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Archive for April, 2019

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Sea foam swirls around my feet as it kisses the shoreline and then disappears,  leaving behind a haphazard trail of color. Ocean gems glisten, wet and bright beneath the sun. Some are sleek and black while others bear a pockmarked complexion. Still others expose their glossy interior, mother of pearl shimmering in shades of purple and green.

Stooping to select a seashell for my collection, I think of the creature whose life was once contained in one of nature’s smallest homes. Empty shells. Pieces of what once existed. Fragments of a life.

My mind wanders to the time he sat in the front seat of the car, bent over; the emotional weight of fear and anxiety pulling shoulders to knees and drawing cries for relief from youthful lungs.

I remember the way I longed to comfort him, but I had no words. I remember the anguished tears tracking across the precious face I’d soothed with a mother’s kiss when elbows and knees met pavement or unkind words left their mark. But, now? I had no comfort to offer other than my presence. Reassurances of love. Promise of prayers.

Sometimes I wonder if He hears?Why have the pleas gone unanswered?#whenwaitingisdifficult#takethiscup#thywillbedone Click To Tweet

Gazing at the shell in my hands, I’m struck by the beauty of what remains when something ceases to be and I beg God to take the fear. The depression. The origin of all of his pain.

But, years pass and the prayer goes unanswered. Sometimes I wonder if He hears? If He longs to see joy spilling from His child as much as I do? Why have the pleas gone unanswered?

None of life's hard places are outside of the power of holy redemption.#allthingsmadenew#wearehealed#answeredprayer Click To Tweet

Then God reminds me. None of life’s hard places are outside of the power of holy redemption. Jesus embodied hope that we might rise to a new life free of sickness. Suffering. Struggle. He is the one who will restore and renew.

You, too, may relate to the agony of mental illness. Maybe you battle chronic health issues. Or, you might long for the restoration of of a broken relationship. I don’t know what in your life pains you, but He knows. He hears. And, though you and I may wait longer than we’d like to see lives transformed by answered prayer, we can cling to our faith in anticipation of something beautiful being borne despite and even through the struggle.

I don't know what in your life pains you, but He knows. He hear.#somethingbeautifulbeingborn#clingtofaith#restoringhope. Click To Tweet

“The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” (1 Peter 5:11)

One glorious day, God will empty our lives of the dross to reveal the beauty He’d intended for us all along. And what remains will be like the loveliest shell adorning the sand; a reminder of what once was and a testimony God’s transformative love.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Grace and Truth Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Anchored Abode, Worth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on FireDance with Jesus   Anchored Abode

 

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Her body lay motionless; unresponsive as my fingers trailed across the tender flesh of one small foot. There was no rise and fall of shallow breathing and I knew. My baby had died.

Grief and fear spilled onto my sleeping husband as I began shouting. She’s not breathing. She’s not breathing. Oh, God! Dave, you need to breathe for her. Thrusting innocence itself into her father’s hands, I desperately forced uncooperative fingers to dial the stiff buttons of the telephone.

Has the baby swallowed something? The calm, impersonal voice wasn’t listening.

I’d nodded off briefly as I shared a mother’s provision with my nursing infant. Alerted by nothing other than the grace of God, I was clear-headed and alert the moment I noticed my baby’s stillness. There were no sounds of satisfaction as newborn hunger abated. No twisting of small fingers in my hair or the steady tug and gulp of a private moment shared between mother and child.

Heather’s face shifted from the pale color of unblemished cream to a ghastly shade of blue. Releasing one gentle puff of air and then another into Heather’s premature lungs, my husband carefully and methodically followed the commands of the remote woman responding to a young mother’s call.

The minutes stretched toward eternity, thin and distant. Excruciating. Interminable. And we waited. One minute. Two. Three. Still, my husband breathed. Still, the baby lay motionless. Five minutes. And finally, her small chest expelled a haggard breath.

Martha and Mary felt the same despair. Their beloved brother had died–needlessly. Wasn’t Jesus able to save him? Hadn’t he restored sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf? Hadn’t he straightened crooked feet and healed outcasts from the curse of leprosy?

Mary and Martha felt the same despair.Wasn't Jesus able to save him?Why had Jesus ignored their plea?#youareheard#thereishope Click To Tweet

They knew the messenger had delivered the message. “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.” (John 11:3) But, their hopes had died the moment Lazarus took his final breath. Why had Jesus ignored their pleas?

If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably asked the same question. Why has Jesus ignored my pleas? Turned away from my prayers? Denied me hope in moments of desperation?

But, Christ was intentional in his slow response to Mary and Martha.

When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” (John 11:4)

After waiting for two long days, he finally set out for Judea–the home of his dear friends. But, death already owned Lazarus. Encased in a tomb and lost to his family for four days, hope seemed impossible.

