Testing My Trust

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

Up at 5:45 this morning to take my two youngest daughters to the train headed for Chicago to join our friends who are headed to family camp.  They are not babies, 18 and almost 17, but they are my little girls.  Among snarky comments about “how silly, let them grow up” to “I’d never let my girls take the train” …I’m second guessing our prayerful decision to let them head out for the summer.

I’ve given them the drills…”don’t talk to strangers on the train’, “ask for help from someone in a uniform”, “no, rule breaking”, “you are a reflection of our family”, “you represent the gospel”, “just because everyone is doing it…”, “get some sleep”, “guard your heart”, “don’t fall in love”, “if you fall in love, tell me”, “don’t kiss any boys”, “stay together”, “give each other space”, “don’t be bossy”, “call me”….I’M SURE I’ve left something out! I’ve instructed them to call every day and they even set me up a “SnapChat” account which I’ve already forgotten how to use.

When push comes to shove, I am once again reminded how fickle my faith can be! He gives my trust in Him a test! I am so grateful that God is faithful and trustworthy! Especially since I am not! He is constantly giving me opportunities to lean into Him. To His peace. To His strength. To His faithfulness!  I’m grateful that He even has me meeting with other moms each week, who  remind me to avoid “mom guilt” and stop buckling under others criticisms.  I’m grateful that He has spoken into the hearts and minds of my daughters and they have good heads on their shoulders! I am grateful that He is testing our trust!

 

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7

So now, I will be praying for three girl, off on summer adventures! Girls who I love deeply and who I know God loves more! Girls who have grown into mature, lovely young ladies who don’t need me every day, but still need me. They need to know I am praying for them. I will be praying that through each of their experiences, He will grow them in the knowledge of His love for them.  I will pray that He will establish their faith, really grow their trust in His goodness. I will pray that He will show Himself bigger and greater.   I will pray for their safety and protection.  I will pray that they will grow more into the likeness of Jesus and expose any sin in their life. I will pray that those who are around them will be blessed. I will pray when I miss them and I will pray because He calls me to pray…..And I will also count the days!

Tomorrow is the last day to win Giveaway #3

Rustic metal Baseball fan necklace by Toadily Handmade from Repurpose Boutique in CarthageLike, Share, Comment or look on Facebook for Evidence of Grace to increase your chances to win! Tag will say “Baseball Mom” or Baseball Fan”

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A Woman of His Word

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” Charles Spurgeon

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I’ve been discouraged lately (it seems to come around each summer as women grab on to the latest summer reading lists and make excuses as to their dry and thirsty life.) I have this God-given drive to see women hunger and thirst for God’s WORD. I try to encourage women to be in the WORD on a daily basis and I know there is plenty of grace in this area, and I get fearful about beating my friends with the law. So, I remain quiet or just hint around the subject. Believe you me, I’ve heard all the excuses AND I’ve used most of them myself.   But we don’t want to be ignorant, we are called to be learners and any successful learning is going to require some initiative and effort. Wise Christian women need to be in the WORD, it is vital for your heart health.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

I do not need to be ashamed of any encouragement or prodding to get women to be in God’s WORD as much as possible. Holy Spirit has used the scriptures to excite me about God, given me assurance while in trials, strengthened my marriage, fortified my devotion to Christ, enlightened my children’s heart towards gospel truths, and most importantly has drawn my heart to the One whom the whole bible narrative speaks.

Psalms 119 is filled with the sayings he “delights” in the WORD. He compares the WORD to gold and silver (72 & 127) He compares the WORD to honey (103) and a lamp that guides us. (105) The WORD makes us wise (98) and makes us godly (101). In 1 Peter 2 the WORD is compared to milk that nourishes our souls.

I know Christian woman want to know Him more but the distractions of this world frustrate the efforts to be biblically literate. Hey, distractions keep us from even reading His WORD! This leads to frustrations in our lives and cripples our confidence to be imitators of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16) John Piper says, “God has ordained that the eye-opening work of His Spirit always be combined with the mind-informing work of His WORD.”

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”    John 15:7-8

We can not get around this ladies, you MUST be in God’s WORD daily to bear the fruit of His transforming work in your lives.

