Welcome, my friends, to our sixth installment for our “Trust Habits” series!
A trust habit is anything that will build up my trust and intimacy in my relationship with my heavenly Father.
Be still, and know that I am God!
Psalm 46:10a, New Living Translation
Lately, I have been finding myself positioning toward a “meditation pose”. I have been enjoying it for a few weeks now. It is becoming a more habitual practice in my life, as I walk through difficult things in my family life.
Envision this: legs crossed. palms open and stretched out. Focusing on God and His Biblical truth.
I realize meditation doesn’t have a great reputation in the Christian community. While this is true, it reminds me to pause my life, breathe in and out, and direct my attention to the Lord.
Meditation for me means focusing on my relationship with God and His Biblical truths.
Isn’t that what truth habits are all about?
Gaining intimacy with our sweet Savior Jesus Christ and learning to trust Him right where we are.
Process, Over Product
In Child Development classes, we quickly learned that the process of learning and growing was far more important than a replica of a teacher’s painting. Likewise, our time and relationship with our Savior Jesus is what this time is about.
As long as our time is focused on God and His Biblical truth, that’s all that matters. It isn’t about a perfect twenty minutes of focused meditation, regardless of how much of an achievement that might be.
This idea into meditation helps me to meet with the Lord one-on-one, in the middle of my messy circumstances. It is about bringing my mess into His light – as I choose to focus on Him quietly and remember who the Bible teaches me that God is.
Biblical truths like:
God is holy.
God is full of love, justice, and power.
God is faithful, even when we are not.
God invites us into His presence.
Sin separates us from God.
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to bring salvation to all mankind.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
During my time, I am learning to put on worship music.
I have too many things going on in my brain. So the worship music does help me to give my mountain of circumstances to the Lord.
Life is hard. And the Lord God is the only Way that I will make it through this really-really-hard-stuff.
If I can just give my soul a moment to pause, to breathe, and to remember to “Be still and know [He] is God” – then I will be far better off.
At times, I feel overwhelmed. Like somehow I have “missed the mark” as a thirty-something year old. While on social media, I am reminded of the accomplishments I didn’t succeed in. The ways, I didn’t do so well. It is easy to play the “comparison game” – when we find ourselves on social media or stumbling upon a former classmate’s achievements.
Here’s the problem with the comparison: It neglects the fact that I have chosen to accept our Lord Jesus’ love offering over accomplishments. Like Paul, I am reminded to count my “pedigree” [background] and accomplishments as sheer rubbish, compared to knowing and walking with our Lord Jesus Christ.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him [Phil. 3:7-9a, NLT]. . .
I may not accomplish things in this world, but it’s far more than okay. We each have to focus our lives upon our Lord Jesus Christ and do what He is leading us to do. This is the far more important thing: to know, to love, and to wholeheartedly serve our amazing Lord Jesus Christ.
Our ultimate accomplishment is to surrender our lives unto our Lord and be faithful to the One who has given us life and purpose.
When we look upon others’ achievements, we may find ourselves more than overwhelmed with our lack of visible ones. But, the truth of the matter is: we are strangers in this land, and live for a Kingdom that isn’t of this world. We are choosing to live for and honor our mighty God! We are living for a Kingdom that will not pass away, for our actions will make an eternal difference.
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake [1 Peter 1:17-20].
Oh friend, allow your greatest achievement(s) to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom. Accepting our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and welcoming this relationship we can have with Him is the best decision we could ever make. Let us come running to our Lord Jesus and depend on Him. Trusting Him may not earn us praises of others, but His praise is the only One we need.
Knowing and walking with Jesus Christ is the greatest achievement we could ever have the privilege of partaking in.
Friends, I have a special treat for you today [Trials Tuesday to follow in a couple days]. My friend and writer, M.H. Elrich, has come out with her first novel.
