More of a Mess than a Manuscript

As the New Year arrives and it seems everyone is thinking resolutions,lightstock_142968_small_helena_ I am doing something completely different.  A few days ago I decided to go back and read my prayer journal for 2015.  The journal is nothing fancy… an old fashioned college rule COMPOSITION BOOK.  When I write in it I use one writing instrument exclusively… an extra fine mechanical pencil and only one brand of those is acceptable.  I guess that is part of my quirky nature that makes me a writer.  God doesn’t care what I write with or what my handwriting looks like… He is oblivious to spelling and grammar and punctuation?  But He does like it that I actually focus my attention on what I’m writing to Him… the cell phone is put down, the TV is turned off, even the dogs have to make their nests somewhere besides my lap.

Reading the journal confirmed that I do not spend time with God everyday… perfectly; never missing a day 365 days each year.  In fact it exposed a haphazard, inconsistent totally unscheduled pattern of prayer entries.  4 days, skip 1, 1 day, skip 3, 7 days, skip 2 yeah… pretty much like that all year long.  In fact I had one month that had not a single prayer entry… my silent absence screamed off the page to me when I realized that.

In the midst of my unfaithfulness I experienced His grace for me… that He wanted me to return no matter how long it had been, no matter how far I had strayed, no matter the condition I was in when I finally turned back.  Those entries began by thanking Him for always being there.  Eventually I realized that I had wandered but I was never alone in my wanderings for He would never leave me or forsake me.  Where I went, Christ went also; gently and persistently reminding me of His love, His forgiveness and His grace.  As the year progressed the absences grew shorter and less frequent.

The prayer entries varied in length as well.  A paragraph or two; four pages of anxious, scribbled slashing; two sheets of calm, neat penmanship; a page of joyful, loopy words with underlines, hearts, smiley faces and exclamation points for emphasis!  I just lay it all out there… my frustrations, my hopes, my fears all tumble onto the page in an attempt to reach His heart.  I never follow a format… at times praise happened, thankfulness happened, joy was expressed.  But my prayer journal is more of a mess than a manuscript… and in 2015 God used it tremendously in my life!

I rarely read my journal entries after I write them.  I’m usually afraid to read it… afraid of it in the same way a close look in the mirror can cause great discomfort.  All the extra pounds, gray hair, wrinkles; every imperfection shows up… how will I go on in life after seeing myself like that?  Reading my prayer journal exposed it all!

On those pages…

I trembled in anxiety and fear… for my family, my finances, my future!

God listened.

I railed at God… my heart full of anger, doubt and questioning.

God listened.

I wept in self-pity.

God listened.

I approached God as almighty, all knowing, all powerful… basically seeing Him through the eyes of an abandoned, frightened, wide-eyed little girl who crept into the room with God and hid behind a chair whispering her prayers.

God listened.

I sat before him buried in shame from my past.

God listened.

Several months into my 2015 prayer journal my focus shifted… it was less about me and more about Him.  I sampled different names for God… Almighty, Heavenly Father, Father God, Daddy God… then one day I called him Papa and our hearts connected.  I told Him all about stuff… the hurts, failures and the forgiveness I craved.  I spewed out all the lies I hear in my head, the accusations and condemnation, my vulnerability showed and so did my pride and critical spirit.  Papa came through with His truth!

I began to write a while… and then listen… write some more.

I poured out my love, concerns and desires for my family, my friends, other women I knew were hurting, confused, suffering from loss and destruction in their lives.  I searched the Word for just the right words to pray… I began to forget about me for a time and focus on them.  Breathing got easier and time seemed to fly by whenever I sat with that composition book and bible in my lap.

Flair-ups came, emotions got triggered, and old habits reappeared that are difficult to stop… it’s all there on the pages of my prayer journal.  But inside me… fear and anxiety are being replaced with peace and assurance; lies are replaced with truth; bitterness and rejection are being replaced with forgiveness and concern for others; sadness and loss are replaced with comfort and love.

Because God listened… and I listened to Him.

2016… I’m a few days into the year and I’ve missed a day or two with my prayer journal.  But it’s there… waiting for me.  And as I pour my heart out onto the pages God listens.

