Moving Past Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12

Have you been in a long season of waiting for your faith to become sight? Perhaps it was years ago that you planted that seed of faith, but you’re still waiting to see the harvest. It may seem like you’ve pushed past the temptation to give up more times than you can count. Yet you’re still waiting.

I’ve found myself in that place. I’ve stood in faith for one promise in particular for over a decade now. Sometimes it looks like the seed that fell to the ground and died. Like the farmer who plants his seed and then waits patiently, I’ve pressed past the many, many times when I was tempted to give up. I write this post, not only hoping to encourage others, but also to remind myself how to overcome hope deferred.

What does hope deferred look like?

Hope deferred can look like many things. Disappointment. Grief. Unfulfilled expectations. Hopelessness. Questioning. Double-mindedness. Sadness. Unbelief. Frustration. Dry, desolate places. It can feel like you’re not enjoying the pleasures of this world OR of your promised land. Hope deferred looks like unrelenting waiting…waiting…waiting. And yet…where else do we go? God is THE ONLY ONE Who has the power to bring about the fulfilment of those promises.

How to get your hope back:

The first step in getting your hope back is to identify what specific hopes have been deferred. Get it out on paper. Make a list, then under each unfulfilled hope, write the scriptures that God gave you. If you’ve kept a journal, go back and look for the rhema words He’s given you. Then meditate on these promises unwaveringly. Proverbs 4 says,

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instructions; pay attention and gain understanding…lay hold of my words with all your heart…do not forget my words or swerve from them…hold on to my instruction, do not let it go…the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter til the full light of day…my son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words, do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for the are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life…let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left...”

It can be SOOOO tempting to let our gaze be distracted by our feelings or perceptions. If we are to overcome hope deferred, the word of God must be the plumb line that tells us what is true. Feelings and perceptions are often wrong. Our interpretation of our experiences are often wrong as well. God’s word will keep us grounded as we wait for the fulfilment of our hopes.

When our feelings and perceptions disagree with God’s word, we have a choice to make. What will we give the power to tell us what is true? As we apply the promises of God to our situation, our minds are being renewed, one rep at a time. Maybe you feel like you’ve done this many times, and yet, you’re still waiting. I get it. I feel that way too. Our faith has been tested, sometimes severely. Hebrews 6:11-12 says,

“…we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

If we do not give up, we will reap a harvest. We’re growing stronger even as we wait upon the LORD. Our faith is proven genuine even as we wait. Our victory is assured if we do not give up.

Another way we push back hope deferred and get our hope back is through prophesying victory BEFORE we see it with our eyes. What has God promised you? Declare it to be true. Thank God for answering your prayer.

We also overcome hope deferred by recognizing and acting upon even the smallest visible indication that our promise is being fulfilled. Elijah set an example for us in 1 Kings 18. He was waiting for rain to come, ending the drought. His servant came with the report:

There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”

Perhaps your promise is breaking out already. It may look like a closed door that is barely beginning to crack open or a prodigal whose heart is softening. Let’s not miss it when our promise breaks through. Let’s not, “despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

I declare to you today that those who hope in the LORD will not be disappointed. We will bear much fruit if we do not give up.

May your faith and hope be refreshed today,

Bless you,


Double-Mindedness Plays A Role In Depression

When you ask, you must believe {trust, be persuaded} and not doubt, because the one who doubts {vacillates} is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:6-8

The Greek word for double-minded is: “Dipsuchos.” It means to be of two minds, or wavering. HELPS word studies describes the double-minded person as: “Vacillating, like a spiritual schizophrenic”

Another way of saying this would be that a person who is “of two minds” is experiencing cognitive dissonance. This happens when we attempt to adhere to two opposing beliefs at the same time.

Each of us hold to certain beliefs about God and what we believe about His character. If we’ve looked to the Bible to help us develop our beliefs about what God is like, we’ve discovered many qualities that God tells us that He possesses; qualities like loving, strong, faithful and compassionate, our help in times of trouble, our healer, our provider, etc.

Cognitive dissonance can, however, set in when we go through a traumatic experience then walk away from it with the perception that God didn’t come through for us…When it looks to us like He didn’t act like we expected Him to based on our knowledge of His character; when we feel disappointed in Him.

When the way God acts (or doesn’t act) when we need Him doesn’t seem to line up with what we believe about God, we have a decision to make. We can either allow our perceptions of God to change our theology, or we can attempt to hold onto it. If our perceptions cause our hearts to believe a lie about Him while simultaneously holding to truth about God, cognitive dissonance has just set in. Instability and double-mindedness have also set in.

If we have the perception that God hasn’t come through for us, it can create disappointment and anger in us. This often isn’t on a conscious level. As “good Christians,” we don’t like to entertain such thoughts, so we tend to pretend they aren’t there. Feelings of being disappointed with God often go unresolved because we somehow think that it’s wrong to tell God how we really feel.

An example from my own life of this type of double-mindedness began with the news that my husband and I were expecting our first child. We were so excited when we got the news that I was pregnant. It’s remarkable to me how parents can bond so deeply with a child that they have never yet seen or held in their arms. When it became apparent that we were losing our child, the pleading with God began. In the end, we were left with empty arms. I longed for comfort from God, but I felt like when I needed Him the most He was silent and distant. I felt abandoned. Then came the second miscarriage. Since I’d never addressed the pain from the first miscarriage, this only intensified what I’d already been feeling.

In my heart, I came into agreement with some lies…lies that said that God had abandoned me, that I need never expect to get comfort from God when I was really hurting.

If someone had asked me what I believed about God during this time, I would have told them that God never forsakes His people; that He comforts and loves us. But my PERCEPTION was something different altogether.  I didn’t understand that I had become double-minded. I was trying to hold on to two opposing beliefs about God at the same time. The book of James tells us that the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. The instability caused by believing that God is who He says He is while at the same time believing that He is not who He says He is can be a door-opener to anxiety and depression. This distrust toward God has another name. It’s called unbelief.

One of Satan’s top agendas is to tempt believers to distrust God, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we are tempted to believe lies about Him. Talking about unbelief among believers seems to stir up feelings of condemnation and shame. There seems to be an unspoken expectation that once we’re saved, it is inconceivable that we would ever be tempted by (much less experience) unbelief. This is simply not true. Some of the most faithful men and women in the Bible struggled at times with unbelief. In Luke chapter 1, we are told that Zechariah was “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments BLAMELESSLY,” yet we are told he struggled to believe God when an angel told him that he and his wife would bear a son in their old age. The important thing is what we do with the temptation to entertain untrue thoughts about God.

