Be Still

rollercoaster

 

There’s a bit of irony to this post. Shortly after I wrote the introduction to this post on being still I received a phone call that changed it all. Now, let me backtrack for a minute…

Before the phone call I was beginning to relax and be still after a few long years of incredibly high stress from a long string of many events. I was fighting againsts the let down of stress hormones that were making me feel twitchy and generally sick. I thought “ah-ha! I’ve beat it! I’m finally relaxing!”, I began to put together the post and was all set to write when the phone rang.

My Grandma was in the hospital and was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. My heart began to race, old habits of hurrying and busyness and “go do” mentality came flooding back. I needed to be there at the hospital, I needed to help my Grandpa, I needed to make arrangements for my kids to be watched in anticipation for our back and forth driving to and from the hospital. I ran out and got a week’s worth of groceries so we wouldn’t have to worry about doing that should things get worse. Old habits were setting back in and I was instantly a jittery mess of busy again. The night after the phone call when my stress levels were ramped up again I took a hot shower and began to pray. When I got out I went to find my husband to talk through it with him (I like to talk to him to “work through” the thoughts in my head), but God’s quiet still voice called me to him. I couldn’t deny that stirring in my heart to sit with my bible in hand and be still with my Father. I began to write in my prayer journal and here’s what came out…

 

“I kept thinking today, when will it end? When do I get a season of rest, peace, quiet, and stillness? I am realizing the peace and stillness don’t come like I thought they would. There is no miraculous season that lands upon my life where the world stops turning. Everyday throws unexpected curveballs, some big, some small. I have grown, and even become accustom, to feeling frantic. I keep thinking, if I can just have quiet and nothingness for one week THEN I’ll feel good again. I think, if I can clear my schedule for a few days to sit THEN I’ll want to read my bible. I am beginning to realize that that stillness that I desperately want to have doesn’t come from an empty calendar and good health, it comes from self-discipline. Discipline that says “sit and read your bible”, or “sit in quiet and say nothing with God”. 

I realized how, in my moments of extreme busy and stress, I am subconsciously looking for distraction from the overwhelmingness on my life. I call a friend to talk about my circumstance, send a text, watch a show, check Facebook all because my heart doesn’t want to be alone with itself. But what I forget is that it’s not alone. God, the one whose hand is over, under, and through every busy frantic moment in my life, also has a hand on me. I forget that. 

I seek a strange comfort in my busyness and stress because it’s what I know. If I spent half as much time as I do on the stressors instead of getting to know WHO God is, then I wouldn’t feel the need to cling so tightly to my own drama and frantic lifestyle. If I knew as much about God as I do about cancer, or what my “friends” on Facebook are doing, or trending YouTubes, and trending photos, I would see my busy life in a different perspective. If I read my bible like I read news articles I would hold God’s promises closer to my heart instead of the promises the broken world has to offer me.”

 

God tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). In Psalm 46:10 he says to us to be still and know that he is God. And again in the Psalms we hear him say that “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (127:2). God commands us to be still! It’s OK to rest. It’s good for us in fact, even God knows that!

MY frantic busyness in MY choice to be frantic and busy. I have chosen to carry my own burden of the chaos around me. I was the one who took it upon myself to get frazzled and flustered and exhausted. It was not God’s wishes for me to be so busy that there is no room for quiet and stillness and rest. God’s wishes were never to rob me of joy in my heart because I am too busy to smile or laugh. God is never in a hurry, so why am I thinking that I need to be?

I become stressed and busy because I don’t trust God’s plan, I create activity that doesn’t need to happen in my life. I become stressed and busy because I feel the need to do things for my own personal gain and pride. I become stressed and busy because I don’t trust other people to get the job done. And finally, and probably my biggest reason for becoming busy: I become busy because I’m afraid to be alone with what I’m feeling.

Being still hurts. It hurts to be so quiet that you can know what’s in your heart and your mind. It hurts when God reveals the tough stuff. It’s uncomfortable to do nothing. No tv, no music, no friends, no phone, nothing, just quiet stillness. But only when I get to that and make a point of being still can I hear what God is teaching me and speaking to my worn out exhausted heart, and sometimes what’s he is saying is as simple as “I love you”.

God is never in rush to get away from us. He doesn’t push us away because there’s a war he needs to tend to across the globe that’s more important than you. He doesn’t tell you to “shush” like I do to my kids because I’m busy working, his ears always open, always waiting for you. Daily we must make the time to sit at his feet and to be still, and not because we have to, but because we are designed to need the nourishment that only He can provide. Without that we are hungry and useless for his work when he does ask something from us. This is a tough thing that I wish I could say I’ve mastered, but I’m far from it. It’s one of those things that once I’ve sat with him I remember how good it feels, but trying to convince myself to get to that point for just five minutes some days feels monumental.

