Guest Post: Is Your Heart Yearning?

God loves to speak to me in parallels – probably because He knows that it’s one of the main ways that I hear Him and can apply His Word to my life.  He did this so clearly this morning in church.   The praise team was leading us in the Song ‘Even So Come’ by Kristian Stanfill.  It’s a song that talks about how we should all be waiting for Christ’s second coming – just as a bride waits for her groom.

Many of us are familiar with waiting as at some point or other in our life journey God has taken us through a season of waiting.   For me, God has had me on a journey for the past 4 years of waiting specifically for my future husband to come home (that is a very general summary of a journey that has been crazy, hard, unique, and many days feels impossible and pointless).   This morning as we sang the above mentioned song God gave me an incredible parallel.

The line that really hit me today was this: “Like a bride waiting for her groom, We’ll be a Church ready for You, Every heart longing for our King.”   For those of us waiting for a spouse (whether we don’t know who that person is yet or we do and we’re waiting for the time to come when we will be united in marriage) we can resonate with this line of the song.   We know what it’s like to wait for our groom (or our bride, for all the guys out there).   Our hearts truly do long for that person and to do life with our spouse, the one God has chosen for us.

As we sang, I recognized the level of yearning that I have for my future husband – it’s often very deep and intense – I long for the day when my future husband is here.   But….do I have that same level of yearning and longing for the return of Christ – do I long for my Savior more than I long for this human who will one day be my husband?    It was a challenge to me of the longings of my heart and if/how they align with my spiritual walk with Christ.

The lyrics continue and say how we’ll be a church ready for You (Christ).  We hear a lot about preparing ourselves for marriage and preparing ourselves to be a Godly wife or Godly husband.   I’ve read books and heard speakers talk about getting my life in order so that I’m prepared and ready to be the wife God designed me to be, so that when my husband shows up at the perfect time that we’re both ready for life together.   Maybe you’ve even heard the concept that you’ve not yet met your future spouse because God is still preparing him/her for you or vice versa.   This is all good stuff – and yes we should be preparing ourselves to be a good spouse in whatever ways we can during our time of being unmarried. But….I again was challenged – am I, are we as the Church, ready and getting ourselves ready for the return of Christ?   Are we investing in our relationship with Christ so that we can know Him more intimately?   Are we sharing His Gospel with those around us so that they are ready for His return?   Do I have an eternal perspective on life or am I just thinking of the here and now, forgetting how my life today and many of the things that are important to me will blow away with the wind when Jesus returns?

My challenge for you this week is to think about how you are or have prepared yourself for marriage (whether you’re currently married, soon to be married, or praying for a future marriage) and compare that to how you are preparing for Christ’s coming.  Are you being a disciple?   Are you pouring His love into others and using what He’s taught you to walk alongside others?   Are you sharing the gift of hope and life with those you come in contact with?  And is your heart yearning and longing for that day in a way that it has never yearned or longed for anything or anyone else?

May we all be able to say with confident and longing hearts: “Even so come, Lord, Jesus, come!”

~Heidi

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Shopping Cart

We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

Pushing the cart to the exit at Costco on Saturday morning, I was approached by a man in his late 50s and the following conversation took place.

Man: Do you own a restaurant or something? What are you doing with all of that food?

Me: It’s for a wedding!IMG_7055[1]

Man: For yours?

Me: No! That would be kind of crazy!

Man: Are you married?

Me: No.

Man: Why not?

Me: I don’t know! (easier than diving into theory and better than being snarky)

Man: Well, that’s okay. I have 7 siblings and only 2 of us are married. My sisters said they enjoyed their independence too much to get married and be bossed around by a man. Whatever makes you happy, that’s what I say. Is it okay if I get in front of you (as we approach the receipt-checking guy with the sharpie)?

And there you have it, folks, a one-minute commentary on the pervading thoughts on singleness and marriage in America.

  1. Anyone who wants marriage… is obviously married!
  2. Marriage means that women have to be bossed around by men.
  3. Singleness is beneficial for strong females that don’t want to submit to bossy husbands.
  4. Singleness is a choice.
  5. Life is only about doing what makes you happy. So you have the power to control your marital status and determine your happiness level.

I’m sure this man had no idea that his conversation with the lady pushing the overflowing shopping cart would lead to a blog post and several re-tellings of our conversation.  It’s very likely I’ll never run into this man again, but if I did, I’d like to set him straight on a few points.

