On Feelings and Frostbite

Yesterday (Tuesday), I had the opportunity to speak at a local moms group. By request, I shared my story in light of making end-of-life decisions. My goal was to provide perspective and offer basic information for these moms.

Through a casual conversation, we discussed wills, trusts, life insurance, and more. To be clear, I am not an expert on any of these topics. But I have experienced the how-tos and what-not-to-dos.

I also recommended these ladies consult with an attorney, accountant, and/or a financial planner. I don’t recommend taking a lot of unwarranted risks in these areas!

I really enjoyed speaking with these moms, and afterward, I went to work like usual. But the emotions caught up with me there (unexpectedly), as my coworker and I just-so-happened to discuss similar topics. Gotta love God’s timing!

Occasionally, I still get a little teary-eyed when discussing all we went through with cancer. And lately, I have been reflecting on our journey more anyway…

I know March will be here soon, and I can’t help but think of two important times. First, I recall March 2010 when Dave found his job in Fargo. We moved later that year, which set the stage for other big life changes.

I’ve also been thinking of March 2013 when Dave was so sick and near death (he died in May that year). That was a tumultuous time and we felt desperate.

This flux of emotions tends to cycle through periodically, though as we move toward March, I have felt it more. Perhaps that’s because we are also fast-approaching another milestone: the five year anniversary of Dave’s death.

Yesterday, we also received several inches of snow. That’s not unusual for February, but I still had to blow snow in the dark of morning and shovel twice. For me, snow removal builds character (ha!), but yesterday, I was more reflective.

In the afternoon, I shoveled away the snow and contemplated my sadness. The physical activity was good for me and channeled my emotions into something productive.

I thought it would be a quick job, so didn’t change out of my work clothes. I wore lightweight dress pants and my lightweight gloves. I didn’t wear a hat and my hood kept falling off. I wanted to work quickly so my fingers wouldn’t freeze!

After about twenty minutes, I thought about going inside to warm up. But, I was still praying through my emotions and just wanted to finish. I threw more snow on already-high mounds. It was difficult because it required a lot of effort to corral the snow!

Soon, my fingers weren’t cold anymore—they were numb.

It was only when I came in about fifteen minutes later that I noticed my fingers again. They were bright red and tingled, like other parts of my skin. There was no frostbite, but that’s not unheard of with extreme wind chills like we have in Fargo.

Thankfully, I had gotten through both the snow and the rough emotions.

Praise God, I felt so much better!

As I put away my snow shovel, I thought about how people manage their emotions in a similar manner. Many people try to ‘shovel away’ their sorrows, without actually understanding the pain. It’s like having spiritual or emotional frostbite.

They bury sadness and grief, frustration and remorse, anger and resentment without dealing with them. They don’t allow themselves the time to heal. Some people freeze their feelings, becoming numb and unable to function properly.

For me, the pain can still feel rough at times, though it has gotten much better overall.

Nonetheless, I still allow myself to feel my emotions and pray them through. The feelings don’t last forever, and I know it will be okay…sooner or later.  

Like snow, healing is messy. It can be difficult work to decipher our feelings and keep them contained. Yet, I always learn more about myself in the process. Reaching a new level of healing or self-understanding isn’t always fun…but it is a valuable gift!

Yesterday, I was also reminded of God’s grace and goodness. Only He can bring full healing. And, the more I share my story, the more grateful I become.

God has been so faithful to me. He has provided for me in ways I cannot even explain. Despite my losses, He has never let me down. What Victory!

Yes, when everything feels like it is falling apart, Jesus is there. He is greater than my pain or problems, and He loves me through each trial. He protects me and allows me to be myself—feelings and all. By His grace, He holds me together!

**********

Dear God, thank You so much for your grace and goodness. Thanks for taking such great care of me. Please direct my path and guide me on this journey. Thanks that I don’t have to get stuck emotionally. I choose to move forward. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you experienced any signs of spiritual or emotional frostbite? Will you let Jesus handle it?

