I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.
You lose God.
Where did he go? Why is He far?
But IS God far?
“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18
God isn’t far. We are.
We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.
God isn’t far. We are.
This may hurt to admit today. How are you far? Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?
Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:
“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20
Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.
While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn’t make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.
Staring at him, I wondered, “What would it take to fix this man’s attitude? To show him or teach him you don’t act like this?”
Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person’s attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . ”
They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?
Flesh aims “to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.
My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.
Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:
“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”
Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I’ve had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.
Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, “Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you.”
Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
As my husband put it, “Kelly, you need a day of relaxation.”
I tended to agree. Recently, stress sat on my shoulders. Grievances were monumental annoyances. My mind was having an affair with worry. To-dos were growing longer. Much was adding up to – too much.
With this, I knew: God was calling me elsewhere – to something greater. So, I went.
I drove to a local park to take the day off and to walk. I was confident I’d found relief right after the 30-minute drive of grueling, never-ending traffic. Except it wasn’t.
As I pulled up to the address shown on Google, the gates were slammed shut. Closed for business. No entry. Bye-bye day of relaxation.
No-go, Kelly. No-go to where God called you.
More irritation climbed my back.
Have you ever gone where you believed God wanted you to go, only to find it a no-go? Only to have the gate shut? Only to feel lost?
Frustrated, but determined not to give up, I circled the mile-long block a couple times, wondering if there was another entrance. There wasn’t. I returned to the gate with the word “STOP” on it, trying to inch forward and back to see if it would open. It wouldn’t. I called a number to find out if it really was closed. It was.
“God, why did you take me here? To drop me? To leave me?”
“Kelly, I never dropped you or left you.”
I looked down on my lap, and I could see that along the drive to this location, God had been speaking all kinds of blessings to me. Words of encouragement, thoughts of learning, discoveries about my day. He had been with me all the time.
He invited me to a drive of delighting in him. Not to a destination I demanded of him.
He never left me.
He never dropped me.
He never lost me.
Often, we declare we’re lost when God knows we’re in the process of being found. We see our way as long and burdensome, but I believe God thinks, “I’m doing something amazing along this way. I am transforming this woman, my way.”
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)
Perhaps today, you don’t lament where you are, but you grab on to it and see what God has for you.
Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it.
One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck! I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.
Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!
We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.
We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.
Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.
Our internal pictures tell a different story.
What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?
May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.
He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.
He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?
To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.
What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)
Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it.
Jesus is your victory. Your victory and your destiny. You are secure.
Because it is: Won and done. (Let these words take root in your mind when you forget)
Jesus won, is winning and will win. Period. Always. Forever. And on and on…for always.
If everything is against you, Jesus wins. Won and done. If you see death to cancer. Won and done. One day, you’ll be healed on earth or in heaven as your every tear is wiped away.
If your husband left you. Won and done. Jesus will be right next to you, never leaving your side, while leading you to his best thing.
If you get every door slammed in your face. Won and done.God will be your defender and restorer. Nothing gets by him.
If you can’t see out of depression. Won and done. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
If you are hated. Won and done. Jesus loves you and will fill the deep desires of your heart.
If pain overwhelms you. Won and done. Greater is God’s love than the substance of anything in this world.
Always, Jesus wins. Won and done. Always. Always. Always. Honor God by returning to this truth, in every case, at all times, in every way. Don’t delay.
He won for you and his victory is done.
“For those who honor me, I will honor.” 1 Sam 2:30
“Mama, the monsters are coming at me,” my son said.
He stood by the bed with his face inches from mine, hands animated. My mid-REM cycle brain lingered between sleep and reality.
“What?” I asked. I saw that my son was disturbed by something. After realizing I was going to have to get out of bed, I stumbled to his room. I gave the bunk a full examination before telling him to get back in.
Five minutes later, he reappeared. The monsters were still there.
For some reason, the miracle of a flashlight never occurred to me. Thank God for my husband who came to the rescue with not just a flashlight, but a headlamp. Under the pillow it went.
Sweet, uninterrupted sleep followed. The next morning, I realized this tool I took for granted revealed the truth: the “monsters” were in fact shadows. There were no creepy things waiting to grab him in the night. He was safe.
It’s amazing what a little light can do.
Even in the darkest place, a flicker of it can go a long way.
Recently, I needed some light of my own. But for months, I didn’t tell anyone. I went through a dark season where I listened to one lie after another. Lies telling me I wasn’t enough. Lies telling me I should do better as a mother, wife, writer and friend. Lies telling me I wasn’t going to make it.
I thought, “If I can just make it through today, things will get better.”
Good days came and went and when the darkness hit again, I thought, “I’m just having a bad day.”
Somehow, bringing my struggle out into the open seemed threatening. I convinced myself if I could carry it a little longer, it would go away. I thought telling someone would make it my reality.
But in truth, it already was.
One day I sat in church operating the media projector while the worship band played Healing Is Here by The Deluge. My eyes were wet with tears as I mouthed the words.
