Bless the Lord

“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

How do you start off your prayers to God? Do you start them with praise or with a pity party? Because if I’m completely honest, I don’t always, maybe not even often, start with praise. The truth is I’ve been known to launch into a list of concerns a mile long without once stopping to think of the WHO to which I’m really speaking. But I’m praying to the one and only Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Creator of the universe.

I think back to the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. The prophets of Baal cried out and cut themselves until their blood “gushed out of them”, and “they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice . . .” (1 Kings 18: 28-29 NKJV).

Enter Elijah . . .

He repairs the altar of the Lord. He digs a trench around it and sets it up for a sacrifice, but then he soaks the altar and the sacrifice with water, not one, not two, but three times . . . he soaks it to the point where the water runs off and fills the trench surrounding it . . . then he says, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:36-37 NKJV).

And the Bible says, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38 NKJV) Consumed . . . it doesn’t say singed or scorched . . . it says “consumed” . . . “the fire of the Lord fell and consumed . . .”

This is the God we serve . . . this is the God to which we pray . . . “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!” If that’s all there was, that would be enough. And that’s where we need to start every single prayer. Not for God because He doesn’t need our praise. But for us because we do need to remember WHO it is we serve. But the Psalmist, King David, beloved of God, didn’t leave it at that, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits . . . “. No, he knew that we also would need to call to remembrance all the benefits that come with serving our God, the one and only true God.

“Who forgives all your iniquities ”

All my inquities. All my sins. All my wrongdoings are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. Without that forgiveness nothing else matters.

“Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

If you’re sick, He’s your healer. If your life is utterly destroyed, He’s your redeemer. He’s not just here to fix you though. That’s the truly awesome thing. He goes beyond the fixing, and straight into the blessing. He “crowns” us with “lovingkindness” and “tender mercies”. He “satisfies” our “mouth with good things”. He “renews” us.

I’ll say it again . . . This is the God we serve . . . This is the God to which we pray. Hebrews 12:29 tells us, “our God is a consuming fire”. Don’t ever forget that. You may feel beat up, sick both emotionally and physically, afraid, and exhausted, but if you’ll take a moment to remember WHO it is you serve, I promise your life will be forever transformed.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved   

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

The One

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NKJV

Cory Asbury sings a song entitled “Reckless Love” and the chorus says:

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah”

Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines the word reckless as “marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences”. And that gives me pause. Never in the history of my life, had I thought of God as reckless, but when I read that definition, when I think of Christ enduring the suffering of the cross, and know that He did it for all, but He’d also do it just for the one, there is very much a lack of care for the consequences in that. There is something very incautious about that.

We do not serve a careless Savior, but we serve a Savior who was “careless” about the consequences to Himself because He cared far more about saving us. Maybe you don’t think you’re worth saving. Maybe you don’t see your value. I’m here to tell you that you’re not just valuable, you’re the most valuable to Jesus. We all are.

The parable of the lost sheep is not one of a shepherd wandering through lush pastures looking for a sheep who may be slightly off the beaten path. No, it’s a picture of a shepherd leaving everything and heading into treacherous territory to seek that one sheep who has gone so far astray. It’s a picture of a shepherd desperate to not let go of even one. It’s the picture of a Savior willingly crucified and taking upon himself all the sins of mankind so that we do not have to suffer condemnation.

If ever you think, for even a millisecond, you don’t matter, look no further than Matthew 18. You are that sheep. You are that loved. You are never too far gone or too lost to be found. And all of heaven rejoices at your rescue.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

The Act of “Sabbath”

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” – Exodus 20:8 NKJV

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]” – Psalm 91:1 AMP

I’ve been thinking a lot on the concept of Sabbath here lately. The word Sabbath actually comes from the Hebrew Shabath which means to “cease, desist, rest” ( https://www.biblestudytools.com ). We use Sabbath as a noun, but its root is a verb. It’s not a thing, but an action. I think we often look at the word Sabbath, and think “went to church checking that one off the list”, but you know what? That’s not what God was getting at. I’m not even fully sure how we made the leap from Sabbath being a day of rest to “must attend church”. Not that we shouldn’t go to church, we should (“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 NKJV – no one come at me about not attending church), but when God is talking about the Sabbath, and keeping it holy, He’s actually telling us to cease and desist from our labor and instead, rest. There is holiness in rest. That’s kind of a foreign concept in our modern world.

