©Cam Morrison Photography
An Open Letter to the Broken, Hurting, Confused, Lost:
Oh dear one, if you only knew how much the Lord has done and is going to do for you. I’ve been there. I have laid on my bathroom floor crying and shaking my fist at the Lord wondering why He has left me. I have wondered why He hasn’t taken my pain. I have shouted to the heavens and felt like my prayers simply bounced off the walls around me. I have seen blessing after blessing happen to seemingly everyone but me. I have felt so much disgust and shame and have felt enslaved to my own sin and wondered why I didn’t feel “saved” anymore. I have been there, maybe you are too. Maybe you’re there now, I’m right there with you. It’s agonizing. It’s defeating, but oh dear friend, it is not the end.
If you only knew how much the Lord has done, is doing, and will continue to do for you, you would weep endlessly with gratitude. See He has never left you, He has never forsaken you, and friend He never will. You must wrap your head and heart around that truth. Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” These are not just words on a page, these are promises from the One who created the entire universe. I hope you know that I am preaching this to myself as much as I am to you. You see, I am not perfect either. I am a member of a ministry team called “Worth More” and today I feel like dirt on the ground. I feel like a failure. It was a struggle to get myself out of bed this morning. You are not alone. Here’s the thing though, and this is beautiful, your feelings about yourself are not always true. What? Let me say that again. Your feelings are NOT always true. I feel like a failure today; does that mean that I am a failure? Absolutely not. I feel disgusted and chained by my sin and shame, am I still held in bondage? Absolutely not. There are days where I feel that I am crying out to no one, is the Lord no longer with me? Absolutely not. Joyce Meyer said something like this: if your feelings disagree with scripture, your feelings are wrong. Friend do not let the enemy get a foothold in your heart. The Lord is making a way for you. He will never stop.
This time of confusion, this time of disappointment, this time of pain, it will end. Do not quit now. The Lord is not done with you yet. Imagine if you tried to see yourself the way your Heavenly Father sees you. What would that look like? 2 Chronicles 5:7 promises us that our steadfastness will be rewarded, we must not give up. So what do you do during this time? Press on. Cling to the cross with everything you have. Do not lose hope, dear one. Jesus Christ and hope are sometimes the only things we have left. I challenge you to read the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 13:17-14:29). When it seemed like death was imminent, the Lord provided a miraculous way out. In His perfect timing, He will do the same for you. I want to leave you with a quote that helped me understand why I may not be seeing my parting of the Red Sea yet, so to speak. Brittney Moses tells us that “many times when God isn’t changing your circumstances it’s because He’s mostly concerned with changing YOU within the circumstance. Your character, your inner strength, your integrity matters to Him because they are everlasting qualities. The wisdom, strength, and the maturity that grows within you are all things you’re going to need to sustain the calling God has on your life. Know that there is a purpose in your pain.” Keep fighting.
From One Broken but Growing Human to Another,
I worked at a summer camp in the North Carolina mountains for the past two summers. The first summer I was new, and as a Florida girl, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Although I knew little to nothing going into it, it was the best summer I have ever had. I learned quite a few things that first summer. I learned what a carabiner was (you know, that clippy thing that climbers use), an endless amount of riddles, what chacos are, and how to make your cabin full of middle school girls finally go to sleep. But when I look back on those long hours, those hot days, and those loud meal times, there is one lesson that stands out and has stuck with me more than anything.
I Die Daily
Now, those words are not something that you usually see cross stitched on a pillowcase or framed on a wall. When I first heard these words, I didn’t quite know what they meant, but it sounded spiritual. Over the past year, though, I’ve come to learn what these words mean.
I used to wake up, and remind myself of these words every day. I Die Daily. Not physically of course, but spiritually. I’ll admit, I am a naturally insecure person. I’m constantly wanting to compare myself to others to see if I’m measuring up, and I will always find a reason that I don’t. I’ll focus so much on my short comings that I allow it to steal my joy. I start believing that I am not “good enough”, and I forget who I really am.
I have met too many girls who share this story. The enemy seeks to attack and destroy us, and one way he does that is by feeding us lies that we choose to believe. However, my friends, we serve a God who does not allow this to be the end of our story. He wants to restore us and use us, and we cannot do that if we are defeated by the lies of the enemy.
So every day, I reminded myself that I die daily. And I challenge you to do the same. Do you want to know what that means?
It means to die to ourselves, to our insecurities, to all of the lies that surround us. We have to die to ourselves so we can be alive and strong in Christ. Only then can we stop comparing and start loving. Only then can we find true joy, fulfillment, and contentment.
