Stress

Stress creeps in and steals away the joys that were possible.

Lord, please fill me in this place so that the stress will be lessened. Let me look to You in these moments, help me to remember Your promises. I long for You in this place and know that only You can fulfill me truest desires.

The emptiness we feel is real. Our hearts are calling out for what is missing, a true relationship with the Living God.

I need to refocus. How easily my point of view turns back to self. When I look to me, all falls apart. When I try to control, I lose all control and I begin to spiral. You are my rock, my shield, my salvation and my Lord.

I bow before You. I know that You are most wise and I trust You in all things.

Remind me of the cross and all that You have done for each of us. Your ungrateful children. When will we learn?

You are so patient and so kind. I long to have just a fraction of Your grace and mercy.

My emotions can be useful but they can also blind me. I give them to You. I choose to no longer fight them but to feel them, acknowledge them and give them over to You.

Shine Your mighty light into this weary soul and help me see the truth in all things. Let my perspective be from Your eyes and Your heart. The struggles of this world mean nothing next to You. The stressors fade when You are with me. My focus determines my response and my focus needs to be on You.

Show me Your plan, show me my purpose and let me see me the way You do.

I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen and Amen.

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My prayer for today

Lord, I want to see You, feel You and hear You in my heart. Each day I long to know You more. No one truly knows me like You do and yet You seem to be the one I try to hide from at my lowest times. It’s as if I am ashamed of my lowest moments and yet you are right there with me. You not only hear me, You know the word of my heart long before they are known to me. This I can rest in.

You are almighty, You are our Creator, You are all together good, You are full of love, grace and mercy.

I am Yours. You created me. You knew me before I took my first breath in this world. You lay my path before me and I struggle to see it so many times. You know that too.

You have held me close in my darkest moments, even when I thought myself a full blown enemy of Yours.

Why?

Why do You love me so much when I often think myself unlovable? Why do You bring such beauty and such blessings to me when I know I don’t deserve them? How can You look upon this soul with loving kindness? How can You forget all that I have done?

I am Yours. I am a child of the Almighty God and I can find my strength in that. I pray that I can see myself the way that You see me. I want to forgive myself as You have forgiven me. I want to see the beauty that is possible as You do. I want to walk in Your footsteps in all things. I want to be content with where I am, knowing that You have a much bigger plan than I can even begin to imagine.

I rest in You Lord. I love in You. You are all that matters. You are my peace and that is all that matters. Let the world melt away, let my uncertainties melt away. Let the stress fade away into the background as I gaze upon Your beauty. Fill me with Your mighty Spirit, guard me against the attacks on my enemy and build me up as I stumble.

My words fall short of the craving in my soul, but I know that You know my desires better than I. Mt heart cries out to You and I pray that You hear me as I lay it all down before Your throne.

Thank You for being the merciful God that You are. Thank You for never leaving me. Thank You for all the beauty, blessings and family that You have so freely given me. Thank You for saving me, thank You for loving me and thank You for all the work You are continuing to do in this life. You are amazing and I would be lost without You.

I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Where have you been?

Almost an entire month without coming on here to write and I am not entirely sure why.

The past month has been quite interesting on many levels. I have searched some deep places of myself and faced quite a huge piece of my past hurts. This pain was buried long ago and was a much shallower grave than I thought. God is good and was with me on this journey along with a beloved sister.

We laughed, we cried, we fought the urge to run away. We were reminded to rest on God’s word and to see that He loves me despite it all.

I was obedient and shared when I felt it was time to share. I went to our meeting each week and didn’t cancel even when I knew it was going to be hard. I allowed God to do the work that needed to be done and walked away a better person than when we began.

I gained depth, perspective and peace in a short time. The best part is that I know this is just the beginning. I have many wounds that our Lord has healed in me over the years, but this is a much older and deeper wound than I have ever faced.

I will delve in more as I continue this journey and thank you all who have walked by my side through it. It’s amazing what change can transpire in a few weeks time when you allow it.

