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The Darling Blog

Welcome to The Darling Blog, a life and style blog by the owner of Darling Boutique, Linnea White. Darling is passionate about empowering women and inspiring strength through fashion to restore dignity and true beauty. Enjoy outfit inspiration and style tips, featured #darlingfinds, local collaborations, and so much more. Live the Darling lifestyle - an altogether beautiful life.

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Trusting God, Week 2: Unswerving Faith

Linnea White

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When your pastor preaches on the same verses you've been reading and journaling the last week, reverberating each perfectly placed point in your spirit, you know God is speaking. And that's what happened this week for this devotional about the Shunammite Woman - a story of unswerving faith in God. As we look at the Shunammite woman's story in 2 Kings, the fundamental truth is this: there is hope even in the most devastating of circumstances, for our God's word is faithful - always.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Unswerving Faith: The Shunammite Woman

In 2 Kings 4:8-37, we meet the Shunammite Woman, a wealthy and capable woman who shows great kindness, generosity, and hospitality to the prophet Elisha. This woman literally prepared a room in her home for Elisha where he could stay on his frequent visits.

We live in a culture of "guest bedrooms," these neatly decorated (or sometimes filled with all of our extra crap until company comes) spare rooms used for hospitality. This woman so beautifully demonstrates literally hospitality and metaphorically the posture of her heart to this prophet of God. What if we cleared out our spare rooms (our hearts) of all of our crap, and made space for God, space for Him to dwell and for us to realign the posture of our hearts? How beautiful and effortless would our faith become?

God is always faithful. And Elisha, moved by her kindness, asked what he could do for her. "I'm alright," was her reply (basically). The Shunammite woman was unable to ask for the deep desires of her heart, to pray the big, scary, beyond comprehension prayers - to ask God for a child. But Elisha, finding out she was childless, spoke a word over her - a promise: "About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms" (vs. 16). This promise of God was received with doubt - she answered, "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" Despite the posture of her heart being hospitable to God's presence in her home, she was afraid, for she had known a broken heart.

Unswerving Faith | Photo by Linnea WhiteWe've all experienced pain and loss that makes as ask the question, "Can I trust God?" The answer is always, resoundingly, unswervingly YES.

A year later, as Elisha had promised, the Shunammite woman had a son, fulfilling God's word and the deepest, unspoken desire of her heart. Talk about renewed trust in God! But God's work was not yet finished. And the Shunammite woman would face further devastation and temptation to doubt God's promise.

In verse 20, her promise literally dies in her lap. Her son, this prophesied gift from God, dies. And what is her response when he dies? Complete and utter faith in God. Without a word, she carried her son to the room she had prepared for Elisha and laid the boy on his bed, an act demonstrating her trust in God. And that trust in God fueled her hope in a miracle, in not collapsing under the weight of grief.

She made the twenty-five mile journey north to find Elisha at Mount Carmel, and asked him, "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?" Elisha at first instructed his Gehazi, basically his sidekick, to return to her home and lay his staff on the boy's face. But the woman wasn't going to settle for a stand-in to this mouth-piece, this prophet of God. Miraculously, the boy is revived, after Elisha warmed the boy's body with his own, praying all the while. The boy sneezed 7 times upon awaking --- the sacred number representing the completion of God's word.

Once again, in verse 37, the woman shows a beautiful posture of her heart --- worship and thanksgiving. For God had been true to His word, fulfilling His promise to her and then preserving it in the face of impossible circumstances.

May this beautiful woman of the Bible speak to your own faith and trust in God. May her example of kindness teach us to seek opportunities to care for others in basic and practical ways. May her attitude to "seek first his [the Father's] kingdom and his righteousness" empower us to trust that "all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). When we aren't fretting over God's provision, we experience it abundantly. So this week, realign the posture of your heart by practicing practical hospitality and kindness for someone, and, in turn, trust in a God that is always faithful to his unswerving servants.

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Read last week's introduction to the Trusting God devotional series.

Trusting God | Women of the Bible Series, Week 1

Linnea White

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Let's face it - God and I have long had trust issues. Because if I'm being honest, trusting God is a isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s more than words on a cute mug or a favorite verse above your desk, it’s more than a song of praise or momentary thanksgiving. Trust is a verb. What does the Lord say about trusting Him? What does it mean to trust the Lord, to trust in His promises and His unwavering goodness? What about when life gets tough, when the enemy throws tragedy and pain, suffering and hardship our way?

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just hours after writing those questions in my journal a few weeks ago, I received devastating news from a friend - the kind of news that could cripple your faith, that could crack your bedrock of trust in the Lord. And I knew there was no better time than this to lean into the Bible, to seek His wisdom on this topic that defines our faith - trusting God.

The Bible is filled with women who trusted in God, and the cast of characters includes women young and old, married and single, mothers, sisters, and daughters. In this series, we'll dive into a few of their stories, exploring their faith to increase our own.

