Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blessings in Strange Places

I'm finding blessings in the strangest of places. With my eyes focused on my Savior, what could burden instead fills my heart with gratitude. I'm learning that "in quietness and trust is my strength." And my safe place is called surrender.

In trust, I can be thankful for His plans even when mine don't succeed.

In quietness, I can hear Him whisper truth to my soul.

And in surrender and rest, I find peace within... no matter the circumstances that surround me.

Today I am thankful:
  • He loves me anyway. In my moments of doubt, fear, mistrust, and wandering, He loves me still. He doesn't give up on me in my weakness, but reassures me and woos me back with His unconditional, extravagant, indescribable love.
  • He allows the hard places. It's in these places I dig deeper and discover more of Him. It's here my heart grows and my soul embraces. It's here, in this place of deepest need I catch a glimpse of my Father's heart and find refuge.
  • His peace is real. I can know peace while laying on a doctor's table waiting on a biopsy. I can know peace even when I don't have all the answers. I can know peace when the world is chaotic. Though our hearts ache, the peace He promises is real. It doesn't make sense and I can't touch it with my fingers but my faith confirms its existence.
  • His Word is true. The lies of the enemy that pound my ears daily threaten to leave me hopeless, afraid, and insecure, but when I turn my eyes to Jesus I find truth and freedom.
  • He gives and He takes away. The end of one season is often hard and we don't always understand our leaving or His taking but waiting on the other side is another part of our story. And just as we have left one thing, another finds us.
So I ponder these places I wouldn't normally call blessings, and I find Him there. I feel His refining and I know His provision. I marvel at His love and am humbled in His presence. I breathe deeply in surrender, laying it all at His feet, and rest, peace, and strength are mine.

Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His word in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed - Less Living by Tracie Miles.

Monday, April 22, 2013

And We Draw to Others With Jesus

God created us for fellowship, first with Him and then with others. His desire and intention have never been that we do this life alone.

There have certainly been times I have felt alone. Seasons I have walked through that were more lonely than others. Times I was required to pull away from distractions and even relationships to get alone with Him. This, too, was for my good.

But other times I need people, lots of people. WE need people. We need an encouraging word from a friend. A prayer from a leader. A cheer and a "you can do it!" from a mentor. Advice or correction from an accountability partner. A phone call from a sister. A hug. A lunch date. An unexpected gift. A letter in the mail. All these can come at just the right time to lift our spirits and encourage our hearts.

But just as we need others, they need us, too.

In times of brokenness, we can offer our Savior and remind someone that Jesus comforts those who mourn and He heals the brokenhearted (Matt. 5:4, Ps. 147:3). In one of my favorite books, "Strong Women, Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehart, Paula says, "We don't mend each other's brokenness, we admit our needs and let that draw us to each other and to God."

We draw others to Jesus, and we draw to others with Jesus.

We need God.
We need people.
And people need us.

Sometimes we just need to listen.
Sometimes we just need to say, "I'm so sorry you're hurting."
Sometimes a hug can be the medicine God uses to ease the pain.

Yes, you and I…we are healing agents on earth...sent by the Great Physician to offer Jesus to the world. We can look toward heaven and extend our hands and our hearts to those around us.

We must not and we cannot do this life alone. 

We need God.
We need people.
And people need us.

In times of trouble and uncertainty our humanity leaks weakness. What strength we have often fails in the face of adversity and crumbles at the sting of heartbreak. But when we find it hard to stand, Jesus holds. He holds and he uses the arms of people - my arms and your arms - to love and embrace and support. He uses our words and our smiles and our time.

We draw others to Jesus, and we draw to others with Jesus.

Encourage someone today. Be a friend. Give yourself. Share Jesus. Listen. Offer hope. Love big.
You never know what the person next to you is going through or what they have to go home to or what their lives may hold for them tomorrow.

Go. And take Jesus to the world.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And He Saved Them

My heart is heavy for so many families tonight. All week tragedy has filled my news feed and blasted from my television. I lay down in surrender, trusting that whatever happens around me, Jesus remains the same. In tragedy and loss, in heartache and sadness, in brokenness and grief, He offers comfort and peace the world cannot give.

When circumstances threaten to squeeze and strangle and take the very breath that fills our lungs, Jesus breathes life and gifts grace to trust Him even still.

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble (anxiety, bad news, danger, difficulty, concern, dilemma, grief, heartache, pain, sorrow, stress), and he saved (defended, freed, guarded, healed, protected, released, rescued, safeguarded) them from their distress (ache, affliction, anguish, anxiety, concern, disappointment, sadness, sorrow, suffering, worry)." Psalm 107:19

Though our hearts ache, the peace He promises is real. It doesn't make sense and I can't touch it with my fingers but my faith confirms its existence. As uncertainty abounds in this unstable, ever-changing world we live in we must remind ourselves our hope is not found here. Eternity rests in the very depths of our souls and we know this world is not our final destination.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Joining with Melissa Taylor and a community of women as we seek God and His word in our current Online Bible Study: Stressed - Less Living by Tracie Miles.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scriptures - Peace

Some scriptures from our current Online Bible Study.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Letter From God

Our assignment yesterday for our OBS (Online Bible Study) with Melissa Taylor was to write a letter to ourselves from God using our scriptures from this week. It is perfect timing for me. My heart is overwhelmed at God's love for  me this morning. I am sharing my letter and praying that it will speak to you, as well. Please feel free to insert your name and read it as a letter to you from God.

