The Amazon Notification

I got my first notification that my order of books from Amazon had been shipped just three days ago.  Yesterday morning, I got the notice that it was being delivered between 9:45-1145.  I then followed it as the driver was 8 stops, then 6, then I was the next house.  When I got the picture in my email of my delivered package on my front porch, I was elated!  How silly is that for me to track this package so meticulously.  It’ll get to my house one way or another, but I feel like it builds up the anticipation as it gets closer and closer.  Does it really take that long to drop off a single package?!  Get back in your truck already, Amazon Man!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had all of our good moments delivered with notifications that it’s just around the corner?!  You’re having a bad day, but Jesus is opening the door for a raise so He notifies you, “Good news just around the corner, Erin!  Just hang in until tomorrow between 2-4pm!”  You’re struggling with depression, and ‘DING!’—“I know you’re having a tough time, but in the middle of the night tonight, I’m going to remind you of a verse, and it’ll give you some peace to help you sleep. So stop worrying.”

You know what I’ve found happens when I get those notifications from Amazon?  It’s not anticipation like I would think.  It’s impatience.  Why can’t it come faster!?  Why is it taking forever?  Prime said it would be yesterday.  WHERE IS IT?!  The notifications leave little room for surprise when I open the door to go outside and talk a walk and there is my package ready for me to open.

I don’t think I could bear the notifications of good moments.  There’s something special about trusting in God even on your worst days, believing that He will provide when the time is right at just the right moment.  We don’t need a heads up.  We just need to trust.

I’ve written a lot about trusting Him lately.  I think it’s because it’s one of the hardest things to do for me.   I want to trust Him desperately, but it would be nice if He did as I needed on my timeline and how I want.  Pretty selfish view, isn’t it?!

Friends, come to the Iron Porch and share what you need to trust Him with!  Let’s all repent together and lean into complete and total trust in Him!

~Erin

My Navigation System

I can’t live, it seems, without Google Maps!  Sacramento is a very large area compared to Cheyenne, Wyoming and I’m constantly losing direction with so many streets and highways to choose from.  Because I don’t have a navigation system in my car, my phone lives in the center console constantly giving me directions to my final destination.  If I didn’t listen carefully, I’d find myself easily lost in this big city.

My journey with God reminds me of this very system.  Many times, I my heavenly Father tell me it’s time to do something…something I see a finish to, and I’m all in!  I go for the gold, sprinting to the finish line at 100 mph to make it happen.  However, more often than not, He was only giving me the next step, not the entire route.

In order to trust Jesus with our walk, we need to follow the navigation one direction at a time.  If we skip to the fourth turn 26 miles up the road, we miss the blessing at the first left.  We bypass the trial that leads to God’s victory at mile marker 12.  And we lose sight of the missed opportunity three houses from our destination.

When we get ahead of what God has planned for us we can just as easily get lost, taking us off the path and leaving us to try and navigate a new route or attempt to reroute us to the original direction.  While we can grow in Him from those mistakes, imagine how much sweeter the journey when we follow the beautiful trip He laid out for us in the beginning.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not into thine own understanding.  In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.

 ~Erin

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not into thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknlowedge Him and He'll shall direct thy paths.

The Car Saga Contiues

We’re into week 2 of my car saga, and I’m not sure I see an end in sight.  While it took a bit for the adjuster to go and see the vehicle, once there, a vast difference appeared between the two companies in the ideas of how to repair my sweet car along with the cost of said repairs.  Alas, still no car.

I was starting to feel a little frustrated.  While having a car is assuredly a first world problem, I’ve been irritated about being at home without a vehicle in the event I wanted something…like an ice cold fountain Coke (that I don’t really need).   This has felt slightly overwhelming at my lack of control or answers to the problem.

This entire process has flown right in the face of what I’m studying.  We’re clearly told in the bible to trust God for everything.  Why is it so hard to let go of that control and hear what He’s saying?  Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.

That verse doesn’t say He’ll give me a quick answer.  It doesn’t even say He’ll give the answer I want.  What it does tell me that no matter how out of control I feel and no matter how long this process will take, He won’t forsake me.  Forsake means to abandon, and that’s one thing God never does.  He doesn’t just leave me to handle it on my own.  When I seek Him and when I trust, He is right there with me walking with me every step of the way.

I have no idea when I’ll get my car back.  But no matter the length of time or how frustrating the outcome, I can be assured that my situation and I are not forsaken.  He is right there holding my hand as we navigate this water together.

