Finding Hope in Grief, Sadness and Loss

we also glory in our sufferings…. (Romans 5:3)

There are still moments in my life of deep grieving with God. I imagine it’s somewhat similar to the grief someone feels in their heart when they think of a loved one who has passed away. Something comes up or happens and a memory is triggered and grief comes knocking.
This is the reality of life, is it not? Pain, grief, and suffering are true experiences in a world of sin and loss. Leah was a woman who grieved too. She was unloved by her husband Jacob. She lived as a woman in a marriage who played second fiddle to her sister, Rachel, who was adored by Jacob. In her grieving, she saw only her pain.
It wasn’t until she had her fourth son that she made the choice to stop complaining and start praising. The three sons she had prior she had with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, Jacob would love her. The fourth son she named Judah, which means praise. The line of Judah would be where the Messiah would come from. Truly, even in her abandonment, grief, and sadness, God brought an opportunity for praise and blessing. He brought something good out of her pain.
Not long ago, something literally died inside of my soul. The pain of it, I cannot even begin to describe, but you understand because you’ve experienced a similar pain. A parent who has lost a child grieves with deep pain over their loss because their heart poured out unending love into their child. They poured it out with joy. Now that the child is gone, their love has not stopped, but they have no place to pour it, except into the arms of God. Sometimes it’s poured it out through tears or crying out to God, other times it is poured out in the silence of our own hearts in prayer.
We must also remember to pour out our grief through praise. Without praise, bitterness will flow from our heart and into our lives.
I get it, the question of why, why did this happen? I ask myself the same questions and my response has been to say, “Heather, praise. You don’t have to know why just praise and trust what God is doing.”
I have met people who you can tell have been broken and have learned to praise. Their lives are fruitful for the Kingdom. They become authentic people because they have experienced such a painful death that their hearts have been resurrected into different people full of compassion, and kindness. I see this happening in my life and for that reason, I will praise, even in my grief.
So go ahead, grieve your loss, but don’t grieve without hope. Let God pour His love into your heart as you hold fast to Him in your grief and pain.
Lord, your love has been poured out into my heart. The grief I experience is real. There are faces, hearts, and souls that I miss deeply. Resurrect my pain. I pour out that love into your hands. Use it now to grow my heart in love and compassion for people. Lord, today, I will praise, in Jesus name, Amen.

Growing in God When He Gives No Suitable Answer to Your Pain

guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”….(Hab 1:11).
Sometimes it feels as though my strength is all worn out. I keep being put in these places in life where I have nothing left to offer, but Jesus. There’s this place God is taking me in my life that is displaying His power and glory because, without it, I’d crumble.
I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He is a strong tower. I know that the righteous run to Him and are safe. I know that He restores, redeems and makes new. Therefore, I am pressing hard in His grace. These are not just words I read. They are words I am experiencing in my life. They are words that I am clinging to and believing with all hope.
Truly, without my faith, my life would be lost in a world of negative thinking and despair. With the enemy encamped on all sides, I’m standing tall, because God makes me strong. The Lord Jesus Himself, my defender, is meeting me in ways I have never dreamed. Truly, I am becoming a brand new woman. A woman ready to receive the new mercies of God for my life every morning. A woman desiring the truth and grace of the Lord Jesus to cover her life and redeem all those pieces the enemy set up to kill, steal and destroy.
Yesterday, a friend said to me, “Heather, you are a very strong woman.” Truth be told, I am a broken woman, who knows nothing but Christ her Savior. In my brokenness, I see the risen Savior and His love for me. I have never seen Him in this way before because I was busy finding fulfillment in other things. Now, for the first time, He has stripped it all away to demonstrate to me His power and goodness for my life.
I keep asking for justice, and although no suitable answer is given, I have God’s daily grace. The kind of grace that makes my heart glad, because the love of God satisfies my soul. Like a rushing river, His love fills me, so that I can share in His sufficiency with others. Truly He does things for our benefit, against all hope.
The faith of the righteous is made pure in the fire. The fire of cleansing. Yes, it hurts, but it cleans out, burns away and makes new.
Abba, daddy, you make all things new. Truly, I can trust you with all of my life. You are making something new out of me that I would not believe. IT’s going to be something so glorious that the world will stop and say, “The Lord, He is alive in that woman.” Yes Lord, let it be so. I long for the world to see your love alive in me, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Crushed Spirit

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones….(Proverbs 17:22).
For the past few days, I have been struggling with a negative attitude. It is true as the proverb says that a crushed spirit dries up the bones. As my spirit writhed in negativity, my countenance died with it. We cannot stand very tall for God when we are bowing to negative thinking. We will never see the goodness of God if all we can see is bad things in life and trust me, it doesn’t take long to find something bad to dwell on.
Truly, joy has nothing to do with where we are, what we are doing or how we’re doing it. Joy is a choice. A conscious decision to find God in the mundane. A willing choice to see His hand in light of circumstances we’d much rather not be walking through.
Joy is a person. Truly, joy is found in Jesus. As we look to Him, we will never be disappointed. As we surrender our wills, thoughts, and emotions to His Lordship we find a peace that surpasses all understanding. We find joy for the journey because we embrace Him. Our hearts become of good cheer because the love of God fills them through faith.
Don’t you see, the goal of life isn’t to have that job, reach that status or save up enough money to buy that thing. It is to receive joy and share it with others. When I share Christ with someone I give them an opportunity to receive joy. To embrace the person of Jesus Christ so that they too can be of good cheer!
To get out of my funk, I made a decision to quote Scripture into my heart and mind and to receive the joy of Jesus. As I did this, it felt as though my mind was lifted from darkness and freed into a spacious place of peace and victory. Beloved, God has joy and freedom for you today too, won’t you embrace it as yours through faith?
Abba, daddy, you do all things good for me. Truly, I can trust you. I can rest in your joy because you are life and peace. I can be found in your love because your heart is safe. Jesus, I pray that my life would be a light for others to see your love. Let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Freedom Through Failure

