To whom will I bow and serve today? Christ or Self? There really are only two choices aren’t there? That was something I saw this week as we continue to pray through Psalm 139.

“And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:24).

Flesh vs. Spirit.

Old vs. new.

Death vs. life.

We were rightly reminded this past week that we cannot serve two masters.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…” (Matt. 6:24).

I don’t want to live in the grievous way any longer. I don’t want to continue in my old ways. These ways only lead to death. They have brought pain and anguish to myself and my loved ones and probably people I’m not even aware of! I want to walk in the way everlasting, following Jesus, my Lord and Savior, who died for these sins I continue to walk in. I want my life to bring glory to the Lord and not self.

In order to follow Christ, I must turn away and leave Sinner Self, putting her to death. Jesus is the one who said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). This is why this study, Heart of a Woman, is so helpful.

I am finding that it is somewhat easy for me to sit with like minded and caring women and confess that I am “prideful.” However, I see that it is entirely different to openly confess the details of how my pride manifests itself in my actions and words. Pride keeps me from being vulnerable and from trusting the Lord or others. Pride even keeps me from wanting to carefully observe my actions and words. It hurts to see the truth. And yet it is the truth that sets us free.

The truth is, there is not only no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no shame! He was condemned so we could be free. He took our guilt and our shame!

“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor, they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy” (Isa. 61:7).

We must choose by faith to believe the truth of God’s Word and not our feelings! The truth says that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

And James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

Let us boldly approach the throne of grace to find mercy and help in our time of need and continue to ask our loving Father to show us the truth of these grievous ways that remain in our hearts so that we can confess them and repent of them and receive forgiveness and healing. Let us continue to ask our Father to help us really see our actions and our words as well as the thoughts and feelings that led to those actions. And all the while, fixing our eyes on our Savior who loved us and died for us.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace


This was my thought today… “everything is sweeter with Jesus.” I know this sounds perhaps cheesy or cliché, but it really hit me as a distinct reality tonight.  I love Charles Spurgeon’s quote from our homework this past week: “If you are a child of God, you will see your Father’s face and live in your Father’s love.” What does that look like practically in our daily lives?

As we have been filling out our trees and asking the Lord to search our hearts, I continue to be humbled and saddened by the fruit of unrighteousness I see. The roots of pride and idolatry of self are so deep and are still producing angry outbursts with my children, selfish choices with friends, and coveting, just to name a few.

But the truly wonderful and beautiful thing this time around as I go through Heart of a Woman for the third or forth time (I mean, who’s counting?) is that I am starting to see Jesus more and more as my Advocate and Friend and less like the angry parent, watching me with hands on hips.

And the amazing thing is that this translates into an ever deepening and intimate prayer life with my Savior.  As I preform less and try to cry out more often for His grace and wisdom, the pressure is lessened, my heart is stilled, and I am finding joy in tasks that normally cause me anxiety and turmoil. It is really interesting.

Take tonight as an example. For some reason I get a knot in my stomach every afternoon around 4pm. It probably sounds ridiculous, but the thought of dinner and hungry people looming on the horizon makes me want to run and hide…seriously. I don’t particularly enjoy cooking and struggle with decisiveness when it comes to meal planning, so often just the decision of WHAT to cook can leave me in angst. Throw in my precious children bickering and fighting, a to-do list that is long and unaccomplished, and my old girl is ready to rear her ugly head.

It is puzzling to me how often the daily, nominal circumstances of life can railroad my faith and trust in Jesus. The Lord has been so kind in helping me see my wrong-thinking. I approach these situations with the idea that I should be stronger, wiser, more prepared. Good grief, it seems pitiful to have to cry out to Jesus for help preparing a meal when I have been a wife for eleven years and mother for nine! You would think I would have this dinner thing nailed by now!

Pride is so deceptive, isn’t it?  Our flesh so desperately wants to be able to preform anything…something…the smallest task without having to ask for help. So we fret and worry…and SIN…all because we don’t have the humility to confess our need.

So tonight, as I felt those feelings of worry, fear, and inadequacy creeping into my heart, I confessed them to Jesus. He gently and lovingly reminded me that He was with me. I wasn’t “performing” for Him; I was joining Him in what He already wanted to do for my family. He helped me find the recipe that used exactly the ingredients I had on hand, but the biggest blessing was just that I didn’t feel stressed out. I had grace to extend to my children and a warm hello to shower on my husband when he got home from work. It was amazing.

Sweet friends, let’s ask for His grace and cry out to Him for the little and big things in our days. May we put to death the pride that whispers, “You should have this figured out,” and instead run to our Precious Savior and Advocate and humbly confess that we need Him in EVERYTHING…even preparing a simple meal. May we find grace to stop performing and peace in our growing dependence upon Jesus. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:5b-7, emphasis added).

Rooted in Christ