When the cries need to start pouring out

Just today, I heard about two more people being diagnosed with major cancers, a friend still recovering from a major concussion, a former customer’s best friend losing her mom, a coworker who may have a serious illness, and another musical influencer passing away.

All before lunch.

And each of these people have loved ones who are hurting about these situations.

I love how God often reassures us in His Word that He is there for us.

But not just there.

God cares to get involved.

He wants to hear the details from us, even though He already knows them.

Because He knows we need someone we can not only run to who can take the brunt of our pain, handle our snotty sobs, and hear our wordless cries.

He knows we need to know someone cares. Someone is listening. Someone who is in our corner 24/7, every day, all day and night.

So on the days like today where all the news I am hearing grieves me?

I pull up a chair. I bow down before Him. I find quiet place where He can meet with me.

For God invites me, and you, to come and pour it all out – honestly & openly – before Him.

And each and every time I do? I find rest for my soul.

Not because He immediately fixed the situation.

But because the Maker of Heaven & Earth, the Lover of my soul, the King over all, my Creator?

He’s present.

  • With me.
  • With the hurting ones.
  • With the lonely, broken and grieving ones.

Every. Single. One.

As each night watch begins, get up and cry out in prayer. Pour your heart out face-to-face with the Master. Lamentations 2:19a MSG

#hopefortheharddays

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find rest…

We are all looking for that soft place to land upon when we fall.

We tend to keep ourselves busy to distract ourselves from the fact something isn’t right.

We all need rest.

And some of us need to stop running so we can find it again.

Saying yes to some priorities means saying no to some things we may love, but aren’t important in the big picture of life.

Rest- both physical and spiritual- is near the top of my list.

We are called, actually reminded in the Word, that to rest.

Psalm 62:5 tells us we can find our rest in Him.

Time spent in His Presence brings an inner rest and peace in the quiet place where we meet together….and that connectiveness helps keep me calm when the storms of life hit.

Because we all know storms come and go, as do the sunny days.

My soul needs to be supercharged with rest to help keep me seeking Him despite what is ahead, just around the bend.

Relationship problems?
Work problems?
Health concerns?
Financial stresses?
Relocations?
Death of a loved one?
Unprovoked aggression?

All of these can be seen throughout the Bible….and none more clearly than in the life of Jesus.

Jesus took Himself away from the crowds, even his best friends & family, and sought God in the quiet place.

To seek His face,
to be reminded of His love,
to remember who He really was,
to find rest despite the hard road ahead.

Unsure of things going on in your life?

Press in to the One who is ever present and never changing.

Press in to Him for the rest you need, which only He can deliver.

Respond to His invitation to come and be with Him.  For the rest you are looking for is found on His Presence.

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when its time to let the rest of it go in order to find the rest you need

I have been burning the candle on both ends for the past two weeks. Unexpected deadlines, tech glitches and fighting off a nasty virus left me doing only what I had to and nothing more.

What I realized yesterday? I missed writing. Big time.  And I tried to do it on my phone while I was on the go, but actually taking the time to dig into my physical bible and type on my computer is so much more satisfying for me, besides helping me keep in touch with you.

God started speaking to me about rest in my quieter moments, and my initial response was to respond, “I am sleeping as much as I can, God!”

I completely missed the fresh lesson He was trying to teach me in the moments when I need it most. Because I wasn’t giving Him my full attention to hear what He was really saying to me.

What I really missed? Even more than writing? Daily unrushed one on one time with my Abba!

I am soooo grateful that God offers His children second chances!

He reminded me again that the invitation to rest in His Presence is always available. My availability is actually the issue.

So Saturday when this lesson hit home, I began writing down, screen saving & emailing me any verse I came across with the word “rest” in it.

But the part I need to do?

mark 6-31 MSG

  1. Come to Him.
  2. By myself – so implied a quiet place with just Him & me.
  3. Take a break.
  4. Be refreshed with His rest.

So the rest of this week, I am going to break down this verse and share what I feel He is saying to me.

But the first thing I actually noticed?

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples right after they spend hours feeding the 5000+ crowd with the loaves and fishes!  They were likely exhausted from all the passing of baskets, keeping an eye on the crowd while Jesus spoke, and collecting the leftovers. They needed time to process what they had heard, seen and experienced. And Jesus was trying to teach them one of the secrets of His strength with these words.

