To Bless You

I had a really good conversation with my sister-in-law yesterday. It was one of those talks where you hung up the phone and felt like life was thrust back into your body. I am so grateful for her.

One of the things we talked about was the value of hardship. As I’ve blogged about, I’ve been going through a hard season: not hardship, but hard in that it’s a discipline walk. The best way I can explain it is with the idea of going to the gym. Not many of us ~LUHV~ going to the gym. And less so if we have personal trainers who could rival football coaches for toughest exhorters of the century. But you do it because when it’s time, IT’S sooooo time.

Well, I got to the point this past weekend that many of us get to during a hard workout. I just wanted to give up. What’s the point of it all? Is it even really worth it? Would it be worth it to do the work if there is no way of getting the desired end goal?

And that’s where this woman of God gave me a shot that snapped my head back into place. I asked: “Really? All this just to strengthen my faith?”

To which she replied: “What do you mean? That’s huge!”

We lose sight of what we’re really here for. I lose sight of what I’m here for. We’ve heard too many spiritual gurus that have fed us lines about do “X” to receive “Y” immediate benefit.

There are no shortcuts to being a stronger person. There are no secret candy land rainbow paths to building better relationships, especially with the God of the Universe.

But it is worth it, even when it burns to think about persevering.

Pray for me to run the race to completion. I’ll do the same for you.




Is God with Us or Not?

The name of this blog is Renew Us. The name was chosen because my husband told me that the thing that he sees me doing most often is bringing God’s renewal to things. In his words, “you’re constantly bringing life back to people.” That has less to do about me, and more to do about what happens when I get out-of-the-way and let God work through my life. But, in any case, I think that the reason I feel the need to let God have EVERYTHING in me to restore others is because I, myself, need to be restored so much. And that is more true right now than it has been for a long time.

I am in the midst of a very difficult season, unlike any other in my life. There’s not chaos or destruction. For I’ve been through plenty of that. It’s a season of sitting still and waiting. A season of letting God steady and settle me. A season of deepening of faith, true faith. And if you don’t think that’s difficult, even painful, then you’re just dead wrong. It’s a place where things die. They have to in order for the rest of the body and soul to live.

Let me give you an example of what this can look like.

During my quiet time yesterday, I received 1 Peter 1 (see text below). That passage is about understanding that when we trusted Christ with our lives, we were literally born into a new hope – a hope of a life forever with Christ. But it also tells of the tension of still being in this world. Of the difficultly of letting God transform us.  And of the value of faith — a faith that will bring glory to the creator of the Universe.

That seems mighty important. How important can it be? Well, I was also reminded (through Psalm 95) of Massah and Meribah. This place (or places) were the sites where the Israelites were to trust God for provision for their basic needs and they grumbled against Him.  Moses named the place Massah and Meribah because it was there that the Israelites tested the Lord by saying, “Is God with us or not?”

It seems like a simple question, but it cost the Israelite the promised land for that generation. And it’s not because God is mean or evil. God is good. So good that He realized that if they couldn’t thank Him for providing EVERYTHING they needed,including freedom from slavery, then they were going to squander their inheritance. And like a loving father, He held them back.

And so, I got on my face today. Not because I’m holy or pious. My children and husband can attest for that. But because I needed to repent of my unbelief. Of my turning to myself instead of to Him. And I wept. I’m broken about the ways in which I so often question God’s character. I want it to die. And that my friends, is a humbling, painful, but good place to be because it’s a place that invites His presence.

“…even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1Peter1:6