Do not worry

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Every day has enough trouble on it’s own.

Take a step today and don’t worry about what will happen tomorrow.

Breathe. Deep cleansing breaths.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Oh, Abba, give us wisdom for each step of the journey. Help us focus on today without anxious thought for tomorrow. Help our hearts and minds seek Your kingdom.

A WordSnack from Matthew 6

Our Father

IWord-Snacks: bite-sized devotionals for your hungry moments forgot my Bible when I left the house. I usually keep it in my purse, but we were in a hurry, running late.

During these moments, I often return to the simple verses I memorized years ago.

“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”

My father. Whose name is holy.

A father who cares intimately for His children. A  holy God who is perfect, just, righteous, loving.

It is Your will, Abba, that I pray for. Your will I hold to. Your will I trust.

Today and every day.

Infertility is a Joy?

Once upon a time I thought infertility was destroying my faith. I didn’t realize that true faith is indestructible. The part of me that was crumbling? It wasn’t, nor had it ever been, faith.

James knew this truth, which is why he instructed the church in James 1 to, “Count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds…”

Translation:

Count it joy, Natasha, when you face infertility.

Infertility is a Joy?

If you had told me this seven years ago, I would have smiled and nodded, and then cried myself to sleep that night. Because it wasn’t joyful. It was horrible.

Ten years into this journey, I look back and realize he was right. What you think you believe in the sunlight, may be very different than what you believe in the dark. When light is missing, that’s when truth is unveiled.

In the darkness of infertility, I was forced to see true.

In the darkness of infertility, every temporary and fake thing I had was stripped away.

It was just me, and a God I didn’t understand.

For awhile I shunned the trials. Joy? Ha. It was hell. But to shun the trial is to shun being remade. And gently, this father with a skittish and broken daughter– He carefully reached out with open arms, and whispered into my deaf ears. Patiently, lovingly, He taught me to hear again, to feel.

Here’s the truth: I didn’t really know if God was my father until everything collapsed. And then, with nothing left but bitterness and God calling– I found out the difference between being a believer or being lost.

For the lost, they stand in the darkness and cry, “God, what do you think you’re doing?” Yes, even the ones who claim He’s not there. Because if He is, they want to blame Him.

And the true children of God? When we’re done screaming, done fighting– we get to crawl, weeping, to His feet and say, Oh, Father. Abba. Daddy. Help. 

“For you know,” James continues, “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” 

Once upon a time I thought infertility was destroying my faith, but now I know that it was revealing it. 

And I count it all joy.

Not pleasure. No. Not happiness. Not at all. But joy.

Joy = the settled truth that nothing is wasted when placed securely in the hands of my Father

And this knowledge, this belief, will produce steadfastness. And the full effect of this endurance, this joy?– we will lack nothing. 

Our faith will be tested, dear ones. In so many ways.

We will find out what we truly believe.

And there is an Abba, a Father, waiting to remake us– to pour joy into us, to lead us on to completion.

a WordSnack from James 1

 

Inside Out

We’re reading through I Corinthians in Bible Study on Sunday nights. Way back in the college days I studied it verse-by-verse. Now, with this whole group of brothers and sister in the faith, we are looking at it thought-by-thought and I’m loving it. There is a time and season for everything, and this is my time and season for these words again.

This morning I reread the passage we studied Sunday night. The end of chapter 10. At face value it’s talking about eating meat sacrificed to idols, something I, personally, do not come in contact with, well, ever. But there is so much more depth in this passage than just meat and idols.

Paul says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

I find it interesting that whenever we’re reminded of our freedom as Believers, we are also reminded of the need for restraint. It’s true that we are not under the written law any longer, but it is also true that the Holy Spirit is now writing his law on our hearts. In other words, true freedom means that we are no longer bound by outward commands, but are instead controlled by inward restraint.  Continue reading

the key to surviving hardship

I think I learned to love Job the most when I was battling depression. I struggled with the conversation between Job and his friends, but then I would sit and read God’s answers over and over. His glory hushed the scream of my pain. His power quieted the spinning thoughts in my head.

I read them again today. All those words God spoke from the whirlwind.

Oh, glory.  Continue reading

Why I loved my tiny house

Almost seven years were spent in the little house on the hill. People made comments sometimes, wondering that we could ever live in such a tiny place. Usually their comments only lasted as long as they were driving-by and talking. Once they came inside, they shushed up right quick.

My husband had taken a little run-down pigeon barn and fashioned a cozy, warm homestead.

Between the towering recycled dance-floor ceiling, the wall-sized windows, the golden-cherry cupboards, and the hand-crafted staircase– most people just turned around with eyes wide open when they stepped inside.

It was beautiful. And I loved every single minute we lived there. Continue reading

Hold Up My Hands

This morning I slept in past my usual Bible Study time. But thankfully, I didn’t miss breakfast and during breakfast we always read Scripture together as a family.

We’re in Exodus right now, working our way slowly through the story of Moses and the Israelites being miraculously delivered from Egypt. And today? We read about the Amaleks. Remember them? They were a nation that attacked the weakest of the Israelites as they were fleeing Egypt. At a certain point, once the people were somewhat settled into their nomad-ish new life, Moses told Joshua to take an army and meet the Amaleks in battle.

Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood and watched from a hill overlooking the battle. Whenever Moses raised his hands, with the staff of God in them, the Israelites prevailed. Whenever he lowered them, the Amaleks prevailed. Continue reading

Comfort and Strength

I’ve been sick the past few days, fighting off a nasty cold that has settled in my throat. I keep drinking gallons of hot tea with honey, and sipping cups of chicken broth, and wishing I could just sleep all day, every day.

When I’m sick, all I want are comforting things. Warm blankets, soft pillows, hot tea.

Sometimes I feel like the Psalms are God’s version of wrapping us tight in warmth and gentleness, right when we need it most.

This morning I read in Psalm 84, where the popular song, “Better is One Day” is taken from. And as I read through the familiar words of the song, I came to my very favorite part.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you…”

It begins. Blessing to those who are depending on Christ for their strength. Oh, yes, that’s me!

“As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”

Continue reading

Though I May Never Bear a Child…

I didn’t really think of the ramifications of having a daughter who can read well. The other day I came into the room and she was snuggled up on the couch with Pain Redeemed in her hands. I raised my eyebrows but didn’t say anything.

Later she came to me and hugged me from behind. “Oh, Mommy,” she said into my back, “I didn’t know you lost a baby.”

She was snuffling and wiping tears before I could react and we both ended up sitting on the kitchen floor talking about how God gives and takes away and it’s okay. 

“You must be so sad all the time!” she said.

“No, no,” I scrambled to explain. “I’m not so sad all the time. God has been good to us.” Continue reading