I am Not My Own

Lord, You have redeemed me,

How can I ask for more?

How can I be selfish and just ask

and ask

and ask

When You have given all for me

That I may serve & worship You forever.

 

While I was still a sinner

You loved me

You love me enough to more than cover my debt

You overwhelmed it and thus

overwhelmed my soul.

Knowing the price You paid

I still back away and ask for more.

 

Let me love You & serve You

However that may look

Whatever that may mean

So that I may enjoy You forever,

Serve Your kingdom and worship You,

As You so rightly deserve.

 

The life given for me

So much more valuable than I can repay

And yet so often I turn away

I ask for still more,

Thinking His life was not enough

to make my life complete.

 

Lies; such lies surround me

Thinking I deserve so much more

That somehow other things could fulfill me more than Christ alone.

Let the lies fall dead on my ears

Let my heart not yearn

after that which is not You.

 

I belong to You

Assign me my place as You will.

The place You have for me

to do good works for You;

That which You have prepared for me

before the foundations of the earth.

And let me be content in that place

that I may glorify You & enjoy You

All the days of my life.

I am not my own.

Not Relief, but Redemption

I’m starting my Bible reading in 1 Samuel. I have read through this book before, but it was brought up a couple of weeks ago and I thought I would like to read it again. Looking through it, I found it has 31 chapters – I think I’ve found what I’m going to be reading through for this month 🙂 If you don’t have a Bible on hand, go ahead and read 1 Samuel 1 here.

A couple of weeks ago I went with some friends to Spring Ladies Day at America’s Keswick. It was a lovely day that we got to spend in worship and fellowship, and teaching from God’s Word. Susie Larson was the speaker and she reminded me (and the other thousand or so women there) of some great truths about who we are in Christ and how disappointments can lead us to believe otherwise. In this, she brought up Hannah and how she looked for more than relief from her disappointment, she sought redemption.

Hannah was barren. Her husband’s other wife had many children and didn’t think twice about rubbing that fact in Hannah’s face. This more than saddened Hannah and every year when they went up to the temple she would find herself in sorrow for what she did not have. Her husband would ask her the reason for her sadness, for he loved her, and at one point, said to her, “Am I not more to you than 10 sons?”

It is here where I stopped to let this sink in. I am reminded that I, too, am blessed with a loving husband. Someone whose existence I doubted at one point (or rather many points) in my life. I am reminded of God’s great love and provision and perfect timing throughout our relationship. I am reminded that he and I are a family, with or without children. And I feel convicted by not being content with that, for now.

Perhaps Hannah was stuck in the trap of “if only.” I, for one, do not begrudge her for her deep desire to have a child. She went to the only One who could help her in this situation; she went in the temple and turned to her God. She could have just prayed for Peninnah (her husband’s other wife) to leave her alone. She could have just prayed for a child. But Hannah sought more than relief from her disappointment, she sought redemption. And so, Hannah prayed, not only for a son, but also that if her prayer was answered, she would give her son back to the Lord; she would entrust her son to the Lord’s service.

Hannah wasn’t just looking at how her disappointment in not having a child could be assuaged; she was looking to how her prayer could be answered to the benefit of God’s Kingdom. She was looking at a bigger picture than just herself and her desires and God, in His wisdom and compassion, fulfilled her prayer. She went home, no longer saddened by her circumstance, and soon she and her husband conceived a child.

We all can make grand plans and say that if God answers a prayer in our favor we will somehow use it for Him. I’m not saying that God will not honor that, but, truth be told, He doesn’t really need us for anything. And honestly, anything we have, be it material wealth, time, talents, etc., we should be using for His honor and glory anyway. Please don’t read this as if I always do…for that is nowhere near the truth.

But if there is a great desire you have; for a certain kind of job, for a child, for a spouse, what have you, take it to our Lord. Earnestly pray, asking Him to fulfill your desire, knowing first, that He is the only One who can truly fufill you. Look to Him for your redemption; knowing He is good, His timing is perfect, and His ways are not our ways. This is my focus in my prayer today as I work through disappointment to find not just relief for a day, but redemption for a lifetime. I pray, if there is something you’re struggling with, that you will look to the cross and find your way there, as well.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

The Danger of “If Only”s

“If only I could get that raise…”

“If only I could lose 10 pounds…”

“If only I could…” you fill in the blank.

Have you found yourself there lately? Thinking that if only this one thing would happen then all would be well in the world? It’s such an easy trap to fall into.

I found myself there one night as I tried to fall asleep. I went for a run after work before cleaning the house up a bit and making dinner, so I welcomed sleep, but my mind was still going full speed. Thinking about what the future holds I wrote a few notes in my phone before trying again. I turned to my Lord, where peace can always be found, and I prayed.

