There is so much to talk about after The Table this month, but there is one quote that stood out to me the most:
“If the God of the universe, the one who created every detailed part of you, says you are good and you say or believe anything different than that…one of you is wrong.” – Leanne Vaughan
Are we sinful people living in a very broken world? Absolutely, yes.
Did Jesus step down into our mess to be with us and reconcile our sinfulness back to it’s original goodness? Absolutely, yes.
Does the Holy Spirit work in us in every moment for the rest of our earthly lives to heal, restore, and redeem every single broken part of us? Absolutely, yes.
Do we believe that is true, really?
Do we live like it is true?
For a long time (way too many years), I would have said I believed that was true – and I did believe it…in my head. I could tell you about it, teach on it, even believe it for you. But, my heart was living a different story.
My heart said:
I am too broken.
God just tolerates me.
God is disappointed in me.
I’ll never be good enough, smart enough, ‘spiritual’ enough.
I am alone and unseen.
My voice doesn’t matter, my presence doesn’t matter.
I felt that I had to work really hard to try and earn approval, as if God accidently lowered the bar and let me stumble into ministry.
Fake it til you make it. But you’re not going to make it … so just keep faking it.
And the list goes on…
I was so wrong.
What I didn’t realize was that my heart was so full of lies that they didn’t leave any room for truth. What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t believing God.
I wasn’t believing God was good.
I wasn’t believing God could be trusted.
I was believing a pack of lies and I didn’t even know it.
But, I did know something was very wrong.
Out of desperation, I pulled together more courage than I have ever had in my entire life and I stepped into a counselor’s office. I found myself sitting in a chair across from a complete stranger and saying “I feel like I have all these broken pieces and I want to be able to surrender them to Jesus so they can be healed, but I don’t even know what they are.”
And that started an inward journey discovering parts of myself that were definitely broken and in need of healing, parts of myself that were deeply hidden and protective from past hurts, parts of myself that worked really hard to figure things out and keep up appearances on the outside, parts of myself that were filled with anger and frustration and I wished would just go away, but all of those parts needed my curiosity and compassion to get to the roots.
I prayed and journaled and read and listened and asked God to take me to places in the corners of my heart and mind that I have avoided, places from my past that needed healing, and places I didn’t even know existed. And He was so faithful to answer every part of that prayer.
I discovered that when lies are removed and replaced with truth, room is created for the Holy Spirit to work and when the core of who I am is being led by the Holy Spirit – all of the “parts of me” can relax and not take over…because they don’t have to work so hard, they don’t have to hide things, they don’t have to fake it, they don’t have to prove anything or protect. They can rest, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, and display His fruit like they were originally intended.
I discovered parts of myself that are playful and fun, parts of myself that are gifted and confident, parts of myself that are driven and have dreams and goals and purpose and calling beyond what I ever could have imagined.
Most importantly, I discovered God is good, God is safe, and God can be trusted. I didn’t just know it in my head, but God was patient and loving and kind and drew near and spoke His truth to me until I wholeheartedly believed it in my heart, soul, and all of my being.
Am I still a work in progress? Absolutely, yes!
We all are, until we are with Jesus for eternity.
There’s no escaping the brokenness of this world.
But we can choose to believe the truth, do the work to bring our broken pieces to Jesus, and help others to do the same. We have a race to run – good works to do – a purpose and calling to fulfill – a hurting world who needs us – and we don’t have time to waste.
So, if after The Table this month you feel like you have the characters from the movie Inside Out running around in your head – you are not alone! If you need help navigating, please reach out to me or someone on our team or staff. We would love to pray with you and join you on this journey.
Our guest speaker, Leanne, can be reached Leanne@shelteringoakscounseling.com.
There are also some other great recommendations available at northpointeFL.org/counseling.
We’re in this together, friends!
– Kylie McCracken
Women’s Ministry Director
Our team would love to know how we can pray for you and with you! Send a request on your myNPC App, go to northpointeFL.org/prayer or leave a comment below.
Just pray about it.
Let’s be real…sometimes that’s easier said than done, right?
Have you ever known you needed to have a tough conversation with someone, but avoided it? We tell ourselves the lie that if we don’t talk about it, the tension or conflict will go away. Maybe it’s just me…but I think that’s probably not the case.
