To Live is Christ

Good morning, beloved readers!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the freedom that Christ gives us, and wondering … are we stepping into that freedom? Taking hold of it? Living it? Do we believe in that freedom?

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At the conference that I recently went to, the theme was missions. Reaching the nations for Christ. Pouring out your life for the sake of the Gospel. Going boldly into dangerous situations in order to tell every soul. I heard radical stories and saw hearts passionate for Jesus Christ.

When this kind of radical living is on display, fear often sneaks up on unsuspecting persons such as myself.

That sounds terrifying.

Would I be able to bear such things?

What if I’m called to physically give my life?

So the question is, how do we fight this fear? And how to we get to the place where these Christian figures are? Seemingly fearless and excited to follow God wherever He would lead. No matter the cost.

1. You must have an encounter with Jesus Christ.

And I don’t mean some man-made encounter where you recite a prayer, go through confirmation, or obediently get baptized. I mean a personal encounter, where you truly believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you glimpse His glory, you trust His love & sacrifice, and this transforms your life. You feel the Holy Spirit literally changing your heart.

Maybe this encounter comes in a moment for some people. For me, it was more like a process. An encounter over many moments, days, months, and even years.

A process where God pursued my heart, and kept drawing me back to seek Him.

And, slowly but surely, I’m changing from a very frightened, very insecure, very unsteady, very weak girl into an increasingly free woman.

A Christ-following woman who thinks:

If, someday, I am led to the flames to die because of Christ, I hope my heart will be saying to the Lover of my soul: “May this be a sweet-smelling sacrifice to You, O Lord.”

And this thought is peace-filled. Like somehow, into this frail heart of mine, the Holy Spirit is gently whispering that it would be an honor to die for my King. And that I would feel peace. And be glad to be a sacrifice for Him if I must be put to death by the wicked of this world. And that I would be inwardly rejoicing, so ready to see His face. So ready to be welcomed in His arms and into my home.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Psalm 116:15

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

And I know, friends. To some of you, this sounds absolutely crazy. And it feels kind of crazy even as I’m writing it. And fear wants to rear his ugly head. I am, by no means, perfected. Sometimes I relapse back into my anxiety-stricken self. But, I promise you, this thought did press itself into my mind and on my heart … and it is becoming more firmly planted. This I know, God is working in and through me. And I hold onto that.

You must know Jesus Christ. You must have a real relationship with Him. You must believe His radical love for you. You must see His glory. Otherwise death, sacrifice, evangelism, yes, even the routine Christian life, is ridiculous.

1 Corinthians 15:14 & 17-19

14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Why do we do what we do as Christians? It is because of Jesus. For His glory and because of His love. There is no other reason than Christ Jesus. And if we don’t see Christ for who He truly is, then we are confused and weak creatures indeed.

So you must have a real encounter with the living Savior. Accept His sacrifice for sin. And invite Him in as lord of your life. And then …

2. You must allow Him to grow you.

You have to grow, my friends. Don’t quench the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow fear, anxiety, pride, depression, pain, insecurity, weakness, and your own selfish desires to have free reign in your life. Fight them. Allow the Spirit into your decisions, that He may strengthen you to do what is difficult, and even what seems impossible. Surrender.

In essence, it wasn’t you who invited Jesus into your life, but Jesus who invited you into His, drawing your heart to believe in Him. So live in Him.

Continuing on. You need to grow. And I believe this growth comes in four parts:

// Studying God’s Word // Prayer // Community within the Body // Suffering & trials //

Open your Bible everyday. Study it. Memorize it. Read it from cover to cover. Let it refresh your soul. It is like your sword, your weapon of defense. Read Scripture against the attacks of Satan. Don’t cower under his lies – HE IS DEFEATED. Don’t be defeated with him!

Ephesians 6:17

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Matthew 4:4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ 

Pray. Pray continually. Invite the Lord into every moment and every aspect of your life. Wake up early to pray. Pray in the very midst of temptation and fear. Pray when you can’t sleep. Pray with friends. Ask people to pray over you. Commune with your good Father! Press into Him. Allow Him to be your hiding place.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19 Do not quench the Spirit20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Become a part of the local Body of Christ. Get involved in a loving, tight-knit, Christ-like church. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. You need other believers, my dear friend! God gave you brothers and sisters in Him to help strengthen your faith, comfort your heart, and keep you in obedience. Don’t underestimate the power of doing life with other strong Christians who are passionate for Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Suffering and trials. As hard as it is, don’t despise these things, but ask God to open your eyes to how He might be at work. For example, if you’re suffering from lingering health issues or a chronic illness, don’t get consumed in doubt, despair, and desperate prayers for healing. Now, to clarify, I believe it is good to pray for healing from sickness. For yourself, and for the brotherhood. But also, pray for God to draw you into closer intimacy with Him during this painful process.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christwhom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

James 5:13-16

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Perhaps He is trying to teach you something that you are stubbornly resisting. Or perhaps it’s just a general growing of perseverance and faith. Whatever the case, God knows you, your body, and the plans He has for your life. Trust Him.

