Tag Archives: Thankfulness

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

 

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

 

OK

“How are you?” – “I’m Ok” – “How are you doing?” – “I’m good”….and so it goes. The greeting so many of us use & hear.

I became a follower of Christ in my adult years & one thing that’s always present at every church we’ve attended is the ‘how are you’ small talk question. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I lean toward the introvert personality type so it’s a helpful ice breaker for me to initiate conversation with.

I believe there are caring people genuinely asking & desiring to know how someone is. Sadly, it’s also turned into a passerby statement. I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed to really hear someone’s heart by participating in this dialogue circle. How many times have I robbed myself of wise council by not sharing how I really am?

Just because I walk into a church building doesn’t mean I’m OK. The church is not full of people who are OK. It’s quite the opposite. Maybe if we were vulnerable with the truth then more people would want to join us at church. I, for one, can testify that I don’t have it all together…not even close.

Even more so, I never had it together.

A church building is where believers gather but it’s not the church. The church is a body of believers from all over who realize they aren’t OK, have humbled themselves, repented & handed their lives over to Jesus Christ as Lord. I’m grateful the Father gifted me with being among this group.

I recently heard this song from We Are MessengersI’ve listened to it a few times now & looked at the lyrics. (Listened as in tested how loud the radio can go in my vehicle 😉 ) He may as well be describing me. Every ounce of so many things I’ve experienced in my life left me not OK. Each time. Each event. Before Jesus & after.

I realize these are two very different types of OK. There are days that I’m weary from circumstances & don’t feel OK. There’s also the me before Christ & I was not even close to being OK. I was as lost as lost could be. I had no idea what that even meant back then, I just knew something was missing. I was empty inside & trying to fill that emptiness with worldly things.

My life before Jesus was messy & hard. It was loaded with hurt & sin. After Jesus, it’s still messy & hard BUT in a different way. I’m not hopeless anymore. I know I’m being held by the One who took my sins & made me whole. He washed me clean & that’s huge for someone who always felt dirty from shame.

The chains of shame are hard to break free from. I could never have done it on my own. It was all Jesus. There are times when the enemy still tries to use my past in an attempt to pull me back into shame. Shame runs deep, but His grace runs much, much deeper.

Every Christmas I’m reminded of who I was & who I am now. I understand why there’s Christmas. Christ came for people who aren’t OK. He’s stronger than sin. He is CHRISTmas. 

It’s from not being OK that I can fully appreciate all that He’s saved me from.

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1 John & Romans 5 explain so much better why Jesus was born. God had a plan. He always has a plan. Christmas was & is a wide open window for us to see a piece of it.

Do you want to take a look inside that plan? Are you ready to entrust your life to Him? He welcomes the not OK’s. There’s no false promises of a perfect life without pain but there is a Savior who loves you so much that He came to earth to die in your place. His Christmas gift is all we ever need.

Saved by His sacrifice,

Tracy

 

Derailed

I’m in my happy place- papers, real genuine lined paper….sprawled all over the place. Full of notes….real penned notes. Gloriousness!

I have a story to tell you about how a morning conversation, affirmations, trains, callings & a daughter who put a visual to an area of my life all collided at my kitchen table. Here we go….

I was derailed! Gods perfect plan & timing can never be altered by us. He knows exactly when we’re ready & when we’re not. I had lots of circumstances that played a part in my derailment, but He allowed it because He knew I needed it.

Have you ever been derailed?

It can happen to any of us when we start listening to the wrong voices, ourselves included. The Lord is the Divine Director. People shouldn’t tell people what they are called to, or gifted in. That job belongs to the Holy Spirit.

A saying that I like to tell my daughter is, “Remember Who’s you are.” Maybe I should have been telling myself the same thing. I firmly believe there are precious believers who share godly truths. Unfortunately, there’s also some who don’t speak helpful words.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (NLT)

God gifts His children with abilities. As His church, we should be encouraging each other & be available for the Spirit to use us.  What if a piece of God’s discernment plan is to be used by Him to reveal someones calling. When we speak words like, “Why are you doing that, that makes no sense, it’s not my thing, I don’t get it, I’m not seeing it,” then we’ve risked stripping precious hope from someone.

It’s OK to not fully understand or relate with someone else’s gifting, but it’s not OK to tear them down. That’s not being the body. Sometimes, the less we say, the better. Encouragement should flow easier off our lips.

