Gratitude, thankful, thank you, joy, provision, peace, community, strength, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Say Thank You: Remembrance and Gratitude are Keys in A Life of Joy

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of gratitude and joy.



“It’s ok to have your pity party, but then you need to move on.” This is some sage advice given to me by my husband’s grandmother when I was a newlywed. I cannot for the life of me remember what prompted this advice, but it has stuck with me for nearly two decades. Perhaps this wisdom was shared in a moment of tough love, but I received it well, and treasure it greatly.

There are still days when I have my pity parties. Things seem too difficult. I feel too tired. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. Days I feel all alone in a crowded space. My feelings are hurt, yet again. And before I know it, I am wallowing in the muck.

In the middle of the muck is usually when I heap on a big dose of guilt and shame. You know, to make myself the martyr of my own demise. I think I shouldn’t feel this way, I should be tougher, I should be better, I should do more. No wait – I shouldn’t do more – I should do less. I should be grateful. Meanwhile, the promise of abundant life slips by.

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

Pity Party

There are things that are too difficult. There are problems I simply cannot fix because I do not possess the means. But, hallelujah! They are not too difficult for God.

I do feel tired at times. But the things I am doing like parenting and leading and teaching are good things. They continually bring me back to my knees.

There are moments I want to quit. A life of joy doesn’t mean easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. It means peace. Things can be hard yet peaceful.

There are days I feel alone. The loss of friendships has left gaping wounds. I hide behind facades, too afraid to let people see the real me. But I am NOT alone. God continually meets my need for community.

My feelings do get hurt. Having a sensitive heart is a strength of compassion. This is how God created me, and I am confident it is a gifting He gave on purpose. But honestly, it is often my own insecurity that causes my wounded pride.

Gratitude

Gratitude is woven throughout a life of joy. And gratitude begins with awareness. By acknowledging and remembering the blessings in life, our attitudes shift from doubt to confidence.

Remember God’s faithfulness of provision in your life. And say thank you.

If we are able to solve our dilemmas on our own, we would not need to rely on the Lord. And if we provide the solution, then we receive the credit. When there seems to be no solution, God will provide. He will receive glory, and we learn to trust in a deeper way.

Remember God’s strength gives you endurance. And say thank you.

We are in continual training. Every trial we go through prepares us for further work. This is our hope and comfort. Because we know that our future is for eternity and that our life has purpose by glorifying the Father, we see value in these trials.

Remember God’s peacefulness brings you comfort. And say thank you.

Because the task we are enduring is one we are called to, part of His provision is comfort and peace. There is a difference between stretching our faith, and a struggle with the Spirit within ourselves. We have His peace within the discomfort.

Remember God’s plan for community. And say thank you.

Instead of focusing on the loss of friendship, focus on the friends we have. Invest in these people, build trust, and love them well. God does not desire us to be alone, He created us to need community.

Remember God’s love for you and all His creation. And say thank you.

Getting the focus off of ourselves, onto others, we can see that we are loved and cared for. Recognize this. Be thankful for the love other people give. Receive it well.

Move On

If you find yourself in the muck, go ahead and have your pity party knowing you will not stay there. Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Acknowledge the good in your life. Focus on what you have, love who you have, use the time you have and do it all for the glory of the Lord.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT

Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Click To Tweet

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

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striving, hope, joy, righteousness, peace, glory, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Striving: Focusing on God’s Glory to Share His Love

Striving to show others the love of God is not what was ever intended by our Creator. We often fall short. Focusing on Him alone is the only way to align our hearts and share His love.



Flowers.

I would have never guessed that flowers would be the last straw. You know, the straw that broke the camel’s back?

I might have expected it to be the dress; or maybe even the food, but certainly not the flowers.

In striving to show others God's love, we often fall short. Focusing on Him alone is the only way to align our hearts and share His love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #righteousness #striving #joy #peace

Striving for the Wedding

Our wedding was quickly approaching. My fiancé and I had been working diligently at planning a simple, yet elegant wedding. It had been really well! There were some stressful moments, sure, but generally, it was pretty easy and enjoyable.

Until it wasn’t…

With a cart full of flowers and one attempt after the other to keep this expense as small as possible, the reality finally set in. Flowers are simply a large cost, regardless of my greatest efforts.

And that’s when things started spiraling.

God’s Love, Not Ours

From Day 1 of our engagement, my fiancé and I have been set on using this special day to display God’s love story more than our own. 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 has been a bedrock verse for us in this season of life. Constantly serving as a reminder that it is Christ’s love that compels us and not our own. 

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV

That doesn’t mean the hype of wedding planning hasn’t crowded my thoughts though. Over the last several weeks, from reserving venues to deciding on our bridal party; from wedding dress shopping to premarital counseling, the wedding has been at the forefront of my thoughts.

Understandable as this may be, when I found myself crying over a $20 purchase of ugly flowers that didn’t match my vision but fit the budget, I realized that some things had gotten out of line.

Approaching God’s Word

Sometimes we read passages like 2 Corinthians 5 with the right idea, but still just slightly off from its original meaning. God’s Word is perfect, flawless, and infallible, but that doesn’t mean its readers are. Which is why it is so important we approach the Word of God wisely and with diligent devotion to understanding it correctly.

Thank God for His grace in this though, because we don’t always do this well. 

I realized that I was focusing so much on the ‘no longer living for myself’ part that I missed the ‘living for Him’ part. I’ve been so preoccupied with trying to be selfless with my time and money in the fine details; trying to make it a day that displays Christ more than myself that I neglected the condition of my heart in doing so.

