That sweet thought brings me the Lord’s peace every time it enters my mind. It is what gets me out of bed every single day. It is what motivates me to keep seeking the Lord on a daily basis. This life is hard. And, the closer I get to the Lord, the harder it becomes. The enemy makes sure of it. I have finally learned to accept that. I keep the words of Jesus from John 16:33 close to my heart. I see so many struggling to survive this life. That was me not too long ago. I pray that they learn to turn to Jesus so that they don’t have to just survive it. They too, can live an abundant life if they choose to turn it over to the Lord. ALL of it—it’s all or nothing.
Not so long ago, back in the days of mind-numbing depression, the enemy had me in such tight chains. He convinced me I was worthless. He used alcohol to give me temporary peace. I was hooked. I could hardly breathe in that darkness. I used to wonder how many tears one person could cry (honestly, I still wonder sometimes). God was nowhere to be found, even though it turns out that He really was there the entire time. I was giving up. I had grown so tired of trying to keep my head above water. Every time I had a little bit of happiness (the enemy would loosen the chains just enough to make me think it was all good), I’d be yanked back deeper into the pit. I had no hope. I didn’t think I’d ever be freed from those chains, but thankfully Jesus changed all of that when I opened my heart to Him. No wonder why the enemy is so mad and threatened that he lost me, especially because a higher calling has been placed on my life. That makes my heart smile extra big. I can feel the Lord smiling too. 🙂
The closer I get to the Lord, the harder the enemy works at trying to steal my joy. I am finally catching on that he never sleeps. Thankfully, neither does God. I admit that I still slip and let my guard down once in a while. It is mostly when I am exhausted, and the enemy is right there waiting for the slightest opening to come in and pounce. He never misses the opportunity. When the enemy can’t come at me directly, he then tries to use other people to do his dirty work. When that doesn’t work, then he tries to come at me by attacking people I love and that is harder on me than anything. But together we come against it and God is with us making us stronger.
I must keep my eyes on Jesus every single day. It’s the only way I can make it through. I have literally learned to take one day at a time. I don’t just pray to God when I need Him. I talk to Him all day, every day. Developing a real relationship with Him is a must. I have learned to mostly thank Him throughout the day, but many times I am asking for His help for me as well as for others. My talking to Him comes so naturally now, I find myself doing it a lot at my desk when I am at work and I love that I am not concerned who sees it. I do it quietly and respectfully, but I realize that someone may notice that my head is down and my lips are moving…I actually want them to see it. I want them to see what that does for me so they will want to do it too. I don’t know if it’s working, but I am glad that I don’t have to worry about it because it’s not up to me. When I talk to God throughout the day, it keeps me so close to Him. I can truly feel His Spirit and I so need to where I work! I need to improve on this, but I have also learned to spend quiet time with Him every day and not do all the talking. Lots of us forget to sit still and listen. He needs to be able to speak back to us and if we’re on the go all the time and/or talking all the time, we are going to miss out on what He has to say! I don’t want to miss out!!
I confess that I used to feel bad when I would see others that don’t put God first enjoying their life so much—at least on the surface it appears that they are happy. They are able to travel to beautiful places. They have nice homes, cars, etc. I am grateful that the Lord straightened me out on that. I have learned not to compare myself to others. I used to be embarrassed for not having much at this age, I am not anymore. Today, what I have is much greater than anything this world can give. I am richly blessed in so many ways. I have eternal life. I have the Lord dwelling inside my heart. I belong to God’s family and He has placed the most incredible godly people in my life. I have incredible everlasting joy and peace from the only One who can give it. The list goes on. And when the Lord is finished using me on this earth, He will call me home to be with Him. I love knowing that. I admit I get homesick sometimes because home with Jesus is where my heart is. But He has things for me to do still so I’ll just keep doing what I am doing. When I do get to go home, boy is there going to be a tremendous celebration!
This is the longest I have gone between posts, but I was waiting on the Lord to give me something to share. He sure put a lot on my heart and I can only hope that I have shared it well. Here’s one final thing for today…I keep hearing Laura Story’s Blessing a lot lately, and I love these lyrics: “When friends betray you, when darkness seems to win, we know the pain reminds this heart…this is not our home.” I speak strictly from the heart because of my own experiences and I just want to say to those who are struggling right now, know that Jesus loves you. Spend time every day working on trusting Him fully. It takes a daily effort to learn to trust. Whatever you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone. Call out to Jesus and He will carry you through. Remember Jesus’ words like in Matthew 11:28. He wants you to come to Him and find rest in Him, so do it. When you are going through tough times, also remember what Jesus did for us on that cross. Our suffering is nothing compared to His. I believe remembering that helps us to keep on keeping on no matter how difficult our circumstances become. And finally, at least for me, it helps a great deal to remember that this is not our home.