Today is the day we suit up in prayer for our families, children and spouses.
This morning I was convicted by a video of a young man who reminded believers that the time was “NOW” to pray! “NOW” is the time to honor and revere the Lord! “NOW” is the time to be obedient to God and to wait on the Lord’s every command.
This young man’s words shook me to the core. I’ve gotten comfortable in my prayer life. I know I’ve been lax and one day I will answer to the Lord for my failings.
I stand ashamed.
So much time has been lost. So many things I should’ve said, done, believed, acted on and said and yet I did nothing. Those moments are completely lost to me with one exception, they stand as reminders that I have a choice today; do the same as yesterday or turn and ask God for forgiveness, the strength to march forward in battle for our families and to create a burning desire to follow His every word.
So Momma’s, wives, sisters, daughters, aunties, grandma’s – women of the world, stop what you are doing if it is not of God’s design and turn. Turn back to God, NOW!
Pray for your own forgiveness. Accept His holy grace and stand up in faith, as prayer warriors for yourself and your family and friends.
The time is NOW!
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
Nothing will change the future like beseeching the hand of God to hold you close, change your ways and give you the power to stand in the gap for those you love. I’ve heard it said, “”if your prayers are not changing you, then change your prayers.”
NOW! Is the time ladies.
Grab your bible, a journal and pen. Find a quiet spot and hit your knees in prayer. Fight for your families in prayer. Write their names down and lift them before the Lord, one by one, day after day and don’t give up simply because you can’t see what God is doing.
Have faith. Trust in God ALONE and lift your voice in thanksgiving and praise to our heavenly Father.
God’s word says: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”~ John 5:16b
Ladies, you can do this. If you are reading this then I believe God has blessed us with the opportunity and heart to pray together. I encourage you this day, to let go of the past and start fresh this moment. Today. NOW!
I will join you. I will pray for you. God calls us to pray as one body and we are united through the blood of our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
May our voices storm heaven on the behalf of our loved ones and those who need God in their lives. With shouts of thanksgiving and praise let us enter the presence of the Lord!
Until next time, remember you are loved by the Father! I am praying for you!
Yesterday I was listening to Margaret Feinberg’s podcast, The Joycast session called “Get Out of Your Head” with Jennie Allen.
During the podcast Jennie Allen shares that she believes there are 3 core lies that we as humans tend to believe about ourselves at any given time:
I am unlovable
I am worthless
I am helpless
This really got me to thinking about my own life as a child and now as an adult and how those 3 little lies which carry so much weight and direct so many actions and have the ability to shape everyday decisions.
I mulled over what I heard in the podcast and really started asking myself, is this true? Do I navigate life from a place of a lie? My brain argued with my heart…yes…no…yes…maybe. Ultimately, the truth hit me hard.
Being human is hard. Let’s face it. Years of old tapes, bad relationships and decisions compound our daily walk. And as always, satan is always whispering garbage in our ears.
It’s exhausting and downright defeating.
But I reasoned that since there’s at least a chance that I live my life from one of those 3 lies at any given time, and God warns us that satan does nothing but seek to kill and destroy our lives, then the best way to combat a lie is with God’s truth.
I needed to get to the bottom of the matter, if the world and satan constantly try to get me to believe that I am unlovable, unworthy or helpless, I had to ask “Lord, what is my truth?”
“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” ~John 3:16
Seriously? I am loved that much? To have the Almighty Father, Maker of heaven and earth, sacrifice His Son, so that I might live?
Now that’s some serious love. And I must be worthy of that love.
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who God is.
Mind-blowing! Unfathomably believable. I can scarcely wrap my brain around the truth of it all. God. In His infinite love for you and I gave us His Son’s life for ours so that we are able to commune with Him, fulfill our purpose with Him and sing His praises.
Oh the love of it all!
To think that I am loved that much, breaks me and absolutely crushes every. single. lie.
We are loved by the Father.
We are so precious and valuable to Him that no one and no thing can take us from Him.
And finally, ALL things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.
So take that, lies!
God has the first, last and every single word about our lives and nothing is farther from the lies than God’s truth!
