3 Truths About God to Remember When You Can’t Stop Worrying

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The news took my breath away. With one quick phone call, our lives changed.

A family member was in trouble, and it was the kind where no one could help. As I looked out the window and listened to my Dad on the other end of the phone with tears streaming down my face, I knew God had taken the situation out of our hands.

All of our attempts to control and prevent a worst-case-scenario had come to this, and it was as if He was saying, “It’s in my hands now.”

After hanging up the phone, I sat in the recliner for over twenty minutes and tried to pray. But every time I attempted to utter words, I was paralyzed. My mind circled endless what-if scenarios, and my fear of the unknown kept me mute.

Frustrated, I got up and took a hot shower, hoping to clear my head. As I was toweling off, I recalled the following verse.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

I often look at scripture like this and think, “Yeah right. How is that even possible?”

But on a day when my world seemed to be crumbling around me, I thought, “What if every time my mind went to worry, I prayed instead?”

Hard? Yes. Possible. Very much so, if we persevere.

Friends, we have any enemy who loves nothing more to exploit our weaknesses during times of trouble. If you’re prone to worry, he’ll take a troublesome situation and fill your mind with every worst-case-scenario possible.

But you know what? Satan does not control our minds. We do. And we can choose to believe the lies the father of them suggests or we can fill our minds with truth. We can pray. We can bring all of our anxiousness and pain to the one who knows the end of the story.

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There is a reason I felt so paralyzed when I tried to pray. Prayer is a powerful weapon, and our enemy would rather us not use it.

If you’re stumbling around, looking for a starting point, here are 3 truths to remember and guide your prayers:

  1. God is sovereign. Regardless of whether or not it appears so, God is in control. He has a plan. It may seem as though everything is falling apart, but he is aware of the situation and is working through your prayers.
  1. God is a Redeemer. It may take years. It may take a lifetime. But God can redeem this story. He can use this mess and make it a testimony of his grace and goodness. If there are other people involved, it will take a willing heart on their part, but God loves to take the ashes of our lives and turn them into something beautiful.
  1. God loves you and the people involved. Many of us heard this as kids. We know John 3:16 and learned the song “Jesus Loves Me” when we were little. But when trouble comes, we doubt. We wonder where He is and why these things are happening. We live in a fallen, painful and often chaotic world and while God’s hand may not always seem evident, his love is still steady and constant.

When storms come, our natural instinct is control. We want to fix it. We want things to change and go according to plan. But often the situation is taken out of our hands and we’re left clenching our fists.

You know what? We can still do something. And it’s the most beautiful, powerful step we can take.

Our strongest weapon against the darkness is the one we use on our knees.

 

Linking up with these communities: #ThoughtProvokingThursday

An Open Letter to My Daughter (In Utero)

an open letter to my daugher

Sweet baby Elise,

I had your name picked when I was pregnant with your brother, Gabriel. And although I wouldn’t trade him and his silly antics, endless energy and confidence for the world, my heart leapt when I heard God was giving us a girl. You were a hope deferred and nearly lost for a time, but the Lord turned that hope into a tree of life, growing and becoming stronger with each day that passes.

Since the day I heard you were here I’ve sent up countless prayers to your heavenly Father. I pray for your health, your development and delivery, but I also send up pleas which go beyond those first few days into your future.

Here are a few of the things I desire for you, my girl. When I feel anxious about your future or overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility, I come before Jesus and ask these in his name.

I pray you will be a woman who knows who you are. That you will see how your Creator formed you and planned you before you were ever a plus sign on piece of plastic, and he has a unique purpose only you can fulfill.

I pray you see at a young age that it’s okay to be different. God does not create clones. He creates unique masterpieces. Each one made to reflect his glory in a special way that can’t be imitated or bought or sold. If he wanted you to be someone else, he would have created someone else. Embrace your one-of-a-kind identity. And if you’re not sure what your niches or gifts are, ask Him to show you. He will answer you with grace and patience.

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I pray you know He sees you. Even when no one else does. Even when it feels like you’re invisible and no one appreciates what you have to offer, your Father sees you and loves you with an everlasting love. He cares about each aspect of your life and knows when you rise and lie down. When you feel unseen, remember there is only one person who fully sees us and can fill the deepest desires of our hearts. His name is Jesus. Call on his name.

I pray you love selflessly and fearlessly. I know there will be times when you will be heartbroken, and I will always be here to offer a hug, and shoulder to cry on, and a listening ear. But I pray you keep reaching out and being vulnerable. I hope you look to our Savior, who risked it all and was promised nothing, and follow Him as the ultimate example of fearless love.