Tasks: Listen to ‘King of My Heart’ by Kutless and ‘I Will Call Upon the Lord’ by Elevation Worship. Write down your feelings and experiences in a journal. Trust in Jesus!

Magnifying the Lord (and Other Divine Moments)

I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we are going through something difficult, we have a tendency to make the problem our focus. Also, we can get bent out of shape if someone else is doing better than us. We compare our failures (or lack of progress) to someone else’s successes.

We can also lose our joy when we only bring the Lord our worries and complaints, not our praise. Yes, He cares about every detail in our lives, but He is worth so much more!

Thankfully, our setbacks are no match for God’s abundant grace and power. Instead of acting defeated, we can choose to magnify Jesus…not our problems.

I love this example from the Gospel of John:

In John 3:22-36, John the Baptist’s disciples were concerned that Jesus’ ministry seemed more successful than John’s ministry. At that point, people were going to Jesus more than John. But John was not jealous of Jesus and didn’t see Him as a threat.

John knew he was called to point people to the Messiah—and that’s what he did. He was faithful. I love how in John 3:30, John the Baptist humbly magnified the Lord.

Yesterday, on my way to work, I prayed like I often do. However, I felt discouraged and had a lot of questions for God. I was also confused because something just. seemed. unfair.

Nonetheless, in prayer, I gave my concerns to the Lord, thanked Him, sang a song, and asked Him to direct my steps. I chose to come to Him for peace and help, knowing He cares for me and is greater than any of my problems (real or perceived!).

Then, at work, something unexpected happened. A friend from church popped into my office! She recognized me but wasn’t previously aware that I worked there. We caught up for a few minutes and briefly shared what God was doing in our lives.

We discussed some nutrition topics, but soon our conversation turned to the concerns I had just been praying about. I hadn’t planned on telling anyone, but it felt good that she understood. It seemed the Lord directed our conversation!

As my friend stood to leave, I was struck with an idea. “You know, I was planning to attend that worship event at church last Friday night, but at the last minute, a friend really needed help. I had wanted to go, but felt the sacrifice of my time was worth it.”

This special event had been on my calendar for weeks. I was looking forward to what God might do during that time. I was anticipating something good! Yet, in the moment, I decided to stay and help my friend. I made the best decision but wondered if I missed out.

I continued, “So on Friday night, I prayed about my decision not to go, saying ‘Lord, I can worship You anywhere, and if You have something specific to say to me, then I trust I can receive a word from You anywhere, too.’”

To my amazement, yesterday God showed up and spoke encouragement through my friend. Before she left, she hugged me and prayed for me.

Cue the happy tears!

Oh God be greater, than the worries in my life
Be stronger, than the weakness in my mind
Be louder, let your Glory come alive
Be magnified”

–From the song, “Magnify,” by We are Messengers

Yesterday, I was in awe and deeply touched. God cares so much to speak to me in personal ways… He is so good!

Only God knew… I needed a special word from Him on Tuesday instead of Friday!

I truly believe that if I was still focused on my problems, instead of the Lord, then I would have missed the chance to talk to my friend and be refreshed.

I don’t know exactly how God will handle my problems. But I do know He is working on them for me. I don’t have to worry or be afraid. I can trust Him and magnify Him.

He is greater!

**********

Oh God, be greater than the worries of my life. Be stronger than my fears, doubts, and questions. Lord, wherever I go and in all I do, be magnified. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: How can you magnify Jesus in your life this week?

Task: Listen to the song, “Magnify,” by We are Messengers.

Nick at Night: Seek and Find

As I mentioned last week, I am scribing the gospel of John with friends. Mainly, I want to engage with God’s word in a more personal way. I am learning more each day! Last week, I shared a little about Nicodemus in John Chapter 3, but am still thinking about him…

I used to think Nicodemus went to Jesus at night because he feared what everyone (his fellow Pharisees) would think. That may be true, in part, but as a friend recently suggested, maybe he didn’t want to be interrupted by all the crowds that followed Jesus.

