Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, brokenness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Becoming Fearless: Brokenness Leads to Living Fearlessly

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.



My earliest memory of fear occurred when I was a child of six. On a warm summer evening, my family went to the home of some good friends of my parents for dinner. All my brother and I cared about was that they had kids close to our age – two boys. (It seems none of my parent’s friends had girls, but that’s another story!)

While the adults chatted after the meal, we children happily played outside on the swing-set laughing, yelling, and probably arguing. Suddenly, I felt something stinging my face; the pain was immediate and intense. Jumping off the swing, I ran screaming to my mother, who soothed me and quickly assessed I had at least two bee stings on my face. Her friend made a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings while I rested on mom’s lap.

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

Becoming Fearful

Within several moments I was ready to return playing with our friends, but no words came out when I opened my mouth to speak. I tried once again but to no avail. Panicked, I got mom’s attention and she realized my body was swelling. Things moved quickly from there.

Fear spread throughout the group as they were preparing to take me to the hospital. Fortunately for me, mom had recently read an article regarding deadly allergic reactions some people had to bees and that a new desensitization process was being offered by the medical community. That article saved my life.

Needless to say, despite several years of shots to alleviate my reaction to bees, I spent decades being deeply afraid of them. I’m blessed to say I’ve raised perennial flower beds for 15 years now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, NKJV

Rejection

In high school, I wanted to be popular…translated – liked/loved. As a result, I became a cheerleader, joined clubs, became editor of the newspaper, etc. Guess what? There were still people who didn’t like me. Shocker, I know.

For reasons unknown, I can recall one particularly vicious phone call I received from a popular girl about something I didn’t do, but she thought I did. Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:7-8, NKJV

Paralyzed

When I was a young mother with a baby, my husband worked a swing shift. I didn’t like staying alone on the nights he had to work, but I spent most evenings at my parents’ until it was time to take my son home and put him to bed. But then one night while we all were out, our home was burglarized. My husband and I felt violated.

After that, fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. It’s embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. (He and his wife were very gracious!) This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans should someone break-in. It was difficult.

Delivered

During this time, I was working with first graders in Sunday School. One week we made a prayer wheel out of paper plates. For every need on one side of the wheel, there were Bible verses on the other side that applied to the need. “Coincidentally,” my husband worked nights that week, which I dreaded with a vengeance.

In desperation, one night I pulled that children’s prayer wheel out and turned it to fear, looking up each verse. I told God I was so weary of living this way, and I knew that He didn’t want me to anymore. (He does say, “Fear not” 365 times in His Word!) From that night forward, the paralyzing fear left me. Has it attempted to return? Sure, but God has delivered me from the stronghold of fear each time.

I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? […] But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand…

Isaiah 51:12-16a, NKJV

Becoming Fearless

I believe we all battle with fear in one form or another. Otherwise, why did God mention it so often? Sometimes I wonder if our fear isn’t used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because only out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn’t that what we really want – to become fearless? Even Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for this in him in Ephesians 6:16-20.

Louie Giglio said in a sermon at 2012 Passion, “Minimize your fears by maximizing your one fear and realizing this: I’m already chained to Jesus Christ. The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Amen!

Sometimes fear is used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn't that what we really want – to become fearless? Click To Tweet

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

unsplash-logoJason Blackeye
Broken, brokenness, heart, love, restored, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Shattered: Picking Up The Pieces Of A Broken Heart

We will all, unfortunately, experience a shattered heart. People will hurt and disappoint us, but Jesus will always treat us will care. We must learn to trust in His faithful love.



The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

Odds are, we all, at one point or another, have fallen in love. For me, my first love was when I was 16 years old. I was a sophomore in high school. I entered into a new school with new friends and was lucky enough to be picked to be on the JV Cheerleading squad. Everything was going for me. My past had been full of ups and downs, but now, as a sophomore, things were taking a turn for the better. Then I met… him.

We will all experience a shattered heart. People will hurt us, but Jesus will always treat us will care. We must learn to trust in His faithful love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #broken #BrokenHeart #love #trust

Butterflies and Love Letters

Listen! My love is approaching.
Look! Here he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My love is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
See, he is standing behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
My love calls to me:

Arise my darling. Come away, my beautiful one.

Song of Songs 2:8-10, CSB

He was popular, with good morals, and full of charm. Everyone liked him, and yet, he had his eyes on me. I didn’t understand why, but I enjoyed the attention. This is the stage in every relationship, at least in my generation, where love notes were written all the time. Back and forth we would express our feelings of what felt like love towards each other. I remember thinking, So this is what butterflies feel like when you love someone for the first time. I had never experienced anything like it.

For a 16-year-old, these feelings were all new and very exciting. I felt like I could do anything with him by my side. We attended church together, had nicknames, picked out our very own song, gave each other promise rings, and even managed to stay together when I moved away because of my Dad’s job. When life was hard, we had each other. When life was good, he was always the reason. Then one unexpected day, my whole world shattered. I found a note…

Shattered and Left Lonely

He attended a private school and was there while I was on break. I found myself over at his house often trying to help in any way I could, since his mom was single and working with much on her plate. While cleaning his room, I found a note on the floor with his handwriting. I picked up the letter thinking he had written it and just not given it to me yet.

After the first few lines, I knew that was not the case. I continued reading and noticed that he was talking to his friend in class about a girl he found attractive at his school. He expressed his interest in her and how he wasn’t sure what to do since he was still dating me. My heart pounded within my chest and the knot in my throat grew enormously in size.

