Susannah Baker

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How We Renew

On March 22, 2021, Posted by , in Guest Posts, Video Weekly Words, With No Comments

It’s been a long season of winter in our city, nation, and world, and renewal is something we all need during this spring season. But, practically speaking, what does renewal look like? Is it ok to lament or grieve all of the hard that is in the past and continues to creep into our present? And how do we rebuild when we are all so afraid of something else happening to pull the rug out from underneath us again?

Join me as I visit with my friend and respected Biblestudy teacher and author, Courtney Garrett. Courtney is one of the wisest women I know and continually and faithfully speaks into women’s lives here in Houston. In today’s interview, we visit about the ways we can rebuild our lives on the Word of God, stand firm on the character of God when everything else around us is shaking, and take small but important steps in re-entering our communities once again. (Plus, she’s a whole lot of fun!)

You can connect with Courtney on her website, through Instagram, or by purchasing your copy of her study, Discovering the Character of God.

Look for our fun and exciting giveaway on Instagram on Wednesday of this week! It’s a great way for you and a friend to spring into renewal together.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Podcast: Unique Ability

Earlier this week, I posted a blog about your unique ability – what it is and why you should make time to do it. But someone else I know speaks into that topic way better than I ever could – and that someone is my husband, Jason Baker. Jason was featured as a guest on David Park’s podcast, Faithful Venture, several weeks ago where he talks about his role in the real estate world, why it’s important to operate out of your unique ability, and the joy of being involved with The Seed Company, a Bible translation ministry that works to put God’s Word into the hands and heart of every tongue, tribe, people, and nation.

The podcast was just too good not to share, and I pray you are just as encouraged by listening as I was!

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

What is Your Unique Ability?

On March 8, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, With 2 Comments

During seasons in my life when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed, the first person I look to for help is my husband. Jason enables me to see the big picture in my life and discern what is important and what isn’t, often by asking me this question: “What is your unique ability, and are you spending a majority of your time doing whatever it is?”

So with the hint of spring in the air and the possibility of renewal after a long winter, I am going to do you a favor and ask you the same question Jason often asks me: What is your unique ability, and are you spending enough time in your life doing whatever it is?

Your unique ability can be defined as the thing that nobody else can do but you. It’s the thing that God created you to do and if you aren’t doing it, the people around you, the world around you, and you yourself will suffer.

A common thread I hear in conversations, especially among women, is, “I don’t know what my unique ability or gifts are. In fact, I don’t know if I really have any.”

Can I say something profound in response to that? Hogwash.

God doesn’t make someone, someone in His image, without giving him or her a unique ability. Without weaving into her very fiber and DNA something only she can do or offer to the people around her that is a unique and beautiful reflection of His goodness and glory.

Your unique ability can be cooking gourmet meals, coaching Little League baseball, welcoming people into your home, hosting Biblestudy, teaching Biblestudy, analyzing financial data, selling real estate, or developing relationships and connecting people. It can be writing, editing, singing, dancing, drawing, or, like my friend Price, simply living with more joy and contentment no matter the circumstances than anyone else I know.

But it can’t be nothing. It is something – something that when you do it, it brings you joy and satisfaction, and joy to the people around you as well. It is something that when you don’t do it, you suffer. You feel deflated and maybe even a little depressed. And if you relegate it to the back burner and start doing a bunch of other things more than you are doing that one thing, you feel stressed or overwhelmed.

What I’ve noticed in my own life is that to do my unique ability well, something has to give. Something has to go. I have to say “No” to two or three or ten things so I can say “Yes” to that one thing.

Right now, I have a couple of unique abilities – a few things that only I can do, I was created to do, and if I don’t do them, I suffer and the people around me suffer.

I am not sure if this is bending the rules of the “unique ability” definition according to my husband, but one of my unique abilities is being Jason’s wife and Lillian, Lizzie, Caroline, and Mia Grace’s mom. When I am doing the ten things and not doing that one thing, I suffer. Jason suffers. My kids suffer. Our home suffers. I’m not talking about when I’m not on top of all the dirty dishes or the dust and dirt that collects in the corners of our kitchen, but I am talking about when I am not delighting in and tending to the heart needs of my husband and kids. They know when I am enjoying them versus when I am gritting my teeth and enduring them because my list of tasks is too long and they are in small print at the bottom.

My other unique ability is creating content and expressing myself through words. That can take on the form of a blog, book, or Biblestudy lesson, but I’ve noticed if I am not giving adequate time to create content and give it away to others, I am stressed and overwhelmed, dejected, and even a little depressed.

The key to being the woman God has called me to be is paying attention to the season I am in and giving my unique ability ample time to flourish and grow. This requires paying attention to what my unique abilities are. This requires saying “No” to things that do not line up with those abilities. This also requires saying “Yes” to the invitation God gives me each and every day to step into the season He has created and step into it with the gifts and abilities He has given me.

I can’t do everything. God hasn’t asked me to or expect me to. I fall off the deep end when I start thinking God requires more of me than is possible for one single human being. I have to pull my pride in constantly – God is God. I am not. He can do everything. I can do a few things. My job is to stay in my lane and do the things He has called, created, equipped, and asked me to do. I can let the rest go. Leave them in His Hands. Surrender to His timing. Trust His ways. And let the peace flood in.

So this week, this spring, this season, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your unique ability?
  • What pockets of time do you have to say “yes” to that ability?
  • Who or what needs to be told “no” in your life so that you can say that “yes”?
  • Is there anything in your life you are doing right now that you need to surrender into God’s hands, trusting that as you say “no” so that you can say “yes” to the most important thing or things, He will bring about in His time or way if it is supposed to happen?

Living life out of your unique ability isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It is a daily listening to Your Father’s voice and trusting Him enough to do what He tells you to do, to live from the purposes for which He created you.

This doesn’t mean we don’t do any tasks that don’t line up with our unique abilities – don’t I wish! There are still dishes to wash, beds to make, emails to return, and math homework to help with. But it does mean that we are to listen to the voice of the Spirit inside of us, pay attention to the beautiful, unique, amazing, extraordinary ways He has made to look like Him, and do those things.

So jump right in. Spring, renewal, and your unique ability is waiting.

Jason is the best about speaking into unique abilities, way better than me, so on Wednesday, be on the lookout for a link to a podcast episode where he talks about this very thing.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

When You Need a Spring in Your Step

On March 1, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, Good Reads, With 2 Comments

I don’t know when I’ve been more thankful for the arrival of spring. Winter seems like it’s lasted a really long time.

I know we had spring last year – I remember sitting outside on my porch and enjoying nice weather. But the joy of spring was mixed in with the COVID, masks, economic downturn, and all the uncertainty that a global pandemic provides.

This spring, I know that corona is still around, but somehow the air feels a little bit different. There is a little more hope of possibility and renewal, and maybe even a little more lightness in my step.

I’m learning not to take these seasons of hope and renewal for granted. After weathering so many unexpected storms the past few years, I’m learning not to take stability for granted. Seasons of stability and chances for renewal are gifts to be received rather than the norm to be expected like I once thought.

So if you, like me, are excited and thankful for the hint of spring filling the air and want a way to dive right in, here are a few ways I like to open myself up to renewal:

Choose a different way to pray. I can get into a rut in my prayer life faster than anything else. I’ve found it’s good to pray in different rhythms in different seasons. If I am stuck forming my own prayers, it is helpful to use a sure-footed guide. Books that are forming and guiding my prayers this season are The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle and The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers.

Keep a Gratitude Journal. The past few months, each night before I go to bed, I’ve been writing down five specific things I am thankful for from that day. I’m noticing that it is keeping me expectant and looking for moments of renewal and thankfulness throughout my day. The gratitude journal I’ve been using is one my friend, Kori Biller, gave me. It’s currently sold out, but another good option is from Ink and Volt.

Think through your daily routine and do one thing differently. I am a creature of habit. Habits can be a good thing if they keep us moving towards the things that matter most. But they can also keep us stuck and resistant to change that is good for our brains and our bodies. This spring, one morning a week, I am getting up early and going to the gym with my husband to exercise. And I mean early. How Jason Baker consistently gets up and leaves the house at the hour he does is a mystery to me, but I decided to try it one time a week with him. I’m discovering this one small change is giving me the ability to look at the rest of my habits differently and be open to change in other areas of my life as well.

Read a good book…outside. Like most people, I love to be outside this time of year. I’ve found that spring is always a good time for me to sit in a lawn chair, stretch out on a blanket, or plop down on the grass in the middle of the the day and read for twenty minutes while soaking in the spring air. Not only does it force me to be still, but it helps me to pay attention to and enjoy the season of spring around me. Two good reads this spring are I am enjoying right now are Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn and The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman.

Spend time with your neighbors. I know this is all something we learned and valued during COVID, but it’s something I don’t want to forget to value as the pace of life returns to “normal” once again. Some of the sweetest moments of last year occurred on the front lawn with my neighbors. Lifetime friendships were formed as we learned to love and support one another, and we saw so many changes in each other’s lives for the good. Changes I would have missed if I had stayed inside. So this spring, don’t forget to go spend time getting to know the people on who live in closest proximity to you.

Remember that the end is in sight. If the past year has taught me one thing, it is this: seasons were made to change; they do not last forever. So whatever season you are in, notice it. Be aware. And dive right in. We’ve been in winter a long time, but where the snow is melting and green is pushing through, don’t miss it. Grab it. Receive it. Seize the day, and step into the rhythms of renewal while the season lasts. Spring awaits.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

When You Need a Meal and a Table

On February 23, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, With No Comments

After a week’s worth of winter storms, sometimes you just need a table.

You need someone (someone with running water, heat, and power) to cook you a meal, set a table, pull out a chair, and invite you to sit down and eat. As adults taking care of everyone else, sometimes we just need to remember there is someone else taking care of us.

While God’s table isn’t one we can physically touch, taste, and see, it is a table we can see with our spiritual senses. Our hearts can be nourished through the meal of His Word and our souls comforted with the touch of His Spirit.

Psalm 78 has been that meal and table for me this week. The nourishment of its words have searched my conscience and also warmed my heart in the places I needed it the most.

The psalmist Asaph writes in Psalm 78:1-8,

“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
 I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

The psalm opens with a reminder for the people of God to do exactly that – remember. Remember the wondrous acts of God, remember the power of God, and remember the character of God.

When they were slaves in Egypt, they cried out, God heard their cries, and moved heaven and earth to provide deliverance. Verses 9-16 and 42-55 describe how His deliverance was seen through the Exodus, through the parting of the Red Sea, and through God’s provision in 40 years of the Israelites’ wilderness wandering. He provided His people with food, water, shelter, and protection over and over and over again.

And yet the people of God still doubted the power of God to save, to deliver, to provide, and to lead them through the hardest, harshest places.

In verses 17-20, the psalmist writes these very convicting words,

“Yet they sinned still more against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
    by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
    ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
He struck the rock so that water gushed out
    and streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread
    or provide meat for his people?'”

Verse 19 is what jumped out to me in my morning reading; it bears repeating here again: “They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?'”

Pause.

Isn’t that the question my heart has asked God every time a storm has hit these past few years? Here God, in this wilderness, are Your really able to provide a table? In this wilderness, in this hurricane, in this pandemic, in this election, in this arctic ice blast, in this marriage, in this friendship, in this relationship, in this season of my life, can You really provide a table? Do You really know what You are doing? Have You remained in control? Are Your promises still really enough? Is my place at Your table still secure? Is Your protection sufficient? Is Your “No” really for my good and is there behind it eventually, at some point, a “Yes”?

I have seen You provide once, and I’ve heard stories of Your faithfulness passed down from generation to generation, but really, Lord, here, in this season, in this pandemic, in this storm, in this ice blast, can you really provide a table?

When I put it like that, all my questions seem so vain, my doubts so foolish. I have walked with the Lord long enough in my life to know that in each and every wilderness, there is a table. And each and every time I come to the end of my rope, my resources, my sufficiency, and myself, the table remains.

Every single time I make a mess of things with my own sin or failures or every time others around or the sin-cursed world around me makes a mess with its own set of brokenness and failures, the table remains.

Verses 21-24 say this,

“Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath;
    a fire was kindled against Jacob;
    his anger rose against Israel,
because they did not believe in God
    and did not trust his saving power.
Yet he commanded the skies above
    and opened the doors of heaven,
and he rained down on them manna to eat
    and gave them the grain of heaven.”

Do you see that word “yet” in verse 23? Even when I do not trust, God’s mercy never runs out. Even when I forget, the meal on the table never changes. Every single time, because of God’s covenantal love and faithfulness, I sit down to the bread of God’s Presence and the cup of God’s kindness. I sip on mercy and I feast on grace. And every single time I sit down, I never eat alone. I eat with a Host who is good, strong, powerful, merciful and kind. I am always amazed to look up and instead of wrath, see mercy. Instead of punishing anger, see forgiveness. Instead of wrathful shame, see covering love.

When I can’t taste mercy or feel the tension rising in my shoulders and miss out on grace, it’s not that the table is ever missing or withheld because of punitive measures. It’s that I choose to forget that it’s there. I forget through complaints. I forget through becoming a task master, ticking things off of my list instead of feasting at the table of God’s Word, being nourished by the bread of His Presence. I forget through staying up late and watching shows instead of ending my day in gratitude, prayer, or reading words that remind me of the table that stands ready to serve me even as I sleep. I forget by ignoring my kids or tolerating my kids or griping at my kids instead of gathering my kids and sitting down at the table of God’s Word and Presence together as a family.

So as the people of God, here is what we are to remember: we are to remember the character of God and the power of God to save – in the events of world history and in the events of our own personal lives.

We are to remember that His deliverance of us from our sin, guilt, shame, and failures through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son, stands as a pledge that He will deliver us again…and again…and again. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

As long as we are living and breathing on this earth, ice storms and wind storms, financial storm and relational storms, are going to come.

We are not promised safety from difficult and demanding circumstances. But we are promised safety in the difficult circumstances through the table of the body and blood of Christ. And we are promised full deliverance of even our worst circumstances one day when we live forever with Him. The table that is set before us now stands as a promise of the table that is to come.

So this week, don’t forget. Don’t forget to sit down at the table of mercy, grace, provision, presence, shelter, and eat. Don’t forget to talk about it with your children. Don’t forget to rest. Don’t forget that time at His feet is more important than checking tasks off a list. And don’t forget that whatever you eat at the table here and now is only a foretaste of the meal to come.

“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!” Luke 12:37-38

If your soul is in need of a good meal at a nourishing table, consider downloading my FREE prayer guide that walks you through the process of restoring your heart through prayer and sitting down at the table that will satisfy every need of your soul.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

You are the Beloved

On February 14, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, Marriage, With 2 Comments

This week’s post is coming a little early – usually I post on Mondays, but I wanted to offer up these words this morning.

Valentine’s Day can bring a certain ache for many people.

Deep down within us is a fierce longing and ache to be known, to be cherished, and to matter.

We don’t just want to belong; we want to be someone’s beloved. We want to be the apple of someone’s eye, the delight of someone’s day, the joy of someone’s thought, and the needed part of someone’s embrace.

There is nothing wrong with that – it is how we were created. You and I were created to be someone’s beloved.

The problem is many of us look for that ache to be fulfilled in the here and now – we want to be a boyfriend’s beloved, a girlfriend’s beloved, a husband’s beloved, a wife’s beloved, a parent’s beloved, even a friend’s beloved. Some of us do find that ache fulfilled, in part, in the here and now. We are a spouse’s beloved partner, a parent’s beloved child, a friend’s beloved safe place. But none of us are the beloved in every single category in our lives in a way that fills our deepest desires.

That’s because being the beloved from someone here on planet earth only goes so deep. It only fills the surface of a crack that runs down to the depths of our soul.

And can I make this clarification: you can be someone’s spouse but still not be their beloved. Sadly, there can be a vast difference between being married and being beloved.

So no matter how it seems, married or single, most of us stand on the fringes of circles wondering why it seems like we are the only one who does not fit in or is not someone’s beloved in a certain category of our lives.

If this is you today, I want you to hear something: You are not alone, no matter how on the fringes you feel. You need to know that most people feel exactly like you do – wondering where they belong, where they fit in, and why it feels like they are the only one who doesn’t.

But I want you to hear something else today: You are the beloved.

You are God’s beloved. You are the apple of His eye, caught up in the warmth of His embrace.

You may not be the beloved in the way you wanted. But you are the beloved in the way that is needed.

Because being God’s beloved means that His love fills the ache down to the deepest places in your soul that He alone knows how to fill.

In fact, the very lack you feel is the opening He needs and looks for to get in. The wound in your life, the hole you want some other person to fill is the God-made hole He is wanting to fill. As the saying goes, the wound is not only where the light gets in, the wound is where God gets in.

So today, don’t focus on why you are not so and so’s beloved – because let me tell you something – spouses fail you, friends fail you, parents fail you, children fail you, and you fail others in every single category of your life as well. We can’t help it. With sin’s deep stain and curse, failure is who we are and it’s what we do.

But God will never fail you. Never. In fact, the deepest, darkest holes in your life are there so you will look up to Him.

You are His beloved.

YOU are His beloved.

You ARE His beloved.

You are HIS beloved.

You are His BELOVED.

Turn it over every which way. Soak in the nuances of every single word. And let His love fill your cup today, no matter who you are or whose you are. For you are God’s beloved, and His love is enough.

“I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me.” Song of Solomon 7:10

Winter Beauty

On February 8, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, With 4 Comments

The winter season isn’t usually my favorite. It seems to be covered in a long dreariness where everything is colored in grey. Even school seems to take longer during the winter months of the year.

Winter isn’t usually other people’s favorite season either. When asked what their favorite season of the year is, “spring” or “fall” are the more common answers.

I think that’s because while spring represents new growth, and fall represents harvest, winter represents no growth at all.

At least, that’s what I thought until I visited Yellowstone National Park several weeks ago.

Jason’s youngest brother, his wife, and their two darling daughters live on a cattle ranch in Montana. Breathtaking mountains are the backdrop to their backyard, feeding chickens and collecting eggs are part of their normal everyday routine, and words like “hurry up,” “go faster,” and “we’re going to be late,” don’t seem to exist in their everyday vocabulary. And to top it off, the northern entrance to Yellowstone is just a forty-five minute drive from their front door.

Lucky.

My brother-in-law Josh had the idea that we should rent snow mobiles and take a winter tour through the park. I signed us up as quickly as I could, and then realized – wait. Montana, in January, has the potential to be COLD.

And let me tell you – it was. By the time we made it to the entrance to the park, the thermometer in the car measured -14 degrees Farenheit.

NEGATIVE FOURTEEN DEGREES. I thought I was going to die that day in Yellowstone.

But miraculously, not all did we all survive, but we all thrived and marveled at the park’s winter beauty.

In fact, I might even go so far as to say, winter might be my new favorite season.

That’s because I had mistakenly thought that winter seasons were barren seasons without growth. But winter in Yellowstone proved me wrong. Winter is bare, but it’s not barren. The season simply fosters underground growth.

While a white blanket of ice and snow covers summer’s abundance and fall’s brilliance, growth doesn’t disappear; it just hibernates under the surface where no one can see. And the outer bareness prepares the trees and landscape for the weight of summer’s abundance once again.

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In her book, Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chole observes the tree outside her window, and writes,

Through the window I watch as birds pick her branches clean. Cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, finches, and chickadees…strip away whatever remains of summer’s bountiful memory from the silver maple. Bare, her lean limbs can support the coming snow and ice. But that weight would be too much for her frame in all its fullness. Lighter is better for the deep work of winter.

So she bows. She bends. She surrenders to thinning and in doing so thickens her foundation for an even more glorious summer to come.

In the same way, submission to God’s seasons will be our saving strength. To resist thinning is to risk collapse. The future is weighty, capable of crushing the unprepared.

What she is saying is this: To resist the thinning of winter is to hurt no one but ourselves. The tree’s “submission to the season is her saving strength.” We must learn that when bare seasons come, they are not meant for our punishment. Instead, they push us into underground growth and prepare for abundance that is ahead.

Many of us are emerging or are still knee-deep in a winter season. God has stripped so much from us this past year. Some of the stripping has been in the visible realm, but much of it has been invisible, in the hidden ground of the heart.

Can I ask you something? Have you submitted to the rhythm of the winter season in your life? Have you allowed God to strip summer’s abundance from you with a willing heart? Or have you fought back, clinging tightly to what you cannot keep, your heart weighed down with anger, bitterness, weariness, frustration, anxiety, fear and doubt?

Friend, I have a few simple words for you learned from the beauty of Yellowstone: surrender to the season. Surrender to the stripping of winter, knowing it is so that you can be prepared for whatever season of summer and abundance and fall and harvest is up ahead. And as you submit, I think you might be surprised at the beauty that comes with the covering of winter.

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For God never strips away without covering us as well. It might be a covering of snow or white or cold we are not used to, but it is beautiful nonetheless. It is a covering that strips away everything that is unnecessary except for Him.

Winter does not last forever. No season ever does. So if you are still wading through winter, rejoice. Rejoice that there will be an end to the stripping. To the bareness. To the cold. And rejoice that although winter is bare, it is not barren. Deep, underground work is taking place in the hearts of those who are fully surrendered and fully trusting in Him. He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11) – even in the dead of winter.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

Eating to Stay Hungry

On February 1, 2021, Posted by , in Encouragement, With 3 Comments

A long time ago, my friend, Leigh Kohler, said this: “In the physical realm, we eat to get full. But in the spiritual realm, we eat to get hungry.” Many times through the years, I’ve thought long and hard about those words.