 So, with all this said, here are three of the helpful things I have used over the years to grow in the knowledge of Christ through His WORD. These are not law, and not a requirement to be in right standing with God. But we also cannot get around 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as we desire competent lives to do the work He has called us to do.

Be Diligent to Hear God’s Word: We are so fortunate to live in a day of modern technology. You can listen to God’s WORD while your smart phones “read” to you; as you go around doing your daily shores, washing dishes, sitting by the pool. You can use the bible apps on your Bluetooth devises while running errands and waiting on children. Do not underestimate the advantages of listening to God’s WORD, it’s background noise with much greater treasures than anything else you listen to. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Romans 10:17.

When reading to your children at night, add in a few verses of God’s WORD into their routines too. Straight from His Holy WORD the Bible, so that they too hear His WORD routinely. There is nothing wrong with Bible stories from children’s authors; but there is greater gain when you get it and give it straight from the Author!

Set a Timer and Just Read: Psalms 1:1-6 encourages us to meditate on God’s WORD day and night and the benefits that come with such delight. When we are not in the WORD, we can be so easily beguiled and deceived by sin! I don’t recommend the “just read” for long seasons, but it can be most helpful to set a habit of being in His WORD, for an extraordinary busy day (you notice I said extraordinary, not just busy…)

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the things for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

God’s WORD will never be just empty chatter. Even in seasons where you are not studying His WORD, your heart, soul and mind will benefit from being in His WORD!

Commit to Find and Invest In a Bible Study: There are so many thoughts I have on the call to “Bible Study”, so I will try to be concise and not offensive. There are women and men who have been gifted and ordained to write, have been to seminary and bible colleges, who have written great studies. So don’t just “try to wing-it” and delve in on your own…just yet. But try to avoid Topical Studies as your meat! Topical studies are good side dishes, but can distract us from really learning the Bible’s meta-narrative; Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. Topical studies are usually more about us and less about HIM! Not all connection in scripture really grows our biblical literacy. If you have never done Bible Study Fellowship or Precepts and haven’t learned how to most effectively study the bible, I would highly recommend Jen Wilkin’s book, Women of The Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and Minds. I actually think everyone should read this book anyway.

Ultimately my love for scripture has increased the more I spent in His WORD, learning about Him. My prayer that He would increase my desire and hunger for His precepts grew. He transformed my ideas about Himself, exposed my wrong ideas and then caused me to hunger for more. The more I am in His WORD, the more I desire to take on His character, the more He transforms my life.

IMG_7475Being in God’s WORD provides fellowship with Jesus. He speaks through His WORD. Being in His WORD will be the only way to a deeper understanding of His character, His attributes, of Him! It will strengthen you faith and shape your worldview by conforming your mind to God’s point of view. Being In God’s WORD will make it much easier to detect error in your thinking, protect you from false teaching and help you overcome the temptation of sin. When the assaults from the enemy fire their evil darts, you can be prepared with a defense. And lastly, being in God’s WORD will equip you to minister to others who are hurting and facing various trials. You will be able to apply the balm of His WORD to others, but only when you yourself are grounded in His WORD!

I want to encourage you friends, read for pleasure. Read fiction and poetry, read curriculum and biographies, read current events and rich historical novels. BUT! If you can’t spend time reading His WORD you should not read anything else! Be in His WORD. Like Daniel Hyde emphatically says, “If you love God, it is your duty to read the Word and your delight to receive it as the very Word of the true and living God.”

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Giveaway Week #3

This weeks giveaway is a rustic metal baseball necklace from Toadily Handmade by Rhonda Price.  Rhonda has been married for 25 years and has two sons. She wanted a way to rock her pride for her sons school and one piece just led to another.  Now 5 years later you can enjoy her unique jewelry. (You can follow her on Instagram: toadily_handmade) This giveaway has two charms and a stamped tag,along with the large baseball pendant. (Your tag can say “Baseball Mom” or “Baseball Fan”) Remember to Like, Comment, or Share and you can find the BLOG on the new facebook page Evidence of Grace. Each time, your name will be entered into a drawing to win.

Giveaway Week #3

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One of my favorite hidden shopping gems in our area is the REPURPOSE BOUTIQUE in Carthage. Heather Orscheln opened the store a few years ago in a little strip mall across from Lowes and now she’s opened their new free-standing store on Peach Tree Lane.

