Simply Overwhelmed

I am simply overwhelmed. Do you ever privately perceive that you have more responsibilities or burdens than you can carry upon your shoulders? “Please Help Me I’m Falling” may have ranked high on the country charts but falling into raging waters of discouragement and panic is not a sing-along standard.

I have a fear of falling. Rolling waves of woes overwhelm me, pulling me down, deeper-deeper until I am about to drown. My lifeguard is pulling me to safety and restoring peace of mind. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you (Isaiah 43:2a NRS).” God’s love simply overwhelms me!    

Bless, don’t mess

This article was written some months ago when my husband was in hospital.

Our responsibility as Proverbs 31 Women isn’t just to our family but to those who surround us too.  Verse 15 speaks of the ‘servant girls’, verse 20 the ‘poor and needy’, verse 24 of ‘merchants’ and verse 31 talks of the ‘city gate’.  In other words, everyone we are in community with.

Verse 26 says ‘She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue’ and while much of this passage relates to the family of the Proverbs 31 Woman, I believe we are encouraged to conduct ourselves in such a way towards all we encounter and have some kind of personal interaction with our friends, neighbours, colleagues, clients, and anyone else we should have contact with.

And so it is with this preface that I encourage you to think carefully about what you say and to whom.  In particular the ‘negative speak’ that often enters our head and exits our mouths before we’ve really thought about it.

Case in point:  My husband is currently in hospital due to a serious accident he had 6 weeks ago.  He suffered spinal cord injury and partial paralysis. Let me first say he is recovering and we’ve been told he can expect 95% full recovery within a 12 month period. This is wonderful and we look forward to that.  However, in his first week he was really worried that he might be permanently paralysed and at times he was concerned he might die.  He was worried about what he’d done to our relationship and our future together.

I knew he was depressed in those first couple of weeks, as did his best friend and I’d shared with our Pastors too. We all worked at building up his spirits, encouraging him and praising him with each new development as he began to sit up again, regain his ability to walk unaided and relearning to use his right hand.  Each day he is able to do a new thing again, small perhaps, but they count and he is making progress.

What I can’t understand is why people (who are otherwise well-meaning) should start relating stories to him of others they’d heard who’d had accidents and died, who’d never recovered, who’d returned home only to have something go wrong and so on.  What kind of encouragement is this to my husband?  It makes my job, and that of those of us encouraging him, all the more harder.

It seems that ‘bad news’ is told better and travels faster than ‘good news’.  I encourage you to consider Ephesians 4:29 ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen‘.  In other words, if it won’t encourage or build up someone, then don’t say it at all.   Especially when they’re down, or convalescing.

While my husband may appear to be his ‘normal self’ when chattering, the reality is he’s still very vunerable and fragile emotionally and, for the most part, is not in an environment where people are working to build up his spirits, but rather to heal his body.  I am glad he feels he can text or ring me when he needs me to build him up and encourage him. He knows he will always get that from me.  But it is sad that I have to keep ‘putting out fires’ and extinguishing the bad that someone else has conjured up in his mind simply because they had a ‘good’ (but sad) story to tell.

If you are planning to spend time with someone who is getting better, no matter what from, please don’t start pulling out bad luck or sad stories to tell these people. They don’t need them. What they do need are positive stories that will build hope and encourage them in getting better themselves.  Even funny stories, as long as they don’t have bad endings, can help.  Or say nothing at all and just listen to the patient talk about what they need to talk about.  You being a listener is far better for them and healing, than listening to a story that will have them worrying long after you’ve stopped talking to them and gone on to something else.

Bless the people you speak with, don’t mess them up.

Coming Up For Air

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.

*thankfully*

We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.

 

It has been a tough parenting day.  One of ‘those’ days.

Actually it’s been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we’ve been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we’ve not experienced from her before.

And today, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel. Today I grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills today that it breaks my heart to think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have never spoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter today.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart is still heavy.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart emerged today.  And my 3 1/2 year old, tender-hearted little girl, had a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vitalsupport and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

A Trophy of Grace

 

I have noticed over the past few years that sharing things from my past that used to make me cringe with shame, now have much less of a hold over me.

