Yes Lord, I Trust You

img_6649-1Last month our boys went to youth camp for the first time.  This is the first time they have gone somewhere States away, without us, for a long period of time.  I about died.  It was pitiful.  As the van drove away, I almost lost it right there in the parking lot.  I held it together…….until I got home. I then cried all day, worried sick, wondering if they were ok and so on.  It was so silly of me.   Jeremy pretty much said, “Dawn, you need to get it together” and I definitely needed to.

So, I began to pray and talk to the Lord asking Him to give me peace in my heart and take away my worry.  Then it hit me – Do I trust Him?  Do I trust the Lord with my children?  Because right then, my actions were not reflecting that.  In that moment, I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my ridiculousness and lack of trust and I began to truly dwell on trusting in Him. One of the very first verses I ever memorized was Proverbs 3:5:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding
.”

Do we trust Him with all of our heart? Do we look past our own understanding and rely on His?  What this scripture is saying is we must have “absolute obedience and surrender in every realm of life” (Fritsch, IBC, 4:799).  Oh how difficult that is when things aren’t quite in our control.  I know my example of worrying as my children went off to camp is such a silly example but it spurred an even greater thought process and challenge in my own heart.  Can I rest and rely on Him with absolute obedience and surrender?  It should be an immediate resounding “YES” as I am commanded to do so and I have seen His faithfulness over and over.  But, do my actions support that answer?

As I sit here at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning having been up for hours already once again wrestling with this question, I come to these conclusions:  I must trust Him.  I have to trust Him.  When things seem awry in my own heart at this moment, when I see the devastation so many are dealing with in Texas, when I see the unsettledness of our country and world, I must trust Him. Today I say Yes Lord, I believe you.  Yes Lord, You are in control.  Yes Lord, You are faithful.  Yes Lord, You love us with a “love that surpasses knowledge”(Ephesians 3:18) and therefore, I trust You.

Friend, I don’t know where you are today, what you wrestle or struggle with; maybe it is sickness, maybe it is marriage struggles, financial struggles, job struggles – whatever it is choose today to trust Him with absolute obedience and surrender over your entire life.  The peace that meets total surrender and complete trust in Him is astounding. 

~Father help me today to trust You completely, even though I am so unsure, You are not.  You are so faithful and Your ways are perfect.   What I see in front of me pales in comparison to what You have ahead of me.~

 

Content over Envy

I often find myself envious of other women and their successful career; desperately wanting what they have.  I sometimes look at women around me and think “man, I wish I looked like that” or “gee, I wish my hair was as long and beautiful as hers.”  If only I would have done this, I could be as successful as her…  If only I ran 8 miles a day, I could look like her (not happening by the way…)   It leads me down a road of discouragement, self-loathing and sometimes resentment; sucking every ounce of joy out of me.  It’s a dangerous game we play in our minds and hearts and the enemy loves to play with us.  When we allow ourselves to dwell on what others have that we don’t, what others do that we can’t, our attention goes away from the One who uniquely created us for His good and onto the one who is waiting with baited breath to destroy us for his pleasure.  Oh how quickly we can dip into murky water here…and sink.

It is important in these moments that we recognize our wrong, recognize the lies we are telling ourselves, forfeit the game we are playing and turn to the truth of God’s Word.  The beauty in that is when we seek God’s Word and understand that his promises apply to uswhen we begin to truly, wholeheartedly, with everything in us believe that – it draws us nearer to Him and further away from the lies of the enemy.  It spurs us to seek Him more, becoming confident in how He created us and where He has us in this moment.   It causes us to be content.

Things I do to change my perspective, combat my envy and remain content:

  • I point my praise and adoration to the One True God. I replace truth where the lies of the enemy have tried to take me out.  I do this by knowing and believing who the Lord tells me I am in Him.
  • I pray specifically for the woman that I may find myself being envious of. I pray that the Lord would bless her tenfold.
  • I will write and send a note of encouragement to that woman. It is amazing how at the same time you are blessing someone else, you also will be encouraged.  I promise.

Daisy

Beauty from Ashes…

Short, sweet and to the point…….

