Empty…it’s a feeling I’m sure everyone has felt at one point in their lives. I know as we’re still trying to clean up the mess of our trial, there’s days I just feel completely empty & tired. It was on one of those days that I received an answer to my prayers through an email from Cherie Hill. You may remember me talking about Cherie in my post here: https://canaanboundbrigade.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/rays-of-light/ Anyway, Cherie just always seems to know when I need a lift & it’s no coincidence that on my darkest days, I always seem to find an email from Cherie waiting in my inbox. God has used Cherie sooo much in my trial & I am so grateful to her for always obeying God’s call & reaching out to me each & every time 🙂
Which brings me to this latest email. As I mentioned above, I’ve been struggling with some things lately & just needed a boost. On cue, Cherie emailed me that her new book was coming out & she graciously gifted me a copy for my kindle. Cherie’s new book is titled, “empty.” I read it in 2 days!! Now I want to make it clear that Cherie gifted me her book as a friend. In NO WAY did she ask me to blog about it, this is COMPLETELY done on my own. I am a firm believer that when God blesses you with a gift, you in turn bless others with it. ALL of Cherie Hill’s books have blessed me TREMENDOUSLY & I want to pass her gifts along to you 🙂
Cherie Hill’s new book, “empty” will help you fill up your emptiness with God’s truth & promises. You will go from endlessly searching how to self fill your emptiness to the many ways God’s waiting to fill it for you 🙂 You WILL be encouraged with statements such as, “God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle, in order to reveal what He is able to do through our faith in Him.” and “He wants to bring about miracles that go far beyond our imagination.” How, you may ask? It’s all in the book & I promise once you start reading it, you’ll start filling up your emptiness in ways you never imagined. You’ll view your emptiness in God’s eyes & not your own. You’ll learn that, “every obstacle is an opportunity for faith to rise above it.” Don’t believe me? Read the book & see for yourself, you’ll be glad you did! I know I am! To purchase a copy of Cherie’s book, please go here: http://www.amazon.com/Cherie-Hill/e/B002BM00SC & scroll down till you see “empty”. While you’re on that page, I encourage you to check out Cherie’s other books! You’ll be glad you did 🙂
May you have a joy-filled Christmas & a blessed 2013! I know I’m looking forward to what God has in store for my family & I as I’m continuing on to Canaan.
Cherie Hill’s blog, Journal of Faith:
I absolutely love this picture that I found on www.heartlight.org. It really describes how I’m feeling right now. Overwhelmed! I was blessed to have started a part-time job working from home last week. I am a comment moderator for a popular website. The drawback is that I work from 11-3AM. Thankfully, I don’t work every night, but the night’s I do, means I don’t go to bed till 3:30 & then I’m up with my boys at 7:00.
My friend referred me to the job as she too works the 11-3am shift. When she’s on, I’m off & vice versa. She has done this for over a year & is continually assuring me I WILL adjust to the lack of sleep. I don’t believe her! Ha! What I DO believe is that, ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
I’m a firm believer that if God brings me to it, He’ll get me through it. I have been praying for a part-time job that would allow me to still be with my boys when they’re not in school. I applied for 4 jobs to no avail. In my heart, I was relieved I didn’t get those jobs as even though I’d be working while my boys were in school, I’d still have to make some sacrifices. I’d have to give up my Tuesday morning Bible Study, I’d have to quit volunteering as a childcare worker at my church on Thursday mornings, I’d no longer get to grab a coffee with my friends here & there & I’d have to give up my solo beach days alone with God. I basically would lose my time. Then there was the other problem of what to do when my boys were off of school for holidays & Summer vacation.
That’s how I knew this job was a blessing from God. NONE of my concerns listed above are effected by it. I did spend A LOT of time in prayer asking God for His reassurance that I would be able to function with my new sleeping schedule & He was truly faithful in sending me His assurances:
Exodus 33:14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mark 6:31b “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Hebrews 4:10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His.
After finding assurance through prayer & God’s Word, I called my friend to find out how to go about applying. Within a week, I interviewed, got the job & have already started working. One thing I learned from this experience is that when God acts, things just seem to fall into place. When we act, we seem to have to shove & push things in order to fall into place. Even if our plans do fall into place, they’re NEVER perfect like the plans God has for us.
