Let Not Change Move You

Growing up, I learned very early on that not much in my life would stay consistent and that the pattern of my life would include a lot of change, and sometimes drastic change. From my parents’ divorce to my mom’s remarriage to a man she met on the internet (remember AOL chatrooms?) to the birth of another sibling when I was in middle school to moving homes every two years throughout grade-school and middle school to my father’s constant on and off battle with alcoholism to a sudden complicated break up with my high school boyfriend of two and a half years. It did not take long for a heart of anxiety to be formed in my life because there was not much in my life that I could run to for security. 

So as I got older, I ran to other things, other people. I quickly became ensnared by alcohol abuse and did many dangerous things that only served to create glue-strong attachments to other people — things like an adulterous relationship with a married man and countless one-night stands with random men I followed home from the bar. I was constantly anxious and depressed.

But, after I graduated from college, my eyes were truly opened to my selfish, promiscuous existence and my deep desire to find something firm and secure. I hadn’t been to church for years, but one morning I went. During the worship service, God met me in my mess and convicted my heart. Immediately I knew I needed to stop running away from Him and start running toward Him.

In that moment, I realized He was the security and peace I was searching for. I told Him I didn’t want to live this life on my own anymore and I repented for my rebellion and unbelief. I knew that all I was searching for could only be found in Jesus. I resolved to stand upon the secure foundation of the Rock, Jesus Christ, who never changes. After that moment, my whole world changed as God began transforming my heart. It was by far the best change I have ever experienced!

You may not have experienced difficult and often painful change in your life exactly like I did, but I’m sure you have realized that change is inevitable while we are here on this earth.

Change is just a part of life.

How we handle that change is really where we will discover where our hope and sense of security lies. If change is causing us to worry or stress out, we need not to run to other things or people to try to fix our anxiousness. We will always be disappointed, left feeling empty and even more anxious. We must run to God.

Philippians 4:6 tells us that we must not allow anxiety to overwhelm us, but instead, we are to come to God in prayer and cry out to Him with our requests, full of a thankful heart knowing He hears us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6, ESV

Nothing is too small when it comes to our prayers to God; He wants us to come to Him about everything! God not only hears our prayers; He responds with giving us His peace and protection. 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7, ESV

God’s peace is like nothing else this world can offer; it is beyond all human logic or reasoning.

He promises to protect our hearts and minds when we dwell on our position in Jesus, as forgiven children of God. He is not only the Creator and sustainer of life, but He is our heavenly Father that longs to protect and provide for us. 

So at the turn of 2020, are you undergoing a lot of change, whether by your own hand or by unforeseen circumstances? Is this change causing you to worry?

Instead of allowing these worries to drive you to other sources in an attempt to bring relief, make a list of these worries and take them to God is prayer today. He hears every request. You can find peace and rest assured that He is the One who never changes. Even if everything around you feels like shifting sand, remember that Jesus Christ is firm and secure.

While you are writing down your requests, listen to the old hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less and reflect upon the One who is the only strong and constant foundation.

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A Prayer for Stress

I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for many years in high school and college, even as a believer. Stress and worry were just a part of my life, and I allowed them to move into my mind and become my permanent mental roommates. From money problems to relationship issues, if it became too much, you would find me curled up in a ball in the fetal position on the floor, hyperventilating until parts of my body went numb and crying until there were no more tears left.

After I graduated college, I began to walk closer with the Lord and study His Word like I never had before in my life. My mind was being renewed and over time, I began to trust the Lord with every care and worry and cast them upon Him like 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7, NIV

The other night when I experienced the panic attack, there was a brief moment where I was given the opportunity to resist the negative thoughts and take them captive and begin to talk to God like I had learned to do so many times before, but this time, I chose to let my mind run in circles. I was so familiar with the experience of a panic attack that I could literally feel it try to overtake me right before it happened. The dark cloud of what I believe was demonic oppression then blanketed my mind and then my whole body. If I would have remembered Philippians 4:6-7 or even 1 Peter 5:7, I would have realized that God offered me a solution to my anxious thoughts. A simple conversation with the Lord would have helped me centered my thoughts and would have brought immediate peace to the whirlwind in my mind.

