He Already Knows

Praying in ways that we think will please.

Hiding our real wants in hopes of praying them away.

Convincing ourselves that if we say the right prayers then He won’t know our true desire. 

He doesn’t need our religion. He wants our submission to His Will. Our whole heart. Our surrender of self.

It’s been almost a year since I wrote those words above. They’ve been sitting as a draft collecting cobwebs. I guess I didn’t know how to finish it. I wonder if He took my thoughts and turned them into a few life lessons instead.

As 2020 draws near, I can look back and say with confidence that I know God was present. Even though some circumstances haven’t changed…I continue to draw closer to Him in them.

I wish change in me would happen much quicker, but easy and fast rarely produce lasting results.

Refining takes time.

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I can add more logs on the fire to try and speed things up, but that’s just it- “I”. That would be me, again, taking steps ahead of the Lord and trying to do things my own way.

Focusing on having the right sounding words is like wrapping a prayer in pretty paper. The presentation is all outward. Once that paper is torn away the contents of the inside are seen. He sees our hearts. If our spoken words don’t match what He already knows about our inside then it’s not very pretty after-all. It’s quite the opposite.

Relationships are two way. Attempts to control will always destroy and leave a trail of brokenness. The relationship we have with Jesus is not exempt. We can not claim Him as our King and continue to try to rule our own kingdom. That’s not relationship. That’s not love.

Surrender of self is nothing like control. It’s me looking at the ‘out of control’ and throwing both hands up in the air and saying, ” Lord, you already know. I am powerless to change anything or anyone. I can only change me- with you, through you and because of you. My life is for You. My talents are for You. My heartbeats belong to You. You created me to worship you, not myself. Aside from You, I don’t know what’s best for me. I need Your constant direction, grace, help and protection. Please cut off the rotten roots in me that lead to sin. Fill me with Your Spirit every hour.”

Submission, surrender…obedience- they are the polar opposite of what the world tells me to do with my life. Those are precious gifts I can give to the One who loves me so much that He paid the debt I could never pay.

Jesus Paid It All 

My steps are always one day closer to being home with Jesus. He hasn’t left me to myself or abandoned me in the chaos. 

He doesn’t ask me to make sense of the chaos. He asks me to trust Him in it. 

You see, He already knows. He knows what’s around the next corner. He knows what I need preparation for. He knows. 

Have you seen Him this past year? Are you laying aside sacred time to spend with Him each day? Please don’t miss Him. He’s waiting for you…for me…to put him in his rightful place as number one above all else.

Those few lines I wrote at the beginning of 2019 still ring true to me as this year comes to an end. I don’t know what 2020 holds, but I fully believe He already knows.

He gives us a fresh start each day. A whole new year is on the horizon. I pray He fills me with his Truth more and more. That He shows me how to truly be a help to others. That He brings restoration. For focus and understanding on how to take the next right step. That He draws me closer and closer…submerging me in His Spirit. To have a heart that loves Him more than I could ever imagine.

Goodbye 2019.

Eternally His,

Tracy

Rescued

I have been rescued.

I am a rescue story. 

Let’s sit together for a minute while I tell you a bit about my rescue—

This girl right here is a walking image of God’s indescribable grace.

The Lord has been reminding me about my testimony a lot lately. There are many chapters to my salvation story. All of it was leading up to one life saving moment when I would be adopted by the Father above.

Rescue Story 

Jesus met me in my mess. All those years of feeling lost and forgotten were redeemed the moment my hard heart was softened. I had been listening to lies my whole life and could finally hear the voice of Truth.

Shame had keep me in shackles. It dictated my actions and thoughts. I had many lords that ruled over me. Abuse. Addiction. Self-centeredness. Superstition. Control. Regret.

The one true Lord reached down into the pit of ashes I was in and pulled me out.

He carried my soul from death to life in Him. 

I did nothing to earn my eternal salvation. I would never and could never be good enough. It’s a beautiful gift of grace.  My eyes were opened and I finally saw my desperate need to be saved. I searched high & low for relief in the world, only to find more sorrow and fleeting happiness.

I fumbled through my “I’m sorry’s” to God. He already knew the sincerity of my remorse because he could see inside my heart. I had heard the word “repent” before but had no idea what it meant in this context. His grace doesn’t require a perfect understanding of certain words. He is the Perfecter & would work all of that out with me over time. The important thing was my belief in Jesus as my personal Savior & spoken words confessing my need for Him as Lord over my life.

My faith walk hasn’t been easy. Easy was never the promise.

