When it feels like God isn’t enough

Dependence. It is one of those things we all hate to admit that we have. The world says that it signifies weakness or an inability to care for oneself, but in secret we all find security in something other than ourselves. Whether it be the affirmation we receive from another “like” on our post or a relationship that makes us feel uplifted, we are all dependent on something or someone, to some capacity. It is no question that we were created with a natural instinct for dependency, however, the question in point is ‘what or whom are we dependent upon?’

Brother or sister in Christ, if you are reading this in a time where you are feeling like God cannot satisfy you, allow me to encourage you by first saying you are not alone in feeling this way. This certainly does not make you a fire-breathing heathen that is going to hell (completely dramatic, I know). We all come to a place in our walk with God where we start to question, or maybe even doubt, the goodness of God. My advice to you is to put life on hold for a second. Breathe. Find a quiet area. Allow yourself to start to notice all the small things you have, then move to the medium things, and then the big things. That may be your family, your friends, or what-have you. Realize that all of these “things” are sweet gifts from God himself!

So now think of what your life would look like if you were to be stripped of all of these things. Would you be utterly lost? Where would go, or what would you do? More importantly, what would your relationship with God look like? Let me caution you in saying that if you find value in the things of this world you will become disappointed in the results of life. I am saying this only because I have found it to be true for myself.

The minute I became dependent on people and things to fulfill my heart was the very same minute that my relationship with God became more like Aladdin and the magic genie lamp. I noticed that I made God, the almighty God, convenient. I was not trusting Him with my heart because I was afraid that I would have to give up the things of this world that made me feel comfortable. It is easy to depend on God when we have everything we want, but as soon as something does not go our way we all too easily blame Him for leaving us or withholding His best from us.

If you find yourself in this place, read Isaiah 46:3-4 which says,

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made and I will bear, I will carry and will save” (ESV).

Know that God knew you and cherished before you were born. He delights in having made you, in bearing you, carrying you, and in saving you. Wherever you are today, truly ask yourself,  “Is God enough?”  Whatever your answer may be, always remember that His goodness far outweighs anything that this world will ever offer us. Period.

As we were created to be dependent we must then put our dependence on the one who created us.

Valuing and understanding this changes everything about how we view dependency in our world today. When the world says it is a sign of weakness, we have the ability to say that it is an opportunity for us to be fulfilled entirely by God, and God alone. For He is enough.

Many blessings,

Holly

Don’t let the enemy silence your worship

I feel the number one thing the enemy wants to steal from us is our worship because worship releases faith in our soul.

You see we have so much brokenness in this world and within our lives. It leaves us with confusion and a loss of joy. The devil likes to add onto the fire by pouring lies into our lives. The devil convinces us that things will not get better, that there is no hope, that we are not worthy of God’s grace, and that there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel.

When we begin to allow the lies of the devil to affect us within our very spiritual bodies, it rips our worshiping soul right out from within us. The faith we have in God begins to diminish and it leaves us empty, lost, and confused. And while our souls begin to crumble, the devil begins to feed on our souls like a snake coiling up its prey.

In Psalm 32: 3 it says, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away” and then in verse 7 it says, You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” 

I’ve realized after reflecting on many things in my life that even in the midst of question and not understanding, it is okay if I never understand because I want Jesus more than I want to understand.

So I am going to worship through my questions and I am going to worship through my disappointments.

When the Enemy sees us do that, he’s says, “Dangit… I don’t have her, I didn’t win.”

Be reminded to never let the enemy silence your worship.

God works in mysterious ways and he does turn broken things into beauty.

-Michaela

 

As always our team would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, prayer requests, or just need to be encouraged, please email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com

Resisting the Surrender

Lately, I have found myself struggling with the concept of surrender. The definition of surrender is “abandon[ing] oneself entirely, to submit to one’s authority that is higher than them.” If you are reading this and are a Christ-follower, then surrender is probably something you are very familiar with. If you are reading this and you are not a Christ-follower, I am sure you have had to submit to authority before, as we all do. Whether it is at a job or at home, there is always someone in authority to whom we must submit.

