A Creative Word

Practical, occasionally funny, faith-focused thoughts.

Category: knowing God

Peace When You’re in Pieces

Almost every day I run into someone who is in the middle of a problem: her child is using drugs, or her mother is facing health challenges; perhaps her husband has filed for divorce, or maybe she is out of work and behind on the bills.

Whatever the situation, it’s big, it’s bad and she is almost overwhelmed, even though she keeps telling herself that it will all be ok. After all, she’s a Christian, and these things will work out for the best, right?

I get it. Believe me, I get it. And while it is absolutely true that God will use everything for His daughters’ good, there are some very real things you can do to make things better and less painful. Which means, unfortunately, that there are some very real things you can do that will make your situation worse and more painful.

(Screeeeeeeech!)

Did you hear that? It was the sound of some very nervous Christians slamming on the brakes. Look, I know actually acknowledging that a well-intentioned Christian can do things to make a bad situation worse is not a popular thing to say. Especially OUT LOUD. It’s too “negative.” But there, I said it, and I believe if you’ll think about it, you’ll agree.

You and I have both seen Believers face seemingly insurmountable situations and thrive, growing in their faith and having an extraordinary amount of peace throughout incredibly tough situations. By peace I don’t mean that they aren’t sad or grieving or having a difficult time; I mean that they have a “wholeness” even while they are in the middle of their grief. And most likely we’ve said. “Girl! You’re totally rocking it! You’re amazing! Your faith inspires me!” (And in response, she probably gives God all the credit.)

And we’ve also seen Believers face situations that sent them into tailspins that shook their faith—they ended up leaning away from God and isolating themselves from other Believers. Their lives spiral down and down– sometimes for years. And often we react toward them with grief, or even frustration and anger. (Sorry. The “screeeeech” earlier should have clued you in that I pretty much try to tell it like it is, rather than make everything look pretty… I tried pretty-fying everything, and it didn’t work out too well in my life.)

Unfortunately, that downward spiral I mentioned isn’t an exaggeration. I know because I’ve watched it happen—but more importantly, I know from scripture that it’s true. (Remember how David tried to “fix” his downward spiral into adultery?)

When you’re in those kinds of situations, you need HELP. That is, you need Hope, Encouragement, Love and Peace.

Peace… have you been longing for peace? It’s more than just “calmness.”

Jesus said, “My peace I give to you—not the kind of peace the world gives, but the kind only I can give.” The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom.” Shalom actually means “nothing missing, nothing broken, whole, complete.”

Now, THAT will bring you calmness!

And there’s good news! There are several other things that can bring you Hope, Encouragement, Love and help you hold on to the Peace He gives you. Over the next six weeks I’ll be sharing some actions that will give you HELP.

In the meantime, think about that definition of Shalom-style peace. And go spend 10 minutes, just you and Him—get some of that Peace you’re longing for!

“I will fight your battles, and you will hold onto your peace…” Exodus 14:14

I’d love to speak to your women’s group! Click here for more information.

>Celebrity Gossip… Or Something More

>Between the internet, the grocery store check-out lane and celebrity gossip on television, it’s possible to know how many children a celebrity has, what she eats to maintain her figure, whom she’s in a relationship with, whom she likes to hang out with and even where she shops.

In fact, it’s easy to know so much about her life that if I bumped into her on the street I might ask about how her toddler is getting over wanting to sleep in her bed. An expert at understanding her appeal, she would probably laugh and answer.

But the fact is, while I may know all about her, I don’t know her.

To truly know her, I would have to spend time listening to her; finding out where her heart is on the issues of life. I would have to have discussions where she could more specifically share her innermost thoughts with me.

There was a time when I approached my relationship with God by seeking to know all about Him more than knowing Him. I was willing to know His Word (an essential for knowing Him) and I was willing to obey some of the nudges from the Holy Spirit (the ones I was comfortable with) but taking time to sit down and pour my heart out, then listen for that still small voice?

Ummmm… no. First of all, I didn’t have time. I had two children, a writing career, my husband’s ministry to run and a women’s Bible Study to study for and promote. Second of all, why should I? I was clearly operating in my gifts—people gave me great feedback on what I was teaching and speaking. AND, I wasn’t jumping through what I had identified as the worst legalistic hoops. So, obviously, I was in a close relationship with Him.

So I continued on. Teaching women God’s Word. Having fun. Getting very excited when I learned something else about Him and His Word.

That is, until my life turned upside down.

All of a sudden, the only way I could breathe was to be in His presence every few hours. No longer was He someone I mostly knew about, but He was my most intimate friend; my source of strength and song. In the midst of destruction, I could turn my face to Him and have joy. Joy that seemed to grow larger and larger within me—“fullness” of joy.

Today, I can honestly say that while I regret some of my choices that helped put me on that path to devastation, I don’t regret the devastation; because it led me to His embrace. When the scripture uses the word “know” it refers to intimate knowledge. Knowing Him intimately is an incredible source of joy to me—my greatest satisfaction.

My prayer for you, dear one, is that you will choose every day to go beyond knowing about Him to knowing Him—so that your joy will be full!

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