Iron Porch, have any of you been in a situation where you had to remind yourself that God was standing with you and walking beside you during a tough spot?  Let us know in the comments below.

~Erin

Cutting the Line

The line wasn’t really that long by normal Disneyland standards.  Some days (during the summer), your wait for a ride can be up to 90 minutes!  We opted for a Disney experience in September, just after the crowds had left and everyone was back in school.  The weather wasn’t crazy hot and the lines never lasted more than 30 minutes on a busy day.

We were waiting patiently in the Star Tours line when the teenage son of the family behind us said to one of his siblings, “We could just get in the Fast Pass line right now and get up to the front.  They don’t even check once you’re past the entrance.”  And off him and his siblings went.  His father waited for a brief moment, looked around, hopped the rope, and looked sheepishly at us as he walked past and up to the front of the Fast Pass line with his children.

It was the topic of discussion among my family for the next 10 minutes as we waited to reach the front.  We talked about the examples that we set for our children and others around us.  We talked about fairness to people.  It was actually a great conversation between myself, Peyton, and her dad.

We got to the front of the line and entered the ride.  The ride seats 40 people in total, and the three of us sat in the front row.  I looked around and who did I see?  The family that had cut in the line.  Their attempt to get there faster had somehow ended up being all for naught.  Nice or not, we had a good little giggle about that.

Of all the lessons I learned from that one little experience, this was the most profound to me:  we can try and fast track our future by skipping the line we’re supposed to be in, but the full wait may be part of the journey.  We trust God has such a wonderful plan for our lives, but we try to control it by getting there faster, quicker sometimes at the expense of the experience.

The people we meet along the way may be the ones who need to know Jesus.  The extended wait times could just be the period of growth that you need to mature for the next season of your life.  The bumps we encounter are the opportunities to serve others rather than self.

God knows what He’s doing in your life.  You don’t need to skip the line to get to the destination.  Let’s see what exciting adventure He has for us along the way!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

~Erin

IMG_6596
Erin and Peyton at Disneyland

Gossip or Guidance?

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

When I was a young Airman, I had a supervisor tell me that I was the type of person who thrived on chaos and created drama.  That statement hurt me to my core and allowed me to have some self-reflection time about the type of woman I wanted to be known as.  And guess what? I decided I didn’t want to be known as someone who was involved with chaos, drama, turmoil…and gossip.

Gossip is such an uncomfortable topic.  It’s uncomfortable because so many of us fall into the gossip trap at some point in our lives.  There are varying levels of gossip…the seemingly innocent gossip…the outrageous made-up gossip…and even the justifiable gossip cloaked in truth. There are different players in the game of gossip.  There is the initiator, the contributor, the facilitator, and even the victim.  I know that I have been involved in each of the roles and if I’m honest, in each of the levels of gossip too.

Erin and I were recently talking about the fabric of our friendship and how we’ve never had a fight.  We’ve never gossiped about each other.  We hold each other accountable.  We disagree with one another. Heck we have even disliked decisions that the other made, but we have never fought. Why? I believe there are several reasons.  Our friendship is built on trust. It’s built on respect. It’s built on love. And it’s a friendship that is built on Christ.

What would happen to us, as Christian women, if all our relationships were built on trust, respect, love and Christ?  What if we treated all of our relationships as ones without chaos, without drama, without gossip?

Would we be happier people? Would we accomplish more? Would we reflect Christ’s love for all of His people?

Obviously, you can’t know if all your relationships are built on mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual love, or mutual relationship with God.  But you can know if you will exhibit these traits.

Let’s go back to gossip.  Women typically love to talk. And we love to talk about each other.  We are a catty group of humans.  It does not matter what label you put on yourself, women are at fault for talking about each other.  Christian women too.  Ours however, may be more dangerous gossip than that of the non-believer.  Why?  Well, we mask our gossip as “venting” or worse as “seeking council” from other Christian women.

Please know this, I believe we need to seek wise council.  Occasionally, we need to vent.  If we keep our thoughts, dreams, and prayers to ourselves then we are unable to be held accountable by other Christians.  The distinction between wise council seeking and gossip is when you make the decision about whether or not the conversation will make its way back to the subject.

Let’s imagine you take a topic to someone you trust and respect…simply to vent or to get guidance.

If you talk about someone and never intend to bring it to him or her, then it could be gossip.

If you talk about someone and intend to bring it to him or her after seeking council, then it may not be gossip…it may truly be seeking guidance.

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.” – Psalm 101:5

Let’s flip the script now.  Let’s imagine that someone is coming to you for a venting session or because they are seeking your guidance.

