He Holds Back The Seas

As I was praying in my car the other morning, i suddenly became overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord. All the memories of the things that should have taken me out came flooding to my mind. All the things I couldn’t handle. All the things I wasn’t strong enough for. All the things that their magnitude and weight should have crushed me. All the times I didn’t know how I was going to make it. All the days I didn’t know how I could survive. All of the impossible circumstances. All of the devastating heartbreaks. All of the unexpected blows of betrayal. It all came rushing in.

But rather than a feeling of sadness for the things that were so trying, I began to rejoice. It sounds crazy doesn’t it? Why would I rejoice over all the bad that has befallen me over the past few years? The answer is simple. Because Jesus held back the seas for me.

As bad as those things were, they weren’t what they could have been. They were violent and raging storms, but they didn’t take me out. The Lord held back the worst of it. He gave me strength to withstand the beating of the waves. When my head went under, and I couldn’t breath, he breathed life into me. When my boat sank, He told me to let go of the broken pieces and walk with Him on the water. When the hurt was more than I could bear, He bore it for me. When I couldn’t see past my tears, He lead me by the hand. When I didn’t think things could get worse, and they did, He encouraged and comforted me. When provisions were cut short, He made what I had go further than it should have. He never left me.

Rejoicing over the most horrible times of my life may seem funny to some, but not if you know Jesus. If you know Him, you know that you can look back over those times and see where He held back the seas for you. You can see His fingerprints on every single thing you’ve faced. You can see His love and tenderness towards you. You can see His mighty power at work. You can see that fourth man in the fire. You can see all the things that could have been, or should have been, but weren’t. You can see that when others made choices that hurt you, He stepped in to comfort you and remind you that you can’t make choices for other people. You can see just How faithful and true He is.

He truly is all that He says He is. He is all that we read about Him being in the Bible. He is all that we hear about Him being in the testimonies of His Saints. And He is even more than all of that. There is no height nor depth that can measure Him. He is limitless, and boundless. He is all that we will ever need.

Maybe you’re in the middle of a violent storm today. Know that you’re going to make it. He is holding back the seas for you.

Maybe you just made it out of a violent storm. As you get your bearing, know that He held back the seas for you.

Maybe you’re looking back on where you’ve been. Look at all the seas He held back for you.

Rejoice child, He is the one who holds back the seas for you.

“Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the LORD rescues him from them all.”

Psalms 34:19 AMP

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The difference in a year.

Today’s devotional is a personal testimony of mine. I hope whatever you’re feeling defeated about, you remember that the Lord is the God of second chances. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you!

1 year ago today I was 100lbs heavier. I was a 2XL/18 and busting at the seams.

1 year ago My health was declining. I had High blood pressure, and a severe case of acid reflux that had made ulcers on my vocal chords, and everywhere else. I could barely walk when I got up in the mornings because everything hurt. I couldn’t stand for very long without needing to sit down. I didn’t want to do anything physical. I couldn’t keep up with my toddler. She just wanted to play and I just wanted to sit. I didn’t want to see anyone, or have anyone see me. Miserable isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I felt.

I could tell you all the things that lead me there, but I’ll save all that for another day. Because today I’m celebrating my one year anniversary of the second chance God gave me to get it right with my health. This time last year I was being wheeled back for gastric bypass. My bad health had lead me to a place I never thought I’d be. I fought the suggestion from my doctor for several months and prayed hard about it before I finally accepted it was the right path for me.

My doctor told me it would take at least a year for my ulcers to heal up after surgery, but if I used the tool I was about to get properly, I could avoid esophageal cancer, and whatever else I was headed for. That meant changing my entire relationship with food. I couldn’t use it to cope with life any more. I couldn’t eat my feelings. I had to dedicate my self to only using food to fuel my body. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve struggled with eating disorders since the age of 12, and food addiction for as long as I can remember. But God is faithful. He has helped me every step of the way.

When I was mentally preparing myself for the big change ahead, I knew I wanted to be fit again. I have always been extremely active, and loved to compete athletically. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get there again, but knew I was going to try. I started seeing posts from my friends on Facebook about this trainer named Dorian L. Johnson who had this gym called Fit From The Core. I saw them transforming.

I was so intimidated to walk into a group class though. I was sooooooo out of shape. I didn’t want to be embarrassed. But I made up my mind that pride wasn’t going to hold me back. I messaged Dorian a few days before I was released from the doctor to exercise after surgery, and told him I wanted to come that next Monday. I almost had myself talked out of it, but low and behold Sunday night he messaged me “see you tomorrow sis”. The rest has been history. I was welcomed in with open arms. I never felt any judgment because I couldn’t do a certain move. I never was criticized for not being able to keep up. But instead I was promised that if I keep showing up and putting in the work, I would see the changes.

