Thursday, August 31, 2017

Moving to Another Blog

The journey continues over at My Crazy Faith (click on it). Come visit me there.  It's where I will be adding my new posts (and reposting any relevant posts).

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts

(June 12, 2018)  It's so sad to hear about all the celebrities who have recently committed suicide (or about anyone who has committed suicide, for that matter).  My heart breaks for them, for the pain they went through, and for the ones who love them, for the pain they are now going through.  It is truly a tragedy.  (And it could have been me.)

To anyone who is hurting really badly, who is struggling with overwhelming anxiety or depression, who is considering taking their own lives ... I dedicate this post.  Please, take some time to look through some of the links here.  This is a round-up of some on-line resources or posts about dealing with anxiety or depression, particularly as a Christian.  

URGENT Prayer Request for Young Mother

I am adding this post (it's now March 23, 2018) because I have an urgent prayer request.  I am asking fellow believers to please say a prayer for my brother and sister-in-law, Brad and Jessica.

She is 29 years old and was pregnant with their third child (they have a four-year-old and two-year-old).  On Monday, March 19, she had blood pressure problems due to preeclampsia (she also has type 1 diabetes and they just found out she has cardiomyopathy and an enlarged heart).  They delivered the baby by C-section on Monday, three weeks early.

The baby is doing fine now (was on a feeding tube for awhile because she refused her food).  But Jessica's body was so wrecked that they put her in a medically-induced coma on Tuesday to keep her stable.  She has been under since then.  Everytime they try to wake her a little, her oxygen drops and blood pressure shoots up.  She also picked up double pneumonia and is on a breathing tube right now.  She is not breathing on her own; it's all by machine.  And she has a catheter in her neck to put oxygen right in her blood.  And she was given a blood transfusion to make up for blood loss from the C-section.  

They won't wake her up yet because they don't want her heart and lungs to get too strained.  They are trying to give them time to heal.  

Neither she nor my brother is a believer.  But I did give him some faith books to read while he sits in the hospital, visiting his baby in one room and his unconscious wife in another.

God truly is their only/biggest hope right now.  And she needs all the miracles that she can get.  (When I gave my brother the books, I told him, "I believe in turning to God in times like these.  If God is your biggest and only hope, you really should get to know Him.")

Please say a prayer for them, the new baby and other kids, their salvation, etc.  I know prayer matters.  And they could really use it.  

We worship a big God who can do big things.  With God, there's always the possibility for miracles, even if things look hopeless to everyone else.  And that's what I am clinging to right now.  I am choosing to not look with my eyes but with my heart, my faith.  

Remember that even when all signs look bad, it ain't over till God says it's over.  And if God says "It ain't over" then nothin' gonna make it over.  (And remember that God doesn't operate according to the "signs" we think we see.  He doesn't care about the odds.  He does His own thing.  In His own time.  In His own way.  Far above our understanding.)

I don't know what God will do, but I do know that we are to pray, to trust that He can do the impossible, the incredible, if He so chooses.  That if we pray anything according to His Will, He will hear us and answer.  

It is my prayer that His Will is to let her live, to give her another chance at life - to raise her babies and love her husband and find God.  Would you please pray for her too?

Thank you.  And I will post an update when there's more to know.

Updates:

Sometimes I Wish ...

Sometimes I wish there was a place I could go where I could scream as long and as loud as I want to - a raw, primal scream, maybe even ranting and raving about everything I've ever wanted to scream out loud but held inside instead ... and no one could hear it but God in heaven (but maybe He could cover His ears for a little while, just in case). 

Or I wish I could wake up in one of those places you see in the movies sometimes, that all-white, alternate-universe place with no walls, no ceiling, no floor, no people, no noise ... no anything except whiteness as far as the eye can see.  And I could just sit there awhile in complete stillness and silence and peace.

That would be nice.

All Good Things ... (And "When Things Don't Turn Out The Way You Wanted")


You know what they say - that there's a time for every good thing to end.  Well, I would like to end this blog on these posts, some of my favorites (along with the “How I Broke” post and the series on predestination in April). 
 

But since I still have more posts from my other blog to break up into smaller pieces for this one, I will be adding new posts in random places throughout the past 8 months.  Just slipping them in anywhere I can.  (And I will be continuing to add posts to one of my other blogs - https://heathersgardenandhome.blogspot.com.)    
 

