Hello Friends! You know those awesome graphics that we get every week to go with our memory verse? They’re made by my friend Tania Meek. Tania has a way of speaking and writing and creating that leaves me a little bit breathless. I’m always so touched by the way she shares her heart. I’ve asked her to take over this week’s Memory Verse devotional. I hope you enjoy her heart as much as I do.
Have you ever had a verse that seemed to keep presenting itself to you, over and over again – sticking with you even when you were ready to move on? Psalm 46:10 has been that verse for me.
It’s an easy one to remember, especially the first half. I’ve known it most of my life.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Then, three years ago, it began to weave into my life from different sources and I could not shake it. I quickly realized that God had a message He wanted me to hear. Rather than ignore it, I began to open my heart and study it.
How hard could that be, really?
It is such a simple and straightforward verse.
I didn’t realize He would unpack it in three phases for me, over the course of the next three years.
Phase one – be still.
Ahhhh, surely that’s the message He was trying to get across in my life.
Let’s be honest, though. I was rather lousy at stillness. I am not only a closet perfectionist but a constant striver. My personal drive to live life to the fullest and cherish each moment often leaves me questioning whether I am doing enough, being enough. I come up lacking – each and every time.
The root Hebrew word of the English word “still” is Raphah. One of its translated meanings is to cease.
That first year, God and I had a big conversation about ceasing. He was asking me to cease striving. I walked that out by walking from a career and identity that I had fallen into and loved. I ceased to be her.
The second year of unpacking this verse was one of deep, inner struggle. While the year prior was one of stilling my outer life, leaving a job I loved and learning to say no to outward commitments, the remainder of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 was the phase of trust. He spoke straight to my heart, asking if I understood the next phrase – know that I am God. I knew Him, at least in an intellectual sense, and had my entire life, but this conversation, on the steps of my soul, became one much more intimate. This journey took me from knowing Him in my head to knowing Him in my heart. Did I believe Him? Did I trust Him? Did I realize how very deep His love was for me? Did I surrender to that love? My answers came up lacking.
The struggle came in the surrender – the surrender to be still, to know. To trust that He was who He said He was.
Next came phase three. By this point, I was more than ready to move on. For such a small, easy verse this had been a painful growth process. This final year began with a meme I found online from #5MinWithJesus which stated “The Hebrew root word of be still doesn’t mean “be quiet”; It means “let go.” “Let go and know that I am God.”
Immediately, I felt Him nudge my heart. He was not done. He is not done. These past twelve months have been one of release – a journey of letting go.
It began with letting go of my dreams. My dream to be someone, do something.
Then moved on to letting go of our home – the home we had built to raise our children and make memories.
Next came the release of my expectations – expectations that my life should look a certain way, feel a certain way.
And last but not least, I am currently learning to release the people in my life. Within the last month, I have said goodbye to two pillars in my family. This release has been the hardest. I love my people. Saying goodbye is the true walking out of the knowing God portion of this verse: knowing that He is in control, trusting in Him, knowing He will be honored by every nation, throughout the world.
It has become knowing that this journey is not one about me but one about Him.
What will you learn about Him when you are still? When you cease striving? When you learn to let go?
The kids have been putting together a list of all the things they want to see while we’re in Fargo: our old house, the ferris wheel at Scheels (it’s a sporting goods store), West Acres Mall, and all their favorite old parks.
The list is about two football fields long. I keep reminding them that this is a “working vacation” for me so I may not have time to run them all over tarnation, but who am I kidding? I lived in Fargo for ten years. I’m just as excited to see all our favorite people, places and things as they are.
My kids are especially looking forward to Monday because that’s the day I speak at their old elementary school. They’ll get to see their teachers and Charlie will get to see his former classmates. Jordan’s have moved to the middle school, so I’m just thinking of re-enrolling her for the week we are there. Kidding.
