Experiencing the Abundance of God in Times of Pain

Today I felt a strong and urgent desire to write. As I sat down at my keyboard, I allowed God to take over, and I just wrote exactly what I felt he was saying to me in this moment. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and even longer since I’ve written something like this. Rather than speaking from my own voice, I decided to write this from God’s perspective. If this is something you need to be reminded of, I pray that he opens your heart and allows you to receive what he’s speaking to you today.

Some people don’t believe that I am an abundant God. They don’t understand the fullness of the relationship that I offer them. They don’t believe that material or spiritual blessings are for them. They live in fear of what pain they might endure in this life rather than the abundance I desire to give them.

The truth is, I am an abundant God. As much as I can, I pour myself out to those who will allow me to do so.

Sometimes this looks like material and relational blessings here on earth. You were created to be loved, and in a perfect world, love involves relationships and gifts and total overflow of blessings.

In this imperfect world, which is ruled by the Prince of Darkness, some of you will endure times of trial. Although I am not the author of pain, there is no painful experience that will come to you that has not been allowed by me.

In the midst of pain, I am your source. During this time, I will do these two things in you:

I will perfect you.

I will shine through you.

In times of pain, pouring myself out looks like overwhelming peace in the midst of chaos, companionship in the face of loneliness, and joy in the midst of sorrow.

Remember that I will give you as much of this joy and peace as you allow me to give you. If you don’t understand this peace and don’t feel like you are experiencing it, the answer is to draw closer to me. You must abide in me.

Abiding in me is about much more than just having a devotional time – although you should be dwelling in my Word.

Abiding in me is about much more than attending church – although you should have fellowship with other believers.

Abiding in me is more than the prayers you say before you eat or go to sleep at night.

It’s more than getting advice from a pastor – you have the same access to me that they do.

It’s more than receiving a word of encouragement from someone else – you are just as capable of hearing my voice.

Abiding in me is when I am in your thoughts all day long. You may not always be speaking to me directly, but you are always aware of my presence. Sometimes your spirit will call out to me while you’re working or doing your daily tasks – even when you don’t form the words, I can hear you.

Abiding in me is living every day with an awareness of my presence and of your dependence on me. You may not fully realize this, but sin is a part of your very nature – you were born that way. In order to do anything good, you must rely on me fully.

Not on your good works.

Not on your reputation.

Not on the number of years you’ve attended church.

In order to be closer to me, you need to recognize that sin is your natural state. There is NOTHING good in you apart from me. Anything you do in the flesh is sinful. Even things that appear good, when they are not born from this dependence on me, are simply learned behaviors.

Anything that is not born of God is sin.

When you recognize your sinful state and your need for me, this is where things start to get good. Your realization of just how sinful you actually are can be devastating, but seeing how much I adore you – even in this state – will certainly soften the blow. Knowing that I fully accept you – even in your sinfulness – this will begin to grow trust. You will start to be more honest with me – and honest with yourself – because you realize that my love will catch you. As you confess your sins to me, I will forgive you and restore you, by the Holy Spirit, to the person I created you to be.

As your heart is restored, your vision will become clearer and clearer. You will begin to understand who I am, and your fears, your worries, your insecurities, and your failings will melt away in the light of my great love for you.

This trust and this renewed vision will increase your faith. You will begin to believe that I can do great things in your life, and you will have the wisdom to see these great things, even in the midst of difficult times.

And perhaps the greatest thing of all that will come of this newfound trust and faith – is the intimacy that you will share with me. You will sense my patient anticipation as you wake up in the morning, ready to start a new day with you. You will feel my hand upon you as you encounter the joys and difficulties of the day. You’ll fall asleep at night in peace, knowing that my hand is upon you. And you will hear my protective whispers over you as you sleep – because I do not slumber.

Is this what you want your relationship with me to look like? All of this is given freely – not to the great spiritual leaders or those who are wise in the world’s eyes – but to anyone who humbly asks for it.

If you want more in your relationship with me, all you have to do is ask.

 You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2

Reflecting on One Year with Our Beautiful Lexi Girl

It’s hard to believe that come July 6, our precious baby girl will be a year old. It might sound like a cliché, but it seems like only yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital. 9 pounds 3 ounces, dark hair on her head, and deep brown eyes. As she’s grown, she’s gotten more beautiful with each passing day, in my opinion. As I look back on photos of her, she’s changed so much in such a short amount of time, and I’ve fallen in love with each version of her.

Things I Didn’t Know About Motherhood

Motherhood is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite having many friends who became mothers before me, and despite listening to them tell me about their experiences, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. There were parts that were way more difficult than I anticipated, but there are also parts that are so much better than I could ever have imagined.