Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Give Up

Today I feel like giving up. Oh, I’ve felt this way before but I confess at this moment, in the very moment that I type these words, I am at the most difficult time and place of my life. This is real. Honest. Transparent. Probably too transparent. Yet something tells me to write it and be honest because I know there are others who feel like giving up too. I know it. I pray that God brings those dear ones to this blog and encourages them.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?

I’ll tell you why I feel like giving up, though I know it won’t adequately capture what’s going on with me. It’d be the same if you were writing about your heartache. It’s difficult to convey the depth and width of the pain. As I write this, I’ve been battling what specialists believe is a persistent and chronic lyme disease. After two plus years of treatment, I’ve made no progress. I endure severe pain on a daily basis. I feel like a 37 year-old trapped in an 87 year-old’s body. I have a vast array of symptoms in addition to the pain, including insomnia (which is why I’m writing this at 1am), gastric issues, POTS symptoms affecting the heart, dizziness, chronic sinus and other infections, splitting headaches, intense fatigue and more. I struggle with depression and anxiety with full-blown panic attacks (which I have never experienced before). I also struggle with the results of multiple prescribed medications and having to withdraw from them. There’s a lot more but I won’t babble on. I can only say that it’s horrible having to live this way, and I have no reason to believe I’ll find remission any time soon.

In addition to the chronic illness, my life is riddled with what seems like problem after problem, trial after trial. It’s almost become comical. I won’t go into detail as much of it is private, but I can only say that I often, throughout the day, shake my head in disbelief at how badly everything goes. Relationships. Finances. Events. Treatment. Even day to day living…like with the household. Everything. Everything goes wrong. It’s shocking. It’s so disheartening. It’s so hard to push forward. That’s why I want to give up.

Now, when I say I want to give up, I’m not saying that I want to take my life. That is something I will never do. I would never do that to my daughter. I would never do that to my Lord. When I say “give up”, what I mean is “give in”. I feel like giving in to despair. I feel like giving in to full-blown grief. I feel like isolating. I don’t feel like going shopping, being social or even talking, really. I feel like spending my time with my kiddo and just letting it all fall apart, since it seems to be always falling apart around me anyways. That’s how I feel, but let me assert with confidence that giving up is not the answer.

Suffering is a part of life, and some suffer more than others. Some Christians suffer more than others. It’s life in a fallen world. Sickness, stress, pain, divorce, brokenness…it was never part of God’s perfect plan. Sin brought it in along with death and decay. We live in a world that groans because of the pain and sin and destruction. We await with hurting hearts the redemption of the returning Messiah. It’s a mess, friends. I know this is the truth and so I do not resent God for the pain I’m experiencing. I know He didn’t send it to me or inflict me with it. Now, He may be allowing it, but that’s not the same thing. He has promised to make beauty from ashes and to redeem our suffering. He is the Rescuer. Deliverer. Savior. Father. King of Glory. He is all and everything and perfection.

 

““The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” Deut. 32:4

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

“For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” Deut 4:31

““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”” Rev 21:4

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

I believe what God says in His Word. I believe it, but I’m weak. I’m broken. Brokenhearted. Broken in body. Broken Spiritually. So here’s the good news….God can and does work in our brokenness. If you’re broken and hurting like me, know that God isn’t finished. He is working and stronger than ever in our weakness and brokenness. We are not alone. We are not lost causes. God has not and will not ever forsake us…..even if we give up for a while.

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Ex 15:2

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29

 

We may not know what God is doing…I don’t. I don’t understand it. I ask Him, “why? Why me Lord? How can You love me and allow this? Am I cursed? Have I done something wrong to have earned this constant pain?” I don’t know what He’s doing but I can trust in Him because He said I could and because He is good. He is God. He is love. I trust in His character and His promises. He never promised a perfect or pain-free life on earth. He promised salvation from the grave and everlasting life. He promised we would not drown when the waters overtook us. We would not burn when the fire burned all around. We would be pressed but not crushed. We would be broken but not destroyed.

