Hope in Hard Times – You Don’t Have to be Strong

When you are face to face with a struggle in life that seems to knock the wind out of you, you might hear people say to you:

You can do it!
Be strong!
Hold on tight!
Don’t let go!
You are going to make it!

What if I said, you don’t have to be strong?

Many times people grow up thinking they need to muster up more strength to press on. We are told to dry our tears, pull up our boot straps and move beyond the heartache of the moment.

I hear God gently telling me to let go of the boot straps, let the tears flow and not move a muscle.

If you are feeling crushed beneath the weight of life, don’t misinterpret God’s instruction for what man has made it sound like. Listen for yourself to God’s voice.

Lately God has been telling me to:

1. Seek Him

2. Trust Him

3. Sit with Him

He has never told me to rely on my own strength or to get a grip and get over it.

There are lots of things I could do when times get tough. I could plan and prepare and go into survival mode. I could try to avoid another disaster before it happens or freeze in fear of what might come to pass tomorrow.

God is constantly reminding me that I don’t control my own destiny – He does.

If you’ve been feeling like you need to be strong, but you don’t have the strength, it’s going to be okay. You don’t need to develop more strength, you need to trust God to display His.


He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:29(ESV)

I love how Paul puts it when speaking about his thorn in the flesh:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:8-10(ESV)

In Paul’s weakness God’s strength is revealed. If Paul tried to figure things out himself and leaned on his own ability, he would have forfeited the opportunity to experience the power of God’s strength.

I don’t want to give up something that is miraculously and freely offered to me. God’s power is beyond anything I can imagine, yet the amazing part is that I can personally possess it for myself.

If you have never allowed God to take control and be the strength of your life, I promise you will be overwhelmed when you hand over your control to His. His display of strength is beyond anything you will ever experience.

If you are feeling weak, you are not alone! We all have moments in life that are too heavy to handle in our own strength. What in your life has caused you to feel weak, alone or afraid? If you share your story with me, I will pray for you. Today, there’s one thing you don’t have to do – You don’t have to be strong.

If God has encouraged you, strengthened you or enabled you when you thought you could not move forward I would love to hear your story, your insight, your encouragement or your struggle. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

If this has been an encouragement to you please pass it on to someone you love!

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It’s Time For a GIVEAWAY!

I love sharing with you ways that we can make a difference in our community and around the world. And I love giving away beautiful things that come from companies that are investing in helping others come to Christ.

Kibera June 2016

I’m so excited to share with you a simple, fun way you can impact families, communities and the future of men, women, and children in remote African villages.

This week I am giving away a beautiful handmade necklace made by one of the artisans of this lovely company Karama!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is follow the prompt at the end of this post!

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Also from now through the September 30th receive 15% off all Karama products by entering this coupon code: MADDOX16SS

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You can read more about Karama and view the other amazing handmade products HERE. Every purchase will impact the lives of youth in Africa through Young Life Camps.

It’s not just about helping people get jobs and earn a living. It’s about giving them the gospel that will change their life for eternity! That’s what I LOVE about Karama!

Morine and Dyan June 2016
“Karama began in 2006 with a single artisan partner in Ethiopia and has since expanded to 27 artisan partners in 6 countries, affecting over 2,400 artisans and their families.”

A message from Karama:

“In a small tin shack in Africa’s largest urban slums, young men and women recycle metals to form beautiful jewelry. In doing so, they learn job skills, put food on their tables, and pay for public school fees for their children.

Each piece is handmade in Kibera, where most citizens live on less than $1 per day. Unemployment level is 50% and HIV positive rates are exceptionally high. Clean water is scarce, leading to incredibly unsanitary conditions and illness.

Artisans pour themselves into beautiful craftsmanship, designing, hand-molding, hammering and polishing each piece. This group’s motto, “Let the works of our hands speak for us”, is a perfect illustration of their dedication to hard work.

From this work, artisans earn fair wages to support their families. The local economy is boosted by the additional income. Proceeds from Karama sales benefit not only African small businesses, but also Young LIfe Africa, a ministry to African teens.