Through this process I feel like my marriage has deepened, my relationship with God has grown, my relationship with my fellow Christians has grown, my relationship with my children has deepened, and so much more than I can even put into words.

Today I tell you that no matter what you have done or are currently doing, God still loves you. That no matter how far you think you have fallen, it’s never too far. Healing can take place, this I promise you. It may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life, but it CAN happen.

Lean on the Lord, be real, be honest, face the abyss that you try hide within. You will be amazed at all the aspect of your life that will be changed. As I began to face the pain and shame I have held inside for so long I began to see how every single aspect of my life was effected by the festering wound.

You cannot run away from your past, you cannot cover up pain, you have to face it and work through it. You will be so happy that you did!

Genesis 3:16 – who knew?!

Then He said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you” – Genesis 3:16

My husband read this passage last night during our family Bible time and looks up at me. “Maybe I should read that again”. I laugh and roll my eyes, “yeah, yeah, I heard it.” We competed our reading and ended our night with a crabby toddler and little more conversation as I fell asleep early. I never gave the passage another thought.

As I received a call this morning confirming that the office will be closed and that we will all be working from home, I decided to take advantage of the early morning time and to do some reading. I picked up my book The Creative Call as I am behind in the study and know it is because I have been avoiding the working on forgiveness part.

With a heavy sigh I begin to read through the chapter again and start the exercise. God burst through the hardened heart I carry and amazed me as I wrote. It felt like I wrote forever, like God was showing me the very work He was doing inside of me as I was writing. Words cannot express what took place, but I try. Forgiveness

I put my pen down and bowed my head in prayer.

“Father, please let me see your face in this, please take this weight of resentment and pain away. I cannot let the anger go, I don’t know how to. I have heard so many people and books tell me ways to go about it. Nothing really works. You can do this work, I know You can. Right now I am begging You to push your Holy Spirit deeper into this soul. Break open this hardened heart, tear it out and replace it with a heart of flesh. I beg You to take this burden I have held for so long, cleanse me of my pride and resentment. I long to see Your face. I need You.”

At that moment I could feel His presence and so clearly heard Him. Healing was taking place in that moment and that scripture from last night was echoing in my mind. Genesis 3:16 “…And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you”

Have I heard this before? I must have! I have read through Genesis several time in my failed attempts to read through the entire Bible from from to back. (more on that another time!)

I felt this force come through me. The need to investigate this further. I began to look at other versions and they all mostly say “And though you will have desire for your husband, he will rule over you”

Perhaps this is why it never really hit me before? Maybe it was the look in my husband’s eyes when he read this to me last night and paused to emphasize? I think the real reason is that God has been doing a work in me for some time. God has been moving in my marriage in ways we never thought possible and our eyes have been opening to His true design for us.

So I dug in a bit. I looked at many versions to see what they said and then moved onto the commentaries. I found a great site – Bible Study Tool

and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband,
which some understand of her desire to the use of the marriage bed, as Jarchi, and even notwithstanding her sorrows and pains in child bearing; but rather this is to be understood of her being solely at the will and pleasure of her husband; that whatever she desired should be referred to him, whether she should have her desire or not, or the thing she desired; it should be liable to be controlled by his will, which must determine it, and to which she must be subject, as follows;

and he shall rule over thee,
with less kindness and gentleness, with more rigour and strictness: it looks as if before the transgression there was a greater equality between the man and the woman, or man did not exercise the authority over the woman he afterwards did, or the subjection of her to him was more pleasant and agreeable than now it would be; and this was her chastisement, because she did not ask advice of her husband about eating the fruit, but did it of herself, without his will and consent, and tempted him to do the same.

– excerpt from “John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible”

Greater equality before the transgression? What does that mean exactly? At this point I was moved to put into practice the way we have been studying in our Ladies Bible Study group and this is what poured out:

What does this tell me about the Trinity?

  • When God tells us to refrain from something, there is good cause.
  • God does not withhold good from us, His creation.
  • God is the true judge and will chastise those that do not live according to His will.

My life application?