Perhaps it’s a parallel that Nicodemus (in spiritual darkness) sought Jesus, the Light of the World (which John mentions later). At any rate, I’m guessing Nicodemus was so intently searching for truth and answers that he couldn’t wait until morning to talk with Jesus.

Similarly, there are times I cannot sleep at night because I am dealing with something. In fact, this happened to me recently. Each time I woke up in the night, I had a prayer on my lips for a friend in need. I love that Jesus is always available to listen, help, comfort and teach us…even in the middle of the night.

We do not have to question if Jesus wants to help. Whenever we come to Jesus for help, we will receive encouragement and direction. That said, we also may receive correction like Nicodemus… We need to be willing to do whatever Jesus says.

v.10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?

Here, Jesus gets on Nicodemus for being a spiritual leader without actually understanding spiritual concepts. Ouch… Apparently, the Jews had created eight different ways one could be ‘born again’ (all physical things to do to earn God’s favor). The Jews missed the point of spiritual rebirth and salvation from sin.

But Jesus made it simple.

Interestingly, in my Bible, the words of John 3:16-21 are not in red, suggesting that perhaps Jesus did not say them. This surprised me because I always thought it was Jesus talking. It seems that this may be John’s explanation of what Jesus was saying.

I asked my friends for their input (on who said what) and learned some other Bibles and translations handle this differently. Many Bibles have those words in ‘red letters’ or quotations, but not the one I am using currently… So, I did some prayerful searching online and saw this is a common question.

Various Bible scholars have wondered the same! No one has an exact answer because (ahem) we weren’t there. But either way, the basic consensus is that the words are inspired by God and the message does not change.

We don’t have to lose sleep over what God meant in John 3:16. The point is: God so loved the world and so Jesus came. God gave us Jesus, our Savior, and we have eternal life through Him alone.

We know John did not record every single word or action Jesus did (John 21:25), and that’s okay! Instead of agonizing over the details, we will let the Holy Spirit lead us.

Here are a few takeaways:

It is common to hurry through our day, but in doing so, perhaps we are missing what Jesus really said (or maybe didn’t say). There is always more to the text than meets the eye—I love that my friends are picking up different aspects of the same text!

Nicodemus came directly to Jesus for answers to his deepest questions. He didn’t rely on someone else to ask for him. Jesus often spoke in metaphors and I love that Nicodemus sought clarity. Also, he trusted Jesus’ perspective and didn’t make it about himself.

Studying the Bible with other people can help everyone grow in faith. Nonetheless, we have to personally apply what Scripture says to our own lives.

Finally, God’s Word is trustworthy. When we have questions, it’s okay! God is big enough to handle them with His grace and truth. And, when it comes to Jesus Christ, He is always worth taking a closer look!

**********

God, thanks for the gift of Your Word! Renew our minds and draw us close to You. Teach us Your ways and lead us into deeper fellowship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior? Is there anything in Scripture that you’ve had questions about lately? How can you pursue a deeper level of understanding?

Tasks: Listen to “God so Loved,” by Jaci Velasquez. When you sit down to spend time with God, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, Jesus, the Living Word.

           

Jesus is Greater

For the last two weeks, I have been scribing the Gospel of John with friends. We are enjoying the process so far, which includes people in eleven states. My friends have invited their friends, too!

It’s amazing how much more I have noticed when going slow and writing it down word-for-word. We are each going at our own pace, but checking in as we go. I have divided each chapter into sections so we just post on what we are currently working on.

I’ve noticed everything from punctuation to chronology, such as the timing of miracles and Jesus’ calling of his disciples. I can sense John’s attention to detail and the honor he must’ve felt when writing about his dear friend and savior. I can also see God’s love pouring through each page and each interaction.

Already, I am amazed at how many times the religious leaders ask Jesus to prove Himself and His authority with a sign. Yet, we do the same thing.

We pray and then immediately want to see our prayers answered. We ask for guidance and then want something to pop up (out of nowhere!) to show that we are on track.

