I prayed the following prayer several mornings ago, “Lord, thank you for another day. Thank you that I can trust you fully…” I continued journaling but heard a quiet whisper in my spirit, “But do you really trust me?” I ignored the whisper as I continued praying thanks to the Lord but the whisper wouldn’t go away. The Lord was asking me if I really trusted Him.

Control. You see, this is something I long to have, I cling to, and find comfort in way too often. I want to control my day, my schedule, my routine, my husband, and my circumstances. Oftentimes I feel I am able to do so — I am able to control how much I get done in a day because I fight to make sure everything gets checked off my to-do list. Yet, there are other days when the Lord sweetly and gently reminds me that although it can feel like I have everything under control, it only takes one small thing to knock everything off track. When I surrender and trust the Lord in everything, my desire for control disappears and I am able to rest.

Last week my husband and I had looked at a house we really liked and we decided to make an offer on it. We were excited and nervous about the possibility of moving but the excitement didn’t last long as we quickly heard that there were already multiple offers on the house and several were over listing price. I felt that desire for control creeping up in me again as I heard that news. Two days later the Lord provided me with one of those days again as I received some bad news from the doctor. I am generally a pretty healthy person, I try to eat right, exercise, and have tried to follow the rules when it comes to pregnancy the past 8 months. Yet, receiving some news from the doctor that was unexpected and completely out of my control reminded me that we can do all the right things and yet we, in our own strength, truly have no control.

About a year ago my family decided to make Psalm 103 a part of our family mission statement. The beginning goes like this :

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa. 103:1-5)

It is the Lord who provides, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies. So why do I so often try to get it all done on my own? I try to provide for myself by working hard and putting my best foot forward. I try to heal myself by following all the “rules” given to me. I try to redeem myself by checking my quiet time off my list, going to church each week, and volunteering.

Psalm 103 goes on to say:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psa. 103:11-14)

God knows how we are made — He was the potter. God knows we came from the dust, we are frail, easily falling into temptations and the ways of this world. I am reminded through this Psalm of my need for the Lord. Although my flesh doesn’t like to admit where I am weak, although my flesh doesn’t like boundaries and rules to protect me from the sins I so easily fall into, I know that I need them. How great is our God that it is He who forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies me as His daughter. May I humble myself before the Lord and boast in my weakness. I am thankful that I am weak because He is strong. I can cry out to the Lord in my despair, sadness, and weakness and confess that I cannot do it on my own.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant, and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psa. 103:17-19)

I am thankful today that God rules over all. That He cares about my life — from the smallest detail of my life to the bigger things like loving the baby in my womb more than I do. I am also thankful that He is patient and gentle to remind me that my job is to trust Him, to relinquish control, and to trust that His kingdom rules over all.

Standing on the Word


Have you ever sarcastically said, “Woe is me”? I think back and I definitely have said it on more than one occasion. Actually, I am pretty sure I have used that as an expression to sarcastically indicate someone else’s “sad” situation more than any other time. But it just so happens that it was used as an expression towards me the other day.

A lady came in to my store the other day with her child. The child was irate because she wanted to get out of the stroller and touch everything but the mother would not allow the child to do this. Therefore the child showed the mother what her lungs were made of. As the mother walked by me briskly, she looked up and with a small bit of laugher said, “’Woe is me.’ Her life is so difficult.” I laughed along with her and immediately thought of Chapter Two, “Holy, Holy, Holy” from the book The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul. After she left I realized that the phrase “woe is me” no longer meant to me what it did to that mom. For me, it is a part of Scripture in this terrifyingly beautiful moment between God and mere man. Before this book, I had never read much about it.

This encounter I am speaking of with God and Isaiah happened in Isaiah 6, and I think “Wow! How many times have I gone over the Old Testament growing up and never talked about this?” I mean we talked about Moses, but never this “dramatic” moment as the author describes it in the book of Isaiah:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:1-5)

I can’t fathom what being in that temple could have been like. To see what Isaiah had seen, to hear the worship taking place. In that moment, I wonder, could he feel the wind hit his face from the wings of the seraphim as they sang, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory”? When the room shuttered, did it feel like an earthquake singularly focused on the temple? Sproul comments:

A recent survey of people who used to be church members revealed that the main reason they stopped going to church was that they found it boring. It is difficult for many people to find worship a thrilling and moving experience. We note here, when God appeared in the temple, the doors and the thresholds removed. The inert matter of door post, the inanimate threshold, the wood and the metal that could neither hear nor speak have the good sense to be moved by the presence of God. The literal meaning of the text is that they are shaking. They began to Quake where they stood.

