_Faith like Esther.
Have you ever wanted to control a situation? Do you ever wonder why God didn't make something happen? I totally was at this place in the last 24 hours. My mind was confused and my heart hurt.
I prayed for God to answer a prayer...quickly. You see, we are in the middle of trying to sell my Dad's home so that he can move closer to us. We have already found him the perfect apartment where he no longer has to worry about fixing a home or maintaining a lawn.
So we took a leap of faith and signed a lease for the apartment before even listing the house on the market. I felt that since God has gotten us this far, there is no way that he would not provide the right buyer for this home.
And then the process of selling a home hits after you have already been exhausted with preparing the home for sale. Conversations, calls, showings, feedback, and waiting.
And then we received 2 offers. Neither were an immediate "Yes! knock your socks off" kind of deals. I struggled. Why God? Don't you see how hard we have worked to make it this far? Why couldn't you have just given us what we needed... at least the minimum to help my Dad get out of debt for the first time in his life. I don't often feel these types feelings...but I did today.
So this morning, God answered our cries out to him. I opened my Bible and started where I left off yesterday and read the passage in the photo. Isaiah 55:8-9. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
OK God, so what are your thoughts on this situation? I needed an answer- and quick!
A few hours later, God provided his answer. He used my Dad's story to impact others. The generosity and kindness that has been shown to my Dad through people involved brought me to tears several times today. Praise be to God! My Dad will be out of debt! He will be moving into his new apartment. We will be having actual conversations that are joyful and fun without the tension of disagreements and quarrels regarding the house.
You see friends, if God had done it the way that I thought it should have been done- it would not have provided the opportunity for others to hear our story. Had he listened to me, my Dad would not have felt the love from others pouring into him.
Some of you may remember that Hadleigh is obsessed with the C.S. Lewis story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Once we get past Mr. Tumnus and Lucy's tea party she is most excited to see the battle at the end. For her being a 3 year old princess-loving little girl; this was the last thing I expected her to be drawn to. It is the battle between the white witch and her dominion of evil against Aslan and his supreme authority and the people/creatures he loves. With boldness right before the battle begins, they yell "For Narnia! For Edmund!". Now Edmund is the youngest sibling who betrayed his own brother, sisters (and ultimately Aslan's life) for some chocolates. Oh friends, this story is so beautiful and intentionally mirrors Jesus' love for us.
When I was preparing dinner last night, this part of the movie was on and I heard these words- "For Narnia! For Edmund!" And I couldn't help but think that in my story, right now- God said "For Andrea! For her Dad!" (I have been keeping his name hidden for his privacy). Oh how God fights for us friends. We have all betrayed him just like Edmund. But to him, he chooses to have his entire kingdom fight for us. We are that valued to him. He does it for each one of us- but he would also do it if it were for ONLY just one of us. He also uses others, in this world, to help fight our battles. I could tell you of all of the beautiful humans that God has asked to fight my Dad's battles. How amazing. He doesn't just do it himself. He empower each one of us to participate in our own stories but also for others. He is on a mission to restore this world. One day it will be as he created. There will be more battles and a much larger war to come, but how we can delight in knowing he is fighting our battles- we just have to let him and stop trying to control everything.
God shows us that we can trust him. But it truly is in his timing AND in his way. So I am going to reference something that I heard from a sermon a while back.
God is always at work, even when it seems that he is silent. And he is never late.
He doesn’t always give us what we want, but he does give us what we need.
I am praying that you get your answers to your prayers friends- but more importantly, I am praying that you have enough patience, faith, perseverance and trust to know that God does hear you and that he will answer when the time is right and in the way that glorifies his plan and purpose for you.
And P.S. We celebrate 6 months of sobriety with my Dad in 3 days! God is certainly at work.
_Faith like Esther
_Faith like Esther.
I love to read. I have always loved to read. I am the person who is reading 6 different books at once and never really finishes one before I start another. I go to the library and check out 7, 100+ page books and read the first chapter of maybe 3 before they need to be returned.
I want to finish. I wish I had a better method to my madness with books.
Oh but then....this week happened! I think I finally figured out a solution to a focused subset of books.
As I was in the church library with my daughter this week I started browsing. I had already returned the 6 different books that I had renewed twice and realized that it just probably wasn't going to happen. As I debated about the use of browsing...I continued to browse.
I then started looking at the adult studies section. Ya'll…..you might know what I am talking about. The section with the curriculum and small group leader and study guides. Ya'll know what comes with those leader study guides?! The movies! The movies that contain 4-10, 20 minute video clips with the most important parts of the book!
Sure this isn't the first time I had known that there were such things....but why had I never thought of using this outside of a small group setting?
So I found one that a friend has been recommending for such a long time. It is like her go-to. She quotes it all of the time. "Present over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. Now, I am sure her book is amazing. I probably don't get the entire experience that I would if I would feel the pages turn between my fingers.
But oh how I still gained so much from watching these short videos! And now I don't have to wonder what my friend was talking about. She's right! I can't wait to actually read the book one day!:)
Now, that was my first point...tip...suggestion...revelation... etc.
Here are "the goods".
The overall concept of Shauna's story was that she felt like her life was always busy. She was always saying yes to everything, being everything to everyone and living in a constant state of "hustling".
Now, I have also always been a fan of "The Best Yes" By Lysa Terkeurst. She discusses this same topic. I did make it through that book years ago and it really did change the way that I lived.
Both of these women looked at their lives and decided that instead of wondering why they found themselves amongst chaos and stress, they realized that they were responsible for this chaos and stress. They then allowed themselves the freedom to say No. They encourage others to embrace only saying yes to commitments, people and events if they are truly the most important things.
So why the picture of the playdough you ask?
Shauna referenced this concept. (I just happen to be in the toddler stage of life and had playdough on hand...nice touch you say:)- Thanks!) She was discussing the difficult journey from a "yes world" to a "no world" and being ok with it! She said that it is helpful to think of the word "No" like a scalpel. This scalpel can "cut away the things that don't fit, that aren't for you, the things that make your life overly frantic and leave you exhausted". Once you cut away all of the extras, what you are left with is the life that is yours. In the center, you will be left with the most important things that you value. Identify who or what is in your center most field of vision and with each opportunity that arises (no matter how big or small) ask yourself "How will this decision affect my core values?"
As I started to adopt this principle in my own life, some got offended and others didn't understand. But if I ultimately am responsible for how busy I am- I am ultimately responsible to make the decisions with how busy I want to be....or not to be.
So cut away. Find your values. Identify how far out from the target are other relationships, events, commitments, people etc. Really do the work of being honest with where they fall. Shauna stated that we should be disappointing our core values the least and it is ok to disappoint the outer relationships the most.
I know that is tough to swallow friends. But ultimately, God wants the best of you...not the last of you.
If you had to ask yourself right now- which circle would you put God in right now? Or which circle would God see himself in?
Join me. Let's embrace "No" unapologetically. I learned a while back this small truth "No is a complete sentence".
Praying for you friends.
_Faith like Esther.
_Faith like Esther.
"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
What position are you finding yourself in?
Did you imagine you would be exactly where you are right now? Or someplace different?
Instead of trying to change your circumstances, change the question.
Perhaps you are in this position for such a time as this.
Let's start this journey together. Unscripted, raw and real emotions. So glad you are with me friend.