REPURPOSE BOUTIQUE offers consignment clothing & creations by many local artisans. This fabulous boutique has clothing for ladies and children (Some new, some repurposed) Last week I noticed a corner for the men in your life with items varying form mustache wax to bow ties!  From handcrafted jewelry, unique hair bows, head wraps, repurposed furniture and accents, to something custom, you can find it at this beautiful shop.

Plan on taking your time because there is so much to see at Heather’s store!!

Week #3 Giveaway

This weeks giveaway is a rustic metal baseball necklace from Toadily Handmade by Rhonda Price.  Rhonda has been married for 25 years and has two sons. She wanted a way to rock her pride for her sons school and one piece just led to another.  Now 5 years later you can enjoy her unique jewelry. (You can follow her on Instagram: toadily_handmade) This giveaway has two charms and a stamped tag,along with the large baseball pendant. (Your tag can say “Baseball Mom” or “Baseball Fan”) Remember to Like, Comment, or Share and you can find the BLOG on the new facebook page Evidence of Grace. Each time, your name will be entered into a drawing to win.

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Giveaway Week #2 Tomorrow

Last Day: Giveaway Week #2

This week my giveaway is from RideWear. Jon and Rachel Reed are the creative minds and you will love reading their story on how these beautiful earrings started from an unfortunate accident. Ridewear’s jewelry is slightly quirky and every item is hand-made from carbon fiber bike frames, which gives them their unique and light-weight characteristics. So, over this next week, Like Share or Subscribe to this BLOG and every time you do, you will have a chance to win these lovely pieces of art to wear on your ears!

Please and Pleas

“The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

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I seem to be praying a lot for these kiddos lately.  I don’t know why I thought things would ever slow down as they got older.  Or maybe I never really thought about it at all.  Praying and pleading on behalf of my kids just seems to come naturally as a mom.  As I look back I realize there was equal prayer pleads about myself as the mom: “please don’t let me get this wrong God!” Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m praying until I’m halfway into my dialog.  I really want effectual, well thought out, theologically correct prayers; but in reality, they are usually just desperate pleas from a momma’s heart. Or, sighing pleas of relief and gratitude. If I get down to the nitty gritty, my prayers aren’t eloquent  and maybe even have some imperfect motivations. Looking to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I do want a more consistent continual conversations as a life living in the center of His will.

I’ve tried to learn a lot about prayer over my life. (Sometimes with the very flawed thought that if I did it “right” He’d listen whole heartedly)  Everything from the Power of a Praying Wife or Mom; Prayer of Jabez (after further study realizing it was not actually given to us to as a model of prayer.) I’ve studied the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11 and Matthew 6, even trying to memorize its outline so my prayers would be similar to Jesus. I’ve learned to pray His word back to Him and praying with scriptures. I’ve learned the acronyms like A.C.T.S. and the one P.R.A.Y.E.R., based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism that divides the Lord’s Prayer into 6 petitions. I’ve read good books too. Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller; and the more recent (and I would have to say most encouraging), A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller

Like Miller, God used my trials to teach me to pray. My conversations and need for Him started out as desperate and selfish, but gradually matured through the years with my understanding of my deep dependence on God.  I once heard a lovely teaching on Revelations 5:6-9 “and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people”  I loved this picture; that my prayers are a fragrant offerings to God and I use a golden glittery prayer journal to write down my requests. My journal is full of reminders of God’s goodness in my life, where He has answered and where He is growing my trust in what seems to be the un-answered. I see evidence of a growing peace in my daily walk.

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I can be very repetitive and annoying (not to God I’ve learned, I can annoy myself) But I see that God loves my childlike prayers. He’s not checking out my conversation in light of the correct formula I’m using. He’s not even irritatedly judging my warped motivations. He loves my conversation He adores when I pour my heart out to Him, He doesn’t tire of my requests!

 

Just this morning I was rambling on, AGAIN, over a burden in two of my children’s lives. It looked as if one request was being restored and another was getting a discouraging “no”. Yet both brought gladness to my heart!  Holy Spirit was revealing to my heart God’s faithful ear to my prayers. All my prayers. I could visually see Him deeply inhaling the pleasant aroma of my petitions.  My connection to a living  God’s story being woven in my life and the privilege of prayer. As good as all the tools I’ve learned are, as much as I want my prayer to be worship and adoration along with requests, some of those efforts just become awkward and contrived.

