How Powerful Prayer Conquered My Panic Attacks- Post on ibelieve.com/crosswalk.com
June 15, 2015
Anxiety seems to plague many Christians lives. I wrestled with anxiety/panic attacks for many years and allowed it to become a part of my life until I realized that Jesus died on the cross so that I could be free from all sickness, including mental sickness! The enemy always tries the same ol’ tricks and the other night recently, fear tried to grip my heart in a very familiar way. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for ibelieve.com about anxiety and overcoming it with prayer!
As I wrestled to get my teething son to calm down and fall asleep the other night, it seemed like everything that was weighing heavy on my mind hit me all at once, and I collapsed on the floor in his room and started hyperventilating. I got extremely dizzy and felt like I was losing complete control of my body.
None of this was unfamiliar. I knew what this was because it had happened to me countless time before, even though it had been a long time.
Can’t catch my breath.
Can’t stop shaking.
Help me, Jesus.
I was having a panic attack.
My husband, who was barely able to walk or talk because of a severe migraine and muscle aches, rushed in to our son’s nursery.
“Look at me, Emily,” he said with compassion in his eyes.
“Just breathe. Stay calm. You’re okay.”
I felt trapped in my own body, while my mind was trying its best to calm down.
“Help me, Jesus,” I continued to pray over and over again, but the crying and the shaking just increased.
My husband was holding our son in one arm and with the other he placed his hand on top of my head and began to pray over me and declare the name of Jesus. I immediately felt the power of God overwhelm me and I fell to my knees.
I wept and whispered, “I love You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.” Then, suddenly, great peace surrounded me.
Read more over at ibelieve.com! Also, on crosswalk.com!
Max Lucado’s Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer- A Review
January 6, 2015
A book on prayer?
Wait, do I really need to read another book on prayer?
A resounding YES!
And not just any book on prayer, but Max Lucado’s newest book, Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer.
This book is a game changer in your spiritual arena. And as a bonus, it comes with a study guide to further sharpen your warfare skills.
And if you are like me, you could always use a little more battle training.
Although I have been called a “prayer warrior” by friends on different occassions, I definitely have my days when I feel like I am a member of the “PWA: Prayer Wimps Anoynonous,” as Mr. Lucado so humerously describes it at the beginning of Before Amen (pg 1).
Instead of over-analyzing and over-complicating prayer, Mr. Lucado guides the reader through a very simple prayer that he calls the “Pocket Prayer” (aptly highlighted as the titles of each chapter) by using the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus so graciously laid out for us in the sixth chapter of Matthew in the Bible as the template.
By sharing countless examples from personal testimonies from Max’s own life and others who he has met or heard their stories of the miraculous power of prayer, each chapter then discusses in wonderful detail how that mini prayer can unfold during your time simply talking to God, and not just rushing through a time slot somewhere in your busy schedule, but throughout your entire day.
These awesome testimonies of answered prayer found in this book shine a spot-light on God’s faithfulness and goodness and help stir your faith and increase your understanding.
But more than that, for me, it shined a light on areas of my prayer life that seemed to lack faith and understanding.
A very quick read, it didn’t take long for my eyes to be opened to the reality that I could still need some help in my revelation of who I was talking to throughout the day.
I have to admit because of a challenging and wounded relationship with my earthly father who was emotionally distant, praying to God, my Heavenly Father, only wounded my idea of God even more, and for many years I tried to understand how the Creator of the Universe loved me, much less cared about my life.
Needless to say, Mr. Lucado helped re-dress that healing wound in my heart in the chapter titled “Father…Daddy.”
Max unashamedly declares on page 19, “If prayer depends on how I pray, I’m sunk. But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope.”
Is God a daddy to me? Do I see Him as MY Daddy?
Before Amen strengthened my answer to those questions and helped me see God even clearer as my Daddy who is always there for me no matter what and loves talking with me everyday.
I believe that is where many stumble, right out of the gate, when it comes to prayer.
