God Don’t Need Your Ducks

God Don’t Need Your Ducks

Jumping back into the world of blogging feels a bit like trying to jump into a game of jumprope. Two friends, spinning the rope… you stand watching, waiting for just the right time to jump in, hoping to stay in rhythm with the rope as it swings.

When Holy Spirit told me to take a 6 month break from writing last December, it felt right and good. And, as the weeks progressed into January and February, it was quite obvious that I needed the break, as I wouldn’t have had an extra minute to get my thoughts down and submitted to cyber space.

In mid-June, I felt like it would be time to jump back into the blog world in July but, over the last 11 days, I’ve watched the rope turn, waiting for the right words, the right time. And, as in life, there often is no “right timing” – and sometimes you just have to jump and hope for the best.

A few years ago, my husband spoke a profound statement that rings completely true in this season of life. “God don’t need your ducks.” (Yes, that’s terrible grammar. But yes, that’s the way it really needs to be said.)

I seem to really want to have my, proverbial, ducks in a row. I am a planner – who loves the planning more than the carrying out of the plan. I love schedules and organization, and when there is none, I throw up my hands and just watch the chaos, not quite knowing just what to do. I like schedules. I like new seasons because of the fresh start of getting things in order.

But, lately, there is no order. I feel like I’m watching ducks run around the room like curious toddlers in a new space. I can’t quite get my sh** together as I’d like.

No, as it is, this post is being written at 2am after laying in bed, willing to go to sleep, but the words just started to fill my head and there was no falling asleep. My “ducks” are disobedient children that I can’t control.

And so I will just… jump. Jump into the spinning rope and hope for a rhythm. It’s a game of trust. Trusting that God doesn’t need my ducks in a row and that He truly has the reigns of my life.

Indeed, I speak of a world much bigger than the one of written words on a blog page. Yes, in this season, He is taking away my security of ducks and rows, and He is asking me to trust.

Trust in His faithfulness. Trust in His planning. Trust in His organization. Trust in His calendar.

THIS is not easy for someone He’s gifted to plan, to schedule, to organize. Laying aside the things you do well is dang scary. Because, if you aren’t doing the things you do well, you’re left with the things you don’t do well. And no one likes to suck at life.

But THAT is exactly where I am. Unsure of where and when to jump in… because I don’t want to fail.

Even in that, I am reminded of the familiar verse,

“Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  (NLT)

2 Corinthians 12:9 is a great verse to quote, a daunting one to live.

I love living in my strengths, my gifts, my capabilities. I love having my ducks in a row and then asking God to come bless the row of ducks. I love already being in the rhythm of the twirling jump rope.

But this time – right now – I am learning to trust that He is able to move without my strengths. He is able to move in weakest moments and without my ducks.

Write 31 Days – Day 29: What’s the Problem?

Write 31 Days – Day 29: What’s the Problem?

“The problem wasn’t that I wasn’t doing the right things, I wasn’t believing the right things.” 

~Marie Sheets~

As believers, it’s so easy to get caught up in the doing. There are lots of good things to do.

But when we’re not finding victory or freedom in life, we need to re-evaluate what our belief system looks like.

Asking the Lord to help us believe and think like He does will lead to living life abundantly and victoriously!

(To read a full article on this quote, click HERE.)

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This is Day 29 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

Write 31 Days – Day 22: What’s Scary to God?

Write 31 Days – Day 22: What’s Scary to God?

“Deadlines don’t scare God. He maintains peace through it all.”

~Dani Stroda~

Again, I realize how much not like me, God is. When a deadline is approaching and I’m not prepared or don’t have the finances, I tend to start freaking a bit.

But God… He maintains His cool through it all. Grabbing hold of His peace when deadlines are approaching… something I’m learning to do!

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This is Day 22 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

 

Write 31 Days – Day 17: Minus Love

Write 31 Days – Day 17: Minus Love

“Experience minus love equals nothing.”

~Kris Pfeil~

Our youth pastor was preaching on love a few months back and this statement stuck with me. It’s based from 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 where Paul has a lot of “if… but I have not love, I am nothing.”

Any good deeds, any spiritual gifts, any encounters or experiences with God… if they are not accompanied by the Love of God when we share them – we may as well be clashing together cymbals because anything minus love equals nothing.

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This is Day 17 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

Write 31 Days – Day 16: God Calls it Control

Write 31 Days – Day 16: God Calls it Control

“Christians cut down the second tree and call it sanctification. God calls it control.”

~Kris Vallotton~

Wow, wow, wow!

God is not a controlling God. Even from the Garden of Eden, He placed two trees before Adam and Eve so they would have a choice. He wants us to love Him, but He wants us to choose Him.

So many times, Christians are not the same. We want to eliminate all choices but the “right” one. We want to put up barriers, thinking we’re protecting, but we’re actually controlling.

