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Milk and Honey

Just like this story in the Old Testament, all of those around us have seen that when you trust God, He is able to “do immeasurably more than you can ever ask or imagine.”

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Miracle: an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Miracles aren’t something I think of on an everyday basis. When I was more of an idealistic believer or perhaps just childlike, I did seem to daily ponder on the miracles of God. I prayed for them. I pleaded for them. Not necessarily for me or my family, but for the people of the community we were working in. I wanted to see God show His glory and power through the restoring of the lives of these broken, hurting people.

Unfortunately, we never “saw” those things happen as we thought they would. There are many lives that were and still are trapped in the pit of despair, trying desperately to crawl their way out. But there are also those seeds that were planted years ago, still sprouting and growing with God.

Years have passed since this time in our young lives and experience seemed to be teaching me to live more in the day, to not expect God to answer these “big” prayers. Perhaps, my prayers were too much on my own time table and it was just a matter of waiting.

I realized how discontentment was masking as a “spiritual” aim by keeping my eyes fixed on the grander purpose for my life rather than the “small” miracles before me each day. This reminded me of a story in the Old Testament.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Know then that in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 5, 7-9)

It was time to enjoy my relationship with God, to get to know Him for who He is rather than what He can do and bask in the simple beauties of everyday living.

I began to pray for contentment.

Somehow, through no effort of my own, God answered that prayer. I found myself just enjoying my husband and children. I couldn’t believe it as this was something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I tried to wake each day thankful and lie down each night thankful. Things. I was grateful to have a roof over my head, food on the table, and friends to share it with. I was surrounded with priceless friendships and our roots were finding depth in the cornfields of Indiana.

I finally embraced whatever it was God wanted for my life.

In January of this year, I had a looming feeling that 2012 was going to be one of sorrow. We experienced some major struggles and my hope was at an all-time low. In fact, I would venture to say that there was no hope. We realized more than ever just how much we needed our family. And as we had in the past, we thought about moving back to Tennessee.

We had given these desires to God and prayed for them from time to time over the years. They were resting comfortably in our back pockets when this pressing desire surfaced. We lived in Indiana for eight years and while I will always remember it as “the place we grew up,” we were ready to see what God had next. We knew this would take nothing short of a miracle but believed that in God’s timing, He would ultimately bring us back. Maybe that time was now.

Brian looked for jobs online but nothing seemed to be a good fit or that it would financially provide. His current job seemed to be phasing out more and more. We were in a position of hardship and things didn’t seem that they would ever look up. We knew that God had always provided in the past so we continued to pray.

One monotonous day, Brian saw a job posting from a former work acquaintance. Ironically, this was someone he had met years earlier. They had a lot in common as his wife just happened to be pregnant at the same time I was, had the same doctor, and delivered at the same hospital within a week of each other! We followed one another’s blogs and were connected through social media. They relocated to Knoxville a few years ago which is precisely where we wanted to be.

The job posted and with our ever pressing desire to relocate, Brian applied immediately. From that point on, we experienced a whirl wind of events.

Within a month or so, the company was ready to interview. Our family traveled down for the big day. It seemed like such a long shot. Not only would it be a wonderful opportunity for Brian, but we would have to tell our teenage son he would move the summer before his senior year; we would have to sell our home in a short amount of time and we would also have to quickly find a new one. This is no easy feat in today’s economy.

But nothing with God is impossible.

It was a few weeks before Brian received the phone call that would change the direction of our lives forever. To say we were more than ecstatic to hear that he did indeed get the job is an understatement. Not only did they want Brian for the job, but they wanted him the next week.

We took a deep breath then went into action mode. Within a week, we listed our house and found a beautiful home in Tennessee. It exceeded our expectations in every way and had every detail I had ever prayed for. The first day our house went on the market, we had an offer. Within ten days, it sold. This was nothing short of a miracle! We also sold our car during this time within four hours! Detail after detail continued to work out and everything fell into place.

During our marriage, we’ve had some “mountaintop” experiences and this is one we will surely never forget. But those experiences aren’t there to satisfy our human desires. Rather, they are there to teach us about God’s charcter.

This to me was a lesson in God’s providence. Just like the Israelites in the desert, He was — with His powerful hand — weaving moment by moment, event by event to bring us to this land of milk and honey. And just like this story in the Old Testament, all of those around us have seen that when you trust God, He is able to “do immeasurably more than you can ever ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

And what else is a miracle for but to testify of His greatness? It’s not about us. It’s about Him. I only pray that God will find us grateful and thoughtful of these miracles in our lives, not for our glory but so that others may see just “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18).

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Karin Hume is a Mississippi girl healing from the wounds of life while hoping to inspire others to do the same. She lives with her visionary husband Brian, aspiring journalist, teenage son Tayler, and rockstar toddler Chase. When she isn't chauffeuring or potty training, she enjoys having coffee dates with friends, creating recipes out of whole foods, running, cycling, and Yoga. Writing is not only her passion but an outlet God has used to transform her life. She blogs at allpointswhole.

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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.

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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.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

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

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“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.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

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

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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?

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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.

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Milk and Honey

by Karin Hume time to read: 5 min
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