Divine Appointments & Chocolate Milk

I truly believe God puts people on our path. I also believe if we aren’t completely wrapped up in our own nonsense, we notice. This happens to me often. It might happen more often but since I’m human, sometimes I am wrapped up in my “stuff” and I fail to see an opportunity to witness or encourage. Today I was shopping and I noticed a little lady having trouble getting a gallon of chocolate milk down. She was on a little scooter. I asked if she needed some help and about that time she got it down. She said “I’ve got it, but I think that’s about my weight limit”.

Amen, Sister. I hear you. I read so much more into that statement than a heavy jug of chocolate milk.

“I’ve got it, Lord… But that’s just about my weight limit. It’s heavy. I can’t carry anything heavier, can you send some help.”

I’ve been there. It’s a street I often travel down. Heavy, hard to carry… Life.

And then she laughed. She had beautiful white hair, bright blue eyes, and a countenance that I deemed joyful, but a little sad. She wheeled on over and began to chat. She told me she just had surgery. She said she still had quite a bit of pain, then she started to share her other difficulties. I had a lot of shopping left to do but I know from experience when God puts someone in my path that my agenda needs to take a backseat. We continued to chat and she had really been through a rough season. And then she said it, “And in the middle of all that my husband died”. It’s the phrase I am familiar with and sometimes my Heavenly Father leads me to mention that I have walked that treacherous road as well. But today, as I tried to be completely Holy Spirit led, I just listened and encouraged and her countenance seemed to brighten up and I wished her well. She just wanted to talk about it. She just needed to talk about it. And the strangest thing is that not five minutes before that I ran into someone who I really hardly ever see and it was someone who spoke the most genuine, funny, heartfelt thing to me when I hadn’t been a widow but just a few hours. And she and I talked about something completely different and I didn’t even think about it until later. It’s just a reminder to pay it forward. Stop being so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t see the widow, the poor, the heartbroken, the sick, the single mom. The little lady today probably blessed my heart way more than I blessed hers. But I am so grateful that my heart is willing and can hear His direction even in a crowded grocery store. My heart aches for the times I missed it, the times God had to send someone else to minister, to listen, to chat, to encourage. He certainly does not need me. I am certainly not His only choice. But I never want to be too busy to be His hands, His feet, to shine His light.

I loved that she was buying chocolate milk. There was just something about her and that big jug of chocolate milk that makes me smile. I pray she continues to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. I’ve never been so glad to have been out of coconut milk…

PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the people and things that make life joyful and full. Thank you for letting us bear one another’s burdens in big and even the smallest of ways. Thank you for divine appointments and holy conversations. Thank you for being in our midst even when we begrudgingly go to the grocery store. What a beautiful blessing that you never leave us nor forsake us. Help us speak kind words with patience to others. Give us eyes to see, to really see the needs of others.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Evening Reflection & Prayer

This is not the time during Lent when I normally read these verses, but I just needed to think about this tonight. I needed my eyes on Jesus and I needed His agenda firmly in front of me…I thought I would share.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:1-17 (NIV) 

Jesus washing the disciples feet… He knows they won’t all be able to make it through what is about to come, they need His grace and mercy tonight. It’s going to be hard to stand beside Jesus soon. It gets that way for us sometimes, too. It gets difficult to trust the outcome when everything grows grim and dark. John is the only disciple who makes it to the cross…Jesus knows. Peter still doesn’t get it. Jesus even knows what Judas will do… And Judas… walking so closely with Jesus and still not getting it, with His mind on earthly treasures, what must that have been like as Jesus kneeled to wash His feet… Was he past the point of conviction or was he simply satisfied to choose the world over his soul… Did Judas just not even realize he was walking with the Son of God? Watching miracle after miracle, or was he even paying attention? Maybe he was giving glory to someone or something else for all he was seeing. It’s not hard to believe, do we do that? God moves a mighty mountain, God heals, brings us through a trial, opens a door for us, closes a door for us, sends us help, answers our prayer, do we praise Him? Do we know where our help comes from? Do we give glory to God. Or do we pat ourselves on the back? Do we chalk it up to happenstance or our own abilities? No one thinks they could ever be anything like Judas. What? But we all have our moments.  Maybe we don’t go as far as he did. But we should remember  we are not better than Jesus, and just like the enemy tempted and tried to sift Jesus, he will tempt and sift us, too. Doesn’t that make you want to walk a little closer to Jesus.? That should shake us all up…I hear people say Jesus needed Judas to get to the cross. Something like, your enemies are part of the plan. Maybe. But I’m pretty sure Judas is just another example of God using evil for good. Because Jesus was going to the cross regardless. And, in my opinion, eventually, the soldiers would have found Jesus. I don’t believe God’s redemptive plan for all of humanity hinged on Judas being some kind of puppet. We all get to make the decision. Judas didn’t choose Jesus. 