When we are called as Christ-followers to submit to Christ, it is not something we do out of obligation. Throughout the years, whether I was in school or at home, I did not really like authority. I am a free spirited person who is often very stubborn and wants to do whatever I feel like doing. I think in some ways we are all a bit free-spirited and stubborn.

Since I did not like submitting to authority, I was not all too happy about it when I was told I had to surrender to Christ. I had the wrong heart attitude about submitting to Jesus. You see, when you submit to Christ, it should never be out of obligation. Many times in my life, I had the view that Jesus was out to get me, looking down on me with a lightning rod, ready to strike me whenever I disobeyed Him. After coming to a better understanding of who Jesus is, though no one can ever completely understand Him, I realized He’s quite the opposite of what I’d thought. Jesus knows how weak we are. He knows how much of a mess we are. He knows that no matter how hard we try not to sin, we’re going to sin daily. We are flawed.

Surrendering to Christ is not a once in a life time thing. It does not mean that Christ will call you to one purpose in your life. Instead, He may call us to many different places, people, and careers. Surrendering to Jesus means slowing letting go of the things we hold on to so tightly, that may not be bad things, but that do not bring us closer to God. It may mean letting go of what we desire for our lives. It could mean letting go of what has happened to us in the past, or forgiving ourselves for the things we have done.

I always thought that doing more for Jesus would make Him love me more. I would always make sure to read my Bible a billion times a day, to say all the right things, and do all the right things. I thought He would love me more because of it. I relied on myself.

Whenever we rely on ourselves and our own good deeds, it takes away from what Jesus has already done for us. True surrender is living a life that reflects Jesus in everything we do, because of His love for us. His love is what should motivate us to live in full surrender. Our love for Jesus and His love for us should reflect in every area of our life.

We surrender to Jesus because we trust Him. We trust that He will provide for us. That He will love us, redeem us, and restore us. It’s not out of obligation, but rather it’s because the life that Jesus is calling us to is better than any life we could create for ourselves. A favorite verse of mine is Colossians 1:10, which states “…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

A life worthy of the calling we have been given in Christ is walking in His love by loving the others around us. It’s living in the truth of the gospel by finding our identity in what He has done for us, not what we have done. It’s surrendering our own dreams to be filled with what God has called us to do on this Earth. It’s not trying to hide our flaws from Jesus, rather allow Him to work in our weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 states “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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” It’s glorifying Him in everything we do, so that He can be reflected in our own lives.

Colossians 3:23 states “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” God is most glorified when we delight in Him. God is most glorified when we are so in love with Him that we completely surrender every area of our lives to Him and allow Him into every shadow and empty space in our lives. God is most glorified when we let His light shine through us.

I’m a little all over the place, so let’s try and tie this all together. Surrendering to Christ may look like several different things in your own life. Surrendering may look like not trying to do everything in life without God. It may look like letting go of that guy who isn’t right for you, even though you want to keep holding on because you’re afraid you’re going to be single forever. It may look like giving up that Netflix binge to spend more time with Jesus. It may look like forgiving that person you really don’t want to forgive. It might mean letting go of that addiction to porn you have hidden from others for so long. It might mean deleting your social media so that you won’t compare yourself to the others around you.  I don’t really know what your surrender looks like, but whatever it is, it’s worth it. In proverbs 27:19, it states “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

I know in my heart, I haven’t wanted to give up having full control of my life. My life was crazy and out of control for a year, until I surrendered to Jesus and allowed Him into every part of my life. The moment I said to Jesus, “You can have it all, Jesus. I’m done trying to do this life on my own.” That was the moment I had overwhelming peace. That was the moment that I believed in true surrender, there is true peace. I’m still learning this daily. I’m learning to daily look to Jesus and allow Him to move in my life. Jesus is patient and He is faithful. He loves you, He meets you where you are, and thank goodness, He doesn’t leave us the way He found us.

Much love,

Haley

As always our team would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, prayer requests, or just need to be encouraged, please email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com

Freedom in forgiveness

Has someone ever wronged you or someone you love? Have you ever been the one to wrong someone else?

This topic may not come easily to some people. Forgiveness is not a simple thing. If it were, then no one would have a problem doing it. Forgiveness is something that needs to be done in order to move forward, finding peace and healing. Today, I am going to share a very personal time where I had to choose to forgive, not only for my own healing, but so that the person I was forgiving could find it as well.