Living for Him

Romans 14:17 tells us that ‘the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.’

When we consider the context of this passage, Paul is encouraging the believers in Rome to discern religion from relationship. It does not matter if someone eats food that is clean or unclean according to the Law. With Christ seated at the right hand of God the Father in absolute victory over sin and death, it is no longer about following the written code. However, about growing in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. And, thus, serving Christ with such a heart.

We could have the greatest, most pure motives, yet if our hearts are not resting in the Holy Spirit and in the grace of Jesus Christ, then regardless of what we do or how well we do it, we’ll be missing the point.

We could have the greatest, most pure motives, yet if our hearts are not resting in the Holy Spirit and in the grace of Jesus Christ, then regardless of what we do or how well we do it, we’ll be missing the point. Click To Tweet

Striving To Do What’s Been Done

I don’t believe that God gets angry or disappointed with us when we get distracted like this. I truly believe He delights in our efforts and our diligence to glorify Him rather than ourselves. However, I believe it saddens Him when we strive so hard to do what He has already done.

Christ is glorious. That’s a fact and it will never change. He doesn’t need us to make Him glorious. He simply is. Yet He invites us to join in the blessing of sharing that with others. But when we attempt to do this in our own strength, we stray from what truly pleases the Lord.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Psalm 147:10-11, NIV

The greatest attempts at pointing others to Christ or at seeking to glorify Him rather than ourselves, if done without an appropriate fear of the Lord and hope in His unfailing love, remains empty.

So as our desire may be to use our wedding day as a display of God’s greater love story more than our own, by God’s grace He gently reminded me, through tears and a weary heart, that I need to first see Him. See Him as glorious and worthy before effectively displaying that to others.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us plainly that we are to ‘guard our hearts, for everything we do flows from it.’ If our hearts are not resting and focusing on the glory of Christ and His unfathomable love for us, then any attempt on our part to display that to others will be tainted and ineffective.

A Place of Hope

Is there something that you have been trying so hard to do right, but feel like you’re still running in circles?

Do you feel no matter how great your efforts to honor and glorify God are, you still come up short and exhausted?

Sister, this is not how it is supposed to be. Looking at the glory of God through the grace of Jesus and pointing others to it was never intended to exhaust us. It was meant to rejuvenate, refresh, and fill us to the brim (Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 19:7-9).

Take a moment today and evaluate your heart. Are your attempts coming from a place of hope or striving? Righteousness or regret? Peace or panic? Joy or duty?

God loves it when you desire to serve Him (John 12:26), but He delights even more in a heart that is aligned with His; in a heart that finds righteousness, peace and joy in Him alone.

In striving to show others God's love, we often fall short. Focusing on Him alone is the only way to align our hearts and share His love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #righteousness #striving #joy #peace

unsplash-logoJez Timms
Christian living, controversial, disagreement, fight, fighting, love, mercy, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Fighting: How to Champion Godliness

Fighting godly battles requires us to exercise restraint in the midst of our passion. We must avoid sinning because we are impassioned for God’s will.



Disagreements

Polarized. When we read the news, scroll through social media posts, engage with our relatives — is there a better way to describe how the world seems? There is a “for or against” mentality regarding all hot button issues. The polarization trickles down into less public, more intimate disagreements. “We should agree to disagree” is a hollow statement, not meaning the sum of its parts so much as meaning. “We have to stop talking about this now if we are going to continue liking one another.”

I like to avoid fighting. I find no enjoyment in conflict. Anxiety muzzles me. Inwardly I am impassioned, but outwardly I resist the urge to bark or bite at an offending argument. I justify this through scripture that cautions us to be slow to speak, lest we present ourselves as fools.

Fighting godly battles requires us to exercise restraint in the midst of our passion. We must avoid sinning because we are impassioned for God's will. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #ChristianLiving #controversial #fight #disagreement #love #mercy #peace #fighting

Fighting on Behalf of God

Our faith, though, calls us to action on behalf of the Truth our God instilled in us. Why did He give us the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit if He empowered us only to sit on the sidelines quietly? No. We must learn to fight for people and the will of God while answering the call to be peacemakers.

I think a lot of the reason we get into unproductive, vitriol-fueled fighting is because we do not take time to control our impulses. We do not step aside from our emotion.

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Proverbs 29:22, ESV

While we are to advocate for that which is right and righteous, God does not call us to sow hatred or to transgress in His name. He asks us to point others toward Him and His kingdom in all that we do and say. When we stand our ground in our arguments, we should have a subconscious self-check going on as we navigate these debates.

-Do the words I speak, show I love God?

-Will the person I am speaking with know that I love them?

-Does the content of my message show mercy, peace, and love to others?

Our Words Matter

At no time does name-calling point others towards the loving-kindness of Jesus. On my way to work, I listen to a podcaster who is well regarded in the Christian community. I respect the message and wisdom he shares. Yet, he frequently calls people idiots.

He does it in a loving aside, or with an endearing chuckle. This lets people know “I’m not really being mean.” But do our choice of words not matter as much as our intent? Words of condemnation can wound. Applied with the proper intent and execution, however, they can restore and empower.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29, ESV

Understanding

This goes beyond using kind words and a gentle tone. If we are to build up, we have to understand the foundation of a person’s belief. We have to be in relationship with the person we are talking to. If their thinking is not in alignment with God, then we should be fighting God’s fight for their betterment, not our superiority. We have to seek understanding. Why does this person believe what they do? Where does their certainty lie?

