When God DOES Give You More Than You Can Handle

I recently saw the book by Lysa TerKeurst “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” on sale at the bookstore and decided to grab it for a friend of mine who was going through some unexpected trials. As I read more about it, the book encouraged you to read it as a ministry tool. So I did… and boy was it GREAT!!! So I passed the copy along and started an online Book study reading it with friends so we could grow together and glean from each other. What a difference a group makes! How blessed are we to have ways to connect with others in the ways technology allows today.

Anyway, this week’s topic is a great one, and it came at such a time in my own life that it hit a nerve… a good one, but a nerve all the more. We have this phrase that goes around and catches on that says, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” It seems to be comforting, peaceful, and empowering… but it’s false! There are so many blog posts, facebook memes, articles available that will explain why this phrase is wrong, but Lysa seems to do it so well in her book.

I do not want to break any copyright laws… but will quote her book, see pages numbers so you can read for yourself.

Page 112 says, “God doesn’t expect us to handle this. He wants us to hand this over to Him. He doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength. If we keep walking around thinking that God won’t give us more than we can handle, we set ourselves up to be suspicious of God. We know we are facing things that are too much for us. WE are bombarded with burdens. We are weighed down with wondering. And we are all trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense. Before we can move forward in a healthy way, we must first acknowledge the truth about our insufficiency.”

When you were created, you were created by a Creator that desires a relationship with you. So when hard times fall upon you, or are a result from the life around you, you NEVER have to go through it alone. We live in a society that desires to empower us and tell us all the answers are within… so what does the poor person do when that just isn’t correct? When they have hit such a low spot that they just simply cannot dig any deeper? I’ll tell you what happens… they fall into a deeper pit. They feel worse that they can’t help themselves. They feel worse that they have no strength… and many times turn to outside means to dull the pain they are feeling, which zaps their strength even more. And for many, eventually death seems to be the only way out. And a lot turn their backs against God because they believed the lie that God does not give them more than they can handle. So when they can’t handle it, they blame God.

So please for all things good… stop listening (and spreading) this lie. God is your helper. He is there to carry this burden. You were NEVER meant to carry it alone. It’s not that you are bad for not being able… it’s that you were never meant to. He didn’t create you to be a loner. He created you so He could have a relationship with you. He wants you to lean on Him. He wants you to speak to Him. He wants you to be led by Him. God is good and has good things in store for you. Hurt is not always a bad thing. God allows it to shape us through the experience. This is where faith comes in.

We must choose to trust God. This is the part where we surrender and say, “I can’t do this alone, I don’t NEED to do this alone. I NEED God.” Whether you’ve ever done this before or not doesn’t matter. This prayer, this initial prayer is the beginning of that relationship you need, “God, I need you. I can not do this life alone and on my own. I need a savior. I’ve made a mess of things by trying to do it all alone and I’m surrendering. I know you died on that cross FOR ME! I know you rose from that grave to be alive FOR ME! So I give up trying to live my life separated from you and I accept your invitation for help! I give this life to you, please help me!”

Page 119 of “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst says, ” When we seek God, we see God. We don’t see His physical form, but we see Him at work and can start to see more of what He sees. Trust grows. If our hearts are willing to trust Him, He will entrust us more and more of His perspective. Matthew 5:8 teaches us, ‘”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”‘ If we want to see Him in our circumstances and see His perspective, we must seek Him, His ways, and His Word. That’s where we find His good plans and promises for home and a future.”

It is impossible to trust Him for the future when we don’t have that relationship with Him. We will soon begin to misunderstand His plan when we don’t get to know the plan maker. We will see this daunting life ahead of us and we’ll stop believing that God created us to do this WITH him. A relationship with Him helps us sift through the lies and the truth. When you get to know someone you are more likely to discard distasteful gossip about them because in your heart and mind you KNOW the person. When we KNOW God we begin to love God and we can easily toss aside the things that are contrary to what we know and love.

I can’t put it any better than Lysa does in her book.

page 117 says, “God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. But to partner with Him in His work of transformation in our lives, we must seek Him with all our hearts. It’s our choice whether we stay stuck in our hurt or get renewed in our hearts.”

When we begin to believe that we have a Creator who created us with a relationship in mind, we begin to realize that all the trials and frustrations, and “not supposed to be this way” times are all known to Him, Jesus, as well. He isn’t surprised by any of them. And He’s willing to walk with you through them, teaching you, stretching you, building you up all along the way. He IS who he says He is! He WILL DO what He says He will do (never leave you nor forsake you!!!). So the question is yours to answer… Will you trust Him? Will you allow Him to lead you? Will you let Him take what you can not handle?

Admitting that you can’t do this on your own… is nothing more than saying, I’m not 10 feet tall. No one faults you for failing to measure in at 10 feet tall, you simply weren’t created that way. Acknowledging that you need saving is simply allowing the One who knows what He’s doing… DO.

Your circumstance won’t disappear (although God does have the power to do so if that’s what He has planned to do), but you can have help in the midst of the trial. You can trust that you WILL come out a better person as you trust and follow His leading.

If you need more help getting to know your Creator, please reach out. You can email me at thepastorswifeslife@gmail.com

You can also purchase Lysa’s book in many places, Amazon has it at a good price… and it’s WORTH IT!!!

And if you are desperate… I wouldn’t even mind mailing you my copy! Email me and I’ll work on shipping it out… You were created for more than trying (and most likely failing) life alone. Jesus is waiting to help you… will you take His hand?

Hello, My Name is Pastor…

At a Bible camp back when I was in 10th grade (so think 25ish years ago) I sat on my knees at the altar and prayed about my future. I remember very vividly feeling called into “Ministry”. That “calling” seemed vague to me, and TERRIFYING! I remember discussing this solid feeling from God with my counselor and my youth pastor and saying, “NO WAY will I become a pastor!” They encouraged me that ministry came in many forms and by the end of camp I was thrilled to follow God on this path… even if meant I’d “minister” as a teacher or something.

In my early years of college I served church by running a small church’s children’s ministry. I loved every lesson and time in the kids church each Sunday. I loved hanging out with the pastor and his family and seeing all the behind the scenes of church ministry. I also loved short term missions trips and to raise money for those trips I would travel and speak to youth groups, and on occasions Sunday morning services. One in particular was a small rural church who was between pastors. My heart leaned so far into full time church ministry but cringed every time my pastor or friends would suggest I become a pastor. Before the summer was over my Freshman year I was asked to be THE preacher of that small rural church. They would help me, a 19 year old, with the overall decisions of the church, but they wanted me to preach each Sunday. I turned that down as I needed to finish college and the drive was too far… but man, I LOVED preaching.

