Guest Post- 5 Bible Verses When You Feel Stressed
July 31, 2017
A few weeks ago, Marcus from Psysci.co, reached out to me and asked if he would be able to share some encouragement on emilyrosemassey.com for my readers, especially regarding his expertise in psychology. He decided to write a blog about 5 Bible verses when you are feeling stressed out. Please welcome Marcus!
Whether you consider yourself to be religious or not, Bible verses hold basic humanistic truths that apply to various situations. The following Bible verses are especially comforting in times of stress and remind us that being anxious and worrying about things will do nothing to put you in a better state mentally, physically or spiritually.
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7, ESV]
This verse is a constant reminder that the peace of God is freely accessible to everyone and can be so easily obtained through a simple prayer devoting your worries to God. To let your requests be made known to God through thanksgiving is a way to humble yourself and realize that God is bigger than any stressful situation that you might be going through. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise to help you reflect on the things in your life for which you are thankful.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” [Psalm 55:22, ESV]
By casting your burden on the Lord, you are transferring anxiety, stress and worry from the shoulders of a mere mortal to the hand of God that can hold an infinite amount of burdens without beckoning under the weight.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” [Psalm 34:17-19, ESV]
The righteous are afflicted – this notion is not uncommon to the world in which we live. In fact, it forms the basis of every good versus evil battle that is represented in the movies we watch, the books we read, the conversations we have and even the relationships we form with those around us. Heartbreak, affliction, sadness, hurt and other stress-inducing emotions are impartial in the sense that everyone will experience these at some point throughout their lives. This Bible verse offers a glimmer of hope and the promise of the ultimate hero to save us when we are in distress, all through God’s great grace and mercy.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV]
Often, a state of distress and worry will urge an unhealthy desire to intervene in situations out of our own strength with disastrous results. Patience is a virtue for a reason and by devoting time to praying and hearing God’s voice and His desire for you to be peaceful and achieve success in whatever you do, you are sure to be renewed in spirit. God’s divine intervention is on His perfect timing, not yours – distract yourself from stress by doing exercise, meditating or doing something that you enjoy and trust that God will bring you a new sense of calm.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” [Matthew 6:34, ESV]
This last Bible verse speaks directly to the crux of stressful situations. There will always be something to worry about but by worrying, you are not adding a single moment to your life – in fact, you’re doing the opposite! The articles found here, here and here detail the effects of stress and worry on both your physical and mental states of health. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid reaching a point of breakdown and take time in your day to address the problems that continually cause stress and anxiety. Be confident in your ability to overcome and remind yourself of these inspiring Bible verses whenever you are stressed.
About the Author: Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
Red Nose Day: An Opportunity to Lend to the Lord
May 23, 2017
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,
And He will repay him for his [l]good deed (Proverbs 19:17, NASB).
Like I talked about in my last post, Red Nose Day is quickly approaching! This campaign is such a great opportunity as believers to support a cause that is so near to the Lord’s heart, as we find in Proverbs 19, being gracious and lending a hand to the poor and needy, not for our name’s sake but for His.
The organization behind Red Nose Day is Comic Relief Inc. Although Comic Relief is not a faith-based organization, plenty of faith-based and Christian organizations are partnering with them, longing to do their part to see child poverty erased. Comic Relief’s strategy to make this goal a reality is to provide grants to organizations that keep children healthy, safe and educated in the USA and around the world such as Save the Children, Boys & Girls Club, and Children’s Health Fund.
I had the privilege of chatting with Comic Relief’s Vice President of Grants and Philanthropy in the United States, Rick Scott, last week. I was able to hear a little more about his journey with the organization, which started in the UK over 20 years ago, and his mission to see Red Nose Day expand in the US.
Since Red Nose Day launched in the US in 2015, they have seen growth in the involvement and awareness by at least 60%. In Comic Relief Inc.’s first two years in the United States, they have raised over $60 million. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the UK in 1988! I love seeing that kind of money put to a great cause such as helping children!