In general, it doesn’t matter when they are dated or where they are placed.  (But if it does, I will note the date that they were actually written.) 
 

I know this might make it a little inconvenient because it means sifting through the past 8 months for new posts BUT … it doesn’t really matter since no one is reading anyway.  So I am going to do this for me, to have the “ending” that I want yet still being able to add new stuff when I feel like it.



And now ... "When Things Don't Turn Out The Way You Wanted":


Starting Your Own Relationship with Jesus Christ (And Why We Need Him!)


             John 3: 16: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

            God so loved the world.  He didn’t just love the world; He so loved the world.  He so loved the world that He (Jesus) would die in our place before He would miss out on an eternal relationship with us.  He knew that we would disappoint Him and hurt Him and fail Him, but He still so wanted a relationship with us that He made a way.  He knew that there would be many, many people that would reject His gift of love and salvation, but an eternity spent with those who would choose Him was worth the price of dying on the cross.  That is some amazing love!     

            Let me ask you something:  If you were to die today or if Jesus came back today, would you be ready?  Seriously!   This life, as we know it, isn't going to go on forever.  And we are not invincible.  People die every day, in every kind of way.  Are you ready to face eternity, what comes the moment after you take your last breath?  Have you figured out who Jesus is and why He matters so much? 

            Because this will be what matters most the moment after you die.  And, quite honestly, it's what matters most in this lifetime, too.

Atheism and World Religions (repost)

I am much more willing to believe that there is a God and the He is choosing to not answer my prayers the way I want ... than to believe that there is no God just because life isn't going the way I want it to.

It is narrow-minded, self-centered pride to think that God should always answer my prayers the way I want Him to.  It is foolishness to decide that there must not be a God just because life isn't going my way.  There is far too much evidence of a Creator for me to base my belief in Him simply on what He does or doesn't do in my own little life.



[This is also taken from the Bible study I wrote.  FYI – like the other reposts, it’s very long.]

            In this lesson, I combined parts of several posts from https://myimpressionisticlife.blogspot.com.  This lesson in not really an academic “study” of atheism and world religions, but it’s a very personal account of why I could never give up my faith in Jesus, why those other options are not for me, and how I would explain salvation and faith in Jesus to a non-believer. 

            Christianity isn’t a squeaky clean, “everything goes smoothly and life is always what I want it to be” kind of faith.  It can be messy and painful and difficult. 

            Due to many trials which have caused me to struggle deeply with my faith, I’ve become a little less polished and a lot more real over the years.  This is why I included this lesson and the depression one.  Because I really wanted to show the very real, human side of being a believer in Jesus, how we can struggle enormously with heartache and pain and doubt and fear . . . and yet still cling to Him.

            This will be a long lesson (I tried to cut it down as much as I could) because I will be looking at several different things which all relate to what we choose to believe and why: atheism, world religions, evidence to support the Bible and Jesus, and how I would describe salvation and faith in Jesus to someone.  


Why I Could Never be an Atheist

            “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”  (Psalm 14:1)


             “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20)


The End Times (repost)


            (Reposted directly from a post about the End Times in the Bible Study I wrote.  I don’t know, but something about all the hurricanes and earthquakes and solar flares and society going more “cash-less” and the terrorism and the martyring of Christians and the disease epidemics and the technology to put little radio transmitters into people’s hands containing their information and the various celestial events and a fast-approaching “one-world system” and a brewing civil war and a brewing world war, etc. … I don’t know, but something about all that makes it seems worthwhile to repost this post at this time.
            And to all those scoffers who say "None of this has anything to do with the end of the world" or "There is no 'end of the world' and Jesus isn't coming back again," I would like to ask you ... "Are you so sure!?!  Are you so sure that there isn't a supernatural world out there?  That there isn't a God who will someday do exactly what He said He'd do in His Word?  That He isn't moving and working in this world and about to bring this time to an end?  Are you so sure!?!  Even if the end doesn't come in our lifetime, it will come someday - in our own lives and for the world as we know it.  Are you prepared to face the truth?  Will you find the truth before it's too late?"     
            FYI, I didn’t repost all the questions at the end of Bible study here, just the main content.  Warning:  Don’t read this unless you are ready for a headache, ‘cuz your head will be spinning.)


