Joy Comes In The Mourning

Joy Comes In The Mourning

It was a Friday afternoon in February of 2000 when my life suddenly changed forever. 

I’ll never forget the phone call that came after business hours. I was in my office with coworkers and picked up after the first ring. The voice at the other end of the line was my children’s father, my ex-husband.

His voice was filled with concern as he said, “Sharon, you need to sit down.” Of course I didn’t as I recall…and then he said bluntly as if he had to say it before he couldn’t, “Chris is dead.”

I remember being stunned and confused about the words before they sank in, wondering why he would say such a horrible thing. I even remember asking, “Are you sure?” which I know was my mind begging for one more moment of not knowing. My knees weakened as he finished telling me what he knew about what had happened.

He had been out of town on business and upon returning, found our oldest son alone and gone from this world. Mercifully, gratefully, he had gone home to be with Jesus and that ray of Hope would be the shred of life that would survive while my heart and mind pulled on a shroud of deep black darkness.

The next few days I lived the nightmare of my greatest fear since becoming a mother, losing one of my boys. My heart was filled with infinitely more pain than my fear of it ever had. I isolated myself most of the time as family and friends came to the house offering condolences but I wanted to be alone…in my darkness. Even though I took comfort in knowing Chris was a believer and I would be reunited with him in heaven, my mother’s heart was aching and struggling with accepting he was gone from this earth.

Since Chris was an otherwise healthy 24 year old, his father insisted on an autopsy. The following
Monday was a holiday, so in short the funeral was postponed until almost a week later. I’m not sure how, but it was arranged and attended by more than 800 people I was told.

I can recall only bleak snapshots of that miserable week of waiting…my dad sitting in my living room in the navy tapestry wingback staring blankly overcome by grief, food piled up on every countertop and bulging from the refrigerator, and our house busy with well meaning guests. Then I woke up in the emergency room after blacking out for an extended period of time. I remember hoping to see Chris one more time and for some strange reason thought he was at the hospital. In times of deep sorrow and shock, your mind takes strange pathways.

In the following month, there were many beautiful cards, (I still have every one of them), visits and frequent phone calls of consolation. I returned to work way too soon because I didn’t know what else to do. Sorrow and emptiness became my new painful normal.

Grief is exhausting…not only emotionally but physically as well.

I often tried to pray, but the prayers never seemed to make it above the ceiling. Even though Chris’s dad was very angry at God for the untimely death of our son, for some reason, I never was. But I couldn’t feel His Presence.

Weeks turned into months and months into two years. Cards and visits had long since stopped. Everyone had resumed their own lives. The cruel emotions of hurt and self pity were added to the suffering because I felt so alone in my sorrow.

Sadness. Loneliness. Fear. Dread. Pain. Despair. PURE DARKNESS…EMPTINESS.

And then one Sunday morning we were getting ready for church. I was weary and worn thin from the weight of my grief. I had prayed to die so many times, but this morning, I literally looked toward heaven and cried out loud in total desperation, “God, please replace this horrible darkness and grief with some kind of joy!”

IMG_4955

That morning, as I sat in the comfortable stadium seat of our church with hundreds of others, the message was entitled…
“Where Do You Turn When Life’s Not Working?”

I don’t know if there was a single other person in that congregation who needed to hear those words more than I did. I felt as if they had been eternally penned for me. I knew in the depths of my soul that it was God’s answer to my desperate plea earlier that morning, delivered by His obedient servant, a pastor I hardly even knew.

The message clearly charted the course of the healing power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As the words washed over me, I experienced a lifting in my soul. That day I actually felt for the first time the warmth of His Loving Arms enveloping me. I saw a beam of His Radiant Light shining from the far end of the heinous darkness in which I had hidden for the past two years. I saw Him…I felt Hope.

It’s not that I had never heard the things that were presented in that timely message. It’s that I had not chosen them as my foundational truths. I had spent a lifetime of self will ignoring the very thing that sustains us through times like this.

God loves us and is constantly pursuing His independent self willed creation.

IMG_4956

He already knows every detail of your struggle and is patiently waiting for you to turn to Him for help.