I struggle with rest. I always have. Sleeping through the night has never not been an issue for me. Taking time, much less a full day, to rest is HARD for me. I find that I feel guilty when I rest. And even when I am “resting”, I’m not. Because rest is more than just a posture or a removal of work. It’s a state of mind. If we are “resting”, but our mind is still mentally going through all the things, I think we’re missing the point.

So back to Sabbath. It’s not just a day to check off the list. And I don’t think it’s about whether it’s the first day or the seventh day of the week (yes, I know the significance behind each of those days), but more about actively resting in God. And if you’re in the ministry, in any capacity whether that be individually or as a family, you know that Sundays are about as far from restful as you can imagine. I would love to be able to take a day out the week to do absolutely nothing . . . okay, I’m probably lying here . . . I’m not sure how much I would “love” it, but even if I could, I have kids, and a husband, and a dog (she’s kind of high maintenance), and I’m not sure that doing absolutely nothing for an entire 24 hours, no matter what day it is, is going to be a feasible concept at this point in the game.

But I’m also becoming increasingly convicted regarding my inability to rest . . . my inability to have a Sabbath state of mind.

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. Years ago, when my oldest was very little, I memorized most of it, and what I didn’t memorize, I can pretty well paraphrase. I didn’t memorize it so I could come on here 10 years later and flaunt my impressive scripture memory skills, but because I have always struggled with anxiety. The catalyst for memorizing Psalm 91 was actually the great swine flu outbreak of 2009. I’m sure some of you remember. My son wasn’t even two when it started, and I. Was. Terrified . . . almost immobilized with fear. So I sat down and committed Psalm 91 to memory, and almost daily, I find myself quoting portions of this passage of scripture. But I also realized that the first verse . . . the one about resting . . . I kind of skim over as I hasten to make sure I remind God that He’s supposed to deliver us from the “perilous pestilence” and “give His angels guard over us”. You know, because I’m pretty sure God doesn’t remember from day to day . . . read the sarcasm.

But y’all . . . rest . . . it’s very well and good to memorize and quote scripture, but we, I, also have to find that place of Sabbath, Shabath, in our lives. Not as a noun but as verb. There comes a point where repeatedly hurling scriptures back at God like it’s some sort of magic is kind of counterproductive. We have to come to the place where we believe that God is faithful to His word and commit to the action of resting in who God is and what He has done for us.

I haven’t arrived in this area. Not even close. For me it looks a lot like letting go of little things on a daily basis. Of refusing to be ruled by the guilt of not doing the next thing on my list. My life is an ever evolving work in Christ, but I also know I’m not alone in this struggle so I challenge you to look at how you can you can just rest and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty today.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Did God Really Say?

This isn’t the post I set out to write. The post I set out to write is one I’ve been working on for over a week, and although I feel like I’m supposed to write it, I need to write it, the words aren’t coming easily. After sitting with it for a while, I think it’s one of those things that needs more time . . . time in prayer . . . time in the Word . . . time to process.

So here we are. Did God really Say? I was reading Colossians 3 this morning, and this particular section of Colossians specifically speaks to putting to death our carnality and putting on the things of Christ. But as I was reading about those things that should be to death, I heard, “Is that what God really meant? Did He really say that?”

Woah . . . we’re stopping this runaway train right here and now and getting off. Let’s take a second to look at another chapter 3 of the Bible, Genesis Chapter 3 where the serpent, aka Satan, straight out of the starting gate says to Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

Did God really say?

Satan isn’t original nor is he very creative, but the sad truth is, this phrase has been working on the human race pretty much forever. Now more than ever in our society we deal with issues that our carnal minds want to call “right” and “okay” when the Bible pretty clearly calls them “sin”. And I’m not immune. None of us are. Which is why I daily have to press in to God. I have to seek His truth above all else even when it means that some people aren’t going to like it. Even when it means that the “unfriend” or the “unfollow” buttons might be pushed more than not. Not just in the difficult moments but in all the moments, the easy and the routine and the mundane, because I think those are where and when we let our guard down. That’s not to say, I speak truth in a spirit of meanness and vindictiveness because God had something to say about that too, but I have to stand for truth even though it might not make everyone happy. To do any less would be a lie.

