Finding hope when life is hard

We’re all anxious right now…maybe even downright fearful.  What will happen to our finances during the coronavirus outbreak?  Will we lose our job, our home, our cars?  Will I be one of the people who catches covid-19?  And if you’re not worried about that, then there are a myriad of other things that might be stealing your joy and your hope.  Perhaps your marriage is falling apart or your kids are making poor decisions.

The truth is that, until we get to heaven, we will all experience tough times here on earth.  And of course, Satan loves to pile on by whispering negative, hopeless thoughts into our minds when he sees that we’re struggling.  We tend to start reciting a list of complaints and fears…about people in our life, health problems, finances, the way we look, and on and on.  Instead of reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us, our facial expression portrays “woe is me”.

For a believer, that’s ridiculous!  If you’ve made Jesus your Lord, you have his protection and power at your disposal.  Your prayers are powerful!  James 5:16  “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective”.  And even if your prayers aren’t answered EXACTLY how you think God should, you can trust Him to redeem every hardship in your life.  I love what He tells me in Psalm 103:4 “He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  When life gets discouraging…when anxiety starts eroding your hope…bring your concerns to Jesus and relax into his strong arms.

I grasp hope and peace when I choose to trust in Jesus.  He is at work!  His ways are perfect.  Seek His perspective on all that’s happening. Ask him to help you understand what he’s doing in this challenging moment.  Ask him to redeem your seemingly hopeless situation.  He’s so creative!  He’s working behind the scenes right now.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Dealing with fear over the coronavirus

I’m sure most of you feel like I do.  You feel like this is all surreal…a nightmare perhaps…and that we’re all going to wake up and realize it was just a horrible dream.  Tragically, it is all too real.  Covid-19 is here and it is killing people, mainly people in my age group and older. (Yes, I just turned 60).

If you’re a young adult in your 20’s or 30’s, you don’t have nearly as much to worry about in terms of dying from this thing, and therefore, you are likely incensed that the restaurants are closed, and you have to find childcare for your children who no longer have school, and maybe your job and steady income is now in jeopardy.  I get it.  And yet, we must all sacrifice right now, because if we don’t take serious and painful action, it is very likely that many of your moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas will be taken out by this virus.  Yes, that is what’s at stake.

So, how do we deal with the fear that comes from this insidious disease…fear of death, fear of financial collapse, fear of a lost job?

First, we do what we must in terms of practical steps that can protect us and our loved ones from getting this disease.  We minimize our contact with others, we wash or sanitize our hands every time we touch a common surface used by others, and we definitely self-quarantine if we or our kids are showing any sign of sickness.  We have to be smart.  These are tough measures, but essential.

Second, after we’ve done all the practical things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe, we turn to the Lord and ask Him to protect us.  We ask Him to be in complete control of our lives, our health, our finances, everything.  We put all our trust in Him.  He has performed mighty miracles on behalf of his people in the past, and He certainly has the power do it again.  He can make a way for you to pay your bills, or for some of your bills to be forgiven at this time.  He can supernaturally heal you.  He can make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! Ask Him!

Would you join me in praying these things?

  • I have specifically felt led to pray that God would cover every doorway of every believer’s home with the blood of Jesus, so that the angel of death would pass by just as he did for the Israelites during Passover. (Exodus 12:23)
  • Pray that God would leverage this crisis to draw the hearts of many unbelievers to Him. I think of Genesis 50:20 “You intended this for evil, but God meant it for good, for the saving of many lives.”
  • Pray that God fills you afresh with the knowledge of His tender love for you. When you realize how much He cares for you, your fear will start to fade away.  1 Joh 4:18  “Perfect love casts out all fear.”
  • Pray that, as you set your heart on seeking Him above all else, He will provide for all your needs in His own very creative way. Matthew 6:33  “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Trust me when I say I have witnessed God do some crazy, creative things in the past when I needed Him to provide a financial miracle!)
  • Pray that God would fill your heart with peace, knowing that even if you were to be taken from this earth today, it would be a magnificent upgrade! Luke 23:43  “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

How to trade anxiety and worry for deep peace

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel my shoulder and neck muscles getting really tight.  My head starts to throb.  I even sometimes feel a little short of breath…or like I can’t even draw a full breath.  These are all warning signs that I am filled with toxic anxiety and worry!

What is the remedy for anxiety and worry.  Well, the solution is often really quite simple (although hard to remember to do!).  We must remind ourselves that Jesus loves us and that he is completely trustworthy!  We need to speak truth to our souls!

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms. often talked to his soul.  In tough situations or when he was consumed with fear, he would basically give a pep talk to his soul.  He would remind his soul of the truth about God. For instance, in Psalm 42:5, David writes “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”   Is it time to talk truth to your soul?

I regain peace when I remind my soul that God is loving, God is powerful, God is wise, and God is in control!

 

Are you spreading a virus to your family?

Holy cow!  The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!!   I found this out recently when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day.  My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task.  I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that.  I am so busy I can hardly breathe.”   Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof.  He got increasingly agitated on the phone.  It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious!  I was spreading the stress virus.

Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine.  So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities.  Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him.  This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.  Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus.  Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42:  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better…”

Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules.  Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities.  For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my husband’s health.  How about you?  Are you stressed out a lot?  Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule?

How to lower anxiety in your home!

Who would have thunk it?  (Yes, I know thunk is not a word).  Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting.  Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess!  I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.

She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems.  She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job.  Their relationship was going well.  So what could be the problem?  Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household.  So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!).  She didn’t do all the chores herself.  She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.

The result?  Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared!  Wow!  I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out.  In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity!  P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!

The path to less stress and more peace!

In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me.  He asked me this simple question.  Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory?  Another way of putting this is:  Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother” etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do to bring HIM glory?

Oh man!  Busted.  To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes.  I become exhausted and stressed in the process.  The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers.  Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want.  Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes.  The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?

I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace!  We would be free of performance-exhaustion.  Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music!  God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace!  (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.”  And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”