Tag Archives: Trials

Warrior, Champion, Friend.

Out of the pot and into the fire. That is how I felt as I was scrolling through my Word document that contains all of the warrior verses that I have copied there. The verses get crossed off as I write about them and now more and more of my time is spent scrolling down to find the text for my next thought, and for my next enlightenment. 1 Chronicles was taking forever! That was my feeling. I learned a lot and was forced to think a lot. The posts were fun to write, but they were getting repetitive. With genealogies and the talk of David’s mighty men repeated again and again I was looking forward to what the next book would bring. What new and exciting picture, attributes, and lessons could we learn from our next set of warriors?

I knew I was close, I was pretty sure I was done with Chronicles. As I scrolled I saw the crossed out text end and a new book of the Bible appear. Job. A book that had always confused me more than inspired me. The feeling that God allows, permits, and even has a hand in the terrible things that happen to us, that is just not a feeling that is fun to wrestle with. The idea that bad things happen to us, and then God redeems them is a prettier picture.

Job brings us back to the image of our God as a warrior. An image that I do enjoy much better than the old, bearded guy sitting in the clouds. Where are the paintings of our warrior God brandishing a sword and wearing armor? Where are the pictures of Jesus sitting atop a war horse ready to take on the legions of demons lined up for battle? Job at least reminds us that God is powerful and is to be feared,

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A Song. A Prayer.

I need Thee every hour.

Do you ever have it where you go to bed at night and it has been a rough day, or week, or month, or season, and you slip into your comfy bed and think, “Tomorrow will be better. I will try harder. I will be better.  I will hit the ground running and I will accomplish everything that needs accomplishing. I will do it all with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and the day will be wonderful. Yep, in 24 hours I will be crawling into bed with a sense of satisfaction and pride instead of this feeling of disappointment in myself and in the day. That is what I am going to do.”

Most Gracious Lord.

So you wake up . . . after hitting the snooze twice. You realize that you are out of coffee and after checking your bank account balance you realize that you cannot afford to buy one at Starbucks either. *Sigh*. Getting ready for work you realize that your pants are fitting a little snug. Your hair will not stay the way you want it to. You get to work, but you are running a little late.

No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford.

You sit down at your desk to have your supervisor point out an error that you made in one of your projects. It is something that must be done over and instead of starting on a new task you have to spend an hour on the project you thought was completed. A project that you had worried about and you were happy to have completed and accomplished.

What did you do wrong? What did I do wrong? Because if this was your day as well, I would like to tell you that me too. Luckily my supervisor is also a close friend and a strong spiritual leader. So as a few tears leaked through all the stress of my morning she laid her hands on my shoulders and she prayed. Oh, God. Where had I put him this morning? As her prayer washed over me I felt a little lighter and a little happier. I can still do this. . . I mean, He, He can still do this. I have already botched this day, but I know that he can salvage it.

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Why Doesn’t Proverbs 31 Just Give Me Eye Liner Tips?

“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.” Galatians 3:1-4 NLT

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 ESV

Mirror

A vendor of exquisite jewels, well made and beautiful, sits at the door of my church. There are necklaces, bracelets, ear-rings, and hair pieces all adorned with black jewels. They are just my style. I walk over entranced and excited as I look at all of these things that are especially enticing for me. You know that feeling when you walk into a store and you find the exact piece of jewelry, that perfect shirt, those awesome shoes, and it is just what you were looking for? Everything laid out on those tables seemed designed especially for my taste and my wardrobe. An ornate black mirror sat on the table for the shoppers to admire themselves and their new adornments. As I entered the area I noticed a feeling. A terrible feeling. These beautiful things that seemed to be made just for me, they were not for me, I should not touch them. These things were indeed black, and black beyond their color. I tried to warn my friends, I tried to tell my brothers and sisters in Christ. Some listened and went into the sanctuary without weighing themselves down with these fake jewels, but others stayed and tried on the jewelry and gazed longingly into the mirror in vain.

Vain. Vanity. God laid those words on my heart last night.

I feel like most of us humans, especially us girls, are constantly trying to improve and update our reflection. We try to become perfect or at least look perfect. Our words, actions, and wardrobe are all carefully weighed and measured. I know that I am guilty. I hate letting the world see me in sweatpants. If I do go out in my comfy, alma mater’s sweatpants it will be offset by a cute top. Even rarer than seeing a Kristin out in the wild in her sweatpants, is spotting the almost extinct Kristin-Without-Eyeliner. You can take away the rest of my makeup, but please leave my onyx black eyeliner! I have realized that it is very hard for me to look at myself in the mirror and think “Wow, I am beautiful.” Unless I have my eye liner applied just right I feel like I look like a zombie.

One of my college friends rarely wore eyeliner, or any make up at all really, and I always thought of her as so beautiful and I always wished I could be as confident as her. But when I would looked in the mirror every morning I would see tired eyes and imperfect skin and I would apply my foundation and eye liner to cover it all up. My efforts were in vain, in both senses of the word.

You see the word vain is an adjective that has two meanings:

  1. Having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance, abilities, or worth.
  2. Producing no result; useless.

I was lead to Galatians 3 this morning and it made sense to me. Not only because God had laid the word “vain” on my heart the night before, but because I am struggling in this transitional period I am experiencing spiritually. I grew up in this Christianity formed in this pretty white box. It was a safe box, filled with WWJD bracelets, teen devotionals, lock-ins, Christian music, and no clapping in Church. It was a Christianity that expected you to sit up straight, act all nice and normal, and whatever you do, do not express any spontaneous joy during the service.

It was a nice Christianity. It was a great place to grow up. It was a wonderful place for me to start my journey, but I am moving forward now, and struggling with that forwardness. Behind me lies a world that I had nearly conquered, I was capable of appearing nearly perfect. I could perform the niceties and give my Sunday school answer to applause.

But if I go back now, all would be lost. Anytime a Christian moves closer to God, when they journey down the path of righteousness, they will meet trials and they will be under attack. It would be much easier to turn back. But if I, if we, turn back now, now that we have suffered for good and for His glory, it would all be in vain. Our journey would be empty.

If I turned back now, it would show my conceit. Behind me is someone who could fake a bit of perfection, but going forward I have to leave that behind. There may be some mornings that I must face myself in the mirror without my eye liner. I must look at the true me, the bare me, and I must love myself. We must continue forward past the tempting jewels that this world has set before us and into the loving embrace of our Creator.

“She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:17 ESV

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 ESV