Faith

When it’s Time to Move On

“The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way.” (I Samuel 16:1a)

I saw this graphic on FB the other day and I couldn’t help but think about this verse that I’d been wrestling with for a few days.

Recently my devotion has had me knee-deep in the story of Samuel and Saul. And as I have been chewing on this verse for the last few days, I’m struck with God’s rebuke to Samuel.

It made me wonder if I am the only one who is like Samuel and hangs on to things a little too long? A little too much drama? Living in the land of regret and “what could have been”?

At first glance, I think I feel sad for Samuel and that maybe God’s response was rather harsh considering all Samuel had been through with Saul.

Don’t we all mourn certain situations or relationships that don’t work out?

But it wasn’t just that Samuel was mourning, it was that it went on too long. Notice how it starts out, “How long…”?

Mourning is just what you think it is – to grieve, mourn, and even lament. It’s the same word used to describe Abraham when he was weeping over the death of his wife Sarah and Mary’s response when Lazarus died.

I can’t help but think of the deep mourning that we have when we lose a loved one. Mourning is such a strong emotion that conjures up images of weeping, wailing, and such sorrow.

And while Abraham and Mary were in mourning because someone had physically died, Samuel was grieving that Saul was dead as the king of Israel.

God had rejected Saul as king (due to his disobedience) and the “what could have been” was gone.

One commentary I read pointed out that despite Saul’s flaws, he had the potential to be a great king. Samuel knew this, as did others like David and Jonathan.

But it is clear from the scripture that Samuel’s mourning had gone on way too long and God basically said, “Stop mourning. Enough is enough. I have a different plan.” (my paraphrase)

Additionally, scripture points out that Samuel had not only been mourning too long, but he had been mourning someone God had rejected.

Are there relationships in our lives or activities or careers that never manifested the way we wanted it to? Are we still wishing for what could have been?

Is it possible that we are desiring something that God has rejected?

Can we trust Him with the fact that He has something better planned and or are we so lost in our grief that we are missing it?

Thankfully, God didn’t just leave Samuel with a little scolding, He provided the next step for Samuel – expecting obedience.

 “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way.”

God wasn’t going to leave his people without a king anymore than he would allow Saul to remain on the throne after his disobedience.

God had chosen a new king – a young shepherd boy named David. But this meant that Samuel had to accept that Saul had lost his throne forever and move forward with God’s divine plan to crown another king over Israel.

Things do not always turn out the way we want them to because we live in a world full of brokenness. But God always has a better plan.

While Saul had the potential for greatness, he couldn’t get past his own desires and his desire for approval of man. But God’s better plan was David. “A man after God’s own heart.”

All too often we have tunnel vision and can only see regret, and we miss out on the divine nature of God and His plan for our lives.

I think it is important to point out that I don’t believe God was upset that Samuel mourned Saul. In fact, in the previous chapter, it tells us that Samuel never saw Saul again and that the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Even the LORD grieved over the situation.

But God…He had another plan and he needed the prophet Samuel to get on with it by taking his anointing oil to Bethlehem to choose the new king. This king would have ties to Bethlehem and be part of the lineage of Jesus!

It’s a good reminder that while God gave us our emotions and ability to feel sorrow (thank goodness – I shudder to think of a world where no one felt sorrow), He doesn’t want us to live in a continual state of grief and mourning over the past and what could have been.

There are times we must say “enough is enough” and fill our horn with the oil of joy (Jesus) and say yes to what God has planned for our lives.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

“For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NET)

See, He has a plan and is working all things out. It’s OK to mourn for how things could have been, but we can’t stay in that place too long.

There are comes a point where enough is enough and it is simply time to move on.

**I feel prompted to add a quick note to all of you who are mourning the loss of loved ones, please mourn. This post is geared more towards hanging onto regret and things that God doesn’t want for our lives. When I think of Mary mourning Lazarus, the scripture tells us he was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” when he saw her weeping (John 11). He sees your weeping and is compassionate towards your journey of grief. Much love and prayers to so many of our friends/family who are dealing with loss.**

❤Darcy


Faith

Watering your Soul

Once again, my mother came over and helped me pot a few plants this year in the hope that blooms will happen and a little color will come alive on my front porch.

