• faith in action,  intentional living,  weekly prayers

    Choosing brave in the hard things

     

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    – Deuteronomy 31:6

    One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make took me two years of deep prayer and discernment. Once I had clarity and peace about the decision, it still required more bravery than I could muster to move forward. I needed the Lord to help me move. Without Him, I think I would have been paralyzed in fear to take action.

    That season taught me so much about making hard, brave choices with the Lord’s guidance that I can now apply to other areas of my life, and I would love to share those lessons with you today.

    If there’s a hard decision or action ahead of you, I’m praying for bravery for you right now. Maybe it’s just for today’s brave, hard things (smaller, daily decisions), or maybe it’s a Big Thing that you’ve been thinking about for a long time, but here are the steps I’ve found to be most helpful in making hard choices.

    4 Steps:

    1. Pray for wisdom.
    If you’re unsure of what to do, it definitely takes courage to listen to the Lord’s direction and to discern His will. If there’s something you KNOW you need to do, especially if it’s hard, it probably requires more bravery than you could conjure up on your own.

    God is faithful to give discernment as we press into Him and ask for His guidance. When we make our requests known before Him, He listens. His answers may come through the wise people around us, Scripture passages, sermons, or the Holy Spirit, but they will never contradict His character or commandments.

    • “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” –Psalm 16:7-8
    • “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” –James 1:2-5
    • “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” –Psalm 25:4-5

    2. Seek wise counsel.
    Check in with others who know Him and know you well. Especially on the big decisions! When it seems that God has made the next step clear to you in your own time and prayer with Him, seek confirmation from the wise individuals God has placed in your life. Wise counsel may come from a mentor, pastor, counselor, long-time friend in the faith, or a parent.

    *NOTE from a recovering people pleaser 😉 There is a difference here between people pleasing (making your decision to keep others happy) vs. obeying God and checking in with your people (making your decision in and with Christ’s leading). I’ve often found that when I’m just making the decision that “feels right” but I haven’t spent time praying about it first, the wise counsel around me offer gentle, loving, or very clear answers that challenge my decision. Of course, those individuals are all coming from different angles and experiences, but if they love and are walking with the Lord, they can often help you see blind spots or affirm that your next step sounds wise.

    • “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” –Proverbs 19:20-21
    • “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” –Proverbs 11:14

    3. Ask Him to equip you.
    I think about ALL of the people in the Bible who probably felt ill prepared to step into the hard, brave things God called them to do. And yet, He equipped them to do His work. Noah, Moses, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, David (in his battle against Goliath), Jonah, Mary, and Paul come to mind right away.

    If He has called you to this hard, brave thing, He will not only prepare you for it, but He will also see you through.

    • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:4-7
    • “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; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” –Isaiah 61:1-2
    • “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”—1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

    4. Take action to do that brave, hard thing.
    Once we know the right thing, it can still be super hard to step forward. It requires courage, it sometimes requires surrender, and it often requires great faith that He will take care of everything on the other side of what we cannot see. At this point, with His equipping, we can step forward in obedience.

    • “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” –Hebrews 13:20-21
    • “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”- Philippians 1:6

    – – –

    As we consider the hard, brave actions He might be calling us to take, here is a prayer for you:

    Lord, we know that sometimes You call us to do hard things.

    Help us to hear you clearly– where You want us to go and when You want us to move.

    Sometimes, the brave, hard thing is being still. Sometimes it’s just waiting on You, or letting You fight the battle for us. In that case, help us to surrender control and still our own hearts when we’d rather rush ahead.

    But when You DO show us the brave, next thing? Equip us for what’s next.

    Help us to choose brave, even when it’s really difficult.

    Lord, be our strength in the hard things.