Any girl that’s experienced a shattered heart, unfortunately, knows this feeling all too well. It’s a gut-wrenching, empty feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won’t go away. In that moment, my emotions were all over the place. Fear of the unknown, deep sadness, feeling I had just been replaced. And anger for putting so much trust in someone so young. I was left standing in his room all alone, brokenhearted, as I waited for him to come home from school. The clock ticked and tocked as I sat there counting the minutes of the inevitable breakup I never saw coming just two hours prior.

A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a sad heart produces a broken spirit.

Proverbs 15:13, CSB

Blessed and Learning Love

Obviously, the conversation that took place upon his arrival home didn’t go so well. He admitted he had feelings for someone else and that was basically the end of our relationship. It took WAY longer than I’d care to admit to get over that heartbreak. But in time, I finally learned how to move on.

Some of the hardest battles we fight are for love. We will fight hard for someone when we see that they have all the qualities we are looking for. We never forget our High School first loves and will remember those relationships for the rest of our lives. They draw out of us our deep longing for intimacy and connection for another. What I know now, and didn’t realize then, is that this desire for intimacy was meant for my Savior, Jesus Christ and no one else.

I am not saying that we can’t fall in love with people, because clearly we can and I have. However, the deep intimacy I gave my first love is meant for Christ alone. Falling in love with Jesus and making Him our first love has its advantages. This allows us to not place expectations on any other human we fall in love with, because they can not give us what Jesus can; which is an uncompromising, incomparable, everlasting, unconditional, eternal love.

Jesus never breaks my heart. Jesus never hurts my feelings. Jesus never replaces me for someone more desirable. Jesus ALWAYS chooses me. Knowing this truth has helped me learn how to love others and forgive them when they happen to break my heart.

May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

2 Thessalonians 3:5, CSB

Prayer For The Broken Hearted

Father, I need your love daily. Remind me that even when people break my heart and leave it shattered in pieces on the floor, you are there to faithfully pick them up and put them back together again. When I think my world is falling apart, give me eyes to see it’s falling into place. Lead my heart to follow you so I don’t fall into the trap of following it. My heart is evil Lord, this I know. Restore it and teach it to love like you. Mend it and use it for your glory and your goodness, God. In my Beloved Savior’s name, I pray. Amen

Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my instruction: do not fear disgrace by men, and do not be shattered by their taunts.

Isaiah 51:7, CSB
Falling in love with Jesus keeps us from placing expectations on other humans we fall in love with. They can not give us what Jesus can… An uncompromising, incomparable, everlasting, unconditional, eternal love. Click To Tweet

We will all experience a shattered heart. People will hurt us, but Jesus will always treat us will care. We must learn to trust in His faithful love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #broken #BrokenHeart #love #trust

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
brokenness, broken, beautiful, beauty, redemption, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Beauty: Allowing the Lord to Restore Our Brokenness

When we allow the Lord to restore the brokenness in our hearts, He makes us into something beautiful. Indeed, He makes all things beautiful in His time. Beauty for ashes. 



A few weeks ago I attended a friend’s beautiful birthday celebration. But this was no ordinary birthday party! It was a Girl’s Day (and night) of epic proportion. I’m talking lunch, coffee, pedicures, shopping, cocktails, and a gourmet dinner. It was truly a fairy tale kind of afternoon.

But like any beautiful fairy tale, brokenness emerged as part of the story. At one point, we were all sitting around a table on a warm, breezy veranda. That’s when the birthday girl suggested we play a get-to-know-you trivia game. 

When we allow the Lord to restore the brokenness in our hearts, He makes us into something beautiful. Indeed, He creates beauty in His time. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #brokenness #redeemed #beautiful

Bits of Brokenness…

As my friend read off the unique facts about each woman, we were to match the descriptor with each woman’s name. As she read the descriptions, bits of brokenness revealed themselves. One woman survived breast cancer. Another woman served in the military in Afghanistan. Someone else had just given birth three weeks ago. And another’s husband almost died twice last year….the incredible list went on! Given that I was new to the group, I had no idea which description matched which woman.

And as I looked around the table at all their beautiful faces, pretty clothes, and newly painted nails, I was still at a loss. Honestly, I found it hard to believe that this group–of such outwardly put together women–could have experienced such deep depths of brokenness. When my friend revealed the answers to the questions, I looked at each woman at the table. Each one was a testament to the amazing beauty that emerges when we allow the Lord to restore our brokenness.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

A Therapeutic Process…

A simple illustration of how the Lord has turned my brokenness into beauty is through the craft of jewelry making. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved making jewelry. As a little girl, I would sneak into my mom’s sewing kit, hunting for colorful embroidery floss. It took some doing to unwrap the threads from the pokey pincushions and other sewing supplies. But once I had my assortment of colors, I’d spend hours making elaborate macrame friendship bracelets.

Amid the emotional chaos of my parents’ unraveling relationship, the slow straightening, pulling, and knotting of the long strings became a therapeutic process. I remember feeling so satisfied when I’d finally finished a bracelet.

Slowly yet surely, I would transform the once tangled, stringy mess into a tightly fashioned pattern of beauty. And doesn’t this mirror how the Lord works in our hearts? Under His patient and steady hand, the once seemingly hopeless, jumbled mess of a broken heart is mended into a beautifully woven masterpiece.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted….

Isaiah 61:1

Castaways…

A few years ago, I found myself in need of some jewelry therapy once again! My husband and I were in the middle of a financial wilderness season–which posed a problem for someone whose love language is gift giving! I simply couldn’t bear the thought of allowing a friend or family member’s birthday to pass without giving her a gift. Because I couldn’t afford to buy anything, I decided to make jewelry to give as presents.

