Stretch Marks

Recently I’ve been marinating on Proverbs 31 Ministries and the tremendous way He’s growing us, in faith and in size.

It made me think of stretch marks. Yes, stretch marks.

I’ve had them on my hips ever since the summer before 9th grade, the summer when I grew 5 1/2 inches in one growth spurt. I was bumbly and awkward back then, towering over all the girls AND guys. Yes, I still am a little bumbly and awkward as a tall drink of water.

I remember aching that summer of growing so much. I felt such weird pain. Little did I know they were growing pains.

Mommas, I can only imagine the sensations you feel as that baby is growing inside of you, stretching you.

One definition says:

“Stretch marks are a form of scarring with an off-color hue. Over time they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. They are caused from the rapid stretching of the skin associated with rapid growth or weight change.”

We won’t worry about the weight change part, shall we?

As leaders it is normal to experience stretch marks and growing pains during growth spurts.  The Lord sometimes grows us rapidly, faster than we feel comfortable with.

In 2016, because of the support of our Proverbs 31 Ministries donors, more than:

  • One Million people are digging deeper into God’s Word with the First 5 mobile app.
  • 700,000 people receive Encouragement for Today daily email devotions.
  • 4.6 million people find encouragement and hope by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • 3,000 people are getting equipped for their ministry calling through our She Speaks Conference and COMPEL writers training.
  • 6 million women and families are hearing biblical teaching through our Everyday Life with Lysa radio show airing on 1,300 radio stations throughout the US.

These few statistics are humbling. All glory goes to God.

In the middle of “growth” is the word “OW.”

Sometime growth is painful.

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Just like a gardener prunes branches to get a tree to grow better, God prunes us and stretches our faith. He is the Gardener of our souls, tending us.

Whatever growing pains you are experiencing at home, at work, at church, or in the community, embrace the stretch marks. They are beautiful signs that God is faithful.

“I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” –John 15:1.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for growing our faith, for stretching us,for giving us stretch marks. Every time I look at my stretch marks, I’ll appreciate them much more. Please guide me in the growing, Lord, so I can bear the most fruit for Your Kingdom.

Reflect:

In what areas of my life am I experiencing stretch marks and growing pains?

With God’s guidance, what can you do to prepare for this new fruit that you will bear?

Renew:

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” –Colossians 1:10

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And It Was So.

Those four words struck me as I read the familiar passage in Genesis 1 and 2 of the Creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Six times during the six days God created everything, He said it, “And it was so.”

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water….’ And it was so.” –Genesis 1:6,7b

From the heavens and earth, to creating land and seas, seed-producing plants and trees, sun, moon, and stars, the animals, and man and woman, God said it into being, “And it was so.”

The same God who spoke the whole world into existence is the same God for you and me today. Isn’t that so refreshing?

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Several times I admit that I doubt God will answer my prayer. I am so wrong to ever have that stinking thinking. He is the same prayer-hearing, miracle-working, life-giving God then as now.

What are you praying for God to breathe life into? Is it your marriage? Is it a new home? Is it a difficult relationship? Is it an unborn child you’ve prayed about for years? Is it to know your life purpose? Is it for a loved one to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior? Whatever it is, friend, may we trust God with it.

And. It. Was. So.

Reflect:

How do those four words change your perspective on your current situation?

Renew:

“‘And all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” –Genesis 1:30-31a

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?'” –Jeremiah 32:26-27

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who form it and established it–the Lord is his name; ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” –Jeremiah 33:2-3

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light…The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.'” –Revelation 21:5-6

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