            No study on the “less clear” things of Scripture would be complete without a look into the End Times.  There are many different ideas about how the world will end.  Of course, most Christians believe that it will end when Christ returns and God makes all things new.  But what isn’t clear is the timing of everything.  And the biggest “unclear” thing: Will there be a rapture?  Will it come before, during, or after the tribulation?

            I have studied this really intensely at different times over the years.  Reading every book on the topic that I could find, studying the Bible, checking the original Greek meaning of the words, etc.   To me, it is a huge, complex, wonderfully-frustrating puzzle.  And I could never really understand it . . . until this last time that I studied it.  And I was finally able to settle this issue in my mind once and for all. 

Is the Rapture taught in the Bible?

             I believe there’s going to be rapture of the true believers before the tribulation starts (which I looked at in "The End Times" post, so some of this will be review of that).  

             In this post, I’m going to list which significant passages I think refer to the Rapture and which refer to the Visible Second Coming, which will happen at the 6th seal, during the tribulation.  This is all just my opinion.  I do not claim to have any special revelation from God.  It’s just the best way I make sense of Scripture.
 

             Before I get into the verses, keep this in mind:
          1.  All “coming of the Lord” passages that include something about Jesus coming in power and great glory and with angels pertain to the visible second coming of Jesus at the 6th seal during the tribulation.  (However, there are some passages that refer to the visible coming which don’t use those words, but you can tell by the context, by the fact that they were already talking about the big “end of time” visible second coming.  And He also comes again visibly at the end of the trib for the battle of Armageddon, so that coming is referred to at times.  But neither of these "visible comings" are the rapture.)
          2.  None of the passages that pertain to the rapture have the words “in power and great glory and with angels.” 
 

             This helps clear up a lot of confusion about which “coming” the passage is referring to.  



I Will Love You ... Always


            “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? . . . But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”  (Psalm 13:1, 5-6)

            “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him, . . .”  (Job 13:15)

            “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  (Job 1:21)

                       

            Years ago, I saw the movie Facing the Giants.  And it was a good movie.  Last night (April 16, 2015, this is obviously a repost), I saw it again . . . and it was a great movie.  It touched my heart in ways it didn’t before.  And I pretty much cried through the whole thing.  (Good thing the lights were off so my family couldn’t tell.) 

Silence as Worship

(written 3\6\18)

For a long time now I have had a hard time praying.  (I'm talking a couple years.)  Or more accurately, I've had a hard time knowing what to pray, how to pray.

It feels like so much has gone wrong, like so many hopes have crashed and burned, like prayer isn't having any effect, like I am praying to the ceiling, like the things I pray about are what gets attacked anyway, like the burdens of life are too heavy and have shattered me into too many pieces, like there is just too much to complain about.


And so ... I have been silent.
In life.  In friendships.
And even in prayer (for the most part, compared to how I used to pray).


And this has bothered me for awhile.  Made me feel guilty, like I am failing at friendships, at my faith, as a Christian.


I was thinking about all this the other day.  Thinking about the alternative to silence.


What if I started talking?  What would I even say?


I realized that if I did start talking, start rambling in prayer, all I would do is complain.  I would lament all that was going wrong, all that felt unfair, all the broken dreams.  I would ramble on about all the things I think I need from God, all the things He isn't giving to me or doing for me.  I would be repeating all the things I've already told Him over and over again.  


And this is when it dawned on me that - with the emotional state I am in - silence is actually my way of honoring God, of worshipping Him.  Of trusting Him.  

Because I don't want to complain about what He has allowed into my life.  I don't want to focus only on the bad stuff.  I don't want to dishonor Him with my grumbling.  I don't want to keep telling Him over and over again about what I expect out of Him, about how He should answer my prayers, about how I want Him to do what I want Him to do, about how much it hurts that He isn't answering prayers my way.
 

I know Him too well to doubt His love, care, goodness, and sovereignty. I know Him too well to think that He isn't listening, that He doesn't care, or that He isn't going to do something about my concerns.
  

If opening my mouth right now means complaining ... then I choose silence.

If opening my mouth means telling Him over and over again all that I've already told Him, acting like He isn't listening or doesn't care ... then I choose silence.

If opening my mouth means that I keep talking and talking, leaving no room for Him to talk and no room for me to really hear what He has to say when He is ready to talk ... then I choose silence.


Silence is how I am worshipping Him right now.  How I bear the daily crosses.  How I am settling myself down so I can hear Him when He is ready to talk.  How I am learning to wait on His timing, to let Him do things His way.  How I show that I trust Him, even when life hurts.  