In my early 20s I found myself at a “bridal college” (Bible College) and honestly decided to attend the school because I wanted to MARRY into full time ministry. As early as 8 years old I thought being a pastor’s wife would be such an honor. By the time I was 20, and had made some friendships with some pastors’ wives, I wanted to at least give myself an opportunity. It didn’t take long before I was in the best ministry position I could ever ask for.

For 18 years I’ve had the honor of getting to be the pastor’s wife. I seriously love it. I am at home in this position, and the teamwork within church ministry has filled my heart more than I ever thought possible. So it was always discounted in my mind when I felt that urging to become a pastor myself. I had excuse after excuse.

“I have my own ministry, why do I need a ‘card’ to validate that?”
“I truly love being THE WIFE, and don’t want to be THE PASTOR… so what purpose will the title serve?”
“Our church does not need another pastor, so why add the ministerial dues in order to hold credentials with our organization to our budget?”
“Why do I need credentials or title!!!???”

And yet, prayer after prayer I felt the same. I was literally arguing with God even when I was asking Him what He wanted.
God: “Do this.”
Me: “I don’t need to do that!”
God: “Do this.”
Me: “Really, I don’t need this, it’s a dumb idea, why?”
God: “Do this.”
Me:……… “Well… fine!”

But really it wasn’t until this past May at a Pastors’ wives retreat that I sat, again on my knees at the altar, that God showed me that calling 25ish years ago. But unlike then, I knew what it looked like. So within the week I started the procedure to get all my Bible credits transfered (thankful they did after 20 years!), I took the one class I did not have, finished my interviews, and was approved by the Assemblies of God and am now Reverend Stevie Ciske licensed to preach, marry, and bury! haha. I hold the license for 2 years then can pursue ordination.

Why do I share? Because although I didn’t walk around for 25 years in utter disobedience. I truly believe I filled the calling I felt I was being called to at each stage in my life. But my disobedience has been present for a few years now as I felt God speaking clearly and I kept reminding Him why His plan was a bad idea. Will I ever lead a church? I pray my man will always hold that position, I pray I will always be the pastor’s wife and not the Pastor… but I want to be open to the ministry God does have for me. If the title “Pastor” opens that door, I want to be ready to walk through. If having credentials shows others they can trust and listen and believe what I say… it’s worth doing. And if my only purpose is to say “Yes” to God, then I have done good.

Saying, “Yes” may not mean the same thing to all people. For me it has meant marrying the man of my dreams… after just 3 mo of knowing him. It means opened doors to point others to Jesus that I didn’t even know were doors… It means leading me to churches, states, and people that have enriched my life… It means bringing joy beyond measure… and fear turned delight. Being obedient to God is my best decision ever made. I am ashamed of how often I’ve said no, made excuses, or argued myself out of blessings. However, I am so blessed that He continues to speak to me and allows me to say yes.

So what is God asking YOU to do? Is there an argument happening in your prayer time? Is it time for you to throw your hands up, give God the reigns, and desperately say YES to God? I don’t know what this “yes” will lead me to, but once I did it, I have no doubt it’s going to matter at some point. At some point I’ll say, “OH, So THAT’s why I did this!” and believe me… you will NEVER regret saying “Yes” to God.

I’m still… and will always be The Pastor’s Wife… but maybe now I can be Pastor Pastor’s Wife. HA!

The Gospel, It can Save a Life

I recently found myself in a situation I had never really thought I’d be in. So I didn’t have time to rehearse my reaction, or pray over what God wanted me to do. Instead I had to act, and act fast.

I heard an alarming noise while at work and as I went to check it out I heard a couple arguing loud behind closed doors. It didn’t take long for my imagination to put the loud sound I’d heard with the argument I was currently hearing. So I immediately began banging on the door. Instead of the couple quieting down, I heard the man, through gritted teeth, threaten the woman before she opened the door… so I banged on the door even harder.

When the woman opened the door I grabbed her arm, pulled her out and shut the door behind her. Instinct took over any real thought. I begged this woman not to return to this room with this man. In a quick moment I began pouring in every bit of advice I could. 

“This sounds very dangerous.”
“You do not deserve this and you can walk away right now.”
“Chasing you around the room to intimidate you is abuse… and it will get worse!”
“Please don’t return to him!”

Every desperate plea was met with excuse after excuse. Aside from physically picking this woman (that I do not know) up and carrying her away, she was going to make her decision to return to her boyfriend.

I put aside my “polite” and stood outside her door listening for any sign of struggle with my hand on my phone… 911 already dialed waiting for that final “send” to be pushed. I diligently stood until the argument was over and quiet took over.

My heart ached over this situation for a long time. When I saw the lady again I made sure she had my number and let her know to call me anytime she felt she was in trouble or needed a shoulder to cry on.

I share this story not because I wanted to boast, because, really, I feel instinct took over any thought (perhaps even the Holy Spirit). I share because I think most of you would do the same. When we see a woman, child, or ANYONE in danger, it’s normal (needed, really) for us us to step in, defend, and protect.

What if we did that for Jesus? What if we saw the hurt in the people walking around life without Jesus and we reacted instinctively and intervened?

Ever seen someone caught up in the sin that so easily entangled and instinctively knocked on heaven’s door on their behalf? What if we grabbed that person’s hand and tried to talk them out of staying in their despair?

Ever seen someone who has found themselves in a blinding situation and knew that they just needed to hear the Truth of the Gospel? What if you looked past the awkward situation and began to give them the hope of the Living God?

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The world needs to know.

“But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And 
how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? ” -Romans 10:14, 15 

How can they get out of their entanglement unless someone lovingly introduces them to the only One who can detangle them? How can they see the Jesus who opens our eyes if we are unwilling to show them?

People are dying spiritually, and those of us who know Jesus is the answer are standing outside the door unwilling to intervene.

I couldn’t drag this young lady away from her boyfriend. I could not convince her that what she was facing WAS abuse. She made the choice to walk back in and pick up where she left off. But she knew there was someone who cared. She was told of the warning signs, and was presented with the choice. Same goes for our unsaved friends. They may not choose to accept what you’re saying. But your job as a Christian isn’t to save but to tell others about Christ.

“And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the 
Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good 

God HAS sent you. You have the answers, share them. I believe God used me in that moment that night. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt fear the way I did in the moment I knocked on that door of that young lady’s room. When I heard the tone of the threats before the door was opened, my fight or flight was in full force. I didn’t stop to think, I just banged louder on the door, unknowing what would happen when I opened the door. But in my mind, a life was in danger and I HAD to act. Our unsaved friends are in danger. The world is suffocating them and they need to know about the Lord of second chances. They need to hear of the miracles, the compassion, the love, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ… They need you to knock on the door!

