“Because God’s Love Is Perfect”

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

One summer, I sat on the chair at the kitchenette table next to my dad. Out of curiosity, I decided to ask him how his faith was. He gave me a simple and honest answer that surprised me. It was surprising because I hadn’t heard an adult give an answer like what he provided me with. He casually explained that it was hard because he always has to keep working on it. I have admired my dad for giving me that answer because he was also unknowingly reassuring me I wasn’t alone in my journey. I have no doubt he knew what I was asking.

Renee Swope, the author of this devotional, reminded her readers we have to constantly work on our faith. Just as with fitness, exercising once or twice will not make a body healthy. It also doesn’t mean an exemption from doctor visitations.

It is similar with our relationship with God. Reading His word isn’t effective until we check inwardly. Until we bow before the Lord and listen to His diagnosis of our hearts. He has a way of revealing that we need something repaired. He hates seeing us coming to Him falling to our knees in pieces.

I do fall before Him in pieces quite often. Sometimes I read His word without reflecting on it or how I can apply it in my life. He points out one thing I need repaired and I choose another, ignoring Him. Eventually, I listen to Him and I am able to move forward to the next step of growth.

Let us remember to take our hearts before the Lord and let Him examine us.

“Becoming the Woman God Created You to Be”

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

1 Corinthians 12:18-20

We all wonder what it would be like to possess traits and characteristics we do not have. I will not deny that sometimes I wish I was taller or that I was more driven. It is so easy for me to see my flaws and what I lack. But honestly, I am not as hard on my physical features as I am to my mental and spiritual development. I have embraced all that I am physically, but wisdom is one of the things I seek most importantly. With wisdom, I know I can only seek by fearing the Lord. Because of this, I am difficult on myself when it comes to my personality I have yet to understand.

I do compare myself to other women who I think “have it together” or have matured. I know I am only seeing some parts of them. I haven’t seen their worsts. I haven’t seen them in their pits of despair. The women I do look up to are the ones I know or heard have fought battles, fallen, and restored repeatedly. The ones I compare myself to are those I have never seen fall. The ones who seem so perfect, but in their silent cries, they are falling.

I have to remind myself that each of us has tailored uniqueness. We must understand that the Lord gave us each other to learn and grow from one another. We were made incompletely perfect in the eyes of God for the reason that we may willingly grow into the beauty He created us to be.

“Sometimes I Have to Boss My Heart Around”

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

Psalm 103: 1-2

There are days when I am overwhelmed with stress that I find myself staring into the unknown for a long time. When I’m stressed out, I freeze. Other times, it takes away my appetite. But I do this until I notice myself getting into a pit of despair and disappointment. I do wake myself up and command my heart to get out of the situation. I pride myself for it. It takes awhile, but it’s enough time for me. I have been working on laying my burdens down to God instead of attempting to carry them on my own. When I feel overwhelmed with emotions, I am reminded to take heart, and to praise God. Even when it’s hard to, I command my heart to remember His goodness.

As it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, give thanks in all circumstances. I will remember to breathe and lay it all to Him. I know He will get me out of any difficult situation. It might not be right away, but it will be easier to move forward giving my full trust to Him. Going into despair and pit of disappointment will lead me nowhere but discouraged. God is always good even when human eyes fail to see that.

From Wimp to Warrior

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

Gideon became confident when he saw God’s power. But when God told him to decrease the number of men for battle, he became fearful. So he asked God for confirmation to keep His promise to save Israel. If I was in Gideon’s shoes, I would have done the same. I have asked God for signs and confirmations for certain doors I’ve been afraid to step into. 

There was once a woman who told me that God has something big planned for me, but something is holding me back. She was right. I have many moments of being a wimp and I still am when given certain tasks. I picture myself as a child who’s being dragged by a parent because either I don’t want to go or I am afraid. I am no warrior. But I do know that God sees His children as warriors. I want to consider myself as a warrior. I look up to warriors in books, movies, and in real life. But we all know that in reality, even warriors fall sometimes. 