I want to leave you with some encouragement. These verses pretty much sum up the hope that we have in becoming alive in Christ.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
So ladies, let’s together die to ourselves to be alive in Christ.
Written by: Amanda Fowler
Life is busy. Sometimes it’s just plain chaotic and stressful. Some mornings I wake up and just want to erase everything from my to-do list and take a moment to breathe. Then make some tea, shop, watch a movie… all those things I don’t always make time for in the day-to-day rush.
Big shocker… most days I just can’t do this.
However, what I can do, and often forget to do, is take a deep breath and lift my stress and exhaustion to God.
Have you ever had one of those friends that doesn’t even have to do anything, but somehow makes everything all better? Somehow by talking to them your concerns are lifted and your left feeling less stressed. Think about that friend for a moment. It may be a childhood friend, someone you recently met and clicked with, or even your mom! For me, my mom definitely fits this role. I also have a couple friends that do... friends from childhood and college.
For this person to assume that role in your life, you had to get to know each other. In my case, I’m not quick to trust someone and be vulnerable with my struggles. It takes me time to develop this level of friendship. Whether or not you relate to me with you vulnerability, to reach this point with your safe people, you probably had to learn about them, them about you, and you had to grow to sense their care for you, to understand their humor, and all those things good friends do!
Friends aren’t available all the time, and as wonderful as they are, they are not meant to meet our every need. You were created with a hole that only Jesus can fill. But in your exhaustion, you cannot call out to someone you don’t know and expect to be fixed and filled. Before you reach your endpoint, you have to get to know Jesus so that you can see Him working in your stress, and so that you desire His love and can recognize it in your life.
Let me encourage you today to delve deeper than ever into getting to truly know Jesus. Not just popular verses, or passages that make you feel good. Truly study scripture to get to know Jesus’ character. I’m speaking this to myself as well! Whether you’re in the midst of a chaotic time and you’re facing a tough trial, or you’re feeling great and experiencing a break from the rush, you’re not too late! Jesus is closer than you know.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
By: Emily Norton
As a person who suffers from fairly severe anxiety, the thought of doing anything outside of my comfort zone is enough to paralyze me. What if I have trouble eating? What if I get sick? What if I get lost? What if I lose my money? What if the people there don't like me? What if I have a panic attack? What if I miss my family? What if I get there and decide I want to come home? What if I die? As ridiculous as some of these may seem, they are just a few of the questions that swarm through my mind anytime I am getting ready to go somewhere or do something that is out of my safety circle.
Often, I let questions like these and the fear of something happening hold me back from doing things that I want to do. I convince myself that if I step outside my comfort zone that something horrible will happen. If any of you struggle with anxiety, you know exactly what I mean. It sounds so ridiculous when I say it out loud, but in my head I can convince myself of almost anything happening. Can anyone relate?
Recently, I had an opportunity to travel out-of-state to visit someone who means a great deal to me. I should have been excited, right? (Spoiler alert: I went and had a great time, but we will get there.) I would love to tell you that I was excited from the very beginning, but I wasn't. The second I booked the train tickets, I was filled with a mix of emotions: some excitement, some happiness, but mostly an overwhelming sense of panic. All of those questions started running through my mind and suddenly I felt like I had made an awful decision. What have I just committed myself to do?
I worried and worried and made myself more and more anxious as the days went on until finally I decided to just talk it out. If you have been to counseling for anxiety, you know that one of the things they teach you is to reach out to a "safe person"- so this is what I decided to do. I didn't reach out to one safe person, I talked to five of them, because I have a tendency to be excessive like that. They helped me to separate fact from fiction and quickly the fear and anxiety started to melt away.
I packed my bags and I boarded the train with an open mind and excitement for what the following four days would hold. I wore my bracelet that says "courage" every day to remind myself to be brave. Yes, there were moments where I was filled with anxiety, but I was able to combat it better than I ever could have imagined. For some people, something as simple as visiting someone in another state is something that doesn't require a second thought. For me, it was a mountain that I had to climb. I did it. I did something that I was terrified to do but I did it and I loved every minute of it. I pushed myself beyond what I ever thought I could do.
So, what if it is scary? What if everything goes wrong? What if I get there and don't like it? But at the same time, what if it isn't scary? What if it's fun? What if I love it? What if it's everything I have ever wanted? For these last four questions, I will fight my own fear. I will push past my anxiety. I will give it a try. Friends who can relate to me all too well- give it a try. Fight. You may be surprised at just how much you can do! Have faith in yourself and more importantly, have faith in the incredible God you serve. He will uphold you and see you through every situation you encounter. Just do it. You may be surprised at the final result.
Written By: Adyson