So as I continue learning about prayer, and I’m going to try and be more intentional about setting specific times to spend in concentrated prayer, but more importantly, I’m going to continue to pray with a childlike boldness and confidence  of a child of the King. “…with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:16

familyBecause prayer causes a deep peace, anxiety about my children ceases and I become more grateful in the story line He’s writing for me. I love the fact that I am the chosen mom to pray for my family. I count it a joy to be a prayer warrior on behalf of my friends. I am grateful He is transforming me through my flawed prayers and desperate pleas.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Giveaway Week #2

RideWear-4018This week my giveaway is from RideWear. Jon and Rachel Reed are the creative minds and you will love reading their story on how these beautiful earrings started from an unfortunate accident. Ridewear’s jewelry is slightly quirky and every item is hand-made from carbon fiber bike frames, which gives them their unique and light-weight characteristics. So, over this next week, Like Share or Subscribe to this BLOG and every time you do, you will have a chance to win these lovely pieces of art to wear on your ears!

 

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The Rest of the Story

“O my God, in you I trust” Psalms 25:2

1 Samuel 1 through 2:10 was a story that I frequented during my years of struggling with infertility. In them, Hannah pours out her heart to God. There was comfort to my lamenting because God’s word included this mother’s story. Hannah’s cries of agony echoed mine. Her loving husband couldn’t understand her longing. She wanted a baby.

Now 21 years after God opened my womb, and that same baby is 8615 miles away in Africa and I am reminded there was more to Hannah’s story. God opens her womb; she gives birth to Samuel and then she gives us a beautiful example of a mother who truly trusted God.

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” (vs. 1:21-28)

 The same God who answered my prayers, delights in a generous outpouring of His care and I can trust Him. I know He loves my children with a perfect love as the perfect parent. I know God understands “letting go” and He is the greatest example of sacrificial parenting. So why do I wrestle with fear over the safety and care of them? Why do I fret their future?

With the recent news events of parents losing their children through tragedy, I’ve become overwhelmed with the “what if” scenarios. When Ruth informed us that she want to travel to Zanzibar for a few days; anxiety swelled and my heart raced. “What if?” Claire will be leaving for the entire month of July and I cannot catch my breath. “What if?” Max wants to camp outside by himself. “What if?” I cannot fall asleep and my dreams are fitful. “What if?”

I want to have a life that never doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God. He IS good and He IS faithful, no matter the “What if?” But my doubt leads to fear. Fear steals my peace; it steals my rest; and fear shakes my confidence. 1 Peter reminds me, “be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Fear is my enemy!

Hannah’s example of total surrender of her child’s life exemplifies a mother who trusts in God. Hannah is a mother who doesn’t’ let fear dictate her days. She is kept in “perfect peace” her “mind is stayed on Him, because (she) trusts in Him.” (Isaiah 26:3) Hannah understood God’s care and concern for her and for her son; whatever the ifs!

 I can miss out on a lot of joy and miss evidences of grace while bogged down in worry and fear and “What if?” But I want to remember Hannah’s whole story, not just the fulfillment of her hearts desire. I want to remember the part of Hannah story where she sings and where she trusts.

“My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.” 2 Samuel 2:1-2

Giveaway Week #2

This week my giveaway is from RideWear. Jon and Rachel Reed are the creative minds and you will love reading their story on how these beautiful earrings started from an unfortunate accident. Ridewear’s jewelry is slightly quirky and every item is hand-made from carbon fiber bike frames, which gives them their unique and light-weight characteristics. So, over this next week, Like Share or Subscribe to this BLOG and every time you do, you will have a chance to win these lovely pieces of art to wear on your ears!

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Congratulations Giveaway #1

Sarah Krueger of Joplin Missouri is the winner of this weeks giveaway.  Enjoy your new wallet from Counting Treasures.

Here’s a sneak peak at Monday’s giveaway contest. Jon and Rachel Reed are the creative couple behind Ridewear! This quirky jewelry is hand-made and upcycled from carbon fiber bike frames. Look for more details on Monday!

