WFMW: The Secret to a Greater Yes

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Arabah for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I’m jealous of people with super-sized God dreams and extra large yeses.

There, I said it.

I wish I could believe God for huge things and then go jump off an airplane at 10,000 feet on a rescue mission.  Or something. But truth is, I’m a woman with trust issues.

That’s pertinent information because when I tell you I’ve lived an international, nomadic life for over a decade, that I’ve eaten pig snouts and given birth in three different countries, that I’ve adopted a child from a hard place, and moved more times than I can count, it sure isn’t because I’m the adventurous type.

{Trust me. I didn’t find out about the pig nose until after the fact, if you know what I mean.}

I look back over my life and don’t see any big choices, no jumps or leaps of faith… just small little yeses every day. Over time, this is where they’ve led.

Yes is like a seed. It grows over time. But I’ve learned a little secret. Our yes is only as big as our trust. So if I want a greater yes…and I do… I need to strengthen my trust muscles.

In John 6:28-29, some people told Jesus they wanted to do God’s works too. So they asked Jesus what they should do. I imagine they were asking for all of us, because it is a desire God’s people have, to do God’s works.

Jesus answered them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe.”

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In other words, the work of believing God is the greatest yes of all. It prompts and enables all the other yeses.

It doesn’t take someone special to do big things, it just takes faith in a big God. To me, that is really great news!

We see this in Abraham. Isaiah 51:2 tells us to ponder his story, to realize that when God called Abram, he was a measly, solitary one. He wasn’t the Abraham we generally think of: wealthy, blessed, full of life and God’s favor, rich in faith, intimate with God. He was none of those things. Yet it was through faith that Abram became Abraham, the father of nations.

It could be our story too.

God is always issuing the invitation to trust, to move out of ordinary into the realm of yes.

It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe it means we stop viewing our lives as boring and mundane and instead believe everything we do is significant. (I Corinthians 10:31)

Maybe it means speaking to the person in line at the grocery.

Maybe it means writing a letter or paying it forward or just hushing that inner voice of condemnation over our failures based on the truth of God’s word.

We can’t follow the traditions of others or the culture around us. We can’t do things the way we’ve always done. Saying yes means we trust God… then step out and do things differently. We think and move in new patterns.

A life of trust is one small yes after the other, minute after minute, day after day. The result is a legacy we can be proud of.

No 10,000 feet plunges required.

Unless, of course, that’s what’s on your invite.

So, what is your yes going to be today?

 

Bio:

Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson and mom to four frog-loving, scooter-toting kids. She and her family live on the 26th floor of a high rise somewhere in Asia. She is author of several books, including the just released book, Trust Without Borders, a part memoir, part spiritual guide to living a life of trust. She loves connecting with readers on her blog at www.arabahjoy.com.

WFMW: Sometimes Yes Doesn’t Make Sense

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster Christy for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Sometimes saying “yes” doesn’t make sense.

At 26 years old, I was blessed beyond measure as I walked down the aisle to say “I do” to my high school crush. It had taken almost 10 years after graduation and the Lord orchestrating a lot of events for us to reconnect, but in June 2004, we began on an exciting journey of life and ministry together. We were blessed shortly after with two beautiful children, but then got the scary news no one wants to hear at the beginning of another pregnancy: “Your husband has a cancerous eye tumor.”

Christy

In the midst of radiation, treatment, and checkups in the months that followed, life began looking a lot more precious to us, and the Lord began to prick our hearts for orphaned children. Although we were not able to step forward into an adoption journey ourselves at that point due to health reasons, He brought families into our lives that were in the midst of the adoption process, and we were able to support and encourage them.

Three years later, everything seemed to be healing up nicely for my husband, and his checkups had been consistently good. The Lord made it clear to us that it was finally time for our family to answer our own “yes” to His call to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. All of our paperwork went smoothly and God kept providing the funds we needed.   Before we knew it, we were on a waitlist, counting down referral numbers and days until we would receive “the” call that would change our family forever.

Just seven months later, in February 2013, our family did change forever… but not in the way any of us had been expecting. My dear husband suddenly went home to be with Jesus. As I tried to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts in the months following his death, and face a new life as a now single mom to my three wonderful children, I was left with so many unanswered questions. I even hid the adoption binder that held all of our important paperwork, as it hurt too much to see it. Not only was I grieving the loss of my husband, but I was also grieving the loss of a child I’d never met but had prayed for and already viewed as our own.