So how do we trust that God is who He says He is when tragedy hits? When we look at our life circumstances and ask, “How can any good come out of this? When the way our life is turning out isn’t what we’d hoped for, planned for, worked so hard for?… When we feel that God has turned a deaf ear to our prayers in the midst of a crisis? Sometimes the hand we’re dealt in life makes it hard to trust that God is all those wonderful things He says He is…loving and strong, compassionate, our rescuer, our comforter, our protector.

So where does all this leave us? What should we do once we recognize that our trust in God has taken a big hit? How do we re-establish trust in God and get rid of double-mindedness?

We have a decision to make…will we trust our own perceptions about God, or will we trust what God says about Himself? As long as we continue the exhausting effort of trying to simultaneously believe truth and lies about God, the instability will remain. Stability will return when we decide which mindset we’ll hold onto and which one we will renounce.

Hebrews 6:18 tells us that “it is impossible for God to lie.” His word also tells us that “He never changes.” (James 1:17) Who will we trust when we believe that we have evidence that God has lied? Will we choose to believe our own perceptions, or God’s word?

In order overcome double-mindedness we need to identify any lies that we may have come into agreement with about God.  If you can relate to my struggle with double-mindedness, I want to offer you an opportunity to do this. If you’re willing, let’s look back just long enough to see if there’s any weight of unbelief that we’ve been unnecessarily dragging along. The first step toward overcoming double-mindedness is to ask God to help us. Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If this is something you’d like to ask God for, please agree with me in prayer:

“Dear Lord,

We’re asking you to search our hearts. Please begin the process of restoring our hearts and help us to identify any areas where we may be double-minded. We don’t want to believe any lies about you, so we’re asking you to expose any lies that we may believe.  We ask that you would give us undivided hearts and put a new spirit in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

One of my main objectives in writing this blog is to equip participants with practical tools for heart restoration. I want to invite each of you to reach into the Heart restoration toolbox and give it a try.

This exercise has proved to be a powerful tool for restoring trust in God in places where our feelings and/or perceptions may not be lining up with the truth in God’s word. It is designed to teach the concept of identifying areas where we may find it difficult to trust God. It is not intended to be the “end-all” answer. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts fully, and above all, He is the One who is truly able to reveal our own hearts to us.

How to identify areas where our hearts may be finding it difficult to trust God:

This is a 3-step process:

Step one: take the self-analysis, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. Don’t over-think your answers. Answer the questions based on your perception of God, not on what you think your perception of Him should be. If you feel a little angst rise up in your heart at some of the questions, you may have just hit a nerve. Mark that one. Step two: Compare our perceptions of God with the word of God. This page coincides with the Self-Analysis you just took. For example, if you checked #2 in step one, go to #2 in step two to see what the Bible says about that point.

Step three: Reaffirming and restoring our trust in God. This is where we make a decision: will you continue to trust your own perceptions about God, or will you choose to discard lies about Him and reaffirm the truth? If we have discovered any double-mindedness in ourselves, this is how we cast it off.

Step 1: Trusting God: A Self-Analysis:

Circle any places where you might be finding it difficult to trust God:

  • 1. God is both loving and strong
  • 2. God will never abandon me
  • 3. God is just
  • 4. God will help me when I need it
  • 5. God cares about my pain
  • 6. God is willing and able to restore me mentally and emotionally
  • 7. God loves me
  • 8. God doesn’t play favorites. The rules are the same for everyone
  • 9. God has good intentions toward me
  • 10. God will meet my financial needs
  • 11. God will rescue me when I need it
  • 12. God is my peace. I can experience peace in this life
  • 13. God keeps His promises. He does not lie
  • 14. God is my loving Father
  • 15. God is my Protector
  • 16. God is my guide
  • 17. God is good
  • 18. God will act on my behalf
  • 19. God Comforts the depressed
  • 20. God rewards those who diligently seek Him
  • 21. God answers prayer
  • 22. God is my healer
  • 23. God is my comforter
  • 24. God is kind
  • 25. God wants a close relationship with me
  • 26. Other: ___________________________

Step 2: Comparing our perceptions of God with the word of God:

  1. God is BOTH loving and strong: “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.”  Psalm 62:11-12
  2. God will never abandon me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9
  3. God is just: “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”  Deut. 32:4
  4. God will help me when I need it: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
  5. God cares about my pain: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all He has made.” Psalm 145:8:
  6. God is willing and able to restore me mentally and emotionally: “He restores my soul…”  Psalm 23:3 “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
  7. God loves me: “This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4
  8. God doesn’t play favorites; the rules are the same for everyone: “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.”  Deuteronomy 10:17
  9. God has good intentions toward me: ’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  10. God will meet my financial needs: “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19
  11. God will rescue me when I need it: “’Because he loves me’, says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.’” Psalm 91:14-15
  12. God is my peace; I can experience peace in this life: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  John 14:27
  13. God keeps his promises. He does not lie: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
  14. God is my loving Father: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12 “…for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.” John 16:27
  15. God is my protector: “’Because he loves me’, says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’” Psalm 91:14-15
  16. God is my guide: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”  Psalm 32:8
  17. God is good: “The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.”  Psalm 145:8
  18. God will act on my behalf: “I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.”  Psalm 57:2
  19. God comforts the depressed: “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us…” 2Cor. 7:6
  20. God rewards those who diligently seek Him:“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
  21. God answers prayer: “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.”  Psalm 91:14-15 “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” Isaiah 65:24
  22. God is my healer: “I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:26 “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
  23. God is my comforter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  24. God is kind: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
  25. God wants a close relationship with me: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8


Step 3: Reaffirming and Restoring Our Trust in God:

God’s word tells us that He is ALL of these things and more. When our feelings or perceptions tell us that He isn’t, we have a choice to make. Will we choose to agree with God’s word? Or our feelings and perceptions? This is the reality of walking by faith and not by sight. Faith means choosing to believe God even when it looks or feels like God has betrayed our trust. If you have identified areas where you are finding it difficult to trust God, are you willing to reaffirm your faith in this area? If so, let’s do this!