 

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12

 

All we need to do is cling to Him and wait. Wait. One more day. One more hour if need be. We need to wait and not give up. Can we not wait for one hour? We can through the power of the Holy Spirit my friends. We can. I’m praying for you. Please pray for me too. And remember….

God is good and He loves you!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

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When Will I Be Healed? – God’s Will

12241540_10203630329638421_1285773297065267458_nAs a Christian I’ve always sought to understand the balance in God’s Word about asking for and believing in miraculous healings. I’ve studied God’s Word as I’ve seen conflict in The Church about if God heals, how God heals and when God heals. With so many different mindsets and opinions out there amongst God’s bride, it’s important for us to study to show ourselves approved and seek to understand as best we can what God’s will for healing is…because that’s what really matters.

As we study the Bible, we learn about God’s character. We see balance in His character. We see sovereignty and also the gift of free will. We see wisdom and also the occasional blindings for a higher purpose. We see immediate answers to prayer and others that take time. In all that God does and all that He allows, we see purpose and perfection because His will is perfect. He is always good.

So when we talk about healing, I immediately expect to see those characteristics of God in the works and indeed I do! So here’s what I’ve learned about healing God’s way, and how I apply it to my situation in dealing with Chronic Lyme Disease:

  1. God does heal. There’s no doubt about it. We see examples of Jesus healing and of God healing through the prayer of His people repeatedly in scripture. While some insist that the gift of healing stopped with the apostles, my question for them would be why? What scripture do you have to support that theory? See, I’m not about just trusting the opinion of feelings of mankind. The Bible says the heart can be deceptive. I’ve seen no scripture to indicate that the gift of healing isn’t for the church today, so I believe God does heal. I’ve seen Him heal both miraculously and through medicine. Glory to God!

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

2. God doesn’t always heal…at least not on earth. God healed many in scripture, but some He chose not to heal. He didn’t heal Paul of his failing eyesight or the thorn in his side. He didn’t heal Timothy of his frequent infirmities and stomach issues. Yet He raised Tabitha from the dead through the prayers of Peter. We see that God does heal, but sometimes He chooses not to. You may have faith to trust God to heal you, but do you have enough faith to trust Him through the illness He allows you to have?

“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” 1 Timothy 5:23

3. God has a purpose in healing or not healing. I’ve been to churches that claim healing as if they are single-handedly controlling the power of the Holy Spirit, slinging Him around at their will…but isnt’ it supposed to be God’s will? Since when do we have the authority or power to command the Holy Spirit? Let us not forget the Holy Spirit is a part of the triune God. As we come before the Lord to seek healing, we ask for it…we ought not to demand. We ought not to “claim” it as it is our right rather than God’s good pleasure. I see a lack of humility in that approach and an underestimation of God’s sovereignty and His perfect wisdom. See, God knows why He heals some and doesn’t heal others. He has a purpose in it all. He healing many throughout scripture but He didn’t heal others and it was for a specific purpose. Perhaps He has a higher purpose for my suffering. Perhaps my suffering will be a ministry to help me reach others (it already has served that purpose).  Perhaps my suffering will somehow bring God glory as people see my faith stay strong in the midst of pain. Perhaps I need this struggle in my life. God’s ways are so far above ours. When we claim healing and demand from God what WE think we need and what WE want in our lives, we are almost telling God that we know better. We are seeking our will instead of His will. Nay, I will trust in Him and His ways and His perfect knowledge.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self  is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

4. Faith in sickness and health…. just like the marriage vows in most weddings, we ought to pledge our love and honor to the Lord in times of sickness and health equally. Our faith should be just as strong in those weak and painful times as in the healthy, easy times. Faith isn’t believing that nothing bad will ever happen to us. True faith is trusting God and allowing Him to help us through it no matter what comes our way. The disciples were beaten and killed. Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith. Our Lord Jesus was mocked, beaten and killed for us though He was without sin. The Bible warns us that these times will bring pain, trial, illness, testing and persecution. Any teacher who tells you that life with Jesus should bring you health, wealth and prosperity on a worldly level is selling you something that’s definitely not based on the Word of God. It leaves Christians confused when times of hardship come, and they will come. Faith in good times and bad. Faith in sickness and health.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

