I wear three rings almost every day. Some people do tattoos; I do rings and sometimes bracelets. They each have a special significance. I get asked about them from time to time…
First, the heart ring. People often think I’m married by this ring because I wear it on my wedding ring finger, so at a quick glance I could see where that is assumed. Inscripted on the inside of it are the words, “My heart belongs to Jesus.” Before anyone or anything else, He has my heart. He is first and He is enough. There is no person or no thing that can fill the place He fills; my heart is His!
One ring has the words, “Quench not the Spirit. 1 Th. 5:19”. I originally submitted it to be made in NIV, but it wouldn’t fit, so that is why it is in KJV. I also have rings for “Rejoice Always”, “Pray Continually,” “Give thanks in all”, so this was the final verse of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 and the line people often leave off as people often recite, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” It just so happened that the others in the line of verses weren’t quite fitting my fingers right, but this one did and ultimately, this one really spoke to me as a reminder to always follow the Spirit’s leading. When I am prompted by the Spirit, I don’t ever want to hesitate!
The final ring, the “;” has a couple of meanings to me. It states, “By His Grace” on the inside. This is His testimony for my life because the truth is that every step forward I make in life is by His grace. Life can be a tough journey but, by His grace, He is always leading me forward. A lot of people have semicolon jewelry or tattoos and this universally symbolizes a point we reached where we felt we couldn’t continue on, but did (be that by our own choice or by the will of God). So, for me, the next words after the “;” would start with, “by His grace.”
So often we pray for something to be restored, be it our own condition, a marriage, or another relationship. We cry out, “Lord, please bring restoration in this!” Not only do we cry out for that restoration, we can get stuck in our thoughts dwelling on a former condition, what something used to look like.
“I was so successful and joyful when I was…”
“My marriage was so good when we were….”
“I wish things were just like they were when…”
Here’s what God has spoken to me recently for anyone who is longing for restoration. Stop looking to a place in the past and longing for things to be as they were. Yes, absolutely pray and long for things to be better, but don’t get stuck on what you think better is supposed to look like. The goodness God has in store for you may look completely different than what the goodness looked like in the past. Never forget that we have a God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Instead of looking back to a former place, believe God for the future! He says in His Word, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” If we are only looking to some point in the past, we are limiting the potential of what God has for us in the future.
Don’t you know God is in the business of making things new?! He is in the business of not simply restoring something, but bringing rejuvenation to something. I like the word rejuvenation so much more than restoration because it so much better describes what God is going to do if you let Him!
Restoration – an act of restoring or the condition of being restored: such as bringing back to a former position or condition
Rejuvenation – to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to / to restore to an original or new state
Let me read the scripture I shared again, ” Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Lord, I pray for anyone this speaks to. God, in whatever area they need you to work in, I pray you would bring new life and fresh joy beyond what they could ask, think or imagine. Thank You God, that You have plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future. Thank You God, that You are working all things for good. We trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God is a miracle working God! When you’re feeling burnt out and discouraged, like nothing is moving and breakthrough may never come, I want to encourage you; it is in those seasons when the most work is being done. It’s a work you often can’t see or measure as it’s happening under the surface, but that is a work that is priceless. It is a work that is ultimately going to lead you out of the dark place you’ve been into a place that is immeasurably above and beyond what you could ask or imagine.
That is how our God is. He loves us so much, He won’t leave us in the dark, even when we don’t realize we’re in it. Often we don’t even realize we need movement or change and it’s not until we go through a really dark season that we realize we were just complacent where we were and we wouldn’t have taken a step forward had we not went through the dark season. He doesn’t want to leave us in a place that is less than what He has for us; What He has for us is so much more!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
Have you ever felt like you’ve reached a place in your struggle where you’ve felt you’re better and then out of nowhere something hits and you’re emotionally spiraling?
That’s how the past three weeks were for me. It’s been several months of doing really well and then out of nowhere came a trigger and I was completely unprepared for how reactive I would be. Once it hit, I was filled with anxiety and I was super sensitive which ultimately led me to be vulnerable to another triggering event, so two triggering events in a three week period after several months of stability. It was extremely tough and emotionally painful and a reminder that this is an ongoing battle.
Today is the first day I feel like the panic of all that has decreased and my emotions have stabilized. Yesterday I went through the emotions of feeling defeated and hopeless in my fight. When I get triggered and emotionally spiral, I generally go through a period of shame where I feel defeated that I let myself get so emotional and where I feel I’m defective for having been so reactive.
I had to come to a place of realizing I still have work to be done, and also I’ve had to stop blaming myself as this isn’t a choice to have a trigger and react. The self-defeating emotions that follow being triggered are completely out of my control.
Sometimes we just have to give ourselves grace. Hitting a bump in the road on this journey doesn’t mean we’ve lost the fight or been defeated; it just means God has more work to do in us. This recent struggle has also reminded me that I need to be intentional in prayer each day, to put on the full armor of God and go into the day prepared for whatever I may face.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
It is hard to believe it in the hardest of moments, but we have to keep pushing forward even when it feels the darkest.
