What is God Doing in the Stillness?

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Stillness. A place my soul is learning to rest in. It’s a place where I am all alone with my thoughts and the Lord.

It’s been a gradual journey to get here. Little by little He sets activities aside, narrowing the focus to Him.

Some days my introverted side loves the quiet, other days the extroverted me wants community with hearts most like mine.

At the core of this stillness is surrender. So I press in, soaking up the truths that He makes me aware of … and for the most part I get them immediately. Then there are times when He has to thump me on the head like a ripe melon.

Today the stillness finds me at my middle son’s hospital bedside. Sickness has a way of bringing life to a halt.

So I surrender my thoughts and plans for this time … to wait, to focus, to listen, and to rest in His unwavering faithfulness.

I eagerly anticipated this day … to celebrate my risen Savior. There’s a sadness that we couldn’t be in the Lord’s house as a family today. No festivities, fellowship, or good food.

Of course Aaron’s sickness didn’t catch the Lord by surprise. So with every detail or event that the Lord allows to touch my days … I linger … waiting to hear His voice. Today in the quiet He reminded me of a few simple constants that my heavy heart needed to recall.

1 – When life takes a curve rendering you helpless and powerless … He is fighting for you and stands guard over every overwhelming detail.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Exodus 14:14

 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them.  The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes. Deuteronomy 1:29:30

2- When you are tempted to worry … pray instead.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

3- Let your faith kick in.

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24

Yes sometimes those directives are easier said than done, especially if fear creeps in. But though we go through these life bumps … He hasn’t deserted us.

In fact, it’s for the sicknesses we have … that He hung on a cross and died.

It’s for the many regrets that nag our memories … He willingly laid down His life.

For all the brokenness, the mistakes, the hurts, the barren places … for every inadequacy we are or feel … He became the sacrifice.

And finally the stillness reminded me that … one day when I see His face … all the longings in this patched up heart will become obsolete. He will fill in all the cracks of my soul with a love that completely fulfills.

I’ll be whole. What a comfort. What a faithful Savior.

So if  and when you find yourself at a place where you are forced to be alone with your thoughts … there is a good chance the Lord wants to remind you of a few things.

It’s good to hear from the Lord.

I challenge you friend … Don’t resist the stillness.

Happy Easter to you. Ain’t God good?!

love mel

 

When Fear Paralyzes Trust

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What do you fear friend?

What keeps you up at night?

What circumstances tempt you to intervene or provide a solution?

What are you afraid will never change?

Fear is a life sucker for sure.

If I had a dime for every time that fear has caused me to step out of the will of GOD … oh my … I would probably be sitting on a tropical island this very moment drinking a little fruity drink with a tiny umbrella … non alcoholic of course.

Oh the Spiritual and emotional ground that fear can steal.

Fear of loss, fear of the future, fear of man and what he thinks.

King David grappled with fear many times. We see this in the scriptures as he ran for his life … crying out to GOD … begging rest from his enemies.

But David’s struggles and victories, give me hope.

The Psalms he penned all those hundreds of years ago reveal a man who was desperate for GOD to show up.

How many times have you been desperate for GOD to show up in your life?

Maybe you are desperate right now?

David landed smack dab in the middle of desperation. The man after GOD’S own heart was on the run from a jealous, King Saul who wanted to kill him.

In first Samuel 21 we learn what fear made David do. He lied to Ahimelech, the priest, claiming to be on a special assignment for King Saul. In addition, he faked insanity before King Achish of Gath.

David reacted to fear in extraordinary ways to say the least. And in truth … his actions were not customary to his true character.

Can you relate? What has fear caused you to do that went against the grain of your conscious? Your character? And even your faith?

Oh the story gets better. David flees Gath and continues to hide from Saul. In chapter 23 of 1 Samuel, David finds himself faced with fleeing again after he helped Keliah defeat the Philistines. Once again, GOD reveals to David that Saul is coming for him, so David flees.

David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but GOD did not deliver him into his hand.  1 Samuel 23:14

And Saul sought David every day … but GOD did not deliver him into his hand. 

Oh my … sweet friend … just like David, we are fleeing and fighting for our lives in so many regards. And yes the struggle is real … it’s exhausting … it’s discouraging … but GOD is in control of our situation.

Isaiah 35

Let me prove that HE sees and cares about what you are going through.

“When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard it, he pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to seize them. But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.” So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape. 1 Samuel 23: 25-28

Oh my! Did you just see that? GOD sent the Philistines as a distraction to draw King Saul away!

How cool is that?

Oh friend … GOD sees your fear … your desperation … and HE is working on your behalf … even though you may not feel or perceive it. Time and time again we see GOD’S faithfulness played out on the pages of His historical word.

