Some Days it Can Feel Like You Have Nothing to Give

Have you ever felt like you just have nothing left to offer?  Maybe it’s because you’ve had an unusually difficult season. Maybe you’ve been sick or in the midst of a challenging relationship issue and you just feel like you are empty.

It seems like all your resources have drained away and there’s nothing left for you to give. You can see the bottom of the barrel and there’s just nothing there at all.

I have to admit that I’m there today.  But I will also tell you that it is an illusion. It’s a lie.

If Christ is in you, you always have something to give. He never runs out of strength, or hope or ideas. He has endless resources and you have access to ALL of them!

So when you are in a situation where you feel like you just want to give up and you know you have not one speck of anything to give to the person  who needs something from you, don’t quit!

That is the time when you can reach out to God and He will meet you where you are. He already knows your deepest thoughts anyway so He isn’t surprised when you confess your need.  He promises He will supply everything you need.

I read something that brings this all into perspective.  Habakkuk 3:17-19 says

Though the fig tree should not blossom
   And there be no fruit on the vines,
   Though the yield of the olive should fail
   And the fields produce no food,
   Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
   And there be no cattle in the stalls,

    Yet I will exult in the LORD,
     I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

     The Lord GOD is my strength,
     And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
     And makes me walk on my high places.

 

The writers of the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary said this about those verses,

But those who when full enjoyed God in all, when emptied can enjoy all in God.”

So you see, no matter how things look for you today, you can still find strength in God and tap into His resources when you feel empty.

Because, you are never truly empty. I just proved it.  Even in my emptiness, God found something to say.

Psalm73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

 

 

 

God is Speaking, Are You Listening?

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my son Andrew had been compiling a playlist for me based on our experiences here in Florida. You can read that post here.This past week, I realized that God was adding a song to my list.

Many of you know that I’ve been dealing with some difficult health issues for the past several weeks.  I’ve been to urgent care twice for diverticulitis. On the last trip I also began treatment for thrush which I got from taking the antibiotics to fight the first problem. Also at the last visit, the doctor decided to do a CT scan to make sure they weren’t missing something since my pain levels hadn’t really resolved.  On Thursday I received a call with the results of the scan.

The nurse’s words confused me. She said, “your scan shows no issues with your digestive system. However, you have a partially collapsed lung and we’d like you to go to the emergency room now for evaluation.” What? I asked her to please repeat herself since I was sure I’d misunderstood. But there was no misunderstanding.

I find it very interesting that for more than a week I’d become increasing aware of a particular song that I kept hearing. We sang it in church. Then I heard in on my Pandora station. Then they played it as background music for the Wednesday night bible study. Then in the video for the class the speaker actually talked about the background of the same song and why it was written.  Finally, on Thursday morning, I woke up with it playing in my head.  I mentioned to Randy that God must be up to something since I kept hearing this song. Randy asked me if that made me nervous. I said not particularly, just that I knew God was preparing me for something so I had to believe it would be alright.

Also on Thursday I posted on Facebook the activities I was involved in with my grandkids and said something about how you just never know what you will end up doing in a day.  Boy was that the truth!

It all came together when I got the call to go to the ER.  We went and after several hours of tests and x-rays I was admitted and put on oxygen.  The most amazing part of all of it was that I was completely at peace.  I didn’t feel particularly worried about what was happening to me. I just knew it would be resolved one way or another.

After two days in the hospital and a zillion questions and doctors listening to me breathe, I was waiting to be discharged and I decided to listen to my Pandora station. Can you guess what the first song to play was?  The same song I’ve been hearing for almost two weeks now. And the name of that song?

It Is Well With My Soul

While the original version is a powerful song, God has also used a newer song based on the original to drive home a deeper understanding. You can listen to it here.   One section speaks powerfully to me.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

There are many verses in the Bible about peace but I have a favorite.

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you

God was speaking to me for a week before I needed to draw from His perfect peace for my situation. I am so thankful that I was listening.

He’s speaking still. He knows exactly what’s  ahead for me. He knows what’s ahead for you too.  Are you listening today?