Jesus Himself often went off on His own to spend time with His Father! How much more do I need to do the same when I am trying to serve Him?!

If you too need to learn the restful rhythms again at His feet, join me on this journey as I learn to let go of all I need to in order to embrace the rest I know He has waiting for me!

#hopefortheharddays #racingtoRest

 

battling the blues with Truth

Each year when autumn arrives, and the sun shows less of itself, I begin to battle the blues. Not a serious fight, yet one where I need to intentionally fight to hold onto my Hope.

Coz some days seem to be back to back to back Mondays.

But what I have been discovering?

God seems to shine all the brighter as I seek Him in the dimness of these kind of seasons.

His Word reveals His glory.

Worshiping Him heightens how I sense His Presence.

Walking with Him brings an awareness of His moving in, through and around my life which I don’t think I could have learned had I not experienced it.

This morning, a lovely neighbor encouraged me to keep writing.

For His Words through His kids are meant to bless, encourage and reveal Him to those who haven’t yet made it Home, who need an anchoring Hope, a Hand to draw them close to His loving Heart.

Even when life seems a bit darker than usual.

For my God? He will never fail to be found by those who passionately pursue Him!

If you too battle the blues, struggle with self-worth or loneliness… know that you are not alone.

There is no need to hide how you are feeling. You are allowed to feel your emotions. Just remember not all emotions are based on truth, and are not all worth acting upon.
There are people around you waiting to support you.
There is no shame in needing a helping hand, counseling or medication during a harder season. Wise people know their limits, and allow others to assist when its needed.
There will never ever be another you, for you are one of a kind, made on purpose for a purpose by your Creator.
There is a God who is waiting to meet you right where you are at. Always.
There is a Light waiting to guide you through the darkness as you walk with Him.

#hopefortheharddays #worldmentalhealthday

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moving with Holy Spirit

I must confess, I love to plan.    Which in and of itself, is a great one of the gifts with which He has equipped me.

However, I used to use it out of fear to try and control what was happening around me, to cover up what was going on inside of me.

After a few loving and wise mentors pointed this out, I got some Christian counseling, where God lead me into freedom in the areas where fear had been mega controlling me.

I needed to learn a new way to follow Him.

In His loving way, He brought me into His Word, spoke to me through times of worship & quiet in His Presence, and began to guide me as I looked to Him to lead me.

It has not always been easy, for there are times when I lose focus and follow red herrings the enemy uses to distract me, or become lazy with complacency on the great days.

I have been reminded when I looked at the life of Jesus that no matter what was going on in His life, Jesus followed His Father’s lead.

Because maintaining relationship was His plan. And only after daily time with His Father did Jesus step into action.

No matter where the journey takes you on the worst of day, God is with you.

  • He loves you with a perfect Father’s heart – wanting only the best for you.
  • He loves you with His saving grace despite your wrongs, yet made the way for you to come back Home.
  • He loves you with His guiding Counsel, offering wisdom for every step ahead.
  • He loves you so much, He goes with you. He covers you with His Presence. He sends His angels to watch over us. He speaks wisdom to us.

May we learn to follow where He is leading, as Holy Spirit moves us to do so.  As we sense Him on the move, may we every increasingly let Him take us where He desires.

Spirit, move in me. I am ready for You.

walking with Him

wonder Words part 5

 

Ever have those days where God seems farther away?

If so, I can relate.

I realize that too many days spending so much time on everything else the exclusion of spending quality time with Him, I end up feeling distant from God.

But that’s because I put space between us, not Him.

Which makes me want to cry over my stupidity when I come to my senses.

Today’s verse? Blew me away at how perfectly it matched my current need:

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women! They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” Revelations 21:3-4 MSG

What I take away from this Word?

  1. Truth THUNDERS from His Throne!  I don’t about you, but thunder always catches my attention when I hear it.
  2. When His Word mentions LOOK twice, I better take a closer look at what the next words are to follow.
  3. GOD had moved in with us. We are now His HOME!  And if that is not enough, He claims us as HIS! #wonder
  4. God WILL wipe every tear from our eyes.
  5. God has DEFEATED death – so tears, crying & pain WILL end!
  6. The fact these verses are in REVELATION reminds me how important it is for me to continually seek Him, and be listening for and to His voice.

