Build your gift, sister.

Recently, I’ve been a bit awe-struck by my sisters in Christ who possess the gift of “discernment.”  They can tell rather quickly whether a person is true and genuine… or not. They know when a situation is promising or dangerous; they just have a sense about things, an innate ability to judge well.  And, I’m envious!  In a season of faith where I have been seeking wisdom from my heavenly father, this idea of having discernment and wisdom seemed magical to me.  I want it.

Me? Well, I wouldn’t say I discern incredibly well. It’s not that I make bad choices right and left, but I do trust easily and jump quickly. (Heck, I even met my sweet husband because I pride myself on being spontaneous! Long story, but it involves buying a plane ticket and boarding 2 ½ hours later.)

I’ve spent the past two or three weeks poring over scriptures that tell us about wisdom and discernment, and God’s ability and willingness to grant us those things when we petition him with the right heart and motives. I’ve encouraged and “back-patted” my amazing sisters in Christ that display this gift – what on earth would I do without them? Meanwhile, I’ve wallowed that I may never get there.

And then last night happened.

As I dove further into a study about believing God (Beth Moore’s Believing God, circa 2004.) I found myself turning pages of notes I had taken with Beth’s encouragement to take God at his word and choose to believe that He CAN do what He says He can do. Choosing to believe God is big – capable of wonders and miracles and that he still to this day chooses to pull them off for us.

Now, you might be thinking the conclusion I came to was that God could provide me with discernment, and that’s probably true, but that’s not what God was speaking to me. What He was reminding me of was a Spiritual Gifts test that I had taken earlier that week which revealed my spiritual gifts – faith, encouragement, and teaching.) (Based on this Spiritual Gifts test.)

Well, as clear as a bell I heard this:


Build YOUR gifts, Taylor. And I knew that while I was sitting there poring over scripture, trying to crack the code to wisdom and discernment from the Lord, there are so many people out there struggling to believe that God is capable of healing their mess, providing their miracle, doing the impossible. And, that’s never something that has come extremely hard to me. When I take the time to sit down and really wrestle with what I believe and come before God with it all, I am able to find a certain peace that rests in this truth. He is God. And, he can. And he is good to me, so if it’s good for me, he will. And, even if it doesn’t feel good to me, he’ll work it out to be good for me. I trust that. I believe it, down to my bones.

When it comes to arguing or debating the faith, I often don’t know how to rationalize that I believe God for a miracle, that I believe he’s good no matter what. He can do that thing that you think he can’t do. And, he can do it without even batting an eyelash. He’s God – of course he can! And, if it’s right for you and good for you, he will! And, if he doesn’t – well, sister, he knows better!

Sometimes we can’t explain our faith, we just have it. We just choose to be still, and then we know.

How much time do you spend dwelling on the gifts that you want, the things you wish you could do better? Could that time wallowing (like me) be a missed opportunity to build on the gifts that you do have?

While I study and highlight and wear down the pages of my dictionary and commentaries over spiritual discernment – could I have missed an opportunity to sit down right here on thefreshlens, and tell you about my faith, tell you about my God that is capable of anything and everything — all of it? Perhaps.

So I’m here, doing just that. And, I’m going to tell you something you shouldn’t forget.

Everything is possible for him who believes. | Mark 9:23

Everything is possible.


Mark 9:14-24


God is Not Shocked

I have been reading a lot lately about John the Baptist, lately, from his incredible birth story which parallels that of Christ, to his calling in life to prepare the way of the Lord. He made so many sacrifices and I’ve wondered about the questions he might have asked along the way.

I wonder, near the end of John’s life while he was imprisoned if he ever questioned any of it — the calling, the sacrifices. Did he ever doubt the one he had given his life for might not actually be the Messiah? It’s hard to imagine a mighty man like John the Baptist doubting, but after all, he was only human. And, aren’t all our hearts prone to wonder, doubt, and worry at times no matter how strong and steadfast we try to be?

If we are honest with ourselves, there is probably a time in our life that God hasn’t lived up to our expectations. Maybe he didn’t come through for us when we thought he would, and should. Did you feel guilty for thinking thoughts like, “Are you God or not? Because I thought you were, and if you really are, they why aren’t you acting like it? Why aren’t you healing this person, fixing this problem, etc.”

I read something this morning that was simple, and profoundly true. God isn’t shocked by these thoughts. He already knows them. “He reads our hearts. He knows our confusion, disappointment, and devastation” when things don’t turn out the way we think they need to.

Friends, God is not shocked by the questions in our hearts. So, don’t hesitate to share them with him. You just might be robbing yourselves of the answers.

Summer Reflections

Someone told me yesterday that today, we are too busy to make time for reflection. We don’t pause, we don’t stop, we just go-go-go-go-go to our own determent. I’ve definitely seen that to be true in our life this summer; it’s been a crazy one with home buying and selling, moving, our favorite friends, grandparent visits, a little too much of the flu, a whole lot of painting, and even more unpacking, lazy days with our closest friends, another amazing Beth Moore study under the belt (Entrusted) with some wonderful ladies, a few weddings photographed by the side of some talented women I’ve really enjoyed getting to know, and not enough writing (oh, how I’ve missed you #threfreshlens)!
Our family didn’t get to the Zoo enough (unless it’s once a week, it’s never enough!) the lake enough, and we didn’t go on nearly enough walks. Things have been so busy! But, today, I’m keeping my eyes forward on all that’s to come and all that we will do – unknown and unknown – for I know He works it all for our good and I can’t wait to see what that good looks like for my family. 
This fall we’re going to be taking a lot more walks in our new neighborhood, and having a lot more family down time (especially with our new to town sister in town!) Rest and reflection are what I’m hoping for in the upcoming season. And, when I do look back I’m going to remember this summer as being sweet — overflowing with hot, lazy, days. And right now, I’m thankful that this summer is not quite done!
Will you make time to stop on reflect on this season? What are you hoping to do in the next one?