Tag Archives: faithfulness

The Tears of My Heart

16 Sep

I fond this in my drafts folder earlier this week and decided that it is ready to be shared. While I now have a diagnosis and somewhat-of-a-plan for a cure, these feelings do so frequently overwhelm me and I once again, have to remind myself of the unfailing love of my Saviour.

tearsofmyheart

I feel the tears fill my eyes. One by one they drop to my cheek, and follow the curve down to my chin. Drip. Drip. Drip. I reach up to wipe them away, but what’s this? My cheek is dry, as are my eyes. As I rub my fingers together I realize the tears are not outside, but in. It is inside that is aching. Longing. Crying. But these tears cannot be wiped away so easily with a delicate handkerchief or manicured nails. These require connection, vulnerability and love. Confession of the heart is of the utmost importance if one wants to heal it. But what do I have to confess?

Anger. Frustration. Hurt. All over seemingly-unanswered prayer. Anger that this pain has inhibited 10 years of my life. Frustration that a cure remains beyond my grasp. Hurt that I cannot go on as those around me – event after event.

But this type of contemplation only brings tears that fall onto my cheek. Tears that will need to be wiped away before they fall from my trembling chin. It would be better, rather, to focus on getting through the pain. Accepting my limitations and counting the many blessings I am surrounded with.  So, while the aching inside me continues, I will work to let Him heal it. For I, on my own, cannot heal such a hurt. Even while the tears threaten to overflow my eyes, I will lift my face to the sun and praise Him who has made me and sustained me and blessed me beyond measure.

“Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me. 

Bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,

who forgives your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good,

so that your youth is renewed like the eagles wings.”

Psalm 103:1-5

*If you have or are struggling with unanswered prayer I encourage you to keep faith! Continue asking and seeking the Lord. His answer might not be the one you (or I) want but His plan far surpasses any plan we can invent. He is the author of everything, give your pain and struggles to Him daily. He can handle them.

~Laura

Striving for a Virtuous Life

4 Dec

With this series coming to a close this month, it’s made me look back on all the topics we’ve covered and contemplate how I have grown in each of them. I have not done near as well as I had intended but any growth is GOOD forward movement that I will be proud of. Here is a quick run-down of how I feel I did on each one of them:

strivingforavirtuouslife

(if you want to read the original posts, each title links up to them!)

Authenticity – to a degree, I have tried to be more ME. To not pull up the mask to hide the pain – physical or emotional. This might seem silly, but even going somewhere/letting others come over without me having makeup on (or even attempting something other than re-ponytailing (is that a word?) my crazy hair is a part of being ME more.

Hospitality – I love it when people come over. but i will admit to getting super nervous when it comes to the actual hosting duties. My OH enjoys hosting so I let him take over typically. But i’ve been trying to get over the jitters!

Hope – not so well –I have been very up and down this year. My down times have gone hand in hand with the severity of my physical pain. This year plus has been the most difficult in the way of emotions out of the past decade of chronic pain.

Faithfulness– Uhhhmm, I suppose the answer is the same as above.The bedrock of my faith is still strong and secure, but there have been more moments of questioning details of faith as I’m slowly transitioning to the Messianic Jewish life.

Wholesome Speech – I feel like I’ve grown in this when speaking to others, but have for sure gone backwards when talking to myself.

Listening– Yes and no….. I am trying to listen more to what isn’t said sometimes than I used to. As well as asking more questions to find out where people really are.

Expectations – sitting here thinking about it, I suppose my struggles in hope and faithfulness spread a bit to here as well. My longing to be healed by now has periodically made it difficult to see the blessings He has given to me.

Protection – I needed this reminder this morning! He is my Protector!

Modesty – this has been something I haven’t struggled with too much in years. the struggle tends to be more of ‘this dress/top is so cute but i’m tired of having to layer everything in my closet!’ than anything else.

Thank you for coming along with me on this series, I hope that you have learned and grown from it. I know that I want to do another series next year but I don’t have any idea what it will cover yet! Or even whether it’ll be faith-based. If you have any ideas, do share!

