One Step at a Time

I was at the store last night, trying to find some goodies for my Secret Santa exchange at work, when I overheard two women having a conversation just down the aisle.

“I’ve been praying for you,” one of them said. “I hope things are getting better.”

“That’s funny; things have been getting harder again & I was going to call and ask for you to pray. It just seems like this is the hardest time to pray. I’m in so deep, I don’t know where to start.”

“That’s when you need to pray the most,” the first woman consoled. “Pray and run to God – He can get you through. Get in His Word and He will sustain you”

The conversation went on as they traveled down the aisle and over to the next. I, very much, wanted to follow them down the next aisle and let them know the blessing their conversation was to me, but I couldn’t get up the courage. I was so amazed at what I had heard. It is not often that I hear talk of God so out in the open (when I’m on my own), but that wasn’t what surprised me the most. What surprised me was the fact that the first woman could have been having that conversation with me and would have gotten the same response.

Something snapped this past Sunday; and in a manner of minutes it felt like the rug was yanked out from under me. So many thoughts were swirling around my head and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It’s scary to be fine one minute and to be sobbing the next. I’m ever so grateful I was at church when it happened as they have become my family here. Enveloped in hugs and prayers I pulled it back together and headed off to work.

Later that night I felt it again. Unable (and somewhat unwilling, I admit) to formulate words of prayer, I texted a friend. “I feel as if I’ve fallen in a hole,” I told her. “And I have no idea how to get out.” She reminded me of what I already knew: I can work these things out when I work through them with God; one little bitty step at a time. Indeed, the ladies’ conversation at the store mirrored the one we had the day before.

It seems to me that whenever I get a good grasp onto something, that is when the Devil comes knocking. He whispers lies, and I, relying on only myself, fall for them. I don’t know if it’s because over the years I have become rather self-sufficient or what, but it is not often enough that I go straight to Jesus when these things happen. It’s so silly, when you really think about it, pretty dumb too. Jesus was tempted in all ways. He faced the Devil directly. And through it all, He remained sinless. I am so far from that, why would I not choose to rely upon Him? It is something I am still trying to figure out, but I do know this: I am relying on Him more than I did a year ago. I am aware of my need for Him, for a Savior, now more than ever. I trust Him with so much; my very life. But as you may have heard, the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps getting up off the altar. Often we lay things down at the foot of the cross – worries, troubles, heartaches, bitterness – just to pick them back up, again, and again, and again. All because we, as silly humans, think we can do better than the Creator of us all.

It is always in times like these that a specific Bible verse or passage is brought to my attention, one way or another, and through it the Holy Spirit gives me comfort, reassurance, and grace to continue on. This morning it was again through today’s entry in Jesus Calling. The entry itself spoke right to my heart as it opens with, “Make Me [Jesus] the focal point of your search for security. In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe.” I was blown away as it put into words the exact thing I had been doing. Then it referenced Isaiah 41:10.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I do believe this is the next verse to go up on the chalkboard in my living room. A constant reminder for when the bottom falls out. Turning to Him sooner, rather than later, I will not sink as deep. But regardless, He finds me in the dark places, for the dark is as light to Him, and He will guide me out; one step at a time.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Encouragement for the Day

So, I realize that last week I deemed Fridays the day where I share creative things I have been doing/making…however, I am now mostly working on Christmas presents and don’t want to spoil the surprises for anyone (I’ll have lots of things to post come January 🙂 ).

Instead, I have a psalm I’d like to share. A verse of it was referenced in today’s entry of Jesus Calling and I thought I would read the whole thing. So glad I did – what an encouragement for today! I hope it does the same for you.

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

So amazing to think to know that not only are His plans for me secure, but I, myself, am secure in Him. As I walk this path of life, He will never abandon me. In knowing that, there is such an amazing feeling of peace and love that washes over me; a feeling of confidence and strength imbeds itself in my very soul. This is what life is supposed to be. This is what He has given us life to be. His children who rest in His love and peace, for we tend to be restless and anxious on our own. His children who draw strength and confidence from Him, for we are weak and unsure by ourselves. His children who fully accept His gift of grace, given to us through the ultimate sacrifice – His Son, dying on a cross as atonement for our sin, that we might have a relationship, a personal relationship with the Creator Himself, because without it, we are all lost. His children who give Him all the glory, for there is no way we could do it all on our own.

Are you acting as a child of the Almighty God today? Take a moment to stop and think about all of the good things He has blessed you with. The times you held it together when it all seemed to be falling apart? That was Him. The times you were so full of joy you felt like you would burst from smiling so much? That was Him. Realize all He has freely given you, and give Him thanks, glory, and honor for it all. He deserves so much more, but it is the least we can do.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

My Way? Or the High Way?

I was in an amazing place last Wednesday (you can read about it here). A place where I finally felt content with all that is going on, though I am far from understanding any of it. In the few days that followed a couple things happened that made me second-guess my stance on it all & my resolve to let God have control over it all (really, we are just kidding ourselves when we think the control is totally in our hands). I have been thinking on it, praying on it, but of course I cannot deal with this all on my own. Not when temptation to pick that burden back up and try to carry it myself is so strong. I know it is better left at the foot of the cross, but I was at a loss.

Then, yesterday morning, I read the entry for the day in devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and came across these verses:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 & 9

Yes, that is right. His thoughts are higher than mine. As much as I like to think I know what I’m doing or that I have the best ideas, I know that’s not true, deep down. Ultimately He knows what He’s doing and He has the best ideas. And in the end, who am I to go up against the Creator of it all?

So, it is now my attempt to continue to be focused on Jesus, to fully put Him on the throne of my heart, and not shove Him off because a guy says “Hi” and I think I know the best way to handle the situation. No; I am going to keep Him there where He belongs, at the center of my very being, and listen for His Spirit to lead me along. To be honest, I tried it my way, and ultimately, it ended with me in tears. I’m all for trying it His way now; come what may.

May you, too, be able to keep Him on the throne in the days ahead, come what may.

Love & Blessings,

KJ