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Just Want To Finish Well


Once again, I found myself in an emotional funk (this is a repost from 2014, yet it still seems to be where I’m at in 2017), feeling like I can’t accomplish anything.  Can’t give any one thing the effort and time it needs.  I am so stretched-thin in places.  The housework never gets done.  The construction never gets done.  There’s not enough money to fix this place up.  My cooking has seen better days.  There’s not enough time to do everything I want when it comes to homeschooling … so, of course, my boys are going to grow up to be great big drains on society. 
 

I was feeling a little panicked that things were slipping away from me too fast, that I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  And then I picked up a movie from the library that really settled my heart.  Flywheel.  It’s an older one, the first one done by the people who made Courageous and Facing the Giants.  And I have to say that . . . it . . . is . . . good!  It’s really good, even if it’s a little old and primitive.
 

But the thing that sticks with me the most from it was the line that went like this: “I just want to finish well.” 
 

Overcoming Spiritual Fear


            Are you ultra-concerned about being a “good Christian” and doing the “right” thing, praying the “right” way, having the “right” attitude, and making the “right” choices?
 

            Do you find yourself desperately following “do and don’t” lists, afraid that you might step out of line?
 

            Are you often afraid that God is going to blast you with a lightning bolt for saying or doing something wrong?
 

            Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells with Him, always afraid of displeasing Him?
 

            Do you feel like no matter how much you strive to please God and do the right thing, you are always letting Him down?
 

            Are you afraid that He really isn’t listening to you or really doesn’t care that much about your “little problems” or aching heart?
 

            Do you hesitate to pray or share your concerns with God because you are afraid of burdening Him?  Afraid to have Him waste His time or energy on you, especially when there are greater tragedies and concerns in the world that deserve God’s attention more than you do?
 

            Is it hard for you to share your true feelings, thoughts, fears, and doubts with Him because you’re afraid of disappointing Him or earning His wrath?  So you put on a nice, polished, acceptable, capable, “good Christian” mask?
 

            Are you afraid of needing God?  Of truly, desperately needing Him?  Relying on Him?  (To really need Him is to be really vulnerable.  If we let ourselves need someone, we take the risk of getting let down, of being dropped on our faces.  And so, many of us don’t risk needing others, even God.  We try our best to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, even with God.  Which doesn’t work.  Eventually we will all find our self-sufficiency tested, in order that we might learn to rely on Him.)
 

            Deep down, do you doubt that God is a good, loving Father who really does want the best for you?  Do you see Him more as a God who is unfair, harsh, or indifferent?         
 

            Have you ever secretly wondered, How could God ever really love me?  I’m just . . . me!  Messed-up me!  Surely, He could never forgive me or want a relationship with me?

 

            Whether or not we admit it, many of us have these kinds of fears.  And they hinder our spiritual walks and our relationships with Him, others, and ourselves.  So how do we deal with these kinds of spiritual fears?


Six Dollars and Thirty-Three Cents



            Six dollars and thirty-three cents.


            It’s all the money that my 8-year old and 11-year-old have right now … and they have asked me to donate it to those affected by Harvey.
 

            We were watching some coverage of the aftermath of the storm, and we saw the story of “Mattress Mack,” the man who opened up his high-end furniture store as a shelter.  And my 11-year-old turned to me, almost with tears in his eyes, and said, “It’s so incredible that someone would risk their business like that to help other people.”  He immediately went to his room and scraped up all the coins he could find (getting his 8-year-old brother to do the same) and they gave it to me to give to the Harvey victims.
 

            Six dollars and thirty-three cents. 
 

            “But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 
            Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”  (Mark 12:42-44)         
 

            Six dollars and thirty-three cents.  It might not be much in the world’s eyes, but it’s an incredible sacrifice in God’s eyes.  Because it comes from a heart that wants to love and help … a heart that sees the hurt and needs of other people and refuses to do nothing … a heart that knows it doesn’t have much to give but that gives it anyway.
 

            ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  (Matthew 25:40)

250 Questions to Ask God

            A thought hit me one night as I went to bed.  A new idea.  Something I thought was a fun, exciting idea.  I would love to write a list of questions that we can ask God, one a day.  Questions that we might not normally think to ask Him.        
 
