Is There Joy in the Waiting?

Have you ever had a season of life when the ground shakes beneath every step? You hang on for dear life in the waking, and doings, of your day, and wonder if it will ever get better and, “What in the world is happening?”.

In the seasons when the, “can go wrongs”, become the “going wrongs”, can we find the light? Or are we blind? Maybe it’s all about perspective.

I’ve had a time recently! It’s been one hit after another, then another, to prove that maybe I should just lay down and give up. But I’m not one to give up!!!

I can’t help think tonight about the pain and sting of it all. Not even necessarily my pain, but the pain I see happening around me also. I wonder where the line blurs between humanity and God. What are we capable of handling and what should we bury ourselves in prayer and tears over? Life isn’t always easy!

I wish I could be optimistic all of the time, but some days bring more sting than others. It’s humanity. It’s life. It’s a brilliant saga lived out in skin.

Still, when God seems distant or hope seems a memory, there is this subtle joy that can spring out of nowhere. The key is finding the romance in the midst of the chaos. Maybe that is my mission. Maybe I can be a beacon for the lost and waiting.

We wait for tomorrow while clinging to today or some other distant day.

We wait for light when the sun has set.

We wait for inspiration and hope when the world screams, “failure”.

And in the waiting, we are better.

There may not be a rose garden awaiting us on the other side of the briar patch. Still, what we learned in the dark, we carry to the light.

Never underestimate the power and potential of your struggles.

Fight when the world has knocked you flat.

Get up when you don’t know how to open your eyes!

Be you! Authentic and unapolegetic!

I can’t help but believe that a God who sees all, knows who I am and what I face, and has equipped me for a moment like this.

Don’t let anyone steal who you ARE!

SHINE!

Tomorrow is another adventure in YOUR story. What are you going to do with it?

Today…tomorrow

It is human to look in the closet of broken dreams and wonder if you’ve done enough or been enough to sustain the hope.

But the closet holds so much hope! Never underestimate who you were and who you are now!

There’s no magic formula that makes us great. It’s in the showing up. Am I willing to show up today and tomorrow and keep going?

That is where the magic lies. Show up. Shine! Greatness is in a life ready to do the best one can tomorrow.

Will tomorrow be great? It’s up yo you. Screw today! Get out there and LIVE!

Hero

I have all these heroes in the faith..people who shine bright amidst the noise and impact the world with light.

Tonight I wonder if I’m a “hero”.

Can I be one who shows a glimmer of light in darkness? Am I beacon to someone holding on, trying to breathe when the air seems thin?

Is it enough to live and love? Is it enough to show up everyday?

I think it is. We don’t need megaphones, we need presence. We don’t need lights and applause. Maybe a smile is enough.

Think about who impacted you the most on your journey. Did they need accolades or were they just there?

The beauty in life is in showing up in the small things. The big things are great but the small things are magic.

Shine when the light is missing. Shine when the dim overwhelms.

Be, unapologetically, you. You were born for this!

Brightness

You are me when the light dims.

You are me when the light shines bright

We are one. We are whole!

Who knew?!?

If tomorrow were another moment in the realm of eternity, would we notice the light?

How bright can we shine NOW?!?

If we aren’t light, who are we?

Reach for light!

A Note from Bionic Me

I love a good challenge. I love to learn and absorb new things around me. I started using a new computer program today that I’ve never used and had to force myself to stop messing with it, because I have other things to do and I can learn more later. I often think I can do anything (within reason). At least in most settings.

I find myself wondering today if this is one of those situations where my greatest weakness is my greatest strength overextended. Let me explain. Sometimes the things that make us great, can be pushed too far and end up being our downfall. For example, I’m very compassionate and empathetic. This is a strength. But, when I allow my empathy and compassion to drive in some situations, I can be a giant pushover and let people walk all over me.

When it comes to my bionic, superwoman, learn it all, be the fastest, do better, mentality, I am really good at a lot of things. I’m an excellent employee, friend, singer. I want to be the best I can be so I work until I get it done. This is a strength, but in light of the gospel, this can be my downfall. See, God isn’t likely to be too impressed with my valiant strides towards greatness. In fact, he resists arrogance and pride and sent His son to die for mankind who had spent thousands of years trying to prove they were good enough, only to find they needed a better way. Jesus is that way!

God doesn’t expect me to be superwoman, yet I will try like mad to show Him how capable and “good” I am. I was reading in Genesis 11 this morning. Man says, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves” Gen 11:4. The key phrase here is “let us make a name for ourselves”. They were doing the exact thing we all do sometimes, trying to do things all on our own and prove how great we are.

