darkness, encouragement, devotional, scripture, hope, legacy, light, words, love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Words: Living and Leaving Behind A Legacy of Love and Hope

Words are the most powerful weapon and have a long-lasting impact. May we live and leave behind a legacy of love and hope through the words we speak.



Have you ever been encouraged by someone else’s words? A friend? A family member? A teacher perhaps?

The word encourage is defined as “to speak courage into”. To speak courage into! How many times have we needed that in our own lives? And what a great comfort when we find it. Some of the best words stick with us for a lifetime. Their power seems only to increase when the one who spoke them is no longer around.

Words are the most powerful weapon and have a long-lasting impact. May we live and leave behind a legacy of love and hope through the words we speak. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #words #legacy #hope #love #darkness #encouragement

Legacy of Love

This year has been one of those years where I have visited the funeral home far too many times and the newborn nursery not nearly enough. The world has lost a lot of good men. But when I begin to think back on some of the truly great people I have known in my life, I realize they are never truly gone. Their words still linger long after their physical bodies have left this world behind. They have left a legacy of love and light that inspires the rest of us to be better.

Listening to all of these eulogies got me to thinking, what do I want to be remembered for when I am gone? What do I want to leave behind?

Words Matter

While words can be used to bring people together, they can also be used to rip them apart. Just one quick glance on social media tells you that words are oftentimes used more like a sword to cut people down than a hand to lift them up. If you want to see just how hateful and vile man can be, look no further than the comment section of any news post.

Words are the most powerful weapon any of us have. The words we speak to others, the words we speak to ourselves, have a long-lasting impact that will persist long after any physical injustices have healed.

The most useful piece of advice you learn in any writing class is the significance of the first and last sentence—this is the main impression you will leave your audience with. In the beginning of the Bible, the very first official act, God speaks light into existence. What greater example could He leave us with?

And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:3-4

Speak Light

Our words have the power to build people up or tear them down. They have the ability to encourage or inhibit. Our words can promote peace or harbor hate. Each moment, each breath, each word we speak. We only get one choice, so what will it be?

The tongue can bring death or life;

Proverbs 18:21a, NLT

Each day is a new chance to choose, choose wisely. While things are stronger where they were once broken, if not allowed to heal properly, they leave scar tissue that never fully heals. Be the balm that soothes the weary soul, the cast that helps strengthen someone’s broken areas.

Use your words to build people up, so they can rise up!

Speak Life

Not only did God speak light into existence, but He spoke life into existence.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.”  

Genesis 1:26

But God did not just create life, He created us to live that life fully and with purpose.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

And there is no greater way to live a life in abundance than by giving to others. There is no greater purpose than to love others and bring them to the One who is Love. Sometimes we may have nothing more to give than our kindness–our kind words, our kind deeds. Currency is not only made of green paper.

In my job, we are required to take a CPR class every two years to learn how to resuscitate someone if the need ever arises. Luckily, it hasn’t. But I wonder, how many times have I come across someone in need of emotional resuscitation? Someone who needs me to breathe life back into their situation? Or someone who needed me to circulate fresh air—a fresh way of seeing things—into their lives? How many times have you? And how many times have we been too busy to even recognize the warning signs?

Words Pierce the Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

John 1:1,4-5

May our words be used to build others up, today and every day. Let our words be the balm that soothes the weary soul. Let our words be the light that leads people out of the darkness. Finally, let our words be the light that leads others to salvation through Christ.

There is no greater way to live a life in abundance than by giving to others. There is no greater purpose than to love others and bring them to the One who is Love. Click To Tweet

Words are the most powerful weapon and have a long-lasting impact. May we live and leave behind a legacy of love and hope through the words we speak. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #words #legacy #hope #love #darkness #encouragement

unsplash-logoAnita Austvika
darkness, deeper, God’s Word, relationship, understanding, salvation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Deeper: Diving Deep Into God’s Word Instead Of Treading On Its Surface

We have been given the best treasure for finding and knowing God. The only true way to truly know Him is by diving deeper into the Bible.



Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Genesis 1:2, CSB

What Treasures Lie Below The Surface?

Have you ever noticed the deeper you dive into scripture, the more you seem to find? Hidden treasures lie deep below the surface of the Word. We are not meant to tread on its surface because it will only give us a small glimpse of who God is and what He has for us.

When we tread on the surface of the Word, we also find ourselves face to face with the darkness that covers it. This darkness is where we find ourselves lost, tempted, and treading in the territory of the enemy.