Even though I had experienced salvation at the age of eight, and had been in church most of my life, I confess I had not invested in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and had grown very little spiritually. My quiet times were never very quiet and those spent in His Word were hurried and rushed. There is no wonder why my faith was so shallow…

I trusted Him with my eternity through my salvation experience but thought I could handle the “living on planet earth” on my own!

Simply put, when faced with the most difficult challenge of my life, I had chosen darkness instead of His Healing Light!

During those two years, many times, I had begged God to let me die, to be free of the pain. But He had chosen not to answer those misplaced prayers.

He did not send His Son to die so that we would be left in darkness!

IMG_1332

The awakening that day was only the beginning of my healing. Over time, the hole in my heart was graciously being filled with His Truth and Promises as I spent time with Him, meditating on His Word. Leaning on Him for my strength and direction was infinitely the better choice…it was filled with hope and the blossoming of joy and new life.

One day as I was in His Word, He gently reminded me that He had also lost His Son and He knew exactly how I felt.IMG_4958 2
And there it was, the very essence of Truth that sponged up the last ounce of my self pity. How could I have ever felt alone? The Creator of the universe, my Heavenly Father, knew how I felt. He had never forsaken me. I had NEVER been alone.

The realization of His intimacy flooded over me! I finally knew in my heart that throughout every moment of the journey since that Friday afternoon phone call, He had been right by my side. I had missed the miracle of it because of my foolish self will.

I realized His desire for me to live was a blessing. He was not finished with my story. He wanted me to share it and His message of hope with the world!

Would I have ever wished my son would die? Of course not, no mother would. But I will tell you that had I not gone through the devastation of losing him, I may never have ever known the glorious riches of walking with my Lord and Savior!

Someone said, “He never wastes a hurt.”

So be encouraged no matter what you may face, THE God of the universe loves you. So much so that He sent His only Son to die for you. There is nothing too big or bad for His sacrificial Love to cover. You only have to trust and receive His beautiful Gift of Salvation.

Life is full of crossroads and choices…choose life! Let Him lead you into His Marvelous Light!

He is a good good Father and His Mercies are new every morning!

In the past fourteen years, I still grieve over Chris but I have also experienced more Joys than I could have ever imagined because I opened my heart up to Him. Please don’t miss it! He will give you joy in your mourning too. Let Him have that chance. Open your heart up to Him…and ask Him.

IMG_4957

Dear our precious Heavenly Father,

We thank you for your love, your faithfulness, and your son Jesus who died for us. We thank you for the person who is reading this post. I pray for the one who is struggling to open her heart up to you in her time of pain and grief. Please soften her heart to want to know you. Give her a hunger for your word. Give her your peace, your rest, and your comfort as she prays and cries out to you. Give her a humble and open heart that is ready to receive your joy and blessings and lean into you every day so that as you carry her, she finds her rest in you. Amen.

Signature_Guest

Sharon

The Back Room

The Back Room

Jesus stands at the door. He knocks. I answer and let him in.

He takes up residence in my home, and I willingly grant him freedom to access the front rooms – those I’ve already cleaned out. But I’m a bad hostess. I don’t interact with Jesus because I’m too busy guarding the back room.

The back room is locked and barred. It’s where my darkest secrets lie. I’m trapped in that room, stuck in a mess of my own making. My shame and guilt are stacked high like moving boxes. There’s barely room for me in there, but still I sit. Surrounded by my failures, I spend my time categorizing and alphabetizing so I can easily rewind and remind myself of what a dismal disappointment I must be to my most prestigious house guest.

image

So Jesus finds himself knocking again – this time he’s at the door of the room where I hoard and cling to my garbage. He’s gently trying to coax me to just open up. He’s telling me that it’s not as bad as I think. That my boxed sins aren’t scaring him at all. That he’s better company than the depression I’ve found in that cramped space.

And I hear him. I want to open the door, but I’m paralyzed with fear. What if he takes one step in and the depth of my darkness is fully revealed? Will he change his mind? Will he consider me too far gone and run away? Will he look at me with disappointment and condemn me to a lifetime lived in isolated despair? Will he force me to get rid of the sin I’ve worked so hard to store away and hide? Will he make me bring it all out in the open and show the neighbors just how filthy my living situation has become?

What if I allow Him to enter that room and cleanse it? What if I give each box over to him and release the hold it’s had on me for so long? What then? What do I do with all that free space? Will I fill it with new sins the first chance I get? Will I run out to the dumpster and salvage whatever remains of those soiled boxes?

