He is never far away.....

Some days I feel like the stress is enough to suffocate me. Yesterday was one of those days. I found myself intermittently speaking to God through my day, “Give me peace, give me peace, give me peace….”

It’s hard when the burden is primarily for others. I’m at the bottom of the burden I carry, because I find the bulk of the burden I carry is for my family. Yesterday was brutal. If I’m honest, for some time I’ve been wearied by burden and soaking up every ounce of time just sitting quiet in the presence of God, needing His love and freedom to wash over me. I don’t say a whole lot, just find myself humming, singing, sighing, whispering His name, or saying nothing at all as I smile in my soul at the sense of His presence coming in to my being precisely when I need it. I want that for others, but I struggle to understand how to help others when they can’t seem to break through their current struggle.

Where is God when I need Him most? I just don’t feel Him right now. Why?

This struggle leaves many of us feeling so guilty, desperate to have some tangible evidence that He is here. It leaves us feeling inadequate, unmotivated, empty, heartbroken. We know what scripture says, we hear what others tell us that He is here with you right now. But it doesn’t help. Prayers are offered up, encouragement is laid out to step confidently into time with God reading His word, pouring it all out for Him to hear. What do we do when we see someone we love crippled by this, and unable to help them get beyond it? We love them and we pray for them. That’s what we do. We embrace them with the scriptures, the prayers, the encouraging and challenging words they need to hear, and we release them into God’s hands. We trust God will complete the work that needs to take place in them. We cannot fix anyone and we cannot save anyone. We have to be okay with not being okay. We have to be okay with knowing we’ve done what God called us to do in that moment, in that relationship, in that situation that person is struggling to get through. This is trust. This is love. This is obedience.

I want to be more and do more for my God in this life, but I cannot do anything without acknowledging first that He is in control, He will carry out every person’s purpose according to His will and in His perfect timing. Sometimes that means we have to be okay with watching those we love deeply make terrible decisions. That’s hard because for many of us, the instinct is to step in and rescue. I’m here to tell you sometimes rescue is okay, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes we have to watch as someone we love falls flat on their face, and finds their footing again so they can fully experience the struggle and its intended purpose for their lives. God has purpose in every single thing that we experience. Yes, it means we choose in the worst moments to praise Him instead of launching into our “Woe is me!” monologue for everyone to hear. It is not easy, it is not natural, but it is necessary for us to find closure and complete maturity on the others side of a difficult circumstance.

I challenge you today and every day, to set your mind and your mouth on God things: decide to speak life, hope, love! Start your day with the mindset that God is on His throne, He is not moved by anything that you will face today and He will be with you every step of the way.

He is never far away, He has not abandoned you. All too often without realizing it, we are the ones who have distanced ourselves from Him. We put what we are dealing with, what we are passionate about, what has upset us in a higher priority status than Him. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? Well, I love you my brother, my sister, but get over it and speak the name of Jesus and claim His abundant power for your life right now! Tap into the freedom that resides in you since the day you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior!

I’m praying for you today to find it every day, reach for the God who knows you best, loves you unconditionally and makes all things new. He loves you. How He loves you!

There's a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I've ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down, Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down, Here I bow down

At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I'm in awe of You
I'm in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
and my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus

(“At the Cross” Chris Tomlin)

That moment He stepped in....

Back to school. I’ve been done with school for a long time, but as I watch my kids grow up and enjoy what little summer they get compared to what I had as a kid, I join them in cringing as August has come and school is starting soon. Really? It is like as soon as we pass July 4 everyone dives right in to, “Well, summer’s over, school is starting soon!” No. It just doesn’t make sense to me to even utter the words “back to school” in the month of August. It just doesn’t seem right. I love summer! I wish life could be an extended, never ending version of summer. Even though I have to work outside the home in addition to being Mom to four amazing children, and I really don’t get much of a summer, I just simply don’t want it to end. Can you relate? So, the battle to balance our schedules between work, school, church and all of our activities is about to hit us square in the face. Are you ready?

This year I’ve felt compelled, called to embrace the balance of finding rest. Breathing in and leaning into the presence of God, being content to simply rest and listen. I don’t have an agenda when I pray each day, throughout the day, when I come to my time with the Father. I could easily come to Him with my Bible, my devotional, my journal, my notepad, my notes and reminders of who and what to pray for and how to be inspired, etc. all laid out around me and let out a sigh when everything is in its place, perfect order, and I am settled into my position of rest. Nope. It simply won’t do. I have purposefully been teaching myself to drop my preconceived idea of what my time with Him should be like and how I should prepare myself for it, and instead simply stop and sit and rest. No agenda. Yes, my Bible. Yes, something to write with and write on along with daily prayer requests. But simply getting myself in position, my basic tools nearby, but most importantly I’ve closed the door on every distraction and my own idea of how it should be done….instead coming to Him with open hands, open heart, open mind…..

Father, here I am….

