Suffering, beauty, hope, weakness, weaknesses, disappointment, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Produces: Christ Uses Our Disappointments and Creates Beauty

Disappointments and ugliness we want to be washed away, are often opportunities God uses to create beauty. Our suffering produces a steadfast hope.



…We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope.

Romans 5:3-4, ESV

Disappointments and ugliness we want to be washed away, are often opportunities God uses to create beauty. Our suffering produces a steadfast hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #beauty #disappointment #hope #suffering #weakness #weaknesses

Unruly Ground

There has been an unruly area of ground in my backyard. A tree had fallen a few years ago during an ice storm, causing me all kinds of anxiety. And another smaller tree was leaning over ready to topple at any minute.

I had a college student cut up as much as his small chain saw could handle. But, he had to leave behind the fallen trunk of the tree. Every time I cut our grass, I circle the tree and its fallen stump. I mutter and grimace about the day I finally have my nice yard back.

Need for Peace

This past year, I bought some seed to plant. They were wildflowers- pollinators. The kind I love because they encourage bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

In the early morning, I love sitting outside with my coffee and the scriptures to read, think, and pray. I knew these flowers would be just what my yard needed to encourage all of this. A quiet space of restoration and peace.

Need to Dream

I wanted to plant my seeds, but I tend to get overwhelmed when an area is too big. My friend Lisa has been gardening for a long time, so I asked for her input on my yard. I needed some help dreaming. Where did my seed need to go? How could I make it the place I needed to send my thoughts toward God.

I thought I knew the spot, but I was very wrong. Lisa headed for the stump. The one I had brooded and whined over. The one I knew had to go. “Look,” she said, “This is perfect. The stump frames a semi-circle.”

Rich Fertile Ground

She was right, of course. Where the tree had fallen, leaves had covered and nurtured the soil. The ground was soft, easy to dig, and rich. Much richer than the red clay everywhere else. 

However, it still was not an easy spot to work in. There were lots of roots and it needed conditioning. But the very piece of wood I wanted out, was what gave this bed its structure. It grounded the space.

Mind on Truth

I too often see this for myself. The very disappointment, characteristic, or person I want to go, is the very opportunity Christ is using to develop, to sanctify, and to bring beauty from ashes.

I love how God used my friend to point me to the very stump I was despairing, to bring beauty to an area I desperately wanted. I see the body of Christ do this often in my life. They point me to what is true, what is real, what is possible. Christ is showing up in the very areas I want to be removed. He is enough so I do not have to be. I fool myself into thinking I can be. But, even on my best days, I am in need of the One who prepares a way and makes the paths straight.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV
Disappointments, characteristics, and ugliness we want wiped clean, are the very opportunities Christ uses to develop, sanctify, and create beauty. Click To Tweet

His Ways are not Mine

What force in your life are you looking at with disdain? What area of your life do you wish would go away and fly right? Could this be the very place Christ is producing rich soil in you? Look to Him who goes before us. Ask for His help and His wisdom.

Disappointments and ugliness we want to be washed away, are often opportunities God uses to create beauty. Our suffering produces a steadfast hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #beauty #disappointment #hope #suffering #weakness #weaknesses

unsplash-logoJacalyn Beales
weakness, weak, strength, empty, grace, emptiness, enough, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Weak: When We are Empty, God’s Strength is Enough

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not.



Perception

I love giving feedback especially when it is good. Recently, a few of us threw a wedding shower and it was so beautiful. The decorations were lovely, the games were a ton of fun, and the atmosphere was relaxing and cozy.

I texted both of the girls I had worked with and told them what a fabulous job they had done. One of them quickly replied that she was sorry for the mess her house had been in when we got there. That she truly felt like her efforts were just being drug out of an empty well with a too full season. But, she was wrong.

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #empty #enough #weakness #strength

Am I Weak?

What does living out of emptiness look like? I mean, let’s be honest, none of us is really looking for that kind of serving. We would rather be serving out of plenty, fullness, more than enough.

