Encouragement

God, Where Are You?

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God, where are You? Where are You when the waves of grief begin washing over me?  When I gasp for air to fill my burning lungs, and clutch at the tightness growing in my chest…where are You? Where are You when I beg for the pain to end? When I plead to wake up from this nightmare and for it all to have been a bad dream, where are You? Where are you when all I can see is the darkness and all I can hear is the silence? Where are you when the fear of the unknown creeps in and I’m too scared to even move. Where are you when I’m broken God? When I’m shattered into a million pieces? When I just want the hurt to go away?  God, are you there? Do you hear me?

I woke up a few nights ago from a terrible dream. A dream that made me relive one of the most difficult times of my life. A year and half after my second miscarriage and the pain still sears through my heart as if it were only yesterday. This dream…I saw it all again, I felt it all again, I experienced it all again. I woke up in a panic believing that it was real. The tears were streaming down my cheeks. My heart was racing and my mind was swirling with thoughts and emotions that I had buried.

I got up from my bed and stumbled through to our living room. I sat on the couch, wiping the tears from my cheeks, and trying to calm myself down. All of my children and my husband were sleeping. The house was so quiet (In a family of 8, quiet doesn’t happen very often) It was painfully quiet. Every time I tried to close my eyes, the images from the dream and all of the painful thoughts and memories were there.

I tossed and turned on the couch for several minutes. I prayed for God to comfort my heart and mind. “If I could only have a few minutes Lord, just a few minutes of peace! Please!”

As I sat there alone in my dark living room, I just wanted to be held. I just needed to be held. I wanted to be held and comforted, and told that everything was going to be alright, that is was only a dream and that it was all over. I walked back into our bedroom and gently grabbed my husband’s hand. He looked so peaceful while sleeping and I felt bad for waking him, but I needed him… I really needed him.  He could tell I was distressed and he asked if I was okay. All I could reply with was “Please, just hold me”.

He held my hand as we walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch. He wrapped his arms around me and held me so tight. There were no words exchanged…he just held me. His embrace said everything that I needed it to. His strong arms made me feel so safe. He leaned down and gently kissed me on the forehead while stroking my hair. He sat there and held me while I cried and poured my heart out to him. I soon fell back asleep in his arms.

The next morning started early, as usual, with the pitter patter of little one’s feet running through the house.  We went about our daily routine. Staying busy helped to keep my mind occupied and offered little opportunity for my mind to wander. While I was busy cleaning up from our breakfast, my 3 year old came running into the kitchen. “Momma, will you hold me? I want you to hold me”.

I scooped him up in my arms and walked over to our chair. His little arms wrapped around my neck as I held him close. As we sat there, I kissed his little cheeks. He reach up to rub his sleepy little eyes and then quickly nuzzled himself back into my chest. He felt so safe and secure wrapped up in my arms. I knew that feeling and how wonderful it felt. I didn’t have to say a word to this little guy for him to know how loved he was in that moment. I just held him.

It was then that God spoke to my heart and told me ” This is how I comfort you”.  How many times have I cried out to God in fear, pain or heartache and have been met with silence?  “God, are you here? Do you hear me? God, where are You?” In my brokenness I would feel so alone. Did God really even care about me or how I was feeling?

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;” ISAIAH 66:13

     So God, where are you? You’re here…You are right herewith me. It’s in the moments that are cries are met with perceived silence that we are being held. It’s not that God isn’t there or that He doesn’t care. He does…more than we could ever comprehend. God knows exactly what we need, and sometimes, we don’t need words…we just need to be held.

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God, today I pray for all of those that are hurting. I don’t know their circumstances Father, but I know that You do. I know that You see every tear that they cry and hear every single word…even those that are unspoken. Lord, I pray that You will hold them tightly in Your loving arms and speak peace into their hearts. Help them to cast their cares upon you Lord and to know that You care for them! Help them to rest in Your embrace and to stand on Your promises. Give them a renewed hope and song Lord! I thank you for what You are doing in their lives today Lord. I praise You for Your goodness, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, and Your unfailing love. I ask these things in Your son Jesus’s name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement

We’ve Lost Our Joy In The Journey

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We strategically pulled our passenger van out of the parking lot and into the long string of traffic that had developed on the roadway ahead of us. We had just finished watching fireworks with our kids for the 4th of July. Our little town had put on quite the firework display and the kids were still reveling in all of the excitement and were beyond excited for being allowed to stay up past bedtime.

Traffic was barely creeping forward and the roads were congested. We would slowly creep forward a few mere inches only to arrive at a complete standstill again. After several minutes of making no progress, many drivers were growing tired of the wait, and decided to turn around and try a different route. The idea started with only a few and then seemed to be catching on as more and more vehicles were attempting to turn around and find a different route so they wouldn’t have to wait for the traffic to clear.

