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An Undivided Heart

My oh my how time flies! I am so happy to be typing on my laptop and sharing with you the things God has been teaching me these past four weeks. I have been spending much needed time with the Lord and savoring every moment of His presence. “Moving Mountains” by John Eldredge had been helping me deal with some issues that have divided my heart into pieces for many years. 

I want to be an open book for you. I want to help anyone I can grow in their faith and become closer to God. I have gone through so many different trials in my life and I have always felt different because of them. I also pretended for so many years to be okay so no one really knew how much I was suffering. I needed someone to talk to and really didn’t have anyone until I went to counseling. And in counseling, it took me several months to even feel comfortable talking about certain things.

The point I am trying to make is—I want to be that person for you. I want the Lord to use me to help you in your walk with Him. That is where my heart is and that is why I write my blog. I want you to fall deeply in love with Jesus and listen and learn from Him. God has put so many books and studies in my path to help me on my journey—and my prayer is—that what I have learned will also help you in your journey.

Psalm 86:11-12 says, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify your name forever.” I have been asking the Lord to give me an undivided heart these past few weeks. And because of that prayer, God has been helping me deal with issues that have broken my heart into pieces. I know that most of you have had things happen or people that have hurt your heart. Some things are easier to get over than others. Each person has their own hurts, but I am learning there are ways to deal with those hurts.

I don’t know if any of you are like me, but I have had the tendency in my past to gloss over my hurt or deny it or pretend it didn’t happen. I pretended most of my life and that led me to many mental and emotional issues. Listen, I know it isn’t fun to deal with things. It is much easier to move on and forget it. But, here’s the thing. If we don’t deal with the hurt, then it will eventually come out in some form or another. It will make you sick or angry or bitter or resentful or all of the above. It can even cause death or destruction in you and others.

Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” When I read this verse, it hit me that so much of my pain stems from hopes and dreams that were pounced on by people I loved. Those people didn’t care about my hopes and dreams—and that fact—literally made my heart sick. And as the years went by, I got sicker and sicker inside.

John Eldredge tells us to invite the love of God into our disappointments. “However we express our heartsickness, we must invite Jesus there—just like we do with inner healing prayer—to comfort, heal, and restore.” So, I have been spending time these past weeks, inviting Jesus into my pain and heart sickness. I have been asking Him to restore my heart. I have been asking Him to reveal situations to me that I had forgotten so I could invite His healing love into them. There were some circumstances that I had completely forgotten about, but Jesus helped me remember them, so I could deal with the damage they had done to me.

I realize that some of you might think this is crazy or stupid or not necessary. But, I have to tell you that I feel like it is one of the greatest things I have done for myself. I sat down with pen in hand and asked God to reveal to me what I needed to remember and be healed from. He revealed His love and healing power to me. I know there are still things I need to deal with, but it gives me hope to know that I have a Father who is all about helping me and healing me from those things.

When you have been hurt, your heart becomes divided. It is fragmented by the pain, sorrow, disappointment, hopelessness, etc. So, the undivided heart, that is mentioned in Psalm 86:11-12 is what we are after. That is why it is so important for us to ask Jesus into the places of our hearts that have been broken. And…Jesus is actually waiting for us to ask Him to come in. Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in….”

He waits for our permission to come and heal. Quite often these broken places hide behind the older parts of our personalities, and that is why Jesus lovingly and gently invites them to come forward by asking questions.” Eldredge If we are honest with ourselves, most of us have younger places within us that need the healing ministry of Jesus. There were places inside me that had been shattered by events that happened to me. When I asked the Lord to go to those places with me, I asked Him to make me feel safe and bring those situations into the safety of His love. John Eldredge calls this integration.

“We then ask Jesus for integration—to restore us in whole-heartedness, to heal up the brokenness and make us whole again, through His presence within us. We ask Him to bring the young place into that wonderful home Jesus has made for Himself in our hearts. The young parts of us feel safe with Jesus there; it is a place filled with love. And in that place Jesus can bring healing about, either in a moment or sometimes over time.” Eldredge

I also need to add that one major thing I learned through this process is that I had to confront the self-rejection or self-loathing I felt about myself. I needed to confess my thoughts and ask God to help me view myself through His eyes. I needed to forgive myself as well as those who hurt me.

