When We Are Given More Than We Can Handle

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 “I’m tired of being afraid
I’m wondering how I got this way
I’m trying to remember what life was like before
Panic moved in without even knocking on the door

Have mercy on me
I’m not who I used to be
Have mercy on me
Jesus, please…”
Have Mercy on Me lyrics, -JJ Heller

I remember so clearly, as though it was only yesterday and not nearly three years in my past, those overwhelming feelings of panic that would run through my veins every minute of every day and night for what seemed to be months on end.

I can close my eyes and instantly recall the constant unrest that would swirl around within my mind, and the tears…the most sincere and heartfelt tears I think I may have ever cried in my whole life, that would fall day after day after day.
Night after night after night.

I felt my soul being robbed, my laughter being choked, and my days became a battleground filled with fear and trembling. Yet I remained rooted in the word and constant in prayer as though my life depended on it.

Because truthfully, it did.

I remember the kind words and helpful quotes that people would offer so as to bring me hope and comfort when it seemed so far beyond my reach. The one I remember most often repeated was, “The Lord will never give you more than you can handle…so know that He must really believe that you are incredibly strong!”

Only, I didn’t feel so strong.
In fact, I was weak and defeated and there truly wasn’t even an ounce of “strong woman, hear me roar” left within me.
And on top of already experiencing a little bit of what felt like hell must be like, I also began to feel as though I was letting the Lord down because I couldn’t live up to the strength he apparently felt I should possess.

And while I know we mean well when we say these things, what I’ve come to understand of Gods word, is that He does, in fact, give us FAR beyond what we can ever handle.

Anxiety. Death. Cancer. Abandonment. Depression. Illness. Pain. Poverty. Hunger.

The list goes on and on and on…

But there is good news my sweet friends, and it’s the truth that got me through those very dark days, and it’s the truth that gets me through the tough times even now.
And that hope is not in that God thinks you’re strong enough to handle all that life may bring to you.

2 Corinthians 1: 8-10

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

I don’t know what many troubles you may be struggling with right now, and I can’t pretend to know how long God will allow you to be in the midst of them, but what I do know is that God’s power and strength and comfort and love never fail. They never run out.

And so I urge you to look to Him. Run to Him. Abide in Him. Rest in Him. Make everything you have, everything you do, everything you walk through, about Him.

Because where we are weak, HE IS STRONG.

Blessings, S

Summer Saldana

10 Reasons to be Thankful

10 Reasons to be Thankful

One thing that life has taught me, specifically the Christ-centered life, is to be thankful. There are so many reasons to give thanks to God. I find that if we focus on the little, everyday things, it makes for a more joy-filled and peaceful life. But if we are being truthful, there are times that we are so self-centered that we forget to give God thanks for the simple, everyday things life brings our way.

Last night while I was in prayer I heard the Lord whisper softly, “Remind my people to be thankful.” And while this post will be seen by many, please know dear sister, that I write this list for myself just as much as I write it for you. As you read the items on this list, think of some things that you could be more appreciative of. Be sure and make a conscious decision to be thankful. There is always something to be thankful for, even in the most difficult situations – God is in the midst of it all. Let’s cultivate an attitude of thankfulness today, and every day.

10 Reasons to be Thankful

  1. For the gentle wind that blows our hair out of place. He is with us.
  2. For the ability to kiss our baby’s boo-boo. That band aid may seem simple to us, but He clothes it in love and they remember.
  3. For the slight chill in the morning after a fresh rainfall. The rain may mess up our fashion plans, but it sends nourishment to the earth and yields fruit to bless His people.
  4. For the fever that our baby has. Their body still has the ability to fight off infections and sickness, and that, dear sister is a blessing.
  5. For the ups and downs in motherhood. It makes us stronger and gives us character.
  6. For the messy rooms our children occupy. While the mess can be daunting, the little lives and personalities who live in them are an absolute blessing. I’ll take the mess as long as I can have my babies!
  7. For empty milk containers put back in the fridge. While this used to upset me, I’ve learned to be thankful. I adore the tiny hands that put it there, and for that, I am thankful.
  8. For nights when I don’t sleep because my child needs me. In times past I’ve been tempted to feel sorry for myself when I am sleep deprived for serving my children. I decided to ditch that attitude and thank God I am able to be with my children when they are ill. What a blessing that is!
  9. For the wrinkles that are forming around my eyes. I heard my grandma once say that those who smile often are the first to have wrinkles around their eyes. I adore my soft wrinkles because I smile often.
  10. For the stretchmarks my belly bares. I am a proud momma of 5. While we only have the chance to raise 3 of the 5 here on earth, my belly marks the 5 that this momma will always love in her heart. What an honor to be chosen to be a mother.

