You Are Not Enough…


About a week ago, I got in my car and headed to the bank. On my way there, I was having a conversation in my head, half praying, half talking. “God, If you just open this door, I’ll be happy. That’s all I want”

Before I go on, I am ashamed to admit this, but I felt like I should. It’s not about perfection. It’s about being honest about imperfections, in order for God to shine. To see His beauty and patience in my ugly day to day mess.

So after submitting my grand idea to God to open a door, a thought popped into my head. “No, we’d still be having this conversation; you’d just want something else”. I sat there thinking for a moment. It was true.

Have you ever prayed and asked God for something? After waiting and praying and praying some more, you still don’t see it. I have been praying. I have been asking. I have been knocking. I’ve been doing the next thing.

But, without even realizing what I had actually done, I was telling God that He wasn’t enough, at least for me. It’s not that I don’t believe God can answer. I have seen Him answer prayers for my friends and family. I have seen Him be enough for others, but for me, lately, He has not been enough. Why? Because I was not giving Him enough time to be enough for me. I’ve allowed distractions and ambitions to cloud my thinking and occupy the time that God used to have.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”… I shall not want.

Yet, I found myself wanting. I found myself trying to get God to solve my problem through other means, instead of through Himself.

The question, for me, was not if God is enough. The question is, is God enough for me?

For you, it could be: I know God can heal, but can He heal me? Or, I know He can provide, but can He provide for me? Or, I know He can do exceedingly abundantly beyond what I can ask or think, but can He do that for me?

Our relationship with God is partially about what He can do for others. But, it’s mostly, about knowing what He has done and can do for us.

At the end of my life, I am responsible for how I lived. I want to live satisfied in God alone. I know other things won’t satisfy. I could land the dream job, get a spouse, start the family, start a business, and still be empty. I know this. And it’s not like I wasn’t content before. Last year, around this time, I was losing everything, except God, and He was enough. Yet, a year later, I find myself floundering, treading water, wondering when I’m going to feel a rock for me to stand on.

I’m also learning that life is a journey. I don’t need to beat myself up for having to relearn a lesson. The Christian life is not about learning it once and moving on. Some things we have to learn and relearn.

This week, I became a Green Belt in Karate. I started the first phase of material this week as well. There are things in this phase of green belt that I learned when I was working towards my yellow belt. I am relearning the techniques from the material I learned a few months ago.

I think God allows us to relearn lessons because we never “arrive”. We are always learning. Some things are new, and some things we relearn.

So in this season of waiting, knocking and praying, I am asking God to teach me that He is enough for me.

Because God knows me better than I know myself, He hasn’t allowed what I want, to show me what I need. He knows that I need this lesson. He wants to be the one I take refuge in. He is the only Rock that will not crumble. He is the only one who will not disappoint, and He is the only one who will ever be enough for me.

So, I want to encourage you today, because this is what I am called to do, encourage (1 Thessalonians 5:11). If you feel you have drifted, as we all have from time to time; take a moment to come back. God is gracious. He LONGS to show compassion (Isaiah 30:18). Come to Him. He is waiting. He wants to help. He is the Lifter of our heads. He is the strength we need. He is the wisdom we need. He is the Healer we need. He is the love we are looking for. He is the filler He is waiting. Don’t run away, run back to Him. He does not condemn you. He loves us even more than we can ever even fathom.

Song of the week: Even If, by Mercy Me  (Listen Here)

 “I know You’re able and I know You can  Save through the fire with Your mighty hand  But even if You don’t  My hope is You alone  I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt  Would all go away if You’d just say the word  But even if You don’t  My hope is You alone”

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Demolishing & Rebuilding Our Comfort Zones

I was comfortable behind the computer responding to messages from people who wrote in. That was what I was hired to do until the opportunity to go to Africa came into the picture.

I thought for sure the rest of the team would go, and I would remain back to “hold down the fort”.

Nope! I was not only expected to go, but also to plan it. Oh, and instead of our team of just four people, it would be a team of nine!

Another time, I had the opportunity to go to Turkey, where I would be giving a short presentation. Two weeks before my departure date, the Turkish military shot down a Russian Jet. Oh, and when I arrived in Amsterdam, CNN news was reporting that the American Consulate in Istanbul shut down because of unrest.