Let that sink deep into your soul. Let the truth of God’s word cleanse every single lie from your life so you may begin again under the truth of God’s love for you. Then take the next step and walk in His purpose and truth for your life.
I’d like to tell you about the goodness of God through the eyes of a newbie gardener.
Like many of you, because of the world we currently live in, I am planting a vegetable garden.
However, with thousands of folks trying to better prepare their pantries in case of a future rebound, plant starts are a bit scarce in these parts, even seeds are flying off the shelves.
But here’s the truth about God. He knows it all before anything ever happens in this world.
I’m sure we all the felt a bit of anxiety with the news pounding out minute by minute fear. Stores shelves bare while there were mouths to feed.
As if COVID 19 wasn’t enough of a stressor in our lives, our adult sons trickled back home, bringing with them their own set of disappointments, fears and hungry bellies.
But by God’s grace our family saw the Lord’s incredible provision over and over.
Our family is in constant need of grace. We stumble in our walk with the Lord, sometimes falling completely flat on our face.
I say this to preface the story I’m about to share because I want to give God the glory for the blessings He chose to bestow on our little family. We didn’t deserve them. We didn’t earn them and we certainly needed His grace. For His love and provisions, we are changed and are forever grateful for these answered prayers that came in the shape of tomato plants.
Our small apartment did not lend itself to a garden plot so I turned to our neighborhood P-patch for gardening options. Honestly I didn’t hold out much hope of getting a garden plot because the growing season had already started and everything, I mean every plant start, seed packet was gone! Not a single green stem was to be found!
But… I prayed anyway, asking God to open up just 1 little garden spot.
How did He answer? The good Lord blessed us with 2!
Great! But what was I going to plant? Shelves were bare.
Seriously?! All I wanted were the staples: potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and maybe a zucchini plant.
I looked for weeks online and in every store, garden center and wholesaler in the area and couldn’t find anything, anywhere! I was about to give up when on a fluke, I walked into our local Co-Op and there, right by the front door were bushels of potato slips on sale! Amazing!
Trust me when I say, those little slips were in the ground immediately! But what about the other veggies I had hoped to plant; green beans, onions and tomatoes?
I prayed again. I figured “why not?” God heard my prayer about the potato slips, certainly He could hear my prayers for those too, right?
“Lord, can you please help? I’m guessing, 10 Roma plants will hopefully give us enough to can and get on our pantry shelves. Can you help Lord, there’s nothing anywhere.”
Two weeks later, one of my residents family members ( I work in senior health care) stopped by the building to ask if anyone wanted tomato starts.
I jumped with glee!
“Absolutely I do!” I told her. A few days later, she stopped by with 2 huge crates full of tomato starts for our residents to plant in the community garden and for anyone else who wanted them.
Want to guess how many I was gifted?
Wanna take a guess as to which type?
I tell y’all, God is so good and God does good.
Even when we are freaking out because an invisible giant hits our lives and threatens our very health and well-being. God is still good. Even down to tomatoes.
There isn’t anything God doesn’t already know about us and our hearts. He’s just waiting to hear from us.
What have I learned?
I needed to be more like the ants. Proverbs 6:6-11 tells us this, ” 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. “
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like being called a sluggard. But I was. I am.
I had taken for granted all of the conveniences around me, grocery stores open 24/7, restaurants at my disposal, every amenity I needed was close at hand.and I had gotten lazy because of the misnomer that I had a safety net for those “just in case” moments.
But thanks to COVID I realized just how much of a sluggard I really was!
I’ll admit, our family wasn’t prepared for the long-term emergency that caused world wide panic and depletion of everyday living supplies.
Through it all, God is teaching me that He provides. He provides the security, provisions, health, joy, peace and even tomatoes if only we would take the time to seek Him. Maybe you were like me, scared that the reality of being unprepared would directly impact the well-being of your family. It did impact us on a very real level which has caused The Hubs and I to make changes in our lives on many levels. First of which is our walk with the Lord.
Ya know, I’ve been a Christian my entire life. I’ve loved God from the beginning, even before I started going to church. But what this pandemic has shown me, is that maybe it wasn’t only our cupboards that were bare.