This week will you take a look at you life? Are you so busy you’re exhausted? Are you feeling like the little roller coaster stickman in the above cartoon? Is there any peace left in your heart? Are you feeling robbed of your joy? If so, then it’s time to be still. Fight against the urge to be busy and ask God to help you to sit and be still. Before you begin your day, before you turn on the radio, or the computer take 5 minutes to offer up thanksgiving your Heavenly Father. Make an intentional decision to clear your plate just for him. Sing, lay still or read your bible, whatever it is make that time for him to feed your soul. And at night, go to bed early. Turn off the tv (trust me there’s no show that will change your life that much), stop checking Facebook for the 100th time, shut off the noise and be still again. I pray that God, however busy your season, would bring joy and peace and stillness and rest back to you as make a conscious effort to be with him.

Love,

S

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Testimony Tuesday with Jenn

testimonytues

I had an amazing weekend full of God’s love, his grace, and his mercy. I was so very blessed to be able to be in His presence with so many amazing women this weekend at the ladies retreat. God used us to speak and encourage each other. Many tears, many deep and meaningful hugs, and so many laughs . I had the opportunity to share on Saturday night. After listening to Penny worship our God so beautifully one line from a song stuck in my heart: “There is Reason for every Season”.

In my childhood I never knew Jesus as my Saviour. Growing up I never went to church or read the bible, I never even knew any stories from the bible. I struggled in school with learning disabilities and found myself choosing to skip school to go party and do drugs. I thought I had so many friends but when I found myself pregnant at the ripe old age of 15 I soon realized how alone I really was. After I had my son I soon went back to partying and drugs . When my son turned 2 my dad passed away from a accident at work . I looked to drugs to heal my pain . When I was 19 I found out that I was having another baby, I was still single, still unhappy and felt so alone at times. In my darkest days I stole money for drugs had meaningless sex with people I didn’t care about and knew they didn’t care for me.

October 21st 2003 I was out at the bar when I met a handsome man named Rob .We spent two nights together before moving in together . We were married March 26th 2004 . We welcomed our baby girl December 15th 2005 . My husband loved me, I had three healthy children and yet I was still unhappy I carried around with me shame and guilt from my past . I sometimes even wondered how Rob could love someone like me.

Our life brought us to Spruce Grove, and for some “reason” we decided to go to the Spruce Grove Alliance Church. On our fourth time attending the pastor who was preaching asked everyone to hold out their hands and visualize holding any hurt, any burdens, anything that was heavy in our hearts. He explained how we don’t need to carry these burdens. I remember holding so much weight. I closed my eyes and listened to the music and tears started welling up in my eyes. All the feelings of shame and guilt I was holding there in my hands, then He said when you are ready lift it all up to God he will take it from you. Tears started rolling down my cheeks as I lifted up my hands and felt all the weight I had been carrying disappear. Tears flowed down my cheeks and I left church dancing that day. My life changed after that day, I now never felt alone and realized how loved I had always been.

God is working in my life daily teaching me so much about who I am in him. Thank you God for this weekend full of testimonies where we can trust in you to feel not judged but loved. You are an amazing God.

 
To my beautiful sisters in Christ:
Thessalonians 5:11
And so encourage one another and help one and other, just as you are now doing.

Shared by Jenn. S.

 

Dear Lord,

Thank  you for giving Jenn the courage to share her personal life with all of us. I thank you for the work you have done in her life and the work you continue to do in her life. I pray that you use each word as you intend and that it be a conduit for your work God. Please fill Jenn today, fill her up so that she may feel encouraged and protected by anything that might come against her. Her words are courageous and bold and they speak of You and your sovereignty. Praise be to you our Father. Thank you…In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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Hang up Your Guilt

Stop. Before you read any further write down three “I Am” statements about yourself. No seriously, I’ll wait…got a pen and paper yet? Ok. Go.

  1. I am ______
  2. I am ______
  3. I am ______

What did you fill in the blanks with? Maybe you wrote “I am” a mom, wife, friend, or perhaps your job title. Whatever you wrote, it is who you believe you are, and you wouldn’t be wrong with anything you wrote.

We tend to measure our value by the things we wrote down. We feel like a good mom, when our kids are doing well. We feel like a good wife when we’ve cooked our husband’s favorite meal and see the satisfied look on his face. We get a raise at work, or praise from a boss and feel like a contributor to the office. It isn’t wrong to feel valued in the circumstances. In fact, it is always great to receive praise, we need that from time to time. The danger here lies the guilt that follows.

If you value yourself by who you are on your list, than there will always be a list of things not being met that you feel guilty for. Why? It’s simple. You cannot be everything at once.

