Posts Tagged With: worry

Don’t be Afraid. Keep Calm and Carry On

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Revelation 1:1-4:11

 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. Revelation 2:19

On the way to church this morning Sean and I were discussing some travel plans we have slated for this summer and the more we talked the more I could feel fear tightening it’s grip on my heart. I have been really stressed about money the past few weeks. I signed up for some classes this past week that I thought were going to cost us $$$$. Stress. Where was this money going to come from? I didn’t know. Where is the money for this trip going to come from? We HAVE to go, it’s a close family member’s wedding and Anna is in it, we don’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Worry and fear were playing tug of war and I was the one losing the battle.
Then we got to church and I’m handed a buletin that looked like this:

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Keep calm and carry on. It’s been a catch phrase that has caught fire lately and I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to it, until today. As I held the bulletin in my hand we sang, and sang, and (praise God) we sang. We kept singing until my heart broke in and joined the song. Have you ever had that happen before? Where your mouth was singing but your heart just wasn’t in it. In fact, perhaps, your mind was a million miles away while your body was there singing. Or maybe like me, it was two months in the future worrying about things I could do nothing about in that moment… other than surrender them to my Jesus.
And that’s what I ended up doing. I surrendered them, I set those thoughts aside in order to concentrate fully on the gift I was being given in the present. The gift of the present!
I can’t live in tomorrow because I haven’t been given tomorrow yet. I’ve only been given today. And while I can TRY to live in two moments at the same time, it’s just not possible. And honestly, it’s pointless anyway.
And in that moment of surrender, do you know what God said to me? “Keep calm and Carry on. Calm is something that you can keep or you can let it go. KEEP calm! And then carry on.”

There was a moment in the Exodus where the Israelites had gotten their first real taste of freedom from slavery. They had witnessed all the plagues of Egypt and seen the power of the Lord. They had been released from their slavery and had journeyed to the Red Sea. When in the distance they could see that Pharoah had changed his mind about letting them go. In that moment they panicked. They were free men and women, and they had decided they liked it. But off on the horizon there was this huge dust cloud threatening to take that freedom back from them. Now, the dust cloud was not the army itself, that they couldn’t see yet, it was just the threat of the army. And yet that was enough to terrify them. They cried out to Moses, asking him why he would bring them out into the wilderness to kill them. And weren’t there enough graves in Egypt? And in that moment of preemptive fear Moses told them, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:13-15)
God literally told them to keep calm and to carry on, to stay calm and keep moving in the direction I told you to move. But they couldn’t keep moving forward, there was an OCEAN in their way. Did that stop God? Of course not! Was that a problem for Him? NO WAY! He performed the most miraculous miracle those people had ever seen, and at this point they had seen quite a few!
2 Corinthians 4:6-18 says,
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Press on towards the mark my friend, keep running for the goal, persevere through this trial. It will not last forever, but the strength you gain from it will!
So keep calm and carry on.

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Categories: 365 Life, Revelation, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Him

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

It’s been a rough week for me; a struggle simply getting back into writing daily. I’ve managed to remember how much I enjoy it and that this is a huge part of what God made me to do. But I was doing it out of a “have-to” attitude which wasn’t working. I’ve learned along life’s path that it’s always best to do the things that God has called you to do (like publishing daily). But I was coming at it from the totally wrong angle! You see God HAS created me to write, but He has not forced me to write. Just like He has created all women to have children, but He never forces them to actually have them (or keep them for that matter). I choose if I want to live out what I have been created to do. I get to choose if I want to be who I was created to be.

I was created to be, among other things, a wife, mother, teacher and writer. And there ARE times when I can manage to successfully do all four at the same time, but it’s not easy. There are times when one of my “hats” has to get taken off and put on a shelf for a while. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still bring my experiences from one area of my life into the others though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! No, when I put down my pen and pick up a pan I don’t stop being the writer, the thinker, or the lover of Christ. It’s still a critical part of who I am. And when I put down the pans and pick the pen and Bible back up I don’t stop being the mother of my children or the lover of my husband. I’m simply changing my function while still being wholly and completely me. To completely set aside my family to write would be to deny half of myself, and vice versa. It would be impossible for Tamar to exist, because I would then become someone else entirely.

This week my struggle has been finding a good balance between the two halves of myself. And it’s been HARD. I have felt the pressure of the Potter’s hands this week and have tried my hardest to yield willingly to it… sort of. All summer long I’ve been forsaking my God-given gift of writing, as occupation, therapy and relationship with My Lord. I’ve been focusing on my kids and enjoying the summer with them. Which is fine, to a point. But God made it clear to me, that starting August 1st, it was time to stop playing and get back to “work”. And I have… begrudgingly. Like I said, I was coming at it all from the wrong angle; a grumpy and untrusting one.

The first few days I stayed up until REALLY late in the night to write. Then I would end up sleeping half the day away. With two kids at home, that wasn’t working. And then the Holy Spirit stepped in and made me realize that I was staying up late to write because I wasn’t trusting myself or God to A) help me get up early enough to write long enough to get something “worthy” of sending out into cyberspace. B) Or that I was ABLE to even write still – it’s been almost a year since I’ve written anything for others to read. (Remember the pool story from Monday? That was part of it! A fear of writing again.) c) I wasn’t trusting God to watch over my kids while I write. Despite the fact that I normally write while they’re sleeping because that’s when it’s the quietest and I can think.

So, with God’s help I got through all those things and could move on to my next set of issues… my attitude while I was writing. Or rather, I suppose, who I was writing for. I had been writing with the mentality “they’re counting on me to do this.” As if, for some reason your world would stop turning if I failed to get this devotional into your hands first thing in the morning. I have no idea where THAT concept came from! But it probably came from my pride which is rooted in my insecurity. My writing was no longer a gift or an honor; it was my job, my work. And that’s never how God intended our callings to be! Yes, He created us to do work, but not for it to be work. We’re to do everything as if we were doing it for Him. It should never be that we HAVE to work, but rather that we GET to work. (Right Beth?) We don’t HAVE to be parents, we GET to be parents! I don’t have to be a writer, I get to be a writer – EVERY DAY!

But even after all that, my trajectory was still a little off. And the way that God pointed it out to me really got my attention. I have a friend on Facebook that I have never met in person. But in many ways I’m just as close to her as many of the people I see all the time. Simply, because she is my sister-in-Christ and that in itself is an unbreakable bond. One of the things she said recently really struck me. She has been fasting, not to seek God’s will, or His favor or even to repent but to seek HIM.  And it made me question, what is THAT? What IS seeking Him? What do you do? What do you say? How do you go about seeking HIM? And when I prayed about it, that’s when it hit me! THAT’S what TODAY is all about! Not me writing for myself, not me writing for you, but me writing for HIM! Writing down the things that I question and discover along my journey of seeking HIM! FINALLY my trajectory is correct! Or… at least close enough to it to move on.

So, I guess I wrote all that (partially) to tell you this. I am a visual learner and writing things out helps me think because then I can see them. Also, the best way to really learn something is to teach it. So, TODAY is really just my ramblings to try to understand and get to know God more fully, all while you get to read about where God is taking me and what He is teaching me and saying to me. And if you benefit from it, great! And if not, then so be it. From my perspective right now, you all are my accountability group for seeking Him while it is called TODAY (Hebrews 3:13)! J I love you all so desperately! Thank you for allowing God to use you to keep me on track!

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Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , ,

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