Can I Trust God In the Little Things?

Croce in montagnaThe other day, a fried of mine wrote an article honoring the late Elisabeth Elliott. She spoke about living a life of faith, one such as characterized by Elliott. But one quote in particular stuck out at me:

“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.”

You see, this is the very hardest thing for me. I’ve known that for a long time–my willingness to trust God with eternity, and fearfulness to trust Him with tomorrow.

Take a peek at my thoughts:

“Sure, God. I know you can heal cancer, take me to Heaven, deploy angels, perform miracles, turn water into wine, change hearts, walk on water and even move on my spirit bringing joy, peace and hope. And I thank you for that.

But God, I’m not really sure that you can help me with body image. I don’t know that you’re all that interested in my decision about whether or not to get a dog. I’m probably on my own when it comes to deciding if I should go to that event next weekend and what I should say to my co-worker who really hurt my feelings.”

Can you identify?

So you can see why Elisabeth’s quote hit close to home. But then, God turned it on its head.

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (Luke 16:10).

While I have difficulty trusting God with the little things, He is pleading with me to simply start there. When He finds me faithful to listen to Him concerning these little things, then He can invest me in big things.

The beauty of it is that the beginning is the same. The kernel of my faithlessness is the small things; the starting line of His plans for me is the little things.

God is asking me to dig deep, to plant that mustard seed of faith–tiny as it is–in the littlest situation. Then, if that soil is fertile and I truly believe in the God of the Universe, I will find He cares about the little things. And, when I get my footing in the little things, my faith will begin to grow and God will send me out into greater things for His glory.

What little things do you have trouble trusting God with?

First published at http://www.tblfaithnews.com

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hitler’s Third Reich: A Wake Up Call To America

flag-650x400What does the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich have to do with America’s current sociopolitical climate?

An interest in German martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has resurged, perhaps because of parallels with Christians in the current United States. Bonhoeffer’s biography crystallizes the spiritual nature of Hitler’s rise to power. Here are a few ingredients trending in current culture that have a troubling precedent in Hitler’s rise to totalitarianism …

Read the rest of this article by Emily Tomko here:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hitler’s Third Reich: A Wake Up Call to America

Lonelier to Leave

It started in the hair salon.

Tears pricked my eyelids so I tilted my nose the ceiling, hoping they’d go back where they came from. Instead they leaked out and down my hair line. A few deep breaths and I felt better.

But the feeling swamped me again the next day as I sat in church. The associate pastor announced an upcoming marriage retreat in November. Couples were going to take a short cruise together while studying Scripture and listening to good speakers.

At first I thought, I’d love to do that. Then it hit me—I won’t be here anymore.

My husband is in the Army. We have packed up and moved away from every church I’ve begun to love, left every set of couple friends we’ve made and terminated every job I’ve ever held—usually just as I begin to sink in.

What’s worse—to be the leaver or the left? Which is more lonely?

That’s been a topic of frequent consideration when my husband deployed in years past. Did I have the greater challenge still sleeping the bed he had suddenly abandoned? Was it harder to face the daily routine of “together” things by myself? Or, was it more painful for him to walk away from home, from routine, from comfort, familiar and family?

For the rest of that Sunday afternoon, I allowed the pending loneliness to marinate my heart. Perhaps I should just pull up stakes now, abandon my volunteer projects, stop going to church, begin to shut off my heart so that it hurts a little less when I walk away.

We often say that Jesus knows our weaknesses. He knows how we feel. He experienced our pain and has compassion for our wounded hearts. But I had never before considered how it must have broken Jesus’ heart to leave earth.

The disciples stood around Him as he ascended into Heaven. I’m sure He was excited to stand again at the Father’s right hand surrounded by the glory and splendor that was His before the foundation of the world.

But I wonder…

Was it hard for Him to say goodbye to his disciples? He had walked with them, eaten with them, debated with them. He knew their families, their occupations, their hangups and their habits. And when He left earth, He told them that He didn’t know when He would return. Only the Father knew. It was an indefinite goodbye.