Why did You clearly move us to say “yes” to the adoption process when you knew all of this was ahead, Lord? I prayed in hurt and frustration. Why did You provide everything and keep moving us forward, only to allow us to hit this dead end?

It has only been over time that I’ve been able to see a little more of the bigger picture. Sometimes our “yes” answers may seem like they just lead to a dead end. Maybe they will result in heartache and unanswered questions. But our “yes” is never about us. It’s about acknowledging that our God is greater than us and is writing a much bigger story than the little events of our daily lives.   When we are able to say “yes” to the little things, it strengthens us to say “yes” to the bigger things, less afraid of the outcome. We don’t have to know all of the answers, because we can trust that He does… and that’s enough for us.

I may never know the reason why God wanted us to say “yes” to something that seems now like an unfulfilled dream. I don’t know if I will ever see this desire of my heart come to fruition.   But I can honestly say that it’s ok, because I’ve seen that He just wants my heart to be His, not dependent on circumstances or results. And with my heart held in His hands, I am safe and secure, no matter what life tries to throw my way.

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Christy Davis is a mom of three and blogs at What Hope Looks Like From Here, a blog she prays can bring continual hope and encouragement to women.  You can also find here here on Twitter.

WFMW: Saying Yes

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I’m happy to welcome this week’s guest post from Mary for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I was sitting in my office, eavesdropping on my friends on the couches outside my door. It wasn’t the bad kind of eavesdropping. I mean, my door was open; they knew I was there.

I heard them discussing Praise Parkway, our church’s children’s worship service. Though they had some great kids serving every Sunday morning, the program needed an adult’s oversight and guidance. And they didn’t know anyone who was interested.

I’d recently accepted that there was no way for me to be involved in our worship arts ministry. Even if I’d gotten up the nerve to audition for the praise band, I wouldn’t be able to make the time commitment. Not now, at least.

But now my friends were talking about a team of volunteers who put together a worship service every Sunday. They needed help – and the commitment fit into my schedule.

So I hollered out my door, “I could do it!”

I didn’t really know what I was signing up for, but something compelled me that afternoon – and I said yes.

I said yes to working with older kids to serve younger kids. Every single Sunday morning.

I don’t know why. I don’t really like kids. (I know. That sounds awful. But it’s true and relevant to this story!) And I certainly never desired to work with middle school kids. Middle school kids! Nobody likes those guys! But that’s who I volunteered to serve with. (Every single Sunday morning.)

When I spontaneously said yes to that ministry, I thought I was going to be serving the elementary kids. But it turned out that wasn’t the ministry God was calling me to.

Nope. He was calling me to lead and serve the team of middle school students who work in Praise Parkway. The quirky ones, the occasionally awkward ones, the hyper ones and the ones who are most certainly middle school students. (You know, those kids I didn’t want to hang out with?)

And I love them.

I love serving with them.

I love praying with them.

I love listening to them talk to each other.

I love talking to them about the latest YA novel we’ve all read.

And I really love it when they talk to me about their lives.

If I’d taken time to think about it that day in my office, I probably wouldn’t have said yes. I mean, I didn’t have time for another “thing.” I was having trouble juggling two jobs, and I already served in two other areas at church. I was overwhelmed and conflicted about what was more important in just about every area of my life. (All I knew was that cooking dinner was nowhere near the most important – and yet those people at my house kept expecting me to do it anyway!)

I didn’t really have it together. I wasn’t sure what my future looked like. And I really had no interest in middle school kids. But I said yes anyway.

It has changed my life and has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. (And now I have an excuse for all those YA books I love to read, right?)

 

Mary Carver is a writer, church planter, wife and mom. She’s also a recovering perfectionist who loves Jesus, her family and books, watches too much TV, and believes M&Ms are a love language. Mary writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life at www.givinguponperfect.com.

 

WFMW: Yes Right In the Middle of Your Mess

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I’m happy to welcome this week’s guest post from Monica for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

When I was a senior in college I thought I had this thing called life all figured out. I laugh a little at even typing those words out right now.

I said “YES” to what I thought was a calling to international missions after a weeklong missions conference at my church.

At the same time that I was saying “YES” to follow God onto the mission field, God was bringing a very special person into my life…my future husband.

You see, God’s plans are always so much bigger than our own. They’re also often very different from our own.

God’s plan for my life, at least at that time, did not include foreign missions.

But it did include saying YES to following Him in obedience wherever He would eventually lead me.