I am often drawn to the stories in scripture of the widow’s mite or the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. These women used what they had and it was lavish. Jesus does not say that the mite wasn’t enough because the offering was small. He knew that is all she had and it mattered to him.

Empty

I had a similar experience…

I spend a lot of my day thinking and praying for people. It really is a gift and I don’t take it for granted. I was driving by a friend’s business and was prompted to pray and text her. Weeks later, I heard the rest of the story.

It was a difficult day. A difficult hour. It was right on time to point my friend to Jesus. Now, let me set you straight right now. I am not special. In fact, if my friend had not shared this with me, I would have kept on feeling pretty useless.

Right now, I could not be more depleted, more emotionally empty. I really don’t have much…

He is Enough

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT

But, Christ does not expect me to work out of my own strength. Am I the only one who feels that way? I think I have to have all the answers and all the ability. I’m pretty sure the Gospel verifies that I do not have any answers for myself.

He Knows Me

I gently texted my friend back a reminder: When we think things are falling out of our control, that is when we can serve in our own emptiness. We can know that He fills us and uses us through His own strength.

I, myself, need this reminder.

I am so tempted to believe that God wanted me because I was worthy or useful. When the opposite is true. He loved me when I was an enemy. And He loves me now when I think I need to have it all together. His desire is for me to rely on His strength because He knows I am weak. He knew that then, He knows it now, and His opinion is still one of grace and love. That is who He is and for that I am grateful.

God desires us to rely on His strength in our weakness. He knows we can't and don't have it all together but His opinion is still of grace and love. Click To Tweet

When we feel weak, Christ is the strength we need to serve out of our emptiness. He is enough especially because we are not. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #empty #enough #weakness #strength

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
help, weak, community, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Help: Crying Out to the Lord Who Delivers from Trouble

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t?



“Oh Lord, help us” is not just the name of this ministry, but the cry of my heart.

It’s 11 o’clock on Tuesday night and I committed to have a devotional submitted by the end of the day. A week ago, I had a handful of ideas on what I wanted to write about. Clearly, seven days later, none of those panned out. This morning I put together some thoughts that were decent, but they were messy and didn’t flow or connect. This evening, after another hour of typing, I crawled underneath my covers and stared wide-eyed. I told my husband, Sean, “It’s crap. I have no space in my brain for writing right now.”

My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart…I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Psalm 7:10, 17, ESV

David gave God glory for the protection he received. I, too, must sing praise to God for His righteousness and cry out to the Most High.

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Opening Up

What happens when I need help and don’t ask? Uh…tonight. I’m totally sitting here crying. Which is kind of cleansing, but why ask for help to begin with? Well, for starters, to avoid getting to a place of hysteria. Haha. But all the more because I need community and I am weak. And that’s not just okay, it’s Biblical.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

In one of Sean’s notebooks is written: Patience with God changes us from a different angle. His knowledge of what’s next isn’t the point. Our desire for His will is.

Giving Up the Ghost

On days like this, I try to align myself in community with God, fighting for humility to get to that place of sacrificial praise. I know it’s okay for me to ask for help from my husband or my kids when I’m spent. But I forget in the moment. Today, I feel used up. I realize I haven’t had space to breathe. So many worthy things vie for my attention and I genuinely want to be available. However, when I was driving to pick up my son from basketball camp this afternoon I had a fleeting thought of how nice it would be to keep driving. Not to leave him or escape my family, just to recharge.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:26, NASB

The Spirit in the heart helps, dwelling in us, working in us, as a Spirit of grace and supplication, especially with respect to the infirmities we are under when we are in a suffering state, when our faith is most apt to fail; for this end the Holy Spirit was poured out.

Matthew Henry

I know it’s okay for me to ask for help when I’m spent. But I forget in the moment. Today, I feel used up. I realize I haven’t had space to breathe. Click To Tweet

Feelings Are Tricky Tricksters

The funny thing is, I love my home. It is bright and peaceful. I like my neighbors. Being at home is not a burden. I guess it’s my mind that has taken on a hostile stance. Many intensely emotional situations have occurred in the past few weeks. Some joyful, some heart wrenching. All of which I desperately want to be present in. I want to sit with sisters who are battling fear, depression and loss. I want to be waging war in the spirit realm for my brothers and sisters who are fighting the good fight of faith. To add on to the pile, I started school this week. It is a worthy undertaking, yet it is putting more constraints on my time.

