Crying Out for God’s Strength

In my current season of life with raising little ones, I am running on empty. My flesh feels so limited most days. I often use the phrase “swimming through mud” when I am trying to accomplish my tasks for the day and met with resistance, distractions, and interruptions. I find my frequent prayer to be “Help me, Jesus.” 

In a culture (yes, even within the visible church) where positive affirmations and self-empowered declarations are the norm, admitting your weakness, limitedness, and failures is seen as negative and perhaps even harmful to your soul. You can purchase T-shirts and find graphics all over the internet that proclaim: “You are enough.” 

Yet, the Bible reveals that we are not enough in an of ourselves or in our own abilities; we are but dust (Psalm 103:14-16). The Lord is the one who gives us the breath and talents to accomplish anything. Admitting our “not enough-ness” provides an opportunity to look to God because He is in fact more than enough and His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12). Ultimately, the Lord is glorified in my weakness and in my feeling of emptiness and “not enough-ness.” 

The Psalmist Asaph boldly admits his frail humanity in Psalm 73:

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

26, NASB

When I am emptied of myself and my grit and pride when I think I can ‘slay all day’ and spin all the plates without them crashing to the floor, it is then that I can be filled with His strength and grace to walk out my calling as a wife, mother, writer, teacher, and homemaker.

When empowerment culture shouts “You cannot pour from an empty cup!” I remind my heart that I can pour from an empty cup, for the Lord is my portion! It’s when my “cup” is empty that I can be filled up with God’s strength.  And that’s the best place for me to be. When I cannot rely on myself at all, I can rely on Him and lean upon the Lord, my Rock. This also means we must take time to be filled up with Him by staying in His Word. If we are looking for “self-care” to be “filled up,” the best care for our soul is to set aside a part of our day to commune with the Lord. God uses “empty cups” to reveal that He is enough!

Father, 

I am feeling so exhausted, stressed, and empty…like I have nothing left to give. But I trust that is exactly where You want me to be so that I can rely on You alone. You give me the strength and grace to continue to pour because Your grace and mercy is fresh for me every day. Instead of trying to muster up the strength in myself, I lift my eyes to You and call out to You for help. When I am feeling weary, I run to You. Help me find moments throughout my day to spend time with You as You continue to teach me that You are enough for me. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Protecting Your Heart Against Complaining

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” -1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, NASB.

A friend of mine shared a graphic on social media the other day that stopped me in my tracks and convicted my weary heart. It was a brief but powerful list of reasons to be thankful when we are tempted to complain. It said:

Early wakeups = Children to be loved

House to clean = safe place to live

Laundry = clothes to wear

Dishes to wash = food to eat

Endless questions = kids’ brains growing

If I am honest, I have not rejoiced in these blessings at all. I have complained, and often. So much so, I caught my six-year-old repeating phrases I had been saying as I grumbled with bitterness throughout my day.

Right after I saw that post on social media, the Holy Spirit brought the scripture to my mind that our pastor had just preached on Sunday earlier in the week; it was from 1 Thessalonians 5.

The Apostle Paul exhorts the believers at Thessalonica with these commands:

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, NASB).

I knew that the Bible talks consistently about the sin of complaining, but I did not realize how important it is for a believer to make joyful thanksgiving every moment of every day. In fact, it is God’s will for us to do this because we are in Christ and in Christ, we have much to be grateful for!

Knowing that our flesh would so much rather complain, grumble, stress out, and look at everything that is wrong, there is no doubt as to why the Apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We must lift up our hearts to the Lord for help if we are to walk in thanksgiving when the pressures of this life crowd in around us and try to weigh us down. We need His grace to rejoice. We need His strength to face each day, especially when our current season of life is stressful and physically and mentally exhausting.

Lately, I have been physically and emotionally drained. Stress has been so high for me that I was beginning to grow resentful. I truly needed a shift in my perspective because it was affecting my heart in major ways.

In addition to being thankful for my growing children, the safety and comfort of my home, clothes on my back, and food in my belly, as a believer, most of all, I needed God’s help to remind my soul of the eternal blessings that I have in Christ.

