But God...I am so tired

There are some days when I feel exhausted after working 3 jobs but usually after a good night's sleep..I am back! Not this week...day after day I feel more tired. Physically...mentally...emotionally...exhausted. My prayer to God of "Please give me energy" is spoken many times a day. I find myself asking, "Will I have enough energy to fulfill God's plan let alone make it through today?" I have the desire and the obedience but how can I take on anymore?

I started wondering why God didn't make us stronger??? I could do SO much more for His glory if I wasn't so wiped out after the day is over!! We have to realize that we were never meant to carry the burdens of this life alone. God created us to be weak so we could find our strength IN Him! It is through Jesus Christ that all things are possible...ALL THINGS. Well, if God can heal the sick and save the sinners...I know He can give me all the energy I need to fulfill His plan for my life. All I need to do is trust Him. I truly believe that God will never give us more than we can handle and everything has a purpose. Every tear and every laugh has purpose.

When I am as tired as I am today...I find myself speaking to God almost on an hourly schedule. God please keep me stay awake while I am driving. God please help my students not be so nervous. God help me to not have a short temper with my husband....and so on. Maybe exhaustion's purpose is to bring us back to focus and remind us that the ALL things come from above. Even the ability to get out of bed, drive a car or make dinner. So next time you find yourself tired, really tired...stop and don't pray for a lighter load, just pray for a stronger back. He will take care of you and give you all the energy you need.

Not Perfect but Forgiven

I wish I could be perfect for God. Perfect past and perfect future. That is impossible...especially considering the past. It seems even when I have the best intentions I can stray so easily. I find myself wishing that when I offer advice...I could say that I didn't give in and you shouldn't either...but that usually isn't the case. How can you encourage people to follow Christ if I can't do it right all the time? On the other hand, why should we take advice from people who didn't follow their OWN advice? It is a tough question that has been on my mind lately. A question that I am still not sure what to with...

While reading the "What happens when women say Yes to God" by Lysa Terkeurst today I came across something close to an answer:

God doesn't expect perfection from us, He expects a person humble enough to admit their weeknesses and committed enough to press through and press on.He will guide us past the doubts and fears and list us up to fulfill our calling.

I can do that...I can admit my weaknesses but still have the commitment to my Lord to press on and keep trying to glorify Him in all that I can do. It is through HIM that I will be able to rise to His purpose...and only through Him. I am already forgiven and covered in grace even with all my imperfections. That is pretty hard to wrap your mind around but it is true...today, tomorrow and forever. 

Who will I be today?

Even though my heart has changed and I am a different person than I was a few years ago...sometimes I find that old self just creeping back in. When I am in company of certain people or in a particular place, for some reason there are slight changes in my behavior. Some of them are conscious and some of them are not.

I teach courses at a local college and it happens to be the same school I attended when I was in college. It is something about being on that campus or possibly it is being around a bunch of impressionable college kids, that makes my behavior change a little. I find myself making jokes that I usually wouldn't make or using language that hasn't been part of my vocabulary in a while. This isn't a Christian school so maybe I feel a little more freedom since I spend most of my days working at a Christian school. But I am a Christian and that is not based around a geographical location.

Well, whatever this is and why it is happening has been on my mind lately. I don't like "putting on a show" for anyone, ever so I just want to be one of those people who is genuine and purely themselves all the time! Do these people even exist?

As a challenge to myself and to you...I will start trying to not change my behavior based on my situation.  That may mean having some friends ask me, "Why are you acting different today?" or not being as "liked" by my college students or making people feel a little uncomfortable but these are all opportunities to show as example of what is looks like to life my life for Christ. Not just at this place and with these people...but across the board.

I would rather be someone that stands out in a positive way then someone who blends into the mundane crowd. I know that I have difficulty explaining why I have changed parts of my life to the people around me. When people ask, I am tempted to say "just because" or "it really isn't a big deal" but it is! Now, my response will be, "I have chosen to live my life differently because my life has been changed by Jesus Christ" Although it is difficult to say...once the words come out of my mouth...I can feel Jesus becoming more real to me each time. He also becomes more real to the people around me which is the real big picture of this all. Having my Jesus become more real in my everyday life and showing others the love and peace that He can bring to their lives as well.

the 11th hour...