“Dear Lord, I have identified an area where I have been having a hard time trusting you.  I now recognize that this is the sin of unbelief. I have believed the lie that says that you have not been_____________(my protector, faithful, my rescuer, etc.). Please forgive me.  I no longer want to believe lies about you.  Right now I am making a decision to CHOOSE to believe that you are everything that you say you are.  I renounce the lie that tells me that you have been untrue to your nature in any way.  I CHOOSE to believe your word instead of my feelings or perceptions. (Repeat for each area you have struggled to trust God)

“Thank you for revealing your character through your word.  I believe your word is true when it says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) Thank you for your grace, and thank you that I can trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I hope this 3 step process will help you reestablish trust in God’s absolute faithfulness. For me, this hasn’t been a “one and done” process. Life continues to happen. Our trust can feel tattered after traumatic events. I periodically do a “heart check” with the Lord. If depression is caused by double-mindedness, I’ve found that reaffirming my trust in God restores joy instantly. May the Lord bless you with single-minded trust in Him,


Trusting God when it looks like He broke a promise

When covid first hit, we all had a choice to make; where would we put our hope for protection? Would it be in what we could do to protect ourselves? Or would God be the foundation of our hope? My husband and I made a conscious decision to put our trust in God, not in social distancing or masks or hand sanitizers or medicine or doctors or in a vaccine. While we recognized that God can and does use these things at times to protect or bring healing, God Himself was where we put our trust. I memorized a passage from Psalm 91:

“If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.” Peace settled over our home as we trusted in God.

Then in 2021 we got covid.

What. Just. Happened?!?!

What about God’s promise? Did I not trust Him enough? Did I let down my shield of faith? Did God forget His promise?

This morning I found myself in Psalm 91 again. To be honest, it sort of stung. This same passage that used to bring me comfort now left me with some questions for God. I haven’t really wanted to face this gnawing question. Yet I didn’t want it to rise up later during a crisis either.

Sometimes when I have questions for God, I journal my time with Him. This morning, I sensed the Holy Spirit urging me to process Psalm 91 with Him in my journal. I was honest with Him, confessing that I was battling fear of writing it down. Fear that writing it down would give the questioning the power to take me out. I asked God to confirm it if this was really Him leading me to journal this. Even as I did, Habakkuk 2:2 came to mind:

“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets…”

I thought that if God really wanted me to journal these questions I had for Him, that scripture would be it. There are over 2,000 pages in my Bible, and where do you think I opened my Bible to this morning? You guessed it.

As I read through Habakkuk, I could see that he had some questions for God too:

“How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

“Why do you make me look at injustice?”

“Why do you tolerate the treacherous?”

“Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

Habakkuk is someone I can relate to. He struggled at times to understand God. He admitted that there were times he didn’t understand why God didn’t DO SOMETHING! Why? Why? Why?

Habakkuk knew God, trusted God. Yet he had some questions for Him. Maybe you do too.

What was God’s response to Habakkuk’s questions?

First of all, God said, “Wait.” The revelation God had given Habakkuk would not prove false. There was an appointed time for it to be fulfilled.

Secondly, God reminded Habakkuk that, “The righteous will live by his faith.” God was asking Habakkuk to trust Him when his perception told him that God wasn’t coming through for him.

God also told Habakkuk that there is a day of reckoning coming. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. Be assured, though, it will come.

What was Habakkuk’s response? What was his heart set when he walked away from this brutally honest time of intimacy with God?

“I will wait patiently.” He decided to trust that one day God would give His people justice. He would deliver them from their enemies.

Habakkuk also resolved to joyfully trust God. He made the decision to trust God before deliverance and provision came. Not only would he trust while he waited, but he would do it with a joyful heart. We wasn’t going to mope around until God fulfilled His promise. He chose joy in the midst of the storm. He declared,

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

He decided to trust in the midst of a severe trial. He chose not to allow offense toward God to take him out. It’s easy to gloss over the severity of Habakkuk’s trial. His wealth? Gone. Food? Gone. A brutal enemy? Not gone. They were right there, in his neighborhood. Habakkuk found his faith being severely tested, and it was found to be genuine.

So…what about God’s promises? When we look back on a time when it looks like God didn’t keep a promise? How do we trust Him to keep other promises? For me, it’s a decision. It’s where I’ve put my stake in the ground. This is where I stand, even when I don’t understand. Even when my perceptions or feelings tell me that God’s word has failed. I choose to trust God’s word because He is not like us; He cannot lie.

I’m inspired by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Daniel chapter 3.) When faced with the choice of bowing down to an idol or being burned alive, they said,

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us…but even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods…”

They trusted God. They also acknowledged that He is Sovereign. They resolved to serve Him even if He didn’t act the way they thought He would.

Maybe you can relate to me. Maybe there’s an area where you find it difficult to trust God with something that happened to you. If so, know that we’re in good company. Many of God’s people in the Bible had their faith tested. I pray that you will trust even when you don’t understand why God acts or doesn’t act the way you expect Him to. May you take up the shield of faith and wait patiently for Him. Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed. (Isaiah 49:23)

May your faith be found to be genuine,


The Good Shepherd Is Our One Sure Foundation When All Others Crumble

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ezekiel 34:11-12

To say that this has been a trying time for the remnant Bride of Christ would be an understatement. Many have felt lost and isolated, not even sure where the goal line is anymore. It’s been a time when many have felt like their hopes have been deferred time after time. Maybe you’re in that place, grappling with feelings of disappointment. Life just isn’t playing out the way you expected.

This is what I believe God is doing in this season: He’s removing all the props from our lives. Those things that may have even been good things. But they were never meant to be the foundation of our hope. Only God alone is our One True Foundation. God is transferring our hope and expectancy off of everything else and putting it onto Himself. In this hallway of transition in our lives, He Himself is with us in these isolated places where we find ourselves. When every door of opportunity seems locked, He is there with us.

I’ve found myself in this hallway for a couple of years now. Knowing there’s something He’s calling me to. Not totally sure what that even looks like. Just compelled to go to that unknown place with Him. Like Abraham, called out before I knew where He was calling me. Just knowing that I couldn’t stay where I was. I expected that when I set out for the unknown, I’d take one step after another until I was in the new place, wherever that was. But no, He’s asking me to wait. Stand still. Aaaargh! I hate waiting! Especially waiting in a place where community feels scarce.

As I look at the fruit of this maddening season of “not yet,” this is what I see: a growing dependence on Him alone to sustain me. My Faithful Good Shepherd. In what feels like a desolate place, He’s given me water from the rock. When I’m hungry for more, he feeds me with manna from heaven. Like the children of Israel in the desert, I’m so often tempted to whine for more. He says,

“Focus on provision, not lack. Be content with what I’ve provided. It’s enough. Choose gratitude. Those who wait for Me will not be disappointed.”