In Christ, I have access to the Father to come to Him in prayer because I am His child. In Christ, I have hope for eternal life. In Christ, I have peace knowing that my sins have been forgiven and I am justified before a Holy God. When I am tempted to complain about the stress and inconveniences of life, I must look to Jesus and ask Him to remind my heart of all of these blessings that are lavished upon me that I truly do not deserve, both earthly and eternal. It is God’s will for us to rejoice and be thankful, so may God’s will be done in my heart.

Father,

I am weary and worn out from the cares of this life. My heart is heavy and stressed and my body is feeling the effects of it all that seems to be weighing me down. My heart has become bitter and ungrateful; I have taken many blessings in my life for granted. Father, I repent of my complaining and grumbling. I know that I do not deserve anything that You have lavished upon me. You do not owe me a thing, yet you are such a great Father and provide for my needs and grant me Your unmerited favor and mercy each new day.

In addition to my physical needs being met, you have given me eternal life in Jesus Christ and peace knowing my sins have been forgiven because of what Jesus did for me on the cross when He laid down His life for me.

I come to You to help me rejoice and ask You to fill my heart with thanksgiving. Please remind my heart to begin each day with a grateful heart and know that I can pray anytime I am struggling with bitterness or I am tempted to grow resentful for all that You have freely given to me. Help me guard my heart against anything that may cause it to grow hard and bitter.

Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice and for the life that I find in You alone.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Praying for the Father of Your Children

 [a] Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.

Psalm 112:1-3, ESV

My husband and I have this “game” that we play: “Tell me something you love about me” where we list a quality that we admire about each other. Since we have been married for ten years now, I’m sure we have repeated some of the answers, but I always try to come up with something new or something that may pertain to our current season of life.

Without hesitation, I replied, “I love that you are a hard-worker.” He is always working hard to provide for our family and help me take care of things around the house (I have never mowed a lawn in my life!). I am thankful for that quality of his because this man is anything but lazy. Yet, if I am being honest, because my love language is quality time, it sometimes can get under my skin that he has trouble slowing down and resting. 

Most men (and women) have a drive to work, work, work and find pleasure in accomplishment and productivity and a longing to provide for their family, but I think it is important to find a balance between work and rest, much like we see how God rested on the seventh day in creation. 

God has given us wives to our husbands (and vice versa), so it is important to pray for them in this area so that they do not become exhausted both physically and mentally. But more important than praying for them to find balance and rest, their walk with the Lord is of upmost priority. Apart from God’s grace we are all limited, so we need to make sure we are leaning upon the Lord and looking to Him for wisdom and strength for everything we put our hand to. We see in Psalm 112 the benefits of a man who fears the Lord:

“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever”

Psalm 112:1-3, ESV

A man who seeks the Lord and trusts in His word is a reason for praise. God calls this man and his children blessed. This isn’t a passage about “getting rich quick,” but we see that in addition to the blessings of God’s peace, joy, and love in our life, God provides and blesses us materially as well. As a father’s love for God grows, and he leads his children in God’s righteous ways, his children will want to imitate their dad and follow in his footsteps. Much more than teaching them how to work hard and use the gifts that God has given them, a father with a fear for the Lord and a hunger for God’s word is one of the best treasures he could give them. As women, we should pray for the men in our life, especially when they have children, that we would learn how to find a balance of work and rest, but most of all, a desire to seek God first in all things.

Father, we pray for the men in our lives. If the father of our children does not know you, we pray that You would draw him to Yourself and that He would have a hunger for Your word. We pray that He would learn the importance of rest so that he can be restored. We ask that he would lean upon Your grace in all that You have called him to do. We thank You that You are a faithful Father who always provideshttp://emilyrosemassey.com/2020/06/praying-for-the-father-of-your-children/ for our needs. We pray that the father of our children always looks to you first for wisdom and strength as he learns how to walk in your righteous ways and leads his children in the admonition of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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