Resting in Christ, security

Perfect Vision 20/20

book image for Kimi's post

I don’t recall there ever being as much anticipation and excitement for a new year as there was surrounding 2020: “20/20! It’s the year of perfect vision!” Now, nine months in, “perfect” is far from the list of words most would choose to describe it.

Maybe it’s all in how you see it.

I’m quite dependent on my glasses to see. Some people are nearsighted (only able to see things up close) and others are farsighted (only able to see things far away). Lucky me, I’m a bit of both. So, when I say “quite dependent,” I mean in every possible way – not just to read, or drive, or at night. Without them, I can’t even see my reflection in the mirror. (All of which makes paying the extra dollars for ultra-ultra-thin lenses––so my glasses don’t look like two magnifying glasses strapped to my face––totally worth it!)

A lot like my glasses, the Holy Spirit helps me apply God’s truth from the Bible to my life so I can see more clearly. Without His help, my interpretation of things is often a bit blurry and out of focus.  Just like being physically near-sighted, there are times when my spirit can’t concentrate on anything other than what’s right in front of me; when this happens, I’m not able to see the bigger picture God is painting. Then there are times when my spirit feels far-sighted; in these moments I become so focused on what’s further down the road – good or bad – I miss experiencing the beauty He has planned for me in the present.

Proverb 4:25 states, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Click To Tweet

Through this verse, the Holy Spirit helps me readjust my vision to see what is important. He reminds me of the infinite plan – the bigger picture – as well as all the finite details He’s orchestrating in every moment revealing His glory. This verse gives me reason to decide on what I want to see: I can continue looking at the things that bring me worry, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, or I can turn my gaze to the One that brings hope and peace.

I read the Bible because I need God to reassure me of Who He is. Click To TweetWhen I concentrate on Him – when I read about His love, His goodness, His sovereignty, His faithfulness, and His sunset, Kimi's quote 2justice – everything that once seemed chaotic and out of order begins falling into place. I guess, in a way, help from the Holy Spirit and the Bible is like putting on “lenses of eternity” – helping me to see things more clearly from a heavenly perspective.

So maybe this is the year for perfect vision after all. Maybe this year – this wild, messy, upside down, Jumanji-like year – is an opportunity to decide what lenses to look through. I wonder, if in the midst of upset, heartbreak, turmoil, uncertainty, and death, God is opening our eyes to see awakenings of peace, wholeness, clarity, certainty, and life… in Jesus. Click To Tweet

Perhaps, in the stripping away of what was convenient and normal, God inserted an invitation of appreciation for that which is difficult and extraordinary. Maybe He’s given us a choice to see beauty up close and faraway all at the same time. And while the view from where we stand may not be perfect it does give reason to look for His perfect plan. It gives reason for us to look for Jesus.

Some thoughts to ponder:

What lenses have you been using to see 2020?

How has this perspective made you more Christlike? What might God be using in 2020 to help you see with greater clarity?

The next time you find yourself looking at your struggles with lenses that bring about worry, anxiety, and fear, try “changing your glasses” for His. Reflect on His truth, and rest your eyes on the One Who sees it all.

 

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Get to know the author!
Kimi Miller's headshot Kimi Miller is a California native who grew up in the Midwest. She is a United States Air Force veteran and former pastor of women’s ministry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication and a master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a concentration in Theology. She spends most days caring for her home and family, their two high-strung cattle dogs, and working part-time as a secretary at the local police department; although her most favorite pastime is conversing with her friends over coffee. One of her many God-sized dreams is to organize a free city-wide women’s ministry event that spreads the love and hope only found in Jesus. Her laughter is contagious, as is her passion for the Word of God. You can connect with Kimi through her blog www.kimimiller.com.
Faith, Hearing God, Resting in Christ, security

Stuck in the Middle of a Mess

Have you ever been stuck in the middle of a mess, then out of nowhere comes exactly the help you need?

Between academic overload and heavy work commitments, our lives are incredibly busy and structured, so our family tries to plan a couple of weeks of fun every summer. This year, coronavirus restrictions hindered travel, so we teamed up with my sister’s family and rented a huge lake house in our community, complete with canoes, kayaks, and a 10-person pontoon boat, plus a giant boat tube perfect for pulling five shrieking teens and preteens for hours in the summer sun.

