The words fell hard upon my heart and rang repeatedly in my ears, “I have decided not to come home and will be by tomorrow to pick up a few things. I do not want to be married anymore. I’m actually in love with someone else. I want a divorce.” My husband’s piercing words cut me to the very depths of my spirit and struggling beneath the weight of the crushing news, I fell to the floor in tears!
Do you spend as much time in communication with God as you do communicating with your friends? Hard to find the time, right? Too many things going on in your everyday life that you cannot simply find a quiet moment to give Him your undivided attention. Jeremiah 29”12 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Have you ever found yourself at rock bottom? Perhaps your marriage was failing, job interviews were not in your favor, or maybe friends had removed themselves from your life. Basically, your life didn’t look anything like you had imagined it would.
Friends let me tell you, rock bottom is nowhere you want to be. But unfortunately, that is where I found myself a few years ago. Although it is not the ideal place to find yourself-but praise God I was there. Seems absurd, I know, but it literally took me hitting rock bottom to find my way back to the top. I was faithless but God remained faithful.
Out of control
I thought I had it all. I was blessed with a hard-working husband, two healthy children at that time, a top of the ladder job, no mortgage on the new house we lived in, and even a nice car to drive…but you know what? None of those things helped me out of that dark pit I was drowning in. My husband had become distant, I lost that top of the ladder job, I had just had a miscarriage and none of those materialistic things mattered in the long run, because they could not pull me up out of the darkness. If anything, I was feeling like the water was continuing to rise. I called out for help but was too consumed by my own darkness that I did not even realize when God was answering. I was trying to remain in control and in all reality, I was out of control.
I was struggling big time. I finally broke down and stepped out of my comfort zone and found myself across from a pastor who I barely knew. All these recent disappointments had resurfaced hurt from my past. The Pastor suggested that perhaps I never healed fully from the past, I only healed enough to move forward. That opened my eyes to a new world. I guess you could say I was notorious for allowing myself to just forget all the hurt and pain. You know what I am talking about, just shoving it in the back of your mind and hope that you will just forget it.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”Mark 11:24
I found myself praying a lot! I was not exactly sure what to pray for, I had distanced myself so far from God and any type of religion because I thought I could control my life and I would be able to fix it. But, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t fix it. The main tool in my toolbox was missing-God. I felt ashamed praying to God asking Him to pull me out of darkness when I had pulled away from him.
“if we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself”.2Timothy 2:13
Thanks be to God that He didn’t give up on me. He met me right where I was and provided me with the tools I needed to come up out of the darkness. He led me to a church that became my home, He provided me with faithful friends, He led me to a mountain top where I released my hurt, pain, and control. I felt renewed, He was the change in me. My brokenness brought me to God, without the scars from my past I would have never known how deep God’s love is for me. I am not who I was before, I don’t have to fear anymore, and now I see with my eyes wide open.
If you are feeling faithless in your darkness, don’t lose hope! You are never too far gone, God will run to you even when it seems as if everyone else has left you at your worst. I am thankful that God grabbed my hand and pulled me out of my darkness. He knew I couldn’t make the change, so He became the change in me. Thanks
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
Read also: Hope, even when…
When we are small children, we learn what I call “kid prayers”. You know the traditional, “As I lay me down to sleep..” “God is good, God is great…” But no one really tells you how to pray. During my youth years, I found myself praying for only the things I needed or wanted. I leaped straight from thanking to asking. I would find myself praying “promise prayers”. “Lord if you will just help me make an A on this paper, I promise I will pray every day!” It wasn’t until I was almost 30 years old, I found myself on my knees – not even knowing what or how to pray. I felt like there was a specific way to pray and I didn’t feel like I had mastered that part of my faith, yet.
Be still and know?
On October 17, 2018, my husband was in a serious accident at work. Most of it is a blur now, but I do remember as I was driving to Raleigh, NC – which was about 2 hours from my home, I kept praying, “God, let him be ok”…. ”Please God, I cannot do this life without him.” I was simply praying what I desired. Never once did I thank Him for anything at that point. I sure didn’t have the time to stop and listen. Are you serious, my husband is laying on an operating table with his chest cut open – I don’t have time to “Be still and know.” Just Lord, hear my prayer! And, hopefully, if I just keep reciting the same prayer, “Lord please let him be ok,” He will eventually grant me the desires of my heart.