Instead of living our lives on the surface, we should dive down deep to see what hidden treasures we will find in the waters below. Doing this, we will gain a deeper realization of who our Creator is, a deeper relationship with His Son, and a deeper reason for diving further into the scriptures.

Dive deep with me today, Dear Reader, as we explore together these hidden treasures.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:2-5, CSB

We have been given the best treasure for finding and knowing God. The only true way to truly know Him, is by diving deeper into the Bible. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #darkness #deeper #GodsWord #relationship #salvation

Deeper Realization of Who God Is

God wants us to know who He is. He created us in His image. If we desire to know how we are supposed to live or be, then we would be wise to know who God is first.

Knowing the attributes of God will help us better understand ourselves. Before I knew Jesus as my Savior, I read the Bible. I knew how to read each and every word. Yet, I had no clue what it was saying. I was only reading on the surface.

It wasn’t until I was saved that the Word of God became easier to understand. Even then, I remained on the surface when I read. I would read a random place in the Bible, mostly the New Testament, and then try to apply what I read to my life.

The scriptures helped me, but they didn’t give me fully what God had originally designed. He wanted me to dive deeper. He wanted me to come to a deep realization of Him. I couldn’t do that by reading the Bible the way I was; which was for mostly selfish reasons.

God’s word is full of encouragement and good stuff, but it’s much more than a ‘pick you up when you feel down book. When we dive deep in the scriptures and ask ourselves, how does this scripture characterize God? first, then we understand the direction clearly on how to apply His Word in our lives.

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

Ephesians 1:17, CSB

Deeper Relationship With His Son

Understanding who God is will inevitably lead to a closer and deeper relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. If we only allow ourselves 5 minutes a day in our Bibles, how deep can we expect our relationship with Christ truly to be?

I’m not saying that we should all spend our days with our noses shoved in our Bibles doing nothing else. Although, if given this option, I’d happily welcome it. All I am saying is the amount of time we invest in the relationship, is what we will naturally expect to get out of it.

When I find myself reading my Bible with intention, I tend to be led to discover sweet treasures of God and His relationship with His son, Jesus. This prompts me to feel a love so high and so deep between the two of them that it moves me to tears. I need to be truly invested in what I’m reading in order to get that kind of emotion and reaction.

For example, my younger sister LOVES to read! I’ve always admired this about her. She will sit and read an entire book as big as Harry Potter in one sitting if allowed the time. She always tries to explain the story to me when she is done reading, but I never seem to have the same reaction she had.

This is because she was invested in the story and the characters of that story, while I was not. She got to know their character well; So when those characters experienced something very tragic or very exciting, she experienced it too. Her ability to understand them as the role they were created to be in that story, is what drove her into an intimate and deep connection with them.

This is the same way God designed us to read His Word. When we allow ourselves to understand the main characters of the story, which is not us, then we will reap a more meaningful relationship with them. You can not know the Father without knowing His son. And you can not know His son without knowing the Father. When we know the main characters, we then deeply come to know ourselves.

They saw the Lord’s works, his wondrous works in the deep.

Psalms 107:24, CSB

Deeper Reason For The Dive

Upon looking at the scripture in Genesis 1:2, I found a startling discovery. The scripture says that darkness covered the surface of the watery depths. When you think of darkness, what comes to mind?

For me, these words are triggered: isolation, depression, lost, blind, fear, cold, temptation, and evil. We all have been there. We all know it well. It isn’t a place we enjoy living in. God understood this fact which is why, if you dive into His word, you’ll find His sweet warning from the very foundations of the earth.

The fact that God reveals to us from the beginning that darkness covers THE SURFACE of the waters, is not accidental. He intentionally put that there for our own benefit and knowledge as a warning not to tread there. Knowing this will help us stay away from the surface and dive down deep for all things good. There is a reason for God’s placement of scriptures. He wants us to unlock these mysteries and find as many hidden treasures as we can.

Today, Beloved, I urge you to do this very thing. Read your Bible to know who God is. Read your Bible to grow in a deeper relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. And understand, Sister, there is a deep reason for EVERY. SINGLE. WORD!

The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters,
a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.