When God’s plans seem too difficult to do remember, we are not left alone to adjust. HE is with us, strengthening us & equipping us to succeed. Knowing that this job is a gift from God truly is helping me to persevere with my struggles. How about you? Are you struggling with something God has blessed you with? Are you tapping into His Word to find the strength you need to persevere? Are you spending time in prayer with Him pouring out your heart & asking for wisdom & knowledge to discern what He wants you to do vs what you think you should do?
I’m praying for you and that you won’t be crippled with the heavier load He may be asking you to carry. It is my prayer that instead you would feel His hands helping you carry that extra weight. I know I’m thankful for His hands helping me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.
When I found out I was going to be studying the book of Joshua in my Bible study I got really excited. It seizes to amaze me that no matter where I am in His word, it always applies to me & whatever I’m going through at that time. God’s word truly is the same yesterday, today and forever!
The book of Joshua opens up with God commanding Joshua to take over for Moses. I love how God didn’t ask Joshua if he wanted to lead the people into Canaan, He told him he was going to do it. God is direct, even today. God knew Joshua was probably nervous and overwhelmed with what He was asking. As a result, He tells Joshua:
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
How comforting are those words? God is speaking those same words to us today. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. Why? Because God Himself said He WILL be with us WHEREVER we go. He doesn’t put us on a path and then hug us good-bye. No, God puts us on our path and then takes the journey with us, each and every step.
When it came time for the Israelites to cross the Jordan into Canaan, Joshua once again immediately obeys God. God tells Joshua to inform the priests that when they reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, to go and stand in the river. Bare in mind people, these priests are ALSO carrying the ark of the covenant. Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time going into a river on a horse, let alone by myself, let alone carrying an ark. I kept going back, trying to find the verse where the priests grumbled and told Joshua he was crazy. As you all know, there is no such verse. They too obeyed and walked in the raging river remembering what God had done at the Red Sea:
Joshua 4:23b The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what He had done to the Red Sea when He dried it up before us until we had crossed over.
After the nation had crossed over the dry river, God asked Joshua to call 1 man from each of the 12 tribes. God wanted them to take a stone from the middle of the riverbed precisely where the priests stood and put them down where they were staying that night. God had them build a memorial as an everlasting reminder for generations to come.
God is a God of miracles and He knows how we tend to forget all He has done. We forget how powerful He is. We have His amazing book filled with miracle upon miracle, hope against hope and yet when trials come (or we’re asked to step out of our comfort zone) we forget and fear, complain and/or argue with God. Let’s look at the reminders God has given us in His word:
1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Whatever it is that God is asking you to do today, it is my prayer that you remember the miracles God has done in your life. By remembering these miracles may you surrender to Him knowing that what He was capable of doing in the past (Red Sea), He is more than capable of doing in your future (Jordan River). I know I’m going be remembering all God has done for me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.
Hi All~I was reading through my prior post on public prayer & felt I needed to clear up one thing 🙂 I have NO problem praying publicly with my family and/or Christian friends. The situations I talked about in my post were with people who weren’t used to praying publicly, thus my concern on embarrassing them or making them feel uncomfortable 🙂
My last post talked about how I witnessed to the driver of the vehicle that crashed into mine. The comments I received from that post were very encouraging, but honestly the lady was very easy to witness to. I know that is not always the case! Sometimes you find yourself being convicted to witness to someone whom you don’t even want to talk to, let alone share the good news with. THOSE are the people who deserve the accolades, the ones who reach out to the unreachable!
After thinking more about that post, I was reminded of a situation I was in last month. My older son’s girlfriend was kind enough to invite me to spend the day with her at their college. She knew I hadn’t had the time to tour their school so she thought it would be fun to show me around. We had a GREAT time & ended the day by having lunch at a nearby restaurant. When our food came, I was immediately convicted to pray. I would love to tell you I asked her if she would mind if I prayed, but I didn’t. I took the easy way out & privately thanked God for my food, not wanting to possibly embarrass her amongst all the other college students there eating. Boy…was I convicted ALL day long!!!
So why didn’t I pray??!! The peer pressure of not wanting to possibly embarrass her in front of all the other students. I stupidly justified my decision thinking, “God will understand”. Maybe He did, maybe He didn’t. Personally, I think it was a little bit of both. Here our some verses on God truly knowing us on the inside:
1 John 3:20 Our hearts may judge us. But God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything.
Acts 15:8a God knows the human heart.