When I saw this young lady again she was embarrassed, and avoided eye contact. But I didn’t let it deter me. I hugged her told her I cared for her, and that I was still there for her if she needed anything… We don’t know each other well, but now she knows who I am and that I’m willing to step in. I pray I get to share the gospel with her sometime soon.

If you’re willing to intervene when someone is in danger (which I pray you are!!!), will you pray that your urgency to share the gospel will be heightened as well? It IS important. It’s life saving!

If you ever find yourself in an abusive relationship and you need someone to 
step in, please reach out soon. Remember that you deserve more and do not 
have to stay with anyone who tries to intimidate you, who hits you, or who 
insults you. Abuse is dangerous and you need to get away. If you don’t know 
who to call, please contact me by emailing thepastorswifeslife@gmail.com. I will do what I can to get you in contact with someone who can meet with you. You do NOT deserve abuse. 

Controlling Your Tongue: Family Gatherings According to the Book of James

As I mentioned when I started this series, my poor friend had to ask a guest to leave her home because the guest resorted to name calling when they didn’t like what someone said. Whether they took the words too much to heart, or they read in another meaning into the words that were said, or they didn’t like the tone… whichever it was, my friend set boundaries and decided that name calling was not going to be tolerated and immediately asked the offended person, who reacted poorly to her perception of events, to leave the gathering. It did escalate, but I’d like to stop you here to make my next point in the series, “Family Gatherings According to the Book of James.” You can read the first 2 from last week here and here.

There will be times where what you felt was a simple joke does not enter in the ears of everyone as funny. There WILL be times that you were misunderstood or heard from a specific lense the listener has been looking at you through. How we respond to that is key. The other person may not respond, but rather react in a negative way and the potential quarrel is teetering.

According to James, we should resist the devil who is squirming his way into ruining a conversation, a gathering, a day, or a relationship.

It may not be a light hearted joke, it could be a political opinion. It could be a falsely remembered memory. It could be the way a relative handles their children (or doesn’t). Whatever the case, our goal is to resist the devil who is coming to kill your fun, steal your joyous gathering, and destroy your relationship. Jesus is not glorified in the midst of quarrelling. So when the hint of an argument pops up, resist the urge to indulge. There are a few things that James points out that if not dealt with properly, can fuel the fire of drama.

  1. Controlling your tongue is the number one way to curb the disfunction and bring God glory in the midst of chaos. “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (1:26) Our tongue isn’t easy to tame, but James tells us it’s important and gone untamed is powerful and dangerous. “And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (3:6) Holding your tongue and choosing words carefully is key to every interaction we have within family gatherings. And if we can do this one thing, the rest will be much easier.
  2. James 4:11 is another key to maintaining a peaceful gathering. Resist the urge to speak evil against each other or to criticize and judge. We all live our lives differently, and sometimes it’s obvious someone is making wrong choices for their lives. However, a family gathering is not a roast, or an intervention, or a bullying session. “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.” (5:9). We are all a work in progress. Our judgemental comments are not exempt from judgement from God anymore than Uncle’s lack of motivation to provide for his family (or whatever other ugly thing you feel needs to be said to him). Keep the devil away by choosing not to criticize or grumble about others.
  3. Since we’re discussing the harm our tongues can bring, let’s discuss the issue of Gossip. If you can tame your tongue and not criticize, tame it also to not indulge in gossip. What Auntie did last year that no one approved of, does not need to be discussed at a holiday gathering (or any other setting).  Resist the gossip table, and watch Satan flee.

Many of these issues (grumbling about, criticizing, gossipping) come from a deep rooted jealousy issue. James confronts this “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?…  You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war…” (4:1, 2) Something about jealousy causes people to fight for the higher position. They do this by making snide remarks, harsh joking, poking fun, or downright mean acts. James 3:14 is spot on when it says, “But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.” Be joyous for another person’s success, don’t let jealousy and selfish ambition (trying to look better) cause you to embellish, stretch or alter the truth. Learn to praise God for another’s success. “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (1:17).

We aren’t going to be perfect at this. We just may think we’re saying something all in fun, and depending on your family, and the people you are gathering with, that may be perfectly fine. But if you cross that line (set by something one else, the one you didn’t even see there), be quick to apologize, as my friend did. Even if you didn’t see the offense in it, be sensitive and humble and respond in love. Decide that your relationship is far more important than being right, proving a point, or correcting someone’s faults.

Set boundaries for when someone else is NOT choosing relationships and is purposefully trying to sabotage your gathering. There is no reason to continue to let someone insult you, instigate fights, and try their best to cause divisions within the family. You are within you gracious rights to ask someone to leave who is not respectful and can not accept an apology but rather resorts to verbal (or physical) abuse. Your goal, as I’ve said before, is to glorify God while pointing those at the gathering towards Him. When someone refuses that, and can not keep from reacting in anger and is bent on ruining the family unity, you can RESPOND in love but still firmly ask them to leave for the greater good. Just remember steps 1-3 though after the person has left.

Controlling our tongue brings glory to God. Pray ahead of time when you know you’ll be gathering with those that you’ve had a hard time with in the past. Ask God to help you respond in a way that can bring peace and not chaos. Be mindful of those you are gathering with. If they are passionate about something you are against, maybe avoid that conversation. Ask God to guide your tongue and use it to build others up, make others laugh (but not at the expense of someone else), and point others to Christ. Silence is better than snide remarks.

Let laughter abound, you’ll enjoy the gathering, yourself, and your friends and family much more.

An Inward Look: Family Gatherings According to the Book of James

When extended family gathers you begin to combine different family dynamics all under one roof. When the six of us join my siblings and their families and our parents, there can be upwards of 23 people in one living space. I’m always so filled with joy when the night is over and we all head to our hotels or homes and my stomach hurts from laughing so hard. I may have a headache as well due to the pure sound volume of so many people but my heart is happy.

The volume alone can be overwhelming to some families,  not to mention when everyone has their own set of values, opinions, and priorities. In an ideal world, we would easily be accepting and respectful as we meld those differences for a day; but we all know it doesn’t always happen. Especially when we gather with those who may not share our faith.

I’ve been going through the book of James in order to give us a guide for how to manage the holidays and bring God glory all at the same time. You can see yesterday’s post here.