Blessings,

Laura

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Authenticity

5 Jun

I sat down to study on how to change things on my blog – a slightly daunting task at 8 in the morning – and then at 10 I realized I should be writing a Virtue post! Yikes! So here I am, changing my focus for the time being and getting into study mode!  I hope you’ll join me as we study Authenticity.

strivingforavirtuouslife

Now, I know that in the Christian set, and others as well, that this can be a bit of a ‘buzz’ word right now. But I want to challenge you to put aside the emotions all that might have created and let the idea settle into your heart and mind. We have been called to be real. We have been called to live life without masks – be they literal ones or affectations. Masks hide who is behind them and show only what others want to see. But the real story, the real treasure, is just beneath if only we have the courage and faith to step out and throw down our masks.

We have been called to not apologize for who we are – but to apologize when we stumble and hurt someone. To be real, to be authentic we need to be able to see our gifts and successes just as well as our failures.

Over the years I have wondered if I was being really me. Or was I being the version of me that I thought those people wanted? For a while I got so caught up in this question that it became a fear for me and I started hesitating on saying what I thought; doing something with someone etc. And then one night, after dinner with a friend we wandered to a bridge over the river and just looked at the stars, the inky flowing water and I realized that I needed to let go of the idea of finding myself and just letting me be. It was one of those very rare times when I felt a burden lift off my shoulders. I realized that it was okay to be silly with one friend and serious with another. Different people bring out different attributes in you. Since then I have asked myself that same question, kind of as a barometer on how I am doing. And as a way to see where I really am emotionally. But through it all, I feel like I have learned that while the outside forces want us to be/look/act in certain ways, we need to keep our eyes set on what our Lord has asked of us – vibrant living in authentic ways.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.  There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Authenticity –

  • quality of being authentic, genuine

for the purpose of a better understanding, here’s the meaning of Authentic –

  • not false or copied

synonyms-  “genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation. Authentic carries a connotation of authoritative certification that an object is what it is claimed to be: an authentic Rembrandt sketch. Genuine refers to objects or persons having the characteristics or source claimed or implied: a genuine ivory carving.” 

