Monday Morning Meditation: Before I Formed You, I Knew You

“Before I formed you, I knew you.”
Jeremiah 1:5a

Sometimes, life feels totally random. Why am I going through this trial? we ask ourselves.

The way things fall into place (or don’t). The promotion that comes through “too late” (or doesn’t come at all). The risk you took because you thought it was God’s leading that works out marvelously (or doesn’t work out at all).

What makes the difference? Why do we sometimes succeed and sometimes…. not?

This verse from Jeremiah came to mind yesterday, and with them much comfort. Before I formed you, I knew you. This word translated “know” is yadaand it is used in a variety of contexts. It generally means “to know deeply.”

We all have a desire deep within our hearts to be known on an intimate level. Whether or not people know certain things about us can bring shame or relief. And yet Scripture informs us that the Creator of the universe knew us even before He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).

My son JJ in my womb

My son JJ in my womb

Before I formed you, I knew you.

My life is not random. The direction I go, the way God leads, the things He asks me to do were planned long before I was even in my mother’s womb. He knew me deeply, and continues to inform my steps as I acknowledge Him in all my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Lord, on this Monday morning, help us to remember that we are known by an all-powerful God who bent down to earth, putting on flesh, in order to rescue us from our shame and hurt. Help us to act known, to walk out the knowledge that You had a plan for us before You formed us, and You are still carrying out that plan, even when we feel directionless. Thank You, Master. We give You our all. We allow You to be “God with us.” We pray in Jesus’ holy and powerful name, amen.

 

Freedom Friday, Tools for the Journey: Keep It Simple

Years ago, I wrote

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Simple Girl
I am a simple girl
I live a simple life
I want to have a simple job
I want to be a simple wife

But I’m beginning to see that my life is not my own
And the path that I would take is not for me to choose
And all I want to be and all I’ve ever known
I’d give it all up for your sake; what do I have to lose?

My life would be nothing without You
My life was nothing before You
My life would be nothing apart from You
I can do nothing without You

© 2000 Unveiled Faces Music

I still want that simple life.

A picture of the sunset in Cape Cod

Yet I complicate things.

When reading these lyrics, I am reminded of a saying from 12-step programs, Keep It Simple.

How can we keep things simple when life seems overwhelmingly crazy?

1. Focus on what you know.
When trying to make a decision, I often think about all the unknowns and uncertainties.  It’s usually unhelpful and unproductive. 
It’s much more helpful to focus on what I know to be true.
Another saying I’ve taken away from my time in 12-step programs is, I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let God.

What a concept.

If God is really faithful, if He doesn’t jump off the throne at the first hint of an obstacle, then continually choosing to believe that He is who He says He is sounds like a much better plan than drowning in uncertainties.

Here’s what I know:
God is good.
He is loving.
He provides.
He stoops down to make me great.

That’s what I will focus on.

2. Stop analyzing, and keep praying.
I usually spend more time than healthy trying to make sense of things that may never make sense. I try to make decisions by weighing pros and cons, crunching numbers, and creating spreadsheets.
I try and figure out what seems good.
What appears good to us is often the enemy of God’s best.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Then I remember: you have not because you ask not.

In Luke 18, we have this example of a persistent widow.  She continued to ask the judge for what she wanted until she got it.  In Matthew 7, God is described as a good father who does not give His children stones when they ask for bread.

Put your analysis on pause, and ask the God of the universe to lead you in His paths.

3. Choose to trust.
Friends, if you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know this is one of my central themes.  If I say I believe the Word of God, which states that God is trustworthy, then I need to choose to trust Him.

Choose to trust Him in the way you think and the things you think about.

Choose to trust Him with what you say about yourself, your situation and your God.

Choose to trust Him with your actions and in the decisions you make.

God has our best at heart.  I need to remember that.
Keep it simple.

I am praying Romans 15:13 for you all this week:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Freedom Friday: Are Your Dreams Suffocating?

What have you been dreaming about lately?

Are there dreams that God has deposited in your heart?

There have been many times God stirred a vision in my heart: for my life, my family, my marriage, His calling. Thinking about the dream, praying through it, processing it made me come alive. It stirred a longing in me that is often silenced.

Then something changes.

Life happens, circumstances are difficult, my perspective tells me it’s not worth it to hope. My dreams are too big, too ludicrous – just too much.

It reminds me of the parable of the sower that Jesus told in Luke 8. My dreams become like the seed that fell among thorns.

“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” verse 14

What are the thorns suffocating your dreams?


If we serve a God of hope, and hope does not disappoint….

If hope that is seen is not really hope (“if we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it,” Romans 8:24 NLT)……

Why do we allow our dreams to be suffocated?

There is a simple answer.

Fear.

My main thorn is fear.

Fear drowns hope. It keeps my dreams bound, caged, suffocating.

How do we combat fear?

With love.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 NIV84)

If God is love, if His love is unfailing and never-ending, why do I fear? Why do I doubt?

When I look to the cross, can I still believe anything is impossible for God?

This thought popped into my head today: I never want to stop dreaming.

I need to find a way to keep my dreams alive, to fight off the thorns that threaten to silence them.

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Luke 8:15

Is fear suffocating your dreams today? What would happen if you received God’s unfailing love?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

What dream of yours needs to be revived today?

Other helpful posts:
Are Your Dreams Asleep?
How To Keep Dreams Alive
Living Your Amazing Without Suffocating