I decide I have to know.

In tears, I slowly unbolt the locks and ease the door open a crack. I see Jesus smiling and reaching his hand out towards me. I’m shaking all over as I step aside and he enters that black room. I can’t meet his eyes, but if I could I would see love overflowing and overwhelming me. I can feel it, even though I can’t rip my gaze from the stained floorboards.

He begins to unstack each box, one by one. He takes them as far away as the east is from the west, working steadily and carefully. He sweeps the cobwebs aside, opens the shutters, and light floods in. He fills the emptiness left behind with peace and mercy.

image

In the far corner I notice new boxes I’d never seen before. Hidden behind my hoard I now glimpse beautifully wrapped packages, gleaming bright and begging to be opened.

So I tear the paper and open each box expectantly. Inside I find the house warming presents Christ delivered on that first day I allowed him into my heart-home. These talents and passions that make me who I am have quietly been sitting in that corner, unable to be fully accessed. Not until I allowed Christ to come in and clean up the mess that overwhelmed me could I begin to put these gifts to use.

I’m clean. I’m forgiven. I’m healed. There’s no place for guilt and shame to take up residence in my heart anymore. That once-barred door is wide open. I’m finally allowing Jesus Christ to have full admittance and free reign in my home. I’m inviting him in. I’m admitting that there’s nothing I can do to improve my darkest places without his help.

My friend, Jesus is a master restorer and maker of new things. He’s at work in my heart, demolishing my past and recovering each surface with new grace. Are you living in that grace? Do you have a back room? Open the door!

Signature_Emily

bravegirl Emily profile pic

 

When God Doesn’t Show Up

When God Doesn’t Show Up

Today is June 5, 2016. I remembered the significance of today while sitting in church this morning. I realized that today is going to be just another day. A day where I’ll attend church with my family. A day where my husband will rush off to work after lunch. My daughter will nap. Our small group will meet. Nothing earth-shattering will happen today. Today will not go down in history like I thought it would one year ago…

It was June 5, 2015. I was enjoying a women’s ministry event in my community. At the end of the night there was a time of prayer. My sister wasn’t there because she was attending a friend’s wedding. But she was on my mind that night. As I prayed, I found myself pouring my heart out to God and asking Him that by June 5, 2016, something would be different in Martha’s life. That she would have a baby or be pregnant within the year.

My little sister is BraveGirl Martha. She’s a gifted writer with a hilarious and gentle soul. In my opinion, she’s one of God’s best creations. You may have read her recent BraveGirl post HERE where she talks about her struggle with infertility. For years I’ve watched her as month after month the waves of disappointment crash around her. Sometimes she stands strong against that fierce tide, but other times she gets taken under by the current. I’ve never once heard bitterness in her voice. I’ve seen nothing in her but a quiet dignity, a strengthened faith, and the spiritual growth that only occurs when you’re in the middle of a storm. She’s right in the thick of it, and she’s a beautiful testament to how God can and will work on His children when they cling to Him.

I admire the way she deals with the pain of waiting because I walked the road of infertility myself – very impatiently and with WAY less fortitude than Martha has shown over the years. One of these days I’ll write about my own infertility struggles, but today it’s not about me.

Today is June 5th. The day that God was supposed to show up, make His miraculous power known, and be praised for answering my selfless prayer. Because that’s the way He works, right?

We pray. We ask. We pass the time. Then God moves, swooping in, handing out answers to prayer the way Oprah gives away cars. And He’s also supposed to adhere to the deadlines we impose on Him…right? Am I the only one who secretly treats God as if He’s a genie in a lamp, just waiting to grant me my every wish?

It’s days like today that leave me questioning. Doubting. Wondering why, and why not? My faith feels a little shaky when I’m confronted with the idea that God didn’t come through. He failed to show up. I mean, He could have easily answered my prayer and today would have been a day of rejoicing and bragging on my Savior’s sovereign power and love. I tell myself, I would have given Him all the credit.

“God, you really missed an opportunity to be glorified,” is what my sulking heart wants to say to the One who loves me, my sister, and you beyond measure. Days like today make me feel like a toddler on the verge of a very loud and public meltdown.