Elise Skylar, I can’t wait to meet you. I imagine what you will look like, what unique personality God will give you and can nearly hear your first cries within me. As you grow and change, I’ll keep praying. I’ll never stop. Because your Daddy and I believe prayer changes things. It makes a difference.

And you, my child, were made to make a difference in this world. Never stop dreaming or reaching for the stars your Creator put into place.

We love you to the moon and back,

Mom

Expect An Answer {Rays in the Storm Series}

rays in the storm series

Sometimes when catastrophe hits, I freeze up. I can’t think, I can barely breathe, and my prayers feel feeble and numb. Lifting up words to the Almighty takes every physical effort I have, and all I have the ability to mutter is, “Help.”

But you know what? It’s enough. Even murmuring a verse God planted in your heart for such a time as this can do wonders. Simply speak. Say the words you don’t feel the strength to utter.

And afterwards, watch. I think we often forget that last part. Today I have the honor of sharing over at Remade Ministries about what God taught me in the midst of those tearful prayers. We’d love to have you join the discussion by clicking here.

Pray Through the Dark, Even When You’re Not Sure Now

pray through the dark

As I listened to my son tap the keys on the piano, a smile enveloped my face. He was role-playing, and the audience encircled the bench where he sat.

“Now, I’m going to play you a song you may have heard before….” he said, placing his fingers across the keys.

I leaned against the wall, soaking in the rhythm, not wanting to interrupt this moment. The notes of Yankee Doodle filled the house for the twentieth time that day, but surprisingly, I wasn’t tired of hearing it.

“That was perfect,” I said when the concert was over. And it was. Pride beamed from his face as he started the second and only other piece he knew.

In an instant, I realized how alike my son and I were. Even at seven, he had an innate desire to be seen. To be applauded for his efforts and acknowledged for a job well done.

He continued playing not only because he loved music, but because he loved the applause. I sat there with him until he was done, wanting him to know I saw the time and energy he put into making those notes soar.

Over the past few months, I had lost my bearings and found myself questioning whether anything I did had meaning or purpose. I knew God had called me to lead in ministry, to write and to share with others through stories, but my lack of progress left me feeling discouraged, wondering if I’d lost my way.

Since I didn’t see results, I concluded there were none. But often the real progress takes place below the surface, in the areas we don’t see.

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As I fumbled through the darkness, my prayers seemed to go nowhere. Instead of feeling the closeness to God I craved, it was as though he’d taken a vacation. I knew He would never leave me or forsake me, but I longed for the intimacy I once felt.

Often at a loss for what to do, I continued praying. Even when I wasn’t sure what to say, I brought my words before the Lord.

I prayed for wisdom and direction. I prayed my life would be a light to others and bring glory and honor to his name.

When we pray through the dark, God can use our words as evidence of his Light.

One day as buds formed on the trees outside, I received an email from the coordinator of a ministry where I volunteered. She was following up on an inquiry and wanted to let me know about praise report she’d received. A member of the critique group I led had emailed them, thanking them for the community and commending my work.

As I scanned over the words, my eyes filled with tears. I thanked God for his grace and sovereignty, even when I doubted. I thanked Him for his power to move, even when my progress seemed stagnant.

Although I couldn’t see God through all the months of uncertainty, he was still working. When I didn’t see progress, he was still using me and moving through me. I continued in obedience to his call, and He was faithful to do what only He could do.

Friend, if you’re in a season where you can’t see growth and you question whether God is still using you, can I encourage you to come before Him in prayer? God will use those words muttered in the dark for his glory.

Pray through the uncertainty and I can assure you of this: God will show up.

When My VIP Pass Becomes My Last Ditch Effort

vip pass or last ditch effort

My brother had VIP access at the concert, and he didn’t even pay for it.

After waiting in line for an hour to speak to his favorite Christian musician, he held nothing back. His questions, compliments and everything in-between poured out like water from a fire hydrant. Crowder didn’t rush him, but gave him his undivided attention until one of the event staff brought the God-ordained time to an end.

As I listened to my sibling describe the experience over the phone, I was filled with awe. And a little envy, of course. But it also made me realize how often we lose sight of the fact that we have that same VIP status every day.

We have unlimited access to the same God who spoke the planets into orbit, but we usually don’t take advantage of it.

We love our independence, and live in a world of smart phones where we can simply speak directions into a microphone to access directions to the airport, ratings on the new restaurant, and step-by-step instructions on how to install the tile. Being able to do something on our own brings a sense of satisfaction, and sometimes we don’t ask for help even though we know we need it.

After all, if Siri can’t fix it, who can?