 Col. 3:5-10 – “Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); for it is because of these things that God’s anger is coming on those who disobey him.True enough, you used to practice these things in the life you once lived; but now, put them all away – anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk. Never lie to one another; because you have stripped away the old self, with its ways, and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator.”
2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!”
1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world – the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life – are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.”
Most of us have heard these verses before. The old us is gone and now we are new! I want to add to that idea in the sense that, in being new, we have help in laying down our human desire of pride – trying to cover up any failures we think we see in how we look or in our personalities. Our new selves are to grow ever closer to Messiah.
2 Thes. 1:11-12 – “With this in view, we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill by his power every good purpose of yours and every action stemming from your trust. In this way, the name of our Lord Yeshua will be glorified in you, and you in him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”
Rom. 12:2 – “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”
Phil 1:27 – ” Only conduct your lives in a way worthy of the Good News of the Messiah; so that whether I come and see you or I hear about you from a distance, you stand firm, united in spirit, fighting with one accord for the faith of the Good News,”
 James 5:12 – “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Once we put off our old selves – the one that wants to lie to get out of a task at work; the one that nags her family; the one that constantly wants more clothes/shoes/etc – it’s gone completely right? We are free of those selfish desires! HA! I truly wish so, but no, it is really a daily laying down of the selfish pride and a daily choosing to follow Him who has ‘every good purpose for you’ and can transform us so we know the truth of God’s love and guiding us.
Praise Him that we are not alone in this daily struggle! Right there in Philippians, Paul exhorts the people to stand together and in one accord for the faith.
1 Peter 3:3-4- “Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear;  rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.”
Ahhh, this verse. Raise your hand if you’ve heard teachings about this verse from both sides. One side says women should not wear anything fancy – and the other…. I had some friends who  were not allowed to cut their hair, wear jeans, makeup etc. The problem in that came that they weren’t taught proper modesty – it was forced on them is such a strong way. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with this verse, it just makes me sad to see the second part of the verse basically disregarded because the focus is on the first part! It is to be our spirit that we are to spend time on, for that is what God sees as valuable.  Tending to our hearts is of greater import than our hair or makeup.
Prov. 31:30 – ” Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.”
And in that tending, we will be preparing ourselves for the rest of our life! My red curly hair will eventually turn gray, in fact it already has started. My eyes will grow weak  and my strength will be limited, not that it’s not right now (!) but if i tend the ‘garden of my heart’ regularly,  I shall still be worthy of praise.
Matt. 10:29-31 – “Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You know that feeling when you get in the midst of a crowd? That little nagging feeling that you could disappear and no one would notice? Perhaps you get that feeling even when you’re alone -but you know the wonderful truth? God knows exactly where you are. He knows what you’re going through and how many hairs are on your head. amazing.
Eph. 2:10 – “For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.”
Ps. 27:1-4- “By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple.”
I LOVE these verse. All David is focused on is living in the house of Adonai. Seeing Adonai. Visiting his temple. He is not afraid of outside forces coming to do him harm because he knows the Lord will protect him.
Here are some extra verses for further study:
Ps. 34:1-22 ; Joshua 1:1-18 ; John 16 ; 1 Cor. 12:12-27
Of course, being authentic is not an easy thing! But what’s the saying of nothing worth having comes easy? Authenticity comes from knowing who you are in Him and being confident and secure in that knowledge.  Have you been around someone who is quietly secure in who they are? I am blessed to know several ladies who fit that description and just by knowing them I have been able to ‘grow’ in who I am. Not only does God use His word to teach us, but He graciously puts people in our lives as well! Just by knowing these ladies more, I have thought more and more on being an authentic wife, daughter, sister and friend. I challenge you to do the same! And if you don’t have a friend who encourages you to be authentic, I suggest you become that friend for others!
And here’s a little printable for you friends
blogauthenticity
 I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Hospitality

6 Apr

strivingforavirtuouslife

While looking up verses for this month’s installment, I was surprised at how many there were! Makes you figure, if it is mentioned so many times all throughout the Bible, it must be something important that we should be focusing on! To open our home to guests and strangers -all with the same manner – open, gracious, friendly. By sharing what we have – which is all a blessing from God – we please Him and bless others!

It is so very easy to let the daily things of life get in the way of sharing our home, sharing our Lord with others but I really want to focus on it more now that we have a home just made for entertaining in! Yes, we did it in our last home but being as small (and lacking a dining table!) as it was,  it was a bit tight! We have already had more guests here in the last 5 months than I would have thought and I love it!

Before my OH and I even got married, we discussed how we wanted to have a welcoming home. One where people felt comfortable coming to for fun, or as a place to escape the trials of life for a while. I feel like we are off to a good start on this.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope   and faithfulness. There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Hospitality –

  • The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers
  • The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, gracious way

synonyms – warmth, cordiality, geniality, friendliness

Prov 31: 20 “She reaches out to embrace the poor and opens her arms to the needy”

I always picture a loving, smiling woman stretching out her arms, and embracing the hurting one with tenderness and strength.

Rom. 12:13 “Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality.”

1 Pet. 4:9-11 ” Welcome one another into your homes without grumbling. As each one has received some spiritual gift, he should use it to serve others, like good managers of God’s many-sided grace – . . . if someone serves, let him do so out of strength that God supplies; so that in everything God may be glorified through Yeshua the Messiah – to Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”

the words that stand out to me are ‘ without grumbling’. ‘out of strength’ and ‘God may be glorified’.  I tend to forget that welcoming people in to my home to rest, eat and talk with , is a unique way to glorify God! It is a way to show His unending, unconditional love for all of us.

Lev. 19:34 ” Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you – you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.”

Matt. 25:40 ” The King will say to them, “Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!”

