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My Doubtful Voice - Maggie Winterton 

That doubtful voice inside my head never goes away. What if this goes terribly? What if it’s too much? What if I am really homesick? What if I don’t make friends and I’m really lonely? Can I even handle this? Do I go through with it? 

I remember the times when I had these same questions running through my head. The times when I sat up at night worrying about a big change. 

I was newly married and about to say goodbye my new husband for (what I thought would be) 2 months. He was about to go to Navy basic training, where communication to the outside world is extremely limited. I couldn’t imagine not seeing (and barely speaking to) him for that long. I didn’t know how I could possibly handle it. 

Of course, I chose to put myself in that situation months before when I accepted his marriage proposal. 

And even though I knew for a very long time that my husband would leave in January, I became more anxious as the date drew closer. Panicked and desperate is a better description. 

Fear was eating me alive in the days before he left, and it would once again a few years later before we would move to our new home in Italy. 

The prospect of our new life in Italy felt so unknown to me that it almost felt like my current life was ending and I was beginning a new one. We really didn’t know what to expect when it came to many aspects of our new command. I still didn’t know a lot of Italian, and it worried me. I had never even been outside the country before. We didn’t know what kind of a home we would have in Italy, or when any of our belongings would arrive. Then there’s always the unknown of deployments. 

And there was an added weight for me: I was now a mother. 

For me, that makes everything a lot worse. My baby deserves the best life possible, and I don’t want anything to jeopardize that for him. I feared that I wasn’t going to have a lot of support out there in the beginning, and my husband could be sailing away at any time. It could just be me and my little boy for long stretches. Could I handle it? I wondered. 

There has to be a reason for this season of my life, doesn’t there? God doesn’t make mistakes. 

What I grappled with pre-Italy (and boot camp) is wondering what God really wants for me. Does He want me to make a big change myself, proactively protecting myself and my family from any hardships to come? Or to go in faith to my Promised Land of sorts and reach out to grab this awesome opportunity? 

My husband went to boot camp. I didn’t stop him. Due to an injury, he was there twice as long. But I still made it. Looking back on those days he was gone, I realize that I really grew as a person during them. And I know I’m certainly a stronger person because of it. 

We went to Italy. It was hard! I still don’t know Italian. I traveled a lot. And, it was worth it. 

No one ever really knows what God wants for our lives. What I do know is that I can’t make decisions out of fear and doubt.

So pray and trust. Try to resist the doubt and fear. And whatever happens, know that God will guide you through.

 

To Learn More About Maggie Click Here!

Trusting In Our Sheperd To Lead Us - Ashley Sauls 

When I first heard Psalm 23, I had an image of a utopic situation where our Good Shepherd leads us uninterrupted through life. As His sons and daughters, we just allow Him to restore our souls and lead us. What a beautiful image. I used to love my interpretation of this scripture. Then I faced a major storm that shook me to my core. I received this very scripture as an encouragement, and I couldn't understand the jewels in it. Where is the Good Shepherd? Where are the green pastures and still waters? How can He possibly restore my soul in this less than ideal environment? 

Then the wisdom came from Psalm 23:4: 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, 

I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. 

Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (NLT). 

No matter how dark it is, we never have to be afraid. God is always with us. That's the key! When God is with us, we can walk "through" anything and not fear what is going on. We have to learn how to interpret hard times from God's perspective and not our own. When things get tough, our first reaction is to internalize the problem. We wonder, "What did I do wrong?" Sometimes we haven't done anything. The darkness is a transitional place. It is not meant to be a place where we camp out. There are lessons we will learn that bring us into a deeper understanding of God. 

Here are a few lessons we will learn about our Good Shepherd: 

We learn His nature 

He is not a Good Shepherd in theory. He leads us as we allow Him to by way of Holy Spirit. We see Him in action as He shows us in every day moments His commitment to us in good times and hard places. 

We Learn the Extent of His Love 

It is one thing to say God is love. It is another to feel His love through tears and brokenness. If you think back to your darkest places and see how God showed up, it's an experience that is hard to describe. You just know He is supporting you. We see His love in the ways we need at the perfect moments. 

We Learn His consistency 

When has God forsaken you? He never has nor will. God may not answer according to what we want though. He is God and makes decisions from perfection. He has an eternal perspective that goes beyond our momentary discomfort. 

What about this rod and staff? Sounds scary huh. How is that comforting? Our Shepherd disciplines us and corrects us on the journey. He also protects us. It means we don't have to wander around trying to figure things out. He guides us as only He can. 

You may or may not be facing a dark night of the soul. Whether you are (or are not), this Scripture reminds us of promises we can count on daily. Your Good Shepherd is with you. 

To Learn More About Ashley Click Here!

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