Category Archives: Thoughts

Perfect Peace

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You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4

About a month ago, I was cramming every nook and cranny of my roommate’s car full of the many items I deemed absolutely necessary to bring back to college.  Now, one month later, all those little things have a place, I have finished my homework for Monday, and I am thinking back to that week before I left for college.

Although I was incredibly excited about coming back to school, I was also apprehensive about the many different situations that I had predetermined could maybe-potentially-possibly go wrong. Does anyone other than me do that? After a few conversations about my worries with my parents, my mom looked at me and said,

“Breanna, you are not guarding your mind. You are allowing every little thing to slip in. You need to get back control of your mind.”

She was absolutely right, and it woke me up to just how much I had let my guard down in my mind. My thoughts were all tangled up and repeating themselves over and over in a pattern that was not helpful.

I decided that week and as I made the long drive back to school, that I was going to be diligent in guarding my mind–in setting it on the Lord and His truth, rather than my misconceived notions of reality.

I love the verse at the top of this post. I love that the word “steadfast” is used to describe the mind.  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines steadfastness as “very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause : not changing.” Why are the people in this passage’s minds steadfast?  Because they trust in God.  And because they put their trust in God, they have a perfect peace.

I’ve been experiencing that peace this semester. Peace like I have never known in my life.  There are plenty of reasons why I should not be peaceful right now.  I have more classes, activities, work hours, responsibilities, and homework than I have had during any previous semester.

But I’m not focusing on the little problems or stress that can come with my schedule.  Rather, I am choosing to take it a day at a time, moment by moment, thinking about trusting in the Lord.

One of the unexpected blessings of this semester has been waking up at 5:30 or 6:30 every morning to go to work in the cafeteria. My job is to set up different food bars for the day, and  I have an hour to an hour and forty-five minutes every morning before the sun comes up of quiet. It is in these moments, that I often start to feel anxious as I consider the tasks that lie ahead for the day. But it is also the time, that God is using to teach me to trust in Him more and let His truth penetrate my mind and my heart.

When the panicky, stressful thoughts arrive, I am combating them with praying the armor of God, praying for friends, reciting verses that I have memorized, singing praise songs, or not thinking anything all together. And with it comes a perfect peace. It doesn’t always come in that moment, or that hour. But without fail, the more time that I dwell on the Lord, on His character, and His promises, the things of this world fade away and His perfect peace remains.

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Lessons from this Summer (Part 2) — Be Present

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Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

~

Sometimes it is through the honest words of a friend that I am the most challenged and convicted. While talking with a friend from Cedarville about my life at school, they remarked that I often seem like I am just about to explode.  Not from anger, but from daily life.

Don’t you just love it when a friend speaks truthfully? If you’re like me, probably not at first. It takes a while for the words to digest and to process them clearly. I came home that day and mentioned the comment to my mom.

“What a great insight,” she remarked. And she was right, pointing out several instances where that was true. Too often, I am so consumed with worries about what I am about to do next that I am unable to be in the here and now. Rather than relaxing and being present, I am thinking about the many tasks and responsibilities that fill the rest of my day. No wonder I always seem like I am going to explode! It’s true.

Focusing on my problems and responsibilities takes my eyes directly off of Christ. I become completely focused on myself and what I am going to do to fix everything. But here’s the problem…I can’t fix it by myself. In fact, many of the problems that I have spent hours pondering were never solved by any of my 100 possible solutions.

When I trust that God is in control and I believe that the promises in His word are true, there is no reason for me to not be fully present in whatever situation I am currently involved in. Worrying about the next situation robs me of the joy of whatever is happening right now, and cannot change whatever task awaits me next.

I am so thankful for those honest words spoken by my friend. They probably have no idea how truly convicting they were to me. This year, I have decided to start being fully present in every moment and trusting all of my fears, doubts, worries, stresses, problems over to the only One who can truly carry and solve them.

So why did I share this with you tonight? A few reasons…

Honestly, I did not want to share with all of you that someone told me I always seemed like I was about to explode. Who wants to be known for that? But just in case any of the rest of you are ticking time bombs like me–here’s a little wake up call before the same words that were spoken to me are spoken to you. What is stopping you from being present wherever you are right now? Why? How can you take steps to give all of your concerns to the Lord and enjoy what you are doing in each moment?