Sickness can’t stay any longer
Your perfect love is casting out fear
You are the God of all power
And it is your will that my life is healed
Did I believe that? Did I believe God wanted me to be whole, complete, and fully secure in his love?
As I sat there asking myself this question, a miracle took place. The pastor called a sister forward to pray over the offering, but the Spirit had something else for us that day. A rescue. A release.
“There’s someone here who’s suffering from depression,” she stated without hesitation. She said God wanted that person to know his healing power was for her.
The tears ran freely down my cheeks. But still, my butt remained glue to my seat. In the next half hour, our church literally became what Jesus referred to in Matthew as “A House of Prayer.” Service stopped. The sermon was postponed.
This woman’s husband stood up and extended a second invitation, and I knew I had to go forward. And as a stood there at the front of the sanctuary with my head bowed, her hand reached through the crowd and grabbed mine.
Music played in the background while this sister prayed over me, naming lie after lie that I’d listened to for months. It was a God-ordained moment.
And what I realized was this: Even when no one else saw my pain, God did.
“…for your Father knows what you need before you even ask him.” Matthew 6:8b NIV
I finally understood that hiding our struggles does not diminish their power. It increases it.
But when I gave my problem a name, I was able to take the first step toward healing. I said, “I’m not going to let this rule me anymore.”
When we bring our darkness into his Light, he shows us truth.
Like my son with his headlamp, we can see the shadows aren’t able to defeat us. Though they lurk, they can never stand a chance against his perfect love.
Friend, no matter what you’re going through today, know this: God sees. Bring your fears, your problems and your sickness into his Light today. Tell someone you trust. Take a step forward.
His healing power begins when we reach for his hand.
Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.
When my mom was sick a couple of years ago a palliative care doctor was assigned to her case.
Palliative care is the multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with life-limiting illnesses, focussing on providing relief from pain and physical and mental stress of the terminally ill patient and their family.
But Dr. Robinson was more than that.
Though she was first trained in neurology it was obvious her heartbeat was in palliative care. I could tell early on she was gifted from God for this vocation because she gained my sister’s trust which is nearly impossible to do.
Dr Robinson naturally doled out comfort, concern and love in the most difficult of situations. She was warm and caring like the favorite blanket you want to wrap up in on a cold, raw day. And raw was a good description for the way my sister and I felt in the days leading up to Mom’s death.
Dr. R. took time to know each of us. We exchanged business cards. She even said she would read my blog and to my surprise she actually did.
After my mom’s death I wrote a post on advanced directives, I re-titled: Love to Perfection, Leave Direction. You see, a lot of our emotional trauma in those last days came from the fact we didn’t know what my mom wanted and she could’t tell us. She had always talked about a living will but neither my sister nor I could remember her writing it up or where it would have been placed if she had. After reading my post Dr. Robinson asked if she could share my blog with her colleagues to help them understand what families go through. I, of course, said yes. Goodness, what blogger wouldn’t want a few more clicks on their site?
A couple of weeks ago my phone rang. I let it go to voicemail when I didn’t recognized the number. When I listened to the message I heard the kind, soft-spoken voice of Dr Robinson. I was touched. I returned her call and we chatted. She asked how I was and about each of my siblings. Then she told me something that floored me.
As the need for palliative care has taken root, over the last year and a half Dr R. has traveled literally around the world (even Russia) delivering lectures and instructing doctors on the intricacies of her vocation. But that’s not what gave me goosebumps, after all that’s her heart. But what she said next, did.
She told me she had been taking the words from my post and using them in her seminars around the globe.
In a world where quotas matter, to-do lists keep us running and one more click to your website is paramount, her words spoke like a prophetic message straight from God.
Numbers don’t count, only people do.
So why do you do what you do? To be liked? To stay competitive? To get it done? Get ahead? Or for the sheer joy of being in your gifting and bringing glory to God however He sees fit?
And what do I want? More numbers to my website or more hearts equipped and trained to love those in need?
I have no doubt God orchestrated my meeting of Dr Robinson in December of 2015. That’s the kind of God we serve. While I was thinking about possibly raising numbers God was thinking about possibly touching hearts.
Perhaps we get too caught up in what people expect from us rather than what God wants to do through us.
Work out our purpose.
Because it is in living out our purpose we find true joy. And I’ll have to say, on this day, I found it.
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About Christy Mobley
Christy is an award winning writer, national speaker, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and first time grandma! She is passionate about helping women see God working for their good in the midst of their circumstances.
When Christy isn’t with family, speaking or writing, you can find her on the tennis court chasing a fuzzy yellow ball. You can connect with Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey, Facebook, and Twitter
Yesterday, I went to the local cafe to write. I sit in the back where all the employees congregate, gossip and chit-chat. I usually try to keep my head down, but this time my eyes got the better of me. I couldn’t help but watch and listen.