Jesus First. Others Second. Ourselves Last. Crucify Pride. Crucify your agenda. Judas didn’t. 

And Jesus still washes Judas’ feet. Jesus still loves Judas… But I can’t imagine how Jesus washed Judas’ feet. His grace and mercy is too much for my human mind to fathom… Jesus has a servants heart in a royal body… The King of Kings and Lord of Lords says wash your enemies feet… He didn’t just talk the talk… When He said Love was the greatest commandment, the Savior of the world meant it…

PRAYER:

“Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for the gift of wisdom. Thank you for allowing us to reflect back on your earthly walk. It’s a beautiful blessing to walk with you and read about your life. It’s insightful to read about Judas and his failures, even though it’s heartbreaking to think he walked so closely and somehow still did not choose you. Please Lord, help us be strong when the enemy sifts us, may we always keep your agenda above our own. Help us remember what a sacrifice you made for us all. Help us love our enemies, and help us keep our eyes on You. ”

In Jesus Name,

Amen

The Bigger Picture

I wouldn’t call myself a control freak. I mean, I wouldn’t call myself that. (Haha) But I could understand if someone else might recognize my struggle. I don’t have a control issue so much with people as I do with details and circumstances in my life. I pray everyday for God to have his hand on every area of my life and family. I believe He is present and in control. I believe God is good. However, I find myself struggling with the need to control certain circumstances.

But I guess I am in good company. Jesus hung around with a few control freaks as well. Peter was a bit of a control freak. So much so, that when the soldiers showed up to arrest Jesus in the Garden. Peter went a little crazy. Cutting off ears and such, and in trying to stop what was inevitable and necessary, he displayed his need to control the situation.

It gives me great hope to know that one minute Jesus is telling Peter that he is in the rock He will build his church on (Matthew 16:18) and a few verses later in Matthew 16:23 Jesus rebukes him and says “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Jesus goes on to tell Peter that this is all necessary. Oh, how Jesus understands this pitiful flesh. One minute we have it all together and the next, something storms up and threatens our normal, and we, like Peter, lose our peace and ability to be still. One minute we are posting about how we know our help comes from God and the next we are spouting “approved Christian curse words” because there’s a wrench in our plan. Just like Peter out on the water, we take our eyes off Jesus.

When things start to go off track, we always need to put down our sword and look and listen to our Savior. Just like Jesus told Peter, (I’m paraphrasing) your problem is that you have your mind on temporary, earthly things, this situation is eternal.

I know there were times when our Savior struggled with situations He wanted to, but chose not to control. The garden, being questioned before the cross, and then being crucified. Jesus had the power to stop it all from happening. But He had His mind on eternal things.

There will always be situations I cannot control. Some of them will be insignificant, temporary things, and some of them may hold the potential to make a lasting impact on my life. But either way, God is in control. I remember praying and begging God to intervene and save my husband when it looked certain he would pass away. There I was 24 years old, asking God to intervene and change the direction of what was happening in that moment. He did not change the course of that moment. I could not change it. And so, that chapter of my life played out (as they all do) just as He had written. I did not understand it, I did not like it. And certainly not right away, but over time I realized that this was one of those eternal situations, and so I asked God to help me see it that way. And along the way, I have had some moments where I didn’t want to but I just had to get my eyes higher. Because that is where the healing, the redemption, the grace and mercy reside.

