Abandoning My Comfort Zone

Five Minute Friday: ABANDON

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Possibly, now, more than ever, I feel as though I’m living with abandon. I’ve left the comforts of home and the closeness of friends and family to, prayerfully, see a gospel movement on the side of the world I now inhabit. This great dream I share with my church-planter-husband requires me to not just step out of my comfort zone, as this implies I could hop back in. Rather, commitment to foreign church planting demands a total abandonment of my comfort zone. Aside from dark chocolate on the couch or the warm embraces from my tribe of three, my comfort zone, for now, ceases to exist. Because, like it or not, I’m eaten up with this thing.

So I walk in the most comfortable shoes I own, which turn out not to be as airy as advertised, giving invitations to church along with an invitation for criticism and rejection. Either of these is not only possible but likely. As I get swept up in the going and doing, and telling and showing coupled with stress and sleeplessness, it’s also possible I’ll forget the why all this is worth it. I’ll need reminding, and I hope I can count on you.

It’s Jesus. The groom we’re waiting for. And it’s the greatest privilege of my life to ready His bride. It is my prayer, above all, I won’t forget Him, my first love, as some zealots have been said to have done. I hope, instead, I’ll be faithful, though I cringe, as I cross the threshold of my comfort zone. Living with abandon, I’ll cling only to the One who will never abandon me.

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Also, for those who don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I will share with you now that we are relocating as a family to be closer to our church plant (which will be up and running in 3 weeks! EEEEK!). I know that the truths I’m learning and have shared with you above will be put to the test more than ever over the next few months. I appreciate your friendship and your prayers for our family and ministry. The fears and obstacles are great, but our God is greater.

The Good, the Bad, and the Busy + my word for 2017!

Busy Times

“Busy” just doesn’t describe the whirlwind that has been my life since arriving in the US. We’ve been busy with good things: visiting family and friends, teaching the Bible, allowing our kids to experience some fun “American” things, presenting the need at churches new and old, fundraising for Camp Refuge, and sharing about all that God has done in our lives over the past two years. But busy is still busy. And, sometimes, busy steals my joy. When my joy is taken from my hands, I see the good things in a warped way. Distorted images of the good things coupled with whispers from the Enemy about how things should be or how I am supposed to feel twist the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart into something I don’t recognize and don’t wish to claim. And, certainly, something that is not pleasing or acceptable in the sight of God.

But all the same, He has met me here in the busy and among towering grocery displays where I’m overwhelmed by choices and the confrontation with all the things I don’t have but think I may need. He’s met me in the awkward moments chatting with a long-lost friend to whom I’m explaining the complexities of my foreign life and finally realizing how alone I felt over there. He’s met me while turning prune-y in the tub, listening via headphones to a stranger read the Bible aloud because I just can’t keep my eyes open or focus long enough to let the word of God soak into my heart any other way.

I may be exhausted, but I am refreshed by the truth that God is not exhausted by me. He is not observing my head-spinning behaviors amid a seam-split schedule and shaking His head. When I turn my eyes away from the crazy and to Him, He doesn’t ask why it took me so long. He welcomes me back with a smile, and, though I feel a gentle conviction for neglecting my time with Him, there’s only peace and love where I thought there might be guilt and shame. But then I remember, that’s just not like Him.

My Word for 2017

The word I’ve chosen for 2017 is expand, and though it would certainly be relevant, I’m not just referring to my dress size since dwelling in the land of donuts and drive-thrus. I want to expand my knowledge and view of God. I desperately want to know Him more and grasp even the most basic understanding of His heart for me and for the world. I want to expand the reaches of my tiny tribe and the testimony of these lives changed by the hand of the Lord. I want to see the gospel reach into the streets of Kapan, Kathmandu and see families changed by the Gospel. I want to see the family of God expand day after busy day and week after weary week. I can trust He will be faithful to meet me there in desires met and others unfulfilled, ever expanding my love for Him as I consider His quiet and powerful ways of winning my heart. He may never be as demanding as a scribbled-over calendar with names and dates and tasks to be done. But in the going and the doing, I sense His presence. Without guilt and shame, I’ll turn my heart to Him again and see all the ways He’s shown Himself to me when I was too busy to notice.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (Ephesians 1:17-19).

