Mommin’ ain’t easy

Okay, have y’all seen all the shirts advertised right now that say, “Mommin’ ain’t easy”?  Seriously.  Those should be handed out like trophies at the hospital when you give birth- swaddle those newborn babies up in that shirt as they go home because every mama will understand those words all too soon.

Moms, our work is not easy.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve given birth or God has blessed you through adoption… If you work a full time career outside of the home or work odd jobs to make ends meet… If you home school or private school or public school… If you’re the “fun” mom or the “tough” mom… If your house stays clean (bless you) or if you wade over the piles to get in bed at night… If you have one kid or twenty… being a mom is hard.

The struggle is real and I get it.  I’ve had the days where I’m not sure if I’m running a home for my family or the mentally insane.  I’ve been hit, scratched, spit on, yelled at, called names… All in one day.  I have had to make hard choices and discipline when it hurts- and yes, sometimes it truly does hurt me more than it does them.  I’ve had moments of patience and moments of yelling, days full of tears and nights full of prayers.  I’ve helped a threatening runaway pack her bags and I’ve run away myself a time or two (but only as far as Target, so don’t freak out on me!).

But, here’s the thing- It. Is. Worth. It.  Yes, some days are hard and you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and some of those days grow into weeks or months, but every second of every battle is worth it.  You see, these little humans that we have been given charge of here on earth were given to us for a purpose.  God designed them for us and us for them.  He knew that you would be the perfect mom for your child, that you have the qualities and characteristics that your baby needs not just to survive, but to thrive- and that your kiddo also has the very thing you need to develop and grow and become more Christ-like.  Because this mom-thing isn’t just about us teaching and molding them- it’s a learning process for us, too.

Right now it’s hard to see beyond the dirty diapers and sleepless nights, the piles of laundry and the toys in the floor.  It’s difficult to see how cooking another dinner that will be met with grumbles and complaints will bring glory to the kingdom of God, how wiping up another spill could possibly lead someone to Christ, or how refereeing the umpteenth argument over Legos or Uno (or some other catastrophic event) is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.  But guess what, weary mama?  It all matters.  All of the little, tiny, seemingly-unimportant moments make up a big, beautiful picture painted by a big, beautiful God- and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Your work is not in vain.  Keep pressing forward, knowing that every word spoken and every deed done is making an eternal difference.  You are loved, and you are doing a mighty work.



Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  -I Corinthians 10:31

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.                      -Colossians 3:23-23


My help

I’m not even gonna lie… The past three days have felt like at least three weeks.  Considering everything, Harper is once again doing amazingly well.  She is back to talking and playing and being silly in between her meltdowns (aka the Keppra cries).  Her appetite is up and down, her moods are swinging, and her sleep is restless at best, but we can see that personality that we so adore.

But, being sleep deprived and dealing with the screaming spells and watching her every breath and the constant worry has stress levels high around here.  So, today, we decided to escape the confines of our house and venture outside.  I’m a bit leery of public excursions still (crowds and germs and overstimulation and meltdowns, oh my!) so we drove to see Daddy.

As we were riding along, the girls were all quiet, Mommy was deep in thought, and the radio was playing softly in the background.  It was oddly peaceful for our crew, and then I heard the sweetest little voice singing, “My help comes from you…”  Apparently the song Shoulders by for King & Country was on, and Harper decided to sing along.

I can’t say for sure what Harper’s purpose is- why she has had to endure what she has or what her future holds.  But I know that God uses her daily to remind me of Who He is, to direct my eyes back to Him, to show me that He is still there.  Hearing her little voice singing out where her help comes from shifted my focus in that moment to the words in Psalm 121:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Friends, this world offers all kinds of help, and some of it is indeed beneficial.  But our ultimate source of help for any and every situation big or small is God.  He alone can meet our every need.  He alone can sustain us.  He is my keeper, He is my daughter’s keeper, and He is your keeper.  Whatever you’re facing, lift your eyes unto the hills…

Sunday’s Scripture… Even if

Today’s Scripture is from the book of Daniel…

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.  -Daniel 3:17-18

This passage is spoken by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in response to the king’s threats to toss them into the furnace.  They literally were facing the fire, lives on the line, and their faith remained unwaivering.  And what strikes me here is the phrase, “and even if He does not.”  They acknowledge that the God they serve is most certainly capable of rescuing them from their circumstances, but they also choose to accept that He may opt not to rescue them- and they’ll worship Him anyway.  I heard someone once refer to this as the “even-if” kind of faith… Trusting God’s plans even if it doesn’t look like what you expect or desire.

