ENOUGH.

The enemy likes to play this game with me: he chases me with legalism until I rebel and throw myself into the arms of permissiveness; and then he uses guilt to chase me back into legalism. Back and forth, like a poor little ping-pong ball.

Today, God said, “Enough.”

No matter where I am mentally and emotionally, Jesus is Enough.

No matter which side of the Should Fence I’m on, legalism or permissiveness, Jesus is Enough.

No matter how many flaws a sister-in-Christ has lovingly pointed out to me, Jesus is Enough.

No matter how oblivious I am to God’s Kingdom today because I’m too distracted by own agenda, Jesus is Enough.

It’s true that Christ’s death on the cross gives us the power to overcome sin and the flesh. But all too often, we forget that’s not all. That’s not all Jesus accomplished; how could it be? It wouldn’t be enough, since we continue to sin anyway.

No, Jesus’ sacrifice in taking all our sins upon Himself was not just about giving us the power to break away from them; it was also about giving us the freedom to fall.

I can fall down because of Jesus…and I can get up and go forward because of Him, too.

When I am walking upright, I am walking in the power of His death and resurrection—but especially His resurrection.

When I fall, I fall on the power of His death and resurrection—but especially His death.

Jesus is Enough.

The world will surround us with Shoulds when Jesus has poured out Enough. Embrace Him back today; His love is true and will be sweet to your soul.

Happy Valentine’s Day. ♥

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The Cure for Anxiety – Part I

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:25-34 HCSB)

You don’t have to be a follower of Jesus to benefit from the last part of this passage:

“Don’t worry about tomorrow…Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

If you are a follower of Jesus, there is even more benefit in this passage: Jesus tells us that our Father God takes care of sparrows and GRASS — how much more will He take care of us, in spite of our “little faith”, because we are worth more than many sparrows?

It is an incredible encouragement — one I’ve held onto tenaciously these last ten months, and one that has even been proven by God’s provision in our lives these last ten months.

Nevertheless, I want to focus on verse 34 today. There is something for everyone, in this verse,  and perhaps even enough that one who is not yet familiar with the friendship of God might be spurred forward toward it.

“Don’t worry about tomorrow…Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

If one were to treat this as a pill, prescribed by a well-known and trusted physician, how might it change one’s life?

Rather than hypothesize, I will tell you how it has changed mine.

The other night, I was sitting in a home school meeting, listening to the mothers discuss — what seemed like at the time — HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of things that their children had to do in order to finish high school. I began to feel overwhelmed…and then I began to feel anxious.

“I will never get all of this done!”  I thought. “It’s impossible! It’s too much! I must quit home schooling now!  (I’d only been doing it for three days, mind you.) Oh, but I  can’t quit! I am positive that God has told me to school my children at home! Whatever shall I do?!”

It is a true wonder that I did not throw myself to the floor with wails of despair. God is merciful in His sovereign interventions, is He not?

It must have been in just the moment I might have considered throwing myself to the ground with wails of despair that God spoke in my spirit.

“Fae,” He said, gentle and deep — He almost sounded amused. “Is all of this happening today?”

The wailing and spazzing in my brain immediately paused. “Well…no…”

“Then you don’t need to be thinking about it, do you?”

I gave a little laugh (internally, mind you). He was right. (He’s always right.) But just in case I had inclinations to doubt or disregard Him, He brought to mind Verse Thirty-Four.

Truthfully, that is not the first time we’ve had that conversation — and it undoubtedly will not be the last.

But it works. It nips anxiety in the bum and anxiety scurries off yipping every time.

As I said in the beginning of this post, you don’t have to be friends with Jesus (also known as The Great Physician) to benefit from His prescription. I like to call it Verse Thirty-Four.

And perhaps, when you’ve experienced His remedy for this particular malady in your own life, perhaps you might just be curious enough to find out more about this Man and what He wants with you.

Curiosity inevitably breeds bravery, and bravery will serve you well — for, as C. S. Lewis taught us through the “person” of Aslan,

The Great Physician is not safe –
but He is good.

Guest post: A Lesson In Spiritual Sewing

Today, I am honored to introduce my very first guest author ever! Her name is Margaret and she just so happens to be my mother. :) Since she’s such an important part of “being Fae”, I find it rather fitting that she gets to be the first guest writer for my blog — and, as you’ll see in her piece, it was not specifically arranged to be that way! But before we get to that bit, I would like to properly introduce her.

My mother grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) and she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior around 4 or 5 years old. She tells me that she has had an awareness of His involvement in her life since she was little. Her heart’s desire is always to honor and glorify Him, and I think she is quite diligent about ascribing glory and honor to Him, whether via text message replies or posts on Facebook or in the middle of conversation. A lot of my own heart for God has been influenced by her beautiful example.

My mom loves bike riding, (especially tandem with my dad), reading, crochet, volleyball and being outside; she has four kids, (of which I am the oldest), and she tells me that each of our unique abilities and hearts for God bring her much joy.

She writes…

“Lesson I learned today: If you don’t want to take the time to baste stitch, you WILL take the time to seam-rip!”