My challenge to you (and myself) is to stop and take the time to be thankful in the very moment that you are feeling ungrateful. Discipline yourself to do the opposite of what your flesh wants you to do. Make it a habit to praise God in the very moment that your flesh is telling you to feel sorry for yourself. While it isn’t easy, it can become a powerful habit that will change the very landscape of your existence. And I promise you that it will be a glorious victory! You can see 20 more ways to be thankful if you are looking for even more encouragement!

Cheering you on,

Carlie K. @ Managing Your Blessings

When I Forget To Ask

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Some days seem longer than others.

Those days when I am not the mom I want my kids to learn from.

The other night after each of my children fell asleep I went into their rooms. I felt like I didn’t enjoy them that day.

It wasn’t until they fell asleep, when I realized that my patience level was embarrassing to admit. I held each of their hands and watched their peaceful faces as they were sleeping. I began to cry and ask God for help. I thought about how it was the only time I had asked him for help that day.

I talked to each of my dreaming babies about how much I love them. How much I really do enjoy them but I forget about what really matters. I forget that speaking truth to their hearts is much more important than how they act on the outside.

I was reminded that I wouldn’t need prayer if my life was perfect. I wouldn’t need to depend on God if I never felt the guilt of my impatience. I forgot God’s truth and I relied on myself. My needs and what I thought was best ruled our home—but all of it is broken.

Nothing without God.

I held their little hands and was humbled. I am reminded of the good that I don’t deserve. How sweet is grace, I need it every day.

With Love,

Natalie Falls at nataliefalls.com

Shaping Your Child to Live Outside-the-Box

Shaping Your Child to Live Outside the Box

 

SPOTTED????leopard

or STRIPED??

zebra

quiet or loud? Intellectual or artistic? orderly or inspirational? driven or gentle? Humorous or serious?

“Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed.” Romans 12: 1

Early one morning, my chatterbox little boy ran into the room, jumped on the couch next to me, snuggled and said with a sparkle, “Come on, admit it, mama! You must love me the best because I am the most fun of all your kids.”

Followed by, “Nuh huh! She loves me best because I help her the most and you just get into trouble!”

And so the conversation escalated. My answer, “I love you the Nathanest! I love you the Joy-est!” You each have a place in my heart that only you can fit.

Personality–what a strange animal!

Perhaps you prefer one type of personality, and some personalities are surely easier to deal with. But the reality is, all personalities are holy to the Lord.

God gave me two introverts and two extroverts and a variety of different issues in between to shepherd. He expanded my soul and stretched me by challenging me to look at them from His eyes.

We live in a world that values conformity. We want to use our force, our power, our authority to make people, and our children, fit into the box. Be good. Be tame. Be moral. Don’t bring attention to yourself. Don’t contend or question the norm.

I remember a time when Nathan had brought some boys home from a class he was taking. A mile high pile of chocolate chip cookies, just out of the oven, was the enticement for them to stay around in my kitchen and jabber. One of the boys always called me, “Dude, mama.” From him, it was a compliment. I had attained approval.

As they were talking, they said, “We thought Nathan was so weird when he first came into our class. He walked up to the teacher and introduced himself and said he was looking forward to being in the class. We all thought, ‘Everyone knows you don’t speak to a teacher in front of everyone else.”

He then went on to say, “All of us learned by third grade to fit in, don’t do anything that would call attention to yourself or you would be bullied by the whole group, all of your peers gang up against anyone who is different—everyone is supposed to fit in. So when Nathan comes and doesn’t care what people think and makes friends with everyone, even the teachers, it blew our grid of norm. Truly, for a while, everyone thought he was a weirdo.”

Quietness but fire underneath fits the description of one child, while steady Freddy, slow but dependable; funny, in your face charming, another. All have pushed my buttons through the years, but they have humbled me, too, in a good way. I now know for sure that I cannot control my children–they are free agents with a will and desires and dreams, all unique to the call on their lives and the personalities God gave them.

But, no matter the personality, I am called to shepherd them to love God, to teach and train them to have the character underneath that they will need to complete the tasks God gives them to do in their life time.

Most important, though, as a mom, I am called to control but to release them into His hands, as they are, to live out their uniqueness in a world that needs them to sparkle as God made them.

Nathan called me yesterday and said, “Hey, guess what, I got a new commercial with Nike! Keep praying, mom. God is opening doors.”

This from the child who never fit into the box–always dreamed of something bigger, some way to influence the world. We are still waiting to see and spending time on our knees, but if I had followed the advice of those in the world who just knew “God’s will” for us and told me to spank Nathan more, to make him fit in, I would never have seen God’s will, would never had known the story of God shaping a young man’s soul to be passionate for Him, to have the courage to dream, and to love him unconditionally with his stripes and spots–just as God had made him.

Sally Clarkson

Sally blogs at Sallyclarkson.com

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