If this describes your life at all, here is a prayer you can pray for when stress hits hard:

A Prayer for Stress

Lord, thank you that you want us to cast our cares on you. Thank you that there is nowhere I can go that you are not there with me. Thank you for having a hold of my life, even as I feel like everything is crumbling around me.

Lord, I confess that I have let stress take a hold of my life, rather than You. I have let stress control my mood, my attitudes and my actions. Lord, I repent of this! Please Father, help me see what is stressful in my life and hand it over to You. Help me not let the stress win out. Help me actively think on Your goodness to me. 

I am so hopeful for my eternity with you, Lord, where there will be NO more stress! Help me look back on all the ways You have rescued me from my stressful moments, and look in hope to the future where You will one day rid all stress, forever.

Help me live boldly in the truth of Your goodness and power today. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


A Prayer for Stress was originally featured on iBelieve.com.

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Unconnect to Reconnect

“Good morning, sweetheart,” I hear my wonderful husband whisper to me as my eyes struggle to open. I grab my cell phone and begin to scroll through my notifications from the night before.

“I love you.”

“I love you too,” I mumble as I continue to fix my attention on my cell phone, an inanimate object that didn’t hold me as I fell asleep last night, instead of this sweet man that is standing in front of me that God has given to me. My husband lovingly snatched my cellphone from my hand and looked at me straight in the eyes, longing for me to share a moment with him before he went off to work that day. The sad thing is, this isn’t the first and only time I have done this to him or others for that matter.

Now, I know that I’m not the only one who has grabbed their cellphone first thing in the morning or stared at the screen during dinner with a friend, so I have to ask:

When did we get so consumed with technology that we’ve allowed it to capture our complete attention more than an actual human being?

When I had this interaction with my husband, I realize how all he wanted was a little attention before he started his day. Imagine how God must feel when we not only choose other people before Him, but THINGS.

I want to dig even deeper and ask is this dependency on electronics and technology also affecting our relationship with the Lord?

Matthew 6:33 asks us to seek the Lord FIRST.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

KJV

That means putting Him first in our lives at all times, even the first few moments of our day. He is the One who graciously woke us up, gave us the breath in our lungs, and provided us another opportunity to live another day. He deserves our devotion the moment our eyes pop open, even if it is a mere “thank you, God” before our feet even hit the floor.

As we live in the great information age, we are bombarded with opportunities to fill our time and our minds with so many things that can so easily replace our time of fellowship with the Lord.

Information available to us, literally at our fingertips, at all times, is wonderful gift, but that mobile device that we carry around in our purses and pockets can also be a mobile distraction that follows us everywhere we go.

Although our cellphones, tablets, iPods, laptops, etc are not evil, I do believe we need to be cautious as to how much time we are devoting to them. We need to be aware of where we are directing our focus. We need to be attentive of what is capturing our attention.

Perhaps you may not have an issue with technology distracting you from the Lord- good for you! Stay strong and be an accountability partner for those around you who are easily pulled away from the things of God because of the ever-increasing information age.

But if you are like me (a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom) and you are finding yourself with limited time to spend with Jesus in prayer and the Word, I challenge you to ask the Lord if there is something you can arrange in your schedule to allow better time management. Also, ask Him if He would like for you to fast (technology, that is) something that could be causing division between you and Him.

Devote specific time every day to spend some quiet time in fellowship with God and reading your Bible, without your cellphone or iPad within reach- turn them off during that time and perhaps put a timer on the most-used apps that you access throughout your day.

Be thankful for the benefits of the tools and global connections that technology brings us, but don’t allow technology to rob you of your connection to Jesus. 