After writing that as my status on Facebook the other night, my daughter commented that there was some spiritual application in that statement and she asked me if I would like to guest post for her blog. I gave it some thought and prayer, but nothing specific was coming to me. I thought of all kinds of applications like: If you don’t do your laundry, you will be wearing dirty clothes. If you don’t spend time with your kids, they will do time when they are older. But nothing seemed to give me that ah-ha feeling. So I commented that it was likely hers to write about as nothing was coming to me, but I would love to guest blog another time. Then I went out on a quick trip to Wal-Mart. While I was in the car, Chip Ingram’s message came on — it was the second time that day that I got to hear this particular message, entitled “Sexual Purity in a Sex-Saturated World” (I listen to him and James MacDonald every morning as I get ready for the day). But this time while listening to him, when he said he was “ruthless” about what he fed his mind through his ears and eyes because he knew how “weak” he was, I started bawling because it resonated with me big time. Many might look at me and think I am a strong Christian. But I am not. I’m actually quite weak! And it is because of my weaknesses that I am diligent…ruthless…about what I feed myself spiritually speaking.

When it is in my control, I try to diet solely on Christian music because it has been my experience that when I deviate into the secular realm, it is the first baby step towards broken fellowship with God. It gets me thinking things I shouldn’t think or dwelling on “the good ol’ days” and getting into pity parties. It even does a number on my pride…making me feel “cool”.

My reading preferences exclude secular romance and the latest best-sellers that could promote thinking on things that are not true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, have virtue or are praiseworthy. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Something else I have to guard, but have the hardest time regulating, is my TV viewing. I love reality TV — shows that show people interacting with each other. I find that stuff fascinating. It is better for me to be ruthless and not turn the TV on at all than to think that I won’t get sucked in to watching something that is not edifying.

I am ruthless about certain practices, too. For example, bouncing my eyes off of men I find attractive, whether it is a magazine picture or on TV or in real life.

One thing Chip Ingram brought out in his message was something like this: “If King David, who was “a man after God’s own heart”, who experienced God in many amazing ways and who knew true communion with God, could fall away into adultery and then try to cover it up with murder, surely *I* am capable of the same or worse!” 

I agree completely!!!

A good seamstress will take the time to baste-stitch in order to prevent time spent with a seam-ripper. I spend time with godly influences in order to prevent time spent in broken fellowship, breaking the heart of God, and having to do the work of repentance. I don’t do it because I am a good Christian, though. I do it because I know my weaknesses.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12

Just A Closer Walk With Thee
1. I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

[Refrain: ]
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, ’tis my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

2. Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
3. When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

___
The message mentioned in this post can be found at http://livingontheedge.org/broadcasts by scrolling to the dates August 29 and August 30.

GOD MADE MY PLANT GROW!!!

“When I was done, I had a good-sized pile of dirt, roots, and broken stems. My original plan was to put all of it in the trash. But the process of sifting had revealed that there were a lot of root systems still capable of producing sprouts. I couldn’t bear to throw them in the garbage, but there was no room in the pots. So I went outside and found a nice patch of grass out of the way of mowing paths and spread it all out, hopeful that it would sprout in warmer weather. It reminds me of something my aunt told me once, during a particularly rough time in my life: “God wastes nothing.” Not the extra soil, not the myriad roots, not the broken stems. He uses all of it somewhere, often out of my sight and unbeknownst to me, always to His glory and for our good.” (from this post.)

two months later, i see this:

image

my jaw dropped! oh me of little faith! it’d been two months and nothing had ever shown up! but suddenly nothing turned into something. ^_^

that’s my favorite thing about God: He can make Something out of anything.

i am reminded once again, not to give up hope just because He’s taking longer than i expected. ♥

Battling the Busy-Man

As I get older, I’m learning that if I don’t intentionally prioritize things, my subconcious will do it for me. When I say, “I don’t have time for that”, what I’m really saying is, “Something else has a higher priority than that.”

Right now, my highest priority is a quiet life.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT

I made this my top priority this past December, while we were in Florida; I was realizing just how burnt out I’d become. So upon our return in January, I made changes to ensure a quiet life. Oddly enough, life has a lot to throw at me to equally ensure it doesn’t happen! I’m amazed at how naturally my ‘yeses’ come out and how deliberate I have to be if a ‘no’ is going to come out.

I really, really hate being busy. I’ve hated it for a long time, but when I saw this verse hanging up at my mom’s house, it was like a heavy burden was lifted— I no longer felt guilty for wanting a quiet life!  And it gave me the sovereign permission I needed to start simplifying. Fewer commitments, fewer engagements, less busyness.

