When I am Weak, He Is Strong

I wrote the below post in 2012 on Quiet Reflections and it’s received almost 20,000 hits so I thought I would repost it here. It’s a message that I often need reminding of and I am sure we all do. I currently find myself in a place, due to a concussion, unable to concentrate, read, or bare loud sounds or bright lights so I am clinging to these truths anew. For my Savior is strong when I am weak.

Have you ever had those days when you are just tired?Tired of fighting the flesh? Tired of trying to be who you are suppose to be? Tired of fighting the lies of the enemy?Tired of fighting wrong emotions and feelings?

It’s where I have been for a couple days now. My emotions are just all over the place. Sometimes I can allow my feelings, thoughts and life seem like a tangled mess.

And try as I might I just can’t seem to untangle the mess of emotions. It’s exhausting trying to sort out what I am suppose to feel, what is normal, what is not.

kittenmessI am suppose to be a big girl and have all this figured out. Right? Or is that another lie? Am I suppose to ask for help? But who do I ask? Who would understand? Who would really be available to sit and listen? And NOT think I was totally losing it! Who could I talk to that would know it’s just a moment. They would give me grace and allow me a few minutes to talk out loud and then I’ll be fine.

Currently, the lies in my head say I have no one. No one that is but Jesus. (I do KNOW deep in my heart that this is another lie. Our emotions often DO lie to us!) But still I wonder, shouldn’t Jesus be enough? I mean, He IS enough. He IS all I need. He’s the only one I am suppose to really need. Right?

Why then does this place feel like a place of such loneliness? Is this yet another lie? Another attempt of the enemy to try and wedge discontent between me and my God? To create a distance between me and those God has placed in my life to journey with?

It all makes me tired and it’s exhausting….and I just want to go home. To my Father.

I am tired of the enemies constant knocking on the door of my mind.

Then it hits me…

The selfishness of the flesh that cries out to be noticed, to be fed. Yes I am weary of the constant onslaught of what seems like the constant battles of my mind. Wrong thinking. Emotions that want to be given into. Emotions that cry out to be felt. But they are lies that FEEL like truth.

I am weary because for this moment I have forgotten. I have forgotten truth. The truth that I know, believe and trust in.

I do not fight alone.

I have forgotten to be diligent about putting on the armor of God so that I can fight against the powers of this dark world. The evil forces of this world do not let up, they desire to destroy me.

I have forgotten that I need to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled tightly around my waist. Never should I be without it.

I have forgotten that I am to take my shield of faith up daily against the flaming arrows of the evil one.

I have forgotten that I do not fight alone but in the power of the Lord and in His mighty power.

I have forgotten that when I am weak HE IS strong. I can run to Him and find rest, even in the midst of my struggles.

Paul reminds the Ephesians in chapter 6 that they are in a battle. They are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. He tells them that in order to take a stand against the devils schemes they need the armor of God. They need to stand firm, be alert, and always praying.

I need the armor of God. I need to pray. I need to stand strong in His mighty power.

And then in Paul’s final sentences he tells the Ephesians that he is going to send Tychicus so that they might be encouraged. Don’t you love it?

Paul reminds them that yes, they ARE to stand firm, they ARE to wear the armor of God, they ARE to be alert and pray BUT he knows they also need the encouragement of others.

We need our brothers and sisters who can come along and encourage us when we become battle weary. To strengthen us and pray with and for us.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

Oh precious Father, thank you for these words of reminder. Thank you for helping me through this moment. Father forgive me for my forgetfulness and selfishness. Help me to lean on You and allow You to bring other’s into my life to encourage me. Help me to remember I don’t always have to be strong, have it all together or be perfect. For in my weaknesses You can show Your strength, Your power and Your grace.

(Note: I actually wrote this weeks ago and never posted it. But I want to be transparent, knowing that we all have the same crazy emotions at times. But we must not stay there and allow the enemy or our flesh to take us to a place that causes us to sink further into a pit. We must run to the Word of truth, Pray, and seek out one another for encouragement when we just can’t seem to hear the truth on our own. So if you find yourself currently in a pit you can’t get of feel free to email me!)

Advertisements

Come to Jesus

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.Psalms 40:1-5

Praise-06-782013_thumb.jpgOh Father I know that I have not always been patient in this process of healing. But you have heard my cries, and in your own time you have continued to work through the “all things” and set my feet on the Rock! You have helped me climb out of the pit, and you’ve dragged me out of the miry clay.

Jesus I praise you!

I worship Your name, for you have rescued those who are brokenhearted. You have healed the broken, the wounded and the hurting. I will trust in You and not fear. I will not give the enemy any more power over my thoughts. I will no longer believe his lies, for now I know truth. Oh God the works that you have performed in my heart are truly amazing. You’ve reached down, held me in your arms, healed my brokenness…nothing compares to Your healing touch!