What about with God?
It’s easy to praise God for the good, pray for someone close to us who is sick, or share a request about a family in need. But when there is tension, doubt, fear, questions in your heart…do you avoid it and hope it will go away or do we go to God in prayer with all of it?
There’s a verse that has been stuck to my laptop for the last several months. Since we talked about prayer at The Table, it has just been magnified in my heart.
“Let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
The first truth I needed to remember when I originally post-it noted this verse to my computer was – APPROACH. Don’t hide, ignore, or pretend it is not there. God already knows what’s on my mind.
The second truth I needed to be reminded of – WITH BOLDNESS. I don’t need to timidly beat around the bush and tiptoe in with small talk or some kind of script. Because of Jesus, we have the right and the privilege to approach with boldness as daughters of the King. Just like one of my children has no problem running up and urgently interrupting whatever I’m doing if they are hurt or need something – our identity in Christ gives us unhindered access to the throne of grace. Ask for what you need. Tell Him what is on your heart. Write it. Speak it out loud. Say it over and over again. And, take time to be still and listen.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I was struggling with prayer was to read Psalms, read it often, read it out loud. I wanted so badly for my prayers to be more than “God be with my neighbor who is sick, God thank you for my family.” But, I was stuck with surface level short prayers, worrying about the right thing to say, and afraid to bring my real feelings to God. Through reading the words, the cries, the pleadings, the rollercoaster of emotions, the heartfelt unfiltered prayers of David & others in Psalms, God changed my heart and my prayer life.
I just want to encourage you today that He hears you. He has heard your voice – every word you have spoken. And what you are afraid to say…He knows that, too. So don’t avoid the tough stuff. Don’t give God the silent treatment as if He doesn’t already know your heart. He is waiting.
“I called to the Lord in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6
We’re in this together, friends. Our team would love to know how we can pray for you and with you! Send a request on your myNPC App, go to northpointeFL.org/prayer or leave a comment below .
Day 27 – December 23
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:7 ESV]
Last minute shopping. Extended time with extended family. Office parties. School programs. Lights and sounds and busy schedules. Often at this point in the Christmas season, it feels everything but peaceful.
Overwhelmed. Worried. Anxious. Stressed. Disappointed. Whatever we name it, all of us know what it feels like. Whether we put it on ourselves, or we are going through a difficult season beyond our control, peace can be hard to find. But, peace is what we long for, isn’t it?
Peace. Rest. Tranquility. All is calm, all is bright. We want that to describe us!
As we prepare for Christmas in just TWO DAYS, if it seems that peace is out of reach, give yourself permission to stop, rest, and pray. I know, that’s the easy “Sunday school answer,” right? But, don’t we try everything else and keep finding ourselves back at the same place? Don’t wait for “things to calm down” and don’t settle for how it’s always been. Don’t keep running on empty or pushing through the chaos or ignoring God’s pursuit of your heart and your mind in this season. Approach His throne with the boldness we have because of Jesus. Tell Him what you need. God doesn’t promise to change our circumstances, but He absolutely can and will extend His peace to us…right in the middle of our mess. When I can’t understand all that is swirling around me, I am thankful for this truth: I am not in control, but I am deeply loved by the One who is.
He will be your peace – the peace that guards your heart and your mind.
That’s the peace you crave.
That’s the peace He promises.
We want to understand.
He peace is better.
God, I need Your peace. I am sorry for the way I try to fix things on my own and the times I want to understand when Your peace is what I really need. I have believed that peace in the midst of my chaos is not possible, but it is possible because You say so and You are the giver of peace! Help me remember this truth in the moments when it matters most. Help me turn to You first. Fill me, Holy Spirit with the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
Written By: Kylie McCracken
Prepare Him Room
Day 10 – December 6
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. [Philippians 1:9 NLT]
An escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to a getaway in the great outdoors always provides me with the opportunity to catch my breath and get my feet back under me as I marvel in the splendor of His creation and am reminded of how incredibly small I am and how big, powerful, capable, and able He is. Several years ago I visited Yellowstone National Park. There are so many unique and fascinating things to see in the park, but one of my favorites was the eruption of the famous geyser, Old Faithful. To witness firsthand as 8,400 gallons of water spouted 90 to 125 feet in the air with such power and force was truly magnificent! And this amazing display repeats on the average of every 90 minutes just like it has for the last 150+ years! That’s faithful!