3. You must seek Christ as your supreme treasure.

You desire Him. You long for His love. You want to see His face. You want to live for His glory.

I fully believe that as God grows you in Him, Christ will become your supreme treasure. And that is the key.

To be FEARLESS. JOYFUL. CONFIDENT. FREE.

If Christ is your all-in-all, then you know that nothing can take away your greatest treasure. Because it is Christ and no one can take Christ from you. No one can snatch you from your Father’s Hand. And your perspective shifts from the here-and-now to the eternal, because your beloved Jesus Christ is eternal.

Apostle Paul says in his letter to the church in Philippi that for him, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Like, living life and obeying Christ are one and the same. Living and glorifying Christ are synonymous for him. There is not one without the other.

Philippians 1:21

21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

He does not hesitate because of discomfort or run away because of danger. He does all for the glory of God. Each decision he makes is made with glorifying God in mind.

To disobey. To be led by fear. To live for his own glory … that is not living at all.

Paul knows that to be spiritually dead is much, much worse than physical death. In fact, actually departing from this world is gain, because he gets to be with the Lover of his soul! Death means going home! Death means uniting with Love!

Revelation 22:3-5

And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheadsThere shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

To live for anything less than for Christ is to not live at all.

Do you want to live?

Perhaps you don’t feel the magnitude of this concept, but it is mind-blowing for me. And so completely freeing! I can stop struggling, tripping, and being violently dragged here and there by the slave-master, Fear. And I can step into the freedom of simply living for the glory of Christ. To make every decision to His glory. To put His glory above all else and rest fully in His love.

And the best thing is, the Holy Spirit will enable me to do this!

Philippians 2:13

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Oh, hallelujah! Praise the Lord, o my soul!

Whether He call me to far-off nations and daily danger, to crowds of people listening to my little voice, or to a simple, quiet life of making disciples in my small, American community & living as an example in a self-consumed culture … I am free to live fearless and all for His glory.

I am free to hide myself in His love, knowing He is absolutely capable of caring for me.

Psalm 31:19-20 & 23-24

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Dear readers, to live is Christ.

I pray that you will live in Him and for Him. I pray that I will live in Him and for Him. And may we band together and love & strengthen each other in this lifestyle!

❤ Lady Grace

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Books for the Fearful Heart

Happy Saturday, readers!

Today I’m excited to share with you some books specifically addressing fear that have really impacted me. I have a heart and mind that tend to fret and be fearful, and are often within the iron grip of anxiety – and it’s taken me a long time to learn some of the lessons these books teach.

If any of you out there can relate, I wholeheartedly recommend these Christian Living books to you. First get out your Bible, then purpose copies of these books. And prepare to go on a journey.

Face your fears. Grow in faith. Lean on your heavenly Father. Find joy.

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Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough

(I haven’t finished this book yet, but so far it’s been phenomenal. I believe God is using what Maria went through to impact my life here and now.)

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Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller

(Read my review HERE)

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Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life With Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

(Read my review HERE)

So there are just three books, besides God’s Holy Word, that have helped me in my battle against fear and anxiety (and even depression). I hope you will find the courage to acknowledge your own fearful heart and find help.

You don’t have to live within anxiety’s clutches.

God has so much more for you! If you could just surrender to Him! ❤

***

As a parting note, I’m going to change my blogging schedule back to posting here on Lady Grace just once a week – Saturdays. I have some things coming up in life and I’m realizing I’m not going to have time for everything. So I have to cut back a little. I hope you all will keep joining me here on Saturdays!

And also check out my other blog: Between the Pages of This Bookish Life. I post there on Thursdays and share my Youtube videos on Mondays. This coming Monday’s video has to do with love & romance!

Imperfect but Beloved

Hi, readers! I completely forgot that I had to post today. Ah. Letting myself stress too much or something. I’ve been making soap, cleaning houses, and doing other work-related stuff, so I suppose it just slipped from my mind.

What are you all up to?

I’m currently reading Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough. And I’m doing two devotionals on YouVersion about letting go of the past and beginning again. They’re truly messages I need to hear.

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Let go of the past. Mistakes, regrets, hurt, fear.

Begin again. Start fresh! Rejoice in this new day that God can do wonders in.