I will write on being a mom for minute because it’s one of my own “I am” statements,  and how this guilt pertains to us mommies. If I write “I am a Mom”. Then, I measure my self-worth and my value by my kids. I begin to make my kids the centre of my world. I listen to their every word, invest my day back into their world, worry about their future, their eternity, their health and wellbeing, and place them ahead of everything else. But wait a minute…what about my husband? I also made the “I am a wife” statement. And now, I have not put him into the center of my world. He has been left out and he feels it, and now I feel guilty for ignoring him. So, in effort to ensure that he is no longer left out I focus on him. But, then I go to bed wondering if I’ve spent enough with my kids for them to know how much I love them and I go to bed feeling guilty again and like I’ve let people down. Get the pattern? I work at one thing that I feel makes me valuable, then realize I’ve left out another and feel guilty and begin all over again, all the while stressing myself out and stretching my time very thin.

We need to hang up that guilt. We need to let go of our own “I am” statements to see where our true value lies. We need to stop being people pleasers and expending our energy and resources on making others the center of our world. Yes, God has asked us to do certain things in life like going out and making disciples, training up our children in his ways. But, God also calls us to him first and foremost. Here’s three more “I Am” statements for you:

  1. I AM loved my the Creator of the universe who took the time to craft my body, and build in me my character.
  2. I AM being pursued by the God who wants nothing more than me and my time this very second.
  3. I AM who I am only because God thought of me first. Before my parents wanted children, before they were even born, he thought of me.

You see? Your value is not measured by your own family, or your work ethic, or what you ate or didn’t eat, or whether you took the stairs or the elevator today. Your value is not measured by how many friends you have, the size of your house, or how many dishes you didn’t wash today. Your value is not even measured by the way your kids grow up and turn out to be, or whether anyone around you even knows your name. Your value comes from who you are to God. The God of the universe who made the stars, the planets, the days and the nights also took the time to handcraft you from the inside out. That’s where your value lies. As a fearfully and wonderfully child of God. Yes you, no matter how old you are, no matter what you have or haven’t done, YOU are still a child of God. That verse still pertains to you!

So, hang up the guilt that tells you each night that you failed somewhere. You didn’t. Run to the arms of the Father who longs to be with you. Silence the busyness and frantic days that tell you you need to DO something to be of value and JUST SIT with God. Your Dad of all dads, who has nothing so urgent on his plate that he cannot be still you.

Join us next week on the blog as I write about being still.

Love,

Sarah

Dear Father

Thank you for this preview into what you have prompted Sarah to write for next week. I pray that as people read this that they will feel the holy spirit move upon them. I thank you for your almighty wisdom in teaching us all that you would have us know about learning to walk with you Father. I thank you for your written word, that we might have peace and guidance as we discern and hear your truths in each of our lives. I ask that you just be with us in the next few days as we spend the weekend in your word and prepare for a new week. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god

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The issue is sin.

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

I am a bit behind on my writing so I will give you a peek into my last week and I will write from my heart. It isn’t going to be formal and full of scripture, but it will be a piece for you take away and think about.

If I were in a room full of people, and I were talking to you all directly, I would probably ask how many of you have been affected by addiction, whether it is in your own life, or by proxy of someone else. I bet a lot of hands would shoot up, either that or they wouldn’t and you would sit back and quietly wish you had the courage to raise your hand.

This past week has been tough one for me. This time last year I lost my oldest big brother from complications associated with addiction. I know that I am not the first, nor will I be the last person to experience death, or sudden death. The experience itself had me clinging to Jesus in a way I had never had to before in my life. I have experienced the loss of a parent, but it didn’t feel like this. This time it felt different. Why? Because I had placed my earthly hopes and expectations on a situation that I couldn’t control and none of it panned out the way I had envisioned it. I saw my brother getting well, and going off to treatment which he was to going to do a few weeks later, and suddenly from out of the blue those ideas were shattered. He had passed suddenly in the night time, and that was the end of the life he had been given and now here I sit…writing to you about my big brother Rick in hopes that it might speak to your heart.

In my life addiction goes far deeper than just my big brother. It has its clenches on my entire family tree and it has stolen the lives of many of my relatives including both of my biological parents, and more recently two “sisters” (cousins) who both had children and families. I also know that I am not alone in this and that there are still many more people out there who have stories similar to mine. Many of them do not know the love of Christ, but there also many that live inside the church. Because the church is such a large body of people, it feels scary to even imagine speaking out about what you are going through. It might feel like people would judge you, or not want to spend time with you because of what is going on, or perhaps you are afraid about the repercussions of telling somebody else. I want you to know that this is a lie that the enemy is feeding you. It is not true and I will attest to it. I know that because I was once like you. I had these things going on in my life and I dared not tell a soul. It was a painful journey for me to be taken for a ride on a train that was heading for complete destruction. I want you to know that if you are feeling isolated, that there are other people out there who are going through the same thing and that you are not alone. I want you to know that the struggle you are battling right now…is precisely why Jesus Christ ate with the poor and the broken. This is why He came down and saved us all through the washing of His blood and the resurrection of His body. There is freedom in Christ.