I could go on and on about stories of how my comfort zone is continually wrecked. Lately, things have not been that extreme, but there are still things that abrupt my comfort zone (Definition: 1. The temperature range within which one is comfortable, 2. The level at which one functions with ease and familiarity)

Just last week something happened that made me feel less than someone else. Have you ever experienced that? It could be a number of things:

  • A corporation didn’t see you as a good fit
  • A person of the opposite sex decided not to pursue you, or they did and then stopped.
  • A friend gets noticed by others while you’re standing beside them
  • Someone else got the promotion you were working towards
  • Another mom’s kids received something you hoped your kid would get noticed for

The list could go on and on. Last week, I experienced that feeling. Thank God that I was at church and worship started. The band started playing one of my new favorite songs: Worthy of Your Name by Passion (Listen Here).

As I began singing, that feeling faded. Instead of feeling less, I felt accepted. I realized right then, that God allows us to have our comfort zone demolished because He wants our comfort zone to be in Him.

He knows the dangers we face when we find comfort in our jobs, friends, family, or ourselves. Those things cannot sustain us because they are temporary and they change. He is eternal and unchanging.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
Psalm 46:1-5

So, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, there is a reason for it. God loves you enough to demolish your comfort zone in the temporary in order for you to rebuild it in Him, the eternal.

So whatever you’re facing, remember that God is all we need. He is a good Father, a faithful Friend, a kind Pursuer, a patient King. He is a persistent Redeemer, a courageous Lion, a defender of the weak, the peace and comfort for the weary.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I am learning to be thankful for my “uncomfortable” moments because He is retraining me to seek Him. Hang in there Friends and stay hopeful and fearless <3!

Song of the week:

When I’m With You by Ben Rector

Verse1: I go a little crazy sometimes
Can you believe it?
Yeah, I swear I’m fine, that I’m alright
When I’m barely breathing
Thought I could find my way back home
But I get lost alone

Chorus: But when I’m with you
I’m no longer wandering
And when I’m with you,
I swear I can breathe
When I’m with you,
I know who I am and who I want to be

Verse 2: I’m not trying to be dramatic, no
Most times I’m pretty normal
Oh, but let’s be clear and honest here
And do away with anything formal
I can fake it on my own,
but I am lost alone

Chorus: But when I’m with you
I’m no longer wandering
And when I’m with you,
I swear I can breathe
When I’m with you,
I know who I am and who I want to be

Bridge: I am wide-eyed
With a penchant for running
But how many times does it take ’till I find that I’m lost when I’m alone
And that’s not where I belong

… ‘Cause when I’m with you I’m no longer wondering…

You Matter

I woke up this morning only to see the headline: “Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL player, found dead in prison cell”
 
Part of me wishes I could have visited him last night. I wish I could have asked him how he was holding up. I wish I could have listened to his struggle. I wish I could have told him that there was still hope for his life, and that he had value.
 
I know this man was a murder, but so am I. I have hated someone in my heart and in Jesus’ eyes, that’s considered murder (1st John 3:15).
 
But, even when I was alone, at my lowest, Jesus met me. He didn’t shun me. He helped me. I wish I could have let Aaron know that there was a solution. He wasn’t alone. He didn’t need to take his life.
 
Most of all I wished I could have told him that he mattered. Maybe, after the death of his dad, when Aaron was 16, he felt as though he didn’t matter. Maybe he thought that if his dad couldn’t see him and approve him, he would be reckless. I don’t know.
Maybe he never felt good enough. Maybe he didn’t feel like he would ever measure up. Maybe he was just trying to find his identity, where he fit.
 
Since I can’t tell him, I want to tell you… YOU matter.
I don’t know what you have gone through in your life. Maybe you have always been overlooked. Or, you’ve suffered with a long term illness. Or, you have always had to work so hard for what you have and never quite had enough. Maybe you’ve been abandon, cheated on, abused.Or maybe, like Aaron, you lost your dad at a critical age. Maybe it wasn’t by death, but through mental illness.
 
But… YOU MATTER!
 
Even if the whole world says to you, you don’t have value. I know someone who endured the world’s cruelty in order for you to have someone to stand by you in the darkest of nights.
 