God has already worked it out for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28
What I didn’t take into consideration was God already was taking care of my husband. When my husband woke that morning, God had already prepared the surgeon that would be performing emergency surgery on him. He had things lined up for me that I couldn’t see at the time. He knew my husband would be involved in an accident that day, and He had a plan. However, I didn’t trust that God had a plan. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not believe God makes bad things happen to people, but He does allow them. This whole time, God had prepared for that day. It was already taken care of, before it happened on earth. But how easy is to forget to trust that God has already worked it out for the good of those who love Him? (Romans 8:28)
No prayer is too big or too small
Recently I learned how to stop-pause-pray. Before, I would pray and be interrupted or fall asleep during my nighttime prayers. Personally, I have a hard time praying on a whim, my OCD kicks in high gear and I get a bit frazzled because I need to prepare and plan exactly what to say… or at least that’s what I thought I had to do. And, how crazy that God hears our every prayer? God knows exactly what you are praying for even when you cannot find the mere words to utter. No prayer is too big or too small. He may not answer right away, but isn’t that the beauty of His unending grace and mercy?
Through this “growth” spurt, I felt God was challenging me to Praise Him rather than Ask Him. I was asking for things that He was already taking care of and handling. He was already protecting those people I prayed for Him to protect. Rather than asking God to continue to be there through my husband’s recovery, I thanked Him for being with him during his recovery. Less asking more praising!
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”.
I realized God would always provide, I needed to ensure I was praising Him rather than asking. Have your prayers become mechanical? Do you find yourself asking for things that God is already providing? Practice the stop-pause-pray method. Do not stop asking God, but stop and evaluate the things you are asking for – praise Him during the pause-and never cease to pray.
Thanks be to God, Amen.
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Worship is more than music but music has the ability to inspire your mood, attitude and shift your focus. Worship is turning your undivided attention to the subject of your desire.
Whatever has our hearts, has our worship. And we become what we worship. Someone with an alcohol problem worships alcohol and then becomes an alcoholic. Someone that commits adultery, worships his infidelity, then becomes an adulterer. When we worship God and make Him the subject of our desire, we become more like Him.
New Seasons Coming and Going
With new seasons coming and going, depending on where you live, summer represents a time of celebration and praise; autumn or fall represents harvest season as well as letting go of old things; winter represents stillness and purification, washing away the old and spring represents a new beginning. Spring is a great time to purge, clean and organize. After a time of short daylight, the sun rises and shines on all that is dark and needs to be dusted, organized and prioritized.
Springtime is a great time to prepare for Resurrection Sunday, preparing our environment and heart for the Lord. The physical is just a manifestation of the spiritual as what is going on in the inside, will always make its way to the outside.
Here are a few ways that you can create an environment and heart of worship.
- Removing the Idols: There is an old saying that we are what we eat. The first step in creating an environment of worship is to remove all of the idols. This can be anything that is toxic, tempting, distracting or something that can be a stumble in our paths. Whether it is alcohol in the refrigerator, perverted images on your computer, worldly music on your playlist or horror movies on your watchlist, negative images on our social media feed, removing them from your home and sight will create a clear mind, clean heart and space for God to do something new in your life. Start by
writinga list and then purge accordingly. Remember, our timelines are called a “feed” for a reason.
- Cover Your Home in Worship Music: Cover your home in worship music by keeping your focus and attention on God in everything you do. Play worship music often, especially when beginning and ending your day. The root word of music is “muse” which means to be spiritually inspired. This can be good or bad depending on what type of spirits are behind the music. Music saturates the atmosphere and can inspire your mood, attitude
- Cover your Home with the Word of God: One of the best things that you can do in your home is to cover your home with the word of God. You may be tempted to place statues around your home with angels and graven images but graven images can quickly become idolatry. Deuteronomy 6 instructs us to recite, meditate, hang, and adorn God’s word, scripture and His commandments around the doors of our homes, our necks, our hearts and our and our children’s minds. The Word of God is our armor against evil. It protects and covers us. Placing it around us and meditating on it will help us memorize it and we will be able to return to it when we are facing trials. The Word of God is so powerful that He created the world with a word. It was also used by Jesus to combat the offers from Satan when He was sent into the desert to be tempted.