(Imagine the crowds applauding) ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I have had the privilege to hash out writing ideas with this friend, for a few years now. It was actually her encouragement, which led to “Grace Leads: A Devotional Series on the Power of God’s Grace” making it to others’ bookshelves. I couldn’t have imagined allowing my words to “hit the shelves” without her loving guidance and sometimes accountability – as we hone our gifts of writing. So, I want to introduce you to her and “her baby” today. [Be sure to check out the links at the end of this blog post]
M.H. Elrich is a writer, reader, teacher and editor who wears too many hats. This means she consumes coffee and tea with a mug that reads “Wait until I’ve drained the cup.” She received her B.A. in English and was published in The Write Word, Orpheus and Short Fiction Break. She currently resides in a part of California where “perfect” weather comes with a layer of smog.
It is a great pleasure to introduce you now to Etania’s Worth and the story M.H has to share with us.
About Etania’s Worth:
Etania’s new apprenticeship as a librarian is shattered when she fends off an attacker with a power, or Neuma, she didn’t know she had the ability to disable evil beings. When her father discovers Etania’s gift, he wants to use her as a weapon to stop a new threat rising over Tamnarae. Etania doesn’t want to be her father’s new weapon and wonders if that really is the purpose of her Neuma. Yet, the death of a loved one brings the struggle closer to home, forcing Etania on a journey to embrace her newfound power before it’s too late.
Before we begin our interview time with M. H Elrich, why don’t we listen to a couple quotes?
“Why do I fail to protect those I love? To show you who is the true protector.” -Keyel and Melchizidek from Etania’s Worth
” ‘Neuma? I don’t have Neuma. Besides, Tamnarae doesn’t need to be saved, we’ve been at peace for a hundred years.’ ‘Everyone needs to be saved.’ Melchizidek asserted.” -Etania and Melchizidek Etania’s Worth
Q & A Time:
What made you want to write Etania’s Worth?
I’ve always been interested in Christian fantasy since I read The Chronicles of Narnia and my father read me The Lord of the Rings. Then I wrote stories along with my friend, C.M. Fritzen, eventually expanding into writing my own worlds and characters. From those foundations came Etania’s Worth.
Were any characters based on people in your life?
I think Etania and her companions are all different parts of my personality more fleshed out and walking around. I did base Jakin loosely on my brother, whose humor I tried to infuse into my character and Keyel loosely on my husband, whose quiet confidence is echoed in Keyel. However, that is where the similarities end, because I strive to make my characters unique.
How long did it take you to write Etania’s Worth?
I’ve been writing Etania’s Worth consistently for two years, but the ideas and clippings have been around for eight years. Even after I finished the first draft of Etania’s Worth, I had to rewrite it entirely and then edit the second draft several times before formatting and publishing. It’s been a long journey for me, but well worth it.
Why did you choose to write a Christian fantasy instead of a regular fantasy?
Christianity is so infused in my blood that I found it difficult to try to write a more symbolic fantasy instead of a fantasy in the vein of C.S. Lewis. So I decided to give up trying to be the next Tolkein and strove to write the story God placed on my heart.
Does Etania’s Worth contain magic?
No. The Neuma of the peoples in my novel is based on the idea that God gives special gifts and abilities to each person that is for them to use responsibly. Spells, incantations, or anything remotely like sorcery is emphasized as evil and ungodly.
Is this book appropriate for children?
The ideal reader of this book is a young adult, ages 16+. This book is appropriate for readers with an older vocabulary and tolerance for some violent content.
Why did you name the book Etania’s Worth?
I love Proverbs 31 and in it there is a verse that stood out to me: A virtuous wife who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. That one word, worth, stood out to me because Etania struggles to accept her identity. Women who struggle to accept their identity realize that they must embrace their worth in Christ to have confidence. I know, because I was one of those women. So that’s where I got the title.
