Growth, Jesus, mountain, plateaus, refuge, relationship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Everywhere: There is Nowhere We Can Go, Where He is Not

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must push through the up and down; run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season!



Camp; A Wake-up Call

So, I just got back from a week at Young Life camp on Saranac Lake in New York. May I just say… Wow. Other than that, I have no idea where to begin unpacking the last 6 days. Every day consisted of crazy activities, great meals, laughs, singing until you lost your voice, and dancing until you couldn’t stand.

On the flyer, it says camp will be the best week of your life and that it’s worth every penny. But, there were definitely parts for me, as someone who is not a new believer, that just didn’t sit right or felt very elementary.

I think my main focus for writing this devotional, is going to be exploring why this week was so difficult for me despite all the amazing things happening around me. Where was God this past week? How can I discipline myself to go to God instead of myself? God is everywhere. How do I open my eyes?

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

Out of the Depths

This morning was my first time at church in a while and we studied Psalm 130. Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord! Monday and Tuesday were the hardest days I think and I’m not really sure why. I had a mild panic attack on each of those days and overall I was quite frustrated with myself.

Why can’t I just enjoy myself? Why must my anxiety follow me everywhere? Something really cool happened in all those instances though. I was able to reach out to God within moments of feeling anxious or unsafe. As I spoke with my leader during our one on one, the only thing I really had to say was how grateful I am that God has opened my eyes to how much I’ve grown in Him; how far out of the depths I’ve come, but also how much farther I still have to go.

He is Everywhere

I believe that everyone grows in one way or another at a camp like Young Life. Relationships are built, beliefs are challenged, and our foundations are shaken by the hard truths of why we’re really there.

This past week I believe that my growth was in my friendship with Jesus. I’ve said yes to a life with Him and I’ve been saved in so many ways, but growth within that relationship has plateaued recently. I’ve come out of the valley, but I’ve been walking straight ever since. No ups, maybe some downs, but overall just a great sense of stagnation.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8, MSG

It’s as if I’ve said that now that I’m getting better, now that I am no longer in the depths, I have no need for Christ. So I’ve tried to set Him on a shelf until I need Him again. Thank God for His constant reminders of how helpless we really are and desperate we really should be. We cannot contain Christ. He is everywhere.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been in a season lately where I just feel off. Now I feel that season is coming to an end and now I am in a time of transition and growth. There is a lot coming up in my life and I think instead of running to God with my fear of the changes, I’ve turned to any and everything else.

But this past week has opened my eyes to the fact that God will be with me through the change and it really is as simple as that. Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. My prayer for all of you is that you can find rest in whatever it is that challenges you because God is in your midst. There is nothing you’re going through that He isn’t a part of.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139:7, CSB
Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. May we find rest in whatever challenges, because God is in our midst. He's a part of it all! Click To Tweet

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

unsplash-logoMiryam León
Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Plateaus: Trusting that God is Always at Work in Us

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation, but all they are is room for growth. Why are they room for growth? Because they represent an opportunity to change. 



We all hit plateaus. We all have days, weeks, even years of no movement. Are you standing still right now? I am. In several aspects. Spiritually. Relationally. Mentally.

Plateaus

I recently wrote a memoir about my struggle with anxiety for an English assignment. I used an analogy that these challenges we face are like injuries. The healing process builds thicker skin. In our case, stronger faith. It is another disguised challenge put in place to strengthen us.

How, then, do we make it easier to face? How do we look beyond the disguise and see what God is revealing and showing? That’s a tough one. I think in the simplest terms we must trust. Trust that God’s not done with us. Trust that when God says He doesn’t leave us where He finds us, He means it.

How do we remain hopeful that there will be another uphill? To be truthful, I have no idea. But, I would love to journey through it with you. Let’s find the answer together, as I march through my own personal plateau…

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth

True Confessions

For about a month now I’ve been having a constant “off day” if you know what I mean. I’ve had a couple of rough panic attacks and long-lasting moments of anxiety. Smelly teenage boys have somehow wiggled into my priority list and I cannot focus for the life of me! For example, in the midst of that last sentence, I looked up for really no reason at all and got completely distracted by a cloud floating by through the window.