If you find yourself in a similar season as I’m experiencing, this is how My Good Shepherd and I are navigating it:

I lean in. I come to Him when I need a drink to sustain me. When my emotions are filled with pain, I seek Him in His word and in prayer. How timely and personal I’ve found time with Him to be.

Another way He’s sustained me in this season is by remembering that He knows exactly where I am. When I feel lost at sea with no sense of where the shore is, I remember Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Another way that I believe God wants to sustain us in the halls of transition is this: remember that we can experience the fruits of the Spirit here. Yes, it takes intentionally to choose joy in this place, but we can do it! The fruits of the Spirit are the abundant life Jesus came to give us. But we have to choose to take hold of them. It’s so easy in the hallway of transition to go back and forth between anger and crying. But there’s another option. I saw this so clearly when God gave me an object lesson in it. My husband and I were visiting our daughter and her family. Our son-in-law and grandchildren were laughing and playing. Our grandchildren would jump into their daddy’s lap, laughing and giggling as he tickled them. Then they’d take off running down the hallway, just to turn around and come back for more. In that moment, it was like the Lord showed me that transition times don’t have to be filled with frustration and anger. We can enjoy our Father’s presence. We can even find joy in this hallway if we choose it.

Another thing that sustains me in this season is to remember the Faithfulness of our Good Shepherd. Even if others have failed us, He never will. Maybe you’ve felt disappointed by someone. Maybe it was a spouse, an employer, or even the Church. If we will make our Good Shepherd the foundation for our hope, we can have stable emotions even during difficult seasons.

It helps me to remember that God is the One Who changes times and seasons. When God has accomplished in us what He determined, He will bring us into something new. And hold onto your hat when He does, because the shift can happen in a moment!

Have no doubt, God is totally capable and willing to fulfill His purposes for your life. The Bible tells us that, “His purposes will stand and He will do all that He pleases.”

May you trust Your Good Shepherd completely as you wait for Him,


How To Overcome Shame

The words were barely out of my mouth when shame hit me like a tidal wave. It swept over me in an instant, leaving me feeling desperate for a hole to crawl into. I just wanted to run for cover. Make my escape from the eyes of anyone seeing or judging my perceived failure. Maybe you’ve been there. My story may spark a memory of a time when you felt the same way. Or maybe shame just feels like an unwelcome companion that’s always with you. If you’re like me, you may have a vague perception of what shame even is. If so, let’s unpack shame’s definition:

What is shame?

Shame is a painful emotion or condition. It’s caused by a sense of being embarrassed, guilty, or a disappointment. It makes us feel unworthy or dishonored. It causes us to blush with feelings of humiliation. In a document entitled, “The Journey Begins, Open Hearts Ministry defines shame this way:

“Shame is the painful feeling or belief in one’s basic defectiveness as a human being which leads to a fear of being unworthy of love and belonging. Shame happens in the context of relationship and it heals in relationship.”

What gives shame its’ power?

  1. Fear. This fear can attach to a number of things. For one it might be fear of disappointing people whose opinions matter deeply. To another it might be fear of criticism or judgment. It might be fear of facing an emotionally upsetting conversation. Sometimes we just like to stay in shallow waters where we feel comfortable. Sometimes fear of exposure is what gives shame its’ power. We may feel that if others see us for who we are they’ll reject or abandon us.
  2. Secrecy and silence empower shame. Sometimes we believe that what others don’t know won’t hurt them. Or us. So we isolate emotionally or physically, thinking it’s a safe refuge. Break the silence, and you’re halfway to freedom.
  3. Shame is also empowered by hiding. Sometimes others can’t help us because they can’t see where we are emotionally or spiritually. That may be because we choose to be invisible. Invulnerable. Covered from their eyes. Another way that we may choose to hide is by presenting an image to others that isn’t true. It’s like we’re wearing a mask. Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” We just weren’t wired to life life alone. Author Jimmy Evans in his book entitled, When Life Hurts says, “What’s the first thing you and I do when we sin? We try to cover up what we’ve done. We cower in shame, because anytime we fall for Satan’s lies, shame is the response he’s after. He shames us into sin, and then shames us for sinning…It isn’t our nakedness that drives us away from God; it’s our hiding. It isn’t sin that keeps us distant; it’s how we respond on the heels of sin. It isn’t God’s voice speaking shame into our hearts; it the voice of the enemy…God’s voice brings only forgiveness and restoration. God seeks us out when we hide. He pursues us in the midst of our sin, and he says to us, “Who told you that you were worthless? Who told you I couldn’t use you? Who told you I wouldn’t forgive you? Who told you I couldn’t love you?…God says to us, “Don’t hide from me. Don’t distance yourself from my love. Let’s deal with your sin and move forward.”” Pages 75-77
  4. Shame is empowered by lies.
    1. The lie that shame is an adequate covering.
    2. The lie that we didn’t just do something wrong, but we ourselves are wrong.
    3. The lie that there’s no solution to the shame we feel
    4. The lie that a person only feels shame when they’ve sinned. Shame is often rooted in lies of accusation against God’s people.

How to overcome shame:

  1. Take an inventory of what’s in your heart. If we’re going to overcome shame, it begins with honesty. The mask needs to come off. We need to own who we really are. In order to do this, we need to see ourselves accurately. The problem is, sometimes we don’t always see the condition of our own hearts through the lens of truth. We need God’s help. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God knows the truth about what’s in our hearts. We don’t, and others certainly don’t. We can’t present the truth about ourselves to others if we don’t know what the truth is. When, we come up with an accurate inventory, we might discover that we agreed with shame because we believed lies.
  2. Recognize the difference between shame and conviction. Conviction from God is redemptive; it leads us to repentance. It’s specific and offers us a solution. It offers forgiveness when we repent. Shame, on the other hand, is vague. It keeps believers trapped in feelings that say, “I am wrong,” not “I did something wrong.” Shame attaches to our identity, so anyone who challenges our behavior is seen as rejecting who I am as a person. Shame offers us no solution.
  3. Take cover. If we see that there’s sin in our hearts, we need something to cover us. We see this played out in the lives of Adam and Eve. After eating of the forbidden fruit, they felt shame. They attempted to cover their shame with fig leaves. The problem is, shame doesn’t have the power to set us free from the fear of exposure, humiliation or judgment. The good news is that God has provided a perfect covering for our sin. He has, in His word, given us His law. He has clearly defined what is sinful; and though we as human beings will never in our own efforts be able to fully obey His laws, He has made a way for us to be seen as righteous in His eyes. When we as His children stand before God as our judge, we have an advocate in Jesus. He stands beside us to defend us from accusations. When our sins have been washed away through repentance, our accusers now don’t just point their fingers at us, they point them at our Savior. Those fingers accuse our Savior of inadequacy to cleanse; but our Savior’s blood is more than sufficient to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! The word of God tells us that “we will refute every tongue that accuses us.” This is our heritage given to us by God Himself. When we need a covering that will protect us from shame, we have 2 choices. Picture 2 coats hanging on a coatrack. One is black, representing shame. One is red, representing the blood of Jesus. To put our hope in one is to reject the other. To put our hope in the blood of Jesus to cover us means to turn our back on shame.
  4. Be honest. This means we turn away from hypocrisy. Jesus addressed this when speaking to the Pharisees in Luke chapter 11: “…you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.” When we put our hope in the blood of Jesus to cleanse our hearts of sin, we “wash the inside of the cup.” Then we can present ourselves to others in an authentic way that we aren’t ashamed of. Then Colossians1:22-23 will be our reality: “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” Choosing honesty with God will sometimes leads us to confess our sins to those impacted. While this can feel scary and humbling, it is also the key that sets us free from the prison of shame. When we’re honest with one another, shame no longer has anything to hold us hostage with. Fear of exposure is broken. Fear of humiliation…gone. It takes a lot of courage to confess sin, but in my life, I’ve found that when I do, I’m usually met with grace. Proverbs 28:18 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Others still have the choice to forgive or not, but we will be free either way.
  5. Don’t yield to shame over someone else’s wrong judgments and accusations. Sometimes others can be downright malicious, spreading blatant lies about our character. I know of one person who lived with a cloak of shame over something they were accused of, knowing it wasn’t true. Resisting shame in this situation still takes forcefully resisting shame. Sometimes it takes verbally speaking truth. (even if we’re just talking to ourselves)
  6. Turn away from shame over what others have done to you. Author Edward T. Welch said, “When you are guilty you feel dirty because of what you did; but with shame you feel dirty because of what somebody did to you. Forgiveness for your sins is not the answer here because you are not the one who was wrong. But the cross of Christ is still the answer. Jesus’ blood not only washes us clean from the guilt of our own sins, but also washes away the shame we experience when others sin against us.” The first step in breaking free when others have done something that left us feeling shame is forgiveness.
  7. Sometimes overcoming shame means submitting to the loving discipline of our Father. He calls us out into the light. This means turning away from sin that opened the door to shame. Proverbs 13:18 says, “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.” The good news is that, “the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.” (Isaiah 30:18)

May you look to the One who is able to free you from shame,


Why has God not healed our land?

In 2020 we saw a surge of God’s people coming together in corporate prayer meetings. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 was often quoted:

“…If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

Soooo, has God healed our land? One only needs to listen to the daily news to know that that hasn’t happened. So what’s the deal? Did God fail to keep His promise? Is it even possible for God to break a promise? Absolutely not! Numbers 23:19 says,

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

So what’s the deal? If God cannot lie, what are we to think? 2 Chronicles is one of many “If,” “Then” promises in the Bible. The fulfillment of the promise is conditional. If the conditions are not met, we can declare that we’ll receive the promise all day long, but it will be in vain. No amount of crying or praying will force God’s hand.

When we look across this great land and see storm clouds billowing, we’re wise to take heed. It seems that the very foundations of this nation are up for grabs these days. Beloved, this is no time for apathy or passivity!

Over and over as I spend time with the Lord, He seems to be compelling me to sound the alarm. Speak to His people. Warn the body of Christ that we need to fulfill our part of 2 Chronicles 7. If we choose not to, God will continue to judge this nation. Each wave of judgment will continue to grow larger until we yield to Him. What does judgment look like? It can be many things; plagues, war, famine, slavery suffering. All these things are God’s way of drawing us back to Himself. He loves us too much to let us dwell in sin.

What’s the solution?

How do we do our part to avert God’s discipline of this nation? Let’s go back to 2 Chronicles 7. What is God asking us to do?

The first thing is to humble ourselves before Him. Humility is vital, because without it, we’re unlikely to meet the other conditions of 2 Chronicles 7. To humble ourselves means to be brought under subjection. It’s the opposite of rebellion. If we refuse to yield to God’s authority and law, we’re walking in pride. The solution is to surrender our will to Him. There’s no neutral ground here. We either yield to God to to Satan. There’s no such thing as an autonomous person.

The next condition of 2 Chronicles 7 is that God’s people pray. Look around in the churches you’re familiar with. Are you seeing on-going corporate prayer meetings? Do you see Christians flocking to the alter, desperate for God? Or do you see a few people trickle to the alter while the rest of the church stares on, unresponsive? We all talk about the multitude of problems we’re facing globally, but does do our prayer lives reflect the enormity of our need?

The third condition we as a church must meet if we expect God to heal our land is to seek God’s face. This is about seeking God Himself, not what He can do for us. Do we really want an intimate relationship with God, or do we just want Him to make all our troubles disappear so we can go on doing what we want?

The final condition that God requires if we want Him to heal our land is to turn from sin. Repentance is about more than simply saying we’re sorry. True repentance means that we were going in one direction, and now we’ve done a 180 and are going in the opposite direction. This calls for each one of us to be open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. What might God be convicting you of? Is there anything that He has been asking you to obey Him in? Is there any area where you’ve given in to compromise? Any area where obedience means not tolerating evil? Any area where God is asking you to speak truth, even if it means persecution? Perhaps He’s asking some of us to resist the mentality that says that we’re already defeated, so why try. Maybe there’s an idol in our lives that needs to be cast down. An idol is anything we choose instead of obeying God. If we’ve elevated anything above God, we’re settling. Let’s make sure we’re not “trading our birthright for a bowl of porridge.”

Maybe as you examine your life, there’s nothing that you haven’t surrendered to God. Maybe you’ve already met all the conditions of 2 Chronicles 7. If that’s you, then I invite you to beseech God to soften the hearts of His people. Ask Him to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Stand in the gap for your fellow countrymen. Repent with me on behalf of our nation.