One of my children commented that he’d give it a month before they were dead. He knows that a “green thumb” is not one of my talents.

Anyhow, as I was watering the plants the other day, I realized I had forgotten to water them the day before.

Except that I hadn’t really forgotten. I had just assumed they had gotten enough water to get them through and could skip a day.

(Yes, I do realize this could be the very reason I don’t have a green thumb.)

But you know what? They couldn’t make it one day without water.

The blooms were all droopy and sad looking. My daughter and I rushed to offer a little life-saving water to them, and I prayed that my son’s projection wouldn’t come through as it had only been 2 weeks.

I couldn’t help but think about the comparison of how much our lives need watering every single day.

The plants need good soil, plant food, water, and sun to grow. And they really need water! Lots of it! Even skipping one day can cause them to lose their luster and face downward instead of facing up and showing their glory.

Our lives are the same. We need to have our lives planted and grounded in good soil, solid bible teaching and a community of believers.

We need to nourish ourselves with quality food, the word of God.

Sun is not only important to our physical health in supplying much needed Vitamin D, I believe sunshine is a little happiness in our lives. And we all need to have good friends that we can laugh with and find some joy in the everyday moments of life.

However, water is the most important thing we need – not only physical intake of water, but the Living Water – Jesus Christ.

When Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26), he says this:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spirit of water welling up to eternal life.”

He is the water. He is the supplier of all our needs.

Plants must endure the hardships of the weather – wind, heavy rain, scorching heat.

In comparison, our lives are also full of hardships. Unexpected things can take the wind out of us. The heavy rain of responsibilities and the dailyness of them can cause us to grow weary. And there are times it feels the scorching circumstances will never come to end.

But we press on. We keep tending to our lives. Keep praying, keep studying the Word. And when our lives begin to droop like my flowers did, we keep going to the Living Water and ask Him to refill us.

We stay connected in community and with family/friends. We risk being vulnerable with people we trust to gain friendships and grow relationships. We stay the course of doing the right thing and giving thanks in the middle of difficult circumstances.

If we do these things, our lives will bloom. Does it mean we will never face harsh elements? No, it simply means that we must pay attention to our lives. Look for areas that are drooping or threatening to die. What do we need to revive them? (unless of course, they need to die off but that is a whole ‘nother post! ?)

Rest? Coffee with a friend? Time in prayer and solitude? A good bible study? A good laugh?

What is it that you need in your life right now to begin blooming again?

I am happy to report that after my one “droopy incident” with my flowers, I have watered them every day and much to my surprise (and my family’s too), they are actually blooming and bringing so much beauty to my home and to my life.

Water your life with the Word and bloom!

Blessings,

Darcy

Linking up with Chasing Community

Faith, Family

New Seasons

Anyone else feel like time is ticking at an accelerated tempo these days? I can hardly believe it has been almost 8 months since my fingers have pounded out a blog post around here.

The last 8 months have been a crazy time for our family, which has culminated in the last 2-3 months feeling like a whirlwind. Quite honestly, I do not even know where to start this post but I figured I’d better just start or I’ll never get anything posted. 🙂

In June, my last post was “Hope Deferred” as our family had been in a season of struggle/waiting.

It was based on Proverbs 13:12,

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

And I’m here to tell you that living in a season of uncertainty and delay can make your heart sick. There is no doubt about that.

Been there. Done that. It’s grueling.

But I’m also here to tell you that getting to the other side and having that “long fulfilled” brings a whole new season filled with life.

Isn’t that just like our God to create times in our lives that mimic the seasons? We have long winter seasons where it seems nothing is growing and happening. But then things begin to shift – the sun begins to shine, plants begin to bud, and before you know it, blooms are everywhere. I’m so thankful that as we move through a challenging time in our lives, God remains faithful and doesn’t leave us in that winter season forever. Spring comes and new things begin to happen!

I recently spoke at a ladies event at our church and shared with them that while I’m not sure I will ever understand the struggles and waiting seasons, I do know that going through trials brings a whole new level of intimacy with Christ. There is a new level of trust knowing that He is the faithful provider and His timing is perfect in our lives.