A man marched through the front door. Chest up, he huffed and puffed all the way to to the back full of disdain at what he saw laying around him. Immediately grabbing a napkin and wiping a chair, he proceeded to attack the mess. He also decided to speak out from under his breath, saying, “This place is a mess.” He wanted his co-workers to hear. They did. Loud and clear.
Each belabored move to tackle crumbs, tables and spills, was all a message telling them, “You aren’t on it, but I am.”
A minute later, he pointed out two chairs and said, “Are those chairs supposed to be like that?”
He knew full well they weren’t. Then, he strutted over and fixed them. The two women employees next to me raised their eyebrows and gave each other the look, which I took to mean, “He’s up to it again…”
With their look, something pierced and shifted in me. Something called me to look within myself. Why? Because I knew his ludicrous behavior was also my ludicrous behavior. I am often, “up to it again.”
I speak a word under my breath, “Ugh…this place is such a mess.”
I send a silent message to my child, “Can’t anyone throw out these used paper towels on the counters?”
I leave a complaining spirit around my house, “He didn’t put his shoes away. Now, I have to do it.”
I am “up to it again” often.
I never knew how this practice appears. How it comes off. The arrogance of it. The looks it produces in people. The retaliation it produces. The spectacle of it all.
It makes me consider how I could approach things differently.
You know, the man could have come in and:
Chosen to connect with hearts by first caring for those around him.
Been straightforward with his request for help in cleaning up, saying, “Hey, would you all mind helping me clean up?”
Connected with others during the process.
Given thanks to them for helping him out.
I can do this too.
It was interesting as I watched this situation transpire. The women retaliated and called the man out on his “junk.” They said, “Hey Jim, are these your bags of chips out here on the counter?”
They were. Embarrassed, Jim walked back to pick them up.
None of us are perfect. Usually, what we huff and puff about are things we are equally guilty of.
Why not give everyone a break? Ourselves included.
Why not be honest? In need? Straightforward?
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Eph. 4:24
First, we want to acknowledge that you do not exist. You never can, nor will you ever exist. We are sorry to tell you this, but your mission is 100% impossible and we regret to inform you it is one God never called you to.
We also want to encourage you, finally, to let your shoulders relax. You can let down your guard. You can stop pretending you’re a whole lot better than you look. You can let go of the messy drawers, the bad habits, the quick responses and stop beating yourself over the head with a self-improvement plan that never seems to work. You can inhale, let your stomach fill and then exhale.
You can rest. Finally, you can rest. You can find a daddy God who doesn’t look at you for what you can do, but who you are in him. You can see him want to be near to you. You can see him approach you with the fullness of love.
He wants you, even when you don’t want to see the horrible things you’ve done.
Breathe deep. Again.
There is peace for you. Even when you are face-to-face with a horrible, ugly, unwanted failure. Still, there is peace, love and hope. Acceptance of failure is freedom.
I am writing you today with an invitation to let in- the love you hold at an arms-length. The love your always-unmet achievements declare you unworthy of. The love you keep away lest it make you feel needy. The love that will change you.
Today, let in…Christ. Let love in to a greater capacity.
What Jesus did covers what you don’t do. What he did washes away the blame that sticks. What he did marks you blameless. What he did removes the status of “wholly unworthy” and leaves you with an identity of holy.
This status reminds you: you will mess up, but God never gives up on you.
Return here, to this reminder. It is your rest. He wants you, not your work. He wants your heart. Let him have it. Let it be immersed in the Living Water. Let it splash around, dance, have fun, be free and enjoy the goodness of him who loves you.
My biggest fear came true, the exact one I couldn’t stop mulling over as I lay on my shaking, rattling bed. My 6-year-old was on the top bunk of an Amtrak train bed.
Would it hold him? Would he roll over?
At home, my son was protected. He knew his surroundings. He had comfort. His fall wasn’t 6 feet down. But here, in this new situation? In a bed half his size? One really couldn’t tell what might happen…
I got word in the morning. Husband told me he fell off the bed. My heart stopped. My eyes stared. I looked the kid up and down for train wounds. Nothing.
Husband explained, the safety straps next to the bed (the ones I completely took for granted), caught him. They wrapped him as he fell, like a cocoon, keeping him in a deep well of safety. So dear son was just chilling there, swinging and safe. Unaware of how protected he was…how he’d just been saved. He wasn’t even aware it happened. Dad pulled him back onto his bed without waking him.
How often does our Dad “save” us without us realizing? Pull us onto our bed of safety without us noticing? Wrap us in a cocoon of protection so harm can’t touch us?
Many of us, myself included, never give thought to the family wars, the bitter arguments, the looming bills, the accidents, the woops moments, the injuries he saves us from.
We see the things that hit us, and blame God, but we never consider how he saves us, and thank God.
He’s probably protected you a bazillion times, because God is mighty to save.
“He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3)
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” (Zeph. 3:17)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:8)