It is my prayer that we, the body of Christ, will resist any temptation we may face to finger point, blaming politicians, judges, or leaders for the troubles we’ve seen as a nation. Let’s lay down all the strong opinions and judgments and seek God before we do anything else.

In His service,


“So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel. But the vessel that he was shaping from the clay became flawed in his hand; so he formed it into another vessel, as it seemed best for him to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “O house of Israel, declares the LORD, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At any time I might announce that a nation or kingdom will be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed. But if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I will relent of the disaster I had planned to bring. And if at another time I announce that I will build up and establish a nation or kingdom, and if it does evil in My sight and does not listen to My voice, then I will relent of the good I had intended for it. Now therefore, tell the men of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem that this is what the LORD says: ‘Behold, I am planning a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways, and correct your ways and deeds.’” Jeremiah 18:5-11

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

Mastering our feelings instead of them mastering us

For so many years, I felt like a victim of my emotions…fear, despair and defeat to name a few. Over and over again I’d muster everything inside of myself to try to get above the onslaught of painful feelings. Finally, I decided it was just easier to leave my face in the dust than to try again. “Is this all there is,???” I screamed? “This can’t be the abundant life you promised your followers.” “What is WRONG with this picture???

One thing you won’t hear me say in this post is the word easy. Hope, yes! A solution, absolutely! But not easy. In fact, many attempting to break free will turn back. The road can be long and hard. So, where do we start? For me, my journey to freedom was rooted in God’s word. If we’re ever going to walk victorious over overwhelmingly painful emotions, we need to know something. The fruits of the Spirit are our inheritance. (love, joy, peace, etc. ) They are within our reach THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY. Psalm 25:12-13 says,

“Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”

Our soul is the seat of our emotions and will. It includes our affections, desires, aversions, and personality

So, what does it mean for our emotions to abide in prosperity? It means our feelings will dwell at ease. It also means cheerful, or happy. Now, does this mean that if we take hold of God’s promises that we’ll never experience painful emotions? No, it doesn’t. There’s a big difference between temporarily experiencing painful emotions and DWELLING in painful emotions. It doesn’t matter how spiritually mature we become. Life is still going to happen. Sometimes life can throw us some zingers. It’s what we do with those painful life events that matters. Maturity leads us to process the pain as it happens. In Christ, we’re given the tools to treat painful emotions like a hot potato. In order to do this, we need to have faith to believe that it’s possible. That faith comes as we stand on the promises in God’s word. For example, Luke 21:19 says,

“By your patience possess your souls.”

To possess means to win mastery over. Instead of our emotions mastering us, we master our emotions. It’s been said that emotions are like children. You can’t stuff them in the trunk, but you shouldn’t let them drive the car either. Think of your emotions like a purse full of things. For this illustration, think of the purse as our mind and the things in the purse as our emotions. Let’s picture dumping what’s inside our purse on the table. Now, we get to decide which emotions we want to put back in our bag. If we’re going to do this with confidence, we need to really believe that God has given us the ability to choose our emotions. God wouldn’t command us to get rid of certain emotions if we had no ability to obey, right? Let’s look at some examples.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” Ephesians 4:31

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10

“Do not be anxious about anything.” Philippians 4:6

On the flip side, we’re commanded to choose certain feelings, i.e…

“Be strong and courageous…” Deut. 31:6

“Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” Psalm 100:2

Here’s the deal…we can take this as bad news or good news. We may look at God’s command as bad news if we get stuck on a mindset that says we’re just not good enough. Shame and feelings of inadequacy can keep up from taking hold of the freedom God offers us. The truth that we have the ability to choose our emotions IS GOOD NEWS!!! It means there’s a solution! God has made a way for us to live prosperous emotionally! We should be dancing in the streets!

If you have been living under the weight of overwhelming and painful emotions, I want to encourage you to try again. This time, invite God into the process. Ask Him to give you understanding. Ask Him to give you the tools you need in order to prosper emotionally. He delights to partner with His children. It pleases Him to help us! He is compassionate regarding our pain. He hurts with our hurts.

May you walk in the victory that is already yours,


Are You Angry At God?

The anger erupted out of me like a volcano. I screamed at God as I threw the cards in my hand across the room. The frustration was no longer contained. In a moment of unfiltered honesty, I told God how angry I was at Him. What was it all about? What it boiled down to was failed expectations. I expected God to act in a certain way, and in my mind, He’d failed to deliver.

You might be thinking that the way I acted was dishonoring to God, and I agree. Relationships can be messy, and we don’t always handle things the way we should. Our relationship with God is no different. On the other hand, it’s a lie to believe that it’s more God honoring to abide in a place of silent offense towards Him. God already knows what’s in our hearts, so He wasn’t shocked by my behavior. And yes, repentance was called for, and I needed to walk through that process.

The key is that we don’t ignore our heart attitudes toward God.

It’s easy to do this, because deep down we tend to believe that “good” Christians would never be angry with Him. This often leads to emotional stuffing. We take those ugly feelings and place them in lockdown. Over time, those feelings of offense turn into bitterness. Left untended long enough, the relationship grows cold and broken.

So what do we do if we recognize that we’re offended by God? How do we move forward so we can connect emotionally with Him again?

Accept that God is Sovereign. His house, His rules. While His Sovereignty can be comforting, it can also feel crushing at times. We can either submit to Him, or resist Him. It isn’t always easy. Yet in the end, we need Him to stay on His throne. What a mess heaven would be if He yielded to our desires every time. His judgments are ALWAYS just, true and good. They just don’t always look that way to us. We don’t always know what love looks like. Or justice. Or goodness. The good news is that He does. We can trust Him.

We can either accept His judments or despise them. Sometimes we just need to get off the judment seat and yield to Him. His ways are higher than our ways. We don’t always see the big picture. We either choose to trust Him or not. We cannot depend on our feelings or perceptions to tell us what is true about God. The Bible is our plumb-line. Every opinion we have of God needs to be measured against it.

The second step toward reconnecting with God is to be honest with Him. Tell Him how you feel, even if your feelings aren’t pretty. Express the disappointment you feel toward Him. Tell Him if you’re angry with Him. Be honest if you’re struggling to accept His verdict in a situation.

The 3rd step is to ask yourself if your expectations of God were rooted in truth. Did God promise that He would do what you were expecting of Him? If not, He wasn’t obligated to fulfill those expectations. Sometimes we can run ahead of God and assume that what we desire or expect is from Him. Sometimes we just need to back up the bus and ask for His perspective.