  1.  I suppose if I wanted to be married I could have accepted the man’s offer in the Old City market in Jerusalem in exchange for some camels for my father, but quite frankly shipping the camels to America seemed difficult, let alone getting past the neighborhood ordinances against farm animals. There was the more recent offer made while I was descending Mt. Kilimanjaro by an African guide who desperately wanted to marry an American. I found out later, he asked another woman in our group too. I guess his love was transferrable and universal for all American women.I jest, but chances are each of us could have probably married anyone, but marriage isn’t about just anyone, it’s about someone. Someone with whom we can share life with, not just a transaction of exchange or a union for personal benefit (like a blue passport). Finding that someone is a lot harder than the Hallmark Channel makes it seem, although perhaps for some it works that way. I just think it’s an unfair assumption to believe that just because someone isn’t married they don’t want marriage. It also doesn’t mean that if someone desires marriage, but isn’t married, that they are too picky. It’s just not as easy as filling a shopping cart at Costco!

 

  1. What a sad commentary on marriage, if it’s only viewed as a place where women go to be bossed around by men. The Bible paints a much better view of marriage, and if each party lives out Christ’s call… what a beautiful thing marriage can be. Men sacrificially loving women, and women using their strength to encourage men.

 

  1. Singleness is not a stand against a subservient role for women in marriage, nor is it reserved for the resolute, dominant woman. Singleness affords great freedoms and benefits, as we’ve discussed on this blog before, but it is not meant to foster independence for the promotion of self-interests. As Christians, we are called to live in community with fellow believers and to put other’s needs before our own. Singleness should not equal selfishness.

 

  1. Singleness is a choice in as much as I didn’t choose the options that were presented to me, but it often feels like singleness chose me instead of me choosing it. I don’t know of many people that desire marriage, consciously choosing singleness. Perhaps for some, singleness is a chosen state and not just a result of circumstances, but it’s incorrect to assume that singleness is chosen by all that check that box.

 

  1. There are many aspects of life that bring great joy and happiness, but for happiness to be a pursuit, I’m afraid it’s always going to come up short. What makes me happy today, is not always the same as what makes me happy tomorrow, my happiness is fickle. The Bible has quite a different take on happiness, consider James 1:2 or Matthew 5:12. I chose to have the joy of the Lord, over the happiness-pursuit, even if that means it comes through suffering and perseverance.

 

After Costco, I went to a local grocery store to pick up two fruit trays. As I was checking out the cashier says “I hope these aren’t for a funeral!” Then as I’m wheeling them to the car, a lady says to her husband and son, “Let’s follow her!” Large amounts of food certainly draw some crazy comments.

Praying this week that Christians can reflect the beauty of a life in Christ as single and married individuals pursuing Him!

Michelle

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Post from a Reader: The Life No One Wants

In January, we began to periodically feature posts submitted by readers of the FastPray blog. It’s encouraging to know there is a whole community of Jesus followers fasting and praying on Mondays.

We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

The other day my friend Annie told me one of those “I can’t believe they said that!” stories that can be filed under the heading: ‘Terrible Things People Say About Singleness’. It went a little like this…

Annie was enjoying a picnic with her parents when they bumped into an old friend of Annie’s mum. This lady, let’s call her Mrs S, was known to Annie from her childhood church. During the conversation, Mrs S asked Annie if she’d ‘found a nice young man yet?’ Annie replied in the negative and Mrs S exclaimed, “I’d have hated it, HATED it, if I’d been single at your age!” Thankfully, Annie is a very gracious person and managed to turn the conversation. Now we could easily go down the path of blaming and feeling frustrated that singleness is often misunderstood. But instead this situation got me thinking about living the life that no one wants.

No one, when young and talking about their hopes for their future, replies with, ‘I want to be a single, celibate adult!’ And because culturally we perceive adult singleness as ‘the life no one wants’, we can be embarrassed and ashamed about our life at this time.

In prayer, God shows a pathway to be free of those feelings. First, He points out a few sins hidden in those feelings; jealousy and the desire for approval from other people.

As singles, we sometimes struggle with jealousy towards those who’ve been blessed with marriage and children. I secretly wish I had a life of which my married friends could be jealous. Instead, I’ve got ‘the life no one wants’ and I’m embarrassed about that and jealous of my friends.

Jealousy is not the desire for marriage and children in itself; jealousy is having a slightly (sometimes tinsy-tiny) bitter attitude about those who have what we desire and comes from a belief that our life is not good without that which we desire. So really, behind our jealousy is the belief that God’s goodness to us is not really goodness; we don’t perceive it as goodness because it’s not good in the shape we want ‘good’ to be. So for some of us, jealousy may be behind our embarrassment about singleness and lack of belief in God’s goodness may be behind the jealousy.