Not only was Jesus leaving these men, but the very creation—would He miss this earth in someway? He was the God who sculpted trees and rivers and mountains with His words. Before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it was His great delight to walk with them daily in the beauty of nature. Then, for a brief 33 years, He had touched that soil again. He had left His footprints next to man’s.

None of this contemplation is deny or bring into questions Christ’s complete deity. However, in the mysteriousness of prayer, and the difficult act of abiding in Him, I think we often lose sight of our Savior’s complete humanity.

Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for the day He would leave. Even as He did, He promised them, “I will come back for you!” I wonder if He took comfort in those words too, reminding His flesh and blood heart that this sacrifice He was about to make for the redemption of man would reinstate garden walks and side-by-side foot prints, shared meals and laughter.

There’s something about sinking my heart into the truth of Christ’s brief vulnerability, the truth that His human heart comprehends my loss and loneliness and the ache of leaving. Yes, He does go with me. He never leaves me and I cannot leave Him, as I am held in the palm of His hand. But He does not deny or try to dismiss my earth-hurt.

Oh for the day when I can bury my face in His chest, look up into His eyes, hold His hand and walk in the garden.

*This piece was first published in the print issue of “WHOA Women“.

Letter From God

In college, I had a poster full of catchy quotes phrased as if God were talking to me. The last quote, at the very bottom of the poster said:

This is God.Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So, have a nice day.
I love you.

This recent post at She Loves Magazine reminded me of that simple, easily forgotten thought. Maybe you needed to hear that today…

How I Discovered I’m Not the Boss of the World, by Angela Doell

Image credit: http://carpatys.com/my-god-good.html
Image credit: http://carpatys.com/my-god-good.html

Meet Amy

bebeautiful_07d71b081eef229c27bd9b4970d6677eGuess where I am this week? Well, starting tomorrow (Tuesday), I’ll be in Texas with my sisters celebrating Henry’s pending birth! Rachelle, my youngest sister, whose diapers I once changed, whom I nicknamed Sunshine, who a few people when we were kids thought was my own daughter with our 10 year age difference, who will be one of the most spectacular moms in the whole world…is due on June 20. So we’re throwing a party. (:

Since I’ll be far too busy, and too giddy, to string three words together next week, let alone three sentences or a blog post, I’m going to share with you wonderful pieces by good friends of mine. I hope you enjoy their stories and visit their websites. You will be blessed.

See you soon~

Weighing yourself is a mind game that the only way to win is to just not play. I guarantee you will feel so much better about your self if you toss the scale. It won’t solve every insecurity and struggle, but it is a step in the right direction. Let’s start focusing on the things that matter.

Life Without the Scale, by Amy Dardis

Reminds me of this post: No More Strip Search

That’s What He Said.

There are few hungrier, predatory lies today than those that prey upon marriages and families. To that end, I recently wrote an article at StartMarriageRight, called, How to Get a Man to Talk.

That article got quite a bit of attention, rousing virtual dialogue among men and women, both those couples starting their marriages and those who have been practicing marriage for many years.

As I have been formulating and praying about a response, I stumbled upon (well, I stumbled upon, God was intentional) an article by Rev. Dan White. White wrote a piece called, What a Man Wants – Help! — Nagging, for HavenJournal, a highly relevant Christian ministry to women.

Rev. White takes a no-nonsense approach that might tempt women to balk. You know you’ve done it ladies, hands on hips, “How dare he,” “You don’t know my husband,” “I’ve tried that.” The trouble with that line of thinking is that this author is a man, so he likely knows the inside of your man better than you do, from experience. Also, he dares because Scripture backs him up. And, you may think you’ve tried what he’s suggesting, but what’s the harm in trying again?

In my article, I confessed that for many years, one of the reasons my husband didn’t talk to me much was because I filled all the extra airspace. Many of those words were perceived as nagging.

Remember Thumper? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Try it. Either shut up, or change up your words and your tone of voice.

And go read Rev. White’s article.

Lovely Holidays

1 Corinthians 13-A Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend myriad holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust; but giving the gift of love will endure.

-Author Unknown