I believe strongly that standing in the face of a heartbreaking trial and having to trust that God knows best doesn’t come easily to these human hearts of ours. Honestly, it shatters the very ideal that you can control life’s circumstances. I think it may make us a little more of a control freak after the fact. For me, I feel like it has left me with a struggle to control all the circumstances that I might have any chance of controling. I default to this even when I know it’s absurd.

I feel like Jesus shakes His head every single time. I can hear Him gently whispering, “get your mind higher, set your gaze on me.” I know He’s right. His track record is impeccable. I can always look back and see His best for me doesn’t always look the way I imagined.

Isaiah Chapter 55 (v.8-9) tells us that His thoughts and ways are higher than our own. We cannot begin to comprehend why He takes us down the narrow path. But again, that’s where we find out that He restores our lives and makes them beautiful in a way we could never imagine. I am so thankful that He waits while I wrestle for control. I am so thankful He pours out mercy while my hands hold on so tightly to the thing He has asked me to let go of.

It’s hard not to worry when things get chaotic. It’s hard not to want things to go smoothly and never spin even a little out of control. Jesus understands, He has been there, too.

So, get your mind higher, get your eyes on Jesus. Pray about the long haul. Most of these ole worldly trials are necessary. Uncomfortable, inconvenient, sad, costly, overwhelming, and necessary. That word helps me put down my sword and let Jesus fight for me. Sometimes, most times, the only thing we can control is whether or not we will simply rely on Jesus.

From one recovering control freak to another, let’s hold on to our peace, there’s a bigger picture…and it’s beautiful beloved…absolutely beautiful.

Love in Christ,

Cassie

I would LOVE to hear from you! Do you struggle with a need to control? Do you need prayer? Email me or comment below. 💙

Sacrificing the Snooze

I’ve walked with Jesus long enough to know that choosing Him means He is always present. Even when I hit the snooze button, pray a minute and fall back asleep. On my walk with Him thus far, I have also learned that I will always need Him. Especially, when my alarm goes off and I have never been as cozy in my bed as I am in that moment. And by the way, why is it that the sweet spot in your bed is nonexistent on the weekends?

I’m not much of a morning person. Over the last couple of years, I have really tried to overcome this aversion. For those of you that know me well, and are shaking your heads, remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, people. I love the the idea of getting up early and rising early is not the issue. I just haven’t mastered the art being able to “people” for at least an hour post waking. I need a shower, a cup of coffee, and at least 30 minutes with Jesus before I can fully function. So, this means I gotta get out of bed. However, the purpose, for me at least, of getting up earlier than required isn’t so I can interact with people. The reason my soul longs for early mornings is because that it is a time of day when I can devote my attention completely to the Lord. I can sit in the quiet, watch the sun rise, read my Bible and pray. Most importantly, I can listen. I don’t even generally attempt to venture out of the bed before I have talked to God a few minutes. Honestly, jumping up and rushing into my day never ever goes well. I need a clear sense of direction. I need to communicate with my Creator. And yes, I pray at various times throughout the day. For me, praying is like breathing or eating. But I have discovered that the morning is sacred. If you haven’t ever met with Jesus early in the morning, I encourage you to give it a try. It changes the course of your morning, it changes the course of your entire day.

For many years in my late twenties and early thirties I felt a pressing on my heart to get up early and meet with the Lord. I won’t say I ignored it, because I acknowledged it. I just quenched it with excuses. Mostly, “I’m not a morning person.” and “I spend time with the Lord, it doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning.” And so, it saddens me to admit but I missed so many opportunities to make God the first priority of my day. And still now sometimes, I choose my flesh and I hit that snooze button (multiple times, is there a support group for this problem?). And let me tell you, those days don’t get off to the best start and I miss out on sitting quietly with the Savior of my soul.

So, if you continually find yourself stressed out in the morning, sacrifice a little sleep to sit with the Savior. Sacrifice the snooze button. Tell Him that you woke early just to be with Him. Tell Him about the busy day you have ahead, ask Him to go ahead of you. Tell Him about how tired you are and ask Him for an anointing of energy for the day. Pray over your children, pray over your spouse, pray over your co-workers. Just pray.