I understand the feeling of wanting everything to be better and wishing it was, hoping that I can hold on another day, but fearing that point of losing control for good and in finality. I understand those emotions all too well and I just want to say if you are stumbling across these words because you are in that place, give time another chance. Allow another day for “God’s mercies are new every morning” to prove true. Allow another day for “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” to prove true. Allow another opportunity for “God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future” to hold true. Allow another opportunity for “I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” to prove true.
Let’s give time another opportunity. Let’s keep holding on to hope, keep trying, keep pressing forward.
If you are struggling and need someone to talk with, here is a link to helplines available in various countries.
I know what it’s like to wrestle the darkness. These are some scriptures that have helped me hold on to hope in my darkest moments. I pray you find comfort in them too. The more truth we have to lean on when the enemy’s lies get the loudest, the better, so if you have any that have carried you through a dark moment, please share in the comments. 💛
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:17)
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up , And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30: 1-5)
I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles. Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?
This week my church organized an event that consisted of corporate fasting and prayer for the week and three nights of what they referred to as revival services. Each night was ended with people seeking physical healing coming forward and other attendees, regular everyday believers, laying hands on them and praying for miracles.
I began the week (Sunday) in a small group meeting being asked the question, “What are you believing God for?” Surprisingly I didn’t have a clue what I’d be seeking Him for personally, so that’s what I prayed for on Monday, “God, what should I believe You for?” By the second morning (Tuesday) I had an answer settled on my heart, some specific prayers for God’s guidance as a mom and for my son and prayers for overcoming struggles with depression, for healing.
The first two nights of services (Tuesday and Wednesday) had amazing worship and powerful messages, with the prayer time focused specifically on physical healing, addictions, and prodigals. Honestly though, I felt a bit personally discouraged that they were only asking people to come up who needed, very specifically, “physical healing” as I felt ready to receive emotional healing and thought maybe this would be the time. I felt a disappointment because with everything the pastors said, they were very specific about “physical” healing, addictions, and prodigals. At one moment one of the pastors even started to say the word, “depr…” but it’s like he caught himself and didn’t want to go there so backed up and changed his words. I was teary eyed the end of night two (Wednesday) as I left because I knew how much I wanted to be healed and I knew there were others in that room feeling what I felt. I felt upset, thinking, “God can heal thistoo!”
So, the fourth day, Thursday morning, I went into the day feeling an expectancy, an excitement of what the last night of this prayer event would bring. I’d been seeking God during the noon hour each day and during this time of seeking God on Thursday, I clearly heard from Him, “I’m going to heal you of your infirmity and I’m going to use you to minister to others from a place of understanding, with My heart for them and with My love for them.” This was an amazing moment, as it’s the first time in a long while God so specifically and clearly spoke to me, and it grew faith and more hope within me.
The third night of service was amazing, as the other two nights had been, but once again they focused on the same three areas (physical healing, addictions, prodigals), but in this night I did not feel the same feelings of exclusion and disappointment I had the other two nights. I believed what God had spoken directly to me in my personal prayer time and I felt it within me; my healing is coming! If it turns out to not be yet, well, I’m confident it is coming because I know what God spoke to my heart! Not only that, I have seen His faithfulness in my healing process. It’s been three years of walking through different processes in my healing, so it’s been a work, not an instant thing but I believe that is how emotional healing takes place; it’s a process, because there’s a lot of factors that have contributed to the need for this type of healing, so my experience has been that God has addressed one thing at a time.
Leaving out of those three nights, I praise God for the physical healings that took place in so many and I praise Him for the answered prayers that will come out of all those prayers for addiction struggles and for prodigals. We saw God show up tangibly with the physical healings and I believe God is going to show up powerfully healing people of addictions and with salvation for prodigals. I also believe God is going to answer prayers that were not specifically prayed for from the pulpit.
The words God spoke to me I believe were not just for me, but for anyone who is discouraged in their fight with whatever struggle they may be dealing with. I believe that if we have a little bit of hope and a little bit of faith, He will meet us right where we are at and He is ready and willing to perform the miracle we so desperately need! We have to be willing to ask and believe that there is a possibility He will answer our prayer and we have to be willing to let Him guide our healing process.
Today during the prayer time following regular church, a mom brought a child up for prayer who had been hospitalized a while back and is going for a followup this week. God so vividly brought back to me the reminder of what He did in my own son, what I now realize is a miracle. My son was hospitalized several days as an infant and then struggled until he was four with recurring pneumonia and lots of scary moments. Ladies at church prayed in faith for him and those issues literally stopped and never returned. It was a miracle I never truly acknowledged as a miracle! As I saw this mom bringing her son for prayer it reminded me that I have experienced the miraculous with my own son and yet I have sometimes doubted the possibility of the miraculous. Even writing this I am reminded of when my son was born the doctor held up his umbilical cord and said the words, “a true knot” and then someone in the room said, “are you saying he’s a miracle” and the doctor answered, “yes.” I wasn’t even a Christian when my son was born, but it’s just a reminder of the plans God has always had for my son and for me. A miracle before he was even born and a miracle when he was four and struggling with respiratory issues. My son is a miracle on so many levels! God used my son to lead me to Him. God giving me my son when he did is all a part of my testimony and a part of what led me to know Jesus.