           I am passionate about learning to walk and talk with God, not just talking at Him.  And in the John Eldredge books I've read, he talks about going off into the wilderness and spending personal time asking God a question.  And then waiting for the answer.  I love that idea, especially since I believe that it is so important to practice hearing God and to deliberately invite Him into our days and our thoughts.  But it is so easy to let a day slip by just being busy with life. 

            And so I thought it would be great if there was a book of questions that would help us do that.  Now, there probably is a list like this out there somewhere, but I haven’t seen it.  And so I figured, I’ll make my own.  I’ll compile questions that I think are important to ask God, for the sake of learning to listen, to obey, for abiding in Him, and for walking with the Spirit more throughout every day.   

Friday, August 25, 2017

How to Understand "God's Will"


            “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:1-2)
           

            We all want to know what God’s Will is, don’t we?  But do we really know what we are asking?  Are we willing to put in the required effort to know it?

            Usually, when we want to know God’s Will, we want to know what our next step is or what plans God has in store for our future.  We think of “His Will” as “His plans for our life.” 

            But is that how the Bible defines “God’s Will”?
 

            Does “God’s Will” mean what He wants for us/asks of us?  Is it His plans for our lives?  Is it just whatever happens … because God always does His Will, right?  Such as “Well, it must have been God’s Will that I got pregnant . . . or lost my job . . . or that our house got destroyed in a tornado, etc. because it’s what happened”? 

            Personally, I think that “His Will” is not necessarily about His future plans for us and it’s not really whatever happens to us.  I think it is most accurately defined as what He desires. 

            It’s what He wants for us (the choices He wants us to make and the path He wants us to take and the blessings He wants us to obtain, etc.), and it’s what He wants from us (living God-glorifying lives and being obedient, etc.).


Prayer, Faith, and God's Will

(repost, summary of “Understanding God’s Will,” Question 9, Q9a-Q9i)

            “‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.  ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” (Mark 11:22-24)      

            I have to be honest.  I struggle with this verse more than any other.  I really do.  I mean, it sounds pretty straightforward to me: believe that you’ll get what you ask for and you’ll get it.  Name it and claim it!  Sounds great! 

            But there’s a problem.

            It doesn’t always happen.  There are things that we pray for and that we are confident are in line with God’s Will, and yet they don’t happen.  The mountains didn’t move. 



            How come some prayers don’t seem to work, even when you believe that it’s God’s Will?  And how long do you keep praying for something (especially when it’s a painful issue) when God seems to not be listening or answering?   


Winning the Battle


I have been in a “funk” lately.  I get in them often, comes with being a child from a broken home.  (This is a repost of something I wrote years ago, but it still strongly applies.)  Prayer has felt futile.  I’ve been wanting to pull back from people.  I am struggling to accept certain “life problems” that I wish I didn’t have.  And I constantly deal with feelings of failure and not mattering.  

I know it’s not proper for a Christian to expose the fact that they are dealing with depression and frustration with God and disappointment with prayer and unhappiness with life.  I know we are supposed to plaster on that “good, happy, Christian smile” and act like we are full of joy and peace and contentment.  (Or are we?)  But this is the truth about how I feel.  And if I can’t be real with God and other Christians (even anonymously on this blog), then who can I be real with? 


[One of my reasons for writing so honestly is because I want my kids to understand that struggling with life and with God is part of the journey.  It does not make you a “bad Christian.”  It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is important to face it and work through it honestly. 

Broken


            It hurts to be broken. 

            It’s being vulnerable, taking a risk with our hearts . . . sometimes winning, sometimes losing. 

            It’s leaning on others and opening ourselves up to them, to trust, to hope.  Sometimes finding support and acceptance and help, being caught before we hit the ground.  And sometimes being let down and battered, falling flat on our faces when others pull back and fail to catch us. 

            Sometimes, it’s just a minor annoyance, a pain that we absorb with relative ease, realizing that we are better for it.  And sometimes, it’s more pain than we can bear, feeling like we’ll never be whole again, wanting to curl up in a ball in a dark, lonely corner and fall asleep forever. 

            Being broken hurts!   

I'm weak and I need You!


            What is it that we always say to encourage people going through a hard time?

            “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

            But guess what?

            It’s not true. 

            “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered . . . We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we even despaired of life.  Indeed, in our hearts, we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rest!


(I wrote this years ago, but it still applies.)

            “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

            This verse really speaks to my soul right now.  It is exactly what I need.  Rest.  To put down the burdens I carry around with me.  I’m just not sure how to do it.