Our vacations are as much for us parents as for the kids—sometimes we, too, need to get a bit wild (within reason!) given our intense workload. So, when my kids begged me to hop on the tube, too, I couldn’t resist.

“Sure!” I shrugged to their delight. My sister shot me are-you-crazy-you-could-get-killed daggers and my husband, who was driving the boat, got that gleam in his eye that meant he was going to ensure I got drenched.

The water felt glorious on my skin as I stepped gently off the boat onto the giant rubber tube, settled carefully next to my stepson, grabbed the tube’s handles, and gave the go-ahead nod.

And then we were off! While my head knew we weren’t going crazy-fast, it certainly felt like we were zipping along at a million miles per hour. “This is the best!” my stepson screeched in glee as we bumped along the surface, water spraying in my eyes and mouth. All I could do was hang on tight as we circled around and around, my family cheering us on from the boat and my legs smacking against the waves of their own free will.

Then whoosh! With a tremendous zing, a wave washed me clean off the tube. There I was, coughing up water, looking like a wet rat, and bobbing like a buoy in my red-white-and-blue lifejacket smack in the center of Lake Murray, South Carolina.

Surely they saw me fall, I told my worried inner self. And, indeed, they had. In moments, the pontoon circled back to pick up first my stepson, then me.

“How was it?” my daughter asked with a wicked grin.

I shook the water out of my ears and gave her a high-five. “Fantastic! Who’s riding with me next?”

Of course, it was fantastic—because everything ended well. I’d fallen off the tube into the center of a clean, safe lake, wearing a life jacket, knowing rescue in the form of my loving husband and family was minutes away.

But there’ve been times in my life when I’ve “fallen off the tube” in the center of the lake of life, with all sorts of unknown and possibly deadly terrors lurking beneath the surface and no rescue in sight. I’ve been in emotional peril and, once or twice, physical danger, too.

Those moments have been scary and almost paralyzing. Divorce. Poverty. Spiritual wilderness. Debilitating illness. I’ve sat at loved ones’ hospital beds and deathbeds, sat vigil long into the night not knowing what rescue, if any, would come.

Sometimes the outcomes have been fine. Sometimes my prayers have been answered. Sometimes not.

Yet, stuck in the middle of the proverbial water, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, remains with me. Even when I didn’t know He was there, He was with me. Even when He didn’t resolve the situation in the way I wanted, He was there, working all things for the ultimate good. By my side. No matter what.

Stuck in the middle of the proverbial water, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, remains with me. Even when I didn’t know He was there, He was with me. Click To Tweet

In Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul reminded the early church that they were once dead—stranded in the center of the dark and scary lake, drowning from the weight of their sins and the evils of this often-cruel world. But through faith in Christ and the good, saving mercy of our Father God, they’d received a “life jacket” and access to the Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity.

As Paul wrote, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV).

We all get stuck in the middle of the lake sometimes. Often, there’s a happy resolution. Sometimes, there’s hardship. We might feel alone, and we might worry about the outcome.

But rest assured: in Jesus, we always have rescue, whether on this side of eternity or the next.

In Jesus, we always have rescue, whether on this side of eternity or the next. Click To Tweet

 

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Hardships and Trials, security

Steady Souls in the Face of Uncertainty

 

Two older women with quote from post.

Mark Twain penned, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” 

I hope that’s true for me. 

I’ve always smiled with my eyes. Or that’s what others tell me and probably why I have so many wrinkles showing around them. With all that is happening in the world I find myself struggling to not take it all on myself. I attempt to solve one issue, or mourn another, and cannot stand under the pressure. It’s impossible to live this way and my face speaks what’s happening inside. My brows furrow while my mind travels to tasks or worries. In place of smiles are scowls while impatience pushes aside joy.

If you’re finding yourself riding waves of concern and anxiety, you’re not alone.

