Tag Archives: anxiety

Tie IT Down!!!!!!

I have issues.  Deep rooted, core issues, things I wrestle with on a daily basis.

Three years ago after a huge move back to East Tennessee, I had a change in my job which triggered a long term downward spiral in my life.  No money, car broke down, I could go on and on but it was traumatic and took a long time to recover from – every area of my life was impacted.

To this day because of that, I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat paralyzed in fear that it will happen again.  I can’t seem to shake it.  The FEAR of what has happened happening again holds me hostage and like a hostage negotiator with prayer and reading the Bible, God convinces me to “come out” – to believe and relax, relying 100% on Him.

This morning I was reading Genesis 22 pulling a lesson together for Sunday School tomorrow.  I confess to you I was doing this after I had been outside with my dog and seeing that I have a FLAT TIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I read this chapter, I try to put myself in Abraham’s place, walking up that mountain with his son of promise, the son God promised him in his old age; the son he waited for 25 years for; the very same son God asked him to sacrifice.  The “spiritual” Abraham walked that walk in faith but I wonder what the “physical” Abraham was thinking.

I got to the part where he tied Isaac to the altar, 100% willing to kill him (KILL HIM!) out of 100% obedience to God.  When something’s tied to the altar, it can’t escape.  There’s my problem.  I put things, concerns, prayers…ME…on the altar – totally in my heart giving whatever it is, including myself to God…but I don’t tie it down. In other words, when I get scared or I don’t understand I pull it right back up and walk away with it…then I bring it back…then take it back…then…

Oh God.   Help us TIE IT DOWN!  Help us leave it at the altar; help us have the faith of Abraham to 100% believe You and who You are and act accordingly, believing who You are.  That would mean we can’t act based on our feelings, fears or frustrations.  Help us to believe in You more than we believe in ourselves and even what we see.  Help us to seek the ram!  Help us to live in confident expectation that because You ARE our Provider, You will provide.  That’s who You are!  Forgive us our little faith.  Help us to remember Your promises and to walk in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Whatever your “it” is, take it to God, tie it down and leave it there.

Proverbs 3:5-6; Genesis 22

 

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He Can Handle It

Their eyes meet from across the room.  She tries to talk herself out of being attracted to him; he thinks she’s beautiful.  It seems like every place she goes, he’s there. Finally he catches her in a moment with no one around and he hones in to speak to her, one on one. He’s totally enchanted with her and she, him.  They arrange a meeting and then another.  After being with her for a while, although he’s sure he loves her, he starts to notice the deep wounds she carries.  The more he’s with her, the more prominent the wounds become.

She doesn’t show them to everyone, but she thought she could trust him.  Why else would there be such chemistry and attraction between them if she wasn’t safe to show him who she really is, what has happened to her? Surely she’s safe with him. She wasn’t. She was wrong. Eventually she finds that he, too, once her man of promise, has abandoned her.

Nothing is more beautiful than being loved by someone not because of all you’ve been through and who you really are…but in spite of it.  They come to know even the ugliest you and to your surprise, love you any way. That’s what real love does.  Too often though for one reason or another – good reasons and bad – we find we’re too heavy a package that people drop too easily. We find people can’t handle our reality – the real us.  They like us, they love us, they hate us.  No matter how hard we try to “be good”, be what the other one wants and needs, it’s never enough.

All of us carry wounds others have no idea about until we let them close enough to see.  When we’re exposed, they may decide they can’t handle it and they sometimes become distant.  Love is an overused and abused word used often with good intentions but few results.  Some have heard that word so many times (chimed in with other well-intended promises of faithfulness and love) we don’t want to take the chance on hearing it again.

We can totally expose ourselves to Jesus.  We may as well, he knows it’s all there anyway.  He can handle it.  He’ll never walk away no matter what has to be done to heal the wounds…ALL of them.  He’s perfect love, and human love can only be successful through Him (I believe).  He’ll never be intimidated and reject us because of anything we’ve been through, done or are going through.  We’ll never be too much, too wounded, too lost or too far gone for Him.  He can handle it.  As a matter of fact, what’s hurt us the most and left the ugliest scar on us, He died for.  He came specifically so we could be one with Him, expose ourselves completely to Him and let Him heal us.  He can even make the scars more beautiful.  He changes them from something we seek to cover to things of beauty we long to expose to glorify Him.