Often in arguments, we look for the other person’s fallacies to come to light. We want that aha! moment. It feels good to catch someone in their utter wrongness and juxtapose it with our inherent rightness. But they came to their beliefs through their own life experiences; through a lens of perspective shaped by different upbringings and influences. We have to understand that in most cases, those we are fighting with feel they are on the right side of morality or history. Start with the common ground that we all want to do good.

Jude’s Guidance

Jude is this small one-chapter book of the Bible. I often fixate on it. This brother of James and Jesus sketches a picture of a community of Christ-followers who had unwittingly allowed people in who succumbed to ungodly desires. Jude does not hesitate to call out these actions as sinful, but throughout he guides us in how to approach those who are not in alignment with the Father.

Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 

Jude 1:9, NKJV

If a high ranking angel remembered who actually passes judgment while he contended with the devil, then I can speak with a friend who is succumbing to sin without passing my imperfect judgment on her.

It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Jude 1:19-23, ESV

Stand Firm in Love

Jude makes it clear. We are to stand in opposition to those who are divisive. When we see another human stuck in doubt or sin, we do our best to point them towards repentance and show them that they need saving. We are not, however, to do so in a manner that goes against God’s commands. We are to keep ourselves in the love of our Father.

God clearly asks us to have mercy and show mercy. At the same time, we must hate the sin they are trapped in, and we should not fall into the trappings of sin ourselves. And fighting with someone in a way that causes harm, for the purpose of bringing glory to ourselves, or in a spirit of divisiveness is absolutely falling into the trappings of sin.

Fighting With Both Passion and Restraint

It’s hard. Sometimes the people we love falter. It hurts to see them walk toward sin. Other people believe so staunchly in things that we find diametrically opposed to the will of God. Fighting for godly things is good. We should ask God to break our hearts for the things that break His. We need passion.

Equally, we need restraint. We need to use our zeal for God’s will to determine what battles need championing, and we need restraint to keep our hearts focused on the love of God while we are in the thick of the fight.

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.

Proverbs 25:28, NKJV
Fighting for godly things is good. We should ask God to break our hearts for the things that break His. We need passion, but, equally, we need restraint. Click To Tweet

Practical Strategies

I’m a very emotional person. Throughout my life, I have gotten so swept up in feeling that I have made great mistakes. I have hurt people. In light of this, I am now a huge proponent of approaching the things in life that impassion me with an arsenal of practical strategies.

We are so lucky that God hides practical strategies within the most poetic moments in His word. In reading Jude over and over again, I am struck by a line that I can use to help guard my tongue. What if I, before I entered into a debate with someone, opened it up as Jude opened his letter?

“Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.”

Jude 1:2, NKJV

What if I said these words, even just in my head, before opening my mouth or before I start typing? Would that change how I approach someone? If I start my conversation with a sentiment of well-wishing, could I continue to portray love while pointing out sin? I think I just might.

Fighting godly battles requires us to exercise restraint in the midst of our passion. We must avoid sinning because we are impassioned for God's will. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #ChristianLiving #controversial #fight #disagreement #love #mercy #peace #fighting

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Peacemaking: Spreading the Peace God has Given Us

Jesus calls us to peacemaking, which we should not confuse with peacekeeping. Our actions should spread the peace that God has given us.



I’ve always thought of peacemaking as kind of my thing. I like everyone to be happy, and I want things to go smoothly. My mom and I often say we prefer a boring life because we equate a boring, smooth life with peace. We often quip that it is much better than the alternative. It’s better to keep the peace, keep things steady in our lives.

Jesus calls us to peacemaking, which we should not confuse with peacekeeping. Our actions should spread the peace that God has given us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #stress #busyness #peace #peacemaking #conflict

Looking More Closely

If, however, you look up synonyms for the word boring, some results include dull, humdrum, stale, and lifeless. Lifeless. Synonyms for “full of life” include bold, courageous, resolute, and passionate. The latter sounds more appealing. I would like people to describe me as courageous and resolute, but dull and humdrum are easier to maintain. True, I would like to never experience joblessness again, lose another person I love, or fight with a friend. At the same time, I know how tremendously I grew through my unemployment, how the lives of those I’ve lost have impacted my life and character, and how rewarding it is to fight for a friendship that is important to me.

Still, it’s easier to shoot for boring. Stay silent. Keep the other person content while you bury your hurt or resentment. Just let the status quo remain.

Peacekeeping is an Illusion

This is the very picture of peacekeeping. You keep everything the same, even if growth needs to happen. You keep everyone happy at the expense of your own emotional well-being. Kept things, however, aren’t very useful. If you keep the new television you bought in its box, how will you watch it? If you keep a dog in a kennel, how will you enjoy playing with it?

As humans, peace seems like this ultimate ideal objective that is unfeasible. We joke about the stereotype that beauty pageant contestants answer questions about what our society needs most with “world peace.” The mom memes suggest that we can find some peace either locked behind a bathroom door or at the bottom of a glass of wine.

Peacemaking According to God

What if we examine what God says about peace and peacemaking? I think it’s safe to say we know that God doesn’t expect us to make peace on earth by isolating ourselves or finding a little relaxing “me-time.”

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

John 16:33, NLT

The world would have peace to be an idyllic beach vacation alone or with your husband, where there are no limits. Just take the famous slogan, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and apply it to your vacation locale of choice. There is nothing wrong with getting away from your everyday life once in a while, but you have to know that you will return to it at some point, and all the constraints, stressors, and responsibilities will be waiting for you. If that’s the case, if the peace is so temporary and passive, then it’s likely in opposition to the more kinetic idea of peacemaking.