- Cover your Home With Prayer: Prayer is talking to God and reading the Word of God is God talking back to us. When you cover your home in prayer, you commit your home to Him and accept his guidance. Create a war room or alter in your home; a place covered in scripture that you go to pray and release the burdens on your heart, mourn your losses or celebrate your victories.
- Cover Your Home With Praise: Praise is the ability to proclaim God’s goodness with words of affirmation and celebration. When we speak life, we release
powerin our lives as well as in the lives of others.
There was a study done by a scientist named Masaru Emoto called “The Rice Experiment.” He placed rice in three separate jars and labeled one with “praise,” one with “criticism” and one with neglect. Each day he would praise the jar labeled “praise,” criticize the jar labeled “criticism” and ignore the one labeled “neglect.” He found after about 21 days that the “praise” jar thrived and became white and fluffy. The second jar labeled “criticism” became green and moldy and the last jar became black. This was evidence that our words have power. But it also showed that the opposite of love
If our words have that much power over rice, imagine how it impacts our children, loved ones and our own hearts. Praise is the first jar. Speak life.
- Cover Your Home With Peace: Peace is the absence of war. Your home should be your sanctuary after going out into the world all day. When you arrive home, it should be a place free of war and conflict. Try not to invite people into your home that will bring or discuss nothing but conflict and stress, but invite others to dine at your table. In biblical times, hospitality was very important to people and was always an act of peacemaking and peacekeeping often taking place around a banquet table.
When we create an environment of worship, our attention is focused on God and we begin to think, believe and feel like Him. What used to make no sense, will begin to make sense and what was important becomes no longer important. We will then be prepared to be used by Him and for Him.
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“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Enjoying the stillness
Have you ever enjoyed the stillness? I most often find it in nature: on a beach listening to the crashing waves, watching the snow fall and gearing the hushes pelt of flakes gently landed on the earth, standing atop a mountain as the wind roars over the treetops, or standing in the woods, completely alone and silent
Stillness can seem elusive at times. We finally get a moment alone, away from work or family, and technology attacks. Dings and beeps of email, texts, and social media can keep us occupied and distracted. Even after silencing it all, are we able to silence our minds? I often have roaming thoughts, to do lists, lingering emotions and snippets of conversations coursing through my brain. I cant turn it off. I feel like there’s a constant buzz running through my mind.
Rest and be renewed
And yet the moments of stillness are when can finally hear God’s voice. I struggle with finding stillness and sometimes when I finally grasp it, I’m met with emptiness and depression, loneliness or anxiety. These are the moments when my mind says it needs stimulation or craves people. It mistakenly longs for distractions and busyness. Our flesh is weak. What our minds really need is stillness, to rest and be renew in God’s word.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Jesus often went to go pray alone. We must follow His example as we turn everything off and settle into the stillness. If Jesus can quiet an actual storm, He can certainly calm the storms in our hearts and minds.
Sometimes it’s uncomfortable; we’re so used to the noise. Sometimes it is so welcomed as the harsh din bombarding us fades away. When we enter the stillness, God’s voice becomes audible once again and we leave refreshed and renewed.
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Throughout my entire life with God, I continue to learn the same lesson over and over again. It doesn’t matter in how many ministries you are involved or how many good deeds you do in the name of God; none of that surpasses the glorious privilege of spending time with Jesus.
Just imagine once you’re in heaven and meet all the men and women you read about in the Bible… with whom would you like to chat? Of course, we will spend eternity there, so I assume we can speak to many. I have some favorites, but there is an Old Testament prophet I would like to meet in person especially and that is Habakkuk.