The other day, months into the Coronavirus stay-at-home orders, my son started laughing in deep joy while crying tears of grief.  He swallowed hard, stopped, and said with shock, “Woah, that’s never happened before.” It hit me hard. Many of us are experiencing deep emotions washing over us.

We feel hope, grief, joy, frustration, and fear.  But we can stand firm knowing these emotions remind us of our need for Jesus. He is our anchor in the waves. We cannot anchor ourselves.We find our security in God and know He will fulfill His promises. Click To Tweet God is our certainty, our faithful anchor amidst the confusion and unknowns that flood our feeds and minds daily.

Hebrews 6:19a says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm, and secure.”

Anchor image with quote from post

When we place our hope in Jesus, we sit with confident expectation in God’s faithfulness, love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternity with Him. These truths steady our souls in the waves of uncertainty. 

When multiple emotions leave us feeling out of control, we must stand firm and anchor in God. As identifiers, our emotions can bring us closer to Him, letting us know when things need to be tended to, or surrendered. 

When multiple emotions leave us feeling out of control, we must stand firm and anchor in God. Click To Tweet

As my eye wrinkles leave coordinates of past heart conditions, I’m reminded that I can choose to praise God in hope and faith as He holds me firmly. I pray that my wrinkles of grief and anxiety are shallow, while my deeper wrinkles are of joy and peace, evidence of God’s love and faithfulness.

Allow God’s  Word to wash over you today as you cling to Him during uncertain times. 

“When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’

Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.

When the cares of my heart are many,

Your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:18-19, ESV).

—–

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20 Days of Relational Health Bible reading plan.

Our hearts crave deep, lasting connections–to know we are loved and belong. This Bible reading plan will help you grow in your relationships as you learn to love others well, speak and live in truth, and set the healthy boundaries that will allow your relationships to thrive.

Find it HERE.

 

Faith, security

An Emergency Responder Who Will Never Leave

Have you ever witnessed a near-death experience? Watched someone deliver CPR to a lifeless body? Or administered the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim? In our scariest moments, we need to know our God is also a very real and present Father.

Once a large, chalky pill got lodged in my throat. My lungs burned for air. It was terrifying. I was in the bedroom by myself, and I couldn’t scream for help, much less breathe. I began to knock on my stomach while bent over and, with everything in me, force out a cough, even just a tiny one.

Praise God, my meager efforts to dislodge the medication worked. By the time the pill hit the floor and I took a reviving breath, tears already flowed down my face. I was relieved yet shaken by the knowledge that I’d almost, very truly, died. I started thanking God at once because my paltry efforts while the pill obstructed my oxygen couldn’t have worked on their own. He saved me.

This experience had me contemplating salvation. Through Christ, God rescued us from death and brought us spiritual life. Wow! It’s almost unfathomable that the God of the universe took us from hopelessly lost in sin to eternally safe in Christ.

Girl with lit heart

Unlike an emergency responder, God doesn’t save us and return to the fire station. Click To Tweet

But what’s more, unlike an emergency responder, God doesn’t save us and return to the fire station. Instead, He welcomes us into His family and adopts us as His children, making us heirs to His royal and eternal Kingdom. Do you see how deeply God loves us? 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I love that the translation adds the exclamation marks. It makes me want to shout to the hills! We are children of God!

On Father’s Day, we’ll honor dads for all they do for their children. Fatherhood can enable men, who were once immature and selfish, to lavish complete devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, and unconditional love on their children. But even their best efforts can fail.Fatherhood can enable men, who were once immature and selfish, to lavish complete devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, and unconditional love on their children. But even their best efforts can fail. Click To Tweet

If your earthly father has ever disappointed, hurt, or abandoned you, this can leave a deep and painful wound. But there’s One who will always cherish you. Our Father in Heaven goes above and beyond the call of duty. He isn’t simply an emergency responder who moves on after the saving is done. Nope. He never leaves us, nor will He ever fail, injure, or disappoint us. He is fully devoted to us in the good days or the bad.Our Father in Heaven goes above and beyond the call of duty. He isn’t simply an emergency responder who moves on after the saving is done. Click To Tweet

I hope this Father’s Day is a little sweeter as you reflect on your Heavenly Father’s perfect love for you. Take time to thank the One who rescued you and calls you His precious child.