Secondly, I shared this because we all need friends who are honest with us. I am so grateful for those people in my life. The person who shared this with me is not a best friend of mine, but they still spoke the truth. Sometimes we get frustrated or uncomfortable when friends say something that we perceive as negative about ourselves. Many times we are uncomfortable because it is true. Don’t be upset with your friend. Don’t take it as an insult against you. Rather, bring it before the Lord and ask Him to help you become better in this area.

Have a wonderful day today savoring every moment.

Lessons from this Summer (Part 1) — Lord, Grow My Faith

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It has been quite some time since I have last posted anything on this blog. Long times of silence for me, usually mean that God is teaching me a lot and I am processing it. This blog was created as a place for me to record what I am learning in my walk with God. It is called Trust Falls because trusting God completely has always been a struggle for me. I think it is for everyone at some point or another if we are honest.

The next several posts over the next few days are my reflections on what God has been teaching me this summer. I write these posts to share what I am learning in hopes that it may also encourage you. I also write them because it helps me remember what I am learning and also be held accountable by those of you who read this blog and go throughout daily life with me.

The first lesson I have been learning this summer lays the foundation for all of the other posts to follow.

This past year, I often prayed that God would grow my faith. I had no idea when I prayed that prayer what that would exactly imply. I don’t even think I fully considered what that would mean as I prayed it. The prayer fit with the theme of chapel or a song I was listening to.

But God often answers our prayers.

This summer I have been participating in a Bible study called, The Gospel-Centered Life. (I highly recommend it). One night my Bible study leader told us…

“Opportunities to trust God are opportunities to grow our faith.”

And the lightbulb went off…

I had flashbacks to all the times I have prayed that prayer, sometimes praying it by rote rather than meaning it with my whole heart.

I remembered the mornings my car wouldn’t start, my day had too many tiring obstacles, and I worried about the future. I thought of times that I was frustrated with other people, strategizing how I would provide for myself, and trying to save the world without looking to the true Savior of the world for help.

And it has struck me so often in the days since then just how many opportunities that God was giving me every day to build my faith by trusting Him.

Slowly my attitude has been changing. Rather than feeling frustrated by challenges in my day, I am learning to entrust them to God which is growing my faith in Him. Rather than racking my brain for a million of my own solutions, I am praying and asking God to show me the direction He would like me to take. Rather than worrying about the future, I am remembering that there has not been one day in my life that God has not provided my basic needs and blessed me in abundance with more.

There are many moments throughout the day when I succeed, and many more when I fail. But slowly and surely, I am learning to put my trust in God–not me, not other people, not things, not finances, not my jobs–and my faith in Him is growing steadily every day.

I don’t know where you are at tonight when it comes to trusting God. Maybe you gave Him your life a long time ago. Maybe you never have. Regardless of where you are today, remember that there is a very real God who made you and loves you. He has great plans for you. He knows you by name and thinks about you constantly. He loves you with an everlasting love.

If you have never trusted God with your life, why not trust Him today? Stop running from Him and give Him control. Ask Him for forgiveness from your sins and trust Him with the rest of your life.

Lord, I know that I have sinned. I know that my sin separates me from you. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sins. I ask for your forgiveness from my sins today. I believe that you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross and that He was raised from the dead. I ask that you will come into my heart and make me a new creation. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Sometimes Blessings Come Twice

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Spring is my favorite season.  I love the temperature, the flowers, and the bursts of new life that can be found everywhere.  A few weeks ago I was sitting in my dorm room in Ohio talking with my mom, feeling the warm spring air when she mentioned that it was snowing back home in Minnesota.

Sure enough my Facebook news feed was filled with pictures of traffic and yards covered with snow.  I made sure to pack a few winter clothes before setting off for home.  As we drove back, there were still patches of snow covering the grass next to the roads.

Although I was not to happy to leave the beautiful tulips and flowering trees of Ohio to return to cold snow, I realized that I was going to get to experience Spring not once, but twice this year.  What a blessing!