I saw the changes. From Barely fitting into a size 2XL/18 last year to slipping into a small shirt and size 2 jeans this morning is completely unbelievable to me. I’ve done things physically this year that I couldn’t do as a super fit 18y/o and It feels absolutely amazing. I’ve climbed ropes, completed a mud run, done obstacle courses, 5k’s and I’ve gained some of the sweetest friendships. It’s been wonderful.

But best of all, I am finally getting a grasp on the woman God created me to be. My heart is overjoyed that I can be the Mom Lydia needs now. I am excited to encourage others on their journey knowing I have been there and come out on the other side.

So thank you to Dr. Scott for showing me the reality of my health, and then showing me how it could be turned around if I was willing to do the work with the tool you provided.

Thank you to Dorian for pushing me to the limit every single time I step foot in that gym. Thank you for believing that I could do more than I thought possible. Thank you for always showing up and coming up with new ways to make us better. Thank you most of all for welcoming me with open arms and becoming more like family than a trainer. And thank you to Derrika for being the leading lady behind all the madness. You are always willing to help anyone and have helped me more than you know.

Thank you to Terri English and Cassie Ferguson for always being someone to keep up with. Since day 1 when I saw Terri killing it at the front of the class, I was determined to be able to do the same. And then I ran into Cassie on Saturdays and killed my self to catch up. So when they both became trainers and started leading a class for Dorian, I knew I had to get there. I knew it would push me over the edge, and I’d either catch up or die trying. And I’m pretty sure I’ve died trying a few times at least.

Thank you to my precious family and friends that have offered support along the way. I definitely wasn’t prepared for how hard any of this would be, but have had so many wonderful people there to encourage me. I won’t tag you all, but just know your love and support has been a life saver to me.

2020 has been an exceptional year, and bad for me and so many others on many levels. But even with the world falling apart, the Lord helped me get my world back together and make this one of the best years of my life. I can only describe this year as truly living out this verse:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭KJV‬‬

To God be the glory, great things He has done! ❤️

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A weary world rejoices.

A weary world rejoices.

As we’ve entered into the Christmas season the line of one of my favorite Christmas songs has been running through my head non stop. “A weary world rejoices”. Isn’t that so fitting for a time like this? I don’t know about you, but this year has made me weary of so many things. Not tired, or bothered, or irritated, or inconvenienced. None of those words fit. But weary, now that’s the perfect word to describe our world right now.

I’m weary of the panic, unrest, untruths, slander, worry, violence, sickness, fear, financial uncertainty, and pain this year has been abundant in. But the Lord has been so good to remind me this season that we can rejoice in the hope we have!

When Jesus was born into the earth so long ago, He was born into a dark, messed up, weary world. But he brought the greatest hope, an everlasting hope! He brings that same hope to us every single day. He is our reason to rejoice during this Christmas season, and every day.

We may grow weary friends, but may we never stop rejoicing in the wondrous hope we have found in Christ! As we continue rejoice in the jewel we have found, may we share Jesus with those weary in sin so that they to can rejoice!

Let’s end 2020 as a weary world rejoicing as we remember and celebrate Jesus. ❤️

“For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6

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Let them hear.

As this year is finally coming to a close I can’t help but feel overwhelmed at the goodness the Lord has shown me. He’s always been there through it all, but this year He’s shown up in new and different ways as I’ve faced new and different things. It’s so wonderful to know that as my circumstances and seasons of life change, God never does. He’s always enough. He shows up and proves Himself time and again to me. New problem? New challenge? New sickness? New obstacle? New need? New heartbreak? New hurt? The answer is still the same. Jesus.

My prayer is becoming more and more that people would see Jesus at work in my life. I want to relay the message that Jesus is alive and well and moving for His children.

This year has been rough. Financially, physically, personally, emotionally, it’s touched every aspect of my life in some way. I have struggled through most every day for the last 8months. I’m even more of a hot mess than usual. My body is in pain 24/7. I can’t function the way I did. I can’t go as hard or as long as I want to. I can’t do as many things in a day. But God is faithful.