            A couple days ago, I asked God one of my “250 Questions to Ask God.”  (I will repost it sometime after this post.)  The questions was “Since You know what’s best for me, what do I need most right now?”  I had been struggling with concerns and frustrations and disappointments.  With God’s silence even.  And I didn’t know what to pray for anymore, but I needed to hear something from God.  So I asked Him this question.  Because I don’t know what I need right now.  I just know I need something.  And for a couple days, He didn’t answer.   

And God Said ...

(reposted from a few years ago)
 
Not too long ago, I was going a very discouraging “four-month funk.”  I was so stressed and depressed about life.  I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, and yet I kept trying and trying to accomplish something, anything.  All day, I would ruminate on all the things that were wrong, all the ways I was failing.  And I would plead with God to show me what more I needed to do to succeed.  My shoulders ached from being tense all the time.  My head hurt.  And the tears were always ready to burst forth.  
 

And one day, as I stood in my kitchen doing dishes, I asked God to help me.  To tell me one thing that He wanted me to do.  Whatever it was, I would do it.  I was failing, failing, failing … and I just wanted His leading in my life because I couldn’t do anything on my own.  What else did He want me to try?  What did I need to give up?  What needed to be pruned from my life?  What did I need to do to make things better?  What more could I do? 
 

Please, God, just tell me! 

 

And do you know what He said?  The big advice that He gave me in such a quiet whisper to my heart? 


“Turn up the music and dance!”


 

Turn up the music and dance!  As soon as I heard it, I knew that this is what I really needed to hear, what I really needed at that moment.  I didn’t need to keep trying so hard to accomplish something, to reach for something just beyond my grasp.  I didn’t need to try to make things better, to do more than what I was doing. 
 

I just needed to relax, to breathe, to celebrate the moment that He gave me as a gift. 
 

And so I did.  As the kids played outside, I turned up the music in my kitchen and just danced.  I shook out all of the stress and the ache, and I let the music fill me with delight and joy.  For a short time, I let go of my fears that I would fail and I grabbed onto the blessings of the moment instead.   
 

It filled me with joy to know that God knew what I really needed, that He cared enough about me to remind me to slow down and relax and enjoy the journey.  To breathe.  To smell the roses.  Pick a daisy.  Laugh with my kids.  Talk a walk. 

Sometimes, I make it harder than it needs to be.  I overwhelm myself with the idea that everything God asks us to do is going to be stressful and hard work and sacrifice and dying to self. 

 

But sometimes …

He just wants us to dance.     

 

Fighting Back A Panic Attack

(reposted from https://heathersgardenandhome.blogspot.com)

As I’ve already written about, I had a panic attack last summer for the first time.  As anyone who’s had a panic attack knows, they are horrible.  They wreck you inside and out, and then leave you feeling fragile for a very long time after.  I would dare say they change you permanently.  I’m still feeling the effects of this “fragileness” and I’ve noticed that I don’t eat like I used to before the attack.

Anyway, as I reflect back on that attack and the unsteadiness I’ve felt since then, I realized that there are several factors that contributed to it.  And I’m going to summarize these factors (some are variations of others) and give possible ways to deal with them.  Maybe someone else can find a little help in these and ward off a panic attack, stopping it before it overtakes them.

"Being Human"

Struggling with depression or anxiety is often called "being mentally ill".

Why can't we just call it "being human"?

Praying Scripture: When You Fear You're Failing in Life


            Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

            Proverbs 16:3:  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

            Colossians 3:23-24:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Jesus you are serving.”

            1 Corinthians 10:31:   “ . . . whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 

            Romans 8:28:  “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

            Matthew 6:19-21:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in a steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

            Matthew 25:21:  “… ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

 

            Lord, you know how anxious I am, how much I feel like I am failing at everything, like everything is falling down around me and I can’t keep it together.  I need You now, Lord.  I need to know that I am doing okay.  (And if I not, then I need to know what needs to change.) 

            Please, Lord, speak words of comfort to my anxious, despairing heart.  To the part of me that feels like I’m going to let You and everyone else down, no matter what I do or how hard I try.  To the part of me that just never feels “good enough.”