Y’all, I’m struggling with this kind of faith this week.  It’s been a hard two weeks in our family.  Two weeks ago today I wrote about my youngest having a small seizure, and that it was no big deal and to be expected.  That was easy to say when it was just one small one-minute seizure.  But Friday morning we woke up around 6:30 to find her in another seizure.  She happened to be in the bed with us, so her shaking woke us up- but we don’t know how long she had been seizing before we actually woke up.  We started timing it once we were aware of what was happening, and it lasted about four minutes and then stopped on its own so we did not have to administer her emergency medication… But it was scary.  We’ve now witnessed a few of these episodes with Harper, but they don’t get easier… It is a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking feeling to watch your spunky, full-of-life child be so vulnerable and helpless.

With these seizures we have also been seeing some other changes in Harper.  Her mood swings are intense- We have the typical terrible two’s, but it’s amplified by her lack of sleep, an incredible physical strength, and these new screaming spells that come on for no apparent reason and can last for a really long time (and no, they are not like toddler tantrums).  She’s been eating very little, naps about once a week, and is up and down through the night once she finally falls asleep.  Now that she has started having these seizures, she has been moved from the toddler bed in our room into our bed so that we can feel her when she starts seizing… Not an ideal sleeping situation, but it’s the best way we know how to get any rest at this point in the game.  We have a message in to her neurologist at Duke to update him on what we are seeing, and her next MRI is currently scheduled for September.

I have hesitated to tell people that we are dealing with this.  I’ve been so full of hope and we’ve seen such great strides forward for so long that it’s hard to admit things aren’t perfect.  I’m so grateful to God for bringing us this far that it feels wrong to say there’s a problem now.  I feel guilty for any kind of complaining about things being hard because they could be so much worse.  And I feel guilty for being afraid because my faith should be greater than that.  Plus, speaking it makes it more real, and I don’t want this to be a real thing for my daughter or our family.

But I am drained.  I am weary.  I am exhausted.  And it isn’t just physically.  This new way of living is mentally and emotionally wearing, and the worry is weighing heavy on this mommy’s heart.  I know all of the verses about not worrying, I know where my hope lies, I know Who ultimately is in control, I know my help and my strength comes from the Lord… My head knows the Bible answers, but my heart is struggling with the “even-if” faith.

We’ve seen miracles happen.  We’ve been granted an incredible blessing in Harper.  I don’t for a minute discredit all the that Lord has done for us… We are miles away from where we were two years ago.  And I know He has a plan.  But in these moments, I’m a little bit scared of what His plan may entail.  I know He can totally heal our girl- but I also know that His plans are not our plans and I have to be willing to trust Him and praise Him “even if He does not.”  Because regardless of what happens, He is still God and He is still good… even if.

he is still good

Sunday’s Scripture

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
-Romans 6:6-7

So many times we get caught up in this idea that we live in a sinful and fallen world and sin is inevitable, and we use it as an excuse to keep on sinning.  But that is not what God’s word tells us!  Yes, we were born in a sinful world.  Yes, we’re born with a sinful nature.  But our old self has been CRUCIFIED!  We are no longer slaves to sin.  That old life is dead, and we are free!  If we stop looking around and instead look within to the Spirit living in us, we can overcome.  We don’t have to live a life characterized by sin.  We don’t have to be captive anymore.  We don’t have to feel weighed down and dejected.  We don’t have to live in our failures and shortcomings.  As the song goes, “my chains are gone, I’ve been set free…”  Live in the freedom, friends.  Embrace the victory.  We can overcome.

Acting human

Recently I had one of those total woman moments that I pride myself on not having- I got my feelings hurt.  I was caught totally off-guard, and I grew more and more upset and frustrated and confused.  How could this person respond to me in this way?  What had I done?  What was the deal?  Why??

I let it stew for days.  The thoughts grew in my mind and I convinced myself that I was right.  I was certain that I had done no wrong, had responded most appropriately, and I was most definitely not at fault in any way.  And with that I grew more and more angry and self-righteous and haughty… and alone.  I discovered that I had no one to listen to me vent my “rightness.”  No one at all… But God.