You, my dear friend, are precious. You have worth. You are priceless.
 
Don’t listen to the lies that say:
  • You’re not good enough.
  • Your deserved what (the abuse) you got
  • You won’t amount to anything
  • You are better off dead
 
No, you’re better off alive. You have a story to tell. You have experiences that others could benefit from. You are unique and your DNA says that there is NO ONE like you.
 
I know life can be hard, but don’t give up. Don’t give in. If you’re struggling, please reach out to someone close. You can reach out to me too.
 
You matter! Yes, YOU matter!

The Beckoning for Reckoning

 

Thinking about it was driving me mad. The question of “why” haunted me like the Black Plague. “What did I do?”, “How could this happen?” The questions were numerous and the answers were nil.

 

I couldn’t take it anymore. I told myself that instead of asking questions, I need to think of the situation as dead. I couldn’t raise this relationship from the grave. It was out of my hands. I had done what I knew to do, but I could not fix it. For my own sanity, I viewed everything about that season of my life as dead.

 

I know that sounds morbid, but when someone is dead, you don’t try to pick that person out of their coffin. Their life is done (unless God wanted to work a miracle). The same was true for me. I had tasted not a physical death, but a death nonetheless. There was only silence, unanswered questions, and deep grief.

 

Yesterday in church, as we sang “Resurrecting” by Elevation Worship. I thought of many relationships I know of that have experienced a severing. A severing between a wife and a husband. A severing between a parent and a child, and a severing between close friends.

 

These severings have resulted in a death. The death of a marriage, the death of a unified family, the death of a friendship.

 

As I continued to sing, I got choked up. Broken relationships are not something you get over, but you can get through it. You learn to live without “them”. It’s like a heavy spot in your heart. You don’t always think about it, but when you do, it brings tears to your eyes.

 

Then I thought about how God feels. He knows that hurt too well. When Adam and Eve sinned that broke their perfect relationship with God. They experienced a severing in their relationship with God. That sweet fellowship, sweet union shattered into a million pieces. The repair was more than Adam and Eve could fix in their finite bodies and wisdom. But God, in order to reconcile His children back into fellowship, severed His perfect relationship with the Son. So, the morning Jesus stepped out of that grave, death was no more. He won. One severing brought death, The second severing brought life.

 

God’s heart is for reconciliation.

 

This side of eternity encompasses death and brokenness, but I never have to be without hope. If reconciliation does not come in my lifetime, I can cling to the fact it will in the next. God sent Jesus to reconcile me to the Father. I know that nothing is too hard for him. He can reconcile my broken relationships and those broken relationships of my dear friends. If not now, then later.

 

  • “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10

 

  • “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” Colossians 1:19-22

 

  • “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

 

… and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation…

The Gentle Hand of Pressure

I sat around a circle of mostly strangers as we sang praise music outside. There were people from all walks of life and nationalities. We had gathered in my friend’s backyard for a night of praise.

 

As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think where I was last year. I would have just been arriving in Jordan.  I also thought of where I could have been this year as well. I could have been unpacking my things in California.

 

Last year, I had a job which allowed me to travel –A LOT! Had you told me then, that I would be sitting outside in Florida with new friends, and a lot of people I don’t know well. And that I turned down a job opportunity in California. I would have  thought you were crazy.

 

The season I am in has been one of transition, but I don’t know what’s next. I keep praying for direction. I have been open to opportunities that have presented themselves. But, it feels like it’s just been a lot of waiting.

 

Waiting for what’s next. Waiting on God to bring a spouse. Waiting for the road I am supposed to travel on next – waiting.

 

As I sat there tonight, heavyhearted, a picture came to mind. Before I get there, I need to tell you some of the thoughts I have had prior to tonight.

 

The past month or so, God keeps reminding me that my life journey is not about nailing a successful job. Or, becoming a wife or mother, or becoming “something”. It’s about becoming more like Christ. So, when I start to get frustrated about the waiting, and am anxious about the unanswered questions. He reminds me I am on a journey to become more like Him. Becoming more like Him is dying a little bit each day. Dying to my desires. Dying to my plan. Dying to what I think I should be.