One driver, attempting to make a quick turn about, underestimated the amount of turning space available between them and a cleverly concealed ditch line. Traffic began moving and cars were soon coming from both directions again. The sidewalks were still saturated with families venturing back to their vehicles. In a split second decision, the driver chose to continue towards the ditch in hopes of avoiding an accident with another vehicle or possibly even injuring bystanders.

The traffic in our lane, moving normally once again, soon reached an intersection. I quickly glanced back before pulling out from the stop sign to find that traffic was now halted again due to the road being blocked by the impatient driver’s car. I heard one of the kids ask from the back, “Geez, what was that guy in such a hurry for? He needs to have some patience!”

Why was he in such a hurry? Why was everyone in such a hurry? Why was I always in a hurry and constantly looking for the least time consuming option? Today, our lives are busy… really busy. We have become SO busy and focused on completing our tasks, achieving our goals, and pushing ourselves endlessly for “bigger and better” things, that we have in fact forgotten to enjoy the process of us actually getting there. We have lost the JOY in our JOURNEY.

When was the last time that you stopped to smell the roses (literally AND figuratively speaking)? We’re always in a hurry! We’re always rushing to our next appointment, critiquing our schedules for higher productivity options, creating routines and producing plans, rushing out our front doors for the latest practices and events…We have become so busy LIVING life, that we have forgotten how to LIVE life. We have become so focused on our tomorrows, that we have forgotten how to enjoy our todays.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” JAMES 4:14

     That scripture…wow! Our lives are but a vapor…that’s SO powerful! Don’t have time to play with your kids? MAKE THE TIME. Too busy to help someone that stands in need of it? MAKE THE TIME. Seem to never be able to have the time to pray or read God’s Word the way you would like to…MAKE THE TIME.

Take some time ( MAKE THE TIME if you need to) and evaluate what is really important to you. Then, ask yourself…is this going to matter an hour from now? Will it really matter tomorrow? How about next week? What about next year? If today was your last and you had no more tomorrows, would you regret any of your choices? Would you be satisfied with the choices that you made and the things that you deemed worthy to invest your time, effort, and attention in?

Lord, I just want to say thank you for blessing us with another day. I have taken your blessings for granted all too often, and for this I am truly sorry. Father God, I pray that you will help us to have hearts of gratitude that can see the beauty in all of Your works. I pray that You help us to make righteous choices and decisions concerning how we spend our time and what we invest our energy and attention in. Help us to stay focused on You and to be a light for You to others in our lives. Help us to have joy in our journeys Lord, and to truly embrace the lives that you have blessed us to have. Thank you for everything that you are doing in our lives today Father. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

 

 

Encouragement

Oceans of Grief and Islands of Grace

Your life for the most part has been smooth sailing. Sure, you’ve encountered your fair share of choppy waters, but you have bravely mustered through while maintaining your composure. The storms, though fierce, have always quickly dwindled. The waves swiftly settled, the winds ceased in blowing, the clouds began parting, and they soon gave way to the sunshine again. After basking in the warmth and glow of the sun for a season, you never imagined that a storm of such magnitude could materialize so abruptly. You never even saw it coming. You had no time to prepare for this, and this is not what you had envisioned. You feel lost and helpless against it.

The realization that you have now lost all control of your situation hits hard, and you soon find yourself capsized in the middle of a bottomless ocean. You feel the fear and panic slowly creep up into your throat. You cry out for help, but are met in return by only the sound of the crashing waves around you. The waves have repeatedly pulled you under, and as you fight to surface, you gasp for your next breath, which is barely enough to fill your lungs. The current is becoming stronger and stronger, and your energy is rapidly depleting. The waves have tossed you back and forth endlessly, and every muscle in your body aches and burns from your futile exertion to swim to safety. You’re exhausted and cannot fight the strength of the water anymore. It’s over. Just as you feel yourself giving up and letting go, you see it.

 

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A small beam of light catches the corner of your eye. You quickly become fixated on this unknown light source, and feel a small glimmer of hope flare within your spirit. This beam begins shining… brighter and brighter. You consciously decide to stop fighting the current, and feel your body being swept by the waves toward this light. As you draw closer, the light begins to reveal itself. It’s a lighthouse.

The light, almost blinding by this point, illuminates your path as you exhaustedly thrust yourself upon the safety of the small sand bank. You climb the shelves of jagged rocks finally reaching an elevation of safety that the water can no longer reach. In the presence of this beaming light, the storm continues to rage around you, but you are safe. SAFE ON THE ROCK. You draw a full breath of oxygen deep into your burning lungs, and begin to cry… RELEASE. It’s in this surrender that an unexplainable peace begins to flood over you. You are being held. This battle is not yours to fight. You are not alone. He is going to carry you through this storm…

We mistakenly exhaust ourselves, fighting the current, and attempting to hold onto all of the scattered pieces of our lives when all we have to do is surrender it entirely to God. He alone is our place of safety. He is our refuge from the storm. He is our rock, our fortress, and our deliverer. In the midst of our darkest storms, his light continues to shine…guiding us, leading us, encouraging us, and comforting us. God IS the light and in Him is NO darkness! His grace will meet you right where you are my friend. His arms will never tire of holding you up, and when your strength fails, He is right there to carry you.