My heart and walk with Christ were also lacking. Sure I read my bible and went to church regularly, but did I actually put what I was being taught into action on a daily basis and not just during emergencies?
I’m ashamed to admit that the answer was a no, I was a spiritual sluggard. Those tough questions helped me to see my walk with Christ differently. I needed to be like the ants not only in my physical life but more importantly in my walk with God. I needed to ask myself and lay my heart open for Christ to bring to light where there was an opportunity for growth.
How about you? What is it that you need to share with the Lord? What is it that wells up fear and discord in your heart? Is it a feeling of anxiety, worry, lacking?
Friend, whatever it is, let me encourage you to God and He will provide. Maybe it’ll be in the form of the next meal, the next bill paid or maybe the next step in your walk. Whatever it is that is weighing on you I want to encourage you to take some time alone with the Lord. He is faithful to hear us in small ways and in large, physical and spiritual.
May you find God to be an abundant provider and your life filled to overflowing with His blessings and love.
This morning as I waited for our church’s online service to begin I scrolled through social media and one post in particular caught my eye because it mentioned God’s comfort for His people found in Isaiah 40.
In light of the COVID-19 virus and the high-alert we are living in at the moment, comfort seems to be in short supply lately.
Maybe that’s part of the problem. Our desire for our own comfort. In this day and age, our lives revolve around comfort. As I’m making dinner, I joke to my family about the commercials I see on tv because I am reminded that we are being programmed to believe it is our absolute right to sit on the couch, dial a number and wait to have, of all else, fast food, delivered to our doorstep.
Oh what a world we live in!
Convenience for convenience sake is mandatory.
Too tired to go through a drive-thru? No worries, push a button and 15 minutes later its at your doorstep.
Don’t want to lock your doors? That’s ok, an app connected to your home’s security system will do the trick.
What about cleaning? We’ve got you covered there too, a little programming and voila! your robotic sweeper will get your dust bunnies out the door before you ever step foot inside your home.
We are a people that demands ease. We crave it. We live for it. And frankly, I’m not so sure many of us really know how to live without it.
So when a pandemic hits out lives, our comfort is disrupted and complete chaos ensues.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against apps or programs that aid in our existence. But not to the extent that we forget who God is or worse, start believing that we are our own god. The captain of our own lives without recourse or accountability.
Yet, that’s where I think that’s the road we’re walking.
I for one, don’t want to join the masses.
Not joining in the crowds doesn’t mean my life isn’t effected by pain, heartache and viral pandemics. It is.
In fact, I work for a senior living, so yes, I’ve been living, working and navigating quarantines, fear-riddled residents and fielding nervous family members on how and what our facility is doing to keep everyone safe, all the while, washing my hands, sanitizing every surface and screening every delivery person that comes to the door.
And yet, I find myself at peace.
How is that possible? where does my comfort, peace and thanksgiving come from?
Only One. Jesus.
In fact, as I turned the pages of my bible to Isaiah 40, one verse in particular resonated with me this morning, Isaiah 40:11, “He tends His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”
Now maybe it’s because I am a momma and I love how we are told God carries us close to His heart. There is something so tender about these verses and knowing that God, in His infinite love, grace and wisdom, holds us, reminds me that we are loved by God the Father.
The imagery this verse conjures, for me is sweet, precious and tender. A gentle reminder that God is caring for us always. That He loves us so much that He tends to our needs, protecting us from danger, showing us the way to walk through this life in safety and trust in Him.
I am humbled to know that God carries me close to His heart. Just like a momma with her child, God is ever mindful of our every need and quick to provide.
Today I want to leave you with that image and His words of truth and promise.
We serve a mighty God. Our everlasting Savior and loving Shepherd looks out for us, now in this distressing time and always.
So dear friends, my prayer is this, may you rest in the arms of your Lord and Savior. Trust that He will carry you, lead you and provide for you as only He can because He knows you so well.
We lived in Oklahoma for a dozen years. I absolutely loved that state!
The people were welcoming. The down home food made me feel like my grandma made it and the landscape was beautiful in its own right. Gentle rolling hills. Rocky crags to hike and climb and let’s not forget the weather.