Whatever’s going on with you, He can handle it.  Whatever you’ve done, He can handle it.  He died so He could make you whole.  You, beloved, can trust Him.  Will you?

Matthew 11:28:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  (NASB)

I’m Positive: I Don’t Know.

 

Good job: gone.  Money:  nonexistent.  Friends:  nowhere.  Money:  none. Refrigerator:  empty.  Eviction notice:  served.  Diagnosis:  terminal.

Lying awake night after night, praying, crying, begging God to help.  Nothing.  The next day is like the last day, spent in the grasp of fear and anxiety.

What do you do when you’re clinging to God with every breath, and He’s silent?  He has certainly not responded like you thought He would…like you think He should. Getting out of bed to do it all again seems unappealing.  Why? Just another day of failure, fear and discouragement.  Why even try, you ask yourself. Isn’t there a story in the Bible where Job’s wife told him, “curse God and die…”?  Maybe that’s the answer.  You tried everything else and it appears that you’ve failed.

There’s some fierce battling going on here.  On days, in situations like that the only thing to do is go on His say-so.  You must muster up enough faith in the Lord to try to convince yourself…despite whatever circumstance…that He is true to His word.  This is a battle for your faith.  The enemy knows what’s inside you and he’s (I believe) concerned that you’ll have an impact in the future so he must defeat you now – he’s aiming for you and this time his aim was very good.  You’re down and your faith is almost nonexistent.  Thus the decision.

Believe that God hasn’t left you.  Believe He’s faithful and His promises are applicable to you, personally.  Believe He will see you through.  How will He do it?  I have no idea.  What will He do to help you?  I don’t know.  I just know He will.  “Lord, because You say you’re with me, You’ll provide for me and will never leave me, I’m getting up out of bed.”  Sometimes we have no other reason other than that to start a new day.  This is faith.

Countless, the times in the past two years I’ve done just that.  I couldn’t see how I would live through the day (wasn’t real sure I wanted to), but I did…by His grace alone.  I could tell you story after story of how He has provided – it hasn’t been pretty and lots of it I didn’t like but He did. Through that, I have seen Him as never before…and I know Him better than I ever have.

How will he help you?  I’m positive of one thing:  I have no idea.  But.  I know He will.

~Philippians 4:19~

A SPATULA KIND OF FAITH

While in the kitchen with some friends, we had a discussion about spatulas; flippers; egg turners. We picked up different shapes and sizes of what we were talking about and each of us called these kitchen utensils something different. What do you call it?

spatula Whatever you call it, you use if for what you need to use it for. The name you call it doesn’t change its usefulness or its purpose in YOUR kitchen. It may be used for something else (and called something else) in someone else’s kitchen but that won’t change the fact that it is what it is! My son uses a spatula as a spoon, a “picker-upper”, a knife because he doesn’t want to look for anything else. When he has it in his hand, he uses it and makes it be anything he needs for it to be.

FAITH is like that. What is faith, exactly? The “Bible word” for it is pistis which means conviction of the truth of anything; the character of the One who can be relied on; persuasion – the moral conviction, reliance upon Christ for salvation; assurance.

FAITH is just that. Some have faith in their faith only and when it wavers, those believing in their ability to believe and have faith are knocked off their feet. FAITH in Jesus & God (that They are who They say They are, will do what They say They will) is much more reliable! Even though what goes on around us isn’t pretty or fun, THEY remain rock solidly the same.

You can call it whatever you want to. Some may name your faith – radical, charismatic, crazy…if you act like you believe. We’re all different and FAITH looks different on each one of us. Acting on FAITH antagonizes common sense. It irritates some because frankly it just makes no sense. Your FAITH may be active in your life in different ways for different things. FAITH works best for us when we exercise it in every area of life, not just some things. Here’s the thing. FAITH is just like a spatula in my son’s hands; you can use it any time you like for anything you need.