A Prayer

Almighty God… Heavenly Father… Papa,

In the midst of all that is happening in this world today, billions of people, political, economic and social upheaval and destruction; monumental needs… still you listen to me, Your child.  Personal, present and compassionate You sit with me every time I return to You.  You nurture, counsel, comfort and guide me with all wisdom and grace.  Your patience for me is boundless… Your love for me is everlasting! Thank you that in 2016 You will draw me… beckon me… wait for me to return to You in prayer and then You will listen. 

In Jesus Name,  Amen

 

Tarnished Reality… Glorious Light

Its Christmas time and I am struggling with a bruised and battered heart.  As the season unfolds; my thinking bounces around… from the hurts of my past – to my inadequacy in the present – to the uncertainty of my future.  I run a gauntlet of thoughts that recount my failures… point out my broken relationships… remind me of all that is lost.

I’m struck by how our culture’s “Christmas decorum” is entrenched in my thinking. Images of Christmas perfection are projected unto the screen in my head.  While I cower among shadowy accusers… fingers point at me and then at the screen; voices call out and compare my tarnished reality with the angelic rejoicing I see there. I find myself trying to inject sparkle, glimmer and glitz in an effort to oust the darkness that has settled in my heart.

The battle is real… it rages quietly under the surface as I plan our family gathering, shop for presents and decorate my home.  It’s not new… or profound… or uncommon.  That’s why, in the middle of this season of joy I’m sharing with you the struggle within.

Because…

This Christmas, God is doing what God does… sending Jesus time and time again into my life to be the light that pierces the darkness of my thinking. He sends Jesus through my precious husband and son and daughters and through sisters in Christ who listen… and pray with me and for mBright lights with mangere.  He sends Jesus through his Word that speaks the truth I need to hear.

What do I need to hear in the midst of this Christmas struggle?

Jesus comes to me even when I am cowering in the darkness.  He shows me that tenderness and love overcomes offense and failure every time.  His poverty and frailty exposes the ugly pride and gaudy excesses that the devil uses to destroy me.  There is nothing more tender and helpless than a newborn baby.  He doesn’t point to a false perfection… He gently and tenderly heals and reshapes my broken heart.  God uses the birth of a baby to scatter my accusers and bring me into His glorious light!

A Prayer

Thank you Father for the gift of your son Jesus. You have fought the devils lies and accusations with the mighty force of a frail and tiny baby.  His light defeats the darkness… His comfort heals my broken heart… His love restores my soul.  All Glory to the newborn King!

Rest

lightstock_81985_small_helena_ (1)   (excerpt from Boot Camp Workbook)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

Not many people use innter_athlete_stresswords like “weary” and “burdened” in their everyday conversations these days. But what about a word like “stress?” I’ll bet you can’t find a popular magazine without at least one article about stress – how to cope with it, manage it, survive it. We can stress about our stress, which often leads us to another frequently used word in our society – “depression.” Anti-depressant medications are one of the most often prescribed drugs in the United States right now. Depression is all too common. How about “anxiety,” “hopelessness” and feeling just plain “down?” Have you gone home recently and decided to just “veg” on the couch because you were exhausted from your day, or do you often wish you didn’t have to get up in the morning?

When Jesus was speaking the words in Matthew 11:28-30, was he speaking to us?   Of course He was. We all need rest. There is no one living, so at peace with God, himself and others that they are not “heavy laden and overburdened” at times. For many, this is the case most of the time. We all need rest… How do we find it?

How do we find rest?

The book of Hebrews states that the work of a Christian is to enter into God’s rest. lightstock_136893_small_helena_(Hebrews 4:1-9) For many of us this seems an impossible contradiction. How do we enter or find God’s rest? Do we stumble across it or strive for it? Is it something we must create or manufacture for ourselves?

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest – I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.

Rest…ease and relief and refreshment of our souls. Wow, are we ready for some of that? Jesus wants to “give” it to us. In fact, the Amplified Bible indicates that the direct outcome of coming to Jesus is REST! Jesus says He will cause the rest – we don’t manufacture it ourselves. As we receive His gift, we rest.

As we explore Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites us to join Him in that place of rest.  The entire teaching of this verse in found on the resource page under Boot Camp WorkbookRest.  Learning to enter into God’s rest will bring tremendous change in our lives… one that only Jesus brings.