Where is the self-awareness and realization that something outside has crept inside?

I still experience anxiety to an extent, but this elongated unassuredness has certainly shown to be more than an episode of my chemical brain structure. I’ve also begun to show unhealthy eating habits, and I can’t seem to stay awake for a whole day despite the 8+ hours of sleep I get every night. What the heck?! It’s quite frustrating. Compared to who and where I was seven months ago, I was in tip-top shape. So why the change?

Always Moving

I took for granted the high ground I’d worked so hard to reach. I lost focus on God’s role and I lost sight of the bottom I’d once stood on. And I only allowed myself to see that I was going nowhere. Something I need to remind myself of, and that I’d implore everyone to remember is, when you hit these seasons of flat ground, you’re still moving forward. You’re still going.

What’s going on in your life that you’ve unintentionally neglected? Or deemed not as important? For me, I need to take care of myself more (in light of how God sees me). I need to allow myself room to feel things I think I should or shouldn’t feel. I’m trying to suppress feelings I don’t want to feel. Then they pile up waiting to be felt. If I were on the flip side and someone came to me with this challenge, how would I respond? Would I offer grace? Of course! Then why is it so hard for me to accept?

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV

All the Feels

I’m piling things up instead of dealing with them. Instead of appreciating the place I’m in, I’ve taken it for granted and now I seem to be in another valley. Ladies, feelings are a piece of work. But what does God have to say about all these feelings? Let’s look back at the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9, NIV

Well, that’s a bit intense. The verse is intense, but what is the context? Where do I find myself in the midst of God’s promises and Christ’s hope for me? Not the whole world, but me. Is what I’m going through just a couple bad pieces of fruit or is the root system bad? How do I reach out to ask for help? God understands my heart. He understands my need for crying out and people to cry out to.

Reach Out

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, ESV

In harmony. I love that. Different notes working together to make one beautiful sound. Millions of image bearers working together for one glorious King. How then do we hold back our struggles? We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles. When you hit these plateaus, because you will, and when you walk through these valleys, because you will, who are you reaching out to? Are you surrendering to your pride to receive help? Please, reach. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the community God’s placed me in. Reach out.

We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles with. In harmony. When we hit plateaus, all we need to do is reach out! Click To Tweet

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth
Ronald Baars

shaping, pruning, attack, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian mentoring, spiritual growth, women of faith

Shaping: Rest in the God Who Prunes the Ones He Loves

Resting in Jesus feels wild; almost unsafe, especially when we feel like things are being stripped away. But relinquishing control to the One who lovingly prunes us to produce even more growth is the only true safety we will ever know.



The dream…

It was 8 to 10 years in the future. I was visiting my daughters who had moved back to our hometown. They shared a quaint little house in Old Louisville. The yard boasted a beautiful flower garden, ornate grape vines and a handful of dogwood and pear trees. When I arrived, we took a trip to pick up the spoils of their CSA shares, then we returned to their home and started fixing dinner. I looked outside at the sunset—a wild array of slate and cerulean blues hovering over a peachy inferno. I mused aloud how I had missed Kentucky sunsets.

While I looked on, white lightning spilt the sky, striking the heart of the sunset. Void of rain, the lightning continued to make contact with the earth, igniting a blaze that headed straight for the house. I told the girls we had to evacuate; they hurried to grab a few belongings. But as I glanced back out the window, the roaring wildfire had not only gone around the house, but the yard as well. The trees, the grass, the flowers in their garden…nothing was singed.

Back to reality…

When I awoke I played back the dream in my mind. Then a familiar verse from childhood sprung from memory:

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not approach you.

Psalm 91:7, NASB

What a sweet assurance! I immediately began praising God for His guarantee to guard and guide His children. Even more, I can rejoice and wholly trust in the One who raises the dead to protect and secure the children God has entrusted to me while here on earth.

