The rain is falling outside and it feels as though it is permeating through my veins and swallowing me up in its relentless pouring. It reminds me of fear, worry, and doubt that takes hold and refuses to listen to reason until you are drowning in it and swept away trying desperately to claw your way back to peace. Satan will use any tool necessary to tear you apart from the love of the Holy Father.
As the days blur into weeks and the weeks into months, you will continue to drown in the self doubting and fears until you cry out to the Father. He will rescue you straight from the pit that is swimming inside of you and swallowing you whole. He cannot help you until you ask. He cannot make you come to Him. You must reach out and cry to Him for He is the only One who can save you from the pain that has come over you.
My Father is my strength. When the world around me feels as though it is caving in and I am suffocating with doubt, fear, pain, or worry, He is the only One that hears me without my saying a word. He offers me His Words right in front of me in black and white – I need only to read them. He offers me the words to say to others rather than using my own. He hugs me when I don’t even recognize it. He picks me up off my knees when I can’t stand up on my own and my legs are buckling beneath me. He offers me the power in my soul to stand alone if I need to in His name. He carries me in His arms when I feel like my feet will no longer carry me. He wipes away every single tear that I need to cry and replaces it with hope and a reminder that I am His daughter and I matter. I MATTER. Satan would love for all of us to believe that we are just a no one in this world that has no power and makes no difference. But Jesus was only one – and He made all the difference. He gave us life. He gave us the only life that matters – eternal life. He let His body be ripped, torn, and He bled until He died while hanging on some old boards with rusty nails pulling His hands and feet down. He did it for all of us – for ME.
So while the rain falls and my Spirit threatens to fall with it, I will remember His love. I will feel His power and take back from Satan what he threatens to take from me which is my peace and my strength. I will raise my hands to Him and focus on His eyes that are forever on me watching, listening, and loving. I will hold on to all of His promises and live for the day that He takes me home where there is no more pain, no more anger, no more judgments, no more fear, no more worry, no more sin.
Fall into His hands and let Him lead the way. Don’t wake up for even one day not reminding yourself of the grace He gives us to always start fresh. As the rain pours, let it wash you clean with only His love in your mind and soul. He wants all of you – every broken and twisted part you have because He can make you whole. What an amazing love He has for me, and I pray that I quit taking it for granted and do more for Him and for others.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
There are people in this world who will try to drag you down, remind you of why you’re not good enough, and bring you to your knees in pain. We wonder why. We question ourselves. We look in the mirror and find every fault they have pointed out multiplied a hundred times over. Believers are just as guilty as the non-believers. In fact, the guilt should go deeper if you have given your life to Jesus, for your responsibility to others should be greater.
Why do we do things like this to one another? Is it our own inner insecurities that make it so hard to just love, encourage, and support one another? What makes one person not get along with another? I have pondered these questions over and over in the last several years. I don’t understand why people like to hurt each other or not get along – especially in our churches. We are to be yoked to Christ, behaving like Him, loving as He does. He has forgiven the worst of offenses, eaten with the poor, saved the criminal, loved the homeless, the drug addicts… why can’t we do the same? We are certainly not any better than any of them. We, as believers, should hold ourselves to a higher standard to forgive more easily, love more readily, and serve without question.
We get our feelings hurt and decide to punish by withholding forgiveness. We get angry so we hold grudges. We feel insecure so we gossip. How much sense does any of this make? At the end of the day, you have withheld the love you could have shared, the example you could have been, and most of all, you have disappointed the One who gave you the life you are living and everything in it. And for what? A few moments of personal gratification that is sinful?
Regardless of what everyone else is doing, regardless of your selfish human feelings, regardless of what the world teaches, be the first one to make a move and break the mold. Be the first one to show that Christ is in charge of your life and not you. Be the first to stand up and say, “I forgive you.” Be the first to stand up and say, “I’m sorry”. Be the first to say, “I love you. I cherish you. I support you.” Be the first to pray for the homeless man on the corner instead of trash talking him as you pass by him about how he needs to get a job. Do you know his story anymore than he knows yours?
Be the first to reach out to the quiet person who you assume is a snob or thinks she is better. Do you know what is in her heart anymore than she knows what is in yours? Be the first to speak to the elderly or serve them. Can you just imagine what stories they could share with you from the life they have lived? They look in the mirror and see the child, the teen, the twenty-something, the forty-something… they once were. They look in the mirror with wiser eyes, matured heart, and full of lessons learned. Oh what they could share with us about how to live!
Step out of your comfort zone. Step out on faith. Jesus has never left you and He never will. Every step you take He is right beside you holding your hand with more love than we could ever feel from one another. He will guide you in loving, encouraging, and serving others for it is all for His glory. So go ahead. Be the first!
