Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

You are Loved & God is Good! December 7, 2016

img_4121Here are the notes from my MOPS talk yesterday. It should take about 15 minutes or less to read. I hope that it brings encouragement to you.  I had such a wonderful response yesterday. I was blessed to share my heart with such wonderful ladies!

Hello. For those of you out there that I haven’t met personally, my name is Amy Scott. My husband is the children’s pastor here at Bethel Church. I’m on the MOPS steering team and have been for the last few years. I love MOPS and I love that you are all here today. This is a special place and what we do here is important. I hope that as you’ve spent time around the table with other moms, you’ve felt a sense of community and belonging. It’s so encouraging to know that you are not alone and that you have a group of ladies cheering you on.

What I want to share with you ladies today is a lot of preaching to the choir. It’s a message that really touches where I am right now. I don’t know this as a fact, but I’m assuming a lot of you might be in a similar place or maybe can relate to my story.

I’m a thinker. I can’t turn my brain off. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it a curse. I’ve been thinking a lot about life, especially the last year, 2016, and all the changes that have happened. It’s been a big year. I turned 30, bought a minivan… Jeremy and I put our house up for sale. It was our first house and full of so many memories because we started our family there. My home has been my sanctuary, my refuge. Selling it and letting go was has been an exciting, but emotion filled decision.  I won’t go into all the details, but we’ve had one deal fall through and it’s been months of delays and extensions with our current buyer. We thought we would close at the end of September and now we are praying that we close at the end of the December. The kicker is, we thought for sure that we were going to close in October, so we moved in with my in-laws. Now it looks that was two months too soon. My in-laws have been great to live with, but it isn’t ideal when we could have been in our home. In a lot of ways, I’m ready to move forward, but I feel stalled.

Some of you know that at the end of this summer, my husband had some serious health issues arise and we had to take a step back from ministry for a few months to make his health a top priority.  He is doing better now, but there are still some questions that we haven’t found answers to. It’s been a lot to take in, a lot to process.

There are numerous other changes that would take too long to go into, but this whole last year; I’ve felt like my life has been sifted. It’s been a rewarding process in the sense that I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can handle. Mostly I’ve learned how much I truly need to rely on God to get through the day. Sifting happens when things get shaken up. And I’ve felt shaken this year. In a lot of ways my sense of security has been lost. When your security is in things or even in people, life can be scary. There is a sense of doubt and worry. I’ve learned a lot about God being my rock, my anchor.

I’m a writer and a blogger. I used to attempt to write deep thoughts about life and ministry, but once I had kids my blog morphed more into our family life and what we’re up to on a weekly basis. My 5 followers love my updates. I’ve chronicled the highs and lows of this year through my blog. It’s interesting to me that after all the updates, once I’ve gone through all hang ups, holds up, struggles and fears, I would always wrap things up by talking about the goodness of God. Strange to think that I would write through all the struggles of life and then close by saying God is good.

And that brings me to what I want to share with you today. The heart of my message is you are loved and God is good. In the midst of it all, I would hold on to these two truths. I am loved and God is good.  I knew this was true. I didn’t doubt it. And with these two truths being whispered in my ear and repeated over and over in my heart, I was able to walk forward on firm ground even when life felt unstable and insecure. I didn’t have a lot of answers. I still don’t.

I could choose to stress and worry about my husband’s health or about why we keep experiencing hold ups with our house, but instead I remember that I am loved and God is good and the details that I cannot control lose their hold on me.  I can have peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God’s got this has been my motto. I don’t need to worry, I don’t need to figure it all it out. I just need to trust that God’s got this.

I want to share a passage of scripture with you from 1 John 4. I’m going to read verses 9-19:

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.

So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

There are a few key thoughts that I want to focus on. The first is that God loved us so much that he gave his one and only son so that we might have eternal life. God’s love is all about relationship. He loved us so much, so deeply that he gave the greatest sacrifice so we could have a relationship with him. It’s because of this truth that I have never doubted the goodness of God. God is love and his love restored my relationship with him. And I know that he desires that same relationship with each of you. His love is constant, searching, reconciling. He never gives up and never let’s go.  I am secure in this knowledge.

Which leads me to verse 16 where it says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” We can trust this good news. We can trust God! No matter what happens in life, we can trust that he loves us. As I say it, it sounds simple, but it is deeply profound. We can trust his love. We can trust in a world that doesn’t make sense, that God’s got this, because he loves us. He is love. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can trust his love.

In a period of time where fear has been waiting at my doorstep, hoping I will let it in and take root in my heart, I have relied on verse 18 that says such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If I am truly trusting in perfect love then I don’t have to be afraid. This doesn’t mean that everything works out the way I hope because God loves me. I have gotten many answers I didn’t like and I’ve walked down roads that I didn’t plan to walk down. I’ve experienced hurt that I didn’t want or expect in my life. I think we all have. But I don’t have to be afraid of these things. God’s perfect love casts out all fear.  Even when I am uncomfortable, even when I’m confused, frustrated, broken hearted, or worn out, I know that at the base of it all, my foundation and my rock is this perfect love. This perfect love that knows where I’m at and is with me in each moment. When our trust is in God’s love, we can say good-bye to the hold that fear has over us.

Now the overall context of this verse isn’t just about us and God. It’s not a bubble. It’s not God loves me and I love him. End of story. This love is lived out in the context of community and relationship. It’s about us shining that love to those around us.

Verses 11 and 12 say:

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

God’s love is brought to full expression in us. WOW! That’s big. I’ll be honest with you all. I’ve been debating about what I would share with you for a while. I’ve taken this talk a thousand different directions in my mind. But God really challenged me to share my story today, to be real and honest about where I’ve been and what I’ve walked through.

I’m a private person by nature. I want you to all think that I’ve got it together and that I’m composed. Over the last year though I’ve had more than one moment where my composure has fallen apart. In those moments, Christ followers have been there to encourage me. I’ve had the best support as I’ve been honest and open with trusted friends and family members. By sharing my story with them, even the ugly parts, they have been able to respond to my need and love me in a deep and personal way. I lose out when I keep my story to myself and you lose you out to.

This great love that we are a part of invites us to share that love. We aren’t meant to keep it to ourselves. We can live like Jesus here in the world and extend that same love to others. We need that love and we need to give that love. Community is important. Sharing your story is important. God has given you a unique story that only you can tell. Maybe you’re in the middle of the hurt and you need the love of community to hold you up as you sort through the mess. Maybe you’ve recently walked through something and your testimony of how God got you through it can give encouragement and strength to someone so they don’t give up. It’s a cycle of encouragement and every part of the process is important.

Now, I realize that this is a Christmas party. I haven’t spent much time talking about shepherds or wise man. The heart of the Christmas story is Jesus. God came to earth in human form and walked among us. He loved us to much that died for our sins, so he could have a relationship with us. The love and the sacrifice of his story is why we are here today. It’s why we celebrate Christmas and even more so why we celebrate a risen Savior at Easter. This story isn’t a holiday story. It’s an everyday story. The truth of God’s goodness and his love is evident all year around and it’s up to us to respond to it and to share it with the world. My hope and prayer is that you will walk out of this room holding deeply to the truth that you loved and God is good. With that knowledge tucked in your heart, I pray that you shine a little brighter today and love a little deeper.  This is the heart of the Christmas message.

 

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