Sometimes it’s Hard Being the Mom

July 27, 1983 was the day I officially became a mom. Well, okay, we all know it was actually nine months before that but you know what I mean.

Ever since that day, I’ve been “the mom.”  I remember hearing my boys squabbling about something one time and one of them said at the top of his lungs, “You’re not the mom!”  They all knew who the official mom was and weren’t tricked into believing otherwise.

Now, almost 33 years later all my boys are grown, the youngest is 16 but well on his way to adulthood.  I’m still the mom but my role has changed.  They don’t need the direction they once did. In fact, they usually make it very clear that they would rather make their decisions on their own. That’s as it should be but how do you train yourself to step back and stop being “the Mom” in the same way you have always done it?

It isn’t easy.  And now that I am again living with five of my seven sons, it’s more difficult than ever. I’m used to being the decision maker, especially those years when Randy travelled and I was trying to fill both parenting roles.

Now I am faced with a new season. It’s been a very difficult season so far. God is changing me at my very core.  I’ve been watching and listening for the past several months and I’ve had a revelation.  I’m not as indispensable as I’d like to think. That’s not to say I am having a pity party and crying over how no one needs me anymore. It’s just that I have come to the conclusion that my input is often not necessary nor valuable. Sometimes I just need to be quiet. So, I’m practicing.

Practicing listening more than I talk. Practicing stepping back and letting my adult children do things their own way. Trying to remember that all of them have had times when I haven’t been around and they have proven themselves capable of managing just fine without mom. It’s as it should be.

And, the truth is, this applies to other relationships besides my children. There are many times when being quiet is the better path.

This week I will keep these scriptures where I can see them.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

Psalm141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips

Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent

What You are Doing Right Now Could Matter in 150 Years

In 1866 a man named C.S. Reynolds started a church in what would become Clearwater Florida. He started with a handful of faithful followers and established the first Baptist church in the area.

That was 150 years ago this month. Pastor Reynolds had no idea what the long term results of his endeavor would be. He was just being faithful to the call he had received from God.  He started with what he had and believed God would multiply.

And the seeds he planted all those decades ago are still producing fruit. This month Calvary Baptist Church is celebrating it’s 150th anniversary. The City of Clearwater just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary. That’s right, the church has been here longer than the city.

Yesterday a United States Congressman addressed the congregation and thanked the church for their impact on the community for the past 150 years.  In the church archives there are records of time when things were tough. Times of financial hardship and broken relationships that required God’s healing hand. But the church has persevered. The message of the Gospel is still being proclaimed.

At the end of an entire weekend of celebration, our pastor talked about how one man heard God’s call and answered it in 1866. Not unlike the many examples of God’s people in the Bible who couldn’t know the impact their obedience would have, C. S. Reynolds was faithful and said “Yes,” to God’s call without any idea what would come of it.

The question put to the congregation at the end of yesterday’s service was this, “What can you do today that will matter in 150 years?”

I have been thinking  a lot about this.  What am I doing that will matter? Are there things I COULD be doing that I’m not?  What kind of choices am I making every day that will impact my future and someone else’s?

We aren’t all called to start churches or lead movements. We aren’t all called to be in the spotlight.  Many of us are just called to be faithful in our own little corner of the world. To be the parent our kids need us to be, willing to invest in them.  To be the helpmate to our spouses, supporting them and working along side them.  To be a true friend to someone God has put in our lives.

Sometimes it doesn’t look like much but we can’t begin to know what God will do with the little seeds we are willing to put in the ground, trusting Him to bring the growth and produce the fruit.

What are you doing today that will matter in 150 years?  Maybe that’s too long range to comprehend. Perhaps you can just consider what you are doing that will matter tomorrow, or next week or next year.

The important thing is to be intentional about doing something that matters. We can so easily get caught up in the daily routine that we can forget that God put us here for a purpose.

Ultimately, it’s not about whether it matters  this week, or next year or in 150 years. The real question is ,” will it matter in eternity?”

John 6:27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.

Colossians 3:23-24  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.