This season has been the hardest yet. It seems that I have lost so much, made so many mistakes, hurt so much, and am looking at what appears to be not much left at all.
You don’t realize what it takes to walk this faith road until you are stopped in your tracks. If you would have asked me anytime before the last two weeks, do you have faith? Or is your faith strong? ABSOLUTELY! would have been my answer. I love my God above all things. All I want is to do what He has for me to do. I have come to learn: that.. is.. not.. faith. When your faith is put to the test and challenged… what it is rooted in will show it’s strengths and weaknesses.
I have learned faith is not my love for God. It is also not about my obedience. You see, just because I love God and obey Him may not mean I trust Him confidently. If you had asked me if I trusted God I would have immediately answered, Yes 100% but how do you know until it’s tested with action and not just words? And how deeply does it run?
Faith comes down to this: how do you relate with God when you feel like you have lost everything? everyone? Do you believe or trust that He is there with you in it all and through it all? Can you or WILL you rely on him in those times? Or just lie in your place of darkness? Stuck in the mess that you can’t get yourself out of?
Our faith must be tested for it to grow. The root of where MY faith lies must be tested to be strengthened.
When it all comes down to the nitty gritty…. after I weeded through all the limbs that had been cut off or blown down… sitting lifelessly at my feet… in the midst of all that appeared loss… I had ask… now what?
All this appears to be and FEELS like death. I would be lying if the thought of walking away didn’t cross my mind. Actually the thought didn’t just cross my mind, it camped out a little while and stayed for a short vacation. Looking at the wreckage piled at my feet I said to myself, it’s too much…I just can’t, and I’m not even sure if I want to. So now what?
Now what? …when I asked HIM... was followed by such a sweet peace kind of answers.
Lord, I know you forgive me, but what if they won’t? They will because they love Me…
Lord, I am hurting and can’t make it stop. I have hurt relationships and can’t fix it… Now what? I can, if you will let Me? Trust Me with them.
….but Lord, I don’t trust them. Do you trust Me?
Did I really trust Him? Did I have faith that believes He holds it all, sees it all, and wants to make the best of it all? …In the middle of all the PAIN … FOR ME? Like right now…in this situation…do I trust that HE WANTS to do this for me and WITHOUT ME? Does my belief in HIM withstand the pain I am in? And the pain that I have caused? Do I trust and believe that He is faithful and just in it all? And for ALL THOSE INVOLVED?
You see, it wasn’t my LOVE or OBEDIENCE that was tested.
It was my BELIEF and TRUST in HIM towards ME that was being tested!
My belief that HE WILL do what HE said He would do, even when I am unworthy and have made a mess. MY trust that HE would WANT to lift me up out of the miry clay I was stuck in and WANT to set me feet on His solid rock. My belief that He is who He said He is…and would do what He said he would FOR ME and in spite of me.
For FAITH is the confidence…the foundation….the actual existence of something or someone being real in your life and circumstances. Are you allowing Him to be real in your life and circumstances? Faith is the steadfastness of mind, courage and resolution of firm trust and confidence IN HIM.
Confidence that says, He is in it all, and wants to be. I didn’t drag Him in or beg Him in. He is here because He wants to be. He loves me because of who I am, not because of what I have done.
This is my now what… My Faith.
Being a makeup artist in the beauty industry I hear and see how much attention is given to outer physical beauty. Being in ministry, I hear a lot about the same but from a completely different side and perspective. So, I’m here as a beauty expert to give my weigh-in on both sides and hopefully bridge the gap a bit.
In our society pretty is praised. Probably a little too much if we are all honest. The thing about being pretty is you have no control over that. It is a physical attribute that you were given or not. Yes, I know, we can enhance it, bring it out, or even surgically create a little more of it, but for the most part you either are born with it or your not. When did we allow our society define us? We’ll, it’s not a new thing. Let’s just be real, not everyone can be pretty, the Bible even notes those that were physically attractive and those that weren’t. I dare to state: pretty is a passive state. It doesn’t last. Not only is it passive, it’s a perspective. What is praised as physically attractive in one culture may not in another.
One of the big things I see a lot of is an attack on the attractive. Don’t get me wrong, I know society and the media over praises pretty but I also see other sectors shaming it and wanting to make those that happen to be pretty feel less than. Then if you happen to be attractive and wear makeup, jewelry, or have a sense of fashion that enhances it; it’s automatically assumed you are vain or puffed up. Why do we take such a harsh emotional response to a temporary physical state that is perspective driven and only variable by a small degree?
Just like you can’t praise a person just because they are pretty, you also can’t persecute them. I have heard people flippantly say and even post on social media, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.” Alluding to the fact that being pretty is that person’s greatest attribute and all else is lacking in comparison. The fact that a person has physical beauty doesn’t mean they are less intelligent, insightful, or humble. I see so many times people wanting pretty to be played down instead of being glorified for the Creator who made them that way.