A few months ago I was asked to share my testimony at the Angie Smith conference the SBCV just had. I initially was going to say no as I was honestly a bit ‘scared.’ It was a seemingly daunting thought to stand up in front of 800+ women and ‘speak’ this testimony of mine…..to speak it is much much different than simply writing it. However, I came to the decision that how dare I squash an opportunity to point to the hope and unfailing love of our Savior. So, I did it. And can I tell you that when you are obedient to the Lord and do something that solely honors and glorifies Him, He will indeed give you an unexplainable peace in the midst of what could be an overwhelming moment. He will give you an opportunity that seems so undeserved.
IMG_6424This was a moment where I completely stepped aside and allowed the Lord to use me and speak through me. #lifechanging My hearts prayer in this opportunity was no one would see me or hear my story but instead hear a love story of Jesus Christ.
I share this to say, if you are in the midst of something that seems unbearable…hold fast my friend. He is there. He is faithful.
A time will come in your journey that causes you to realize that when you wept uncontrollably, when it didn’t seem light was at the end of the tunnel, when all else seemed to fail: The One you know remained, He did indeed remain. Because He is faithful and He does redeem and He does in fact use you for His glory. Even when you think it’s impossible, hope peeks thru.
Don’t give up friend, no matter where you are in the storm; you are loved and thought of…even in that moment you don’t think you can breathe….He is there. He is there waiting to breathe new life into the place that looks like it is beyond repair.
He loves you. He will mend you. He will make you whole. He is a good God. He is a faithful God.
He is a Redeemer, a Rescuer, a Mighty Fortress.
He is our God.

If you’d like to hear my testimony here is the video:

A Confession…

I have a confession to make….and it’s something that I have realized after attending an incredible leadership conference in Houston, Texas 2 weeks ago.  I was given an amazing opportunity to be a part of this conference for women in their 20’s and 30’s (I barely made it in..heehee) who speak, teach, or write in ministry.  It was something Beth Moore created through her brand new Entrusted study and I will say it was the best conference I have ever been to.  I have been unpacking everything in my mind I learned from that weekend and wrestling with trying to put it into words.  I had prayed it would be a weekend that would greatly impact me and I went into it with great anticipation asking the Lord to speak to me.  He did and I’m changed.

So back to that confession.  This isn’t exactly what I expected to come out of this weekend but it’s exactly what the Lord knew would.


“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:21  


 I am confessing that I’ve been lying to myself for a while now.  I so desperately wanted to believe that I was only concerned with what the Lord thought of me and what He had for me. (which is the way it should be..)  However, I realized that’s not what was happening as much as I tried to convince myself it was.  I’ve been yearning so badly for ‘normal.’  I ached for people to look at me like they used to, treat me like they used to.  I longed for people to trust me again, for friends to want to be around me again, for everyone to know that I am changed, that I am transformed, that I am different.   And once again, what people thought began to consume me more than my longing for Christ did.  And when even the littlest hint happened that this wasn’t the case, that someone questioned me or I saw someone look at me different, it stung and it stung hard.  I was overdoing it – trying to make sure everyone liked me, not wanting to upset anyone, clinging to friendships as if I was terrified to lose them because I’d already lost so many and so on– I was working hard going into overdrive trying to prove myself to be good.  It was becoming exhausting.   And finally, as I was sitting in my Houston Texas hotel room I heard……………”Stop.”

I sat captivated listening at this conference and one of the things Beth Moore said was, “I need nothing but Jesus.”  Simple statement? Yes. Basic statement?  No kidding….  Profound for me in that very moment?  Absolutely.   Not another thing on this planet is worth anything to me if my heart isn’t fixed on the very One who made it.   My moments with the Lord, my time in private that I have with Him will manifest itself in every part of my being, every part of my life when I let it.  I can tell you that I have never ever felt this supernatural peace and contentment about life that I do after that weekend.  My eyes and my heart are solely fixed on the One who rescued me, the One who transformed me and the One who is going to use me solely for His glory.  The rest of life falls into place from that.  I can say with 100% authenticity that I am not concerned with anyone or anything else.  Will people still question me? Yes.  Will some not like me?  For sure.  Do I want people to like me?  Do I want friends?  Sure I do but it doesn’t’ complete me nor am I consumed with it.  My job is to seek the Lord.  My job is to love Him with all of my heart.  He will unquestionably take care of everything else.  Everything else.  When I allow Him to come in and transform me, when I find my full confidence and identity in Him, it will pour out of every bit of me and other peoples response, positive or negative, to that is not my concern.  OH THE FREEDOM IN THAT!