If you aren’t sending them to speak with the individual to resolve the situation, then your guidance is not holy…it is likely part of the gossip.

If you join in the venting session because you’ve been hurt by the individual, then you are contributing to the gossip.

If you ask them what their role is in the scenario, or if you ask them what they intend to say to the individual, or if you encourage them to speak to the person…then you are stopping the gossip. You are providing guidance.

“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.” – Proverbs 11:13

There’s a fine line between gossip and guidance.  It’s a hard line to see, but it’s an easy one to cross.  Our flesh wants the confirmation that we have been wronged. We crave the vindication that we are right and that we are justified in the gossiping.  As humans, we desire someone else to come beside us and share our outrage at injustices…perceived or real.

But what would happen if we stopped the gossip?

What would happen if we started building our relationships on trust, respect, love and Christ?

If we stopped gossiping and replaced that with truth talk directly to the people involved, wouldn’t we start building trust, respect, love…and show how Christ would have functioned?

There are relationships that are toxic. Ones that eventually need to be severed. But for the average relationship, trust and respect are started with honesty.  Honesty can be sometimes harsh or sometimes softer, but should never be expressed in a deliberately hurtful manner.  Honest talk builds healthy relationships.

“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.” – Proverbs 20:19

 Let’s band together as Christian women to refine one another. Together we can start to stop the gossip within our homes, our churches, and our workplaces. Let’s identify the flaws and press into the Lord with our desire to do better.

~Emily

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”               – Psalm 141:3

 

 

 

 

The Little Extra

We’ll just take a little extra….just in case.  Never mind the fact that He provides exactly what we need, right?!

This has been weighing heavily on my mind all week.  I’m using a bible reading plan that gets me through the whole bible in a year (let’s be honest–it’ll be more like a year and half or even two for me, but I digress).  Anyway, I’m currently reading through Exodus.  The Israelites are feeling as if they’re going to starve in the wildernes and wonder whether being hungry in the wilderness is a better choice than being a slave in Egypt.  God says to them that He hears their grumbling and will provide meat in the evening and bread (manna) in the morning.  He was pretty specific in instruction for gathering the manna, too.  He said to gather a portion for each family member ONLY for the day, except on Friday.  On Friday, gather two portions as Saturday was the sabbath, and the Israelites weren’t permitted to work on that day.  Anyone trying to save some for the next day’s meal would would wake up to find it foul smelling and filled with worms.  Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?! And despite what they were directed to do by God Himself, a few still chose to try and save some extra or go out on the morning of the sabbath to gather manna only to find some wormy leftovers or the desert ground dry and empty.

I’ve read and heard this story a million times since I grew up in Sunday School and church services.  But I think it’s the first time I really stopped to overlay it’s meaning to my life.  It amazes me how many times the Israelites tried to do it their own way, not relying on God’s direct provision and protection over their deliverance from Egypt.  Like, seriously, you dummies…did you forget the parting of the Red Sea or the flies, boils, and locusts you were spared from?!  And after railing on how ridiculous the Israelites were, I thought about this: How often do I do the same thing?

I’m guilty of taking situations or problems or complaints to Jesus, asking Him to provide in some way or even assuming that He’s going to deliver exactly what I ask for.  And when He answers, or more accurately when I feel He hasn’t answered the way I would like for Him to, I start to handle the issue myself.

I can’t possibly be alone in how I manage this!  We often try to bypass His plan or provision in some way to get extra, to fix it, or to help ourselves because we know exactly how we want it handled.  And a dear friend reminded me this week that this isn’t just a new Christian or a seasoned Christian problem.  This is a human problem.  It’s difficult for a new Christian to let go of the idea that we’re not really in control of our lives.  For the Christian that has been walking with Christ for a while, we forget that we can take and trust everything to Jesus, not just the heart-hurting issues.  How much better off would we be if we trusted in His mercy and believed that He has our best interest in His hands and will take care of it as He sees fit?

Jesus reminds us of exactly that in Matthew 6.  He tell us in verses 31-33, Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or what ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

This, then, is our charge–to rise up against the worldly view that we must take care of ourselves without the trust of having an amazing God in our corner.  His provision for us is unending.  His love for us is good and beautiful.  Lay down your burdens at the cross of Jesus and let Him supply your needs and desires as He will.  Let’s trust HIM for the extra instead!

~Erin

How about you?  Do you struggle with this like I do?  Comment below with a verse that helps remind you that God’s provision is best!