    Help us:
    -to apologize
    -to let go of the unhealthy (things, places, relationships)
    -to step into a new season, with both feet and our full heart
    -to trust again after hurt (as You lead)
    -to advocate for others who cannot advocate for themselves
    -to choose joy
    -to make the appointment
    -to break that habit
    -to be vulnerable
    -to dream bigger and let You lead in that
    -to ask for help
    -to set the boundary
    -to ask the hard questions
    -to love the unlovable
    -to love our enemies
    -to love ourselves as You love us
    -to keep showing up for the things You’ve called us to (our jobs, parenting, ministry, being faithful in marriage, getting up again on the hard days, etc.)
    -to take responsibility for our own parts
    -to stand up for what’s right

    Lord, we know You will fight for us when it’s time. You will bring us to solid ground and plant our feet. And You will lead the way when it’s time to move.

    Help us to trust You for the times when we are to be still in bravery, to stay planted in courage, or to
    move forward in faith.

    Amen.

    – – –

    One more goodie: “The Brave List

    Pssst…Dear friend, if you need the extra boost of bravery today, I created another resource to help you. This is called ‘The Brave List’ (12 curated worship songs to help you with strength and courage), and you can listen to it on Spotify any time you need an extra boost of courage. Click here to listen:

     

    P.S. Special thanks to Noah Buscher for the original image in this photo (via Unsplash); “Be strong and courageous” graphic created by Heather Lobe (via Canva).

  • weekly prayers

    A prayer for those who feel stuck…

    Sometimes we hit hard patches of life. There are seasons in our journeys that seem utterly impossible.

    Those feelings of helplessness and uncertainty are unsettling to say the least.

    If you are stuck right now- unsure of how to climb out or move through or charge ahead, I am praying for you.

     

    Dear God,

    Right now, I come before you and lift up those who feel absolutely stuck.

    I know YOU know their hearts, Lord. You know their struggles, the wrestling, and the overwhelm better than I ever could.

    Lord, we proclaim that You are our Deliverer- You can pull us up from the darkest pits or deliver us from the quicksand or prepare a way out of the seemingly impossible.

    I pray for those who feel:

    STUCK BECAUSE THEY’RE SINKING-
    Father, in the midst of overwhelm and unhealthy situations, we can sometimes feel like we’re completely sinking. Rather than wrestling to escape the quicksand feeling, help still our flailing limbs and emotions. Guide us out of danger. As much as we want to get out of it in our own strength, we need You. Be our rescuer. Bring helpers alongside of us to pull us out of the pit. Deliver the ones who feel like we are drowning from our sinking situations.

    STUCK IN INDECISION-
    God, when we reach forks in the road, we can sometimes feel swallowed up in indecision.

    For those who are desperate to get out of that fork in the road, help us to slow down the impulse to run ahead. Help us to seek You first and let You lead. Lord, You are patient. Help us to be more like You as we wait for Your steady hand to guide us. Help us not to run ahead of You, but to walk hand in hand down the right path.

    And when we stand frozen at that fork in the road, in fear of making the wrong move, comfort us Father. Help us to have patience until You speak. Give us clarity to see where You want us to step. Help us to hear You clearly. Increase our faith to ask boldly for direction. You are a God who can do impossible things- even get us through this seemingly impossible impasse.

    Even though all options ahead seem overwhelming, we believe You will be faithful to see us through.

    STUCK IN THE DARK-
    Lord, in the midst of the darkness, I pray that You will remove panic. Darkness is scary, and so are the unknowns when we can’t see the way out. Father, help train our eyes to seek out the light. When all we can hear is the lie or insecurity, help train our ears to seek out the Truth.

    When we feel the darkness setting over us again, help us to cling to You as our hope. With you, there is always hope. Remind us that morning will come again.

    STAGNANT & STUCK-
    For the stagnant times, for the days when we don’t know how we got here?
    I ask that You would change the things we don’t have control over or the power to change on our own. Bring life back into what feels dead. Bring hope where we’ve lost sight of the good. Bring Your love where we feel lonely.

    For all of us who are stuck right now, grant us trust in You. Even when we can’t see what You’re doing, I pray that we would trust Your sovereign plan and Your big picture view.

    Speak into our blind-spots. Help us to widen our glance so that we can see the ways You’re working, even if we don’t know the end results.

    Help us to let go of expectations. Remove the pressure we’ve placed on ourselves or picked up from others.

    Help us open our hands to receive Your guidance, and let go of any desire for control– Thy will be done, Lord.