I often felt like before my brother passed away, that I would get a chance to pray with him one more time, to bless him as he left for Teen Challenge. It never happened. I plead for you to have that experience, or to offer that experience to your loved one. To be able to just place your hand upon their shoulders and say “Oh Father…take this life and make it Yours…Keep this person safe, and shower Your love and Your mercy upon them God. Show them that they are Yours and through You, there is strength to overcome. Put a hedge of protection around them and guide them as they walk through the darkest of valleys Father. In Jesus Name…I pray…Amen”. The power of prayer is amazing. The book of James says “Confess your sins from one to another and pray for each other so that you may be healed”(James 5:16)

If there were more confessions and more prayer for healing and more support amongst the masses, then there would be a thriving recovery community in every church. The sad part is is that there isn’t because of shame, because of fear and because of feelings of unworthiness. The enemy does not want you to experience the healing and the freedom associated with sharing life on life’s terms with other people. He wants you to feel alone, forgotten and hopeless. This keeps you far from God and stunts your growth. This is what Satan wants and it is the opposite of God’s best for your life.

And just as with anything pro-active for God, there is a deep rooted fear. I am sure that this is merely a human response to change, or perhaps it is again the enemy doing what he does to keep us close. The bible tells us to rebuke our brothers and sisters and to bring them back to the Lord if they stray…and yet we don’t? James 5:19-20 says 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

And all the while the God our Father is correcting us through scripture, His promise is there also: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more passages and scriptures I could point you to that would bring about the same conclusion however, I encourage you to look on your own. Read your bible, and know God’s word so that if there is a seed of doubt in your mind, that the truth will send it from you.

And for others who’s sin issue isn’t alcohol or drugs…Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”.  Friend, there is nothing hidden under the sun. God see’s your heart and knows you. There is nothing hidden from Him Almighty. Not a thought, not a deed and certainly no wickedness. Maybe you watch impure things on the internet, or pop an extra painkiller because you think it’s not a big deal, or you spend your money unwisely too often, or your eyes linger just a little bit too long on another who isn’t your spouse, or you put your husband(or wife), your children, your job, your materialism, your image, or your schedule AHEAD of Him who created you and because of this, you are floundering in your walk with God. It might be completely non-existent, or not a priority. Maybe you fail to offer Him praise because you have forgotten His love for you….if that is you, then test your ways. Come back to the Lord. Your spot was never taken and He has always loved you. You are of value to the Lord, You are His child, and He beckons you near, and waits upon you with an open lap for you to sit. If you are falling and it feels hopeless, or unbearable, or perhaps the sacrifice of giving up the issue feels enormous…then know that there is another way….that there is strength in Jesus. He can help you, but you  must let him help you first. He loves you and He can train you for a different mission. When shame creeps in & the enemy whispers “Nay Nay..you need not help”, remember: ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).

And for you my dear sweet friend…the one who’s loved one is hurting in a way that is hurting you. Love them in the best way, and be strong. Be strong for God our Father is with you. He has a plan for you and for them. God’s word says that you can have steadfastness, boldness, courage, and that you will be upheld in times of trial. Know that nothing in this world, no flesh, no word can come against you and harm you. God will establish you. He loves you and knows your circumstance. Tell someone. Please…do not keep this sorrow in your heart alone to fester. Tell someone and ask for help. The simple act of getting it out is like letting the flood gates open. It is healthy, it is good and it is needed in order to heal. You need healing my friend and Jesus is the way.

As a way to get you to open your bibles, I simply ask you to read 1 Corinthians 10:13…this was my brothers verse…he felt it was for Him, so maybe you will feel it is for you too.

All my love and my encouragement…

D

*Please share this and pass it along to people who you feel it applies to. I wish someone had shared something like this with me many years ago. If you are someone who needs an encouraging word or prayer-email mudandmire@gmail.com.

 

RIP @>- RWF-(Oct 20/61-Feb 25/13)

RIP @>- MK & CK

Father, shine your light into the corners of our hearts. Speak to us this week. What have I placed at my core? Show me if it isn’t you. Send me a friend that I can trust. If need to escape my current situation lead me to safety. Thank you for not leaving my side. Help me to remember that even in the darkest night, you are still there beside me. Help me to let go of the things I can’t change, and correct the things that need to be corrected to pull me closer to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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