God Showed Me a Fig Tree…

Autumn is my favorite time of year, the magnificent amber, crimson and gold show the glory of God’s creation and I am reminded of His goodness.  However autumn is coming to an end in North Iowa… the wind coming from the west/northwest has a bite to it.  The air is colder with the Sunset at the hay fielddamp pungent smell of turned earth and dried leaves.  The sky is deep blue with clouds tinged red beneath heavy gray, giving immense beauty to the harvested countryside while reminding me that winter coming on.

Personally, I am not a typical winter enthusiast.  I don’t relish snow or participate in cold, snowy adventures building snowmen or flying down hills on planks of wood.  I’m more the “curl up by the fire” sort of person.  I love to wrap myself in a cocoon of blankets with a good book.  I’m half Italian; my mother’s family all first generation immigrants from that temperate Mediterranean country so I often think I was mistakenly transplanted in life… I was really supposed to live only in a warm climate.  But obviously that was never God’s plan for my life… I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in snowy, cold climates with the firm and clear direction from the Lord to bloom where I am planted.  “But God,” I say, “I’m not supposed to be here… in this place of frigid temperatures and biting winds.  How will I survive?”

  • God showed me a fig tree…

Several years ago Steve and I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Brooklyn, NY.  It was several days of hearty Italian meals and loud, boisterous crowds of extended family.  Compared to our quiet, subdued lifestyle we felt transplanted to another world while we were there.  One morning we rose to find my Uncle Paul outside in the back yard wrapping heavy brown burlap around a tree.  He cocooned the tree from bottom to top, gently bending the branches upwards as he went.  Then, he twinned rope around the now skinny tree and tied it off at the top.  What was he doing?  What kind of tree was that?13jpFIGTREE1-master315

My uncle was wrapping a fig tree for the winter.  Fig trees grow in the Mediterranean… especially Italy.  My uncle had imported his prized tree from Italy and bragged about the delicious fruit he harvested from it.  But for it to survive a New York winter, he wrapped it up and kept it protected… warm and dry.  He told us that he would leave it wrapped up like that deep into the spring, until the ground and air temperature actually made the tree seem to sweat in its winter coat.  When he removes the wrapping, he told us there would already be fruit on the branches… ready to ripen through the summer, sweet and moist.

  • God created us for the garden… we live in the world

God’s perfect plan for us was to live in the garden… walking beside Him in His sweet, fragrant presence.  Always cared for… always secure.  His plan was lost… but His care and provision for each one of us is still exactly what we need to thrive.  We are like the fig tree in my uncle’s backyard… meant to live one place but transplanted to another.  In summer… when the sun is shining and the air is hot and humid we feel right at home.  Winter can be a different story…

  • God wraps us up…

Winter can be tough… sometimes even devastating.  A fig tree left unprotected in a frigid climate will surely die.  But wrapped in burlap, secured with rope and the fig tree not only survives, it thrives.  So it is the same with us.  Seasons change in our lives as well.  The warmth of summer when we are excited about what God is doing in our lives and anxious to share his love and grace to our loved ones, friends and co-workers is a wonderful time.  But when the tough times come… when struggles and doubts blow us about like dried leaves it is time to recognize that we need to draw back and wrap ourselves against winter.

  • Wrapped in the Word and Prayer

When it turns cold… I love to wrap myself in a cocoon of blankets with a good book.  There is no book more important in my life than the Bible.  God’s word gently bends my barren thoughts and pushes them towards Him.  When I’m sure I’m right he shows me that my way of thinking will leave me exposed to the elements… sure to be stung with frost and beaten by the wind.  At times the Lord wraps me in His arms, comforting the hurt and encouraging me to trust… Only He can bring that kind of warmth in the dead of winter.  God’s word teaches, corrects and trains me as I am wrapped against the onslaught of life.  I share my heart with Him in prayer and He listens… then responds, encouraging me to return time and time again to cocoon myself in His word.

  • Emerging to bear fruit…

Amazingly a winter wrapped fig tree, while wrapped in the burlap, has groFig_Tree_(Ficus_Carica)_-_detail_-_geograph.org.uk_-_562736wn new leaves and comes out of the wrapping with fruit already on it.  Most of the work to produce happens while it is in its winter cocoon.  A tree that was intended for mild, sunny days is not hindered or defeated by its harsh environment.  Nor are we… our time wrapped in the presence of God will produce in us the fruit of the Spirit of God… that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  We emerge into our life, our family, or jobs… transformed by the renewing of our mind and hearts… bearing fruit.