Proverbs 18:4, CSB
Read your Bible to know who God is and grow your relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. Understand, Sister, there is a deep reason for EVERY. SINGLE. WORD! Click To Tweet

We have been given the best treasure for finding and knowing God. The only true way to truly know Him, is by diving deeper into the Bible. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #darkness #deeper #GodsWord #relationship #salvation

unsplash-logoJason Leung
advocate, trauma, hope, darkness, dirty, encouragement, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Dirty: Bringing the Darkness of Trauma into the Light of Hope

The feeling of being dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. When we are in these times it is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. We must stand with women who have been through trauma and we must speak out when we have experienced it. This is when we find hope. 



In November of 2017, I was raped. Since then I have felt a pull in my heart towards the traumatized woman. I have also felt a strong conviction to publicly share what I went through. I have let fear and shame and the feeling of being dirty rule my story. No longer.

Dirty

While I have struggled with self-worth and feelings of inadequacy most of my life, since that day I have truly felt dirty. Dirty, unlovable, broken, and surrounded by darkness. While in many ways I have healed, there are still days that I am not okay. I revert back to allowing anxiety to rule and to question all of my experiences. That is not truth. That is not God’s powerful redeeming love.

I know that I am not the only woman who has felt dirty. I know I am not the only woman who has felt ashamed or broken. Who has allowed her experiences and sins to cause her to question her purpose and God’s powerful love in her life. Oh Lord Help Us is for that woman. I am for that woman. Do not allow yourself to live in shame. You have a redeeming Savior who loves you. You are not defined by your past.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

Redemption

We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace

Ephesians 1:7, CEB

While rape is never the victim’s fault, my actions played into what happened to me that evening. I made a choice to be alone with him. I do not know what would be different if I had not allowed that to happen but I have had to overcome my part in it.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. So much grace. He turns our dirt into beauty. He transforms and renews us. His sacrifice makes us clean. We do not need to dwell on our past but can look into our redemption.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. Click To Tweet

Hope

The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

John 1:5, GW

In the midst of pain, there is always hope. In the darkness, the light always shines. The time after my rape was the darkest time of my life. Hope seemed far off. The light was too dim to see. But it was there.

Darkness can never extinguish the light. Even in times when the light seems impossible to see it is still there. It will never go away. That light is hope. Hope that is among the trauma. Hope that only comes from Jesus. We can not fight the darkness on our own. We need His light. The light that extinguishes the darkness.

In this dark time, the light and the hope came through my story impacting others. When I thought I was alone Jesus brought people into my past that have walked similar paths. He brought people that needed to hear they were not alone. If I had not walked in the darkness in this way then other peoples lives would have not been impacted. That is the hope we can see in our pain. That one day our story can touch lives, one day we can show a woman in darkness the light that never fades.

Stand

We need to wake up. Do you hear me, sisters? We need to wake up and stand with these people battling the darkness. Not condemning them, and not sweeping their pain under the rug, but acting in love. These women that feel dirty: we need stand and with them and fight. We must speak out, and we must have a voice. Stop telling people to keep it to themselves and stop denying the facts. Darkness can come when you least expect it and we must bring this darkness to light.

I know that I have a nasty habit of judging others. I would venture to say that we all have that sin struggle in us, but we need to stop. We need to allow women that have been through trauma and struggle to find a safe place. We need to give them a safe place. If we respond with love and understanding instead of judgment imagine the difference that would make. Allow the person in darkness to see what light looks like. Show her that she can feel clean again. Share your experience with her so she doesn’t feel so alone. Inspire hope.

If you are in a place of feeling dirty and stuck in the darkness do not allow yourself to walk through it alone. There are people who have walked through the darkness and come out on the other side. We are all a little dirty. Remember that the light is never gone. Hope can always be found. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Fight. Encourage. Love. Support. Speak. Heal.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

camilo jimenez

mountain, valley, grace, light, darkness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Mountaintop: The Grace of the Mountains and Valleys

We often pursue the mountaintop experiences, yet life’s gracious road takes us through both the mountains and the valleys. The valley is a place of mercy. 



My family and I recently moved to the mountains for my husband’s new job. We have a beautiful house just outside town, with stunning views. I am in absolute awe of the peace and tranquility our little mountain retreat provides. Sunrises and sunsets light up the sky in spectacular colors. And oh the stars, I’ve never seen so many! Our mountain haven is truly a gift from God.

Yet, living in the mountains at the top of a ridge has also given me perspective. Because, while the mountaintop is uniquely beautiful, there are challenges with mountaintop living, too.