Then some of us secretly want praise and approval from our friends. When I catch up with married friends, they chit chat about what their husbands are doing, their homes, their children, their choice of schooling and all those other ‘normal’ milestones that seem to measure their days. In all my adulthood they’ve known me, nothing has changed outwardly in my life! I’ve changed jobs a time or two and travelled a little. The biggest milestones have been internal; renewal and growth in my relationship with the Lord. I don’t have those ‘normal’ (according to our society) milestones at which we all exclaim, ‘Well done-you got through the first year of parenting!’ or ‘Congratulations on your new home!’ and so I feel ashamed. But what lies behind this kind of shame? It’s wanting approval from people around us. I want to hear my friends say, ‘Wow, that’s great!’ Instead, God’s approval should be our desire and then we won’t be ashamed. (We’ll leave the point for the moment that perhaps we should have more Godly, Spirit-filled conversation!)

So, do we need to confess sins of jealousy and following after people’s approval to our Lord who forgives and restores us?

The second step in moving towards freedom from these feelings is standing on the truth of who God is and praising Him. Now when we notice jealousy creeping in or the desire for worldly approval, God reminds us to trust in His character and turn Scripture to praise. “I will bless the Lord at all times…Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed…Oh taste and see that the Lord is good…those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (taken from Psalm 34.)

The truth is that God is personally good to me and personally good to you and we need to believe that even in the middle of painful singleness. He is good as He chose to rescue us. He is good in providing people around us who love and support us, including this community. He is good as He draws us nearer to Him in our singleness. He frees us from the burden of sin.

As difficult as it is to live the life no one ‘wants’, we have a God who never leaves us alone in that place, who grows us in relationship with Him so that we can be ‘radiant’ and who gives us the Holy Spirit so we become more and more like Jesus, abounding in love. What grace! What goodness!

Heavenly Father, forgive us for allowing our pain to turn us from you. Forgive us for jealousy, for seeking approval from people around us. Thank you that in Jesus our sins are  removed and we stand before you in grace. Lord, let us see your goodness anew today. We praise you for being the one good treasure worth pursuing.

~ Chelsea

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At Home. At Church.

We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

There are so many reasons that church can be hard as a single adult. It’s hard to know where to find our place in a body of believers that seems more concerned with families and marriages and children than it does with the flourishing of all believers. Or heaven forbid, concerned with the theologically-valued place for singleness and its application for married and unmarried believers alike. It’s hard when you’re new and have no place to sit. It’s hard when you’ve been there for ages and watch your friends have their spouses and eventually their children join them in the pews, while the spots next to you seem conspicuously empty. And it is hard when that voice of Singleness Shame is screaming at you the entire service: “You’re alone. You have no place. You’re a second-class citizen. No one sees you. No one knows what to talk to you about. Look, all those other people have a place to belong. You don’t. You’re alone.”

(By the way, the voice of Singleness Shame is from the pit of hell. We must be diligent to take our thoughts captive and to tell it, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go back where it came from.)

I’ve heard several single friends basically say that belonging to church is too impossible. It’s too hard when no one understands singleness. It’s too hard when all the perfect husbands are putting their perfect arms around their perfect wives and perfectly chubby babies. It’s too hard when something is always wrong (the worship, the pastor, the ministries, the graphic design, the service times, the people). It’s basically a losing battle and after a certain point, it’s just not worth it emotionally. It’s easier to be a distant consumer on the edge of the church body than to wade into the awkward, painful reality of being an active part of a church community.

And, in a sense, they’re right. The cost/benefit analysis on being an active single adult participant in the 21st century Western church is not good. It’s not a winning formula. But I’ve been thinking about it more and watching some of my single friends who have found a true home at church, and here are a few summed up thoughts and ideas about how and why it might be worth – even if it’s hard.

  • Face the shame. It is so easy to feel shame at church. And this is the place where my identity in Christ has to be rock solid. It doesn’t matter what other people think when the incarnate God of the universe did not think that marriage was a non-negotiable in his earthly ministry. Church, of all places, should be a place where I can stand in my Christ-purchased identity and celebrate God’s goodness. Satan would love to turn church into a place of judgment and self-consciousness and self-hatred for us. We must expect and face those fiery arrows with God’s strength. Jesus already faced and defeated all our shame (Hebrews 12:2; Psalm 25:3; Psalm 34:5; Romans 5:5). And celebrating the victory of Jesus is precisely why we go to church in the first place.