Between the funds of the red noses that you can purchase at Walgreens or Duane Reade and the donations and grants of organizations, Comic Relief is seeing more and more people, both regular Joe’s and major influential people such as Bill Gates, join the cause behind Red Nose Day.
One of the reasons I believe Comic Relief’s clever idea behind Red Nose Day is catching momentum around the world is the mere fact that comedy is a universal language. Everyone smiles and laughs, no matter what age you are, what part of the world you are from, or how much money you have in your pocket.
“When you put on a red nose, you get a reaction (a laugh) and people want to know more,” Scott said.
You put on this red nose, the walls come down, and we can now start a conversation about the heartbeat behind “the nose,” helping children trapped in poverty.
And since we are all created in the image of God, I don’t think many can escape the great tug on your heart when you see someone in need, especially a child.
So will you join me in bringing awareness- whether that is promoting this great organization so that those who are able to give, find the perfect place for their money, or if you don’t have thousands of dollars at your disposal that you are able to donate, consider at least buying a red nose at your local Walgreens or Duaine Reade?
Consider it a loan to the Lord. It will not go unnoticed to Him.
And most importantly, don’t forget to tune in on Thursday May 25 at 8/7c for a night of Red Nose Day — only on NBC.
From Brokenness to Restoration
April 21, 2017
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 NKJV).
The work God has done in my heart can definitely be described as one big (de)construction project- from tearing down walls that were erected from what I experienced as a child to restoring the brokenness created by my six year prodigal journey running away from the Father.
And as long as I am breathing in oxygen on this fallen planet, this heart of mine is a total work in progress.
In the process, the Lord has built patience in me- that in and of itself is a total miracle for this sometimes stubborn and driven personality of mine.
I believe God can change us in an instant, but chooses the longer, sometimes grueling and painful road, because it requires us to trust Him in the waiting and allows our history with Him to deepen in such a beautiful way.
I have talked quite a bit about “seasons of soul” on my blog because it amazes me to see how the Lord proves Himself faithful in the valleys and the mountain-top experiences of life. Instead of focusing on the crashing waves that may try to overwhelm us, when we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, we trust that He won’t allow us to sink and won’t leave us alone in our storm. The same is true when everything is butterflies and rainbows. He’s still the same Jesus standing by our side: rejoicing with us, mourning with us, and cheering us on as we run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).
Shortly after I gave birth to my son in the Fall of 2014, it seemed as if the Lord was whispering to my heart that I would be entering a “season of restoration.” This was a glorious promise because there had been numerous occurrences in my life where the enemy had stolen more than enough from me and my family. In the midst of this promise of restoration, I had no idea that I would experience one of the darkest “night of the soul” seasons in my entire life that would last for well over two years.
I experienced both natural depression and spiritual depression at the same time and because I was isolated as a new stay-at-home mom, it felt even darker for me. I can tell you that I held onto that promise of restoration with each passing day, but some days were just plain hard to keep hanging on, if I can be honest. I’m thankful to Jesus for standing by my side, as well as my husband Paul, who was so faithful through it all. There also have been friends who have been such a breath of fresh air of God’s grace to me, sharing words of encouragement and love that helped me face the day and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Their prayers were so evident in my life!
And here I am today, knowing that my dark night of the soul season has lifted. Knowing that God has been bringing my brokenness to full restoration and I’m living in that promise now!
The joy I am experiencing is overwhelming! The peace I continue to rest in surpasses anything the world can offer.
I share this with you to let you know God sees you. He knows the pain is very real. And He’s with you in the midst of your storm. Your trial has a shelf-life….even if it may be years, and even if you don’t experience relief until you see Jesus face to face, as hard as it is to say that. The Lord is forever faithful and will never leave you. Hold onto hope! Hold onto your faith in the Father! He is working behind the scenes and is faithful to complete this work that He has started in you, just like the Word promises us.
So, where have I been lately?
November 8, 2016
I know. What a great question, right?
I haven’t let so much time pass in between blog posts in years. I’m not a huge fan of seeing just one post written per month, but honestly, there really isn’t much I am able to do about that right now, in the current season I am in.
