God is Faithful

After trudging through the valley of unemployment for two and a half months, I praise God that my husband will be starting a new job this week! When the rug was pulled out from underneath us unexpectedly on June 23rd, we had no idea how many days, weeks or months it would be until God opened the door for a new job.

But God knew.

When we began walking this unknown  path, we trusted God to lead us one day at a time. Although we had no control of what was happening, we trusted that He was in control. To be honest, there were days our flesh struggled with this lack of control. Without control, we often feel helpless. Worried. Frustrated. Don’t we all just want a glimpse of what is ahead–a  little reassurance of what is coming? But God doesn’t always give us previews of the future. In fact, He rarely shows us what is around the corner.  That’s why it’s called faith!

The scripture I clung tightly to during this journey was Psalm 62:1-2: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my fortress; I will not be shaken.”

The day I posted my reaction to my husband’s job loss, we were most certainly shocked, but not shaken: https://reststopforthesoul.com/2014/06/24/shocked-but-not-shaken/

This was a true test of resting in God alone. Our flesh finds it much easier to rest when things are predictable, structured, and familiar. We grow accustomed to incoming paychecks. We feel secure when the savings account balance increases. But when the paychecks stop and the account gradually decreases, it is a wake-up call as to what your true rest is in. When our eyes were fixed on trusting God and not fixated on the numbers, we found true rest!

God was faithful and He provided.

The blessings showered upon us during this time were priceless. Here’s some of the highlights:

*The very day he lost his job opened up the opportunity for him to join us on a trip to visit our son.

*My husband got to spend the majority of the summer with his wife and daughter. How rare is that? Most dads and husbands only get a couple of weeks vacation at the most to spend uninterrupted time with their families.

*We enjoyed multiple boating trips that we wouldn’t have been able to take if he’d been working. He usually travels for his job and is too exhausted to do a lot on the weekends. (We got the boat just weeks before he lost his job!)

*He had time to start (and finish) multiple projects around the house that are usually put on a “wish list”.

*We went on a mission trip to Beattyville in the Appalachia Mountains through our church and someone anonymously paid the balance of our expenses.

*My mom decided to treat us to an unexpected vacation in Florida to wind down our summer.

*The amount of money he received from unemployment was more than enough to pay our mortgage payment.

*God blessed us through his previous job to be able to save money for this “rainy season”. (And over the years He’s given us wise advisers such as Dave Ramsey who encourages people to put away money in an emergency fund when job loss occurs.)

*God has strengthened our faith!

*This season of uncertainty has given us a front row seat to witness that God is faithful and can be trusted.

If you are in a season of uncertainty, I want to encourage you to trust God wholeheartedly. Surrender your frustration, worries and fears to Him. Rest in Him alone. You might not know what’s around the corner.

But He does.

And because He loves us, we can trust Him. We will not be shaken.

God is my rock

 

 

Trudging Up the Steep Hills

Psalm 121:1 “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”

It’s painful when you’re trudging up a steep hill. Every fiber of your leg muscles tighten. You feel as if you won’t make it to the top. Your calf muscles silently scream, “Please stop! We can’t go another step!” Instead of looking up ahead at how much farther I have to go, I look down at the ground and literally watch my feet, one step at a time.

There’s something invigorating about finally reaching the top of a steep hill. I finally look up from the ground and realize I’ve made it! Trudging up that hill caused my heart to almost pound out of my chest. My rapid breathing finally slows down. I let out a sigh of relief. Yes! The ground ahead of me begins to level out now. It’s smooth and I can see more of what’s up ahead.

But I take a moment and turn around.  Did I really just come all this way? I stand in awe of the beauty around me. Depending on the season, I might be looking at lush-green trees lining the path behind me, blue sky overhead. At other times I might be looking at autumn leaves splattered with bright orange-red colors. My absolute favorite view at the top of the hill is in winter. The snow-covered trees, glistening in the sparkling light of the sun. I breathe in the air and turn my head back in front of me.