This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness… (Romans 4:22).
I have often wondered why Abraham seemed so resolute in his decision to sacrifice his son Isaac. I think I finally get it now. Mostly because I feel like God has been taking me through my own Abrahamic season. A season where I took the reigns of control for far too long, tried to push through with my own ideas and feelings to make things happen in my life.
Abraham did that too. He became impatient, so he slept with his maidservant, hoping the child of God’s promise would come that way. Obviously, this wasn’t Gods action making things happen, it was Abraham’s. I am learning that when God acts on our behalf, we don’t need to be part of the equation in pushing things forward. We need only be still, wait, listen, watch and pray.
I feel like God is taking me on this journey up Mt. Moriah, where He’s saying to me, “Heather, won’t you trust me? Don’t you believe that I am who I say I am?” I think Abraham was so convinced in his mind to now do what God said because he blew it big time. Through his failure, he finally understood that the best place he could be in was fully submitted to God’s will. I feel like that’s where I’m at. I’m done trying to make things happen in my life and push my agenda forward.
I am learning through my failures that God is trustworthy. I don’t want to go back there. To the places of control and fear. I want to live with reckless abandon to the Lordship of Christ, even when I don’t understand why, when or how.
Lord, I want to be resolute in my decisions to follow you to places that require me to trust you deeply. I want to live as a woman who is fully alive in your love. Jesus, be my greatest joy. Let my heart be fully satisfied with who you are for me. Abba, daddy, I trust you. Come through for me as you did for Abraham, in Jesus name, Amen.

A Blurred Mind….But We Have the Mind of Christ

But we have the mind of Christ…..(1 Co 2:16).

Sometimes my mind feels blurry. Sometimes I feel a bit uncertain about the decisions that I need to make. I know, in these moments, its because I’m holding onto something I don’t want to let go of. It’s because, in my mind, what matters most is not what Jesus is telling me, but what I hope He’ll let me keep.
Many of us, myself included have blurred minds and worried hearts because the Spirit is trying to stir something in us that our pride is trying to stifle. Following Jesus is a matter of laying down our human pride, giving up our need for control and being very honest about our motivations.
Sometimes my motivations have very little to do with Jesus and a whole lot to do with me. This is why I need wise council and friends who are willing to speak hard truths into my life. People who are willing to go with me into the hard places of my heart to help me see God’s truth in the midst of my blurred and worried mind.
Jesus, I want to lay down all of my life. Truly, it is a sacrifice. I want to live fully alive in you. Abba, daddy, you make me new. You restore until me the joy of my salvation. You are a good, loving and faithful God. I will praise you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Jesus Doesn’t Need Another Superstar

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power…. (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Yesterday, as I was speaking with the students at Cornerstone Baptist Church and the students at Chillicothe Christian Church I said to them, “One of the greatest purposes of our lives is to put God on display. Sadly, the person we love to display the most is usually ourselves.”
During Sunday school I laid out a table full of things we find joy and satisfaction in apart from the Lord. Things that we look to for our identity and value. Things we use to draw attention and praise to ourselves.
We love being an influential person, for the purpose of puffing up our own ego. We want people to see us and praise us as someone special. We pick up a football, microphone or whatever else we can get our hands on not as a tool to display God’s power but to set ourselves up as a superstar in the eyes of others.
Jesus doesn’t need superstars. He needs willing vessels. God has given us all gifts. All of them have been given to us for the purpose of putting His power on display. What many Christians are missing is not gifts from God, but a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. The Spirit pours out His power on willing vessels who humble themselves to make Christ known through their gifts.
I picked up a basketball from the table, threw it at a student I knew was a basketball player and said, “God made you a basketball player not for the purpose of making you great, but for the purpose of using basketball in your life to make Christ known.” We are quick to worship people, the created things God has made and not the creator who made them. Sports and movie stars, fashion icons and singers all hold too much worth in our eyes because we too, in the foolishness of our flesh want to be a powerful person, with a crowd of people shouting our name.
When an empty vessel comes ready before God, amazing things happen as the Spirit of God pours itself out into a person whose heart simply wants people to see Christ in them.
Lord, I want to be used as an empty vessel. Whenever I use my gifts for you, I want people to say, “That is not Heather. That is the power of God being put on display.” Lord, let my life be a living testimony to you. I want o make you known, not my own name, for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.

The Power of God in His People

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God… (Romans 1:16).

People love power. It’s what makes us feel important and significant. We love the idea of having lots of money, a name for ourselves and a long line of success. All of these pursuits put us on display for the world to see. It’s there, as we make ourselves king that we bow to the idols in our hearts. Believing that somehow, they will give us purpose and significance in life.
God gifts us all in many different ways. Some can sing, dance, speak, teach, or serve. Whatever gift God has given us is not for putting ourselves on display. Truly, it is meant for the purpose of putting God display. When we put God on display, we die to our idols and set Him up as the one true King for the world to see.
When I display Jesus to someone, it’s because I’ve gotten out of the way. It’s because I’ve emptied myself of human pride and set Him up in His rightful place. Only then can His power be put on display. Only then can the world see the supernatural lived out in ordinary people like you and me.
Lord, I want to put you on display. Today I die to any pride n me that wants to make myself King. Abba, daddy, forgive me if I stray from making you Lord of all. I want the world to see Christ in me. Let it be so, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.