 

And so, dear brothers and sisters, take heart and rest assured that your lack of healing is not necessarily because of a lack of faith. It’s not because you are a bad Christian and definitely not a sign that God’s turned His back on you. Do we need faith to be healed? Yes. Jesus said we do. There’s no doubt that our faith plays a part in it. But are the faithful guaranteed earthly healing? No. Do we have the power to demand the Holy Spirit heal us on our terms? No. Do we stop asking for healing? Never.

Pray for healing.

Know that God can heal.

Surrender to His will and trust Him.

Glorify Him in sickness and in health.

Know that one day, we will have heavenly, resurrected bodies where there will be no more pain, sickness or death. Praise God! The glory that’s coming so far exceeds the pain of this life. It’ll all be worth it one day, friends. God’s promises that. Do you believe Him?

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Owning the Role of Womanhood

15178297_10205770251895140_4852936928104574322_nI love being a woman. I have no desire whatsoever to be a man. God made me a woman with certain roles, strengths and even weaknesses. Men and women are different…to say otherwise is to ignore scientific fact, studies of the very nature of our genders and even common sense. We are different physically, emotionally and spiritually (in the sense of how God desires us to walk out the callings He has on our lives).

The world has fervently tried to convince us that men and women are the same. This is not about equality. In God’s eyes we are equal. Men are not better or higher than women, nor the other way around. In Galatians 3:28 God says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” God says we are equal, so that’s not in question. We can all agree that women should hold an equal standing when it comes to rights. No problem there.

Equality does not mean we are interchangeable or indistinguishable. It does not mean we are equally suited for every activity. Again, science tells us that in some cases men are better suited for a task while in other situations a woman is better suited. Equal but different, and I’m so very grateful for that.

I’m so very willing to let my husband carry the heavy boxes. I’m so grateful that he mows the lawn. What’s more important is that he is the head of our home and that carries a responsibility that I have no desire at all to try and take away from him. He is responsible for the well-being of our family and keeping our home spiritually in order. He is our covering, answering to our Lord for our spiritual condition. That is a job I do not want. I’m grateful that I’m not called to that role….not that my role is easy either. haha

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

Submitting is voluntarily placing oneself under the authority of another. Submitting is not bondage or slavery or being a doormat or losing equality. Submitting is a beautiful act of selflessness and it’s something we are called to do all throughout life in many circumstances. We submit to the authority of police officers, teachers, employers and most importantly to God. Don’t be scared of submission in the home… there is great beauty in it and you will find that the best and most successful marriages were built on men loving their wives as Christ loved the Church, laying down their lives for their wives, and wives submitting to their husbands as unto the Lord. Beautiful.

I love being a woman. I love that God made me a nurturer, a mother, emotional, discerning, gentle and feminine. I love that I was able to give birth to a daughter. I love that I am the keeper of my home and that I have the ability to create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort and love in this place.

I love that God made my husband a man. I love that he is our covering and our protector. I love that he is logical to balance my emotion. I love that he works hard to provide and that he loves the Lord. God has a perfect plan, and while we are not perfect people, we are at peace in the center of His perfect will for us in regards to our roles as men and women.

Ultimately, God created man and woman in His image. I believer our attributes and different giftings are all a part of who God is. When a man and woman come together in the unity of marriage, we fit perfectly in every way, and we glorify God in this unity.

I am a woman and I love being a woman. I am equal with my husband and I’m in submission to my husband. I am valuable. I am free to give myself willingly to this man to whom I have pledged my life. I LOVE being a woman and I own it without shame, fear or regret.