Col. 3:23-24 “Whatever work you do, put yourself into it, as those who are serving not merely other people, but the Lord. Remember that as your reward, you will receive the inheritance from the Lord. You are slaving for the Lord, for the Messiah.”

Heb. 13:2 ” but don’t forget to be friendly to outsiders; for in so doing, some people, without knowing it, have entertained angels.”

A few examples of hospitality:

Gen 24:31 “Come on in!’ he said’ you whom Adonai has blessed! Why are you standing outside when I have made room in the house and prepared a place for the camels?”

I just love that not only did Lavan make room for Abraham’s servant, he made sure that his camels would be taken care of as well.

Acts 16:34 ” After that, he brought them up to his house and set food in front of them; and he and his entire household celebrated their having come to trust in God”

Job 31:32 ” No stranger had to sleep in the street; I kept my house open to the traveler.”

and here are a few more if you’d like to look them up!!

1 Tim.5:10

Titus 1:8

3 John 1: 5-8

I am reading the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery right now and how they term it is ‘having your latch-key out’ for so and so. Honestly, doing a google search doesn’t really help explain exactly what a latch key is, but i take it to mean that, for that person, the door to your home is never locked. If only we could have that philosophy these days, within reason of course, we are also to be smart in who we allow into our homes and lives.

And, as always, here are a few printables for you to put up about your house! (one for fancy printers, one for basic – like ours! )

svlhospitality

svlhospitality2

What are ways that you show hospitality? Is it something you feel is a strength in your own life? 

~Laura

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Faithfulness

10 Mar

strivingforavirtuouslife

I do hope you all are enjoying this study on growing wholesome virtues in our lives. What with all the things that we all wrote down at the beginning of the year – ‘lose weight. learn ____. read more. spend less. go back to college.’ whatever they were, I hope that growing in our faith at least made it in our mental list of dreams for this year. I want to be a woman of God in every role I have: a wife that treats her husband as God has called her to – with respect, submission and love – a friend that is compassionate and speaks truth into others’ lives, a sister that is there for her siblings whether it be a listening ear or encouragement that is needed, and a daughter that can now minister to her parents in love, respect and honor for all they have done for her. Looking back at February, I was able to note that I had ended the month much more hopeful than I had started it. The beginning of the month marked a time that I was really struggling mentally with this chronic illness that has stunted my life so much – and yet, is it not still a full life? I look around me at the people in my life and know that, despite not being able to accomplish all I would like to, I am a very blessed woman. And with that realization, came the reminder that He does indeed love me and want what is best for me. This pain that is slowly devastating my body does not diminish that in the slightest. By thinking these things, and a lot of daily prayer, I ended February with a great deal more hope in my heart than at the beginning.

If you would like, feel free to check out the first two studies – Virtue and Hope – and then check back in here! This month’s study will be a little different, because I want to focus on what faithfulness in our lives looks like and God’s faithfulness to us. A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

So please, grab your Bible and join me!

Faithful :

  • strict or thorough in the face of duty
  • true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc
  • steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant
  • reliable, trusted or believed
  • adhering or true to a fact, a standard or an original; accurate
  • full of faith, believing

Synonyms : ” True. Devoted. Staunch. Faithful, constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, devotion and dependability. Faithful implies long-continued and steadfast devotion to whatever one is bound to by pledge, duty or obligation. Constant suggests firmness and steadfastness in attachment. Loyal implies unswerving allegiance.”

1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear Adonai and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; for think what great things He has done for you!” 

First, I want to clear up the word ‘fear‘ in this verse. It is not to be taken in the ‘scared’ sense of the word, but rather in the ‘reverential awe’ sense. So to re-word it ‘ Be in reverent awe of Adonai ‘ – for me, that makes what the writer is saying come alive more. Don’t be complacent toward Him, be in AWE of Him. Serve Him faithfully.  Serve Him loyally, constantly, steadily. Not as one willy-nilly, but as one who is full of faith in Adonai.

Prov. 3:3,5 ” Do not let grace and truth leave you – bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart… Trust Adonai with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding.”

