Discouragement and Remembering God Is on Our Side

I have been overwhelmed with discouragement at all the hatred against people who are different than we are, division even between Christians, and violence against other people and establishments. We can so easily get caught up in all the chaos and find ourselves being more judgmental than prayerful. Where is all the love and compassion Jesus gives us and desires for us to do likewise?

Are we forgetting our mission? To know Jesus and make Him known? To grow and act more like Jesus? To love like Jesus?

I forget this mission, too. My heart gets so consumed with fretting about what will further happen in the coming days and years. All those “what-ifs” clog up my mind and distort my focus.

But this morning, God used a blogging friend’s post to reorient my perspective and calm my heart:

What if God were not on my side?

“It probably won’t alter your situation, but there’s a very good chance that those eight words will calm your heart and reorient your perspective, right then and there. In these uncertain times, that can make all the difference in the world.”

Lois Flowers – How to Calm the Anxious What-ifs

“What if the LORD
had not been on our side?
Answer, O Israel!”
Psalm 124:1 (GNT) 

As that Psalm continues, we have the answer that without Him we would be swallowed up alive. My faltering heart gained strength as I remembered that God is always on our side, holding our hand when we’re afraid, girding us up with hope and giving us courage to take the next step forward, helping us to trust Him no matter what happens in the future on this earth.

The Lord is with me; 
I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 118:6

With this truth in our hearts and minds, we can step forward more like Jesus would. With healing words instead of hurting words. With love instead of hate. With compassion instead of judgment.

“We can’t heal the world today.
But we can begin with
a voice of compassion,
a heart of love,
and an act of kindness.”

Mary Davis

“There’s no other name so sweet as Jesus.
No one ever cared so much for me.
As to shed His precious blood to save me
No one ever cared so much for me
When I see Him face to face up in glory
I will marvel at His nail scarred feet.
And I’ll thank Him for the pain He suffered
Because, He cared so much for me.
There’s no one who cares like Jesus
There’s no friend so precious to me
Who would carry, carry your cross to Calvary
No one ever cared so much for me
There’s no one who cares like Jesus
There’s no friend so precious to me
Who would carry, carry your cross, to Calvary
No one ever cared so much for me
No one ever cared so much for me”

When Our Hearts Are Overwhelmed

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions for many. Unprecedented changes hard to accept, violence and injustices hard to stomach, losses in so many various ways that are so hard to process.

Friends, I am so tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally… The storms around me and within me are driving me to deeper layers of pain I dismissed as not as important as others’ pain. I am becoming more aware that I lack compassion for myself and my own pain, the same compassion God has shown me and given me for others who are hurting.

I’m too often white-knuckling my way through life. I easily conform to others’ preferences or try to live up to their expectations rather than acknowledging my own preferences or needs out of fear of their anger, their disappointment, or their rejection. I can’t get past this fear of being hurt again without facing it head on and processing the deep reasons why my body sometimes tightens up and my stomach clenches and my mind says, “Run for your life.” I especially get anxiety, dread, and feel shame heaped on me in situations and around people who dismiss the deep pain abuse victims go through, who don’t support or validate them, and who even heap more false guilt on them, including myself.

“From the ends of the earth,
I cry to You for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for You are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in Your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!”

Psalm 61:2-4 NLT

I have decided I need a longer break from blogging to acknowledge and process this mess of emotions storming and overwhelming my soul. I need to pause and allow God to help me heal more deeply. I just know God wants me to step back and allow Him to lead my heart and my life wherever He chooses, even if it means the way will be even more difficult. It fills me with anxiety and fear, but I feel God is nudging me to step past the wall I build around myself and take the risk, trusting He is my ever-present Rock of Safety, my Safe Refuge, and my Shelter.

I don’t know how long I’ll be pausing from posting. And it may be that I will still sporadically post. I’m just so filled with uncertainty right now. But I wanted to let you know. Thank you for your love, caring, and support.

I commit each of you to Jesus who knows infinitely better what we need than we know ourselves. And remember, even if your abuser or others you love don’t believe you or support you, it doesn’t eliminate the truth of your story. And even if others don’t understand why you can’t just “get over it already,” God does understand. He knows the truth and He cries with you and loves you so much.

My Prayer For You

by Alisa Turner

“For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope
May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you…”

Remembering God Is Still King

Does your heart get discouraged with all the hate, violence, and abuse in our country and in this world? When you think of so many hearts devastated and hurting? So many crying in pain while no justice is done? Perhaps some of you have been through it yourself or still are experiencing it personally or in your family? Rejection, abuse, and disrespect that tears your soul apart?

This summer, after the Charlottesville attack, I was so overwhelmed and disheartened. I was driving in our van, and Natalie Grant’s song – The King of the World – came on the radio. These lyrics hit home like never before:

“When did I forget that You’ve always been the King of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the King of the world
How could I make You so small
When You’re the One who holds it all
When did I forget that You’ve always been the King of the world?”

Not immediately, but gradually, as this song kept replaying in my heart, I could lay my stress and people’s hearts into the King’s hands. God is still the King over this whole world. He knows all. He sees all. No pain is hidden from Him. And just because so much is happening doesn’t mean He has left us or doesn’t care.

When I heard hundreds of people singing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” my heart knew that’s what I need to remember, too. Hate can shout so loudly, but I must not let it drown out my voice and discourage me from spreading the light of Jesus’ love.

I easily forget that God is in control of everything, so I often have to remind myself of this truth. Here are several summer photos of God’s power and glory in the skies that help me to remember He is still the King of the World!

 

 

 

“The heavens declare
the glory of God;

the skies proclaim
the work of His hands.”

Psalm 19:1

 

My husband and I were visiting our son and his family in Omaha, NE, when a tornado hit the area. As we sheltered in a room in the basement, our grandkids admitted they were afraid. Even little Gracie, their dog, was trembling as she felt their fear. Thanks be to God, our lives were spared and not much damage was done to their home. The next town over wasn’t so fortunate, though no lives were lost. When we went to the open garage, I was speechless with awe as I looked at the display of God’s splendor in these first two photos. Do you see how God spread His light through the clouds, breaking up the rolling darkness of the storm? Oh God, how could I ever make You so small when You’re the One who holds it all?

The next three are photos of an evening sky here in Sioux Falls. My husband drove us further to the east where buildings wouldn’t block our view. Wow! Oh God, how could I forget You will always be the King of the world?


The last four photos are from my brother in Arizona. Awesome views of a monsoon sky!

God is and always will be the King of the world. He’s got us, no matter what pain we go through, whether through natural disasters or inflicted by evil human choices. He is never going to grow tired or weary of keeping us in His faithful love and care.

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.”
Isaiah 40:28

“King of the World”
by Natalie Grant