    Grant us patience in the waiting; wisdom in the waiting; trust in You in the waiting.

    Amen.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    And do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He will make your paths straight.

    -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

  • anxiety,  weekly prayers

    A Prayer for the Anxious One

    Dear Lord,

    Be close to us, Father.

    I come to you right now and ask for prayer for my friend…

    For the one who is paralyzed with a daunting decision.

    For the one who desperately wants to know the future, but cannot see past the fog of tomorrow.

    For the one who is crippled by debt and financial concerns.

    For the one struggling with deep fear.

    For the one starting something brand new, terrified of messing up.

    For the one who is scared to let others down and fearful to disappoint You.

    For the one who is overwhelmed with the chaos of the current season.

    For the one who wonders when things will ever feel “normal” again.

    For my friend who wants peace but cannot imagine what that would even feel like…

    Be close to us, Father.

    Light the path.

    Take our anxious hearts in Your hands and bring calm.

    You are the God who sees us– help us to know that. You know every single detail of our lives, Lord– from the number of hairs on our head to the deepest longings of our hearts. And You are the God who loves us with a deep, wide, everlasting, unconditional love. Be close to us, Father.

    Help us to breathe deep the incense of Your presence with us, in the midst of the unknowns and the fear.

    Increase our trust in you, God. Help us to know in our minds and our hearts that You are a good father and a gentle shepherd. Help us to believe that You will make the way clear, and that You want our best.

    Be close to us, Father.

    Light the path.

    Lord, when we cannot seem to move in any direction because we don’t know the right decision, help us to remember to take things one step at a time. Help us to reflect on something small and manageable right in front of us, rather than fixating on the whole big picture.

    When we cannot see through the fog, help us to cling to You; be our guide. Light the path, one step at a time.

    Lord, when we don’t know how we will pay the bills or pay off the debt or provide for the big things right over the horizon, help us to trust and know that You are our provider. Help us to remember, Lord, your faithfulness. Remind us what we can control for now, and in the meantime, be close to us.

    When fear is loud and daunting, quiet our racing thoughts of the unknowns and our imagination of the “what ifs.” Strip away the layers of fear built around our hearts, and bring us to a place of resting in Your protection. You are our shield. Lord, let Your Truth be the loudest thing, over the enemy’s lies and our deepest insecurities and the fears that threaten to overtake our sanity. God, quiet our racing thoughts and bring peace.

    Help us to remember that You care for us. Wash Your peace over us, from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes, and to every aching part in between.

    Breathe Your peace into our exhausted bodies, tired minds, and these weary hearts. Lavish Your love on your sweet child.

    Be close to us. Light the path.

    Lord, when we cannot see the goodness in the midst of the hard, train our eyes to see You. You are good, even when we’ve lost sight of that. Lord, we ask Your guidance in seeking out the blessings, focusing on the gifts, and noticing the sweet moments that are from You. Be close to us.

    Father, more than anything else, show us how we can glorify and praise You, even in the midst of our pain and anxiety. Bring us closer to You, and remind us that You are close to the broken-hearted. We love You Lord.

    Amen.

     

    Some additional resources to encourage you today:

    Psalm 34 (v. 18 is my favorite: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”)

    Matthew 6:25-34

    Matthew 11:28-30 

    Isaiah 40-41

    When you just don’t know how to ‘be still’ 

    Stand firm when your life is in chaos

    What does God think of OCD?

    Learning to let go of shame spirals and self-condemnation 

    Printable Scripture cards- “11 Powerful Truths for when the lies get loud” 

    *NEW: The Peaceful Playlist (20 songs chosen by me, just for you. Open up this free Spotify playlist on those hard days.)

    – – –

    P.S. Special thanks to Ben White of the Unsplash community for the photo to accompany this post.

  • weekly prayers

    A Prayer for the New Year

    Dear Lord,

    As we begin a new year, we praise you.

    Lord, you are Creator. In you, we find new beginnings.

    We discover and delight and praise your good works- the sunrise that reminds us that each day from you is a gift to unfold. Freshly fallen snow that shows us a clean slate. Crisp air that fills our lungs so that we can breathe anew.