I’ve had my share of steep hills in this life. Some of them I’d rather forget about. But I can undoubtedly say that there’s something invigorating about finally making it to the top. Those trials I thought for sure would kill my soul and squash my spirit. Yes, there are times my heart has nearly broken, fiercely pounding out of my chest. My flesh shouting, “I can’t go another step!” But when I came to the end of that challenge, my breathing slowed down. My tears and anguish turned into joyous breaths of praise. Praise to my Lord Jesus who walked beside me each step of the way.

Did I really just come all this way? I stood in awe of the beauty around me. Not physical surroundings, but the beauty of what God had done in me. The beauty of the strength He equipped me with. The beauty of his promise to never leave me or forsake me. My faith was strengthened. My hope was renewed. My love for Him was magnified. And this view was something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

READY? Where are you, dear friend? Are you gasping for breath, trudging up a steep hill? Do you feel you won’t make it to the top? Does your heart ache and you just want to stop? I encourage you to tightly grip the loving arms of Jesus. He is right beside you as you go up the hill. He is with you every step of the way. He can’t wait to show you the view at the top!

GET SET. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

GO! Lord Jesus, the hills of this life are hard. Sometimes I just want to give up. When I feel this way, please help me remember your truth. Help me cling to the fact that you are with me even though I can’t always see what’s up at the top. Thank you for your promise of being with me each step of the way. Amen

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett 

 

Never Say Never!

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The first time I ran a half marathon, I found myself laughing at a certain point in the race. When runners get to mile marker #9, something drastic happens. Up until this point, everyone is running on the same course, half-marathoners and full-marathoners together. Everyone is mixed in and you don’t know who is running which race. You’d never know just by looking at them. But then at mile marker #9 the course literally is divided. It splits down the middle of an intersection. The half-marathoners turn left and the full-marathoners turn right. This is where I found myself laughing out loud and thinking very clear:

There is no way I’d ever run a full marathon! I could NEVER do that! Heck, I don’t know if I will even make it through the next 4 miles to complete this race! Ha! Those people are crazy! I don’t understand why or how they do it.

Fast forward four years and six half marathons later.  I’d registered for a full marathon after a stirring in my heart. It was time for a new challenge. Before I knew it, there I was! Standing at the start line of my first marathon.

I was approaching mile marker #9, the crucial turning point where the race split. The bright orange warning signs flashed in front of me. A man blasted through a megaphone, “Attention runners! Half-marathoners go left! Marathoners go right! Runners chaotically dashed from one side to the other. Two runners brushed up against me. merging to the left. And then the truth hit me hard: I was now running on the right side of the road…with fewer people. I glanced over my left shoulder, watching the half-marathoners fade out of my sight. Only 4 more miles and they’d cross their finish line. But for me, I had 17 more to go! At first a rush of excitement ignited my mind as I ventured into this new challenge. But when it quickly wore off, that’s when it hit me:

I was attempting something I said I’d NEVER do!

How many times in our lives have we dug our feet in the sand exclaiming,

I will NEVER do that!

I could NEVER walk a path like hers!

I’d NEVER survive a trial like that.

But then later you find yourself walking that forbidden path. The one you said you’d never take a step onto. Maybe God has called you out of your comfort zone and you’re headed into a season of life you never dreamed you’d find yourself. Or maybe there’s an area of your life you’re clinging too tightly to, refusing to let go. Perhaps you’re gripped with grief or fear because of an unexpected trial.

I’ll never be able to lose weight; It’s just too hard.
I will never home school; I don’t have the patience for that. 
I could never leave my hometown; I’ve lived here my whole life.
I could never invite my neighbor to church; I couldn’t handle the rejection.
I could never consider adoption; I’m fine with the family I have.

I could NEVER ___________________?

Fill in the blank. What is it for you?

