When Peace Like A Tsunami?

For the last couple of years, I have chosen a word for the year.  It is when you simply prayerfully choose a word to be a focus throughout the year. (You can find out a bit more here in case you would like to have a word for the year).

To be honest, I started doing it because I thought it was one of the ‘things’ that Christians did and I thought I better catch up and start taking part! (Psst: this is not correct thinking – just in case you were worried you too should be conforming to this way of thinking!)

My word for this year is peace.

Doesn’t it sound like a lovely word?  I think of the word peace and I think less friction, less hard stuff. Harmonious relationships with warm fuzzy feelings.

I think less anxiety and more calmness in my mind and body.

I don’t think I’m too far off in my thinking, right? So when I felt God prompt me to choose the word peace, I was jumping up and down shouting, “THANK YOU God, I could finally use some peace in my life!”

Well, let me give you a quick snapshot of some of the things I have experienced this year.

  • My anxiety reached all new heights and I started to take anti-anxiety medicine to help.
  • For no reason on our part, a relationship with a family member seemed to turn into a ticking time bomb over night. It became tricky and our feelings were well and truly trampled on.  It took us by surprise and it hurt us. We managed to work through it all but it was tough and cut us deep all the same.
  • We were notified on our son’s birthday that his surgery was scheduled and would be happening within two weeks.
  • My Grandma passed away.
  • My sister separated from her husband.

That was just January.

January

I kid you not, when I tell you nearly every month this year has had some really tricky and emotional events take place. Let me keep sharing about some of the things that have hit our family like a tsunami this year.

  • We have had a family member enter rehab.
  • My Aunty collapsed at home and was found 2-3 days later (alive!).  Once tests were run it was discovered she had a brain tumour that required surgery and a very long road to recovery.
  • Four more couples in our circle of friends end their marriages.
  • Violent acts in my classroom at school towards other students and myself.
  • The sudden death of a friend.
  • My husband had surgery and then recovery.

I kept trying to clutch on to peace so I could soak in the good stuff.   The slower heart rate, the even breathing, the relaxed muscles.  But  the impact of each even started to feel like a tsunami.

I started to wonder whether God had received the memo that PEACE was my word for the year.

I want to explain what I think God has been doing through all of this.  To do that, I need to chat to you about the movie, Evan Almighty.

There is a scene where Morgan Freeman (who plays God) is serving Joan (the wife in the story) at a diner.  She has freaked out a bit because her husband has started to look, dress and act like Noah and she no longer wants the children around him.  She is confused as to what is happening in her family, when the waiter (God) comes along.

Take a look:

In the crazy way that can only be God, I have been learning about the true deep sense of God’s peace through one of the most emotional and chaotic years I have experienced yet.

So if you are going through a season that just does not seem to ‘fit’ and you can’t make any sense of it, then I encourage you to ask God, “What opportunities are you presenting through this?”

I also want to leave you with a promise that I am going to share soon about all the good things that have come out of the events of this year.

God is always at work and the way he weaves his will into everything is amazing.

Keep faithfully looking to him!

peace

Love? Some Thoughts On Glennon Doyle Melton’s Message

  1. I will be the first to tell you that I am no theologian. I wish I was!  I would love to know all the ins and outs of the Bible and have depth of insight into God’s word.

I am a follower of Christ.  Which means, I am a work in progress.  It means I know I am flawed but I have accepted the wonderful blood of Jesus and live in His grace.

So where am I going with all of this?

I want to dip my toe into a pool of topics that can involve many opinions.

These are simply my thoughts.  I am not qualified to be teaching or preaching on these topics. However, as a follower of Christ, I have felt the need to be a part of the conversation.

It was earlier this year that I first came across Glennon Doyle Melton.  She blogs at Momastery. One of my friends had liked a quote of hers so it showed up in my news feed.  The quote was about love and it really resonated with me.

I too, then, liked her Facebook page (and could see a handful of my christian friends also followed the page) so her quotes would show up in my news feed.  I had read a brief description of who she was and it mentioned she was a christian.  I just figured she was another christian woman shining God’s truth into the world through social media and beyond.

Her desire to be brutally honest and transparent attracted me.  Her aim to be all inclusive, no matter what, and unashamedly spread love and speak love into people’s brokenness was admirable and something I desired in my own life.

After a while though, I noticed she spoke a lot about love.  All the time.  One of her best selling books is called Love Warrior.  There’s nothing wrong with love, right?  It sure fits the christian life to be talking about and acting in love…..right?