The fig tree doesn’t live its entire life in a cocoon… it is meant to live in my Uncle’s backyard.  It provides figs and also shades the patio and gives refuge for the many birds that visit his feeders.  We don’t live our lives constantly in a cocoon.  We are meant for this world… bringing kindness to our neighbors, a listening ear to the hurting, lending a hand where it is needed.  We are to be like the Mediterranean fig tree growing in Brooklyn New York… in this world but not of it… thriving in our environment for the glory of God and His Son Jesus.

A Prayer

Father God, thank you for the warm, sunny days of my life when I breeze through life full of joy and peace.  Thank you also for the change of seasons… and the opportunity those changes bring.  In the cold and blustery times in my life you are there Lord… wrapping my in your love, grace and wisdom.  I will seek you in your Word and find you when I seek you with all my heat.  I will submit to your bending and wrapping me Father… so the fruit of Your Spirit will be produced. 

Please feel free to contact me by completing the “prayer request” form or the “contact me” form.  Both are confidential and are not posted on the webpage but are emailed directly to me.  You may indicate if you would like an email response from me.  Or… you can simply add a public comment below and post it to this blog.

Tug of War

Have you ever been in a tug of war?  You know the game you play whe8686830726_57fac80c1c_bre you use a great big rope that fills your hands and is a challenge to grip.  You are the person right up front, with a six-foot expanse of goo-ey, wet mud between you and the opponents on the other side.  Losing means being dragged in.  Wet, cold and dirty!  Winning takes strength, determination and perseverance.

The second chapter of Boot Camp is about just such a tug of war!  Losing is messy, cold and painful.  Victory is sweet!  Who is the Enemy teaches a foundation scripture. Yes, there is a tug of war.  It takes place in our lives every day.  Only in this tug of war we get to choose whose team we wish to be on.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

Who is speaking? Jesus.  In the Amplified Bible it reads, “till it overflows.”  Do you have an idea of what abundant life looks like?  If you close your eyes and allow God and your God-given gift of imagination to day dream… what does an abundant life look like?

In my thinking true abundance is peace.  It is an overwhelming sense of peace and joy; love for one another.  Abundance includes the ability to work and prosper; relax and have recreation and fun; an end to strife in relationships; an end to the pain and struggles so many people go through physically, mentally and emotionally.  My loved ones, friends, neighbors will come to know the Lord and walk in the mercy and grace of Jesus; assured of eternal life… that’s the ultimate abundant life.  That’s what an abundant life looks like.  That’s what Jesus comes to give us.

I have mentored people and when I ask them what an abundant life looks like they sit and hang their heads and look down at their feet and they don’t have any idea… My heart cries out to those that are so down trodden, so oppressed and depressed that they don’t know, can’t even imagine. We need to know that Jesus came to give us an abundant life. If you are able get a glimpse or a glimmer of Jesus abundant life, then… praise the Lord.  We need to be able to do that.

That’s one side of the tug of war.  Go to our resource page and read Who is the Enemy, the second chapter of Boot Camp to learn who is tugging the other side of the rope; what he does and how he does it as he tries to pull you through that mud puddle.

A Prayer

 Father God I thank you for the great abundant life Jesus secured for us by His amazing love and sacrifice.  He came to give us that life both now and for all eternity.  Help me to understand what happens to bring destruction into my life instead of abundance.  In the tug of war that goes on every day… thank you that in Christ I have victory.

Are You Always Motivated?

Embed from Getty Images

Did you know that every child is always motivated?  Now before you click this post shut, keep reading for just a moment.  Every child is motivated; all the time… they just aren’t always motivated to do what we as their parents would like them to do.  When my daughter was a child, instead of cleaning her bedroom she was often compelled to sleep among the mess of toys strewn across the floor.  I would find her cozy and content; wondering why I was so distraught at the mess that remained.  She had started to clean the room.  When I instructed her to do so she agreed and placed several dolls in the toy box.  But it wasn’t long and she abandoned the task.  The stuffed bear was soft and soon cleaning the room was abandoned.  Snuggly bear was comfortable and that desire for comfort became her motivation.  She only became sad when she was discovered and she still needed to clean the room.  Then she had to face the mess and the consequences.  Sound familiar?

