A Wonderful Surprise!

I could not believe my eyes.  This was a wonderful surprise!

Have you ever been surprised by God?  You were just doing your daily routine, and then God gives you a little nugget of truth or a special gift.  It could be through the words of a friend or the book you are reading.  Or it could be an actual present that just makes you stand there in awe of Him.

This is what happened to me on Saturday morning.  I was garage saling with my sister; one of my favorite things to do.  I was looking for nice pants for my son for our Rwanda trip because they cannot wear jeans.  I remembered a house that sold clothes similar to his size from previous years (yes, I am a devoted garage sale fan!), so I headed to that street. 

As I was walking down the road, this picture caught my eye. 

The lighting in this picture just captivated me.  The dark clouds in the sky revealed the tree did withstand the storm.  Completely encompassing the entire tree is this beautiful light, with the brightest light sparkling through the tree to the world around. 

Wow- I just stood there completely in awe of God.

Trees are significant to me.  As I walked through my own storm, God has used the symbol of a tree to remind me about the importance of DEPTH and growing deep roots in my faith. 

This is why this picture was such a special gift to me that morning and now hangs above my bed as a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in life’s storms. Honestly, this picture could be the cover of my book: Heartbreak to Strength.

The storm has not defeated the tree but instead made it stronger. 

Even when the winds raged and the rain drenched its branches, the tree did not give way.  It just depended on its deep roots to endure the storm.

Friends, just like this tree, I pray we can depend of our deep roots in our faith as we endure our storms.  Trusting that God has a plan even when we cannot see it through the storm clouds.  Knowing that God can use it for good as we seek Him and run to Him.  Believing that our pain can have a greater purpose. 

It is all about perspective. You see, if the whole picture was light and sunny, then the tree would not stand out.  But as the tree shines brightly in the middle of the dark storm, now others take notice of this beautiful sight.

What if our storms and struggles actually help us be a stronger light?

Friends, persevering through a storm is not easy.  I know how real the hurt and pain can be.  Today, I pray you rely on God’s strength and comfort through the storm, so that others can see God’s love and purpose shining through you!

Love, Jodi

The Bigger Picture

Sometimes I wish I could see the whole picture.  I could see the entire path that God wants me to walk.  Wouldn’t that be amazing? 

But instead God just gives us a tiny piece. A snapshot of what He is doing.  “When you have a few pieces, but no picture, it’s easy to give up.”

Friends, I want to encourage you today: Don’t Give Up. 

I just finished a book with this exact title by Kyle Idleman.  I love the sub-title; “Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and The Courage to Keep Going.”  I highly recommend this book; it is full of truth and encouragement. 

Listen to these two questions he asks us to wrestle with:

  • “Am I following God in a way that requires faith?”
  • “Do I do anything at all in my life that requires courage and confidence”

He continues by saying “If your answer is yes, then I have a follow-up question for you: Can you tell me a story?”  I love this part.  We don’t share our faith with a long theological answer; we share our faith with our story.  Our story of how God showed up and provided for us when we could only see part of the picture.   Kyle says, “A story of faith is almost always a “don’t give up” story of perseverance.”

Have you ever thought about your story of faith as a “don’t give up” story?

I love how Kyle defines faith.  He says, “Faith is confidence that keeps believing all the pieces are going to somehow fit together, even when we don’t have the big picture to work from.  It’s believing that God has a purpose, even when there seems to be no reason.”

Do you have faith that keeps believing even when the pieces don’t fit together how you wanted or expected?

It is easier to have faith when life follows the path we expected.  It is much harder to have faith when the pieces don’t come together like we hoped and planned.    

It is at that time that we have a choice: Are we going to have faith and trust that God has a good plan or are we going to give up when all the pieces are falling apart?

At that crossroad, my prayer is that you will remember that God has a bigger picture for your life than you can see.  I encourage you to replace your uncertainty with trust, a trust that God has an infinite perspective when we only have a finite view.  Knowing all of this is becoming part of your story of faith. 

Friends, I cannot wait to hear your “don’t give up” story, your story of perseverance.  Praying for you as walk in faith especially when you cannot see the bigger picture.

Love, Jodi