Every purchase shares dignity with artisans, and every wearing allows you to share your impact with the world.”

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Complete one or ALL of these options to enter! For every option you complete your name will be entered into the giveaway!

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1. Click on any of the options in the box below and follow the prompts. Once you do, you will be entered.
2. Follow Micah on Facebook. Share the giveaway post and tag Micah in your post.
3. Subscribe to the blog by email – scroll all the way to the bottom and enter your email address in the Words of Hope box.

I will announce the winner on Friday on Facebook and right here on the blog!

And don’t forget to receive 15% off other Karama products simply enter coupon code MADDOX16SS at checkout from now through September 30th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO JENIFER METZGER!

Love & Blessings,

Micah

Clarify Your Calling – Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of Clarify Your Calling! I am so glad you are here! This might be my favorite week yet! If you missed the other posts in this series, you can find them here:

Week 1: You Are Called
Week 2: Don’t Pursue Your Passion, Pursue God’s Plan
Week 3: The Next Step
Week 4: Finding Confidence In My Calling

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And now for WEEK 5: What Will They Think of Me?

I let her words play over and over in my mind. “You are too young to do that.” I began thinking maybe I was too young. Maybe I didn’t have enough experience, knowledge, or wisdom to fulfill the thing God had placed before me.

There I hung in the middle of a deep cavern of decision. I had a choice to accept her words as truth or to accept God’s words as truth.

Haven’t we all been there. We want to believe with all of our hearts that God’s call on our lives is firm, secure, rooted, grounded, and sure. We want to know that no matter the opposition we face, God will sustain us and be an advocate on our behalf.

It’s hard to continue pressing on when people around you don’t understand your calling.

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Here’s what God did for me as I dangled between what I know He said, and what was said to me:

1. God confirmed His word.

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24(KJV)

2. God comforted my heart.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20(ESV)

3. God considered me, and proved His love to me.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. I Timothy 4:12(ESV)

4. God told me to press on despite approval or disapproval of those around me.

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5(KJV)

Sometimes your greatest opposition will come from good people. Sometimes it comes in forms of constructive criticism or a word spoken without thought behind it.

Don’t let the words of man distract you from the ways of God.

If God has called you, take Him at His word. Cling to it. Claim it. When opposition comes your way cast it aside and press on. God’s call is too important to let the words of humans harm it.

Is God clarifying His call in your life? Has He called you to do something that people around you can’t understand? It’s okay. Do it anyway.

God’s ways always results in wonder to those walking in obedience and those who are watching in opposition.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of Clarify Your Calling! I’m so glad you are here! If you missed the other posts in this series you can find them here:

Week 1: You Are Called
Week 2: Don’t Pursue Your Passion, Pursue God’s Plan
Week 3: The Next Step

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I tucked my legs beneath the wooden school desk and crossed my ankles as the teacher announced our grades in front of the entire class. I loved school, but something about this part made me squirm. Knowing I would get a good grade, but not the best grade made me question if I was really good enough.

Something inside me wanted to be the best. I wanted to hear, “Micah – 100%”.

I strived from my early elementary years to do my very best always looking for the A+ or 100% with a big bold smiley face at the top.

We all assembled at the end of the school year to acknowledge the smart kids. They announced the Honor Roll students, the Most Improved Students, and the ones who excelled in sports or leadership qualities. And then at the very end of every award ceremony they gave out the biggest award of all – the Teacher’s Award.

My heart was pounding, my little third grade hands were sweaty, and I could have burst into tears at the thought of winning or losing. The pressure was too big for my tiny body.

“And this year’s Teacher’s Award goes to….”

When the name was announced my shoulders dropped with a heavy exhale, and the voices in my head began.

“See, you didn’t do enough.”
“You’ll never be as good as her.”
“You’re not as smart as she is.”
“No matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it.”
“The teacher’s see something in her that you don’t have.”