What I get from this verse is to be intentional about keeping grace and truth in your life. Don’t ‘hope’ that they stay- for if you do that, they certainly won’t. What is around your neck cannot go far from you, and what you have written on your heart will stay as well – be sure that what God has spoken to you through His word will always be with you.

Heb. 10:23 “Let us continue holding fast to the hope we acknowledge, without wavering;  for the One who made the promise is trustworthy.”

Continue holding fast = faithfulness. Without wavering = Steady-constant-loyal. And what reason are we given for remaining faithful? Because our God, Adonai, is trustworthy. Want to know what the meaning of trustworthy is? Deserving of trust or confidence; dependable; reliable. Now, seeing some repetition to the meaning of faithful, I’d say trustworthy is close to saying the same thing as ‘He is faithful’. Knowing that someone is faithful to what he has promised, makes it a whole lot easier to carry out your part of the bargain, doesn’t it? Now, this is my example for this: you have plans to meet a friend for coffee say. But you’re tired, you’ve had a bad week and all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Pride and Prejudice. If your friend is one that you know will show up at the coffee shop when you planned, it is a lot easier to tell the couch to wait a few hours and go,  than it is if the friend is one that tends to not remember when you’ve made plans, or shows up an hour late. We all have at least one of those friends, so I’m sure you can relate to this example. Isn’t it amazing how with just knowing if the person is trustworthy, or faithful, to do what they said they would, your priorities can change? You might still be tired, but you know you will have a good time because you both have set aside this time to meet together. 

Deut. 6:5 -6 “And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart.”

The word ‘faithfulness’ doesn’t show up in these verses, but it is so fully described. Love Him with all you are and all that you can be. The following verses show how they are to be in every aspect of your life – sitting, laying down, working, teaching your children, etc. Our commitment to Him is to pervade every aspect of our lives. I know that we’ve all heard ‘give everything to Him’, but how hard it truly is! For me, these past months, I have held onto my pain as a thing to grasp in my frustration. But giving it to Him is so sweet, so freeing. Even in my chronic illness, I will be faithful , constant, loyal to Him.

Here are some verses sharing how God is faithful to us:

Eph. 2:8 “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.”

Rom. 10:9 “that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be delivered.” 

I love what is required to be delivered. Trusting.  Plus, did you see any ‘but if you are a ___ you will not be delivered?’ no, i didn’t either. Whoever trusts in Him will be delivered. He will be saved. What wonderful love, and what faithfulness that He keeps His promise here.

1 John 1:9 “If we acknowledge our sins, then, since He is trustworthy and just, He will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing.”

Acknowledging our sin can be difficult – simply because of pride. Deep down, we all know what we have done wrong, what things we struggle with, but it’s admitting them – out loud or just inwardly to to Adonai – and asking for forgiveness, that is difficult. But how sweet the reward! He will forgive us and make us clean again. Hallelujah.

Psalms 119:89-90 “Your word continues forever, Adonai, firmly fixed in heaven; your faithfulness through all generations; you established the earth, and it stands.”

Psalm 91:4 ” He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge;  His truth is a shield and protection.”

I like how these two verses go together – He is firmly fixed in heaven, and as such, His protection of us is a sure thing. There will be no ‘walking away’ or disappointing us. Ever. Adonai is the epitome of faithfulness.

2 Tim. 2:13 ” If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown himself.” 

Titus 3:4-6 “But when the kindness and love for mankind of God our Deliverer was revealed, He delivered us. It was not on the ground of any righteous deeds we had done, but on the ground of His own mercy. He did it by means of the mikveh (bath/cleansing) of rebirth and the renewal brought about by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), whom He poured out on us generously through Yeshua the Messiah, our Deliverer.”

Hallelujah. Our God is faithful, He forgives us, He cleanses us and He gave us a helper as we travel along our path in this life. And coupled with that, He tells us how to live so that we may have full, blessed lives.

faithfulness-virtueseries

Above is a printable for you so you can have a simple reminder of His faithfulness.

Thank you so much for joining me in this series, blessings,

Laura

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