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Month: March 2016

When Life Hurts and the enemy is Bearing Down

When Life Hurts and the enemy is Bearing Down

It had been a long night that had accompanied an even longer day.  Sleep was evading me and I quietly slipped out of bed, found my favorite cozy pair of slippers, and silently tip-toed my way into our living room.

Curling up in my familiar spot on our brown micro-suede couch I reached for my Bible. With puffy eyes I cracked open God’s Word, not really knowing even where to begin reading.  My heart was so broken.  I had a desperate need to pray but no words could even form on my lips or in my head!  I needed to hear from God!  I needed to know that He saw every tear that had trickled down my cheeks, the heart-wrenching sobs that wracked my body.  I needed that reassurance of knowing that He understood and was close by.  At the moment all I was hearing was the lies the enemy was telling me.  “Failure. Disappointment. God doesn’t really love you.  If He did, then why does He continue to not answer this one simple request? You say you know He can, so why doesn’t He? He doesn’t care in fact He isn’t even listening!”

My world had been rocked.  I had had so much faith in God, I believed with every ounce of my being that He was going to answer the pleas of my heart.  But on this particular day, it became evident that His will and my prayers were not matching up.  My heart was shattered, again. prayer

I began searching for a familiar verse that I often share with others who are hurting, but in my search for the particular reference, I landed in Psalm 143.  As my eyes scanned the verses tears pooled in my eyes and I thought, “Yes, this describes exactly how I feel!”

Psalm 143:1-4, Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.”

Everything David was saying in this passage could be echoed in my heart.  I felt beaten down by the enemy.  The weight of the burden felt impossible to bear.  My spirit truly was overwhelmed and yes, my heart felt desolate.  “God, where are You?” was the question racing through my head.

Trials, they have a way of knocking the wind out of us sometimes, don’t they?  We long to hear from God just as David exclaimed in verses 7-8, Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

While in the midst of our difficulty that is when the enemy most often strikes.  We are worn out, weakened by our affliction, and more prone to the  attacks of our enemy.  That is just how cunning and low our enemy really is.  He delights in kicking us when we are down and doing his best to drive a wedge between us and our Savior.

I really believe David knew this and recognized the fingerprints of the enemy throughout his trial.   I love how David ended this precious chapter. Read these next few verses with me, will you?Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.”

Even though David was going through such heartache and felt utterly defeated, he remembered Whose he was.  He remembered that no matter the lies the enemy fed him, he fought back and spoke truth to his soul and proclaimed “God, I am YOURS! Reveal that to my enemy!”

Friend, even when we don’t feel like it, even when our flesh wants to believe the lies the enemy whispers (and even shouts!) in our ears, we must remember, if we have claimed the free gift of salvation we are HIS!  We must speak truth to ourselves first, even if the feelings aren’t there.  Sometimes our feelings need a little bossing around, don’t they? This is something I am still learning myself!  When the enemy speaks lies shout back with TRUTH!

God is there.  He is here!  He is with me in my trial just as He is with you in yours.  He is on your mountain top and also in your valley.  When we can’t sense or feel or see His presence, remember, He is still there.  He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He will make beauty of our ashes, one day.  He will work it together for good.  In the meantime, hang on and cling to those promises!  You are not alone and you belong to HIM!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

Ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share this post!

 

Books On My Nightstand

Books On My Nightstand

As a younger ministry wife and mom I didn’t really seem to have time to read!  I had the desire, but the time seemed to slip away each day and I would fall into bed exhausted!  Anytime I picked up a book to read I would fall asleep!  I know many of you all can relate!  I was good to squeeze in my Bible reading for the day, know what I mean?

However, two years ago I felt the urge to purposefully make time to read once again.  Since my time to read is somewhat limited, I wanted to choose books that would help me in my Christian walk.  I LOVE books that help point me back to the Lord, books that help me grow as a Christian woman, teach me things I need to be taught, or better yet reminded of!

Here are a few of the books I have worked my way through in the past few months.  Now I don’t have a lot of time, but I have learned to couple my devotional Bible reading with some other reading.

Unglued

 

Okay ladies, how many of us are willing to admit that our tongues can oftentimes get us into trouble?  Um. Can you see my hand held up over here?  I start my day completely intending to tame that tongue, but find myself by days end having had to apologize or really regretting that tone of frustration that came out.  This book hit me right between the eyes.  It has such practical truths in it!  It is a book I recommend for every.single.woman. whether we think we have an issue with our tongue or not, this book is full of wisdom!  I absolutely LOVE how Lysa writes. She doesn’t use flowery or over zealous words.  Have you ever read a book and while reading you think, “Why didn’t they just use a word I understand?!  I don’t have time to flip through the dictionary too!”  Lysa writes as if she was sitting on the couch next to you and I love it!  If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend running out and getting it!

BecomingMoreReRelease-Cover

So many who are avid readers have exclaimed their disappointment once they reach the end of a great book. The story has swept them away, carried them right into the story with the characters. The end of a good book seemingly means the end of a new friendship! This is exactly the way I feel about this book, Becoming More!

I have sat on the corner of my couch for several weeks now, soaking in and gleaning from this wonderful book. Conviction has swept over me, encouragement has helped lift me, truly God has used this book the challenge my heart to become more…. for Him!

When I finished this book I found myself wishing it were just a bit longer, it was just that good!  Once again practical applications that could be used in our every day personal Bible study.  Though I recently finished this book it was so good it makes me want to just start reading it all over again!  This is a great read that will really challenge you to pursue God more than you ever have before.  Not just reading His Word to check it off your list, but to read it because you want it to become alive and you want to grow closer to Him than you ever thought possible!