Lies still come & try to drown out the voice of Truth. Valleys have been long. Paths of suffering have been real. But, do you know what? I can raise my hands in praise because those difficulties have actually strengthened my faith. In all the hardship I have seen the goodness of God in ways I never would have.

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Yes…in my humanness, I have struggled. There have been times of wrestling I’ve had to experience with the Lord. All to draw me nearer to my Shepherd and further from myself. I’m an image bearer of my Savior. He daily molds me & chips away at the things that hinder my growth. His scars hold my very own. There is no other love like that!

I have been set free. Free…to point to Jesus. To praise His holy name. To worship with all that’s in me. To share His hope with others.

The same past Jesus saved me from is the very same past that Satan tries to remind me of. I don’t have to listen…I’ve been chosen. Rescued. The enemy used my lack of unforgiveness for myself far too long. I can’t fully listen to two voices. Honestly, how I spend my time determines which voice is louder. I have to be intentional about my minutes & how I use them.

My struggle wasn’t really with my past anyway, but with the enemy of my soul, Ephesians 6:12 , who wants to stop me from sharing about the One true King.

As long is there is breath in my lungs, I will share the Truth that sets souls free. Who I was is not my identity. Who I am is a rescued, forgiven, loved child of God.

Please hear my heart…there is nothing that can’t be forgiven. No one can be ‘too far gone’. His saving grace- full of hope, mercy & love can wash anyone clean.

Have you turned to Him yet and asked for rescue? Please don’t wait another minute. There is no hurt that He can’t heal. This world is so very hard. You don’t have to walk through it alone- there is a Rescuer near.

Thank you for spending some time with me. Let’s meet together real soon, OK?

Rescued by Him,

Tracy

#rescuestory

 

Sunrise

I can always count on the sun rising each morning. It’s a steady event. One that happens each new day that the Lord provides.

With that sunrise comes His mercy. His grace. His love. Forgiveness. Direction. Guidance. His presence doesn’t rise & set like the sun…it’s a constant. Oh, do I ever need that constant.

What is unknown is what will happen each day.

There will be phone calls that change realities forever. Unexpected letters that explode hearts into a million pieces. Emails, pictures & texts that alter walking through each day. There will be grief and loss. Confusion & devastation. Abandonment & sorrow. Betrayal & brokenness. Complete cutoffs.

As the sunrise turns into a new day, there will be so many opportunities for hurt…but in all that hurt there’s hope. Hope in what doesn’t change…Him. He never ever changes.

I can wake up being haunted by the hurts of yesterday and He’s there. 

I can start each day with a deep heaviness and He’s there. 

I can open my eyes and not know how to start another day and He’s there. 

In the deepest hurt…He’s there. He’s always there.

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He knows what will happen as the sunrise appears on the horizon. He goes before & he leads. He holds out his hand & walks his sheep through each day.

That’s the hope I’m talking about. I know situations can feel hopeless, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. True hope isn’t found in a person or a thing. It’s found in the Savior and His Word.

The walls inside my home have seen many tears. But outside– I can step outside and His beautiful sunrise is there each morning. It doesn’t have to stay outside either. His light can penetrate through every single crack & shine hope onto each tear-stained spot.

That same hope is for all the broken. Are you broken? He can help! Cry out to Him for his mercies and he will provide. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not…but you don’t have to do it alone. He will lead you and love you in ways that you never thought possible.

I’m walking this path longer than I ever thought, but do you know what? I haven’t lost my hope. It’s actually growing. There are things that He needs to change in me to help draw me closer to him.

Will you love me after devastating phone calls? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when others hurt you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if your dreams are not my plan for you? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me if I take away the children I placed in your care? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when your life is painfully hard? Yes, Lord.

Will you love me when I allow more brokenness to walk through the door? Yes, Lord. Yes. I love you more & more.

The sun will rise again tomorrow. For right now, it’s today. With hope in my heart, I will follow my Shepherd wherever he leads.

All The Way My Savior Leads Me 

Forever His sheep,

Tracy

#Psalm23Study #MyShepherdlovesme

 

I have a Shepherd who rescues

Today I started week two of a bible study called Psalm 23 The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. My friend, it’s intense.

When I first can across this study I thought it sounded like a relatable topic for my current season so I decided to jump in.

Well. Jump I did.

I’m also reading New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp. Because why not…it makes perfect sense to tackle both at the same time. Did I mention that I’m finishing up Enough- Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes? Don’t let the title of that one fool you. It is not a self help book. It’s a book on lies the enemy likes to whisper & who our identity is in. All deep stuff.