Today, let’s discuss what others see in YOU. Like I said yesterday, most all conflicts can be subdued by ONE person choosing not to react. We can only be in charge of ourselves. So it’d be wise to turn inward these last few weeks before christmas and ask God to reveal to you areas you need work on.

Before you finish chapter 1 of James, the book is reminding you that living a pure lifestyle is key to managing the things that come your way. Spending time drawing close to God will help you as you face holiday gatherings. James reminds us not to just listen to God’s word, but to be doers of the Word. (1:22) When you walk into the chaos, if you claim to be a Christian, shouldn’t people recognize that in you? Shouldn’t a person who professes that they love Jesus and follow Him respond different than Addy Addict or Tommy Trouble Maker?  “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” (2:14) When chaos ensues, will you use the wisdom God has given you, or join in and add your own drama? “Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (the rest of verse 14).

As Christians, our goal is to point others to Christ, so it is our responsibility to handle the stresses in a God-honoring way. “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” (3:13)

So, the second thing after seeking God’s wisdom (see yesterday’s post) is to begin to draw close to God so we can behave in such a way as to draw others to Christ. You must  “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, and purify your hearts…” (4:7,8)

We’ll never be the light to our loved ones if we behave like the darkness.

If you tend to respond to Negative Nancy by rolling your eyes, or giving your best snarky come back, pray that God will give you a way to turn things positive while sharing love to the hurt that causes the negativity. If you struggle holding your tongue when Judgemental Judy gives more than her two cents, leave the room and pray for peace in your heart so you can return later with the shield of Christ.

And if you find yourself in a situation where you must ask an abusive guest to leave, and it doesn’t make you ungodly to have to do so, pray now that you RESPOND in love and not react adding to the drama.  There just may be times where you have to leave or ask someone to leave in order to keep the peace. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it in a godly way.

Make the goal of your family gathering to glorify God. Have fun in the process, play games, chat about memories, laugh it up, sit close, hug lots, and enjoy the moments together. But before you ever set foot in the door, ask God to purify your heart so you can minister to others.

Check back tomorrow for a more indepth way to do just that.

Lord, it is my number one goal to point others to you. So I pray that you will please reveal to me areas that I need to clean up so that your light can shine bright when I attend family gatherings (and always). Please give me strength to respond in love when conflicts arise. Help me to say only loving and peace giving things or show me when to stay quiet. Protect me against insults or judgements that are hurled my way, let them roll off my back so I can respond with truth and life. Help me to set boundaries and carry them through in a godly way. Basically, Jesus, YOU shine through me during stressful times at a family gathering.

Responding in Love: Family Gatherings according to the Book of James.

Thanksgiving night I sat with our very small gathering, Grandpa snoozing to the left of me, Grandma listening to the chatter of my 8 year old’s endless story to the right of me, and in front of me my boys having the perfect wrestling match during the Thanksgiving football game. I was basking in the blessing of my family gathering when I got a message from someone who had just asked a guest in her home to leave for HITTING her. So it’s obvious that my scene isn’t the only family gathering scene out there.

Families can be messy. And maybe they don’t all end in physical altercations, but family gatherings at the holidays can be stressful, anxiety ridden, and the dread of the year. So how can we maneuver through them and come out on the other side with joy?

Although the Bible is full of verses that lead us to godly relationships, I’d like to look at just one small book, the book of James, to give us a guide to a successful holiday season. If you’ll join me this week, I’d like to do a series “Family Gatherings according to the Book of James”.  So check back in each day for a few more tips as to how you can enjoy your family this holiday season.

James jumps right into saying “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow..” (1:2,3) So before we really dig in here, let’s just stop and know that trials bring endurance. And when family gets messy, instead of dreading it, look forward to what it builds within you to endure.  “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (1:12) God wants you to endure it; He wants you to triumph over it. And He has a purpose for letting you go through it. So, now we need to figure out HOW to endure it, HOW to get to the great joy, and HOW to let it grow. And James does not leave us hanging.

The first thing I feel we all need to do, and do it immediately, is pray. James 1:5 says that if we need wisdom, we should pray for it. And going into a messy Family gathering requires wisdom. We KNOW what we should do. We know HOW we should act; but when we pray for the wisdom that God gives, we learn what to DO with all the “right things” we know. We must walk into the holiday gatherings with wisdom. Don’t wait until the night before, begin today praying for peaceful gatherings, and wisdom for when they are not.

When you pray, don’t start off with, “Lord, You know how annoying Jimmy is!….” Instead ask God to help you see Jimmy as HE sees Jimmy. “Lord, give me compassion for Jimmy. Help me to be patient, and to love him past the things that annoy me.”

If you notice, verse 5 does NOT say, “If you need your brother to stop getting on your nerves you should ask God to give him social graces.” No, the verse is geared inward. What can I do to endure patiently? Most all conflicts can be subdued by ONE person choosing not to react.

So many “flaws” we see in others are just a matter of preference between people. So if we can begin to condition our minds to look past the differences and value the person because Jesus does, we can smile through even the most annoying character trait.

Pray ahead of time that YOUR heart towards your family is lined up with God’s will.

This is where responding and reacting come in, or I should say where their differences come in. When personalities clash, RESPOND in love don’t REACT in annoyance and make issues into problems.

Now, there’s that issue of the abusive family member. If you know there’s the possibility of their toxicity working hard to ruining a family gathering, by all means add to your prayers for yourself prayers for them.  Pray that Addict Addy stays clean and clear. Pray that Judgemental Judy doesn’t ruin the holiday. By all means, lift up Negative Nancy, and Trouble Maker Tommy that God would intervene in their lives and bring joy where they are lacking. But be sure that when the addict gets defensive, the judgemental begins to judge, the negativity rises, and the trouble begins to brew, that you RESPOND in a godly way, and refrain from REACTING in ways that can escalate the situation. Boundaries are important. No one should allow abuse in their home, or to their loved ones. And like the situation I mentioned at the beginning, there are times you have to ask loved ones to leave, or you have to decide not to share the holidays with certain family members, but it’s all done with the goal of glorifying God among your family gatherings.

Respond with Jesus in mind, it’s His birthday we’re celebrating anyway. And in order to endure to the end, refrain from reacting and pray. Begin that now.

Lord, we pray that you will be in the midst of our holiday celebrations with family and friends, even the friends and family that are not so easy to be in a room with. Help us to love them as you love them. Help us to set boundaries where boundaries need setting, and to do so with glorifying you in mind. Open our eyes to see the Holy Spirit among our gatherings and help us to respond in godly ways to conflict. Let your light shine through us to those we celebrate with.

Would You Save them if you Could?