Break the fear cycle. Constantly give over your anxieties to God. Pour out your anxious heart before Him – again, and again, and again.

And lean on Him. Rest. Completely secure. Forever loved.

It dawned on me that oftentimes we think that we need to be strong, and perfect, and have it all-together. We don’t give ourselves grace for past mistakes and stumbles. We try to tough it out, keep ourselves in order, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We put so much pressure on ourselves, and then wonder why we crumble at the slightest provocation.

What if it’s not about us being strong, but about His strength shining through our weakness?

What if it’s not about us being perfect, but about His perfection working in our inadequacies?

What if it’s not about having it all-together, but about complete surrender to Him?

What if it’s not about us being something, but about Him loving us despite our sin, brokenness, and failure?

Instead of hiding, covering up, holding yourself together, and desperately trying to find a way to redeem yourself, your past, your sin, your errors … If I just do this, this, and this, maybe I’ll be good enough. Maybe I’ll be worthy of respect and love. Maybe I’ll be liked and cherished and wanted …

Maybe you can just open up your hands and surrender.

I found that when I just took hold of the truth – allowed myself to be weak and helpless and unsure what to do – it was okay. Because I realized that along with these things I was loved and cared for by a compassionate and powerful Father. I gained hope and security, joy and confidence.

I am weak, but He is strong.

This is how it is to be, and I believe I see His role as my Warrior when I surrender.

I am helpless, but He is my Helper.

He is my Provider, and I trust that He will sustain me and I have faith that He will provide all that in need in His timing. All I do is pray and step forward in obedience – trusting Him with results.

I am unsure, but He is all-knowing!

I can open up my arms wide and say, “God, do with me what you will!” He sees all, He holds me in His hand, and He has a future for me.

So I let myself be weak. Surrendered and obedient.

I am only human, but my God is the Alpha and Omega. In Him, I have all I need.

I listened to this Youtube video from Joseph Solomon this morning that was talking about being secure in God’s love for us. I found it interesting. I hope you listen to it and comment with your thoughts below!

God’s peace, friends.

❤ Lady Grace

Accepted in Christ, the Beloved // Joseph Solomon

Run to His Arms

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,

Deuteronomy 33:27

First thing to look at in these verses. No terror allowed, friends. No discouragement. Your Father is the great God of all—King of Kings—you should not fear. Should not be depressed.

Not to say that we as believers don’t fear and become depressed at times. It does happen. I’ve struggled majorly with fear, and a bit with depression as well. But the point is … it’s not like this natural thing that we just have to deal with. God doesn’t want us to be terrified or discouraged. He knows how it harms us. So He’s saying, “I’m here, child. Run to Me and find peace and comfort in My arms. I will fight for you.”

I think depression and irrational anxiety are two of Satan’s tactics to bring believers down. Especially, perhaps, when they’re doing great things for the Lord! Satan hates us, because we are on God’s side!

Sometimes I feel like … “God, I’m finally growing closer to You, and becoming a better prayer warrior, and my fantasy story is coming together—I think it will bring glory to You … And now is when I’m all suddenly dealing with this crazy fear and just listless hopelessness? Why?

Then it dawns on me. Of course! Of course Satan doesn’t want me to grow closer to God. He doesn’t want me to bring glory to God. Or pray for others. So the Enemy strikes me where I’m weakest. And somehow I believe his dark lies time and again. If you read Silver Rose, maybe you’ll understand why Karalee (main character) is the way she is … because her author happened to have those same, very real struggles! :p

Anyway. We are in a battle. Don’t forget that. Or you may succumb to that fear and depression, because you don’t realize you’re supposed to be fighting. –Don’t realize that there’s hope. And that God wants to help you.

Next time you hear those dark whispers, RUN to God! Run to His everlasting arms! Definitely don’t isolate yourself. Read the Bible even when you don’t feel it’s speaking to you. Pray, even when your soul feels dry and faithless. Talk about your struggles to fellow believers who will encourage you and just hold you up.

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I once heard this profound thing that just stuck with me: “Even when your heart can’t feel it, even when your mind can’t believe it, move forward in obedience anyway.” Keep moving in faith. Even when you can’t feel it.

And remember, God is here. And the victory is ours through Him.

 

** Originally published on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life, April 24th, 2015 **

Book Review: Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

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Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back: Facing Life With Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars ~

This was a great Christian Living read! Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield speaks to real struggles with frankness, applicable ideas, hope, and a generous dash of humor. These ladies know how I feel! *smiles* After just finishing Fearless by Cheri Fuller, this book felt like the perfect companion read. It addressed fear and anxiety – talked about facing life with courage and prayer – like Fearless, but was a bit of a lighter read and had me almost laughing out loud many a time!