    Thank you for providing for all of our needs last year, and for the abundant blessings above and beyond what we asked. We praise you for all of the ways we grew, for the new people you brought into our lives, for the lessons learned, for the ways you made us more like you.

    Thank you Lord for carrying us through the hardest times of this past year. We thank you, Father that you are our protector. Thank you for sustaining us and holding us when we did not have the energy or strength to walk on our own.

    Thank you, too, for those hard seasons. For the pruning. For casting out the things we needed to let go of, and for sharpening us as we pushed through the trials of this past year. We also thank you Lord that in the midst of the hard, the pruning, the sharpening, the waiting, you never left us once. Thank you Lord, that when we face difficulties, you are close to us in our pain.

    Lord, your Word tells us that your mercies are new every morning. We thank you that each day you begin again with us. The past is behind us, and we can move forward with your mercy covering us. Help us to walk in your power and strength today. May we remember that this new year is an unfolding of new mercies.  

    As we face a new day, a new week, and a new year, help us to rely even more on you and your strength rather than ourselves. Help us to dwell on your promises and keep your eternal perspective during our day to day lives. May your Truth continue to inform the way we make our decisions, fight our battles, and build up those around us. Jesus, may we be more like you this year. Thank you for all that you have done this past year, and all that you will do in the years to come. Today, Lord, and this year, are yours.

    Amen.

  • control,  faith in action,  intentional living,  weekly prayers

    When we just don’t know how to “be still”

    Recently, God has been placing reminders on my heart to slow down.

    This summer, I finally recognized my own addiction to busyness but my schedule still looks quite the same.

    This fall, He whispered to my heart that in order to heal through grief and forgiveness, I need to make space for my body to breathe. I haven’t quite found that space in full. 

    I continue to try to make room in my week to celebrate the Sabbath, but I still struggle with giving Him my time and my rest, uninterrupted from other focuses and commitments. 

    The truth is, I struggle to “be still” because I still try to be god of my own life.

    I scramble and manage and run and burn-out. I am busy and hectic and live my life in chaos, with momentary glimpses of rest before I’m back to the hustle and grind again. 

    I wrestle my schedule into place and worry about money. When my life feels out of control and I am at my worst with anxiety, I try to control the people and circumstances around me. 

    None of these things bring stillness.

    Because none of these actions or patterns recognize that God is sovereign.

    “Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10

    So I am learning. Slowly.

    That I am not God.

    That a knowledge of this fact requires deeper knowledge of my Savior.

    That being still is not a to-do list item but a matter of stilling my being before the Sovereign Lord. 

    If you also struggle with being still, I wrote this prayer for us. Feel free to list your own reminders and gratitude of God’s goodness at the bullet points. 

    “Be Still”

    Lord, I praise you because You are mighty. You are sovereign. You hold this world and my world in Your hands.

    I ask for Your help because I cannot do this on my own.

    Father, help me to view this world through wide-eyed observance, wonder and awe instead of the narrow lens of a cell phone camera and my crowded calendar. 

    To start my day savoring the Word instead of consuming the words and images of strangers in my incessant scrolling.

    To stop clinging to control of my schedule, money, relationships, so that I can open my hands to receive simple joys…

    • A small red leaf in my path in the midst of the yellows and browns
    • The warm sun splashed across the pillow on a Sunday afternoon
    • The autumn breeze rustling the ground
    • The smell of muffins baking in the oven
    • An acorn that reminds me of my Grandmother
    • A warm mug of cinnamon tea shared with a friend while our children play with wooden trains
    • The plant on my doorstep from a sweet friend to encourage my blossoming creativity
    • An enveloping hug from the person who loves my whole heart
    • The laughter of my son
    • A glorious sunset of peach and orange, with a hint of winter in the air

    Lord, my heart longs to be still rather than running through my week without stopping. Lord, I desire to be still and breathe rather than gasping for air. Lord, I’m ready to be still and surrender control.

    Father, I trust you to lead.

