“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” – Isaiah 43:2
This verse has resonated with me a great deal recently. I feel like the Lord just kept saying it to me over and over again this past week as my anxiety crept up in the way it usually does. This anxiety is not necessarily due to any one certain thing, but everything–the small and the big. I like to be in control of all aspects of my life, and when I realize I’m not, it can feel so immensely halting. The unknown can feel truly crippling at times. I’ve struggled to give this control over to God for so long. For too long I’ve fought this battle by myself, not letting anyone else take control. Especially not the One who wants to take it all from me. I am only so strong.
And as I let this verse from Isaiah settle in my mind and in my heart, I realized I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve struggled with this burden for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to fight this battle alone. I don’t need to fight this alone. I can keep trying my plan…or I can yield to God. His grace abounds in deepest waters and I feel God’s grace most when He settles the storms inside me. I know He can use these struggles to draw us closer to Him and this includes the anxiety we may feel in life.
Admitting I struggle with anxiety has been such a rough battle in itself. Anxiety at it’s depths is ugly, and I didn’t want to burden others with my struggles. But that’s where I’m learning about community as well. I’m slowly growing a community around myself that encourages me to draw closer to God when I feel weak. He will never abandon me when I’m afraid. He knows my struggles and fears, and He holds me anyway.
Today I’m thankful that the same God who parted the Red Sea still has His hand and power in all of our circumstances. “The waves and wind still know His name.” So when confusion or hurt, doubt or fears, trials or failures come our way, we can rest securely in a God who works all things – the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly – into His perfect plan.
In those moments that I find myself feeling anxious, I have to remind my heart that just a whisper of His name can cause the mountains to move and the hills to be leveled. God will always show Himself faithful. I am so quick to forget this fact. When worry or hard times hit, I forget all He has done (can I just say how much I relate to the Israelites!) and quickly conjure up scenarios of the worst possible outcome.
Today, I’m taking a moment to look over the last 7 years of my life and choosing to see where my God has shown up. Because truthfully, some days we do have to choose God over worry or anxiousness. Choose to see the good. Choose to trust Him. Choose to remember His faithfulness through the years. Choose to know that He is the God who sees it all and is working in ways we can’t imagine.
Scaredy cat. What no little girl wants to be labeled. Not only because of the reality that I hated cats, but also because I wanted people to see me as brave. Bold. Courageous. Fearless.
First it was dogs, then it became most animals at the zoo. Don’t forget the Chick-fil-A cow, clowns and the surprising fear of gloves with hands in them. As a young girl, many seemingly silly things scared me very much. I was not timid or shy around people, but I had this desperate need to feel safe and comfortable in each situation. As I got older, the little fears were conquered, but bigger fear came into play like rejection, failure and vulnerability. Continue reading “An Honest Moment”
Some of the most impactful words ever spoken to me came from a friend a few summers ago. She wrote me a letter and in it she said, “There’s a difference between niceness and kindness. Niceness flows out of fear but kindness flows from the heart.”
Continue reading “Let’s Be Kind”
I remember the exact moment. I remember what I was wearing and what the air smelled like. I normally have a pretty crummy memory but this day has buried itself in my head. It was seven years ago, and it was the day of my regional track meet. I had been training for six months to run the 1600 meter race. I was nervous out of my mind and got about twelve minutes of sleep the night before. Instead of pumping myself up to run the race, fear began to infiltrate every thought I had. I was scared of losing. I was scared of not being able to finish the race. I was scared of not making my parents proud. I was scared. Now this isn’t something I’m proud of, but I decided that it would be best if I told my coach I was sick and couldn’t run the race. As much as she tried to talk me out of that decision, I insisted that there was no possible way I could run even after all the countless hours I had put in to train.
I let fear get a foothold on my life that day.
Stories like that weren’t uncommon in my growing up years. Unfortunately, fear was something that I let make decisions for me. I’m not surprised that the Lord has used the last two or so years to weed a lot of deep-rooted fear out of my life.
Continue reading “Get Your Feet Wet”
Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’ Jeremiah 9:23-24
I toed the line at the annual Toronto Marathon that I had trained many months for. I wrote verses on my shoes, prayed about my upcoming race and goals I had set and gave it all over to the Lord as we made our way to the start line the morning of. Some people don’t understand running, and that is ok. But for me, running is a way that brings me closer to God. I feel His love and heartbeat for me in moments of pain and find His joy and protection in the moments of simplistic beauty that surround me on each run. To me, running is my unique time spent with Jesus. My own special way to worship Him.
On this particular day, I felt complete peace about this race. Usually, I am very nervous and can’t seem to keep food in my system. But this race felt different. I knew I had given the long months of training my all. I had worked hard, struggled with injury and enjoyed every moment. Even if I didn’t meet my goal, I had peace.
Every one of us longs to be a hero. God has engraved this in us. We know that we are made for more and long to accomplish the biggest of feats for Him and for His glory. Sometimes along the way we lose sight of the One who we are serving. It feels good to succeed and to do it all “for His glory.” As we begin to excel, flattery can so easily creep in and seeds of pride can be planted. But what about losing for His glory? What about not accomplishing what you hoped you would, for His glory?
Continue reading “The Unusual Hero”
A couple months ago, I had an experience that shook my world. A traumatic event, not unlike other things in my past, sent me spinning. All of a sudden I found myself struggling to keep my head above water and just keep breathing. I tried my best to hide it from everyone, though several people kept asking if I was doing okay. I said I was or at least that I didn’t want to talk about it.
Truth was, I was hopeless and not sure what to think or believe. I felt completely worthless and damaged. I was questioning what was true about me, about my life, about God. I sunk into pits of fear and doubt and anger, all familiar places. I reverted to old thought patterns that ultimately are a form of self-harm, because they only serve to tear me down and minimize my worth. Over a 10-year journey, God had brought me so far in working through the old beliefs that came from a painful past, but honestly, I was wondering if I had just been deluding myself into thinking that God could really restore me and redeem my past.
Continue reading “Hanging on Every Word”