Ephesians 4 

Ephesians 4:15-16 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (NLT) 

Too many are trying to….. take on the role of God the Father. They push God aside, barge through doors & offer their solutions as the right way…..take on the position of God the Holy Spirit. They push past the Spirit, inform others what their calling is, isn’t & what they should do with their life….take on the job of God the Son. They bypass Jesus, offer a life line and saving grace to clean up/fix the supposed mess they see in others. This whole thing causes major relationship damage & can derail people from their calling. We don’t have the power to decide what Kingdom work people are supposed to do with their life.

God has already done that.

Romans 12:6-8 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (NLT)

His call on our life is exactly that….His call.

For so long I thought I had one gift. One calling. I placed the other in a “helping hobby” category. I’ve tried so hard to keep them separate. Two trains roaring down the track of my life. Every time I withheld effort & time from one, the other would slow down as well. So I would flip them, thinking I had heard God wrong. Same result. Sometimes, I stopped pouring into both all together.

I would head down another track, usually out of guilt-ed obligation. Good serving opportunities, but not what I’m gifted in. They were distractions from what I was supposed to be doing. I thought it was a real track, when in fact, it was actually placed there by the enemy to pull me away from the ministry work that God equipped me for. The cross I thought I saw at the end was nothing more than a disguised vapor.

I’ve tried keeping these two callings apart for so long that my focus got cloudy. The Lord has used many things in the past month to clear up my vision. I don’t have the full picture because that’s not how God works. He shows a piece of the track at a time. What I now know is that the trains are actually connected. They are both headed to the cross!

The hand cart is ministry serving that the Lord has called me to for a season. A seasonal calling. It’s to help strengthen me. To teach me. To show me how to dig my roots deep into Him. It requires a lot of effort but it’s necessary. It goes in front & clears the path.

Obstacles on the road to the cross can be painful. They seem so big, nearly impossible to move. I’m telling ya….detours. I can’t move them. I have to go around, making sure to stay in the cross boundary lines, all the while experiencing some pretty hard things.

Detours aren’t easy but, we can’t become like Christ without them.

I’m excited to have a visual for my journey. What a gift Jaelynn has given me. I have no idea when these train cars will hitch together. I’m trusting that in His time, he’ll make it happen. For now, I can finally see that they are connected. I couldn’t see that before. No more wasting precious time thinking of one only as a hobby.

Thank you, Lord, for showing me Your truth, Your way. Thank you for lifting some of the fog & leading me forward!

You better believe I’ll be holding onto this sketch forever, especially when the enemy starts tossing lies at me.

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A calling is always used to bring glory to the Father. It’s never about us or to be used for selfish gain. That’s not a calling. We have talents & things we enjoy doing that can possibly be used in our calling but it’s not the same thing. The end goal of a calling is the cross.

A calling is where we use our God given gifts.

What is your calling? Are you headed to the cross? Maybe, like me, you have two things connected. What fills you with passion? What energizes you? What do you get re-fueled by even when you’re bone tired & have nothing left?

Don’t ever let anyone steal the joy & hope that God laid on your heart about this. His Word tells us that he gifted us all differently. Lets bring our gifts together & be the church!

Always in His Hope,

Tracy

True Gratitude

Life can leave you feeling like you’ve been kicked in the face. I hear ya. Thank goodness for the promises of God to stand on! I’ve been doing a whole lotta standing.

I skipped writing this year on dates I normally write about. It’s not that I didn’t have the words. It’s more like I didn’t know what to do with them.

Written words are a way to express the raw emotions that change us at the core. I guess my ability to express was on silent.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I remember the first Thanksgiving after the accident & how hard it was to face that day but how thankful I was for the children I still had on earth. It was a different type of thankfulness. A new kind. Thankfulness that can only come with deep loss.

The Lord placed four in my care. One he kept. One he took home.

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They aren’t little anymore. I wish I knew then what it’s taken me years to learn. I wish I had an ounce of understanding on what true gratitude was. Oh, how I wish.

What I had were roots of ingratitude. I’m grateful the Lord is showing me now how to humble myself & confess my need to Jesus. He has planted the seed on what it looks like to be a radically thankful person.

Colossians 2:6-7

I can tell you, I had no idea what roads I would walk from last year’s Thanksgiving to this year’s. No one really knows, right?!

Time doesn’t stand still. It moves whether I’m ready or not. I’ve been picking up pieces all year. Pieces of the puzzle I thought I was working on. Only to find out that not only did God have something else planned but I didn’t even have the right puzzle.

Jesus is the healer of all. I haven’t done any of this alone. He’s with me as I reach for each piece on the ground. Some pieces I wanted to leave right where they were but He bent down with me & helped me pick it up.