As I look through my blog posts over the last two years, especially after becoming a (stay-at-home) mom, I found myself saying “I haven’t had much mental clarity or energy” to actually get words out.
I thought that would be a hurdle I would eventually get over once my son wasn’t a newborn anymore, or when he started sleeping through the night (which is STILL an issue on and off, month after month) , or when I was finished nursing, or maybe when he was able to walk and didn’t have to be carried everywhere, or…
…well, what I found was that my “hurdles list” started to never end as my son got older.
Ad he just so happened to have turned two years old a few weeks ago on October 11th.
So, here I am, two years into this “mom-thing,” and I have come to a conclusion regarding this whole lack-of-mental-clarity-and-energy-thing:
Being a mom is hard.
I know there might be young moms out there whose child(ren) sleep(s) so well all the time, lays down for naps like clock-work without a struggle or wrestling match, do(es) not attempt to climb every piece of furniture in the entire house or knock lamps over repeatedly for sport or pull the flat screen TV down onto the floor multiple times even after getting hurt or dismantle every picture frame on shelves that you didn’t think they could reach yet or throw their entire body weight into the baby gate to craftily escape, enoy(s) car rides or trips to the grocery store and do(es) not mind one bit being buckled in a car-seat or a cart or even conveniently bundled up close to your chest in a baby carrier so you can be hands-free and perhaps be somewhat productive for a couple hours, and may even sit still and calmly while you have coffee or lunch with a friend just to indulge in a little adult conversation and take a break from listening to Baby Einstein, Barney, or Toy Story for the Ten ba-jillionith time.
If you cannot tell, my child LOVES doing or not doing all of those things and quite consistently, might I add.
I, of course, say all of that in fun, but in all honesty, my son is such an intensely strong-willed and energetic boy. I know I am utterly blessed to have such a healthy, strong, and smart little boy in my life, who is honestly such a sweetheart and loves his mama something fierce, but this mama gets tired some days…
…well, most days.
And for the last two months, I have also added a part-time job to the mix in the evenings and weekends, so I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself for not staying on top of my blogging game.
With all of that said, I have noticed how much I have needed an outlet to express myself and perhaps externally process the stress and tension created from all of this constant demand for mental and physical stamina.
This constant go, go, go and lack of uninterrupted sleep for two years straight has had an effect on my health, and I now have to pay close attention to what I am fueling my body with to make sure I am getting the proper nutrients for these taxing days. I’m very thankful for the revelation about the importance of my health and fitness and for the wisdom God has given me to learn how to take care of my body and soul, and most importantly, my spirit.
I am also grateful that I’m definitely not where I used to be regarding my health and fitness, but it is an ongoing journey that has become a lifestyle that I plan on continuing for the rest of my days here on earth. He created us body, soul, and spirit and all of us matters to Him.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it was not for the grace of God I don’t think I would be able to manage the overwhelming amount of stress that I encounter on a day to day basis.
Seriously, I don’t know what people do without Jesus.
That is Who I choose to lean on when the days get long and the road gets rough, and that will never change.
And that’s where I have been and where I am at right now.
I need Jesus. Every hour I need Jesus.
Father, I take this moment to lift up those super-mommas out there who, like me, are feeling a bit overwhelmed. I pray that they can sense Your nearness, that Your peace would surround them, and that Your all-sufficient grace will carry them through each demanding day ahead. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.
What I have learned in the last 30 days
October 12, 2016
Well, it’s been exactly one month since I last sat down to write a blog post.
Needless to say, I’ve had other tasks on my list to accomplish that demanded my attention, along with some new adventures during the day, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the time.
I also started a new season back into the marketplace in the evenings and weekends exactly one month ago . Although there are a lot of similarities to my previous job experience in medical customer service, this new job in retail customer service has strengthened and encouraged my inner man in ways that I didn’t know how desperately I needed.
With that said, I have come to the conclusion that no matter where you go, there are mean, unhappy people everywhere.
You want to know why?
Because they are unaware of what they can have in Jesus.
I can make a statement like that because I have experienced such a deep change in my soul since I was last placed in a similar position consistently encountering hurt folks who are just so empty.