Piecing together…

Ironically, the morning after my dream the fire alarm tripped near the close of our church service. There was no fire, thankfully, and everyone evacuated the building safely. The Lord even held the rain that had been relentless for the previous 24 hours. As we stood waiting for the fire squad to clear the building, someone mentioned the cause being the enemy trying to mess things up. I thought, perhaps—but after seeing what God has done in my daughter Anna’s life, I am not as quick to witness negativity or even tragedy and say Oh; that’s the devil. Spiritual warfare? Maybe, but so much more I view things through the lens of God pruning to bear even more fruit as opposed to the devil dolling out body blocks.

God is always working…

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:2, ESV

Relinquishing control to the One who is lovingly pruning and shaping us to produce even more growth is the only true safety we will ever know. | Spiritual Growth | Christian Mentoring | Women of Faith | Scripture Study

Confession…

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard and read John 15:2. But it wasn’t until I wrote it out last week that I caught the wording. I have been reading it incorrectly for years! My brain deceived me. You see, I thought it said: every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does not bear fruit He prunes. It sounded repetitive, but hey, maybe Jesus just wanted to drive it home. However, I added a “not” in my brain. The second part of that verse says: “and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Pruning is not punishment. Its purpose is to bring about even more blessing, more glory, greater victory.

Let’s go back to the supposition that the devil is lurking around every corner to ambush us. The bible clearly says to be on the alert.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8, ESV

The devil is always looking for someone to trap and deceive for all eternity. And if he’s lost the eternal battle, at the very least he wants to obliterate our faith in God and render us useless for the kingdom. The devil seeks to shake us up to the point of forsaking our reliance on Christ. However, Satan has no power over followers of Jesus Christ. And Romans tells us to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

We grant authority to whomever we trust. The devil has no authority over any Christian, except the authority we grant him by believing him.

John Bloom

The devil seeks to shake us up to the point of forsaking our reliance on Christ. However, Satan has no power over followers of Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet

Abiding in the Vine…

I have about two dozen house plants. They all have names and I may or may not talk to them. (Okay; I do.) My first encounter with pruning came about a few years ago. My friend Katy gifted me a beautiful succulent with bright yellow flowers one Sunday morning. Months later, after all the blooms had withered, the plant (whom I’d named after it’s giver) failed to thrive. I tried giving her more water, then less water, but her growth was halted and she began to look feeble. After researching I found the answer. Cut the plant down to its base, set it in a dark room and leave it alone for a month with no water. WHAT?! That sounded wildly barbaric! But what choice did I have? She was dying anyway. So, I followed the instructions and left her cut down and dry in the dark for 30 days.

When I went to retrieve Katy on the 31st day I was surprised and delighted to find vibrant green leaves shooting up! To this day she is double in size and still thriving. Now, when I read John 15, I am reminded of my sweet little plant and how we as the branches are completely dependent on the true Vine. For that purpose, we are invited to remain joined to Jesus. And as we are pruned and receive nourishment from Him, we grow stronger and more vibrant and God is glorified.

pruning, shaping, spiritual insight

Wild Vines…

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

John 15:5-8, MSG

The next time something wild happens, I will look to see how God is working through the madness. And I pray I remember He is ever seeking to bring about true joy in children and full glory to Himself.

Relinquishing control to the One who is lovingly pruning and shaping us to produce even more growth is the only true safety we will ever know. | Spiritual Growth | Christian Mentoring | Women of Faith | Scripture Study

Annie Spratt

community, friends, growth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, ministry

Community: God’s Invitation into Spiritual and Personal Growth

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow.



We went to the park today to play. My son wanted to have someone to play with but he can be shy in new situation. He tends to mirror play until someone invites him to join in. As soon as that happens, an invitation, he opens up. Laughing, running, smiling. As a mom that simple joy makes me so happy.

Invitation…

I think that is how our Heavenly Father is with us. He want us to find friends. Those who will invite us in and make us feel part of a community. I imagine when he sees us together, laughing, talking, loving each other, He is so happy.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15, NIV

My husband, Phillip and I have tried several small groups over the years. Some have been good, some boring, some felt exclusionary, and some have tried too hard. All of them I think had good intentions and truly wanted to spread God’s love. But none of them felt just right for us. Some came close but none were the kind of fit where you just felt comfortable and free to be yourself.

