Business of Holiness

Replaceable

What a word.  

What an idea.

Our society is in the business of replacement.  You get a new iPhone and a newer more advanced one is in the works of being released. Your boyfriend makes you mad there is a better guy just around the corner.  Your friend is not quite the perfect fit with you, well that girl over there looks like she might be more fun and obviously has it all together. You make a mistake at work and next thing you know you are carrying a box of your personal items down the hallway as someone new is settling in decorating your office.  

What a truth.

Growing up I remember being told, “If you don’t use what God gave you, you will lose it!” and “If you don’t do what God has for you, it’s OK He will have someone who will do what He needs done!”

Fear raged in my bones. Perfection became the goal because I did not want to miss one moment with God and I did not want to fail Him.  I longed to be a player in the game and to never sit on the bench because of a mistake or a choice that was not of Him.

Belmont Baptist University was a moment in my young adult life full of success, pride and ultimate failure.  God gave me everything I ever longed for during that brief moment. I got to work the Christian Country Music awards, I set up and tore down stages, I got to see my Hero on the Ryman Auditorium stage sing, I stood on the Ryman stage and felt history fill my lungs, and I watched a city alive with music and heart give life to dreams that had been dreamt with blood and tears, joy and hope.  Every moment was incredible and then I left my dream. I walked away from the dream of one day being a tour manager. I was homesick and I felt a tug back to art and the one place my soul longed for…HOME. I could not handle the alone-ness of a booming city or the idea that I would trade a husband and family for a life on the road. I searched the Word and I begged God for relief and then I felt Him gently allow me to come home.  Looking back I truly thought I missed it, I thought I allowed my homesick tears to make the ultimate call and I thought I was replaced on a future tour bus and ultimately as a Kingdom worker. I came home and when I did those words echoed in my ears, “God will put someone else in your spot.” “You are not worthy to work for the Kingdom!” “You missed the mark and now you are benched!” “You are replaced!” “Art is your consolation prize.”

Have you ever felt that way?  Benched? Failure? Mediocre?

Have you ever felt like maybe God benched you because you simply did not measure up or you were just not strong enough?  You had to settle for the consulation prize?

Have you ever felt like no matter what you did you simply could not compete on the field God was playing on? You simply fell into the mediocre category?

Jonah was a man who knew God.  He had a relationship with Him and he blatantly chose to run the opposite direction from the place God commanded him to go, the city of Nineveh.  God could have simply called up another prophet. Let’s be honest, it may have been easier on God to do this but God is not in the business of easy, He is in the business of holy and He did not simply call up the next guy in line to do the job of prophesying to Nineveh; instead, He provided a great big fish to swallow Jonah up and get him back on the right track.  Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of that fish and then finds himself thrown up on the shore.  Jonah then walks in obedience to God by going to Nineveh and doing exactly what God asked.

You see, when we are in God’s family, when you belong to Him, He is in the business of holiness and not exchanging us out for another willing individual because that might be easier.  He doesn’t want to leave us mediocre or on the bench.

I always wanted to be a tour manager.  You know traveling down the road late into the night, hanging out on the bus, eating horrible fast food, setting up the stage, staying in hotels watching the TV late into the night, being the encouraging motivating voice before the show, and then hanging out backstage with my heart pounding with pride as the band killed it on stage!  

January 2018 as we barreled down the road headed to a soccer tournament in Paris, Texas God revealed to me the gift He had placed on my life.  I had put Him in a box and He showed me that desire in the true form it was always meant to be. I am a tour manager, I get to step out of a bus after a long drive and walk onto a stage that is a green turf field.  I get the honor of pouring into a group of girls and coach a game that is deep in my . I get to ride a bus late into the night with two dozen tired rock stars and learn the game of coaching from the best of the best.  I get to encourage from the side of the stage as the concert rages, all 80 minutes of it. You see God doesn’t “replace” you! He promotes you and encourages you into His calling of making disciples and loving others. I was never meant to manage a singer or a band on a bus touring the country.  No, I was meant to learn, mentor, encourage, co-manage and assist in coaching a team of girls on the stage of a turf field while God allows me to plant seed after seed into their vulnerable young hearts!

You aren’t replaceable…Let me say that again, “YOU ARE NOT REPLACEABLE!”  God has a plan and a purpose for you and sometimes it takes a big fish and three nights in his belly to get back on track but God won’t give up on you, you are HIS and He is in the business of holiness!