As I look outside my window now, there is no snow.  The sun is shining.  The trees are starting to bud and the flowers are starting to peek up out of the dirt.

Sometimes we get to see beautiful things twice.  Sometimes we get to experience them even more than that.

What are some beautiful things you have gotten to experience more than once?  What is God doing around you today that you can take part in and enjoy?

Have a blessed Spring!

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1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Looking Straight Ahead

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Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.

-Proverbs 4:25-27

I have a really awful stomach ache this morning.  Three days ago I arrived home for spring break and was home for an hour when we got a phone call that my Grandpa who had had a serious accident was now in critical condition.  We packed the car, made it to the hospital, waited and prayed with family and friends.  The next day, he had a serious surgery to repair his spine which lasted for several hours.

My entire extended family spent that day on our knees in prayer, joining literally thousands of other prayers asking God for healing and a safe surgery.  God heard us.  And not only did He save my Grandpa’s life, He also protected him from serious complications.  Hearing the news that Grandpa was alive and okay gave us all the ability to finally breathe.  We thanked God for His healing power.

Yesterday I spent the day at the hospital again and was able to talk with him for a little bit when he woke up while he squeezed my hand and signed “I love you.”

It has been an incredibly difficult week, but filled with constant reminders of God’s faithfulness and power.  I have felt His presence close to me these past few days as He surrounded my family with His love and peace.

So why do I have a stomach ache?

Because honestly, reentry into daily, regular life after that kind of experience is hard.  Yesterday, I found myself feeling much like I do today–overwhelmed with the responsibilities that the rest of this week holds, exhausted, and not sure how in the world I am supposed to get it all done to the best of my ability.

So, I took some time and I went down to the hospital chapel.  I prayed.  I sang.  I poured out my heart to God.  And I read His word.  I read the Psalms out loud that spoke of His faithfulness, power, love, and sovereignty.  And then I turned to Proverbs which seemed like the most natural place to go in search of some practical wisdom.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I opened up to Proverbs 4 where the verses at the top of the screen come from.  This whole semester God has been using these verses to convict and challenge me of my need to surrender all of me to Him, including my own strength and my time.

Sitting there, I realized that I cannot tackle every future responsibility in one day.  I can only take on the one that is right in front of me.  I left the chapel feeling more peaceful and focused on the present moment.

Today, waking up, I found my mind cluttered with a never-ending list of everything I need to accomplish in the next few days to handle my responsibilities well.  Rather than committing my day to the Lord, I focused in on what I can do in my own strength.  Hmmmm….this surrender lesson is going to take a long time isn’t it?

Even after writing all of this, I still have a stomach ache.  I’m honestly still worried and scared about all that this week holds.  I still feel strong emotions about everything that has happened this week.  I’m exhausted.  I’m drained.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

I am committing right now, in this moment, on this day to look straight ahead.  I cannot change what has happened.  I cannot know what will.  But I can trust that in my weakness, His power is made perfect.

Dear God,

I am tired.  I am weak.  My stomach is filled with a million butterflies.  I am anxious, afraid, and overwhelmed.  I ask You now for Your strength and Your power to make it through the next few days.  By myself I can do nothing.  I need You.  I’m sorry that I so often forget to include You in my day.  When my eyes look away from You, I am never satisfied.  

Thank You for the many ways that You have revealed Your power and love to my family and to others this week.  Thank You that You still do miracles.  Thank You for healing.  

I trust You to guide me step by step.  I am looking only at what is directly in front of me. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My Times Are in Your Hands

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But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…

Psalm 34:14-15a

I get excited easily.  This is not at all surprising to those of you who know me well.  Probably the thing that gets me the most excited is the joy I receive from relationships with God, family, and friends.

I absolutely LOVE being involved in the lives of people around me.  I desire to hear about and share in trials, triumphs, joys, dreams, successes, and every little bump in the road in between.  Sometimes, in spite of all this excitement, I catch myself thinking about changes which will inevitably effect these relationships in the future.

Because it is a well-known fact that those exciting, beautiful dreams and the mundane, every-day routines of life, will take us all over the country and the world.

It is nights like tonight, after spending a weekend on campus with old friends and new that I am reminded of how very short this precious time is.