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow. #community #friendship #spiritualgrowth

Finding community…

In the last year we have joined a small group that feels like family. There are a lot of us and we can be overwhelming when you first meet us. There are more kids in our small group than I have in my classroom. The first night we met everyone, Phillip and I weren’t sure what we had gotten ourselves into and were wondering how to politely get out. But very quickly we saw how much these people loved each other. They would do anything within their power to help each other out. When I need help someone is always willing.

We all come from different parts of the country, have a variety of jobs and interests, and everyone has a different story about how they came to know God. But God is our connection. He is our foundation that all our connected links start with.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

Proverbs 27:9, NIV

We have had various members who have been sick, hurt, or have surgery in the last year and our group texts are quickly replied to: What can I do to help? Can I bring you something? We are praying for you. When you see all the outpouring of love and genuine support you are so uplifted and encouraged.

Occasionally someone needs help with a task. Picking up a washer and dryer, yard work, help with child care. Within minutes our team has agreed to help out and you know you can depend on them.

Growth…

This small group restores my soul, fills my faith and refreshes my love. For that I am eternally grateful that God placed them in my path. Because of them and other believers in my life, I am able to be mighty and sure when an unbeliever crosses my path.

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

Thomas Aquinas

Not that I agree exactly with Thomas Aquinas here, but I think it shows the struggle of speaking with non believers. It can wear you out. Last year our group volunteered with the Raleigh Dream Center. We went out and delivered food, fun and fellowship to an underprivileged neighborhood. It was awesome and exhausting.

I had a little boy tell me that his mom liked when those church people brought food but wished they would keep their praying to themselves. I must admit I am easily discouraged by such things. One of our small group leaders is just the opposite. Though she didn’t know that the little boy had said this, I saw her pray with every person she came in contact with, including that little boys mom. I saw the mom give a big hug to my friend toward the end of our time, even after she had prayed with her. These seeds of God’s love being planted create a new view of faith that comes in rushing waves. I am thankful to Him for the experience.

Your invitation…

I encourage you to find people who share God’s love and purpose. Yes we should bring Him to the unchurched and those who don’t have a personal relationship, but that can drain your spirit and make you question. Faith and grace are found in the midst of a group of believers who you share your life.

For where two or more are gathered in My name, there I am also.

Matthew 18:20, NIV

Faith and grace are found in the midst of a group of believers who you share your life. Click To Tweet

Dear God,

Thank you for family. Not just the family we are born into, but Your family of believers.

love,
me

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow. #community #friendship #spiritualgrowth

Hannah Busing

near, pain, grace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry, encouragement, spiritual growth

Near: Showing, and Being Shown Grace Through Pain

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace.



Riding a skateboard isn’t like riding a bike. You can’t jump on a board and grind your way through the neighborhood if you haven’t ridden in months. It takes core balance and a strong center of gravity, both horizontal and vertical. A lot of continued practice is necessary to hold your own on a board and become an aggressive skater. Or to use the skater term: shred. Bombing a hill is even more intense than that.

My 10-year-old son, has a pretty gnarly skateboard. My husband, Sean, got it for him right after we moved to Northern Virginia at the beginning of 2016. Last week, he tried something brave. Historically he has started at our driveway and allowed the board to pick up speed as he glides down the slight grade of our street. But yesterday he went three houses up to the top of the hill. About 35 to 40 yards down he zoomed past our house. He saw Sean watching from our yard and yelled, I’m going too fast! I’m terrified I’m gonna crash! Sean started walking toward him.

Soon after, the wheels started to shimmy. In his fear, he didn’t remember to crouch or heel brake; he just stood straight barreling down the hill. Inevitably, he crashed and rolled about 20 feet. Sean got to him. He asked, “Can you stand up?” The response, “No.” So Sean picked him up. They made the walk back to the house, my son unavoidably smiling because Sean said: That was epic. I guess you know your new limit.