So, my final thoughts. Do not allow society to define you if you don’t happen to be “pretty” by their perspective; it fades eventually anyway. Do not allow people to persecute you or shame you because you are, enhance it and own it.
Enhance who you are, pretty or not, but don’t cover it up because you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
Pretty is something you see and is temporal but beauty is cultivated in your character and is eternal.
Lastly, become BEAUTIFUL.
There was a challenge put before me earlier this week to dig into 1Samual 17:54 by a visiting evangelist John Skipworth, who is a co-pastor at The Assembly of West Monroe. Let me just say…amazing preacher….amazing word! You can hear the full sermon on this scripture here.
1 Samual 17:54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent. Another version says … he put his armor in his own tent.
Can I just say…the depth that Pastor Skipworth went into on David taking the head and bringing it into Jerusalem was amazing. SO much to learn and take away. However, the backend of that scripture has just stuck with me like 15lb steak! I don’t know much about ancient warfare, much less why they did what they did, so I did some googling.
Here are my lingering questions…
WHY would David take Goliath’s armor?
WHY would he put them in his tent?
WHY did David take his armor? Stripping the enemy of his armor has to do with the way Greek soliders gained “glory” or “renown” (these are English translations that probably don’t do the initial concept justice). The Greek term was “kleos,” and in order to get this glory on the battlefield, you not only had to accomplish certain things, but you had to make sure that others saw you do so. Glory in private didn’t really count; the point was to make people talk about you.
If you killed your enemy on the battlefield, maybe people saw it or maybe they didn’t, but if you took their armor, no one could say that you weren’t an accomplished warrior. Stripping the arms and armor of the vanquished was a physical sign of the presence of kleos, or glory.(Source site)
David took Goliath’s armor…let’s stop here and make a point. Goliath name itself means “Splendor”. He was considered THE brilliant, majestic, spectacular, display of glory for the Philistines. So this means, when David KILLED the PRIDE that wanted to enslave God’s people HE not only brought freedom, but he stripped Pride of it’s glory!(soak that one in for a second)
WHY did he put them(the armor) in his tent? I am sure it goes so much deeper then I am going to take it, but here is what I see. His tent was his intimate place with God. There are several scripture references where David (after he is king) brings the ark of the covenant into his tent and offered burnt offerings.
I believe this was David’s offering to God.
ALL of the GLORY!
You see the head of the giant was to show the people of the land the enemy was defeated! The armor was to show the glory of WHO did it. David knew WHO did it and it wasn’t him, he was merely the stone thrower. David brought the armor(the glory) before God(in his secret place) and gave him ALL the Glory ..all the honor… and all the splendor. David didn’t need to be recognized because David recognized the ONE who gives the only recognition that counts! His focus was on giving God the glory. David’s public recognition would only be a reflection of what he gave to God in private.
As a prayer warrior, WHEN (not IF) God delivers the giant into your hands and you show he is no longer in charge. I ask you….WHERE will you put the Glory? Are you getting the glory on the battlefield for everyone to see? Do you believe that glory in private doesn’t really counts? Are you needing people to talk about it? Our flesh wants this so bad….recognition and honor in defeating the giant. However, we really did nothing, but throw the stone.
We must kill the pride of giants and sacrifice the glory in private. Glory shown to us in public is only a reflection of the glory we give to God in private.
Have you ever had those days that you found yourself on the rollercoaster ride of great heights and deep lows…experiencing every emotion you think you have all within.. oh let’s say 48 hours? 24 hrs? 12hrs? During times like these I feel like I have suffered from emotional and spiritual whiplash. OH boy, today I’m definitely feeling the soreness from it! This weekend brought on trying challenges to say the least and boy did I screw up ROYALLY! Several times in fact! ugh! why can’t life just be easy? Because easy changes nothing…including me.
This weekend I had the sweetest moments with friends, in bible study conversations, and in His presence. I also had ugly words fall from my lips in raw anger and frustration. How can I live this life striving to be Christ like and still fall into things that I should have already grown out of? How can I fail, stumble, and sin while still pursuing Him? Well, because I’m human and still flawed. I am still flawed. but I am still trying.
<img class="size-medium wp-image-1209 alignleft" src="http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-300×250.jpg" alt="guilt11" width="300" height="250" srcset="http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-300×250.jpg 300w, http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-768×640.jpg 768w, http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-1024×853.jpg 1024w, http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-610×508 le viagra est il en vente libre en pharmacie.jpg 610w, http://dorothystrouhal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/guilt11-1080×900.jpg 1080w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” />This morning the guilt of all of my failure and unholiness that “won” this weekend began to come at me, showing me how truly un Christ like I acted. The words that were ugly, the anger (even though justified) was released in a way that was not. The sin that I allowed to have a presence in my life reminding me how far I have come but showing me even more how far I have to go. My mind said repent …repent…REPENT! but my heart already had. Guilt wanted to stay but the heart wanted to worship. Amazing how the remembrance of sin, the unholiness of our humanity hold no candle to the worship of our Father. When we worship the attacks against your mind, your soul, and your spirit have no choice but to stop and come under submission to the holy one.