We’ve all been there…. that moment in a crowded room where all you feel is lonely. You stare at the faces around you and want to run because you know that everyone must see how much turmoil in is your eyes and in your life. Their lives must be so much more perfect than yours. You smile and hide what you are really feeling for fear of feeling ashamed, rejected, or bringing others down with your problems. You walk around in complete loneliness with the fake smile, holding in all of the feelings of whatever you are dealing with in your life that is weighing you down. Why are we so afraid of each other? Have we become so good at covering up our feelings and going through the motions of the days that no one really sees each other’s hearts or struggles? Or is that we don’t WANT to see each other’s problems because we don’t want to take the time to be there for one another with a listening ear, a hug, a supportive hug or words of encouragement because we are too wrapped up in our own problems?
If you are suffering and are feeling incredibly lonely in a world of people who don’t seem to care, there is One who will never leave you alone. Jesus is with you when you are in the pit and no one else is there. When I begin to feel like I’m alone, or misunderstood, I think of the Apostle Paul. He sat time after time in a prison all alone. There is no other way to explain the love and compassion and determination he exhibited by writing about Jesus and what kind of people we are to be while sitting in a dark, dingy jail cell other than to say that Jesus was with him. He was alive in his heart and breathing words of love into his heart with promises and love that is greater than all of us. He was ALIVE in Paul. Just as He is to be alive in US. He breathed life into us and created us in His image. There is no way we will ever be alone. At times we may feel lonely, but God promised He would never leave us alone. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
With Jesus living within us, we should always remember to turn to our loving Father for peace and reassurance. We should not be afraid of each other and of sharing our troubles with one another. It doesn’t matter how shameful, how embarrassing, how degrading or even silly it may seem. God put us on this earth for each other. He recognized that two were better than one. So why do we avoid getting too close? Because we all feel we have a story or a secret that may just be too much for anyone to handle or we think that no one really cares about what pain we are feeling because they’ve heard it already. Nonsense! We are God’s people who are called to live a life of humility, forgiveness, and love. We are to count on each other in good times and bad. We should not only celebrate with one another, but grieve with one another as well. These are the things that make our relationships through Him more special and cherished than others. One of the best examples of a friendship that is possible for all of us was shown to us by Ruth. “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.” Ruth 1:16-18
Wake up everyday and know that you are never alone. Don’t be afraid of one another. Reach out for prayers, love, or a helping hand. None of us live perfect lives with no problems; therefore, we all need each other. Let down your barriers and let others love you and be there for you; at the same time, do that for others. What a blessing we can all be to one another and imagine how much more we will feel Jesus’s love for us through our friendships. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
Aside Posted on
Have you ever just had the feeling that you must have some giant sign on your forehead that says “beat me down some more” or that dreaded sign every kid hated in school on your back that says “kick me”? Yeah… that’s me right now. Now don’t read this and think, “oh what a pity party she is having!” Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are just some things in life that you come to a point where you just have to let go of things that you know you cannot change or have control over whether it be feelings, monetary things, circumstances, or other people. So where does that leave you? It leaves you as a stronger person. It makes you an incredible follower of God’s promises and the faith of a believer who is confident that what God has promised – He will deliver.
Now saying that is the easy part. Letting go is the hardest part of all when every human instinct tells you to hold on to that sadness, that grudge, that loneliness, that urge to lash out in all the wrong ways. For sure this is one of the most difficult things we have to do in this life. But no one knows who you really are on the inside except for our God. No one knows the long hours that the night holds or the struggles behind closed doors. No one knows the deepest longings in your heart to give to others what you don’t have yourself. Yes… letting go is hard. But it can be done.
God didn’t make His promises and then abandon us. He is working inways we can’t see. He is loving us all the while we are feeling unloved. We have to let go in order to SEE. We have to let go in order to FEEL. We have to let go and TRUST that though there are so many things we want to share and want others to understand, they never will. Why? Because it’s not their life. And that’s okay. Everybody has a story and many of those stories we will never hear. I find it quite a shame, actually. As people of God, we are called to share with one another and to lay out our burdens before God. We are to love each other as brothers and sisters and pray as a family for each other. I have some brothers and sisters in Christ whom I believe are doing just that for me. I know they will stand beside me with thanksgiving and praise our almighty God with all of their might for the blessings and yes – all the hurts of this life.
Letting go of some things (and feelings) in my life are a daily struggle. I don’t see it being magically gone with no more worries or heartache. But what I do see is my God easing it day by day because though others may come and go, He will never leave me.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Have you ever been in that pit of loneliness, self doubt, or guilt knowing you’ve done things you regret, things you are ashamed of, or have found yourself being distant from God? If you are honest, the answer is yes. We all go through life just going throughthe motions some days and ignore the fact that we are not supposed to be living for ourselves. We are only here because God put us here. Sometimes, the realization that we have ignored God hits us like a ton of bricks when we find ourselves in a desperate situation or at a low moment in our lives. We look around, feeling alone, and the loneliness engulfs us as we are fighting back the realization that we have kept God out of our lives until this very moment when we want Him to come and rescue us out of the pit we have dug ourselves into. We must open our hearts in true honesty – humbling ourselves before God and acknowledging the truth: that we went about life as though we didn’t need God and could handle things on our own. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
All around you are people just like you who are Christians and are struggling and trying to balance Christianity with life rather than just realizing that you can’t be a Christian and live “worldly”. We must cry out to God and ask for His guidance in everything – not just when we are in trouble. Living for Him requires wearing His armor at all times because that one moment, no matter how brief, that you don’t put it on, is the one moment sin will creep right in and fester. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) We are weak beings without Him. We have no strength on our own and become so vulnerable to others around us and the opening to sin wherever we go.