This scenario happens in the life of all children at one time or another.  Personally, even as an adult, I see this pattern repeated in my own life.  The task is set before me, often it’s a task of my own choosing – like writing a blog; smart healthy eating; exercising to improve my fitness. They are the healthy, life enhancing activities that are part of God’s plan for us.  They all seem fine at first.  I enthusiastically begin… creating menus, setting schedules and I sign-up for a workshop.  I start to eat healthy but then give in to the sugar craving within a day or two.  Too soon I exercise less and less frequently… allowing myself to skip days… turning into weeks or months.  I’ll admit there are some writing classes I started and didn’t finish.  The effort to stay committed, to complete the task, to fight the cravings all seem huge and the rewards come too slowly or even stop for a time.  Then… the TV or a nap beckons and at that moment I don’t care about getting my blog post written.  Only later do I wish I had.  That is when I cry out, “Oh God… what have I gotten myself into?”  There are real, practical ways to experience God’s loving response to this question.

  • Remind your self what you really want and expect to accomplish…

It’s time to ask your self an uncomfortable yet real question.  Is it praise and attention you might be seeking?  In my case, not everyone will rave about what I am doing, or even notice.  I’ll probably never do American Ninja Warrior or even the Senior Olympics… but can I get a little stronger and healthier than I am right now?  I like to say I want 62 to be the new 50… but maybe just an energetic, comfortable 62 is a great accomplishment for today.

  • Say no to Huck Finn… the kid inside your self that wants you to play hooky and skip out on the work.

Who are you listening to?  It is easy to get overwhelmed by the busyness and responsibilities of life instead of seeking God for His direction and allowing him to prioritize our day.  Instead of writing, I fuss about the dirty dishes and having to feed the dogs; there’s so much to do I give up and slouch on the couch with a book instead.  The truth is the battle is not actually me against all the other activities I could get involved with.  The battle is inside me…. I need to say, “no” to my personal Huck Finn.

  • Take a break instead of stopping all together.

The reality is that keeping going is hard; fatigue, discouragement, even boredom sets in.  Inside, everything says, “Stop and you’ll feel better.”  And it doesn’t get whispered… it’s loud!  So… that’s the time to stop.  Just when you stop… stop smart!  Take a break before the pressure to stop gets going inside.  Set a time for a break soon enough you might even be tempted to skip the break.  Don’t!  Take the break and enjoy the rest.  Then set a timer for the break to end.  If I write for an hour (or sometimes sit and look at a blank computer screen) I stop and take a ten minute break… stretch, breath, eat a snack… but when the timer sounds to get back to the computer it’s time to start again

As a child of God, maturing in life is a matter of understanding motivation. I need to understand that I am always motivated and begin to ask myself what is motivating me toward God and what motivates me away from Him.  Acceptance, praise and value are great motivators.  God wired the need for these things into my DNA.  In my head I know that God gives me them freely… but sometimes in the midst of my daily struggles it doesn’t feel that way.  That’s when fear and pride motivate me away from God’s plan.  Fear and pride make it easy to allow other things to crowd in.  I am soon looking for an alternative… comfort in the form of reasons and excuses for my failure.

  • Stop imagining the negative outcomes and start seeing what God sees… His plan. Write it down!

God sees His child trying her best… full of imagination and never in doubt of her abilities… thrilled to be off on a new adventure. God sees His child with her own unique way of living life… the more crooked the path the more interesting the journey.  God sees His child standing in victory and glowing with enthusiasm.  It’s not what she has accomplished that impresses Him… it’s her trust and determination that bursts His heart with pride.

God’s love is our everlasting motivator and the source of all our strength.  His ways are real and practical, challenging and exhilarating; with Him all things are possible.  The joy is in taking on the task and seeing it through to completion.

A Prayer

 Father God I am so thankful for the awesome plans you have for me.  You have given me everything I need and I surrender my desires, gifts and talents back to you… you are faithful to guide me every step of the way.  Help me to stay motivated by your love for me instead of measuring myself by the praise and attention of others.  Fill me with a sense of purpose with every step I take… every small accomplishment.  Help me to not give up!   

