Just Come!

Our lives can be consumed by pain or chronic illness. When we are in these rough places of intense symptoms (or pain), it can be quite difficult to think of anything else. I am in this place tonight, well last few days – to be honest.

It is in these moments, that we need to desperately cling to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ tighter than ever before.

Do you remember the woman who had the issue of blood?

I find myself thinking about her and the hem of His garment lately. Her desperation is what led her to Jesus. And His grace and power is what saved her! Keep running to our Savior Jesus, my friends!

43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Luke 8:43-48, New Living Translation

Friends, all we are expected to do is – come to Jesus Christ, just as we are! It is His power, which heals. He may heal us today. Or He may wait until we reach Heaven – because He wants to use our suffering to draw us nearer to Him and help us to encourage others.

Our Mighty God is in the healing business.
But, we don’t know His plans for our trials.

And, He makes us sons and daughters of the Most High God – who face trials and sorrows and overcome. So each day, we can endure and overcome our circumstances by walking through them. Jesus, in John 16:33, says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

We don’t know His plans, but can know His Word. So, let us take time to pray and read the Bible today. Take time to read and talk about His Word. I don’t care if it is Ephesians, Proverbs, or another book of the Bible – keep running to Jesus and sharing Him with others.

Looking Intently At Our Lives

Sometimes, our grief to our trials or illness can overwhelm us soo tremendously! I watched “I Still Believe” tonight. I sobbed uncontrollably for the entire two hours.

Suffering with chronic illness is very difficult. There, often, aren’t words to sum up what a person (even a true follower of our Savior Jesus Christ) can experience.

Over the past few years, my health has continued to decline. And, it’s hard. It affects my life as a whole, my relationships, my ministries, how I serve.

But, our God – despite all these wordless variables – y’all He is so good to us!

Tonight, I am reminded of some regrets I have in my life. As a single and childless woman, I am reminded of things, which will bring with it – consequences (for lack of a better word). When I am old and gray, I will face elderly years that will be different because I am choosing to forsake earthly pleasures like marriage and kids.

I turn 33 in August, and those choices seem to be more on my mind. I am not getting any younger, but I truly believe there are many blessings on the road ahead. Guys and girls: When we choose to make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, He will always see and reward our every sacrifice – to truly seek His face!

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:31-34, NLT

But, there is something else that is different and more valued. If we are going to think about potential regrets, we have to look intently on the heavenly blessings:

Most importantly, I have been given eternal life with God through His Son Jesus Christ and eternity will be far different as a result. Not only am I His child and choosing to walk with Him, many others will be greatly influenced… because I chose to walk with Jesus and continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am choosing Jesus Christ.

I am choosing to minister to others, from this place of hurting.

May the Lord be glorified in all we say and do!

He is able to do more than we could ever think, ask, or even imagine. Because of who He is!

Here is some Jeremy Camp for you guys, from his “Stay” album!

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

Matthew 6:30

My Heart: “Erm, Sorry. Did I Say That Aloud?”

I think, the title says it all. Doesn’t it? I often say things without thinking. It’s not intentional, but tonight was one of those nights – where “it slipped”.

When you stand up and state “I haven’t been to service in roughly a year,” how many folks will take notice of such a statement and reach out to you? This is a question I am asking myself tonight, mostly because this is what I did tonight. Not only did I attend our Monday Night Women’s Bible Study, I chuckled at a comment made and then made such a declaration.

Now if I were one in the crowd, I imagine I would have assumptions and questions. A handful of assumptions and yes even more questions. I don’t know why I told the entire Bible study group that I wasn’t coming to service – even though I am at church “most Sundays” (except for my mom’s recuperation from surgery). What kinds of questions would I have?

  1. Do you still believe in God?
  2. Do you still choose to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose on the third day to give you brand new life?
  3. Do you still follow Jesus Christ on a daily basis?
  4. Do you still wholeheartedly believe in the purpose and ministry of the local church?
  5. How are you choosing to meet with our beloved Savior and Lord Jesus Christ?
  6. How are you allowing others to be voices of His biblical truths? (Community and Accountability)

I want to be more understand than judgmental in terms of how I respond (or react) to hearing someone else’s story or struggle. But if I were on the other side, how would I respond? I hope I would respond by trying to understand my sister in Christ’s struggle and seek ways to minister to her with grace rather than judgment. I hope, I would seek to help and serve her, in the midst of her hard time. Maybe even, meet up to study the Bible together.

