Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life


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One Supernatural Gift We All Need From God

One supernatural giftHave you ever had high hopes for something you really wanted? As church planters, my husband and I hoped that many people would come to Christ right away and that our house church would grow quickly. Instead, we sat in our living room with our team mates week after week wondering if the doorbell would ring. It almost never did. We wondered what on earth God was up to and if we were out of our minds.

We prayed and hoped for a breakthrough, and we rejoiced when it came.

We place our hope in many things that may or may not happen.

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When You Want to Say Yes, but It’s Hard

FMF YES

I want say “yes” to God and the life He’s giving me.  On the glory days, the smiling and laughing days, it’s easy. Like last Saturday when my sweet nieces and nephews made me smile while we played charades together at my daughter’s birthday party. The joy of everyone being together while we sang and she blew out the candles made my heart sing.  On days like that it’s easy and natural to whisper, “Yes! This is the life I want! Thank you, God.”

Other days, it’s harder to say, “Yes.”

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The Beauty of In-Between

Finding God in your everyday

This is the last post of  “Finding God in Your Everyday,” a series highlighting how God shows himself to us in our everyday, messy lives. This week’s guest is my friend Abby McDonald, a writer with an encouraging message for women who wonder if what they’re doing matters. (I love Abby’s writing. I think you will too!)

The Beauty of In-Between

It was the season of slow.

I pushed my ever-cautious son to try a new activity and he resisted. With further coaxing he took a step forward only to take two steps back.

I submitted my writing to various publications and waited. Then, I waited some more. Weeks passed until finally received a “no” from one with still no response from the others.

Our church prepped for a new outreach geared toward local moms. Anticipation mounted as we discussed plans for our first meeting. Then, more waiting.

One evening as I minced garlic and boiled pasta for dinner I thought, “God, am I really making a difference? Continue reading


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When You Don’t Want What You Get

Finding God in your everyday

Welcome to “Finding God in Your Everyday,” an August blog series. Each Tuesday a different writer shares a story highlighting how God shows himself to us in our everyday, messy lives. This week’s guest is Kristi Woods, a friend with a knack for telling a good story that relates to our spiritual lives.

 

When You Don’t Want What You Get

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. 

Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Luke 22:42 NLT

 

The day bubbled with excitement. Family and friends from miles around gathered with both their presence and their gifts. It was wedding day.

I always had a strong will, a desire to “get what I wanted.” It often created internal turmoil. Wedding day and its subsequent gift opening were no different.

Paper ripped. Ooo’s and ahhh’s filled the air. A cooler, towels, and cookware were revealed. Silverware was as well. I look back at the generosity and can certainly say, “We were blessed.”

But there was one gift that didn’t fit my trivial desire: the silverware. Its nice, somewhat common pattern didn’t match the registry. I was disappointed.

Receiving the unwanted is sometimes life’s reality. Getting what we don’t want is, at times, exactly what we need.

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Mom taught me to be gracious, and I was…on the outside. In the shadow of graciousness, I tucked the new pattern into our silverware drawer and put the utensils to use. Only later did I realize what a perfect fit the new silverware was.

I thought I wanted a sleek, contemporary pattern. It ended up being a horrible solution for my family. It didn’t fit well in either my husband’s or my grip. The nice, sleek pattern slid right out of our hands, and so did the food! So much for function. So much for good.

The pattern that birthed disappointment became the appointed one. Although it wasn’t what I expected or thought I wanted, the gift-giver knew better. (I dearly love that gift giver, by the way.) The silverware was just right for our two-person family; we loved it and used it well.

It’s often best we don’t always get what we think we want – silverware, ministry, talent, or otherwise. It’s best to get what God desires.

Setting his face like flint, only speaking and acting in the Father’s will, Jesus submitted. He trusted. His feet stepped forward in our Father’s will, taking his place upon the cross and showing us the way. Joy found Jesus and us on the other side.

A rejection now can feel heavy, nearly overwhelming, somewhat like the wrong pattern of silverware. But it might be the needed “gift” of strength-building for that which is coming.

The gift of a loving and truthful, albeit slightly hurtful, word from a precious friend might not be a choice selection, but it’s often what our ears and heart need for the race.

Jesus’ death didn’t seem such a glorious gift at its onset. However, his resurrection and ascension proved powerful and beyond compare.

I long to be like Jesus. You too? Having a heart that pumps with trust for my Father’s will and offering an open hand for whatever “silverware pattern” he sets in mine – that’s how I long to be.

The fork and spoon reaction now brings a cringe. It was trivial. But walking in our Father’s will is anything but trivial. Let’s challenge one another to walk there.

Lord, Your way is right and brings life. Show me how to walk in trust, how to have an open hand for your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever gotten something you didn’t want and later realized it was what you needed?

Woods Family_0154

Kristi Woods loves a warm, sunny day and to write, read, and talk all things Jesus. She’s passionate about seeing women walk deeper in their relationship with the Lord and clicks her words of encouragement onto the screen of KristiWoods.net regularly. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived the nomadic military lifestyle and set roots, along with their furry, rescued pets, in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I love linking with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup, Holley Gerth’s #CoffeeforYourHeart, and Grace and Truth.  Check them out for more encouragement.


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10 Wonderful Reasons You Can Celebrate Today.

free FMF

We all long to be free. Kids at school squirm and watch the clock, itching for the 3:30 bell to ring finally, so they can be free to run, jump, and ride their bikes home. Tired mothers dream of freedom from diaper duty. Stressed business executives look forward to the freedom that comes with a vacation. Oppressed people strive to be free from tyranny.