Did God really say? If His word says it, whether we like it or not, the issue is settled.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little? The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.” Proverbs 10:19-21 NKJV

I opened my Bible app this morning and there was Proverbs 10:19. It’s amazing how one, seemingly small, scripture can have such huge ramifications if we allow it.

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking . . . “

How often do I say too much? How often do I speak the truth, not in love but out of some misguided need to set people straight? Even as I write this, I have to ask myself if I’m measuring my words and speaking truth that will draw people closer to Jesus. I’m not always good at restraining my lips. I’m a rule follower to the nth degree and often to my own detriment. So when I see something not being done “right” I often feel the need to correct it.

“. . . But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver . . .”

Learning to restrain my lips is no easy task. And I don’t think it means we never speak up, but rather, we use wisdom about when to speak and when to stay quite, about what to say and what not to say, and how to say it. Our words are valuable and carry weight.

“The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.”

Are my words feeding others? Even when I disagree wholeheartedly, do the things I say to others bring life or death? The Bible tells us that God is not “willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And I have a role to play in that as a follower of Christ. Whether it be with my children, my spouse, the cashier that is taking too long, the political views others spew, or even behind the wheel (finger pointed firmly at myself), my words can destroy or build up. They can bring peace or division. They can point to Christ or away.

There’s an old saying “You may be the only Bible a person may ever read”, and while I’m not responsible for the decisions others make to follow Christ or not, I am responsible for bearing witness to Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” We cannot be careless, cutting, or conniving with our words. They are just too valuable.

The Vanity of Anxiety

“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:1-2 NKJV

“Unless the Lord builds the _________” fill in the blank. It doesn’t really matter . . . family, marriage, friendships, church, businesses . . . our lives as a whole . . . that’s “the house” we’re dealing with. Without God building and guarding it, all our work is for not.

I’ve been trying to write about these two verses for a couple days now. Two verses that encompass so much. Forming the words that convey what I’ve learned, am still learning, regarding them is not coming as easily as it usually does.

So many nights I wake up in the early morning hours, my mind racing with all the things . . . things that need to be taken care, questions about the present, the future, finances, decisions to worries about things that seem small in the daylight hours but huge in the darkest hours of the night . . .

I’ve always been a worrier. I can recall being five years old and laying in bed and worrying over both the most insignificant and sometimes, significant, to my young mind, things. My worries are no respecter of the actual legitimacy of the problem. But as I was reading these scriptures, I was, once again, reminded that it’s not our right, our privilege, or our job to worry.

The first verse of Psalm 127 tell us that “unless the Lord builds the house . . . unless the Lord guards the city . . .” then all of our worrying, our watching, our anxious thoughts are “in vain”. But it’s verse two that really caught my attention as I was reading the other morning, “It is vain” . . .

  • Vain – 1: having or showing undue or excessive pride in one’s appearance or achievements : conceited 2: marked by futility or ineffectualness : unsuccessful, useless vain efforts to escape 3: having no real value : idle, worthlessvain pretensions 4 archaic: foolish, silly (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

All of these definitions fit the bill for verses 1-2, but when I read those words “It is vain . . .” I was struck by the pride and conceit encompassed in the action of letting anxiety rule in our lives, in my life. Ultimately, it’s a control and trust issue, and it says to God that I think I know better, and I think I can maintain control of a situation by worrying rather than rolling it off onto Him. And bottom line? It’s a sin.

The Bible tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NKJV) That’s not a suggestion. It’s a command. “Be anxious for nothing . . .” As someone who has always been prone to anxiety, sometimes mild and other times so fierce it’s almost debilitating, I do not take those words lightly. I know how hard, almost impossible, it is to set anxiety aside, but if the Bible says to do it, then I have no doubt God has infused me with the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to follow through. That’s not to say the feelings don’t come. They do. This week alone, my sleep has been interrupted repeatedly in the early morning hours, and in those moments I have a choice to make. I can pray, or I can worry. I can seek God, or I can be gripped by anxiety. I can “eat the bread of sorrows” or as the Amplified puts it “eat the bread of [anxious] toil”, or I can let God give “His beloved sleep”. The world may tell us, it’s not a choice, but it absolutely is a choice. It may not be an easy choice, and I’ll readily admit that this is a work in progress in my own life. I daily have to decide how I’m going to respond to all the things that could cause me to worry. I have to make the choice to give my worries, my fears, my anxieties to God and leave them there, and some days I’m better at that than others. But it’s a battle that I will continue to fight because the idea that I am in control or exert some sort of control by worrying is nothing more than illusion.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Two Are Better . . .

