Trusting God with the Desires of Your Heart


I bought pears from the grocery store yesterday that aren’t quite ripe. This is the conversation that has been going on in my home for the last 24 hours between me and Abigail (3):

Abbey: (Upon seeing me enter the kitchen with a bag of pears) “PEARS!!!!! Can I have one?”
Me: “Let’s feel them – oh, sorry! They aren’t ripe yet, sweetie! We’ll have to wait awhile.”
**5 minutes later**
Abbey: “Momma, are the pears ripe yet?”
Me: “No, sweetie, sorry. It’s going to take a couple of days.”
Abbey: (hands slamming against face in frustration) “WHYYY? I want a pear NOW!”
Me: “Ripening takes time. I’ll let you know when they are ready.”
Abbey: “ok!”
*5 minutes later*
Abbey: “Are they ripe yet?”
Me: (sigh).

The Right Thing at the Wrong Time


We’ve all been in Abbey’s shoes at one time or another in life. We see the fruit (or the job, spouse, house, family, trip, opportunity, you fill in the desire of your heart) we want. It’s within reach.

But there is something coming in between us and our desire – it’s just not the right time. It’s not ready yet.

Rushing or forcing a desire or dream (even a clearly God-ordained desire) into reality before it’s perfect time only leads to frustration and negative results.

Just ask Abraham. Miracle of miracles, at the ripe old age of 100 God promised him a son. And in a moment of stargazing with God, he was filled with faith that his descendants would indeed be “as numerous as the sand in the seashore.”

Rushing Life Brings Rotten Fruit

I guess it took a little too long for Abe, because he and Sarah decided to, um, make it happen their own way. In their impatience, they produced a son like they had wanted, but in the process they hurt another person deeply and disobeyed God as well.

Their desire for a son wasn’t wrong. Taking matters into their own hands was. God was able to redeem the situation, fulfilled his promise to them regardless, and promised to care for both of Abraham’s sons.

But their hasty decision born of impatience would bring negative consequences of conflict for generations to come.

Worth Waiting For

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This Scripture has often been misinterpreted to mean, “If you love God, he will give you whatever you want.”

Not the case. My love for my daughter is strong; Therefore,  if she pouts at me with her blonde curls bouncing, tears falling down her adorable face, I WILL NOT GIVE HER AN UNRIPE PEAR. Because I know it isn’t ready for her yet. What she expects to be juicy won’t be as palatable to her and may even make her stomach hurt.

When we delight in the Lord, we take exquisite delight in Him. That means that we treasure Him more than anything else we may desire.

As we delight in him, his goodness and his love, we learn that we can trust Him to filter our desires and give us what is truly best.

Abbey can trust me to give her a yummy pear when it is ripe and ready. You and I can trust God as a kind and loving Father to give us good and perfect gifts in His time.

And his gifts in his timing never bear bad fruit.

We Gave Up Complaining for Lent

This year, our family is observing the Lenten fast in a rather unorthodox fashion. While food items such as meat or sugar are often fasted, this year we have decided to do something quite different: We’ve decided to give up complaining for Lent.

Yes, you heard me right. Complaining. It’s easy when your life mostly consists of first world problems to start getting picky and stop being thankful.

God’s word is very clear about complaining – He says very clearly again and again, “DON’T DO IT.” Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without complaining or arguing.”

In contrast, God tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Put Off Complaining, Put On Thanksgiving

It’s not enough to stop whining and complaining. While the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” rings true, there is an important element missing.

While at times we may be able to bite our lip and suck in our snarkyness (is that a word?) and agitation, if we are grumbling in our hearts nothing has changed.

Don’t get me wrong – there are times it will take everything we’ve got just to keep our tongues from spewing out molten lava of negativity. And that’s important! Because what we say has a strong impact on the people around us. They either leave our presence uplifted or discouraged.

Beyond those “molten lava” moments, our family is trying to grab hold of a new practice. Scripture clarifies that we are not only to “put off” the unfruitful deeds of our sinful flesh, but also to “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him” (Colossians 3:10).

Write Down Your Complaints – God Can Handle It!


Psalm 142:2 says, “I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my trouble.”