  • I am to be ruled by my husband as commanded by God.
  • Just as the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, this is my role as woman.
  • Eve disregarded God’s command and this caused great pain for generations to come. When I choose to disregard my husband in my marriage, I too am disregarding God’s command. This bring pain, struggle and ruin to a marriage if not addressed.
  • I do not have to understand why god gives me a command in order to obey it. I need to trust in Him and surrender to His will.

Questions that can be answered by this passage?

  • Why should I obey God’s word even if it doesn’t make sense to me?

I am to trust in my creator and always know that He has my best interest at heart. I need to be sure to go to Him will all things, this includes my doubts in His word. I should not trust in any other influence as there is a darkness that takes pleasure in seeing my pain. 

  • If I am to obey my husband and let him lead in our marriage, then why do always the urge to step up and take charge?

Initially woman was made to be man’s helper. There was no struggle. When Eve chose to defy God’s command and eat of the fruit, sin entered the world. This struggle is part of the punishment bestowed upon us. 

I have always known that God commands me to step back and let my husband lead. I have searched for what this meant for me and my husband and always thought that my desire to take charge was a personal one. This passage has opened my eyes to the fact that this is part of God’s judgement upon Eve. 

I continued onto another commentary and here are the parts that really stuck out…

….Two things she is condemned to: a state of sorrow, and a state of subjection, proper punishments of a sin in which she had gratified her pleasure and her pride.

..Note, Sin brought sorrow into the world; it was this that made the world a vale of tears, brought showers of trouble upon our heads, and opened springs of sorrows in our hearts, and so deluged the world: had we known no guilt, we should have known no grief…

…God, as a righteous Judge, does it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows; as many as they are, we have deserved them all, and more: nay, God, as a tender Father, does it for our necessary correction, that we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from the world by all our sorrows;….

…..If Eve had not eaten forbidden fruit herself, and tempted her husband to eat it, she would never have complained of her subjection; therefore it ought never to be complained of, though harsh; but sin must be complained of, that made it so. Those wives who not only despise and disobey their husbands, but domineer over them, do not consider that they not only violate a divine law, but thwart a divine sentence……

– Matthew Henry Commentary on the Bible (complete)

I struggle.

All women struggle.

This is the curse of sin entering into our world.

This is a role I was created to be in, the struggle itself is the price I pay for ancestors bringing sin to our world. The reward is in realizing just that and giving it over to God. Just as I endured the discomfort of each of my pregnancies, knowing that the struggle was worth the reward, I too will endure this struggle. I know that the reward will be more than I could possible imagine.

I want to write “Genesis 3:16” everywhere as a reminder!

Thank you Jesus for allowing me to see this today and I pray that you will continue to open my eyes to your divine plan. I know that when I give up the struggle and let go, I give You the room you need to work.

In Love,

The Storms of Life

I have been in the midst of the storm of life over the past few weeks. All I could do was hunker down and ride it out. Sometimes that is all we can do.

Typically I will get to a point where I am frustrated with the thing that are causing the stress, complain, vent, and possibly close off to the world until clearer days come. When those clearer days finally come, I take the time to reflect, learn and see how God was working and the lessons He taught.

This time was slightly different. I didn’t lash out, I did my best to stay centered. I did retreat from the world a bit and totally had emotional break downs, but it was good to release the feelings rather than keeping them bottled up. I maintained my cool for the most part, played the supportive role, let me husband lead, and we talked about the issues quite a bit. This was great, he had the room he needed to lead us through this storm and he was amazing. I am learning to speak less and love more.

I always lean on God in these trials and tribulations, that is second nature to me these days. I know He will carry me through any storm and that all things are used for His glory. I always have that faith and God understands my weak, human responses that come out at times. This time was different in the respect that I was able to see God working in the midst of this very tiring time we endured. I took the backseat and gave my husband the room he needed to lead us. This has not always been easy for me. I respect my husband and believe him fully capable of leading our family in all things. That has never been an issue. My mouth, that has always been the issue, I would speak first. I have been on my own for a very long time and my initial response to any issues has been to step up and meet them head on, take care of it myself because no one else would. It has been me against the world since I was a teen. After a lot of prayer, through the wonderful ladies bible study, and the words of an awesome pastor, I have finally come to a point where I am able to step back….just a little. 🙂

I was still very involved in all that transpired and supported my hubby as he needed me to, but I was able to step back just enough to see God working. I could see His hand in it all. I was able to marvel as His plan unfolded and it was absolutely beautiful.