If you follow me on Instagram, @courtneyscontemplations (you can click on my Instagram page on the right, and it’ll take you straight there), you’ve seen my posts about Eva Love. Even if you don’t follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen posts about Eva Love. This precious little girl, that I’ve never met and don’t know any of her immediate family personally, has been heavy on my heart for the past couple weeks. Maybe part of it is because I’m a mama of an equally precious, rambunctious, life filled little girl, but I think it’s more. I wholeheartedly believe that the Holy Spirit is prompting every prayer, every whispered plea, and every loud cry regarding beautiful Eva Love. This is one of the functions for which the body of Christ was created. We were created to rally when one or more of our members is struggling and weak. We were created to lift up one another, to pray and stand in the gap and seek Christ on behalf of one another.

Over these past couple weeks, I’ve seen God’s people mobilize. I’ve seen His children at their finest. I’ve seen differences in theology and practice and denomination set aside to lift up this child and seek God’s face for her healing. And I have to wonder, why does it take a tragedy to get us to do this? Why do we argue and fight amongst ourselves more than we come together and pray and seek God’s face?

We live in a world that pushes against the things of Christ more with each passing day. A world where satan looks to bring attacks against the children of God more vehemently than ever before, and yet, we have dissension within our ranks. Yes, we are to hold one another responsible. Yes, we are to stand against sin and false prophets and false testimonies. Absolutely, unequivocally, yes, the bible instructs us on how to do that, but fighting about worship styles and worship songs and order of service and whether or not you lift your hands (or don’t)? All of that is a major distraction from the war that we can only win with Jesus by our side. And y’all if Jesus, 1/3 of the Holy Trinity, is your Savior, and you know without Him there’s no other way, no other way to heaven, no other way for forgivness, no other way to live both here on earth and after death, then we are on the same team, and we fight together not against one another.

So today, I’m asking you to put aside the petty differences that divide, and look to the One who unites. Not just in this fight, but in the daily fight against the enemy who wants to destroy. I am also asking you to hop over to the Instagram pages for the Sherbondy family (@dugansherbondy and @lindsayletters.co) and follow Eva’s story and pray for her complete healing. We, the body of Christ, were created to walk together, side by side, celebrating and supporting both on the mountaintops and in the darkest valleys that we face. We were never meant to do this alone.

“Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Life Interrupted

22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.” Mark 5:22-43 NKJV

Jairus came to Jesus desperate for a healer. His daughter was dying. She needed a miracle. Jesus immediately left what he was doing to go with Jairus to his daughter’s side. What relief Jairus must’ve felt in that moment. Jesus was going to heal his daughter. Jesus was coming to his rescue . . . to her rescue. Everything was going to be okay.

But then, as they were going, the woman with the issue of blood reached through the throng of people pressing in around Jesus and touched the hem of His garment. Jesus immediately stopped. His journey to the dying little girl was interrupted by this woman, and rather than continuing on, He stopped. He stopped to find out who touched Him. He stopped to seek out the one who had sought Him for healing.

Can you imagine what Jairus must have thought as this is all playing out? As a parent, I can only think that he was most definitely inwardly, and maybe outwardly, screaming, “This can wait Jesus! My daughter is dying!” And the truth is, it could’ve waited. The woman had been dealing with her issues for 12 years. How much harm could a few more hours do? But Jesus stopped and talked to her as if she was His only care in the world at that moment. Because we all matter to Jesus. Your problems are no bigger or worse to Him than my problems, and my problems are no more terrible than yours. Jesus cares about all of us, equally, without favoring one of His children over the other. Jesus allowed the interruption by the woman with the issue of blood. It wasn’t an unintentional distraction, but an intentional choice He made to stop and spend a few moments focused on her. It probably wasn’t more than a few minutes lost, but in the time it took to stop and talk with this woman, Jairus’s daughter died.