Blessings,

Stacy

New Roots of Deeper Trust

“See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

I sat and shook my head as God made clear He had a new word for me.  I always felt as though January 1st was a day full of cliches and resolutions never to be fulfilled but on January 1, 2018 God tugged at my heart over and over with Isaiah 43:19.  I felt the whisper on my heart, “NEW! 2018 is not the end of your 2017 run, we are just getting started and you are going to see “new” everywhere!”

We had a new normal as life fell apart and my husband and I learned to be just two again.  Everywhere I looked I saw new, a new friendship, a new calling, a new chapter, a new hope for the future.  I have always assumed new was positive, this year taught me different, new can be amazing as you walk into new friendships or new callings, but sometimes new can be hard and it can hurt.  New involves a beginning and growth usually takes place in the middle.  Growth involves stretching and pain, often challenging us to fall face first into His deep embrace.

I sat on the turf that day in December, an ache radiating through my veins as I tried desperately to find a way to make it through the next couple of hours.  Alone, very alone, and to be honest I wanted to feel that coldness for a moment.  I wanted to know the deep ache and hurt that alone can bring, it almost felt as though I had a friend in those moments of alone-ness, a place to hide before I faced the reality of what this new might bring.

Hours later in the safety of calm, I wept as I came face to face with the feelings the loneliness had masked.  I wept as I tried to make sense of moments and words my heart was having a hard time translating.  I wept as my words tried to explain this new pain it did not understand to ears that would listen.  I felt the loss of control as my tears fell desperate for some hope.  Chaos strangled my heart as she tried to help me fall fast into a relief that only hope spoken could provide.

Four days later:

The room was cold, the assistant sat in the chair that found sanctuary behind a desk that barricaded her from us.  We waited, an uncertainty filled the room, a confusion that seemed to desperately try to convey hope.

That word has a lot of enemies and it was about to provoke an anger and hatred deep in my core.  “….Cancer….” came from the doctor’s mouth.  I had already read her as she had walked into the room knowing full well what she would say but now the air held the heaviness of the uninvited guest that just bombarded my family.

New, another new journey, a new enemy, a new emotion evoked deep in my soul.

God is so funny though I could feel the tender pull of the Holy Spirit.  I felt as though the season with the word new was ending.  This ending was different, I could feel that something new was coming that was deeper than new, the nudge was so tender and sweet but I couldn’t see past this step, I just felt the tender tug.  I felt left in the dark as the Holy Spirit seemed to take my heart and gently prepare it for something new, something big, something I didn’t expect.

Mom started chemo on a Monday.

She sat down in a chair that first night after hours of newness, I could see the weight of the day sitting deep in her eyes as she sat strong and firm trying not to permit the tired ache to overtake.  I felt the burden, I felt the anger well up.  I would do anything to beat this uninvited guest!  The tender peace my heart fought that night throbbed in my veins burying the anger.  The flesh wanted to be angry, but the heart juxtaposed that anger and was full of God’s grace and faith that He already had this.

The whisper becoming stronger… new is just the beginning of something deeper.

January brought with it a new high school soccer season and a stronger tug.

Tournament 1…

We sat in a cold locker room.  The floor was unsympathetic and the air seemed heavy and crowded with doubt.  We began speaking to them on trusting their teammates and being positive on the field.  We talked about what trusting our teammates looked like and asked some hard questions about if they truly trusted each other or not.  We saw the spark that game, the heart began to play to the game.  The weekend was marked with moments of pure tenacity and grit clouded by moments of chaos that seemed to be fueled by an insecurity and loss of confidence.  The tender tug was growing.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

We talked about trust, trust and more trust for our girls, our team.  Moments seemed to come that pierced my own awareness that I only had head knowledge of the word and not true heart knowledge.  God gently tugged and asked me to trust Him and the incredible individuals He hand chose to impact my life.  Trust Him that He holds my mom.  Trust Him that the cancer will be eradicated from her body.  Trust Him that He is the one in control and that He will be my strength all ways, He has the victory.  Trust the people He has carefully chosen to place in my life with a new level of vulnerability and love. Trust the day to day that His hand is in even the very small things we might overlook as insignificant.

