Tag: trust

A friend sent me a free trial of one of the food services. They sent us all the ingredients and recipes for three lovely meals for my husband and I. All I had to do was prepare it. The first recipe included a clove of garlic and called for a mortar and pestle. What? Why would I have a mortar and pestle?

Another recipe called for lemon zest which meant grating the peel of the lemon that had been sent with the food. The only grater I have is the big kind and that wasn’t going to work. And why would they want me to grate a lemon when you can buy perfectly good lemon zest in the store?

The recipes were tasty, but I’m not into that much preparation. The garlic clove they wanted me to mash was to make pesto. Another ingredient easy to buy already made. This was getting just silly.

The songs we sang in Sunday School made it sound simple. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so. Jesus loves the little children….ALL the children of the world. We sang about a wee little man who climbed a tree and little boy named David who was a sharp shooter with a slingshot. The songs had happy endings. Jesus loves us. He protects us. He comes to be with us.

Do you see the trend? I’m skeptical of things labeled easy, but I’m fond of an easier way.

I want faith to be as easy as it felt when I was a kid. It seemed prayer was the magic answer but it’s not working anymore and I’m asking, what’s changed?

As Christians, we like to talk about the success and not the failures. The safety and not the risk. When we say our prayers were answered, what we really mean is we got the answer we wanted.

We’ve been good at proclaiming that believing in Jesus as your Savior will keep you from eternal hell but we don’t say you may go through your own hell on earth first.

We have enjoyed decades of Christianity being embraced in this country. Of families attending church together more Sundays than not. Now we’re wearing a badge of entitlement expecting this easy faith to continue.

Faith is risky.

Martin Luther King, Jr. described faith as “taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

We’ve prayed for marriages to be saved that weren’t. We’ve prayed for people to be healed of cancer, of addiction, of depression and they weren’t. We’ve prayed for the pregnancy to go full term or for the the waiting to conceive. Again and again our prayers seemed to fall silent.

We’ve prayed for our will not His.

Faith is the opposite of knowing and yet it is believing.

This is the faith I don’t like, the one I wrestle with. These are the words that get stuck, not wanting to come out but the only words that bring real peace: Thy will be done.

I haven’t said those words much lately. Instead, I’ve had a pity party for the faith that once looked so simple. Refusing to believe the words are still simple to think but saying them, meaning them, requires letting go of my will.

I know faith is risky. Help me believe anyway.
I know the unknown is scary, uncertain. Help me trust anyway.
Help me embrace a faith that doesn’t always make sense; a faith that holds more risks and isn’t safe.
Help me embrace your will, accepting it as a pathway to peace.

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It was time for a shopping day on my sister’s visit. I wanted to take her to places they didn’t have in her town in the Pacific North West. We’d strolled down an avenue or two of outdoor shops and meandered from here to there. She found some gifts to take back home to family while I enjoyed browsing. Until I saw this cow mug on the shelf in Home Goods.

Have I mentioned how practical I am?

I wanted an outdoor wedding. But I never said it out loud. I thought about it too much, about the chance of rain, even in the Sunshine State when the rainy season had ended. It wasn’t practical and might inconvenience others.

I thought about having our second child at home. The first delivery was relatively short and easy and the whole idea of a home birth sounded ideal. But, what if? I couldn’t take the chance. I wouldn’t put anyone at risk for even the slightest chance of a problem. We got to the hospital less than an hour before he was born, healthy and easy.  A small regret lingers.

Sometimes practical isn’t fun and it stops you from doing something just because. The what if’s are louder than your dreams. Even the little joys are silenced with the mental voice of reason.

Practicality screams in your brain: “YOU CAN’T DO THAT” or “YOU DON’T NEED THAT!”

Who do I trust?  I trust myself to do the practical and sometimes practical is the right choice. But the impractical things that sound too much like dreaming, yeah, those are scary and risky and what if…….

What if I trust God? What if I don’t just say it but do it? What if trusting Him seems impractical?

What if trust starts with that little mug?