My heart was indeed judging me. God knew I was torn, He knew in my heart I DID want to pray. But He also knew I didn’t choose Him, I played it safe. Rather then acknowledging God & praying out loud, I denied God & didn’t. I was instantly reminded of this verse:
Matthew 10:33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
I knew I had disowned God by not openly praying & I knew I couldn’t do that again. I wanted this to be my verse:
Luke 12:8 What about someone who says in front of others that he knows me? I tell you, the Son of Man will say that He knows that person in front of God’s angels.
Yesterday, I once again found myself at a restaurant having lunch with a friend. When our food came, I did shamelessly start playing that, “To pray or not to pray?” game in my head. But guess what… this time I chose Him! I grabbed my friend’s hand & told I her I wanted to pray before we ate & I did. I didn’t look around to see if anyone was watching me, I just prayed. You know what? It felt GREAT choosing God! I’m praying that you too will choose God the next time you’re in a similar situation. I know I feel much better that I did as I’m continuing on to Canaan.
Last Friday afternoon my younger boys & I were involved in a car accident. I had stopped at a 4 way stop & was 3/4 of the way through the intersection when BAM someone rammed into the passenger side of my car. The other driver told me she was visiting from up North & was lost. As a result, she was looking down at her phone trying to understand the directions it was giving her. Once she saw the damage to my car & that I had my boys in the car with me she started hysterically crying. The front end of her car was completely smashed too.
Thankfully, I was 2 blocks away from my friend’s house. She immediately came & got the boys & took them back to her home while I stayed with the lady & waited for AAA. I felt really bad for her as not only was she just visiting, but she was young too, in her early 30’s. I told her I was a Christian & asked her if she believed in God. She shook her head yes. I then told her that rather than focusing on all the terrible things that just happened, why don’t we focus on the grace that God had shown us instead. So looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn’t care & started naming them:
1) Both of my boys were asleep when she hit me. By the time they woke up, the accident was over so they have no recollection of what happened.
2) Even though she hit me going full speed, the passenger door took all the force & as a result I was able to drive my car to the side of the street as well as drive it home & then to the repair shop. Another blessing was that the passenger window WAS rolled up, but by God’s grace it didn’t shatter, nor did any of the damaged door push itself into the car. The inside of my car shows ZERO damage!
3) My boys were able to go home with my friend vs sitting on the sidewalk with us for 2 hours…that was HUGE!!
4) I told the lady she was VERY blessed that she hit me & not a pedestrian crossing the street, as she would’ve either killed them or seriously injured them.
5) The lady has 2 small children who by the grace of God weren’t in the car with her at the time.
6) No one was hurt. As upset as she was about her car & mine, I proceeded to tell her that our cars were materialistic things with no Heavenly value. They are cars & can be replaced!
7) There was a witness who pulled over & saw the whole thing & verified she had run the stop sign in case she later changed her story.
I ended up sitting on the sidewalk with her for about 2 hours while we waited for her car to be towed. She knew I didn’t have to stay with her & was very grateful I did. I knew God was providing me with a GREAT opportunity to share His love with her & I did 🙂 When the tow truck finally arrived I asked her if I could pray with her. She said sure & I did with my arm around her. I’m praying that God will grow that seed I planted in her & change her life as a result. Wouldn’t that be the BEST blessing?!
The next day we were at the football field. I was sharing with my friend about the accident & she just couldn’t believe God was giving us one more thing to deal with. At that EXACT moment, my 8-year-old ran up all excited about something he found in the trash while throwing something away. He found a brand new Bible cover with this on the front:
Pressing on is where I’m at right now. I AM determined to finish the cleaning up stage of our trial. However, I am finding myself exhausted right now. Instead of continuing on to Canaan, I find myself wanting to get off the path & just sit for a while. But I can’t! I was an athlete growing up & am still VERY competitive to this day. I look at everything as a game situation. I don’t give up as giving up means I’ve quit & athletes don’t quit, they persevere. This is one of the reasons I love reading about Paul. Paul reminds me of the type of player everyone wanted on their team. Look at what he says here:
Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
2 Timothy 2:5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
Did you catch that? I won’t receive my victor’s crown unless I compete according to the rules. What are my rules as a Christian? To trust & obey. I have to continue to trust God & that He IS continuing to make something beautiful out of this mess. I have to continue to obey Him when He calls me to do something that I really would rather not do. He’s calling me to press on & I need to obey & put my running shoes back on. Just like it says here:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
I am a running witness as others are watching me to see how I act/re-act to what God is doing in my life. I need to purge the sins/thoughts that are entangling me & making my journey that much more unbearable. I need to find my determination to continue on this path that God has me on. Is there something that God is calling you to keep pressing on towards? Are you determined to keep pressing on or like me, do you find yourself wanting to get off the path & rest? I’m praying for you & that you’ll keep pressing on as that’s just what I’m doing as I’m to continuing on to Canaan.