I praise You with a new song!

My dear precious sisters Jesus can heal all your brokenness. He came to set you free from the bondage of your past hurts.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners. Is 61:1

He will rebuild that which was ruined. He will repair that which was broken. He will restore that which has been desolate for generations.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. (Is 61:4)

My precious sisters – Come to Jesus for healing….

A Father’s Love

a-fathers-love_thumb.jpgEven before I was born I was loved deeply and very precious to my Father. The moment He fashioned me He fell in love. He had never seen anyone so beautiful. His beloved daughter. Tears fell down His eyes as He held me, His precious daughter. He watched me grow; I made Him laugh with the silly things I’d do. My tender heart caused Him to smile. How beautiful I was in His eyes.

There was also a sharp pain in His heart as He watched me, for He also knew what was to come. He knew I would not understand what was to be apart of my life. At such a tender age it would seem that people would want to destroy me. My Father would weep for the pain and suffering I would endure. He knew He had the power to stop my suffering; a suffering that would leave me numb and lost. He understood because His Son had suffered an even greater suffering for the sins of all mankind.

My Father knew I would someday grow to understand the suffering of His Son because of what I would suffer. I would see His suffering and understand the pain and the torment He went through to no fault of His own. He knew I would see the hope, and the beauty in His suffering. His beauty would then reflect in my face.

During my suffering I would feel so alone and abandoned. I felt alone not because He was not there, but because I could not see. I was blind to the truth of Him. I did not see that He had His arms wrapped so tightly around me, loving me.

As evil took over my body tears would run down His face, He would weep loudly and painfully. His groans would be so loud that all of heaven could hear. He would feel all my pain. He would feel the tearing of my soul and the tears that would not come. “Vengeance is mine He’ll cry!” “You will not destroy her! For out of evil I will create beauty. Out of ashes I will create a garland.” “Oh my child, I will not leave you.”

As I sit on His lap tears run down His face. He knows that His precious little girl will walk through years of pain that she will not understand until she is grown. He held her tightly and whispered, “My Beloved, I love you, I will walk with you.”

 

Originally written on Quiet Reflection in 2008.

Can I Have Joy in Trials?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I remember a time when I had questions about having joy. How can one have joy in the hard things in life? How do you walk through life with great joy regardless of your circumstances. I didn’t understand. There are those that tried to explain it to me, but my mind seemed blind to understanding.

ID-10091345_thumb.jpgI would always ask “how does one have joy when a father dies and leaves his 24 year old wife with 3 babies under the age of five? Where is the joy of watching your mother try to destroy herself? Or a child being abused? How can you have joy as you watch a father beat your mother? Or watching a child rebel? How can you have joy when a husband looses his job?” So many questions.

Many of the answers I received to my questions were along the line of “it’s because sin is in the world “ “you just have to get beyond those things, forget them and move on” forgive those who hurt you”. I remember some saying that “I needed to forgive God”

Really? As if God has ever done anything that needed to be forgiven! Where is that in scripture? It’s sad to recall all the well meaning answers and advice that is not based on truth, or bits and pieces of truth. So what is the answer to having joy under trials, temptations, distress, stress and so on?

Here is what I have learned. This is what I know. While I have nothing new to say I have realized that often I forget what the past has taught me. I need to be reminded. Maybe you need the reminder too.

What we fail to understand  is that it is impossible to have joy in your suffering. There is nothing joyful about suffering, pain, sorrow, distresses or tribulations. We was try to find joy IN our current circumstances. The object of our joy is all wrong. Nothing about the tribulation or suffering itself can produce joy.

I CAN NOT produce joy on my own. Oh I can put on a happy face, look all bubbly on the outside and TRY to look joyful. But that is not joy and it WILL NOT last.

The object of my joy must be God, and God alone. God, a covenant keeping God and Father in Christ. I need to look to the God of my salvation. I need to remember that He is Christ, the One who pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin.

He, GOD, is the object of my joy.

Joy can never be produced by me or by my circumstances. Joy is the product of the Spirit and it lies in the spiritual. Now, so there is no misunderstanding, I am not talking about the joy I felt on my wedding day or the day a child is born or something good happened. I am addressing the joy I am to have that is mentioned in James 1:2 when it says,  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,”

What I am talking about is that deep sense of joy knowing that no matter what comes your way you KNOW you will walk through it. You know that it will not destroy you. We can have joy because our focus is not us (ME) at all. Our focus is God.

During trials and suffering we are to look to Him and what we know He is going to do. He is a covenant keeping God and I know that He does not seek to destroy us but seeks to grow and mature us into His image. We must focus on that truth and trust Him.

We can also have joy in trials when we consider who God is. He is a covenant God, the Father of great mercy, the God of all comfort and salvation, who pardoned our sins, clothes us with the robes of righteousness and garments of salvation, and accepts us in Christ. When I choose to focus on the character of God and be mindful of truth I can have great joy and gladness. In Christ there is always a reason for joy because of His person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice.

