A recurring hymn woven in our tale - sung at weddings, funerals, countless church services, and even a few bedtimes - is “Come Thou Fount,” written in the 18th century by Robert Robinson.
If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics, let me highlight a few key phrases.
Ebenezer is, literally, “a stone of help.”
Friends, I am here to tell you, it is only with a multitude of grace and a veritable mountain of Ebenezers that I can write to you with joy of His mercy and goodness in my life.
There are too many to list them all.
So beloved, hear this.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, NKJV).
I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord because I have. Again and again. In darkness, and in light. In grief, and in joy. In loss, and in new life.
The Almighty, the Namer and Counter of Stars - He carries me, His precious lamb, in the crook of His arm (Isaiah 40:11). And He promises, promises, to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).
So here, here I raise my Ebenezer, my stones of help. Rocks made of the Word of life, poured out on parchment, cried out in desperation, sung from prisons, spoken from a bloody brow on a rough hewn cross, and whispered in the echoes of an empty tomb.
Hither by thy help, I come.
Friends, what are your stones of help?
How has God shown you His goodness in the midst of despair?
If you can’t think of any, I challenge you to dig deep in His word ... find the promises so richly provided.
God, thank You for being my Rock, and my refuge. I praise You because You give true hope in the midst of desperate circumstances. I lift up my cry to You today and ask You to meet my heart with joy. Fill me up with Your love. Help me to remember that You are always in control. Help me to see Your goodness today, and to trust You always.
Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.
Have you ever asked a young child what they want to be when they grow up? Often they will tell you their dreams of being a fire fighter, a veterinarian or a ballet dancer but not before changing their mind several times.
I’m afraid that’s how I am in my service to the Lord. In my adult life, I have been so many things: a die-hard nursery director, VBS director, 3-year-olds teacher, Christian Life ministry leader, women’s and military wives’ Bible study leader, prison ministry participant, cheerleading coach, coupon queen, international missionary, blogger and more. I’ve written manuals for nurseries, letters to inmates, curriculum for children and devotionals for military wives, yet I’m still looking for my niche. Sometimes I find myself asking God, “What do you want me to be when I grow up?” I look at women who have been serving in their field of ministry for decades and wonder if that will ever be me.
I have come to realize that in every season of my service and ministry, God has taught me invaluable lessons and introduced me to those He needed me to minister to. My resume of ministry may not impress in any single department, but if I have served the Lord and shared His love, then I have fulfilled my calling. I’m okay with being well-rounded. In fact, I embrace it! And until God calls me to taper my skills and abilities to a specific calling, I’m going to continue enjoying the broad adventure He has led me to. After all, God made me this way. He created me with my many interests, varied passions, and a heart for all people. I may never go back to Africa, or to prison, or to cheer camp, but I know God has big plans for my future as long as I remain willing to go where He sends.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”- Luke 4:18
What season of ministry are you in right now?
Are you serving where you are most comfortable or where God wants you?
Are you willing to go where God leads you?
What is one way you can step out and serve this week?
Father God, thank You for using us in ways we could have never imagined. Find our hearts willing and ready to go wherever You may lead us. Develop in us the talents and abilities You need for us to complete the work You are calling us to do. May we never compare our ministry to the ministry of others around us, but always keep our eyes focused on You and Your will for our lives. Thank You, LORD, for loving us and using us to share Your love with others. Amen.
Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog, Wives of War.
It is amazing how much God loves us and nourishes our growth each and every day. God formed us “in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). While some good works start outwardly and have an impact on the heart, others begin with heart change reflected in our actions.
God has called me to be more patient. For some people this may not take a lot of work, but that certainly doesn’t describe me, and never really has. The more quiet time I spend with God, the more confident I am that God wants me to focus on enhancing the fruit of the spirit in my life that is most challenging: patience (Galatians 5:22-23).
This morning God challenged me to grow by extending grace to a stranger. I was strolling along down the dairy aisle when a woman in front of me made a sudden, wide U-turn, forcing me to cling to the rack of shredded cheese for dear life. Moments later we encountered one another in the 10 items or less self-checkout lane. As I quickly scanned my three produce items, I could hear her behind me sighing and saying some pretty hurtful things about me. Satan was on my left shoulder telling me to be offended and urging me to confront her in anger.
Instead, I chose to focus my thoughts on Jesus. He challenged me not to judge others because others can’t see God in my actions when I act impatiently. I was convicted to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). So I scanned quickly, smiled, and wished her a good day.
When we set our eyes on Jesus, we can find the strength to extend patience and gentleness to others under any circumstance. Although a smile in the checkout lane is a small thing, it was given with the patient intention to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”
(2 Corinthians 1:4).
We live by God’s grace each day, and by extending grace towards others, we can do a good work in the lives of others as well as our own hearts.
What situations tempt me to be impatient?
How can I better please God in situations when I choose not to judge others?
What opportunities do I have to pray for others each day?
Father, thank you for always being patient with me, especially when I make mistakes. Thank you for not throwing my mistakes in my face or creating obstacles for me because of them, but welcoming me into your comforting, loving arms so that I might learn. Help me to be more patient with myself, others and my surroundings each and every day so that I may nurture the fruits of the spirit and become closer to you. Help me to be a more godly woman so that others can see your great works and love in my actions. Thank you God for loving me. I love you and worship only you. Amen.
Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects on her blog, Mary's Mischief.
Laura is a Christ-follower, Navy wife, mother to one toddler, writer, and coffee drinker. She writes about Faith, Military Life, and Motherhood at Embracing This Life.