We have had so many changes in the last year- new jobs, new schools, new plans- but what I’m most excited and thankful for are the new relationships, friendships, and the personal/spiritual growth that came out of that time. I’m convinced that God uses everything in our lives if we let Him.

Am I saying everything is perfect now? No, certainly not. But looking back at where we were a year ago and where we are today – it brings tears to my eyes. I am so humbled and thankful for what God is doing in our lives and excited for what is ahead for our family.

God has also been so gracious to plant some new things in my heart in recent weeks/months. And while I do not know exactly know what is ahead, I know I can trust Him.

I’m encouraged for the upcoming year by Paul’s words to the Corinthians,

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

 I Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)

Hopefully it won’t be so long before you hear from me again. But until then, may we abound in the work of the Lord!

Blessings,

Darcy

Faith

Hope Deferred

Hope DeferredHope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Have you ever been in a season of waiting? Currently we are in a long season of waiting. I can attest to this verse first hand. Deferred hope can most definitely make the heart sick.  Can you relate?

But that is only the first part of the verse. The rest of the verses promises that when a longing is finally fulfilled, it will become like a tree of life.

I can’t help but think of a tree in full bloom. Life-giving abundance. A tree that gives food, life, shade, protection. I like the thought of knowing that when a longing becomes fulfilled, the heart is no longer sick but full of abundant life.

When I read that verse, I also think of Christ.

Can you imagine how the world waited for Him in the time of His birth?  For the Old Testament prophesies to be fulfilled that a Savior would come to save the world?

I wonder how many hearts were weary and sick as they waited and hoped to see their King.

Surely, Mary’s heart must have felt ill as she waited to feel the first kick in her womb to confirm that the angel’s words had indeed come true. That she would carry a babe – the one who would save the world.

Can you imagine the angst of Christ’s followers, who were certainly heartbroken, after the crucifixion? And then having to wait three days, resting only on His word that He would rise again.

I think of us today who know Christ and eagerly await His return to this earth. Oh, how our hearts can long for the day of the Lord.

On the flip side, I wonder what their hearts felt when they saw it come to pass. How did it feel when the angels appeared to the shepherds to tell them their Savior had been born? Did hope rise up like a tree in full bloom?

What about Mary when she was swollen with baby, knowing the world’s Savior would make an entrance as her son? When he arrived, did her heart burst with joy because the longing had been fulfilled?

And the disciples. What about them? When Christ appeared to them after they heard about the empty tomb, did their hope explode to new heights? Hope that would be necessary to carry them through the upcoming depths of agony they would suffer as His followers?

And what about us? I can’t begin to imagine what it will feel like to have that longing fulfilled to see Christ one day.

In the meantime, much like a pregnant woman who waits and waits and even grows weary and heartsick, we still hold on to hope knowing new life will make an entrance and that the longing will be fulfilled.

Regardless of what situation we find ourselves in today, we know we can trust the One who is for us. And one day when our longings are fulfilled, surely our hearts will burst forth like a tree of life. In the meantime, we keep doing the next thing. Hoping, waiting, trusting, & praying – knowing God sees us and our hearts.

Waiting expectantly,

Darcy

Faith

God Is For Us

GodisForUs

I’ve had this post ready to go for a few days but delayed posting it. I told my husband, “I want authenticity on my blog. I want to be sure the message I share is one that I am living.”

And frankly, it’s been a tough week as more doors have shut for us and a few times, while my head keeps telling me the message I have to share is true, my heart sure hasn’t felt it this week.

I’ve questioned God being on my side this week – as all we keep hearing is “no” to every door we knock on.  What does that mean and how do we keep going with no direction? Where is God in all this?

But as I walked it out with a broken heart this week, I am convinced God sees my heart and accepts me where I am at as I wrestle it out with Him.

I am also convinced that this message-God is with us– is still worth sharing.

There is power in those words and also in having that knowledge. Some times I think it just takes our heart a while to catch up. But if we keep pursuing the heart of God and keep standing on His word in spite of it all, our heart will eventually catch up. So if you are wrestling with God and struggling to know He is on your side, you are not alone. But He never changes and His Word is the only reliable thing in our lives. And it says that God is for us. So I choose to believe….