We often pursue the mountaintop experiences, yet life's gracious road takes us through both the mountains and the valleys. The valley is a place of mercy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #darkness #grace #light #mountain #valley #devotional #scripture

Mountaintop Weather

As I am writing, I hear the wind howling against my windows outside. I have never in my life heard wind as strong as the wind we have heard in our short three months of living in the mountains. (And I grow up in Texas tornado country).

The wind is so strong and powerful! Sometimes our house almost shakes in the hands of this mighty rush. It is a violent force that carries a sort of reverence in its wake. This wind does not make me afraid, but I certainly sit up and take notice.

The mountaintop is more exposed to, not only the wind but all the elements of the weather. Oftentimes, there will be rain, ice, or snow at the top of the mountain. Whereas in the valley, the weather is more gentle. The air can be cold and harsh at the top of the mountain, and the fog sometimes gets so thick, you cannot see a car length ahead.

Mercies of the Valley

We naturally pursue the mountaintop experiences, yet life’s gracious road takes us through both the mountains and the valleys. The valley is a place of mercy.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4, ESV

Our back porch looks over a small valley, and sometimes I love to just sit and stare at our little valley. I’ve noticed a few things about the valley that I didn’t realize before.

First of all, as the sun gets higher in the sky, light pours into the valley! Sometimes, it is overcast at the top of the ridge, while the valley is full of light. Rarely, is our little valley dark and sunless.

We tend to think that the valley is a dark, depressing place. David refers to the valley as a “shadow of death” in Psalm 23. Although, in the words of D.L. Moody, “If there is a shadow, there must be light there.”

David also says that he is not afraid, because he knows, God, our Holy Shepherd, is right there with him. We are never ever alone in the valley.

The valley is safe.

The valley is warm.

In the valley, we are never alone.

The Grace of Mountains and Valleys

As hikers, when we crest the mountain peak and look out over the valleys below; we breathe a sigh of contentment. “Ah, the hike was hard, but the view is worth it,” one of us will usually say. The view on the mountaintop is beautiful,  but the atmosphere is docile, quiet, solemn and lonely.

The view may never get old, but eventually, there always comes the time to turn around and begin the descent. The mountaintop is wonderful, and the valley is merciful.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 125:2, ESV

On the mountaintop, we see the beauty of the Lord, in the valley, we learn to hold His hand. We need both. Do not fear where He may lead you, every place is for knowing Him.

On the mountaintop, we see the beauty of the Lord. In the valley, we learn to hold His hand. We need both. Do not fear where He may lead, every place is for knowing Him. Click To Tweet

We often pursue the mountaintop experiences, yet life's gracious road takes us through both the mountains and the valleys. The valley is a place of mercy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #darkness #grace #light #mountain #valley #devotional #scripture

Kal Visuals

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

depression, hope, joy, darkness, faith, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Depression: Fighting for Joy in the Midst of Darkness

As believers, we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. 



Depression is something we hear about all the time. I’m here to tell you it is much more than just being sad. Most Christians I know who have struggled with being depressed, have found themselves wracked with guilt and despair. I know I have. I am not an expert, but I know what I have experienced and I want to share about my fight for joy.

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope

Subtle

It starts with thoughts like: Why try? It builds to: Why bother? It evolves into a feeling of heaviness. For me, it is best described as a hot, wet blanket. It’s like concrete in my shoes.

It’s like my to-do list slipping into Jello. My emotions are on edge. I think everything is about me. I think people believe I am a failure. I can barely function, but just enough.

Complicated

Most people think of the person who is never around or hidden. My friend Brandi and I talk about the active depressed person. I’m involved in my life, but I am dying on the inside. It takes all I have to get my clothes on. All I have to convince myself what I am doing is worth it. What I do matters. That I still have purpose.

I find it hard to believe that anybody notices me. This is not wanting to end life. This is not wanting to hurt anymore or it’s the desire to feel again. You begin to doubt that you will ever be happy again.

Noise

Have you ever tried to have a conversation while someone vacuumed or ran a noisy dishwasher? Did you really hear all the words? Not well, right? Depression is like that.

The words are coming toward you but the thoughts cannot really get through. You read the Bible. You pray. You fight for joy. But the words on the page don’t mean anything. They can’t prick your heart.

If you do feel anything, it’s often guilt at not being more joyful. It’s despair that you will always feel like this… Why bother? You aren’t really worth much. You are a disappointment. You won’t ever have purpose. You did once, but now you are just trouble.