All these years later, those voices still creep into my mind sometimes. They say things like:

“You’ll never succeed at this.”
“She does a way better job than you.”
“You don’t really know what you are doing.”
“Look at how easy it is for her.”
“No matter how hard you try, you’ll never catch up.”

So I sit back and evaluate my life and my calling. And a still small voice overrides all the “you can’t’s” and “you’re not good enough’s” with:

“I am with you.”
“You are enough with Me.”
“It’s not about the A+.”
“It’s not about the Teacher’s Award.”
“You just need to obey.”
“Trust Me, Micah.”
“Walk with Me.”
“I’ll lead you.”
“I’ll guide you.”
“I’m not into awards on this earth.”
“My rewards are eternal.”
“Man might never see, but I do.”
“Trust and obey.”

A wave of fresh grace and confidence washes over my soul and I remember my calling.

When I compare my calling, I question myself. When I surrender my calling, I am confident in Christ.

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God didn’t call me to get a Teacher’s Award or be recognized by this world. God called me to obey His voice step by step, day by day.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” II Corinthians 12:9(ESV)

There might be days of victory with gold stickers, confetti, and trophies, but even it not, I’ll remember my God-given calling – surrender.

I am not called to get awards and recognition of man, I am called to walk with God.

When I walk with man, I am insecure in my worth. When I walk with God, I rest secure in His will and way.

If you tend to compare yourself with others always wanting the A+, it’s time to surrender the good grade for the God-given grace within your calling.

God will equip you for your calling. Don’t give up when you think no one notices and don’t give in to the voices that try to derail you. God is with you and that is enough. Clarity is waiting for you in the presence of Jesus Christ.

Surrender doesn’t mean I compromise my life. Surrender means Christ in me will fulfill my life.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we sit back and evaluate our callings, help us see clearly. Help us know this world is not a place to seek rewards and recognition, but help us seek You and You alone. For in seeking, we know we will find. Help us rest in the confidence of your presence and help us surrender our souls to your security.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of Clarify Your Calling! If you are just now joining us check out the other posts in this series:

Week 1: God Is Calling You
Week 2: Don’t Pursue Your Passion, Pursue God’s Plan

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It’s easy to get my heart fixed on a goal, a desire…a big dream. I plan, prepare, learn, and do all I can to reach the destination of the ultimate place of success.

For me, it’s a desire to help people who hurt – the ones who feel like they don’t have a place to voice their pain. It’s to embrace the reality of this life with gentleness that will break down the walls that harm our hearts. It’s a big dream. It seems insurmountable. But it’s my calling. And it’s clear.

When I embrace it in it’s entirety, it’s impossible. There’s no way to abolish pain. There’s no immediate fix for the fear that saturates the wounds of those who have been harmed over and over again.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26(ESV)

God is helping me as I embrace my calling. He’s reminding me to stop controlling the bigness of what I think it is, and He’s telling me to do the right thing today.

For me, some days it means putting a band-aid on a skinned knee, kissing a sweaty forehead, and looking deep into the eyes of a child who is learning to walk through this life and figure out where they fit.

It’s pouring my soul into the little hearts in my home who desperately need a mama to say, “I’m proud of you, I see you, and I will always love you no matter what your life looks like.” Most days, it’s simply giving the gift of a smile to the crew under my roof and genuinely being kind to them even on my bad days.

It’s about letting Jesus shine through in the difficult moments, and pointing lives to Jesus even when circumstances force us to our knees – this is where my calling is.

It’s writing one more blog post and putting it out into the world wide web not knowing who will read it or who’s heart will be hugged by a simple, “You are gonna make it through this.”

It’s being pleasant when my husband walks in the door and praying desperately that God would help me be the best version of me.

It’s calling a friend, sending a text, and being sensitive to the lives God has purposely placed in my circle of life.

Big calls completed are never achieved overnight with enormous leaps of success. Big calls require teeny tiny steps of obedience one day at a time.