I love to read, but I’m usually a one book at a time gal or I run the risk of crowding out my bible time. There’s the whole daily priorities, goals & side things that vie for my attention and well- you get it, right? Multiple readings can be a challenge.

Thank you, Lord, that you didn’t let me overthink and for your guidance to these books that guided me directly back to You. 

He knows what I need more than I ever could. He is my Shepherd and I am his sheep. There is nothing that can heal me more than the truth of His Word. There is no greater hope. He saw that I was needing rescue again. He heard my SOS.

I am not hidden from my Shepherd.

Psalm 23

Taking a deeper look at how personal Psalm 23 is has been pretty emotional…and extremely comforting.

He is my Rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my light & salvation, my strength & shield, my King, my warrior, my help. I am His & He is mine.

He leads me, guides me, protects me, carries me, saves me, blesses me, watches over me, guards me, directs me, sacrifices for me, provides for me. For me.

That is beyond overwhelmingly amazing. He rescued me from death and continues to rescue me from me.

Rescue 

I was wrecked the first time I heard this song by Lauren Daigle. I cry every single time. I know the lengths He went to for my rescue.  He pulled me out of a lot of darkness. His love runs deeper than any other love. This song puts a visual in my mind of the search & rescue He did for me…his lost lamb.

There are people in my life that need spiritual rescue right now. No matter how much I want it for them or try to think of ways to help…I can’t. I can’t rescue myself or anyone else. All I can do is be the lifter of prayers.

The Holy Spirit is the only heart changer.  I tightly hold onto the hope that He will send out an army for them too.

The Shepherd rescues souls. This sheep is living proof!

If you’d like some extra prayers for yourself or lost loved ones, please reach out to me. I’d love to pray!

Forever in His care,

Tracy

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#Psalm23Study

 

Anchor

I went for a walk down the lane to clear my head and have some quiet time with the Lord.

Right away I noticed how cracked & hard the ground is from a lack of rain. Things tend to make more sense when we see a cause and effect situation with our eyes, but what about when we can’t.

Everyone has circumstances surrounding them this very second. Some have simple explanations, like a lack of rain & others don’t. It’s the ‘others’ that can be such a struggle.

Lord, help us not to just see our circumstances, but to search for You in them.

I’d guess the plants I was walking by have pretty shallow roots. Ever since the seed went in the ground, the rains have halted. Plants need a deep watering to have deep roots.

It’s like us. If I only sprinkle my day with a quick prayer & a few verses then my roots don’t have much to draw on. I need a daily downpour to have roots that can anchor me in His strength.

Colossians 2:6-7 

anchor

The hope of Jesus is an anchor for our soul. I believe that with every ounce of everything in me. I can sink myself into His entire being to find hope.

Hebrews 6:19

Sweet friend, are your days hard right now? All I can offer is…Jesus. Please reach for the only One that can ease the pain. There is nothing else. Only Jesus. He fully understands.

It’s in the vast areas of water that anchors need to be mighty to go into the depths. During our stormiest times, we have an anchor unlike no other. He is the Great I AM!

Are you anchored in Him?

God’s Word is the rope that attaches us to the Anchor. Worship. Prayer. Scripture Meditation…each is a strand that adds to this indestructible rope.

It’s in the most uncertain times that growth happens. The hard ground & cracks of life can be used to bring Him glory.

Will you join me in trusting Him with the unseen’s & searching for Him in the midst?

Adopted by Him,

Tracy

 

 

 

 

Entrusting the One

There will be days, months…even years that shake you.

The unexpected can leave you—

facing each day with the same raw realities, climbing out of bed with weights on your heart & feet. Sunrise bringing new mercies that you desperately need, but the heaviness…oh, the heaviness.

It’s a hard place to be.

I can honestly say, I’m probably two steps ahead or behind you…traveling a road I never wanted to be on. I’m fairly certain more roads are to come. Until the Lord takes me home, there’s going to be rough paths here & there.

Strahlengang 3

Do you know what the good news is in all of that? I don’t travel alone. He doesn’t abandon His own. Ever.

The day that He opened the door & embraced me- sin stained, rebellious, prideful, broken, lost me…is the moment I gained a forever Father. Jesus fully loves me. So much that He died for me.

It’s because of all that He is that I can strap His sandals over mine & journey on.

If I’m carrying too many other things, I can’t fully hold onto Him. My grip will loosen on something. It can’t be Him.

So what do we do when the heaviness of the load becomes too much? Eventually, I let go—

entrusting people & situations to the One who set me free is the best possible thing I can do. I can’t handle the choices of others. I can’t change losses. I can’t heal hurts. I can’t prevent things from happening. I wasn’t created to do any of that.