The Lord spoke to me in that hotel room.  I felt His presence and it was as though He was saying –Stop it!  Just stop it!  Rest in Me.  Rest in Me and be who I’m calling you to be.  That is it!–  I imagined Him cupping my face in His hands, looking at me in the eyes and saying “keep focused right here and don’t look left or right.”

I cannot go back and rewrite my story.  All I can do is bring what I’ve got, surrender it to the Almighty and allow Him to use me!  I walked away from that weekend fully believing that the Lords not done with me.  In fact, He is just getting started.  He is going to use me and my story for His glory.  I can say with certainty that I have now officially shut the door on the last chapter of my life.  I am coming out of the rubble, dusting myself off and ready to walk boldly ahead fixated on His eyes, resting in His Word, trusting in His faithfulness.  My prayer each day is to never ever forget this feeling of peace and contentment I have right now.  It changed me, it calmed me, it renewed me.  My desire is to have a passion for Jesus Christ that compels the people around me – that they see Christ in me before they see me in me.  I want nothing else.

Dear One, you too can rest in Him and experience supernatural peace.  You too need nothing but Jesus. May you grasp how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH and how DEEP His love is for you. May you be filled with the fullness of the Almighty!


“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”Ephesians 3:17-20


**And just a little side note—super cool experience on my Houston trip meeting Lysa Terkeurst in the airport! 16716035_10210147124609453_4445207022607605631_o

Equipped

I remember the day we brought these little nuggets home, all 4 pounds of them.  It was the most terrifying yet exciting day.  Leaving the hospital, it took us a bit of time to get them in the car seats because they were so tiny, we had to make sure the straps were snug enough.  It was a rare snowy day as we drove home and I sat between them in the backseat crying.  I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions and all I could think was: “what do I do now?”…..“how do I do this?”  These precious babes are our responsibility and all the tips and self-help books I read didn’t really make me feel all that prepared at this point.  Somehow we made it and just this past weekend celebrated those two little ones becoming teenagers.  This Mommas heart just wasn’t ready for that……and I think I have that same feeling now as we enter the teenage years: “what do we do now?” and “how do we do this?”

I am so thankful that we have a God that doesn’t leave us hanging like that.  However, I think often times we may feel like that.  Maybe you are a new Christian and you just aren’t sure what to do now or maybe you’ve been a Christian a long time but don’t quite know what it means to ‘grow.’ It didn’t stop at the Cross friends.  Jesus Christ didn’t just die on the cross for our sins and say “well good luck!”  He rose from the dead, giving us joy that doesn’t end in death but instead new life in freedom through Him. He has provided us unwavering Truth and guidance through an incredible manual called the Holy Bible to walk this life out with.  Throughout Scripture we are given countless stories and certainties that we can freely look to always.  He provides us all we need to live a holy life.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.                                                                                              2 Peter 1: 3-4

Peter reminds us here of the sources made available to us.  When we grasp and utilize these sources we have the ability to share in his divine nature.  Wow!  What a promise!  Now, this doesn’t mean we are automatically free from all sin or become God ourselves.  What it does mean is when we surrender our lives to Him, we become like Him and have access to the only way there is to escape evil….and that is through Him.  In addition, we have the hope of one day being morally perfected when Jesus returns.  Oh how my heart soars to read these promises!

It is important to note here that this isn’t an “on-call” or “genie in a bottle” kind of thing.  We don’t just tap into our “sources” when we need them or when things get tough.   It is our duty and should be our hearts desire to seek Him daily, reading these promises daily so they are stamped on our hearts and in our minds.  It is then and only then that the “what do I do now? and “how do I do this” questions will be answered.  Through this daily relationship with Him comes growth.  Growth produces confidence in who we are in Him and wisdom in how we do life with Him.  Maybe you are still saying:  “Ok this is all great, but I don’t even know where to start.”  Can I share a few things that have helped me?

*Find a devotional book that can guide you through scripture and help you understand some things better.  Here are links to a few I have used in the past and absolutely love:

My FAVORITE: Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore

One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp

Living the Psalms by Charles Swindoll

*Friendship/Fellowship/Community – if you don’t have a church home, find one.  That is key.  You need a home base where you can go and hear Truth spoken each week.  Also a place where you can begin to build relationships with others that can encourage you and love you through God’s Word.  This happens when you GET CONNECTED.   Sometimes we have to take the first step in that and it may be hard, it may require stepping out of your comfort zone but it is a key part of this:  join a bible study.   This is a beautiful thing because we can glean wisdom from what others are learning.  And just an extra perk: it’s a little more difficult to fall off the wagon when others are expecting to see you each week!