At this point I walked outside and my girls told me he had crashed. I asked if it was bad and they said, “Dad’s with him.” When I saw the blood, I went back inside, grabbed first aid supplies, and took over.

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace. #pain #growth #spiritualgrowth #grace #ChristianWomen

Pain and Grace…

For Sean, caring for our son in that moment meant letting him be in pain, but holding him through that pain. He said, “Crying doesn’t make you weak; it just means you feel. They aren’t synonymous with one another. Pain is real; consequences can sometimes be overwhelming, but our Father stays. So will I.”

As a mother, I knew he would be okay. In God’s mercy, there were no broken bones, and his helmet had protected from a head wound or concussion. I didn’t want to fuss over him, but he was in a lot of pain. Tending to his wounds with soft cloths and oils felt like the natural nurturing thing to do.

Both approaches were good and right. Now, we haven’t always responded the way we did last week. Sean used to approach injuries with practicality. If they weren’t dying and didn’t need stitches, they’d feel better soon enough. But he was never harsh or uncaring. I, on the other hand, took the path of reassurance and hands-on treatment. Whatever they needed to feel or express in the moment was okay while I communicated the pain wouldn’t last forever. Discomfort in others equals discomfort for me. I needed to fix them and make them happy ASAP. I feel like Sean and I balanced each other out, even if we didn’t see eye to eye with the other’s methodology.

That’s why my son’s most recent crash was different. Sean took on a role of nurturing and attentiveness. I still cleaned up the wounds, but it wasn’t because of a felt need for tranquility. It had more to do with the fact that we were on our way out the door and I didn’t want blood dripping down his arms and legs at a restaurant. There was no question he would be okay. And I knew his father had cared well for him.

Near…

Experiencing pain is never fun whether self-inflicted or not. But last week’s event reminded Sean and me that every moment of brokenness is an opportunity to show or encounter grace. Testing boundaries is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us.

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.

Deuteronomy 31:6, MSG

Every moment of brokenness is an opportunity to show or encounter grace. Click To Tweet

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace. #pain #growth #spiritualgrowth #grace #ChristianWomen

Maarten Deckers


We may feel broken, but God… has redeemed.

but God, Oh Lord Help Us, notecards

calling, purpose, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, Christian, women, encouragement

Nudging: Wake Up to What God is Calling Us to Do

Do you feel the nudging inside you to take action? Do you know what you are to be doing, but fearful to take the next step? You are not alone.



The Bud

For years, no matter where I moved, a colorful magnet was a constant fixture on my fridge. It read, “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” This phrase was penned by Anais Nin, an author who was not exactly a bastion of wholesome purity. But her simple statement served as a powerful reminder: I too contained a bud, a story, that one day would flower into something beautiful to behold. But for far too long, my story remained an unfurled bud. My depression was a frost in spring. As it stung my petals with its bitter cold, I drew them back into my sheath so as not to feel a thing.

Do you feel the nudging inside you to take action? Do you know what you are to be doing, but fearful to take the next step? You are not alone.

The Knot

I’ve known for a long time that one day I’d write my family’s memoir. But the undertaking felt so daunting that I could never fully wrap my head around how to begin. How does one recollect, let alone accurately redact, all the details of a lifetime? There were far too many tangled strands of story lines. The intricate braiding and painful upbraiding of my unconventional upbringing. The unsightly split ends and splitting of hairs caused by my folks’ radical life choices and failing relationship. Not to mention the rigidly combed parting of social isolation and the starched white bonnet covering of my fledgling faith.

The Unraveling

My story, like so many of our stories, consists of innumerable loops. Its strands, so tightly wound, that the painstaking process of picking them apart presented an impossible mental knot to untie. But the Lord is beginning to unravel the intertwined mess to unveil the underlying beauty. And He knows every hair on my head.