The only problem was, the pretty new beads from the local bead store were pricey. But the Holy Spirit gave me an ingenious idea for how to get my hands on free jewelry supplies. I began asking friends and family to give me any old, broken, or castaway jewelry that they were willing to part with. Then, I’d take apart the old pieces and make them new jewelry from the supplies I received. Upcycling at its finest!

Their Trash, My Treasure…

It was only a matter of time before the floodgates of jewelry supplies opened. Soon, women were bringing me bags of broken or unwanted jewelry, and their trash truly became my treasure! Amid my fear and uncertainty about our family’s financial future, once again, I was able to find comfort in the simple physical process of making jewelry.

After putting my baby and toddler to bed, I’d sit for hours sorting through all the broken pieces, dismantling and organizing the beads, playing around with different color combinations, and exploring new designs. As I delved into that creative process, the Creator was sorting through the broken pieces of my heart–untangling knots from old wounds and refashioning me into His original design.

Broken to Beautiful…

Fast forward a few years, and the Holy Spirit began to show me how this creative process–of taking something broken and making it beautiful–has tremendous potential as a tool for ministry. That’s when the Lord gave me the idea to host guided jewelry making parties as a form of ladies’ fellowship. I presented the idea to my pastor’s wife, and our ladies’ Bible study group decided to host our first Broken to Beautiful event.

The evening was such a blessing! My pastor’s wife shared a powerful message about Christ’s restoration; we enjoyed a time of food and fellowship, and I shared my testimony of how the Lord has taken me on a journey from a place of brokenness to one of beauty.

That night, I shared with those ladies something that I know to be true: We are not beautiful despite being broken; rather, we are beautiful precisely because we have experienced brokenness. And when we allow the Lord to restore our broken parts, He puts us back together perfectly, making us even more beautiful than before. When that evening ended, two new souls were added to the kingdom, as two women handed their broken hearts over to the Lord. He is now making them beautiful.

We are not beautiful despite being broken. We are beautiful because we have experienced brokenness and allowed the Lord to restore our broken parts. Click To Tweet

Precious Jewels…

Before long, our ladies group began to take Broken to Beautiful events to the young women living in a nearby orphanage. The girls sort through the broken, dismantled jewelry, choose their favorite beads, and create beautiful new pieces of jewelry. Through this hands-on activity, they experience a physical picture of the spiritual process that the Lord wants to do in each of our hearts.

He sees their broken hearts. Not as accidents or mistakes to be discarded and thrown away. But as precious jewels, full of splendor and worthy of honor in His kingdom. Each time we finish an event with these young ladies, their countenances change–from dark and sullen to light and hopeful. And their bracelets serve as a powerful outward reminder of the inner beauty and worth that they possess.

Oh Lord Help Us…

Recently, the Director of Oh Lord Help Us, Rachael, invited me to begin holding Broken to Beautiful events in our community. We hosted our first one last week and plan to host many more. We’re inviting women to bring their old, broken, and castaway jewelry to the events, and they will leave with a beautiful new piece that they have created.

Pieces from their broken jewelry will eventually show up in the new designs created by women at future gatherings. Their beads could also be incorporated into beautiful pieces created by the young ladies in our Hope + Vine artisans program.

So, Beloved, our brokenness becomes our beauty. Literally and spiritually. Because we are women who serve a God who gives us beauty for ashes. A God who truly makes all things beautiful in His time. 

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

How has the Lord turned your brokenness into beauty? Would you like to host or attend a Broken to Beautiful event? If so, contact us: events@ohlordhelp.us

When we allow the Lord to restore the brokenness in our hearts, He makes us into something beautiful. Indeed, He creates beauty in His time. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #brokenness #redeemed #beautiful

Debby Hudson

All scripture references from The King James Version of The Bible

altars, past, present, promise, brokenness, sin, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Altars: Readying Our Hearts for New Transformation

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past, that we miss how He is showing up in the present. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new transformation.



It seems to me that we often, almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some other good. Do you know what I mean? On every level of our life…we are always harking back to some occasion which seemed to us to reach perfection, setting that up as a norm, and depreciating all other occasions by comparison.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

When those words crossed my vision path I was staggered to a halt. Like Sleeping Beauty’s finger, my spirit was instantly pricked with sharp conviction, prohibiting me from continuing on to the next paragraph. How often I have gazed longingly back to previous seasons of my life, whether spiritually or otherwise, and viewed those times as perfection.

I wonder, now, how much I have missed in all my present moments while I stood gazing backward at the altars I had erected.

But these other occasions, I now suspect, are often full of their own new blessing, if only we would lay ourselves open to it. God shows us a new facet of the glory, and we refuse to look at it because we’re still looking for the old one.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new and present transformation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #altars #past #present #promise #brokenness #sin #devotional #scripture

Old Testament Altars

Altars are scattered throughout the Old Testament. God instructed Noah to build the first altar in Genesis 8:20. He later instructed Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many others to build altars). They are mentioned often in the New Testament, as well, (Matthew 5:23-24; Acts 17:24-25; Hebrews 13:10; Revelation 6:9-11, 16:7). Sacrifices were involved in the Old Testament. The ultimate Sacrifice had come in the New Testament.

Thomas W. Davis wrote in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: “Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted.” I personally identify with how former Pentecostal Pastor and songwriter Jack Hayford said it:

Altars represent the occasion and place where we have had a personal encounter with God.

Past Encounters

I imagine that many of you can envision times in your past, even the recent past, when you have had beautiful encounters with God. The presence of His Spirit was more real than the person sitting next to you or in the next room. Jesus felt closer than your best friend.

My husband and I have been mightily blessed in our lives to be involved with a few spiritually rich churches. While different, each was graced with Biblical pastors and anointed worship leaders. Each offered altar moments for us – beautiful, corporate encounters with God…which helped increase intimate, individual altar moments. Those were amazing grace gifts from our Father.