Today is the 1st of the month...the day that our mortgage is due. The past 3 months have been very challenging for us financially. For a few weeks I would stress out about it...then I would try not to think about it...then I would trust in God for a few weeks and this has been a cycle for the past 3 months and honestly the past 3 years. Well, this last month I was too tired to be stressed, too smart to ignore it and so all I was left with was trusting God. I remember my friends looking at me like I was crazy when I would simply say, "well, I don't know how we are going to make the payment but I trust that God will provide"
This was ok, till we have about 7 days left...due to the work God has been doing in my heart the past 3 months, I was able to say that with more and more conviction. August 30th came along and we had come to this conclusion:

"We are so blessed that God provided all that He did...It's not bad at all, that we just need to find a few hundred bucks from somewhere else. I was still very grateful and felt blessed that we had made it out with only a little in the red. I had actually celebrated that we had made it through the summer"

September 1st started rough...my alarm didn't go off but my dog's impatient bladder saved the day and woke me up just a little late. I knew it was the first and I had to go online and make the payment but I was debating where to get the little we didn't have. Credit line? Borrow from family? Credit Card? I had just put it on the back burner for the work day...

Well, something happened that never happens...I can't give details but a check was given to me. A check that had been in the making months and months before. If you knew all the circumstances...you would know just how unlikely this was to ever happen. It was what we needed and more...I broke down. I felt God blessing my patience and trust in His provision. It was much more than I could have every expected...not a life changing amount but it changed my heart. On the day the payment was due, my Jesus came through. This was just one miracle of the day and I will share the others later but this was so big for me.

God knows your heart and knows your needs. I felt so much joy today that I hope others can feel when God answers their prayers. He is there, He is real and He will provide. God is so good...today was the best day in a very long time.

Are you Focused?

Today I received a clear message from God...first I read it on the Proverbs 31 Ministries facebook and a few minutes later read the same scripture in the book I am reading by Lysa Terkeurst "What happens when women say Yes to God" This is what is was:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. ~Isaiah 26

2 years ago today, was my wedding day. The best day of my life but it was the beginning of a rough 2 years. I would like to change the saying of "the first year is the hardest" to, "the first few years are the hardest..." During this time we have struggled with many issues even though our love was always strong for each other. Love is just one part...an important part...but only one piece and not the most important. 

During the past 2 years we have turned our focus from our marriage and each other to our God. This was a process that brought us to terrible lows and forced us to look up because there was nothing else to look at below. Our focus is a powerful thing...it can bring Joy or it can bring anxiety. Anxiety is the worst feeling in the world because of the pure unknown possibilities that are always the worst. Feeling of anxiety can ruin your life and relationships. Trusting in the Lord will bring peace...true perfect peace. Trusting is not something that comes easily to most people and certainly not to me regarding anything financial. Trusting the Lord is an every day and every hour battle for me. I have to constantly remind myself that my God is a God who provides and He has brought us through one full year of only one income. He has provided up till now, why would he stop now? One of the many lies that Satan wants us to be believe....that God won't follow through. But he WILL and it will be beyond our expectations. 

So I ask you today, what is your focus on? Job, relationships, money, health or the future? Bring your focus to the One who provides and has all your days in His sight...with your focus set to the right direction, everything else will fall into place and you will feel peace. 

Beth Moore says, "To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life journey. Peace is submission to a trustworthy Authority, not resignation from activity." 

I pray that you will feel His perfect peace, like a river. Keep your sights focused on the Lord. 

God doesn't waste the wait...

Do you ever feel like you are standing still? In your life? In your career? I don't like waiting...not in the grocery store line, for a webpage to load or even the light to turn green. We live in a "I need it now" society. God doesn't go by the rules of our society. Waiting is something that we may see as useless...down time...good thing I have facebook on my phone...wasted. For God...the time that we are waiting is precious. 