His Gift to Us

In reality, we do not have to search for peace. Jesus told us in scripture that He has already given it to us, and it is actively ours whether our day is moving forward at a leisurely amble or at the full-speed pace of a hill sprint.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27, ESV

We are to find peace in Him amidst our circumstances, not find peace in the circumstances He gives us because it is already with us.

Daniel found peace in the lion’s den because the Father was with him. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego found peace in the fiery furnace because God was with them. Stephen radiated peace as he was seized, and had the peace to ask God to not hold his very own brutal death against his perpetrators because God was beside him the entire time.

In each of these examples, the men in question could have easily kept the peace by quietly loving God, but outwardly following the desires and commands of others. They, however, chose peacemaking over their own comfort. At risk of their own peril, they knew that the gift of peace can only be provided by the one true God. It was more important to make peace in a volatile world than keep the illusion of peace to themselves. They knew peacekeeping would keep people from experiencing the infinite gift that faith in the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit gives us.

Authenticity of Peacemaking

Ultimately, to experience the peace that Jesus left us with, we have to stop searching for a peace defined by lack of conflict, busyness, and stress. These are all conditions of living among other people in a demanding world. Do not avoid conflict if you are also avoiding shining God’s light or spreading His Gospel. Embrace the peace He gives you. Make peace by drawing others closer to Him — show His light in your life through peacemaking.

Let us strive to be that light on a hill that shines outward and downward, driving the darkness away, making peace in a dissident and tumultuous world.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’

Isaiah 52:7, ESV
Embrace the peace He gives you. Make peace by drawing others closer to Him — show His light in your life through peacemaking. Click To Tweet

Jesus calls us to peacemaking, which we should not confuse with peacekeeping. Our actions should spread the peace that God has given us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #stress #busyness #peace #peacemaking #conflict

unsplash-logoLinus Nylund
busy, chaos, focus, busyness, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Scatterbrained: Focusing on God Amidst the Chaos

Where is God when we’re busy? Where is God when we cannot focus? Is He our focus? Well, personally I’ve lost focus in every sense of the term, but just received the sweetest reminder. I hope all who read this and need to hear it can learn to rest in it.  



Scatterbrained

Oh. My. Goodness. I seem to be all over the place. I have zero focus because there’s SO MUCH GOING ON AND I HAVE HORRIBLE TIME MANAGEMENT. So, scatterbrained.

Also, my priorities are playing hopscotch. I’d rather take a nap or eat than study for my finals or get in God’s Word. Y’all, I am so overwhelmed. Right now, I need to learn how to pull God into the midst of my lack of focus. I need to discover what it’s like to be busy, but still make time for the One which all things should be done for and through. 

It seems the norm is to be extremely busy. In our scatterbrained state, we can often miss God in the midst of the chaos but He is there. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #chaos #busy #busyness #peace

So Busy, Oh My Goodness

We all have busy seasons. This is by far my busiest. I’m finding myself being overwhelmed and scatterbrained instead of resting. During this season all I can focus on is what has to be done. I just applied for my very first job. This school year will be over soon, making me a senior in high school. I have GOT to get a license. And, eventually, I’m going to need to figure out what I’m doing with the rest of my life.

There are several other things making it hard to stop and take a breath. It has forced me to ask why God isn’t a part of this season. Have I pushed Him to the side because I’m simply “too busy”?

This morning, I met with a close brother of mine. He has helped me more than he knows the last couple of years of my life. He brought something so insightful to my attention. Here’s a little story time involving me, myself, and my day…

Storytime 

So, yesterday I had school. I went to photography and finished a project. Then I went to my geosystems class to work on another project. As my third class of the day came around, I started to feel bad.

Over the next half hour, the feeling in my stomach escalated until I was feeling so bad it hurt to function. I asked to go to the clinic and asked my mom if she’d be able to pick me up. I wasn’t sure what was up, but I was on the verge of throwing up and there was NO way I was going back to class.

Long story short, I ended up having one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in months. Honestly, I was quite frustrated. I just celebrated a year since I was hospitalized and a year of no self-harm, but I’m still having unexplainable panic attacks?

Well, that’s no doubt God’s reminder that there’s going to be more than just a singular valley in our lives. But what my good friend Edward pointed out, in that debilitating state, God was giving my mind rest from the chaos I’ve been experiencing. 

God Makes The Right Choice

Like myself, Edward struggles with some physiological ailments that prohibit him from doing things. However, as we talked this morning, he was explaining to me how if we were at a crossroads between spending time with God or getting something done, we’d be faced with a question as to which route to take.

These debilitating moments are God taking that choice away and forcing us to run to Him. It’s so amazing to see the ways God reveals Himself, even in moments like severe panic attacks. It never fails to baffle me how God truly can take anything and make it good. We accuse God of being behind the good, but absent in the bad and that is simply not true. God is making good from that bad. I love being able to experience God like that. It’s amazing that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to know Him and not just know of Him.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’

Jeremiah 29:11-13, NLT

Rest In Peace; His Peace

I apologize for my thoughts being all over the place. My main point is to look for God in everything because He is there. I was so scatterbrained, but God stopped me and revealed Himself. That is so amazing!

If you find yourself in a busy season, I implore you to rest in God’s hands. But don’t just say that to say it; believe it! God has you and nothing can change that, no matter how busy you are. 

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

John 16:33, NLT
If you find yourself in a busy season, rest in God's hands. But don't just say that to say it; believe it! God has you and nothing can change that, no matter how busy you are. Click To Tweet

It seems the norm is to be extremely busy. In our scatterbrained state, we can often miss God in the midst of the chaos but He is there. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #chaos #busy #busyness #peace

unsplash-logoTim Mossholder
boundaries, comfort, sufficient, grace, strength, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Sufficiency: Finding Comfort in the Promises of God

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. 



