Devotion: Honest, But Desperate

Can I be honest?

If walking out of a doctor’s appointment after 30 seconds wasn’t social Siberia, I would have today. There was just something about this appointment, that made it worse than the rest.

I say all that to say:

I understand having a bad day or the urge to walk out of a difficult situation.

I want to ask you something that my Uber driver asked me on my way home. “What’s next?” Maybe, you aren’t too sure what your next step ought to be in the physical and emotional realm of things.

I want to be that friend who sits and prays with you – as you wait for God’s directive toward what is next.

What’s Next?

” Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).”

After we have grieved our situations with our Amazing God, we need to ask ourselves (or be asked by a loving friend) what is next for us. For myself, the next step(s) are clear. While I would love to run away from my life and ignore all responsibilities, I can’t do that. And, the odds are you cannot either. So instead of living in a fantasy world where I neglect all responsibility, I want to share what is next – for myself.

Your list may be completely different, depending on your circumstances, your relationship, and surrender to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  1. Make the next appointment with someone new, and keep searching until I find someone who both listens and is compassionate.
  2. Spend the time praying.
  3. Dive into God’s Word – the Bible.
  4. Fellowship with other Christ followers.

Your answer to this question might look differently, I imagine, but this is my written response to such a question. But, I hope you include steps 2-4 in your plan of what’s next.

Choosing God’s Plan Over My Own

We desperately need to hear God’s Plan for what’s next!

Spending time in prayer, His Word, and fellowshipping with like-minded Christians are each important activities, which will help us discern God’s will for our lives!

And I am desperate for God’s direction.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).”

I have learned enough to stand on God’s promises, because He never leaves my side. He always is acting on my behalf and even working in ways I cannot see or understand. So, I want to remember the essential need to cling to His Word and Will.

Disclaimer: You can now support Gracefully Overcoming through your Amazon purchases. At no cost to you, Amazon will allow you to shop and Gracefully Overcoming get a bit of a benefit from your shopping. It can be any purchase you make. But, I am still quite fond of this title by Charles Swindoll.

In Him,
Stace

My Heart’s Wreck {Trials Tuesday}

Today was the original day for our “Trials Tuesday” post, but something happened. My heart and mind were filled with many thoughts and emotions. Ever been there?

My heart was a wreck. And it took some untangling, before writing could begin.

Over the years, I have learned of my inability to emotionally handle certain kinds of trials. Most of the trials I have encountered have required me to emotionally mature. With each trial, I am required to adapt and grow through the trial. Like most growing, it hurts. . . 


Today, I am reminded we can control our attitudes in trials – even if we cannot control anything else. I may not be able to control how much of my week is devoted to resting. But, I can control my attitude about spending that time resting.

While resting may not be my favorite thing to do when dishes and laundry are piling up, I can celebrate the Lord God and this comfortable bed. Or, I can celebrate having online friends who love having conversations as much as I do. Or, having the ability to read my Bible or blog through the “stuff of my life” – much like I am doing now.

While there are many things I cannot control, I can control a few things such as: What I eat, if I read my Bible, and my attitude.


In James 1 and Romans 5, we are reminded about our attitude in trials. In both of these passages, we are reminded that God can work out some very amazingly good things for us – even when we are being pressed on all sides through a trial.

Dear brothers and sisters,a when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2, New Living Translation

It can seem like the impossible. However, in our lives, we can literally fight through our trials with the joy of the Lord as our strength! We don’t have to complain or become bitter, because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us – if we have chosen to repent and follow Jesus Christ as our Lord. With the Holy Spirit comes certain characteristics we see in God, things like self control, love, kindness, and gentleness,  But, here is the key ingredient: We need this relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ!

This relationship with our Lord Jesus can be the defining moment for our attitudes. I know, it has been for me.

We need our Lord Jesus! He is absolutely essential in our lives, and as we try to learn how to live despite trials.

There is no one like our God.
Amazing things occur when our Lord Jesus becomes the foundation for our lives.

We cannot control many things, but can choose to seek our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis – and seek to have His attitude as we live for His glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. . .

Romans 5:3

Featured image by Kelly Sikkema through Unsplash.

In Christ,

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Fighting Purposeless(ness)

 

We each face seasons in our lives, where life gets. . . well, messed up. Maybe, you are there right at this very moment. And you find yourself wondering how you will fight. Oh friend, I have been there this week!! It is easier to think about giving up or the alternative to this life.

Esther is taught by Mordecai, her uncle and caretaker, that God made her for this precise moment.

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NLT)

While our dilemmas often aren’t life or death, God will meet us here regardless of our circumstances and give us a big glimpse of His purpose for our lives!


Many of us are there right now, where we are facing difficult days, trials, deep discouragement, depression, or feeling of purposelessness. We have all been there in some way.

Maybe even facing the reality of suicidal thoughts. So, I know some of us really have faced life or death decisions.


Friend, God created you with a divine purpose in mind, and no situation (or situations) can rob us of that!!

It has taken me 7 years to find some sort of God given purpose for this season of my life (living with life interfering chronic illness).