 

  • Welcome, and be welcomed. With a cloud of shame, it is so easy to see and feel nothing but exclusion. One of the surest ways to emerge from under that cloud is to welcome others. Extend the “hospitality” of serving with the children or being a greeter at the front door or making food for someone after surgery or visiting someone who is lonely. Invite others into your home (if possible) and invite others into your row at church. Or even ask a couple or family you enjoy if they could “adopt” you for a routine Sunday morning spot to sit.

    The flip side of this is being willing to be welcomed. Allow others to minister to you in the ways that they can – even if it’s not exactly how you might have imagined it. I once joined a family for dinner even though they lived over an hour away and have five boisterous kids and were in the middle of renovating their house. But I was so happy to be welcomed in their real life and wanted to honor the invitation. Be vulnerable and allow yourself to be welcomed, even if your preferences might point in a different direction. (Probably also applies to dating, but that’s another post!) 

  • Share your story. Listen to the stories of others. I often feel that talking about singleness is the thing I most want to share with church friends, but that it often makes everything so awkward and difficult. People don’t know what to say, or run out of things to ask about…and so I had just started covering it up. I’d talk about my job and my housemates and whatever else seems pleasant. But that had the effect of cutting me off from intimacy with others…also not helpful! Ask the Lord for safe friendships where the real ups and downs of singleness can be shared honestly. We all need safe friendships – regardless of life stage. Ask the Lord to guide your steps to healthy, God-honoring, truth-and-grace-filled friends where you can give and receive around these issues. And look for the places where you can be the healthy, safe friend to others – regardless of age, stage or need. We need children/married/divorced/widowed/single friends, and they need us!
  • Give it time. Expect difficulty. Strong relationships, even inside of healthy families, take time to build and grow. Quickly expecting our church families to magically be everything we hope for isn’t helpful. It will take time. It will take hours spent with others in their homes, and hours spent inviting folks into our homes. It will take serving together, celebrating together, grieving together, and worshipping together. It will require painful transitions and good boundaries and holding others with open hands. It will require sacrifice and putting the needs of others before our own. It will require asking for forgiveness and extending forgiveness.

    And the whole thing will hit a brick wall at some point. No one who has been committed to a church body for an extended period of time will say that it has been a magical garden of delights the whole time. I sometimes wonder if committing to church is sort of like committing to marriage – we sign up knowing that we can’t see what is around the corner. We commit knowing that we have to rely on God to provide the strength to love one another. We voluntarily submit out of reverence and love for God – knowing that the other party will absolutely disappoint and hurt us (and vice versa). And yet we commit because we are sure that there is something bigger here than just a good cost/benefit analysis…we commit because it says something about who God is and how He loves us.

Life at church is not easy. But, I think, that when it goes well – it becomes a tiny taste of heaven – the place where we are home, doing thing we are most designed to do: worship God together.

Worshipping Him with you this week,

Amy

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Reflection

As we commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, let’s take some time to reflect this Monday on the reason for life and the incredible love found in the cross. God loved the world, Jesus died and then came back to life, so we get eternal life (John 3:16)! Here are 10 verses to reflect on during your prayer time.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe in this?” John 11:25-26

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Co 1:18

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:8-11

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Co 15:55-57

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isa 53:4-5

“Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and become obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Php 2: 5-11

Amen!

The Fast Pray Team
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Guest Post: Look at Me – It’s Ok

We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

Recently I went snow tubing with my mom, brother, nephew, and niece.   We had a fantastic time and the kids just loved it!   God never ceases to speak to me in the most random moments and in times when I’m not expecting it – that day was one of those times.   My niece is only 3 years old and because of her age and height, or lack thereof, she wasn’t able to ride down the hill by herself.   She was able to have her own tube but one of us adults had to hold on to her tube as we went down the hill together.   This usually was done by my mom, brother, or myself running, jumping on our own tube, and grabbing her tube while beginning to head down the very long hill.

Every time that I took Lucy down the hill this was how things unfolded: I’d run, jump on my tube so that I was laying on my stomach facing her all while grabbing her tube so we’d be going down together.   As we started out Lucy would be looking around and I could see fear and uncertainty in her little blue eyes. We were going fast in her perspective and she knew that she had no control over the situation. Each time I would say to her, loudly and with confidence, “Lucy, look at me, look here” as soon as she looked at my eyes I’d then say “It’s ok, I’ve got your tube, you’re fine.”   At that moment her face totally changed – it went from fear and uncertainty to a big smile, a bit of a laugh, and complete enjoyment!   We’d get to the bottom of the hill and she’d be laughing and smiling, often saying things like “that was so much fun!” or “we went really fast, I love this!”