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m honored to be sharing over at Precepts & Life Preservers. You can read the rest of my story here.

vip pass or last ditch effort

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday, #TellHisStory

A Prayer Inviting the Spirit to Move

life unstuck intro

Well friends, we made it. There were times when I didn’t think we would, but here we are at the end of our 31 day journey. I want to thank each of you who have offered words of encouragement and love during this challenge. It is because of you that I continue to write, to offer up words, and press forward. You bless me more than you know.

Today I’d like to offer up a final prayer for the Spirit to continue working in your lives in the months ahead. During the Allume conference two weeks ago, the final keynote speaker stated she believed one of the reasons the church has not continued to thrive here in the U.S. is because the Holy Spirit is either given a bad name or not explored at all. I couldn’t agree more.

But without the Spirit, this journey is pointless. Without this integral part of the Trinity, our hope is lost.


Holy Spirit, we know we can’t become unstuck without your work in us. Help us to recognize your still, small voice when it nudges us to move and asks us to stay. May we recognize the things that grieve you and leave these strongholds at the foot of the cross, so we can grow to be more like the One who gave up his live so we could be free. Mold us and transform us into the beautiful masterpieces we were created to be. Complete the work you started in us in the name of Jesus.

Amen.

 

*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this series here.

A Prayer for Authenticity

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We are down to the home stretch, folks. I have to admit, I am getting tired. But I thank each and every one of you who have showed my and encouraged me on this 31 day journey. You bless me more than you know. Today, as I have each Saturday, I am offering up a prayer. I hope you are encouraged to come before God with your own struggles, praises and regrets and draw into a closer relationship with him.


Lord, it can be so easy to keep our relationships with others at surface level. Our fears and insecurities prevent us from entering into those hard conversations and we go around masquerading fake smiles and endless pretenses of, “I’m fine.” But God, you know our thoughts before we even think them. You know all the hurt, the aches we can’t identify and the longings for what’s real. You go there, Lord, and you beckon us to come with you into the beautiful deep. God, help us to go there with you. Because when all the pretense melts away and we enter into that safe place, what we find is everything true, lovely, and worth pursuing.

In Jesus’ mighty name, 

Amen.

 

*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this challenge here.

A Prayer for Peace

life unstuck intro

Every Saturday during the 31 Day series I will offer up a prayer for God to move our hearts and open our eyes to Him. My hope is that these prayers will encourage you to join me. I truly believe prayer is critical to living a life unstuck, which is why I will devote time next week to discussing this topic. Have a wonderful weekend.


Lord, sometimes this life is just too much. We are overwhelmed by sick families, financial hardships, and news that is so devastating it is difficult to know how to respond. But your word says you can give us peace in the midst of trouble and joy in the middle of the storm. God, we don’t want to ignore the circumstances and responsibilities around us, but we know anxiety and lack of sleep will not solve any of our problems. We present our requests to you right now. We thank you and praise you because you are sovereign and you hear us. We fix our minds on you knowing you can bring perfect peace.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

(Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6)

 

*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this series here.

A Prayer for Clear Vision

life unstuck intro

Every Saturday during the 31 Days to Life Unstuck series I will offering up a prayer. I hope these prayers will encourage you to come before God with your own requests, worries and hopes.


Lord, you created each one of us in your image, unique reflections of your glory and love. Help us to see the strengths you’ve given us. Help us not to waste our time clamoring after what you’ve given someone else, but to see the gifts we already possess. You state in your word that we are your masterpiece, created to do good works you planned for us. You have plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Thank you for loving us enough to create us uniquely and individually. Thank you for caring about each intricate detail of our lives, and letting us take part in the universal story you are weaving. Your work is good and complete, lacking nothing.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

(Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11)

 

*This post is part of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all posts for this series here.

A Prayer for Focus

life unstuck intro

Every Saturday during the 31 Days to Life Unstuck Series I’ll be offering up a prayer. I believe God will use our prayers to open doors and reveal himself in new ways. Will you also lift up a prayer for a person in your life who’s feeling stuck today? Thanks for being on this journey with us.


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Lord, the rain outside has been falling for almost a week straight but we know even though we can’t see the sun, it’s still here.

In the same way, we often go through seasons when you seem distant. We want to feel the peace of your presence but the problems of this world beg for our attention, shifting our focus and making our ground feel shaky.

But Lord, we know faith goes beyond feeling. Today, we are claiming your peace because you promise it in your Word. We are fixing our eyes on you because you are the Author and the Finisher.

We are acting out our faith in prayer, knowing that you will answer because you are a good and loving God. Help us to see areas in our lives which keep us from your peace.

In Jesus Name, 

Amen

 

*This is post three of the #Write31Days challenge. You can find all of the posts in this series here.