Depression Is Not the Final Say…

I have had multiple issues with depression. I find the winter is usually the worst. Especially gray, rainy ones. My hormones can play a big factor: pregnancy, nursing, middle age. Stress can make it take center stage. But, it’s not the end…

I have seen God do amazing things in the middle of my despair.

Always Hope

How do we face depression as believers?

We continue to look to His word for who we are. Depression tells us we have no purpose and we are worthless. But God’s word can break through and remind us of what is true – He is the one who gives His people purpose. He will never leave us and He is the One who will see us completed to the end.

We can listen to music that glorifies Him and praises Him in spite of what we feel or think. He has not changed and He can be trusted even if our thoughts cannot. This is where I have seen God move in mighty ways. The battles I have fought while depressed, have been the bricks God laid to remind me He is faithful, He is sovereign, He is trustworthy. Even in the darkest days.

We confess what we are feeling to other safe mature believers and ask for prayer. We are tempted to hide what we are experiencing but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. We can believe that being vulnerable will make Christ look less. But when in actuality I have heard over and over that my willingness to share my neediness has challenged others to do the same. They have seen that God cares about every part of their lives especially their suffering.

We seek out help. This can look differently for different times. I have sought counseling. Medicine was necessary at one point. Every situation will not call for the same solution. But hear me, we do not have to stay in despair and depression.

We can be tempted to hide our experiences but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. Being vulnerable encourages others. Only then can we see how intricately God cares for our sufferings. Click To Tweet

No More Hiding

I do know one thing that does not work. Hiding. Hiding only makes my life feel worse. We are in a battle for our hearts and minds. We are believers and our eternity is secure. I want more than just security. I want to live a life that finds joy in Christ and in His truths. I am His. Some days that means depression and despair. He is still enough when I have those days. He is still enough.

God hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4, CSB

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope
Ian Espinosa

peace, darkness, still, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Noise: Allowing the Lord to Carry Us Towards Ultimate Peace

It is difficult to truly find stillness with all the noise surrounding us. In the darkest of seasons, the Lord will carry us towards His ultimate peace. 



How I longed for the feeling of peace. To be able to sit in stillness and feel the Lords comforting arms wrap around me like a warm blanket. To have peace of mind, knowing that we can put all of our burdens at the feet of Jesus. Acknowledging He will carry me through the darkest of seasons, was something foreign to me.

It is a difficult task to find peace of mind with all the noise in today’s world. We are constantly being pulled in many directions, sometimes all at once. Our minds never quiet long enough and our bodies are never still enough to feel the full presence of peace.

It is difficult to truly find stillness with all the noise surrounding us. In the darkest of seasons, the Lord will carry us towards His ultimate peace. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #peace #stillness #darkness

Noise

I remember moving into our new home nestled on 3 acres away from the city noise. Once we were all moved in and the house was quiet, I heard this loud ringing in my ears. I couldn’t shake it. My husband couldn’t hear it, but it was loud as day to me.

Come to find out I have the condition called Tinnitus. Tinnitus is a chronic ringing in your ears and it affects 1 out of 5 people. The quieter it is the louder the ringing is. So, over the years, I consumed my days with being a self-proclaimed busybody. I overcommitted, overextended, and became overtired. I did everything to drown out the ringing in my ears.

Darkness

Then the ringing was replaced with anxiety, depression, and voices telling me that peace didn’t exist. So, I controlled my environment. I surrounded myself with validation that what I was doing was the norm. My family suffered, my health suffered, and I was truly suffering.

I had nothing left in my tank. My cabinet was filled with orange medicine bottles to help me stay overextended, but the Lord spoke to me and said, “It’s time for you to be still.”

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Stillness

For someone like me who is wired to constantly keep moving, sitting still was not on my task list. He demanded it because His love for me was stronger than anything I had planned for the week. I had a hard choice to make. I felt like I had to slowly detox from the life I was living at the time.

There were days my anxiety was so overwhelming that I was literally on the floor. But I was determined to change. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I knew His plan for me was far greater.

Peace

I am learning that it’s not just about sitting still. It’s also about being present; ready to receive what the Lord has in store for me. He shows us every day the beauty that He created for us, but we often are too busy to see it. The more I sit and surrender control, the more peace I feel. The more peace I feel, the closer to the Lord I feel.