God is not asking us to be joyful that we are suffering. He is asking us to be joyful in knowing that He is testing our faith in order to produce endurance. We need to allow God to grow us with all joy. He assures us that when our endurance is fully developed we will be strong in character and ready for whatever God has planned.

Joy is a product of the Spirit of God not our circumstances.

Photo courtesy of magerymajestic, at www.freedigitalphotos.net

But, He does not Deserve My Respect!

I think showing respect to our husband is an area that is hard to live out because so much of the culture around us tells us that we should only show respect if it’s deserved. Watch TV for five minutes and you will see husbands treated like they are stupid buffoons. They are portrayed as weak, spineless, and lack any kind of authority. It saddens me, and it has set an example for women to disrespect their husbands.

As I have taught the importance of respecting your husband, the comment I hear most often is, “What if He doesn’t deserve my respect?” My answer is always the same. I take them to 1 Peter 3:1 and 2 which says “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedience to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

ID-100156152_thumb.jpgI remember reading this verse several years ago and for the first time really seeing the phrase “In the same way”. I had to ask myself “IN WHAT WAY?”

In what way was I to be respectful to my husband?

In order to understand the answer to that question I had to go back to Chapter 2. We are to show honor  to all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. (v17)

We are to be respectful to those over us regardless of their attitude toward us. Verse 18 says to be respectful to those who are unreasonable, not just to those we are good and gentle.

Wow, that’s a hard one! I mean it’s easy to show respect if someone is deserving but to show respect if they are undeserving! Why would God ask us to do that?

Verse 19 tells us why. “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”

So if I understand that correctly I find favor in the eyes of God when I do what is right regardless of how the other person might treat me. Whoa! Wait a minute! That’s just going to far! I mean the world tells me I have a “right” to be pursue happiness. I have a “right” to live in comfort. I don’t have to suffer under harsh treatment from anyone. So why would God tell me to do something that is just too difficult?

Why? Because as Christ followers we have been called to suffer as Christ suffered. Jesus left us an example to follow. He suffered unjustly when He was ridiculed, reviled, and put to death for our sins. And in the midst of it all He uttered no threats, He kept silent.

I remember asking the question as I read, how can I keep silent through suffering? How can I be chaste and respectful in the midst of suffering at the hands of others? 1 Peter gives us the answer in the last part of verse 23, I am to keep entrusting myself to Him who judges righteously.

So how can I possibly show respect “in the same way” to my husband even if he doesn’t deserve my respect? I am to follow the example that Christ set. I am to live a life of obedience to God and entrust my life to Him. I am to allow God to work in the life of my husband without me trying to be his holy spirit.

Ladies I know this can be a hard one. I learned early in our marriage that my role is not to try and “convict” my husband of anything. I don’t always know what is right, even on those times I am convinced I am! I am called to be obedient to Christ. To live a life of respect to all those God has placed in my life. I can do this because I follow the example of Christ.

In light of what I’ve shared I would like to ask all of us to reflection on a few questions…

Is it ever okay to be disrespectful toward our husbands?

It is ever okay to get caught up in “husband bashing”?

Do I find myself talking negatively about my husband in front of others or my children?

Do my words lift him up or tear him down?

What about my attitude when speaking with him? Does my voice tones also show respect?

Prayer: Father we come to you today and confess that there are times we may have been disrespectful toward our husbands in word and by our actions. Forgive us and help us to show them the proper respect whether or not we think they deserve it. Help us to be obedient in this area out of our desire to please You and do what is right according to Your word. Amen

Photo courtesy by David Castillo Dominici, at freedigitalphotos.com

Hope in the Midst of the Storm

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3

Trials, tribulations, suffering, pain, sorrow. These are circumstances no one especially considers a joy to walk through. Even if we know that it’s a time of testing our faith or building endurance who wants to face suffering? I don’t know too many who would raise their hands, jump up and down and shout, “I DO!”

exultintrib.jpg

Yet the reality is it will come to each of us. Perhaps you find yourself in the midst of a storm today. Perhaps you feel that you are about to be drowned in your circumstances and you are wondering, “how am I suppose to consider it all joy”?

Today I saw something new in God’s word. Well it was new to me. I am reading through, and studying Romans and this morning I was struck by Romans 4:16 through 5:5. I must have read it ten times before I saw it, but there it was in 5:3, “we also exult in our tribulations,.”

Exult means to “show or feel elation or jubilation”. Seriously? Is it even possible to be jubilate over our tribulations? But how?