Everyone knows we can’t live on the mountaintop, don’t we?? But…isn’t it pretty up there? Isn’t it a gorgeous view?! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to stay on that high peak forever?

For us, life changed; sometimes sin invaded, (as it usually does, since we humans are prone to let our guard down,) and the mountaintops crumbled. A church split, a pastor caught up in sin, a move, whatever the circumstance that created the change, Gary and I found ourselves gazing back at our altar moments rather than looking ahead expectantly to new encounters God had in store for us in the present. In essence, we had taken our altar moments, our powerful, grace-filled encounters with God and demanded an encore!

Repeat Appearance

That, my friend, is a travesty, in the least, and sin at most.

And the joke, or tragedy, of it all is that these golden moments in the past, which are so tormenting if we erect them into a norm, are entirely nourishing, wholesome and enchanting if we are content to accept them for what they area, for memories. Properly bedded down in a past which we do not miserably try to conjure back, they will send up exquisite growths.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

Altars appear throughout scripture for different reasons – a place of encounter being one. The most common altar built was the altar of incense, the holy place where the priests offered worship to God on behalf of the people and themselves. Even the pagans used an altar to worship their false gods.

We can stumble into error when we take a gift of God, such as an altar moment, a time of a holy encounter with the Lord, and attempt to turn it into a precedent or demand for God. We can become like the prophets of Baal in I Kings 18:20-40, when they attempted to dance furiously around their altar, demanding Baal to perform, attempting to prove that he was more powerful than Almighty God.

Our attempts to stay in the past, clinging to old altars, are perhaps out of fear that our Father won’t show up again. Fear that despite His power and nearness in that moment, He won’t love me enough to do a repeat appearance.

Our attempts to stay in the past, clinging to old altars, are perhaps out of fear that our Father won’t show up again. It's sometimes easier to look back at what God did then than to allow Him to work in us today. Click To Tweet

Price of Altars

However, my sisters, it could also be our fear of the price that altars have. It’s sometimes easier to look back at what God did then than to allow Him to work in us today. As Jack Hayford stated:

God intends that something be ‘altered’ in us when we come to altars. To receive the promise means we make way for the transformation.

In Genesis 22, Abraham was required to offer his only son to God on an altar – a test of Abraham’s faith. Was God truly His provider? Indeed, He was.  

After Jacob encountered God in a dream in Genesis 28, he built an altar. Jacob was so overwhelmed by God’s promise to him that he vowed to God a tenth of everything He gave to him.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24:

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

And there is the beauty…no shame, no guilt…just go and reconcile, repent, then return to the altar and worship. We can bring our brokenness to the altar; His arms are open wide.

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new and present transformation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #altars #past #present #promise #brokenness #sin #devotional #scripture

Olena Sergienko

brokenness, darkness, intercession, isolation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Isolation: A Letter of Intercession to the Broken and Alone

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken.  



There have been a few seasons in my life that have pulled me toward darkness. Darkness is an isolating place to hide. It can shield us from the truth. There were times I was pulled and other times I stumbled into the shadows. I lost my way to the light on the hill. I lost my way to the little lights shining in my loved ones’ hearts. But they always left the light on for me; God left the light on for me…

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #isolation #alone #pain #darkness #support

Pain on Canvas

Art school was my first glimpse of how fast the world can drag someone to such darkness. This was the height of my battle with self-harm. And it’s no coincidence, this was the height (or the depths) of my lack of confidence. See, this culture taught that great art comes from great pain. So pain I bred, and pain I endured. I concocted it, fed it, let it flow through my veins, and poured it all over canvas.

I’ve never been surrounded by so many people yet felt so very alone. That’s dangerous on an already heavy mind. There’s a despicable desire to retreat even further… Become thin enough to waste away. Make the dorm room dark enough to feel gone. Take late night walks in an unsafe place, trying to fade out of existence. Don’t answer the door or the phone… disappear.

Complete isolation. It’s dangerous.

Familiar Friend

Recently, I’ve been feeling the pull towards darkness, towards isolation. I’m not sure if it’s a bout of seasonal depression or a year-long strain on my mind. Whatever it is, I’ve had to fight so hard to stay away from my familiar friend. I’ve had to fight thoughts of wanting to run and fade away.

There’s a feeling that I know what to expect there, in the dark. I know who can hurt me, or more importantly who can’t hurt me there. I know I can shelter my heart from pain and keep my mind from having to work through normal human living…

Lies and Truth

But it’s all lies… what I know are lies. In the dark, Satan circles like a vulture. In the dark, he whispers, destroys, devours. He knows there’s weakness in seclusion. Absolute singleness… unsheltered, unsafe, exposed.

The truth is… it doesn’t matter who you are, there is at least one, The One, who cares whether you are safe. Who cares to leave the light on for you.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Romans 8:38, NLT

It’s okay to fall into the darkness, but Love please don’t stay there long. Allow those little lights to pull you to safety; allow the brightest light to pull you to safety. Safety forged by His blood. Safety promised through grace.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT

We must stand against isolation. We must let those who have walked the dark path before usher in our Champion. Let us, shoulder to shoulder, faces to the ground, intercede for our brothers' and sisters' souls. Click To Tweet

To You:

If you’ve lost your way… if you’ve stumbled your way into the dark…

Oh, Sweet Friend please allow me to nurture your heart for a moment…

Please be brave. Do not be alone. Do not sit in isolation. In isolation is a vulnerability that kills. Sometimes physically, but more dangerously, the soul, the heart, the mind deteriorate. The terrors Satan throws are murderers.