I want to know Him more, seek Him more, love Him more, live His light more abundantly in my life today than I did yesterday. I want to literally vomit when I think about time I wasted yesterday allowing that “black cloud” to hover over me because of some things I was dealing with in my heart and mind. It is a horrible feeling when the realization hits me that I allowed that thing, that stress, that burden crowd out my abundant praise and thanks to my Father God! How dare I place any one particular thing I am struggling with above my focus on Him and His promise to never leave me, never fail me.

He is for me. He is for me. He is for me. He is for me. He is for me! I can and will do all things through Christ who strengthens me! He is for me! I know that He is for me! I believe He has done great things for me and will continue to do amazing things in my life and through me, so I will praise Him! So I will be thankful! So I will give Him glory even when I do not feel like it! He is worthy of far more than I am capable of giving simply because I don’t feel like making the effort. Every single day I have the choice to make the effort. Recognize my inability, and grasp tightly to His ability!

The moment I called out, YOU stepped in;
YOU MADE my life LARGE with STRENGTH. Psalm 138:3 The Message

Powerful scripture that stuck with me today after reading this chapter in Psalm. Check it:

The moment I called out……

Approach #1: I know in this moment right here right now, the crap has hit the fan. I am doomed. This situation I just came from is simply the worst. I don’t know how to recover from it. I don’t know how I am going to make this work. I don’t know how to make it to next week. I don’t understand how to make this better. What in the world am I going to do?

Approach #2: I know this moment right here right now, the crap has hit the fan. God, you are higher, greater, bigger, and better than anything I am facing right now. I give it all to you, Father. I can’t do this on my own and I will not drive myself crazy trying to figure it out or understand it. I won’t give up and dwell on the worst outcome. I won’t allow myself to get sucked into depression, fear, doubt, anger, frustration but will choose right here and right now to stand on the promise that you will never fail me! You are good and faithful, and I trust You with every aspect of my life. Teach me to rest in You now and trust You will provide!
What approach is yours? What approach will be yours from this day forward? I guarantee you when you choose #2, your burden will be lighter and you will find freedom you’ve never known before in Christ! The hard part is knowing you must choose this daily, and sometimes more than once during your day. The battle for your mind, your attention, your focus is constant and unrelenting. Make the right choice even if every ounce of you is screaming in revolt and you’d much rather sit and sulk in your tears, in your misery, in your doubt, in your fear. Don’t give in to it. Don’t allow your life to be defined by crappy circumstances. You are better than that because…..

YOU (God) stepped in……

You’re Father God, when you call out to Him, He is there, beside you, embracing you, carrying you, nudging you forward. He steps in precisely when we need Him to and He gives STRENGTH and POWER to the weak and weary. He renews us…..He will. So watch and be ready to embrace His presence more fully when He steps in.

When is the last time you expected God’s presence to step in and make your life LARGE with STRENGTH?! For some reason that verse went “KAPOW!” in my face today when I read it! The key is our complete surrender and willingness to trust Him to do it. How often do we approach our trust in God with conditions? How often do we approach our God saying we trust Him but we have this list of conditions, things He has to do to completely win us over? I’ll trust You fully God and here’s my list of things I’m going to do with my life to prove I am committed to you BUT if I don’t see Your abundance in my life in 3 months as a result, well, then I don’t know if I’m ready for this all out trust thing. I’m just not sure. Two words for you here: How lame! God has done so much more for you and me than we ever deserved and we certainly can never earn! We fail Him miserably when we hold Him to a set of standards, expectations we have conceived in our minds as somehow perfect. How dare we limit God to what we can conceive in our minds?! He is God, He is inconceivably, unimaginably amazing and powerful, and for all He has done for us we cannot dare refuse Him the love and trust He deserves! It is heartbreaking to me when someone I know and love has allowed themselves to become so sunk in what has taken them down in life. It is in these moments of helplessness, when I’ve prayed and poured out my heart for them to God, I realize the greatest thing I can do in that moment is release it to Him and to His perfect loving care. That’s hard! But God knows far better than I do what is needed and what is best. And so I will trust Him. Not because I have to, but because I know I’m helpless, and it has always been the simple truth engrained in my spiritual understanding from the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, to just let go and trust Him! I struggle with it, wrestle with it, but I do it anyway. We try to teach this in our churches, we live it out as best we can, but nobody can be trained or programmed to completely grasp this. It has to be discovered for each one on their own. I know I need to trust You God, but why is it so hard?! Why can’t I get an easy button just once?

I’m compelled to embrace this choice to trust, to surrender to my God, in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds, a perfectly impossible situation for which I cannot find a way out. I embrace this choice because of something in me that is not of me, but is the spirit of a Mighty God, the Holy Spirit living in me! He will do it. He will make my life LARGE with STRENGTH! Just gotta trust Him and surrender simply because of Who He is. That’s enough. He is enough!

Thank you, Father God, for reminding me and reminding someone who may be reading this today that no matter what they are dealing with at this very moment, You are here, You will step in, and You will make their life LARGE with Your STRENGTH! I believe it for me, for my family, for those who are in desperate need of You today.

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