Ever felt that way? Ever wanted to shake your fist at God over some unanswered prayer? Maybe you’ve already walked away because He never showed up for you when you thought He should.

Maybe today you get how I’m feeling. As I sit here writing, in the midst of my questions and hurt feelings, I know it’s decision time. It’s time for me to make a choice that perhaps you need to make as well. I’m choosing to remember my place. To remember who my God IS and who He ISN’T.

I’m choosing trust instead of a tantrum. I’m choosing what I know to be true over what I feel in this moment of doubt.

God IS NOT a magical genie. My Heavenly Father doesn’t exist to please me or you. He doesn’t sit around waiting on one of us to tell him what we want and when we want it so that He can bend His will to match ours. He doesn’t have to prove Himself because He already has.

Christ IS faithful. I’m choosing to stand on that truth today. And He isn’t faithful because of some prayer He has answered or will answer – He is faithful because HE IS FAITHFUL. It’s inherent to who He is. Even though it might seem like He didn’t show up today, He did.

He put breath in my lungs.

He surrounded me with people who care about me.

He gave me His living, breathing Word.

He chased hard after me today to remind me of the things He has promised me, Martha, and you! Promises He keeps. Promises like the one found in Proverbs 3:5-7:

image

So that’s what I choose to do today. If you’re mad at God, disappointed in prayers that have gone unanswered, or just doubting His existence altogether, try something with me.

Let’s send up a new and different prayer to the heavens. Let’s admit that we are small but arrogant in our view of God. Let’s honestly bring our doubts, fears, and desires to the foot of the Cross. Let’s stop treating the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as if He’s nothing more than a well-stocked but faulty vending machine for our lives. I’m in…are you?

And on the days I forget to remember just who my God is, I’m going to follow the example of Martha and others like her, who are waiting faithfully, acknowledging their Savior at every turn, and allowing Him to direct their paths in His own perfect timing.

Signature_Emily

bravegirl Emily profile pic

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

1436574050254

The laughter and celebration rivals any wedding you’ve ever seen. So much joy and anticipation has led to this day and finally, the groom will take his bride home and they will become man and wife for the first time.

But there’s a twist. You see, the father of the bride switches his daughters at the last moment. A web of deception leads to a dismal honeymoon morning. There was great deceit so that the groom would not discover the swap until it was already binding.

Diamond_engagement_ring_on_woman_hand_6313

Imagine now, being that wife. Your father orders your new husband to “complete this one week”, and then your husband is allowed to marry your sister. And for seven more years, your husband disdains and despises you while he works for your father and is married now to sisters.
Leah was described as “having weak eyes”, “but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.”
Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.

Leah felt plain, overlooked, forgotten. But God? God chose Leah.

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.  And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”  She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.  And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing. (Genesis 29:31-35)

Out of poor Leah came the priestly tribe of Levi and the kingly tribe of Judah. From this overlooked sister who never had a chance with Jacob (he met Rachel first and kissed her after watering her flocks), God provided a Savior for the entire world that was and is and is yet to come.

Perhaps you feel like a Leah. Forgotten, “less-than”, inferior.
Our enemy would love to convince you that you’re right.
But he is wrong. He’s a liar. And it’s time to know the truth.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Isaiah 43 states that we were created for God’s glory.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
 everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1-7)

I cannot convince you, but if you will allow the Holy Spirit to whisper truth and love, then you will perhaps have eyes to see and ears to hear. You are not forgotten.
You are loved.

BraveGirl Tammy

Photo Credit

Buried Alive

Buried Alive

Dark.

Dirty.

Overwhelming.

Suffocating.

Paralyzing.

Dead.

I’ve never been buried alive, but I’ve seen enough horror movies to vividly picture myself in that position. And I’ve experienced enough challenging times to know firsthand how life becomes survival when you feel buried.

If that’s you today – if you feel like a member of the walking dead – this is for you.

Maybe a fresh perspective is what God wants to give you today. It’s easy to look at the soil and the mud around you and see yourself as buried. But what if you aren’t buried at all? 

What if you’ve been planted?

Picture yourself as a seed. Seeds are covered with the same soil as what’s been buried. They feel the same crushing weight of the world pressing in. But seeds do something that dead things can’t do:  they grow. 