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security

Building a Secure Life in the Midst of Uncertainty

Graphic for Ps. 71:5

I understand the fear of financial insecurity. I went through a period where, out of fear, I guarded and obsessed over every penny. But I soon learned, not only did my efforts fail to bring me any lasting security; they actually placed me in emotional bondage. I thought of this as I read our guest Julie Holmquist’s post. As you read about her insecurity to security experience, consider how God might want to bring you to a similar place.

Building a Secure Life in the Midst of Uncertainty

By Julie Holmquist

Building my life upon anything other than God is building on a flimsy and shakey foundation that won’t stand up to pressure and adversity.Building my life upon anything other than God is building on a flimsy and shakey foundation that won’t stand up to pressure and adversity. Click To Tweet

Have you ever created a house of cards? As a young girl, my siblings and I would compete to see how tall of a structure we could build. One wrong move, though, and the entire structure would fall to the floor.

As a wife, I found myself trying to build my life with something just as flimsy and precarious as a deck of playing cards—the status of our bank account.

Of course, I could hide behind the facade of wanting to be a good financial steward. In reality, I was anxiously trying to insulate us from economic disaster whether from an unexpected layoff, a downturned economy, or unforeseen expenses. You see, I wanted to know my needs would always be provided for even if I had to take care of them myself. To me, security meant being prepared for anything and everything.

I was consumed with planning and preparing for the “what ifs”, but there’s no way to plan for all the unknowns. We cannot fully know the future, but we can fully trust the One Who is already there. That’s why our finances are an unreliable source of security in time of real need.

52-Card Pick Up

A year ago, my house of cards came tumbling down. My husband unexpectedly lost his job right after Christmas. I battled panic, anxiety, and fear heading into the New Year. I was falling apart inside while trying to help keep it together and encourage my husband in his loss.

Christmas cheer was fading fast, but then God took me to Matthew 6:

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:26-33, ESV)

Nothing changed with my husband’s employment status after reading this Scripture, but I changed. I knew God wanted me to find my security in Him instead of the ups and downs of our finances. I was at peace — the kind of peace that doesn’t make sense. That peace carried me the entire Image of sunset above the cloudsnine months he remained unemployed.

I’m not saying we sat back and just waited for God to do something while we went skiing or binge watched Netflix. But because I now knew where my security came from, I found peace in the midst of the unknown. My security rests in the fact that I am God’s daughter, and He promises to provide for me.

Being secure in Whose I am, I felt like a little girl whose daddy took her to the park. I was free to explore and play without fearing my daddy would forget about me. I didn’t need to constantly remind him that I was his daughter and it was his job to feed me.

Let’s Talk About This!

What are you looking to for your security? Finances? Your looks? The ebb and flow of relationships?

I want to encourage you to look to the Only One Who can fill that need in you to feel secure. He is your Rock! Never changing. Never moving!

Get to Know Julie

Julie Holmquist is an author who currently writes on her blog at Stuff of Heaven and is also a contributing author for Devotableapp.com. Julie has written and produced video devotionals as well. She graduated from Christ for the Nations Bible school in Dallas, TX and holds an associates degree in practical theology. She enjoys all things personality and has probably taken every personality test there is (ENTP and an Enneagram 7w8). Julie loves the body of Christ (the Church) and smiles BIG when people are passionate about walking in their God-given callings and giftings–whatever they may be.

She and her husband have four sons and recently relocated to Charlotte, NC from Colorado Springs, CO.

You can find Julie online at her blog, Stuff of Heaven, follow her on Instagram at Stuff of Heaven and at Twitter at Stuff of Heaven,and connect with her on Facebook at Stuff of Heaven (Julie Holmquist)

Cover image for studyWant to explore this topic deeper and take steps toward increased security and emotional freedom? Then make sure to grab our free Bible study, Becoming His Princess! You can grab the  e-version HERE or purchase the print copy for only $7 HERE. You can watch opening session videos HERE (They’ll be loaded to our YouTube channel as we film them.) or listen to the audio versions HERE.

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