And it is nights like tonight where I am also reminded how very thankful I am that my times are not my own.

If there is one lesson I have been learning my whole life, it has been to trust that the Lord has my times in His hands.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of change, especially when a change seemed to signify to me that an important relationship was going to change. Let me give you a few examples.

  • The summer after second grade we moved from Illinois to Minnesota.  I was so distraught about leaving friends and familiar surroundings that I told my parents I was going to super-glue myself to the wall and that they could not make me go. (My nine year old self must have realized this was a bad idea once I thought it through, because I got in the car and went and it became my favorite state and home).
  • Eighth grade graduation seemed like torture to me. I was convinced, and I mean absolutely convinced I was going to lose dear friends and that a new, scary, big high school was going to be the worst experience ever.  (I’ve still keep in contact with some of these people, and one remains one of my best friends to this day. Love you Em)
  • High School was not the worst experience ever. I loved it.  I dreaded leaving my entire senior year.  There were farewells to band and speech and teachers and friends.  And I cried my eyes out.  (I can still play my instrument, compete in speech, and stay in contact with teachers and friends).
  • College. Oh dear. I was a mess the night before starting school.  Saying goodbye to my family set off a full-out panic attack. (I cannot imagine my life without the people and experiences I have had here).

You get the point.  No change and potential shift in relationships has ever seemed pleasant to me.  But through each and every change, God brought new friends and gave me the ability to continue relationships with the old.

And through each of those new relationships and experiences, I learned valuable lessons that have helped to form me into the person I am today.

So maybe you’re like me.  Maybe nights of sharing life with friends gets you all worked up when you think about how very short your time with them is.

But I want to challenge you today to stop that thought, and just enjoy the time you have with them today.  Trust that the Lord knows what is best for you.  That your time is in His hands.

It will make life so much more full and memorable.

The Influence of a Godly Mom

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Listen my son to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 1:8

Tomorrow marks a very special day in my life, the birthday of my mom.  If you asked me who the most godly woman I have ever met is, without hesitation I would tell you my mom.

And in honor of her birthday, I would like to tell you the reasons why.  These are some of the lessons I have learned from my mom.

She taught me that character matters.  And that nothing and no one should ever make you compromise it.

She taught me that wisdom first and foremost comes from the Lord.  Whenever I had any sort of problem, her first question would be if I had prayed about it.  If my answer was no, she would send me to my room to pray and ask the Lord for guidance before I sought hers.

She taught me to pray for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment.

She taught me the value of time spent in the word.  Many mornings I would find her in bed doing her devotions.  The book was worn and torn from years of use.  When I went to college, she gave me her devotional book.   It is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.

She taught me to pick and chose friendships wisely, to look for friends that would push me towards the Lord.

She taught me that only one opinion of me really mattered, God’s.

She taught me that exterior beauty will fade, but inner beauty can only grow and mature.

She taught me that my family should be my best friends.

She taught me about sacrifice.  She would never put herself first.

She taught me that good relationships are worth waiting for and to never settle.

She taught me what a wife should look like.

She taught me how to manage my time, work hard throughout the day, and relax at the end.

She taught me to manage my anger, and to never let the sun go down without resolving it.

She taught me that sometimes I was wrong and needed to see a situation from another’s point of view.

She taught me to take healthy risks and try new things.

She taught me how to distinguish between Satan’s lies and God’s truth.

She taught me to pick my battles wisely.

She taught me to tithe.

She taught me to put others before myself.

She taught me to do the hard right thing over the easy wrong.

She taught me to go for my dreams and believe that if God was in it, it would eventually come to be.

She taught me to trust in the Lord as provider.

She taught me to be patient.

She taught me to listen.

She taught me gentleness, compassion, and kindness.

She taught me what it means to be faithful and loyal.

She taught me about my Creator.

And so much more…

So for those of you who are parents, setting a godly example for us, your children, is so very important.  It is the greatest gift that my parents gave to me.

And for those of you who are not, you still have a vital role to future generations.  What kind of legacy are you leaving?

Thank you, Mom for all you have given to your four kiddos.  We love you!  I wish I could be there with you today to celebrate!