We haven’t faced financial ruin. We’ve paid our bills. We’ve had food on the table and even been able to give back to others. I am not dead, or in a worse physical state. So many things were affected in my body by Covid, but not all of them, and not as badly as they could have been. I’m still married. I’m becoming a better mom. This pandemic that put me at home also forced me to face problems in my home. I’ve been working hard to follow the correction of the Lord when it comes to my part in those problems. I’m becoming more like Jesus. The pain in my body doesn’t leave, but neither does Jesus. He is there to see me through every step of the way. I find myself a lot lately praying for the Lord to help me do the things I can’t. He always does. I am becoming more and more dependent on the Lord, and finding Him more and more faithful each day.

I want people to know my life is a big display of Gods grace and mercy and power at work. I want you to know I’m not perfect. I want you to know I have real tangible problems. I have really crappy things going on in my life. I have so many things I wish were different but are outside of my control. And I want you to know that despite all of that I’m okay. I’m okay because Jesus never fails me.

Whatever I need, He is.

So why am I telling you all of this? As I read this verse in the book of Ruth I heard the Lord say “Let them hear.”

“Then she set out with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in Moab how the LORD had taken care of His people [of Judah] in giving them food.”
‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Ruth heard about the Lord moving for His people and she left everything to get to where He was. And when she got there, she was saved. It’s time we become like Judah. It’s time people start hearing about the wonderful works of Jesus in our lives. It’s time they know where to come when the world fails them, because it will. It’s time the lost hear the sound of our testimonies ringing through the land. It’s time people know that Jesus is more than a story. He is faithfully providing for His children day in and day out. And as times get harder, He gets busier on our behalf. As our problems get more complex so do His solutions. As our prayers get bigger, so do His answers. As the world gets darker, His light should shine brighter through us. And as the noise of the enemy gets louder, so should our testimonies.

I don’t like to air my imperfections and shortcomings. I don’t like to tell you that my life isn’t ideal. I don’t like you to know I’m struggling. I don’t want you to know all of my limitations. But if it helps you know who Jesus is, I’ll shout it from the rooftops.

Let’s let them hear Jesus, no matter the cost. The world needs us to be faithful in this work now more than ever. Put down your pride. Take off your religious mask. Let it fly.

To God be the glory, great things He has done! ❤️
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I look to you.

Living for the Lord has been simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing I’ve ever done.

It’s the easiest because of who He is. His love drew me in, and has kept me through the darkest days of my life. There is none like Him! No one compares to His glory and splendor, and magnificent power. He is never changing, and His grace is sufficient for me. He’s never let me down, steered me wrong, or lied to me. He’s always working for me, on me, and with me because He desires for me to live the best possible life. He’s shown me who He created me to be, and is continuously helping me become that. He died for me knowing my sin, and became an all sufficient sacrifice so that I might be saved. My best interest is His motive. He has and always will be everything that I need. He never fails. Why would I not serve Him? It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it goes 100% against MY nature. His will is NOT mine. I’m just going to be reallllly transparent here for a minute. I want to go the way that seems right. I want to bail out when things get tough. I want to run the other direction when faced with hardships and obstacles. I want to retaliate against my enemies. I want to use harsh words and cut people to the bone with them when they hurt me. I want to scream obscenities when things don’t go my way. I want to pout and be offended when others don’t agree. I want to tell people just what I think about them. I want to be sure and let you know when I know more than you. I want to show up and show out. I want to quit the hard things and wallow in self pity. I want to blame others for anything and everything. I want to talk about people. I want to be selfish and only worry about my self. I want to show up when I feel like it and just leave it to everyone else when I don’t. I want to manipulate people and situations to reflect what I want. I want you to give me something and not give you anything in return. I want to lie sometimes just to make things easier. But that’s not at all what the Lord wants for me. He wants to give me the best life possible.

So instead of doing what I want, I look to Him. I’m not perfect by any means, but even when I mess up, I fix my gaze back on Him and get back on track as quickly as possible. I ask for forgiveness, and for His guidance. I ask for the Lord to help me to see with spiritual eyes instead of my own. I ask for His help. Lots and lots of help. I do things His way. It’s hard. It’s often so uncomfortable I want to scream. It’s often painful. It’s often against every fiber of my human being. But it’s always worth it.

So today as I face yet another obstacle that causes me to want to take MY own way, I will look to the Lord instead. He’s never lead me astray, and He never will. He won’t lead you astray either. Instead He will lead us to exactly where we need to be. Look to Him today. Follow His will for you instead of your own. Just see what happens. You’ll be amazed.

He loves you today child, look to Him.❤️

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:42‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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You don’t have to be strong enough.

You don’t babe to be strong enough

There’s one thing that frustrates me faster than anything else in my life. It’s believing the lie that I have to be strong enough to handle everything that comes my way. I don’t. You don’t either. I’m here to tell you that truth today so you’ll be free from the overwhelming pressure to be strong enough.