“You can’t give away what you don’t have,” I have found myself saying a lot lately. Instead of getting offended at how a customer may treat me, I have chosen to hand them the fruit (of the Spirit) that they need in that moment.
A lot of them need God’s kindness and love. Patience as well as peace are both two major fruit that people are just so hungry for.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25, NKJV).
I know that I am a carrier of the fruit of the Spirit because I am a believer, but I had no idea how much the Lord has blessed me with to give away and how my soul has not been very shaken up by rude attitudes. Honestly, I haven’t even encountered that many mean customers. It’s almost like the minute they step up to the customer service desk, they are greeted with a giant basket of the fruit of the Spirit to partake of freely before they even have time to make a fuss or allow their attitude to surface! Ha!
Because I am rooted and abiding in the Vine (Jesus), I can receive more of His grace as the nourishment I need to continue to produce and mature more fruit. I have thoroughly enjoyed this new assignment from the Lord and have been encouraged to discover that many of my superiors and co-workers have frequently made mention of what a fantastic job I am doing in customer service, especially the way that I interact with the customers. When I was offered the position, I was told that the company typically doesn’t allow someone to begin as a customer service associate. Then the store manager added, “But I just believe you will be perfect in that role and we would love to have you!”
I tell you all of this, not to brag on how awesome I am, but how absolutely awesome God is!
Without the Holy Spirit, I know I would be prone to anxiety and stress, hardness of heart, and I would also be so easily offended.
With His help, I am able to not only be a light for Jesus but a carrier of His presence, revealing the evidence of so many of His attributes found in the fruit of the Spirit!
People of God, we have to make sure we are abiding in the Vine so that we can bear lasting fruit for the Kingdom! So many people need to taste and see that the Lord is good and through you, they will be able to do that!
Will you have anything for them to eat?
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another (John 15: 16-17, NKJV).
The Treasures of Being In Christ
August 2, 2016
Last night, it was my turn to lead a Bible study here in St. Louis at a women’s home that is affiliated with the ministry, Teen Challenge. The home offers a free Christ-centered program for women, regardless of age, to experience inner healing and restoration from addictions and bondage of all kinds.
It truly has been an honor leading these Bible studies for the past 10 months. Each time I go to teach, there are typically new faces who I have never met before so I believe the word God places on my heart is very special to who will be in the room.
Yesterday, I struggled with preparing my message because I usually find myself sharing topics that I have already conquered somehow, and I couldn’t seem to get away from the topic of identity in Christ. I told the ladies that this was an area that I’m still discovering how to walk out and that our time would be searching the scriptures together.
“I don’t have it all figured out, guys.” I told them.
The phrase “in Christ” is found in the Bible hundreds of times, but I have never really stopped to actually study what that phrase means in every promise of God’s Word. Last night, we were able to find 14 verses that offered us so much hope and expectation for the treasures that are ours if we merely put our faith and trust in Jesus, thus positioning us in Christ.
- new life (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- eternal life ( Romans 6:23)
- grace (2 Timothy 1:9)
- forgiveness and redemption of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
- right to be a child of God (Galatians 3:26)
- chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4)
- righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- peace of God (Philippians 4:7)
- inseparable love of God (Romans 8:38–39)
- resurrection life ( 1 Corinthians 15:22)
- positioned in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
- all promises of God are yes and amen for us (2 Corinthians 1:20)
- sanctified and made holy ( 1 Corinthians 1:2)
- all our needs met (Philippians 4:19)
I emphasized, almost after every point, that we cannot work for these promises. Being in Christ is solely a gift from God because of the finished work of the Cross. Thank You, Jesus! Honestly, in Christ, is all we need to be and when we are positioned in Him, it is all who God sees us as. When we embrace Jesus, the Father embraces us. From this place of understanding my position in Christ, I am able to receive the strength to preach the gospel and do good works for the Kingdom. But I cannot rush into those works before being completely solid on the foundational truth that my feet are firmly planted in Christ Jesus, my Rock.