The sun warms the earth and supplies the seed with nutrients. The rains come and quench the seed, reviving and restoring. The Word of God pours nourishment into your soul. Your friends and loved ones – those who know you best and care about you most – speak into your heart. Sometimes their words fall like gentle showers and other times they crash their way in like a thunderstorm. 

If you’re the seed, you must soak up as much sun and rain as you can! 

God notices. 

He cares. 

He pursues you in your darkest days. 

If you’ve been there, you know how much you needed friends to speak truth and love into your season of pain. So now it’s your turn…who needs your sun and rain today?  

ba2

When seeds receive enough sunlight and hydration, something amazing begins to happen. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, roots start to peek out. They begin to branch off and multiply, solidly anchoring the seed. 

Truth takes root in the darkness of our struggle. 

When I look back at my life and I remember those times I felt buried alive, I’m reminded of the big truths that God placed in the core of my being even in the midst of my despair. Truths that I would have missed otherwise. Truths like:

I am complete in Christ. 

My Heavenly Father is full of GRACE and mercy. 

God is faithful. 

My enemies are not people. My enemy is Satan. 

We need roots. Roots provide stability and security. That battle you’re in? The one that seems never-ending? I promise you, God is at work, planting, pulling weeds, feeding your soul. Roots will grow if you allow His truth to permeate and settle. 

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” – Colossians 2:6-7

ba3

 

You know what’s coming next if you remember anything about third grade science class.  Once a seed is rooted and grounded, there’s really nowhere to go but up. It’s the way God orchestrated life. Spring comes, the frozen harshness of winter melts away, and new life breaks through the surface!  

For some of you this will be a gradual blooming, slow and steady as you unfold and blossom. Beautiful to watch. 

For others, it’s more of a desperate clawing your way through the dirt. Think Stephen King’s movie, Carrie. Final scene. Raw and scary. 

Either way, you’re going to get there!  Finally, you will experience fresh air, blue skies, and warm breezes. You’re going to be resurrected. If you feel buried, God wants to bring you back from the dead. If you are His, He loves you too much to let you stay underground forever.

There is purpose in your pain. God might be allowing you to experience a season of depression, betrayal, sorrow, or loss because He wants you to know the power of His resurrection in your own life. 

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:8-11

ba4

 

The end goal is Christ, in other words. When you break through the surface of what’s keeping you buried, you are raised to walk in a new, deeper, closer way with Jesus. You begin to bear fruit. You tell others of what God has done for you. You love Him more. You love people better. 

Wherever you’re at in this cycle, believe that the next phase is coming. And this IS a cycle – you may not be in the depths of darkness right now, but you probably know someone who is. And the day is coming when you may begin to feel the dirt piling up and the light dissipating yet again. This is life. But if you choose to see your position as a seed that’s been planted rather than a dead thing that’s buried, the way you walk through it will begin to change. Trust in Jesus. Cling to Him. Allow the ones who love you to bless you. Keep your eyes open to someone who might need the Truth. 

 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:3

ba5

 

How can I pray for you in your season of darkness?  Let’s be that gentle rain for each other today!!

Signature_Emily
Running On Empty

Running On Empty

Fall is here. Lately, many of my friends have expressed how tired they are. Some of them feel overwhelmed with how busy they are. And it seems like the pressure is growing. Certainly the start of school brings an element of “busy” that is not present in the summertime, but after we settle into a routine, that rushed feeling usually passes.

This year, the pace seems faster and more frantic. Have you been feeling it too? Do you feel overwhelmed?
Part of it is our accessibility. There is never a time where we’re completely able to “shut down” or shut it all off. Between email notifications, texts and videos and pictures being messaged to us, Twitter and Facebook and Instagram updates, we’re constantly being fed without a break.

1280px-Phodopus_sungorus_-_Hamsterkraftwerk
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary.”
In the Message translation, Matthew 11:28-30 reads as follows:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Some of our weariness comes from saying “yes” to very good things that aren’t a very good fit for right now. Or, too many good things. Instead of worrying that it won’t get done if we don’t do it all, we need to rely on God to take care of things and ask Him where we fit into that picture. Where does God want me to put my time and energy right now?