There are days when I can't believe my husband has been looking for full-time work for over a year...that is a long time to wait. Even longer when I have been working 3-4 jobs at a time during the past year to keep us afloat. But waiting is something that God does not waste and the time that we wait has such a great purpose that we cannot see. In the past year my marriage, my faith, family relationships and lessons learned could be the topics of 100 blog posts.  Those things were totally worth the wait but during the trails it felt almost too much to bare. 

Honestly, I tell God that I am tired from waiting. I express my concerns, stresses and sadness. I used to feel bad about this because I am so blessed in my life that I really shouldn't complain about anything! But God knows my heart and knows what breaks it. One day on a ride home from work...my thoughts were running wild with doubts about being able to pay our next months bills. I caught myself forgetting about His promise to provide. I worked really hard to hold back the tears...till I could feel God's arms around me and the simple message. "It's ok to cry Michelle, I am hurting with you" It was permission to be upset, sad, worried and honest about how I was feeling. I let it all out that day and promised to not "keep it in" anymore. God is my God and he knows me better than anyone else. Would you hide your true feelings from your best friend? your Mom? your husband? Then why would I try to hide them from the One who made me. 

There are many ways to give praise...in my times of "waiting" some days I can lift up pure joy to my Jesus...other days I can offer my tears of sadness and fear as an offering of honesty and trust that He will carry me through anything.

 Lord, I hand over to you my good days and my bad. My happiness and my pain. You are always in control and I ask You to use my "wait" as You see fit to prepare me and mold me into the person You made me to be. 

 2 Samuel 22:31 
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

One of my favorite songs to get through the times of waiting is 

Do I have to...?

Do you remember that feeling you had when you knew you were in big trouble when you got home after school, softball practice or from a friends house. I used to hate that feeling of knowing the minute I walking in that door that we would be having a "talk." Well, here I am at the age of 26 with those same feelings sometimes. It is usually after I've had an argument with my husband over the phone or sent a text message that I should have kept to myself. It is even worse when I am the one that is home waiting to have the argument...just waiting. I don't even like the word "argument"...so let's say heated discussion. ;o)

One of my biggest challenges is to keep my mouth shut sometimes! As a strong communicator, I could argue any side of the case and very well. I find my words flying out of my mouth before I even know what I am saying. These tendencies to yell at others without thinking about the consequences is of our flesh and not of the Spirit. It is not easy to keep your words to a minimum and make them all nice and fluffy when you feel a REAL need to get a strong point across. This is one of my most challenging areas of my life that I am working on to be more like Christ. Last night was my first trial...I was really upset...probably the most I have been in a while but my husband wasn't going to be home for another 2 hours. That could have given me lots and lots of time to get ready for the "heated discussion." I choose not to sit there and sulk (for very long). I choose not to call my mother and complain, cry and whine. Instead I took my dog for a walk and talked it out with God first. We need to remember that God wants to know our struggles and our pain...He wants us to share those concerns and frustrations with Him...but at the end of that, we need to hand it over.

Yes, some words were still exchanged and some tears were shed when my husband got home. But I didn't regret anything that was said that night. I went to sleep with peace in my heart, placed there by God. This morning I woke up to a quiet house to read from Lysa Terkeust's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" This was near the scripture the book brought me to and was great for me to read today.

1 Peter 3:8-11 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessings, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing for Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

Step one...

I am your everyday girl who grew up in the sticks in Northern Wisconsin...I had big dreams and big plans. Many of my past 10 years were spent drifting from the life I wanted to live and I constantly found myself feeling alone, unfulfilled and knowing that this wasn't the life that I was meant to have. I had played the role that was expected that day, hour or minute. One minute I was giving campus tours...and the next I was in charge of the beer bong. Calling it a "double life" wasn't enough...more like a actress who was always playing another character. I survived college (barely) met the man that is now my husband (after meeting many frogs) and got a Masters degree. It was not until the past few years that I felt the Lord changing my heart and my life. This blog is the everyday stories, struggles and triumphs in my goal to live my life for Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.