Write the Word Bible Journals

When Life Doesn’t Go to Plan: How to Trust in the Maker

We all have those days, or months, or maybe years when life just doesn’t seem to be falling into place the way we dreamed and it’s hard to trust in God and His plan. Sometimes, it is a petty change of plans, like running late because little shoes were missing yet again or Starbucks being out of the soy milk you need (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything). Sometimes, the change of unexpected illness or an uninvited career twist stops and shakes you to your core, making you wonder if God sees the path you’re seeing and how the end could possibly be made better by this delay.  Martha and Mary, when they grieved the loss of their beloved brother? What did they think? They knew that Jesus could have intervened and could have prevented the heartache, but He delayed His coming to them. Lazarus was raised, things were made right but still, do you think the ache remained within them?  I wonder what the first Man and Woman thought when things didn’t go to plan. When they stood at the base of that tree, fruit in hand, realizing the nakedness and knowing that things would never be the same again. Did they wonder how such brokenness could possibly be made right? But more than that, I wonder what God’s reaction was when His perfect Creation was tarnished by our sinful actions. Does knowing the end of the story exclude us from heartache?  The more I ponder the world, the more I familiarize myself with God’s response, I think not.  Christ knew what God could do for Lazarus, but that didn’t stop Him from weeping when news of His friend’s death reached His ears.  God knew when He created Eve that she would taste the forbidden fruit and step into a brokenness she was not prepared to know. He knew when she handed the gnawed piece of fruit to Adam of the future Adam who would right the wrongs and remake all of this busted, tarnished world into something beautiful.  I cried out a few months ago, feeling that God had let me down by not coming through when I knew He could. Someone responded anonymously (yay internet!) that God would never let me down. While I do believe, firmly, that God will always use every moment of pain and suffering for His glory and my sanctification, He…

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Do You Know God Or Do You Simply Know About Him?

There are many things I know about. When I was in elementary school, I did a presentation on New Mexico. I talked about the desert atmosphere, the number of immigrants in that state as opposed to my own, midwestern state, and the traditional foods that come from that part of the country.  But I do not know New Mexico like the family I grew up with who moved there a few years ago with their small children. I do not know the land like those who spend their days on the land, raising cattle and praying for the heavens to drop water on the dry ground.  There are many other subjects that I have head knowledge of, but no practical understanding. And the same applies to my faith.  Cognitively knowing about God is not the same as having an intimate, life-changing understanding of who the Creator of all things seen and unseen is and what He has done for me. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. – Psalm 135:16-17, ESV We can know what God has done. We can read the stories and believe they are true but if we do not spend time with the living God, if we do not shape our lives around His work, we will never truly know Him.  I can recite the Bible and share stories of the saints who have gone before me, sustained by the Holy Spirit. But that’s simply not enough.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! – James 2:19, ESV The words that James writes always jar me back into reality. They wake up my little Christian American mind and call me to something new, something different than the world around me. Because the world around me, they say they believe. They say they know God, but often they mean that they have a vague remembrance of Bible stories they heard as a child and believe in a higher power. But they do not truly know God.  To truly know God, we must give up our presuppositions of God.  A God who does not challenge our lives is no god at all. He is simply a glorified version of ourselves.  If we are not discovering a God outside of…

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How I Became A Christian Blogger (And How You Can Too!)