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:7

The Nudges

Within the last month, the Holy Spirit has nudged me to begin writing. Some nudges have been gentle; others more direct. One of the first nudges came during a sermon my pastor gave called “Creative.” In it, he quoted Psalm 139: 13-14, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

I’ve always loved the gentle image this scripture summons: God’s warm light hovering over a babe in its mother’s rounded belly. But this time, the take away for me was very personal: the epiphany set in that God has already written my whole story! He fashioned my petals, wrapped each one into the bud in my mother’s womb, and continues to cultivate my growth in ways I cannot even comprehend. He sees me as one of His marvelous works and longs for me to fully blossom! If that same God, through His Holy Spirit, now is nudging me and promising to lead and guide me perfectly, how can I not respond?!

God has already written my whole story! He fashioned my petals, wrapped each one into the bud in my mother’s womb, and continues to cultivate my growth in ways I cannot even comprehend. Click To Tweet

Gentle Nudges

The next nudge came the following day during a pleasantly lazy afternoon conversation on my screened in porch with my mother in law. Prompted by her simple questions, I was flooded with vivid memories of how my family had survived throughout my way-off-the-grid childhood. The petals of my story began to open. In one memory, I was holding up a large, lightweight screen to winnow wheat and then watch the soft chaff gently drift away. In another, my dad looked like an astronaut as he donned his beekeeping suit. As if slightly defying gravity, he softly and silently floated through the white boxed beehives. It was like watching magic to see him squeeze the smoker bellows, putting the honey bees to sleep before gently coaxing the treasured honeycomb from their hive.

Harder Nudges

Later that evening, more tightly wrapped petals of my story reluctantly revealed their edges: the fear I felt crouched in the dark shadows under the kitchen table as my parents screamed and violently flailed their arms at one another. And some of the thorny tips of my story’s stem pricked my heart. Like the night my mom, in a fit of rage, threw my beloved storybook Bible into the open flames of our wood heating stove. As my mind’s eye saw the edges of each sheet begin to curl, then smoke, then burn, it’s as if the Holy Spirit were restoring the pages of my own story. He was reminding me that because it has weathered strong winds of abuse and neglect, nearly drowned in rainy seasons of sorrow, and thirsted for life in the drought of depression, the little flower He fashioned is nothing short of a fearful, wonderful, marvelous work!

Laying It on Thick

A barrage of other nudges have come almost daily…

A pillow talk with my husband about hope and desire.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13: 12

My friend’s testimony at a ladies’ Bible study. She shared how the Holy Spirit inspired her to write a book of historical fiction, weaving her personal testimony throughout the story.

A sermon from my pastor’s wife about “Holy Imagination” and how the Lord, “…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20).

Another sermon called “Inspiration,” in which my pastor described how the Holy Spirit inspires and anoints us to do things we can’t do in our natural strength or intellect. He literally even said the words: “Maybe God is inspiring you to write a book that will bless others through the power of God and His Holy Spirit!” At that point I was like, “Come on Lord. You’re laying it on pretty thick!”

The Last Straw

And the last straw came a few weeks ago over coffee with my new friend, Rachael. She asked about my story, and I spent the next hour sharing many of the memories I’d been thinking about for a memoir. As our time was ending, she asked me if I might consider writing for her blog. For over a decade, I’ve written nothing more than short song lyrics and grocery lists. But feeling the nudge, I said, “Sure, I’d love to!”

Awake, O Sleeper

It’s as if I’ve been tightly balled up in that bud, restlessly sleeping, and someone has been nudging me to wake up. The bud would feel the spring’s soft rain and warm sunshine but quickly seek shade from an overhead limb. I would pull the covers back over my head. But the Light is softly stroking my hair. The songbirds outside my window are perched on the budding branches, chirping their early spring refrain: “It’s time to rise and shine!”

Wherefore, he saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’

Ephesians 5:14

Have you been spiritually asleep in a certain area of your life? Do you have a bud inside of you that longs to be exposed to the Light and refreshed with Living Water? How is He nudging you?

Do you feel the nudging inside you to take action? Do you know what you are to be doing, but fearful to take the next step? You are not alone.

Michael Petrila

All scripture from the King James Version