Discouragement

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life… Deuteronomy 30:19b-20

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I went to bed last night a bit depressed and discouraged.  I tried to pray, read the Bible, and read a book that encourages me, but I fell asleep without peace.  So this morning, before I got out of bed, I asked the Lord to help me.  That’s it.  Nothing profound or highly spiritual.

And I remembered Nehemiah.  When he was discouraged, he got proactive.  He reminded the people that they had God on their side, that they could and needed to fight, and that they shouldn’t fight alone (Nehemiah 4).  So I needed to be proactive, but how?!

I had a text from a friend asking how things were going, telling me she was praying for us.  Which reminded me that I had promised to make plans with another girlfriend to go for a visit…so I sent her a text.

Then I received a text from one of my sons, sharing from his morning devotions.  It was one of the “7 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know” from the Bible App.  The word today was “mah” which means chaos.  The devotion was about the time that Jesus sent his disciples out across the Sea of Galilee during a storm, alone.  He sent them into chaos, but then He came to help them by walking on top of the water, showing that He is in total control of all chaos, all the storms of life (John 6).  It reminded me that we’ve been through chaos and storms before and Jesus has led us through them all.  Note that those storms didn’t go away, but we got through them by keeping our eyes on Jesus, not looking at our circumstances, but at Him, because ultimately He controls everything.

Next was my morning tea and my time in the sunshine to read the Bible.  Before I even opened the Bible I had a sip of tea and the Holy Spirit brought Anna to mind, I haven’t thought of her for years.  Anna was our next door neighbor growing up in the early 70’s.  She was my port in every storm.  She had been married to two alcoholics, both abusive men.  She had three girls from her first marriage (all teens at that time) and three boys from her second marriage (all around my age).  She was a “single parent or dual-role parent” before those phrases became popular.  She was on welfare and seldom had much food.  Her house was a mess.  Not messy or dirty, it was destroyed.  Holes in the wall, wrecked furniture, pipes leaking, and on and on.  She had no money to fix things, she had no one to help her with her kids (who were a bit out of control), and she didn’t have Jesus (yet).  But she opened her home and her heart to me whenever I needed her.  From the time I can remember, I would visit Anna every day and have a cup of tea (Red Rose, hot water cooked on the stove in a pan, not a tea kettle).  We would talk about anything and everything.  And to this day…I am a serious tea drinker.  And if things are difficult, tea is a necessity.  Thinking about Anna made me realize all the blessings I have and how strong a woman can be when she needs to be.

As I read from Deuteronomy 27:10 “Obey the Lord” I saw in the margin that at some point I had written “what we DO shows what we believe” and I thought to myself…really?  I can’t DO anything about the situation.  And then…it all came together.

I am doing, being proactive just like Nehemiah.  I am reading God’s Word, reminding myself that He is for us and He never leaves us alone. I am fasting and praying at lunch for 40 days, fighting for my family against our enemy.  I am reaching out to my friends, asking for prayer and seeking comfort and empathy as only girlfriends who have had troubles know how to do.  One of my other girlfriends reminded me recently that every time I say “I can’t take one more thing” – I do.  I take it and wrestle with it, ultimately knowing that He is in control and it’s going to be okay in the end.  One way or another.

I am actively looking at Jesus walking on the water, having faith, trusting that He is working in the chaos.  So what I’m DOING does show what I BELIEVE.  I believe that Jesus is Lord and God is sovereign, and the Holy Spirit is here with me, helping me.  Whether I feel it or not.  I don’t need to accept my discouragement and wallow in it.  I need to act on what I believe and the feelings may come, or they may not.  But right now, I’m better, and I can handle one more thing because with Christ all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).

Lord, You are the God of hope.  Please fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in You, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. AMEN!  (Romans 15:13)

Stacey Ray

Stacey is the mother to four sons ages 15 to 21, and the wife to Rex, one very understanding husband.  Stacey has a passion to help people become the best that they can be and she currently does that as a community college instructor in psychology and human development.  With this same passion in mind, her family supports many other outreaches including Children’s Vision in Bogota, Columbia (an orphanage and school) and She is Safe, India (a ministry empowering women and children to avoid human trafficking by giving them value and worth in their communities). Originally from California, Stacey and her family currently make their home in northern Minnesota where they are actively involved in their church’s mission of seeing real people make real change. Stacey’s favorite quote is by Chip Ingram:  “I am nothing without Jesus. But in Him and through Him I can do great things!”
Stacey is the mother to four sons ages 15 to 21, and the wife to Rex, one very understanding husband. Stacey has a passion to help people become the best that they can be and she currently does that as a community college instructor in psychology and human development. With this same passion in mind, her family supports many other outreaches including Children’s Vision in Bogota, Columbia (an orphanage and school) and She is Safe, India (a ministry empowering women and children to avoid human trafficking by giving them value and worth in their communities). Originally from California, Stacey and her family currently make their home in northern Minnesota where they are actively involved in their church’s mission of seeing real people make real change. Stacey’s favorite quote is by Chip Ingram: “I am nothing without Jesus. But in Him and through Him I can do great things!”

 


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