On the way home, I tried not to judge my lesson on their responses or my own perception on how I think I did. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me “You made much of Christ” and I realized that’s all I ever want to do in this life.
“The world defines who we are by what we do, but the Word centers on who we are in Christ and tells us to express that new identity in what we do. Being and doing are clearly interrelated, but the biblical order is critical: what we do should flow out of who we are, not the other way around.” -Dr. Kenneth Boa
July 13, 2016
I have been sleep deprived for well over a month. Yes, I have been existing as a “Mombie.”
Mombie= sleep-deprived super-mom who is exists on coffee and a whole lotta grace (my definition)
My son, who turns two years old in October, has been waking up almost every single night for five, going on six, full weeks straight. This has been more difficult on my body than when he was a newborn.
Because of the lack of sleep, my mental clarity has been totally whacked out, and I have not truly felt like myself in awhile.
I often feel like when I am not able to fully let my creativity to flow, that I’m just going through the motions of life, living to just see another day. It is hard for me not to feel like I’m not being very productive or useful.
And like I described in my last post, I have been trying to rest in my position as a daughter of the King alone and not feel as if I have to constantly accomplish something, either for myself or God.
Finding this rest and staying there without fighting it has been one of the hardest lessons I have ever tried to receive and live out.
I’m a do-er by nature, like I explain a lot, and when I desire to use my gifts to glorify God and there are roadblocks, I just feel plain stuck! It has been so hard for me to remain in faith that God has not forgotten about me and that this season won’t last forever. I’m not saying I want this season to be over because I love being a mom, but while I’m here, I just don’t want to lose hope that the dreams God has given me will come to pass!
That being said, I have come to realize that often when I try to step out and begin to strive for those dreams, I immediately get exhausted and stressed out. I can tell when I am trying to achieve these goals and dreams in my own and ability and strength. I have spent a majority of my life striving and that is why I believe God is asking me to rest.
Let me be clear, this is not a license to be lazy. If the Lord asks me to do my part, I definitely put my foot forward and head out after whatever He’s called me to do. But there comes a point in time where He is wanting to prove how big He is to me by divinely connecting me to the right people or positioning me precisely where I am supposed to be to see these dreams come to pass.
This takes a lot of trust. This takes waiting on the Lord and seeking Him continually. This takes faith!
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 HCSB).
So here I am, once again, re-evaluating what needs to stay and what needs to go in my life. If there are a lot of things that are distracting me and causing me to want to get out ahead of God and “make things happen,” then I honestly cannot be a part of it or I need to learn how to take a back-seat and allow God to move in the midst of it all.
I definitely do feel like I’m still on the Potter’s wheel as He molds me and shapes me into His vessel of honor. This time, instead of God chiseling away all the areas of sin, past wounds, and lust in my heart, He has been removing false ideas and images of who God is to me and what it means to trust Him.
This is such a deep work, my friends. The foundation of my faith has been in the process rebuilding in a way. Not that I ever stopped believing and trusting in Christ or stopped standing on Him as my Rock and firm foundation, but I believe God is revealing Himself to me in a way I have never seen before or fully understood, not that I will ever FULLY understand or comprehend the vastness and greatness of God.
I believe the Lord wants to show me how my faith in Him can move mountains; not thinking that I am capable of moving them at all in and of myself, but that when I say that my God can move this mountain, this obstacle, this roadblock, I believe and trust that He will do it because He is able! I speak it out loud because I’m asking Him and believing that if it is His will, it shall be done!
If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14 NKJV).
My faith must not be simply found in faith like it is some force or power to see what I’m believing for come to pass, but my faith must only be found in Jesus Christ alone!
I have to trust Him at His word and believe He hears me when I pray and ask Him to guide me when it is my turn for action or when it is time for me to wait to see what He is going to do next.
I’m grateful for your prayers during this season of rest and I’m grateful that many of you continue to support me. THANK YOU!
God Can Use Empty Cups: Part 2
May 13, 2016
Click to read: “God can use empty cups: Part 1”
I found out very quickly last Saturday that you can indeed pour yourself out even when you don’t feel like you have much to give.