Proverbs 31:10, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

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I Want More

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via photopin (license)

What can I say? I want more. I’m not content with average….mediocre…just ok. I want more than what I’ve had. I want more than what I’ve experienced. I want more than what I’m able to achieve myself. I want more than what society will think is necessary. I want more and I’m going for it. I want more of Jesus.

 

I want more Jesus. I want to have Him constantly on my mind and in my heart. I want to be speaking to Him, sometimes loudly and sometimes in gentle whispers, but always all throughout my day in unceasing prayer. I want Him to be the first one I think about in the morning and the last goodnight. I want Him to be so much a part of my day that I never feel apart from Him. I want more.

 

I want more of the Father’s heart in my life. I want to love more deeply. I want to serve more selflessly. I want to pour more of myself into those He puts before me. I want to be more willing to cast aside my own selfish desires and thoughts. I want to be more of a witness to His glory, His love and His mercy. I want more grace to flow from Him, through me and spilling out into the world around me. I want more.

 

I want more of the Holy Spirit in my life. I want to faithfully use the gifts of the Spirit more as God gives. I want more discernment, more wisdom, more direction, more conviction, more comfort and more understanding. I want more….as much as the Holy Spirit desires to give, I want. I want more.

 

I want more of the church. I want more reality in the church. I want more purpose in the church. I want more teaching, admonishing, encouraging, edification, truth and above all LOVE in the church. I want to give more to the church and I want to be more actively functioning in the church. I want to see the church more alive and on fire than ever before. I want more revival. More gospel. More baptism. More movement of the Spirit. I want more solid doctrine. I want more courage, boldness and love. Yes, I said LOVE again because I want more LOVE in the church. “Faith, hope and love; these three remain, but the greatest is LOVE.” 1 Cor. 13:13

 

Oh Lord, this world wants more of me. It wants all of me. It pulls at me. The enemy wants to bury me in more of myself, self-love, selfishness, self-pity. No. I want more of Jesus. The answer to everything is more of Jesus. I’m not settling for less. I want more…as much as You will give me. I’m ready for more.

 

Thank You Lord that You give freely and abundantly of Yourself when we are ready to ask for more!

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I Resolve Not to Put God in a Box

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Resolutions. Plans. Goals. Commitments. New Year tends to bring us all to a place of reflection and re-calculation. We evaluate what we’ve disliked in the year(s) past and we vow to make positive changes. We resolve to conquer what we deem as personal failures and we make plans to correct those failures and/or add something new to our lifestyle. The problem with so many resolutions is that they are anything but resolute. They are hardly the solid, unbreakable self-contract that the word “resolve” describes. Most are over within a few months, weeks or days. That’s why so many people make a joke of it.

I don’t like failure. I’ve never been good at accepting my own mediocrity or weakness. If I don’t do something well right from the start, I usually want to quit pretty quickly. Therefore, with a great sense of commitment, I resolve to make only one resolution this year and it’ll be easy to keep because it really has little to do with me. Here it is…

I resolve not to put God in a box. I resolve not to project limits on His power and ability that simply don’t exist. I resolve not to expect Him to do things the way I perceive that He should, and to be open to leading of the Holy Spirit. I want to be more in touch with what He’s doing, even if it has nothing to do with my own plans. After all, His ways are far above my ways.

We believe God’s Word, don’t we? If we believe His Word, then we serve a God who created the heights and vastness of the universe with a spoken word. We believe He created everything we see and even us. We believe in His power to flood the world, deliver Israel from the hands of Egypt by parting the Red Sea, keep His servants from burning a fire, heal the sick and give sight to the blind, and die and rise again to glory. If we believe His Word, we believe that He sent His Holy Spirit, giving His children His power in spiritual gifts, opened prison doors and did many other signs and wonders. We believe it, don’t we?