Let’s un-connect for a while, refocus, and reconnect with the Lord!

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Walking Through Postpartum Depression

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10, NLT

“Do you want to harm yourself or your baby?”

“No.”

“Okay. No Postpartum Depression then.”

That was the extent of my examination at my release from the hospital after my first son was born as well as at my six week postpartum check up with my doctor.

And since that seemed to be the only question I had been asked regarding the issue, I thought I was free and clear from the dreaded PPD.

But as the weeks went on, I began to experience behavior and emotions that did not seem normal. I was arguing with my husband (which we seriously seldom do) constantly over the most insignificant things and I felt like I had no support, even though that couldn’t have been further from the truth because my husband is the most supportive and selfless man I know. I would belittle him and snap at him at the drop of a hat. I was suffering continuously with anxiety attacks to the point of hyperventilation because I didn’t like who I was becoming.

My attitude went beyond the effects of the normal sleep deprivation you experience with a newborn- I felt out of control and miserable. When my son finally fell asleep, I was unable to doze off and would just stare at the ceiling until 4 AM.

I really noticed that there was a problem when I felt rage welling up inside me when my newborn would not stop crying, and I couldn’t console him whatsoever.

I then began to argue with God:

“When am I supposed to read my Bible? When am I supposed to have ‘quiet’ time with You? I need Your peace because I’m disconnected from the Vine, but how, Lord? How?”

Although I felt like a failure, somehow I knew that it wasn’t my fault.

I began to research hormonal imbalances after pregnancy and PPD symptoms. I discovered that there are more issues associated with commonly known PPD, such as PPA (Postpartum anxiety). The more information I read about the symptoms of PPD and PPA, the more I was aware of my behavior and the more I could control it, instead of it controlling me. As a Christian woman, I knew to also fight with prayer and focus on renewing my mind by listening to His Word day by day.

In addition to prayer, I reached out to PPD/PPA support groups and other Christian women who have walked through it. I also have been watching my diet because the food you consume also affects your endocrine system, the system that produces and releases hormones in your body, in major ways.

Everyone’s body and situation are different. Some women need to be put on medication and/or need to see a counselor.  Seek medical attention if you feel as if your symptoms are severe- you want to harm yourself or your baby. You are loved. You are not a failure.

Here is some advice that I learned during my recovery process:

Do not suffer in silence. Tell someone what you are going through. Don’t hesitate to ask for prayer or a listening ear. The enemy longs for you to stay in denial and allow your symptoms to worsen and drag you down into the pit of depression.
Get as much sleep as you can. Your brain needs to be recharged, so try to sleep 5-6 hours a night and nap when the baby does (this is really true) – the house work can wait. Your recovery is more important.
Avoid or limit caffeine. Try your best to cut back on your caffeine intake. I know, I know…I need my coffee! Unfortunately caffeine wreaks havoc on your endocrine system, so try to slow down or avoid how much coffee or soda you are drinking. Your body will thank you.
Laugh! Laughing keeps your endorphins up. Find a funny movie that you enjoy or watch silly videos on YouTube. Tim Hawkins is a favorite one for me!
Listen to the Bible or teaching. You most likely will not be able to sit down and do in-depth Bible studies or devotions like you used to and that’s okay. I have the Bible on my iPod and will plug it into some speakers and let it play throughout our house while I’m taking care of my son. Your mind must be renewed with the Truth so that you can combat the lies that the enemy tries to throw at you.
PRAY! Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and Helper so don’t hesitate asking Him for comfort and help at all times. Sometimes all you can pray is “help” and help will come!

Like I said before, you are not a failure!

Not only have you experienced a drastic change in your body, your life is forever different with the new addition to your family. Walking through these hormonal/emotional changes is all about recovery. And thankfully, as a Christian woman, you do not have to walk alone. 

The Lord will help you and strengthen you. He is with you always and will see you through this! 


A version of Walking Through Postpartum Depression is also posted on theprayingwoman.com!

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