Be sure to pick up your copy of Etania’s Worth. You can find it on Amazon and other places. I haven’t had the opportunity to read my copy yet, but super excited for M.H. Elrich and to have the privilege to read it. She is a very engaging writer, so I am sure she will keep us captivated in Etania’s Worth.
Our weather is changing, and I want to make sure my blog is “prepared” for the season ahead. So from now, we are entering “Summer” mode. Some chronic illness bloggers, simply cannot blog during the heat months. Myself? I have played around with the idea. I want to keep blogging, but our Corinthians study will change as a direct result (I am truly sorry about that, for those who are following along with me). See: I want to continue the Bible study on Corinthians, but I cannot be expected to follow any timetable or order.
Nice thing is – my manuscript journal is very flexible, where I can roam wherever. Thank you, Jesus!
My Goal –
I am looking at my word count thus far (to make sure I don’t “go over” like a preacher in a pulpit might), but can I be honest with you?
My goal is still this: to draw nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ, make disciples, and build up each other. That’s all I want. It’s a bigger vision than completing a Bible study “on time”.
The Lord can definitely use these Summer months to bring out hard lessons I won’t learn otherwise. I just hope, I can continue to be authentic in sharing these hard lessons. I want us to be able to have this place of community, so we aren’t going through difficulties without other Christians to comfort us and point us to Jesus.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:24-25).
My secret weapon for the Summer is always this: the book of Psalms. Psalms is always part of the “spiritual glue” that the Lord has used to hold me together.
I may blog about different things this Summer. I don’t know what is in store for me, but I do know that I need to keep drawing nearer to the Lord and stay plugged into my places of support that lead me straight to Him.
Prayer Request –
I have a fairly important appointment on Tuesday (5/1), and I would love your prayer support for that meeting. I have been facing more hard moments of depression (too intense to deal with solo), and so Tuesday is the beginning of reaching out to see what kind of help there is available with my health insurance.
In the meantime, I am going to sit here and begin diving into Psalms 139 – which has always been “my” Psalm when it comes to depression. It is the one God chose to use, to reach my heart many years ago.
Thank you for listening and taking the time to read my posts. I appreciate you all very much!
I am excited to announce that our newest study will begin April 2nd. In a little under a month, we will kick off our newest study and dive into the Corinthians. I have made a new journal for our study, where we can highlight, circle, make notes, and write up whatever helps us study the Word of God.
Our New Journal –
This journal is different than others. In this particular journal, we are given the Corinthians written out in a double space format – which gives us extra margins to write notes in too. While there are a few blank pages, it is mostly a “manuscript style” journal. This is where my InterVarsity days step in.
I wanted a journal that met me, where I am today. Physically, I have a lot of days where I cannot write out God’s Word like I hope to. This gives me a way to still deeply study the Word of God.
My Goal –
For this study, my goal is to slowly walk through the Corinthians. The amazing thing about this journal is – there’s no specific timetable. You can go at your own pace.
An Example –
Ideally, we will study a specific chapter each week. Since I do better with smaller passages, I will probably utilize an optional schedule. I want for us to go at our own pace though. The schedule will be optional for this reason. We need to study whatever the Lord is leading us to study.
My hope is to get into this study a bit each day. I learn and grow much more through “in depth” Bible studying. So even though we will likely do a chapter per a week, I will set up outlines like this one – to keep me on track.
Friends, this study – Diving Into The Corinthians – is a chance for us to meet the Lord as we are. Even though life gets messy, the Lord wants to be our Forever Hope! He wants to show us His very Good News. Our trials don’t change the hope we can find in our Lord Jesus Christ.
This time of studying God’s Word is a time to gain a deeper intimacy with Christ, and nothing in this world can ever compare with such a gift!
Through His suffering, death, and resurrection, we have found a brand new life – where we don’t have to do everything on our own anymore. Our great God wants to be the One to hold us, regardless of what we have done.
How are we willing to surrender? Let’s just dive into this study at our own pace and see the Lord has to tell us.