I don’t know the storm you might be facing today, but I know that God does. When those tears begin to flow, don’t fight them. Let them fall. Release your pain to Him. Only He can calm your heart and give you peace. God knows your sorrows, and He hears your cries my friend. This storm is not going to last forever. Continue to stand in the warmth of His love… the sun will come back out. When you feel yourself sinking and the water starts closing in, simply stretch forth your hand. Your lifeguard, He’s there…and He walks on the water. 

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Encouragement

I’m Gonna Tell You That I Love You

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Loss… it has a way of making you appreciate what you once had. It makes you see things from a different perspective and brings revelation to the value of what has been lost.

I awoke to read words that tore through my heart this morning. We lost a beloved member of our church family in a tragic accident last night. I couldn’t control the tears as they streamed down my face while calling out for my husband, informing him of this terrible news. We are all just devastated, numb, and in disbelief.

Times of loss often leave us feeling helpless. There are no words that we can say to ease the pain of those suffering. There is no act of kindness that we could perform that can remove the sting left by death.

Loss reminds us of just how fragile life is. It reminds us that we were never promised our next breath and that each moment that we have been given is a gift. Loss reminds us of how much we unknowingly take for granted, and just how much of a void will be left now that they are no longer here with us.

Brother Jess met us every Sunday morning as we walked through our church door. Every time we saw him, he had the warmest hugs and the biggest smile to share with us. Brother Jess prayed for us. He taught us. He loved us… and he never left without letting you know it.

I wrapped my arms around Brother Jess yesterday afternoon and told him that I loved him before walking out the door. I never expected that it would have been the last time that I would ever see him. I never imagined that it would be the last time that I would get to see his smile, to hug him tight, or tell him that I loved him. “Love you sis”… the last words Brother Jess ever said to me… and they will forever live in my heart.

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Loss reminds me of the person that I want to be… that person that is going to tell you “I love you” every time I see you, and at the end of every message and telephone call. The person that is gonna wrap my arms around you and squeeze you tight even though we may have only met. You might look at me like I’m crazy, but that’s okay… because I still love you. You don’t have to feel like you need to say it back or even reciprocate it… but I just want you to know that I love you. Jesus told us to love… and to love like Him. Love has become an almost taboo subject in our society today, but loving others is one of our greatest commandments! Loving others is what we have been called to do! Jesus didn’t just love the select few… He loved all.  He didn’t only love sometimes or just whenever He felt like it, but He loved at all times, and today we love, because He first loved us.

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Brother Jess inspired so many of us with his teachings and with the genuine love that he held for everyone. The testimony of his faith will live on. The lives that he has impacted, will forever be changed. His love and heart for people made a difference in this world.

Loss reminds us to place value and importance on every single person in our life. Their role might be big or it might be small. These people may be integral parts for our entire lifetime or they might only be there for a short season. Regardless, we love.

If today were the last day you would ever see a person, would that person know that you cared for them? Never shy away from showing God’s love to others my friends. Our time here is so short, and we have so much love to give.

 

 

Encouragement

Just Be Held

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Whatever you may be facing today… remember that you are not alone. God is with you in the midst of your grief and pain, your anger, and your frustrations. He sees the tears that you are crying. He hears your words that are left unspoken. Stop fighting to hold all of the pieces together, and just let yourself be held by the One who loves you. His arms will never tire of holding you up. Speak His word my friend! Declare His promises! Stand upon His truths! Allow Him to speak peace into your storm today.

Encouragement

Lord, I Don’t Always Understand

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Lord, I don’t always understand, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. This year has been so hard. I’ve questioned why you have allowed things to happen. I’ve been angry more than I care to admit. I’ve been confused, frustrated, distraught, and defeated more than not. But Lord, I’m still standing on your Word and believing in Your promises. I don’t know what Your plan for us is, but I know that I trust You. I don’t have all of the answers, but I know You are teaching me. I don’t know where we’re going, what we’re doing, or how we’ll even end up there, but I know You are guiding us and will be with us every step of the way. Help me to surrender Lord. I want to surrender it all! Help me to conquer this battle of fear and doubt. Help me to walk by Your faith and not by my sight. Teach me Your ways! Mold me and shape me into what You would have me to be. Help me to see every battle as an opportunity; an opportunity to grown and to learn to lean more and more on You. I know Your plans for me are good and that You love me.