When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. (John 11: 33-34)

Then, holiness and grief met when Jesus wept. Not the sort of dramatic, wailing-for-hire of the professional mourners who were present nor the inconsolable cries of family members forever separated from a cherished one. Jesus’ tears burst forth silently, a testimony of love preparing a trail from heaven to the cross; from the holy intersection of I Am to the unmatchable sacrifice of the man of sorrows.

Holiness and grief met when Jesus wept, a testimony of love preparing a trail from heaven to the cross.#thisislove#sacrifice Click To Tweet

He shed tears because death, sin’s ruthless result, had ruled for too long and indignation swelled from within as wetness expressed the love of the Lamb.

At the shout of Life, Lazarus emerged from the tomb. Resurrected. Renewed. Restored.

In the same way, our prayers and petitions may seem to go unanswered; empty words piled around the heavenly throne. But, He hears even the desperate, silent groaning of our souls. Not one request, despairing cry, or silent tear goes unnoticed.

The disease that plagues you? The depression that haunts you? The death that vexes your heart? Not one circumstance or situation is beyond the reach of Christ, who is the Resurrection.

Lazarus' experience was the first of many; a precursor to the promise of life eternal. Life abundant. Life unexplainable.#theway#thetruth#thelife Click To Tweet

Friend, He has overcome all of it. Lazarus’ experience was the first of many; a precursor to the promise of life eternal. Life abundant. Life unexplainable. May you cling to this hope today, no matter what today holds.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting Grace, Destination Inspiration, Tune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/ www.instaencouragements.comFresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

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A habit of disobedience and rebellion led to forty years of aimless wandering in an inhospitable desert while the promised land lay only miles ahead. But under Joshua’s holy, ordained leadership the Israelites reignited their commitment to the God who had rescued them from four-hundred years of back-breaking labor, persecution, and poverty in Egypt.

Lingering in their pain and fearful of the unknown, the people refused to trust God.#heisforyour#donotbeafraid Click To Tweet

Lingering in their pain and fearful of the unknown, the people refused to trust God. Instead, they exchanged dry, dusty living for abundance. Anxiety for fear. Faith in the all-powerful God for empty trust in manufactured idols.

While it’d be easy to condemn the Israelites for their short-sighted, self-destructive choices, I admit I am more like the average wandering Hebrew than I am like the courageous Joshua.

Like Israel, I tend to question and complain. Why would God allow this in my life? Is faith in Him worth the hardship? (Exodus 14:11-12)

I weep and cry out, questioning God’s love or refusing to trust that the Promised Land is ahead. The giants in my life are too big for God to manage. And I fashion my image of the Creator into a small, incapable god.

Are you afraid to cross into the land of abundance because you know how to survive in the wilderness?#thrivenotsurvive#abundantlife. Click To Tweet

Have you, too, found yourself captured by the circumstances of an untenable situation? Are you afraid to cross into the land of abundance because you know how to survive in the discomfort of your wilderness? Do you question God’s good intentions and confine Him to the edges of your own understanding?

Oh, friend, can I encourage you to consider Joshua’s words of exhortation to a vulnerable people?

“…cling to the LORD your God.” (Joshua 23:8).

The word cling portrays the intimacy of a newly married couple cleaving to one another (Genesis 2:24). It is an expression of intimacy between spirits; a relationship of dependence and knowledge. An image of two people bound by love and joined in purpose.

What,then,is the expectation of the Husband of our souls?He longs for us to bind ourselves to Him...#thisisfaith#devotedtoGod Click To Tweet

What, then, is the expectation of the Husband of our souls? He longs for us to bind ourselves to Him with the passion and devotion of a woman devoted to her Lord. He desires to be known and to enter into relationship with His beloved.

Not because He lacks any good thing or is enthroned in loneliness, but because He longs to deliver those who are wandering in the barren places to a place of plenty and whisper words of comfort over those who tremble in fear.

It's time to trust the One to whom your heart clings.Time to ignore the distraction of doubt and fear.#fearnot#bestrongandcourageous Click To Tweet

It’s time to trust the one to whom your heart clings. Time to ignore the distraction of doubt and fear. Time to abandon the desert for a life overflowing with God’s goodness and grace. Time to loose the shackles of the past and embrace freedom in Christ.

This is your time to cling to Christ, dear one.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

Three Ways to Cling to God

  1. Practice Obedience  “..do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses” (Joshua 23:6). The New Testament tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
  2. Pursue Renewal “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.” (Joshua 23:7) What does this mean for us? “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Romans 12:2)
  3. Place Your Trust in His Promises “…not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD yourGod promised   concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” The Lord’s message to his people hasn’t changed. Jeremiah 29:11 assures every believer, “”I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.”

 

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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