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Moments of Hope @ LoriSchumaker.com, Monday’s Musings @ What Joy is Mine, Glimpses Linkup @ Embracing Every Day, Literacy Musing Monday’s @ Mary-andering Creatively, Tuesday Talk @ Sweet Little Ones, RaRaLinkup @ Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story @ Jennifer Dukes Lee, Mommy Moments Blog Hop @ Life of Faith,

His Glorious Grace: A Guest Post

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My new friend Patty from Glorious Within Her has stopped by Grace to Go to share her heart with you lovely people today, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Make sure to visit her page for Biblical encouragement and practical resources for living a glorious life! (Oh, and did I tell you she has some beautiful things in her SHOP?!?) I hope these words challenge and uplift you as they did me. Take it away, Patty!

 

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His Glorious Grace

I woke up to find my website had not gotten any views- something unheard of for me. I panicked figuring it may have been hacked. On top of this, I had to feed my son, get him dressed, and keep him busy. He’s nearly walking on his own now and getting into everything so I knew he would take up most of my time that day. I had to finish getting multiple loads through the washer and dryer before wrangling my way through those multiple loads of laundry and returning them to their homes in dresser drawers.

All this combined with cleaning around the house and a host of day to day tasks that had to be done left me overwhelmed. It just seemed like too much to do with not enough time to get it all done. I struggle with perfectionism. So in my mind, if I didn’t get everything done, I failed. And I hate to fail. I wanted to do it all and do it excellently. As these thoughts were taking up residence in my mind, my son began to call out. We had just finished breakfast and I needed to brush his teeth, something he hates. While I was brushing his teeth, he began to scream even louder than usual. And as the stress mounted, I cried out to God. Actually, I screamed out to God.

And then, I felt worse than before. Not only did I still have a mile long list of things to do, but I chose to stress over and allowed myself to get overwhelmed. I had upset my son in the process with my reaction. I had cried out and he cried out, too but in a different way. When he saw me stressed out, he got stressed out. And he didn’t understand. My heart broke. My mind flooded with thoughts about what a terrible mom I was. I thought about how selfish I had been. How prideful it was of me to think I could tackle anything without God’s help!

In that moment, God reminded me of His glorious grace. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The Lord never expected me to carry today’s burdens on my own. He instead calls me to peace and rest in Him. He reminded me that when things get crazy, when I get overwhelmed, when I rush around trying to solve problems or get things done, He is right there. God is with me in my mess. Just as Jesus chose to be with humanity in its mess when He came to this earth as God veiled in flesh and spoke those very words.

God was not upset with me. He was not even the least bit surprised by my actions and reactions. Psalm 139 reminds me that He knit me together in my mother’s womb, He knows every single word I’m going to speak before it is ever on my lips, and He ordained every one of my days before a single one of them came to pass (v. 4, 13, 16). He knew I would sin and make mistakes. He knew I would miss the mark. Therefore, He sent Jesus to soak up God’s wrath for my sin so that by His glorious grace, I could be made right with God the Father.

Obviously, God does not want me to continue in sin. In these times, I need to repent. But that’s just it. I come to Him and recognize before Him the error of my ways. All I have to do is repent of my wrongdoing and ask Him to help me turn to His ways continually.

And by His grace, His glorious grace, I am forgiven and made right with Him (1 John 1:9). Then He makes me able to be at peace, regardless of the piles of laundry or the stacks of dishes. God sets my eyes to focus on Him. And as I focus on Him and serving Him, I am better able to serve my family and meet the needs of those I am called to minister to. Instead of being overwhelmed by tasks, God helps me to accomplish each one as a declaration of love and heartfelt service to Him and my loved ones.

When I trust God in this way, my heart is at peace. And when my heart is at peace, my home can reflect God’s nature. Guarding our hearts and allowing God’s grace to keep them at peace allows our home to be the haven of rest and beacon of hope it needs to be.

Since God is not a respecter of persons, He is willing to do the same for you (Romans 2:11). Is there a place in life where you are messing up? Is there an area of struggle you are facing? Do you have a hurt or hang-up you want to overcome?

Turn to God today and to His glorious grace. Ask Him to forgive you and to help you turn away from what’s not pleasing to Him. Let His grace work in you. Let him help you through it. Don’t take on the challenges by yourself. You were never made to. He doesn’t expect you to. The Lord wants you to wait on Him and on His glorious grace. His grace that makes us right with Him. His grace that makes us able to operate in His ways. For it is by his grace that He bestows on us righteousness, beauty, love, and so much more.