My husband and I love ministry.  We are coming up on 18 years of doing ministry together, and about 20 + years of being in ministry of some capacity. It’s important to us, and although there have been rough times, it has been such a great adventure. We are currently heading towards our 7 year mark as lead pastors at our current church and God has laid on our hearts some very big steps to take with the ministry here. We’ve been praying and seeking God and getting excited, and sharing our vision with our church.

Recently God laid a sermon on my heart and I shared it with my husband. We sat at the table for hours discussing what could happen if we could get our church of 50 or so people to grab hold of the vision of 1 Peter 2:9. “You are a chosen people. You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 

If we could convince them that they are the priests, under Jesus, the High Priest, our church could grow exponentially. In the Old Testament, priests had to take charge of their tabernacles. They had to work hard to move it as the Israelites traveled, they’d set it up, tear it down, pack it properly. Then they’d slay and butcher the sacrifices, and clean up the blood afterwards. They would minister to the people in the tabernacle, and like Samuel, they’d minister in their community. But then Jesus came, sacrificed once and for all and with that the levitical priesthood was no longer needed. Their sacrifices held no power, and Jesus transferred that honor to us. WE became the royal priesthood. And as modern day priests, we should be setting up the church each week… bringing in friends and family, neighbors and co-workers, filling the seats that sit empty. We should be preparing the place, praying over each service. It is our responsibility to pack it up properly, to take the sermon each week and carry it to the community, traveling the sermons of grace and healing, salvation, and freedom to the places you travel next. The ancient priests did not sit in a service and wait to be fed. They ministered. They came into the holy place with the idea that they were there to minister. 

Americans every week leave churches never to return with the mindset of “I’m just not being fed there.” When Christians come and sit and are completely content being consumers and not contributors, we are failing our churches. It won’t matter what church you go to, big or small a church full of consumers is an unhealthy church. It’s nearly universal in churches all over that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the church… and what remains usually falls on the Pastor. 

Like I said, we enjoy doing ministry. It is a strong passion of ours, and we count it an honor and a privilege to serve. But we create an unhealthy church when we fail to promote the need for members to come alongside us and participate in the ministering. Pastors ARE priests, they are not exempt from this, but because they are willing to do so much of the work within the church does not exempt the believers from doing their part.

A few days before the sermon I got to preach at the church, I had a dream, one I felt was 100% God’s vision. In the dream I had preached but I had no recollection of doing so. I kept asking Pastor what it was like, and apparently I had been very upfront and rather stern in my sermon. I began to worry that the people would be upset and I was fearful they would misunderstand and think I was angry or overly critical but Pastor remind me that God had taken over and preached through me, and that was why I had no recollection of standing before them. Then pastor asked, “What did you think you were doing if you weren’t preaching?” And in my mind I was outside the church in the middle of a raging river where waves were crashing over people who could not swim, and could not find their way out. I was pulling as many as I could out of the river and onto the shore. I had a strategy, I was going at it with zeal, but SO MANY were slipping through my fingers. I just could not get to them. I could not convince them on my own to swim to shore and so they were drowning, dying right before my eyes. And I kept turning towards the church screaming for the church to come help me. I was left wondering why they sat in the church knowing so many were drowning outside their walls and if only I could convince them to come out and help, oh what a difference that would make. I just couldn’t do it on my own.

So as the dream continued, my husband had been staring out the church windows as I told him about the raging river and all the lost souls within it. He said, “Because of what happened in this church service today, look at what is happening out there.” and he pointed me toward the window. And outside I saw that same raging river and so many in my town and county were being beaten by these waves, but among them were my church family. They were pulling them to safety one by one, two by two. So many were being saved. My husband then turned to me and said, “So now, we gather the towels, the blankets, the bedding, the supplies and we get prepared for the people to bring them inside to be ministered to.”

You see, the Pastor IS a priest. He still goes out and ministers outside his church walls, but he was never meant to do it alone. His main job is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4:12). To help the church members realize their true potential, to teach them, encourage them, and to equip them to minister… but you have to be willing to minister. You have to be willing to be the royal priesthood. For you are a chosen people, You are His possession and YOU have been called out of darkness and into the light, you know the way!

I know we can save no one, the saving power is in Jesus alone. But, They won’t see Him if we won’t reach out.  They won’t feel it if we don’t give Him it out. They won’t come, if they aren’t invited.

It is a biblical mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19,20) None of us are exempt from this great commission. And yet so many leave it up to missionaries and pastors. This was never the way God intended the church to be.

But you’re not alone. This end of verse 20 says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  This was not an empty promise. The last thing Jesus said before He ascended into heaven was that he’s send a comforter. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8,9) 

We have the holy spirit to empower us to be bold when we don’t feel we can approach the subject to our friends. We have the Holy spirit to embolden us to reach out to a dying and hurting community with the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the resources within the Holy Spirit that can heal the broken hearted,overcome the damage done by abusive backgrounds,  encourage the depressed to courageously move forward, stimulate the lonely to reach out, revitalize discouraged teens and children with a new and holy energy and introduce hope into the lives of countless people who feel rejected and alone. And the tragedy is, we don’t utilize it. The silence in the church is deafening. We have the Spirit, and we are hoarding it. (as if we ever could!). 

So, would you save them if you could? If you saw people drowning in their sorrow would you save them if you could? If you saw people sinking into despair would you save them if you could? If you saw the culture around us begin to devour young people by the handfuls and YOU had the answer to save them, would you give what you had? You CAN save them. You aren’t the savior (obviously) but you know Him. You don’t have the power on you own, but he gave it to you. It starts with just one person who decides to be a spirit inspired, supernaturally empowered, priest who will engage in the Great commission to reach people with the life changing message of the Lord of all Lords, Jesus Christ!  They won’t see it if we won’t go. Again, they won’t feel it if we don’t give it out. They won’t come, if they aren’t invited. Will you be a priest in this royal priesthood? Will you save them by giving them the message of the cross?

If you’re willing, begin praying for Jesus to revitalize your heart. Find time in the day to set aside all other prayer requests and specifically pray for the spirit to give you boldness in this area. Leave me a comment if you’re willing to make a change and live as a royal priesthood (maybe you’re living in, Praise God! I’m believing for your life to overflow onto those around you!)

If you feel like you’re the one drowning, can I introduce you to the only one who can save, Jesus. Will you email me at thepastorswifeslife@gmail.com I’d love to talk to you about a proven way to improve your life.