It took longer than it should have, but I did finally start pouring my heart out to the Lord.  I spouted my frustrations and wept over my bruised heart… And as He soothed my soul, He also began to gently open my eyes to a few things.  I could see that my own pride had become a barrier.  I was so focused on my own desires that I had stopped seeing Him at work- He had not stopped working, but my selfishness served as blinders on my eyes.  I was so convinced that I was right in everything that I failed to see how I was falling short in my relationships with others.  I had become so wrapped up in myself that I had forgotten my overall purpose- to love, to serve, to encourage, to forgive, and to ultimately glorify God.

I had gotten so frustrated with another human for acting so… well… human!  We live in a sinful, fallen world surrounded by other sinful, broken people.  Mistakes are made.  Hearts are hurt.  Promises are broken.  Lies abound.  Disappointments lurk around every corner.  Failure in inevitable, and people will let us down- they’re human!  And so am I.

But, praise God, there is One more faithful and loyal and sure to keep His promises.  He is full of grace and mercy and forgiveness and love… when we fall down, when we lose our way, when we hurt, and when we hurt others.  For reasons I may never understand He loves us in spite of ourselves.  He knows our hurts, He knows our fears, and He knows our mistakes and shortcomings… And He makes a way anyway.

The heart is deceitful above anything else, and incurable- who can understand it?  I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.
-Jeremiah 17:9-10

We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses.  You are saved by grace!
-Ephesians 2:3-5

If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
-I John 1:10

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!
-Lamentations 3:22-23

Give thanks to the God of heaven.  His love endures forever.
-Psalm 136:26

Saturday’s Scripture…

Today’s Word is for the weary mama…

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Our God is the God of perfect timing!  And in His timing, we WILL reap a harvest- what a promise to cling to!  But, it’s a promise with a prerequisite… We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

So, mom who is weary and exhausted… who is sleep-deprived and worn… who has had to stand her ground and be “the bad guy”… who’s changed umpteen diapers this week and completed (or not completed) umpteen loads of laundry… To the mom who hasn’t made it out of her yoga pants this week or the mom who has had to juggle the demands of a career and mommyhood… who has had to fight for her marriage or for her children’s minds and attention… To the mom who just doesn’t feel like she has done enough or is enough or that what she’s doing is making a difference, who doesn’t feel noticed or appreciated or even loved at times… Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, no matter what you are facing- DO NOT GIVE UP!  He is enough, He cares for you, He has a purpose for your life- you matter, and you are making a difference for Him.  Do not grow weary in doing good, friends!

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-control or spirit-control?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

We have finally reached the end of our Fruit of the Spirit study, and we are concluding with the fruit of self-control. However, when I study self-control, I find that it isn’t so much “self” control as it is “Spirit” control. You see, when a woman is living a fruitful life, following the precepts that God has outlined in His word, she isn’t controlled by self any more. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The area of self-control covers a lot of ground. As women, we are emotional creatures. God created us that way, but He does not desire for us to live under the rule of our emotions! While it is okay to experience and express emotions, we should not let our emotions control us. By allowing the Spirit to work in us, and tapping into the other fruits that we have discussed (such as joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.), we can find self-control. If we fail to manage our moods according to His ideals, our emotional instability can ruin our reputations, destroy relationships, and inhibit us from following God’s leadership. And by living a life characterized by emotional outbursts, we are unable to live in fellowship with God due to our sin of disobedience. However, when we turn our focus to the One who created us and our emotions, there is hope. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him. (Psalm 42:11)

Self-control does not always have to be an issue of emotions. For some, self-control may have more to do with financial decisions. Or perhaps food choices and appetites. It could be about gossip, spending time in the Word, watching or listening to things that hinder our relationship with Christ, how we spend our “free” time (if there is such a thing as a mom!)… The list goes on and on. Everyone has some area of their life over which they long to have more control. The areas in which you struggle may be very different from the struggles I face day to day. That’s the beauty of the unique creations that God made in each of us! And that is the beauty of the God we serve- no matter how different we are, or how different our struggles are, He created us. He knows us intimately. He understands those weak areas and loves us through them. And He, only He, can offer us the power that we need to overcome those individual trials.

