He Brings Direction To Our Calling

As I continue to make my way through my season of study, (which is not a waste – take that satan) I settled into the book of John. As I read over familiar passages my eyes hit the word immediately and my world was rocked!

 

I truly do love this season of study, I always viewed the study of God’s word hard, complex and definitely not for me. In August, coming home from She Speaks, I knew that was my new season. When you go to a conference with expectations of coming home with this great project, cause let me be honest, I’m a project girl! Give me a check list and a goal and I’m in my element. Needless to say when the assignment I received was learn My truth, study My word, a teensy weensy part of me was just a little disappointed. Now 3 months and 21 books of the New Testament later, I’m hooked. Hooked and proud of it. I was squealing happy when my friend got me my own Strong’s Concordance for my birthday. It’s ok you can call me a nerd over this, I am!

We must learn to embrace the season that God places us in. To walk in obedience through each season God chooses for us.

Back to this word – immediately. This word popped out to me in verse 21 of John 6. This is a passage that I’m sure you are at least a little familiar with, Jesus walks on water. The disciples got a bit impatient waiting on Jesus and since they were the water men they were, they decide to just get in a boat and row to Capernaum. In the dark. With a storm brewing. Now I’m not bashing any men but I can tell you I don’t think the ladies would have decided to row out after darkness fell. At least this girl wouldn’t have, I would have been content to sleep on the bank, snack on the leftover bread and fish, while a fire blazes.

 

But not the disciples, off they go. They rowed out 3 to 4 miles and a full blown storm is over them. I can just picture this boat filled with men trying to stay afloat. Sweat flying, muscles straining, mental shouts of “why in the world did we do this” happening on the boat. Then out of the mist, through the waves, comes Jesus walking on the water. After what I envision of men screaming like little girls, Jesus says don’t be afraid. I also imagine Jesus thinking ya ding-dongs, what are you doing out here.

 

Once they realize it was Jesus, “they were eager to let him on the boat, and they immediately arrived at their destination!” There it is, the word that made my jaw drop open. Let me back up just a bit first though. That word made me wonder how far they had gotten from the shore. I did a little research to see how long it would take to row 3 to 4 miles. While I couldn’t find an exact time we can make a few assumptions. A mile can take between 15 to 45 minutes. This time is influenced by boat, water conditions and strength of the rowers. While the rowers I’m certain were very strong and capable, the boat wouldn’t have been a modern boat that these numbers were based on, and the sea condition would have been quite rough due to the storm.

 

I am going to deduct that it would have taken them 3 to 3 and a half hours to row as far as they did. Once Jesus arrived on the scene, he got them to their location IMMEDIATELY!

 

This applies so much to us! We can work and work at something on our own to only end up in the midst of a storm afraid. We have the same option as the disciples. We can eagerly invite Jesus into our mess and let Him help us arrive where we need to. We may arrive where we need to immediately or we may have to take the long way there because we need the lessons we will learn on that path. Either way Jesus is the answer.

He brings the peace to our storms. He brings bravery to our fearfulness. He brings calm to mess. He brings direction to our calling.

He brings the peace to our storms.

He brings bravery to our fearfulness.

He brings calm to mess.

He brings direction to our calling.

 

 

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This weeks featured blogger is Misty from beYOUtiful Mom her beautiful letter to her children will inspire you to write your own children a letter, because it sure did me!

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Obedience is Our Calling

As I sat across the table, not just once but several times, and heard the voice of women saying they just weren’t sure if their salvation was still good. They all said a variation of this idea, they weren’t sure if they were qualified since they weren’t one for consistent bible study and prayer and only had occasional church attendance.

 

I was a little sad and very impassioned to love on these women with truth. Truth from Paul in Ephesians 2: 8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 

Paul is explaining that nothing we do can gain us salvation, other than a heart that accepts it. God didn’t want any room for boasting that someone did it better, faster or with more glitz …..you know us humans, we would make it a competition. Oh, yeah, the disciples already did that.

 

He goes on to finish by saying because we are made new we have a purpose, we have good things to do. In order to know these good things, we do have to be plugged in to his word and going before him in prayer. He wants us to do these things because he commands us to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19. He instructs us to move from spiritual milk to meatier thinking so we can go.

Go and Make Disciples

There are good things in store for those who invest in their relationship with the Lord. Out of that investment our purpose is defined and treasures in heaven are stored up. To me that sounds mighty good. I want to move beyond a simple salvation and into a life driven by obedience to his commandment of love others and make disciples. 

 

I challenge you, if you are stuck drinking milk, turn some worship music on (the Jordan Howerton Band station on Pandora is the bomb, so do it and turn it on!) and spend some intentional time with the Lord. Start in the book of John if you’re not sure where to begin, be reminded of the greatness of the love the Lord has for you.