Have you ever been in need of God’s grace, His glorious grace? A grace that bestows beauty and worth when you fall short of it on your own?
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I’m Patty! Christ follower. Wife to Matthew. Mom to Solomon. Daughter. Sister. Former teacher. Current stay-at-home mom. Lover of God and His Word. Sharer of joy and laughter. Seeker of wisdom and justice. Passer on of godly encouragement and wisdom. I want to see women living out the fullness of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and love in every area of their lives. I want for each woman to realize she is glorious within her.

 

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The Hard Fought Battle for Contentment [The Mudroom]

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He stared at my back in the queen size bed we share. The inches between us loomed like a brick wall lined with barbed wire. I sobbed. He sighed. He must have felt as helpless as I did.

I suffered under a border blockade which prohibited the entry of petrol, propane, and essential goods in a country I never planned to live in. We faced winter with fewer than four hours of electricity to heat our home each day. It seemed I was at the mercy of an evolving government, the paper-thin houses, and my freezer-burned spirit. I was furious with my cozy Stateside friends who didn’t understand and my husband who couldn’t fix it.

In the morning, as I stood shivering, waiting for the shower to heat up, negative thoughts creeped in and claimed territory in my mind. I wished desperately for the rage to run right down the drain with the hot water. At the time, I wouldn’t have admitted that I was angry at God. I would have said I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I played the victim well because I believed I was absolutely powerless.

We had endured the hardships of an international move followed by natural disaster and economic crisis, but our marriage had now been threatened. Each night, we went to bed with cold hands and struggled to turn up the heat between life-long lovers wrapped up in ice cold sheets. Our intimacy had been killed by the chaos and cold that made up our days. The negative thoughts came around again to tell me what I already knew: I had lost all control.

Continue reading on The Mudroom…

 

linking up:

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#LMMLinkUp,  Monday Musings

 

Engaging the Enemy- the Only Thing I’ve Left to Say

DAY 31, ONLY

I’ve learned over the years to look into the context and not just the two plucked out verses primed for memorization during my Sunday School years. I’ve noticed something as I’ve stepped back and examined from a wider angle the various places in Scripture that talk about living the Golden Rule. And I’ve found something. Something important. Something we need to know but don’t really want to acknowledge.

We can love other people until our days are done. We can exhaust ourselves in our efforts to serve others. We can do all the right things as we work for the Lord…and we will still be hated because we are followers of Jesus. We aren’t even guaranteed the love and acceptance of our family as we live wholeheartedly for the Lord.

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:21-22).

 

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UGH… So, what do we do with these people who refuse the grace we extend and cross their arms to the love of Jesus? Well, we love ’em some more.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).

 

This whole “turn the other cheek” thing is just plain unnatural. The fight-or-flight response is to put up your dukes or run the other way. The godly response is to engage the enemy in love and pray earnestly for blessings upon their life.

He tells us that vengeance is His. We know nothing of Him but that He is completely just and that all His ways are right. We don’t have to daily subject ourselves to abuse, but when we encounter it, we are to offer back love in return.

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Maybe this just means holding back a sarcastic comment. Maybe it’s shutting the door quietly instead of slamming it as you calmly remove yourself from the situation. It could be praying blessings upon the man who left you and started another family despite your best efforts at loving and honoring him. Or it might be pleading the blood of Christ over the sins of a lost person whose broken path has wrecked up yours.

Scripture isn’t silent on how we react when the hatred spews in our direction… Please read to the end, friends. I really believe this is crucial to living the Golden Rule and why it is paired right along with it in this passage.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.  For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).

 

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I’ve written for 31 days on living for the benefit of others and the glory of God. And I could write more. It’s so imperative to the glowing testimony of our marriages, parenting, and daily lives. There are certainly obstacles and reasons it’s just easier to withdraw or walk away.

I don’t know what you’re struggling with or who has hurt you. But I know that if you are here, and you are a true follower of Jesus, you’ll face these moments where you realize how the world sees you. And I know that it will be hard. I must remember He is worthy, and He holds our reward in Heaven. I have to believe that I will see my marriage and my family change and that I will see fruit in my ministry. Even if it doesn’t, I have to know beyond a reasonable doubt that God is good and my obedience is deserved for nothing else than blood spilled years and years ago.

Is there an enemy in your life?
Take time to pray for them today.

Talk to me in the comment section!