*Mentor/Discipleship/Accountability – This is something the Lord’s been stirring in my heart for the past several months that is such a gift and an important part of our walk.  Pray for and seek out someone whom you believe is a little further in their walk with the Lord.  The Lord speaks through His people and I believe this is a very very important part of the equation.  Pray for someone whom you can trust completely, whom you can be vulnerable with and whom you know will boldly speak Truth into your life.  When discipleship/accountability works correctly, it can help your growth in your walk with the Lord tremendously.

May you realize that “what now” and “how do I do this” isn’t in God’s Word but instead are promises and guidance.  May you rest in the fact that He has gone before you, He loves you and desires you to have your own story with Him.  May you be ready to confidently and courageously step up to the challenge of growing in your walk and relationship with Him!

2016…..you were a good teacher.

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The sun has set on 2016.  It has been a wonderful year beginning with moving into our beautiful new home.  Throughout the year many doors have opened, opportunities have been given and blessings have been felt.  And in the midst of it all, I have learned….A LOT.

I’ve learned a lot of about focus.  It’s very important to focus on the big picture.  The big picture being your relationship with the Lord and His will for you.  So often it’s easy to get tripped up on the little things or even the big messes.  These things we fixate on is where the enemy is waiting in the wings to grab hold of you.  When our focus sways, so does everything else.  Even when we are in the midst of trials, stress, messes or whatever it is –  God is there.  Our precious Lord is in the midst of that mess with you.  Don’t miss Him.  While in the midst of this trial you’re facing right now, it may be hard to even breathe sometimes yet we must not miss the fact the He merely wants us to turn to Him, focus on Him and cry out His name.   Focus on Him – never lose sight.  Seek Him with all your heart!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

-I’ve learned that there are a lot of hurting hearts out there and many times they are quietly suffering.  Oh how that makes my own heart hurt.   If you just bend your ear a little, you can hear the hurt and quite possibly be a voice of hope.  You see, when we live out grace and tender mercy our attitudes change and our understanding broadens.  It’s so easy to just give an answer of “I’m great” or “fine” when we are passing each other in the hallway or the grocery store aisle and so often that’s a lie.  And It’s even easier to keep walking and not truly dig in and say “no really, how are you?”   Why can’t we be more transparent?  Why do we feel like we have to act a certain way or pretend all is well?   In learning the magnitude of hurt out there, I’ve began to pray that the Lord will allow me to be a beacon of hope wherever He takes me.  I’ve began to pray that the Lord will stop me in my tracks of busyness if necessary to hear a heartache of a friend, a neighbor or whomever crosses my path so that I can come to the Throne of Grace with them and maybe just maybe they can experience that same peace, joy and freedom I do.  Let others see Jesus in you.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1

-I’ve learned a lot about friendship or rather I should say I have gained a renewed perspective.   Friendship is a sacred precious gift from the Lord that should be treasured.  It is something to invest in and something to not give up on. My circle of friends is a very small one but I am very okay with that.  It is about quality not quantity.  2016 was a year I spent praying specifically about and for friendship.  Can I share a sweet story about one of my dear friends and how the Lord used her to speak to me this year?   A few months ago I received a text from this precious friend that lives many many states away.   We don’t get to talk very much or see each other a lot but we often send text messages of prayer requests we have or just sweet notes of love and encouragement to each other.  Well this particular day she sent me a text that was totally out of the blue but totally perfect timing.  You see, for several days I’d been quietly hurting over a particular past friendship that I’d lost. I had been desperately praying for the Lord to help me see Him in this ugly mess that was made.  It was then that the Holy Spirit led my sweet friend to send this beautiful message that you may not quite understand all of but I just wanted you to understand that magnitude of it.

