Empty Handed. Not Forsaken.

SCRIPTURE:

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (The Message)

So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.

STORY:

This year, I got two baby nieces. They are THE. BEST. There aren’t many things I’ll just drop anything for, but a FaceTime call from one of my sisters is one of those things — because I know there’s a smiling baby girl on the other side of that call. I’m SO thankful that technology makes seeing their faces an option. It makes living thousands of miles away so much easier.

I love everything about being “Aunt Sarie.” I can’t wait until they’re old enough to really know me. And for as much as I love being an aunt, there is something in their little faces that always makes me think about the boy I thought I’d be watching grow up at the same time as them.

The younger of the two girls, Charis, was born on September 14. It was a Monday morning, and I woke up at 6:30 am to a FaceTime call from my sister Stephanie, wanting me to get to be one of the first people to meet her. It was the sweetest wake up call. She was perfect, and Steph somehow looked amazing for having just given birth.

After a few minutes of ooh-ing and aww-ing over her, I got off the phone and I just wept. I wasn’t sure if it was ache from being so far away or ache from the reality that both of their girls were officially here, and my boy was with Jesus. I’m sure it was a little of both — but I remember telling God, “Abba, I need a word from you this morning. I miss my family. I miss my boy. Either way I look at it, I feel empty handed.”

I felt like He told me to read 2 Timothy. The thing about Paul’s letters to Timothy is that they’re sort of a pep talk for hard times. Paul tells Timothy, in a nutshell, to be bold. Be brave. Endure the fight and the race set before him, because it’s worth it.

When I got to verses 13-14 in 2 Timothy 1, I stopped. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit. The version I was reading at the time said, “Guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

There I was feeling empty handed, and there God was to remind me that He has entrusted something to me in the spirit that is meant to be given away to His people.

Because everything that’s given to us by Him is meant to be given away.

So we press on. We boldly carry the things He’s given us to carry and we trust that it’s worth every bit of suffering it might cost us.

Maybe we’re empty handed, but we’re definitely not forsaken. And somehow when we choose to just keep trusting Him, we always have something to give.

SONG:

“Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)”
Hillsong Worship
No Other Name

Listen:
Apple Music  |  Spotify  |  YouTube

Playlist from previous weeks:
Apple Music  |  Spotify

No Longer Forsaken

When I was in college, a friend of mine challenged me to start memorizing scripture with her. I learned in that season that writing the word of God on my heart changed the way I thought of Him, the way I talked to Him in my prayer life and the way I worshiped Him. I’ve been feeling challenged recently to start writing scripture on my heart in this season — to make it a normal part of my devotional life again. So every Monday, I’m sharing the scripture I’m memorizing that week, with a story and song to go with it. Because it matters that we write the word of God on our hearts, and that we think of Him and worship Him from that place.

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 62:2-4

The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.

STORY:

I heard someone say once that history belongs to the intercessors. That those of us who pray are the ones building and writing history with God & in His kingdom. What walking closely with Jesus for almost 10 years has taught me is that there is so much truth to that statement. That something powerful happens when we write these promises from scripture on our hearts and call them forth in our lives.

Church planting is not for the faint of heart, y’all. It is the hardest and most amazing adventure I’ve ever been on with God. We literally moved into a desert valley, just because He asked us to, believing Him to bring streams to the desert & rivers to the wasteland… and He’s doing it!

I started praying these words from Isaiah 62 over Salt Lake City a couple of years ago, when God first spoke that this was the land He was calling us to. I started believing Him to redeem and restore this place that’s been so long forsaken by the Church. I started imagining that perhaps the mountains that encircle our city are the prophetic picture of that crown of beauty mentioned in this scripture.

I prayed these words over Salt Lake City like they were a promise written just for this place.

A couple of Sundays ago, a lady in our church pulled me aside after the service and asked if she could pray for me. She began to quote these exact words from Isaiah 62, and I wept as I realized in that moment that me and Salt Lake City are not so different.

Broken and barren. Desolate and discouraged. Marked by a long and exhausting season of feeling forgotten about or overlooked or outright neglected by God.

And then I began to recall all the ways I’m seeing God fulfill these promises from scripture in our city. Transforming lives that will transform a city. Renaming it for all the rest of history: A city no longer forsaken.

I felt challenged in that moment to believe the same is true of my story. That I shall no longer be termed Desolate. That I could believe and declare this promise from scripture is true of my life also — the same way I spent years declaring its truth over our city, and now am seeing God do exactly what He promised.

I felt challenged to believe again that a God of miracles is the Author of every piece of my story. That it is far from over. That my Champion is not dead, but alive — and that He intends to bring life to everything that feels dead in my story.

So, here’s to making history, believing that everything He says is true. Even when we can’t see it. Even when we don’t feel it. The miracle is on its way. It has to be — it’s just what He does.

SONG:

“God of Miracles”
Chris McClarney
Everything and Nothing Less

(Listen on Apple Music or YouTube)