Something that I believe needs addressing in our day is prophetic words. It seems like prophets were coming out of the woodwork this past year. I wasn’t familiar with most of the people putting out these words, so I began to just watch and listen. I’ll be honest, in the moment these words seemed to encourage me. Most of the words I was seeing were filled with promise of breakthrough, prosperity, and everything we would hope for. Many of these words promised that NOW is when they were being fulfilled. Then the NOW came and went, and things remained the same. (or got worse) Big picture, these words began to stir up feelings of disillusionment and disappointment. I do believe that there are prophets in our day that are speaking for the LORD. However, we need to test every prophetic word. We’re wise to examine the fruit of these words. We examine them against the word of God. We consider whether or not these words come to pass. We consider whether or not these words resonate as true or false. If we get a check in our spirit, it’s a red flag.

The last step toward reconnecting with God is to reaffirm our trust in Him. Without this last vital step, all we’ve done is gripe. This is where our honor of God is reestablished. This is where we trust even though we don’t understand. It’s also where we submit even though it feels like doing so might break our heart. Brothers and sisters, He is trustworthy. Psalm 36 reassures us:

“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.”

Beloved, let’s lay aside any offense, disappointment or critical judment of God. He deserves our trust. May your hearts find rest in His faithfulness,


What Does Victory Look Like For A Believer?

Does victory look like getting what we want? Perhaps seeing the sick healed or the peson we voted for getting into office? Or maybe it looks like prosperity? Or favor? Well, sometimes it does. But what about the times when victory doesn’t look like victory? What about the times when you’ve done all that you were supposed to do, but the outcome looks disappointing? What about then? It’s so tempted in those moments to ask ourselves if God came through for us. He says He’s the Rescuer. Did He rescue? He says He’s the Healer. Did He heal? He says He’s our Deliverer. Did He deliver? Our faith can be severely tested sometimes. When everything is going our way, it’s easy to believe that God is Who He says He is. It’s when our faith is tested, however, that we find out whether it’s genuine or not. It’s during times of disappointment that we have a choice to make: will we trust God even if our PERCEPTIONS tell us that He failed us? Will we trust our feelings, or God’s word?

Again I ask, What does victory look like for a believer? What’s the litmust test for victory? Perhaps we could look to those God commended to get His perspective of a victorious life. Hebrews 11 is a good place to find examples of believers who saw great victories. We see King David who conquered Kingdoms, Enoch who escaped death, Samson who was victorious in battle. We see people who recieved their loved ones back from the grave and others who overcame infertility. Some administered justice, shut the mouths of lions and escaped the edge of the sword. Wow. Pretty impressive. Looks like victory to me. But wait a minute…

Hebrews 11 also commends those who were victorious in another way. It also commends those who held onto their faith even when they didn’t get what they wanted. Verse 35 says,

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some face jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in desserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. They were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. For God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Victory means choosing to trust God in the good times and in the bad.

Walking in victory means we hold onto our faith no matter what comes. It means that we choose to believe God whether we’re conquering kingdoms or not. Winning an election or losing one. In prison or in the palace. Rich or poor. Receiving our loved ones back from the dead or lowering their casket into the ground. Favored or rejected. Prospering financially or destitute, persecuted and mistreated. Healed or sick. There’s an old hymn that says, “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4 says,

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that have overcome the world: our faith. Who then overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.…”

What do we do if we’ve come through a disappointing life experience that leaves us doubting God’s word? I went through this recently. I’d been diligent in asking God for something that I thought would be a good thing. I believed that God thought it would be a good thing too. But when things didn’t play out in a way that looked like victory, I was tempted to believe that God hadn’t come through for me. I found myself struggling with unbelief. Here’s what’s helping me get through it:

Recognize that the land of disappointment is a dangerous place to dwell. In his book, This Day We Fight, author Francis Frangipane writes,

Disappointment is not just a sad, emotional state of mind; it actually can sever our hearts from faith. It is the enemy’s work. Demonically manipulated disappointment can actually “dis-appoint” a person from God’s destiny for their lives. I have known many who were doing well, moving forward toward their appointed destiny. The future God had for them seemed almost close enough to taste. Then they became disappointed in someone or something. By accepting disappointment into their spirits, a bitter cold winter took over their souls, and their faith turned dormant…Often, it is not blatant rebellion against God that causes backsliding; it is the acceptance of dis-appointment into our hearts.” Page 90-91

I look at disappointment like a warning light on the dashboard of my car. Disappointment says, there’s trouble in my heart. It needs addressing, and quickly.

The next step to overcoming disappointment is being honest with God about how we feel. Let’s face it, the natural inclination of our flesh is to talk to everybody BUT God about our disappointment. Venting to others only adds fuel to the fire. Some feel like it dishonors God to say, “Lord, I’m angry with you right now.” The truth is, He already knows anyway. We can either process those strong emotions with Him, be healed and move on, or we can stuff our emotions and still be carrying them around 20 years from now. Ignoring our feelings won’t make them go away. We’re deceiving ourselves if we think it will.

The next step to getting through disappointment is to identify and confront areas of unbelief. I had to face the lies that God didn’t rescue, didn’t defend, didn’t help. I acknowledged to God that this is how it LOOKED to me. I confessed my unbelief and repented of it. It’s a mistake to believe that once we’re saved we no longer struggle with unbelief. The danger with this lie is that we get blindsided when our faith is severely tested. It’s normal for believers to be tempted with the sin of unbelief. It happens to all of us at one time or another. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin. We don’t need to yield to unbelief. We have a choice!

The last step in overcoming disappointment is to reaffirm our faith in God. This is where we make a choice. Will we trust our feelings and perceptions, or will we trust God’s word to tell us what’s true? This is the most important step in getting through a crisis of faith…this is where we put our stake in the ground once again and declare, “I believe God.” It’s where we say, “I reject all lies about God and I CHOOSE to trust that He does not lie. He does not change. He is trustworthy. Even if I don’t receive in my lifetime what I’d hoped for, I trust Him.”

These steps have helped me to quickly move past disappointment and unbelief. My hope is that they’ll do the same for you if you find yourself in that place.

