Live Authentically


So 2020, huh? Wow.

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been doing some reflection. There seems to have been a recurring theme: LOSS. Collectively and personally. They just kept coming.

Professional losses, lifestyle, friendships and relationships, happiness, security. I was accustomed to keeping it together, but it was all falling apart. I saw myself on the road to an undisclosed destination with a trail of things I’d loved and lost behind me. Things I’d worked for. Things I’d depended on. Things I’d prayed for. Things I’d loved. There were so many missing pieces and I was absolutely reeling. I felt like I was losing who I was. Anxiety kept me awake at night. And the sadness. Simultaneously empty and heavy.

In the spirit of authenticity with God, I had to ask him, “Why did you take so much from me? I gave you everything. I’m doing what you told me. Are you angry with me?”

I had to ask him, “Why did you take so much from me?”

His answer– “I have plans for you.” Jeremiah 29:11 type plans. God wanted me to have the audacity to believe that despite everything, He was still in control and that everything was going according to plan. I held onto Psalm 20:7(NKJV). “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” And I’ve fallen in love with 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (NLT) “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.” It reminded me that:

  1. God chose me
  2. He did not choose me to pour out his anger and wrath on me (Jesus took it all)
  3. He chose me to save me

When I questioned whether he was just trying to hurt me (shameful to even admit) he reminded me that he chose me, not for wrath, but for salvation and love.

“Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.”

Lamentations 3:32-33 (NLT)

My faith didn’t cause me to supernaturally transcend, at least not in the physical sense. But I can attest to the fact that his peace surpasses understanding. Walking in the will of God brings a stability that I can’t describe or comprehend. It transcends. Peace is available in the process.

I’d love to say that things are perfect now, they’re not. I’m still on the journey. And I’m perfectly okay with being a work in progress. But I can say that things are a lot clearer these days.

I’m able to see that the interruptions actually protected me. The heartbreaks taught me how to grieve properly. Those who walked away made room for those who entered. The struggle was only there to transition me into the things I’d prayed for. What I lost made me grateful for what I still had. The sadness taught me that joy can always coexist, and overshadow. The low points showed me even more what gifts I have in the people who loved me when I had nothing to offer them. Instability taught me about the solid Rock. Loneliness taught me about the friend I have in Jesus. My weakness showed me his strength.

Loneliness taught me about the friend I have in Jesus.

Now at the end of 2020, I’m living in the realization of so many long awaited answers to prayer. I’ve met some amazing people. And I’ve experienced and accomplished things I had only imagined. The person I was has been refined. More at peace, more joyful and closer to God than I’ve ever been. I’ve experienced him in a new way. This season of my life has cost me dearly, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I share the sentiments of Job in chapter 42:5 (NLT) “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” I think that was his plan all along.

Obedience and Submission

He cares about the small things

So here’s what I’m learning–It’s not always imperative to know God’s plan in full.

That may sound obvious, or even humorous, because how could we ever actually know his plan in full? We can’t. And I know that in my heart. But I like for things to be in control, in MY control. But God never promised to tell me everything. Then I would just rest in my knowledge of the future. Nope. Submission requires relinquishing control. He will often show me one step or even a far off goal, but the plan for how to get there isn’t fully visible. That’s where faith comes in. That’s where obedience comes in. Proverbs 3:6 (NLT) says this, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

It was one of those chills, hair standing on the back of your arm moments. I was dealing with a lot of uncertainty and I had been praying, “Show me your will, Lord! What do you want me to do? Please, don’t let me miss it!” As I was sitting in church during the message, the pastor (my dad) pretty much said exactly what I’d been saying to God in my prayers. “You’re asking God to use you and God says, ‘What do you think I’ve been doing?’” He went on to expound on the value of the daily occurrences, things we may deem as mundane and insignificant. *Pause* Has that ever happened to you? God sent someone with an answer to a question you hadn’t even asked yet? Whoa.

But anyway. That message opened my eyes. Each small act of kindness that the Holy Spirit empowers me to do, every time I read my bible, each time I seek his will and submit to him, each decision he helps me make, and each door he closes or opens, that’s all part of him using me and leading me. It doesn’t always appear grand. It’s the still small voice, it’s the decisions I make in private. It’s the heart fixes he does on me behind closed doors. I was so worried about the big picture and that I would miss his will that I didn’t realize I was walking in it. When we are obeying, seeking, reading, praying, worshipping and submitting to him in the little things, his will is being done in our lives. We just have to remain faithful in seeking him. Psalm 119:10-11 (NIV) says, “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The small things are the big things. The private things, the heart posture. It’s important to him and it positions us to do everything else he has planned for us to do. Can we obey in the small things and trust him to lead us to the place he has prepared? Isaiah 49:23b (NLT) says, “Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.” And even when we mess up along the way, he knows our frame and his mercy is great. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

Sometimes doing his will is not the huge, mystical, scary task we imagine. It’s trusting him to guide us when we don’t see the way. It’s the day to day calling. Days turn into years, and years turn into a lifetime of faithfulness and walking with God. When we walk with God, we don’t have to worry about missing our destination.