But we can trust in Jesus, the Living Word. He is greater than all things because He was before all things and created all things. He was in the beginning with God…

I love that every single time someone asked Jesus to help, He did. To start, He turned water into wine! And later, He provided food, healed the sick, calmed a storm, and raised the dead…

He met with people in everyday places: weddings (Cana), funerals (Lazarus), drinking fountains (woman at the well), and in the middle of the night (Nicodemus).

When we understand just how much Jesus loves us, we don’t need a sign. We can do what He says (obey) and let Him work out the details on our behalf.

He knows what is best for us and loves to provide us with all we need.

When we pray, we can have confidence that God hears us. We know He is moving, even when we don’t see something happening. We walk by faith, not by sight.

It’s not always easy. In fact, I know lots of people who are going through really tough situations right now. Life hasn’t gone according to plan.

Like Nicodemus, you may have a lot of questions for the Lord. He is the Answer.

Even Jesus went through brutal circumstances, too. He was often judged and misunderstood. His own people used him for miracles but then rejected him. He gave and He gave and He gave. Yet Jesus was rarely thanked for all He did.

Then, on top of that, He was crucified…and still chose to forgive. Wow…

I don’t know the exact details of your situation, but Jesus does. He cares deeply about all you are experiencing. With His help, you can do all you need to do.

Whether you need a friend, provision, peace, healing, mercy, or forgiveness, come to Jesus. Or, maybe you need to do the forgiving—if you let Him, Jesus will enable you to rebuild and move forward with Victory.

Cling to Jesus. He loves you beyond measure. Whatever you need, let Jesus help. With Him, nothing is impossible!! Praise the Lord!!

**********

Father God, thank You for Jesus! Lord, you are greater than anything we face. Please give us wisdom and courage. Help us to do what is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Do you believe that Jesus is with you and for you? Will you trust Him to help you?

Tasks: Listen to the song ‘How He Loves Us‘ by the David Crowder Band.

 

Finding Grace #97

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing with God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was a good week, starting off with my ten year wedding anniversary. This was my fifth one without Dave. I’m thankful for the time we had together, but the fact that it snuck up on me shows how much healing has occurred. Lydia and I enjoyed our day.

At church, we celebrated a week of prayer, which I feel set the tone for the rest of my week! I didn’t know how I was going to squeeze it all in, but by God’s grace, I did. I met deadlines, had fun clients at work, and had enough energy for all our evening activities.

My cousin and I started an online cooking class together. Actually, she lives in Ohio, but we are comparing notes as we go. I made a delicious pineapple-mango salsa and bought myself a new cutting board! It is a six-week course, so I am sure we will make lots of good recipes! For me, it’s about being creative, having fun, and trying new things.

Today, Lydia and I enjoyed spending time with friends. It is too chilly to go sledding or be outside for long… So we went to their house to visit instead! It’s always good to hang out with friends! We enjoyed seeing what God is doing in their lives.

**********

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Taking It Up A Notch

We’re only two weeks into the new year, and Lydia and I are off to running start! Last week, we began some new activities, and this week, we’ve added a couple more!

I’m really enjoying all the exciting opportunities ahead…really, I am! However, I can already feel my stress levels going up a notch.

Our normal routine is manageable and has a fair amount of margin. Yet adding even one thing takes consideration as we try to juggle it all. That’s fairly normal for most of us, but I prefer to have some flexibility.

On Monday afternoon, I felt a little overwhelmed. It was one of those days I had a million things to do but didn’t have much to show for all my effort. I was working on deadlines, dinner, dishes, and ‘backpack reading’ (for Lydia)… to name a few. I was also working on a small project for someone.

Later, a friend also invited me to pray at church that evening, as our church is holding nightly prayer events all week to set the tone for the year. We expect God to do good things in our lives, our church, and our community.

Absolutely, yes!

But on Monday, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to add it to an already full day. I had planned on going later in the week, but didn’t want to disappoint my friend…

Thankfully, I knew that praying was the best thing I could do. When I give my time (or other resources) to God, He always makes it work out in my favor. So, I trusted God and went to corporate prayer.

