In Need of More ~ A guest post by Lindsey Gibson

Frantically, I dig through my purse looking for lunch money I had forgotten to give. Impatiently I fuss,”Who put all of this in here?”  “Why can’t you remind me sooner? “ “I’m sick of this! I can’t do this! You’ll just have to go without,” as the contents of my purse are tossed everywhere. Mind you, all of this taking place in the school drop off area, while cars wait behind us. They, my children, have no other choice but to exit. The door slammed shut, and the example of love and patience departed as well. Frustrated, I grit my teeth and proclaim, “I cannot do this! I cannot do this, anymore! I hate my stupid brain, why can’t I get it together?” I look down at the heaped mess in the seat and scan evidence of an apparent struggle, while the hot darts of defeat are set and ready to fire. I blew it, again!

Fear and heaviness sink on my shoulders as changes swirl around our family, and the simple tasks seem huge in the midst of the uncomfortable stretching place we are wading. With resolve, I come to terms, once again, that I DO NOT have it together. It’s obvious that achieving whatever picture I’ve painted of what “together” looks like is forever out of reach.

Lately, it takes all energy to get out of the house in the morning, and one setback can set the mood for the rest of the ride.

I sent my kids to school without money to eat. Check.

I let them see me frantic and frustrated. Check.

I mumble, “I’m, obviously, in need of more…”Sleep? Medication? Quiet Time? People to do more?

With defeat, I pray…

“Lord, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I lost it. I want to have it together, but the more I try, the more it crumbles. I want to be a good wife and mother. I want to be all you want me to be. Surely, you won’t fulfill all in our lives, if handling such minimal tasks like facing the pressure of morning mother hood and car line in such a horrible way."

I confess, I. AM NEEDY!......I mean, the disgustingly and clingy needy….For more of HIM!

As I prayed and pondered a calm assurance from the Holy Spirit flooded my frustrated  and fearful heart. With a gentle reminder, in the way he does, I realized that I am, undoubtedly, in need of more…..GRACE.

What is it? How do I get it?

Hebrews 4:16 (NASB), tells us,"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." At all times, we are welcomed and encouraged by right and privilege to boldly cry out, openly and without fear, to our Heavenly Father. YES, he is God! YES, he is all-knowing and powerful, but his ear turns to the cry of his sons and daughters.

It was much harder before the cross, but through Jesus, it is, according to, Colossians 1:21-22, "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His (Jesus) fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him(God the Father) holy and blameless and beyond reproach." Furthermore, Hebrews 10:19 (NASB) tells us, "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…"

Out of mercy, he lowers the kindness rope to rescue us out of our miserable and muddied mess, to bathe us in his grace, which is joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, love and favor. In other words, he loves us despite our mud pie making ways. Gosh, we are such Daddy’s girls, aren’t we? I mean, being adored despite thick sludge is quite amazing, and as we shower in his grace, presence, and word, we are strengthened and refreshed. We, then, can move forward in faith and knowledge, therefore, gain the ability to fulfill our purpose by his design.

As the realization pricked my overwhelmed heart, I began to exhale. I don’t have to do it alone and everything I need is free for the taking, My first step is to ask ,with all assurance that what I lack is made abundant and available out of pure love, and he gladly takes it from there.

The move of surrender is a mighty one!  Wow! Why do we make it so hard? Our wish may be to please him with our efforts, actions, and performance, but truly the greatest step is one of surrender.

He wont take what we still hold, but gladly accepts what we give. 

 

Lindsey's blog can be found here. She is a Jesus Lovin', Vintage Treasure Huntin',Turquoise Adorin', Tennessee girl! If you spend any time on her website, you'll find yourself wanting to buy all her dresses (I'm kinda jealous of her wardrobe, not gonna lie!) Please take a moment and drop by it! Her passion is to teach, write, and speak into the lives of women the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ, and ignite a passion for God's word within their hearts. She is a wife, mother, and nurse. Lindsey, thank you for your heart of flesh and sharing with me and my readers today! ~B

The Day He Changed My Name ~ A guest post by Lindsay O'Connor

At the beginning of the year, on the morning of my birthday, I woke up thinking that I wanted/needed a scripture verse for the year. I read the verse of the day on my Bible app, which was John 14:27:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. 

I felt strongly that God was giving me the word "peace" for the year. Of course, because I'm me, after briefly thinking that that sounded nice, I began to worry that if I'm going to be learning about peace this year, I can probably expect to experience some significant adversity. I hated to be pessimistic, but it seemed likely.

Not long ago, some friends introduced me to the Enneagram, which describes 9 interconnected personality types. I listened to a series of lectures about each of the 9 personality types. As I listened to the very last one, from the moment the teacher started speaking, I heard her describing me. She said that their greatest sin is fear and is often manifested as anxiety. She said that they always see the worst thing that can happen in any situation, and that even when things are going well, they worry about what could go wrong.