I started getting knots in my tummy whenever I read a new post by her and I began to wonder why.  Why would I feel this way about a christian role model who is spreading the message of love to the world?

I prayed about it and asked God if there was any reason to this.  In the days that followed, I became aware that while Glennon talks about love a lot, she doesn’t talk about Jesus’ love very much.

Okay, I am not saying that is a bad thing.  There are CEO’s of big companies who may conduct their life following Jesus but not discuss him in their monthly financial meeting.  There are shoe shiners who may just get on with the job of shining shoes and not discuss Jesus every minute of the day.  I am a teacher at a government school and love Jesus with my whole heart but it is not encouraged to stand at the front of the classroom and preach Jesus through the math lesson. (Though imagine if I could!?)

Glennon’s blog and her books are her work and her income.  So does she need to speak about Jesus all the time? Well, no….and yes.  She professes to be a christian and the sole purpose of her blog and books is to spread and shine love.  She attends christian women conferences as a guest speaker and has many christian people under her umbrella of influence.  So, shining love is great, but unless she is shining Jesus’ love, it is all for naught.

The love in the world and the love from Jesus are two very different things.

Like I said, I only discovered her at the beginning of this year.  I am not sure if there has been a shift away from Jesus’ word or if it was always rather vauge with her.

I once heard a strong Christian say to look at the fruits of someone’s life to see if they follow Christ.

The Bible says Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  We need to remain in him to bear fruit and without him we can do nothing. (John 15:5)

John 15:5So I started looking at what ‘fruit’ I could see.

I know, I am putting my hand up right now to say, I live over in Australia and I do not know her personally.  There is probably much about this sweet lady that I do not know.  However, from what I can see, there are many great things she has initiated or been a part of.  Reaching out to the outcasts and starting conversations about how to be all inclusive are just two to mention.

However, in the last few months, Glennon has also announced her divorce and in the last week has announced she is dating a woman.

Please, please, please hear me when I say, I am not hating on her or judging her.  I am not hating on you or judging you either if you have had to experience a divorce or are in a homosexual relationship.

I want to reach through the screen you are reading this on and love you with the love of Christ.

Why?  Because HE has loved me with His love and I KNOW how transforming it is.  I know how fulfilling it is.  I know how pure and radical it is.  His love is all about restoring and renewing.  He will build you up and put you back together.  He has a plan for you that is filled with hope and a future. It is all about reconciling you  to Him.

What I AM saying is this.  Glennon has 648 700 followers (approximately!) on Facebook.  In September her latest book, Love Warrior, reached #3 on the USA Today’s Best Seller list a little under a month from release.  It has since become a #1 Best Selling book for New York Times. It has been promoted by Oprah and there are many people who are being influenced by her teachings.

People are craving love.  The ideas she spouts off and shares appear to share this love.  It is a love that is contrary to what we are seeing around us and people are hungry to be filled with a love that is different than what they have already experience.  They want to be a part of the community.  They want to love and be loved without condition, warts and all.  Yay, for Glennon for cultivating a community that says yes to all of these things! I really mean that!  I commend her for this.

Yes, Jesus loves us unconditionally and his salvation is free for all who choose to accept it.  To the rich CEO, to the displaced refugee.  It is for the married, single, divorced and homosexual.

However, unless there is transformation in your life, unless there is a committed desire to follow Christ, no matter what the cost, then it is a false love and it will leave you empty and unfulfilled.

We need to be plugged into THE source of love.  Jesus Christ.

We need to be aware that when we accept Christ’s offer of salvation, there will actually be times when life will feel anything but filled with love.  Jesus warns us that the world will HATE us because we love him  but that we are to stand firm.  (Matthew 10:22) Stand firm to his teachings and not water them down.  Not explain them away or soften them with a blanket of worldly ‘love’.

Like I said, I am not a theologian.  I do not have all the answers for whether being gay is God’s design or not, for all of the right or wrong reasons to end a marriage.  I know these are tricky topics.

I do know that Christ loves you regardless.  He loves you just the way you are.  Whether you have had to go through divorce, or are dealing with your sexual identity.  I know he loves you.

I also know, His love never keeps us where we are.  It should always be transforming us and making us more like Him.  It should always be drawing us closer to him and closer to the things he has set out for us in his word.

So whether you have over 600 000 people around you or just one, shine THAT love.  Shine Jesus’ love.  It will always be worth it.

It is my prayer that as we continue to walk and live out our faith that we all (including Glennon) keep our eyes on Jesus and be discerning of what we cling too as truth.

Can I pray for you?

Dear Jesus,

I pray for the person reading this post.  I pray you will fill them with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that your Spirit gives, so they can live a life worthy of you Lord, and please you in every way.  I pray they bear fruit in every good work and would grow in the knowledge of God.  I pray they be strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so they may have great endurance and patience.  Oh, Lord, may they give joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified them to share in the inheritance of your holy people in the kingdom of light.

Amen.

For Further Reading:

An article by Christianity Today on the same topic.

 

Say Yes To Messy Peace

I am an organised, orderly kinda gal.  It might not look like that if you took a peek into my laundry.  It is not one of my strongest points.  I am good at putting the washing into the machine, pour a scoop of powder in the drawer and then pushing the button…..after that, well, things tend to go down hill!

I like order in my life though.  I like to have a sense of what is coming next. Are you the same?

You see, if I know what is coming next, I can plan accordingly.  I can arrange finances, baby sitting schedules, or dinner arrangements.  I can work out a timetable or a to-do list.

Liking order and being organised in this way is not necessarily frowned upon these days.  We carry smart phones around that let us connect with our loved ones via voice, text, email or social media.  Sheesh, we even connect with people we barely know through these mediums!  We can pay our bills, run aspects of a business, research and write assignments, make and schedule appointments, watch tv shows and movies and play games, take photos and make videos – just to name a few – all from our phones!

I like being in control.  Me.  I want to be sure I am on top of anything and everything that comes within in my personal bubble.  The bubble that surrounds me and anyone in my family.

However, more importantly, (in my head anyway!) I can start to prepare my heart and my head for any possible emotions I will feel. I am never too keen on my emotions being out of control.  Or my emotions controlling me. I crave peace and I want to ensure it reigns for as long as possible in my life!

Living this way appears to work until you hear the beautiful whispers of the Holy Spirit call you out onto the waters.  The deep unknown waters.

That is what has been happening between God and me over the last few months.  He has been calling me into a new season.  A new chapter.  It is not the first time the Lord has spoken to me but every time I hear His voice it fills my heart with joy and hopeful anticipation. I know He loves me but the knowledge that He has a spoken a plan specifically for me always overwhelms me with love and wonder for Him.

Yet, did you read the bit about deep unknown waters? If it is unknown, how can I write a timetable or a to-do list? How will I plan and oversee every aspect of what is to come when I actually do not know all that is to come?

Well, I can’t!  This seems anything from the organised and orderly gal that I strive to be. This should create a mess within my head and my heart!  I organise to seek peace.  I keep order to let peace reign!  I do all I can to prepare to protect my heart from anxiety.

The truth is, I can’t step into all God has planned for me unless I let go of my way of controlling things.  I can’t hold onto my plans, timetables and lists and God’s strong trustworthy hand at the same time.  And it is trustworthy.

From a worldly view, this new chapter I was embarking on, seems anything but orderly.  It seems messy.

So why was I feeling nothing but peace?  Good peace.  Better than peace.  Thick, warm, wrap around me like a snuggly blanket, peace.

Because from God’s view, it is timely, planned and well though through. It has not caught Him off guard, He does not still have to finalise details.  He knows the details.  He has them all in place because He is a God of order.

I have probably got a few hundred more lessons in front of me about trusting God for messy peace.  However, it beats my organised, orderly peace any day.

So when the Holy Spirit next whispers those beautiful words to come out on the waters, my sweet friend, trust Him.  Shout out a yes, or whisper, or whatever you can muster, but let your answer be yes.  Throw your plans, preparations, timetables and lists into the water and accept His messy peace.

 

You might also like to read:

There Is One Thing I Know For Certain

Just Stay Calm

 

 

Seven Years Rich

This week my husband and I celebrated our seven year anniversary.

It made me think of that saying “The Seven Year Itch”, which then lead me to think of that ‘entertaining’ (please note sarcasm!) show “The Seven Year Switch”.  Neither of those sayings fit how I was feeling this week.

We celebrated with loving text messages during the day, my husband hand delivered a beautiful floral arrangement to me when he got home from work and our family of three went out and had Chinese at a lovely restaurant.

