I value dreaming. Possibly even daydreaming. How many times has the boisterous one waved her growing hand in front of my face saying, "Mom. Mom! Are you lost in a daydream?" I believe it healthy to look forward and anticipate something whether its a lunch date with your husband or a family vacation. God wants us to be excited to receive His gifts.
However, sometimes things don’t turn out the way we expected. You anticipated your date ending with cuddling by the fireplace but it ends in a fight. The "surprise" vacation was found out by the golden heads and was a stressful time in your family relationships instead of the bonding time you anticipated. The newborn child you anticipated welcoming into your fold slipped into Jesus' arms before he could make it to your nursery.
Some of these disappointments are more heart wrenching than others. But I'm going to ask the hard question (which is much easier to apply to the date gone nightmare than a lost child). What if in being focused on what you wanted (your dream), you missed what God gave? Missed the skyline He painted for you. Missed the opportunity to encourage. Missed the rich, bold taste of your coffee. Missed the feel of your child’s hand tucked in yours. Missed the smell of summer rain (when it’s winter at home). Why would you miss these? Because you focused on the disappointment of your dream. You focused on yourself.
It's easier to see God's gifts in the good times than the difficult times.
Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11
The Jews had been waiting for a promised leader for centuries when Jesus arrived on the scene as an infant. The prophets has predicted the arrival of a savior, a Messiah. The Jews believed this savior would come as a powerful, mighty, earthly king and deliver them from Roman oppression and rule the nation in perfect justice. Many Jews had overlooked the prophet Isaiah who predicted a suffering servant who would be rejected and killed (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
A few recognized this Messiah, in Jesus, the Son of God becoming a man to establish a heavenly kingdom. Thank goodness these select few shared how they saw Jesus, by writing and telling the message to others. Because of their firm belief, we can see God today.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied... Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God... Matthew 5:6, 8
But how often am I like the Jews who didn't recognize their savior? I get so wrapped up in how I believe God should paint the story of my life I forget He (not me) has the blueprints of my future. I focus on my disappointment, not His gifts.
I don't know how deep your disappointment is today. Maybe you grieve over a lost Saturday or a lost child. They're both grief. But I know this, God is there (Psalm 139:7-12). In the midst of your disappointment, don't miss Jesus. You'll usually find His fingerprints in the details.

Why the dark?

Like the rainy, stormy weather this past week, so has been the dark cloud hovering over me. Feelings of uncertainty, heavy-heartedness, and lethargic slowness billow over my being. I don't even know from where these feelings come. I'm a serious person, but not a Debbie-downer.

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.  Psalm 25:8-10

I try do what's right. I sit before the LORD and ask Him to return to me the joy of my salvation. I ask why. I recall His faithfulness. I count my gifts. But the heaviness continues and I feel the blow of being hit by a freight-train. I want to know His way. I want certainty in His direction. My theology believes in His faithfulness but I want to see the purpose of this right now!
What matters is treading with Him! I may never understand this heaviness and uncertainty, but if I am abiding in Him, despite my burdened feelings, even this heavy path is one He's on with me. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.
These feelings don't mean that I've derailed. Though I should make sure I don't have unconfessed sin hindering my relationship with Jesus, but if nothing seems unconfessed, then I must just accept that I am only human and I am allowed to feel the whole gamut of emotions. I can still choose to tread with Jesus, to know He's beside me in the darkness ,and that He is good and upright and soon the sun will come out while the dark clouds move on toward the east like after a morning rain.
Do you find yourself in a dark spot wondering why? If anyone understands, it's Jesus. As His time to walk the road to the cross drew near and came upon Him, Jesus knew the darkness. Talk to Jesus about your circumstance. Choose to believe that even this dark path is one He will remain on with you and His love remains with you. I'd love to pray for you, that the sunshine on your heart would rise. Email me here.


I'm tired. Exhausted. Worn out. The petunias in my hanging pot describe me well. As my friend said last week, pitch the old annual flowers, "It's time for mums." In contrast to my end-of-summer petunia-like fatigue, I am encouraged that God's enlightenment and truth never needs replacing. It's always vibrant.
Paul has only just got started in his letter to the Ephesians, when he conveys his personal prayer for them: he gives thanks to God for them and asks that God gives them, as a result of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, the opportunity to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus.
..that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe... Ephesians 4:17b-19a
What Paul emphasizes is the experiential and practical knowing Jesus, not just a feeling, sense or desire. If you have any history, be it 10 minutes or 10 years walking with Jesus, you have experienced Him, His goodness and His grace. But you may be like me. You may have simply forgotten what's you've experienced!
In my summer fatigue, I've found myself taking on anxiety and I shared this anxiety as a prayer request with a few trusted friends. One friend pointed me to Philippians 4:6 that charges me to present petitions to God with thanksgiving.
Ah...yes! I knew that, I've experienced Philippians 4:7's peace in the past, I had just forgotten! I needed reminding.
The practice of thanksgiving, in my experience with Jesus, is choosing to see, identify and write down my gifts. This has made a huge impact on my life. On one of the hardest days of my life, I was forcing myself through the routine of the morning. The coffee didn't even taste good (no offense Starbucks) and I felt numb. Sitting in my chair with coffee cup in hand, I realized I was forced with a choice: His way or my way. A grateful heart or grieved heart. On that dark day of my life, I chose gratitude. And I continue to choose gratitude. It gets me through the rough days, when I feel like the petunias in August: dried out, leggy and ready to be tossed. My experience with Jesus is always fresh and revitalizing.

Your past is your lens for today. In w
hat way have you experienced Jesus (peace, joy, love, forgiveness...)? Will you share in a comment below? Maybe other readers need to remember what they've forgotten.