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faith

She stopped smoking. Eight or nine times. Stopped, started, stopped, started…..back and forth like a yo-yo.

He lost 75 pounds and gained 80. Then lost 50 and gained 40….back and forth, up and down like a yo-yo.

It was the first hymn this morning in the chapel. An old hymn that Michael told me he learned watching Little House on the Prairie.

“Simply trusting everyday…..trusting through a stormy way…..”

Before we entered full-time ministry I would think about planning the church service. Choosing the songs, the scripture passage to fit with the message, something that would compliment and affirm the words the preacher would bring. Creating a time to bring us closer to God or somehow sense His presence in our lives.

Our congregation is filled with men who haven’t always been in church and don’t always know the songs in the hymnal. We don’t have a band to play Praise and Worship but we include what we can with our singer and lone guitar. Sometimes we use the videos to sing with but the hymns have truths to tell, theology to teach and we need them too so we keep singing them. Singing them right into our hearts.

“Even when my faith is small, trusting Jesus that is all.”

Here I am staring at the words to this very old hymn, the one I chose for this day to remind us our faith is not in us or our title or position or government, or job or organization but in Jesus. Everyday. “In the stormy way” and the words caught in my throat because today my faith feels small. My yo-yo faith that goes up and down and up and down. Faith I’ve put in feeling safe and secure when faith is anything but.

It has been a tough week. Things taken to heart that should be given, completely, to God. But the yo-yo snaps up and down again and again throughout my life and I can’t seem to roll my worries with the string around this yo-yo, flip it down and leave them. There is no “simple” trust for me.

“Trusting as the moments fly, trusting as the days go by, trusting Him what’er befall, trusting Jesus that is all.”

Unlike losing weight or quitting a habit, faith doesn’t come by stopping something but by letting go. By trusting Jesus, that is all.

trust God Psalm 62

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“But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them,” Nehemiah 9

His mother was there for his graduation. Barbara was all smiles driving up in the hard rain from the county south to see her son “graduate” from our 6 month program. I don’t know her son well. Would guess him to be in his 40’s. I know last Sunday in chapel he looked distracted and uncomfortable. I asked after service how he was and he said fine. Five minutes later he was back saying he wasn’t going to lie to me. He was struggling. We hugged. He knows the ups and downs and is thankful for the hard changes he’s made and is still making. It’s not easy. Not like you hope it will be.

And his mom…….I took a quick picture of her smile beaming straight from her heart. It was blurred and I didn’t get permission to use it but I have it in my mind and her smile makes me smile. A mom and her son. Pride. The right kind.

Our speaker, that night, has 17 months clean. The longest he’s had since he picked up years ago. This man I know. He’s been in our doors several times, all of them to recoup not recover. This time he was different. This time he wanted recovery.

When Keith shared his story he told about the stealing. From anyone and everyone. From his mom. He told about her asking how could he steal from her. Her only son. Her baby.

It’s a story I’ve heard over and over. Stole from grandmothers, parents, single moms, sisters. It’s what has distanced so many. It’s not the money or things but the broken trust. The betrayal.

Now the guilt. It’s part of what will make Mothers Day hard for some. Keith’s mom is fine. They’ve made their amends. But for some it’s too soon. The pain too fresh. Their mom won’t answer their calls yet and it’s another tough holiday. There are no Hallmark cards to assure mom they’re clean today.

It’s a tough day for many. Some can’t admit they don’t like their mothers for abuses done to them and others can’t forgive themselves for betraying their mom. Same coin, different sides.

That’s where we’ll focus our thoughts this Mothers Day. Forgiveness. An odd message from the pulpit for a Mothers Day perhaps. Not the Proverbs 31 woman so often used but forgiveness. For others. For ourselves.

And will you join us? Join your prayers with ours as we forgive the mom that stayed drunk our whole childhood or brought too many “uncles” home. Join us as we ask forgiveness for the wrongs we’ve done to our moms. Forgiveness is a gift to others but mostly to ourselves. God forgives because he loves.

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