Trust, what a simple word, such a hard concept, such an important action.  To trust someone is to place a deep faith and hope in them.  It means that you allow them a place, a profound vulnerability, to know you in a new way.  Trust is giving up control and resting in a peace you may have never known before.   To trust someone is learning to be courageous and find a new strength as we wait expectantly for that relationship to grow and stay strong, providing an unconditional love this world rarely holds.

Monday morning a chair waits for her and medicine that will attack the enemy we so desperately long to defeat.  Another round, another moment, where my flesh throbs to protect her and longs to fix this for her.  His hand is wrapped tightly in hers and He will whisper softly to her as the medicine courses through her veins. I watch her trust Him through the hard; His eyes hold a gentleness as He sits beside her through every second of chemo.  Her faith is Daniel sized and her trusts rests solely in Him.

Trust, I thought I understood that word intensely in my chest, I’m learning I have a lot to learn as I allow Him the control, the grip on the moment to moment of everyday life, the hold on my heart as it fights insecurity and loss of control.

Monday came…

As I sat in the chair across from her, the room began to fill with more precious fighters.  The chairs held hearts and dreams hooked to IV drips.  The room held emotions so thick your heart had no choice but to absorb the pain, the hardship, the hurt; but it also held a hope, an overwhelming saturating hope.  The enemy, cancer, doesn’t have a chance as it sits trying to overtake these strong warriors.  I have never been surrounded by such incredible strength as I sat overwhelmed at the fight taking place before my eyes.  As we left the room to fight the fight at home, my heart was bombarded with an incredible trust.  She has a long path ahead of her full of pain, sickness, and change but the hope that radiates off of her weak frail body is entrancing and calls for a trust so pure and so determined my heart can’t help but fall deeper into an unfailing faith.

If we place our trust firmly in Him we will find a peace that passes all understanding.  We will discover a hope we have never introduced our hearts to.  We find a security that only He can provide even in the midst of life’s most difficult and uncertain storms.  To allow Him full control sounds like we are giving up our freedom but that is just a lie the enemy hopes we buy into so we fight Him for control.  Placing our trust deep into Jesus is the most freeing act we can do.  We will find that every moment can be faced head on bravely as we trust the one who knows all things!

I challenge you to look to Him and allow Him to grow your faith deeper in trusting Him with even the smallest moment, the smallest hurdle.  He will place individuals in your world as amazing examples of what true trust can be.  He will scoop you up close and show you a world of hope you may have never even imagined existed.

Blessings,

Ferg

Caught in a Memory

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

Do you ever get caught in a memory?

You’re driving down the road minding your own business as you sing along to your favorite song. The light turns green and as your feet presses on the gas and lets up on the clutch you feel yourself jolt and your breath catch in your chest. A memory streaks across your mind stirring up emotions you thought were buried deep below the waves. Their little faces cause your eyes to fill with tears that overflow and overwhelm your heart. A memory you thought was buried, one you thought you could escape, but the day, the way the sun hit off the clouds and the air filled your lungs with the sweet smells of summers end, all barreled at you and before you realized it you were drowning in a sea of feelings because the memory took you captive.

Moses was an incredible leader and follower of God who never got to walk into The Promised Land. He raised up another leader who would eventually lead the people of Israel across the Jordan and into the land of milk and honey.

All through Exodus we see the nation of Israel on a hard, long, painful journey in hopes of entering a place God promised them. They walked in shoes that became filled with memories of torment, abuse, slavery, and fear. Memories of how God saved them by parting the Red Sea, sending manna and quail, a pillar of cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire by night. They followed Moses, sometimes grumbling and fighting the journey, as Moses listened and followed God trusting Him for The Promised Land.

In Joshua 1 we see Moses has passed away and God tells Joshua to get up and be ready; that he will be the one who takes the people across the Jordan.

I picture Joshua standing in the night air next to the rushing water as he listens to the calm night sky whisper as the wind rushes through the brush. I can just see his face as he contemplates all God has told him and as he wrestles with this new calling. “Strong and courageous,” two words branded on his heart, on a warriors heart. Joshua is a mighty warrior and does not take those words lightly, they weigh on him. I picture him standing by that river remembering all this nation has been through to get to this moment. His hands lifted in worship as he focuses on his loving Father. This warrior is ready to walk into The Promised Land knowing God is with him.