I think of it this way…

If I want to quit eating candy and so, eliminate it completely from my house and then rave that I haven’t had candy in a week, am I completely free? Or, am I free when I am surrounded by candy, yet am able to resist?

Truly, it is when we are faced with choices but choose the right one, that we are sanctified and walking in freedom.

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This is Day 16 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

Write 31 Days – Day 1: Relentlessly Kind

Write 31 Days – Day 1: Relentlessly Kind

“He is relentlessly kind.” ~Derek Johnson~

I LOVE this idea of God’s relentless kindness! The reality that His kindness never softens or lets up – He cannot not be kind.

This truth also reminds me how much I am not like God. I can be kind… sometimes… to some people… that I like. God is not like me though.

God’s kindness is unstoppable and unyielding. God’s kindness is fierce and determined.

He truly is relentlessly kind.

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This is Day 1 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

Finding Faith in the Midst of Fear

Finding Faith in the Midst of Fear

2 Kings 6:15-17 has become one of my favorite Scriptures over the last couple years.

“The servant of the man of God woke up early and went outside. There he saw a great army, along with many horses and chariots, encircling Dothan. 

Elisha’s Servant: Ah! Master, what are we going to do now?

Elisha: Have no fear. We have more on our side than they do. (praying) O Eternal One, I ask You allow my servant to see heavenly realities. 

The Eternal awakened Elisha’s servant so that he could see. This is what he saw: the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.” (The Voice)

I wrote my devotional, Journey Through the Door, opening with this passage as a great example of the fact we, as humans, can actually see into the heavenly realm.

I love this particular story because Elisha’s servant was filled with fear over what he was seeing in the natural realm – a great army surrounding them. But Elisha saw past the natural circumstances and saw what heaven held – an even greater army of heaven, surrounding them in protection.

Often, we too, are surrounded by real and frightening circumstances that cause us to fear like Elisha’s servant. But we are called to be like Elisha, and see into another reality.

Heaven is available to the Believer – to fight for us and with us, against anything the enemy is coming against us with. When we can see what is happening in this realm, fear will leave us!

Nothing brings peace like seeing and experiencing the protection of the Lord, and His presence, to walk us through whatever circumstances we are faced with.

God is perfect love and 1 John 4:18 tells us that,

“Love will never evoke fear. Perfect love expels fear…” (The Voice)

Seeing what God sees will expel every fear we have. It’s not that we are in denial of the situation, it’s that we can see that God and His kingdom are bigger than we ever imagined and He is our Protector.

We can find faith – that ability to find confidence and trust in God – when we see heavenly realities. Faith will rise above fear, even in the darkest of situations.

My glimpse into heavenly realities…. 

Recently, the Lord showed me a picture of someone who had been fighting against the enemy for a long time. They had stood and fought for so long that they were weary and contemplating raising a white flag of surrender to the enemy.

But, what the person couldn’t see, is that Jesus was riding up on a horse behind them. Jesus was carrying a red flag – a flag of battle.

The revelation I got out of this heavenly picture is that, God is right behind us, ready to fight our battle with us and for us, if we will not give in and surrender.

And so I pray for grace for anyone who is fearful or weary of fighting. God, your Protector is riding up to fight this battle and bring victory to you!

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Finding Strength in the Psalms

Finding Strength in the Psalms

I’m like many – the book of Psalms is my go-to when I don’t know where to read in my Bible. As a busy mama, I know that I can always nourish my spirit with even one verse or short chapter of this book of poetry and truth.

A couple years ago, someone introduced me to The Passion Translation (TPT) of the Bible. The entire bible is not yet translated but they have released several books that come just like that, in individual (or a couple) book form.

The Passion Translation is one of my most favorite versions to read the Psalms from. Here’s a few verses that have ministered to me over the last few weeks. I pray they minister to you and I encourage to check out “Poetry on Fire”… TPT of the Psalms!**

“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to hide! You’re a proven help in time of trouble; more than enough and always available whenever I need you.” (Ps. 46:1)

“Lord, as we worship you in your temple we recall over and over Your kindness to us and your unending love.” (Ps. 48:9)

“The life that pleases Me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace…” (Ps. 50:23a)

“For the source of Your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to you.” (Ps. 51:16)

“But the Lord God has become my wraparound Shield. He leans into my heart and lays his hands upon me!” (Ps. 54:4)

“So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.” (Ps. 55:22)

 

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**Affiliate links are used in this post. This means if you use these links to order, your price remains the same but I earn a few pennies to put towards my coffee budget! 😉

Is it Even Possible to Have a Quiet Time as a Christian Mom?

Is it Even Possible to Have a Quiet Time as a Christian Mom?

Blogger’s note: Whimsy in My Cup is not purely a ‘women’s blog’ or a ‘mommy blog’ but today’s post is geared to all my mama’s out there! 