    Help me to follow

    unrushed

    steady

    calm

    ready to listen and receive Your truth

    ready to give, with Your guidance

    ready to be

    still

     

    – – –

    What are the things you notice when you slow down? What would you add to the prayer? Is this a struggle for you too?

     

    P.S. Thank you so much, Leah Kelley, for offering this handful of acorns to the public domain via Pexels. It was the perfect fit for this post.

  • faith in action,  meditation,  weekly prayers

    Airport Prayers

    630FE167-34BA-4B68-8B40-E47646718F28

    Yesterday was a day of intercession and prayer. Some of you shared your hearts with me, and some of you just came to my heart as I spent time with Jesus. I prayed for you on my morning run as the sun came up over the lake. I sat in a quiet chapel in an airport full of motion to still my heart and speak your names softly. I lifted you up during my day of travel, on my flights back home. And in page after page of my journal, I wrote out prayers for you.

    //

    I prayed for you to know the God of mercy and grace, rather than one of judgment and condemnation. I prayed for you, the one carrying far too many burdens, to feel the freedom to release them at His feet. I prayed for you who are aching in body and spirit- for relief and healing, but also for you to experience the closeness of a tender Savior who understands suffering. He is right there with you in this as you wait for healing to come. For you who are beaten down and battle weary, I prayed for sustenance. One day at a time, one moment at a time, to trust Him to guide you forward and to give you what you need. I prayed for Truth to be with you today instead of the lies of your past and the insecurities of the present. I prayed for you who are waiting, for a time of stillness and intent listening as you wait for wisdom and His lead.

    //

    For both of us, I prayed that this season would be one of standing on the Rock. That on the hard days, we would not be shaken or moved because we stand firm with the Creator and Counselor who holds it all in His mighty hands. He will not let our feet slip. He will never leave us. He is right here. We are not alone.

  • control,  intentional living,  mental health,  weekly prayers

    Manna and Morsels

    I had coffee with a friend, and we talked about the times of life where everything feels overwhelming and complex.

    We looked over at her sweet baby, napping in the booth next to us. We sipped on hot coffee in paper cups and talked about the seasons of life where we can’t see the path forward. We talked about the fog and the paralyzation of depression. She and I both have encountered the darkness of depression and the crippling weight of anxiety, and we’ve known in those times that God is there. But He has also felt far away.

    On those hard days and in those dark seasons, getting out of that pit can seem like a daunting, long road. Even if others could show us a charted path towards healing and towards intimacy with Christ–even if there are steps or courses we could take–we likely feel like that is more than we can handle.

    I am one who likes a good plan. I like to know the 12 steps I can take to find peace, the 3 things I can do today to feel less anxious, the 10 Scriptures I can meditate on to remember that God is light in our dark times. But what if even those “simple steps” seem too daunting? Sometimes 12 steps are too far ahead of what I can see, and that particular long path seems overwhelming. And 10 Scriptures? How do I pick where to start? Thinking about the 3 things I can do TODAY reminds me of the 17 things on my to do list that I haven’t done yet, and all of it seems like more than what I have the energy to tackle.

    So we can start by asking for manna.

    MANNA

    In the Bible (Exodus 16), there is an incredible story about a group of people (the Israelites) who were delivered out of slavery in Egypt by a man named Moses. As Moses and another leader named Aaron led the Israelites out of Egypt, they entered into a wilderness, where there was nothing to eat. The people complained to Moses and Aaron that they were going to die of hunger.

    God spoke to Moses and told them that He would take care of the hungry people.

    “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” (Exodus 16:4-6)

    The bread from heaven was called manna. God made these daily provisions for the people, even with meat (quail) in the evenings. Moses said that through these provisions,

    “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because He has heard your grumbling against the Lord.” (verses 6-7)

    When they went out to collect their bread for the first time, like flakes fine as frost on the ground, they asked what it was. Moses reminded them “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” He repeated the commandments of how they were to gather it, ensuring that each person would have plenty to eat– “enough for their fill that day.” And He warned them not to leave any of it over til the morning.

    BUT if the people feared that God would take care of them again the next day, and tried to gather more than their daily portion? The warnings were that the leftovers would either melt with the heat of the sun, breed worms, or smell.