God calls them to move and the most incredible thing happens! The Jordan, during flood stage, stops! God STOPS the river and the entire nation walks across on DRY ground! This is the second time God has them walk on dry ground where it should be covered with water, once at the beginning of their journey into the desert and here at the end of the journey as they leave the desert. We see in Joshua 4 they make it to the other side and God tells Joshua to choose 1 man from each of the 12 tribes to collect a stone from the middle of the Jordan where the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stood as they crossed. They were to stack the stones in order to be a sign for future generations to see that this, this place, was where Israel crossed the river on dry ground because God STOPPED the river.

A memory, a stamp in time, marked by a memorial to evoke an emotion, to evoke worship. Joshua took remembering serious, he did what God asked. Israel needed reminders of God’s power and His works.

We need to be struck by memories. We need to get lost in the embrace of what God has done and trust that those memories will only strengthen our trust in a deep way so that we can fall further into His chest and trust Him for all the unknowns of the present and the future.

This time of year begins one that is filled with hardness for my little family as those memories surface, sometimes from out of nowhere, but as I lay here listening to the night whisper His unmeasurable glory, I’m reminded to remember and hold those memories dear even when they hurt, even when they bring tears, even when sadness seems to overtake. I’m reminded to worship the Creator for the good and the bad knowing He uses everything for His glory. Those hard roads can lead us into a place that is filled with milk and honey and only makes our stories sweeter! Those memories glorify a good good Father and show His faithfulness and how holy He is. So as the weather teases us with the promises of hoodies, football, and pumpkin spice everything let us fall head first into worship as we remember all He has done for us!

Blessings,

Stacy

Surprised up in the Clouds

I had only flown at night once and it had been my very first flight. The memory of that flight is tainted with emotions of fear and uncertainty wrapped tightly in anxiety, so this flight, the one I was fixing to board that would land in the dark, made me a little nervous.

We boarded, walking the narrow aisle, she found us a spot where we placed our luggage in the overhead 18-17; she didn’t have to, but she let me have the window seat and I began my routine:

  • Bible ready to read Joshua 1:9
  • Seat belt firmly tightened
  • IPod set to my take off song
  • Text my mom and Benjamin that I love them
  • A prayer on the tip of my tongue
  • A deep breath ready to face this flight

The plane backs out getting ready for take-off and we taxi to the runway. My thoughts brought to Joshua 1:9 as the plane jumps bounding towards the sky; my heart  skips a beat, or maybe two.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

He always reminds me that He has got this. Whatever “this” is He already has it and no matter what, it is taken care of because He is there with me protecting me, pushing me, loving me, and growing me. As we climbed higher and higher I got a glimpse of a sunset painting the tops of the clouds. I watched in awe as the colors blended flawlessly, one into the other, highlighting the sky with pinks and oranges against the blues and purples. I guarded those precious moments, the few minutes where I saw the Master Creator paint the horizon line with such perfection and splendid beauty. It was breathtaking and my ribs could not keep my heart’s excitement encased. It was a sight I will not soon forget but then God did one better. The sun went down and darkness flooded the night sky, a deep blue velvet cascaded over the earth far below me threatening to overtake but lights began to appear; tiny bright white lights, red tail lights, still silvery street lights, and big gold building lights all lit up the ground far beneath the plane. Two songs playing in my ears as I begged God to make me different, changed, to grow my faith and help me stand up and move out on the water to chase Him. The verses rang deep in my ears striking my heart stirring a gratefulness and enthusiasm my flesh could barely contain.

High above the city immersed in the BIGGNESS of Him, I saw how incredibly small I am, how incredibly small we are. That moment, overwhelming my soul and begging to escape through a wave from my blue eyes, was more than I could truly handle. A God this big, this immense, this colossal LOVES me. He loves a tiny individual, an imperfect individual that walks on a planet full of other tiny individuals and he loves each of us with an unconditional undying love that none of us truly can wrap our minds around. He adores and cherishes each and every one of us! I watched the hundreds of thousands of lights high above the darkness in awe that each one of us has our very own story, has our very own wiring, has our very own unique personality and He did that! He put it all in place with so much planning and affection! Not a single one of us is an accident! He is so BIG, so very very very BIG!

We are never alone, He is right by our side and He is BIG enough to be everything we could possibly want and absolutely everything we need.