Trusting God, Week 1 | An Introduction

In Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, she chronicles the lifelong battle against our flesh as we trust in God. "Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness[...] I don't fold my hands in prayer... weld them into tight fists of control[...] Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is." Voskamp calls stress not only a "joy stealer," but also warns that our response to stress can be sin.

Instead, give thanks daily. “Thanks is what builds trust,” adds Voskamp. “Gratitude is what births trust… the true belief."

Belief is a verb, it is the action of our faith - to place our trust in God. If we believe, then we must let go and trust. And it is a daily choice, a daily action and step of our faith.

"Jesus replied, 'This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]'." John 6:29 AMP

Trusting God series | Photo by Megan TiernanThis is our daily aim, our striving steps of faith as we make our way about our day. May the work of this world, may the trials and tragedies of this world, not deter us from our ultimate work: living a life fully trusting in God.

Meditate on these verses throughout the week, turning to prayer instead of stress and worry, and giving thanks instead of giving in to fear.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." John 14:1 NIV

"Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord." Psalm 40:4

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow." Romans 15:13

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Next week, we'll start diving into scripture by exploring the story of the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:8-24.

Darling Devotional: One Year Anni

Linnea White

Darlings, can you believe it has been a year? A year ago on March 1, Linnea and I bought Darling Boutique and began our Darling Duet adventures here on the blog. I am so thankful to be able to live in a place where we can grow deeper with the Lord together, publicly. I am thankful to be able to write these devotional series. Thank you for following along. I pray that the Lord has spoken to each of you through them.

This year has been a whirlwind, in the best of ways! God has been tilling our hearts and taking us deeper and deeper into the freedom of His goodness. Thank you, friends, for being a part of our devotional series. I hope that this year we each experience Jesus in an even mightier way, and that He continues to be at the center of all we do!

Blessings, Megan

Rest: Darling Devotional

Linnea White

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As I began to pray about what to write about today, I felt that there was a great need for rest among the body of Christ. What I mean by rest is the act of resting in His presence. It is easy to get caught up in the every changing, ever-packed schedules that we all have come to know. When this rushing takes place it allows for chaos and exhaustion to occur. This often results in us trying to fix the problems, instead of relying on God. When we are running on empty, we need to seek the Lord and let Him fill our cups. I have a passage that resonates with me, and I believe it will with you, too. It is simple and it is true. It is about God’s character. He is constant. Reflect on these words this week:

“Let nothing upset you, Let nothing startle you. All things pass; God does not change. Patience wins all it seeks. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone is enough.”

- St. Teresa

I challenge you to sit (or lay face planted on the floor, whatever works for you!), and take time daily to soak in His word, to soak in His truth, and to let His Holy Spirit fall afresh on you.

The Parable of the Sower: Parables Series, Week 8

Linnea White

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When taking a first look at the Parable of the Sower, it is easy to look at the soils and quickly point fingers at people whom we feel could fall into these categories. Let me start by saying this: Jesus did not teach on this to point fingers, and it is not why I am touching on this either. Jesus taught this parable to have us each take a deeper look into our lives and to open up our ears to truly hear what he is saying. I think some people may have experienced multiple types of soil in their life, while for others that may not be the case. However, what is important is that you understand the value in where your seed is placed. I personally think that this parable must be important considering it appears in Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:2-9 and Luke 8:11-15.

Jesus used four different scenarios to get this point across.

1. The seed fell among rocky places. The birds ate the seed up quickly. Seeds are not planted in this person’s life. They “listen” to the truth of Jesus without allowing and accepting Jesus. The hard ground the seed is on doesn’t allow the seed to grow. This happens when someone is engulfed in deeply-rooted sin and allows the sin to take over.
2. The seed was placed in rocky places without much soil. The seed sprang up quickly, but later was scorched by the sun due to the lack of a root. Seeds are placed in this person’s life, and they take in some of the truth about who Jesus is and profess they know him. However, because there is no depth, their heart has not changed and their faith disappears.
3. The seed fell among the thorns. The plant grew but was killed by the thorns.

 

This person appears to have received the truth of Jesus, but sin (i.e. sexual sin, greed, lust, etc.) distracts and takes them away from a life with Jesus.
4. The seed fell on good soil. The seed produced crop that multiplied. The person HEARS AND RECEIVES THE WORD OF GOD and their life is for Jesus. This person will have heart and life change and are living vessels for Jesus.

Jesus also cautions us to beware of false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… Likewise, good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit… Thus by their fruit you will recognize them."

Here, Jesus explains how a man’s heart must be in ample condition to receive His word.

I challenge you to take time to reflect on your life. If your soil is not in the correct condition to receive the goodness of Jesus, God can till it. He tells us to turn away from sin and He will be there with open arms. I pray that if something is holding you back, or if you are bluntly living in opposition of what you know is right, God will break down those walls and barriers. No matter how big the issue seems or how hard your situation is, it takes the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains with Jesus.

Be blessed, Megan

Read more from this Darling Devotional series on The Parables.