God took full advantage of the fact that I was asked to sing “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera with my cousin at my grandpa’s funeral. Phantom of the Opera was one of his favorites and my grandpa loved going to hear his grand-daughters sing when we were both involved in musical theater. I just thought I was going to (try to) perform this song (without crying uncontrollably) and quietly sit back down in my seat, but God had other plans.
The night before the funeral service, I rehearsed with my cousin and tried my best to get some sleep, knowing that the next day was going to be a very heavy and emotionally draining one for me and my whole family.
I wrestled on and off trying to fall asleep because I wasn’t sure how I was going to introduce myself and the song and try to make it all sound somewhat uplifting, since the song is VERY VERY DEPRESSING. Absolutely beautiful, but nonetheless, depressing.
Playing out in my head different scenarios, I mentally wrote out my script, but trusted that God would give me the words. Then He told me that He wanted me to say more than just an introduction to the song and why we were singing it.
He wanted me to share my faith and speak His truth about eternity. In front of MY WHOLE FAMILY, many of who are not believers nor have a relationship with Christ at all….yet. 🙂
Immediately, I thought of all of the reasons that I was not equipped to do such a thing:
I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. I’ve pressed the “Catch Me Up” button on my “Digging Deeper Daily” one year Bible plan so many times, I’m about 7 months behind on where my original end date was. My prayer life consists of “Help me, Jesus” and just praying I can stay awake. And YOU want to use ME? To be Your vessel? Right now? Like tomorrow? Or better yet, several HOURS from now???
But one thing I do know about the Lord is that He does not call the qualified. Even in seasons of dryness and weakness, He qualifies the called.
And I know that I’m not only called, but chosen.
So this little chosen solider in the army of the Lord said, “yes sir.” Then I prayed a very familiar prayer:
Empty me of myself. Fill me up with You. I want to be Your vessel. I want to over-flow with You.
Then I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, trusting that God would fill my mouth with His words.
And He did.
I can’t remember much of what I said, which usually happens when you become a mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit to speak through, but I can say that I poured out every bit of what God poured into me. Not just in that moment, but everything He poured into me in all the years of time spent alone with Him in His Presence. I’m so utterly grateful for the history that I have been able to form with the Lord, especially these last eight years.
I’m also EXTREMELY grateful that God would use this season in my life, a season where I don’t feel like I have much to give based upon my merit or Christian duties of prayer and Bible study, to allow me to share with my family (and extended friends and family who were in attendance that day) about one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given- eternal salvation through the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Proving that I will never be good enough in my own ability or strength. No, when I am weak, He is so very strong. And His grace is ever sufficient.
Through many tears and a shaky voice, I ended the song in prayer:
Boldly praying and thanking God for my grandpa’s life and all who he touched during his blessed 89 years here on this earth, thanking Him for the opportunity to share the gospel with my grandpa a few years ago where I was able to lead him to Jesus before he took his last breath and met the King of Glory face to face, and then praying for those under the sound of my voice to believe and trust in Jesus Christ and not wait another moment.
Then I opened my tear-filled eyes, slowly walked back to my seat, and sobbed. Many probably thought that I was crying so hard because we had to say our final good-byes to my grandpa (and yes, that was definitely heavy on my heart), but the tears were coming from a place of deep, deep joy and gratitude because God is so incredibly faithful.
He fulfilled a constant prayer of mine in an instant.
That is, I would be able to share with my family how much I love Jesus and how much He loves them, how much He has changed my entire life from the inside out because of His amazing love and forgiveness, and how they can spend eternity in heaven with this beautifully, merciful Savior too.
I thought this was all going to happen at a small, family gathering during the holidays, but God completely blew me away during the most unlikely of circumstances- turning ashes into beauty as He always does.
He used me as an empty cup that day. Emptied completely of myself and my own abilities or strength and filled me up with so much of His love and His Holy Spirit.
My cup now runneth over.
Love and miss you so much, grandpa. I can’t wait to see you again. Soon and very soon. XOXO
God Can Use Empty Cups: Part 1
May 11, 2016
This summer marks eight years that I came back to the Lord after being a prodigal daughter for many years, believing in God, but living as if He didn’t exist.