On April 14th, 2006 one of my sisters went to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father. She left behind her parents, grandparents, two brothers and three sisters. She also left behind her 3 year old son and almost 2-year-old daughter. As I mentioned in my last blog, I grew up watching the man who was supposed to love and take care of my sister abuse her instead. She stayed with him for so many years even though he hurt her. One morning she woke up and went about her day but instead of finishing the day like she had planned, she went to heaven. The initial cause of her death was a seizure. She struggled with epilepsy for most of her life. However, too much stress on someone with epilepsy can cause more episodes. The constant abuse on her and her children caused a lot of stress on her, so I blamed her husband for her death. I thought that if he hadn’t abused them, then maybe she would not of had that episode that day and would still be here with us. I was so angry towards him and hurt because of the pain he caused my sister and the rest of my family. I never thought I would be able to forgive him.

God’s word states in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).

I was full of bitterness and anger towards my sister’s husband and I wanted nothing more then to see him pay for what he did to my sister. However, revenge is never our place. We need to hand it over to God. We need to let Him take care of us and deal with the sins other people commit. Trust me, I know it is easier said than done. It took me so many years before I finally handed it over to God and it was not an easy task.

I still remember the day I started to feel a change in myself. It was several years after my sister had passed. We were at a Burger King in Indiana visiting with my sister’s kids and he was there. We were just sitting at a table talking when I felt that tug on my heart telling me I could not throw the blame or be angry with him forever.

I did not forgive him that day. I did not want to listen to that voice inside of me. I did not think he deserved forgiveness.

But that is where I was wrong. Everyone deserves forgiveness no matter what they have done. After that day, I prayed more often and sought out God’s help. I knew I would not be able to do it without God taking every step with me through this. While doing this, God made me realize that my sister’s husband was one of His children. He may have done something evil that hurt many people, but he still deserves a second chance just like everyone else.

Matthew 6:14 states, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (ESV). I have done many things in my life that I am not proud of and that have hurt other people. However, God has forgiven me and He can do the same for him, which means I should also forgive him.

Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to stay bitter and angry towards the people who have caused us hurt or we can choose forgiveness and live in freedom knowing that God is in control. I am happy to say I was finally able to forgive my brother-in-law. I can now live in peace and freedom and you can too.

If this is something you struggle with or are having a hard time with please send us a message. We would love to talk with you, encourage you and pray with you through this journey in your life.

Much love,
Hope

At the heart of the matter

Tonight, as is too often the case, I find myself lost in my thoughts.  This evening’s ramblings have been on the topic of identity, mine to be precise.  After spending the past month running around like a crazy person, I find myself incredibly drained and apathetic about life in general.  While I usually would consider myself an uplifting and passionate person, I have caught myself being very negative and aimless lately. Today, I decided to ask the question, “why?”

I am a first semester senior in college with a bizarre major that no one thinks I can use.  I am working 20-30 hours a week at a job that has nothing to do with my major.  When asked what I want to do with my life I chuckle to myself a little because I do not have a clue.  It has been easy for me to fall into apathy because in my mind, I had little to look forward to.

When did I put God in a box?   When did I begin to doubt his plans over my life?

In this time of listlessness, I began to question a lot of things.  Why was I here? What purpose was I serving? I’m not the same wide-eyed dreamer that I was when I graduated from high school.  So, who am I?

That is where I finally stopped to answer the questions I had been asking myself.  Memories of Christian summer camp talks about identity danced in my head.  We were warned not to put our identities in things that are fleeting or of the world, but what does that mean?  Some people think of their identity as an Instagram bio: a brief description of the important things people need to know about you.  I, however, like to take it a bit deeper.

Webster’s dictionary defines identity as, “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.”  My identity is not just what people perceive me to be, or what I want people to think I am.  Identity is absolutely at the core of who I am.  So who am I?  Am I a college student? I won’t be one of those for much longer.  Am I a Veterinary Assistant? Well that may be my job title but I will not claim that to be who I am at the core of my being.