I believe our answer is seen in the surrounding verses, but I am still fleshing this out so walk with me through this. Romans 4 speaks of Abraham, his trial, his sorrow was that his wife was barren. But Abraham had hope. His hope came in the promise of God who promised that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham didn’t understand how God was going to do it since he and Sarah were old and beyond child bearing years. Abraham even tried taking matters into his own hands by producing an heir through Sarah’s servant, but that was not God’s plan. (see Gen 16 & 17)

So Abraham came to the point where he put His hope in God. Abraham’s faith grew to the point that he was “fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:21)

Abrahams place of suffering, his sorrow grew his faith to where he could hope in what God would do. Abraham didn’t see the end results or even the next step and yet he could give God the glory because he had faith that the God who promised would also deliver that which He promised.

Abraham came to the place in his suffering where he could exult because he trusted in the One who would fulfill the promise.

So what about us? What do we hope in when the storm threatens to overwhelm us? Our hope is in our Lord Jesus Christ. We can exult in the hope of the glory of God knowing that He will deliver us through the storm. But in the mean time Christ will use the storm to build your endurance, and strengthen your character.

When we place our hope in Christ Jesus He will not disappoint. This same Jesus who died for us, while we were helpless sinners and His enemy, saving us from the wrath of God. This Jesus reconciled us to God and left us with the Holy Spirit who now pours out Gods love upon us so that we might have hope in the midst of suffering. (Rom 5:6-11)

So let us remember when we are facing trials to put our hope in the One who does not disappoint. Know that God will give you grace to stand, He will strength your faith, He will build your endurance and your character.

I know this is often easier said than done. When the waves wash over us and we are choking on the water about to go under for what feels like the last time and all we can think about is “I am going to die” it’s hard to have hope. But sweet sister can I encourage you to throw your hand out and cry out to Jesus. Stop thrashing around trying to save yourself. Stop trying to find a way out of the storm and just place your faith in the One who will not let you drown.

Whatever your storms might be I pray that you are able to reach out in unwavering faith and rest assured that the God who has promised to deliver you is also able to perform it.

Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

God Heals the Darkness

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. Ps 119:50

Deep inside the heart of many women there is a darkness that lies untouched. There is a hurt that has been left unattended, praying it will heal on it’s own if ignored. It will not be ignored. Instead it lies within, waiting for the right moment and then the memories rises up from the depths of the darkness to hurt once more. I know this hurt for I have been there. I know other women experience it for they have shared their stories. They have trusted me with the darkness of their souls, the hurts that scream out MP900438388_thumb.jpgto be heard.

Healing began years ago for me, but it’s only been recently that I have fully understood where and how the healing came.

I spent years trying to ignore, forget, forgive and pray my way beyond the painful memories that would not stop playing across my mind. I would seek counsel, read books, attend Bible studies and pour myself into doing good works. I would do all the things I thought I should, be a good wife, mother, friend and church attendee. I would pray, read my Bible and pray some more. I tried pursuing so many things-even God-in order to forget. Often I was left feeling empty and in the end the hurt would still be screaming for attention. Why could I not have that personal loving relationship so many seemed to have? What did I have to do to silence the pain? What did God expect of me? Why wasn’t God answering my prayers to forget?

Your testimonies also are my delight; {They are} my counselors. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119: 24-25

The answer to my questions could be answered with just one answer. Know God. The problem was I didn’t really know Him. I knew about Him . I knew what others had told me about Him and I had even read about Him in the Bible, but I didn’t KNOW Him. I didn’t understand who He was or who He is. I didn’t know God experientially. I had only learned about God through others. I only thought I knew Him.

Healing came when I began to know God for myself. It began when I learned to study and understand God’s word for myself. Do you know what that meant? God spoke to me, Sharon, His beloved daughter. He spoke directly to me through His word and not through someone else.

God’s word began to come alive and every time I would read it I began to see something new. Truth began to penetrate my heart. The lies I believed about myself, my past and my God were exposed. God began to reveal Himself to me. He opened up my eyes to see His character, His love and His power. He began to show me who I was, and who I am because of Christ. He told me how precious I am to Him, how much He loves me and will always love me.

He began to help me see His plans and purposes for my life. God began to show me how He would use all the circumstances in my life for His glory. He would not waste anything. He wouldn’t waste anything good or evil. He could use my wrong choices, and the painful memories.

Oh precious sisters if I could ask one thing I would ask that you study God’s word and know it for yourself. Learn to study and allow God’s word to open up to you. Allow it to teach you, reprove you and heal you. Stop doing Bible studies that do all the work for you and study the Word for yourself.

It is only in knowing God that healing comes, and by know I mean you KNOW Him not just about Him. You need to know the God who is, the God of truth, not the God you think He is. Once we know God and study His words for ourselves then true deep healing comes. Oh how I long for each of you to experience the personal word of God spoken directly into your hearts.

If you don’t know how to study for yourself email me, I’d be happy to help! Or you can check out these links  A Guide to Inductive Bible Study or How to Study the Bible in 28 Days.

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. Isa 43:10