If I allowed myself to wallow in my weakness I would never continue to run this race that HE has set before me. In my weakness HE makes me strong (because I cling to Him). In my sin, He covers me with grace (because I ask Him) , and in my unholiness I am made whole through His holy spirit (because He loves me). Don’t allow the rollercoasters of life and the whiplashing of your emotional flesh keep you from the worship and redemptive spirit of God. If you have screwed up royally…then repent and worship royally!
As I sit here on my couch and finishing my coffee I look straight ahead at the mound of dishes in my sink, I am grasping for the motivation to get up and do the simple things I know I should. Can I just tell you, I hate housework! I REALLY DO! It is a discipline I am embracing. I tend to have no issue with motivation for the things that I deem important or major. I can muster up the energy to plan an event, meet with someone to encourage them, or pray because those things I enjoy. However, housework, ESPECIALLY dishes….not so much! As a matter of fact I loathe them. My husband usually does them for me because he knows this and it is his way of showing me love. I guess for some reason he didn’t really love me much the evening before! Kidding!
I sit here looking at the obvious and knowing it needs to be done, yet unwilling to move….UNTIL. I see the picture that I had intentionally placed above my sink that states. ORDINARY FAITHFULNESS IS THE STUFF OF MIRACLES. Faithfulness is a choice and when you are choosing faithfulness it is usually surrounded by things you do NOT want to do. Most people don’t want the ordinary things, they want the miracle. However, when you realize that faithfulness to the ordinary are the things that miracles are made of, it can change your perspective. With that inspiration in front of my face LITERALLY I washed my dishes. It was one of the sweetest times I have had doing a chore I hate. Here is story of ordinary faithfulness and it producing the miraculous.
There was mom whose day started before the break of dawn. She was up early and did the same chores she did every morning everyday. She made breakfast, home made bread, and prepared the food that her husband had brought home the night before. This particular morning was hard, the new baby had cried a little more then usual, and she was dragging, lacking the energy and desire to even care if anyone ate but she still knew she had work to do. After her morning routine of cooking breakfast, cleaning up, making lunches and getting everyone up for the day, she kissed her husband goodbye for his long day of labor. Her son of 10 came and ask if he could go to the next town where there was a large gathering and party being held. “EVERYONE was going!” he begged. She talked to her neighbors and found comfort in the invitation that he could go with them and they would watch over him. She didn’t want to tell I’m no and deny him this fun experience but the long night with the baby exhausted her. She knew he would be safe with them and to be honest welcomed the quiet that would come. So, she packed his lunch for the long day and and kissed him on the head saying, “Have a good time, be kind, and behave.”
The day passed on and the darkness came. Her son came home, different then he left. His countenance had
changed and there was a light in him that wasn’t there before. She couldn’t even ask about his uncontrollable excitement before he began to unfold his day. What seemed like nothing at that beginning of the day had turned into much more then anyone could have imagined. Her son told her how it was getting late and the crowds there hungry. How the “men in charge” were wanting to send everyone away, but the “boss” said “No, feed them.” They said it would cost to much. Then the men saw my lunch…the one you packed for me and asked if they could use it. I remembered what you said. Be kind. So I nodded yes and gave it to them. AND you WON’T BELIEVE what happened next!
As the boy finished his story, her unbelief was diminished as the neighbors confirmed what seemed like a childhood exageration. The mom wiped her tears of joy away, hugged him through his excitement, and told him how proud she was of his generosity.
As hard, as ordinary, and as uneventful as her day was she knew she had a part in the making of a miracle. The food that she had made for the little one that she loved, out of simple faithfulness that morning, was the miracle that her son experienced and delivered to many. The bread she had made that morning through her sleepy eyes and with her tired hands not only supplied his needs but the needs of thousands. Her ordinary labor of love was what the miracle came from. How many time have we not seen our ordinary faithfulness in the miracles all around us because we were not the ones there to experience. Yet, we still had a hand in it. Don’t discount ordinary faithfulness, for it is the stuff of miracles. Now I know this story is not found just like this in the Bible, but you never know what could have been. Regardless of the details, someone had to make the bread, catch the fish, and pack the lunch.
If you would like an inspirational reminder check our Elise’s prints. They each have a story as to WHY it was made as it was and serves to remind us that we are not alone in this walk. www.littlelunchmaker.com .Thank you Elise for inspiring me.