            Lord, You promise to work everything for good.  Please take my feeble efforts and use them for Your glory.  Make something beautiful out of my messes and my shortcomings.  Sometimes I feel like that’s all I am capable of – messes and shortcomings.  But I know You can turn them into something good, because Your Word says so.  I might not be able to do much, but please take the little I do and work it for Your glory.  (And reveal to me if there is something that I claim to do for Your glory and purposes but that I am actually doing for my own glory and purposes.) 

            Lord, You know my heart and my motives.  You know that I want to please You, that I am trying my best to do my best at the jobs You have given me.  Please, be glorified in that, and help me know that I am doing okay in Your eyes, for I feel like I am failing in the eyes of so many others, including my own.    

            You say that if we trust You and lean on You then You will make our paths straight.  Please, Lord, I am leaning on You now.  I don’t always know the right step to take, so I need You to straighten the path as I walk.  And when I don’t have the strength to keep walking, I need You to carry me.  And when I don’t even have the strength to stand, please, Lord, just hold me for awhile and let me know that it’s going to be okay. 

            Help me remember that it’s not my job to always know which way to go in life or to be “strong enough,” but that my job is simply to let You lead, to lean on You when I am weak, to follow You in daily obedience, to work at whatever I do with all my heart for Your glory, and to let You work it all out for good and for Your purposes.

            The Bible says that if I commit my plans to You, Lord, they will succeed.  Well, I am committing my plans to You – the work I do everyday.  I want to do it for Your glory, Your purposes, and Your kingdom.  Help me remember to do my best simply because it matters to You, because You see what I do and why I am doing it.  And what I do matters to You, even if no one else sees it.  Guide me along as I go, as I do the jobs You give me each day.  Lead me in the direction You want me to go.  Use my efforts as You want to, whether they appear successful to the world or not. 

            I know that I might not see the rewards of my work, my efforts, here on earth or on this side of eternity, but may I be successful, Lord, in Your eyes, in the heavenly realms.  Help me remember to always work for eternity, not for the things I can see.  Help me build up treasures in heaven as I wait to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”    


                                                            - Heather K (Joshua 24:15, Psalm 46:10)  
           

Praying Scripture: Prayer about Resting in the Lord


            Matthew 6:25-34:  “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

            Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

            Psalm 46:1-3, 10:  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. . . . Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

            Psalm 37:7:  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”

            Psalm 25:9:  “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way…”

 

            Lord, You know how easily I give in to worry, to the concerns of life, the fear of the unknown, the fear that I will make too many mistakes and mess everything up and be too weak to handle everything.  You know that I can make myself crazy with fear.  But it’s hurting me.  It’s exhausting me.  It’s crushing me.  And I can’t do it anymore.  And I know that You never wanted me to live that kind of fearful life anyway.  I have been choosing it because I have let myself believe that it all rests on me, that I am alone in this and that I have to be big enough and strong enough and wise enough. 

            But I don’t have to be “enough” . . . because You are.  I don’t have to listen to Satan every time he says, “You see that burden right there?  You better pick it up.  There’s another one.  It’s yours, so pick that one up, too.  Have you thought about this concern and this other fear?  They’re your responsibilities, too, so you better carry them because no one else will.”

            Satan lies.  And I have been listening to him for too long.  I have been listening to the one who wants to discourage me and exhaust me and crush me.  And most of the burdens that I have been carrying around were never my burdens, my concerns, or my responsibilities to begin with.   

            You don’t ask me to take responsibility for most of the things that I worry about.  The only things that You really ask of me are that I live humbly before You, that I do the daily jobs that You have given me and let You take care of everything else, that I bring You glory in whatever I do, and that I rest in You and trust in You.  Because You are God and I am not!  You are the One who is big enough and strong enough and wise enough.  And I am not alone in this world.  You are there, carrying me and making things work out right, if only I will trust You enough to let You do it. 

            And so I am throwing myself upon You right now.  I am going to lean on You now, instead of on myself.  I am going to trust in You to make my path straight, to handle the things I can’t handle, to know the things I can’t know, to work things out for the best, and to carry my concerns and my fears.  Even when it feels like the earth is falling apart, You are still there.  You are still in control and holding in all together and will make everything work out for good. 

            I don’t have to always know what to do . . . because I know You.  And You will guide me in the right path and take care of me and handle my concerns and keep me safe and bring me peace.  My focus today is not to fix anything or make everything okay; it’s just to be still in You and to know that You are God.  You are my refuge and my strength.      


                                                            - Heather K (Joshua 24:15, Psalm 46:10)