Encouragement, Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Can’t Find The Words

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Lord, today I pray for the momma that can’t find the words. She can’t find the words to explain how her heart and mind are flooded with more emotions than she has the words to express. Right now Lord, she feels like her world is spinning out of control and she doesn’t know how much more she can handle. As the tears stream down her face, she wants to call out to You Father. As she is gasping for her next breath in between her sobs, she wants to tell you how desperately she needs your help. She wants to tell you that she needs You to listen to her as she pours her heart out to you, and that she longs for you to wrap her in your love, calm her fears, and to let her know that everything is going to be okay,  but no matter how hard she tries, the words just won’t come. With each word she attempts to speak, the tears only flow harder, and the words stall upon her tongue. It’s been a while since she’s talked to you Lord, and she wonders if you still even hear her; if you still even care for her. Things haven’t gone the way that she though they would Lord, and she just doesn’t understand. She doesn’t know what to do, and she has no where else to turn. She needs you to move in her life Father. She’s tired and she’s broken, and she can’t carry these burdens alone anymore. She wants to tell you Lord, but the words… they just won’t come. Lord, I don’t know what she is going through, but I know that you do. I don’t know the fears that have kept her awake at night, nor the pain she might be experiencing right now, but I know that you see every tear that she has cried and that you are with her this very moment. Father, I pray that you will speak peace unto her heart today. Remind her that even when her words won’t come, that you hear her heart. You know every detail of her life and her circumstances…and she didn’t have to utter a word. Thank you for Lord for hearing our prayers even when our burdened hearts won’t allow us to speak. Thank you for your Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf with groans that our words could never even express ( Romans 8:26). I thank you for what you are doing in this momma’s life today Lord. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Waiting

WaitingToday I pray for the Momma that is waiting. I don’t know what her needs are Lord, but I know that You do, and that you have known them before she even asked. (Matthew 6:8) She has poured the desires of her heart before you Lord, and is struggling to understand why she has been met with silence. With each day that passes Father, doubt, fear, and uncertainty begin clouding her mind. The enemy tells her that there is no hope, she should give up, and just accept things for the way they are. Lord, during this season of her waiting, remind her that you are working in her life. You are molding her and shaping her into what she needs to be for the days to come. I pray that she will feel your love radiating around her, and that You will speak peace to her troubled heart. Remind her that though she may not understand what you are doing right now, that one day she will. (John 13:7) I pray that you will strengthen her during this season of waiting Lord. When her hope begins to waver,  I pray that she will be reminded of Your plans for her; to prosper her, and to not harm her, to give her hope, and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) So Lord, whether she be waiting for that baby that she longs to hold in her arms, the call for the job that her husband needs to provide for their family, the report of the cancer being in remission, her lost loved one’s salvation…whatever her circumstances may be today Lord, help her to declare victory through Christ Jesus and give her a renewed hope! We know that while she is waiting, You are working. I thank You for what You are doing in her life right now Lord, and know that the best is yet to come for her.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma Who Has Lost Hope

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Lord, today I pray for the momma who has lost HOPE. She’s so tired God. She’s fighting just to hang on, but she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep going. The enemy is filling her mind with doubts, telling her that she is only wasting her time. He tells her that things are never going to change for her and that she should just go ahead, accept it, and give up…Give up the hope for the baby that she longs to hold in her arms…The hope for the diagnosis to be reversed…The hope for her broken marriage to be restored. I don’t know her battles Father, but I know that you do. I know that you see her aching heart and that you hear her cries. God, I pray that you will renew her hope today. Fill her with a new breath of confidence in you. Send your Holy Spirit to minister to her heart and to bring her comfort today. Remind her Father God that she can trust you, and that she never has to doubt your goodness or your love for her. Give her the wisdom and courage to combat the enemy and all of his lies. Help her to find solace in your word and in your presence. Surround her with people that will love her, encourage her, pray with her, and help to lead her closer towards you Father. I thank you for what you are doing in her life today God. I know that she may not see it right now, but I have HOPE…and that hope is in YOU. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

Momma Prayers

Today I Pray For The Momma That Is Battling Addiction

Lord, today I pray for the momma who is battling addiction. I don’t know her struggles God, but I know that you do. I don’t know her pain, but I know that you see every tear that she cries. Lord, I pray that you will speak peace to her burdened heart today Father. I pray for the healing and restoration of her body, mind, and spirit. I pray that you will give her strength and a renewed determination. I pray that you will fill her heart with a new song of hope and joy. Cover her in your love Lord and please keep your hand of protection upon her. Help her to realize that nothing she has done in her life could ever separate her from your love. Help her to see just how loved, valued, and precious she is in your eyes. I pray that you will place people in her life that will help to lead her towards you and that they will offer her love and support along her journey. I pray that you will break the chains of addiction that have her bound and that you will bless her life Lord. I pray for this momma today Lord, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, in Jesus name. Amen.

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