I started by putting a long sheet of butcher’s paper on one of the doors near our kitchen. I wrote on the top left side “Complaints.” On the top right hand side I wrote “Thanks to God.” Then I told our family that if they had a complaint, they could write it to God on the wall.

Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are saying, but as we write it down, our thoughts become clear. When one of my daughters complained that she couldn’t have cheese (we have stopped giving her dairy due to skin problems) I said, “I understand that’s frustrating – let’s go write it on the wall.”

She wrote something to the effect of, “I’m tired of not having cheese!!” There was definitely an exclamation point involved.

But then my husband asked her, “Well, have you seen anything positive come from giving up cheese, though? Anything to thank God for?” She admitted that yes, her eczema is getting much better, so she wrote that down on the right side of “Thanks to God.”

Writing out our complaints to God and seeking to turn them into thanksgiving has not only helped us to become more aware of our negative attitudes but has also caused us to recognize gifts that God is giving us in that area of perceived lack.

Experts say that habits are a process, not an event. We’re not going to be “complaint-free” by Easter. But we’re getting started on the right path which will hopefully lead us to a deeper place of contentment and trust in the Lord as a family and as individuals. We’re giving space and grace for failure and we’re focusing on holding one another accountable.

And long after our “complaint/thanksgiving wall” is filled to the full, we will hopefully keep up the practice. Won’t you join us? Perhaps lying beneath some of your strongest complaints are some of your greatest blessings.

Courage to Face Our Fears


Theologian N.T. Wright states in his book “Following Jesus:”

“Do you know what the most frequent command in the Bible turns out to be? What do you think – “Be good”? or “don’t sin”?

No. The most frequent command in the Bible is: “Don’t be afraid.”

Fear not….The irony of this surprising command is that, though it’s what we all really want to hear, we have as much difficulty, if not more, in obeying this command as any other. We all cherish fear so closely that we find we can’t shed it even when we’re told to do so”.

If I Perish, I Perish

Last weekend I attended a women’s gathering at my church in D.C. We gathered together for food, fellowship, and teaching.

One of the women in our church shared an excerpt from Beth Moore’s teaching on the Book of Esther. You know those times when you aren’t expecting God to speak to you and He does? Yeah, it was one of those times for me!

Beth shared that when Esther was told about the situation her people were facing, she had a choice to make. She could either go in and face the King, requesting that he put a stop to the edict to destroy her people, OR she could do nothing, hoping that someone else would intervene.

She makes it clear in Esther 4:11 that if she went into his court without being summoned, it was a law to be put to death – unless the king holds out his golden scepter so that person might live. Death was the rule for this breach in conduct; the golden scepter was the exception.

Her uncle Mordecai makes it pretty clear to Esther what will transpire: “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Beth shared, “What was it that happened to Esther between verses 11 and 14 of this chapter?” “What caused her to move from a place to fear to the place where she could say, “If I perish, I perish”?

Not Denying the Fear, But Denying It’s Authority


Beth goes on to say, “There is no denial in courage. You look flat in the face of it (your fear) and don’t deny it’s reality but deny it’s victory over you.”

We live in a culture that propagates fear at every turn. Chapman University did a study on America’s Top Fears in 2015, which revealed the top two fears of Americans are Corruption of Government Officials and Cyber-Terrorism.

It’s an interesting study, but I would venture to say that while the “Daily Life” or “Personal Anxieties” lists were lower on the fear todum-pole, these are often the ones that can paralyze us the most.

Whether your biggest fear right now is dying of cancer or being ridiculed by others, the fear itself isn’t what matters the most – it’s whether you will choose to face it.

Like every human being, I have a few doozies that can paralyze me with anxiety at times. But I have a choice each day (and so do you!) whether I will face the reality of my fears and trust Christ with them.

Who knows that, like Esther, facing our greatest fear may open up the most important opportunity of our lifetimes thus far? God alone knows the ripple effects that our choice today will have on the lives around us – maybe even on generations to come.

As Mordecai said, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

It is a great comfort that whatever we may face – we are not alone. Christ is with us. He will walk with us as we face our greatest fears:

Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will hold you up with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Choose not to remain paralyzed any longer. Choose to face your fears in the power of Christ. Only God knows the victory that may await you on the other side!

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