For a mid-western born and raised gal, I loved the 4 seasons Oklahoma’s weather blasted at us. Yes, blasted. Nothing came at you sweet and easy. In Oklahoma, we’d tease, “You better hold on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!” When storm fronts would roll in.
The rain came down in sheets and pelt your windshield so hard, you’d have to pull over otherwise you’d risk hitting something, a car, a cement barrier, telephone pole, cattle. Yes, cattle. Trust me on this one.
And oh! The hail. Ugh! Don’t ever ask my husband about the damage done to his car one night when tornado warnings flashed in the area and he drove across town to pick up our youngest who was finishing a hockey practice. Let’s just say, after the golf ball sized hail pummeled his car for the 6 mile round trip to and from the hockey rink, his car looked like we’d drug it out of a junk yard! I think that was the first time I’ve seen a grown man cry!
Let’s not forget the winds. Oh mercy me! When the winds would whip across the plains my mom would joke that “they’d take your head off if you didn’t hold tight.” Seriously, 60-70mph winds would tear through the area causing flag poles to become spikes crashing through trees.
All this to say, that Oklahoma weather isn’t for the weak. We had crazy hot melt-your-brains summer temps. In the 100’s y’all! 100+’s!! One summer I thought we were all gonna start growing scales and turn into lizards, it got so hot! No kidding!
Needless to say, you’ve got to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Lots of protection, forethought, undercover parking is a must and plenty of air conditioning and heated seating, because yes, we had ice storms too!
I bring all of this up because this morning as I was reading Proverbs 7:2 ” Keep my commands and live, and guard my instructions as you would the pupil of your eye.”
I thought about living in Oklahoma’s harsh weather. We all know what it feels like to get an eyelash, or a piece of dust in our eye. But what if a sharp object comes flying at your eye during a stormy season, then what? What do we do to protect our sight?
See the analogy I thought of is that there are stormy seasons in our lives. Times when chaos is whipping through our lives. What then? How do we guard our thoughts, minds and hearts when life is unexpectedly painful?
I think this small verse reminds me to always be on guard.
I use to joke that the weather channel was a big deal in Oklahoma. Well it is! And so is the channel of our hearts. We need to always stay tuned to God’s word in preparation for whatever comes our way. Just like we keep a pair of sunglasses or a rain jacket or a snow shovel handy “just in case” its needed.
Preparation is key. We never know when life will take a turn for the worse. When a storm will show up, with winds of heartache shooting their painful debris into our lives.
God call us to…“keep His commands, live and guard His instructions.”
How do we make that happen in our lives? Oh that’s easy sisters. Spend time with God. In His Word. Daily. Hourly. Moment-by-moment. Make Christ your priority over everything else in your life.
Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. That’s opposite of what we’re told. Society tells us that we’re to be #1. Do our own thing. Make our own decisions. But how many times can you admit that a storm has whipped through your life and caught you completely unprepared and you crumbled? It’s happened to me more times than I care to admit.
But you see, God says just the opposite of society. God calls us to Himself. He invites us to spend time with Him, to know Him and to love Him with our hearts, souls and minds.
In doing so, it is God’s guarantee that when the storms of life hit our lives, and they will…we will be fully prepared. We won’t be left out in the cold, the hail, the pelting rain, the heat of our lives, alone. God is with us.
So dress accordingly ladies, there are bound to be stormy days ahead. Grab your bible, talk to God, share your heart and know the good Lord will see you through every single storm.
Last week during worship we sang Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am”.
As my heart settled into worship the words washed over me until the following verse caught my attention, “In my Father’s house there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, yes I am.”
For most of my life I’ve lived under the cloud of not being enough, never fitting in and always living life on the outside. I’ve lived under the shroud of lies that has permeated my life like a slow release poison, tainting every area of my life.
The proverbial black sheep.
But the more I dig into my relationship with God, I can call a lie a lie.
God has a place for me. I have and always will have a place in His home.
How often does that happen in our lives?
I know my husband and kids love me. But I also I know that as much as I feel the same way about my family, I know despite my best intentions I hurt and disappoint them. Not so with God.
I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations or demands.
