Abundant Life

“This is the best thing in my world!” my daughter announces as she speeds down the alley on her bike! Her smile shows the absolute joy she feels discovering a newlove that has become her newest obsession! Rewind to two weeks ago, and the expression on her face is much different, full of fear and anxiety thinking that riding her bike without training wheels was something she will never desire to learn. Gentrie was determined to convince us that she didn’t need to know how to ride her “big girl bike”. Despite our assurances that she was going to love it and be able to independently participate in family bike rides, etc…she wasn’t havin’ it! The fear of getting hurt was too big for her to jump out in faith and try something new. After several attempts, I decided that her daddy was the best man for this impossible job. Mark patiently shared with her that she would be ok, and that he was going to be right there in case she fell. Even after so much reassurance, this scared, stubborn little six-year old wanted no part of this idea.  Finally, Mark had enough of the stalling and commanded her to obey him. He said “Gentrie, have I ever tried to hurt you? Trust me, I am right here! Now PEDAL!” Little by little, Gentrie began to trust her dad more and more. He was right there beside her every pedal of the way. She became less reluctant the more she trusted and obeyed. He knew her abilities more than she knew her own. He knew when to hold on and when to let go! Fast forward to now, two weeks later…we can’t get her off her bike! It is her absolute favorite past time of the summer and to think that she could have missed out on all of that joy if she hadn’t trusted and obeyed her father.


Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Thinking about how much Gentrie had to trust her dad to overcome her fear reminds me of how important it is for us to trust our heavenly Father. The same as Gentrie knowing that Mark has her best interests at heart, we should also have confidence in God. Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 3:5-6 is that we should trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart. Just as that little part of Gentrie’s understanding that she could fall and get hurt was holding her back, we can also be held back trying to rely on our own understanding. This keeps us from trusting with ALL of our heart. Submission to him requires trust, especially submitting in ALL ways to him. (There is that word again…ALL!!)  I believe that Solomon is sharing this wisdom with us to help us understand how to make our paths as straight as possible. I don’t mean straight as in easy or straight as in no worries. I think he is talking about straight as in abundant! The straighter we walk, the more trust we put in the Lord, the more joyful, and abundant our lives become! Not because our circumstances are perfect or even always necessarily “positive”, but because we have the joy of living closely with our Lord we will know true happiness. We know that he is running right alongside us as we “ride” through life, as long as we are living out His will and not our own.


Obey HisWord

Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

In this verse from Luke, Jesus is replying to a woman in the crowd that makes a comment about happiness. Jesus corrects her thinking by explaining that people that are happy are those who are obedient to His word. Gentrie heard what her daddy said and was blessed by obeying his instructions. She thought she knew what would make her happy, but she was so blessed when she trusted and obeyed her Father instead of relying on her own understanding. God richly blesses us when we show complete obedience!


Trust and Obedience Go Hand in Hand

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

I used to love this song growing up. I can hear the words and picture myself sitting in the pew as an early Christian, loving the simplicity of this chorus. So often I didn’t understand the words to the hymns we sang, but this one made total sense to me. It is such a simple, yet challenging truth that the Word gives us. It seems so easy, but time and time again we fail to merely trust and obey our Father. The more we practice trust and obedience to Him, the more abundantly we experience life! A wise, Godly man told me that “you can’t have trust without obedience, nor can you obey without trusting”. I don’t think that Gentrie would have been obedient if she didn’t have full trust in her dad. Likewise, if she wouldn’t have obeyed him she would have missed out on finding even more trust in him which ultimately lead to such joy!


Trust and Obedience Leads to a Joyful, Abundant Life!

Deuteronomy 28: 1 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God

The gift of loving to ride that Gentrie received was completely worth working through the fear, falling a few times, and even some blood along the way! God doesn’t promise us that we won’t fall or scrape our knee along the way, but he does promise to be there. Just as Gentrie’s dad was there to pick her up, dust her off, and get her back up on that bike to try again, God will always be there! Trusting and obeying our Father helps us stay in His will, and be able to experience the blessings of an abundant life with Him! The more we practice this, the more abundant and joyful our lives become! As a sinner, this is a struggle for me. Recently, I trusted the Lord in a big decision in my life and was obedient to His will and I can’t even describe the amount of joy and peace he gave me in that situation. My prayer is that eventually we will be trusting and obeying so regularly that we don’t even need our hands on the handles, because we know that we are on His path and in His will! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on abundant life because of lack of trust and obedience to Him. I know that as we begin to make this a habit, our hearts will be filled with the joy of living abundant life through Him!


Joi Lunsford

Joi Lunsford

Joi was born and raised in Clovis, NM. She moved to Canyon in 2000 after meeting her future husband, Mark, who convinced her to come to West Texas A&M University. They have lived in Canyon ever since and were married in March of 2004. Since graduating from WT in 2003, Joi has been an educator at Reeves-Hinger Elementary. Her passion is teaching young children and partnering with teachers to learn ways to improve instruction. In her personal time, Joi enjoys spending time watching and playing sports with her family.


  1. Thanks for an encouraging reminder that our Lord is good and worthy of trust and obedience.

  2. Joi-
    I stumbled across this article and I’m so glad I did. You make learning scripture such an enjoyable experience. Many times I leave a worship service and think – I didn’t get much out of that. … I am definitely feeling blessed and fufulled after reading your article.
    You are a blessing to many and I’m truly honored to call you my friend!

  3. This is beautiful. I needed That this morning. Thank you, sweet friend. Trusting.

  4. What an awesome article Joi! I needed to hear very word! Thank you friend!

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