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An Invitation to Be Welcome

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Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” 1 Peter 4:8-10 

It started with the simple cleaning out the second kitchens drawers where I came across a beautiful set of inlayed chopsticks and it morphed into an oriental themed party; complete with a table for twenty-four, 18” off the floor for low seating, servers in kimono sashes and live mini koi in the centerpieces. I cannot help myself! I love themed parties.

I don’t own fine china, but when the Dollar Tree sees me coming, they roll out a red carpet. IMG_7399When I buy plates in various patterns and colors, I struggle to decide if I need 26 or just round it up to 30. I have an unknown sundry of stemware and glassware, and tubs of themed décor. Do you need a 46-cup coffee maker? I have four. Do you need pretty large 3-gallon drink dispenser? Take your pick from my collection. If you are coming to an event, you may be told it’s in the party room; code for two stalls of a 5-car garage that my hubby converted in order to accommodate my passion for entertaining. This creative bent can steamroll out of control if I am not careful. My husband is a great sport and for the most part cooperates, but he did make me remove the 500 pounds of sand I covered the basement floor with after one of my kid’s beach parties….all by myself!

Besides loving to entertain, I hope our family is hospitable. Whether we are home or not, we want you to feel welcome. It’s fun to arrive home and find families in the pool or a couple of guys sitting in the family room watching an important game on the large TV. I don’t know how many people have the code to get into the house, and we’ve learned not to walk around in our underwear because you never know who could be in the next room. We recognize our home is a gift from God so, an open door policy is a way to serve our extended gospel family and friends. In fact, it has been so ‘open door’ that once we came home from vacation to find the front and side door wide open and evidence of a raccoon’s visit. (Needless to say, we’ve tightened down security measures, so if you don’t have the code, we may loan you a key instead.) Last year we were able to completer our dream and build a two-bedroom guesthouse with a bunk-room that sleeps 18. Our hearts desire is for our lives to exude Romans 12:12-13 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” I love a full house, most of the time…

When a godly woman once asked if I felt I “had the gift of hospitality or I just liked to entertain”, I was taken back. I had to do a little heart search along with some biblical inquiry. You see, we are commanded to “not neglect hospitably” (Hebrews 13:2) and although I knew the difference in the two, was I using either for His kingdom work?

It’s a huge mistake to consider my ‘Party-Planner-Extraordinaire” a spiritual gift. My love for entertaining and my desire for hospitality may cross over, but they are two distinct matters. Nowhere does the bible tell me to practice entertainment. In fact, when speaking of entertainment, most of the time it is not in a good light. It’s usually at the order of kings for self-pleasure, and sinful indulgence. If you examine the synonyms of entertain vs. hostility, you will realize the stark difference:

Entertain: beguile, captivate, charm, distract, enthrall, gratify, divert, engross, enliven, humor, indulge, occupy, stimulate, make merry

Hospitality: Accommodation, companionship, friendliness, generosity, reception, warmth, affability, cheer, comradeship, consideration, cordially, heartiness, welcome, good cheer

Romans 12 tells us to remember to “seek” hospitality, many interpretations use the word practice or pursue. This tells me that hospitality is not something that always comes naturally. It is something that we must work at. I must admit, some people find it much easier because of their personalities than others, I’m one of those, so I can’t take any credit, He just put that in my nature. However, it is obviously a character quality that all believers are expected to and can obtain. I also noticed that hospitality is mentioned in the context of it being difficult, loving others, serving enemies and in the midst of trials.

When I am planning a big party or event, I have the privilege of setting boundaries, scrubbing the house from top to bottom, giving the family their assigned responsibilities, choosing the convenient date and time, asking for RSVP’s and choosing the perfect party favors. But when I am showing hospitality, it can seem to come at the most inopportune times. My calendar isn’t always going to be clear and the house may have dirty clothes piled by the laundry room. And, unless you drink Diet Coke, there may not be anything else to drink and if you dig you may find a canister of stale animal crakers. Showing hospitality doesn’t require 30 matching Mexican plates. Showing hospitality doesn’t require a bed for each guest or a well-planned dinner that incorporates all the food groups. Hospitality is friendly, accommodating,  generous, warm,welcoming, cheerful, …and it takes practice!