I love the beautiful and heartfelt prayer the apostle Paul wrote for the Christians at Philippi in Philipppians 1:9 so much so that it has been my steadfast prayer for my children throughout their lives. As Christians we are called to be imitators of God. In order to do this, we must grow in knowledge and understanding of who He is through the reading of His Word. In 1 John 4:16, we are provided with great insight about God. It says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Did you catch that?…..God IS love. Growing in knowledge and understanding of God is a continual, lifelong pursuit…we never actually “arrive.” As our relationship with Him grows and we know God more, our love grows and it overflows more and more.
Father God, thank You for Your magnificent creation Old Faithful that reminds me to be faithful to seek you so that I, too, may overflow. Thank you for your steadfast love for me and for the joy and privilege to spend time with You through prayer and the reading of Your Word. I pray that You would continue to show me truly remarkable things about You and that my love would overflow more and more, drawing others to You. This Christmas season I pray to be more like You and less like me. Amen.
Written by: Pam Bos
Day 9 – December 5
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. [Mark 12:30 ESV]
I think there may be one of those pastor jokes when you get to a scripture like this that says something like, “Do you know what all means in the original language? It means ALL!” (I looked it up. It’s true! All, whole, completely.)
If we’re going to love God with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, ALL our mind, and ALL our strength – that really doesn’t leave room for anything else. There’s no longer room for our worries or fears, our own priorities or selfish ambitions, our sin or lies from the enemy that we allow to take up space where they don’t belong.
Our ability to love God with ALL is greatly affected by what else is cluttering up our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. As we continue to prepare for Christmas together, it’s time to make room. Let Him in. All of the rooms, all of the corners. The places in the light, and the places we think we have cleverly hidden in the shadows. He knows what is there anyway. Flush out the old, make room for the new. Get rid of the junk and invite Him to take up the space where He belongs. Choose to give your heart, soul, mind, and strength the capacity to love the Lord your God like never before.
This Christmas or whatever season you find yourself in, the best gift you could give to yourself, your family, your friends, your church, your community, and your God is to fully, completely love Him with your ALL.
God, help me to make room. Help me to remove the things that I have allowed to take up space where you belong. Give me an undivided heart, whole and completely yours. Show me what life looks like when I am able to love you with ALL of my heart, ALL of my soul, ALL of my mind, and ALL of my strength. Amen.
Written by: Kylie McCracken
Day 4 – November 30
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.” [Luke 1:30-32 NLT]
Apart from the obvious fear that Mary must have felt from her unexpected visitor, how amazing it must have been for her to hear those words from the angel…”you have found favor with God!” Wow! I think it is every child’s desire, whether young or old, to hear their parent’s affirmations like “Good job!” or “Way to Go!” And to be honest when my days on earth are done, just the thought of hearing Jesus say to me “Well done, good and faithful servant” reduces me to tears! God could have chosen any way He wanted to deliver His Son to earth, yet He chose His humble servant, Mary, who was human and, therefore, not perfect. Yet God knew her heart, saw her faithfulness in the day-to-day things, and knew that with the high honor of being the mother of Jesus would also come great pain. She would later witness her Son’s rejection, torture, and death on a cross. Yet He chose her to deliver His hope to this lost and dying world, Jesus! God knew Mary was not only courageous, but fully devoted to Him. This was clearly demonstrated in Mary’s humble response to God’s calling in the verses that followed this passage which was so beautiful: “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Heavenly Father, I am thankful for examples in the Bible like Mary who demonstrate great faith, trust, and obedience as they answer Your calling for their life. I am encouraged to know that You choose ordinary, imperfect people to do Your extraordinary will. Help me to remain faithful in my pursuit of a deeper relationship with You and make me more attuned to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit so that I may promptly and confidently submit to Your will. This Christmas season, please help me to not be so distracted by the “shiny trappings” of this world that I miss Your plan or purpose for this humble servant. I pray for opportunities as well as the courage to share the TRUE HOPE and the reason to celebrate this season…the birth of our Savior, the Messiah, the Lord. Amen.
Written by: Pam Bos