Beautiful Sister, you must stand against this… but not alone. We must stand together. Will you let us stand with you? Let us fight with you! Will you let those who have walked this path before, those who know it’s darkness, usher in your Champion? Let us, shoulder to shoulder, faces to the ground, intercede for you… for your soul. Because Love, wars are waging against your soul, not your body, YOUR SOUL.

Satan doesn’t care about your body, though it’s a nice perk when he gets it. He cares that you don’t belong to the only ONE who died to save you. He wants to steal that from you, one whisper at a time. Speak out, Beauty. Tell your sisters, your pastors, your prayer warriors… tell them and let them fight. Don’t allow the isolation of shame, heaviness, condemnation make you silent; make you alone.

Oh please don’t be alone. Let us remind you of the God who selflessly left His throne to destroy your condemnation. Remind you of the Father who pursues, pursues, and pursues again! He never stops. He breathed you into existence, you are not forgotten, you are not condemned.

And, oh Sweet Sister, you are so precious. Valuable. He will restore you; He has restored you. The holes, the mutilations, the breaks in your heart… He will return those, mended. Whole. You are not broken any longer. You are rescued. Redeemed.

Isolation Intercessors

You see, I had intercessors. I had twinkling lights on their knees every night for me (still do). People who didn’t know exactly what I was battling, but knew I wasn’t strong enough to fight for myself. And they fought, oh they fought.

Oh yeah, that’s great for you, Katie. Aren’t you so blessed? 

My Sweet, so are you. Do you know how many ladies we have praying for you? Yes, you! The Oh Lord Help Us Team is full of survivors of darkness. We know the importance of praying in the gap for those who don’t have the strength. Reach out to us. Let us know how we can intercede for you! Step out of the darkness.

Pain can tempt us into isolation. Being alone is not the answer to healing and protection. God calls us to stand in the gap for the broken. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #isolation #alone #pain #darkness #support

Annie Spratt

brokenness, chaos, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Peaceful: Looking to God for Our Source of Peace

God is our only source of peace. He desires us to be peaceful. But, when we ignore His direction and try to create our own peace we end up in chaos and confusion. 



Finding peace in my life was a long journey. Throughout my late teen and early adult years, I found myself in a constant fight for a peaceful life. For three years I was with a man who knew all the right things to say and do but only at a surface level.

On the outside, we were a great couple. Everyone thought we had it made. This could not have been farther from the truth. At the beginning of this relationship, I was passionate about my faith and my actions reflected my love for God. I was heavily involved in Church, I had a solid quiet time, and I had true joy.

God is our only source of peace. He desires for us to be peaceful. But, when we try to create our own peace we end up in chaos and confusion. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Future Peace?

As time progressed the relationship did not help me grow but instead I shrunk. Quiet time ceased, I was not as involved at Church, I was not living a Godly lifestyle. Do I blame him? At some level, yes. He isolated me, he kept me from pursuing my passions. He was abusive. While I blame him I mostly blame myself. I should have seen how toxic the relationship was, I should have fought for my faith, for my God. I should have let my peace come from God instead of letting a man control, isolate, and dictate my life. He is not a bad person. He is damaged, immature, and did not know how to love.

During the last year and a half of that relationship, peace was non-existent in my life. I knew that the relationship was not right, but I so desperately wanted marriage and children and because of that I took his ring. Feeling as though I was making a mistake I went forward and said yes to him. I thought that marriage and children would bring me the peaceful life I desired.

I finally came to the realization that to be peaceful we have to look above. When I came to this conclusion I knew what I had to do. I had to end the relationship. After the decision was made I felt an overwhelming peace come into my life. I have not once doubted that I made the right choice. The decision I made was from God and it gave me peace and rest. The peace I felt was so pure and so divine that for the first time in a long time I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Finding Peace Through God

There are so many things that can steal our peace, for me it was an abusive relationship; for you, it may be a draining friendship or an unfulfilling job. In our culture, tranquility is rare. We are constantly bombarded with news of wars and riots. Everywhere we turn things seem the opposite of peaceful. It is in the world around us and it affects each one of us on a regular basis.

We see the lack of peace and at times we feel a lack of calmness. Scripture is clear that our peace needs to come from Him. The world cannot give the peace He gives. Anytime we look to worldly things, we are going to be disappointed. God does not want us to live a life that is void of peace and for that reason, we need to go to Him as our source.

I am leaving you with a gift– peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.

John 14:27, NLT

How to be Peaceful

Jesus is the Prince of Peace and ultimately, we must find our peace in Him. Scripture is clear and it tells us that peace can only come when we pray. We have to talk to Him. Communicate with Him. We must daily choose to give our lives over to him. He is our provider and our supplier of peace. When we follow His call in our lives, we have no choice but to rid ourselves of worry. To feel at peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

Ignoring His Call

For a long time, I ignored all of the signs that God was showing me about my relationship. He was making it abundantly clear that the peace I was seeking could only come from Him. He also tried to show me that I would not feel calmness until I followed His call.

A lot of times, we tend to want to stick to our own agendas. We desperately want to have control over our situations and for life to go according to our plan. When we do this, we surrender our peace. We have to listen to what God tells us and to submit to His will. He speaks peace to us when we are faithful. If we put our trust in Him, we will receive peace in abundance.

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways.

Psalm 85:8, NLT

We desperately want to have control over our situations and for life to go according to our plan. When we do this, we surrender our peace. Click To Tweet

God is our only source of peace. He desires for us to be peaceful. But, when we try to create our own peace we end up in chaos and confusion. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

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Darkness: Stepping Out of the Shadows and Into the Light of Jesus

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing.



