The 4 Rs of Resurgence from Rock-Bottom [day 24: revise]

I’ve had one real rock-bottom moment since living on the mission field. I sat in front of a doctor sure I was gravely ill only to be told I was medically fine but mentally falling apart. A stressful first year in our new home — which involved earthquakes, 2 moves, a scary accident, and power and food/gas shortages — culminated in a wound up ball of worry with my name on it.

I had made myself sick with trying to manage all of this mess in the most perfect way possible. I carried so much pressure to make it all OK for my family. The harsh reality I had to face was that everyone was OK but me. I was living in a foggy state of fear that was blinding me to all the blessings at hand.

All of these fears — which I passed off as a natural response to stressful stimuli — actually revealed my deepest fear of them all: fear of failure. When thinking clearly, I am sure God is pleased with me. But when the stakes are high and the stress is higher, my feeble heart needs reminding. In these times of lost focus, it is likely I fall short of God’s standard for me. I forget whose I am or I forget my #1 goal in life.

Sometimes, the temptation to sin is stronger than my resolve to follow Jesus. Sometimes my emotional response to stressful stimuli is downright ugly. Sometimes I treat the people I love most in ways I would be ashamed to admit to you here. Sometimes I am just a stinking, rotten failure. And that’s a hard pill to swallow for a natural perfectionist.

However, when I faithfully practice celebrating small, I can see failure as a starting place. From rock- bottom, I cry out to Jesus in repentance for the ways I fail to reflect the ‘heart surgery’ I’ve undergone. With full confidence He will receive me, I — His broken child — collapse into His loving arms. I embrace the failure that enables me to clearly see His perfect love for me. His gentle reassurance tells me what I already know — I’ve got to get a grip on this pet sin of mine.

Because the stone cold truth is there’s no sin bigger than God’s forgiveness, and I am never too far away for God’s love to find me. He wants to work His will and way in my life and will go to great lengths to show me this. Fallen as I am, I will fail Him. I will mess up a thousand times in a thousand different ways. When I find myself face down in failure, it is imperative to pick myself up enough to run back to Scripture. There I find the truths that set me back on the path of big dreams where I celebrate small and live my life for Jesus alone.

In preparation for another rock-bottom moment, I can rehearse these truths to strengthen my heart and my confidence in the One who will meet me there.

The 4 Rs of Resurgence from Rock-Bottom

Remember

God loves you.
You have been made righteous in His sight.
He will forgive, and you can bear fruit for Him.

Repent

Confess to Jesus your wrongs and turn from the bad habits that don’t serve Him well. If they don’t serve Him well, they won’t serve you or others well either.

Revise

Plan to do right and arm yourself with Scripture.
Rid your life of the things that keep you from walking in the Spirit and serving Christ wholeheartedly.
Establish accountability with a trusted friend, church group, or pastor/pastor’s wife who will support you and encourage you with the truth of God’s word.

Rise

Keep following Jesus and seeking to fulfill the big dreams He has given you.
Grow in your relationship with the Lord and see Him perform a great work in you.
Lead others to Jesus and disciple those that walk the road behind you.
Trust that the Lord does all things well and will continue to perfect you according to His will.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:16-18

 

Which of these stages do you find yourself in today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Wowed by God’s Work in Me [day 23: work]

I’m one to stop and smell the roses. It seems I’ve rubbed off on my kids in this case.  My daughter is adept at noticing details of the day like cotton candy sunsets and full moons. She stops to admire a rosebush in the middle of a mess of weeds. My son notices every plane that flies overhead and can pick out a kite stories above as we ride in a crowded car. He stops to greet each dog (true story!) and explodes in joy at the sight of a butterfly in flight.

You don’t have to teach kids to be wowed by the wonderful world we live in. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we are admonished in Scripture to become like little children.

Another reason may also be to encourage our dependence on Jesus. Surely, this child-like awe of our Creator and total dependence on Him are paramount to cultivating and sustaining a life-changing faith. I love how Psalm 104 nods at both of these.

The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever:
The LORD shall rejoice in his works.
He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth:
He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
My meditation of him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the LORD.
Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth,
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless thou the LORD, O my soul.
Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 104:31-35

Throughout this chapter, the Psalmist celebrates Gods works of both creation and providence. His mighty work didn’t stop when He looked and said, “It is good.” He is intimately involved in lovingly sustaining His creation. And He is intimately involved in lovingly sustaining me. The power that put the world in motion and keeps it spinning precisely according to His divine will is alive and working in me. I can trust that the work He does is good for me even when it doesn’t feel like it.

God doesn’t need me to be wowed by Him, but it benefits me to celebrate small in His work I see in the world and the work He does within me. When I cultivate this daily habit of celebrating small, my meditation of the Lord can be sweet and my heart can be glad. I’ll rejoice in His work, and I’ll totally depend on Him just like a child who paints pictures in the sky and never ceases to be amazed at the puffs of perfection. He is totally helpless but totally happy because the world is just as it should be.

While that babe may not know who created the clouds or keeps his heart beating, I do. I put my life in His hands each day because I know He is only capable of good work in the world — and in me, too.