One thing we have to realize is that a miracle doesn’t always have to happen in an instant; it can take a little time but that doesn’t discount the fact that it’s a miracle. We live in a society of instant communication, instant delivery, instant this or instant that. Yes, in the Bible you will see that Jesus often performed miracles in an instant, so that is always a possibility, but in the Bible we also have to think about the miracles that took a little more time. Abraham had to wait 25 years after the promise to conceive a child after God promised him he’d be “a father of many nations.” Taking that long does not discount the fact that it is a miracle, because how many 100 year old women do you know who conceived a child!? Think about Joseph’s 13 year miracle in the works after being sold into slavery. Many miracles take time as God works out all the details in the in-between.
So, this all has me thinking, I have to wonder how often we overlook God’s miracles. Not only that, but how often do we not believe enough to actually ask and open up the door of opportunity for that miracle to be performed by Him?
I believe in miracles! I had experienced miracles but I never acknowledged them. It couldn’t be just other people’s testimonies that got me truly believing, it was God bringing to my remembrance and leading me to reflect on what He has already done in my own life, His faithfulness. He brought it all to remembrance, so many miracles He has worked in my life!
God is a miracle working God, for me, for my son, and also for you! What are You believing Him for?
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
Your mistakes are not the end of you. This is not your end, but a chapter in the beautiful story God has been writing and continues to write. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. God, full of grace and compassion, wants you to come into His loving arms and allow Him to embrace you. You will look back on this chapter and see the beauty that came out of it. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He hears your cries and He knows your deepest concerns. He meets you where you’re at, even when you feel distant and at your weakest. He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Lean into Him and allow His grace and strength to pull you through. As you lean into Him be assured that in all things He is working for your good.
For anyone this speaks to I pray:
Lord, I pray that this person will feel Your presence and know in their heart how much You love them and how much You desire them. Help them to find their true identity in You. They are Your child, chosen and dearly beloved. You have knit them together in their mother’s womb and You have designed them in a unique and beautiful way to be used for Your purposes and for Your glory. Give them strength to endure the trials they are facing and shower them with Your grace. Help them to break free of shame and receive Your forgiveness and grace in all their shortcomings. As You say in Your Word, You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You; as far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us. Praise to You, God! Lord, help this child of Yours to overcome all fear and anxiety. Help them to know You are their Source and You will always meet their every need. You are their Provider and their Fulfillment. God, bless them and let Your favor be upon them as they step forward in faith and hope, with You by their side. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
(Psalm 121) ___________________
Feel free to share with anyone you know who this may be for. Be blessed!
To me, the new year brings new hope. While it comes every year, and realistically January 1 is indeed ‘just another day,’ there is just something about the new year. In the new year, it’s always good to set aside some time to reflect on where you’re at, where you’re headed, and where you desire to go.
I have been plagued by depression for the past three years and, while I thought it would be a quickly passing season, I realize it is an ongoing battle, a part of my story. I make the often-difficult daily choice to keep having hope. It’s been ups and downs, reaching places of defeat and discouragement, but with that there has also been lots of healing and breakthrough. I didn’t realize my need for healing until I reached a place of absolute despair. Before the months of COVID isolation in 2020, my life had been on autopilot, and I didn’t realize how many aspects of my life were operating in a superficial way, and just waiting to fall apart, until I was forced into isolation for eight months. I know I am not alone in that experience.
Going into 2023, I have an awareness that God is still at work in my healing process. I am so glad He is faithful and never gives up on me! I still have my days where depression fogs my outlook and I question having purpose in this life, but I fight off those days by recalling God’s faithfulness and trusting that if I am here, there is purpose in it, both for this life and in preparation for eternity with Him. I choose to continue having hope and to keep trusting God’s way and God’s timing.
I have started to see the blessing of the place I reached, and the place I reached was far from anywhere anyone would desire to reach. It was not a blessing in the moment, quite the opposite, but looking back, I feel blessed that as a result of reaching that rock-bottom place, I have an opportunity to live and experience this life with purpose. While I’m not in the place I want to be yet, I am not where I was and I have a hope I didn’t have before. I feel blessed that I have an opportunity to live my life with intention and to not let it get back on that superficial go with the flow track. I don’t ever want my life to look like that again. I trust that God has a plan and a purpose in everything and I hold on to the hope that everything I have struggled through these past three years is part of my healing process and that the end result will be so worth it!
If you are currently in a place of discouragement, I want to encourage you in this new year; what you are feeling right now will not be wasted and a breakthrough is coming. You have to continue to bewilling to keep moving forward and bewilling to do whatever hard work you have to put in. Keep at it! Whatever honest conversations you need to have, whatever appointments you need to make, be bold and be brave. I know how hard it is and I encourage you; keep pressing on!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
There is a love. It’s a love that’s hard to fathom, until you know it. It seems out of reach, until you’ve attained it. It appears surreal, until you’ve experienced it. Yes, there is a love like no other. It’s unconditional, unearned, unfailing, unending. It is freely given, but at a high cost – a cost that has already been ransomed. This love. There is nothing like it.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)