Prayer is the believer’s greatest weapon. It is the first line of defense. I was named after the prophetess who recognized Jesus as the Messiah. In the last several months, more people than I even know by name have been praying for my life. I am amped to share with you my first-hand account of God calling me out of darkness and into the light. I now trust my Messiah.

Once I was told a Christian must have a specific transforming moment in their life to claim salvation. It was the evidence of the changed life he or she claimed to have. I had been baptized and I went to church every Sunday. Surely I was good to go, right? But I couldn’t recall an exact moment. I began to question my faith and everything else I believed in.

Dispelling inaccuracies…

Whoever told me I had to have a pinpointed moment of conversion was off the mark. Relationships don’t form in a single moment; they take years. These multiple moments define our faith; they are crucial to it. What is a relationship without doubt? Doubt proven wrong turns into trust. And what is a relationship without hardship? Hardships provide opportunities to share the load when you can’t stand on your own two feet.

You cannot have a relationship with someone and not interact with them. How do you expect to grow close to someone if you’re not willing to grow with them? In other words, how can you expect to grow close to your God if you’re not willing to speak to Him? You simply cannot.

What is a relationship without doubt? Doubt proven wrong turns into trust. And what is a relationship without hardship? Hardships provide opportunities to share the load when you can’t stand on your own two feet. Click To Tweet

A little history…

I have been battling progressively crippling anxiety over the last decade. Most recently, I would not be physically or mentally able to get through more than a few hours without breaking down. Anxiety/panic attacks became daily, sometimes hourly companions. At times, the assault lasted no longer than a few minutes, but others dragged on two to three hours. In an effort to stop an oncoming episode, I would scratch and scrape my arms and legs with my fingernails.

Sinking into darkness…

Amidst the chaos of my worsening state, my family and I had moved nine hours away from everything I’d ever known. The odds were not in my favor. Depression inevitably entered the scene. Within this dark cloud of hopelessness and despair, I began harming myself with whatever I could find in hopes to ease some of the torment in my mind.

After telling my parents shortly after the self harming began, they put me in counseling. That wasn’t cutting it (no pun intended) so we added medical professionals to the mix. That worked for a while, but at my core I felt worthless and hopeless. In May, I relapsed and landed in the ER. It was a wake-up call for me. Miraculously, with the support of several kind and loving brothers and sisters within and outside my church, I was finally able to begin my journey to recovery.

Goosebumps encounters…

I am 16 years old and last month I watched my first horror movie. Any fears I had about watching the film were canceled out in contrast to the horror I faced in my own life…or so I thought. I watched the movie on Thursday night without any trouble. But when it came time for bed on Friday, my last night in the house we’d been living in for two and a half years, I began to feel afraid. Pictures from the movie danced around in my brain.

I felt unsafe, like something dark was lurking in the shadows of my nearly empty room. I was scared of the dark, or rather, what I thought was concealed by it. My mind began to race faster and faster. Thoughts flooded in carrying heartbreaking things that had happened in my life. I was spiraling. Here I go again, I thought; causing my own destruction.

Glimmers of hope…

Then, like a flicker of light in the self-made darkness, a memory found its way into the turmoil. I recalled something I’d heard my Mom say once. “Say Jesus’ name over and over and over again. The devil hates it. He can’t stand it.” So I began whispering His name. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. As the fear continued so did my prayer. Then a song came to mind. The enemy, HE HAS TO LEAVE, at the sound of Your great name.

As I repeated the name of Jesus, begging for relief from all the pain, all the fear…I felt something. Not knowing what this hiccup in my spirit was, I pressed in and began talking to God. And for the first time ever I felt Him. I could feel His presence. And the small glimmer of Christ, of Love, was enough to bring me to tears.

Accepting Love…

I tried as hard as I could to continue praying through the sobs. I was astounded. After all I’d done, and all I ever would do, the Lord still said, “That one’s Mine.” Christ bled, suffered, and died, knowing so many would turn away, so many would curse His name. He still took the weight so some of us could come home.

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.

Galatians 3:13-14, MSG

Sometimes, I find myself—actually, most of the time—missing the fact that Jesus took the weight of ALL our sin. The moment Jesus walked out of the tomb every sin committed, past, present and future, was washed away. Just a small taste of my sin would daily land me sobbing on the floor. My sin alone was so overwhelming I considered taking my own life. But He loved us—HE LOVES US—He loves you, me, your coworkers, your classmates. Because we are His, He took every drop of death. He conquered it.

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Prayer | Scripture

Stepping into the Light…

That Friday night I finally understood how much I really didn’t understand a thing. For so long I’ve been angry at God for taking so much and putting me through so much. But I understand now, it was so I would have nothing but Him. It’s like a tattoo; it hurts in the moment, but it lasts forever. All the pain was worth it. Humans attempt to promise a forever, but the forever Christ promises us goes beyond all our knowledge of time.

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

2 Peter 3:18, CSB

We forget how much power our God really has. If He wanted the earth to vanish beneath us, vanish it would! If He wanted it to rain cats and dogs, THAT’S WHAT IT WOULD DO! We forget to remind ourselves how truly awesome He is. So entangled by our own flesh, we completely forget who gave us this flesh. We have nothing to show; nothing. We are broken… we are ugly… we are sinners. But because God loved us, He made a way for us to step out of the darkness and come home. That makes us beautiful. It makes us whole.

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Prayer | Scripture

Annie Spratt

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Near: Showing, and Being Shown Grace Through Pain

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace.



Riding a skateboard isn’t like riding a bike. You can’t jump on a board and grind your way through the neighborhood if you haven’t ridden in months. It takes core balance and a strong center of gravity, both horizontal and vertical. A lot of continued practice is necessary to hold your own on a board and become an aggressive skater. Or to use the skater term: shred. Bombing a hill is even more intense than that.