In all honesty, I think it was something He told me long ago. I just wrestled with it – and maybe even refused to accept its importance. Some days, I still don’t “feel” the purpose. I was there this week, but I think this is when Christian community really can show up. This is when it is the most important thing to seek our Risen Lord through the Bible and prayer.


Our great God, sent His precious son Jesus Christ to save us!

He came to deliver each and every one of us from difficult and frustrating things. And He came to give us hope and be with us through our pain. While sin destroyed our relationship with Him, Jesus came to reconcile us to our heavenly Father.

This is no ordinary thing to be reconciled to God. He is going to do amazing things through you, my friend!

Hang in there, and keep seeking His face. He will show you the purpose He has given you!


A few verses come to mind, as I write this blog.

And I want to share them to give hope. The Lord will hold onto you fiercely, because of His love for you. Come running to Him, while you still can. Even with the trials and desperation we face, God is going to do some marvelous things in our midst – if we will turn to Him!

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 16:11, ESV).

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).

Unsplash photo by Ivy Barn.

In Him,
Stacey

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Surviving Summer Struggles

Lately, I have profoundly struggled. It is in different areas, from mental health to Dysautonomia and others. Combine everything, and it can make or break my focus. By focus, I mean my special time with Jesus.

I feel the weight of my trials in my focus. I find myself in a whirl of distractions – keeping me from our Risen Lord. Things that keep my heart from wanting to seek Him. The sin? From wanting to seek Him. This realization is a big step – the most important one.

Confessing my sin to my Beloved Savior Jesus Christ and trusting Him – is what will bring forth the healing.

The Spiritual Truth Behind It

These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure. This purity of faith is worth more than gold, which can be proved to be pure by fire but will ruin. But the purity of your faith will bring you praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is shown to you (1 Peter 1:7, NCV).

Our troubles will show us where our faith is. We each face this struggle of seeing how close our struggles bring us to Christ, or draw us away. How will our circumstances be impacted by our faith in Jesus Christ? Or vice versa?

As I pull my heart, mind, and body toward pursuing Christ, I want to share some of the best ways to fight through these Summer times. Each spiritual activity will help build up our faith when we need it the most.

How to Fight Through My Summer Struggles?

Being prayerful.

Prayer is essential. Connecting with God is the glue. When we pray, God absolutely shows up and touches everything. While He may not remove our situations, He will give us strength and peace to carry us through.

In this song, When We Pray, we are reminded that the world is changed by the Church’s prayers. Prayer is a needed ministry not only for others, but for our own lives too!

Listen to the Bible.

Let’s actively listen to God’s Word, making Him our “go to” for Someone to listen to. Many of us hate being alone, so listening to God’s Word is the perfect sound!

Using YouVersion has helped me to simply listen to the Bible. I am reminded that I can choose to listen to the Bible, versus Netflix for a hour or so. But as I listen, my heart is turned closer to my God.

Two recommended reading plans:

Listen to praise music.

Like many, I spend a lot of time on YouTube. and recently discovered some encouraging videos. This discovery helps me worship as I listen and utilize the on screen verses. Also: I have my own playlists.

Christian Support.

We need followers of Christ to confide in. We need people who will pray for us, and check on us. Understanding individuals who will love us where we are, and help us when we are weary.

Featured image by Aleksandr Eremin.

God: My Provider

I have been reading and writing out one particular chapter of the Bible lately. I cry the whole way through, as I write it out. In church on Sunday, literally, that was my actions. While the pastor preached on Isaiah, I wrote and cried through a Psalm {which is a result of God moving, because I rarely cry!}.

Okay. Before I go any further, I have to brag on God a bit.

I am thoroughly enjoying 1 Corinthians 3. God is teaching me so much in our Diving Into The Corinthians study!! I am so glad we are taking this one chapter at a time. The study will be pretty lengthy, but think about how much God is going to grow us during these next 26 or so weeks!

To be honest, I have been struggling with depression lately. There are tons of Scriptures that can be a healing balm to our souls during these difficult times, but Psalm 142 is the Scripture God has been using to draw my heart closer to His.

I don’t know if anyone has told you this recently, but chronic illness is hard!

Even as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have to admit there are still trying days. What I am holding onto is – The Lord’s love, ability to fight for me, and that He walks with me through the fire.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).

Someone laughed at me recently when asked “What has God brought you that wasn’t planned or expected?” (not the exact question, but close enough), and it just crushed me. It’s funny how you can be thirty something, and something like that – gets to you (they are completely forgiven, because I need grace too).

But, the Lord sees that. He sees every hurt we have in our lives, even things we desperately try to ignore or hide.

No matter what happens, we can continue following our Lord Jesus Christ and trust that He will take care of us. God is our Rock. We need to trust He will truly take care of us. He is our forever Anchor, and keeps us safe.

Friends, keep trusting Him to take care of us. I know the road gets difficult, but He is the One Best Friend we can fully trust and He will never fail us. He may not give us the answers we want, but He will be our amazing Provider, Father, and so much more.

I cry aloud to the LordI lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. (Psalm 142:1-3)

Featured image by Samuel Martins.

Still learning to trust,

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