If we can’t get past our pride or misunderstandings of the Father, and haphazardly aim our requests into the air just hoping and wishing someone hears them, we are missing out on it all.
Based on the statistics of the rise of divorce and broken homes, now more than ever, this generation desperately needs to know they have a daddy that loves them more than anyone else in their entire life and wants to spend time with them all day everyday!
Before Amen shouts that from the mountain-top and opened up my spiritual ears and heart to receive my Father’s overwhelming love. Knowing that I am loved by God, I long to dive even deeper into prayer as I grow in my understanding of what it means to worship the Lord, ask for my own needs and the needs of others to be met, experience forgiveness through the Blood of Jesus and learn to forgive, and walk out my whole day with a heart of thanksgiving of all that the Lord has done for me.
This book ignited a fire in my heart to once again seek out the passion and excitement of running into my Daddy’s lap and talking to Him about anything and everything, knowing that I don’t have to go through life alone.
I believe after reading this book, you will experience the same kind of fire in your prayer life as well. Definitely be sure to add it to your checklist for 2015!
Purchase Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer today, Family Christian‘s book of the year!
Destroying Mis-Identifications, Finding True Identity, and Understanding Purpose: Part 1
August 15, 2017
I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to write, to share something on my heart. I haven’t had that desire in awhile, and quite frankly, I haven’t had a lot of other desires besides eating and sleeping.
Growing a human will kind of do that to ya…
…oh yeah, I don’t think I officially announced that on my blog yet, have I?
Oh well, I will just blame that on pregnancy/mom brain! Trust me, it’s a VERY real thing!
Anyway back in April, before I got pregnant, I had a stirring within my spirit believing that the winds of change were blowing upon my circumstances and that God would be bringing restoration to many areas of my life and resurrecting joy within me. In fact, it seemed as if that season was already upon me, or at least I had hoped it was.
But somewhere between May and August, that hope seemed to fizzle and fade. Perhaps it was the unexpected struggles of mega morning sickness (that wasn’t just bound to morning, but morning, noon, and night and everywhere in between) that seemed to last FOOORRRRRRREEEEEEVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEERRRRR.
Yes, I’m pretty sure that has been my TKO (Total Knock Out- and now I am having flashbacks of playing Mortal Kombat on Playstation with my brother…hahaha) over these last few months. Since I didn’t really deal with the constant exhaustion, nausea, and vomiting with my last pregnancy, it was difficult to focus on much of anything else besides breathing, eating, and trying not to upchuck what I just ate. I was just praying that there would be an end in sight because I did not feel like myself whatsoever. Three months of feeling like junk definitely gave me a lot of more sympathy for those who suffer from chronic pain and illness. It’s definitely a challenge to hold onto your joy in the midst of issues in your body.
But thankfully the end has finally come; I have made it into the glorious second trimester and those miserable symptoms have faded! Hallelujah to the Lamb!
And although I have had my days here and there with the fun of raising a growing toddler (yay for potty-training and constipation!), I am beginning to gain more clarity and focus regarding what God has for me in this next season, especially the short time I have left before baby #2 comes and keeping another tiny human alive (and my sanity) becomes my central focus once again. 🙂
Okay, enough of the Emily-update and onto what I believe the Lord has put on my heart to share with you all today! Thanks to all of you who have stayed with me thus far! 😉
Since I have been sensing my season of rest coming to an end and hearing the Lord’s beckoning to come run with Him in ministry once again, I have been asking Him on and off these last few months for more clarity regarding my purpose and destiny. Now having finally grasped the fact that a huge part of my purpose on this earth has much to do with my role as a mom and raising my children in the admonition of the Lord, I also believe God has placed gifts within me that reach beyond just my very own family, although I completely understand that my family is my primary ministry, right after my marriage, of course.
Through dreams and times of prayer, God has been (slowly) unveiling more and more of my purpose to me.
One of the questions I have had though is “why does it feel like it has taken so long for me to have solid understanding of my purpose, Lord?”
I believe I got an answer to that this morning…
…I needed to understand my identity FIRST.