I know who you are

“I know who You are.” It’s a prayer “go-to” for me. It reminds me of God’s character. It helps me focus on who I’m praying to more than the situation I’m praying about. It revitalizes my faith. It reminds me that he’s a good Father and that he only gives good gifts. It reminds me that he has all power.  It reminds me that his character never changes, who he was is who he is, and who he will always be. I love James 1:17, (NLT) “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” And this one, Hebrews 13:8, (NKJV) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

During a particularly dumpster fire-ish time in my life recently, I was praying and I said this familiar phrase to God. “I know who you are.” He spoke back to me this time in a still, small voice, “Do you know who you are?”

 So, who am I, really? I’m his child, greatly loved and precious, heard and seen, accepted and safe in Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a friend of God. John 15:13-14 (NLT) “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

In times of instability, our stability comes from knowing the God in whom we believe. Not just knowing of him, but actually knowing him.  It’s a lifelong journey and it starts with a personal relationship with him. Just like any relationship, as you navigate life’s circumstances with someone, you grow in love, trust, and understanding. He wants us to walk with him the same way. John 15:4a (NKJV) says, “Abide in me, and I in you. To abide with him, to stay close and really get to know him in a personal relationship, it’s why Jesus died. So that we can have access to him.

We do ourselves and our destiny a disservice when we settle for knowing trivia facts about God instead of seeking to really know God. Knowing him changes everything. Knowing him builds our faith and calms our fears. Really learning about his character teaches us that he’s trustworthy and everything we have and all that we submit to him is safe with him.  2 Timothy 1:12b (NKJV) sums it up this way, “Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” And he’s not hard to find according to Jeremiah 29:13-14a, (NLT) “’If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord.” Do you know who he is?

Hand in hand with getting to know him, is getting to know who we are in Christ. As we learn to see ourselves as God sees us, our perspective, our plans, our self-esteem, everything has to come into alignment with what he says about us. We are not the names we’ve been called, we are not the sum total of our mistakes, we are not our insecurities. We are exactly who our Creator says we are. We would do well to not ever forget that. Do you know who you are?

The Blessing

It’s still yours

One day in heaven will be worth it all. There are treasures stored up for us in heaven. One day, God will make it alright.

It’s true. And I’m glad about it.

But what about today? What about now? Are we to simply endure life on earth because of the hope of heaven? Well honestly, the hope of heaven would be enough. But God is so gracious, that he doesn’t make us wait until that day to partake in his blessings. His underserved blessings. Undeserved.

God has a blessing for us. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) states “’For I know the plans I have for you.’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) tells us this, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  So God not only has a plan for us, but it’s a good one, personalized with forethought, and according to his own will. What a blessing to be included in the plan of God. In a world where rejection and isolation are so real, God doesn’t leave us out. He includes us. Knowing all he knows about us, every secret and hidden thing, all the touchy topics from our past that we keep quiet about, he still choses us. That will never, not blow me away.

Consider Jacob. A trickster and a deceiver. But look at what God told him in Genesis 28:15 (NLT) “What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”  In spite of his past, in spite of his flaws, in spite of himself, the blessings that God had for Jacob, belonged to Jacob.

Now, understand me, God has left us very specific standards concerning how we should live and we have to honor our part in his promises so as not to hinder the blessings that he wants to give us. But what I’m getting at is this, the blessing on our lives is not because of us, it’s because of God. It’s not merit based. We can’t earn it. He blesses us because he chooses to bless us. It’s all because of Christ. 

What God has for us may look different, but rest assured that what’s yours is yours. No one can take it. With this knowledge, we can lay aside envy and jealousy. We can be truly happy for someone who has what we want, knowing that God has a blessing for us, too. And he only gives good gifts. The concept is simple in theory, tough in practice. But the Holy Spirit is our constant Helper as we seek to learn and put God’s word into practice. John 14:26 (ESV) says “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Rest in knowing that God won’t leave you until he’s finished giving you everything he’s promised you. Be encouraged today. The blessing is still yours.