There is only thing that I want to be at the core of who I am.  People will always let us down because we are broken people.  Not a single one of us will go through this life without pain, but there is one constant among all of it and that is Jesus.  I cannot tell you how much peace I find in knowing that my future career, life partner, family and what not do not depend solely on me.  When I take matters into my own hands, they tend to crumble.  I have peace in knowing that regardless of my shortcomings and wanderings, there is someone greater than me who not only is in control, but he loves me and is weaving all of these knots and loose ends into something beautiful.

At the core of who I am, there is only one thing that I want to drive me to action and that is Christ.  I will no longer let other’s expectations of me, stereotypes, fear of judgment, failure or being alone be what I claim as my identity.  Having been someone who has let just about everything else drive my life in the past, trust me, it is not worth it.  The Lord alone satisfies and the Lord alone can heal, turning the broken into beautiful. Live in the freedom of what God has spoken over you. See your identity in His words and embrace the beauty in them.

Colossians 3:1-3

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

1 John 3:1-2

I see what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will has not yet been made known.  But we do know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 6:6

For we know that the body was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

As always, if any of this hit home for you and you would like some prayer, please feel free to contact us via the tab above.  We would love nothing more than to walk alongside you as best as we can.

Blessings,

~G

Why We Pray

Prayer is such an amazing form of communication. It is us talking to the God of our universe. Normally, we pick up a phone to shoot a text or call someone if we need to talk to them. Prayer is like that except without the technology. We simply need to be still and talk to Him, whether it be in our hearts or out loud. He hears us wherever we are. We can be in the middle of a quiet garden or in a bustling crowd and the Lord will hear us no matter what. We need to understand how to pray, why we should pray, and for what/whom we should pray. I will be the first to admit that my prayer habits are not always the best and I need to dedicate more time in my day to talk to Him.  Prayer is a special bond we have between us and God. He hears our prayers morning, noon and night. We can ask him for forgiveness, miracles, wisdom, or just to give Him thanks.  Some people can make prayer sound like a religious act where God only hears the most pious of people. In reality, prayer is simply the act of talking to our Father in heaven. The great thing is that we can do it wherever and whenever. There are persecuted Christians in places where if they even walk into a church they could be killed, and their silent prayers are heard by God. There are young mothers praying out loud over their children at night and their prayers are heard by God. These are a few examples, but God hears all the prayers of His children. Prayer is vital, like oxygen to our lungs. Just as we need people in our lives to help our relational human side, we need prayer to sooth our spiritual side. There are many verses throughout the Bible that reference the beauty of prayer.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul states, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of Christ Jesus within you.” When we have Christ in us, we will crave time to just be alone with Him and talk to Him about our lives.

As daughters of the King we should especially pray diligently for ourselves, our friends, our family, and our futures. You must pray for yourself, because you know what you need. God will hear and help you through the hard times. God knows you because He created you in your mother’s womb, so He knows everything you need. You must pray for your friends and family because you never know what they may need help with, but just like God created you he also created them and knows them. You can pray for them because you can rest in the fact that God knows everything they need to and will surely be with them.  Pray for your future. People tend to worry over every possible detail. In the end, we don’t know if tomorrow will even come for us. Something could happen, and the last moments you had on Earth were spent worrying. God knows what is best for us. We need direction in which way to follow and He will lead us on the best possible path. Within our future includes the man that we may marry one day. This is a huge subject to pray for because your husband will be the one you spend your life with,  all the rough times, the good times, the heartache, and celebrations. You need a man that will lead you closer to Christ and challenge you to go deeper in your relationship with Jesus.

1 John 5;14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

We should be praying multiple times a day, not only when we are thanking him for our food before a meal. I like to set aside certain times each day to pray for certain things. My roommate introduced me to keeping a prayer journal last semester. It helps me stay accountable to pray for everything I write in it. My church gives out a weekly prayer bulletin that I like to keep in my purse so I remember to pray for them as well. Little reminders are good to keep, and after a while you will not even need them. After a while, prayer becomes second nature and the first thing you run to in every situation.

Prayer shows us that we are never alone. God is here for each one of us and will never stop listening to us. He loves us enough to meet us where we are, allow us to pour our hearts out to Him, and work in our lives to make everything good according to His will.

Sometimes, we feel like the Lord is not there and we do not feel Him in our lives. The truth is: He is always there for you and He hears you. We do not always “feel” God but we have faith. We know God hears and we know He will answer because the Lord is faithful.