Cheerful? In my study of God’s word for clarity about entertaining and hospitality, I found another command; I’m to do it without grumbling! (1 Peter 4:9) When it comes to entertaining guest, I have this unexplained delight with all the planning and lists and prep, with the cleanup; all this brings me some sort of supernatural grace. But I must admit that showing hospitality without grumbling, without griping, without complaining, and without whining; this take practice! It takes an earnest pursuit. It takes me examining my motives and many times it causes a need to repent. I’ve even had to apologize to my family for some of my sinful attitudes that follow unexpected opportunities to “show” hospitality.

After my time of reflection and examining God’s word, I’ve concluded that there is room for both entertaining and hospitality in God’s kingdom work. I’ve concluded that I can embrace my love of parties, and use them to enjoy Jesus. I can practice hospitality and work on areas where I find myself resentful and not wanting to serve others. Using any gifts in service to God are ways to display His transforming grace and the power of the Holy Spirit in me.

Oh boy, I just found a bag of glittered seashells….

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Rainy Days and Mondays

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord” Psalms 35:9

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me (the one who loves me)

©Roger Nicholas & Paul Williams

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Do any of you remember this Carpenter’s hit from 1971? Its melancholy tune and heartfelt lyrics could fuel what was already of dreary day. I’d play that single over and over in some sort of “hurts so good” despair.  I was depressed when I didn’t even know it was depression.

I’ve endured many seasons of depression. Years ago these were debilitating and my Christian community didn’t know how to help me. For years it was only addressed as a spiritual battle. Circumstances fueled the flames of my bitter despair and hopelessness. With this genuine clinical affliction, low doses of anti-depressants were necessary to help me navigate the murky waters.

Most of the time however, my depression has been a low-grade affliction.  My melancholy temperament is definitely affected during times of low sunshine, and long stretches of rainy days can put me in a funk that’s hard to shake. But even this low grade depression hurts.

I’ve got my “joy” verses standing by my side and I am battle-ready with “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7. I repeat to myself “happiness is based on happenings, but joy is a fruit of the spirit.” I am aware that many great men from Charles Spurgeon to Winston Churchill have experienced depression of some kind. I recognize this emotional fog is stubbornly clouding my hope. I get this is a part of everyday life in a fallen world. But I still suffer with this “anti-faith”, “if-you-really-believed” disease.

The stigma and shame in the Christian community can prevent me from total transparency when I am in a particular season (or even day) of struggle. I can fake a “yellow” temperament and muscle my way through my days for the most part. Isaiah even tells us, “He was…a man of sorrows… acquainted with grief”, but we despise this very sorrowful attitude within a believers life. We want to exclusively spiritualize the battle of depression with a false sense that we can pray our way “out.”

I don’t have “the” cure for Christian’s with depression. But, I can also say with confidence that my depression has caused me to desperately pursue God. I know that even my regenerated heart is not immune from my desperate need for grace in this area. The realization that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” with a bent towards cheerlessness only enlightens my senses that God alone can revive and comfort my soul. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalms 119:50 Some of the greatest works of God in my life were born of some of my greatest bouts of depression.

Depression is complex and can manifest not only in our emotions, but physically as well. Add a spiritual aspect and it becomes impossible to separate every nuance of depression into neat categories. No, I don’t have “the” cure for Christian’s with depression. But I know the One who sustains us in any season.

I want my struggle to reveal how God is working in my life. I want my friends to recognize the sustaining character of God reflected in how I walk “in” the storms. I need His transforming work. I need His daily bread. I need to apply the theology of my weakness and combat my fears with the theology of His power. This is the beautiful gospel! Even so, Ray Ortland reminds me “this beauty-talk doesn’t immunize Christians from sorrow and depression”. So each day I run and find the One who loves me!

“What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?  For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” Ecclesiastes 2:22-24

Monday Giveaway

Don’t forget today starts our five weeks of Monday giveaways. Subscribe to the BLOG or Share or Like on Facebook and enter to win.  Winners will be announce every Friday.

The first giveaway is a  handmade quilted wallet from Counting Treasures etsy.com/shop/stitchinghook. My friend Wendie does amazing work and not only is it beautiful, there are 8 credit cards slots, 2 large cash/receipt pockets and a zippered coin pouch. It has a sturdy snap and a quick grab-and-go strap for when you don’t want to mess with a purse.

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