January has been a rough month, taxing emotionally, financially, mentally and spiritually. December 31st filled me with promise for an amazing start to 2019 and if I’m being honest, it’s been anything but amazing. Financially, I had some setbacks, that really put me in a bad position and you know how frustrating that can be, right? Then, I found out an old friend of mine had passed away, in the most unexpected and awful way. It rocked me to my core and to be honest I think I’m still in shock. We were such good friends growing up and although we grew apart, I never stopped wondering about her and trying to keep up with her life, because well, that’s what you do when you love someone, it doesn’t fade away. It’s a complicated relationship, but I’ll just say, my heart was and still is broken. The sadness didn’t stop when another friend lost a dear loved one unexpectedly as well. On top of the fact that work was ridiculously stressful and I had to travel, I’ve been feeling really depleted.
I can feel the walls closing in and as they are closing my mind is going to that stinking thinking place filled with insecurity and doubt. Do you ever go down that road? It’s isn’t a fun trip. There are days where I feel absolutely useless. I take two steps forward and twenty steps back, and I want to scream, “God, what is going on?” I cry, uncle! I mean I’m trying here! I’m sure that’s the problem, I’m trying and not surrendering. How hard it is to just let go and let God? Although I know His way is the best way, and that he already knows the obstacles I will face and has it worked out, it’s still not always easy for me to surrender. That’s that pesky human ego side that fights the spirit tooth and nail.
I’ve been digesting the verse in Lamentations because it is a much-needed reminder of the Lord’s never-ending compassion and mercies that are new every morning. January has been a beast, but I can look back and see God’s compassion coming through. Whether it is Him calming my heart and mind, or a friend bailing me out of a tough unexpected financial situation, or help with my child after school, or a meal on the house from a kind person when I was traveling for work, God was present and his hand was in every situation. I didn’t have to do a thing but allow Him to work. He will never allow us to be consumed because His love is so great, so awesome and consuming! God’s love covers us and carries us. I pray that if you are feeling brokenhearted and weak that you read Lamentations and think about God’s mercies in your life…they are present, I promise you. Allow yourself to be consumed by his compassion and not your burdens.
A little while back I dived into Psalms and started to look at the character of God. Do you ever ask yourself who is God? I wanted to share this deep dive with you. I was overwhelmed by what scriptures tell us about God, His character and who He is to us. I hope you are as blessed as I was when I saw the depth of God’s love and provision for us!
Happy Over the Hump Day!
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I’m always amazed how the Israelites doubted God when I read Exodus. Regardless of the miracles and words spoken from the Lord they just didn’t want to believe him and instead wanted to choose fear over freedom. But, then again how many times have I done the same thing? Unfortunately, I’ve allowed fear to speak louder than the voice of God. I’ve seen his miracles in my own life, witnessed how he can transform circumstances, and experienced his provision yet and still I’ve at times remained in fear and discouragements. I guess I’m not that different from the Israelites. After the Lord had spoken through Moses and told them that he would free them from being slaves and redeem them in Exodus 6:9 it says, “Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.” How many of us are so accustomed to whatever chains that hold us that we remain in bondage to it and are unable to break free? Don’t get me wrong freedom is only through Christ and not on our own accord. But, are we allowing the discouragement and disappointment wrap so tightly around us that we have stopped listening to God? Has our faith weakened and the chains tightened?
Bondage is cruel. It robs us from ever fulfilling God’s potential for us, it takes away precious time, and it stifles are gifts that are meant for the glorification of the Lord. When I let the chains tighten I literally feel like the life is being sucked from me and it is! It is as though I have nowhere to move, I’m helpless, hopeless, purposeless and can’t see the light. It is an awful feeling that doesn’t come from God. How do we get past it? We don’t, we walk through it with God. The slavery stops when we allow God to unlock the chains, when we place our faith in him, and believe that he is stronger than the bondage and the discouragement. He is in every season of our life but we have to recognize him and turn to him. Christ broke the chains of slavery when he died for us on the cross, so that we no longer had to bear them. The chains slip back around us when we lose sight of who we are in Christ. Sisters, rest in him and the chains will loosen as your faith keeps growing.
2 Corinthians 12:10 – “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
One of things I want to give up for lent is complaining. I want to release complaining and embrace gratitude. I don’t consider myself a big complainer, but I’ve noticed I’m agitated with things a little more. For example, I find myself complaining a lot about Maryland and how I’d rather live somewhere else because the cost of living is ridiculous. Ah see there it is, I can’t even write about it without it slipping out! There are other little nuances too, things that I would mainly like to change have been at the forefront of my complaining.
Today, I was thinking about how God places us exactly where we need to be at least until he’s ready to move us forward, whether it be in jobs, homes, relationships, or anything else. There is a reason for every season in our life. Instead of fighting against it I think it’s better to embrace it and let it evolve in God’s time instead of living in a state of complaining or always wishing for a different scenario. Contentment in all circumstances happens when we have faith and trust in God that he is moving us through every chapter and each scenario in our lives.
Being content isn’t always a simple thing to do. I find myself wrestling with those life scenarios and becoming frustrated because I think wait a minute, God clearly can’t want this for me! Doesn’t he see what I’m facing? How can this be okay with him? Then I have to remember I can’t see what he sees for me, his time is not my time and he doesn’t make mistakes, but I do! So what do I need to do? Well, here is what I think:
- Pray- I need to pray. Pray for his will, his guidance, for patience, to be obedient and for contentment. Contentment in the sense of knowing that God is in control and he will work it out not for my good for me, but his good for me, which can never be topped!
- Choose to Thrive Where I Am-I have a choice. I can either sit around and complain and pick apart everything that bugs me or I can embrace where I am at this present moment and seek opportunities that will allow me to thrive personally and spiritually and also to be a blessing to others.
- Choose Happiness– When I think about the beauty of life even on the worst days there is usually one thing that can put a smile on my face and if there isn’t it, I can look at my child or recall a memory and then I’m struck that life isn’t so bad. Actually it’s pretty incredible and I can create my happiness in the moments I’m still here!
- Count My Blessings– Am I breathing? Is my daughter healthy? Do I have a roof over my head? Is there food on the table? Did Christ save my life? What do I have to complain about again?
- Not Allow my Circumstances to Define Me- Circumstances are not who I am. I am a child of God. Circumstances change, but my identity as a Child of Christ does not, it is everlasting. Who I am will outlive my circumstance. Circumstances will change and that old saying this too shall pass will cross my lips more than once. When we’re in difficult circumstances it is important to remember that God is allowing it and he will see us through it as well and they will change, it is temporary.
- Find Joy in Contentment- When anxiety, worry, fear, negative thinking are all absent from my life I allow joy to enter in and find a home in my heart. Joy in the assurance that my God is with me and when I stumble he will pick me up.
- Know God is Doing Something- I have to remember that in everything God is doing something. I say something because I don’t know what it is he is up to! But, I believe that each experience, each trial, each circumstance he is preparing us for something bigger maybe even something wonderful! Remember we are His workmanship. God is constantly molding and sculpting us into his perfect masterpiece, so be patient you are a work of art!