And like much of what God does in our hearts, understanding my identity has been a process- a process on the Great Potter’s wheel.
- Before I could even fully understand my identity and who I am in Christ, I had to first acknowledge my mis-identification and ask the Lord to help me dismantle it. When I wrote about this process back in December 2016, I finally admitted that I wasn’t sure who I was apart from doing, accomplishing, productivity, or even using my gifts for Him:
Although I would have told you straight to your face that my identity is not in what I do, I don’t know if I whole-heartedly believed that.
And that is why I think the Lord has had to strip me down where I do none of those things, with absolutely no opportunities in sight to even attempt them, or having very little desire or passion left in me to attempt doing any of those things at all and not much grace to accomplish them.
Looking back, I realize God began talking to me about learning how to just be and detach my worth from all the doing shortly after giving birth to Isaiah. I wrestled with God for many, many months, asking Him why I felt so stuck. It took me two years to finally yield to the hands of the Potter and give him every label and title I have ever held onto and see Him smash them to smithereens with is mallet, y’all. That’s a long time to wrestle with God, but thankfully, as He always does, He won that match!
- Once God stripped me of all of those wrong labels that I was trying to identify myself with by completely removing me from activities, ministry positions, and even removing certain desires and passions, I entered a time of formlessness.
This is usually the time on the Potter’s wheel where your world is spinning and nothing is familiar, not even yourself, because His hands are forming a masterpiece that only the Creator could create.
Who am I? becomes a question you ask a lot. God was teaching me to be still and know that He is God, even though I had no idea what He was doing. Telling a do-er to be still and rest was one of the hardest lessons I have ever tried to receive and live out.
Suddenly doors that were open, were now shut to me. I lost interest and passion in things that used to bring me such enjoyment (I know now that this was only for but a season as God worked on my heart). Leadership roles and responsibilities were now gone, and because of issues with Isaiah’s sleeping for many, many months, I could no longer write because of the lack of mental clarity and focus.
Even in the midst of motherhood, it felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing.
There were times that I felt like I had lost myself.
But through the process of losing myself, just like Jesus tells us, I found myself all over again.
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 10:39, NKJV).
In the moment of formlessness, I had to learn how to take my eyes off of the life that was familiar and the life I used to identifying with, and fix my gaze upon the Potter and see His hands gently, yet firmly and securely holding me, believing that He was molding me more and more into the likeness of His Son, and I would find the life I was meant to live, all for His glory. No matter what, even if I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on, I had to trust God and trust that the process was for my good. God had good in store for me.
In my next blog, I will discuss the next steps that the Potter took as I discovered what it truly means to be IN CHRIST, how that helped me learn to simply be God’s daughter, and how that revelation is leading me into further understanding my purpose.
Until next time, friends. 🙂
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.
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.
Take Me Back
January 17, 2017
When I was about seven or eight years old, I remember being asked to do a visualization exercise in Sunday school. The teacher asked the class to close their eyes and imagine being with Jesus.
“What do you see? How do you feel? What are you and Jesus doing?” she asked rhetorically.
I closed my eyes and saw myself wearing a white dress, standing in a field of wildflowers with Jesus. He reached out His hand to me, as if to ask me to run with Him. With my tiny hand in His, we ran through the flowers laughing.
As I write these words, tears form in my eyes because that little elementary girl had no frame of reference for that vision and had no idea what it was like to be close to Jesus like that, yet God downloaded this prophetic picture into my young heart.
It’s not just that fact that tears begin to flow, but the amazing news that the little third grader grew up, heard the glorious gospel for the first time and met that Jesus personally at sixteen years old and would finally grab a hold of His hand and run with Him at 22 years old. Although it may have taken awhile to finally run with Jesus, what matters is that I am now and that I haven’t looked back.
It’s crazy to think that over twenty years have passed since that memory in Sunday school, yet it is still etched in my mind, and recently the Lord put His finger back on that encounter with Him in a very divine way.