May your trust in God be renewed today,


Servants Who Don’t Serve

” …Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-44-45

Christianity was never meant to be a spectator sport. Many view church leaders as the only ones responsible to carry out the ministry of the Church. This mindset often leads to passivity and critical attitudes. Theodore Roosevelt said it well:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Up in the stands, it’s easy to spot what’s wrong with the church. It’s up in this perch that we clearly see how things could be done better. What should be done, but isn’t. The ways the Church should be serving, but isn’t. I believe the message that the LORD has for His Church today is that it’s time to engage in serving. It’s time to set our popcorn down, get suited up and take our place as servants in the arena. Before we can do that, we may need to address the reason why we haven’t been serving. Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons:

Having a consumer mindset. The person with this mindset looks for the church that will meet their needs. Instead of going to church to serve, this person attends church to have their own needs met. This often leads to disappointment and hurt. The solution is to keep our eyes outward, not on ourselves. Be more concerned with loving those we encounter rather than being loved. The ironic thing is, when we keep our eyes off of our own needs, they are more likely to be met. Luke 6 says,

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Fear of inadequacy. If we’re going to get up out of the stands and engage in the work of God’s kingdom, it takes courage. It means facing our fear that those still in the stands will judge us when we stumble. Proverbs 29:25 says,

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”

People may criticise us, but that doesn’t make them right. We’re safe when we put our hope in God for adequacy. Fear has the potential to keep us from our destinies. The good news is that God has not given us a spirit of fear! We don’t have to allow fear to dictate our actions. Fear of criticism loses it’s strength as we push past it and engage in the arena. This means doing the hard thing even if we’re afraid.

Emotional pain can also keep us from serving. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. If we wait until our hearts are completely whole before we serve, we never will. A story is told of soldiers who had just been through a fierce battle. The officer in charge told one of his men to get in the truck and drive. The soldier responded, “But sir, I’m bleeding.” The officer replied, “We’re all bleeding. Get in the truck and drive.” Serving in God’s kingdom can feel that way. We get battered and bruised. Sometimes we feel like we’ve endured so much that we just want to stop. There’s a time to persevere even when serving is hard. It’s in this place that we are wholely dependant on God to give us the strength to keep going. It’s easy to overlook, but we need to ask for His help. This is so obvious, yet easy to overlook.

Having said all this, there is also a time when emotional pain does call for a break from serving. There’s a time for everything; a time to persevere through the pain, and a time to take an extended break from serving. I remember one time when my husband and I had been through such a devastating life event that serving needed to be suspended. For about 2 years we attended a different church specifically with the intention of healing in mind. We allowed the body of Christ to minister to us. We took the time to process the pain.

You may be in a place like this. Perhaps you’re grieving, or suffering the aftermath of abuse or suffering from a long term illness. Whatever the life altering event, your right now your “job” is to take time to heal. This might look like rest, forgiving, seeking wise counsel or allowing yourself time to grieve. The important thing is to say connected to the LORD. Invite Him into your healing process.

Distraction is another reason that some don’t serve. This might not sound like a big deal, but distraction can have serious consequences. Those who achieve great goals have learned the need for sustained focus. They resist the urge to chase every squirrel that runs by. If we allow distraction to steal our focus, we’ll be settling for lesser things. Sustained focus takes sacrifice. Sometimes it means letting opportunities pass us by. It can also mean that we won’t be able to meet everyone else’s expectations. Sustained focus also means pushing through and finishing a job even when we don’t feel like it.

This morning, I got up with the intention of finishing this blog post. I’m just going to be honest. I didn’t feel like doing it. It wasn’t even that there was some super tempting distraction luring me away from writing. It was just insignificant distractions that I felt pulling me in another direction. I’m so thankful that I pressed on past that lure. Once I started writing, I was reminded that I really do love what I do.

Getting caught up in civilian life is another way we can become distracted. This could mean over emphasis on things that matter, but don’t require as much focus as we’re giving it. The story of Mary and Martha is a good example of this. Instead of keeping the meal simple so she could focus on what was important, Martha put more into a meal than was needed. Her distraction cost her a precious gift. God Himself sat in her livingroom, yet she missed it.

Lack of understanding where we fit in the body of Christ can also keep us from serving. We may have preconceived ideas of what it looks like for us to serve that simply aren’t true. Serving may stir images of working in the nursery or vacuming the sanctuary. Although some are called to these tasks, they aren’t for everyone. The good news is that God knows how He wired us. He knows those areas of serving that will satisfy our souls. He leads us into areas of service that are well suited for us…areas that will actually energize us!

A good place to start is taking a spiritual gifts assessment. Investigate how God wired you to serve. Then seek to get plugged in where your spiritual gifts will be used. If you’re a gifted evangelist, then serve God through sharing the gospel. If you’re wired to express yourself artisticly, then serve the kingdom of God with your art. If you’re a teacher, serve through teaching. If you’re wired as a connector, then serve in the Church by connecting people with one another, etc.

Pride is another thing that can keep us from serving. Joy is a reward we recieve when we serve God. Pride is a thief. If we allow it to, pride can steal that joy.

Humility says, “I’ll serve wherever you ask me to, Lord.” Pride says, “You want me to do what??? Do you know who I am?” Jesus Himself demonstrated humility when He washed His disiples’ feet. If Jesus isn’t above taking the position of a lowly servant, who are we to say we’re above it?

Another thing that can keep us from serving is lazyness. Proverbs 21:25 says,

Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.”

The diligent aren’t diligent because they feel like it. They press past the temptation to chill out when there’s work to be done. If we’ve been given to lazyiness, repentance is called for.

A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the LORD’s work!

Jeremiah 48:10

Sobering, isn’t it? If we’re lax in doing the LORD’s work, we’ll experience the opposite of blessing on our lives. Why would God allow a curse to fall upon those who are lax in their work? It’s because there are eternal issues at stake. There are lost to be reached. I’m so glad that the man who shared the gospel message with my family didn’t decide to chill that day.

So, what’s the big deal? Why is it so important that we serve? We’ve each been given gifts/talents by God. Jesus tells a parable about the different ways people steward their gifts in Matthew 25. To those who were faithful to put their talents to work, Jesus commended them. He invited them to share in His happiness. As a reward for faithfully stewarding their gifts, they were given more to steward.

The one who didn’t use their talent to bring increase to God’s kingdom was reprimanded:

You wicked and lazy servant!…Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Strong words, I know. Yet if this is what Jesus warns us will happen if we choose not to serve with our gifts, wouldn’t we want to be warned?

The good news is that today, we get to choose. Will we serve God? Will we use the gifts/talents that He’s given us to build His kingdom? If we do, we’ll enter into our Master’s happiness. What a precious promise!

May you find your delight in serving our Savior,