I remember the day that I felt it…

It was an unfamiliar calming feeling that washed over me. It was like I was looking through a lens and I could see the beauty in the sunrise. I felt a huge sense of gratitude for painful experiences that led me to new beginnings. Tasks that would have seemed daunting made me feel excited and hopeful. That is where I realized the Lord was showing me true peace; His peace.

God shows us every day the beauty He created for us, but we often are too busy to see it. The more we sit in stillness and surrender control, the more peace we will feel. Click To Tweet

It is difficult to truly find stillness with all the noise surrounding us. In the darkest of seasons, the Lord will carry us towards His ultimate peace. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #peace #stillness #darkness

Kari Shea


I am a mother of 2 amazing daughters, a wife, a friend, and the real deal. I am a child of God who is messy, honest, and loved. I am a firm believer in rewriting your story even if there is a ton of typos. 

-Nicole James, Artisan Director of Oh Lord Help Us

darkness, grace, pursued, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Grace: Allowing God to Pull Us Out of Our Darkness

Darkness is overwhelming. Especially when we have dug our own holes. But God has pursued us through our darkness, and sits beside us, waiting to pull us out by His grace. 



There was a point in my life where I sat cross-legged in a very dark hole. Thoughts of shame filled my mind as I thought about the previous night’s endeavors; and the night before that, and the night before that. I had convinced myself that the shame I felt was normal. That I was simply living the life those around me lived. I was acting the right way, participating in the right things, and talking about the right stuff. 

I was doing it all “right,” but it left me so empty and that emptiness cultivated into dirtiness. I was so sure that my mess of a self, would never know anything outside of that dark place. And I fed that lie for about two years. 

Darkness is overwhelming. But God has pursued us through our darkness. He sits beside us, waiting to pull us out by His grace. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

The Darkness Began…

That lie began with the combination of worldly standards and personal stubbornness. I didn’t truly know God at the time. I knew of Him but didn’t have a relationship. So, to me, He wasn’t offering anything better than the circumstances I was in. He wasn’t showing up. I was so lost in the sea of “fitting in” that my heart was hardened to His call. 

By going from a rough home life to the college life, my rebellious stamina took over. It happened so fast that I didn’t even realize I was drowning in the enemies lies. 

But God…

He never stopped pursuing me. He never stopped calling me. I believe we often must break down to our knees in order to realize how much we need Jesus. He orchestrated the people I needed in my life to boldly step out in faith and talk to me. To love me. The only thing I knew about God was that He was “good.” So, why did I feel so broken?

Because I didn’t truly know Him, I hadn’t received Him, and I didn’t understand my need for Him. The lies of the enemy manifest in the cultures we live in through the pressures and demands of our peers. I believed the lie because those around me did too. 

But God…

Rescued

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8, ESV

There is no such thing as too far gone. There is no such thing as too dirty. We have a King that is not afraid to step down from His throne, meet us where we are and rescue us. So, if I had never hit the bottom of that hole, I might have never climbed out. If I had never broken down, I might have never realized my deficiency. If the trials and struggles didn’t happen, I might have never cried out to God.

He knows what we need to surrender. He has the power to open our eyes and ears to Him and that decision has nothing to do with our shame. Our shame has already been cleansed by the cross. Our dirt has already been washed clean by our Savior. We have already been forgiven by the overwhelming grace of God. 

There is no such thing as too far gone. There is no such thing as too dirty. We have a King that is not afraid to step down from His throne, meet us where we are and rescue us. Click To Tweet

Jesus Conquers

You see, the truth is that the culture I was following and the people I was mimicking, need Jesus too. The truth is that the ones who were degrading me, the ones who were judging me, and the ones who decided I wasn’t enough, need Jesus too. 

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12, ESV

We start off in a darkness. We start off living in a sin-filled world. We are automatically thrown into temptation and betrayal. BUT God says He has a way out. God says He is the light that thwarts the holes we recklessly sit in. Learning this truth only grew my relationship with God deeper.

It taught me the cruciality in hating my sin and loving Jesus. It taught me love conquers evil, every single time; but that that conquering doesn’t necessarily mean a bloodless one. It can mean hurdles and hurt just as much as joy and peace. The point is, because of the truth we endure it all. 

Gift of Grace

So, what do we do with this truth? If you are currently sitting in that dark hole. If you are feeling the grip of shame and the chains of inadequacy, if you lie awake at night replaying the mistakes over and over again- let go. Know, that those who have put you there, whether it be others or yourself, know that both culprits desperately need Jesus. And that, my friend, let’s you off the hook and gives God all the power. 