If you subscribe to the concept of love languages, it would take you five minutes with my son to recognize that his love language is clearly physical touch. In a world where snuggling was an Olympic sport, he would earn gold medals. He could beg to be tickled all day, every day and never stop asking for more. He likes to be right next to you at all times so that if he wants to reach out and touch for even a second, he can. My sweet boy expresses himself through touch, communicating both his love and his anger with his hands and feet.

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Understanding Boundaries

We live in a physical world where contact is necessary. However, we draw boundaries around this necessity to keep ourselves and others safe from something as little as awkwardness, to something as big as victimization. Because of these boundaries, my son’s world is constantly telling him that his desire to connect with others and have them connect with him is not okay. He hears the same messages on a loop:

  •    That’s inappropriate.
  •    Too rough.
  •    I’m not available right now.
  •    Keep your hands to yourself.

One night, after carefully explaining appropriate touching to him, he fell apart in my arms and sobbed. “Mommy,” he cried, “I try. So. Hard. But I like people and I want to touch them, but I always get in trouble because it’s just so hard to remember.”

I hugged him tightly and reassured him that I knew he was trying. Recognizing that it was a challenge for him, I let him know the fact he loves people is a good thing. My heart broke for him because I know it is difficult to feel loved when you feel like you are always in trouble. It is especially difficult when you are always in trouble for something that is such a large part of who you are, intrinsically. You can feel wholly insufficient.

Seeking Comfort

It is hard. God created us in a physical world in order to be in relationship with others. At the same time, we are sinners and have to be in relationship with other sinners. This makes for messy relationships and confusing boundaries. And there are times where we feel discontent with our earthly relationships. This discontentment is meant to be healed by finding our comfort, rest, and satisfaction in the arms of Christ.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11, ESV

I think that many of us know this and have moments where we can truly feel it. But resting in the Lord doesn’t have the immediate, recognizable comfort that the embrace of a loved one has for us. His words, also, are harder to hear than those of others in our lives. Especially when we are distracted by the world and its demands.

This reminds me of the Israelites as they waited for Moses. They became fearful and distracted by their circumstances. Since they were not seeing the blessings and protections of the Father in that moment, they created an idol to worship in His stead. They were unable to trust in His sufficiency when they thought He might be absent. While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted.

Flipping the Script

I have to figure out how to present this to a five-year-old. It’s difficult enough for me to understand and seems like an insurmountable obstacle to apply it when it is needed the most. The best solution for me right now is to teach my boy the scriptures he can turn to. It is so important for him to look for solutions in the Word. I must help him hide those words in his heart so that he can turn the messages from his physical world into messages from God, rooted in Truth.

  • It’s inappropriate to touch someone that way just because you like them, but God’s grace is sufficient for you.
  • That’s too rough. Remember that you are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
  • I am not available for you right now, but the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
  • Hands to yourself. Instead, pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
  • I know it is So. Hard. But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Maybe, while teaching my son, I will learn this as well.

While we may not be forging gold into a golden calf in our daily lives, we can make physical contact with others an idol. We can easily take His sufficiency for granted. Click To Tweet

The messages of the world can leave us feeling empty. We must seek our comfort in the promises of God and trust in His sufficiency. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #boundaries #comfort #grace #scripture #devotional

Bryan Minear

guidance, God’s will, peace, renew, transform, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Renewing: Training Our Minds to Seek the Will of God

We strive toward our own plans but we must allow God’s word and voice to direct us, daily. This provides a supernatural renewing and calm to our minds.



Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2, CSB

Relocate the Trashcan

I get bored easily. When this happens I relocate things around the house as I clean. My husband has learned to accept this about me. Too many times he has come home from work only to find the couch has yet again been relocated to a new spot in the living room. Please tell me I’m not alone in this?!

On this particular day, I found myself doing this very thing in my kitchen. It was time to find a better place for the trashcan. It was originally by the back door, but everyone kept running into it, so it had to be relocated. I decided to move it on the other side of the kitchen beside my refrigerator. The flow of my kitchen instantly became more functional. The trashcan had finally found its new perfect home. My kitchen finally felt clean and organized.

We strive toward our own plans but we must allow God's word and voice to direct us, daily. This provides a supernatural renewing and calm to our minds. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #guidance #peace #renew #transform

Training My Brain

Do you know what muscle memory in the brain is? Well, I do now! Even though I loved the new location of the trashcan, my brain seemed to still have trouble finding the new spot. I can’t tell you how many times I went to throw away trash by the back door. Naturally, I knew it would take a few days for my brain to get used to the new flow, but I never thought it would take this long!

After about two weeks or so of still having issues with finding the new location, I found myself seriously considering moving it back to its old spot. I figured, just give my brain what it wants, right? Instead, I resisted the temptation and stuck it out another week. Lo and behold, my brain accepted the new location of the trashcan! I no longer find myself throwing trash away by the back door! Hallelujah! It’s as if I never had any issues with the switch. It sounds like a silly analogy to use, but it works perfectly for what the apostle Paul is talking about in Romans 12:1-2… “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind“.

Renewing Our Minds

I had to train my brain to find the new location of the trashcan. In the same way we, as sisters in Christ, need to train our minds to find the will of God, instead of our own. This will seem frustrating at first, just like it was for me; because, let’s face it, we all naturally want what feels comfortable. Yet, Dear Sisters, God is calling us to a much better place! One that will make the flow of our lives function more smoothly, and operate WAY better.