I will always be amazed at how much God has confidence in us. He knows His truth give us the strength to make us turn from wimps to warriors. He knows we have weaknesses and yet, He sees us as so much more than conquerors. 

“Getting Past Our Past”

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

The past is the hardest to forget especially if it was traumatic. I try not to dwell in it, but it is so difficult not to when you’ve only known pain. Certain doubts are triggered by certain memories. I don’t know how and why negative feelings can lead to my childhood memories when I clearly know they have no connection. Though I know fears and doubts only have one goal, I still let myself drown in them. I am an expert at self-pity, but I also know when I am doing it. I allow myself to get into this position then I wipe myself off and rise up.  

I know if I let myself stay in it for too long, I will destroy myself. The past can damage my true identity if I let it. The past can blind me from the truth of who I truly am in the eyes of God— if I let it. The failed past relationships I’ve had do not dictate my worth. God can use these doubts to overcome my battles. Just as God used Gideon’s doubts to save Israel:

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 

Judges 6:15

He will walk with me in my darkest past and come out victorious. I only have to listen to God and who I am to Him. God didn’t create me only to watch me destroy myself. He knows I am weak, but He also knows He is my strength.

“How Did I Get Here”

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Jeremiah 17:7

When God calls me to do something I feel like I won’t be able to do, my automatic answer is “why”. Like a toddler needing reasons for matters that don’t make sense. I need an explanation for everything I don’t have understanding of. Although, I know that if the Lord provides me an answer. Like Jonah, I would flee. He knows I would not do it. He knows it would be too much for me. Yet, one of the reasons I know I would flee is because I am only  surveying my strength and overlooking the power of God.

When God calls me and my confidence is not in Him, the criticisms that were thrown upon me start to overflow. All that I am in the eyes of God disappear. My body slowly feels the heaviness of this burden that I will never be good enough. My head looks down in embarrassment. My heart, oh, but my heart can feel all the painful memories of my childhood. I shatter to pieces as I remember the piercing words that were used to identify me by the man who stated how much he adored me. Then I remember my daughter. My first born that I didn’t have the ability to raise and love. I inflict these sufferings on myself until I cannot fight any longer. When I start to look up to God with teary eyes, I remember all the wonders of what God can do and His promises.

Swope reminded her readers about Gideon who doubted he could do what God called him to do. Gideon was doubtful of himself and God. When God revealed His power to Him, Gideon became confident of himself. Swope empathetically advised to remember I must not focus on what I cannot do, but what God can do. She added that I must figure out what triggered these doubts and be honest to God about them. It will not be easy, but it’s a process I am willing to pursue. 

I was created in His own image. I can do all things because of Him. He promises that I will prosper. I will overcome these uncertainties when I put my confidence in the Lord. 

“Turning Points”

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 

1 Peter 2:9

Renee Swope illustrated a perfect example of a shadow of doubt. The shadow of doubt that I create myself because I face the wrong direction. I have choices to make and sometimes, I choose the shadow because I fear its size. Swope stated that shadows are made when the light has been blocked. This light is God’s truth. If I turn towards the light, I would only see God’s truth. But it is not so easy to do. 

When I am overwhelmed, it is so easy to turn towards the shadow of my doubts. The fear that I am not good enough. My insecurities of my physical features and financial situation. The mistakes I’ve made. Who I was before I was adopted. It’s difficult to turn towards God’s truth because when I am covered in lies, I shackle myself with them too. I stare and stare into the shadow creating a pool of my tears hoping I can drown in them too. In my mind, I would believe the whispers that disappearance is the only solution. I would believe the lies that others would love to see me defeated. It is then I turn to the light and remember that God did not die on the cross for me so I can surrender to the darkness. He died for me because He loves me. He died for me because He sees value in me. He died for me because I am His. 

I can choose to face the shadows to tell me how unworthy I am. I can face the shadow to cover me with doubts. Or I can choose to face the light with the shadow behind me. I can face the light and be covered in truth. The truth that I am His special possession. The only valid truth I need to believe and remember.