Locked inside each human heart is a yearning to be free. Freedom eludes us. It’s just around the corner. Something we long for, but can’t quite attain.

The Gospel brings good news: We’ve already been set free. That’s something to celebrate.

Here are 10 freedoms that we can celebrate today.

1. Jesus came to set us free from sin and addiction.

2. We’re free from condemnation, judgment, criticism, and fears of “what will they think?”

3. We’re free to be the people God created us to be.

4. We’re free to be transformed into His image.

5. We’re free to let go of sin and be filled with Holy Spirit power.

6. We’re free to let go of bitterness and choose to forgivene.

7. We’re free to love and serve others without expectations of what they’ll do for us.

8. We’re free to change our expectations when our day doesn’t go as we planned.

9. We’re free to embrace grace when we fail.

10. Jesus set us free from death. It has no power over us. Heaven is our surest hope.

where the spirit of the Lord is

Remembering my freedoms in Christ gives me hope for transformation. I want God to have free reign in my heart. I’m free to let go of criticizing and judging others. I’m free to leave off complaining and embrace gratitude instead. I’m free to let go of the need to be in control. I’m free to be transformed as I let God be in control.

I’m taking a minute to stop and let the truth of my freedom in Christ sink in. I have reasons to celebrate!

Now it’s your turn: What does the word “free” mean to you?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Writers all around the world join in a flash mob of free writing. This week’s prompt is “Free.” Join us over at Kate’s place for fun and encouragement. Also joining with Susan B. Mead’s #DancewithJesus, and Barbie Swihart’s Weekend Brew.

Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to get fresh servings of Faith Spilling Over delivered to your inbox. Enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

Seagull Photo Credit

 


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3 Positive Steps When You Have Zero Energy

3 Positive Steps

Do you ever have days when you hit a crisis, and life suddenly feels like swimming upstream? So. Hard. To. Keep. Going.  Like last Friday at my house. At the end of a long week, I had an argument with my husband just a few hours before the CHURCH DINNER FOR COUPLES. The dinner we were helping to host. At the church where my husband serves as a pastor. I can laugh now at the irony or having an argument with my husband on the way to encourage other couples, but last Friday it wasn’t so funny.

After my sweet hubs and I talked it out and apologized to each other, I was exhausted. I had zero motivation to do anything, much less go to a COUPLES DINNER. Blazing a trail through the Amazon with a machete sounded lots more fun.

Life is a crazy beautiful gift. Our glory days fill us with joy and energy. But some days suck the life right out of us. The kids are driving us bonkers, and it’s only 11:00 a.m. A computer crashes. We wake up depressed. Those days zap our emotional and physical strength. We’re hanging onto the grace of God by a thread, and that thread just snapped.

How do we persevere when we have zero energy?

We Pray for our Portion

Psalm 73 My heart and m y flesh

Lately I remind myself often: God is my portion. He has everything I need today. When a conflict at work or a problem with a child drains our energy, we can approach His throne of grace. He has all the strength, wisdom, and joy we need. When our cup runs dry, He fills it with living waters of refreshment. When our strength is gone, He pours out His power.

So when we’re running on empty, we can ask Him, “Lord, fill my cup. Pour out your life-giving power on me.”

We Put on our Praise

No matter how uphill the day ahead looks, we always have something to praise and thank God for. When I just don’t have it in me to praise, I turn the music on loud! What can you thank God for right now? What has He done for you? What can you praise Him for? Let’s put on our praise and grow some gratitude.

We Do the Next Thing

After the Friday afternoon fiasco between my husband and me, I had zero energy and zero desire to go to that dinner. But I just did the next thing, which was to go into the kitchen and make a salad. I turned on the praise music loud. And you know what? Pretty soon I felt better. My husband and I went to church and had a great time.

Maybe your next thing is to play one more nerf blaster game with your kids, cook one more meal, or write one more email. Just do it. The Strength of your Heart will give you a strength you didn’t know you had. Before you know it, you’ll feel better.

When life sucks the life out of us, we can always come to the One who is our Portion. If we ask Him to fill our cup, He will. As we put on praise, He renews our hearts. When we do the next thing, we find we have more energy than we thought. And when we fall into bed at night with our cups empty again? We can trust God to fill them the next morning.

Now it’s your turn: How’s your energy level these days? How do you keep going when it’s low?

I love linking with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup,  Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory, and Grace and Truth.  Check them out for more encouragement.

Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to get fresh servings of Faith Spilling Over delivered to your inbox. Enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: Melika


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Why We Can Hang onto Hope in a Hopeless World

Why We Can Hang onto Hope

Have you ever faced hopeless situations when you wonder if God is on your side? Right now I’m hoping against all hope that my husband and I will find someone to sublet our apartment in the next 10 days. We’ve advertised for 6 months and prayed like crazy, but right now there’s no one banging on our door asking to rent the place.

As we prepare to relocate from Turkey to Texas for just 9 months, I’ve told God again and again how much easier my life would be if we didn’t have to pack everything up, put it in storage, and then look for another place when we return. I’m still hanging on to mustard seed faith. But if God’s plan is different than mine? Well, then I hope He’ll give me the strength to pack up during our last weeks of goodbyes!

Hope is a crucial ingredient that keeps us going through the challenges of life. Continue reading