So, as we conclude our study, I issue you a challenge. Every day, make a commitment to meet with your Holy Father. Open His word, talk to Him in prayer, and hear what He has to say to you. Tap into His power, be fruitful, and pray for your sisters in Christ who are facing challenges of their own on a daily basis. Some days and some seasons may be tougher than others- believe me, I know! But leave your Bible open on the table as a reminder that He’s there. Talk to Him as you take a shower or drive down the road. Post verses around your home in obvious places. Keep praise and worship music on throughout the day. Do whatever it takes to fill your days with Him. And as you do so, you’ll find that He’s right there with you in the every day, mundane, routine “stuff” that you do as a wife and a mother. And He’s ready to equip you with everything you need to love like Jesus, to be an example for your children, to be a woman after His own heart. Become a mom who exhibits love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. And one who isn’t self-controlled, but Spirit-controlled.

 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.
-Titus 2:11-12

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
-Ephesians 4:1

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
-2 Peter 1:5-7

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
-Proverbs 25:28

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
-Proverbs 16:32

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
-2 Timothy 1:7


Thursday’s Thanks…

It’s Thursday- that means it’s time to take a minute or two and thank God for all of the blessings- big, small, or in-between -that He’s given us this week.  Here’s my short list…

  • One-on-one time with my big girl (even if it was just to Walmart)
  • Finding just what I needed at an unbelievable price at Goodwill 🙂
  • The quick wit of my six-year-old
  • The willingness (and even eagerness) of my baby girl to take her daily meds without a fight
  • My grandma introducing me to a new artist (that, by the way, does not at all sound like a grandma’s kind of music!)
  • Generous neighbors
  • Breakfast at IHOP- love some crepes!
  • Living room movie picnics with my girls
  • Being in sync with my best bud even though we’re miles upon miles apart
  • Giggly sisters excited to play with each other (for a few minutes, at least!)

What’s on your list this week?

Fruit of the Spirit: Why gentleness?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)


Pause for just a moment and give that word some thought. What does gentleness look like? If you’re like me, perhaps that word brings a certain person to mind, someone who has touched your life with a kind and gentle spirit. Or maybe you envision some imaginary person or circumstance, like a mother and her newborn baby, or someone caring for the sick or elderly. The word gentleness is often used synonymously with words like tenderness, humility, kindness, and meekness.

Gentleness is Christ-likeness, and it is the characteristic of a woman under the control of the Holy Spirit. It is intertwined with the other fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, and like those other fruits, it is something that we have to put on daily and make a concerted effort to practice. As sinful humans, gentleness does not come easy, especially in a society where women are encouraged and expected to speak out and take charge and think of themselves first. However, gentleness is an attribute of a godly woman walking with Christ. But why are we called to be gentle?

First, gentleness allows you to be approachable and build trust with others. People will come to you when they know they won’t be reprimanded or judged, but rather embraced and loved. It builds confidence in relationships, both within our families and with those we encounter outside of our homes. Gentleness opens opportunities for sharing the love of Christ, and that is our job wherever we are. “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” (Philippians 4:5)

Second, gentleness opens communication and closes arguments and disagreements. As Proverbs 15:1 states, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When conflict arises, it is so easy to lose control of the tongue and say things that cannot be taken back. Sometimes it isn’t even the words that are said, but rather the tone with which they are said that causes friction. However, when we remember to give the Holy Spirit control and use the fruits He has provided, we can respond with gentleness and avoid many misunderstandings. We often reference the Proverbs 31 woman when we evaluate our roles as wives and mothers and daughters of the King. Proverbs 31:26 alludes to this “gentle responding”… “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Keep in mind that responding with gentleness does not mean we have to be doormats or ignore biblical wrongdoings! Sometimes situations must be dealt with and confrontations have to be made- the key is to take the time to pray first, remember that we have the power of the Spirit in us, and allow Him to use us in those situations. Speak with “wisdom and faithful instruction.”

Gentleness also enables us to love the way Christ loves. When we look at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry, we see the epitome of gentleness. Jesus ministered and served and preached with a meekness that drew people to Him. He took the time to meet needs with humility, touch people and heal them, and reach out to those of all walks of life. He pointed out sins, but did so in a way that still demonstrated great mercy and compassion. He had the power to destroy anyone who hurt Him, yet chose to love in the face of persecution. As followers of Him, we are called to exhibit this same measure of gentleness to those we encounter each day. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

As we have studied the different fruits of the Spirit, it has become increasingly obvious that each individual fruit is dependent on the other fruits. Gentleness flows from a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and (as we will see next time) self-control. Only when we are tapped into the power of the Spirit, spending time cultivating our relationship with Christ, communicating daily with God, and submitting to His lordship in our lives will we be able to experience the fruitful life that He desires of us.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
–Matthew 5:5

