Day Nine: Stop and Praise

Yesterday I shared how I’ve been very much at peace the last couple of weeks.  So wouldn’t it be par for the course that today I stand in my kitchen trying not to fall apart in front of my children.  And I say that its par for the course because when we are at peace, that’s when the enemy will try his hardest to knock us down.  I feel like when I declared how peaceful I’ve been it was a “hold my beer” moment for the devil.

And so this morning I fell into his trap and I allowed my fears and worries to overwhelm me.  I tried my best to stay composed as my kiddos sat their doing their schoolwork and I began to type today’s post.  I couldn’t get my thoughts together and I struggled to form my sentences because my mind was so consumed by all of my anxious thoughts.

I began that cycle of what ifs that I try so hard to stop, but today I let the what if circle through my mind.  Lord, what if this continues?  Lord, what if people stop buying and selling homes?  Lord, what if we have to blow through all of our savings and our nest egg to survive this?  Lord, what if we have to sell our beautiful home?  The home that we know without a shadow of a doubt that you provided for us just one year ago this month.  Lord, what if we have to start over?  Lord, what if?

I let my mind go there.  I began to feel my breathing accelerate as my anxiety rushed all through my body.

I tried to push through and write today’s blog post, but I felt God telling me to stop.  I stood there for a minute wondering what that meant.  What do you mean by stop, Lord?  I need to write this post.  I’m already behind in posting it, why stop?  And then I heard the next phrase.

Stop and praise, Maggie.  Stop and praise.

Lord, how can I praise you right now?  I can’t even write; I don’t have the words.  Lord my mind can’t even comprehend all of this right now and you want me to stop and praise you?  I can’t.  I just can’t.  The what ifs are making me feel like I am drowning and the worst case scenarios are taking my breath away.

Jojo and Joseph headed out for a run and asked if I wanted to go.  After first I said no, but after sitting there I thought it would be good for me.  Maybe it would help get my mind off of things.  So I put my headphones in and decided to listen to The Blessing.  I turned it up as loud as it would go and set out for my run.

As soon as the words began, I felt God’s peace coming back into my soul.  The words reassuring me that His favor is upon us.  His peace is within me.  And I ran as hard as I could feeling seriously like He was right there with me.  And when it gets to the part of the song where it says that “He is for you.”  I repeated those words over and over.  He is for me.  Jesus, you are for me.  He is for me.  His presence goes before me and behind me.  He’s beside me, all around me and within me.  He is with me.

And I declared it.

And I praised Him.

And He reassured me that He is with me.

And His Word became louder than my what ifs.

I don’t know what your what ifs are through all of this.  But I want to tell you that God is bigger than our what ifs.  Because even if any of our what ifs happen…He is still God and He is still good.  I know it and I believe it.  So today I want to encourage you to praise God through your what ifs.  When you don’t know what to say, just stop and praise Him.  Praise Him for who He is, for what He’s done for you.  Praise Him because He is a good good Father.  Praise Him because He is faithful.  Praise Him because even when we don’t see Him or feel Him He is there and He is working.  He is the waymaker, the miracle worker who conquered death!

And He is for you.  Do you believe it?  He is for you, friend.  He is for you.  Say that out loud, “He is for me.”

I remembered something I read in one of my devotionals this summer about prayer.  The author talked about how sometimes we focus on asking God to take away our struggle and to change our circumstance.  But maybe instead of praying away the bad things, God is teaching us to pray through the bad things.  These struggles we have right now, they will not be in vain. Romans 8:18 says,

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”

We must praise Him in all circumstances.  On the mountaintops and in the valleys.  We must choose to praise Him.

If you are struggling today with your what ifs, I invite you to stop and praise.  Stop what you are doing.  Turn on your worship music and just let the words fill your mind and your heart.  He is for you.  Take those words and speak them over your life and believe them.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 

 

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