My 10-year-old son, has a pretty gnarly skateboard. My husband, Sean, got it for him right after we moved to Northern Virginia at the beginning of 2016. Last week, he tried something brave. Historically he has started at our driveway and allowed the board to pick up speed as he glides down the slight grade of our street. But yesterday he went three houses up to the top of the hill. About 35 to 40 yards down he zoomed past our house. He saw Sean watching from our yard and yelled, I’m going too fast! I’m terrified I’m gonna crash! Sean started walking toward him.

Soon after, the wheels started to shimmy. In his fear, he didn’t remember to crouch or heel brake; he just stood straight barreling down the hill. Inevitably, he crashed and rolled about 20 feet. Sean got to him. He asked, “Can you stand up?” The response, “No.” So Sean picked him up. They made the walk back to the house, my son unavoidably smiling because Sean said: That was epic. I guess you know your new limit.

At this point I walked outside and my girls told me he had crashed. I asked if it was bad and they said, “Dad’s with him.” When I saw the blood, I went back inside, grabbed first aid supplies, and took over.

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace. #pain #growth #spiritualgrowth #grace #ChristianWomen

Pain and Grace…

For Sean, caring for our son in that moment meant letting him be in pain, but holding him through that pain. He said, “Crying doesn’t make you weak; it just means you feel. They aren’t synonymous with one another. Pain is real; consequences can sometimes be overwhelming, but our Father stays. So will I.”

As a mother, I knew he would be okay. In God’s mercy, there were no broken bones, and his helmet had protected from a head wound or concussion. I didn’t want to fuss over him, but he was in a lot of pain. Tending to his wounds with soft cloths and oils felt like the natural nurturing thing to do.

Both approaches were good and right. Now, we haven’t always responded the way we did last week. Sean used to approach injuries with practicality. If they weren’t dying and didn’t need stitches, they’d feel better soon enough. But he was never harsh or uncaring. I, on the other hand, took the path of reassurance and hands-on treatment. Whatever they needed to feel or express in the moment was okay while I communicated the pain wouldn’t last forever. Discomfort in others equals discomfort for me. I needed to fix them and make them happy ASAP. I feel like Sean and I balanced each other out, even if we didn’t see eye to eye with the other’s methodology.

That’s why my son’s most recent crash was different. Sean took on a role of nurturing and attentiveness. I still cleaned up the wounds, but it wasn’t because of a felt need for tranquility. It had more to do with the fact that we were on our way out the door and I didn’t want blood dripping down his arms and legs at a restaurant. There was no question he would be okay. And I knew his father had cared well for him.

Near…

Experiencing pain is never fun whether self-inflicted or not. But last week’s event reminded Sean and me that every moment of brokenness is an opportunity to show or encounter grace. Testing boundaries is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us.

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.

Deuteronomy 31:6, MSG

Every moment of brokenness is an opportunity to show or encounter grace. Click To Tweet

Experiencing pain is part of life. Hopefully it produces growth. Regardless of what gets us into uncomfortable or agonizing situations, our Father is always near to us showing us grace. #pain #growth #spiritualgrowth #grace #ChristianWomen

Maarten Deckers


We may feel broken, but God… has redeemed.

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Masterpiece: Five Possible Responses to Brokenness

There are different ways to respond to the brokenness we have experienced. One way brings glory to the Creator. God wants to use the brokenness to create a masterpiece.



Last fall, I was at a holiday vendor event and had a divine connection. There I met a lady who I knew I would be connecting with again! Kim is a wife, mother, and physical therapist. Her passion is to share God’s love with others by sharing her life experiences. Today she is sharing a valuable lesson she has only been able to learn from walking through difficult seasons. Here Kim writes…

“It was someone else’s fault.” “Don’t worry about it, no one can be perfect.” “You can pick yourself back up and do what you need to pick yourself back up.” “I can’t believe you let yourself do that.” These are all responses that we may hear from our families and friends and when we make mistakes and become broken.

Response

As Christians, what is our initial response to our own brokenness – shame, guilt, anger, coverup? I have found that responses to brokenness fall into these scenarios…

1. Do what we can to cover our brokenness so hopefully, no one finds out or notices it.

2. Isolate ourselves, pull away from others, and sink into self-pity because of feelings of shame and guilt.

3. Hide our brokenness, secretly deal with our brokenness; to the outside we have it all together but on the inside we are broken.

4. Let our brokenness be known and seen but we either don’t want to change or we don’t know how to change so we remain broken and our brokenness just becomes part of us.

5. We allow ourselves to be made into a new creation using our broken pieces to make the new masterpiece through vulnerability, repentance, love and accountability of others, and reconciliation to Christ.

The Correct Response

As I have worked through my extreme brokenness over the past several years, I am convinced that God desires the latter response even though that is probably the most difficult and most vulnerable response. It is also a response that I believe God calls us to encourage with others as His disciples. Our response to our brokenness, and to the brokenness of those in our midst, reflects our true beliefs of who God is and the characteristics of God.

Our response to our brokenness, and to the brokenness of those in our midst, reflects our true beliefs of who God is and the characteristics of God. Click To Tweet

I have walked down the path of all of these responses in relation to my brokenness. Prior to being a Christian, I would tend to accept my brokenness, not try to change it. I didn’t worry who saw my brokenness. I would say the other 4 responses are all responses that followers of Christ may give. As a Christian we have admitted that we are broken and need Christ’s forgiveness; but I know I stopped at this knowledge and initial confession. From that point of initial salvation, we have a choice of what we do with our continued brokenness. Within so many Christian communities, we feel we need to hide and coverup our brokenness because we are to be all put together since we have Christ! That is how I lived my life for years.