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11; James 1:4; Philippians 1:6

Life Saving Truth

Have you ever felt like you were losing your grip on life? I found myself hanging precariously, my grip strained and my heart pounding, on the verge of plummeting even to my death.  There were times I struggled to find a moment of peace within my heart.  I was without hope and sat in utter confusion and despair.  I was severely depressed and although I hesitate to reveal this… my mind was trained on only one thing… the act of suicide.    God has a lot to say about losing our grip.  In fact he tells us repeatedly to do exactly the opposite.  God tells us to hold fast!  I pray you are not in this place of despair… yet we all can relate to this in some measure.  When our hands start to slip, when our arms get weak and when our hearts are heavy… God says, “Hold fast my child” to the hope that is in Christ!

  • Share your life… you never know what God will do with it.

    Fabia and I 2

    Fabia and I ~ thirty years later

I was 30 years old and committed to the psych ward in our local hospital for the 3rd time in 1 ½ years.  Each time I had spent 5-6 weeks in the hospital, away from my family.  My children were 8, 6 and 18 months old. My young husband was ill equipped to deal with me and was often frustrated and angry. My only other family was my mother who lived in Hawaii.  I had not seen her in 12 years.  I felt the most alone I had ever been!

Then a young woman who was my next door neighbor came to visit me on the psych unit.  I barely knew her really, and I was shocked to see her.  I knew that I was drawn to her but couldn’t say why at the time.  She was warm and loving and completely non-judgmental.  I knew she was a Christian but she didn’t preach at me or scold me. The biggest thing she did for me was validate how I was feeling… she acknowledged that I was hurt, alone, scared and frustrated and that my reasons for feeling that way were understandable and real.  She would just sit and listen and give me a hug and then say a prayer – nothing long and preachy… just simple and heart felt.  One visit she told me I needed Jesus as my Lord and I prayed with her to surrender my life to Him.  It was still not real to me even after the prayer.

  • Share God’s Word… it holds the power of life itself.

The same visit my neighbor left me a little pamphlet with scripture at the top of each page and a short commentary below.  I was raised in church and I had heard scripture read at services my entire life.  I had never opened a Bible on my own.  I didn’t have one at the time.   Making the connection between scripture and what I was feeling and experiencing was completely foreign to me.

When I received that pamphlet I was on suicide watch in lock-up on the unit, sitting on a bed with paper sheets and wearing paper pajamas.  One scripture seemed like it jumped off the page at me.  It was 2nd Timothy 1:7… For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Not all versions say “sound mind” but that pamphlet did.  I read that and right away said to myself, that is what I want!  A sound mind!  I knew fear… I could feel fear in every fiber of my body at that very moment.  I knew powerlessness… I had never been so powerless in my entire life!  As far as love was concerned I wanted to be loved but I was convinced I was unlovable.  Still… I thought I might live without love if I could just have a sound mind.

  • Hold fast to your hope in Christ!

Then… the crucial part to all of this took place.  I decided to believe that scripture!  I decided to believe that God was going to give me a sound mind… I didn’t know how but I decided I was going to find out.  I thought I might ask my neighbor for a little help, at least I felt a tiny bit safe with her.  I knew that the first thing I needed to do was get out of lock-up and then off the unit and back to my husband and children.  I took that scripture and I clung to the life saving truth it held!  I read and reread it.  God’s Word was working in my mind and heart that allowed change to take place despite my feelings and circumstances!

It’s hard to hold on in life.  To “hold fast” is all about what we hang on to… and has little to do with our own effort and energy.   It requires action on our part.  In this case I read and reread 2 Timothy 1:7 until it became a part of me.   Once we reach out… God’s faithfulness takes over.  God took one verse and with it he refocused my mind and calmed my heart.  Since that time He has done the same thing over and over again in my life.  Yes… holding fast requires action on our part.  We need to be deliberate about doing this simple sounding suggestion because too often the effort to do it seems huge.  But here’s the amazing grace in it… as you stretch out your hand and heart towards Him, Jesus is already there with his strength and victory.  When it seems like you are losing your grip… HOLD FAST!

A Prayer

 Thank you Father for your faithfulness, love and mercy toward me.  You reached out your hand and held me from destruction; you nurtured me and kept me safe.  Your word is truth.  Help me to seek your word, your wisdom and guidance in every situation and circumstance in my life.  Thank you for placing others in my life, they give comfort and love in just the right measure. Thank you Father for the life of Christ in me… together we do life inseparable and victorious. 

 Scripture: Hebrews 3:6; Deuteronomy 30:20; Proverbs 3:13-18; Jeremiah 31:33