She sent me this text after a nudge from the Holy Spirit not knowing how I’d take it nor that I was struggling with this very subject at that very moment.  I sat in my car just weeping at the tenderness of it, the perfectness of it and the beauty of it.  She simply obeyed a nudging from the Holy Spirit to 1) pray for me and 2) send me a beautiful note of love and encouragement on the very subject that my heart was aching for.  In this very moment everything about friendship made sense to me.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a beautiful thing.  He used my precious friend to speak to me and send me a little love note that yes – He heard my cries and He is at work.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a valuable tool.  We can pray for each other, we can build each other up, we can sense the Holy Spirit telling us to reach out when our friends need and we can even pray over other broken friendships because we love each other.  ~~Friendship is incredible when we allow the Lord to be a part of it.~~

…….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

I’ve learned that the Lord’s not looking for extraordinary ultra-talented squeaky clean people.  But instead, simply lovers of Him who lay down their own broken selves in order to point others towards Him.  Simply those who will bring glory only to Him not taking it for themselves.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

More than anything I know that I will never be perfect, but Jesus is.  I will never be strong enough, but Jesus is.  I will never be enough, but He absolutely is.

Two and a half years ago I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and said “How did I get here?”  Today, as I look back over 2016, looking forward to 2017; I can look in the mirror and say with freedom and JOY “How did I get here?”  The answer to the first question was selfish, awful, evil motives where my focus had turned from Jesus Christ to Dawn Spicer.  The answer now is hard work, obedience, and more than anything a fierce, relentless, redeeming love of a gracious, life-breathing God.  It’s like looking in the mirror at the transformation and realizing that nothing I’ve done or am doing is changing me but instead everything He is doing is changing me.

And with that, as the sun rises on 2017, I say hello with great anticipation.

 

I’d Rather Have Jesus

Well, it’s been a little while since I have blogged anything.  I hate that this has happened as life has been rather busy these last few months.  School has been kicking my butt this semester and taken away from my time to write…..but I have set aside today to complete at least one blog that’s been churning in my heart for a few weeks now.  Hoping it stirs in your heart as well….

_____________________View More: http://sarahvanderfordphotography.pass.us/ds_______________________

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of the Lifeway Women’s Forum in Nashville, TN.  What a huge blessing to sit under the teaching of so many incredible leaders in Women’s Ministry today.  While in one of the sessions, one of the women actually sang an old hymn to end her session. The hymn she sang was “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”  I sat there and simply listened to the words and it overwhelmed me.  Over the next few days I was there, I just couldn’t get that song out of my mind.  I began to ask myself – would I rather have Him than anything.  Anything at all?  Does my life reflect that I’d rather have Jesus than anything?  Do I realize the greatness of all that He is?

I had to really start evaluating my priorities.  As my life has become overwhelmingly busy again – I had to evaluate where I was invested the most.  Do I give Him as much time as I do everything else?  Do I run to Jesus in times of heartache, confusion or anger?  Or do I seek the wisdom of man?  Do I praise Him in the goodness that happens and honor Him in everything I do – even in the mundane of everyday life?  Would I truly rather have Jesus than silver and gold?  Would I truly rather have Jesus than houses or lands?  Would I rather be led by His nail pierced hands or led by the approval and accolades of others?

I want to say and boldly believe the answer is YES!  But is it really?  Is it yes every minute of every hour, every second of every minute?

Friends-in order to truly say “I’d rather have Jesus,” we have to truly understand why we’d rather have Him.  We need to understand that He is better than anything.  Anything we feel, anything we want, anything we think is great.   We would rather have Him when we “consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..…consider everything rubbish, that you may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 paraphrased)

When we would rather have Him, our lives reflect that.

We have to let Him lead our lives no matter what that means.

When He asks us to do something we really don’t want to do – we do it because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When He asks us to let go of something we really want to cling to – we do it because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When we are in the depths of heartache and confusion – we praise Him still because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When we are so busy we can’t find the time to spend in His Word, we find time because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

Sometimes it’s hard.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. I get it.  But when we choose Him – He provides what we need to get through that moment.   Nothing is better – even if in the moment something may feel better.  It’s not.  I promise.  And yes – He requires much of us.  We have to put in effort – we have to work hard but I’d say He’s worth it.  He put himself up on the cross for me – for all my awful junk – I want to be willing to do anything for Him….but am I?  I want to always say “I’d Rather Have Jesus….but would I?

Oh the greatness of contentment, joy and peace we receive when we choose Him.  When we decide we’d rather have Him than anything. When we decide we’d rather be “true to His Holy Name.”

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“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8

 

I’d Rather Have Jesus by Rhea Miller  MUSIC WRITTEN BY: George Beverly Shea

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,

I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain

Or be held in sin’s dread sway,


I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause

 I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.