If you know the story, God decides to confuse their language and scatters them all over the earth so they wouldn’t try that again. The place is called Babel, which means confusion (It’s also the beginning of Babylon and you know Babylon ended up taken God’s people captive and even shows up ago in Revelation). The point is, when I try to prove my worth and be good enough, it only makes me captive to confusion and exhaustion. But Jesus came so that I can have life and rest and peace and FINISHED the work on the cross. That’s all I need. If only I could learn once and for all to REST in that.

Don’t let your greatest strengths get out of balance and become your greatest weaknesses. Don’t work so hard you forget to live. Don’t let your arrogance get in the way of the freedom and blessings that you don’t have to earn…they’re freely given. Let your faith and His strength be enough.

From your friendly neighborhood Bionic woman. (I was named after the bionic woman by the way, but that’s a story for another time.)

Fully Convinced in Spite of all My Questions

What is a mind not wavering?

What is strength?

What is faith?

Can I walk in it?

Who holds the key?

Is the door really locked?

Am I on the outside looking in?

Are you inside waiting?

Are you cheering me on?

Are my hands strong?

Will I use them wisely?

Why am I asking so many questions?

The answers are there for the taking.

Why don’t I always remember them?

Is this a test I will have to pass again and again?

Will my memory serve me when it’s hard?

Will I forget to listen?

How could I ever forget the sound of your voice?

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

If I have to take another lap around the mountain, will you walk with me?

Are you singing?

Can I sing along?

Am I giving you glory?

Am I fully convinced?

If faith comes in giving you glory, can I fill up or overflow?

Is that even relevant?

Should I stop talking now?

I should.

“But he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20b-21

The Blood will Never Lose its Power

I never do anything like this so welcome to a first on the Inspired by the Comforter site. After speaking with a friend earlier, I couldn’t help but start singing a couple of choruses from some old songs I grew up on. I was lied to for years. The world around me, and yes, even the church and Christian content and media, told me over and over again that if I were better or more holy or enough, then God would be moving in my life, my family. My ex-husband wouldn’t have been an addict if I were a better wife. My life would be perfect and sunny and roses would sprout from my finger tips if only I could get my act together. I call bull! Excuse my language, but honey, no one can tell me that my efforts mattered more than the cross.

Jesus paid the price for my sin, my shame, everything, once and for all on the cross. “It is finished” means something. Yes, I will spend everyday of my life trying to be more like Jesus and I will be continually being sanctified and growing in my faith, but I don’t freakin’ have to be ENOUGH before I come to the cross! I come to the cross because in and of myself, I can’t be enough and wasn’t meant to ever be enough. I can’t be good enough apart from Christ. No one can. But that’s the beauty! He never expected us to be! He IS enough! And therefore, in Him, I am enough. I have everything I need and NO one can condemn me or take away the power of what He accomplished. No one can pluck me from His hand.

I write this now after speaking to a friend who is being lied to in the same way I used to be. I learned to call bull on the bull and punch it in the gut with the truth of the gospel and I see her beginning to do the same. So for my friend and anyone else who may need to hear it, I’m adding this short video I took a minute ago in my office at work (don’t tell my boss haha) to hopefully encourage you. It’s not my best, but that doesn’t matter, because like anything else, we hold up what we have and who we are to the light of the cross and He does what He will with it.

Don’t Waste the Chains

I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime. I used to feel a little sorry for myself if I’m being honest. I can remember sad, pitiful, moments when I whined at God because “He must love everyone else more than me since life was so unfair”, blah blah blah. I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s the truth. I’ve long since adjusted my attitude towards suffering, hardship, and trials. I can either allow the hardships of my life to break me, or I can allow them to build me. I choose the latter.

It’s been through some of the hardest times of my life, that I’ve found what it means to truly live. It’s in the suffering that I’ve learned to find true joy. It’s in the anxious moments, that I’ve learned what it means to have peace and to lean in and trust more than I thought possible. It’s in pain, I’ve learned empathy. It’s in rejection, I’ve learned love. For all of these things, I am truly, honestly, not just throwing out a cliché, grateful!

Paul learned this as well. Philippians 1:12 NLT “I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” He was in prison when he wrote those words. Yet, he used even his chains to further the Gospel! Nothing is wasted.

We live in a culture, particularly in the church, where we rail against suffering. We don’t want it! We don’t believe it should happen to us despite the fact that Jesus said in John 16:33 NLT, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.“. We’ve created entire doctrines based on the avoidance of pain, sickness, and suffering. Ultimately, we want to control things. We feel if we were better, we’d get better things. If we are good enough, we will be blessed. We’ve missed the point. We ARE blessed but not because bad things don’t happen to us and around us. We are blessed because He has overcome the world! (also in John 16:33) We are blessed because in the worst moments, He is there to strengthen us, give us peace, and we will come through it stronger and better! Remember in Philippians 1:21, Paul says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

In the worst moments of my life, not only do I have the opportunity to grow, but I have an opportunity to shine. When nothing and no one can hold me back from doing what God called me to do, those around me get the benefit. They can not only see Christ strengthening me, but I’m able to love better…to show them the love of Christ better. Sometimes, it’s in the midst of the chains, that we can spread the most freedom. Like Paul said, “Everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the good news.