My role this time was to pray, love, encourage and weather the storm by my hubby’s side. I really enjoyed it.

Oh I was angry, hurt and depressed through it all, don’t get me wrong. I fell apart on several occasions and that too was a blessing. I realized that God is not crazy, I am the weaker vessel! My emotions were so out of control at times, I couldn’t stand being in my own skin. The pressure from all sides was too much, I shut down a bit and let God carry me through, I let my husband carry me through, I let go.

I don’t want to feel like I have to be the strong one. I don’t want to worry about handling all things, it’s a job that is not meant for me. I was created with a different purpose. I have struggled for so long to be something that I am not, and have tried to bury parts of me that I thought were not important.

I can’t even put the things that have been happening to me into words. My perspective is changing, God is peeling back the layers of darkness that have been covering my eyes. He is so patient, gentle and kind. He deals with my doubts, my failures and my pain. He is always by my side. I fall on my face often and I will never come close to being perfect, that isn’t what I was created for either. Perfection is unattainable, Mercy and Grace are all I need.

As I take baby steps back, I get glimpses of the true beauty in this world. I see the truth shining through and I love it. I am finding my self again and learning to love all the gifts he has bestowed upon me. I am slowly learning to go slow, allow God to go ahead of me in all things. I can get so caught up in life, that I don’t realize I blew right past where God has meant for me to walk.

The moral of this story? God is awesome, if you listen to Him and follow His instructions for your life, it will only get better. Circumstances may not change but the level of inner peace and one’s perspective will change dramatically. Only Jesus can transform these lives.

Let go, step back, pause before acting and watch God work. Embrace your gifts and talents, God gave them to you for a reason. His reason.

Faithful Servant

I have wasted so much time in my life comparing myself to others….I still do and have to redirect my thoughts often. What good does that do? None. It is detrimental really. When I spend more time comparing myself to others and counting all my faults, I am doing myself and God a disservice. I am wasting time and allowing the darkness to keep me distracted from where God wants me to be.

John 12:26 ESV If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

How can I follow Jesus when I am not keeping my eyes on Him? How can I honor God and be honored by Him when I am taking my eyes off the prize, His glory? I cannot.

God has been doing a great work in me and teaching me how to take myself out of the equation. (I feel we will be working on this for a long time lol) When I obey Him, silence my tongue and wait for Him, amazing things happen. I get to sit back and watch Him work. I can see Him stirring in another and I am giving them the opportunity to hear Him rather than me. When I look at a brother or sister in Christ with love rather than to compare “how much better they are” I find the blessings begin pour out. Relationships deepen. Hardened hearts begin to soften. Truly amazing.

Colossians 3:12 ESV Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

These things listed here are so hard for me to put into practice. My natural reactions can be quite the opposite. Yet, those moments when I obey and approach life in the way God commands me to…well, things are so much better! Which is why He commands us…so simple, yet so difficult!

So I walk in faith, grace and love. I remind myself that we are all made with a purpose and to compare myself to another will never bring any good to any situation. God has a purpose for me. He made me the crazy woman I am to bring Him glory. I am learning to forgive myself as God has forgiven me, to move forward and not look back with remorse but with joy. I can find joy and pleasure in how far Jesus has brought me. I can walk in the path He has given me and know that no matter what, it will all work out as He has designed it to. I don’t need to know it all, I don’t need to fix it all. I only need to keep my eyes on Jesus and allow Him to lead the way. When I get ahead of myself, and ahead of Him, I lose my way.

Patience.

Prayer.

Reaching out in fellowship.

Waiting on the Lord’s answer.

These are the things I need to remind myself of constantly. He has never let me down and has brought me to amazing places when I have let go.

 

I will close with a portion of a song that has been touching my heart deeply.