If you’re like I was, feeling busy and burnt out, here’s 7 tips I’ve picked up so far, in my quest for a quieter life. :)

1. There are too many good things out there for me to dip into a little of everything.
2. God created me with a unique combination of temperament, abilities, stamina and desires. He doesn’t waste anything and neither should I. It takes time to find the thing I can best serve at; serving in little things while I work it out is better than being a bump on the log while I work it out. I can start with serving the people I share a house with, at the very least. (Doing a chore that isn’t mine, spending extra-quality time with someone instead of mindlessly entertaining myself, etc.) This helps cultivate a servant’s heart (something I really struggle with, for a variety of reasons) so that, when I *do* figure out what I’m cut out for, I’ll have a headstart in having a willing heart. ;)
3. It’s okay for me to say no to lots of things! It’s not okay for me to say no to everything.
4. My blog, friends, husband and family are FABULOUS sounding boards for figuring out what needs to get cut, what my talents are, what my weaknesses are and how all those things play into or against leading a quiet life.
5. Leading a ‘quiet life’, I’m finding, is not dull and it’s not sitting around doing nothing! It’s using my God-given Combination of Everything as efficiently and productively as possible. There’s still emotional stress to my day; there’s still work to be done. But I’m fulfilled at the end of the day, I’m not burnt out, I’m not frantic.
6. The enemy will fight this endeavor of mine. For starters, his top priority is rebellion against God and His ways. But I’m also figuring out that ‘busyness’ is one of his most effective tactics for stifling spiritual growth. ‘Distractedness’ could be another word for it. But being aware that he’s trying to sabotage me is half the battle and renews my resolve to be intentional about how I spend my time.
7. There are seasons of God sowing into our lives and seasons of harvest. The sowing times are the hardest for me; they involve a lot of…nothing. At least on the outside. But it’s also a resting time, a time to take it easy, savor the moments and rest. I’m slowly learning not to be afraid of resting time or feel guilty for it. It’s productive in its own way, although visible results are slow in coming.

Ironically, it’s hard work to have a quiet life. But it’s so worth it…

7 Comforting Truths For The Christ-follower

These are some truths that God has been bringing to light over the last few days. They have been really encouraging to me so I wanted to share them.*

1. I’ve been a child of God for a long time. I’ve been a dedicated Christ-follower for a couple of years. I will never “arrive”! No matter how long I do this life with God, I will never completely understand Him. I will still get confused. I will still feel lost sometimes. I will definitely screw up. It’s okay. God knows that I am dust; His grace is sufficient for me; He *will* finish the good work in me that He started. :)

2. Jesus has given me permission to badger Him. (Luke 18) So I don’t need to feel guilty when I pray about that one thing AGAIN. In fact, persistence is a good thing! God wants to know the desires of my heart and He is a refuge for me. I am to present all of my requests with thanksgiving but there is no limit to how many times I am allowed to present my requests! God wants me to approach His throne with courage and boldness. He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children.

3. If I am not getting what I’m asking for, is it because God isn’t good or is it because what I’m asking for is not good for me? ;) This question has changed the way I approach prayer. I ask Him for everything and then rest in the knowledge that, if I don’t receive it, it is because it wasn’t good for me. This doesn’t mean I always love the answer He gives me; for example, I am badgering Him to provide a job for my husband and a house for us to live in. I am not loving that thus far, He has said ‘no’. But I know He is GOOD—there is GOOD wrapped up in the situation I am not loving and one day, I will see it and be grateful for it!

4. The Christian life is not for ME to live. It is for God to live through me, when I surrender to Him and allow Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit! I need to stop spinning my wheels trying to accomplish “good things” and instead, ask Him to fill me with His power and live His life through me. He gives me grace and strength for each moment if I remember to receive it! Right now, the only thing on my “Christian To-Do List” is: Remember to receive God’s power moment by moment! Staying aware of this keeps me from losing my temper with my children, husband, or malfunctioning technology. ;) It keeps me from panicking when a rug gets pulled out from under my feet. It keeps me MOMENT-oriented, instead of “overwhelming Big Picture”-oriented.

5. I don’t know what God is up to. AND IT’S OKAY. I don’t NEED to know! I need to live! To pray! To rejoice! This is the hardest one to get through my head. I don’t need to know what God is up to. I don’t need to figure it out.

6. I am weak. Weak, weak, weak. It’s okay to be weak. God’s strength is made perfect because of my weakness. I need to STOP trying to buck up! Stop trying to buckle down! GOD is the one working—in and through me. I need to sit back, be weak, and glory in His strength, grace, and mercy. It’s never about me!

7. This too shall pass. No, it really will. If things are tough right now, they *will* get easy again. If things are easy right now, they *will* get tough again. And when one thing finally starts coming together, something else will start to fall apart. BUT IT’S OKAY!!! I can be at rest, I can be joy-filled regardless of my circumstances. It’s a moment-by-moment process. The Christian life is not a gas tank that gets filled up all at once and then gradually used up. The Christian life is a lung, that gets filled up and emptied *each* moment. BREATHE. Trust. Believe that He is good, He is capable, He is working. And, He is smiling. :) God smiles at me. God is smiling at me. God is smiling at you.

* If there is anything here that you would like scriptural back-up for, please let me know. Almost every sentence is based on an actual scripture that God has shown me recently. I was going to include the references as I typed but it was going to be very cluttered so I’m including this disclaimer instead. ;)