I don’t know why we ever believe that lie. If you’ve read the Bible at all, you’ll see it’s not true. You’ll see that anyone who’s ever made it through something and come out on the other side victorious gave up on their strength to do so.

It doesn’t mean they were weak. It’s doesn’t mean they weren’t resilient. It doesn’t mean they didn’t have incredible strength. It just means, they knew God. They knew that in order to see the other side of whatever they were going through, that what they had would never be enough, but what God could give them would be more than enough. Where there strength ended, where they surrendered, that supernatural strength that only God can give, began.

If you notice the strongest people of the Bible were the ones most dependent on God. Sounds crazy right? That in order to be strong enough you must admit that you aren’t? It’s wonderful! Just think about it for a second. Think about how much grace and mercy and compassion the Lord is showing us in that truth. He is giving us an opportunity to accomplish things that would never be possible in our own strength, by accepting His instead. He’s offering us the opportunity to lay our heavy load down, and pick up is light one. It doesn’t mean our heavy load goes away! It just means that he does all the heavy lifting. What an incredible deal.

Depending on the Lords strength in no way diminishes how strong of a person you are. It instead allows the Lord to shine through you in a way that displays who He created you to be.

So today whatever it is you are trying to man handle in your own strength, just stop.

Whatever it is that has you exhausted and weary, lay it down.

Whatever you’re facing today in your own strength, surrender it to the Lord, Just ask Him to begin using His strength where yours ends. Believe me, you’ll see mountains move when you do.

You don’t have to be strong enough, because Jesus is.❤️

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4:13 KJV

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

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It’s not over.

It’s not over.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now that you’ve given up on. I don’t know what you’ve been through that’s brought you so much heartbreaking disappointment that you can’t stand to face it for one more day, but I’m here to tell you that God says it’s about to turn around.

As I was listening to this song Rattle for probably the 1000 time today that phrase hit me so hard. “Friday’s disappointment is Sunday’s Empty Tomb.” That word disappointment was so heavy. It brought me back to the reality of my disappointments. I began to talk to the Lord about it. I told Him I was so tired of one specific disappointment I’ve been carrying that has now exceeded a decade of my life. I told Him I didn’t want to have to feel that for one more minute. I told Him I was so done with it. I reminded Him that It has gone on too long, and there’s no hope of it turning around. I’m sure He was amused at my insight on the situation, but He ever so gently spoke to me saying “My disciples were disappointed when they thought it was over for me too, they gave up, but I wasn’t finished.”

He’s not finished.

Your biggest disappointment is about to become your greatest testimony.

Hang in there child, your third day is coming. Mine is too. Next time we go look in the tomb of the thing we’ve pronounced dead and done, it’s gonna be empty. Jesus is alive and well, and He’s turning things around for His children.

“And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”

Luke 24:2-3 KJV

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Why should I fear?

I don’t know about you but I’m so over all the “what if’s” this year has presented. I’m done wondering about them. I’m done even giving one once of my energy to fearing them. After all, why should I fear? I definitely don’t have to.

One of the things I have tried desperately to do this year is to guard my heart. So many crazy things have happened and are continuing to happen. So many opportunities to be influenced from outside voices, and be fearful have presented themselves every single day since all the panic started at the beginning of the year. But let me just tell you, God is good, and we don’t have to fear.

Why should I be afraid of man? He can’t take my soul.

Why should I be afraid of a virus? Or even the horrid and excruciatingly painful after effects it’s put on my body? To live is Christ, to die is gain. By his stripes I am healed.

Why should I be afraid of unrest in our nation? My rest is found in knowing Jesus.

Why should I be afraid if our economy crumbles? I live in the Economy of my Heavenly Father who owns it all.

Why should I be afraid of losing my freedom? Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. I have found true freedom in Christ.

Why should I be afraid of one man or another becoming president? Jesus is the King of Kings, and still sits on His throne.

Why should I fear?

Why should I?!

I shouldn’t!!

I shouldn’t fear anything if I serve the Lord.

Neither should you.

Am I saying I’m okay with everything that’s going on? Absolutely not. I hate it. Am I saying I will be okay with it if some of the “what if’s” become reality? No way. But what I am saying is, I won’t let Satan pounce on me with fear any more. He is ready and waiting any time a new article comes out, a new news report hits the screen, a new diagnosis is added to my list. But I’m ready too. I’m ready with the truth. The truth that Jesus is all that I need, and is fighting for me on every side. Why should I fear knowing that I’ll be taken care of no matter what, and the Lord of all is right there beside me? I shouldn’t. I’m not going there any more and I hope you’ll join me in doing the same. ❤️

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.””