Basically, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? helps you to be upfront with yourself, face your fears, and ask yourself if you’re going to keep hiding, or live the abundant life God has called you too. Honestly, people like myself, who struggle with fear, anxiety, depression, or listlessness, need books like this! I very much recommend. It’ll get you laughing while taking a look at your heart.

What did I learn? Run to God as soon as the fear/hopelessness hits! Pray continuously. Live life! Laugh! Walk by the Spirit. Sometimes I think we just take ourselves too seriously. God didn’t mean for us to live in bondage (whatever that may be), but to be FREE, walking by His Spirit. Trusting Him. With all that we are.

Easy to read, humorous, real, and heartfelt, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life with Courage, Not Comforters has the potential to help a lot of women realize they don’t have to hide anymore. God has it all under control. They’re alive and breathing, and He has a plan! I thoroughly enjoyed.

I received a copy of Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life June 18th, 2017 **

Book Review: Fearless by Cheri Fuller

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Fearless: Building Faith that Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Those who struggle with fearfulness/anxiety, I highly recommend you read Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller. Not only does this book speak, with understanding, directly to your struggles, it provides practical ways to deal with them, insightful stories, and almost every page breathes the reality of God’s protection and all-knowing-ness and perfect plan into your heart.

It was easy enough to read, each chapter teaching and forcing you to take a look at your life and your fears. You discover that many people face the same struggles … see how they dealt with them … see how fear often is just our own imagination ruining our chances for an abundant life.

I learned lots of doable ways to manage my fear and anxiety – I’ve even been putting some of them into practice! And with good results, I must say. Prayer was a big thing that Fearless focused on. Just what I needed!

For all the encouragement and tips it gives, this book ultimately challenges us with this – Are you going to trust God with your day, your life, your salvation, your eternity … this moment? I finishedFearless with an desire inside to be just that. Fearless! Have the courage to do all the things I’ve been scared to do – all the things God’s calling me to. And I left with this incredible peace that, no matter what happens, God is ALWAYS. And heaven awaits.

Wow. Great book. I should have read it sooner!

What does the Bible say about Fear?

Do you struggle with fear? Anxiety? I know I do. So what does the Word of God say about fear?

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Psalm 34:4

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:24

“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Psalm 23:4

“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.”

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rules, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Psalm 94:19

“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.”

1 Peter 1:5

“You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Psalm 27:1

“The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom should I be afraid?”

1 Peter 5:6-7

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”

Psalm 56:3-4

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.”

Psalm 103:17-18

“But from eternity to eternity, the LORD’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13

“For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you.”

Romans 8:15

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ”

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear …”

***

Isolation or Worship?

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There are difficulties in this life. We struggle. Some days are harder than others. We each deal with things in our life that have the potential to drag us down.

  • Trying to live up to the word’s standard of beauty.
  • Thinking you’re only as valuable as you are beautiful.
  • Living with the unmet desire to be married.
  • Living with the unmet desire to be a mother.
  • Facing anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Battling temptations and shame.
  • Feeling worthless.
  • Feeling purposeless.

Those times when God feels so far away, and you feel so alone and downtrodden by the world … I understand. It can be hard.

So what does a woman do in those situations?

I’ve learned a valuable secret. It’s called …

Worship.

During a time when I was battling with intense anxiety and despair, I went outside and stood beside a lake. I opened my Bible to Psalm Eight and turned my gaze heavenward, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth…”

I read that whole Psalm aloud. And this curious feeling came – the quieting of my soul; the stilling of my troubled thoughts. I think the Enemy’s voice was drowned out by my worship of the Most High God.

Another thing I did was pray. One night, when my heart was seizing up within my chest and all my fear suddenly looming over me; I prayed out loud. About my terror of the moment – and anything and everything – for over an hour. I just kept praying and praying, because I felt secure in that. The darkness seemed to recede. The peace of God (it could have only come from Him!) descended on me. I prayed myself to sleep.

Hebrews 4:16

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. The power of Jesus’ name. The power of His Word.

Those are your weapons with which to fight in this battle. Oh, my friends, it truly helped me. I can’t explain to you the peace I felt in those moments.

Here’s another tip …

Community.

So often, in our struggles, we isolate ourselves. I’m here to tell you, DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF! Now is the time to open up, my dear. Open up to God. Open up to family. To friends.

I was away from home at that time, but I sobbed over the phone to my mom, and her voice – her presence over the phone – was like a lifeline.

My friends, you wouldn’t believe how freeing it is to share your burdens. To let people speak truth over you and pray for you.