So what can we take away from this encouraging story about David?

1 – We must guard against fear causing us to sin … and turn away from GOD. We must not step out in flawed wisdom and make poor choices that separates us from GOD’S presence and will.

2- TRUST GOD in the overwhelming moments of fear. Get honest and cry out to Him just like David did in the Psalms. Pour out your heart and pen your own Psalms to the Creator.

3- Never underestimate the omniscient GOD who sees everything … especially what we can’t see. HE knows the exact moment of our deliverance and it will be right on time.

4- Believe that HE is always working on your behalf. He is your defender in all regards.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”   Isaiah 64:4

5- Openly rebuke the enemy who brings fear into your life. If you have been born again, you have authority over Satan in the name of JESUS. Don’t let him put fear on you.

6- Trusting GOD protects your peace of mind. You can’t fear and trust GOD at the same time. GOD doesn’t contradict himself in that way. Trusting GOD cancels out fear.

We have a COVENANT GOD who promises to never leave or forsake us. Man will let us down, but GOD will never forsake us.

Sweet friend, won’t you let a trustworthy GOD take care of your fear?

love mel

Elevation Worship … I Will Call Upon The Lord

When Life Turns Upside Down ~ An Honest View Of An Undone Life

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How can a girl ardently seek Jesus every day and still worry? How I’ve wrestled with this question so many times.

“Those who have faith, deep abiding faith in an artist who has all things under his control, have no need to rehash the past or predict the future.”                                                                               Michele Cushatt

Such wise insight from Michele’s new book, Undone.

Bottom line, if we don’t choose faith….we won’t have faith.

Michele’s story is probably similar to the rollercoaster story we all find ourselves riding, yet somewhere between the hurts, the heartaches, the losses, the failures and even the cancer….

Michele finds the beautiful artist, lovingly at work……one brushstroke at a time…..in a life that is undone.

“Faith isn’t rooted in the past or the future. It’s birthed in how we approach and handle today.”    Michele Cushatt

This resolute heart for Jesus has met him in the tender, swollen and irritated moments of weakness…and found….his presence is enough for each moment.

She reminds us that even life with the most imaginable hurts is in the here and now.

You see….when life becomes undone…..in just one phone call or one indiscretion or one bad decision…..we are forced to stop in the middle of the road.

We can catapult to the pits of worry and despair.…

Or we can breathe in the presence of the great artist and choose faith.

Jesus asked…..

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

What has worry ever done for you? Nothing friend…nothing.

“Worry like cancer consumes life, eating away at a person from the inside out. It exaggerates the unknown and clouds the known until the worried person sees only the horror of what might be, rather than the beauty of what already is.”                                                                                                   Michele Cushatt

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Worry seeks to take what good there is in life and condemn it with the hurt, the pain, the cancer and the loss.

This beautiful memoir met me in a recent battle that had turned into a stronghold of worry. A blessing from God that I thought was secure in my life….all of a sudden became unsure because of greedy man.

Two days ago I hit my knees at 1:36 a.m. and …..I chose faith.

Life is going to come at us with both fists wielding. It may knock us down, but we can look up before we get up….and remember who is in control…trusting him to help us in each unknown moment.

This is a beautiful book, one that you must read. It is a book for the divorced, single parent, the perfectionist mother or wife, the blended or new foster family, the career professional, the struggling faith walker and yes even the cancer patient.

Michele relays the poignant details of her struggles refreshingly real….. yet agonizingly raw. She can take a simple bible story and retell it in a way that makes you forget you have heard it before.

Filled with gospel truth yet soaked in intimate honesty, I feel like I have known Michele for years.

I can’t wait to meet her face to face one day soon and put my arms around her neck, and give her a holy kiss. This brave woman gives me hope…and a new perspective.

Reading this book will be a wise investment to your spiritual bank…..it will greatly strengthen and prepare you for the undone moments of life.

I just want to share one more nugget of wisdom from Michele, plucking at my heart strings for this undone life I too am living….

“Only a marred life gives birth to the most beautiful redemption.”

It seems we don’t see the richness of the struggle and how we mess it up at times….until after we have experienced the mercy.

What a beautiful work the great artist can do when we trust him in the unexpected and unknown.

Oh thank you, thank you Jesus.

If you find yourself at a place in life that is undone…..take heart my friend….God’s presence is here and now….so choose faith. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you….even when life is undone.

It is an unspeakable honor to be a part of Michele’s launch team for this beautiful book. You will be able to find it in stores on March10th or go to the Undone website and preorder it now. You can also read a sample chapter and find out more about this awesome lady.