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
-Matthew 11:29

Fruit of the Spirit: Keep the faith

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

-Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)


“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
-Hebrews 11:1


Faithfulness is defined as the quality of being faithful; fidelity; true and constant support or loyalty; steady in allegiance or affection. Oftentimes we use the word to describe the relationship between husband and wife, the loyalty of a pet to its master, or a commitment we have to friends or family members. We even go so far as to declare our faithful allegiance to sports teams, certain stores or restaurants, or brands of clothing or cars. We pride ourselves in our devout loyalty to the things of this world, to being so faithful in so many ways. Yet in Galatians 5:22, we read that faithfulness is a God-given gift, one of the fruits that evidences the Holy Spirit in our lives.

In Psalm 15, David gives us a Biblical definition of a faithful man…

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart
And has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,
Who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
Who lends money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.

 Blameless. Righteous. Speaks truth. Does his neighbor no wrong. Who keeps his oath even when it hurts. These are the virtues of one who is considered faithful in the eyes of God, and it is not by accident that David included the phrase, “even when it hurts.” God does not look for fair-weather faithfulness. He wants faithfulness in ALL circumstances, both good and bad. It’s all a part of His grand plan, and He commands that we trust and obey even especially in the difficult times.

The Bible is full of examples of men and women who displayed great faithfulness in victory and in trial. If you’ve never studied Hebrews 11, stop and take a look at it now. Here we find a roll call of the faithful. So much can be learned by reading this chapter, and then going back and reading the accounts of those mentioned. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Rahab… just a handful of the examples of ordinary people that trusted God and exhibited extraordinary faithfulness.  They weren’t some kind of supernatural people that had something we don’t have- they had flaws and mistakes and sinful natures and scars and pasts and baggage, just like you and me… but they surrendered it all to God, the good and the bad, and allowed Him to use them for His glory.

There are other role models for us to examine throughout God’s word, and I’m turning our focus to three in particular- Esther, Job, and Stephen… Three very different people at different times in different circumstances, but all trusting the same God to do big things.

The book of Esther is an incredible account of an ordinary woman of great faith that God used to do amazing things. An orphan girl, raised by her cousin, and placed into a marriage to a man who was known for tossing aside his wives when they were less than submissive to his plans.  Yet Esther was willing to trust God’s plan for His people and allowed herself to be used by Him, even when it meant risking her own life. Her faith in God enabled her to have the courage to be bold and follow His agenda, even when it led her out of her comfort zone. “…When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

The book of Job gives us a look at a man who was faithful to God even when it hurt. Job was a righteous man, a godly man, a faithful man… yet he had to endure extreme hardships, losing everything he had. He lost his children, his wealth, and his health, yet he refused to give up on God because he knew God was so much bigger than the problems he faced on this earth. He faced peer pressure and ridicule when he continued praising God in the storm, but he wasn’t swayed.  He had faith that God was still in control and that God had great things in store for him, even when life seemed hopeless. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15)

Finally, in the New Testament we see Stephen, described as being “a man full of God’s grace and power.” (Acts 6:8) Stephen portrayed ultimate courage and strength in the Lord as he boldly stood before the Sanhedrin (see Acts 7) and professed the truth, knowing it would cost him his life. He had every opportunity to back down or stay silent in order to preserve his life, but his loyalty to God was so fierce and strong that he had to proclaim God’s word. Even in the face of death, Stephen declared God’s sovereignty, and prayed for those persecuting him as they stoned him to death. While that sounds like a grim ending, it was a joyous occasion as Stephen was welcomed into an eternity with God and his faith was made sight.

What can we take from these big examples of godly faithfulness? Stay the course. Don’t give up. Pledge your allegiance solely to Him. The mark of true faith is grateful obedience… grabbing God’s hand and following Him when He tells us to move, praising Him while we wait (and wait, and wait) in the everyday mundane, and trusting Him when the storms blow in and turn our worlds upside down. Friends, I know the struggle.  I’ve been in the pit, I’ve seen hopeless, I’ve been drowning in my own tears… but I’ve seen mercy and grace and love as He lifted me from the sludge.  “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet upon the rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God…” (Psalm 40:2-3).  There is no pit too deep, no valley too low, no sludge too thick that can keep Him away, so keep the faith.  Be bold, be strong, be courageous… in every season and circumstance.

“Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”
-Deuteronomy 10:20-21

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
-Lamentations 3:22-24

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
-Revelation 2:10