My view of brokenness also affected my friendships and marriage. I formed some close relationships, but not vulnerable or transparent relationships. That reflected my relationship with God. I wanted to know a lot about God, but I was scared to become vulnerable and transparent with Him. I didn’t accept His unconditional love. As I continued with this superficial, knowledge-based relationship with Christ, I did not surrender to my brokenness to allow for healing and strength to overcome temptation in that same area of brokenness. As a result, I fell into temptation again resulting in extreme brokenness.

There are different ways to respond to the brokenness we have experienced. One way brings glory to the Creator. God wants to use the brokenness to create a masterpiece.

Redeemed, Not Perfect

Over the past couple of years as I walked through extreme brokenness God has taught me several things about brokenness. The first lesson was to really believe that just because we are saved doesn’t mean we are perfect, un-tempted, or sinless. In fact, once we begin to really follow Christ as Lord and Savior, Satan will wage war within us. How much we believe that affects our response with our continued brokenness.

After my salvation, Satan attacked my view of myself which produced shame and guilt and a desire to just cover up that part of my life. I wanted God to take that from me. I didn’t want to deal with all of my brokenness that was a result of my view. So for years, I kept that part of me secret and didn’t do my part to surrender that part of me to God.

For the first time, I surrendered my whole self to Christ, broken pieces and all. I became transparent about my brokenness to those around me. I believed Christ’s promise to make me into a new creation as I walked through my brokenness beside Him. That walk included pain, consequences, hard conversations, and life change. But I didn’t do it alone nor in my own power. Through Christ’s redemption and Power, I love who I was created to be, am thankful for my brokenness, and am in intimate relationships with others and God for the first time.

There are different ways to respond to the brokenness we have experienced. One way brings glory to the Creator. God wants to use the brokenness to create a masterpiece.

His Glory

God wants to use your brokenness to create His masterpiece in you. He wants your vulnerability, your transparency, and your brokenness so He can display His love, His power, His redemption, and His glory; creatively using your broken pieces to reflect Him in you. You are His masterpiece, brokenness and all!

Thank you, Kim!!


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

There are different ways to respond to the brokenness we have experienced. One way brings glory to the Creator. God wants to use the brokenness to create a masterpiece.

Annie Spratt


Broken, but God…has redeemed me.

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Fear: Brokenness Ultimately Leads to Living Fearlessly

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.



My earliest memory of fear occurred when I was a child of six. On a warm summer evening, my family went to the home of some good friends of my parents for dinner. All my brother and I cared about was that they had kids close to our age – two boys. (It seems none of my parent’s friends had girls, but that’s another story!) While the adults chatted after the meal, we children happily played outside on the swing-set laughing, yelling, and probably arguing. 😉 Suddenly, I felt something stinging my face; the pain was immediate and intense. Jumping off the swing, I ran screaming to my mother, who soothed me and quickly assessed I had at least two bee stings on my face. Her friend made a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings while I rested on mom’s lap.

Within several moments I was ready to return playing with our friends, but no words came out when I opened my mouth to speak. I tried once again, but to no avail. Panicked, I got mom’s attention and she realized my body was swelling. Things were moving quickly from there. Fear spread throughout the group as they were preparing to take me to the hospital. Fortunately for me, mom had recently read an article regarding deadly allergic reactions some people had to bees and that a new desensitization process was being offered by the medical community. That article saved my life.

Needless to say, despite several years of shots to alleviate my reaction to bees, I spent decades being deeply afraid of them. I’m blessed to say I’ve raised perennial flower beds for 15 years now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, NKJV

Fear: Rejection

In high school, I wanted to be popular…translated – liked/loved. As a result, I became a cheerleader, joined clubs, became editor of the newspaper, etc. Guess what? There were still people who didn’t like me. Shocker, I know. For reasons unknown, I can recall one particularly vicious phone call I received from a popular girl about something I didn’t do, but she thought I did. Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:7-8, NKJV

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Fear: Paralyzed

When I was a young mother with a baby, my husband worked a swing shift. I didn’t like staying alone on the nights he had to work, but I spent most evenings at my parents’ until it was time to take my son home and put him to bed. But then one night while we all were out, our home was burglarized. My husband and I felt violated.

After that, fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. Its embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. (He and his wife were very gracious!) This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans for my son and I should someone break in. It was difficult.

Fear: Delivered

During this time, I was working with first graders in Sunday School. One week we made a prayer wheel out of paper plates. For every need on one side of the wheel, there were Bible verses on the other side that applied to the need. “Coincidentally,” my husband worked nights that week, which I dreaded with a vengeance. In desperation, one night I pulled that children’s prayer wheel out and turned it to fear, looking up each verse. I told God I was so weary of living this way, and I knew that He didn’t want me to anymore. (He does say, “Fear not” 365 times in His Word!) From that night forward, the paralyzing fear left me. Has it attempted to return? Sure, but God has delivered me from the stronghold of fear each time.

I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor?…But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand…

Isaiah 51:12-16a, NKJV

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Fear: Be Fearless

I believe we all battle with fear in one form or another. Otherwise, why did God mention it so often? Sometimes I wonder if our fear isn’t used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because only out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn’t that what we really want – to be fearless? Even Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for this in him in Ephesians 6:16-20.

Louie Giglio said in a sermon at 2012 Passion, “Minimize your fears by maximizing your one fear and realizing this: I’m already chained to Jesus Christ. The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Amen.


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Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.

Luke Matthews


I was afraid, but God… loved me.

This is one of the truths you will learn in the study, but God…Where the Story Changes.

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