Our Legacies (Prayer Devotional for the week of March 13, 2016)

The time has come for me to move on to other areas of ministry. I hope this final devotional entry will encourage you to seek after God’s plans for your own life and strengthen your faith for the journey. Thank you for walking this path with me for 5+ years! It has been a joy! Please feel free to visit the archives to read past entries.

Early in my walk with the Lord, I felt drawn toward ministry, especially foreign missions. My pastor at the time once quipped that I would become the next Lottie Moon (a famous missionary to China in the late 1800s). I tucked away his comments in my heart as I mulled over God’s plan for my life. A few years later, that same pastor disgraced his family and left the church amid a scandalous affair. I struggled for a long while about his teachings and encouragement that had meant so much to me as a new believer in Christ, but suddenly felt tainted. I learned the hard way to put my trust in the Lord, rather than in people.

 

That isn’t to say that godly leaders have no impact on us – of course they do! Look at the story of Elijah and Elisha, beginning in 1 Kings 19. Elijah had accomplished amazing things for the Lord, but this part of the story picks up with him hiding in a cave to avoid capture. Elijah felt like all of God’s people had turned on him, and he was the only faithful one left. The Lord spoke to him, encouraging him that not only were there still thousands of loyal Israelites, but God had also identified Elisha as his successor to carry on the work that he had started.

 

Elijah may have thought his ministry was a goner (through no fault of his own), but as it turns out, his legacy was so incredible that he even had an encore performance in the New Testament (see Matthew 17)! There may be times – no, there will be times – when serving the Lord feels like a one-man band, and you question your purpose or calling. There will be times when other Christians let you down, disappoint you, even betray your trust. In those times, we need to remember that we are serving the Lord, first and foremost. When we walk with the Lord, great things happen – not for our own glory, but for his.

 

When we began these devotionals a little over five years ago, I could not have imagined how the Lord would use them. After all, I’m no Elijah; I’m just a gal with lots of ideas in her head and words on her heart. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts, struggles, and prayers as you came alongside and walked with me through grief, despair, joy, heartache, growth, and change. This season of ministry is coming to an end for me, but I hope that somehow I have spurred each of you on to find ways in which you can serve the Lord through your own gifts, talents, and passions. Don’t be afraid to strike your cloak on the water, as it were, and step out in faith (see 2 Kings 2 for Elijah & Elisha’s river story). Who knows, you might just become the next Lottie Moon … but even if you don’t, God still has mind-blowing things planned for you. Just trust him.

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The Trap of the Here & Now (Prayer Devotional for the week of May 4, 2014)

For what felt like the umpteenth time this year as I bid him goodnight and sent him to bed, he asked, “Are you going to come pat my back?” I sighed and said, “Yes, honey, I always do. I’ll be there in a sec.” Our bedtime routine is just that – a routine. It is very seldom that I don’t go room to room to pat boys’ backs, tuck sheets around them, kiss their faces (then get the kisses wiped off, then kiss them again), and leave doors cracked just-so to keep nighttime fears away. In that moment, though, it was as if I had just walked into the room and overheard myself with fresh awareness. My spirit said: These days won’t last forever. You are just tired and feel like you have repeated yourself a million times today. Of course you will be there. He needs you. And then I thought to myself: Doesn’t he trust me by now? Why does he doubt? Why does he always ask me to come, when he knows that I always do? And my spirit said again: Sooner than you’d like, he’ll quit asking. I had fallen into the trap of the here & now, without even realizing it. Tired and frustrated, I was wishing away precious days. Precious days when he still needs me and believes that I have the power to fix his troubles. Precious days when I still have some say in what he does and where he goes. Precious days that I cannot ever reclaim. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG) reminds us to avoid the trap of the here & now: “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” These frustrations are small potatoes, y’all. On those days when someone has pushed every, single, cotton-picking button and you are about to blow a fuse … it’s small potatoes. On those days when you feel like nothing you do matters because no one apparently notices or cares … it’s small potatoes. God knows. God cares. You have eternal purpose, and you matter.