In the course of those eight years, I have grown so much in my spiritual walk that it’s sometimes hard to remember myself before that divine encounter with God on 4th of July weekend in 2008.
As time has gone by, I’ve learned to recognize the ebb and flow of what a journey with the Lord looks like. In the natural, God created Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall and I believe, if we pay attention to what God is doing in and around us closely enough, we will be able to discover what spiritual season we may be in.
In fact, I believe it is important to be attentive to what our current season in life is because I think God has specific directions depending on the demands that particular season brings or what is ahead for us when it’s time for transition.
I also believe we need to get honest with ourselves, honest with God, and honest with each other when things aren’t going so great.Not every season in life is going to be refreshing April showers, May flowers, or Harvest Time! Click To Tweet
For instance, what do you do when you you find yourself spiritually dry or weak? In a barren, winter season?
Admitting weakness has never been my strong-suit, but it always seems to be a lesson God brings me back to time and time again.
One of these days, I’m hoping to pass that test so I never have to take it again, but I don’t think I will as long as I’m in this earth-suit!
I believe that’s one of the main reason Paul tells us that he chooses to “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31) and to take off our “old self” and put on the “new self.”
assuming that you have heard about him [Jesus] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:21b-24, ESV).
I believe while we are here on this earth, we must choose to do that every single day.
…sometimes our flesh gets in the way and our spirit man wrestles with those old stinkin’ desires!
And sometimes that wrestling match turns into an all-out brawl and fight to the death!
Days can quickly turn into weeks. Weeks can quickly turn into months. And months can quite possibly turn into years, if we tap out let our own flesh be declared champion over us.
I must have been in denial this time around because I’ve hard-core wrestled with my flesh since my son was born, which was 19 months ago today to be exact.
Learning the ropes as a new mom who battled postpartum depression and anxiety for almost a year and who also very quickly became a stand-in mom to another little boy over this last year, I can say that I have thrown some good punches as I have tried to figure out how to walk with the Lord in motherhood. I have felt God’s grace carry me through this season more than ever before, but today, I’m choosing to be honest.
I’m dry. I’m feeling a little like I’ve been running on empty for awhile. I really hate that I am, but I am.
I’ve allowed loneliness in the midst of chaos and stress to quiet my voice to my Father. Not to say that I wasn’t able to hear His voice or sense His Presence or that I haven’t made great strides in my faith or put forth any effort into nurturing my relationship with the Lord, it seemed that every time I took a few steps forward, something would come along and knock the wind out of my sails and I was right back at square one.
Time management has been very difficult for me: between mom duties, housewife duties, babysitting duties, trying to pursue a potential career as a writer/author/blogger, and then discovering a new fiery passion for health & wellness- too. many. articles. Can’t. stop. researching.
Not to mention, the fact that we sold our house that we hadn’t owned for even two years, moved into an apartment closer to our church home, then left said church home, tried to find our new church home, lost countless friendships, our second car crapped out on us completely, and now trying to form new friendships all while my hubs works 60 plus hours a week so we can get out of debt, I’m stuck at home with no car when I desperately long for conversation so I get sucked into making pseudo-friendships online, and have stress up to my eyeballs from playing referee with two active toddler boys, which had been affecting my health all along but I chose to ignore it and dive into working out and losing weight instead (I’m on the uphill, but there are still some chronic symptoms regarding my oral health and sleeping patterns that are lingering around).
And then my grandpa passes away.
And then I can’t fall asleep the night before the funeral because God tells me that He wants me to share my faith and the truth of the gospel with my (mostly all Catholic and/or unsaved) family. The ENTIRE family. Plus distant friends and family who I have never met before in my life.
What? God, I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. I’ve pressed the “Catch Me Up” button on my “Digging Deeper Daily” one year Bible plan so many times, I’m about 7 months behind on where my original end date was. My prayer life consists of “Help me, Jesus” and just praying I can stay awake. And YOU want to use ME? To be your vessel? Right now?
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Or can you?
Click to continue reading Part 2