That plane ride, the one I was so nervous about, was incredible as I sat high above the ground, deep in the clouds talking to God. Honestly I was sad when the wheels touched down and I was back on this earth, a deep longing ached in my chest begging God for just five more minutes where I could get a glimpse of His bigness.

He has plans for each of us that truly cannot be conceived and He longs to meet you right where you are at and show you just how much He truly loves you! He longs to take you on a ride too amazing for written words; jump on and hang on tight, you might just find that you see God from a new perspective high up in the clouds that brings you to your knees thanking Him for how BIG He is.

Blessings,

Ferg

Crossing to the New Year

Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams.

December 17, 2017

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.

I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.

I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.

As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.

First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.

Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.

Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).

So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.

Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!

Stacy

Faith in the Face of the Winds

The physical knocked him into fear because his eyes saw something and his body felt that pressure of the atmosphere and he lost his focus and began to sink. Fear and Faith cannot exist in unison.

 

How we perceive things is often done through the lenses of the world. We look through the lens of experience and often the lens of emotion. We so often forget the heart and even more often forget the reality that God is so BIG and so MIGHTY and beyond our eyes is a world that is more vast than we can even imagine (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Over the last 4 years we have been on a roller coaster ride. We lost our baby before we ever got to hold her, before she ever breathed her first breath, before her eyes ever gazed into mine. That miscarriage was the hardest thing we have ever been through and every year on that day the world keeps turning and we plaster a smile on our faces and face the day knowing that our little one is with Jesus. After that we tried to adopt, you want to go on a wild ride, sign up to adopt through the system. The next 2.5 years was full of heartaches and pain, empty promises and lies, several possible placements, and two little boys that continue to hold our hearts as they tackle life each day without us.
We never got to adopt our legal risk boys that we were told were adoptable and it is a daily reminder that we are not promised tomorrow with our loved ones. June 2016 we closed our home (terminated our license that gave us the ability to foster and adopt) and began the process to heal from the hurt of yet another failed placement and the weeding of the roots of bitterness and anger that longed to take hold of our hearts and minds.
Perception is often limited to a small amount of information.
Our situation and what we have gone through hardened our hearts in one way and softened and refined them in a completely different way. I have a deep empathy and sorrow for the children who are in the system knowing that no matter what, their voices could be drowned out or ignored, that the trauma they have endured at the hands of adults will leave a lasting effect and wound that only God can heal.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Our prayers changed last December, our hearts were still for adoption, and I asked God to bring the child or children He had for us to adopt to our doorstep. We still did not understand why any of the previous summer had to happen. We just decided to trust God with our future and our comfort and the loss of all our dreams of a family and find contentment in just being a family of 2. The phone rang in June 2017 about a possible private adoption of two wonderful little boys. Luke and I had become comfortable with being just the two of us with our pugs and truly felt contentment in seeking God through the call He placed on us to serve and teach others. We prayed and sought God’s will instead of our own selfish desires or seeking counsel from others. Fast forward to today and here we are walking through each step allowing God the room to do all that He pleases. We are trusting Him to move us forward and praying that our eyes stay focused on Him.

Matthew 17:26-32
26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

Peter cried out to Jesus for Jesus to call him out on the water to Him. Jesus does call Peter and Peter bursts forth over the boat and out onto the water. He doesn’t sink and He is focused on Jesus. Suddenly Peter sees the wind and becomes afraid. Peter had to take his eyes off Jesus in order to SEE the wind. I picture Peter standing firm on the water’s surface with eyes longingly gazing on Jesus until the wind pushes his body and this is the moment his eyes SEE the wind. The physical knocked him into fear because his eyes saw something and his body felt that pressure of the atmosphere and he lost his focus and began to sink. Fear and Faith cannot exist in unison.
The hardest part of this whole thing, in some respect, was choosing to focus on Jesus and the call and not allow the fears of the world to knock us off-balance. We have to trust God and allow His perception and His calling to be the only thoughts and desires that matter to us. We have to care more and worry only about how He sees us and if we are following Him. Others opinions and perceptions over our actions and lives do not matter. Let me say that one more time, “Others opinions over our/your actions and lives do not matter.” This is not a grace abuse free card, this is not an opportunity to push your agenda card or a seek the fleshly desire you think you need card. This is a seek God and His heart with all you’ve got card; if you do that your life, your mind, and your heart will be transformed and the race you are on will look different.
One of the strongest winds that blew us and continues to whirl is our friends and families’ opinions along with the thought that they could get hurt again. It was and is a burden on our hearts; thinking we could be the cause of more pain and wounds to our friends and families can be paralyzing. It was incredibly difficult to think that those who do not know the story or the circumstances that surrounded the closing of our home would view us or judge us with assumptions about our motives and our hearts. There is a deep anxiety that tries to take root that we have to come to our village and ask for support and help.
We do not know what the future holds for our family but we are firm in standing on the waves together with our eyes focused on Jesus because we know He holds our future.
There are so many questions we have been asked through this process. If you know Luke and I we are typically prepared for anything that is thrown at us and we always try to avoid conflict along with flying under the radar. Attention is not something we handle with comfort or ease.