I recall to mind a text Sean sent me a few days ago: Don’t let your feeling direct you. Be driven by purpose. Feelings come and go and are rarely righteous.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21, NIV

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4, ESV

Help Is on The Way

This reminds me that when I say oh Lord, help me!…there is actually a God to call on that answers with hope and He reveals Himself to me in Christ. When I fall down at the feet of Jesus, He hears and redeems me from all of my worries. He continually exceeds my expectations through the work of His Spirit.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17, ESV

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Nine Köpfer

Aware: Knowing Our Strengths and Weaknesses

Often, the attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Likewise, the things we see as weakness in ourselves may just in fact be our strength.


Watching my children grow and develop into their own selves is an incredibly rewarding experience. Of course, it’s also maddening and terrifying. Even though I see so much strength in them, I know they will also struggle with their weaknesses as they experience in life.

My specific prayer for my oldest son, and the meaning behind his name, is that he would not only be strong but also bring strength to others. I see this being developed in him, and it’s beautiful. He is incredibly compassionate and has a tender heart with a desire to care for others who are hurting. Unfortunately, he also gets his feelings hurt easily. I don’t want him to hide from others, seeking protection. But it’s his compassion that makes him sensitive. It’s his strength and his weakness. He also has a desire for fairness and justice. Unfortunately, he can be lazy and selfish, only concerning himself with his own justice. Life is rarely fair, and I don’t want him to only do the minimum required just so he is not taken advantage of, but it’s recognizing the desire for justice in himself that will spur him on to speak up for others. It’s his strength and his weakness.

For my younger son, I pray that he will be loyal and a trustworthy man whose word is true and dependable. He is a hard worker and already a huge help when working on projects around the house. Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to communicate which results in vast amounts of frustration. I don’t want him to feel inadequate because he is unable to use words. His ability to express himself with his actions and creativity is amazing. It’s his strength and his weakness.

I pray for my daughter to be a bright light to others, to bring joy to those who need to be uplifted. She’s bright alright, bright like a fireball! I have lots of praying to do…

The attribute we consider a strength can also be our weakness. Click To Tweet



 Strengths and Weaknesses…

We were each created in a specific way, designed for a purpose. As my friend Cheryl said in her guest post, “I can never be you, and you can never be me.” Each of us are given our unique gifts, and quirks. We each have valuable gifts and strengths to share with each other. This is how we function best in relationships, the church, and society.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6, ESV

This does not, however, mean that we are not to weed out certain areas in our lives. With each of those strengths, comes a weakness which we are prone to. There are parts of us that need to be challenged, weaknesses that need to be strengthened. I believe this is the ploy of our soul’s enemy. He is a deceiver, and perverter of the good our Creator has made. The enemy cannot create things of his own, so he twists what the Lord has made.

To begin the process of strengthening our weaknesses, we must acknowledge them.

Our weaknesses can be related to our strengths. Perhaps your strength is…

organizing… but get irritated when things don’t go as planned.

flexibility… but struggle to complete a task.

being driven… but become obsessive.

serving others… but get taken advantage of.

dreaming… but don’t complete a project.

having endurance… but collapse under the strain.

responsibility… but don’t give out of abundance.

trustworthiness… but don’t trust others.

determination… but don’t know when to ask for help.

diligence… but don’t take risks.

compassion… but get your feelings hurt.

communicating… but say too much and hurt others.

Once we have identified our strengths, or talents, that the Lord has given us, we can be aware of how the enemy will try to twist it in order to make us less effective. Then, we repent of it, and tell Satan to “be gone“!



Your turn…

Just like we each have different strengths, we each have our own weaknesses. I challenge you to recognize and be aware of that weakness, and allow our Creator to use it. The Lord will use it for His glory. He will use you in mighty ways if you will allow Him.

What are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses?

xoxo

Meiying Ng