When everything around you moves and even inanimate objects find a way to acknowledge His presence, that is something more than you and I can put into words. These inanimate objects managed to find a way to acknowledge His presence and I find it hard just to roll out of bed every morning and say, “Thank you, Abba Father.” Just reading this Scripture in Isaiah 6, I felt the smallness of who I am and some of the absolute grandeur of who He is. The power in His holiness is more than a matter of being pure, it is who He is. He is above all things; His thoughts are higher than anyone or anything. There has been a total shift in thought for me when it comes to God’s holiness. It went from me thinking this word “holy” was only a way to describe a state of purity to truly seeing that He is set apart. But it is so much more than this, it is so much more than my limited vocabulary can describe.

The Scripture goes on to tell us that Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me!” He literally cried out that he was coming undone, that he was ruined. With all that I have been through I can still count all that as nothing compared to my whole self coming unraveled within seconds. Have you ever felt as though you were coming undone? Maybe you had a rough day at work, the kids were being crazy, or you just didn’t feel like there was enough of you to go around, or you got bad news. After one of those things happened, did you felt like everything around you was ruined for the day? But none of this can compare to coming “undone” and being “ruined” after you have seen yourself for who you and seen God for who he truly is. This is a deeper “woe is me”–far deeper than the way we usually use that phrase like the mother did to describe her child in the store.

I am thankful to have come to a better understanding of God’s holiness through this chapter in the Bible. I am so grateful for the way R. C. Sproul broke this down to help my understanding of this Scripture passage. I will never use the phrase “woe is me” in the same way again. It is associated with a moment so profound that I can’t think of any reason to use it in the lesser ways we usually do. This moment was about so much more than a man who became a prophet…end of story. For me this was a man who experienced his life come undone in the presence of God. He saw that he was nothing after having been something to others in his life. He was so unworthy and so tiny in the presence of the King. But God! He came, restored him, healed him, and used him for His glory. This is still the awesome God I serve.

All for His Glory


I watch very little television. But I do like “The Voice.” It is fascinating to me to watch the contestants’ journeys of artistic growth. A few seasons ago, I was very impressed by a young woman named Christina Grimmie. She was very talented, creative, and spirited. Last week, I stared at my computer in utter shock and sorrow as I read that Christina was dead. She had been shot and killed by a deranged fan while joyfully signing autographs after a concert. She was 22.

Two days later, our nation reeled at the horrific news of a mass shooting at a dance club — the worst in U.S. history. We then read reports of a freak accident at a resort at Disney World: a toddler had been grabbed by an alligator — in front of his family. He was found later, drowned.

These horrific events occurred in one city, in a span of a few days. If ever there were a week that signified how scary, how unpredictable, and how evil the world can be, it was last week. If ever there were a time to fear the horrors of this world, it is now.

I am so grateful to God for leading me to the Fearless study this summer. The teaching is so applicable to living life in a world that often times makes no sense.

This week, in the Fearless study, we have looked at what it means to fear the Lord. In theological terms, fear of the Lord means reverential awe and worship. Yes, God is our loving Father who longs to be in relationship with His children. But He is also God, our Creator, omniscient and omnipresent, holy, sovereign and perfect – deserving of our worship and reverence at all times.

We are accustomed to the word “fear” meaning terror, dread, or feeling afraid. However, the Bible tells us that fear – reverential awe — of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10, 1:7; Psa. 111:10). It is what allows us to praise God (Psa. 22:23). It helps us develop a perspective of who we are and Who God is. God is God and we are not.

As I meditated this week on our fear-filled world and biblical fear, these thoughts ran through my mind:

The world is evil.

The world is chaos.

Our world can dissolve into tragedy and devastation in the blink of an eye.

God is love (1 John 4:8).

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty (Psa. 29:4). God’s hand cannot be stayed (Dan. 4:35) nor can His will be thwarted (Job 42:2).

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27 NIV).

All of these statements are true. How do we reconcile them? We must remember we have a very real enemy in this world, an enemy who is evil, who prowls like a lion to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8). And though I know in this world I will have trouble, trials, and pain, and witness senseless tragedy, as Paul says: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12).

I don’t understand why the world is the way it is. Thank God I don’t have to! God is God and I am not. He has given us the truth of His Word so that we can rest in His promises. If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Let us place our trust in the Lord and fear – revere and worship – Him, not fear – be afraid of – the evil one of this world. Eternity stretches out before us, and we know to Whom all victory and glory will be ascribed!

Growing in Grace