Have you ever woken up & just knew that day was going to be a bummer before you even got out of bed?? That’s how I felt this past Monday. I just woke up in a bad mood & couldn’t even understand why. My first inkling that my mood wasn’t about to change for the better came when I opened my dryer & was greeted with this:
There is waaay more to this picture then what you see. Such as….see that splattered pen? That is one of my favorite pens as it’s the old school type that let’s you choose which color ink you’d like to write with. The culprit of this mess was asked on numerous times to please give me back my pen. Sooo not only did he keep forgetting to give me my pen back, it was left in his pocket where it not only destroyed itself & his pants but THE REST the clothes it was washed with!!
Now as the mom of 4 boys this wasn’t my first “I can’t believe what went through my dryer”. I have dealt with crayon (take a hot iron, place a paper towel over the melted crayon & it should come off the fabric & adhere to the towel). Gum? Freeze whatever it’s stuck to & scrap off with a plastic knife. Thanks to google, all it took was rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover). While I sat & started scrubbing my load of clothes with alcohol, my other son came in & informed me our toilet was gurgling! (By the ultimate grace of God the ink culprit was at school giving me PLENTY of time to pray for peace before he got home:) Sooo I set my clothes down & got to deal with this: Lovely isn’t it? My catch word that day was, “Seriously?” Yep, our toilet was overflowing. That meant NO water can be run in the house as it will immediately come up through said toilet. Of course, remember from my paragraph above I was also in the middle of A LOT of laundry too 😦
I called Jeff who called a plumber to come out, which they did 2 hours later! To top it off, when the plumber asked where our outdoor clearing pipe was I told him for whatever reason our house didn’t have one. He then told me that his company will not unclog a clog unless it’s through an outdoor pipe. Seriously?! Our house is only 18 years old so the fact that it doesn’t have one of these is INSANE!! The plumber left….well, actually he gave me a $2600.00 estimate to have a clearing pipe put in so that in the future he could fix my clog. The crazy part? We HAVE had other plumbers out before & all you do is remove the toilet & run the snake through the hole. Of course this guy was having none of that! I about put my size 9 shoe on the back off his hiney as I slammed the door shut behind him.
I ended up calling 2 more plumbers, while Jeff called another one too. Neither of us could get another plumber to come out that day. I then sat down & prayed. I prayed that God would just help me to continue to stay sane & not give in to the bubbling anger I felt rising up. I asked God to find favor in me for remaining calm. I also asked God to please please please fix my toilet.
After an hour of scrubbing all the ink off the clothes I had to re-wash them. Ugh! I figured I would sit in the bathroom & when the washer rinsed I would dump the water out of the toilet & into the bucket. (All day long I had been plunging the heck out of the toilet & flushing to no avail, hence I was already used to filling up & dumping the bucket) Sooo I ran the clothes & waited. NOTHING happened, the entire cycle ran & my toilet did not overflow!! I started flushing EVERY toilet in the house & it didn’t overflow. I then said another prayer & flushed THE toilet…..IT DIDN’T OVERFLOW!! I called Jeff ECSTATIC & told him God had fixed our toilet! The BEST blessing of all?? We saved at least $200.00 as a result of the plumber leaving & not fixing it! I was sooo mad when he left, but look how it turned out.
I truly believe that God blessed me for remaining calm & not giving in to my anger & frustration. My verse I kept clinging to was: Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Although I WAS growing weary from remaining calm, I knew I couldn’t give in to sinful behavior. As a result of my trial, I have honestly learned that I TRULY cannot control somethings so why get all bent out of shape? It’s much easier to except what we can’t change then freak out & try to change it & fail. My day ended with clothes that were ink stain free & a toilet that normally would’ve cost $200.00 to fix, working again for free. Monday may have started out with mayhem, but it ended with blessings. I am thanking God for those blessings as I’m continuing on to Canaan.