My healing has definitely taken a long time. Sometimes I feel like it is taking forever! I get impatient and upset with myself and with God. Sometimes, if I am being honest, I hate the process itself. But, I am learning and growing closer to God every step of the way. Every book I read and every study I do, brings me closer to Him.

“There is no zap that suddenly makes a person as whole and beautiful as Jesus Christ. Wholeness is something we grow into as we walk with Jesus through the years of our lives. Knowing this actually takes a great deal of pressure off—that pressure to find the instant fix or have the One Defining Moment. It releases us to walk with God and allow Him to personalize our healing journey.” Eldredge

You can’t compare your journey to someone else’s or you will get very discouraged. I have fallen into that trap one too many times. My journey is mine and I have to remind myself of that fact over and over again. Our journeys require a “long obedience in the same direction.” Eugene Peterson

I hope I have helped someone out there today that is struggling with issues. Talk to Jesus. Tell Him how you feel and ask Him to come into your heart and help you heal. You can feel safe in His presence. He will help you and He will never give up on you. Be real. Be honest. Be open to His love and His words. Write things down as you go through the process. This has helped me immensely! And most importantly, don’t ever give up! Don’t give up on yourself or Jesus. Satan would love nothing more than for you to give up or get discouraged. Healing is real. Healing can happen. Healing will happen. Pray Psalm 86:11-12 every day and ask for an undivided heart. Remember healing is a process! 

Until next time dear friends…..

“You Complete Me”

Have you ever felt like God can’t handle you or your mistakes? Do you get frustrated that you keep having the same issues? Do you get so discouraged that things will never change? Well, I have to tell you that I have felt that way too many times. I was looking for a verse in Isaiah last week and the wind blew my pages to the verses I am about to share with you. (God wanted me to see these verses and maybe you need them too.) Isaiah 40:28-29  “He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

That means we have a God that doesn’t get tired of us. Most of us have people in our lives that we can only handle in small doses. Sometimes there are people that get on our last nerve and we need to pray like crazy when we are around them. But, no matter what we do or what we say, God does not feel that way about us. Sometimes that is hard to grasp!

Most of us have been hurt by someone in our lives. An unkind word—several unkind words—a messy break-up—abuse by someone you love—divorce—betrayal— the list goes on and on. All of these things can cause deep hurt and brokenness. When people hurt us, they cause our eyes to see things in a different light. The people who have hurt us, taint our heart and our belief system. We think differently about ourselves and others. If you allow that hurt to go unattended, it can cause bitterness, resentment, anger, despair, depression and anxiety. We allow the hurt to define us.

Just look around you. There are so many hurting people that you meet every single day—or live with—or work with—or go to school with. No one is exempt. People around you are either cursing you, blessing you, or judging you. Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We have all been guilty of being in one of those categories at one time or another. John Eldredge explains what cursing and judging mean. “Cursing is done with purposeful intent; they are words spoken with malice, words spoken to bring harm. Judgments are far more common, but they are destructive too. Things like, “I hate you!’, “You won’t amount to anything!” are judgments. They are low-grade curses. They need to be taken seriously because they bring harm upon our lives, our health, our churches and ministries. The scripture takes them very seriously.”

When I read this, it made me think of all the cursing that was spoken to me as a child, teenager, and adult. I grew up listening to that crap most of my life. There were also many judgments that were said against me. When you are raised on that kind of talk, it is going to affect you. Deep wounds were made inside me from those words. They were lies that got rooted in my heart.

I know in my last post I mentioned renouncing and banishing the lies that I believed as a child. I have had to do that with the cursing and judgments that were spoken against me. Let me share a prayer that John Eldredge has in Moving Mountains. “In the name and by the blood of Jesus Christ, I break the power and hold of every curse and judgment that has come to me through words spoken against me. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, I am free. Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free. I order these curses and claims utterly disarmed and dismantled now, through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, and in His name.”