Jesus wasn’t phased by the news of the little girl’s death. He continued on as if she was still alive and waiting for His healing touch. Jairus likely felt such despair. What was this man going to do about his dead little girl? When Jesus reached the house, He asked why they were wailing and weeping, “the little girl is only asleep” he told them. And the people laughed. How ridiculous Jesus was. He stopped to deal with an unclean woman, a woman who had been sick and probably, ostracized for years. He allowed Himself to be interrupted. He knew the risk, and the little girl died as a result. But God . . . there is always a “but God” . . . when you think you’ve reached the end of your story, and you see a period, God sees a comma. Jesus walked right up to the little girl, took her hand, and said “Talitha, cumi . . . little girl, I say to you, arise,” and that interruption, that seemed so huge only moments before, became a non issue as the little girl rose up off her bed. The interruption that seemed like the end was only a pause in the story of the little girl’s life.

How often do we have interruptions in our journey and think it’s all over? We despair because the interruption we see seems more like final answer rather than a momentary pause. I find it interesting that this passage shares a commonality between the little girl and the woman with the issue of blood, a detail that seems somewhat insignificant yet draws their timelines together . . . 12 years . . . 12 years prior this little girl had been born, and while her family was celebrating the birth of their daughter, the woman started down the road of what would be 12 years of relentless suffering, both physically and emotionally. God knew where both of there journeys would culminate. None of this came as a surprise to Him. Our interruptions never do. He knew that on this day in history, their stories would collide, and their lives would be forever changed at the hands and the hem of the Savior.

Never think for a moment that God doesn’t see you in the interruptions of life. He’s working even in those moments when you think all is lost. God is not moved by these interruptions, and His plan is not changed by them either.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Our Journey to Victory, Part 2 . . . Grief to Transformation

This post is the fifth in a series of posts about victory through Jesus, and “what if” the victory doesn’t look like we think it should. They can be found, in order, by clicking on each of these titles: The Victory, But What If, A Mirror, Dimly, and Our Journey to Victory, Part 1 . . . From Joy to Grief.

Grief is a weird thing. It’s equal parts terrifying, and awful, and also extremely necessary. When we go through a life altering loss, we need to grieve. It’s the way God made us, but it’s so very uncomfortable too. And like anything else, I tried to check off the stages of grief as if they were part of my “to do” list. Only, the stages of grief aren’t sequential. You don’t pass through one to reach another. Instead you bounce all around, back and forth, between the stages of grief. I had to reach a point in our loss where I learned to accept and sit in my grief, where I accepted it was okay to be mad . . . sad . . . whatever . . .

I was so angry in the midst of the grief, and God wasn’t immune to that anger, but instead of pulling away, I pushed in more. One thing I learned, through the ups and downs of grieving is God can handle our anger. Tell Him you’re angry. Tell Him you’re hurting. Tell Him you’re devastated. Just don’t turn away from Him. I prayed more, cried more, and sought Him more than I ever had before. And God never fails His children when they cry out to Him. Never. We may feel like He’s failed us, but thank goodness, our feelings do not define reality. It was in those days and nights of wrestling with the deepest grief I had ever felt, God brought very familiar scriptures to life in a whole new way.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV

These words, these scriptures, became my very life. I had no closure regarding the child that I thought was going to be mine. I had no idea what would happen to her or if she’d be safe or loved or cherished. But I knew, that the only path to healing was through Jesus. And not only did He, very slowly, bring healing, but He began to change my heart in ways I never imagined. I found myself shifting from crying out to Him from a place of deep pain to crying out to Him from a place of deep desire. And rather than asking for a perfect child, I found myself asking Him to bring us the child that needed a family more than anything. I found my heart being opened to needs that I never dreamed I’d be okay with.

Through pain, God transformed me. And after almost a year of daily praying for God to bring us our child, we received another referral. This time it wasn’t so pretty. Our little one wasn’t so neatly packaged. She wasn’t chubby and smiley. She was malnourished and terrified, but she was also beautiful and exactly what our hearts needed.