If we choose to open our hearts and let God’s word saturate our minds, then we can begin the transformation required to function properly in this world. Walking in the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God provides immeasurable peace and joy that our souls crave. We might be born into sin, instinctively desiring to follow the world, but we are also God’s creation that He made to desire Him.

Walking in the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God provides immeasurable peace and joy that our souls crave. We are born into sin but we are also God’s creation that He made to desire Him. Click To Tweet

Ask, Seek, and Knock, Ladies…

Finding God’s will provides us with an understanding of what renewing should take place in our lives in order to function efficiently and effectively as His followers.

In Matthew Chapter 7 verses 7 – 12, Jesus teaches His disciples to ask, seek and knock. Ask God for help. Seek God first in everything. And knock continuously on the door to God’s Kingdom. If we seek Him, we will find Him…

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

Matthew 6:33, CSB

Today, Dear Reader, if you are struggling like me to find the new location of the trash can, then DON’T GIVE UP! We have all felt this way at one point or another. Today’s a new day! Ask God where He wants you. Seek God in all you do. Knock like crazy on the door to His Kingdom. And when He answers, Dear Friend, follow Him. His will is always worth pursuing.

Prayer of Renewal

Father, I need your guidance and direction in order to find where I will function best in my life. I know your will, Father, is good and pleasing and perfect for me. Lord, give a renewing of my mind that chases after your will daily. Thank you for patiently waiting for me. Thank you for forgiving me when I willingly choose to test the waters outside your will. God, keep my feet from wandering from the path you have relocated me to be. Protect me and give me your supernatural strength to face the unknown. I trust you, Lord! As I travel outside my comfort zone into this dark world, I have peace knowing your light will lead me to where I need to be. I pray all these things because of my Savior, Jesus Christ; without which none of this would be possible. Amen.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

Pslam 119:105, CSB

We strive toward our own plans but we must allow God's word and voice to direct us, daily. This provides a supernatural renewing and calm to our minds. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #guidance #peace #renew #transform

Perminder Klair

discernment, God’s guidance, peace, prayer, reckless, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Prayer: Avoid Living Recklessly by Inviting the Lord’s Daily Leading

When prayer isn’t a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord’s leading. 



I was standing in Home Depot with my husband when I received a text from our daughter. She relayed a glorious, long-awaited answer to prayer for a beloved friend. I wanted to shout HALLELUJAH and dance a happy dance in praise to our almighty, merciful God! (We didn’t shout, but Gary and I had us a little praise service in the hardware aisle.) 

I wonder, sometimes, why we don’t pray more than we do…

When prayer isn't a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord's leading. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #discernment #guidance #peace #prayer

Necessity

As I was pondering this topic my mind was taken back to an article I read years ago by Ruth Graham, wife of Rev. Billy Graham. The Grahams had five children and Rev. Graham traveled around the world preaching the gospel the majority of each year.

For many years, Mrs. Graham did not have an hour or two per day for prayer. Instead, Mrs. Graham prayed as she washed dishes, prayed as she cooked meals or vacuumed. She prayed without ceasing, at all times, during every part of the day. Prayer had been a vital part of her life since she was a young teen; she was convinced it was a necessity.

In Matthew 26, after the Lord’s Supper takes place, Jesus takes the disciples out to Gethsemane.

‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”

Matthew 26:36, ESV

Most of you know this story. Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John while the other disciples were expected to pray, (minus Judas, who had left the supper to betray Jesus). Jesus became very troubled and sorrowful, even to death. He asked the three, the men who were closest to Him, to watch with Him. Jesus then went a bit further still, and fell on his face before the Father, wrestling in prayer.

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.’

Matthew 26:40-42, ESV

Friends Who Pray

You’ve guessed where this is going, haven’t you? Even if you didn’t know this story, you’re fairly familiar with even the best of human intentions.

Sadly, when Jesus returned the third time, He found them sleeping. So, Jesus went back to prayer alone, “saying the same words again” to His Father. When He returned to His disciples, He said to them:

‘Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.’

Matthew 26:45-46, ESV

It is a difficult concept to ponder – Jesus wanting company, Jesus wanting His friends to be near Him as He struggled with conflict in prayer. We can’t fathom Him wrestling with His will about doing His Father’s will. After all – He was God.

But Jesus was also man. The Man, Jesus, knew taking on the sins of the world meant separation from His Father. Asking for that must have felt like more than He could bear. Jesus needed His friends to pray with Him, to be near Him. We, too, have experienced the need of friends praying with us.

But they fell asleep…and one could ask, who could blame them, really? It was Passover Celebration. They were exhausted. Jesus was doing and saying strange things to them, (He actually washed their feet!) Now He, their Teacher and Master, was behaving as though He was troubled about something. The cumulative effect was overwhelming to the point of – well – physical shutdown.

What Lay Ahead

If the Holy Spirit decided to run a video of me revealing each time I fell asleep, either literally or figuratively, when He has instructed me to pray, I would be deeply ashamed. Or what about the times I told someone else I would pray for them and then forgot?

However, the beauty of this story is not that Jesus berated the disciples or shamed them. Aside from inviting them to join Him as His friends, He was attempting to warn them. They still needed to learn that only through prayer would they be prepared to face what lay ahead; that night and the days to come.

Because without prayer, we are powerless, (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 6:10-18). Without prayer, we can be reckless.

What better example can I offer than Peter? Peter, who had been snoozing, was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes when traitorous Judas arrived with the band of soldiers and officers of the chief priests and Pharisees to arrest Jesus. Despite repeated warnings from Jesus, like us, unprepared Peter did not expect the lightning strike of the serpent. Therefore, he responded in his flesh…

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that  the Father has given me?’