Don’t waste your chains! Use them! Fight! Hold on tight and trust that nothing can stop you! Grow! Most importantly, learn to love deeply, trust without limits, and spread the love of God like you’ve never thought possible! You are a warrior! Don’t ever forget it.

Crank up the Music

Have you ever read something and you just can’t stop thinking about it? Saturday morning, I read a passage of Scripture, I’ve read probably one hundred times, but I never saw it. I’ve spent a lot of times studying the book of 2 Kings. I have a profound fascination with Elisha. I have even considered writing a book about it but I haven’t done it yet….maybe soon. Still, despite the many times I’ve read this, I never noticed this simple little thing hanging out in 2 Kings chapter 3.

I’m a musician, as many of you know. I have been involved in worship ministry in one form or another for the last 40 years of my life. I’m only 43 so it’s pretty obvious that music and worship have been instrumental (no pun intended…okay maybe a little intended) in who I am.

In 2 Kings 3, the king of Israel, Joram, and the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat have teamed up and are going to battle against Moab. Side note – I’ve always liked saying Jehoshaphat! It’s just fun. I feel like Buddy the Elf saying “Francisco” over and over again, “Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat”, but I digress. They decide they should ask the prophet of the Lord what they should do. Good idea Jehoshaphat! So they go to Elisha, who honestly, isn’t thrilled about the idea of helping them at all. He isn’t a big fan of Joram, who is still doing evil in the sight of the Lord and says in verse 13, “I want no part of you. Go to the pagan prophets of your father and mother!”

Still, despite Elisha’s attitude toward Joram, he agrees out of respect for…wait for it…Jehoshaphat. See it’s just fun! Anyway, the thing I never saw is in verse 15. Elisha agrees to ask the Lord for them, and in order to do that he says, “Bring me a musician.” 2 Kings 3:15. “Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.” 2 Kings3:16.

The outcome here isn’t what I want to emphasize. What I can’t stop thinking about is that when Elisha’s own attitude was not in a space to find the word of the Lord, he knew how to pull himself out of it and into the presence of God. He knew that in in worship, God would reveal Himself. The hand of the Lord moved as the musician played.

I was talking with a friend recently who said they cannot stand the “worship” part of church. She meant the music. She just doesn’t get it and doesn’t understand why it is so repetitive etc. I get it. I also acknowledge that everyone has a different style and various worship expressions are necessary because we are all different and God speaks to us in different ways. Still never underestimate the power and impact that worship and music has on the lives and spirits of mankind.

If the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah through worship and he, Elisha, the man with a double portion of the anointing of Elijah needed them to call for a musician to change his attitude and hear from heaven, then it only makes sense why I fundamentally need music in my life. I am designed to absorb music. I feel it deeply. I sing loudly. I feel the atmosphere shift around me through melody and rhythm. It’s a part of me. It’s obviously a part of others as well and it’s in me so I can help others find and hear from heaven.

My point is two-fold. Number one, if something is in you, let it out! It’s in you for a reason. I’m a singer for a reason so I better SING! Whatever you have to offer, don’t keep it to yourself. Be who you are! Go out and change the world. I know it sounds cheesy, but do it anyway. God created you for a purpose and it wasn’t just to hide in the shadows. Live BIG!

Number two, if you’re struggling today, crank up the music and see what happens. Allow God to speak to you. Meditate on His word and listen. You never know what He will do. Crank it up! Dance! Sing! Listen! God is always speaking, not always how we think He will. It may be through music. It may be through a butterfly flying by your window. You never know, but if you have eyes to see and ears to hear, He will reveal Himself to you. Don’t miss it!

Life is…

Life is walking on

Life is waking up in the morning

Life is doing what it takes to roll out of bed when the alarm is too harsh and the sleep is too short

Life is kids making you crazy

Life is partners making you wonder, “what in the world?!?”

Life is struggle

Life is breath

Life is another sunrise

Life is another chance

Life is another choice

Life is broken or whole?

Life is defeat or victory?

Life is who I was versus who I am.

Life is tomorrow…

Life is what if I tried?

Life is a choice

Life is a chance

Life is, what’s the worst that could happen?

Life is Jesus!

Life is, “What if I miss it?”

Life is “What if I fail?”

Life is “What if I didn’t?”

Life is “No regrets!”

Don’t waste it!

Go for it!

Live!!!