I realize the my life has been a bit different than most reading this post. My life was on the extreme side of abuse. But, I also know that this is for anyone who has been bullied—anyone who has been in a relationship with someone who has been verbally abusive—anyone who is under a boss or co-worker who says horrible things—a classmate who makes you feel stupid. “Jesus was cursed in your place; Jesus was judged in your place. His blood and sacrifice cancel all other claims of judgment or cursing against you.” Eldredge

Because of Jesus, those words can’t have power over you. Let me add, that I know that I have been guilty of saying things I shouldn’t have said. We all have. We need to be able to point the finger at ourselves and see the things we have said or done and ask Jesus to forgive us. Freedom is our right as believers in Jesus Christ. He can and will set us free. If you struggle with saying things that aren’t edifying or good, ask for His help. Pray before you speak. If you mess up, ask for forgiveness, and move forward. Keep fighting the fight! Don’t ever give up!

Through all the pain and the hurts I have experienced, Jesus has met me where I have needed Him. I have opened my heart, my spirit and my soul to Him. I have allowed Him to see all the ugly and disgusting things that have happened to me and allowed Him to see all the ugly and disgusting things I think about myself. I just have to share what Eldredge says, “For the heart and soul of a human being is worth far more than all the beautiful places in the world. You are the prize He ransomed with His life. Jesus loves to partner with us in this most sacred place; He is most eager to come and make Himself known here.”

My sacred place is where my love story with Jesus is written. I have a chair in my bedroom where I have my quiet times and it is also where I write this blog most of the time. In nicer weather, I am outside. I consider that chair and wherever I journal or write, my sacred place. It is where I open myself up to Jesus. He has made Himself known to me in that place. He speaks to me there. He comforts me, loves me and teaches me in that place. I want you to know—without a shadow of a doubt—Jesus is alive and teaching and speaking and helping and forgiving all of us every single second of every day. The only way we are going to realize who He is and what He is doing, is to spend time with Him and listen to HIm.

There are two profound statements that I would like to share with you. “Oneness with God is the goal of our existence.” Eldredge andPrayer is perfect and complete oneness with God” Oswald Chambers  Jesus spoke of oneness in John 17:20-23. He prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they maybe brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

I am learning that Jesus wants more than a relationship with me. He wants union with me. He wants us to be one. “The destiny of the human soul is union with God. The same oneness that Jesus talked about with his Father is our destiny as well.” Eldredge

“Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need.” George MacDonald  I have found this to be true. When I am in complete union with God, He fills me with so much more than the world could ever offer me! I am complete in His presence. You know that famous saying from the movie Jerry McGuire, “You complete me.” That is how I feel about God.

“When you want to be healed from things that have happened in your life, pray for Jesus to come into the specific places that damaged you. Forgive the one who wounded you. Renounce the the message or the lie that you believed and break any agreement you have with it. Invite the presence and healing love of God there.” Eldredge

I have been practicing these steps the last few weeks and I can tell you that it works! I have invited Jesus into all the things that I can remember and gone through the process. Inviting Jesus into my soul, my heart, my wounds, my brokenness has given me relief! I have been carrying around so many burdens most of my life and Jesus has lifted them off my shoulders. I feel His healing love. I did not know this feeling of relief was possible. It has given me hope! But, the most important thing it has done is bring me closer to my Lord and Savior. 

Healing is a process. I know there are things I will still need to go through. But, my view has changed. I have a Savior who wants to be one with me. He is on my side. He is fighting for me and loving me every step of the way. Problems will never completely go away. People will say hurtful things. I still have a long way to go on my journey, but I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and ask the Lord to be with me every step of the way. I will continue to invite Him into my life and my healing. The most important thing is this….I have someone who I can go to. He is my world. He is my life. He is good. He ransomed His life for me. He thinks you and I are more important than anything else in this world.

