Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Collected Tears

“I know He’s there, I know He hears us, and He’s collecting our tears…and sometimes that has to be enough.”
I wrote this in an email to a friend a couple of weeks ago, after a particularly difficult evening. Although I didn’t look through Scripture at the time, I specifically remembered a verse that says God collects our tears.

Since that evening, I’ve been thinking about it and rereading the verse.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

If I’m honest, part of me kept thinking, So? What good does that do? But, as I’ve been pondering the verse, I realize now that there’s a deeper, richer meaning.

I started thinking of a friend who listens to another’s heartache. Without interrupting or trying to fix it, she just listens and validates the feelings being expressed.

She lets her friend cry without judgement or condemnation. There’s no shaming for how she feels because emotions are real, even if someone else can’t fully understand them.

This friend provides comfort and compassion. She offers strength and encouragement. She prays with her, and for her. She encourages her friend to keep moving forward, despite everything threatening to hold her back.

This is an amazing friend…but God is so much more.

God listens to our heartache. He gives us His full attention and is not distracted by multiple things going on, or other things on His to-do list. {Tweet this}

He lets us cry and fall asleep from fatigue, then encourages us to get back up and keep trying.

Although He can fix it, He often doesn’t because He knows that what we have to walk through will lead us to places we never imagined we could go.

He doesn’t judge or condemn, even when He shows us where we need to change our actions or way of thinking.

He keeps track of our sorrows with love and compassion, but He does not keep record of our sins—also out of love and compassion.

There is no shaming for how we feel, because He knows our emotions are real. He created us to feel, and knows some of His children feel deeper than others. He collects our tears, knowing and understanding what caused them. {Tweet this}

God stays close with comfort and support, while giving strength and encouragement. He knows when it’s time to rest, when it’s time to persevere, and when it’s time to move forward.

He sees everything threatening to hold us back, but knows the future He has planned for us…and knows that one day, all tears will be dried.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.

In Christ,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

6 Verses to Start Your Day

How we start our day makes a difference—in how we feel, in our attitudes, and in general, how the day will progress. Today, I’m sharing six Scripture verses that make a difference in my morning. {Tweet this}

6 Scripture Verses to Start Your Day

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening….

Praising God first—before we’ve seen what He will do, takes practice until it feels natural. Not sure how to do this?

*Start with praising God each morning for His love, with an openness to wherever He might lead you during the day.

*Praise Him throughout the day for the beauty you see around you.

*At the end of the day, reflect back. Thank and praise Him for His closeness throughout the day, His work and beauty you saw around you, and for His promise to continue to be with you through the night and into the next day.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

No matter what happened yesterday, last week, or what might happen today, God’s love and compassion for us will never run out. No matter what comes our way and how crushing it feels, we can trust Him to help us through it.

Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

I usually read this verse in other translations that read, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NLT) But I like the slight difference in how the CEV reads…the strength to face anything. Before I have to do anything (even getting up in the morning), I know that whatever comes that day, I can face it or approach it—because Christ gives me the strength and ability to do so. {Tweet this}

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Where our thoughts go, our hearts and emotions will follow. When we focus on all that could happen in the world, our thoughts go to frightening scenarios, most of which are not our current reality. But, when we focus on Jesus, we will find peace through Him—peace we can’t find anywhere else. Even when life throws us a curve ball, we can experience peace because we have fixed our eyes and minds on Him.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Some mornings I just don’t even want to get out of bed or face the day, especially when I think of doing it alone. But, we are not alone. God not only walks beside us in everything we have to go through, but He personally walks ahead and plans the way. There is nothing we go through that He is unaware of. Where we see no purpose in what we’re walking through, God knows. He knows what’s ahead of us and around the corner, and promises us we don’t have to be afraid…because He won’t leave us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

All we can see is what we’re facing and what surrounds us, and some days, it looks pretty bleak. But, that doesn’t mean it will always be like that. God knows His plans for us long before He reveals them to us. He knew Jesus would walk this earth long before His people saw it happen. No matter what we see today, God’s plans are full of Hope—hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for our future. Because of Jesus, there is always Hope. {Tweet this}

What Scripture verses help you begin or walk through your day?