How can you praise God’s provision in your life?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Create a Habit of Celebrating Small [Day 3: create]

It only took me about 28 years, but I’ve finally started to make my bed every morning. I pick up all the clothes scattered around the floor, open the curtains, and turn on the oil diffuser. It takes me 5 minutes at most but is a great start to my day. I’ve heard it takes at least 21 days to create a habit. and I’m fairly certain I’ve made my bed that many days. A lot the time, it gets unmade by one of the resident monsters that live in my house (see below).

Similarly, celebrating small — praising God in the small things of everyday life — is a habit that must be cultivated. At least for me, this is something that does not come naturally. Finding the joy in each and every day is like finding a needle in a haystack some days when my temper is as high as the temperatures in Kathmandu. When my heart dreams big and longs for more fulfilling days, praising Him for anything other than His innate goodness seems pretty much impossible. Retraining myself to think praisefully –to celebrate small– is a task ongoing. I’ve found there some questions I can ask myself to help me see so that I may rewire this mind set to default negative.

  1. How did God show up today?
  2. How did God speak to me today?
  3. Did He answer a prayer or give hope in a situation?
  4. Did He allow me to get one step closer to a big dream?
  5. Did God use me in the life of another person — or someone else in my life?

These are just starter questions. The point is to create a habit of seeing God in our daily lives and praising Him for the little victories He graciously gives us each day. Remembering the end goal isn’t everything, we can magnify God in the mundane and praise Him with each painstakingly small step of progress towards our big dreams.

Thinking this way is maybe the only better start to each day than a freshly made bed. I’m so glad I’ve created this habit.

 

How will you create a habit of celebrating small?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Tell God about Your Big Mountains [Day 2: tell]

There’s a quote I’ve seen floating around the internet in various meme forms — “Don’t tell God how big your mountain is. Tell the mountain how big your God is.” It’s a good one, right? Makes ya wanna pump your fist in Satan’s face, yeah? I think so, too. God is certainly bigger than any problems we face. As I dwell on this, I can hear my sweet daughter’s voice singing, “Higher than the mountains that I face… stronger than the power of the grave!” — she never remembers that last word, and I have to remind her each time. But it’s worth reminding her and me too. Our God is mighty.

BUT God wants His children to tell Him about those big mountains, too. God desires that I share my big dreams with Him along with all the fears and doubts that muddle their clarity and my ability to see His hand delicately working in each situation. He wants me to tell Him about the seemingly unsurpassable mountain, and all the ways I’m sure I’m not the one to attempt to scale it. Telling my mountains about my big God isn’t for the mountain, it’s for me. He shows me my smallness and complete inability to do anything useful apart from Him because He wants me to depend on Him.

I’m telling God about my mountains today — about my big dreams. I’ll share a few with you here so you can see what I mean, and I hope you’ll take the time to tell God about those big mountains of yours as well.

  • Marriage – to have a life-long, happy marriage which reflects Christ’s beautiful union with His bride, the church and conforms us into His image.
  • Motherhood- to raise babies into young adults who love Jesus and are submissive to His will for their lives.
  • Missional Living- to assist my husband in seeing a church-planting movement in Nepal and to be a faithful light in my spheres of influence.

As we celebrate small, we can praise Him for all the ways He works along the way. No matter how taxing the journey may seem, we take hope in a God who never tires and supplies strength to our feeble minds and bodies as it is needed. Take heart, friend. The end goal or grand finale may seem a world away with a thousand obstacles in between, but our God goes with us and before us to give us the victory.

What are your mountains/dreams?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

Dream Big, Celebrate Small [Day 1: worship]

Dream Big

I’ve talked a lot here on my little blog about dreaming big as a missionary, wife, and mom. I’ve got one of those wild hearts that wants to do big things for Him. Fears and discouragement tangle and tame, but I carry these dreams that can turn into burdens all the same. Maybe you have a wild heart, too, and it runs away with your thoughts and emotions much like mine does. What I have come to find in the dreaming big is I fail to see the small victories God graciously grants each day as I chase the grand finale. Do you, too, find this to be true?

God has done a work in my heart to change this way of thinking that translates itself into living. This way of living — of constantly spinning and chasing — is exhausting and not always productive. I get bogged down in the big-dreaming but little-accomplishing. I get discouraged in the day-to-day. As I’ve trained myself to celebrate small, God has been faithful to reveal Himself to me in all the little ways He’s working. I trust that the grand finales in the endeavors of ministry, marriage, and motherhood are coming. By His glorious grace, each day is a step towards them. However, I’ve come to see that each day has its own joys and victories if I train myself to see them.

Celebrate Small

Will you train yourself to celebrate small with me? In celebrating small, we praise God for what He has done. As we praise Him for what He has done, we worship Him for who He is because we know, without Him, we can do nothing. We can’t dream big dreams. We don’t have victory. We can’t see great things done for His glory. We must train ourselves to see Him in all the small ways He works to accomplish the big for His kingdom. If we don’t, we fail to worship Him like we ought.

I’m so excited to begin this journey with you over the next 30 days! I trust God has big things in store, and I so anticipate the culmination of those things. For now, I will celebrate the small, praising Him for what He has done and worshiping Him for who He is. He is so good, friend.

How do you celebrate small?

Talk to me in the comment section below!