Whatever the need – health, financial, fear, depression, etc, FAITH in Jesus Christ is as accessible as a spatula in your kitchen. One thing’s for sure – if you never USE it you’ll never know how FAITH can help. If you never use the spatula for anything other than what you have always used it for, you won’t believe the other uses for it you’re told about. You can talk about it all you want, call it what you want but when the trials come unless you know Him and what He has to offer it may not mean much. When no other resources can be found to see you through, will your FAITH in God be enough?

Sometimes my son grabs a spatula because he just doesn’t want to look for anything else. He knows he can do what he needs with it so in his mind there’s no reason for search for anything else. That’s a great concept related to FAITH. The ONLY thing we NEED is Him – if we “grab” Him first He will help us get our hands on whatever else we need!

I CHOOSE TO LOVE HIM *HERE*!

Finally after a long, long life journey, I find myself in the physical place where I most want to be. This is where I belong but I must say since I moved back, all kinds of things have happened I’ve never been through before. I started to doubt whether I have made the right decision and began to wonder if God wasn’t punishing me for moving. For a moment, I believed – I mean REALLY believed I had messed up and was out of the will of God. I was basing my truth on my circumstances and I got totally consumed by my feelings of failure, believing if I was truly “in God’s will” the ride would be smooth – I mean I had to have really messed up otherwise things wouldn’t be so testy. Right? Isn’t that the way it goes? You control your own universe; if things are good it’s because of what YOU do; things are bad because of what YOU do or don’t do. I’m laughing out loud right now. YES I have always believed that no one else but me is responsible for the bad decisions I’ve made and the consequences that followed. But controlling the universe and controlling my destiny sorry. I just don’t believe that.

For a moment though I got lost in all of this and frankly I was ready to just stop and let the chips fall where they may and basically just surrender. I could go into all the stuff that’s happened but I won’t. It has been just crazy. Suffice it to say, I’ve had it. Where’s that white flag. I’m ready to give in and either go back or not move. BUT…

While at church last night a familiar verse was spoke by our Pastor: “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10). All of a sudden, the Light came on. I had forgotten where my strength comes from. I had gotten wrapped up in my fears and frustrations and the fatigue that accompanies them. I got stuck in me and it was getting ugly. From those words until the end of the Bible study, everything said was relevant to our lives. It was one of the moments you live for.

I came home, got in the Word and got on my face. He showed me some things I thought I had learned but I was forced to confess I hadn’t put to use in quite a while. I didn’t realize how caught up I had gotten in trying to live through all this stuff until last night. Lord, forgive me.

The whole process has shown me AGAIN (how many times must I have to relearn this lesson!?!?!) how intense the battle is and how good the enemy is at deception. I KNOW what I believe; I KNOW what God said to me personally and yet, I was in a mess. If you’ve not been led back into fear and anxiety in a while, good for you! BUT don’t think it can’t happen to you. There are all kinds of battles and snares within the battles for all of us. The way you fall to the enemy may be different from how I fall…but we all are capable of falling.

During those times when things are a mess and very frightening there’s a decision to be made. Will you believe? Will you trust? Will you be thankful and love God there in the midst of the mess? I chose last night to love Him and believe Him right here. The scary hasn’t changed yet. The provision has not come – yet. BUT I believe it IS coming. I believe He will see me through this trial. I remember my joy, my faith, my willingness, my ability, my comfort and reassurance are found in Jesus alone. He’s the stability and the strength I so long for in all this uncertainty. I have Him and I believe Him. I choose to love Him here.

The Answer is STILL Yes.

Yesterday I was going through my son’s medical documentation gathering what we’ll need for an upcoming reassessment. I had a good but painful dose of reality remembering what it was like right after he was born and as he has grown up. Even though I live with him daily and have written our story the details of that very dark and scary time had escaped me. I read through several assessments done on him through the years and needless to say, it hurt. I got sad, mad, and astounded when I read on paper what the teachers, counselors, doctors and other specialists said was going to happen while contrasting their words to what I have seen the past 31 years.

For a moment, I was crushed. I bought into what I saw on paper. To say the documentation filled me with despair is an understatement. I started feeling like I had done nothing right pertaining to decisions regarding him. I felt I had pushed too hard and had unrealistic expectations. Regret and sadness rushed over me like standing beneath a waterfall. I felt like a failure as a mother.

