Feb 24, 2017

When fear overwhelms you.....



Not too long ago, I woke up in a puddle of sweat.

It happened again.

Fear-filled dreams and thoughts of worry over my children.

Many, many times, even now, I wake up and check on them. To make sure they are breathing and okay. They are 12 and 15.

Fear has been a stronghold in my life for as far back as I can remember. My parents would describe me as a timid, fearful child.

Over the years, I found a prescription for the fear. Jesus.

However, when my mind is in neutral, like in the dark of night, fear tries to creep back in and make a home in my soul.

There are triggers with fear.

For everyone these triggers are different. For me, they are the same ones the enemy loves to use to take my heart captive to that fear-filled place again. Paralyzed by the black hole of fear.

Fear is what led me to God's Word.

I had tried every prescription the doctors had to offer. Everything.

However, I soon realized, this fear was not a physical ailment, it was a spiritual hunger for the living bread of God's Word.

Perfect love drives out fear. [1 John 4:18]

Fear not, for I am with  you. [Isaiah 41:10]

Do not fear.[Isaiah 41:13]

God's Word became my cure for fear.

I would rattle off Psalm 91 in my sleep.

Psalm 23 became my life verse.

These words are not just crutches to get me through. They are LIFE to my weary and fearful soul.

They breathe peace into a heart stained and tattered by fear.

God taught me to take every thought captive to Christ Jesus. [2 Corinthians 10:5]

He taught me to put on the armor of His protection every single day. [Ephesians 6:10]

He taught me to be of  sober mind and alert because  the enemy roams around like a roaring lion in search of someone to devour. [1Peter 5:8]

I had a decision to make.

Would I live my life being haunted by an enemy who hates me and desires to encapsulate me in fear?

Or, would I surrender my heart to the One who knitted me together in my mother's womb and has a future and a plan for me. [Psalm 139]

Who would I serve? God or fear.

I had to make a choice.

You cannot serve two masters. [Matthew 6:24]

The enemy had me convinced that I could control the safety of my children if I just tried hard enough. If I just worried long enough. The enemy would not stop until I was a crazy, madwoman with no ability to live the life God had planned for me to live. A life of peace. Of rest. Of a sound mind.

The enemy wants the opposite for us. He is relentless in his pursuit for us to live in torment. Torture. Unrest. Lacking peace.

I am reminded of the story of Eve in the garden. She had a perfect, peaceful existence. Satan came and whispered lies into her ears. She began to doubt the love and character of God. She believed after listening to the crafty enemy, that certainly there had to be more.

Isn't that what we are doing when we start to believe the lies the enemy whispers into our ears in the dark of night? We believe there must be something we can do. We must try harder. Worry and fret more. Take control over things that we have absolutely no ability to control.

No rest for the weary.

Oh, but Jesus tells us, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." [Matthew 11:28]

I would not be completely honest with you unless I told you that this is a decision I have to decide to make every single day.

Each day, I am one fall away from the black hole of fear.

I have to choose to trust the Lord with my children and my people. I have to decide that He loves my people more than I ever could and His will is what I ultimately desire.

How do I do this, you ask?

I get in His Word. I inhale His Words of peace and comfort. I find rest in His Word and His Promises.

Another way is by replacing those thoughts of fear with scripture. I used to carry scriptures on notecards with me wherever I went. I would keep them in my purse and grab them when I felt the subtle whisper of the enemy's lies in my ear. Now, I have them on my smart phone. ;)

I also have scripture taped up around my house. In my kitchen. In my bathroom. In my kid's rooms. Anywhere I can see them, and see them often.

The fearful thoughts will not go away on their own. They must be replaced with Truth.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3


“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7


"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Are you struggling with fear of some kind today? I am praying over you. I know the torment of fear. I know it too well.

I am asking God to fill you with His unshakeable peace. I am asking Him to hold you and that you will feel His arms around you. He loves you so much. He longs to be your Peace.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17
 
 



fear not,


jill














Feb 19, 2017

Give me a D....

"Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

It's February 19th.

Did you make a resolution this year to read the bible more? Pray more? Be more intentional?

Yeah, me too.

But, sometimes, the days just slip by. Routine sets in. And all of those good intentions fall in the cracks of my dusty wood floor.

There are so many things I want to do. I really, really, really want to.

Yet, the desire to do them escapes me at times.

For example, cleaning out the shed in our backyard.

I want it organized, and tidy.

However, every time I go outside to start, I just end up walking back inside.

The "want-to" is there, but the "desire" to start is just is not there. At all.

Some friends and I are doing a bible study together. We are reading a whole lot in the Old Testament. I know the ol' O.T. scares the living daylights out of many people, but for some reason I hang on every word. I cannot get enough of Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and especially the book of Numbers. Kidding on that last one.

One big huge thing sticks out as I read the stories of the bible heroes. Their desire to obey.

It's like the desire to obey just comes much more natural than it does for me.

But, really, they are just like you and me. Give or take a few thousand years. And some weird names.

We see the struggle in many of their lives, yet the obedience is what stands out in the end.

Take Noah for example.

How in the heck did he stick to the plan of building that ark? Everyone around him thought he had lost his mind. Surely, he must have felt like that some days.

Yet, he stuck to the plan. He did the work. He obeyed what God was telling him to do.

Or how about Moses.

He was very old when God called him to go and rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

He did argue with God a little bit at first, which makes Moses so much more relatable. Thanks for keeping it real, Mo.

But, in the end, he did what God asked him to do.

What made them have the desire to obey? Or to have desire at all?

I believe it was given to them by God because they asked for it.

Time and time again we see King David praying. Seeking the Lord. Just take a peek at the book of Psalms. David pours his heart out to God very, very often. [He cries a lot too. Again, relatable.]

Perhaps we lose our desire when we lose our connection with the Lord.

Maybe you want to be a better wife.

What if you asked for God to give you the desire to be a better wife?

Maybe you want to be more frugal with your finances.

What if you asked God to give you the desire to be more frugal?

Maybe you want to be more organized in your house keeping skills. [raising my hand on this one too]

What if you asked God to give you the desire to be a better house keeper?

Maybe you want to make healthier choices.

What if you asked God to give you the desire to make better choices.

Maybe you want a better prayer life.

What if you asked God to give you the desire to pray?

Maybe you want to read your Bible more.

What if you asked God to give you the desire to read it?

And for the wives...Maybe you want to have more intimacy with your hubby.

What if you asked God to give you the desire for more intimacy? [blushing on this one]

I know this sounds altogether simple. And, really, it is.

Instead of trying to talk ourselves into having the "desire", why don't we just ask the Lord for it?

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Recently, I needed to tackle a project in my house. I kept putting it off. Like, for a year now.

Finally, one day last week, I decided to take this to the Lord.

"Father, please give me the desire to get this project done. It is looming over me and I just need the desire to follow through."

The very next day, I kid you not, I tackled that very project and two more. [high-five]

God had given me the desire and the energy to be able to do the work.

When we trust God in these small details, we begin to trust Him with bigger ones.

It keeps us in constant conversation with Him, which in turn, directs us on the path that He desires for us to "desire".

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17


you can find me in the shed,


jill