Why do I try to work outside of You?
Knocking down doors I shouldn’t be going through
But I’m so tired, I’m so tired
You take my burdens off of my shoulders
You break the lies that hold me back
I’m not sure enough

You’re my revival song, You start where I belong
On my knees, on my knees
When I am weak You’re strong, You meet me here
When I’m on my knees, on my knees
Yeah, it starts with me

I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival’s got to start with me
I really wanna change the world
I really wanna sing Your song
But I know revival’s got to start with me

– Tim Timmons, Starts with Me

We belong on our knees before our one and true God….that is where the magic happens!

Guilt and Conviction

Guilt is a funny thing. I once thought that it was a good sign, a sign of good conscience. Something to keep me in check. The Spirit has been showing me something completely different.

I have found that guilt is a burden that I am not meant to carry. Jesus has covered my sin and I am free in Him.

Free.

Totally and completely without blame because of what He did on the cross. He took on that burden a long time ago so that I can come to the Father. Guilt is not a good sign, it is not the tool I once thought it to be. Guilt holds me back, brings about doubt where there should be none.

Conviction is something I once viewed as a negative. I never wanted to be convicted of anything. I didn’t want people to call me out on things I maybe doing or not doing. Don’t look to close! I would hate for those around me to see the deeply flawed human that I am.

Conviction is love.

Conviction is way for God to keep me on the path He has set out for me. He works through others to remind me to refocus, to catch me when I begin to wander and to bring me deeper when I am wading in the shallow end of life once again.

Peace, I have found such a sense of peace since I have had my perspective changed in regards to guilt and conviction. I now stand stronger in God’s love and light. I now take conviction and rise up to the challenges God sets forth. I look at guilt as a bond to be broken and to be left behind. Do I feel remorse and sadness in times of conviction, absolutely. The difference is that I don’t wallow in it, I don’t let it change the way I look at life. I don’t let it knock me off my path. I don’t allow it to deter me from doing God’s work.

It has taken me a long time to get to this place and guilt creeps in all the time. I constantly have to give it to God. I have chosen to repent, release and take action when convicted. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Just let it go and let God do the work He desires to do in you. It is not easy. It is really hard to go against my nature. It’s harder to continue to do so! Funny that I find it is easier to wallow in guilt and self-pity yet I am choosing not to. The reason is simple, I have never felt a peace in me like I do today.

The more I choose to flip my perceptions and rest in God, the less anxiety I feel from day-to-day. The more I interact with others and the more I expose myself to them and God, the happier I am.

I am struggling to find the words to describe the changes that have taken place in my heart. The very core of my being has been and continues to be shaped and molded in ways I never thought possible.

The more I let go, the more I gain. When I let God fill me up and pour out of me, I am whole. I no longer look for stress and anxiety to be markers for growth in this life. I now see that those are signs that I am focused on the wrong things. I am beginning to stop comparing myself to others and thinking they are “closer to God”. I am not allowing myself to hold back because I am not good enough. I know I am not good enough. I am not worthy, I am imperfect, I know that I need God.

I searched for my spiritual path for a long time. I never thought I would ever label myself as a Christian. I would actually challenge people to tell me why they thought Jesus was so great and then I would tell them why being a Christian is wrong and well just stupid.

I am so glad that I walked into that church 6 years ago and found Jesus. Sure, I fought Him for quite some time and yes, I avoided getting too close to the people in my church as well. I still do to a degree, but honestly, I have never felt more peace, closure, healing or love like I do today.

I have had a rocky past and a lot of abandonment and I allowed that to be the driving force in my life for a long time. Now that I have let God in, He is the driving force and I am in such a better place because of it. I am and will never be perfect. I am not a better person by any means. I am just allowing Jesus to work through me and He has been taking my filth and changing me in ways that allow His will is done through me.

If you have not allowed Jesus in as deeply as He wants to be, then I encourage you to focus on that every minute of every day. Push everything else away, give it all up to Him. You won’t lose yourself, you’ll gain more than you could every imagine.

Let the guilt go. Let God in.