That can be a difficult question to ask, because we don’t always want to hear the answer. We like what we’re doing, but it’s leaving us tired and frantic and empty, and it’s not really bringing the fulfillment we are searching for.

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”
Psalm 90:14-16 (NIV)

I’m going to challenge us to see if this makes a difference: for the next few days, if we find a verse on our Social Media or in our email that feeds us, we are going to write it down. Not print it out on a laserjet.
Write. It. Down.
Or, write the reference down and then look it up in a paper Bible.

(Have you noticed the difference between reading a paper book and scrolling on a tablet? There’s something different about the experience of paper and ink.)

I’m encouraging us to have a tangible connection to God instead of a digital one. This doesn’t mean that the digital isn’t feeding us. I start my day with BibleGateway.com and a chapter of Psalms, and I copy and paste into a Facebook group. It’s feeding me. But, I think we’re longing for our senses to really be stimulated. We want to touch God, to take in His Word. And by writing it down or physically opening our Bibles, we are going to be making a tangible connection to that promise. Something we can “hold on to” to strengthen us. Ultimately, I hope that Word commits itself to our memories and that we can call it to mind when we’re in a crisis.

King_James_Bible_1772_-_Psalm_90

Sisters, this is meant to strengthen and encourage, not guilt or burden us further. I believe God wants us to no longer be running on empty, but running on a full tank, with joy and fervor! That we’d be able to use our passions for His glory and really find energy and strength in what we are doing.
I’ll be committing to this challenge too, and if you would like, find a verse that really gives you strength. I know these two passages are rich. Find a translation you enjoy, or search a few and see how they differ. (The internet is a great resource for this, but please remember to write it down instead of just clicking “print”!)

Love,

Signature_Tammy

Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Phodopus_sungorus_-_Hamsterkraftwerk.jpg/1280px-Phodopus_sungorus_-_Hamsterkraftwerk.jpg
“King James Bible 1772 – Psalm 90” by Oxford University, Oxford, England – http://dohistory.org/archive/doc155/155_title_img.html / Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:King_James_Bible_1772_-_Psalm_90.jpg#/media/File:King_James_Bible_1772_-_Psalm_90.jpg

When God Hits Pause…

When God Hits Pause…

We hate to wait, don’t we?

Whether it’s rush-hour traffic, the doctor’s office, or the next major life event on our horizon, waiting tests our patience, our character, and often times our faith. In our daily lives, waiting is usually nothing more than a minor inconvenience, and our response is soon forgotten when the time of waiting is over. It’s when we feel those minutes begin to stretch into days, weeks, and years that our response becomes vital to the health of our soul.

If you’re in a season of waiting and you feel like God has pushed the pause button on your life, you’re probably asking questions like these:

“I’m all alone in this. When is it my turn?”
“Has God forgotten me? Does He even care?”
“How do I survive this when I can’t seem to function?”

At least those are the questions I asked myself in the past when it felt like I was stuck in never-ending cycles of waiting. As time passed and God chiseled away behind the scenes, I eventually learned to ask a new set of questions that helped redirect my heart:

“Who am I becoming in this season of my life?”
“What do I have to be thankful for in this very moment?”
“How is my view of God affecting my attitude?”
“How do I feel joy instead of bitterness?”

The questions you entertain and the way you respond while waiting are litmus tests for how you’ll most likely come through on the other side. Because there is that other side. There is a place where waiting ends. That light at the end of the tunnel is not a myth. There is hope. There is joy. There is peace. The best part is you don’t have to wait until you’re “unpaused” to experience victory and live a fulfilled life.

IMG_3780

God is faithful. And not because of what He gives us or how quickly he answers our prayers. God is faithful because He is faithful. It’s his character, His DNA. If you’re in a place where you keep finding yourself watching the clock and wondering WHEN, try this:  try praising your Heavenly Father for who He is and for His perfect timing. Ask for joy, patience, and peace if they seem to be eluding you. And remember, as much as you may feel like you’ve been placed on hold, your life is progressing with every breath you take.

You see, in reality, God doesn’t press the pause button on your life or mine. If He has called you to wait, He won’t leave you hanging. He will wait patiently with you, hand outstretched, beckoning you to sit with Him and learn from the stillness. And who better to wait with than the One who already knows where your path leads and when you’ll get there?

Signature_Emily