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My heart felt like it could burst all day because we are in a good place.  The love I have for my husband has grown over the last seven years. (I think his has grown for me too!).  Our relationship has become comfortable and grown deep.  It is not the same relationship it was the day we were married.  It is better.  It is worth celebrating.

However, each day in the last seven years has not always been easy or happy.  We have had our fair share of dark and long days.  Heavy, thick and burdensome days.

We have struggled together through job losses and changes, through seasons of infertility then followed by a high-risk pregnancy and premature birth.  We have supported each other through the deaths of family members and friends. We have held hands through mental illness and other health issues.

It took me three sentences to summarise just some of our ‘bumps’.  Trust me, it took a lot more time to wade through those seasons together.

We have struggled against each other. We have broken trust and then built it again.  We have said things in anger, had to ask forgiveness and forgive each other.  We have argued different views and agreed to disagree. We have changed over time and learnt how to love the new changes in each other.

Relationships evolve and change.  They deepen and develop.

I can look back at the last seven years and see that all of those hard days really were worth it.  It is both the great days and the hard days that make our relationship what it is.  They go hand in hand.  They both create the richness that develops in a relationship.  Both are reasons to celebrate.

That might seem a bit strange.  The notion of celebrating the hard days as well as the great.

So the next time you realise your husband came to apologise first after an argument.  Thank him and do a little happy dance.

The next time you want to lash out but hold your tongue.  Give yourself a pat on the back.

The next time you go to worry about your finances and you choose to pray to God and leave it with Him – celebrate that.

When you take those small tiny steps each day to help build or gain trust with your partner again.  Celebrate each and every step.

Celebrate – do not take those moments for granted! The hard or the great.  Each time you overcome a hard day, it builds into your relationship.  Each time you have a great day, it builds into your relationship.wedding

 

Seven Years Rich

This week my husband and I celebrated our seventh anniversary. As I think about our seven years of marriage, I honestly think the saying “Seven Years Rich” is more fitting.  I may not have been able to say this other years. However, it is true. I am richer in love.  I am richer in compassion.  I am richer in forgiveness, understanding, humility, patience, kindness and joy.

This week my husband and I celebrated our seventh anniversary and I am seven years richer.  I will celebrate this on our special day and I will celebrate this through all the great and hard days to come.

What is something you can celebrate about your relationship this week?

My Stumbling Block As A Faith Blogger + Under the Tree Linky Party #18

When I started blogging, I never had any idea just how many bloggers there were out there.  I simply had a passion in me to share the love of Christ with others as well as leave a written legacy of living a life following Jesus for those who follow in the generations.

Sometimes, it discourages me that there are so many other bloggers out there.  It is pride that makes me feel this way.  I want what I write to cut through and to touch someone, instead sometimes it just feels like I’m adding to the noise on the internet.

However, this is not my biggest stumbling block when it comes to blogging.

My stumbling block is that I feel like I am telling people what to do.  I fear that I come across as if I am standing on a soap box.

I do not want to be yet another blogger that is presenting the three main steps to a perfect prayer life or the five tried and true steps to being a Proverbs 31 wife.

This stumbling block can become a writing block.  It stumps me and I end up not writing at all.

Isn’t that so convenient for Satan?

If you are a faith blogger, or any other christian blogger, I want to encourage you.  Your writing in the blogging world may only make a small ripple in the ocean around you, write anyway.  If you have a passion to share Jesus’ love through blogging, then keep writing.  You are called to be a blogger, not to be perfect.

However, I do encourage you to also be prayerful about what you are writing and what you are posting.  Let’s not add to the noise on the internet, let’s be a beautiful melody that sings the love of Christ.

So join me in laying your passion and your gift before God and trust that He will lead and guide you and He will prepare the hearts of those who read the words.

declare-his-glory-among-the-nations-his-marvelous-works-among-all-the-people

Each Friday, Caytee, Lo and I invite all bloggers to come and share their blog posts for the week.

So let’s go under the tree and let the party begin.

Welcome Under the Tree to this week’s linky party! Each Friday we hold a linky party here to share what is on our hearts.  Our hope is that the posts you read or the posts you add to this party will encourage you in your faith, inspire hope for each day or simply add a smile to the start of your weekend.

Host
Megan Profile

Megan from My Faith Tree

Copy of Host

Lo

Lo from All That Motivates

Caytee

Caytee from Stars in a Dark World

Now let’s get this party started!

Please read these guidelines and then link up your posts!



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