And if you’d like to hear the sermon our church heard this past week, you can hear it here. It’s titled “Priesthood of the Saints”


Rest, Even When it’s Not Bedtime

If you have no time to rest, it’s exactly the right time.”
-Albert Einstein

I won’t lie, I do have a lot to do in a week’s time. Between Homeschooling, the church, my part-time (VERY part-time) job, and a house to run, the hours go by quickly and to tell the truth sometimes not everything even gets done. Of course we all have the same 24 hours in a day, it just depends on how much you plan on packing into those hours.

And that’s what I’d like to talk to you about today. Are you packing so much into the day that rest is not on the to-do list? I’m sure I just heard readers (even as little as I may have) sigh, and simultaneously roll their eyes. Don’t worry, I have pre-teen/teenagers… I’m immune to eye-rolls!
“When am I supposed to rest? There are dishes to be done, a pile of laundry waiting, 40+ hour work weeks, church commitments,  PTO, a baby to nurse, a toddler to read to, after school homework, Girl Scouts, Awanas, cupcakes for my child’s class, a gym membership that is NOT being used enough and my weekend is full of soccer games, basketball, hockey, and I’ve just started the youngest in ballet! I barely get 5 hours a sleep at night and you want me to find time to REST!?

Oh I heard you loud and clear. And no where did I say it would be easy. Nor did I say it was my idea. God established rest for our own good. There was a reason He established a day of rest. Our brains were not created by the greatest of creators to go non-stop without proper times of rejuvenation. Science can agree with God here. Studies have shown (google it) that the average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Even if we exclude mothers of babies who still wake at night, most people do not get near this amount. I hear boasts all the time, “I only need 4 hours!” or “HA! I do fine on 3 hours and a short nap”. As if that is some badge of honor. But that simply was not how you were intended to function. And even as some feel they function perfectly fine, life is going at such a quick speed they are losing out on so much of its beauty.

Rest is not easy and requires discipline and sacrifice. Rest also requires that we forget what the world is telling us, and do what is best for US and our families. Society tells us to keep kids off drugs and off the street we need to fill their time with sports and activity so they don’t have the opportunity to get in trouble. But when they can’t keep up with the busyness and high demands (because they were never intended to) they withdraw, and may even become depressed.

It’s simple, we were never intended to live such a busy life, but instead to find time to rest. Not only should we get plenty of sleep at night, but we need to discipline ourselves to find time within the day. Satan wants you so busy that you forget about God. And when the void shows up, the one you can never fill with activities, only with God, the enemy tries to tell you you just haven’t found what fulfills you yet, and so you try just another activity.

Well, it wasn’t knitting, let me try learning a new language. Oh, I still feel unfulfilled, maybe I can serve at church 5x a week. 

And yet, none of it ever fills you up because what you’re really needing is rest.

Pete Scazzero in his book “Emotionally Healthy Discipleship” reminds us that God did his work in 6 days and took a full day to rest. If it was good enough for God, it’s good enough for us. We were created in His image, so if he needed it, and saw it important for Himself, we need it and need to see it important for ourselves. Although resting does not save our souls (you won’t lose or gain your salvation if you take my advice here) it does save our LIVES. It gives us peace, some calm, and time for reflection.

When I met my husband, and even a few years into our marriage I hardly ever sat down. It started when I was in highschool. I went to school, got out early and went to an afterschool job. When I was done with that job, I went on to another job until 9pm. I’d come home to dinner in the microwave and homework at the kitchen table. On the weekends when the afternoon job was closed, and I’d met my 20 hours at my night-time job, I’d head into full day shifts at a weekend job. When I was done with that job I’d immediately have plans with my friends and was never home a minute before my curfew. When I got married I wanted to slow down and focus on building a marriage. I went from 2 full-time jobs and school to one full time job next to our home, and took a semester off of school. Our goal was to focus on ministry and each other. But I couldn’t sit still. I cleaned our apartment 3x a day. If a speck of dust was seen, I had to dispose of it. If my husband was done with is drinking glass, the glass needed to be washed. I needed to stay busy. My husband would take my hand and lead me to the couch and say, “Will you please sit down, you’re making me nervous.”

If we were going to build a relationship that would stand the test of time and finances and children, we needed to take the time to sit with one another, listen to one another, take time out for one another. Our marriage would not have made it to this point, 18 years of ministry, 13 years of parenthood, 4 kids deep without taking the time to spend with each other.

The same is true with God. You can fill your days with good things (community service, church ministry, outreach to neighbors, after school programs, sports, running a home) and still fall short with God all because you fill your time with things that are not as productive as REST.

Fast forward 18 years and we’ve built our lives around an inward focus. We do not allow multiple sports for our kids. Part of our reasoning behind homeschooling is so we can take time to learn, and fit in family time even if my Pastor Husband is called away. We value days off, and I spend each night on the couch with my husband still cultivating a healthy marriage.

I, now, wake before my children so I can have some alone time with God. I maybe couldn’t do that when my babies were waking every couple of hours a night… but now it’s a priority. **When I don’t do this, and I wake with the kids, who inevitably wake with the amount of energy and noise comparable to sprinting cheetahs as they chase down VERY loud hyenas. And instantly I’m thrust into my day before my eyes can even focus. In contrast, when I decide to get up and spend time in prayer and in my Bible, I’m focused in a new way when my kids begin to trample down the stairs.

I can not express enough how beneficial this is to my day. It means I have to go to bed earlier, cut out some night-time activities so I don’t neglect my marriage, and utilize my remaining hours wisely. I’m aware that not everyone homeschooled, and many of you have full-time jobs. That just means saying no to even more. Make your time at home in the evenings a calmer, less scheduled time. Carve out time on the weekends to sit and reflect on your week’s end, and the week coming up.

Do not plan things on Sundays, make the commitment to make that day  set aside for God, family and self. Keep in mind that this does NOT have to happen on a Sunday. Pick any day of the week, or any 24 hour period that you can set aside for God, family, and self. For some, because of work, school, church, or maybe even shared custody of the kids,  Sunday isn’t a great day for this (although please find a Weekend church to attend). Maybe Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm works for you. Whatever time you pick, make it sacred. Guard it. Make it a top priority.

Another thing we do is require our children to stay in their rooms until 7:30am and go to bed between 8 and 8:30pm. We started this when they were still in their cribs. Even if we sat in the rocking chair until time to get out, we taught them that we don’t get up and wake everyone before that 7:30 time frame. It took training at first, but now they can play quietly, read, or draw, or whatever as long as they are in their rooms. And by 8:30pm all our children are in bed (unless we have church or we extend it on the weekends). Of course we want to teach them that proper sleep is important. But we also want to schedule “off” time for us. As a family we pick up and tidy the house before that 8 o’clock hour. So when the kids are in bed, Mama is off duty, Dad is done with his day and the two of us can cuddle and binge watch The Closer! We can talk freely, discuss the ups and downs of the day, come up with a parenting plan, discuss the ministry, our dreams, hopes, wishes… and be downright silly. It’s a date every night. It may not be ultra romantic, but it’s us… just us. And that’s a priority!