As I mulled over the documentation in my mind I considered how well Matt has done all these years and the contradiction was huge. The documents were accurate. Each assessment although years apart done at three different facilities were almost identical so I’m sure they were right. The person, however, and his life didn’t match the paper! After I got my emotions in check, I remembered one very important thing not included in the mounds of paperwork: THE GOD FACTOR!

As we walk our paths in life, so many things happen, good and bad. There’s so much tragedy and pain. We spend so much time trying to figure out why it happens, what could have been done differently and if that weren’t time-consuming enough, we try to undue it or pretend it never happened! It is what it is and no amount of want to can change it.

I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to him had we not given our lives to Christ. The picture painted by EVERY doctor and every evaluator was a dismal one (and I have the paperwork to prove it). God really, really has been good to us.

I was confronted by a very big reality. It was bad and bleak; depressing and sad. But then I remembered the wonderful things – the seemingly impossible things I have seen through Matt’s life that just don’t line up with what’s on paper. I have “double vision” in a very real way. I have to deal with reality while remembering what I have physically seen.
I remembered Jeremiah 33:3 – if I call to God He will show me great and mighty things. He’s surely done that! Romans 8:28-all things work together for the good (all means ALL); the whole of my son’s life thus far displays God’s goodness and compassion for both of us and thus far, I have seen lots of God through what he’s gone through. I could go on and on but you get where I’m going with this.

I realized that like all that medical and psychological paperwork, the Bible is just words on a page to some but reality and truth to me and in both instances, I have to choose to believe and live according to it and like I believe it. Reading it can alter your life but living it changes everything starting with our perspective.

After all that reality on paper yesterday, I’ve determined that God’s yes is still yes. It is a stark contrast to reality but His promises are still true and not only that, He is true to His promises. All of them, regardless of what reality looks like. Do we dare have the courage to believe them – that’s the life-changing question.

After all we’ve been through I must say YES. The answer, after all this…or maybe because of all this is STILL yes. Lord I believe. I trust. I still say yes.

Lemonade…again?

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

I must admit…I don’t like lemonade. Not even flavored lemonade. Never have. Lately, I have “made” a lot of it, it seems. I’ve dealt with a lot of issues (not going to give the enemy any credit here so I won’t name all of it) through which I have made the best of. I have kept on going forward like a good soldier. Sometimes through tears, a broken heart, and fighting paralyzing fear I have done my best to keep moving, believing this is all for the good. I’ve been squeezed in ways I never have been before. Sometimes the “drink” hasn’t been sweet; it’s been bitter. Very bitter.

Something happens in our minds after 50 – or it did in mine – that we think things would smooth out and life would get easier. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It fails me to understand why things seem to flow so smoothly for some and not so smooth for others. It must be me. I must be doing something wrong. Have you ever said that to yourself? There’s always something bad from which we must turn to good. Ah. The “evidence of things not seen”…perhaps? We get to choose making good out of bad, peace in the midst of turmoil, the beauty from ashes kind of thing versus letting the thing consume us. It is exhausting this working to be content at times.

Resolving not to be bitter, angry, depressed is work. If you don’t like lemonade you can make it…but you don’t have to drink it. You can share it, never allowing yourself to taste it. There it is. PERSPECTIVE.

The Lord allows us to be lemonade makers for others. Someone’s watching who is on the brink of giving up, ready to let their lemons rot; they see no purpose for their distresses and thus, their pain seems to be for nothing. What you’re going through may not be for you. It may be for a family member, friend, coworker who doesn’t know Jesus. If you’ll turn your eyes from you and your suffering to those around you, perhaps you’ll see that all of this is really “good fruit”. You can choose to believe it is all worth it.

Even when you find more lemons than you think you can use, there’s a choice to be made. Let them ferment stinking up your life, your attitude, stealing your peace and tainting your countenance OR…you can take what’s handed to you and turn it in to a tool to be used to see God, share Him, and encourage others with. Sounds trite perhaps, but it’s true.

Maybe you don’t like lemonade either. Our faith keeps us lemonade producers knowing it’s not about us…it’s about living and thriving through it honoring God and sharing with someone else how wonderful God’s lemons can be when used for a grander purpose than ourselves. Maybe lemonade isn’t so bad after all…