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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Encouragement

Hot Mess Express

All Aboard The Hot Mess Express

You pull into the parking lot on 2 wheels, while gently ushering (who am I kidding, you’re flat out yelling right now) at your kids to get their shoes back on, to stop poking one another, and to quit wiping their snot on the clothes you spent 30 minutes digging out of Mt. Clothesoovious, that sprung to life in your bedroom 2 weeks ago that you’ve yet found the time or energy to tackle,( don’t even get me started on finding a matching pair of socks ) and you threaten their mere existence if they unbuckle ONE more time before your van stops moving completely. Church started 10 minutes ago and time is ticking. You frantically jump out after throwing your van into park, heart racing, sweat dripping (you remember the extra strength deodorant you bought sitting on the bathroom counter (that you forgot to put on) because everyone suddenly was unable to blink on their own and needed you to do it FOR them simultaneously). You find some auto fabric freshener and decide its better than nothing and douse yourself with “New Car Scent”. You begin unbuckling car seats, reviewing manners and behavior expectations while herding the small army you and your husband created towards the church doors. You’re almost there! A-L-M-O-S-T! You reach for your purse/diaper/mom bag, but you can’t find it. You jump back in the van and start digging through the 4 inches of french fries and Goldfish crackers covering the floor. You suddenly remember it’s sitting by the bathroom door, where you left it, when you’re family decided they wanted to try for the Olympic gold medal for synchronized pooping when it was time to walk out the door. You feel that frustration start rising. The tears start welling up. While stepping out of the van you snag your sweater and it rips. Last straw level…reached. Your sweet, loving, kindhearted, good intentioned husband asks you if you’re okay and with one deep “Big Bad Wolf” inhalation, you recap your entire morning, while tears start rolling down your cheeks and you answer with a snarky, “Oh I’m FINE! JUST FINE!”. He looks at you like a deer paralyzed looking into oncoming traffic, afraid that if he moves the wrong way, he WILL die. Satan starts telling you what a terrible mom and wife you are. He fills your head with mom-guilt (your kids are going to hate you and move out on their own by the age of 6 because you’re a terrible human being) He tells you…look at you, all of these other moms have it together…you don’t see them pulling in here, hysterical and smelling like an air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror. You wipe the mascara off your cheeks (remembering you should have got waterproof) and then… here it comes…PSALM 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

REVELATION! When I allow myself to get caught up in the rush, in the chaos, in the trivial things of this world and I take my eyes and focus off of the important things of God…I land myself in an overwhelmed and exhausted mess, EVERYTIME. I need to focus on my relationship with my Savior and draw my strength and joy from HIM! I have to turn my worries into worship and transform my anxieties into praises for HIM! My hope is in the LORD! NO ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON, “has it all together”, but GREATER IS HE LIVING IN ME, THAN HE THAT IS IN THIS WORLD. (JOHN 4:4) We ALL struggle but how we choose to handle it makes the difference. ❤ Make an effort to praise HIM through your struggles today. God loves you and I do to!