Whatever your schedule is, carve out time for rest. Carve out time to slow things down. Carve out time where running from one activity to another is not required. Your productivity will increase. You may not get as much done in one 24 hour period… but you’ll be a better person, and you’ll be better at the things you’ve made important. And ultimately, you’ll grow in your relationship with God.


Like Podcasts? Take a listen to some of these on the topic of Rest:
A Real Rest from Chris Hodges’ Church
The Emotionally Healthy Discipleship’s 10 Reasons Sabbath is Core to Leadership



Hello, My Name is…

WAY back in the day when Pastor and I were youth pastoring we had an intern. On the intern’s first day we all sat around and chatted, and it came out that he and I had attended the same Bible Camp in early high school. As we chatted more the intern started acting a little distant. His conversation was quick, his eyes no longer focusing. And me, the chatty one just kept talking about this Bible camp. Soon, the conversation got awkward.
“Oh man, my best friend always had guys following her around everywhere she went, even at Bible Camp.”

Intern: Yep, I think I know her and the boy who had the crush.

“Oh, and one year the kid had a friend, they just hung around WAY too much!”

Intern: Yep, I was that friend!

“Oh, no! It wasn’t you. This kid was scrawny, super annoying, he even asked me out… I of COURSE said NO!”

Intern: Yep! That was me.

“I’m serious, it wasn’t you. That guy’s name was Bob something… ” (no real names are used) Plus, this guy was pitiful. He was dirty, smelly. I think he may have even been slow.

Intern: Was it Bob SMITH??

“Oh yeah!!! It WAS Bob Smith! Man, that kid was really scuzzy, I felt bad for him. ” (Please remember, this was WAY back when… and I was not very nice, and I’d NEVER say ANYTHING like this now!!! I promise!)

Intern: I am Bob Smith!!

“I thought you were Larry!?” **I didn’t actually know his last name, so at this point I’m nervous that I was speaking of the poor boy’s close relative. However, it got worse!

Intern: I am Bob Larry Smith. I changed my name a few years ago. I go by Larry now!

Remove shoe, expose foot, insert foot into mouth… the entire foot.

No amount of backpedaling could reverse the things I’d said bad about this poor intern RIGHT-TO-HIS-FACE! I was mortified… not just of the fact that I’d said it to his face, but I was just SO mean in my words.

The intern with much grace and ease turned to my husband and said, “Sorry, Dude, I think I hit on your wife when we were kids!” HA!

This story came to my mind as I read the first chapter in our current Bible Study book for church. “The Daniel Dilemma” by Chris Hodges. The chapter speaks of how often we allow Satan to dictate our identity, our “name”. He calls us scrawny, annoying, pitiful, dirty, smelly, scuzzy. He tells us that we aren’t worthy to be around certain people. And unfortunately he does it through other people. (sometimes even Christians… oops!)

We live in a society that is searching for their identity. And it’s heartbreaking to see how many are so far from who God has called them to be.  Hodges points out that the enemy wants to distract us from focusing on our relationship with God and instead focus on what others say about us. (pg10)

Jeremiah 1:5 says Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…

Many times God changed a person’s name in the Bible. Once men like Abram, Jacob, Simeon, and Saul had an encounter with God, they were changed, they were new, they had a new purpose. The author points out that “these identities were not really new;  they were the ones Israel, Abraham, Peter and Paul we always supposed to have. They just hadn’t fully stepped into who God had made them to be until God marked them and called them by new names.”

Larry did not want to be Bob anymore. He was living up to the bullying he’d received from others. Bob was living what he was believing. He believed that he was too poor to rise above. He believed that all the insults, and circumstances, and ungodly words that came from people claiming to be godly were true. And Bob stopped finding his purpose in God. It wasn’t until Bob decided he no longer wanted to listen to the evil in the world dictate who he was anymore, but instead began to listen to his creator, his author, his identity maker!

Bob said good-bye to what people placed on him, and said hello to the only One who mattered. And out emerged Larry. A man who found his calling in Christ.  I praise God for the calling He put on Larry’s life, although I do not know where the intern is now, but I do know that when he changed his life, his name, and his identity, he stepped right into where God wanted him.

Who are you? What is your name? Are you Depressed? Anxious? Poor? Confused? Unworthy? (The answer is NO!) You may feel this way, but your identity is SO much more. God’s got a new name for you, and with it comes a great purpose and blessing.

If you are in the St. James, MN area and you feel yourself standing at a crossroads in your life, and you’re ready for a new start, please contact me by either emailing me ( thepastorswifeslife@gmail.com ) or dropping by the Crossroads Church at 721 Weston Ave. You can find out more about the church by following the Crossroads Church’s Facebook page. We have services every Sunday at 10am.

If you have been struggling with your Christian identity in a culture of compromise,  I highly recommend Chris Hodges book, The Daniel Dilemma.   You can order the book on Amazon.

I’m praying for you right now!

Anxiety and Trust Can’t Coexist

When I was eight years old I remember laying in my bed at night and crying over all the possible things that could go wrong. I cried for every person I knew that smoked because what if they died of emphysema? I’d stay up worrying about if my baby brother would grow up to like me, and I’d fret about mosquitos giving me AIDS (no joke, I was terrified!). I was never a risk taker in my teen years, too many things could go wrong. My biggest risky behavior was to drive a tad over the speed limit… and I got busted for it WAY too many times!

Fast forward to becoming a mother, and this anxiety hits in the deepest depths of my mind. I’ll never forget that moment that I first had the overwhelmingly panicky, fearful moment. My oldest child (only child at the time) was only about 7mo old and we were driving along Mammoth Mountain in California. The snow had piled so high along the sides of the road that the road was narrow and the cliff was right there! It was beautiful… to some… to me it was our death trap! The higher we drove on the mountain, the more I glanced back at my baby, and the more scared I became until finally I blurted out, “TAKE ME HOME!!! I WANT TO GET OUT OF HERE, NOW!” I shocked my husband and myself.