I’m so glad I went. Not only did I receive peace and a proper perspective, I also grew in joyful anticipation. I prayed with friends and heard how God was moving in their lives.

Praying was just the refreshment I needed! With my burdens lifted, I was able to stay in the present and not worry about my schedule or problems.

It was also a great personal reminder that prayer takes precedence. By taking our prayers up a notch we take our problems to God who can handle them so much better.

Our problems are no match for His power!

So far, this week, everything has worked out. I’ve done my best and will trust God to handle the rest. But many times, our circumstances do not change overnight. Sometimes things have to run their course, and some situations need God’s special touch.

There are things only He can do. Don’t give up. Press in and pray it through.

When we pray, God moves on our behalf. When stresses go up, so should our prayers. And if we let Him, God can take our faith up a notch too!

**********

Heavenly Father, thanks for all Your kindness, grace, and love. You are so good! Thanks for being with us, for listening, and for walking us through each problem and challenge. Help us come You to first, not as a last resort. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you ever felt like you didn’t have time to pray? Would you do it differently next time?

Tasks: Continue bringing your heart and requests to Jesus. He loves you so much! Also, read Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels.

Birds, Boots, and Blessings

Last weekend, Lydia and I played in the snow with our next-door neighbors. Lydia joined the kids who were building a snowman, while I talked with their mom. I had my back to the wind, but my legs and feet were still cold.

At one point, someone pointed out a bald eagle, flying low and parallel to our property line. It has been awhile since I last saw an eagle, and I’ve never seen one so close to my house. So, it was really exciting!

The next day, Lydia and I were inside and we heard a cute little purple house finch on our deck. He sang his heart out, as we spied through the window. I had just assumed most of the birds had gone south for winter, so it was a nice little surprise!

Then, yesterday, I bought a new snow shovel. My neighbor across the street, Melissa, helped me clear my driveway that morning and recommended it. A great friend, she also recently inspired me to get a heated mattress cover… It’s awesome! So, I happily took her word on the snow shovel too! 🙂

As I drove home from the store, I was in awe. Besides the shovel, I also bought myself a new pair of snow boots. (Ok, Melissa had nothing to do with that!) I have been in search of snow boots since we moved to Fargo in 2010—7+ years ago! Besides snow, we get many days of below zero temperatures and negative wind chills.

Yes, I have hiking boots and dressy boots. But for our super cold winters, I hadn’t found something that would work for me day-to-day. I’ve tried other snow boots, but none have fit just right. They are either too big in the ankle or too tight in the toe—or both. Most boots I’ve seen have lousy traction or make my feet look huge…or are crazy expensive.

Gray, mid-calf, lace-up boots with a rubber bottom, these new boots are rather simple. But God knew what I wanted, and they are exactly what I had been looking for. And, they will go with everything I wear. Bonus!

On my way home with my new shovel and boots, I also had a good laugh. I watched a Canada goose walk out on a snow-covered pond and just sit down. I have no idea why it was sitting there, but it was funny. Technically, we are just south of Canada, but I think most of the geese continue on to warmer weather!

Maybe it was taking a break or waiting for friends?

As I considered the goose, I remembered the bald eagle and the purple house finch. All of them had surprised me in their own way. Each of them provided me with joy and encouragement at just the right moment. Thank You, Jesus!

As I thought about all three birds—each so unique—I praised God for taking care of them. He meets their needs, keeps them warm, and feeds them. Not one bird falls to the ground without Him knowing about it. And, we are worth much more to Him than a simple sparrow or finch… or odd goose…or even a powerful eagle!

Yes, God promises to take care of us too. Each year, I’ve managed to get by when I am outside thanks, in part, to Smart Wool socks. But this season, I will be extra warm with my new boots. What a welcome surprise!