She said many things, but what I heard over everything else was that fear and anxiety are such a prominent backdrop, people with this personality type are often not even aware of it and don't realize that not everyone else experiences the world this way. I have always known that I'm an anxious person and have worked hard the past few years (or perhaps I should say God has worked in me) to cope better with my anxiety. Hearing that it is at the core of who I am was like looking into a mirror and being forced to face what I knew was there but didn't want to see. I could not understand how this could be the core of my identity because I knew that that was not what God wanted for me, but I also knew it was true. I was up all night, upset, wrestling with this truth. I knew that God had given me the word "peace" for the year, but I was confronted with the truth that I was completely wrapped up in fear and anxiety.

Shortly thereafter, I had the privilege of attending Beth Moore's Lit Conference for women in their 20's and 30's who believe they have been called by God to use a gift of teaching, speaking, and/or writing. It was an inspiring, challenging, exhausting 12 hour day, and I learned so much, but the most significant thing that happened was during the worship time at the end of the conference.

I was exhausted from a very full, emotional, day and was wondering where I should let my thoughts land at the close of it. As my mind was searching over all the things I had learned that day, I felt like God was telling me to set it all aside and just be with Him. Christine Caine got up as Christy Nockels continued leading worship and said that we (the women attending the conference) all knew that God was asking something of us, but that He wanted to ask us, "What can I do for you?"

I was shocked. I had been in such a mode of figuring out what He was asking of me, I could not believe He would ask what He could do for me. I thought about the "peace" scripture and prayed for deliverance from fear and anxiety. I considered the part that says, "I do not give to you as the world gives," and I thought about how the world gives: selfishly, expecting something in return, and temporarily, giving things that don't last. I thanked God that He does not give with selfish motives and doesn't seek to manipulate, and then I prayed that He would give me lasting, deep-down peace that would last for the rest of my life. I continued praying and felt like God was showing me that my peace would not come from knowing that everything is going to be ok but that it would come from knowing that He is with me. As the worship time and conference drew to a close, my friend and I left together, completely exhausted.

The next morning, as I began the drive home from Houston, I thought about how I should spend the luxurious four hours of alone time on the road. I took notice of a beautiful blue sky with picturesque white clouds, such a lovely sunny day for driving, and I relished the fact that I had all of this time alone to do whatever I wanted, with no one asking anything of me. I found myself thinking about how unusually good I felt. And then it hit me. "Did He do it? Did He answer my prayer and deliver me from anxiety?" Enjoying a lovely drive home and "feeling good" may seem unremarkable, but I felt an underlying contentment and calm that was different from the needlessly anxious hurry I had been in on the way there.

I have continued mulling this over in the weeks since my return from Houston and wondered what it meant. When I first got home, I felt like the background of anxiety was gone, that I no longer had a nervous energy buzzing around in the background of my mind, which was something I had not even been aware was there before.

I've been thinking about when Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32:22-32. As Jacob is wrestling with the angel of God, the angel asks Jacob for his name. When Jacob responds, it's as though he is finally owning up to the sin of deception that is at the core of his identity because "Jacob" means "supplanter*." He was a "heel grabber" from the moment he was born when he grabbed the heel of his older twin brother Esau, and he continued to demonstrate deceptive, conniving practices throughout his life up to this point of encounter with God. Thus, in giving his name, he confessed the sin of who he was at his core, and then God blessed him and renamed him "Israel," which means "God strives," "God rules," "God heals," or "he strives against God" (according to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary). After the encounter with God, he owned up to his mistakes and was reconciled to his brother.

I believe that on February 11, God gave me a new name. Before I could fully appreciate the healing and deliverance from anxiety, I had to be presented with the honest reality of who I was and how wrapped up in fear I had become. I was so upset to see and confess this about myself, but He already had a plan. As always, He used the truth lovingly and mercifully to begin the healing that He knew I needed. He had given me the scripture about peace, and then He took me to Houston and put me in a room with over 700 other women, under the leadership of an amazing panel including Beth Moore and others who have used their gifts to serve God. As we all worshipped Him together, He met with me intimately and asked what He could do for me after already placing in my heart the desire for the very thing He desired to do in me.

I want to share what He has done for me because I believe it brings Him glory, but I know that even if no one else ever knows my story, He is glorified in the act of healing me. He delights to heal His beloved children. I am thrilled to serve a God of restoration, who makes all things new, sees us both as who we are and who we will be, and who pursues us lovingly with a longing to work in us and conform us daily to His image. Before I had this healing encounter with the Lord, my name, my identity, was "Fear and Anxiety." I know that I will still struggle with feeling anxious at times, but I believe that it will no longer define me. Because of the work of Jesus on the cross and in my life personally, I have mercifully been given a new name. When the Lord looks at me and sees who He created me to be instead of who I have been, I believe He calls me "Peace."

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

*dictionary.com defines "supplant" as "to take the place of(another), as through force, scheming, strategy, or thelike."

 

 

Lindsay is always looking for ways to share about her experiences living on this earth as an imperfect human loved by a perfect God. Lindsay is a former elementary teacher, wife, mother of two, writer, and follower of Jesus. Her amazing blog, Rooted in Love is one of them. Lindsay, thank you for your heart and for sharing your story with us! -B