Thank You, Father, for this day. Thank You for the  great blessing of my husband and all he does for us. I’m so grateful for where You have us right now, if only…

I stopped in my tracks; knowing the words that were going to come next and realizing all I was insinuating about my precious Lord & Savior. How often have I been reminded …“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a), and His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3)? And yet that is where I found myself; caught up in a lie thinking that I didn’t already have all I need, that Christ’s sacrifice for me was not enough, and that God may be holding out on me.

Without really thinking about it, I fell into the “if only” trap, and I was reminded how, on this side of heaven, I still have my flesh to contend with. I was thanking my God & then going on to say how what He has for me isn’t good enough. That, for whatever reason, there should be something more for me. And only a few months ago I was writing about how I knew I deserved none of this amazing life He’s blessed me with.

Being content with what God’s given us and where God has us, at any point in life, can be difficult; especially when the world around us is always shouting that we need more, we should be reaching for the highest rung on the success ladder, and the most important thing in life is our own happiness. That is why it’s so important to stay focused on what really matters; the amazing gift of grace, purchased at such a high price, by our Lord, Jesus Christ, and that because of His sacrifice, this grace reconciles us with God; so that we may glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

I admit, I fall into this trap often. When you are waiting and hoping for something, it’s not a hard thing to do. I know the things that will help keep my focus (there’s a good chance you probably know them, too); prayer, reading the Word, seeking community & fellowship with other believers. But while I know these things, I’m not so good at actually doing them. I know of the great benefit they hold, and yet I find myself shying away from them. Do you find yourself there, too? If so, I have a proposal.

Of the above three things, I find it the most difficult to stop and get into the Bible every day. With a lot of craziness and changes going on in life in general right now, though, that is exactly what I need to be doing the most. For the next month, I am going to endeavor to read, every day, and share some of my thoughts and findings with you. I would be delighted if you joined along and posted comments about what the Lord has been showing & teaching you, day by day.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

 

 

Thanksgiving

I have thought a lot about what I am thankful for this month, as I’m sure a lot of us have. It wasn’t until right before our church service started tonight, though, that I fully realized what I am most thankful for in this time and place. Remembering that last year our pastor asked us all what we were thankful for on the “Thanksgiving Eve” service, I thought on what I might respond with. And that is when it hit me – the Holy Spirit revealed it to me and I knew I had to share, no matter how hard it would be.

Sure enough the time came when Pastor asked for testimonies of thanksgiving. My heart beat faster in anticipation, but I was thankful someone else went first. Before asking for another, he went through Psalm 136 in which every verse ends with “For His steadfast love endures forever.” It’s truly amazing to realize the fullness of what that means; God’s unchanging, always present, love for us withstands the test of time. As He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so is His love for us, until His kingdom comes and then forevermore. Even now I cannot completely wrap my brain around it, but know that it is an amazing gift He has given to us.

Again Pastor asked for a testimony and I knew it was my turn, so my hand went up and I stood in front of the congregation to share with them (and now with you) that which I am thankful for this season. Over the course of the past few months I have come to really see how God is working in my life. I can honestly say that I am thankful for things not going the way I thought they would. It might sound silly to some of you, but had they worked out so simply it all would have been too easy, too good to be true, if you like. As things have not gone my way, but rather His way, I have learned much more about myself. You can think you are so ready for something (ok, I’ll put it all out there), say a relationship, marriage even, only to find out that your timing is way off from His. Only to find out that you’ve only just arrived at the place where God wants to really start showing you how you’re supposed to be serving Him, and what you might want (that relationship or marriage), is not in His plan for you yet. I’ve come to a place where I am just starting to realize how I should be serving Him. It’s exciting and frightening all at the same time, but this I know to be true: His steadfast love endures forever. I’ve come to a place where I can say with my mind and my heart (for previously it was just in my mind) that I am putting what I want aside. I have no doubt that God knows my desires, but right now, following Him and what He has for me is the most important thing. Honestly, it is always the most important thing. I know that what He has for me is the best and sooo much better than anything I can come up with for myself. For that reason I’m going with Him; following Him, truly, with my whole heart, for quite possibly the first time since I became a believer.

I cannot wait to see how this all is going to play out. I cannot wait to share with you what He has in store. He is good all the time; in our highest highs and lowest lows. I pray He reveals to you what you have to be most thankful for in this season of your life. Take some time to think on it, pray on it, and above all else, give Him the glory for it all.

Love & Blessings,

KJ