My Story, Prayers, Uncategorized

Finding peace through prayer

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Elevated heart rate.

Tight chest.

Constricted throat.  

Dread of what new problem or heartache the day would bring.

All this and I had yet to open my eyes.  Another day of anxiety waking me before the sound of the alarm. Day after day of waking like this caused me to dread morning while I was yet asleep.   This terrible cycle eventually birthed a beautiful new habit that has changed me.

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him and he answered my prayer. ~Psalms 120:1 (NLT)

Somewhere in the mess, I gave up what I knew I had no control over and began praying before my eyes even opened.

Please Jesus, give me the strength to get through this day.

Protect my child from the attacks of the enemy.

Calm my anxious heart and racing mind.

Let me see your work in this day.

My desperate pleas would continue until the anxiety lifted or the alarm began to signal that it was time to face the day, anxiety or not.  There were many days my feet hit the ground and the anxiety and heavy heartedness lingered.  I continued my pleas throughout the day. Lift the anxiety and heaviness and turn my gaze toward You.  He did. Every single time.  It didn’t mean that those days were less problem filled, BUT there was peace in knowing that He already knew what the day held and I was not alone.

I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken for he is right beside me. ~Psalms 16:8 (NLT)

Cultivating the habit of going to the Lord in the face of the turmoil I was feeling before entering into the day set me free from the bondage of anger and dismay that I had experienced a little over a year prior.  The circumstances of the trial the previous year were different, but the anxiety and stress they evoked were the same.  Fear. Worry. Disappointment. Anger. A sense of losing all control. Dread of what was to come.  Throughout that experience, rather than giving it over to the Lord and asking Him to walk me through it, draw me closer, I let anger and panic take over instead. I woke every morning before the alarm with a knot in my stomach, heart racing, and  mind reeling with every possible way this disaster could become even more of a disaster.  I spent the better part of each day consumed by grief and anger, feeling frantic, sad, and sick to my stomach.  And guess what.  Every single worst case scenario that I could come up with came true and then some. It was all as bad or worse than I feared and I was facing it in a way that only caused more damage.  While my bitterness and anger did nothing to help fix the situation, it was destroying me.  The only control I had in the face of that trial was how I reacted to it, faced it, handled it. I couldn’t stop it or change it; however, I could have stopped to pray and changed the way I entered into those challenging, heartbreaking days.

I’m sure I prayed throughout that time for the situation to change, but I should have been praying for God to change me and how I was handling it. Giving it over to Him to handle and asking Him to walk me through it might have saved months of heartache and misery that I wallowed in.

The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.~Exodus 14:14 (NLT)

Fast forward to the more recent place of trouble I find myself in and the experience is so different. The problems are certainly not less significant.  In some ways they are bigger, more overwhelming.  I am so very thankful that I am different this time around. Because of Him.

Be still and  know that I am God.~Psalms 46:10a (NLT)

What a relief that HE IS GOD and I AM NOT!

What have I learned through this?  When I give my problems to Him, He shows up.  He gives peace.  He will supply what I need each day if I just ask for it.  The key is to ask for it.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Notice these verses do not promise that your problems will go away.  They promise something far greater-PEACE that only He can give.  Experiencing peace in the midst of trouble is an amazing gift.  We live in a fallen, sinful world.  We all experience trying times.  We all struggle at times.  Periods of hardship in life are guaranteed.  BUT, we do not have to face them alone!  We CAN find blessing in the midst of the storm.  Expect to see God’s hand in your day and you will begin to see Him everywhere, making even the most difficult path bearable and even beautiful in Him.

The Lord himself will fight for you.  JUST STAY CALM~Exodus 14:14

My Story, Uncategorized

What is my real story?

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I have known for awhile that I have a story to tell.  At first, I thought the point of my story was to show how God wrecked my comfortable life to lead me to a path of ultimate abundance in Him.  A story similar to that of the Israelites of reaching the Land of Canaan after wandering in the wilderness. It would be a beautiful story of experiencing some hardship, feeling discomfort for a season and then God setting everything back to normal (only better) and continuing on in my typical American pursuit of all things leading to a comfortable, easy life, which would now be made even better because of the season of hardship I had endured.  And since God is so awesome and moved us to Texas where everything is bigger (and better!), of course that would apply to my situation and my house and bank account would also be bigger.  That seemed like a fair trade off for the year I had endured.  I would share my experiences from the other side, the promised land.   I was just waiting to get to a comfortable place to say ‘Look what God has done!’  I was waiting to show how God brought me out of the hardship and provided blessings as a reward for getting through it.  It’s ridiculous, I know!  I hate reading what I just wrote, because it shows how greedy and prideful I have been.  Unfortunately, it takes getting the words written and actually seeing my thoughts to realize how ridiculous and selfish they are.  And I know I could clean this up and not even tell you the prideful, greedy, selfish part, but that would be even more prideful.  So here’s the truth, I don’t have it all figured out.  There are a lot of days that I feel mad or sad or disappointed that I had to give up my material comforts. Isn’t dealing with the heartache of mental illness, addiction, and wayward children enough?  Do I really have to struggle financially too??  There are many days that I wrestle with my attitude about it all. Sharing my story is not about how I did it all right.  It’s about how I still get it wrong much of the time, but I am seeking Him and He is good.  He is faithful. He is God. He has been with me through every hard step.

 

My story is about how He has met me IN the hardship and walked with me through my darkest days.  And He is still showing up every day.  I am done waiting to be in a comfortable spot to say Look what God has done!  I am saying it now, even in the hard places, especially in the hard places.  I’m not asking Him to remove the hard places anymore (most days).  I am asking Him to USE the hard places.  To use me and not let me waste the work He is doing in me by looking beyond right now.  Those hard places where all the pain, heartache and growth have and still are occurring….that is really the story I need to tell.  
Sharing the experience of lessons learned at my lowest points,  how He provided through the through the hardest days, how that is growing me.  That is where hope and comfort can be shared. That is the story I am here to tell.