I’ve been a Christian since I was 7 years old. I’ve been a mom for nearly 18 years. All of my life, I’ve heard that, to be a good Christian, you have to

read your Bible,

pray and

go to church.

We don’t always use that wording but it seems that these are the three things Christianity is often boiled down to.

I think these are three very good things to do. I also think that this narrow view of what a Christian is and the ability to check off (or not) these things, is actually a detriment to, what is supposed to be a very real and experiential relationship with a very real and near God.

The days we cannot tick off the “big three”, we judge and condemn ourselves and, because of the shame, pull away from the Lord. The more this happens, we can find ourselves feeling a million miles away from the One with whom we long to have a relationship.

Throw motherhood into this equation and we have many women feeling as though being both a “mommy” and a “good Christian” is pretty much impossible. We barely have time for a shower, how do we have time to pray and read our Bibles and, some weeks, even get to church on Sunday?

I know incredible women who have woken up earlier than their children all their lives to get that daily Bible and prayer time in. I admire that and wish I could have been disciplined enough to do that, but it’s not been my experience. Does that mean there’s no hope for me, as a busy mom, to be a good Christian as well? A big fat no!

Because, here’s the deal – though we need to spend time in the Word, we need to pray and of course, go to church – it doesn’t have to always have to look like 60, 30 or even 15 minutes of uninterrupted “quiet time”.

If being a Christian truly is a relationship, not a bunch of rules or behavioral standards, we can totally do relationship in the midst of mommying. Here’s a few keys…

Don’t read your Bible to check it off the “good Christian” daily list. Read it to feed your spirit. Sometimes you only get a verse or two read. And that’s OK! One simple, yet profound, truth from his living Word can nourish your spirit all day long (or even a couple days if that’s the way life rolls).

You don’t have to hide yourself in the closet to pray. Prayer truly is “having a conversation with God”. It’s lovely to have an uninterrupted conversation – I don’t get many of them as a mom, how about you? You can have a running conversation with God all. day. long. Prayer doesn’t have to be a religious, bow your head and close your eyes, time. Just talk to Him throughout your day, telling Him how you’re feeling, asking for His wisdom and help, and expecting Him to talk back!

And the last of the big three… Going to church. I highly recommend being involved in a family of believers – we need each other. If you miss a week because… you know, life… don’t get condemned, go the next Sunday. Can’t be involved in every service or small group throughout the week? Embrace the season you’re in, and connect where you can.

Our relationship with the Lord is an eternity-long connection. Don’t let crazy human standards heap shame on you. Connection doesn’t look the same for every body and every relationship. The important thing is you don’t disconnect or pull away from Him. Draw near, any way you can, in the midst of the craziness of life and parenting. He promises, if you draw near to Him, He’ll draw near to you! (James 4:8)

 

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Learning to Breathe in the Midst of Anxiety

Learning to Breathe in the Midst of Anxiety

If there was a phrase to describe how it feels in this season of my life, it would be I feel like I’m “holding my breath”.

I have so many new things happening that there’s not really much of a ‘normal’ right now. Oldest has graduated and moved a million miles away. Youngest is counting down the days to her first day of preschool. I’ve started a new business. I’m about to launch another blog and consulting service. And I’m holding my breath. I have no idea what the next 6 months will look like or what they will bring.

I’m a little afraid – which I talked a bit about HERE a few weeks ago. But there’s also a lot of excitement for this place I’ve never been before. So, I’m holding my breath.

But, as I hold my breath, anxiety seems to creep in. What if’s seem to fill my head as my lungs don’t release air. What if something happens with Jaci and we can’t get there? What if Journey cries at preschool and doesn’t want to go back? What if my business flops and I lose my {minor} investment and the time I’ve spent trying to build it? What if I have no idea what I’m doing with my blog and consulting venture? 

It’s in these moments that the Lord breathes His breath into my lungs and reminds me to “just breathe”. Breathe in His peace, rest in His presence. Be excited and know that He has me – no matter what happens.

And so. Every time I realize I’m holding my breath in life. I exhale. I let Him fill my lungs with peace and I exhale that suffocating anxiety. And I remember His promises in Psalm 23…

The Lord is my Fierce Protector and my Pastor.

I always have more than enough.

He offers a resting place for me in His luxurious love.

His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.

That’s where He restores and revives my life.

He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure, 

and leads me along in His footsteps of righteousness,

so that I can bring honor to His name.

Lord, even when Your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness

fear will never conquer me, for You already have!

You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.

Your authority is my strength and my peace,

the comfort of Your love takes away my fear.

I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.

You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight.

You anoint me with the fragrance of Your Holy Spirit;

You give me all I can drink of You until my heart overflows.

So why would I fear the future?

For I’m being pursued only by Your goodness and unfailing love.

Then afterwards – when my life is through, 

I’ll return to Your glorious presence 

to be forever with You!

(The Passion Translation)

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