The piece of forgiveness. Gratitude. Grace.

Hurts can strangle gratefulness right out of a person if we’re measuring with the wrong things. Don’t let it happen. Please, don’t lose hope because of your circumstances. Shift your thoughts to Him. It’s the only way.

I know it’s hard to forgive. It stinks to be thankful when all you thought was real wasn’t. Extending grace might seem impossible but you can do it! Follow the example of the Savior.

Praise helps! His Word helps! Psalm 103 helps!

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I’ve decided that the best way to share what I’m learning about gratitude is to be vulnerable & show you a tiny bit of what I’ve written while studying what real gratitude is. Here goes……

I need to let the Lord speak to me through His Word (that means being in it), respond to Him in humility, obedience & seek true gratitude. Jesus is there to start my day & WILL light my way IF I seek Him first. Christ’s words are rich & need to be alive in my heart. I have no wisdom. Wisdom comes from pouring God’s Word over my wicked heart.

I need to love what I see IN JESUS more than I ever have. I need to really draw close & look.

As I grow in faith, I don’t rise to the next level. I actually drop down, more & more, until I’m on my knees……..

Being thankful, really thankful, as in grateful beyond words is way more than the thanks I half hearted gave. Being grateful is not an option. It doesn’t matter what’s happened this past year or in the days to come.

My joy & hope don’t have a earthy source. I have moments of joyful times but that’s something different. The joy I’m talking about comes from Christ. Jesus deserves honor & praise. He lives in me so I can be who he’s called me to be. His divine enabling is how I can live a life always being thankful.

True thankfulness has roots in the King. My spilled puzzle pieces are nothing. He already has it figured out anyway. I might not understand it but that’s ok. I TRUST HIM.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

I’d change a thousand things but I can’t. I’d skip over many learning lessons & hurts but I can’t. It’s how the Lord has decided to teach me.

Maybe you don’t know what to do with your scattered puzzle either. It’s ok. He knows. Ask Him for help & offer him a thankful heart. I’ll be the one next to you opening another puzzle box.

Lets worship His holy name together,

Tracy

#rootsofhealing #thanksgiving #gratitude

Thankful for Him

It’s the same thing every morning. My alarm goes off & it’s a new day.

I always lay there for a brief minute trying to get a clear head on what day it is & then everything comes crashing in like a wave. The same problems, pile of unfinished work & mound of sticky notes are all waiting for me.

The heaviness of reality is still there. The weight of life circumstances is facing me one more time.

Quite frankly, if I did any of this crazy life in my own ability then I doubt I’d bother crawling out of bed. I climb in bed at night & lay my head down tired out physically & emotionally. I remind myself that I trust in Him & he has it all.

(Then I knock myself out with a hefty dose of cedarwood & crank out some oils in my diffuser next to my bed…my goodness, I need it for sure!)

It’s a new day to try my best again. Will I fail? Absolutely, but I try. Psalm 19:14 is what I start my day with because you see, I can’t do any of this in my own strength.

There’s always a reason to be thankful. Thankful for another day to willingly walk forward & be who He created me to be. I will always be thankful for the cross. Thankful for my salvation. He chose me….how could I not be thankful for that?!

If I don’t take my eyes off of all the “stuff” then I will risk losing my joy, hope & trust. My focus & eyes need to stay on the Creator. My thoughts have to be reined in all the time & be put back on Him.

I can be thankful in all things because it’s an opportunity for growth. This is one of the hardest things. I don’t want any of the trials that come my way but the reality is they come anyway. I can’t hide or run from them. Each one is headed straight at me whether I want it or not.

What I can run to is Gods Holy Word. What I can hide is those precious words in my heart.

The Psalms are the place for me. It’s the best therapy around! Psalm 16…32…33…34…62…84…100…107… Oh, the Psalms. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with Your life giving words.

I can, I really can, be thankful no matter what! I can see the sun rising from my kitchen window. I could walk right past it or I can stop a minute & look. He has today in his hands. He is present. He is near. He is in control.

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My worship is for Him alone.

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I don’t know what you’re facing but I do know that my God is big enough. He is strong enough & he is able. As warm & secure as those blankets in my bed seem to be, it’s nothing compared to the safety of being tucked under His mighty wing.

You know, I often write on the same topic & there’s a reason. I need to remind myself of these truths over & over again.

Worship His Holy Name!

In Christ,

Tracy

#myhope #helives #thanksgiving #savior #christianblogger