As I learn to clarify my calling, I’m learning the beauty of the mundane. Miracles happen in remaining faithful to the mundane masterpiece of today. God is doing something. He has called us. He is working.

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Take the next tiny step.

Kiss your husband passionately.

Look into your child’s eyes purposefully.

Talk to a friend compassionately.

Live your life purposefully.

Embrace God’s Word presently.

This is where you will clarify your calling.

Goals are good, but they are not where greatness resides. Greatness resides in what you do in this moment with the calling God has etched upon your soul.

What is your tiny step today?

Are you willing to take the next step even if it seems insignificant?

My tiny step is pushing “post” on this blog. I hope you will share it with someone you love. You never know the difference your tiny step will make.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we learn to take little steps of obedience, please guide us with your Word. Show us where to focus, when to move, and when to embrace the smallest actions steps. We know you are calling and we commit to listen intently. We choose to embrace obedience even when it seems too simple, too small, or insignificant. We know the glory is yours in every goal and in every call. As we seek clarity in our callings, give us eyes for your purpose and your purpose only.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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Clarify Your Calling – Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of Clarify Your Calling!

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Have you ever felt like God is telling you to do something big for Him, yet you feel unqualified and inadequate to complete the task?

As I struggle with my own call as a writer, I often think, “I’m not cut out for this”.

If I had a degree in journalism, knew every grammar rule including the ones that I can’t pronounce, and could throw together a piece of writing without dependence on God’s strength, wisdom, and clarity, I would be doing everything in my own power.

Without God, it’s not a call, it’s a cultivated craft of man.

If we are looking for clarity in our calling, the first thing we need to do is ask God for His direction.

I’ve often heard the advice that you should do what you are passionate about, but I think I disagree. Passion can be misleading. I’m passionate about a lot of things. My personality type is to dive in and do things with all my might. My heart thuds valiantly to do something and do it well. One of my life-long passions is volleyball – particularly coaching.

I could easily get myself a job as a volleyball coach. With five years of experience, I could step out on a court and help a team reach their potential and I would pour my passion into every moment. But for this season, that thing I’m super passionate about isn’t my calling. It’s not what God has called me to do even though my heart bursts within my chest at the thought of teaching a teenage girl how to control the ball and perform to her best ability.

Before you embrace the thing where your passion bleeds, ask God for His direction.

Don’t pursue your passion, pursue God’s plan.

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How do I know God’s plan?

1. Seek Him Daily

As you struggle with what to do, where to go, how long to stay, when to make a change, or how much time to give to whatever it is that fills your day, fervently seek God.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13(ESV)

2. Serve Him Faithfully

This doesn’t mean you are at the church every waking moment fulfilling acts of service that take up every moment of your life (unless God is calling you to that). But the service I am speaking of is heart service. It’s a daily surrender that can only be acted on in complete release of the will and desires of man. It’s giving up the thing you want to hold onto and allowing God to place something different into your hands. It’s letting go of the turmoil that you rehash day after day and embracing the peace that only God gives. It’s removing things that cloud your view of God and keep you from spending undivided time with Him. It’s living a life devoted to Him in every moment. There’s so many things that fill up our lives each day that have nothing to do with Him. Faithfully serving means your day is filled with His stuff.

It’s letting go of good things to make way for greater things – God things.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2(KJV)

3. Surrender to Him Expectantly

God promises to direct His children. We know this is true. However, there are plenty of people in the world who go to church, put in their time and wonder why God isn’t showing them the way to go. It’s not about doing this, so God will do that. It’s about surrendering to His way. Sometimes that means doing things even when we don’t feel like we are the best person for the job.

When God calls you, His call qualifies you even if your skill set is lacking.

But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:10-12(ESV)

Step 1 to Clarify Your Calling: “Don’t pursue your passion, pursue God’s plan.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Guide us, Oh Lord, as we seek your purpose. Show us where to step and where to step back. Give us wisdom to know when you are calling and discernment to know how to stop feeding our passions and start pursuing your purpose.

In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! And as always, share this with someone you love!

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