 

This next read is just a little bit different.  A couple of months ago I was invited to attend a ladies Bible study at another local church.  This book is a seven week Bible study with a daily devotional each week.  I have been so challenged and yet completely encArmorouraged by this study.  We have so much in Christ, friend!  This Bible study not only teaches you about putting on the entire armor of God and what that looks like on a daily basis, but also to use the weapon of prayer!  The author has pointed out that as a child of God we have an enemy and whether we choose to engage him or not, as a child of God we are already in open war with our enemy.  He has strategies he uses against us simply to try and make us stumble and become useless and feel worthless.  This book will encourage and help equip you to fight back and to be more on the offensive than the defensive.  All we have to do is look around us and we can see that the enemy has gained waaaay to much ground in our families, our churches, our communities, even our country!  It is time to fight back!  It is time to go to war!  Can you sense the passion this book helps instill in your heart?  Oh, I cannot emphasize enough, this  is such a great Bible study!

Last but certainly not least is a book my husband recently got me for my birthday.  After going through the Bible study above I knew I wanted to read this book!  I have just begun to dig into it but I know it is going to be a great read and I cannot wait to tell you about it when I am done!  Listen, if you all haven’t seen the Ferventmovie War Room, it is a must see!  We cannot recommend it enough!  It is worth having in your library of movies!  Our country and our world may be in trouble, but we need to remind our enemy that greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world!  Christ has won the victory!  Let’s take back the ground we have handed over to our enemy!  Let’s get a serious prayer life!  It isn’t a cliche, there really is power in prayer!

Alright, I’m done, for now!  I’m curious what you have been reading though!  What books have you been reading that are challenging you in your Christian walk?  I am always eager to learn about more great reads!  These are just a few from my nightstand!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

PS: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to pass it along to others!

Failure or of Great Value?

Failure or of Great Value?

There I was, pushing my shopping cart and trying to hold it together.  My toddler was not interested in sitting in the cart, holding onto the cart, or even acting as if I was their mother!  Their desire to run around the store was overwhelming their very being and if I could just get the cart out of the way and get this toddler to the car life would be so much better.

I could feel the stares as my toddler protested their confinement.  Embarrassment, guilt, frustration, and even the feelings of failure all washed over me.  “Why can’t I get this parenting thing right?” I questioned myself as I carried my flailing little one.

If I really knew how to mother my children, fits in private or public would not happen, right?  My children would always obey no questions asked.  They would never ask “why” or pout.   I could shine my “Good Godly Mother” crown daily as I adjusted it on my head.

But there I was, daily finding myself frustrated, in tears, wondering if this consistency of discipline would ever pay off, especially with my strong willed child!  “Mom Failure” seemed to be burned across my forehead and without realizing it, I had allowed my mothering to become what I found my value in.  If my children were quick to always obey and did not throw a fit, I would feel I was doing well on the mommy scale.  The days where the strong will reared it’s head and my child acted as if they had never been disciplined in their life, I felt I was failing.  The thing is, my husband and I have a strong willed one, which meant battles pretty much came up daily.  Because of this, I felt I was apparently failing, therefore in my mind I had little value.  I walked around feeling the weight of failure so incredibly heavy and my child was only 2!

Then one day during my quiet time with the Lord I felt the Holy Spirit prick my heart.  “Child of mine, find your value and worth in Me!  Your worth in my eyes far surpasses your understanding and it goes much deeper than your parenting struggles.”  Basing my value on my ability to mother was akin to that of a roller coaster ride!  Up one day and waaaay down the next!

I love the verses in Isaiah 43, the beginning of the chapter when it says, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” and skip down a little bit….. “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.”  Friend, God loves us!  Let’s let that truth soak into our heart and mind a little bit.

His love for us does not change based on how well our children behave or any of the things we do (or don’t do)!  Our value in His eyes does not diminish when we have “off” days, or try to find our worth in other things.  His love for us is steady, constant, unchanging.  Our value in His eyes stays the same, no matter what!

I was so used to finding my value in something other than Christ that I needed His help to show me how to find my worth in Him and Him alone.  When we ask the Lord for His help, He delights in answering!  When we strive to do it on our own, our pride stands between us and Him and we find ourselves feeling empty and alone.  We have to remember that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. {James 4:6}  I sure need God’s grace in heaping doses, don’t you?

Help me to remember, in the heat of the moment, or dealing with my child’s temper tantrum, that my worth is still found in you!  I am not a failure!  I am simply raising a sinner in need of your saving grace!  Help me to point this little one to you….. and please bend their will in the direction of submission before I have a breakdown!” I pleaded.

Slowly the “Mom Failure” sign across my forehead began to diminish.  The more I looked to Christ for my value {instead of looking to my mothering skills for that value}, the more contented my heart was.  When emotions run high it is easy to get caught up and carried away in them, isn’t it?  Letting how we feel speak to our soul instead of feeding our soul truth.

The truth is, I am a sinner saved by grace, raising little ones in need of that same saving grace!

Here I am, 9 years into parenting now and I still have so much to learn, but praise the Lord He is willing to teach me!  He sees every single one of my victories and failures and He still says, “I love you just the same.  Keep looking to me for your value.  You are so precious in my sight!”

Friend, wherever you are today, my prayer for you is that you also find your worth in Him!  Not in beauty products, or fashion clothing, husband/boyfriend, children, popularity, none of those things will fill your soul like that of Christ!  Let’s find our worth in HIM!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it with others!

 

Hello stranger!

Hello stranger!

Well goodness, it sure has been awhile hasn’t it?

With the beginning of a new year I found myself having to step away from my writing ventures for awhile.  I am hoping to be back in full swing soon though!

God is doing some great things and teaching me so much and I can’t wait to share some of it with you!

See you soon!

 

Wendy