How I Became a Christian Blogger and how you can too

It took me months of hiding up in my room, typing into a blank sheet, pouring my heart out before the Father before I felt the call to blog. I have been in a rough place. Life wasn’t exactly leading me down the smooth, painless road I had always envisioned. I was battling infertility, chronic pain, and depression. I was living in paradise in the middle of the Hawaiian island but military life regularly took my husband away and I felt empty. I wondered where God was and if He’d forgotten me. But He met me there. One of the ways He regularly did that was through the work of other bloggers. Their words echoed my heart and showed me that I was not alone and not forgotten by God. It was their words, and God’s call, that made me leave that little private document and start sharing publically. Because I knew that if I could reach one person the way other blogs had reached me, if I could point them to God and inspire their faith, it was worth it. But God had bigger dreams for The Thin Place than I had for myself. And it’s grown. And with that growth, I’ve felt the call to equip others with their story. Because our God is big enough that His story weaves through each of our lives, telling the tale of His grace and mercy. Note: This post does contain an affiliate link. See my sidebar for full disclosures.  And there’s enough space in the Christian blogger world for your story too. Whether you have a blog you’ve been working on for awhile now or you have just felt a tingling in your heart to start sharing your story, your hobby, your little piece of the character of God reflect in your life with the world. I love blogging and feel so fortunate to do what I do, connecting with this community, sharing what I’m passionate about, and even earning an income doing so. But that doesn’t make blogging easy — in fact, sometimes it’s downright hard. Even when you have big dreams and trust in God, you can feel frustrated, confused, or stuck at times, trying to figure out how to grow your blog, get more traffic, overcome hurdles, find smart strategies, and earn more money. Truthfully, one of the best ways I know to steward my gift and…

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7 Spiritual Goals You Need To Start Setting Today

Does the Christian life ever overwhelm you? Because lately, I’ve been overwhelmed. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be a woman committed to prayer, studying the word, caring for the poor, and loving those around me. But then, the days get busy and the weeds of life tighten around my neck and draw my attention to Facebook and to the laundry. Note: This post contains affiliate links. See my side bar for more information.  It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of crazy when you don’t have a clear picture of where you’re going. Even when you see the end picture, it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have manageable steps. We need goals. It’s just how we’re hardwired to work. Our brains need to focus on the end of the picture and need manageable steps to reach the finish line. We set goals for academics, work, relationships, home projects – just about every area of our life. Spiritual life develops in the same manner. We simply cannot move forward without setting goals for ourselves. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV Even Jesus had to have a goal. He endured his suffering because He could look to the joy set before Him. He knew that He had to endure this difficult step to achieve His ultimate goal. We too need to set spiritual goals. We need to take inventory of our weaknesses and ascertain where we need to grow. Then we need to plan to take action. 1. Bible Study We all know that we need to spend time reading and meditating on the Word of God. But often, we don’t even pick up our Bibles because we don’t know what to read. Meditate on what God has done for His people. Set goals to pick up your Bible and start reading something. Try a Scripture writing plan. Pick a book and commit to reading through a chapter each morning (one…

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What To Do When Other People’s Words Leave You Feeling Bad

Traci Rhoades is a fellow Protestant lover of the Church. Like myself, she has grealy enjoyed embracing traditions of the Christian faith that she did not grow up with and trying to piece together a fuller picture of what God intends for His people. Her wisdom never fails to stop and grab ahold of my heart. You can find her words below and, more regularly, on her site Traces of Faith.  I could tell by the way she repositioned herself in the chair across from me, I’d hit a nerve. We’d been talking about the choice we have to discount the negative words others spew on us. Accusations spoken. Snarky texts we read again and again. We don’t have to take on these hateful, harmful words, not even from our loved ones. For believers, it’s about more than channeling self-help, because we get to ask the Holy Spirit to help us with these struggles. Who needs the power of positive thinking when you can call on the God of the whole universe for assistance? She spoke up, explaining her problem. “I know what I should do when my feelings are hurt. I surrender the situation to God in prayer, but I find myself still stewing over the hurtful words. It’s not easy to just get over it.” We were in Bible study, seated among a group of women, and as you can imagine, we all wanted to help. It’s what women do after all. I told her about how I try to keep a teachable spirit, so the first thing I do is look for any truth I need to hear from the words. Even though I might not feel like hearing them, I ask the Holy Spirit to show me any helpful insight. From there, I gain some control. I can choose what parts of a conversation apply to me, and what parts are the responsibility of the deliverer. Maybe the words came out of their own bad day, or things they need to work on personally. Another lady spoke about the times she feels a confrontation is warranted. Sometimes hard conversations need to happen. If so, she waits until her initial strong feelings have subsided. A calm conversation where you can relay your response to the hurtful words without adding fuel to the fire, so to speak. She asks the Holy Spirit to allow his fruit to work…

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