 

The verse that came to mind tonight was Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”

 

The picture that came to mind was not of me hitting a wall, but hitting my Father’s hand. That pressure, I believe, is His hand molding my life.

 

It reminded me of when a Father stops his child from doing something. Just today, I put out my hand to stop a kid from running. Sometimes, that pressure is to keep us still. It is not a punishment,but an act of love — An act that has our best in mind.

 

As I sat there singing tonight, it felt like a sprinkle of water, keeping my clay soft, so God could continue to mold me. Without water, my clay would harden. Without worship in my spiritual life, I would harden up. Without the pressure of my Father’s hand, I would be a simple lump of clay – useless.

 

But in the waiting, and in the pressure, God is forming me to the image of His Son. Tonight, I am able to thank God for the allowing me to wait. I was able to thank Him for the unanswered questions, the singleness, and for the job opportunity I felt I was to pass on. Because it’s not about the waiting, spinning, pressure, and the multiple change of plans. It’s about seeing His hand molding me. His plan is greater than I can even comprehend. This is his work of art, not mine, and I know He will make more use of it than I ever could.

 

So whatever you’re facing, know that it is bigger than you. The pressure, the sorrow, the unanswered questions, the sickness, whatever it is, God is molding our lives through it. I cannot wait until we see Him face to face. I am sure, we will be able to see behind the scenes of all the times we didn’t understand. It will be a beautiful thing. But until then, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” Psalm 37:3

 

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

“Oh, Oh, Hey, Ms. Christi” — Another Sweet Reminder

“Oh, oh, hey Ms. Christi” I heard a sweet little voice say; knowing immediately who had greeted me. I turned and said, “Hey, Buddy, How are you?”

I currently work at an after school program. We have roughly 35 kids on our roster, but average about 20 kids per day. I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but it’s hard not to.

This kid, who I often refer to as Buddy, has taught me a lot.

Every day he comes in he almost always says, “Oh, oh, hey Ms. Christi”. Although he can bring challenges (what kid doesn’t), he reminded me of an important lesson.

You see, he is autistic. He spends a lot of his time talking to himself, and living in a world that is his own. One day, I heard him say, “You failed, you’re stupid”.

Buddy tends to act out what has happened to him. You quickly learn what type of day he is having if you listen to what he says. So, when I heard him say, “you’re stupid” I realized there is not much difference between someone who is autistic, and someone who isn’t.

The difference is those who are autistic verbalized their thoughts. Those who aren’t tend to keep their thoughts to themselves. I don’t know about you, but I have called myself stupid more times that I can count. I have said that I’m a failure more often than I care to say.

I realize there are other differences, but when it comes to our identities, we are not that different. I read a quote that, upon reading it, brought me to tears. It says this:


In this journey called life we all tend to get tied up with what we do, how much we make, how we live, or how we are measuring up.

I read an article that said if we were measuring Jesus’ life by our view of “success” His life would be a complete failure. His family didn’t understand Him. His disciples abandoned Him. He had no place to lay His head. And to top it all off, He died a criminal’s death.

But, through in His father’s eyes, He was a complete success. He conquered death. He broke the curse of sin. He brought reconciliation. He exemplified love.

Jesus didn’t have a 401k. He didn’t have a home. He did not own his own transportation. He even had to borrow a mule to ride into the city on Palm Sunday. He was a King without glory, without honor, without “worldly” means.

Yet, you and me, we were and are the object of His affection. He sacrificed all the “pleasures of this world” for you and me. He allowed Himself to be rejected so we could be accepted. He allowed Himself to be viewed as “guilty” so that we would be exonerated from our sin. He became despised (in the eyes of the world) so that we would know we are His treasure. So, Instead of self rejection, we could hear that we are His Beloved. We are His Delight (Isaiah 62:4).

So when you and I face the temptation to say to ourselves, “You’re a failure” remember:

It is not about what we do.

It is not about how old we are, how young we are.

It is not about what others say.

It is not even what we say.

It only matters what He says.

My Friends, He says we’re enough. When He said “It is finished”, We, as His Children, became flawless.

He doesn’t see you for who this world says you are. He sees you as complete in Him. He sees you as His Masterpiece – His poem.

You are not a failure. You are not stupid. You are His Beloved and nothing you do or don’t do will ever change that!