John 18:10-11, ESV

Reckless

Sometimes recklessness can feel like boldness. Peter probably felt courageous pulling out a sword to protect Jesus! However, Jesus rebuked him and healed the ear. Had Peter been in prayer, He would have known the mission of our Lord.

We’re no different. We can mistake courage and boldness for recklessness, but in our hearts, we know. How do we know? If we have a relationship with the Father, and His Spirit lives within, He isn’t going to keep it a secret, girl! Believe me! There will be no peace within.

Without prayer we respond to shame and failure with sin and denial.

Without prayer, we respond to shame and failure with sin and denial. But if we have a relationship with the Father, He isn't going to keep silent! He will guide us! Click To Tweet

Purpose for Prayer

Then they seized Him and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not”…another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about”…and the Lord turned and looked at Peter…and he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:54-62, ESV

What a revealing picture we have here! Peter, missing Jesus’ purpose for praying, behaving recklessly, now following at a distance. He’s ashamed and frightened; he’s feeling like a failure.

Then Peter, brash, impetuous, proud Peter denies his Lord and Master… not once, but three times – the same number of times that Jesus reminded him to pray.

Can we dare not pray, dear sisters? Do we dare risk living without God’s discernment in this present evil age?

How can we take the chance of our daily actions becoming reckless? And risk denying our Lord?

There is too much at stake.

When prayer isn't a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord's leading. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #discernment #guidance #peace #prayer

Evie Shaffer

Faithful, God’s will, peace, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Tapestry: Changing Our Perspective on the Big Picture

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We may not be able to see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. 



since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33, CSB

The lead pastor of my church, JD Greear, has used the analogy I am going to share with you today many times in his sermons. It always gets me thinking and helps to change my perception of things in my life. I pray it will do the same for you…

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We cannot see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #devotional #scripture #peace #trust

What Is A Tapestry?

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a tapestry, I think of a large hand-woven blanket that hangs on a wall in an old historic church. They look magnificent because of all the details they display. Anyone looking at one knows the hours upon hours of hard work and love that went into each thread. The completed work is simply amazing. Now, let’s take that same beautiful tapestry and flip it over on the opposite side. Have you ever seen what a tapestry looks like backward?  

A complete HOT MESS!!

There are threads going everywhere in all different directions. Colors are all out of whack and there are knots and strings dangling to and fro. The backside of this well thought out masterpiece looks like it threw up yarn all over the place!! If this thing were judged by its backside, no one would buy it, look at it or ever even think of hanging it as a piece of decoration!!

Understanding The Tapestry

Friends, God created each of us to see our lives like the backside of a tapestry. We are born, we grow, we make choices, good and bad. Then we die one day. We can’t always understand His reasons and ways for certain things happening in our lives. We won’t always be able to figure out or comprehend what He’s up too.

Sometimes we look at life wondering why everything around us seems so unorganized and dysfunctional. We go through life trying to find some glimmer of hope to help us understand this confusing threaded mess, but never seem to find a good enough explanation. We assume, panic, pretend, wonder, imagine, ask, pray, and everything else! Anything other than trust this absurd randomness. We forget far too easily that God is in complete control of our lives, holding our completed picture in His hands.

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13, CSB

Like the backside of a tapestry, hitting a bump in the road of our lives, is actually us running into one of the knots God strategically put there to end one thread and start another. Whenever you feel that BUMP, remind yourself that a new chapter is on the horizon.

We do anything other than trust the absurd randomness of life. We forget far too easily that God is in complete control, holding our completed picture in His hands. Click To Tweet

What A Piece Of Work

I personally stare at the backside of my own tapestry and think “Oh goodness me, that is a lot of mess going on. I’m a piece of work!!” Then, I realize who is designing this ‘piece of work’, and decide to trust the process knowing God’s in control.

Our Father in heaven knitted us with power for a divine purpose.

From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Ephesians 4:16, CSB

He knows every sin and choice we will make before we even make them. God sees our life tapestry on the correct side knowing that we can only see the incorrect side. He did this on purpose as a way to reveal His details and reasons one step at a time.

When we see our sin as a jumbled up mess of black and gray strings, God sees the shadow He was weaving for the beautiful oak tree growing tall in our life. The timing of each placement of thread is impeccable. He makes no mistakes and never has any imperfections in His work.

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Deuteronomy 32:4, ESV

Take A Step Back

We can each see His timing best when we step back and look at our past. Noticing how God used different situations and different moments to work His good and power in our lives is simply amazing. Babies being born, weddings taking place, conversations that arise, new job opportunities. Whatever they may be, God shows us His divine care when we take a minute to look back on where we’ve been.

This helps us become aware of how we arrived where we are today. Somehow, the storyline, in all its chaotic form, still seems to make sense. God is a brilliant and creative storyteller. He is writing your story and supporting you every step of the way. Scripture says it like this…

A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with His hand.

Psalms 37:23-24, CSB

The Missing Piece

Trust me when I tell you, friend, He is working something so good in you right now! I promise it will be worth it when you finally see the pieces fall into place. Oh, how marvelous it will be when we one day stand before the throne of God. When we are able to see the completed work of our tapestries for the first time.

Your life tapestry is just one piece of God’s massive patchwork quilt that He has been creating all along. You are a piece to the much bigger puzzle being designed. Don’t ever let anyone steal your rightful place in the bigger picture.

For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13, CSB

Today Dear Reader, let’s choose to walk faithfully forward and keep trusting the backward tapestry that will one day be flipped over for good!