It’s possible that your “I could never” is a fear lurking in the deepest part of your heart. If that’s the case, surrender your fear to Jesus and refuse to let the enemy rob you of joy. Maybe your “I could never” is something God is nudging you towards, requiring a deeper trust. Whatever it may be, God promises to be with us through it all. In the face of your “I could never”, let me point you to a truth where God uses the word NEVER.  To those who are His followers, He promises to NEVER leave us or forsake us. Instead of focusing on your “never”, embrace the truth of His”never”!

READY? Have you ever done something after you said you’d never do it? What caused you to step out and change your mind? Identify an aspect of your life you’re saying never to right now. Ask God to clarify whether it’s fear speaking or his gentle nudge.

GET SET. Hebrews 13:5  “…be content with what you have because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.”

GO! Heavenly Father, help me to trust you when my flesh says “Never”. When I’m tempted to let fear grip my heart, help me step out in faith and trust you. Help me not to worry about future trials, but to rest in the assurance that you’ll be with me when those times come. Thank you for the promise of never leaving me! Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett 

He’s Still There

I have a new appreciation for the sun in light of the frigid and snowy winter we’ve endured thus far. Even a little glimmer of sunlight is enough to get us thinking it’s alright to pull out the flip-flops and dust off our spring clothes. Single digit temperatures have a way of giving a new perspective on the meaning of the word warm. We used to think it had to be at least 65 degrees to be considered warm outside, but now my guess is that if it’s above 50 degrees, it’s a heat wave!

I must confess that as I’m typing this first post, I am sitting in Orlando, Florida outside by a pool. The sun is brightly shining and the heat created by its warmth is overwhelmingly pleasant! (In less than 48 hours however, I’ll be leaving the sunshine and heading back home to cold weather no doubt.)

But you know what? Just because we don’t see the sun as often as we’d like; it’s still there.

And just because we don’t feel it’s warmth on a cold, wintry afternoon; it’s still there.

Even when the clouds temporarily block our view of the sun; it’s still there.

There’s a parallel we can all grasp from this when we think of God’s presence. He is always with his people, no matter what. Sometimes we go through seasons that are long……dark……and extremely cold. During these times it may be hard to see God working. We feel He is nowhere in sight. We feel lonely, lost, hopeless. But He is still there. 

Or maybe you see Him clearly working around you in other people, but you feel His presence has somehow forgotten about you and your situation. He’s answered her prayers, what about mine? My neighbors seem to be so blessed. What about me? But He is still there. 

Just like the clouds block our view of the sun, there are “clouds” of this life that seem to block our view of God. What is it for you? A challenging job situation? Difficult marriage? A savings account disappearing? Kids trying your patience? Don’t let these clouds convince you that God is not there, that He somehow doesn’t know your circumstances. HE IS STILL THERE!

The earth is actually closer to the sun in January. Now don’t ask me to explain the details of the earth’s axis and orbit, but I know this is a fact. Doesn’t make sense, does it? If we are closer to the sun in the dead of winter, then why is it so cold? Again…..don’t ask me to explain the science behind this. Perhaps there is a nugget of truth we can pull from this to parallel our own lives.

Could it be that God in His infinite power, grace and mercy promises to be even closer to us during our dead-of-winter seasons? Maybe it’s during those times that we seek Him out even more because there is no where else to go? Maybe it’s times like these that take us to our knees, crying out to Him in our most desperate moments. And He promises to carry us through those times. He promises to hold us closely to Himself. And just when you think you’ve gotten used to your “dead-of-winter” season……you see a glimmer of the sun. Just a little at first. But then you see it come and wash all over your entire being…….every fiber of your soul soaks it up. But He’s never left your side this whole time. Because HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU! 

So go ahead dear friend, lean in close to Him during your season of winter, no matter how bleak it may look. Just as we know for a fact that spring follows winter, our Father in Heaven is always there for us no matter what we see or feel.

Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you ALWAYS, to the end of the age.”

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett