words He was speaking to His disciples.  The same disciples that, with just one sentence, Jesus trampled their expectations, hopes, dreams, and security.  You see when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to die it meant He was NOT staying to establish the earthly kingdom they were hoping in.  It meant that immense grief and sorrow was about to be theirs as they would watch their best friend and teacher be murdered.  It meant that they too could be hanging on a cross to die in the name of Jesus.  All these things were very true and very real circumstances for the disciples and has there ever been a better circumstance for fear to be an acceptable reaction?  And what does Christ say?  He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Jesus knew the world, He knew the pain, He knew the torment He himself was about to experience yet because He knew the power available to us through God, He could actually ask us to not…be…afraid.

So I say to you as I say to the beautiful, lovely, admirable, already inspiring women God put in my path.  Can you really trust Jesus?  Do His words mean anything to you?  Think on it.  Pray on it.  Journal on it.  And dig through the entire chapter of John 14.

Until next week know I thank God for you everyday.  I know He has placed you here with me, together, a group that has cried together, prayed together, and admired God’s workmanship together.  Together let’s see what He has in store next.