My Hope and Strength

Mind spinning.
Emotions spilling.
Effects of all on my body.
YouTube playing the book of Jeremiah in the background.

The YouVersion VOTD (Verse of the Day) for Friday is one that stirred my soul. It reads, and this is in the Easy to Read Version, “God is the One who saves me. I trust Him, and I am not afraid. The Lord YAH (or Yahweh) is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise about Him [Isaiah 12:2].”

One of my favorite things about the YouVersion app (well, there are several…) is the ability to compare how differently (or different points) certain translations might pick up on.

For The Passion Translation, it adds to Psalm 23:1 by adding “my best friend” so that the text reads: “The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I have more than enough.”

Now that translation isn’t available for most of the Old Testament. But, we need Bible apps that help us fall in love with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!
. . .
I need the reminder that we are not walking on this journey alone. Tonight, I have been thinking about my loneliness and mental health. I need to remember my Best Friend will SAVE me! My Lord will see me through this difficult night.

He is my salvation. With Him leading me and walking beside me, I can trust and not be afraid. I can take it one step at a time, and keep walking toward my King.. our King no matter what is going on in our lives.

We have this blessed hope, because the saving power we find through Jesus Christ and His painful sacrifice. He took on all our punishment for sin, so we can experience new life through His resurrection. This is not a fading hope.

It doesn’t matter how bad this world or pandemic becomes, because this is an eternal hope we hold in our hearts. What will we do with this hope?

May we be like these in the following quote taken from a commentary (The Bible Panorama) –

“When this happens, God’s anger will be turned away, and the nation of Israel, as one person, will praise Him for His salvation. Joyfully Israel will praise the God who has comforted and saved her.”


So may He be our strength regardless of the kind of day we may be having. May He forever be our source of comfort, hope, and salvation!

Even Now…

From my private quiet time, but opting to share it with you today. My hope is that it may encourage you in your own walk with Jesus.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” ~ Joel 2:12, NIV

We can input any hard circumstance into the space of “even now”. Go ahead and give it a go!

“Even now as I face hard family things,” return to me with all your heart, with fasting, and weeping and mourning..

I am terrified of failing. It is far safer to not commit to anything, fasting, early quiet time [with my health] or other things, then it is to continue giving myself to the Lord and trusting He will have my back!

Oh girl (or guy reading this), our sweet Savior and Mighty God has your back!

I have been thinking about how torn my heart has become this year. But as I sit here this morning, I am reminded that the Lord must feel much more broken-hearted by my not giving Him much of my heart or time.

If this relationship is truly going to work and be fruitful (with my Savior), then I have to let go and really trust Him! So I am praying my same prayer for second day in a row for Him to give me His resources to help me today. And it is 5a, and it feels like it doesn’t even matter what I do anymore… my body is in such a mess. I am ready to let go and trust my Mighty God.

I know, this will means trials and testings today.
It will mean hard times of proving my faith in Jesus is real.
It will mean being pruned, so my faith in Him will grow.

What does it look like for me to honestly “Return to [my beautiful Savior and Mighty God] with all [my] heart”? I have to keep choosing Jesus, despite circumstances or even the physical results of spending time with Him.

So even when, I am in a physical health flare or have bad days filled with testing, I have to keep running to God by the way of His Son Jesus Christ, even with all my heart. In those hard moments, its so important to ‘find a way’ to meet with the Lord.

One things I have grown to dislike about chronic illness and faith coming together is – I typically get sicker when I try to spend time with the Lord. I don’t know if it’s my method, testing, or both, but I do. However, I still know this one truth:

Our God is faithful and will not leave me to fight this battle in my own strength. He will forever be my Source of strength and joy. The One helping me to make that next step, and the one after that.

So today, I run to Jesus with all my heart. I will try to hold off worrying about tomorrow or next week… and bring today to the forefront of my mind and spend time bringing today before my King!

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,

The Lies of My Spirit

My battle against my sinful self is intensely real. I wouldn’t mind a less real battle, to be honest. This morning, I let my foolish mouth slip. Ordinarily, at home, not that bad – right? Might be true if a window wasn’t open… I am always speaking when I should stay quiet. When I do speak, in an instant – I know I shouldn’t. In an instant, I think of how much better God would be better off without me.

In an instant, … Those lies can overtake my spirit quicker than quick sand. The lies of unworthiness. The lies of who I am not. The lies my spirit so often falls for, and tries to use in effort to deceive me.

These are the horrors of my sinful self. The me that fights His Spirit and truth. The Mark 5 picture of me.

When I surrender all I am not, to Him.
The change can begin.
In that moment, I can find grace.
If I allow myself to go there…
If I allow myself the chance to just believe what I know to be true.

Quit fighting God.
Surrender whatever you have.
Even if all you have to give sounds like this:

“Dear God, my life is so unbelievably screwed up right now. All I have is these tiny broken pieces that have been shattered repeatedly Dear God, help me. Save me. Heal me. Minister to me… I am too broken. I just need You to help me. I’ve got nothing left… Just foolishness and brokenness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

How Did I Get From There to Here?

I am missing a great group of friends tonight. Friends I had the privilege of serving with. It was only for a year, but seems much longer. That happens when you serve with a  certain group multiple days in a week’s time, and they were part of your core group of Christ-centered friends. For a while anyway. Up to listening to part of my story? Here it goes (now is the time to return to whatever you were doing if you aren’t up to listening):

I was involved in a great Christian Leadership and Ministry program at Fresno Pacific University (God knows how much I cherished my classmates and professors). Part of the program is an internship. I found myself needing to immerse somewhere. I needed a place where I could get more “hours” to pass my class. On my bus route at the time, I had heard about this non-profit. Thought about going to seeing about volunteering. For whatever reason, I didn’t follow that urgency… until I came to a frantic place where I needed to get more hours (God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?). This place of wonderful people, they ministered more to me than I do to others. I got sick. I barely finished my hours, to finish the program.

Toward the end of my final semester, I got really sick. It was by God’s grace I kept volunteering and finished my degree – barely got my hours in. Then after Christmas break, I returned to volunteer and my body couldn’t keep up. People must have wondered if I dropped off the planet. I miss them terribly. I wish my body would let me serve like I used to, in that special place.

There, I was God’s hands and feet (we served the community providing food, clothing, and prayer support). Here, I am mainly God’s hands. I write. This is my most homey place of serving. Some days, it can’t compare to what I did there (or the high-ish feeling it gave)… And this is the only thing I have comparable to there. I wish I could serve there again. I wish my body would just let me. I have to hold onto my faith and trust staying within the lines of my limitations is the best for me and others. After all, I need to be loving.

Still Gracefully Overcoming
(Some days just seem easier than others)