 

Obedience isn’t something that’s always fun or easy. My kids certainly don’t find emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash fun. They do find that being obedient in doing their assigned jobs results in being allowed to do fun things. While at least to me taking out the trash never becomes fun, the amazing thing about being obedient to get in the scriptures is it does become fun. Down right addicting even!

 

As I type the above words, words that I wrote in my notebook days ago and have been pondering since, I realized that these words are truly for me. The words on obedience are soooo for me! I have been missing here (I hope you noticed and maybe even missed me!) and part of the reason I’ve been missing is simple disobedience. Now I have made some really good excuses. I’ve been really busy leading a bible study during the time I was writing in. I’ve been spending more time in my prayer nook with the Lord.  Another excuse is I feel that I’ve somewhat lost my vision, I am unsure of my big dream so I’ve used that to be lazy and to just stay still.

 

I’m so thankful to serve a God that serves up big heaping piles of grace. That He lovingly reminds us of his love and his plans for us. That his plans are really just simple acts of obedience that he is calling us to.  Girls, do it today, act obediently. Find time to get quiet and hear what he is calling you to. Is he calling you to time with him or to be brave by sharing your story or to boldly encourage another person. No matter what the action of obedience is for you, don’t hesitate, be bold and act how the Lord instructs you.

 

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Holy Grounds

Everyone needs a sense of purpose, a sense of direction in their life, well mine seems to be misplaced, or so it seems. Today I realized I seem to be going through life without a solid defined direction. I was thinking why do I seem to be feeling as if there is no intentional route I’m taking? I was thinking how after I closed the photography business, I did that in order to have more time for my family and for the youth ministry,I felt a sense of loss, sense of no longer being defined as a photographer. Then when last month I put down the youth ministry I had this sense of loss again, a sense of no longer being defined as a youth leader, a sense of not being needed by anyone. So I have been floating without a sense of purpose.

Then today while in the shower and I’m pondering these great reflections, let me add here that my shower is holy ground I have been spoken to and felt more alive with the spirit of the Lord around me there than even in church. So I’m in the holy grounds of my shower pondering this sense of empty, drifting when I’m reminded of this event I was at 2-3 years ago I was seeking the Lords confirmation of his intention to place me in ministry. Yet I felt his call was to just love my family well, my response was well I’m already doing that I want to serve you bigger Lord. So I continued pretending that His plan was to use me in a bigger way, then the fall of 2013 came and I decided that in order for Him to use me in a big way I better make some room so I closed the business. I did focus more on my family at this time and dived into the youth ministry of my church, after all my sense of purpose comes from my doing. I have to do, do, do, I’m definitely a Martha.  So this Martha did what was in front of her, serving and growing this ministry that was in front of her. Loving my family still, seeking the Lord for the ministry’s direction but fully focused on what to “do” for this ministry. Then 4 months ago God started to remove my grasp on this ministry, this ministry that defined me, that fulfilled this part of me. He caused such a strong stirring in me I could no longer be apart of this church. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me away, I didn’t understand how this was the plan, He was going to us ME. How could this happen and continue without me?

Today in the holy grounds of my shower I’ve began to understand, He had to strip me bare in order to be a Mary to show me that I don’t have to do, only be. I need to BE a godly wife, I need to BE a godly mom and most importantly I need to BE a godly Winter that sits at the feet of Jesus. My friend over coffee last week said would you have left your church and ministry if this huge stirring hadn’t happened? I said no way, that this church was my family, my best friends, we didn’t just attend we were involved all the way, Jesse plays guitar every service, we served the youth together, our kids have grown up there. Never would we have left, she said then maybe that’s why this drastic change took place because God had to get your attention and move you out.  For a week that has swirled in my brain, of ok that makes sense, but why, why would He need to take me out of this ministry, why wouldn’t he want to use me bigger?

Today it was answered, I was reminded of that event when I was shown the direction I needed to move and I didn’t like the answer. I wanted to do, I just didn’t understand the concept of Mary. The idea of sitting at Jesus’s feet, the idea of being Jesus here on earth to my family only. I have always been a big or go home kind of person so to me I want to live out Jesus bigger, serve Jesus bigger, yet today after nearly two and half years of being allowed to move in that direction the Lord said enough and I finally heard him. I heard just BE, don’t do, don’t look for a to-do list, don’t overlook the gift in front of you, just be with me [Jesus], just be with your family.

This seems so difficult and challenging to me, but through Jesus I can be Mary. Today I seek to only be. I will be with Jesus and I will be with my family. Even when it doesn’t seem like it could be enough, I will remind myself of the heartache of not following what the Lord asks of me. Yes good came out of those two and half years, because God always brings goodness, but what could have come out of obeying and being satisfied by the Mary mentality. Are you Martha or Mary-is God calling you to be more like Mary too?

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