James 1:27 ”Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

My heart tends to take root in the idea that it is NOT okay to ask for help. I should be able to handle anything emotionally, physically, or financially on my own. This thinking is wrong, God created us for relationship. We have a deep yearning for relationship with Him and we are told to love others. Part of loving others is taking part in their burdens…not just the emotional ones, not just the sin ones, not just the joyful ones. Following Jesus sometimes requires asking for help and then allowing the Church to be God’s hands and feet. This process has taught us that God uses all details, small and big, to refine and mold us to look more and more like His if we allow Him.
There is only one who knows our hearts, and I mean truly knows our hearts. He is MIGHTY, He is our PROTECTOR, He is SOVEREIGN, He is the heart we chase and seek! Go out and seek Him knowing that His attention and opinion is the only one that truly matters. Don’t let the winds throw you off-balance and distract you from where you should be looking and who you should be seeking!

Blessings!
Stacy

Whose voice do we look to?

By: Stacy Ferguson

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

 

Even before our feet hit the floor in the morning there are a million temptations to allow our minds to wander into fear. Once we are out there with our feet on the pavement the rush of fears can become overwhelming and take away what little breath we have left in our lungs. Fear is lurking everywhere.

I sat at home on the couch completely unaware of the weather outside when a loud crack and boom echoed through the walls. All at once the sound of rain bombarded my roof and my first thought went to our miracle pup who has never seen or heard a storm like the one that just rolled in. I knew this could go one of two ways, either he would not be bothered at all by it, fingers crossed, or he would become terrified and we would have an anxious nutty pug pup running around in terror. Wouldn’t you know it there was a third option, Winston looked straight at me to see what I did and I didn’t react to the storm but instead I reacted to him. I talked to Mr. Winston and he turned his head back and forth listening intently to all the words I said and the tone in which they were said. Then he ran to the back door with me. I opened the door to a world of water rushing down in buckets and flooding our parched yard so quickly that the water level was rising quickly up and to our back door. He watched from behind me and I continued to talk to him about how God was watering the yard and how it was safe and the next thing I knew he was curious and stepping out in front of me to see the beauty of God watering His earth. For the next hour he ran from the front door to the back door demanding it be opened so he could see what had happened in the last few moments since we looked. Just when I thought we were done back to the front door to see the water rolling down the road and filling the flower beds and then once more coming and jumping on me to open the back door just to see the wonders that were unfolding from the sky.

God does the same thing with us. Those moments when we are completely oblivious to the outside world when the enemy booms and echoes trying to temp the fear to overtake our hearts and paralyze us, God is there with us waiting for us to look at Him. He waits patiently ready to talk with us and tell us of His mighty power and His mighty strength. He is not even addressing the fear that is booming in our ears but gently taking our hands and reminding us we are in Him and we get to stand in His mighty strength (Ephesians 6:10). He tells us His story, all of who He is, and reminds us He has already won. The victory is His. He, then, generously waits with us at the door He has opened while whispering all He already knows that lies ahead and how He will be with us every step of the way (Deuteronomy 31:8).

I learned something this evening from our miracle baby Winston, he never took his eyes or ears off of me. He put ultimate trust in me regardless of what was happening outside. He took his every que from my reaction and my voice and never once questioned it but instead was filled with excitement for all he was seeing and going through whether it was good or bad. See, if we keep our eyes and ears on God and only listen to His voice all those storms, all those fears, all those temptations to be paralyzed by fear will have no power in our lives. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Let’s look to God and allow Him to drown out the echoes and temptations of fear as we walk with Him through the doors He opens and leads us through.