I have been so thankful that I heard His direction on what verses to take a closer look at this week. He has truly revealed Himself to me in a greater and deeper way, which is leaving me filled with joy and wonder at the end of this crazy week, instead of feeling exhausted and drained!

How marvelous and wonder-filled Your Word and Presence are, God! What a blessing You are to Your children – present with us through everything, blessing and loving us, caring and guiding us, always!

#hopefortheharddays

celebrate

 

wonder Words part 4

(This post was intended for going live last night. But as we all know, sometimes life happens 🙂 Thanks for extending me some grace.

There are days when all I want to do is climb back into bed and remain warm, safe & secure.

Yesterday was one of them.

After a restless few hours of sleep, I headed into work, and realized quite quickly that anything that could pop up to slow me down at work was well on its way to trying to derail my day.

I pressed through, knowing God was with me, and managed to get 90% of my tasks done before the power outage hit.

When almost all your work is done on a computer, that became an issue, especially when the generator failed to kick in.

I am grateful for God’s intervention at that moment, for He reminded me He was with me through the verse I was to ponder for the day:

Like a shepherd, He will care for His flock, gathering the lambs in His arms, hugging them as He carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture. Isaiah 40:11 MSG

Not only did He reassure me He was my shepherd, this verse goes on to share four key characteristics of our God:

  1. He CARES for the ones He calls His own – for we are His flock!
  2. He GATHERS us in His arms, signifying His might & strength. We are safe in His embrace.
  3. He HUGS us as He CARRIES us through the rough times. I am reminded about a paper I wrote years ago on shepherds, where I learned that the shepherd would carry those lambs, which needed to be taught to heed and obey his voice, by temporarily not allowing them to walk.
  4. He LEADS those pregnant to good places as part of how He care for them.  Without regular and healthy amounts of food, the next generation of lambs will not be born as strong.

Nothing I go through escapes my Shepherd’s vision, nor His attention and care.

What a timely verse for my crazy day.  For my day continued with dealing with a meltdown (not mine), being crammed as a sardine on the bus home, a quick change then a three hour volunteer shift outside in the unexpected windy evening.  It also included getting to know a new coworker better, hearing an motivational speaker, and an  unexpected early night’s sleep!

But God knew I would need a Shepherd to help me through that, and every day!

I was able to handle things, because I know He was handling all the details of what mattered the most – His care for ME!

I am learning the more I let go to allow Him to flow through me, the more I am capable of doing with His focus, strength and heart. How about you?

#hopefortheharddays

wonder Words part 3

Some times, He prepares us ahead of time for things that are to come. So that we can be ready to offer the comfort He gave us to those who are about to need it.

Yesterday, my brother & his wife unexpectedly lost their beloved dog.

When I initially heard their news, it struck a deep chord within me.

Since last December, I have lost two cats which were precious to me over a six month period.  The loss is still close to the surface at times.

Then I read through the verse that I felt I was to ready today, and my heart leaped despite the raw echoes of my grief.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath. Psalm 34:18 MSG

I love how the Message version starkly captures how pain, (emotional or physical, mental or spiritual) feels.

  • Brokenhearted.
  • Reeling from a sudden life event kick which takes your breath away.
  • Real, raw pain.

But even better, how the Psalmist reassures the reader, the hearer of these words, who is hurting that:

  1. God is with us in our brokenness.
  2. He will help us breathe through the pain.

The Hebrew word for “breath” in this verse is “neshamah,” a variation of the word “nasham,” which means to gasp or pant.

God literally will help us breathe when the hard moments try to steal our breath away.

Whether you have just got the news that a loved one has died, you have lost your home or have hit rock bottom in your marriage, God is with you.  And not only is He close beside you, comforting you? He will literally help you to keep breathing.

For the One who gave us the breath of life to bring humanity to life, and died on the cross to bring us new life again, He WILL enable you to keep breathing through the pain.

I am in no way saying your loss will not be painful. I am saying that God promises to comfort us, hold us and supernaturally give us the ability to keep breathing, even when we feel our heads are submerged underwater.