    And yet… what happened?

    “But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it til the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.” (verses 20-21)

    God had to re-remind them that they were to just take enough for one day at a time. Their lack of trust in Him required repetition- that He would provide, and then God showing again and again that He would in fact do it.

    The people ate the manna for forty years, until they came to a new land.

    Every day for forty years (that’s roughly 14,600 days), there was manna.

    MORSELS

    How often do I get ahead of myself and try to figure out the next steps on my own? How many times have I been in seasons of waiting when I begged (demanded) that God show me the whole path ahead? How frequently have I stressed about provision, with crippling fear that He won’t take care of me? How many days have I woken up and thought about everything I needed to do that day, without a thought of prayer or consulting with God to lead the way? I cannot tell you how many journals of mine are filled with confessions of not trusting God to lead the way and trying to take control back into my own hands.

    Sitting with my friend, I was reminded that there are some seasons where we are just called to simply rest. In the daily act of surrender to Him, we get to stop wrestling and just ask HIM to be our fill. When we let Him show us one step at a time, one day at a time, He is faithful to give us a way forward. Sometimes they are baby steps- tiny morsels. But as my friend shared, morsels can be savored. With gratitude for the flavor that comes with each small bite, we can remember that He carries us through the wilderness and is faithful in His provision and protection over us.

    There are some times where we don’t need to chase down complex systems or plans, but just go back to the basics:

    Just choosing one verse to pray all week long.

    Reading a psalm before bed. Just one.

    Stretching in the morning and thanking God for the morning light.

    Taking a walk and noticing the droplets of dew on the grass, or picking a few small flowers to carry in your hand.

    Sitting for a longer period of time than the busy schedule might seem to allow for coffee with a sweet friend.

    Making a homemade meal and thanking God for the ingredients, for the home in which to cook it, for the body that it nourishes.

    Asking Him to show us the next right thing and learning to be still and wait for HIS guidance.

    There are some days where we just have to ask for manna, and trust that God will bring it.

    And sweet friend? He will.

    A Prayer for Manna and Morsels

    Lord, we ask for a taste of a manna today. You tell us in Your word that Your mercies are new every morning. Will You show me a new mercy today? Help me to have eyes that are opened to see Your miracles- Your provision in the daily needs that get me through this day; Your care and compassion for Your people, including me; Your sovereign knowledge of my life, that I can trust that You know the way and will guide me to walk in Your will, even when I can’t see the whole path forward. Forgive me for the times that I try to take control or look to other sources to be my guide. Lord, I open my hands to receive Your lavish love — help me to savor every morsel that You give me today.

     

     

    *Special thanks to Simon Wilkes and Isaac Mehegan who provided the images to accompany this post (via unsplash).

  • depression,  faith,  rest,  weekly prayers

    Weekly Prayers: It Is Well

     

    Have you ever sang the song “It Is Well With My Soul” when your soul did not feel well?
     
    On the days that that phrase rings true, we can say it as a declaration with peaceful truth and confidence– Yes! Amen! It IS well.
     
    But here’s the thing… most days, inner peace is not something that comes easily for me. In fact, I am currently in the midst of wrestling my good old frenemy Seasonal Depression. Yuck.
     
    There are days when it’s super hard to motivate myself to pick up my Bible because I’d much rather wallow in negativity. When I do NOT want to cook for myself and instead want to eat chips and salsa and chocolate chips for dinner. When I want to isolate and binge-watch Netflix instead of being real with friends about my place of need. This week alone, I have done a little bit of both. I’ve wallowed in darkness/negativity AND made myself read my Bible to seek out light. I’ve indulged in the snack junk food dinner, and also made some intentional, healthy meals. I’ve engaged in the Netflix marathoning, but also reached out to my support system to say “I am hurting.”
     
    As much as SOME of this is in my control, depression is a real thing. And I know that I cannot fight it without the Lord. In this season, I am learning to look at this prayer/proclamation differently.
     
    When I sit in unrest, when my heart is heavy, when I cannot move because my body is sad, “It Is Well” becomes a pleading prayer. God, please MAKE it well with my soul.
     