I am going to leave you with some words by John Eldredge. Soak them in. “Wholeness is something we grow into as we walk with Jesus through the years of our lives. Knowing this actually takes a great deal of pressure off—that pressure to find the instant fix or have the One Defining Moment. It releases us to walk with God and allow Him to personalize our healing journey.”

Until next time….

Restoration

I saw the movie “I Can Only Imagine” a few weeks ago. (I highly recommend seeing it.) I could really relate to it in so many ways. As I watched Bart Millard living in a house with an abusive father, it made me remember the same environment I grew up in.

I have shared many times that my childhood was a war zone. We never knew from day to day what kind of mood my Dad would be in or if he would yell at us or beat us or say abusive things to us. We were walking on eggshells most of the time. Watching the same type of environment on a movie screen was really hard to see. Bart did the same thing I did— he wore a mask when he was around others and didn’t tell anyone what was happening in his house. He became a pretender like I did. That was the only way to survive living in a war zone.

Bart’s father made him feel like he would never amount to anything. Because of my horrible environment, I believed many lies that were very detrimental to me. Of course I was just a child and I didn’t realize what I was doing— but because of my home life— I began to believe lies about myself and about God. Satan attacked my mind and I wasn’t aware of the impact until much later in my life.

I have been reading “Moving Mountains” by John Eldredge. John tells his readers, “I made deep agreements with fear, and for forty years it had gone unattended to.” I can relate so much to this statement.  One of my biggest issues has been fear that stemmed from several incidents I experienced as a child. Those incidents led me to believe many lies. “I am alone. I am not safe. There is no one to help me. No one sees me. No one hears me. No one cares. No one is looking out for me. No one is protecting me.” I made deep agreements with these lies that deeply affected me and my relationship with God. That is why anxiety has been such an issue for me.

I have been journaling a lot lately and trying to spend as much time with the Lord as I possibly can. I know that there are some deep rooted issues that need to be tended to. That is a big reason why I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I have been spending time with the Lord listening and learning.

I want to share with you some of the things I have been learning about dealing with the lies that took root in me as a little girl. One of the first things I did to address my troubled spirit was invite the Lord into situations I experienced as a child. (John Eldredge recommends doing this in his book.) Some of you might think that is crazy or weird, but it is a necessary step to take. The first thing I did was ask the Lord to show me in my mind what caused me distress as a child. He showed me two different instances that caused me to feel alone, scared, disgusted, shame, unprotected, angry  helpless, overwhelmed and unloved.

The next thing I did was ask Him to come by my side and sit with me. I invited Him to hold my hand and speak to me. I asked Him to comfort me with His love and truth. We talked, held hands and I listened to Him shed light on my childhood. He spoke this verse to me. “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust have eaten.” Joel 2:25 (Which means that He will restore my childhood to me.) I already know that He has been doing that in my life, but that little girl inside me needed to hear those words. He also told me how much He loved me and was protecting me. He told me He was actively working in my life and would never stop.

The next instance was a little harder to deal with. I walked down the stairs holding Jesus hand. I didn’t want to go but Jesus told me He was with me and protecting me. He reminded me of Psalm 121. “I will not let your foot slip. I do not sleep, but constantly watch over you. I will keep you from harm. I am watching over your life now and forever more.” (Paraphrase me.) Once again, that little girl inside me needed to hear those words. He was able to show me that I am not that little girl anymore. I am His child and He is my Father. He wants to help me with my hopes and dreams.

Those instances brought up the lies I believed. The next thing I had to do was banish those lies. I had to break the agreement I made with them and renounce them. (Eldredge recommends doing this.) I went to the Lord and prayed. I went down the list of all the lies that were revealed to me and I renounced them one by one and told them never to return.  Scripture says, “I have given you authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19

Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He beat Satan. If we are believers in Christ, demons have to leave when we tell them to. The disciples cast out demons—Jesus cast out demons— and so did Paul. “The demons know your authority in Jesus; they know that if you banish them, they have to obey. Every time they are commanded to leave in Scripture, they obey.” Eldredge Let me say this. If you have given your life to Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Demons can not enter you. But, Satan knows other ways to get to us through temptation, lies and deceit.  

We are at war! I have been at war all my life. I know the enemy has been after me because he was allowed to reign in my home when I was a child. He snaked his way in and got a hold of us. That’s why I had to renounce and banish the things that got into my heart and my brain when I was a child. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Through this process, I have learned these truths… I am loved. I am pursued by God. I am not alone. I am safe in His arms. God is watching over me all the time. He is always fighting for me. I can trust Him. God chose me. I am His child. He is relentlessly pursuing me. He wants to spend time with me. He listens to me. He speaks to me. He sees me. “Your eyes saw me when I was formless.” Psalm 139:16 (I highly recommend reading the whole Psalm.) Let me emphasize this…His eyes see you. Let that sink in your brain for a minute.

I am letting you in to some very deep personal struggles I have had most of my life. When I was a little girl I remember a dark image coming after me. I ran as fast as I could to get away from it. I don’t know if it was a person or a presence because it was dark outside. I just remember running as fast as I could because it scared me to death. It never caught me, but that night did a lot of damage to me.

I have felt like something has been trying to devour me most of my life. Now I know who it is. 1Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some to devour.” I was a little girl when that darkness was after me. My house wasn’t safe and I think that night I began to think that there wasn’t anyone or anywhere that was safe. As I am writing this, I realize that I need to ask Jesus to be with me in that situation. I am asking Him to hold my hand and make me feel safe. He is showing me that He protected me and kept me from harm. I am safe. I am telling that darkness it has no place here in my life. I am banishing it in Jesus name. I renounce all those thoughts or lies that have entered my mind since that night.

I realize this is heavy duty stuff. It has taken me a long time to wrap my brain around it. My prayer is for God to use what happened to me to help anyone who is struggling out there with lies and deception. Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He is very real. If you are having issues, I highly recommend going through this process with the Lord. He will comfort you and show you what needs to be dealt with. I have struggled with my image of God for so many years, but after I went through this process, two thoughts entered my mind and stuck with me. I would like to tell you what they are. “God, You are not a man! You are God!” It seems so simple, but it has taken a long, long time for me to embrace that truth! He is God. There is no one like Him!

I can’t wait to share more with you! Until next time….

Words

I have had a feeling lately that I just can’t shake. When I look at television, new stories, or social media, I am seeing a pattern that really disturbs me. I see so many people spewing opinions and condemnations at others. It makes me sick to my stomach to see the cruelty and indifference that people have towards one another. People just think that they can say whatever they want. Yes, we do have opinions and we have a right to state that opinion, but for goodness sakes, can’t we do it in the right manner?

In my last post, I talked about asking God to shine a light on the issues we have and the direction He wants us to take in our lives. Now, I would like for us to have Him shed some light on how we are supposed to treat one another. Yelling, screaming, insulting, condemning and lack of respect for one another’s feelings are not the path that Jesus has for us.

We, as Christ followers, are supposed act like Christ. Did you ever read about Him yelling at anyone? Did He go after anyone who didn’t agree with Him? Did He hate anyone who disagreed with Him? Did He abuse anyone? We have gotten so far away from the character of Christ that we don’t even realize what we are doing. We have allowed the world to dictate to us instead of us living our lives the way Christ told us to live. So, let’s remember some basics of the faith. I have made many mistakes and I have been drawn into too many battles. I need these reminders too.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galations 5:22-24

“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galations 5:26

We need to know the Bible and what it says about how we are supposed to be living our lives.  Because of Billy Graham’s death, I have been watching old crusades and interviews he had with tv hosts and news commentators. When interviewed, he spoke about God and what the Bible said all the time. He didn’t shy away from quoting scripture as his answer. He spoke about living our lives based on the teachings of the Bible. It seems like we have gotten away from that. We rely on other people’s opinions way too much.

We can’t just go to church on Sunday and expect our pastors to be our Bible. We need to do our own investigating and read the scripture and know what it says. God has the answers to our issues in His word. Yes, there are times we need counseling—make sure it is biblically based. Yes, there are times we need to talk things over with a friend—make sure you pray with that friend and you are looking for God to speak to you through that friend or to your heart. Make sure you can back things up with God’s word.

When I was going through my darkest times, I sought counsel. I knew it was biblically based and we prayed before anything was said. There were many things I didn’t want to hear, but I knew they were right because I knew it was coming from the Lord. I made my mind up that I was going to follow God’s direction, not mine or someone else’s. I questioned Him a lot to make sure I was on the right path.

And let me say something about prayer. “We are meant to hear the voice of God.” Eldredge I am going to say this again. “We are meant to hear the voice of God!” In Luke 10 there are many references to sheep hearing their master’s voice. Jesus refers to us as His sheep and the fact that He is our Shepherd. When you read that passage, Jesus is telling us loud and clear that His sheep will hear His voice. 

We have to stay close to our Shepherd in order to hear His voice. The only way that I have found that works is to spend time with Him daily and ask Him to speak to me. “If we hear His voice and open the door of our lives to Him, Jesus will come closer, become even more intimate with us. For this very intimacy we were created! And it is a rescue, a comfort, a source of a thousand blessings, and it also changes the way we pray as we ask Him what to pray.” Eldredge

“He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” Isaiah 50:4

There are many reasons I care so much about this topic. One is the fact that I was verbally abused most of my life. It isn’t fun living with someone who is constantly beating you down— especially a parent. I was told all sorts of things that were not pleasant.  Matthew 15:18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean.” So, if you have issues with putting people down then I advise you to look at your heart and figure out why you say the things you do. Words can cause deep wounds in people.

I have had to be around a lot of difficult people and I haven’t always responded in the right way. But, when I am in those situations, I pray for help. I pray to respond with the right words. I know it is hard because our emotions can get the best of us. That’s why we need God’s help. I also realize that some people are just hard to be around. If you know you are going to see that person, then pray before you go. Pray while you are with them. Pray for them. My Mom told me a long time ago that the best way to handle an enemy was to pray for them. (Wise words from my Momma.) I know it’s hard, but give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

I have cried and cried many tears over people being unkind to me. I have tried so hard to please people and walked away terribly hurt and upset. Some people are clueless and mean. I know it is hard to respond to people that are like that with kindness, but that is how we are supposed to respond. “Kill them with kindness” is a phrase I heard a lot when I was growing up. And the ironic thing is, it came from my father.

There are always going to be difficult people in our lives, so we need God’s help to deal with them. We need to learn how to react to those people and rely on God to help us. “Stay close. Listen for His voice. Let Him lead.” Eldredge That is how I want to live my life. I want to live my days right by my Shepherd’s side–listening to His voice–and letting Him lead me. 

Until next time dear friends…..

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Let There Be Light

Have you ever gone through seasons in life when it is so hard to see which way to go? You just can’t seem to figure out the best plan of action or the answer to your problem. Every day you question and wonder what is going on and you just can’t see what God is trying to show you. You just get so frustrated and confused. Am I resonating with anyone out there?

I have had several situations in my life that brought me to my knees and begging for answers. I have cried for help many, many times because I wanted God’s truth in my life. His way is the way I want! He knows far better than I do what is best for me, so that is why I go to Him for answers.

I am learning so much from a book by John Eldredge called “Moving Mountains.” Since  my life has been filled with so much chaos, anxiety and fear, I have had a hard time hearing God. John states, “Pressure nearly always guarantees you will have a hard time discerning what God is saying, if you hear anything at all. Pressure clenches up your heart and soul and ties all your insides in rubber-band knots. Even if God is shouting, it is unlikely he can get through to you because of the chaos.” (I’m picturing Him waving His hands and shouting like you do at a sporting event and I can’t hear him because of all the noise.)