In His own way and timing, God provided the snow boots I had envisioned all those years ago. When writing this, I was also reminded of other things I have prayed for over the years. The boots are both a blessing and a reminder that God faithfully meets my needs.

I can depend on the Lord—and, He also uses me to bless others. This year, Lydia and I donated coats, hats, gloves, and snow pants so local kids can stay warm, too. It’s cool to see the Lord ‘return the favor’ as He also provides for me and answers my prayers in only ways He can. Praise God!

**********

God, You are such a good Provider. Thank You for filling my life with good things! Thank You for being faithful and for blessing me. Help me be a blessing to others. Use me to meet the needs of those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: How has the Lord blessed you recently? How can you bless someone else?

Tasks: Make a list of all you are thankful for; share it with someone. Make a list of prayer requests; update your list as you see how God faithfully answers.

 

Note to Self: Don’t Fake Brave

What surprises me the most about grief is both the depth of the wound and the healing it requires. Thankfully, I gave the Lord control of that long ago. His ways and thoughts are much higher than mine; I trust Him to teach me and take care of me.

On Monday morning, I called my writing coach to discuss a special project. Part of his job is to point out growth areas and things to work on. I trust his professional input!

During his critique, my writing coach mentioned, “You must’ve been in a hurry to finish this piece. It reads like you were trying to be brave.” I had unintentionally chosen a safe route, glossing over some details which might provide more meaning and context.

As we talked, he said, “You have your public life and try to be brave, but on paper you don’t need to be brave. This is where you show how you are really doing.”

Wow, I thought and tearfully scribbled a quick note to myself: Don’t fake brave.

Grammar aside, my coach pointed out a common problem. We often put on a smile to face the world and hope people don’t see our struggles. We try the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. That might work short-term, but long-term, we don’t have to be superheroes.

In real life, just surviving a traumatic event is a Victory. You don’t have to thrive in order for it to count. Whether you run, walk, or crawl through the muck, it’s a win as long as you keep going. Don’t give up!

Also, we don’t need to compare our struggles to someone else’s successes. What I consider a Victory may differ from someone else. Bravery looks different for each of us. That’s okay!

For example, on Monday, bravery looked like tossing an old, holey shirt, even though it was a treasured gift from Dave. Even small wins are good!

Monday evening felt like a Victory, too. My entry way lights have been flickering for quite some time, and I finally got around to asking for help. There were several minor issues to address, but everything turned out better than expected.

I’ll have to buy a new light fixture, but that’s not too bad. At the same time, it was bittersweet because if Dave was here, he would have taken care of the lights on his own.

Ironically, the electricians were impressed with the breaker switches in the fuse box. I explained how Dave had labeled each one. Silently, I remembered how thoughtful he was. I felt the loss.

While the electricians were super friendly, I tried to hold my emotions together. I didn’t want to overshare with strangers! Yet when I did explained my situation, they offered to help install the new light. It was a blessing to be brave!

Yes, Monday was a great reminder of the Lord’s grace. He helped me navigate through each situation in ways that moved my heart and brought healing. Praise God!

All of us practice bravery every day in big and small ways! 

My point is: With Jesus, we don’t have to fake it. He knows our pain, weaknesses, fears and failures. Yet, He eagerly carries our burdens and never leaves us on our own. Lay down your defenses and come to Him just as you are.

With His abundant grace, the Lord provides more than we need to get through life’s troubles. As we seek Him, He comforts us with his strength and joy. He makes our path straight and smooth. That doesn’t mean life is easy…but it is better with Jesus.

Sometimes being brave is not fun or glamorous. For me, it can mean difficult decisions and occasional tears. But, instead of focusing on life’s trials, I celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness. I can be brave (for real) because His love never fails!

**********

Heavenly Father, You are so good. Thank You for carrying our burdens and giving us joy. God, give us the courage to come to You and be brave. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: In what ways do you fake being brave? Do you think that is helpful or a hindrance to healing?

Tasks: Don’t fake brave. 🙂 Let Jesus shoulder your burden. Journal through your grief or other challenges. Share your heart with a trusted friend.

