Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fighting My Fears and Finding Hope

{I had a blog post planned for today with a great soup recipe for these cold days. But as I began to type, my thoughts kept going in a different direction. It didn't take me long to figure out that God had a different plan for this post....I hope it touches someone.}

 Happy New Year! 
Oh that was two weeks ago?
With every new year comes new resolutions; Lose weight, eat better, exercise, read my Bible, stop hiding in the pantry eating donuts.....

Well, I'm sorry but I like donuts.

Do I need to do all the other things I listed? Oh yes...yes, yes, and yes. But instead of putting all kinds of pressure on myself to do those things that are really a struggle every day of my life, I'm needing a different kind of resolution this year. 

I don't know about you but I'm glad 2013 is over. That was an incredibly trying year for myself and my family. Now that we are 2 weeks into 2014, I'm beginning to have hope for the future again. Our trials are far from over, and there were quite a few months that I had really lost hope that things would ever get better. And while they have yet to really get "better", God is helping me find some hope again....slowly.

This was at the top of my Pinterest home page 15 minutes after finishing a devotion about hope.

What's that God? Yep. I heard you this time.

After I got the "hope" message, He sent me a message on trust.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

When I am AFRAID.....that's what it is. Fear. The thing holding me back from being hopeful and trusting that God has it all under control is fear. I didn't realize this until our pastor had us write down the one thing holding us back from moving on to a better year. It was my fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of the consequences of those decisions, fear of failing....the list goes on.

But in the midst of the fear, I have been reminded in the last couple days that not only do I need to remain hopeful for the future, but I need to put my full trust in God to carry me through. 
Let me clarify. I'm not trusting that He will make my life perfect and wonderful; I am trusting that He will carry me through it. I have no idea what's ahead of me. In an instant everything I have could be gone. I could be gone. But what ever is in store for myself or my family, I have to trust that He is here with us and carrying us the whole way. And when you have the trust...it makes it easier to hope. 

During one of my trials this year, my dear friend Marcie at The Mustard Seed gave me a devotional called Jesus Calling. It was given to her during a very hard time in her life and she knew it would help me. But I wasn't ready for it then. A week ago, I decided I was ready to try it. It's a daily devotional for each day of the year and the words are written as if Jesus was the one saying them. It also incorporates Bible verses to look up.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His  Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year  -     By: Sarah Young

It has hit the mark every day. Hope. Trust. Trust. Trust. One day that I read it, my eyes stopped seeing the actual words and it was like God took a big stamp and stamped "TRUST ME" on the page. It didn't matter what the devotional was saying, I read "Trust Me". 

Insert from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
 But Lord, it's so much easier said than done! I can say that I trust him, but to actually do it? That takes work. Whenever I start to worry about the future, I need to trust him. When I begin to dwell on the past, I need to trust him. When I have a day that I feel like I can't even get out of bed......I need to trust him. 

 I'm still in the midst of my trial. But when I started this devotional, I literally didn't have the energy to hope that things might work out someday. It was exhausting to think about because it seemed so unlikely. But I just kept reading. Each morning I set my alarm 30 minutes before the kids get up so I could start my day with Jesus, and believe me it has not been easy! I am NOT a morning person. The first day I fell asleep sitting up. Talk about humility....Sorry God! I didn't mean to fall asleep in the middle of our conversation! Even though it's still hard to wake up, every day I do I can feel little rays of hope creeping in. Ever so slowly, but they are there.  

I wish...oh, how I wish I could sit here and tell you that in the end everything worked out beautifully. And maybe someday I will be able to say that. I share this with you because so many times people gloss over the hard times in life. They plaster on a smile and tell everyone they are fine. But I'm hoping to break that mold with authenticity. I am a real person, with real fears, real trials, real hopes and heartbreaks. But I also serve a REAL God that loves me no matter how imperfect and broken I am. 

You want to know what today's devotional says?

"Do not be ashamed of your emptiness. Instead, view it as the optimal condition for being filled with My Peace. It is easy to touch up your outward appearance, to look as if you have it all together. Your attempts to look good can fool most people. But I see straight through you, into the depths of your being." (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, pg. 15)

You want to know the crazy part? I literally just read this for the first time. Right now. My alarm didn't wake me up this morning, so I had yet to do my devotional today. 

Do you have chills? Because I do!

Let me leave you with this. 

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life,  neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Trust Jesus. Have Hope in Jesus.
Those are my resolutions this year. Not by choice, but by necessity.

If you are having a similar time in life right now, or have had one in the past, please share your story! My only purpose in writing this is to reach out to other people that need to know they are not alone. And friend, you are NOT alone!

I highly encourage you to get this devotional and do your best to read it every day. I've only been at it for a week and it's already changing me for the better. Well, GOD is changing me through the book. 
You can order it HERE for $8.

God Bless you this year....and here's to hoping and trusting that it will be better than the last. 

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