With God, I can simply be me.
There’s no striving, working hard for approval or tip-toeing around Him because I’ve made a mistake.
I am enough, just as I am. The Lord made me, knew me before I was ever born and His Son Jesus died for the love of me.
There’s a place for me, in my Father’s house.
I love those words of promise. They help to heal the brokenness left behind by my own earthly father.
Yes, I loved my earthly father, I’ve shared in earlier stories that I was a daddy’s girl. But for as much as I loved him, too often I was met with words of criticism. Words that left no doubt that I’d disappointed him in some way.
For instance, I remember on my high school graduation night, I was so excited. I had worked hard, won many achievements and was thrilled to be walking across the stage to grab my diploma and embrace the next step in my future. I was so proud.
I turned to my dad in my excitement and said, “I can’t wait to walk across that stage!”
My dad’s response, with a stoic look on his face was, “Ya know, if you’d only worked harder you could’ve been valedictorian.”
I was devastated.
I had studied so hard in my pre-med classes, struggled just to get a passing grade in math class and worked tirelessly to earn seating in the top 3% of my class.
For nothing. My dad was ashamed of me.
Now maybe in his own way, he was trying to say that he thought I was capable of more. And maybe he wanted more for me. I don’t know.
What I do know is that in those brief moments I went from feeling proud, excited and happy to worthless.
For years, I tried so hard to win his approval, garner his blessing with the choices, directions and steps I was taking in my life, only to hear over and over the same sentiment, “Amy, you’re not good enough.”
Breaking free from those lies has taken a lot of effort. You see, folks can tell you that you’re wonderful, but deep down, there’s little voice that condemns, ridicules and laughs at you each time you try to believe otherwise.
Until God steps in and changes things.
I’ve been walking with God my entire life. So you’d think that His promises would’ve broken the chains of lies years ago. Maybe they should have. I don’t think I was willing to accept His truth, out of fear and doubt that they were for me.
It wasn’t until I lost my dad last year, was I able to really hear God’s truth about my life.
Sometimes those we love the most are the ones who either intentionally or unintentionally hurt us the worst. Their words, innuendos, sarcasm can leave lasting scars that I believe only God can truly heal.
We don’t have to stay in the past, repeating the lies in our minds and hearts, making it a mantra that should never be placed on us.
Instead we can choose to listen, embrace and accept God’s truth.
We are loved by our Holy precious Father. We have a place in His house, with Him. Forever. In His eyes, we are His beloved children, washed clean from sin because of His son Jesus.
I want to encourage you to really listen to the words of this song, let them sink deep into your soul, healing it from any lies you were told and making room for the truth that there is a place for you in your Father’s house.
This afternoon I rushed home, eager to change into comfy
athletic gear and take our dogs out for a walk. The past few weeks with its
endless dreary rainy overcast days and a flu virus quarantine at the assisted living
community where I work, left me feeling worn down and in much need of a serious
dose of Vitamin D and fresh air.
Lickety-split I was in my favorite Nike’s, headphones on and
the pups were on their leashes and we were basking in the warmth of the
sun. As the dogs and I tooled around the
neighborhood I pulled up my latest selection on Audible and hit play.
Christian author, Elizabeth George is one of my all-time favorites. Not having grown up with many godly influences in my life, I always listen intently to Mrs. George share her godly wisdom through her book, “A Woman After God’s Own Heart.”
As I listened while the dogs played, something Elizabeth
said caught my ear, “Dream of being a
woman’s after God’s own heart.”
Something about that word really piqued my curiosity and the
little kid in me, rose to the surface as I tried to think of the last time I
actually dreamed of anything. It had been way too long and just like my need
for a little sunshine, dreaming, it would seem was something else I needed in
In fact, the more I toyed with the idea of dreaming about
being a woman after God’s heart felt like someone was asking me, “If you won
the Mega-Bucks lotto what would you do?”
Well dear friends, that’s what so exciting about Elizabeth’s
words of encouragement, we don’t have to wait until we hit the lotto or
relocate or start a new job in order for things to change in our lives. We can
be proactive, take stock of where we truly are in our walk with the Lord, in
our marriage, our relationships with our children, friends and family and
honestly ask ourselves, “where are we and
what would we like to change.”