All I Can Do

Lately, I have had the honor of praying for a variety of people. These prayer requests include everything from relationship issues, health problems, job uncertainty, financial strain, parenting difficulties, big decisions, relief from natural disasters, and more.

I’m glad to pray for others and share their burdens in practical ways. But as I consider these needs, along with my own, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. On my own, I am totally inadequate to handle them all. Thank God for Jesus!

I don’t need fancy words or impressive deeds for Jesus to answer my prayers. He eagerly waits to hear from each of us because He loves us so much!

When life is just too much to handle on my own, I need Jesus.
The converse is also true: When life is going well, I need Jesus.

 Sometimes, all I can do is draw close to Jesus. Anytime I need help, I can lean on the Lord, my Rock. He is my strong tower so I run to Him. When I don’t know what else to do…sometimes, that’s all I can do.

When I fall, I know He will catch me. When I humbly surrender everything to Jesus, He lifts be back up–better than before. The good news is that Jesus readily offers His grace and truth, strength and joy, mercy and forgiveness. He is so good!

Whatever I am facing—bad or good—I can bring it to Jesus. When I leave the issue in His hands, I can rest and pray, listen and obey.  He is mighty to save.

I can choose to trust God over my feelings. I can choose joy and gratitude over fear and self-doubt. I can choose to stand in Victory instead of living defeated. He is the Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace!

I can choose to forgive myself and others, leaving the past where it belongs. With God’s abundant grace, I can move forward in faith. He is more than enough for me.

Yes, I can cling to Jesus, knowing He will never leave me on my own. I can also ask for wisdom, clarity, and courage. Really, that’s the least I can do.

Praise God, I don’t have to beg or grovel for help. Jesus is right here with me! He longs to do for me what I cannot do for myself. But, I do have to choose to let Him help me.

Yes, the Lord is my refuge, my strength, my righteousness, and my defense.
I wholeheartedly trust in His unfailing love. Indeed, that’s the best thing I can do!

**********
Heavenly Father, thank You for hearing us when we pray. With you, nothing is impossible. Help us listen and obey as You work through us. You are so good, Lord. Refresh us with Your sweet grace and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Are you trying to meet your own needs or are you asking the Lord for help?

Tasks: Meditate on Psalm 59:17.

Finding Grace #81

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

At first glance, this week was fairly normal. But, in hindsight, I saw God do some pretty amazing things. The first half of the week always seems to be frantic. One of the days, I didn’t feel well but still had a full day. Moms rarely get a day off! I made the best of it and leaned on the Lord for strength that day. I was glad to go to bed that night!

On Tuesday, I brought cheesecake to work for a friend’s birthday. It was well received…the dietitian bringing chocolate-covered cheesecake. 🙂 Lydia and I also went to my friend Sara’s for Taco Tuesday! Later in the week, I experimented with making mini cheesecakes for my neighbor and her parents. They gave me a ton of cherry tomatoes, a huge zucchini, and a pile of fresh green beans! It was a fun week in the kitchen!

On Wednesday evening, Lydia and I returned to church for Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ). Lydia remembered more of the answers this week after we studied at home. It is wonderful to see God’s word getting into the minds and hearts of these children.

This week, I had good conversations with people in my community about books and reading. I love how reading books helps make connections I would otherwise miss! I also have seen good turnover in the books and happily received book donations from a friend at work! Though, I am aware that I can’t save every book for my little library!

This week, I fielded some important calls from people asking for prayer. In addition to praying with each person on the phone, I have been praying throughout the week. It is so important to stand in the gap for those we love. We all need Jesus, but sometimes people don’t realize how desperate their situation is. Praise God, I also received good news from a dear friend. God came through for her and her situation! The Lord is so good and faithful!

Today, Lydia and I went out for Indian food. She couldn’t remember if she liked Indian food or not, but was willing to try it. She liked most everything she tried! I offered her the chai tea and that was perhaps her favorite part…other than the rice! 😉 

*******
These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!