If God is Near, Why Does He Feel So Far Away?

There is a desperate cry within my heart that I’ve longed with every fiber of my being to see come to pass. Minutes have turned into days and weeks and years of learning to make some sort of spiritual peace. On my good days I stand assured, “It’s just not God’s timing yet.”

But on my less stellar days I crumble, afraid and hurt, “God, why? You know how much this ache in my heart steals a piece of too many of my smiles. Quite honestly, I’m tired of wondering if you’re withholding because I’m not good enough, capable enough, spiritual enough, trusting enough, or mature enough. I guess I’m really tired of hoping.”

And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

What is that relationship, that insecurity, that hurt, that desire, that prayer you’ve brought to God countless times?

In my own pain, I’ve learned that Jesus not only cares about our deep, spiritual wrestling, but He wants to step in and see us through it.

That’s why I wrote my new Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. Through this interactive, in-depth study, you will learn to:

· Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is.
· Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
· Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.

If you’re new to Bible studies, this is the place to start. If you’ve studied the Bible for years, it’s time to travel to the Holy Land via video and see the truth of Jesus come to life like never before.

Finding I AM doesn’t release until January but if you pre-order today you’ll get all kinds of free resources to help you along the journey!

You can pre-order by clicking here.


Something I’ve Never Told Anyone

Hey everyone! I’m Melissa Taylor, Director of Online Bible Studies at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Lysa invited me to guest post on her blog today which is perfect because I’m going to take this opportunity to confess something that I’ve never told anyone.

There have been times I have been invited to something, yet I declined because I couldn’t afford it. To be honest, sometimes I’d rather just not be invited because afterwards I feel like I’m not as good as others. That they are better than me. That I wish I was them. And even though I was included, I feel left out.

There. I said it.

Recently I was invited to go the the spa with some girlfriends to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It would’ve been so much fun, but here was the reality: We had just sent two kids off to college. Another still lives at home. Money is tight. It’s clear this is not in the budget and so, with bitterness in my heart, I declined.

It’s not the first time this has happened. I’ve declined several invitations based on the financial cost it would entail.

I’ve asked God, “Can’t You just bless me with a little more? Why does it seem that everyone else gets to go to these amazing places and do all these fun things and I can’t? I’m missing out on so much!”

If you’re thinking, “Wow, this girl is a spoiled brat!” I’d have to agree with you. Remember, this has been my little secret up ‘til now.

Then Lysa’s book Uninvited came along. At first I thought, “This sounds like a great book, but I don’t think it’s for me personally. I get invited to lots of things!”

Then I read Chapter 1, “I’d Rather Ignore Honesty.” BAM. It hit me hard! I realized that although I may not be rejected, I’m putting myself into the “rejected” category with my self-rejection. No one else thinks I’m a less than, left out loser. Just me.

Rejection has many faces. Sometimes it’s brought on by others, and sometimes we bring it on ourselves. My feeling less than was not due to another’s words or actions. It was my own self-rejection which was rooted in pride — something I needed to deal with.

In Chapter 11, Lysa writes:

This could be an invitation to live in expectation of something else. Today’s disappointment is making room for tomorrow’s appointment.

One thing I’ve failed to acknowledge is the real reason I say “No, thank you.” It’s not because we don’t have enough money. It’s because God has given me an invitation to live in expectation of something else, like: My daughter’s lacrosse game. A date night with my husband. A vacation with my family. Getting my hair done. Taking my dogs to the vet.

Reading Uninvited has helped me realize that today’s disappointment is the reason I can say yes to tomorrow’s appointment. And the next time I need to decline an invitation due to the cost, I don’t need wallow in self-pity. Instead, I need to view it with the expectation of what God has in store for me.

If you can relate on any level, I want to invite you to join me for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ next Online Bible Study of Uninvited, beginning September 6. All you need to participate is the Uninvited book!

You can sign up and find out more about online Bible studies by clicking here.

Lysa and I can’t wait to do this study with you!


Why Would God Let This Happen?

I wonder what would happen in our lives if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love. I mean, as Christians we know He loves us. We sing the songs, we quote the verses, we wear the T-shirts and we sport the bumper stickers. Yes, God loves us.

I’m not talking about knowing He loves us.

I’m talking about living as if we really believe it.

I’m talking about walking confidently in the certainty of God’s love even when our feelings beg us not to.

I’m talking about training our hearts and our minds to process everything through the filter of the absolute assurance of God’s love. Period. Without the possible question mark.

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a precious mom whose eldest daughter is nearing 30 and has never had a boyfriend. The younger siblings have all gone through the whole dating thing and one is now engaged to be married. The eldest daughter sat on the side of her mom’s bed recently with tears slipping down her cheeks and said, “Why mom? Why can’t I find anyone to love me? What’s wrong with me?”

This mom was asking me for advice in helping her daughter process these questions. These feelings are real. These feelings are tough.

And I’m sure if I were able to untangle all the emotions wrapped in and around these questions, somewhere deep inside I would find this girl doubting God’s love for her.

I remember being single, the only one of my friends without a boyfriend, and wondering why. I would see these nice boys and think God could make one of them fall in love with me but He hasn’t. And that hurt.

But here’s the thing I wish I had known then … I must process this through the filter of God’s love not through the tangled places of my heart.

When I process things through the tangled places of my heart, often the outcome is, “If God loves me so much, why would He let this happen?”

Instead when I process things through the filter of the absolute assurance of God’s love, the outcome is, “God loves me so much therefore I have to trust why He is allowing this to happen.”

I took the mom’s hand who was asking for advice and told her to help her daughter rewrite the way she is processing this. It’s okay to feel hurt, lonely and sad. But these feelings shouldn’t be a trigger to doubt God’s love for her. They should be a trigger to look for God’s protection, provision and possible growth opportunities.

I know this can be hard. But what if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love?

I want to help you walk in that truth. That’s why my team at Proverbs 31 Ministries and I are hosting a FREE online Bible study of my book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. Sign up today and be equipped to:

• Stop going through the motions of religion and learn how to experience Jesus in a personal way.
• Overcome the issues that pull your heart away from the Lord by gaining passion and confidence about your faith.
• Move past simply knowing about God and discover how to become vibrantly alive as you apply Biblical truths to your life.

Sign up here.

I’m giving away 5 copies of Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. To be entered to win, leave a comment letting me know what you’re looking forward to most in the study!