God alone can lift you up and restore your soul, your faith, your trust. He alone can bring you to joy again when you feel there is no joy left to be found. You must be humble. You must show your broken spirit to God and your hurting heart. Open it with all humility, accepting whatever lesson He may have for you to restore you to who He means for you to be in this life. Let Him envelop you, love you, wrap His forgiving arms around you and embrace the lesson He is teaching you. Even Jesus had to humble himself for the ultimate sacrifice. So why should we find it so hard to be humble if Jesus could do what He did for us? “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
I have felt compelled to open my heart and continue to share the many thoughts, ideas, frustrations, blessings, etc. that roll through my mind on a daily basis. We are at a crossroads in our life that has brought us to His complete mercy. I awaken every day to wonder what my purpose is and why I am here. I know that God has a purpose for me. I know that it is by no accident or coincidence that I have lived this life and am still here to do so. But there are always those nagging thoughts of “am I doing enough?” “Am I doing what He wants me to do?” “Did I miss something He has tried to tell me or direct me to?”
Rarely do I find the answer to these questions because God knows and sees everything. He sees when my neighbor goes through a bad day and just needs a friendly face, and I happen to be the one that walks out my door as just the right time for a friendly “hello” and “how was your day?” It is no coincidence. He sees when the lady in the grocery store is struggling to reach something with her bald head under a cap, the signs of chemo and strain in her face, and a man comes along with a helping hand and strikes up a conversation to relieve her burden for a brief moment by allowing her to share. It is no coincidence. He rises the sun, forms the clouds, blows the wind through the trees, creates our babies and allows us to hear their precious giggles or unending curiosity. He breathes life into every facet of the world, every ethnicity, every single glowing soul that needs only to be opened and touched by Him to live forever with Him. Indeed, it is no coincidence.
When I meet the day with these thoughts of my current purpose, I have to dig deep and push my worldly thoughts aside. There will always by the naysayers who have their ideas of what your present and even your future should look like and be, but God is the only One Who knows what my days hold. As I look for strength to meet the day with courage and enthusiasm and patiently wait for my God to give me instruction on what move to make next, I am lambasted with a startling reality that was sitting in front of me all along. God doesn’t want me to sit around and wait. He wants me to live in the present and give glory to Him, serve Him, and serve others in whatever way I can in that moment. I don’t have to wait for God to tell me to speak to my neighbor, help the lady in the grocery store, or love my children. He has given me these duties and purposes as a Christian living in Him and has given me His love to share. I need only pick up my Bible and the words are waiting there for me:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14
As you begin your day looking ahead and doing your daily planning, remember to open God’s word and see what His plans are for you. Remember as I will that He sees all, knows all, loves all… and there are no coincidences.
Somewhere in the world, another child of God is giving in to greed, substance abuse, jealousy, rage, or some other life altering sin that leads them to commit crimes that land them in a prison. Each one of us started out as a baby, an innocent child with a clean slate. We were all children that had open minds and hearts being molded by what was around us and by the daily choices we made or that were made for us by our parents. What happened in their lives that led them down this path? I can’t believe that they woke up one day and decided to just be bad people, though I know that there are some that did just that for whatever reason. Could someone have stepped in and steered them away from these choices? Did someone share God with them and show them He is real by living by example?
If you ever visit one of our states’ prison websites and view the names and ages of some of the people incarcerated, it should break your heart. Yes, these people are in prison because they are receiving the punishment given to them for the crime committed. I do not argue whether they belong there or not. I peruse the names and think of all the families that are suffering for that one person’s mistake. I grieve for those families – the victim’s and the family of the one who committed the crime. None of them asked for this to happen in their lives, but yet they are all suffering. Name after name is listed. Some are so young and should be just now discovering who they are and what they want to do with their lives, but yet they are behind bars and many will never walk outside the walls of a prison again. Yes, it grieves me that sin took hold of these people. I cannot even begin to fathom being locked away myself or having one of my children locked away.
Though I know that each of these people had choices and knew there were consequences, I grieve for the loss of what could have been for them. IF ONLY they had listened to their Moms, IF ONLY they had turned their backs instead of pulling the trigger, IF ONLY they had chosen not to drink that night, IF ONLY…. IF ONLY….. Don’t we all live with the IF ONLYs? I praise God above that He is forgiving and that all of us – good or bad, criminal or not, have a chance to be broken and brought back to God where we all started out as babies. God help these people who are sitting in our prisons with lost souls. And God help those who can change their IF ONLYs now and avoid a life behind those walls.
I will do my part. I will pray for these people and for those who are making mistakes right now or are about to…. God help them hear You and run towards your voice – away from a destroyed life.