We encourage you to start right now by praying for at least one thing. Make it challenge to yourself to talk to God more and to grow that communication relationship. Make today the start of a more prayerful walk with the Lord.

Love you lots,

Jodie M.

As always our team would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, prayer requests, or just need to be encouraged, please email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com

Stealing my joy

As I sit down to write this, I have dried tears on my cheeks and a weary heart beating loudly in my chest. My bed is empty, even though I have to wake up in a few hours, because I simply cannot fall asleep.

If you had asked me at 3 o’ clock this afternoon what kind of day I was having, I probably would’ve described my day as “great,” “fantastic,” “awesome,” or some other equally enthusiastic adjective. You see, I had just received some truly exciting news. God answered a prayer that I’d been praying for years. I was so relieved. I was so grateful. I was so joyful.

So, how did I end up laying in my bed sobbing a few hours later?

The simple answer is this: I let the world steal my joy.

We tend to let our circumstances (a snide remark from a sibling, a failing grade on a test, a bit of bad news) distract us from the blessings that God gives us.

Today, I let my circumstances steal my joy.

When things go wrong, we can be quick to forget all of the good that God has done in our lives, but God isn’t changed by our circumstances. Even when bad things happen, God is good. Even when we feel alone, God is faithful. Even when our hearts break, God is love.

That joy that I was experiencing earlier today? It wasn’t from my circumstances, though I had received good news, because, despite that good news, I still had plenty of things to worry about (two research papers, a test, and a mountain of reading). There’s always going to be things in our lives that are stressful, hard, and unpleasant. That’s the reality of living in a fallen world.

No, that joy I was experiencing came from God. I had been seeking God’s will in this area of my life. I had been praying earnestly. I had been doing my very best to hand my worry about this aspect of my life to God. And through all of that, I had grown closer to Him. I was experiencing a blessing that He was sharing with me. I was communing with God, and that’s why I was joyful.

A few hours later, I got into an argument with a friend. There were careless words. There were hurt feelings. There were tears. I, being the completely imperfect person that I am, could’ve probably handled the situation with more grace. In that moment, I was so focused on my circumstances that I didn’t even remember all the ways that God has blessed me. I was so wrapped up in the trials of this world that I pushed God away, choosing to handle my problems my way.

Nehemiah 8:10 says “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah uttered these words during a time of celebration, but he knew that God was faithful in both the good times and the bad.

I don’t know how much you know about the story of Nehemiah, but basically, he was leading a group of people in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He encountered a lot of resistance from the surrounding nations. They both ridiculed Nehemiah and his team for trying to rebuild the wall and physically attacked them. These were pretty rough circumstances, but instead of focusing on his circumstances and withdrawing from the Lord into the world, Nehemiah remembered God’s goodness. He told his people to “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families…” (Nehemiah 4:14).

Nehemiah knew that the joy comes from God, and that the joy of the Lord can be experienced even in the bleakest of circumstances. More than that, he recognized that the joy of the Lord provides strength to make it through hard times.

You can experience the joy of the Lord by choosing to grow your relationship with him. That doesn’t mean that there will be no sadness, pain, or discomfort. When you live in a fallen world, as we all do, those things are a part of life. Nehemiah and his people were attacked several more times after he gave that pep talk in chapter four. But in chapter eight, when the wall was rebuilt and the exiles had returned, Nehemiah sat at a celebratory feast and reflected that the joy of the Lord had been his source of strength.

Maybe your circumstances are great, or maybe your circumstances are terrible. Maybe you’re dancing with excitement, or maybe you’re sobbing into your pillow.

No matter where you are in your life, you can experience the joy of the Lord.

Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is an emotion, but joy is the knowledge that God is good, faithful, loving, and able to provide.

I might still have dried tears on my cheeks, but tonight, I choose not to let my circumstances steal my joy.

I choose to run to God with my worries, doubts, and trials.

I choose to remember the blessings He has given to me.

I choose to seek His presence.

And in His presence, I find joy.

As always our team would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, prayer requests, or just need to be encouraged, please email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com.

-Faith Brooks
Photo courtesy of Noel Brooks