This happened a few times until the one time as I was saying “Lucy, look here” God decided to speak. I heard Him say – “Daughter, Lucy is you and you are Me.   So often you look at what’s going on around you, you look at your lack of control and you get scared.   You forget that I’ve got you and that I won’t harm you, that I actually want you to find joy in this.”   WOW – it hit me so hard as He was so right (He always seems to be right…haha).

How often do we go through life and we do exactly what Peter did – we lose our focus. We stop looking to God, who is in control and who has us, and instead we look at all that is swirling around us, all that we think can and will harm us. And as a result we are filled with fear and we start to panic.   A dear friend recently shared with me a picture that depicts Peter’s perspective during this situation. I wanted to share it with you as it helps to remind me to keep my focus on Christ so that I don’t begin to drown, but to also know that when I do lose my focus, Christ is right there saying “Daughter…Look at me! It’s ok!”

Jesus

Losing our focus is really a lack of trust. You can’t have trust and fear – we get to choose one, not both.   My dear cousin, Mariah, recently released a song called ‘Make Me Whole’ which I’ve come to love. There’s a line in the song which I just can’t get out of my head and it goes along with this concept.   The line is this: ‘When I don’t trust You, You start fading away’. Isn’t that so true – for us and for Peter? When Peter looked away from Jesus, Peter started to sink, and as is depicted in the photo above, Peter’s view of Jesus started to fade.

How often do we, do I, fail to trust God and He starts to fade away, He feels farther away, not as near to me? And how often when that happens do we cry out to God asking Him where He is?   It’s not God who has moved – He’s stayed right where He’s always been, but our lack of trust has prevented us from being able to see and feel Him.

When life feels scary and out of control, when fear and doubt creep in may we agree with the words of Mariah’s song: ‘Chaos and troubles surround me, only to You will I cling!’

Cling to Jesus as He wants you to hear Him saying ‘Daughter (Son), LOOK at me….it’s ok…I’ve got this!’

~Heidi

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It Is Well with My Soul

We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.

 When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

when sorrows like sea billows roll;

whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

These words penned by Horatio Spafford around 1873 were prompted by great tragedy. A wealthy Chicago lawyer, Spafford had extensive real estate investments in the Chicago area. The Great Chicago fires of 1871 destroyed most of Spafford’s property. The family spent the next two years helping refugees of the fire. In 1873, Spafford, his wife and four daughters planned to visit friends in Europe, but at the last minute Spafford was detained on business. His wife and daughters continued on, sailing aboard the steamship Ville du Havre. The steamship was struck by another vessel mid-ocean and sank in minutes with only 27 passengers surviving, Spafford’s wife being one of them. The story continues that Spafford set sail to join his grieving wife and upon reaching the spot where the ship sank claiming the lives of his daughters, he penned the words to the song “It Is Well with My Soul.”

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

let this blest assurance control,

that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

Is it well with your soul?

Are you able to sail past the heartache, the triumph, and the times of uncertainty and have peace knowing God has your soul? We often talk about Peter’s faith to step out of the boat in Matthew 14, but marvel at him being distracted by the wind which caused him to begin sinking. Trusting God requires a fixed gaze on Him. The circumstances of life can easily distract and leave us sinking in a sea of doubt, misery, or our own sense of control.

That friendship you thought might lead to something more, but ended in an abrupt spew of messiness, does not define the condition of your soul. The job that began with such promise, but has turned into a cesspool of uncertainty, does not direct the course of your soul. Your health, physical and financial, do not provide the peace necessary to steady your course (although that one university might help you to be a good steward of your finances).

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

even so, it is well with my soul.

Living by faith requires, by definition, that we don’t always get to know the outcome of our steps. It’s difficult when you think “God, I’m going to bust from a heart so full and ready to love another, where is he already!?!” Or “God, why give me these talents and desires to be used, when every door seems to close. Where do I turn?” Or “God, why did you allow my daughters to drown?” One day our faith will be sight, and we will get a glimpse of God’s perspective and the overarching plan He had for our lives. Until then, we have the words of Hebrews 12 to encourage us…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)

It IS well with my soul!

Michelle

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