We need each other. To isolate yourself in your struggles is the worst thing you could do.

So find someone to talk to. A trusted family member or friend. And if you don’t have anyone, please contact me. Let me pray for you and be there for you in what ways I can.

Most importantly, you’ve got to let yourself open up to God. Go to Him. Pour out your heart. Surrender to Him. Trust Him.

So open up to people. And open up to God.

And then … worship.

I know every situation is different, and sometimes all you can do is lay there, curled up on the floor, and beg God to hold you. And He will. I truly believe He will, and does.

But worship is healing. Worship fights a battle for you. Worship draws you closer to God.

Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Galatians 5:22

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”

Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Choose worship. In down times, in dark times, choose to worship. Opening up the Word of God and pouring out praises to your Creator, the Creator, is a powerful thing.

The Enemy can’t stand in the way of that.

Run to your Heavenly Father, and cry out, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

Don’t isolate yourself.

Have a prayer time.

Worship.

Heal & be at Peace

Psalm 103:1-6 & 11-18

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

Say No To Fear

say-no-to-fear

“There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a Hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it.”

HOPE IN FRONT OF ME by Danny Gokey

Jesus Christ reigns still, my darling readers! He is our hope. And we can be brave like those passionate souls gone before us, in troublesome times. It makes my heart swell with some beautiful, unnamed emotion when I catch a glimpse of the truth – that God’s Hand is holding me, and I can be brave through His strength.

Isaiah 41:10

10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Because I know what it’s like to be drowning in fear. I know what it’s like to lie awake at night, deep within anxiety’s clutches. When it feels like your chest is going to split open and your heart fail within you.

Fear is real. Irrational anxiety is real. Sometimes when I was set off by something … news of a shooting, an alarming disease, terrorist attacks, the presidential race … I would go into a daze of sorts, walking around as if I were stuck in a terrifying nightmare.

I would retreat within myself. Not talk. Watch fascinating movie after movie, where ordinary people defeat imaginative monsters, as if that would somehow make everything better when my reality was crumbling around me.

Sometimes I agonized over the thought: What if somebody I love dies? I could imagine the accident. See their face, still in death. Feel the tearing, searing, unbearable emotions of them being gone forever and I didn’t say ‘I love you’ … Tell them everything they meant to me. Hug them one last time.

Flying on airplanes, vacations, being out in a boat, sometimes just getting into the car struck dread in my heart.

Sometimes feelings of fear constricted my soul so that I literally cried out, unable to stop myself.

It’s been a long journey. Years. I went to a single counseling session a few years back. I wrote a novel that somehow pulled out the deepest emotions of my soul. And something opened within me. I started talking, to my mom, my aunt, my friends, about my anxious heart and many fears. I described what I felt, and listened to their experiences. I learned how to pray to God: “Help me, Lord! I’m afraid! But You are here. I know You are here. Help my unbelief.”

See, I felt the need to control everything. I didn’t know if I could really, really trust God. I had to open my heart to Him. To pray again and again: “Help me surrender”. To be honest and real and raw when I cried out to Him.

And that’s shown me something. While my feelings are real, they are not always true. But God is truth. He is. And His ways are higher than mine. When I cling to that, with all that I am, I’m able to see the dawning light. I’m able to see that His hand is holding mine.

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 94:19

19 In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.

The enemy, Satan, likes us to think we’re alone. He likes us to doubt God, to wonder if we can trust Him. He wants us to be fearful, fretting, listless, and without hope.

It’s time to say, “No.” I happened to come across a clip of Sadie Robertson speaking about anxiety. Seems she’s struggled heavily with fear as well. She said something that struck me: that we defend our fear; we say “It’s okay, I have anxiety.” That’s why I feel this way. That’s why I can’t do this.

But my friends, we don’t have to live like that! We don’t have to cry through anxious nights and struggle through fearful days – that’s not what God wants for us! He wants joy for us. Peace. Hope. Passion. LIFE.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

We need to fight! It’s not over! Darkness has not claimed the victory. In fact, the victory is ours, through Jesus Christ!

I still struggle with fear and anxiety. It’s an ongoing battle. But I sense myself strengthening, with His strength. When those feelings of dread clutch at me, I cry out to God right away.

Don’t linger in  your feelings of fear. Talk about what you feel with people you trust.

Call out to God. Pray. Talk. Read Psalms aloud. Fight.

King David had fear and anxieties, and because of that, some of the Psalms have been so powerful to me.

We are not alone. And He will never leave us, nor forsake us. No. Matter. What.

“I know who goes before me,
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.”
WHOM SHALL I FEAR by Chris Tomlin