Tag Archive for trusting God

Mary’s secret for peace {for all of us.}

Do you find peace elusive? Do circumstances dictate your mood? Does the behavior (or misbehavior) of others rattle you and threaten to steal your joy?

On what does your happiness depend?

One of the greatest lessons we can learn is that peace is not dependent on circumstances when you are in Christ. When my peace is threatened, I know my focus is on the wrong things: problems, injustices, situations.

Getting alone with my Bible and some time with the Lord is really the needed re-calibration for my anxious heart. “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee.”

Mary-of-Nazareth-Nativity

Perfect peace.

One of my favorite examples from scripture, as you already know, is the humility of Mary.

Mary exemplifies a peace filled heart.

Mary’s world was turned upside down and we see her in a state of surrender. Angel appears, news delivered: You’re going to deliver the Messiah.

Peace. Belief. Surrender.—>And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Mary was living in a time when women had few rights. She was not master of her own destiny. She was dependent on God and she knew it. She called herself a servant–one who does the will of another.

Mary had few resources. She didn’t have riches or influence or people in high places that could get her out of a fix.

It’s easy to romanticize the manger scene with a soft-focused nostalgia. But think about Mary in her material state, flesh and blood, pregnant and uncomfortable with no where to give birth after traveling on a donkey to get to her birthing room, which turns out is no where, because there was no room for them. Plan B: Give birth in a stable on the ground.

Picture her giving of herself in order to give life to another, like every mother does. Her delivery wasn’t sterile or pain free. Shaking, sweating, panting, cold, hot, writhing in pain, holding her breath, frantic to survive another contraction and hoping the excruciating pain would soon be over. Her attitude on the dirt floor and hay bed of a birthing room: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.”

When shepherds interrupted the scene to see the newborn, and people were invading their space, chattering on and on about the angels and the stars, about the news, and why they were there…

with all that noise and confusion after you just gave birth.in.a.stable.

and we see that Mary is not joining in with the noise and confusion, and is not agitated or demanding her space or rights, but is simply quiet. At rest. Pondering. Unaffected by the outward circumstances. She knew her God and she simply trusted Him. “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

We see very little of Mary during the Lord’s 33 years on earth. We assume she did what normal mothers do. Night after night she nursed baby Jesus. She changed diapers, rocked, burped Him, cleaned a home, made meals, swept floors, cared for Joseph. Nothing spectacular by the world’s standards. Just faithful care for the people around her in her own little sphere of influence. But when we do see her, she was doing the right thing, and following the teachings of God. She followed Joseph when he was warned in a “dream” to flee to Egypt. We don’t see any recorded resistance to Joseph’s leadership. Then, years later, she was faithfully bringing the Lord to the temple when he was 12. Before Jesus first miracle, we see her instructing the servants to “do whatever He tells you.” Her steadfast heart was the same. She still saw herself as a servant of the Lord and trusted in Him.

And this is the secret to our peace as well. We need to see ourselves as servants of the Lord, to do what He commands, to walk where He leads, to serve in humility where He puts us.

Your life may seem mundane and maybe you are doing small things by the world’s standards. You may be obscure and poor and hidden. Maybe you are changing a baby’s diaper, or maybe caring for an elderly parent. And while you’ll never receive recognition for these things, an nobody seems to notice or care, God does see and notice. In fact, you are His servant doing His bidding right there as you feed that baby in the middle of the night, and as you calm that anxious loved one with Alzheimers.

Mary taught us that the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary, are to be embraced as “unto the Lord” and as “from the Lord.” This should teach us to say, with Mary, “Yes, Lord. Anything. Everything. Whatever you think is best for me.”

Mary held the “The Prince of Peace” in her physical arms. We have something better: We are “in Him” and have Him in our hearts.

Col. 3:1-3 “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

This Christmas, why not hand over that thing that has toyed with you and robbed you of your joy for so long. Why not meditate on the Prince of Peace and the one who did so much to bring peace with God to your life, heart, and eternity? Like Mary, why not trust God with everything and proclaim yourself a handmaiden/servant of God?

Why did we allow that small thing to steal our joy and peace again? What can threaten our peace now?

Let God Be God {And a Giveaway of Let.It.Go}

Being in control is almost seen as a virtue in our culture. The perfect woman is portrayed as influential, assertive, mouthy and equal, if not equal-er, to men. In short, women are encouraged to call the shots, be a driver, and end up on top.

As Christian women, we know that God has called us to humility, so we shun this whole mindset in theory, but in practice I fear we are just as controlling.

Oh, we’ve re-labeled it, and re-packaged it to make it look noble, but at its core it is still the same.

Right off, let me say that you cannot be a Spirit controlled woman if you are a controlling woman.

We might claim to be “assertive, ” which is code for we are eager to make sure our will is done our way.

We might call ourselves “conscientious” but in reality we want to be in charge of every little thing our kids, husband, church or friends do.

A controlling woman thinks these things, although she’d never verbalize them.(you see, she is in control of her reputation as well.)

Signs that you might be a controlling woman:

A controlling woman always thinks she is right.  If her husband isn’t dealing with something the way she thinks he should, she takes over. She meddles behind the scenes, and tries to fix everything.

A controlling woman thinks that she doesn’t need input from anyone else to raise her kids. (although she’ll give you her 2 cents about how you should be raising yours, you can count on that!) She doesn’t need input from church family or friends. She is Mom Almighty.

A controlling woman gets angry when her way is disregarded. 

A controlling woman is critical and bitter when her expectations are not met.

A controlling woman is impatient when God isn’t working fast enough for her liking.

A controlling woman struggles with letting go: of rights, problems, positions, reputation, of misunderstandings.

A controlling woman is playing god and has set her heart on one thing: Her way.

And in the end a controlling woman is never happy. She lacks lacks the fruit of the spirit because she is not controlled by the Spirit.

You can’t be loving, joyful, peaceful, good, gentle, meek, patient and thankful when Christ is not Lord of your life. And if you are ruling, He is not.

Do you struggle with being controlling? I have in the past.

That is why I appreciated this book so much; Karen Ehman’s new book Let.It.Go. 

I have learned so much from Karen’s books on hospitality, and especially love her manual for hospitality A Life That Says Welcome.  She even let me share her delish crescent roll recipe from that book in my Christmas ebook!

Her focus on God being central in all that we do is refreshing to me. When your focus is right, your life will be transformed. Outlook affects outcomes!

Here is a little about LET.IT.GO:

Women are wired to control. We make sure the house is clean, the meals prepared, the children are dressed, and everyone gets to where they’re going on time. But sometimes our strength of being conscientious can morph into the weakness of being a slight—or all out—control freak! This humorous, yet spiritually practical book will help you to:
  • Take control of your schedule yet welcome interruptions from God
  • Draw the line between mothering and micromanaging
  • Influence your husband instead of manipulating him
  • Learn to control your emotions when you can’t control the circumstances
  • Stop pursuing the appearance of perfection and start pursuing the person of God.

Really, at its core, being a controlling woman is volleying for God’s rightful position as ruler of your life. You can’t rule and be submissive to God’s rule at the same time.

Karen gently exposes our common struggles, offers grace, wisdom, humor and practical steps for us to trust God with the reins again.

You can win one of two copies of Let.It.Go.

Use the Rafflecopter form below. Note: All those who leave a comment on this blog will be entered into Karen’s bigger drawing to win a free Kindle Fire at the end of her book launch!  Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway