Day 7

We are back to learning here at our house!  Spring break is over and we are so thankful for a much needed break!  We are now ready to get started and finish off this year as strong as we can.  We are so thankful for our administrators, teachers and staff who have done all they can to help us be successful.

When the announcement came out that we would not go back to school this year, we were all a little sad.  I always look forward to the weeks after spring break.  I have to admit it’s my favorite time of year because I know that we are winding down the school year and summer is just around the corner.

Today I want us to  pray for all of our teachers and children as they return to digital learning.  I am praying for all of us parents, too!!

Dear God thank you for a beautiful spring break.  The weather was perfect and the kids and I really enjoyed our break.  As we return to digital learning, I want to pray for all of our teachers and our kids.  May you give our teachers wisdom and knowledge as they teach from a distance.  I pray that you will help each child thrive in this environment.  Help teachers and parents work together to help their child be successful.  I also pray that you will remind all of us to have a lot of GRACE and to enjoy this time as hard as it may be.  When we are discouraged, let us look to you for strength and comfort.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Teachers, students and parents….Let’s do this!!!  I hope you all have a wonderful week back to digital learning.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

Day Five and Six

I’ve spoken to so many friends about what the quarantine season has meant for them and we’ve all said the same thing about loving the slower pace and the extra family time we’ve had.

I’ve loved watching my kids ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors in a whole new way.  We’ve had dinner as a family more than we’ve ever had, we’ve watched movies and talked.  We’ve had a great time just being together.

But the truth is that my quarantine life does not look like yours as yours doesn’t look like anyone else’s.  We are seeing more and more people lose their jobs, businesses are slowing down and we keep hearing the “r” word in the news.  Recession.

I have to admit I struggled yesterday.  The news of a small business owner who took her own life hit me hard.  If you know my story, then you know that I battled depression, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts for years.  And y’all, most people didn’t know.  They had no idea because I kept it hidden.  I pretended to be okay.  I went about my days forcing myself to be normal but I was literally crumbling inside.  And I don’t say all this to be doom and gloom but to open our eyes to a reality.  The reality that yes we are all trying to find the silver lining and trying to enjoy the simple life, as we should.  But y’all.  There are people who simply cannot find that silver lining right now.  Not because they are a horrible person, but because they are literally suffering on the inside.  They are numb.  Numb to it all.  And yes, we know Jesus and we know the power that is in His name, but when you are suffering with a mental illness you can not even wrap your mind around that thought.

So today, I want to pray for you.  And I want to truly pray that whatever you are struggling with this minute that Jesus will send you someone to help you through it.  Because we all ask people to reach out, to ask for help, but guess what?  When you are living a literal hell in your mind, you are not able to ask for help.  You simply can’t.  So today if you are suffering from depression or anxiety or panic attacks, I pray that the Lord will place it upon someone to reach out to you.  That the Lord will awaken your mind and place a desire to keep on living.  This life we are living is crazy and I know that it is making many of us fear the future, but I pray that God will place the desire to fight for your life and that He will restore your faith in who He is.  And if you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, I pray that this will turn your heart towards Him to know Him in a personal way.

I’ve been so burdened by this.  I don’t know what I can do to help you, but I know that there is power in prayer to Jesus and I have to trust in that.  Even when I can not trust.  Even when I can’t fathom it.  I have to trust.  And when my trust and faith seem to be gone, I must ask God to help me believe.  And that is what I pray you do too.  If you are struggling with your faith.  If you are questioning this life and questioning who God is and can not wrap your mind around what is going on, I pray that you cry out to God to help you believe.

In Mark 9:14-29 a man is pleading for his son who seems to be possessed by a demon.  In verse 21 Jesus asks him,

“How long has this been happening to him?” “From childhood,” he said.  “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him.  But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”   Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can’?  Everything is possible to the one who believes.”  Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

Do you know what happened next?  Jesus healed the boy.  But when the disciples asked Him privately in verses 28-29 why they couldn’t themselves help the boy, Jesus answered in verse 29,

“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].”

Jesus healed the boy because the boy’s father cried out to Jesus.  Even in his unbelief he asked Jesus to help Him.  We must do the same and pray for those around us that are being thrown to the fire and are being destroyed inside by this horrible illness.

So today I want us to pray for those who are suffering silently.  Maybe it’s with depression or anxiety or just plain out fear and doubt.  Whatever it is you are going through today, we pray for you.  We pray that the Almighty God show Himself to you right now.

And to those that are wondering how you can help.  I pray that right now God place someone on your heart to reach out to.  We tell people to reach out, speak out, but they are not going to.  We must go to them.  And how?  By a text, a phone call, facetime, facebook messenger, zoom!  Anything!  We must reach out to our friends and our people!  We can not leave them alone.  They need someone today more than ever.

So as we finish up this week, I want us to dedicate the next two days to ask God to reveal people to us that need a word from us.  And when He reveals them to you, reach out to them.  We can save lives this way.  I truly believe it.

Dear Heavenly Father, reveal yourself to us.  Lord Jesus we love you and we ask that you will help our unbelief during this time.  Help us not lose sight of you.  Strengthen the ones who are weak.  Be with those who are being consumed by their depression, anxiety, fear and doubt.  Lord give them a reason to keep fighting, please.  This is serious Lord and I pray that you will protect their minds.  Protect their hearts.  Please Lord.  And to those of us who are wondering how we can help, I pray that you will place people on our heart that we can reach out to.  Help us come together and love them and be with them through all of this.  I pray that this will bring people closer to you and that those that do not know you will come to know you through all of this.  We love you Jesus and we thank you for never leaving us.

Who are you reaching out to today?  Who can you send a handwritten card to or text?  Who can you deliver a meal to?  Or who can you simply call?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Day Four

Today I am asking you to join me in praying for all of those who are sick and in need of healing.

In John 9 it tells us of a story about a man who was blind from birth.  The disciples ask Jesus who sinned to cause him to be born blind.  Jesus replied that this man nor his parents sinned “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” When Jesus comes to the man he spits on the ground to make mud with his saliva and he puts it on the man’s eyes.  He tells him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.  And the man did as Jesus said and he was healed.

When the man returned home he was scolded by the Pharisees and they kicked him out of the synagogue!  Instead of celebrating his healing they were more upset that Jesus was “breaking the rules.”  When Jesus heard about this he found the man and he asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  The man replied, “Lord, I believe.”

“The healing Jesus offers us today in not merely physical and therefore temporary.  His miracles are far more penetrating, like His word, “dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  Today, as you pray for healing, for yourself or someone you love, listen to the question Jesus is asking, “Do you believe?”

(Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler)

Do you believe?  I do.  But I also feel like I have to share this…. I know that God is the ultimate healer and that there will be times when healing does not come on this side of heaven.  I’ve experienced that with my daddy as I know many that have gone through the same thing.  Sadly we live in a fallen world and sickness and death are a result of this.  So today as you pray, ask God to soften your heart.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  No matter what, God is still good.  He still sits on the throne and He has already won this battle.  His ways are good even when we can’t comprehend what is going on around us.  I didn’t want to be doom and gloom, but I just felt that I needed to share that.  I don’t know why but God wouldn’t let me publish this post without sharing it.

Dear Heavenly Father, you are Jehovah Rophe, God our healer.  And today I come to you to ask you to heal the sick.  Lord not only those that have COVID-19, but anyone who is sick.  Lord we believe in miracles and we believe that there is no sickness that you can not heal.  And in your name we ask you for healing in the bodies of those who need it right now.  We ask that whatever disease has taken up residence in their body, may it be gone in Jesus name. Jesus we also know that you have the final word.  We live in a fallen world where there is sickness and pain and at times healing doesn’t come on this side of heaven.  So for the ones that are experiencing this right now I pray for comfort and peace.  Lord I pray that you soften their hearts towards you and that they may hold on to your promises during this time.  Jesus in your name I pray that you will bless them and keep them.  That you will shine your face upon them and be gracious to them.  I pray that you will turn your face toward them and give them peace.  And that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus.  It’s in your name we pray, Amen.

Today I am reading Psalm 103 specifically verses 1-3.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.”

Day Three

Today I want us to come together to pray for our healthcare professionals.  Doctors and nurses and all support staff.  Anyone working in a hospital at this point.  They are placing their lives on the line every single day and are true heroes.  My words fail me and I have a hard time expressing my gratitude because my mind cannot comprehend what they are facing.  The stories from them on social media sound like they are in a warzone and you know what, they certainly are.  This virus becomes scarier the more we learn about it and yet they are still there on the frontlines risking being exposed.

If you are in the medical field I just want to thank you. But gosh, my thank you doesn’t even seem like enough right now.

So I’ll do all I can do right now and that is pray and ask others to join me in prayer for you and your families.

Dear Jesus we come together in your precious name to ask you for our heroes.  The ones on the frontline of this virus, our medical workers.  From doctors to nurses to janitors to office staff to anyone that’s in that field, we pray and ask you for your holy protection over their lives.  Father we pray a hedge of protection over their lives and ask you to send your angels to protect them during this unbelievable crisis.  Jesus in your name we pray that this virus will not enter their body.  Jesus in your name we pray that they will not bring this virus home to their families.  In your name Jesus we pray that you will give them a supernatural strength to get through each of their shifts.  Jesus we don’t know what to say in times like this and all we can do is say your name.  Jesus.  But your word tells us that your name has power, your word tells us that your name is above all names.  And we call onto your name Jesus and we beg you to stand with all of our medical staff.  Lord give them wisdom, knowledge and strength every single day. Jesus in your name I pray that you will bless them and keep them.  That you will shine your face upon them and be gracious to them.  I pray that you will turn your face toward them and give them peace.  And that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus.  It’s in your name we pray, Amen.

Today I am reading and claiming Psalm 23 for the lives of our medical staff and for every single one of us.  Read it and claim it over your life.  I am especially praying verse four over all of our healthcare professionals.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Day Two

We seemed to all be at a breaking point yesterday.  Jojo, my 13 year old,  is struggling to understand the severity of all of this.  And as much as I want to be completely honest with him, I wonder if I’m doing more harm than good to be so blatantly honest with him.  The last thing I want to do is instill fear or panic in my children.  But I also want them to understand that this is a “big deal.”  He is upset that he can not go anywhere for spring break.  He’s upset that he can not go spend the night with a friend.  I get it…we were looking forward to going to Hilton Head Island this week and it looks like our NYC trip that we surprised the kids with for Christmas more than likely will have to be postponed.  He was insistent today that this was all stupid and that he didn’t understand why we needed to “follow the rules.”  Jojo is a sweetheart and rarely gets this way.  When he does, I know he’s at that breaking point with whatever he’s struggling with.  So I took the time to explain why we “follow the rules.”

I reminded him that our leaders have given us specific guidelines and have asked us to practice social distancing.  And as hard as it is, we must do as they say.

Not only does God ask us to be subject to the governing authorities, He tells us that they have been instituted by Him.  Right now is not the time to divide into our political parties and critique our President and our leaders.  Right now is the time to come together as one and pray for them.

I could not imagine what our leaders are having to go through.  We may not all agree with everything they say and do, but the Lord calls us to pray for them.  And in my opinion, I feel that we can and should extend them grace.  I sure wouldn’t want to be in charge of an entire nation right now or really ever!

Trusting our leaders is also trusting God because if He allowed them into office then I must trust that He is also working through them.

Today I ask that you join me in praying for our President and our leaders.  Also pray for the leaders of the entire world because at this point everyone is involved and affected by this virus.

Father God, thank you for another day.  I know it seems that we are all on a hamster wheel living the same day over and over.  As I woke up to the news, it’s a constant talk about the coronavirus.  This seems to never end.  But Lord, it makes me think about the leaders that you have placed in our nation and around the world.  It makes me think of the stress and anxiety they are facing.  Today Lord I ask that you will give them supernatural wisdom and knowledge to make the decisions that are going to lead our nation out of this pandemic.  Lord, we trust that who is in office has been placed by you and we cover them in prayer today.  We ask that you protect them and guide their steps in the middle of this crisis.  Jesus in your name I pray that you will bless them and keep them.  That you will shine your face upon them and be gracious to them.  I pray that you will turn your face toward them and give them peace.  And that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus.  It’s in your name we pray, Amen.

Today I am reading Romans 13 as a reminder to trust the governing authorities.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

Romans 13:1-2

Day One

Yesterday I shared my heart (click here to read) and invited you to commit to 30 days of praying and seeking God’s face.  I wanted to share what was on my heart today and who I am praying for on day one.

Today I am thinking about all of the people who have lost their jobs or are facing the reality of not knowing how much longer they are going to have a job.  Will you join me in praying for them?

Dear Heavenly Father,  I come to you in prayer today for all of the people who have lost their jobs as a result of this virus.  I know that I’ve seen more and more posts on social media from people sharing that they were furloughed or laid off and it breaks my heart at the thought of what they are going through.  With no end in sight, I’m sure it makes it even harder.  But Jesus, you tell us that you are our great provider.  And at times like this it’s so easy to doubt and wonder where you are in all of this.  It can seem like such an impossible situation and one we do not have the answers to.  But we must trust in who you are and to know who you are we must stay close to you.  So today I pray that they will stay close to you.  That you will comfort them and guide them every step of the way.  Lord I pray for supernatural provision for them.  I pray that their needs will be met and that they will see you in a way that they’ve never seen you before.  Jesus in your name I pray that you will bless them and keep them.  That you will shine your face upon them and be gracious to them.  I pray that you will turn your face toward them and give them peace.  And that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus.  It’s in your name we pray, Amen.

Today I am reading Philippians 4.  I encourage you to read it with me and meditate on it as the day goes by.  What verses spoke to you the most today?  What did you learn about God and what are you declaring over your life today?

“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:10-13

Stop Going to the Empty Tomb

What a couple of weeks we’ve all had.  Quarantine season is continuing another 30 days per POTUS and I have to admit that the last couple of days have been tough.  At the beginning we were told 15 days and now it’s another 30 with no end in sight.  Social media is full of the funny memes and the quarantine police telling people to #stayhome.  I get it.  We are all on edge and the longer this goes, the more stir crazy we become.

I keep thinking and asking God to show me what I can do in the middle of all of this.  I feel that God has put something on my heart, but I’ve had a hard time figuring it out.  Today as I felt a little frustrated, I sat outside and tried so hard to hear from God.  I’ve had so much noise in my life lately between the news and social media that honestly I haven’t spent time in God’s Word or in prayer.  Isn’t it crazy that the more time we have at times equals less time with God?  Maybe not for you, but for me it certainly has felt that way.  My days are spent scrolling through social media, reading article after article, watching the news, trying to figure out if this is going to be over soon or if I might as well cancel all our summer plans.  Our days are filled with unknowns and people in a panic.  Many of us smile on the outside and post our pretty pictures of our quarantine lives when in reality we are struggling.  We are worried and we are anxious.  For the most part I have felt myself very much at peace.  I know God holds my future and that I am in His hands, but it’s still hard.  We’ve been through so much and time and time again, He’s proven Himself faithful.  But I still question.  And I still wonder how much more we can all take.

I see my friends beginning to lose their jobs, small businesses are shutting down and fear is written all over everyone’s faces at the grocery store.  So I wonder, what can I do?  Jesus I want to do something, but what can I do?

Today I kept thinking about the women who went to the tomb with their spices to anoint Jesus.  I kept thinking about how the guys were all in hiding and these women chose to go to the tomb.  In Mark 16:3, they wondered how they would roll away the stone, but that didn’t keep them from going.  And they never had to worry about rolling back the stone because in Mark 28 it talks about a great earthquake and an angel descending from heaven who rolled back the stone.  Jesus always takes care of what we need.  As the angel sat on the stone he said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”  Did you catch those three final words….”as he said.”  Jesus had already told them that this would happen. In Luke 24:5 the angel asks them why they are looking for the living among the dead.  He reminded them how Jesus told them that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.  Luke 24:8 says, “And they remembered his words.”

How often do we forget His words? How often do we go seeking among the dead?  How often do we go to an empty tomb? Only to try to fill our souls and answer our doubts with everything but Him.

During this season it is so easy to forget His words.  We get tunnel vision and all we can do is focus on the negative.  The noise is so loud around us that we can not hear His gentle voice reminding us that He is right there.  He tells us not to fear, to not be anxious.  His word says that if He cares for the birds of the sky and the flowers how could he not care for you.

In Isaiah 40:31 it says,

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.”

Yet we find ourselves going to the empty tomb to try to find the living.

I don’t know about you, but I’m done going to the empty tomb and I’m ready to remember His Word and go back to it to fill my soul and satisfy all of my needs.

So tonight as I sit here, I wonder….what if we made a 30 day commitment to pray and seek the Lord every single day?  Even if it’s for five minutes each morning.  What would happen if we all truly did that?  We’ve all fallen into the “I’ll pray for you” game.  You know, telling someone we would pray, but we never do.

We are living in scary times.  Not only health wise, but financially too.  And please don’t tell me that someone’s job doesn’t matter when people are dying.  I get it and I don’t want people to die, but have some compassion and realize that people are losing what they’ve worked so hard for.  Them worrying about their finances in no way minimizes someone’s life.  We are all losing something and we are all doing the best we can.  So instead of being the quarantine police or degrading others because they are not quarantining correctly let’s choose to stop and pray.  Let’s be women who are choosing to trust that God does have this all under control and that we need to kneel and pray and seek His face right now more than ever.

Will you commit with me?

30 days.

I think as women we have some incredible power.  If you go through the Bible you will see that it is filled with stories of women who have risked it all for the Lord.  You are important in all of this.  You are the keeper of your home.  Our husbands and our children look to us for comfort and for peace.  We are the thermostat of our home and we  have to stand firm in the Lord and his promises.  We must quit going to the empty tomb and start seeking the living right where He is.  And guess where that is?  Right there with you.  If you are His child, His Holy Spirit is within you and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you.  Believe it!!  That power is in us!  We must choose to have faith over fear.  And that starts with us staying in His word so that we will always remember it.  It starts by kneeling down and seeking His face every single day.  It starts by praying and pleading to Jesus that He will heal our land.  We are so important and we matter.  Jesus wants to do something through us, I believe it.  I can feel it in my soul and I wonder what if?  What if for 30 days we seek and pray?

So will you commit with me?

I am going to go on my instagram profile and in my stories each morning I am going to pray.

Will you join me?

Let’s get down on our knees and ask the Lord to heal our land.  Let’s take 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart and instead of just posting it on our facebook timelines, let’s actually do as it says.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and…turn from their wicked ways…I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Will you pray with me?

God is going to do something amazing!  I believe it.  Do you?

-Maggie

Wait

Wait.

Something I am not good at.  But today, God has made it clear that I am to wait.

The last couple of months have been life-changing for me.  If you read my previous post written in March, you read I was in a frustrating season.  I was praying and asking God to fix something and trusting that He was going to do it.  But let me let you in on something.  God did not fix it.  God did not do what I asked Him to do and what I completely trusted that He was going to do.  And as the months went on, it became more and more apparent that my greatest fear was going to become my reality.  I tried my hardest to fix it myself and probably made things a lot worse than they were.  I may have and probably did behave in ways that were not honorable to God.  No, I did not do anything crazy, but I definitely did not honor God with my words, actions, attitudes and thoughts.

Towards the end of the summer, I was tired.  I was exhausted and had nothing left.  This inner battle that has tormented me for over a year had taken away my peace, my joy, my life.  It caused disagreements in my marriage and led me to begin pulling away from everything.  That is my defense mechanism…to tuck and run.  And normally I try not to run, but this time I felt like God clearly said “I want you to run.  But I want you to run towards me.”

So I did.  I took some time to block out the noise and I consumed my mind, heart and soul with Jesus.  For weeks I felt He was calling me to be deliberate about spending time with Him so I set out time after dropping off the kids to do my quiet time.  I began to notice that this time would get interrupted with the daily tasks in my life so I began to feel God pressing me to wake up before everyone and spend time with Him.  5am was the time that He set in my heart.  It took about two weeks to fully adjust.  I would stay in bed too long and then some days I would not get out of bed until 5:30am.  But I kept at it and decided to make this time a priority.  Before too long, I began to crave this time and ever since then, it has become my favorite time of the day.

In August I began to sense God placing different areas of my life in front of me to be evaluated if you want to call it that.  First, it was my prayer life.  Then I began to feel like He was wanting me to look at my relationship with my kids and the way that I spoke to them.  We began positive affirmations and prayer at night.  Oh the stories I could tell you about how this has changed our lives!  After this, I felt God telling me there were areas in my marriage that I needed to look at closer. So He placed a book in my life that challenged me to see the way that I love and respect Joseph.

Every couple of weeks, He placed something new in my heart and revealed an area in my life that I needed to test and examine. Last month, I began listening to a podcast by Jennie Allen called Made For This and the entire season was on building deep relationships.  It was powerful!  It made me see so much through God’s eyes and made me desire deep, real and raw relationships.

During this time, I began to read a book also by Jennie Allen called Anything.  I’ve had this book for almost eight years.  When I first bought the book, I could not bring myself to read it.  I read the first couple of chapters and I became afraid.  I really thought God was going to tell me to go be a missionary somewhere.  I wasn’t willing to give up my life.  You see, this book is about choosing to pray the anything prayer.  Which means, God whatever you want for my life, that is what I want.  I will give up and do anything if it will make you known to the world and glorify your name.  So eight years ago, I tucked this book in my bookshelf and left it there.  During the course of listening to the podcast, this book kept popping up in conversation until I finally felt God telling me I needed to get it out and read it.  And I am so glad that I did.  Because my heart was ready.  My soul was ready.  I was ready to pray the anything prayer.  Reading this book was part of the process and journey that the Lord has me on.

So why am I sharing all of this with you.  Honestly, when I first set out to start typing I had no idea what I was going to share.  Lately I have felt that my words have left me.  I have struggled to pray and write.  My prayer is that God release my words, so here I am typing.  And I am praying that what I am about to share will be God-inspired and will encourage and bless someone today.

After reading the book, Anything and firmly believing that I was ready to do anything for Jesus, I asked God to show me my next step.  I was excited and I could feel it.  He was going to do something soon!  For the last couple of weeks I have begged God to give me a sign and to show me how I am going to fulfill this purpose that He’s placed in my heart.  I am not going to lie, I have began to get a little discouraged.  I started to battle some feelings of insecurity and wondering if any of this is real.  Even Though I wanted to doubt God, He used my time in His word to remind me to keep pressing on.  To keep believing and trusting Him.  So I did.  I refused to let the negative thoughts take hold of my mind and continued to press on.

This morning I read about the story of Joseph.  God gave Joseph a dream.  He shared that dream with his older brothers and they didn’t like it too much.  I mean if your younger brother came to you saying that you were going to bow down to him how would that make you feel?  So they sold him and told their father that he was dead.  I’ve heard this story referenced twice during the last two months and this time, I got it.  You see, Joseph had this huge dream but instead of trusting God’s timing, He decided to go spill the beans to his brothers.  I wonder now what would have happened if he would’ve waited on God to make the dream come true instead of prematurely sharing it.

It took twenty years of waiting on this vision.  And those years were not peachy.  You can find the story in Genesis 37-50.  During those years, Joseph had to choose to trust God.  He had to….wait.

So as I sat there this morning I realized that God’s message for me today was that I am to wait.  And as if I didn’t hear Him clearly the first time, I was listening to a new song a friend recommended and when that song was over, guess what the name of the next song was…. Wait for you.  And!  Do you want to know what the name of the next song was?  Wait Upon the Lord!!  I literally said, I get it now.  I gotcha God.  I will wait.

I will wait and trust that this dream that I have will come to fruition.  I will wait and trust that even when I don’t see Him or feel Him He is certainly working.  I will wait and trust that everything that I have gone through has been for a purpose and that there will be good that comes from it.

My frustrating season didn’t end the way I wanted it to end.  But I can tell you today that it ended the way it was supposed to.  It began a refining process in me and ultimately brought me to a place in my life where I could pray… anything.  I could confidently tell the Lord that I was willing to do anything for Him.  This refining season was a little overwhelming.  Well who am I kidding, it was very overwhelming.  Every couple weeks, feeling like something else came up began to make me feel a little bit like I was trying to overachieve at the “christian life.”  So I asked God to check my spirit and asked God to show me if I was doing this for the wrong reasons.  In a podcast that day, they were talking about this very thing.  We wonder when we will feel like there’s nothing in our lives that needs work, but the truth is we won’t experience that on this side of heaven.  This is called sanctification.  Becoming more like Jesus.  And then I knew right then that I was on the right track.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing today.  I am not sure what your past, present or future hold, but I can tell you that if you run to Jesus with your whole heart He will embrace you in His arms.  The process will not be easy.  It will hurt some days and other days it will break you down to tears.  But if you are willing to go there.  If you are willing to tell Jesus that you are willing to do anything….He will bless your socks off.  And I am not talking about material blessings either.  I am talking about a life so in love with Him that your heart just aches to spend every minute with Him.  Whatever your burden, let it go and let God take it from you.  You may not see it today, but good will come from your hurt.  Joseph’s dream was fulfilled.  God did it.  But he had to wait.  And in that wait, God changed Him and molded Him into who He wanted Joseph to be.  And He is doing the same with you and with me.  He is preparing us.

We go through struggles and have a hard time trusting that God has a plan and that all things will work out for the good of those who love Him.  But I believe that with the innermost parts of my soul.  When I lost my dad, it hurt to say that something good would come from it.  But oh how much good has come.  It has shown me the importance of leaving a legacy for my children.  It has taught me the importance of praying.  And it has ignited a fire in my soul to fulfill the purpose that my dad saw in me.  This purpose that God has placed in my heart.  But I didn’t see that good until I surrendered and trusted Him fully.

You may be in a waiting season, too.  I know the waiting can get exhausting and lead us to possibly questioning if this is all worth it.  But I want to encourage you to press on.  Keep trusting God during this season.  There is something He wants to show you.  He wants to teach you something.  In my season of waiting, He has opened my eyes to areas in my life that I had not surrendered to Him. He has began to free me of many things that were holding me captive and keeping me from living free.  Even in the waiting, we are fulfilling our purpose and that is to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind.

So let go today.  Surrender to Him and choose to trust and wait.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 40:31

Dear Lord, thank you for your word today.  Even though at first, it wasn’t a word that I really liked.  You have shown me that even in my waiting you are working.  I pray for anyone today that is struggling with their current season of life.  Life is hard and everyone is going through their own battles.  I pray that you will draw them close to you and comfort them with your overwhelming peace.  May they feel your love today Lord.  May you use this season to refine them and make them more like you. Thank you for loving us so much that you are willing to let us find our way back to you.  And when we do, you accept us with open arms.  May we run to you, Lord.  May we surrender and depend on you to renew our strength. Thank you Jesus! And it’s in your name I pray, Amen

He Goes Before Us

I think it’s safe to say that we have all found ourselves in a frustrating state of mind at one point or another.  Maybe you are in a season of waiting, a season of heartbreak, a season of dealing with a three-year old toddler or a rebellious teenager.  In every season, there are ups and there are downs.

During this particular season of my life, I found myself frustrated and running out of patience with my situation.  I began praying for something months before and tried my best to keep a positive outlook, but everything seemed to be against me.  There was no light at the end of the tunnel, there was no glimmer of hope and this situation seemed to get worse and worse by the day.

I was tired, frustrated and ready to give up, but I wasn’t going to do that without a fight.  Let’s just say my Latina, as my husband calls it, was about to come out.  I was about to take matters into my own hands and handle the situation my way.  The enemy was trying hard to convince me that my situation wasn’t at the top of God’s list and I was entitled to take matters into my own hands.  I needed a quick fix and God wasn’t giving me the quick fix I needed.

I was bombarded by my thoughts, insecurities, feelings and frustrations.  As I sat there about to lose it, I looked over at my devotional book and picked it up.  I turned to the reading for the day and read the following:

“Dear Lord, Don’t let me give into my fears.  Instead, stand in front of me and let me see the peace I crave.  Amen.”

I put my book down and went on with my day.  Later in the afternoon, something happened that allowed me to experience a glimmer of hope and see a little light at the end of the tunnel.  God didn’t answer my prayer that day, but He did give me hope through the means of a conversation.  This conversation allowed me to see that I was about to make a huge mistake.  And God knew this.  He knew that I was about to possibly make my situation much worse than it was and He stood in front of me and reminded me that I needed to trust in Him.

When we grow weary we begin to take our focus off God.  As for me, I realized that I was letting fear rule my heart and my life.  I feared what could be.  Feared that the end result would not be what I wanted.  I was fixated on my situation and I imagined all of the worst case scenarios.

God made me see that day that He is still at work around me.  He is working all things for good no matter how hopeless a situation may feel.  I took this as His response to continue to wait and so that day, I backed off.  I thanked God for standing in front of me and letting me see the peace I needed.

Dear friend, I don’t know what your situation is.  I don’t know what season you find yourself in.  But I get it.  I may not be going through what you are going through, but I’ve experienced my share of pain, regret, loss, financial hardship, rejection and so much more.  I know how it feels to beg and plead God to answer, only to feel like He isn’t listening.

I think of the story of Hannah.  As she poured out her heart to God, Eli watched her and thought she was drunk.  In 1 Samuel 1:15-16 she replies,

I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.  Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” 

I’m not sure the exact number of years that Hannah prayed for a son, but God did grant her request.  He answered at the right time.  And He will do the same for you and for me.  I know we are human and if you are like me, I can be very impatient.  But instead of taking matters into our own hands we need to stop and ask ourselves, “what is my focus on?”  Turn on the worship music, read the Bible, pray and give Him thanks!  Surround yourself with Jesus and ask Him to bring you the peace you crave.  Don’t look at your situation as the end.  Look at it as the means that God is using to make you an incredible woman.

As my devotional said, “choosing to trust God changes my perspective and gives me the strength to persevere.”  Choose to trust Him, friend.  Even when the odds are stacked against you, even in the pit you find yourself in, even in the regret, heartbreak and loss, choose Him.  He is there for you.  He will turn your mourning into dancing and lift you up again.

Dear Lord.  Thank you for standing in front of us and keeping us from making some of the greatest mistakes.  But also, thank you for loving us when we end up making the wrong decision and find ourselves living out the consequences.  You are so good to us.  You are faithful in your promises and gracious to forgive us time and time again.  I pray for my sisters who find themselves in situations that may seem hopeless.  I pray that you will stand in front of them and go before them.  I pray that they will turn their eyes back to you and ignore all of the whispers from the enemy.  Help their unbelief and allow them to see you in every situation.  In Jesus name, Amen.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

 

Finding the Peace Within

I began this post a year or so ago…..It’s been sitting in my drafts folder and today, I finally finished it….

I can’t get something off my mind from the message at church yesterday.  The pastor talked about solving conflicts.  He began with talking about the conflict within ourselves and how we have a lot of pressure within us.  The pressure within us is what causes conflict in our marriages, families and relationships.

This morning on my run I started to think about the peace within and how I could make sure that I had that peace.  How can I make sure that my soul is at peace?

I am reading a book called Love Lives Here.  Excellent book-you should read it!  Yesterday I read a chapter about comparison.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but the author quoted Theodore Roosevelt when he said “comparison is the thief of joy.”  Isn’t that the truth?  She says, ”  It (comparison) will rip us off and steal our lunch money every time.  Rather than running away, it just stares us down as it blocks our path forward…  It doesn’t just dominate the room, it burns it down-with you in it.  It whispers to us that we’re not good enough or smart enough or talented enough or brave enough.  It hisses and bubbles in the hallway and says there’s no way around it.  But the fact is, comparison is a liar.  The way forward isn’t over it or through it; it’s simply to ignore it completely.” (Maria Goff, Love Lives Here, P.46-47)

This morning as I ran, all I kept thinking about was “the peace within.”  How can I be at peace?  How can I live a life of joy?  A life of purpose and a life that I am proud of?  You see, I’ve always struggled with comparison.   Especially in my early years of mommyhood.  I was a depressed, anxious, overwhelmed stay at home mom .  We lived paycheck to paycheck and some weeks only by the grace of God did we make it.  Oh how I would wish things were different.  I always found myself comparing my life to other moms who appeared to have it all together.  I say appeared because now I know, no one has it all together.

After my run that day, I came home and decided I would look up verses in the bible that talked about peace and one in particular stood out…

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.” Col 3:15

You know….what Maria Goff said about comparison is true, but it could also be said of all the things that steal our peace.  Those triggers in our life that dominate our lives.  They bring us down and whisper to us that we are not worthy.  They tell us that our past mistakes are the only things people see.

The enemy lies.  He uses all of that to take our peace away.  And then it trickles down into the rest of our lives.  It ruins our marriages, our families and our relationships.

So how do we find peace?

We ask for it.  Every day.  Cry out to Him and ask Him to surround you with His peace.  When any anxious thought or lie from the enemy tries to come into your mind, rebuke it and replace it with the Word of God.  Wake up each day and choose to be in a gratitude state of mind instead of a comparison trap.  I know our circumstances are not perfect.  I know you may be living paycheck to paycheck.  You may be going through some health issues.  You may have just lost a loved one.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  But instead of focusing on what God has “taken away”, let’s focus on what He continues to give us.  I read something recently that hit me hard.  It said that God is still the God of everything that is left in your life.  When my daddy died.  God didn’t stop being God.  He is still God.  And He is still the God of my life.  He gives us His peace freely.  All we need to do is ask.

John 14:27 says, ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Sweet friends, God doesn’t give as the world gives.  His love is not the kind the world offers.  People will disappoint us.  They will break our hearts.  Our loved ones will die.  Sickness does exist. But God tells us to not let our hearts be troubled and to not be afraid.  He comforts and strengthens us.  He is there with us through the ups and downs of life.  Nothing is insignificant to Him.  That request you may think is insignificant to God? It is not!  It is just as important as any other.  So present your requests to God.  All of them and stand assured that the peace of God will guard your hearts and your mind just as it says in Philippians 4:7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

When we are at peace, we bring a person at peace to our marriages, our families and our relationships.  That is God’s desire for us.  The enemy is after our marriages and our families.  Don’t let the whispers from the enemy steal that peace that God has given you.  Hold onto it tightly and ask for it daily.

Dear God, thank you for your peace.  Thank you for your love, your faithfulness and your reassurance that you are with us.  Life is crazy.  So many things are pulling at us, trying to steal our peace.  Help us stand firm on your promise to not be afraid.  Guard our hearts and our minds dear Lord.  Send your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

-Maggie Eterno