Approximately two weeks ago, I sat at this keyboard and shared how I was feeling weary, soul-weary. However, I also told you that we could stand on the phrase, But God, even when we felt too tired for anything else.

Well,  I had a wonderful opportunity (thanks to my Mom) to go on a ladies retreat recently and get a little soul rest.

The retreat was located in a rustic but historic campground, one that has a 125 year heritage of people coming together to hear the word of God and to pray- a haven, which was perfect for my weary soul. There was something incredibly sweet and tender about that place, almost like you were on Holy ground. A place where peace washed over you as you entered the gates of the campground and where God touched people’s hearts.

It’s stunning to think about how many people have come through those gates, walked those roads, strolled from porch to porch, and meeting at the tabernacle to pour out their hearts to God and receiving refreshment from His Word and Spirit.

Bread and Living Water. Sustenance to the soul.

Sometimes we are physically tired and sometimes it is our spirit that needs to be nourished and refreshed. I needed to know that in this weariness I was not alone.

The theme for the weekend was Pro-Nobis – “God is for us.”

God IS for us. Not against us. Not maybe on our side, but 100% for us.

He is for us.

I wonder what would happen in our lives if we began living as if “God is for us” every single day.

Every single situation. Every moment.

Never doubting, even in the dark moments, that God is on our side.

Countless scriptures affirm the truth that God is with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He chose us before the foundation of the earth.

Regardless of how we feel. Regardless of how we think about ourselves. Regardless of how others think of us. Regardless of what our situation looks like.

God is for us.

Think about that… What if we approached every moment of our day with the knowledge that the Creator of the Universe, the One and Only Great I AM, is on our side. For real.

How would that change our perspective? How would that change our mood?

And why is it so hard to live out that promise? Why do we struggle to maintain the stance of a conqueror during life’s bloodiest battles?

Well, we are human. Our emotions threaten to overtake us and often do, if we let them. We get distracted by our day to day and leave God out of the picture.

But can’t we trust the promises of the One who who counts every hair  on our head? Can we believe that if He catches every tear and calls us by name then His plans for us are good?

I believe the world is changing drastically and those of us who call ourselves Christians better learn to stand in battle with our swords held high and our armor tucked close. And we better know whose side we are on and more importantly- Who is on our side.

God is for you. God is for me. Our circumstances may look desperate and our prayers appear unanswered but God is for me. In that, I can rest. Truly rest.

He may continue to allow this fiery trial in my life and maybe you have your own battle waging but with God on our side- nothing can defeat us. Nothing can separate us from Him or His love for us.

It’s a daily stance we must take to choose to believe God and that He is for us.

I’m confident that if we take the head knowledge that God is for us and ask God to start making it heart knowledge, He will do it. And with that knowledge will come an inexplicable peace that can only be found in Christ. The kind of peace that will differentiate us from the world. 

This week I challenge you to take every situation and struggle you face and tell yourself that God is for you. I will be doing the same thing.

  • The kids won’t stop arguing or go to bed and you are beyond tired. Say~ “God is for me. He has equipped me to be their mother and will see me through this season.”
  • Bills are due and there is more month than there is paycheck. Say~ “God is for me. He is my Provider.”
  • That addiction you just can’t seem to resist. Say~ “God is for me. I am more than a conqueror because of Christ.” 
  • Have a sharp tongue and a less than gentle spirit? Say –“God is for me. With His help, I can be gentle and kind because He is gentle and kind.”

Let’s choose to make “God is for me” our daily mantra.

Remember ~ He is for you. He is for me. He is for us.  All the time.

Pro Nobis,

Darcy

Faith

It is Well

While I am working on a post to share soon, I wanted to share this song that has been on repeat for me for weeks now.

Some of you might need the reminder that regardless of what your circumstances might be, it can be well with your soul. Truly, it can be. Listen to the words of the song and let it minister to your heart.

Through the tears, the pain, the struggle, the sorrow – we can all rest in His love and sing “It is well with my soul.”

Praying Psalm 91:1 – that we might find rest in the Almighty today.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty,”

Blessings, Darcy