It seems the more honest and open I’ve been about the myriad of mistakes I’ve made, and the more I’ve allowed God to take the ugliness that was my life, the more exciting and energizing it has become.

He makes a masterpiece out of our junk.

God is just cool like that.

It’s as though what I once hid, fearful for the onslaught of rejection and judgement I assumed would follow, has become a display of God’s relentless love and extravagant grace.

I am a trophy of God’s grace.

The story below so beautifully explains this picture…

“Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house.

In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother – in the house was looking out the window – saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal and, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms.

I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep shame and regret.

But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.

In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you.

Scripture teaches over and over again that God loves you.  He adores you.  Yes, YOU.

He sent His one and only son to die a horrendous death…to win you back.

In the same way a parent longs, no…lives, to protect their child, He wants to protect you.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemyis waiting to attack.

That’s when the tug-o-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful.

He did not – and will not – let you go.

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Even When Its Dreary God Is With Us

Read Ruth 1
There was a famine in the land, so Elimelech and Naomi moved to Moab to provide and protect his family. We don’t know whether this was hisown will or God’s will.

While in the foreign land, Elimelech dies leaving Naomi in a worse state than before the move.  Now she’s on her own with her two sons who both married women from Moab. But then both her sons die also.
Naomi heard the Lord visited His people by giving them bread, so she decides to return to land of Judah.  She tells her daughter-and-lawsto return to their own family.  Oprah leaves. But Ruth stays with Naomi.

Ruth declares “your God will be my God, your landwill be my land” and the two head back to Judah. Ruth committed her life to Naomi’s God and to Naomi herself.  Ruth sacrifices her own comfort, support,and family so she would be able to comfort, supportand encourage Naomi along the way.

When they arrive, the whole city was excited to see Naomi. Naomi says call me Mara for the Almighty dealt bitterly with me.  I went out full and came back empty.  But it happened to be the beginning of barleyharvest when they got there, which shows you how God provides.

Father God above, how great you are.  Even if we take a wrong turn you graciously receive us back. Thank you for bringing others into lives to encourage us when we go off course.  Thank you for providing for us every step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.

Are You Broken?

We all feel broken at one time or another. We don’t have to stay that way.

~ Dionna

ARE YOU DEPRESSED?

I remember those dark, gloomy days, dreading to get out of bed. I knew the moment I put my foot on the floor pain would instantly consume my body.

I remember wearing the same clothes over and over, rationalizing that since I couldn’t leave my home, no one cared if I wore the same things twice.

I remember dreaming of dying just so I could escape the pain. I begged God to let be with Him and out of this rotten body.

I remember being DEPRESSED.

For me, depression was like a never ending PMS—I knew I was emotional and sad, but I just couldn’t pull myself out of it.

The reality was, I was in living hell and couldn’t escape.

Medication and counseling helped tremendously, but they weren’t the only solutions. I learned to lean on Christ. The Bible became life-giving food for me as I discovered what it means to feast on the Lord:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever. John 6:57-58

It’s not just about food, or our daily provision for normal living. Jesus is saying that HE IS OUR LIFE. He is the reason we have breath. When we feed on the bread of Christ, we acknowledge our trust, love, and dependence on Him. Without Him we perish. With Him we have abundant life here, and eternal life hereafter.

Don’t misunderstand me. Simply reading Bible verses with an apathetic attitude won’t change your depression.

I’m talking about a new way of looking at Scripture. Rather than seeing it as a book of wise words, written by wise teachers, about a Wise Man, allow your eyes to be opened.

Many of us know the Lord’s Prayer by heart and have prayed it countless times:

Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11

But, we mistakenly think that is merely a prayer about God’s physical provisions—food, clothing, and housing. In reality, when we look at Scripture in its entirety, Jesus is teaching us that HE IS THE BREAD. We are to feast on Him.

This means hungrily seeking the Lord with all of our hearts, souls and minds. We are to lay aside our fickle emotions and thirst for the Living God. Only He can satisfy. Only He can fill the desperate ache in our hearts.

Are you hungry for something real? Try the Bread of Life.

 
Carrie Cooper @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

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