An Expectant Heart

 

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I am learning to live a life of expectancy.  Living life in a space where I not only hope for good things, but I boldly expect them to happen.

I haven’t always been this bold, however.  Several years ago, 3 ½ to be exact, I was consumed by fear.  Afraid of my future and my now.  Feeling conflicted, confused, and disoriented, not knowing whether to look left or to look right, I became tired of being tired.  In my darkest moments, I asked God to help me and to show me, and that’s when I began to look up.

I made a conscious decision to keep my eyes fixed above and I surrendered everything. I began to trust at a deeper level, embracing the idea to expect the good each day.

At first, my shift was gradual.  I was expecting good things some days, but then others my focus was off.  But slowly, each day I began to transform from the inside out, within my soul and my heart.   In time, I came to the epiphany that surrendering was the key, and I was elated I had found it!

I’ve learned so much about navigating through difficulties since then.  So much so, that today, like the “Monday morning quarterback”, I attempt to offer hindsight solutions to my old problems.  A lot of good that does now.

Today,  I just keep moving, following the trail set before me, trusting even when I cannot see, and keeping my eyes on the prize with an expectant heart.

 

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I Am Called To Trust

 

“You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;

You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

 Psalm 30:11

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What a beautiful promise from God!  He will wipe every tear from our eyes and bless us with joy, once again.  Troubles may come our way, but we shall dance once more.

When I’m relying on my feelings or not trusting like I should, time after time God reminds me that we are to walk by faith, not by our feelings.  I am called to trust and then hold tight to God’s promises. Even when in the natural things seem unlikely to change, I am called to trust and believe in God.

Believe that He loves me.

Believe that He is good.

Believe that He will help me.

And believe that He has the power to turn things around.

 

Coming to Fruition

I finally turned the page to a new chapter when two weeks ago, I began hosting a women’s bible study group.

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Perhaps you might be thinking, well what’s the big deal?  But you know what, to me it is a very big deal!  Some time ago, God placed the burden in my heart to start a bible study group in my home.  And truthfully, I was ready and so hyped to get the plans rolling, until I got in my own way, that is.

It all began with a small whisper. “What in the world are you thinking?” they said.  And like any willing Christian, of course, I ignored it.  But then those dang whispers got louder and more frequent.  I heard, “You’re not qualified.”  “You don’t have much understanding of the bible.”   And I specifically remember the very last thing I heard, “Are you kidding me? No one will come!!!!”

And so, that was the last straw. I believed the lies. I let fear win and I did nothing! And if that’s not bad enough, the worst part was I ignored God’s request.  I knew there was a reason why He placed this burden in my heart, yet I stopped and back peddled.

For the next year, I wrestled with the idea, going back and forth, convincing myself not to begin, certain that the lies I heard were the truth.

But as I rang in 2019, I made the bold decision to put an end to my self-doubting and insecurities and I moved forward with the plans.

Today I am happy to say marks two weeks since I began my teeny, tiny bible study group comprised of 4 women and I’m one of them!  But I’m humbled, grateful, and joyful.  We are all learning from each other, studying God’s word together, and sharing our experiences in an easy and non-threatening space.  But the thing that brings me the most joy is the fact that I am finally doing what God asked of me, and what He placed in my heart a year ago has finally come to fruition.

Ebb and Flow

 

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The movement of water is a continual Ebb and Flow.  A rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.  We experience this ebb and flow in our own lives also.  If you notice the pattern, we too are in constant movement, experiencing phases or seasons of ebbing and flowing.

There was a time in my life where I was easily agitated by any degree of change. The moment there was change, my mind would immediately go into what I call “story telling mode”.  The stories would play out in my head, usually negative of course, which in turn would cause my anxiety to grow with each passing moment.

The only constant is change

But, I soon realized, that change is inevitable whether we choose to be anxious about it or not.  At any given moment, we will experience some degree of movement in all facets of our lives.  People change and situations change. When, how, and why situations end and another begin is unknown and certainly out of our control, so might as well accept them.

Reasons and Seasons

Eventually I began to look at my life in the bigger picture.  I stopped looking for the reasons why things evolved, turned directions, or ended.  Instead I understood that we all go through seasons, which ultimately meant the situation was here for a while, not here to stay.

Whether I like it or not, that isn’t point

I admit, acceptance and surrender doesn’t come easy.  It has taken me quite some time to understand that it isn’t about liking the process or even my own comfort. The game changer began when I whole heartedly believed that God allows things with a bigger plan in mind, and I don’t have to like it, see it, or even agree with it!

In life, circumstances will continue to change.  Relationships will come and will go. Emotions fluctuate. Perspectives shift.

But I will embrace it all and release control, to the ONE WHO KNOWS IT ALL.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Jeremiah 29:11

 

The Word Alive

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This weekend my friends and I attended our first ever Word Alive Women’s Conference with Lysa TerKeurst and what a weekend it was!  These past 2 days have been nothing short of life changing.  There is something to be said about sitting alongside women with similar stories and with the same hunger to hear the truth that only God’s word provides.

Lysa TerKeurst was full of wisdom and love.  She showed much humility when she shared some personal struggles she experienced the past three years and I felt a connection. I believe we all did!

First day of the conference we were handed a small interactive booklet where we wrote our own personal notes as Lysa made the bible come alive.  And as she quoted scripture, she also provided beautiful stories and healing words that penetrated our souls.  So, I’d like to end this post with an encouraging story she shared with all of us.  I pray it encourages all of you as well.

Let me set the stage for you.  In Mark 14: 32-36 Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane located at the base of the mount of olives among the olive trees.  In this verse, Jesus had been betrayed by Peter and in verse 34 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  Back then, Jesus was experiencing the same sorrow we experience here on earth today.

So, what is it about the olive tree?

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First, the olive tree must have both the brutal winds from the east and the refreshing winds from the west in order to produce its fruit.  In other words, it must have both good (refreshing winds) and bad (brutal winds).

And the same is true with us.

Next, once the fruit emerges, you can’t instantly pluck the fruit because at that point the fruit is bitter and hard. It needs time.

And the same is true with us.

Lastly, what’s most valuable about the olive tree is not the fruit, but rather it’s the oil it produces.  The interesting thing is that in order to extract the oil, the olive must first be pressed and crushed, and pressed and crushed until finally the oil is produced.

And the same is true with us.

Could it be that much like the olive tree, we too can be pressed and crushed on all sides by life’s circumstances?  And much like the olive tree, when we endure the pressure, when we endure the pressing and the crushing, something so much more beautiful and valuable will emerge.

Friends, don’t be discouraged by life’s pressing and crushing forces, for if you endure, in time, a new and beautiful “you” will emerge!

He Doesn’t Need A Vote

When God gets ready to promote you, He doesn’t need a vote.  He doesn’t need your friends, he doesn’t need your neighbors, your co-workers, or your boss.  When God gets ready to promote you, He will simply do it.

Keep looking up waiting with expectancy!  You will rise to new levels and go higher than you ever dreamed.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26