God has healed me of much of the known hurts I have experienced in my life. He has helped me to breath through life moments when all I wanted to do was hide away and weep until I ran out of tears. Moments when I thought I might not live through them.

Part of why I share my story with you is so that you can know that He is there for you.

If you are hurting and keeping it all in, so much so that your situation is making it painful to breathe?

Go to God.

Better yet, run to Him.

He is waiting to help you through, as He joins you right where you are. He longs to help heal you, and met your exact needs, whatever they are.

Knowing this to be true? Leaves me filled with wonder and hope.

Let the breath of heaven pour His breath into you again as you lean on Him – brokenhearted, grief stricken or pain ridden.

#hopefortheharddays

wonder

 

 

wonder Words part 2

Today’s Word is full of praise and promise, for which I am exceptionally grateful today.

For many of my family and friends are hurting – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially or relational-ly. As am I most days, if I am to be completely transparent.

And I am desperately in need of comfort when I feel the weight of what is happening in a particular moment or season, just like you.

But these verses have awakened me to a few truths I tend to gloss over in my own need, or when I am focusing on needs versus who He is.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 MSG

  1. God is WITH US when we are going through hard times. You can depend on His consistent Presence, for He promises over and over He is with those He loves!
  2. He is the Father of ALL MERCY!   He does not give us as we deserve, but meets us with mercy and grace in our moments of need.  So thankful for this truth, for which of us isn’t grateful when our Father shows grace when we feel the heaviness of conviction?
  3. He is God of ALL HEALING COUNSEL!!!  ALL healing comes from and through His wisdom. All of it, as He leads. His plan has always been for our wholeness and well-being, completely.  We can approach Him with our healing needs knowing that His desire is to heal us, always.
  4. God WILL bring someone to us for US to comfort as He comforted US!  In an amazing picture of paying it forward, God reminds us that we are to offer those hurting around us the comfort He offers us when we are hurting and in need. And we can do so, because He will show us how through how He has met our need!

May we never forget He is our source of comfort in our times of distress.

As His arms, ears, and shoulders of comfort here on earth, let us continually ask for His comfort to flow through us into the broken and hurting ones He brings our way.

#hopefortheharddays

words day 2

 

 

wonder Words part 1

Ever come across verses in the bible which kind of grip you with wonder? As in you wonder why you didn’t hear them before, and how amazing they are?!

Yesterday evening, Holy Spirit whispered to me to pay attention to a few verses during a presentation I was viewing, The Father’s Love Letter.

So I wrote them down (there were five days worth) and figure this week, I will unpack them and see what He has to say to me through them.  God led Word study, here I come!

May Jesus Himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 MSG

What a wallop!  What strikes me about this jam packed encouraging Word?

  1. Jesus Himself and my Abba Father are the ones being INVITED here in this prayer to do whatever follows. If it starts with God, I know I should pay close attention, because it means God is about to do something, or is reminding me of something He has already done!
  2. God reaches out IN LOVE – so again, whatever follows is gonna be a blessing for me. Because when someone loves you, they have good things in store for you, right?!
  3. These verse remind me that God has surprised & continues to surprise me with not one but TWO gifts – unending help AND confidence!  I can be assured He will always come to my rescue, so much so I can be confident in His love & help!
  4. These verses of blessing were written by Paul to the relatively new believers in the Thessalonians church (51-32 AD is the commonly held time of writing) to ENCOURAGE them, despite turmoil and persecution, to hold fast to what they have been taught. As persecution of the Church is at an all time high in the world today, we can take this to be encouragement for us today as well.
  5. This blessing invites God to PUT A FRESH HEART in us.  As His children, we are to follow His lead in love, action and with obedience.  Asking for Him to give us a new heart will help us to follow Him, walking in the Spirit.
  6. This blessing welcomes God to INVIGORATE our work. Receiving His strength to go through our day and complete the work He has for us will keep us on track and properly focused.
  7. This blessing encourages us to allow God to ENLIVEN our speech.  The word “enliven”suggests “uplift” in this context.  When we are listening for His Words, especially for others, before we speak, we will be able to uplift one another on the journey.

So when the temperature (both literally & figuratively) rises, I am reminded today that His Word will always hold #hopefortheharddays for those who look to Him for their hope.

study time