In Christ,

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Called to Rest

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Words have been slow here lately. I have plenty filling my journal pages…but words to share with you? Not so much.

I’ve been feeling for a while that perhaps God is calling me into a season of rest, although it’s taken me time to accept it. I question first if I’m just tired (which I am) or being lazy (it’s possible), but really, I’m worn out. From everything.

Emotional and mental fatigue takes its toll, bringing with it physical fatigue. And as you probably know, it’s hard to fight all three at once. So, I’ve stopped pushing back and I’m trying to rest as I feel God encouraging me to do.

Maybe you find yourself in the same place. Today I’m sharing a few things I’ve been doing to encourage myself during this time of rest.

4 Things We Can Do as We’re Called to Rest {Tweet this}

Spend time with God.

Start the day with Scripture—even if it’s just one verse. God knows what we need for the moment, and often, that one verse has stayed with me throughout the day.

Choose a daily devotional book to read with your morning coffee. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth Bible study, especially if you’re feeling too tired to think. But, a few minutes spent alone with God does wonders. In fact, it may be those few minutes that get you through the rest of the day.

I’ve started reading Coffee for Your Heart by Holley Gerth (previously published as God’s Heart for You.) If you’ve read any of Holley’s books, you know the soothing encouragement her words offer. Coffee for Your Heart reminds us of how God sees us, in 40 easy-to-read devotions, with prayer and personal reflection.

I’m also reading Soul H2O: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women by Sherry Stahl. I love the title—because it reminds me of how dehydrated I feel, and it’s also easy to read, with prayer and personal reflection.

Accept it.

Take advantage of the rest God is guiding you to. If He’s encouraging it, He knows we need it. (Usually long before we realize it ourselves.) {Tweet this}

Give yourself permission to do what you have to do and let the rest slide for a while. That means prioritizing the to-do list, and adding to it time for yourself.

Be present in the moment. Stressing about what you think you should be doing and/or worrying about tomorrow defeats the purpose of resting today. (Which, for me, leads to more stress.)

Do something you enjoy.

I’ve been reading more Christian fiction and mysteries this year. It’s the best way to get my mind to relax, and diving into a story I don’t have to think too much about is a nice escape from what’s going on around me.

Other mental getaways: take a walk, journal, listen to Christian music, bake, visit with friends…you get the idea. Find something you enjoy doing and give yourself permission to spend your time there. {Tweet this}

Get offline.

When I’m already exhausted, the online world can be too much for me. Whether it’s the news or anything on social media, the more I let in, the more it’s able to affect me in negative ways.

It’s also harder to not compare my life to the perfect-looking pictures I see on Facebook. So, before it draws me in, I have to limit my time there.

Less time spent online also makes it easier to be present in the moment. No matter how enjoyable my day is, comparison can ruin it within seconds. I have to remind myself that one picture doesn’t tell someone else’s whole story.

Rest—peace of mind or spirit, freedom from activity or labor, to take relief or respite.

Rest isn’t just physical, it’s also emotional and mental. It’s a necessary part of feeling rejuvenated and renewed. Feeling rested comes from letting our bodies and minds relax, as often as we need and for as long as it takes, regardless of all life throws at us. (I’m still working this.)

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

What would you add to this list?

In Christ,

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hope for Your Future

“There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.

There is hope for your future because…

…of who God is (not who we are.) {Tweet this}

…of His great love for us.

…God keeps His promises.

…He does not change.

…of how He’s worked in the past, and how He’s at work today.

…how He sees us (not how we see ourselves.)

…nothing is impossible for Him. {Tweet this}

…God sees us, hears us, and knows what we’re going through.

…He sees the big picture of our lives that we cannot see.

…God knows the plans He has for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In Christ,

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]