The losses…I entrust to Him.

The pain & hurt…I lay at His feet.

The unimaginable…I surrender.

I don’t do it perfectly.  Even my letting go is messy & that’s OK. He knows I’m still learning. Still growing. It’s when I don’t let go that it’s not OK. If I hang on too tight or too long then the weights get heavier & I start sinking.

How do I know this? Because I’ve done it.

I wish I could give you step by step instructions, but I can’t. The letting go process has no time table. There’s no ‘right way’. All I can offer is stay close to Him, His Word, prayer & you’ll know when it’s time. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

‘Letting go’ is a phrase that’s misused by many. The thing is, with letting go, I have to be ready. It can’t be forced. Do you know what, “I have to be ready means?” It means I fully turn to the Lord, fully trust Him, fully release my wounds into his Hands. Fully.

Bumps will come. I don’t know what or when they’ll be or who will be involved. When it’s a child or someone very close to you, those unexpected’s can feel like someone dropped a load of bricks on your chest. There is just no way to prepare.

I entrust it all to the only One who can help. I need help. Always. When the season of unexpected is long, I need even more of His help. I can’t make sense of certain things. What I can do is let Him chisel away at the parts of me that need to go, so not only can I survive, but actually thrive.

bible at sunrise

It’s a special type of thriving. Everything tends to stay “messy” on the outside, but a ray of His light rises up hope inside. He lifts a few of the weights off & I roll out of bed, onto my knees and offer Him the day.

Lord, please use my life for Your glory. May I rest in Your endless mercies. Continue to bring restoration according to Your will. I know there’s a divine purpose for all of this. I trust You, even if I never see the end result.

Eternally His,

Tracy

 

 

Waves

Recently, I was looking at an old picture of my boys jumping in some waves. When I glance at that picture, I want to scoop up all my kids & run to the only safe place there is. Straight into the arms of Jesus. Proverbs 18:10

Lake Michigan provided the best salt free waves ever. It also produced a lot of angst in my mama heart from the shoreline. I knew the undertow was always a threat to their safety.

Those days seem so long ago. I stared at it for quite awhile remembering how much fun they had. Eventually, I couldn’t see past my tears. One simple picture is a reminder of so much loss.

The baby that was on the beach with me is getting ready to turn sixteen. Each of the boys reached adulthood. All of them experienced life waves that crashed over much harder than any lake ever could. The powerlessness I felt from the shore was nothing compared to how helpless I’ve been to spare my children from the dangers of the world.

It’s funny how as a parent, you think you can protect your kids. Reality is, we’re just as human as they are. I can provide, teach, try to prepare them, and set up safeguards. I can’t actually fully protect anyone. There’s only one Savior & he is the ultimate Protector.

As my faith continued to grow, I realized the best thing I could do for my kids was get on my knees. Two things should happen at the birth of a baby. Parents should be given knee pads for all the praying that’ll take place & little ones should receive a seat belt for the bumps ahead. 

One of the challenges of becoming a believer in my adult years was trying to guide my kids at the same time I was learning. The very ones He entrusted me with & placed in my care are the ones I failed the most. Waves have shown me who’s ways are truly trustworthy.

Pointing them in the right direction meant pointing them to Christ. My trust in Him far outweighs my certainty in anything else. I wish I could say that I did it perfectly, but I was no where near.

My kids had a broken mom…but they had a perfect Savior. I prayed He would fill in all my gaps while they were under my care. There’s only one left in the house now & I’m still broken. On earth, I’ll always be broken. But not Jesus. He is still perfect…forever perfect.

Jesus redeems everything. In His time & in His way. Broken people. Hurts. Losses. All of it. That…my friend…brings me hope.

lake michigan waves

The wave jumping days are memories now. Good ones. If I close my eyes, I can hear the sound of laughter & yells over the roar of the water. I’m grateful for that. When I open my eyes, I see the remains of the reality that was to come. All I can say is…”It is well with my soul.”

Life will always have hidden undertows- in & out of the water. Waves of many sizes will come our way. The Almighty is the only place to find shelter. Psalm 91:1-2  

Rocks & sand collide in the turmoil of waves, and create smooth objects. It’s an image of being refined. We can experience deep pain as each wave rolls over us. The end result is a transformation that has His fingerprints all over it. We’re being made new.

None of us can stop waves. What we can do is call out to Him, reach up & grab his mighty hand! He’s right there in the midst!

Praising Him,

Tracy