Knowing that it is neither on you or them to be flawless or perfect is so freeing. The gift of grace is a gift for a reason, we don’t deserve it. But that’s not a worry in His divine plan and unconditional love for us. He wants us to know Him and to run to Him. So, He is right there next to you in that dark hole just waiting for you to take His hand and open your eyes to His light. 

Darkness is overwhelming. But God has pursued us through our darkness. He sits beside us, waiting to pull us out by His grace.



Amy Hornbuckle is a writer full time, wife to Dillon, part-time Children’s Director at her church, and is passionately pursuing the word and walk of God. Her online ministry is designed to help you do the same by providing biblical resources and content. Learn her intentional method of studying God’s word, called the Jesus Meet Me method.

Outside of the ministry, she is an adventure junkie who loves to take her dog hiking, camping, trail running, paddle boarding, essentially anything outside and you can find her there!

Ministry: www.takeawalkministries.com Instagram: www.instagram.com/takeawalk.ministries

darkness, hope, rest, victory, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Held: Resting in God, Who is Present in Our Darkness

When we stand face to face with the dark and unknown, we can rest. We rest because we are held in the loving arms of our Almighty God, who has given victory over darkness. 



This summer, my family took a vacation to Kentucky. We had a wonderful time visiting a horse farm, the Ark Encounter, and Mammoth Cave. My husband and sons love exploring caves, and Mammoth Cave is one of the largest in the world.

The inside of the cave was beautiful! The rock formations, rooms, everything, was simply breathtaking. We were on a group tour and following a guide, who told us the history of the cave and other interesting facts and stories. I did my best to stay close to the guide because I didn’t want to get lost in the largest cave in America.

Yet, like, most cave tours, we came to the inner part of the cave and the guide turned out the lights, asking all of us to turn off all cell phones and flashlights, as well. All of a sudden, utter and complete blackness consumed us. I have never experienced anything as dark as in that moment.

When we stand face to face with the dark and unknown, we can rest. We are held in the loving arms of our Almighty God, who has given victory over darkness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

God in the Dark

I held tightly to my kids’ small hands assuring them of my presence, all the while trying not to panic in the black. I couldn’t even see something right in front of my face! My heart was pounding as I silently reminded myself that I was safe, and the darkness wouldn’t last.

How do you feel when the dark is closing in? When you can’t see your way, and you don’t know if God is there?

In a moment of utter darkness, it is easy to want to panic. When we can’t see very far ahead of us, or anything around us, when we can’t see God, it can be difficult to rest.

But in that deep, dark place, Jesus is there. He has been there since the beginning, always working in the darkness. Creation itself came out of a place of darkness and emptiness.

The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:2, AMPC

Held in the Dark

Jesus is not afraid of or taken aback by the darkness. Nothing is unknown to Him, and even when we cannot feel it, He is there.

In the same way, I held onto my little one’s hands in the deep of the cave, in the same way, I hold them close in the middle of the night, Jesus holds us close to His heart, to assure us He is near.

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:17, ESV

As I read this verse, I like to picture the big arms of God wrapped around me in a loving embrace. He knows me. He sees me. He knows and sees you!

I don’t always know what God has in store for me or my family. I can never really be sure what the future holds. And that scares me a little, sometimes a lot.

What I CAN be sure of is that I am following a good God, who knows all, understands all, sees all and loves me! I don’t always know where we are going, but I always know I am held. Even when I can’t feel Him, I know He is there, and I know He is good.

Jesus is not afraid of the darkness. Nothing is unknown to Him, and even when we cannot feel it, He is there. Click To Tweet

Victory in the Dark

The darkness was never meant to overwhelm us. We can have victory in the dark when we choose to trust our Guide, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. He is always present. He never changes. He always wins!

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4-5, ESV

A tiny seed is planted in the dark ground and grows to be a magnificent oak. Lava rumbles in the dark and unseen and erupts into a powerful volcano. And the Earth we live on came out of emptiness and formless dark. Do not fear the dark, rather, expect victory to come from it.

I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man made world.

Helen Keller

When we stand face to face with the dark and unknown, we can rest. We are held in the loving arms of our Almighty God, who has given victory over darkness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, faith, brokenness, healing, darkness, light, prayer, scripture

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