Pumpkin Cookies & Pumpkin Coffee Cake

IMG_8923Fall has arrived. In Southern Californian style, as usual. 70 degrees by day, 55 degrees by night.
What else goes with fall? Pumpkins, of course! Duh!
Pumpkin reminds me of warmth, chai, candles, family gatherings, turkeys, scarves, brisk nights, pilgrims, and pie. 
Here’s my contribution to fall: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
Click the links to see how to make these! I just followed Sally’s Baking Addiction step by step.
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 
Psalm 105:1, NLT
What is God’s will for my life?
Oh, the many anxious hours I have spent with this question on repeat, searching for a spiritual formula to solve life’s riddles. My college years especially were a mishmash of trusting the Lord with newfound abandon yet agonizing over every decision. What am I supposed to study? Am I supposed to go on this mission trip or that one? Should I break up with this boy? Should we get back together?
The weight of my young world balanced precariously on so many question marks. Sometimes it still does.
It isn’t that College Amanda’s questions were not legitimate or important. They absolutely were. The questions were big and I felt small, and life seemed like the sum of a million puzzles, most missing a piece (or ten). Sometimes it still does. But as the years pass and draw me closer the Lord, a surprising truth has become apparent: God’s will is not a problem to be solved.
God’s Word tells me His faithfulness does not depend on my wisdom. (Lamentations 3:22-24)
God’s Word tells me His grace does not depend on my performance. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God’s Word tells me that whatever shape my life takes, His steadfastness and goodness trump whatever is going on around me. (Psalm 136)
And if all that is true? It changes how I view every single circumstance in my life.
Sisters, our circumstances are big, but our God is bigger. As we learn to trust the bigness of our God and the sureness of His sovereignty, we find His will is not as much a path as it is a way of walking. Paul says as much in his letter to the church at Thessalonica, when He reduces all our agonizing life questions to a non-formula so simple it makes the perfectionists among us a little crazy:
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
THIS is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
No hoops to jump through.
No tests to pass.
No situational tidiness required.
Only actively resting in the goodness of our God.
Why an active resting? Because rejoicing is not a passive pursuit. Thanksgiving is not just an emotion. We are to declare God’s goodness in every circumstance! We are to let the world know what He has done and what He is doing! We are to pray to Him, seek Him, give Him thanks with an expectant, joyful heart. This is God’s will for us in Jesus! Exclamation point!
Oh, friends, there are so many heartaches among us today. So many question marks, so much waiting, so many puzzles missing a piece. But He is good. In everything, He is good.
His love for you is steadfast, no matter the path you’re walking.
His promises hold fast, even when your world is crumbling.
It is not up to you to be the god of your circumstances. It is for you to give thanks to the One who is larger than your circumstances.
“Has God done so much for us, and yet does he expect so little from us? Praise you the Lord.”
– Matthew Henry

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