Refuge

Finding trust in our walk with God is one of the hardest aspects of the Christian walk, but it is also the most necessary.  In fact, trusting God is the core of Christianity.  Think for a moment:  if you didn’t trust God at least a little, you wouldn’t be a Christian!  You have to trust that He lives, that He loves you, and that you will be with Him in eternity.  Somehow it’s easier to trust Him on these things than it can be to depend on Him for the day to day.

I am home from the INCH conference in Lansing, delighted after speaking to a group of wonderful girls and parents who attended my workshop there.  But getting there wasn’t quite so easy!  The day before INCH (Thursday) much of the printing we had to do was not finished, so after work on Thursday I drove straight to the shop to work on the books.  We ended up working all night.  The next morning was Friday, the first day of INCH, and we needed to be in Lansing by noon.  Driving with no sleep was impossible, even though I drank a gallon of coffee to try, and the result was that we had to stay home and rest before leaving that night. 

I was upset.  I was tired, stressed, and unhappy that I had missed the entire first day of the conference.  I was sure that my workshop would not garner as much interest because I wasn’t there for the first day.  I wasn’t trusting God.

When we are doing what God wants, we have to trust Him to take care of the consequences.  Just as I was worrying over the conference, so often we worry about little things that we think will destroy our goals and dreams, when God is allowing them just so we depend on Him.  I had no choice:  I had to trust Him for my speech and hope the girls would enjoy it.  And from what I saw, I think perhaps they did!

Walking as a Christian young woman is the perfect juxtaposition of pressing on and giving up.  We press on in the faith, fighting the good fight, but we also give up our own desires, worries and fears by trusting in an Almighty and loving God.  Trust is that giving up.  He is our ultimate refuge, no matter what our circumstances.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rest my salvation and my glory, my mighty rock, my refuge is God.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”  (Psalm 62:5-8)

To Think About

  • Do you struggle trusting God for any areas or decisions in your life?
  • How can you practically surrender these areas to God?
  • How can you live in trust, giving up worries and fears that hold you down?
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Willow Weep for Me

Try to remember the kind of September/When no one wept except the willow…  That’s one of the lines from the song “Try to Remember”.  It’s too bad the willow isn’t the only one that weeps.  There comes a time in life when the tears fall all too easily… usually the product of an aching heart, as we discussed in the last post.  Life doesn’t only bring disappointments, but often stresses, decisions, hopes, wonderments, confusion, anger, frustration… in these times my reaction is to run to somewhere quiet and cry.  Sometimes it helps vent the emotion without making other people endure it.  Yet other times it just makes me feel worse.  If only the willow would weep, and not me!

Emotions are strange in many ways, and too often misunderstood.  One of the funny things about emotions is that they are circular.  I don’t think many girls realize thisOften, we react to our circumstances with an outbreak of emotion, then, because we have this emotion toward our circumstance, we develop a consistent attitude toward it, which in turn causes more outbreaks of emotion… all fueled by our overwhelming consideration of our emotions in the first place.

If there is one thing that bothers me, it’s a moody girl.  You know the kind:  she’s happy one day, and then by some ‘right’ she gets to be huffy the next.  You didn’t do anything — or maybe you did, and you don’t know it, you can never be sure.  I’ve heard people comment before, “Oh, it’s okay, she’s just in one of her moods.”  I couldn’t help but think:  who gave you the right to have ‘moods’?  Our society gives that right.  ‘Feelings’ are everything; we are to consider them first in ourselves and in others.  Our generation of girls has grown up with the idea that their emotions take highest priority, and if you trample on them, you take the consequences.   This is seen just as often in Christian girls.

Somehow Christian girls have slipped through the cracks when it comes to moodiness.  Truth be told, we have no inherent right to vent our emotions on people, especially our families.  I’ve done it, and I learned quickly that ’emotional abuse’ of family members doesn’t last long.  The reason it occurs so often is that moodiness is not seen as a sin.  It’s just a ‘woman thing’.  Did anyone ever think to make it a ‘nobody thing’?  Some girls blame it on hormones.  I could get into a whole speel on PMS and why I think it’s just an excuse for emotional lack of control, but I won’t argue that point here :).  The issue is this: moodiness and venting emotions is a lack of self control, patience, gentleness and kindness, all of which are fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.  If you are walking with the Spirit, it won’t happen.

“So when do I get to be myself?”,  you ask.  As Anne Ortlund said, your self is who you are in Christ.  Thus, your emotions will be controlled by Him.  If you want to live in your sinful self, go ahead and be moody.  That’s not God’s idea of a beautiful woman.

Crying over the pressures of life does not qualify as moodiness, since moodiness is taking out those pressures on others.  But there is a solution to the emotions we feel in life’s trials:  Jesus Christ.  If I hold on to my emotions, either bottling them for later use or dumping them on my family, I am not solving anything.  Peter said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:6-7, ESV).

How does this have to do with relationships?  Everything.  Whether you are still at home with your family, married with a husband, dating, courting, or just having great friends, your emotions can be kept in control.  I am not saying to bottle them up until you explode, because that will be the result.  By releasing your emotions to Christ, in tears or laughter, whatever you may be feeling — He will take them and make you strong.