Fruitful Affliction Week Two {video}

For those going through my Fruitful Affliction study, below is the teaching video for week two.

For those not going through my study, hopefully you will still be encouraged with this brief teaching on…fear. Yep. Fear.

 

fruitful affliction week 2

 

The truth is that as long as we live on planet earth, fears will arise. But if we are in Christ, then fear is not our inheritance. Fear does not have to be our dwelling place. I pray that as we walk through unknowns this week, God would graciously teach us how to take our thoughts captive to truth. He is good. He is faithful. He is actively loving each of His children in the now situations that mark our lives.

 

Fruitful Affliction Week Two Video Teaching
(Superficial note: I’m not sure why my hair is wonky in that last scene. Call it motherhood.)

 

Press in and press on, friends.

 
Fill me, Lord…

For those going through the study, what is God teaching you? I’d love to hear.

 

Fruitful Affliction Week One {video}

Hi to all of you HelloMornings participants. Hi to my book club participants. And hi to any future readers of Fruitful Affliction who found this post.

This week marks the start of week one for the Spring 2015 book club for my newest Bible study Fruitful Affliction. If you’ve signed up for my book club but have not received any emails from me regarding the book club then that means for some cyber-reason I don’t have you on the list. And that makes me so very sad. You can go here to try again.

I won’t post a bunch of book club details here on the blog — I’ll leave those for the newsletter — but each week I will have a blog post like this one that will serve as the “hub” for discussion. Once you’ve completed that particular week’s lessons, come back over to the blog and share what God is teaching you. I’d absolutely love to hear.
 

week 1

 

Also, I will post a short video teaching each week highlighting something that I wanted to emphasize from that particular week’s lessons. In this video I talk about how God is our Defender. I pray it blesses.

 

 

I’m honored to walk through God’s Word with you. I pray that His Word serves as an entry way into intimate communing with our good Daddy-God.

 
Fill me, Lord…

What is one thing that God is teaching you in week one of Fruitful Affliction?
 

for those who need some encouragement this mother’s day

There’s a gap between what we think we need and what people can give us. A space between our expectations or desires and the realities that come with living in a broken world with other broken people.

With Mother’s Day coming up tomorrow, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and the messiness that often marks them.

 

grace for mothers day

 

I’ve been thinking about my friend who went to be with Jesus back in February, leaving her two young kids behind. And I see the gap, the space, the chasm. At ages 5 and 12 they need their mama. But cancer under the sovereignty of God took her life. And now there remains space — lots of space — between their desires and life’s reality.

I’ve been thinking about me and all the other moms in the dailiness of life, being a mom to our kids, failing over and over again. As a mom, I hear internal expectations taunting me. The gap glares at me. Actually it slaps me and laughs that annoying evil laugh, “Mwah ha ha ha ha ha.”

And I’ve been thinking of so many friends who don’t have good relationships with their own moms. They buy the cards and may even give gifts but failures hover in the air like flying pink elephants. Failures. Unmet expectations. The gap.

In my head I picture a bar graph-ish thing. So I decided to scribble it on some scratch paper. It’s really technical.

 

the gap

 

Expectations and desires reach way up high. Notice that mine are higher than yours. Issues. Then there’s reality. It tops out way down low leaving a bunch of blank space, a.k.a. “the gap.” And did you notice poor Susie Q? She’s had a rough life. Bless her heart.

The world teaches us that the gap has to get smaller in order for us to have a meaningful, joyful life. People have to measure up. Circumstances have to align with our plans and agenda. Then we will experience the life we desire. So we manipulate situations and all-but-beg people to change until we curl up into an exhausted ball on the floor. Because ruling and controlling our little world is a tiring job. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But the God of the universe tells a different story. He says that in the midst of the gap, we can experience His perfected power.

 

“Three times I pleaded with he Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” said Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

 

I don’t care how many times I read this text, it always shakes me back into God’s reality. It shakes me out of that whiny gap where I try to pull people and situations up to meet my expectations. And it causes me to rest. Just rest.

The way we move into something like Mother’s day with glaring gaps is in and through the grace of Jesus. Period.

Cancer comes. Disappointments happen. We will fail (again and again). People will hurt us. Kids will disobey for the 843 thousandth time. But Jesus. He shows His love and might in the midst of life’s gaps! This is me preaching to myself, per usual.

We say “amen” and “hallelujah” to the thought of God’s power in our weaknesses but what does all of this mean? What does it mean in the moments of Sunday when thinking of our relationships causes pain or heartache?

It means we press in. It means that when the gap rises to the surface of our minds, we take that gap to Jesus. We hand it over to Him in prayer. We remember that God remains able and willing to empower us in the midst of the gaps. It means we walk by faith, not by sight, trusting that even now God is being good.

If you’re one who sees gaps in your own relationships, know that I’m praying for you. I’m asking God to powerfully meet us right there, pouring out grace and hope and comfort and strength. Because He promised.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How have you seen God meet you in “the gaps” of life’s relationships?
 

 

fruitful affliction coverOh and one housekeeping reminder. My book club for my newest Bible study Fruitful Affliction starts Monday! Click here to find out more. I’d love for you to join us!