But first, just thank Him for waking you up. Thank Him that His mercies are new every morning. He woke you up. If you can’t think of anything else to talk to Him about, just thank Him that He woke you up and ask Him what you can do to glorify Him as the day unfolds. Then, just sit at His feet and listen. I promise you the peace and comfort this brings cannot compare to the short-lived coziness the snooze button brings.

I hope you have a great evening and set your clock just a little early for tomorrow morning. Even if you hit the snooze button, talk to Jesus, and fall back asleep, you’re making progress…baby steps. Let me know how your day goes.

Love in Christ,

Cassie

He is _______.

I used to blog a little years ago. But never really about things that were really personal to me. I am actually only sharing this now because God has weighed heavily on my heart to do so. I have been in much prayer and even now I hesitate. However, my heart wishes to be obedient to the God who has been so good to me.

Not too long ago, I was driving into town. I was listening to the radio and enjoying the bright, sunny day. There was a vehicle in front of me and another one following behind me. I drove on in between the two for several miles without noticing much about either of the two. As I continued on I realized that the vehicle in front of me was actually a hearse. I really do not care for the sight of these particular vehicles for obvious reasons along with several personal ones. However, I continued driving behind it and looked in my rearview just to check behind me. The car that was behind me was actually much closer than it had been earlier and I was able to see it well. It was a police car, but not just any police car, one of “those” police cars, from his department. I took a deep breath (I see these all the time and most of the time I just look away). But I actually thought to myself “Seriously, am I really driving down the road between these two?”. I tried to just focus on the road and think about something else, because truthfully, I don’t really like thinking about what happened. It was really such a nice day, just the right amount of blue sky and puffy clouds. The farther I drove the more I began to think about another sunny day. Except this day was hot and miserable.

On that day I was riding along behind a hearse. There was a procession of police cars escorting that hearse, though, with lights flashing. I couldn’t stop crying that day, as much as I tried. I began to think about the moment he died, the day we buried him, the 21 gun salute, and the Chief walking over and handing me a perfectly folded triangular American flag. I began to think about the uncertainty of what would lie ahead and if I would be able to ever feel okay about any of it. I remembered all of that like it was yesterday, except for one thing. It didn’t hurt like it was yesterday. It didn’t hurt the way I was afraid it would always hurt that day.

As I drove that day behind that hearse many years later, I realized that other than the few, tiny tears forming in my eyes and the lump in my throat. I was actually…okay. I couldn’t remember the last time I thought in detail about that day but I felt as if this was a perfect moment to once again glorify God for bringing me to this place. The truth is we are better than okay. I have watched and felt God do a miraculous work in my life since that sad day full of loss. He has carried me many steps and walked with me as well. I remember not long after that funeral telling Him I didn’t want to be sad and I didn’t see how I could do it on my own. I remember His still small voice within my spirit whisper “No, you can’t, but we can.” The fact that I am happy and peaceful says absolutely nothing about me. But it speaks volumes about the grandeur of the God I serve. I am able to overcome trials because He overcame the world. I can dwell in peace, joy, and hope because He is peace, joy, and hope. I enjoy a blessed life full of love, happiness, and a grateful heart because He is restoration. He is love. I can accept loss because with Jesus nothing is ever truly lost.

I realized as I drove on along and the hearse turned off onto another road that God was indeed winking at me that day. He was showing me yet again that as we journey through life sometimes those we love take another road. We don’t follow them and we don’t always like that their part in the journey leads them down another path. Especially when the path is one from which they don’t return. But He is enough to make things better than okay. He is enough. He is life. He understands that we will hurt, but He sees the value in hurting, even when we cannot. We never know what life will bring, but He does. He has written our story from beginning to end. He knows. He sees. He comforts. I am so thankful that He never leaves me and He will never leave you.

I am reminded often that God has a handle on everything that concerns His children. He will remind me gently whenever I get worried or stressed about something that seems big and even things that aren’t so big. His eye is on the sparrow.

No matter what we should never fret about anything because He is ____________. Just fill in the blank with whatever your heart needs.

Love in Christ, Cassie