I wish I could go back and hit the pause button on “I am seldomly in service” announcement. But, I cannot. What I can do is choose to learn through the questions I can ask myself about my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I can choose to love myself right where I am and seek Jesus Christ in every circumstance.

Devotion: Good Out of Bad

Life is hard.

How often do we allow ourselves to grieve with God about the difficulties of our lives?

We need to be able to weep with our Mighty God about our difficulties, so we can begin to see how He is working, with fresh eyes as we grieve with the reminded that our Savior Jesus is grieving too.

Confession: I don’t like being sick, but there is something very beautiful about how our Mighty God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – can indeed bring good out of bad.

This is probably why I love hearing Genesis Joseph’s testimony!

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Genesis 50:20, ESV

“My Verse” toward chronic illness has been Genesis 50:20.

When, like Joseph, we experience difficulties in our lives, we have to remind ourselves of the good things that can happen – even though we went (or are currently going) through a terrible thing

[This is not to advocate abuse. If you are being abused, call 9-1-1 and get out of that situation. If you are suicidal, call 9-1-1 and find support to find hope again as well as accountability if/when you need it or meds/therapy, because in both circumstances whether someone else is harming you or self harm is happening, you are worth getting out of that kind of situation or mindset. You are worthy of living and thriving. No judgment here. I am both on meds and see behavioral help, so that I don’t self-harm. I don’t want to even get to that point again in my mental health. ]

Jesus Christ cares for you so much, that He died on the cross to carry your sorrows and griefs as well as sins. And He rose on the third day to give you new life. New life, that you can begin living now!

Maybe for you, it is a trauma you wish never happened. Maybe, it’s a chronic illness that you have experienced for years and it hasn’t gone away. Maybe, it is the loss of your marriage. Or something completely different, but equally devastating.

I love the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and He is the Reason I can get up in the morning.

Even in a sea of depressive thoughts and chronic illness, He remains my hope. And our God never changes, regardless of how horrible our circumstances become.

My goal today is simply begin sitting with you. I don’t know if it is your first time here or hundredth. Either way, welcome to Gracefully Overcoming!

You are very loved and treasured first and foremost by God, but by me as well – so if I can pray for you or offer emotional support…

Don’t be shy to leave a comment or head on over to Facebook or Instagram to find me (I don’t check Twitter enough). There is even a Gracefully Overcoming Facebook Group for additional support.

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Like this one (double donation, since it is my devotional).

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In Christ,

Desperate Cry

While I may not remember what it is that I am reading, I am trusting the Lord God that His Word still is getting into my spirit – and changing me from the inside-out.

Even though I couldn’t tell you word for word Psalm 142:1-2 is about, I do know this chapter is about desperately crying out to the Lord God for mercy when it seems like no one cares. Such a Psalm is home hitting for so many of us. So, I just wanted to share this Psalm today. As I am broken and withdrawing from everyone, I just want to share this Psalm.

Psalm 142

I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way. Along this path I travel they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and seeL no one stands up for me; there is no refuge for me; no one cares about me.

I cry You, Lord; I say, “You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am very weak. Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name. The righteous will gather around me because You deal generously with me.

This Psalm meets me where I am. I wish, I could explain where I am as far as my mental health. I can’t keep running from everything. And that’s what I have been doing. The Scripture I can hear most right now is: “Do not have other gods besides me (see Deuteronomy 6:14, Jeremiah 35:15).”

My Routine

I have allowed myself to get too comfortable for things within my control. I could spend time with our Lord Jesus Christ in other ways. Ways that do not “cost” a lot of energy –

  1. Worship music
  2. Enjoy His Presence
  3. Listen to the Bible
  4. Listen to a sermon

    Morning Routine is what comes to mind, so that’s where I want to start – as I confess my sins and repent. I want to start over, and make this a week of honestly seeking His beautiful face. I would like my morning routine to begin something like this:

  • Listen to chapter in Bible
  • Journal for few minutes
  • Pray. Really pray and spend time with the Lord asking for His help
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Take a short walk, as you give this day to the Lord
  • Participate as you listen to worship music

    Psalm 142 isn’t where we are in the Reading Plan today, but it’s where my heart is drawing me and I am going to allow the Word of our Lord to wash over my achy, depressed, anxious, PTSD heart.