For those of you in the North Dakota/Minnesota area, I want to share my event list so perhaps I can see you in person! Here it is:
Saturday, April 22: Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, Holy Family Social Hall 5202 25th St. S., Fargo, ND 11am
Sunday, April 23: The Plummer House, Hillsboro, ND (hosted by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church) 2pm
Monday, April 24: North Dakota Today live interview, KVLY, 9:15am
Monday, April 24: Oak Grove Lutheran School, Fargo, ND 10:16am
Monday, April 24: Longfellow Elementary, Fargo, ND 2pm
Tuesday, April 25: Midday Live with Sandy Buttweiler, 970 WDAY, 12pm
Tuesday, April 25: Women Connect, FMWF Chamber, Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave N, Fargo ND 3:30pm
Wednesday, April 26: Life 97.9 live interview, 8:30am
Wednesday, April 26: Comstock-Hoff Lutheran Parish, Comstock, MN 7pm
Thursday, April 27: Book Signing! Red River Coffee Co., 2600 52nd Ave S Fargo, ND 11-1pm
Thursday, April 27: Calvary Church, Village Green, 2801 Village Green BLVD, Moorhead, MN 7pm
Friday, April 28: Hope Lutheran Church, 3636 25th St S Fargo ND 7pm
For those of you in ND/MN or anywhere else in the world, can I ask a favor? Would you please pray? Pray that God will speak so clearly through me to the hurting hearts that I may encounter on this trip… that not a single person feels condemned, but they may instead find release through this message of kindness… and that even those people who feel they have nothing to learn (i.e. someone dragged them to my presentation), may they walk away inspired by all kindness can do to add joy to their own lives. Will you pray that Kindness becomes Contagious?
Thank you, Friends. I love you.
Watch out Fargo, here we come!
I forgot to write yesterday. I woke up and went on with my day and completely forgot that it was Monday and I was supposed to share this week’s memory verse.
Sure we all forget things, no big deal, but I have been writing every Monday for a while now so it struck me as odd that I would just totally forget.
Until I remembered the verse I was planning to use this week… then I realized (once again) that God has a sense of humor.
Here’s the verse we are memorizing: “They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies.” Psalm 78:42 (NLT)
Yep. It’s all about forgetting. And I keep forgetting how judgemental and haughty I can be. So God took a moment to remind me.
The first time I read these words I was filled with sadness. The psalmist spends 72 verses explaining all the great things God has done for his people and then how those same people kept turning their backs on God.
They’re hurting and God rescues them from their slavery in Egypt.
They’re standing in front of a giant sea and God parts it for them.
They’re hungry and God sends down manna from heaven, along with a bunch of birds because they’ve also been craving meat.
Ten minutes after God does one of these miraculous things, the Israelites forget. They worry that they’re going to die in the wilderness or they start complaining because they don’t like the living conditions.
And here I am, thousands of years later, judging them. How could you possibly forget seeing a Red Sea part before your very eyes? How could you ever doubt God’s goodness when you were thirsty and He split open a rock full of water for you?
But it happens, doesn’t it? It happens to all of us. We get caught up in ourselves and our own wants and needs that we forget to sit down with God for a few minutes so he can realign our focus for the day (and perhaps remind us that we were supposed to write a blog post about remembering).
We forget how he cured us of cancer, or how he comforted us when we lost a friend to the disease.
We forget how he showered us with a kind act from a stranger when we were feeling low.
We forget how generously he brought us the job or the spouse or the house that we so desperately wanted, and we begin to complain about all the things wrong with it.
All of a sudden I can see how those people, thousands of years ago, would forget. And I can see why God would whisper it in the pages of the bible.
Their lives would have been so much easier if only they had taken the time each day to remember.
And now, many years later, so would ours.
Father, forgive me for all of the times I forget your goodness and your greatness. I never want to doubt you, but God I need you to help me remember. Build my faith so instead of wandering around the same mountains again and again, I can live a life paired up with You that is filled with purpose and victory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.