Connect with us

Articles

Back on Track

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

This folk proverb opens Bella, a movie I recently borrowed. How true! I thought to myself. It really made me think about how my life has arrived to this point.

When I was in high school, I planned to go to a great school, graduate in four years, find the love of my life, get married, and have my first child by age 24.

Queue laugh tract.

My promised choice of colleges was denied me in a strange admissions error. Budget cuts and limited class availability forced me to take seven years of full-time study to earn my four-year degree. I graduated from college in my early 20s, sans beau.

However, there was a glimmer of hope. I was invited to an acquaintance’s graduation party. We hit it off and were married the following year.

Even though my plans seemed to be fairly back on track, tragedy and heartache were around the corner.

I wasn’t able to get pregnant.

And my marriage ended.

Although my divorce was spurred primarily by my husband’s addictions to sex and pornography, I remember the despair I felt during these dark times. Every night I laid in bed crying out to God to save me from myself, from the guilt, and from the “what-ifs.” I wanted God to end my misery and let me die. I was at the end of myself. But that’s where God needed me to be.

Now I was teachable.

In reflecting on my plans gone awry, I think God may have laughed at them, but cried at my choices. He allowed me to be brought down to a point in my life where I would surrender my pride and fall to my knees to follow His choices.

This reminds me of King Nebuchadnezzar, whose story is told in the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful ruler in his day. When he invaded Jerusalem, he brought the cream of the crop to Babylon to serve him. Daniel and three of his friends were among those brought into the king’s service, where they grew in prominence and honor.

The Prophet Daniel recorded that he interpreted a dream for the king, to which Nebuchadnezzar replied, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret” (Daniel 2:47).

But Nebuchadnezzar then showed his pride—and his short memory. The next chapter of Daniel details the story of the gigantic golden monument the king demanded his subjects worship. Refusal to do so landed Daniel’s compatriots, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, in the fiery furnace. But then the king saw the trio, and another figure—the pre-incarnate Christ—walking amid the flames. The king called them out and the three were untouched by the fire. At this Nebuchadnezzar declared:

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” (Daniel 3:28-29)

Again, the king was in awe of what God was able to do. But he obviously hadn’t yielded his pride and submitted to God. Even Nebuchadnezzar himself was aware of this as he related another dream in which Daniel interpreted God’s warning to the king to be righteous and merciful.

But only one year later, Nebuchadnezzar again was at the height of pride as he surveyed his palace—possibly his famous hanging gardens and the Ishtar Gate—stating, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30).

Here is the great king, full of himself, unwilling to yield to the King of kings. Nebuchadnezzar believed his position and power were all his own doing. However, God had enough and determined to set the king straight.

No sooner had Nebuchadnezzar expressed his pride in himself and his accomplishments, God took away his kingdom. The king was made insane and driven into the fields to live like an animal, for possibly seven years. God had to debase the great ruler, make him like an animal—despised and alone. God allowed the king to come to the end of himself in order for make him to realize God’s plan.

At the end of his humiliation, Nebuchadnezzar surrendered his pride, submitted to God, praising and honoring Him above all. The king’s sanity was returned to him, along with his kingdom and honor.

In understanding, Nebuchadnezzar said, “And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37b). He finally got it.

Obviously I am not like Nebuchadnezzar in many ways. But in others, I am. Just as God warned the king, the Holy Spirit warned me before I started dating my first husband. But I didn’t understand the warning, which came as physical discomfort, and ignored it. It wasn’t until several years later that I understood the ill feeling I experienced was for a reason, not just heartburn or nerves. (The next time I had that feeling, I paid attention.)

After God used whatever means necessary to put down my pride, I got it. About 10 years ago, I rededicated my life to Christ. A few years later, God brought a godly man into my life and we married. Six months into our marriage, we conceived our daughter. My life seemed back on track, but this time, it was God’s track.

I won’t always understand where God’s path is leading. And yes, I foolishly still try to go my own way at times. But God gently, and sometimes not-so-gently, pulls me back on course. He reminds me He will honor my humility, for He says in Proverbs 22:4, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.”

I pray that I am able to continue to stay on God’s track for my life, not veering away to follow my own whims. And, that the next time God laughs at my plans, it’s because they please Him.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Jodie Susanne Eyberg lives in Colorado Springs where she is wife to Mark and stay-at-home mom to Charis, Esther, and Zoe. You can read her journal of their adoption, family life, and other musings at A Heart in Two Worlds.

Click to comment

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Articles

He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

Published

on

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone

Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Print this pageEmail this to someone
Continue Reading

Become An Insider!

Enter your email address below to stay in the loop on the latest from Ungrind.

Welcome to Ungrind!



Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"For weary mornings after tending to wee ones all night long or for listless evenings when you need a hopeful thought to sleep on, stop by Ungrind. You'll find a feast for your eyes and soul -- practical, engaging articles that gracefully balance the gritty realities of life with eternal possibilities."

-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
COL_TeamUs_BannerAd

Five-Minute-Friday---4

familydevotional

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

Back on Track

by Jodie Eyberg time to read: 4 min
0