#sundayscripture

When I was twenty years old, I experienced a situation that caused me a tremendous amount of anxiety. I tried everything in my power to solve the circumstances on my own. I manipulated and controlled things so they would turn out the way I wanted them to be. I was exhausted, hurt, and caught up in disbelief.

Eventually, I found myself at a dead end. Crushed by the weight of anxiety and false control, I was trapped and isolated. I longed for a way out, but didn’t know where the out was.

One day in a moment of desperation, and in need of something concrete, I took a meaningful object connected to the situation and marched out into the woods behind my house. With tears streaming down my cheeks and with as much force as I could gather, I threw the memento as far as I could into the trees as I yelled aloud (to God), “You take it!” The words were few, the implications many. I wanted help. I wanted him to take it-all of it! The whole thing! I couldn’t and didn’t want to deal with the situation on my own any longer!

It was the first cast, and the first crack in the control I had so desperately clung to. Over the next days and weeks, I casted more and more. As I did, God helped me face reality and my fears. I was letting go, and embracing something new. It was hard and hurtful. It was a process, and I knew I would be okay if I kept casting forward.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Dead ends and desperation can lead to humility. Learning to let go of our will, walking in obedience even when it doesn’t make sense, and accepting consolation and grace, are beginning steps toward overcoming anxiety and taking strength in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Jesus wants us to cast- or throw- our anxieties and concerns on him. But this isn’t a game of catch. We shouldn’t wait for Jesus to throw our anxieties back to us. Nor is casting anxiety like a 50/50 custody arrangement in which we share the responsibility. We should not choose between the concerns we want God to be responsible for, and the ones we want to keep for ourselves.The Bible tell us to cast ALL anxieties on him.

Casting and releasing can be difficult though, and it often picks a fight with our will. Our humanity and lack of patience tempts us with the desire to take back cares back under our control. But Jesus wants to take our anxieties, hold them captive and work through them in his perfect power. In doing so, he restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes us. (1 Peter 5:10)

Turning to God, turning over our anxieties, and taking hold of his truths are daily disciplines. It is the only way to successfully cast away and not take back our cares. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can humble ourselves and trust that God cares for us and has a good plan for our lives.

In the right and proper time, God will set us high over our anxieties, and he may even give us a view of the larger picture of his plan. A plan that gives us hope and a future, a plan that often is very different than we thought. Until that time, keep casting, waiting, and practicing humility.

Happy Sunday! ❤


“You have listened to fears, Child.”


It’s almost impossible to be immune to the constant commentary on the coronavirus and to avoid devastating news of disasters and loss. Here’s the truth, this world can be a scary place.

While reassurances, reminders of wise actions, and fact checking are helpful, washing one’s hands will not make fear go down the drain with the germs. Fear compounded by divisions, blaming, isolation, and the unknown can spiral out of control.

Fear makes us face our humanity. It challenges our control. It tricks us into hesitation and uncertainly. Fear gets louder and louder until we are forced to listen and to respond.

Will fear freeze us or free us? It has the power to do both. It is how we deal with fear that makes the difference. Ignoring it will not make it go away; facing it, even in the smallest of ways, frees us to start focusing on other things. Our life.

A few tips to facing fear:

  1. Acknowledge the fear.
  2. Silence the noise (take a break from the TV and social media.)
  3. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life.
  4. Recall a past fearful and scary situation, and think how you made it through it. What helped? What didn’t?
  5. Talk to a trusted friend, mentor, or pastor. No one should have to deal with fear alone.
  6. Read and repeat scripture. “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” -Deuteronomy 31:8
  7. Relinquish control to God. This is often difficult to do. I find when my Will is not willing, I ask the L“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”-Psalm 56:3
  8. Allow faith to cover & extinguish fear. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” -Psalm 18:2

“You have listened to fears, Child,’ said Aslan.

‘Come, let me breathe on you.

Forget them. Are you brave again?”

C.S. LEWIS

Finally, I came across this quote in the book Prince Caspian and it gave me a beautiful image of faith and fear fighting. Susan, one of the main characters, was struggling with fear and disbelief, and Ashlan (who represents Jesus) encourages her by acknowledging her struggle and offering her hope and relief. He does not condemn her, but gently strengthens her with his words and the breath of life.