I do not have anxiety at a clinical level. But I have moments of complete fear, to the point of tears, and I begin to lose sleep over all of the what ifs. Last night was one of those nights. In about 3 weeks we’re returning to one of my kids’ favorite places, and one of my biggest fears. Wisconsin Dells. You see, for people like me, large crowds and 4 kids spark anxiety. Swimming pools spark anxiety. Add those things together and you’ve got it, I’m up at night with anxiety filled dreams, and a list of what ifs a mile long.

But, this isn’t our first time to Wisconsin Dells’ crowd filled, death traps upon death traps of water slides and pools (sorry… ), and it most likely won’t be my last. I made a decision a long time ago, as I’ve been dealing with this for 13 years now, not to allow this issue of mine to rob me of the wonderful fun my family has. It isn’t easy. My dreams are vivid, life-like, and scare me to the point of tears almost every single night leading up to this trip… but they won’t overcome me.

Anxiety and trust cannot coexist. If I want to honor God by trusting him with the things most valuable to me, my kids, I have to take captive every single anxious thought. Trusting God is not as easy as typing that out. It takes practice, discipline, and constant attention to the destructive thoughts that come in order to push anxiety like mine aside and choose to trust God.

Many people do not like this idea. They don’t believe they have control over the thoughts that come in their minds. They take the motto of “It’s too hard” instead of “Be anxious for nothing”. And to be honest, it offends them to read something like what I am typing. When we struggle to overcome something, the last thing we want to hear is that our trust in God is wavering. But there is the truth, and that’s what we have to look at. Anxiety and Trust cannot coexist. And in the midst of a late night battle with anxiety I have to make the choice to either dwell there, give into the thoughts, and feed the anxiety or to trust God to care for and protect my mind, and ultimately me and my children.

“But it’s so hard! The thoughts are so strong, and constant. HOW can I possibly drive them out!?”

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:5

So, First, read the Word of God and BELIEVE it when it says “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-8 MSG)

You have to replace the anxious thoughts with God trusting thoughts. Believe me there may be days where this is ALL you do in your mind. It’s gruelling, but SO worth it. In the NLT it says, ” Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Part of this process is to remember ways God has protected you, cared for you, and met your needs.

When my 2nd daughter was born I had a hard time laying her in her bed and leaving the room for the night. I was going through a really rough time, we had moved from CA to WI and had no jobs to support us. I was having some trust issues with God and one night when I simply could not pull myself away from her bedside I sat on the floor and cried. I said, “God! How can I trust you when we have no car, we have no jobs, and now two kids, what are you doing here!?” and right there on the floor of my infants room I hashed it out with God. He won of course reminding me of every time he’s met my needs. He reminded me that when I don’t trust, I pull away. And when I pull away, I put an unsafe distance between me and God. God never moved, but I took steps away. And once I began to thank Him for all He’s done, that peace surrounded me and I could trust my daughter in His hands.

I prayed that if something truly warranted my attention that I’d know the difference between anxiety and a call to action. That has proven itself many times over now and I know the difference in the feelings.

After two miscarriages and finally a very difficult pregnancy and an even more difficult birth of our 3rd child,  I found out I was pregnant with my 4th. Fear began to creep in. And I chose to not live in fear. So I took this verse in Philippians and put it to practice. Every fear that came up, every what if that tried to steal my joy, I turned into prayer. For example: When I did not feel sick one morning after having severe morning sickness the day before, instead of freaking out because my experience told me that meant miscarriage, I prayed, “I’m so thankful that I feel so good today, Lord. Thank you for the reprieve, but I’m scared. I’m scared that this is a sign of miscarriage, please take care of my baby. I give this baby to you for you hold his future in your hands. I TRUST you and will choose to trust instead of fret.” I did this many times a day. My delivery was so horrible with baby #3 and I’d fret the delivery of # 4 almost every day of the pregnancy, but I turned them into prayer EVERY.SINGLE.TIME until that peace came over me… and that delivery was the easiest of all 4. It was so good!

So I think of those times and I remind myself that God has taken care of our family from the very beginning and he will not stop now. When I wake up at 4am riddled with dream after dream of my children drowning or getting lost, or kidnapped while at the Dells, I get myself up and pray myself through immediately, even if that means missed sleep tonight… tomorrow will be better.

I also pray the scriptures. I believe the Word of God is true. And so I pull out a few scriptures and I pray out loud the TRUTH over my fear. I put my kids’ names in the spots where it makes sense…

Lord, I look up to the mountains—
For my help comes from there. 
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let My children stumble;
the one who watches over them will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over my children
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over them!
The Lord stands beside them as their protective shade.
 sun will not harm my children by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps them from all harm
and watches over their lives.
The Lord keeps watch over them as they come and go,
both now and forever. (Psalm 121, bold print = changes)
I fill my mind with prayers of trust until there is no room left for thoughts of anxiety. And to be honest, this took me 90 or so minutes last night. It’s NOT easy… but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
God is a sympathetic God. None of us are perfect, and we’re all given our own set of struggles to overcome. God does not leave us to do this alone! He’ll walk each step with is.
For some anxiety isn’t an issue, for others, it can be a cancer. And just like cancer treatments can be aggressive, so must our course of action to overcome fear and anxiety. For some it’s not the safety of their children, but their checkbook, they fear and fret every time it’s time to pay the bills. They lose sleep over how they will put food on the table. For others it may be the drive to be perfect in all they do. They fear making mistakes and they live in this constant pull between the impossibility to be perfect, and their anxiety over beating that impossibility. Although the symptoms are different, the cancer is the same… and the treatment will always be to CHOOSE to be anxious about nothing and pray about it all.
I suspect this won’t be my only night where I have nightmares. I have 3 weeks before we have the time of our lives at the Waterpark Capital of the World. And I’ll need to up my prayer time each day we are there, but I’m committed to choose peace and trust. It’s what the Word says to do.
Below are a FEW scriptures you can turn to prayer as you choose to overcome your anxiety. I got this set from a bible.com (youversion App) reading plan called, “Praying through the Scriptures: Anxiety” I keep this plan on my phone at all times so if I’m struggling I know where I can find some good solid scriptural prayers. I know there’s more out there, feel free to share them in a comment!
I’m praying for YOU, too. Anxiety can be debilitating. Don’t dwell in it (it’ll grow!) instead, choose trust. And remember Trust and Anxiety cannot coexist.
  • Matthew 6:25-34
  • 1 Peter 5:7-11
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Proverbs 3:5-8
  • Psalm 46
  • 2 Corinthians 12:8-10


And if you think about me during the week of June 17th-20th, lift me up in prayer. I would never want to ruin this week of fun for my family because of my lack of trust. I have always enjoyed myself in years past, and I plan to do it again this time.