The Lord is always speaking in difficulty, and at all times through His word and other people. I've been going through a period of time where I'm praying for situations beyond my control, for trust, peace and rest, and for spiritual maturity. I don't know why it is, but I'm always blown away when devotionals I read, or sermons I hear, speak right to my situation. These times of encouragement and refreshment for my soul were God ordained before the foundation of the world, for the very moment God knew I would need them.
I can't recount all I've been up to and been through since my last post in November. I know that Christmas was a difficult time without my mother and grandmother, but the Lord got me through it. I also endured the passing of my mother's birthday, and the anniversary of my grandmother's death, with the anniversary of my mother's death just one month away. The year of "firsts" is always the hardest. I also went through a Lyme's relapse, but thankfully another round of antibiotics and holistic treatment knocked that out for the time being.
Most recently, I've been getting ready for a craft fair! If you haven't seen my little shop on Etsy, you can check it out here: Living Word Decor. I have also been involved in caring for one of my grandmother's friends who was diagnosed with cancer. This has been a very trying time both physically and emotionally. It takes me back to when I was caring for my grandma, advocating for her rights and proper treatment, and the physical toll it can take on the mind and body. There's been lots of hospital visits, phone calls, running back and forth, all while still taking care of my Etsy business and the home front. Because my grandma's friend is alone, with no family to help, many worries and cares fill my mind regarding her care after she is released from the hospital. If I were to think out loud for a minute, you would hear me thinking things like: how can I get her into a first floor apartment, she's in too poor of health to climb stairs everyday; how will she prepare meals for herself being too weak; what about her bills getting paid as no one will talk to me because I have no authority to speak on her behalf; should I become her power of attorney; what about her house cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping, etc., etc.
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
I broke down in tears knowing that was God speaking to me. He was going to work everything out, He is my (and your) helper. Leaving everything in His hands is a daily process of giving it back over instead of worrying. This is why journaling helps me, to remember His promises.
As God would also have it during this time, a little devotional I had been reading called "Women of God: Joy in the Journey" would take me through the life of Martha, the woman with a servant's heart who was "distracted with much serving.... [and] worried and upset about many things... but only one thing is necessary" (Like 10:40-41) as Jesus would tell her. That one thing is spending time with Him. In the past, I've jumped right into my responsibilities for the day. If you're anything like me, you'll think of all you have to do and the stress is causes makes you dive right in. But in reality I (and you!) can't afford to dive right in without sitting at the Lord's feet for the encouragement from His word to start the day. One line that stood out from this week long devotional on Martha was this: "Jesus prompted [Martha] to rethink her priorities. Her service was important, but without the nourishment Jesus could offer, it became an all-encompassing burden. Jesus wants to take you on a journey from stress to stillness, from panic to peace of mind. He invites you to put Him first, and then take on your responsibilities." That's what I want, stillness and peace to serve from His strength, knowing He is in control and will work everything out. I can't afford not to sit at His feet.
Other devotionals I have been reading during this time have talked about rest for the weary, drawing upon God's strength, piling your troubles in God, being strong in our weakness and more. Others have reinforced my teachings on Martha and maybe my most favorite of all that I just read over the weekend titled "Who Helps the Helper"? I had been feeling worn out, like I am the one needing a caregiver, and there it was, God speaking to me through His word, assuring me that He is my strength and my shield, the one who is my resource, the living well I can draw from when I'm all dried up!
"He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name" (Psalm 23:3)
"Morning, noon and night You hear my concerns and my complaints" (Psalm 55:17)
"As for me, I will cal upon God, and the Lord shall save me" (Psalm 55:16)
"Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22)
"Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace" (Psalm 55:17)
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You" (Psalm 56:3)
"When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10)
"Martha, Martha", the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - indeed only one" (Luke 10:41-42)
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song I will praise Him" (Psalm 28:7)
I felt a burning in my heart yesterday to write down all of the things the Lord has been doing in my life, and how He has been leading me to all of these devotionals to bring me the exact comfort and peace I need during this time in my life. Would you believe that the title of this morning's devotion was "Write it Down"!? It was all about journaling, and recording your concerns and how God answers you through His word. Talk about confirmation! So, here it is.
My prayer today is that whoever reads this is greatly blessed by it. God is Faithful and His word is True. He is alive and always speaking. Whatever you're going through today, whether good or bad, make the time first thing to spend at His feet in thankfulness, praise, worship and prayer! Draw from the well until you're filled with overflowing, and then go about your day letting all He filled you with spill over to others, so you can bless them too!