    The history of this song is pretty remarkable. A man who experienced deep, tragic loss, proclaimed that in the Lord, his soul was alright. I’d venture to say, it was more than alright. He found rest and hope in Jesus, and was even praising Him in the midst of darkness.
     
    Sometimes its too hard to sing or say “It Is Well” because we do not FEEL well. But if we fold our arms or refuse to sing it because it’s not true at that time, we are missing out on peace that can come JUST from praying it in genuine need. When we whisper in desperation that it WILL be well with our souls, He starts to bring a different kind of freedom from our trials. He may not remove the painful circumstances, but saying those words and clinging to Jesus opens us up to rest. To His peace. To HOPE. And I need hope right now, so I’m choosing to sing/pray my way through the darkness. 
     
    So, if life is straight up hard for you right now, can we pray this prayer together?
     
    Lord, let me declare that it is well with my soul, and trust that You will make it so.
     
    In my desperation, still my heart. When my wounds are loud, bring Your healing balm. When my world feels like it’s caving in, help me dwell on the Truth about who You are. I praise You, because You are faithful, You are Redeemer, You are steadfast.
     
    Thank You Lord. You know suffering well- You’ve watched us betray You for thousands of years, choose sin instead of light, reject You when You offer life. Your only Son endured suffering to death on our behalf, and You absorbed the full weight of our suffering already. 
     
    Help me remember the suffering of others, and to pour out Your love to them (I am not the only one hurting!).
     
    Help open my heart to receiving love from the people You’ve placed in my life (it’s okay to grieve, to ask for help).
     
    Help me to rejoice in the GOOD that I do see–and if I can’t see anything good right now? Help me to seek it out and start to see it with new eyes.
     
    Let me find my hope in You, and remind me that these temporary afflictions will bring an eternal weight of glory
     
    Be my rock when the waves crash around me. Be my strength when I am weak and disheartened. Anchor me. Lord, bring YOUR peace to this soul.
     
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

  • anxiety,  rest,  weekly prayers

    Weekly Prayers: In my unraveling, rest me

    My favorite part of the Bible is the Psalms– the gut-wrenching honesty, the beautiful images, the hope even in the midst of the psalmist’s questions and pain. Recently I was introduced to a Puritan Prayer book, and I was inspired to write out a collection of my prayers for you here on a weekly basis. Some of these are utterances I’ve poured out into journals before, and some may have been laid on my heart just for you. If you need more specific prayer, please let me know here.

    Lord, sometimes I am a mess. I am unraveled, I am anxious, I am lost. I feel overwhelmed by the pieces- sometimes tangled up, sometimes scattered everywhere- and I scramble to put everything back together.

    Lord, be my rest. Help me to sit with the pieces. Show me how to let You lead. I don’t want to rush to hodgepodge it back together, as I know that my solution will surely be confused, jumbled, and not the quality you desire for me.

    Will You slow my mind?

    steady my heart?

    help still me?

    Lord, one step at a time, one piece at a time, guide me. Show me the next right thing. Help me to put one foot in front of the other.

    Help me to truly be okay with the painstakingly slow pace that may be required, like that of a young child learning to stumble and hobble along. Help me take those first steps, full of focus, energy, balance, and trust, instead of running ahead of You.

    Cast out the fear I have of the unknowns ahead. Help me to trust that Your plan is good.

    You tell me to “be still,” so I will be faithful in that today.

    And tomorrow? Please help me again to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that YOU are God, You are sovereign, You are my refuge, You are powerful, You are peacemaker, You are strong when I am weak,

    You are making all things new.

    Verses to encourage you:

    PSALM 46
    God is our refuge and strength,
    A very present help in trouble.
    Therefore we will not fear,
    Even though the earth be removed,
    And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
    Though its waters roar and be troubled,
    Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

    There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
    The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
    God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
    God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
    The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
    He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

    The Lord of hosts is with us;
    The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

    Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    Who has made desolations in the earth.
    He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
    He burns the chariot in the fire.

    Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!

    The Lord of hosts is with us;
    The God of Jacob is our refuge.