Prayer For Today

Oh Lord Help Me to see your goodness as I go throughout this day! Thank you for the ability to see glimpses of my front-facing tapestry. Help me to remain faithful as I trust that you are in full control of my life working all things for good. Forgive me when I doubt your abilities to bring to completion the work you started in me. I pray you will teach my heart to desire things above and not of this world. Lord, give me eyes to see the beauty in the backward tapestry knowing good and well it’s not yet complete! I pray these things in my Savior Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We cannot see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #devotional #scripture #peace #trust
Fancycrave

thankful, gratitude, burdens, struggles, peace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Burdens: Offering Gratitude and Thanksgiving to God

When we choose to dwell on the struggles of this life, we can easily become burdened. We can release these burdens through gratitude and thanksgiving to God.



Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe,

Hebrews 12:28, CSB

We have all had days that start off on the wrong side of the bed. We wake up to instant chaos and all things wrong, knowing it’s an extra cup of coffee kind of day… only to find we forgot to buy more coffee at the store.

Choosing to dwell on the struggles of this life can cause us to become burdened. We release these burdens by offering gratitude and thanksgiving to God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #burdens #thankful #gratitude #struggles #peace

The Burdens Are Real

I have had so many days like this! At this point, I feel like they have become my normal routine. Children wetting the bed at 5:30 A.M., an hour before the alarm clock goes off. Someone getting sick on a day I have tons of errands to run. Forgetting the keys as I walk out the door, only to find I locked the door before shutting it.

Getting in the car to take kids to school and suddenly realizing I never filled up the car with gas the day before. Yep, it’s a miracle I’m able to write and share this with you today. But hey, God has a sense of humor, and I like to think He includes my life in it. Whatever helps me cope, right?!

Point being, we are all faced with messes we have to clean up. We are constantly greeted with unexpected frustrations that try to get the best of us. At any moment we may choose to drop it all and have our own fallout, pity party, adult tantrum; wishing all these burdens would magically just go away. At least, that’s how I feel most days. I realized my soul was struggling inwardly to understand how to receive peace the way Jesus spoke of in John 14:27.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.

John 14:27, CSB

The Inward Struggle Is Real

We all have asked this question at one point in our lives or another: What’s the point of all this? Every day has the same repetitive issues while juggling a whole new set that gets thrown our way. The cycle of life seems never-ending, and most of the time, just flat-out depressing and exhausting.

I want to be happy and at peace, but this world seems to completely rob me of that luxury. How on earth, literally, ON EARTH, am I suppose to have joy and peace, when I am surrounded by all this negativity and mess? This translation in Ecclesiastes, I think, perfectly describes how I feel most days…

That’s when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth. What’s the point of working your fingers to the bone if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger for it? Smoke, that’s what it is. A bad business from start to finish. So what do you get from a life of hard labor? Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night’s rest. Nothing but smoke.

Ecclesiastes 2:20-23, MSG

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this way of thinking. I’m sure Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, knew people would think this way too; which is why he wrote it.

Listen Carefully

I found myself in another jumbled up chaotic day where nothing was going right. I was tired, frustrated and just completely fed up with life. I woke up irritated with an extra load of laundry from a child wetting the bed; the kids were late for school and my car wouldn’t start after dropping them off! Of course, I did all this without coffee because I forgot to buy more at the store. Like I mentioned earlier; it’s a miracle I am able to write this!

This was just another day full of annoyances and frustrations that were causing my attitude toward my husband and kids to be very unkind! I am never a pleasant person for them to be around when I start my day like this. Somewhere in the middle of the chaos of my day, I quietly heard God whisper to me: “I am here…I am with you…I know how you feel. Go and sin no more.”

I huffed and complained the whole way, but finally decided to sit down and spend time with God. I turned off all the distractions around me, and I turned on my ears to hear what He was trying to teach me through this messy day. God sweetly spoke to me; “Offer up prayers of thanksgiving child.”  The Lord wanted me to go throughout my day so far and find the things that went right, rather than wrong, and say thank you for them.

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, CSB

Follow His Guidance

And so the list began…

Thank you, Lord, for the laundry detergent that allowed me to wash my child’s sheets. Thank you for the water for him to shower and the soap to get him clean. Thank you for the person you provided today to help jump-start my car when it died. Thank you for giving my husband the knowledge to know what was wrong with the car and the ability to fix it. Thank you for allowing me to have this time spent with you so I can reflect on the things that went right instead of wrong.

With every thank you I sent up, a new feeling of peace and calm were sent down. I finally understood what the Lord meant when He said…

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28, CSB

The more I offered up those prayers of thanksgiving to God, the more I felt the burdens of that day drift away. Through this, my soul found rest.

Say Thank You

We were never meant to carry the weight of life’s daily frustration and stress. The whole purpose of the cross was to take those burdens away from us. Jesus took our place so we could enjoy life, not be burdened by it.

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

Psalm 118:5, ESV

When we all sit down and really think about what Jesus did for us, how can we honestly say anything BUT, Thank You?

Today, I invite you, dear reader, to try this out for yourself. When you feel burdened by life and things seem to be falling apart around you, don’t get discouraged, Friend! Instead, reflect on your day or situation, and find something to say thank you to God for. It’s there. You just have to be intentional to find it.

We were never meant to carry the weight of life's daily frustration and stress. The whole purpose of the cross was to take those burdens away from us. Click To Tweet

Choosing to dwell on the struggles of this life can cause us to become burdened. We release these burdens by offering gratitude and thanksgiving to God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #burdens #thankful #gratitude #struggles #peace

Samara Doole