I think part of the reason I was am so excited these days is
because I realized while walking that I was living on autopilot. I was so
caught up in making a living, getting through the day, and just getting by,
that I’d somehow stopped enjoying living. Life was mundane.
Now that’s not to say I wasn’t grateful. A quick look over
my life and I will be the first person to tell you that the good Lord has
sought fit to bless this sinner with more forgiveness and grace than I’ll ever
But somewhere along the way I had forgotten how to live.
Here’s the deal, that list of to-do’s sucked the life out of
me even affected my time with the Lord. It was stale. Boring. Blah.
Jesus warns us, saying, “I
know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one
or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold- I am about
to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation3:15-16 (NIV)
There’s danger in becoming apathetic, in simply giving up
and accepting a pasty relationship with God.
Now is the time for a little daydreaming.
Life could look different.
Once home from my walk and energized by Elizabeth’s words, I began asking myself how was I going to break this cycle of repetition and low-level boredom in my daily life and spiritual walk? What needed to change in my walk with Jesus? Which areas needed a good cobweb cleaning and which habits need to go into the emotional trashcan?
Almost immediately thoughts began to permeate my time with God.
I missed women’s bible studies. I missed the comradery and accountability
that comes from spending time with other God-centered women and ultimately the
growth that comes from being in God’s word.
The church we attend is small and we don’t actually have a
women’s ministry per se. But why should that stop me or any other woman who
wants to draw closer to God? It shouldn’t.
Which then led my pen to paper to scratch out ideas on how I
could start a group, invite others to participate and frankly get me out of my
comfort zone and cause me to stretch and grow my faith with God.
Boo-ya! Within minutes ideas were flowing onto the pages of
my journal and for once, in a very long time, I was excited about the
Now the tough part…
In order to not fall prey to my old habits I needed to take
action. Which led to more brainstorming, more journaling and a list of ways to
help get this group off the ground, including researching a good bible study to
offer, connecting with our Pastor to garner his support and of course, first
and foremost, talking to God about this idea. I can’t wait to see where He
takes these ideas!
How about you? Are there areas that have grown stale?
If so, I encourage you to grab a journal, find a quiet spot,
pull out your bible and spend some time with God asking the tough questions of
yourself and of Him. Share your heart and your daydreams.
Who knows us better than the good Lord above? Who wondrously
made us and knows every hair on our head? He loves you and I and He waits to
spend time with us.
May your time with the Lord bubble up new dreams for your
life. Don’t settle for apathy. Don’t settle for being lukewarm. Get out there,
talk to God and give those dreams a chance to take flight.
Ever listen to a song that reaches into your soul and
doesn’t let go?
“I Am” by Crowder is that song for me.
Each time a storm rages in my life, I listen to
this song so as to be reminded that I can run to God, hold onto God and never
But this morning it hit me.
I Am is the One holding me in the middle of the
I am being held by the Great I Am.
Ugh! That spearheaded my soul like no other
Sure, it should’ve been obvious. A big “duh”
moment for me. But sometimes, I think it’s about perspective and how I relate
Up until this moment I guess I always viewed my
relationship with God as me, chasing Him. Me, trying to please God. I thought I
was the one doing the holding. In fact, the image that always comes to mind
when I listen to this song, is that of the woman with the bleeding disease
found in Luke 8:43-48.
For 12 long years this woman sought doctors and
different medicinal treatments to no avail. She was an outcast in her
community. Shunned by those close to her.
Then came Jesus.
Her heart knew that all she needed was Jesus.
To grasp hold of God, even in the smallest way, through the touching of His the
hem would be enough.
Just one touch.
She fought the crowds, ignored the ridicule,
with one goal in mind, Jesus.
On some level, this is how I see myself with Jesus. Me, in my desperation, during moments of chaos and storms, chasing after Him. Just like the woman in Luke 8, the goal is reaching Jesus.
Never in all my years of knowing Him, did it ever dawn on me that Jesus was already holding me. There wasn’t any need to chase. No panic needed. Instead, rest and security was His promise to me.