My husband is a Chaplain in the United States Army. He provides for the religious freedom for the soldiers who fight for our freedoms. He is able to minister to them in times of great need.

In saying YES to follow God in obedience wherever He leads over fifteen years ago, I am now living out my calling as a Chaplain’s Wife and homeschooling mom to four children.

I never envisioned this as my calling.

I never envisioned myself as the wife of an Army Chaplain, moving every couple of years to wherever the Army sends us.

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I never envisioned myself as a mom, doing the seeming mundane work of caring for children, endless laundry, and homes that we don’t own.

I never envisioned myself as a homeschooling mom, pouring my life into the four children God has so richly blessed our family with and spending hours teaching them to read, to count numbers, and to love Jesus.

My vision for my life would have had me on a mission field in the middle of nowhere sharing Christ with the unreached peoples of the world.

God’s vision for my life has me serving my husband, my children and my community.

I have spent countless time struggling to reconcile my vision for my life that seemed so much more sacrificial and meaningful with God’s vision for my life that I am living out from day to day.

I have come to learn that God desires for us to say YES to HIS YES for our lives and then live out that YES in obedience right in the middle of the mess that He has called us to.

His YES for our lives may be sharing the gospel with unreached peoples of the world.

Or it may be sharing the gospel with the unreached in our own community.

His YES for our lives may call us to travel across the world.

Or it may call us to travel across the room.

Whatever it is, He only asks that our response is a faithful and obedient YES.

 profile-pic-nov13Bio: With Philippians 4:8 as her guide, Monica is seeking to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, lovely, of good repute, any excellence, and anything worthy of praise as she serves her husband, an Army Chaplain, and homeschools their four children. Monica also enjoys capturing and documenting their everyday memories through digital scrapbooking. She shares all this at her blog, DailyDwelling.

WFMW: Yes to the Unknown

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I’m happy to welcome this week’s guest post from Tanya for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I sat across the desk from a caseworker who asked if I would care for my friend’s child. My friend and her husband had made some decisions that compromised their health. While they worked to regain their well-being, their child needed a home.

In the span of moments, I breathed a prayer while dialing my husband. I explained to him the decision we needed to make in the next 60 seconds. He says, “What do you want to do? I’ll back you up, either way.”

I said, “I think we are supposed to do this. Our friends need to see “Jesus with skin on” because they have been lost in a dark, dark place. They need to see the light of Christ standing in the gap, not just someone spouting “I’ll pray for you” platitudes.” My husband agreed.

Kristen says, “There were times it was downright scary and it didn’t feel safe.
Saying yes will cost you something. It will challenge and stretch you.”

I gathered up all of my courage and told the caseworker, “Okay. We’ll keep him.”

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Those words were my yes. I knew my yes would change things for the toddler we would care for. But I didn’t know my yes would change me, change my husband, change my children – for the better. Those words helped all of us step out of our comfortable, self-absorbed, self-centered, self-entitled suburban way of life.

As Kristen said“This journey has taught me so much about my family.” In the months since we said yes, our family has lost much. We’ve lost hours of sleep. We’ve lost a sippy cup and diaper-free household. We’ve lost a few date nights. We’ve lost carefree, lazy weekends. We’ve lost family vacations.

However, when compared, we have gained so much more. We’ve gained hours of laughter and giggles. We’ve gained an energetic routine. We’ve gained a little firecracker that keeps us on our toes. We’ve gained the wonder of seeing the world through the eyes of a toddler. We’ve gained a common goal that allows us to work together as a family to help others. We’ve gained the knowledge that God gives us what we need, when we ask him for it.

Occasionally, we forget how all of this started. We start worrying about details. We worry about how all of this will turn out in the end. We worry his parents won’t get better and that he will become a ward of the state. And truthfully, some days we worry they will get better and the daily noise and chaos we have come to enjoy will fade away. We worry about what his life and our life will be like when he returns home. We worry about the things we can’t control.

But here’s the deal: when God is in it,
He doesn’t need us to control a thing.”
Kristen Welch, Rhinestone Jesus.

In those moments when we forget, God always finds a way to remind us. He is present. He knows about it all. He’s in control. He reminds us that our job is to trust him and to obey his call – all we have to do is say yes.

Author Bio: Tanya Ehrler is a wife and mother. She spends her days homeschooling her two boys, and tries to live out her life’s motto: Love God, Serve Others, Show the Way.

Tanya blogs at Truly, TexasTanya and writes about family, homeschooling, adoption, foster care, photography and her occasional dabbling in the kitchen.

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