As followers of Christ, we have been left with the gifts of The Word and the very breath of life, the Holy Spirit. We can confess our fear and depend on the Holy Spirit for help, guidance, and power. With the Holy Spirit’s help we can take hold of peace and hope in all of life’s situations, and find the freedom from the bondage of fear.

I would love to hear your best fear fighting tips. Also, if you would like prayer or want to talk more about fear/faith, please send me a message. I would love to hear from you.


The Courage Key

couragekey

“MOMMMMMM!!! WE NEED YOUR COURAGE KEYYYYY!!!”

“WHAT???!!!!” I yelled from the kitchen.

“YOUR MOPS Courage Key!” The girls came bouncing into the room. “The  downstairs bedroom door got locked. We need to get in and the MOPS key is the only one that works.”

“Ummm…girls, my courage key is not a real key. It is just pretty necklace and charm. It it cannot open the door.”  I tried to say this as gently as I could so not to deflate their enthusiasm.

“Yes, it can! We have used it before and we need it again!” My girls were confident and not the least bit concerned with my disbelief. They knew how to solve the problem and I was the only one getting in the way of their solution.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go try.”

It turns out that my girls were right. My MOPS Courage Key and a lot of other real keys can open the locked bedroom door. This new bit of knowledge will save me the time and hassle of searching the house for a bobby pin or a screwdriver that it small enough to fit in the door’s tiny, awkward slot and release the lock.

I have wasted so much time looking for things that would unlock “doors.” “Doors” that I have shut and locked with anxiety, my insecurities and fear. Doors that have been held shut by the “what ifs?” and “I can’ts” or the “Is it worth the risks?” Past disappointments and present confusion add to the tangled mess of locked emotions. I have tried releasing the locks with keys that I have forged out of my own power, strength and control. Those keys have not worked. They have only left me more anxious, frustrated and tired.

There is one key that never fails. God.

Faith is the key that unlocks the door and courage is the key that helps you walk through it. Courage that is manifested through faith. Hope that is discovered through courage.

Sometimes I find myself asking God, “But it doesn’t look like the key?” or ” How is this going to work?” “Is this key the right one?”  And  I hear God whisper patiently to me, “Trust me. Have you tried it yet?”

Faith and courage doesn’t mean that you will not experience failure or pain. It is not a promise that things will be easy and every “door” you walk through will open into a  “room” that will be comfortable and warm. Courage takes strength to venture and persevere. 1  Courage in faith can help you go from confusion to clarity.  From captive to free. From stuck to unstoppable.

I am willing to guess that I am not the only one who has locked doors. Or the only one standing in the way of a solution.  Let’s stop wasting time and start unlocking doors with faith, starting with the door to our heart. Let’s allow God and the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to help us depend on His strength (not our own) and start living the bravest versions of ourselves.  Grab your keys and walk through those doors!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

 

faithisthekey


Fear and Joy

fearandjoy

There is a difficult situation that I have been dealing with. It has caused many unsettling feelings and unwanted fear. No matter how much I have prayed about it, talked about it, thought through it, tried to release it, the fear has remained. Like a thick, heavy chain, fear has held me back and kept me where I do not want to be.  It has stolen my time and littered my mood. When I have tried to break free and I can’t, guilt brings another chain. Guilt over the fact that I shouldn’t be fearful, only joyful in all my circumstances. An either/or response. What a tangled, emotional mess!

Can joy and fear reside in the same situation?

In my devotions this morning, I read a passage that I have read many times before but today it spoke to what my heart has been needing to hear.

1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, Greetings! And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”  Matthew 28:1-15

The guards and the Marys were both afraid by the events they were witnessing. Can you blame them? A great earthquake, an angel that looked like lightening sitting in front of them on an empty tomb. Their responses to the fear is what sets them apart.  The guards “trembled and became like dead men.” Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were afraid yet filled with joy .(verse 8) Their fear did not hold them back or chained them to the ground, they were able to move forward in joy to the mission they were tasked to do.

I realize that I have been acting more like the guards. Stumbling, falling to the ground, acting like dead man woman. Fear and guilt have been lying to me. Telling me that I cannot move forward.  This passage shows me that it is not an either/or response. Being fearful does not disqualify you from doing God’s work but it can paralyzed and rob you from the freedom and complete joy that the Lord so freely wants to give.

“Our fear lives side by side with our joy” – SHE READS TRUTH

Our joy comes from the Lord.

Move forward and break the chains of fear with joy and the strength from the Lord.