Sometimes we mistake lack of spiritual appetite for lack of spiritual need. We stop reading our Bibles; we stop spending regular time with God’s people and in God’s Word; time for prayer is given over to to-do lists and activities. And before long, we aren’t even hungry for spiritual things.

When I get that way, I’m tempted to think my activities or to-do lists are more important and necessary for whatever season of life I am in than fostering hunger for God.

But it’s simply not true. It’s not that my kids’ sports, or cleared inbox, or volunteer duties, or even Biblestudies – good things with good people – are more important. It’s that I’ve become full on lesser things.

In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus told Martha this: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Friend, can I suggest something? Everything you can spend time on today, everything, can be taken away from you – however many emails you clear will be back tenfold in your inbox tomorrow. Whatever money you put in your bank account could be here today but gone tomorrow. Whatever time you put into exercise could be null and void in the blink of an eye with an unexpected accident or diagnosis. Whatever errands you run will multiply for the next week.

But can I suggest something else? Whatever time you spend investing in the Word of God will not ever grow null or void in your life. It will be the one thing that is needed to leave your heart full, content, eternally focused and prepared, no matter what your circumstances may be.

But we don’t just develop spiritual appetite overnight – the more we eat, the hungrier we grow. So if you have little to no desire to spend time eating God’s Word and fellowshipping with God through prayer, it’s not that it’s not important or that you don’t need it. It’s that you haven’t been developing a spiritual appetite by hungering for spiritual things.

So this week, here’s my challenge to you and to me: eat the Word of God. Spend focused time in prayer daily. Even if it’s just for five to ten minutes. And by the end of the week, let’s see if our appetite has grown for spiritual tings by eating the one thing that is needed: time at Jesus’ feet, listening to His voice through His Word and prayer.

If you need help getting started in developing spiritual hunger, consider using this devotional book and prayer guide for the month of February. It’s a meal that will leave you fully satisfied at you sit down, hungry, at the Table of the Lord.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

Living in the World on a Monday Morning

On January 25, 2021, Posted by , in Uncategorized, With 1 Comment

Monday mornings crowd in on us like a rush. A rush of thoughts, responsibilities, commitments made and to-do’s to be checked off.

If I’m honest, sometimes I’m afraid to even get out of bed. The demands of the day and the week seem to be too much for my heart to handle.

But then I read this:

“Being in the world without being of the world.” These words summarize well the way Jesus speaks of the spiritual life. It is a life in which we are totally transformed by the Spirit of Love. Yet it is a life in which everything seems to remain the same….What is new is that we have moved from the many things to the Kingdom of God. What is new is that we are set free from the compulsions of our world and have set our hearts on the only necessary thing. What is new is that we no longer experience the many things, people, and events as endless causes for worry, but begin to experience them as the rich variety of ways in which God makes his presence known to us.” Henri Nouwen, You are the Beloved

When the rush and demands of a Monday morning crash in upon my head and heart, vying for my peace, for my trust, for my confidence that God is enough and will be enough for all that is ahead, I am free to focus on just one thing: the Kingdom of God.

I am free to set aside the compulsions of my culture – compulsions to be enough, do enough, and have enough – and to focus on the one thing that matters and that cannot be taken away from me – the nearness of God in my life.

He isn’t my Father; He is my Father-with-me. He isn’t just an all powerful God; He is God-with-me. For me. Strengthening me. Guiding me. Leading me. Holding me. Steadying me. Focusing and directing me to look only at Him, allowing all other things to fade away.

Does anyone else need to hear this on a Monday morning at the beginning of a new year, a new season, a new day?

God is with you, and He is enough. You are free to set down the burdens of the day and shoulder the one thing that is needed – His presence.

May we have the confidence and courage to set our compulsions down and take up Jesus, the only one and the only thing who really matters, and who is necessary for all that we need.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.

Seeking God in the Quiet Spaces

On December 28, 2020, Posted by , in Encouragement, Prayer, Teachings, Video Weekly Words, With 5 Comments

In the pause between Christmas and New Year’s, when things slow down long enough to think about what the new year could look like, don’t forget to make room to do the good and necessary work of tending to the unseen, hidden places of your heart and soul.

Although it is work that is often not seen by others, it serves as a foundation on which to build all the rest.

Happy New Year!
Susannah

To help you with the work of maintaining a quiet, steady heart, consider taking the month of January to establish a rhythm of prayer with Secure, my prayer guide and 31 day prayer journal.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.