I reconnected with a dear sister in Christ over coffee last week and she began to share a very special memory of her and Jesus when she was young, living in the country- enjoying being alone with Jesus in the middle of a field. Immediately, my mind revisited my vision that I had many years ago.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around what God has been speaking through this similar encounter. There may be many layers to it, but one thing I have been focusing on is what that vision I had 20-something years ago means to me and to the Lord.
Innocence. Purity. Peace. Rest. Joy. Intimacy with Jesus.
Why a field?
We can stand in the middle of a wide-open field with Jesus and experience total freedom from all of the cares of the world.
No distractions. No burdens. No earthly possessions to possess our affections.
So I am asking for the Lord to take me back to that place that He showed me when I was young. It’s in Him that we can live in that kind of peace and rest. I know that. But of course, it is so much easier said than done, and I know I have definitely drifted and have entangled myself in the distractions of the world.
Noises caused by materialism, worldliness, and worry.
My desire to turn from those distractions doesn’t come from a place of self denial for self righteousness or religion’s sake, but from a place of love for God.
To know Him more. To be close to Him. To experience His love alone that fulfills every aching need to belong and find my rest.
So here is my prayer:
Take me back…
…back to the beginning…
…where my heart desired just being with You, Jesus- in a field of wildflowers, running hand in hand with You.
I never had that kind of peace or purity when I was young that I can remember.
It’s what You always wanted for me and still desire for me to have whenever I want.
To run away with You and escape from all earthly distractions.
To breathe You in. To feel Your peace and rest.
Time may have passed, but the way You see me, the way You love me has never changed. And it never will.
In the day we live in, especially in America, it is so intensely difficult to find that “field” and stay there for awhile. So much is pulling at us for our hearts and attention. It is so easy to get distracted from His gaze and break free from holding His hand even for a moment of self exploration.
I have come to realize that as children of God we must fight to find that “field” and fight to stay there. It is imperative. It is absolutely crucial for our souls and for our spiritual development. The devil wants nothing more than for us to stay as far away from the “field.”
But I have a resolve so deep in my heart that nothing is more important to me than going back to that place with Jesus that God showed me as a little girl.
I am finding my way back and it is so beautiful.
Aggressive Expectation: Preparing for 2017
November 16, 2016
Photo courtesy: J&H Creative
I don’t know about you, but I am a list-maker.
I have always been ever since I learned to write, I think. There is just something about writing down your thoughts that helps relieve tension in ways that I simply cannot fully explain. Obviously, says the writer.
The list-making goes hand-in-hand with journaling for me too- it’s funny to think that I have kept a diary since I was in grade school. My earliest memory of one I owned had a tiny lock and key and Tweety Bird on the front cover. I can only imagine what top secret words my heart needed to pen that I had to make sure to lock the diary. 🙂
It wasn’t until I became a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ that I realized how important my passion for writing things down was in my walk with the Lord.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV) says:
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
In context, I know this was a promise and prophecy for the prophet Habakkuk, but if God (Jesus) is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), there is truth to be found in these God-breathed verses for everyone’s life. If the Lord found it important enough to tell Habakkuk to write down what He was speaking to him, then the same is true for anyone whom the Lord is bringing vision and revelation to.
I believe this instruction from the Lord to write down the vision is especially important during times of transition in our lives.
Although God does not run on our timeline or (Gregorian) calendar, I do think He wants us to prepare our hearts and incline our ears to Him for the new year ahead.
Crazy to think that 2017 is only less than two months away at this point!
As I sat and reflected over 2016 the other day, I could only find one word to describe a majority of it for my family- disappointing.
I don’t find it a coincidence that the cover of my journal for most of 2016 was a picture of an anchor and this verse found in Hebrews:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV).
My circumstances may have been disappointing, but I had a hope that kept my soul secure in the joy of the Lord. Sure, it was extremely difficult to hold onto that hope and not let the enemy steal my joy on a daily basis, but I kept coming back to the arms of Jesus, knowing that His joy would be my strength.
This hope stirred within me as I reflected upon 2016 and looked ahead expectantly at 2017.