If this is the God we believe in, what gives us the right to put Him in a box? Why do we claim to believe He has the power to deliver us from our troubles, use us to the reach the lost, empower us to minister to His people, give children to the barren and heal broken families? How can we believe in our minds and yet our hearts seem to grow more skeptical by the year? Want my theory?

We’ve felt let down. We’ve experienced loss. We’ve prayed for miracles and at times have not seen God work in the way we expected. There is pain and suffering, and we pray without feeling that assurance that He will really work in the situation. We put Him in a box and we go about our lives not expecting Him to burst out.

I confess that this has been me many times. I have prayed for healing and grown to doubt that God will ever answer that prayer. I have prayed for others without expecting it to do any good. I have asked God for wisdom but then not waited for wisdom to come. I have decided that anything outside of the box must not be God’s work and so I go on living as if I serve a God with no power…or that He has power but won’t use it on my behalf. I have allowed my wicked heart to deceive me so many times, trusting it’s disillusions more than I trust the promises of God. I’m ashamed of this weakness, and I’m not entirely free of it.

I don’t know what to expect for 2015. I don’t know what’s coming. I know God’s Word is true and that His ways are perfect. I know that my bad decisions have brought me pain and that God will work good through them. I understand that pain is part of this life, but I don’t know whether or not God will continue to allow such testing in our lives, or if a time of rest and comfort is coming. What I do know is that God is all-powerful, all-mighty, unparalleled and unfailing in His love and grace towards us. He cannot be contained in a box. He will do what He wills to do, and I know that I need to stop second-guessing Him, doubting Him and giving up on Him in my heart. I need to place this coming year in His capable hands and hang on for the ride, where ever it may take us.

I resolve not to put God in a box. I resolve to be open to whatever He wants to do and to trust that what He’s doing (or not doing) is right and good and perfect. I need to expect Him to work and move, because that’s what He does. If I want to be a part of it, I need to have my eyes open to the bigness and greatness of God. I lost sight of this. I failed. My New Year Resolution is to rip that box to shreds and be ready for what God’s going to do this year. I know big things are coming.

May your year be full of the unexpected and surprising bigness of God. May He fill us all with wonder as He works mightily in glory. May He bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you grace! God bless 2015!

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Why Be Grateful for the Storms of this Life?

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“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2

EH? Count it joy? Be happy about trials of various kinds? I can honestly say that we go through a great variety of trials and I confess that it is rare that I leap for joy at the discovery of a new trial or time of tribulation. Yet, we are told to count it joy. There are several reasons we should be grateful and joyful, even in the midst of great trials and sometimes tremendous amounts of pain and suffering. Here are some of the reasons we should be grateful for the storms of life…

  1. Trials teach and grow us in patience and faith. The testing of our faith produces patience and works in us to develop our faith to maturity. It is during times of trial that we grow the most in our walks with the Lord as we put our trust in Him alone.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-8

  1. Trials produce endurance, character and a more confident hope that will never let us down. We know who our hope is in and that He will never fail us or let us be destroyed.

 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

  1. Trials and pain bring us closer to the Lord. We draw nearer to Him and He is right there for us, bringing us comfort, strength and peace.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-18

  1. Our faith through trials brings honor and glory to God, not to mention the testimony that it is to the lost.

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7

  1. When we go through trials, God ministers to our spirits in a very personal and beautiful way. He renews us and establishes us. We see His work in our lives very clearly.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

  1. The end result of enduring through the trial is the crown of life and glory beyond what our mortal minds can comprehend.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

No one asks for trials, and yet we see that experiencing trials produces some wonderful fruit, in us and around us. We may not see the fruit now, nor may we feel God’s loving hand in it, but we have a blessed assurance that it’ll all be worth it in the end. If we truly believe God’s Word, then we have every reason to be grateful for the trials and storms this life has for us. As we put our faith in the God of all creation, we can face today and everyday with strength, hope, peace and joy.

Praying today for people going through horrific trials, that they would feel the very near presence of God and know His love.

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