His efforts, not mine.
The Holy I Am was already aware of what I
needed and able to give it.
Even now as I write this, tears flow.
The truth that God Himself would love me enough
to hold me through the storms and beyond, is humbling. I didn’t have to chase
Him. I didn’t have to fight crowds to be healed from the chaos of my life. I Am
was already holding me.
“I Am holding on to you
I Am holding on to you
In the middle of the storm
I Am holding on
This is the truth for each of us.
There is no need for us to feel like we’re the
ones doing all the reaching out, God is already holding us in the palm of His
hand. In fact, He promises in Romans 8:38-39 the following: “ For I am convinced that neither death nor
life, neither angels or demons, neither the present or the future, nor any
powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Today dear friend, I pray this truth sinks deep
into our souls. May we accept His gift of being held in the middle of our
storms so that we may rest in The Great I Am.
At the time of this writing, it has been 9 months since my dad’s passing.
The shock, grief and disbelief that come in tsnami-sized emotional waves when losing a loved one are, at times, overwhelming. As daddy’s little girl, it’s almost impossible for me to accept that my father is gone and that I’ll never see him again this side of heaven.
For my mom, the emotions of losing her husband are astronomical. My folks were married for over 5 decades. Together, they raised us 4 kids, had 6 grandchildren, friends, extended family members and countless memories. They had each other to share life. But now that dad is gone and the emotions left behind threaten to block out even the happiest of days for her.
Nothing I or my siblings or her siblings say seems to bring comfort or change. She’s walking around in a fog so thick, I’m not sure if she will survive the overwhelming grief.
The “widowhood effect” is what researchers call the phenomenon of the increased risk of a widow(er) dying within the first 3 months after a spouse dies. Honestly, with each passing day, I’m not sure my mom is going to beat the odds.
I hate writing those words.
Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. My heart breaks. My stomach knots.
I’m at a loss as to how to help my mom. This isn’t a life situation I know how to handle. If it were something as easy as buying or selling a house, updating banking accounts or finding new doctors, that I can do. But getting her through each day? How? What words of comfort can I share? What words of support and encouragement bring her strength?
Everyone in the family are doing what they can to help my mom manage her grief by helping her connect with a grief counselor, encouraging her to volunteer, help her look for a part time job. You name it, we’ve tried it.
The truth is, none of know what she’s feeling. We’ve never lost a spouse. One day I will or maybe my husband will. One of us will die. The one left behind, will try to pick up the pieces of the newly shattered life and do their best to make sense of it all.
I’ve taken to calling her in the morning before I head into work just to let her know that I’m thinking about her, worried about her; asking her what’s on her agenda in hopes of getting her to engage in life again.
Most days she answers with a few to-do items for her day. Errand that used to take a few short hours, now take her all day and at the end of the day, she’s exhausted. Spent.
The emptiness in her voice scares me most.
Mom goes through the motions of each day as a way to keep her mind from going back down the road of grief that threatens to completely engulf her.
So how do I help her? I don’t know. When we do talk she eventually breaks down in tears. I fight back my own tears. As an adult child to my surviving parent, I’m lost. How do I help my mom while I’m grieving myself? Sure I can offer loads of information for grief counseling, ideas on how to get better sleep, encourage her to see her doctor, check on her, help with the confusing bureaucracy of the Social Security department or a million other ideas trying to get my mom to engage in the living portion of life.
As far as the faith element, for us, that’s a tricky situation. I must tread extremely carefully in this area. Our faith walks look vastly different and so, I must hedge this part of our conversation gingerly.
After one of our recent conversations, I could tell she was pacifying me. Giving me rote answers so as to appease me so as to not got too in depth on the topic we were having. Eventually the conversation moved on before we eventually said goodbye for the evening. When I hung up the phone, it hit me, she’s dying. She is really grieving herself to death.
Now let me follow up with that last sentence with the fact that I have worked in senior health care for the last decade and I know what it looks and sounds like when someone is giving up.
My fear is that I’m hearing it in my mom’s voice.
After I hung up the phone that night, I couldn’t get the hollow sound of her voice out of my head. Over and over, I could hear it. She was courting death.