This is where I began making a list. Not just a list of resolutions or even goals, but a list of all I believed the Lord would accomplish in and through my family this upcoming year.
I guess you could say it was a list of prayer requests of sorts, but mostly, it was a list of declarations full of aggressive expectations rooted and anchored in faith that my God will come through as He always does because He is so faithful!
One of the biggest declarations I am believing will come to pass is for our family to find a church body and family to be a part of. It has been a long and winding road for my husband and I since 2010. 2017 will be seven years that we have been on this journey to find our place of belonging- and not just temporarily or for a season, but a place to firmly plant our roots down, flourish, and raise our children for years and years and years to come.
Seven just so happens to be the Biblical number for divine completion and perfection. Yes, Lord. I believe You are faithful to perfectly complete this journey for us! Whatever that looks like!
I moved homes a lot growing up and have had family and friends consistently come and go in and out of my life for many years, so I’m pretty conditioned to change and transition, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me that we have not been able to find not just a church home, but our church home.
2017 will be the year we find our belonging. Our tribe. Our peeps. Our pride. Our God-ordained place and calling in the Body.
2017 will be the year God makes all things new and brings total restoration in all areas of our life.
I believe it. With all of my heart, I believe it.
So here’s to seeing an end to the disappointment and discouragement of 2016 and looking into 2017 with hope and joy, ready to see God’s faithfulness!
What about you? What kind of aggressively expectant, faith-filled declarations are you making for the new year? Write it down. Pray over it. Believe that it will surely come. I can tell you God will do exceedingly, abundantly more than anything you can ask, think, or imagine!
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him beglory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV).
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).
Grace That Transforms
August 16, 2016
I have felt stirred to document what the Lord has been doing in my heart lately, but I have had trouble finding the right words.
He’s drawing me to Himself in a way that I haven’t experienced in quite awhile. In areas in my life where I have seen a lot of barrenness, I am starting to see the budding flowers that I know will eventually become fruit.
The promises of Spring are calling my name. Grace like rain is softening this dry heart of mine.Grace causes us to worship God. Every time. Click To Tweet
We can’t help but respond to God in this way.
For me, often, giving up earthly pleasures is a way I worship God.
I used to think that I HAD TO give up earthly pleasures for God to hear my cries, my prayers better.
Quite contrary, when I freely lay down earthly pleasures that can ultimately distract me from the Lord, I can hear Him better.
Earthly pleasures are not bad or evil, but they can distort our focus and devotion to God if we allow them to have too much room in our heart and mind.
By casting aside those earthly distractions, I am free to experience unhindered communion with my Father, and I am able to still my soul to receive all that He has for me.
For almost two years, as a new mom, I have attempted to still my soul in my own strength. I have tried to recreate my quiet time that I used to have before my son was born.
God never changes but I have changed, and I believe the Lord has taught me how to seek Him in new ways so that I do not grow comfortable or complacent in my prayer life. He has also taught me not to judge my prayer life with earthly measurement= time.
Often we forget that God is not bound by our human standard of time:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8 NKJV).
So if one day in heaven equals a thousand years here on earth, how much do you think God can accomplish with our five minutes with Him?
I am learning to receive God’s grace in this area of my life because like I said, it doesn’t look the same as it did before I became a mom. I have occasionally beat myself up for this, thinking that I haven’t been “pulling my weight” to see change happen in me.
Friends, God doesn’t need you to spend hours and hours and hours in His Presence for Him to do a deep work in your heart.
Sure, those hours and hours and hours are amazing because I enjoy just spending time with God, but not required for the Lord to change me in major ways.
It is by His Spirit that He will change me, in His time. He calls us to partner with His Spirit, yes, but our effort alone is not what transforms us.
I’m thankful that He is renewing my mind when I center my thoughts on Him and posture myself to receive His truth that is found in His Word.
Just reading through this post is evidence that the Lord is breaking off those legalistic ways and aligning my thoughts to reflect His grace and truth, and that is exactly why Jesus came.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17 KJV).