Joshua 1:9 AMP

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When not enough is the perfect amount.

Ever just feel like you never have enough of what’s needed to do what you need to do? That’s me pretty much every day. But what if today Gods telling you that not enough is the perfect amount? Would you trust Him in that?

The story of Gideon is one of my favorites in the Bible. I’m always excited to get to it in my reading. So as I was starting it this time, I only got a few verses in before the Lord began to speak. He was reminding me that I come to Him often saying that I feel like I don’t have enough to do all the things He’s called me to. He reminded me of how much I beat my self up about it. But then He asked me, “Have you ever thought that not enough is the perfect amount for Me to use?”.

Isn’t it crazy how quickly we forget that it has nothing to do with us and what we have? It’s all about Him and what He has. He is able to do all things. He owns all things. He created all things. So why would it matter if I had enough or not? My Heavenly Father has more than enough!

You see the story of Gideon is the perfect example of this. God was reminding Gideon and His people that it’s in our weakness that His glory shines brightest. God doesn’t need any of us. Let’s face it, He could have wiped us out a long time ago and had a lot less trouble. God could have defeated Gideons enemy without Gideon or his army. He didn’t though. He also could have let Gideon and his vast army defeat their enemy and leave room for pride and arrogance to creep into their hearts. He didn’t do either of those things! Why? Because He always wants what’s best for us.

It was best for Gideon if God showed His power and grew his faith. It was best for Gods people if He reminded them that He’s for them. It was best for their enemies to be reminded that God is the only God, an all mighty God, and a God that loves and fights for His children. Gideon learned one of the greatest lessons first hand when God stripped him down to a 300 man army that was “not enough” to defeat his enemy. He learned that not enough was the perfect amount for God to use to bring victory for His children.

Not enough is where I’m at most days. But God uses me anyway. How? Because when you add Jesus into any equation you have more than enough.

You need more grace? More patience? More money? More love? More peace? More healing? More time? More encouragement? More wisdom? More knowledge? More mercy? More forgiveness? More resources? More friends? More education? More strength? More boldness? More hope? More of anything???? Invite Jesus into the situation, and your not enough, whatever it is, becomes more than enough.

Your not enough is the perfect amount for God to use.

Remember that.

Know that.

Trust in that truth.

Rest today child, Let Jesus step in where you don’t have enough. He’s ready. He’s willing. He’s able. Let Him have his perfect work in you.

“Then the LORD said to Gideon, “There are too many people with you for Me to hand over Midian to them, otherwise Israel will boast [about themselves] against Me, saying, ‘My own power has rescued me.’”

Judges 7:2 AMP

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It’s okay if you’re struggling.

It’s okay to be struggling

Today I want you to know that it’s okay if you’re struggling.

It’s one of those things we all know, but rarely believe. At least that’s true for me anyway. I look at others struggling, and see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I see opportunity for the Lord to work in them. I want to find a way to help or encourage them. I see my self struggling and think “I need to get it together!” Or “I can’t struggle, I have to be an example”. I am my own worst enemy most days.

Lately I’ve struggled a lot. It seems I just can’t get it together. I’ve had some things going on in my body that have brought on so much frustration for me. I fully recognize it as being a blatant attack from Satan. It’s got all the tell tale signs. The main giveaway is that it’s been a hindrance to me being able to do all that I need to. My mind and my body are struggling to keep up with even the most basic of things most days. I know God will ultimately use it for my good (because that’s what He does),but I hate it all the same.

It’s been miserable. I can NOT keep up. Most days at some point I begin to crumble. That’s when I cry out. Not my morning prayer, or evening prayer, or before a meal prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely cry out to God then too, but this is a different kind of prayer. It’s a cry from the midst of my struggling. It’s an, in the moment, desperate plea for help right then.

As I read over this verse, I could feel the connection to the psalmist. The connection that is the human struggle. I mean even Jesus struggled in the Garden when he prayed for the cup to pass. But I could hear the Lord reminding me that He understands our struggle. He also reminded me that each time I do struggle, and cry out to Him in that, He’s right there. He does hear. He does see. He does offer me immediate help.

Whether its, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, just give it all to the Lord. Give him all the frustration, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, hurt, or pain. Whatever your struggle is, just cry out to him in the midst of it! He won’t his his face from you. He’s right there waiting with open arms. ❤️

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry for help come to You! Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call, answer me quickly.”

Psalms 102:1-2 AMP

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