I spent that night and early hours of the next morning praying. Praying for my mom’s heart and her grief. Later that morning I called her and told her that I heard the sound of her giving up in her voice; she broke down and cried.
I told her, that for all of everyone’s best intentions, our hopes and words of encouragement to help her through this, none of us had a clue. None of us kids had lost a spouse. None of her siblings had lost a spouse. She was the first. She was alone in this pain. With one exception.
Christ knew what it meant to feel deep sorrow. Christ understood what it meant to feel alone. Christ understood what it meant to grieve. Christ faced death.
Jesus gave His life for her sorrow and mine. He gave His life so that my mom, and everyone else would know just how much they are loved and that they never need to feel alone. God understands firsthand heartache, grief and death.
For this, I reminded my mom, she was not alone. Jesus is right there in the midst of her pain, every step of the way. Every moment of the day, every breath, every tear.
As I stumble through my own grief and keep a keen eye on my mom, I am in constant prayer for us both, knowing that God loves His children. He waits for us to pour out our hearts to Him so He can carry us through the pain and into healing.
My prayer is that my mom will do just that. I pray through her pain she will reach out to the Lord, allow Him to heal her heart and show her His purpose and plan for her life.
In the meantime, I pray He would also heal my heart and give me the heart to help my mom take each day as it is given.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
I must’ve been reading a homesteading, gardening, back-to-the-earth type blog when I knew I wanted chickens.
That was 4 years ago when a relocation from Oklahoma City to the Pacific pushed that dream to the back burner.
Dreams of a garden and raising chickens were gone like the northwestern sun in January. Replaced instead by the dreary rainy truth that I may not ever own my own home again and/or own chickens.
Painful life events happen forcing change.
But what about dreams? Hopes? A vision for a different life…do we simply give up? What about when we can’t see that it’ll ever come true, do we give up then?
When I realized getting back into our own place where we could settle in was on a temporary-could-be-full-time-permanent basis, I was madder than a wet hen, as they say.
I struggled with my anger. Vented my feelings to God and then in sheer exhaustion, gave up. I saw the road blocks we were facing as insurmountable; the life I had hoped for when we moved to the Pacific Northwest was gone.
Until, a friend asked me to chicken-sit her hens.
In a heartbeat I agreed.
Now you can say I let my emotions override my logic in this instance or maybe it was something close to lacking 20/20 vision, because as I was chicken-sitting those hens all I could see was what I had lost. I would lament over and over to The Hubs, “if we were still in Oklahoma I could have my own chickens.” (Not true, we lived in a HOA run suburban community that sneezed at the thought of chickens in the neighborhood, but I’m blind to my own truth at times.)
I continued whining, fussing, complaining.
My poor husband.
Poor God. He put up with all of my constant fussing too.
Fast forward a year, and this summer I was once again asked to chicken-sit only this time for 5 weeks. I jumped at the chance.
And then it hit me.
You’ve answered my prayers Lord.
Not in the way I had planned but in a better, more feasible way.
God provided Connie, a good friend from church who needed help chicken-sitting while she traveled to see grandkids.
I needed experience. Let’s face it. Wanting chickens and taking care of chickens are 2 entirely different things.
So God has given me an answer to my little dream.
Learning without owning.
My friend Connie is trusting, gracious, knowledgeable and so patient with me as I test out my own “wings” when it comes to chicken-sitting her “fluffy butts”.
I share all of this for a number of reasons:
God hears us and He cares about every little thing in our hearts. Yes, even chickens!
Sometimes God answers prayers in a different way than the way we asked.
Because of His love and provision I am able to take this opportunity to learn, grow, build a new friendship with Connie while taking care of a clutch of chickens.
God knows what we need/want even before we ask. So ask!
What may initially look like a “no” may actually be a “yes”.
Finally, can I share with you how humbled this makes me feel? To know that God, in His infinite wisdom, grace, love and provision, heard me?
When you compare my dream of owning chickens to curing cancer or world peace, it seems quite frivolous doesn’t it? But God still cares, He still hears us and He still answers.
So be on the lookout for answered and unanswered prayers, knowing God loves you and will always be working for your benefit.