While, the referral was in and of itself a victory, and sometimes we do have victories that occur in a single moment in time, I’m finding that more often than not our victories aren’t static but found in our ever changing and growing through Christ. We continually have challenges to meet and overcome with our daughter, and bringing her into our home has made my knees hit the floor more and my reliance on Christ grow in ways I never imagined. I know more than ever that I cannot make it through this life without Him, and it’s in Him and Him alone that I have victory.

So no, our victory didn’t look like I thought it would. It’s so much more than I ever dreamed it would be, and the best part is, it’s not done. It’s still happening. With each new challenge, we find a new path to victory, a new chance for God to show Himself strong.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved
The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Our Journey to Victory, Part 1 . . . From Joy to Grief

This post is the fourth in a series of posts about victory through Jesus, and “what if” the victory doesn’t look like we think it should. They can be found, in order, by clicking on each of these titles: The Victory, But What If, and A Mirror, Dimly.

“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8 NKJV

Andrew was three when we decided to pursue adoption. After praying for direction and talking at length with our adoption agency, we settled on adoption from Bulgaria. We knew that once we were registered with Bulgaria the wait for a referral would be at least three years. First, we had six months to get all of our paperwork in and our dossier submitted. Always one to see a deadline as something to be beat, I set about checking off each part of our paperwork as quickly as possible. Within five months our dossier was on its way to Bulgaria to be translated and submitted to the Bulgarian government for registration.

And then, with the exception of yearly updates, we waited. I’m very good at doing, and I’m equally terrible at waiting, but there was nothing to do but wait. So wait we did. We waited and prayed and praised for the victory we knew was to come.

Just over two and a half years after we were registered, I was driving home from my sister’s house one evening when Hillsong United’s “Oceans” came on the radio. As I listened to the words, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders … Let me walk upon the waters … Wherever You would call me … Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander … And my faith will be made stronger … In the presence of my Savior …” I felt like God was telling me we were about to go on a journey that would require more faith and trust than we ever imagined. The very next morning, we received “the call” that would forever change our lives. Not only had we only been waiting for two and a half years, it was the referral of our dreams, a chubby, smiley, 14 month old baby girl. Fourteen months old! A baby which was virtually unheard of. The victory felt very real, and I was convinced that this was the journey God was talking to me about mere hours before.

A month after answering that phone call, Patrick and I were on a plane flying to Bulgaria to meet our sweet girl, and to say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. We fell in love with this sweet baby who was to be our daughter. For five days, we spent hours each day rocking and playing and holding her while she slept. Then, through tears, we handed her back to her caregivers to return home and finish our paperwork. Once again, we found ourselves waiting. Only this time we waited for a court date and ultimately, our pick up day.

As hard as it was to leave her, I had a goal in sight. I had boxes to check off, and plans to make, and preparations to undertake. So, while I desperately missed our girl, I knew it was just a matter of time. Then, on Friday, September 12th, we received a call that would turn our world upside down. A man claiming to be her biological father had filed for custody, and we were in danger of losing the referral. Our attorney in Bulgaria immediately left her family to travel to the city where our little girl lived to find out exactly what was going on. We spent the longest weekend of our lives waiting and praying for God to deliver her into our arms. How could He do anything less for this little girl who had been abandoned at birth? How could He do anything less for us? By Sunday night, I was completely, emotionally spent and could do nothing but sit anxiously waiting for news. It was in those dark hours of the night that I felt God telling me I needed to let go, and Monday morning brought the news I never wanted. Our referral had been pulled. We had a conference call with our stateside agency and our Bulgarian agency and were assured that they were actively pursuing another match for us. But I didn’t want another match. I wanted our girl.

The victory I expected had not come, and the grief and anger I felt was all consuming. I was mad at everyone involved from our agency, to our attorney, and straight up the ladder to God. I didn’t think for a millisecond that God had caused this catastrophe, but I was so angry that He hadn’t stopped it. How could He have allowed this to happen?

I recently saw a quote from Christine Caine, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” I had no idea, in those darkest moments of my life, that God had planted me and was getting ready to grow me in ways I never imagined.

Copyright 2019, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved
The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.