I know that my life and my mind have been filled with so many things that I haven’t been able to hear God in the past. And, my constant attempts to “figure things out” haven’t helped either! Eldredge says it best, “The key to receiving answers to prayer for guidance is to let go of our constant attempts to figure things out.” Stress and pressure cause me to panic. I have to talk myself down off the ledge of spiraling out of control. I have to push the pause button and remember to go before the Lord and align myself under Him and ask for His help. (I talked about aligning ourselves in the post “Fixer Upper”)

This is where God’s word is so important. There are several verses in Daniel that tell us that God reveals mysteries.

Daniel 2:28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.”

Daniel 2:22 “He reveals deep and hidden things, He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.”

Daniel 2:19 “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.”

Listen, I know how hard it is to deal with unanswered prayers. But, part of the problem is me. I want answers now! I want things to get better now! I want people to change now! I want to tell God that my plan of action is the best way to do things now! But as Eldredge says, I have to quit my constant attempt to figure things out. (And might I add, quit telling God what to do!)

“And can I add how fruitless it is to seek God’s counsel while you are privately committed to one course of action over all others? We must surrender our agendas. We must surrender our “best thoughts” on the matter. We must surrender our secret desires. When we do this, we are in a much better place to receive God’s thoughts on the situation.” Eldredge

So, I need to examine my motives when I go before the Lord. Usually I am a desperate woman who is in need of some relief and I can’t think straight. (I like to call it “hormone hell.”) I have been that way a lot lately because of increased anxiety in my life. So, I need to go before the Lord and apologize for my behavior and ask Him to shed some light on my situation. I need to surrender what I want and what I think will make me feel better. And as I go through the hard times, I need to claim Psalm 119:6, “May your unfailing love be my comfort.” 

I am trying some new things in my life to deal with my anxiety. I have known for awhile that I needed to give up Diet Mountain Dew—but I did not want to dew it. (Ha Ha!) I knew I was addicted. I really felt like the Lord was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me to give it up and I was resisting big time. It was a stronghold in my life. I also knew that I needed to make some dietary changes as well. So, I made the plunge and gave up the Dew and have started making the dietary changes. (It’s so nice to have a daughter who is a dietician helping you. That Purdue education is paying off! Boiler Up!)

I got to the point that I was sick and tired of being sick and crazy! The Lord has shown me through scripture that He is right there with me. I have to make these changes in my life if I am going to have much of a life to live. He has given me confirmation that this is what I should do.

                               “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

                                      along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

                                I ’twill turn darkness into light before them

                                     and make the rough places smooth.

                               These are the things I will do;

                                      I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

I am counting on the Lord to get me through all the changes I need to make. I am praying for Him to guide me in the way I should go. It is so easy for me to come up with my own plan of action without consulting Him on the correct plan of action for me. I have to surrender my thoughts to Him and ask for HIs guidance before I make any decisions. And, that is really hard for a girl like me to do! I get so wrapped up in fixing myself that I forget to look to the One who created me and has the answers for what is best for me.

So, any questions I have or decisions I need to make, I am going to proclaim Genesis 1:3, “Let there be light!” Father, shine your light on what I need to know and do. “Surrender is the key. Yield your desires and plans and hunches to the living God so that you might receive from him something far better: His counsel. Consecrate the matter; consecrate the process of decision making too!” Eldredge

In light of Billy Graham’s passing, I just want to say that when I look at him, I see someone who followed the Lord with all his heart. That man spent his life sharing God’s word to millions of people. He had a burden for people to know Christ as their Savior and have a personal relationship with Him. This past week I have watched so many clips of him preaching and seen how many lives he touched. I just can’t quit crying! That man and the message of receiving Christ as our Savior brought people from death into life. People that would have gone to hell are now in heaven because Billy wasn’t afraid to preach God’s word. 

When he got to heaven, I know that he heard, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (And there were probably a million people waiting for him at the pearly gates!) I don’t know if we will ever have another man quite like him on this earth, but each one of us can share the good news of Jesus in our own circle of friends and in our communities. People need Jesus. Our world needs Jesus. That fact will never change. So, let’s go and be the hands and feet of Jesus and share the good news to as many people as we can. I know that when I get to heaven I want to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I want my Heavenly Father to be proud of me.

Until next time dear friends….

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”