Good morning, daughter.

Let me quiet your fears and anxious heart this morning for I truly am with you. Do not be intimidated or discouraged by any negative reports. Keep your confidence and hope in me for I am your God. I will give you strength and I will be your help. I will sustain you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. The battle has already been won. Because you have set me always before you, you shall not be moved. Because your eyes are on me, you can stand firm in this place. Give me your cares, Shelly. Lay your burdens at my feet, beautiful daughter. Release the weight of it. You were not meant to carry this. I hear your voice. I hear your cries and I will rescue you. I will deliver you from distress and trouble. My promises are certain and my Word is truth. Find rest today in me and do not be shaken. I am your God. I am Jehovah Shalom, your peace. I am Jehovah-Nissi, your banner. I am Jehovah Rapha, your healer. I am Jehovah-Shammah, I am present. I am El-Shaddai, sufficient for all your needs. I am Jehovah-Rohi, your shepherd. 

I AM. 

Rest in me.


(Psalm 16:8, Psalm 55:22, 2 Samuel 22:7, Psalm 34:17, Isaiah 41:10)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Great I Am

When the laundry room spills over into the dining room and the dining room spills over into the living room and the living room runs out of room.

When schedules are stretched and pressure builds and test results knock the breath out of us.

When my heart is overwhelmed and God feels distant.

When scriptures on grace and provision read like a fairytale.

It's in these times circumstances tempt me to forget who God is.

But I remember the story of Elisha's servant in 2 Kings. He trembled when he saw the Syrian army and all its chariots and horses surrounding them. He feared for his life and his strength failed at the sight of the enemy. But Elisha prayed for his servant, "O Lord, open his eyes that he may see."

"As the servant's spiritual eyes were opened, he saw God's resources far outweighed that of his enemy... When our eyes are focused on the enemy, we miss God's provision. When fear rules our thoughts and emotions, it is difficult to see and believe in faith all that God can do."

Sometimes we just need to open our spiritual eyes and see what God has already done. His army is already in place. The victory is already secured.

When we open our Bibles, we can know this truth.

He speaks to us in Isaiah, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT

  • Do not be AFRAID (scared, fearful, frightened, terrified, alarmed, anxious, panicky, faint-hearted, cowardly, apprehensive).
  • Do not be DISCOURAGED (dispirited, dismayed, depressed, have your hopes dashed, have your spirits dampened, have your confidence destroyed, intimidated).
    • El Shaddai - Lord God, Almighty
    • Yahweh - Lord, Jehovah
    • Jehovah Nissi - The Lord My Banner
    • Jehovah-Raah - The Lord My Shepherd
    • Jehovah-Shamman - The Lord is There
    • Jehovah Jireh - The Lord Will Provide
    • Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is Peace
    • (Read here for more names of God)
  • I will STRENGTHEN  (make stronger, give strength to, reinforce, fortify, build up, support, sustain, restore, enhance, improve) YOU.
  • I will HELP (aid, assist, support, uphold, side with, champion, back, advance, encourage, advocate, take the part of, maintain, intercede for, stick up for, go to bat for, guide, save, rescue, snatch from danger) YOU.
When I turn my face to my Father, my heart remembers HE IS GOD.

His Word breathes life into us.

To know His Word is to know Him.

When we study His Word our eyes are opened.

And just like Elisha's servant, we can see.

We can know that He who is with us is far greater than those who are against us (1 John 4:4, 2 Kings 6:16).

Anxiety, stress, and fear have to leave.

We can know and have peace and assurance and rest.

Whatever you need today. God is.

Open your bible and see with your spiritual eyes.

Our victory has already been secured.

Linking today with Melissa Taylor and 6000+ women all over the world as we seek God's word in the Stressed-Less Living (by Tracie Miles) Online Bible Study. We would LOVE for you to join us!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sometimes Life Can Be Overwhelming


Some days are harder than others. 

Sometimes life can be overwhelming.

I find comfort and refreshing in quiet times with my Savior.

"Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation."
Psalm 62:1

Are you overwhelmed, stressed, or without peace? Do you desire to surrender all to Jesus and accept His peace and joy even in the middle of the craziness of life? Join me and thousands of other women on Melissa Taylor's blog for a Bible study and reading of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Starts April 7th. Click here to visit Melissa's blog and get signed up today :)