Faith, fear, Hardships and Trials

And We Were Told to Be Still

It was the virus heard around the world. COVID-19, a novel strand of the coronavirus, spread at rapid speeds. Warnings were given: at this rate, those affected would overwhelm medical resources, exceeding available hospital beds, diagnostic tests, and medical supplies.

Everyone was told to take it seriously. To increase hand washing and keep their distance from others: particularly babies, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems. Officials suggested rescheduling events with over 250 attendees. Then that number shrunk to 50. The suggestion became a mandate, forcing cancelations and eventually restricting gatherings to a maximum of 10 people. 

Classes canceled. Businesses closed. Weddings rescheduled. And people were directed to stay home. In a matter of days, COVID-19 went from being “Breaking News” to a household name. Finding solace in Scripture, I found great comfort in Psalm 46, especially verse 10:  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV).

Know He is near. Believe He is able. Heed His Word. Be still.Know He is near. Believe He is able. Heed His Word. Be still. Click To Tweet

I spoke these words over the phone while consoling a friend in Colorado. Her husband is a paramedic who had worked three straight shifts, including overnights. All first responders mandatorily reported to help contain the virus. This drove her anxiety to spike in addition to her feeling of helplessness. Yet, she must be still.

As a parent of teenagers, I see “cabin fever” wrestling with my children’s desire to serve the less fortunate and being told to stay home. Not to mention attending classes virtually which keeps them from being with their friends. Yet, I remind them to “be still.” At this point, they don’t have a choice. Some states have lightened their restrictions but, for the most part, COVID-19 has forced everyone to “be still” everywhere. 

But my prayer is that “be still” is adopted to become their mentality. Not simply stay still, but adopt peace and contentment regardless of their surroundings: so much so that they live from that position of “be(ing) still” while knowing and trusting He is God. That is my prayer for us all. 

I don’t quote this Psalm to say it will be easy. This is still difficult.Be still and know that you know, deep down, that He is God. Click To Tweet

Friends have been forced to cancel weddings and baby showers. One went into premature labor. Her husband shared with me how unsettled they felt being in a hospital serving record-breaking numbers. They’re also anxious about leaving the hospital, knowing they’ll be coming home to a house missing essential items they hoped to receive at their shower.

On the flip side, a former coworker lost his wife of 30+ years quite unexpectedly. Her death was not due to the virus. Nonetheless, the hospital informed the family they weren’t allowed to hold a funeral for her because of gathering restrictions. The family will host a memorial this winter in honor of her birthday. For now, they mourn in isolation. I pray they can “be still” and find comfort in knowing He is God.

Be still and know that you know, deep down, that He is God. 

Let’s exit this pandemic spiritually stronger than we came into it. For a deeper appreciation of this verse, I recommend reading Psalm 46 in its entirety. 

Let’s Discuss This:

– How have you been affected by COVID-19?

– How can we pray for you during this time?

Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.

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Get to know Victoria!

 

Victoria MejiasVictoria Mejias is a graduate of the University of Nebraska – Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska College of Law prior to making a leap into public service. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, legal and non-profit sectors. She has previously served as the Missions and Small Groups Pastor at StoneBridge Christian Church and the Development Director for Open Door Mission / Lydia House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Heartland United for Puerto Rico and her past service includes a variety of other boards.

 

Victoria received her Certification in Urban Ministries from the Dallas Theological Seminary’s Urban Ministry Institute in 2012. She has spoken at a variety of venues on matters of leadership, diversity, spirituality and faith– locally, nationally and internationally as far out as Damoh, India at the World Leaders Evangelical Conference. Recently Victoria was the recipient of two Congressional awards for her service by Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón and Nebraska’s Congressman Don Bacon during a floor speech at the US House of Representatives.
Victoria serves with Wholly Loved Ministries in numerous capacities, including functioning as one of their feature writers, writing articles on behalf of the ministry for iBelieve. She has two children, loves the Lord, reaching the lost, and enjoys travel, arts and culture. Visit Victoria online at www.victoriaelizabeth.com.
Hardships and Trials

Good News Despite Life’s Struggles

Life is filled with ups and downs, good news and bad news. Image of a woman sitting in window

The bad news, for example—life can be hard. Really hard. At times, just before we get out of one battle, we find ourselves thrown into another. 

Years ago, if you asked me who I was, I would’ve said a wife, mother, and missionary. But that all changed the day I came home from working overtime, went upstairs, and was surprised with divorce papers. I was shocked and sad—struggling to understand my new identity.

This meant I wouldn’t be Mrs. So and So anymore… I felt lost. My husband and I had been nearly inseparable for ten years. The worst was seeing the divorce complaint … the official paperwork, where at the top it read him vs. me. This wasn’t anything I ever wanted or even saw coming. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t threaten my sense of self. 

The same struggle came when my doctor told me I could no longer travel because of my chronic illness. Then he told me I could no longer do semi-physical work. Finally, he informed me I couldn’t work at all. I had been deemed “medically disabled.” It was extremely difficult to accept. 

girl-2619115_1920(1)I was crushed. This was my dream job. I was living out my purpose. Yet now it felt like watching everything I’d hoped and worked for crumble before my eyes.

Some of you can relate. Maybe not to the divorce and debilitating disease, but perhaps you’re also a single mom. Maybe you’re trapped in the grips of addiction, doing your best to quit, but you’re on that relapse merry-go-round. Or you’re in a pit of grief, mourning the death of a loved one while it seems everyone else has moved on.

But the Good News is just that: the Good News. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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God sees you in your struggle, and still He sent His Son to die for you. Not while you were in a state of perfection but in your mess—your helpless addiction, never-ending grief, chronic pain, or failed relationships. He sees us as we are and still wants to give us the gift of eternity with Him.

We are living in tremendously dark times. We’re seeing an increase in divorce rates, a crushing economy, a worldwide pandemic, and brother fighting brother. It’s enough to make anyone lose hope. 

Jesus reminds us that life on earth won’t be easy. As He says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (ESV). Click To TweetJesus reminds us that life on earth won’t be easy. As He says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (ESV).

If you find yourself facing hardships and wrestling with anxiety, remember that Jesus loves you. He chose a gut-wrenching death for our salvation—yours and mine. And the suffering we endure today is nothing compared to the irreversible work of the cross. If you find yourself facing hardships and wrestling with anxiety, remember that Jesus loves you. He chose a gut-wrenching death for our salvation—yours and mine. And the suffering we endure today is nothing compared to the… Click To Tweet

I’m not sure what you’re facing today, but I do know this: Our struggles are real. But you can choose what to believe. Remind yourself that you are loved immeasurably. No amount of bad news can eradicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And you can achieve peace through Him.

Let’s Talk About This: How are you silently struggling? Are you wrestling with something others feel you should be over with by now? How can we hold onto our peace despite our struggles?

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Victoria Mejias

Meet Victoria!

Victoria Mejias is a graduate of the University of Nebraska – Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska College of Law prior to making a leap into public service. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, legal and non-profit sectors. She has previously served as the Missions and Small Groups Pastor at StoneBridge Christian Church and the Development Director for Open Door Mission / Lydia House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Heartland United for Puerto Rico and her past service includes a variety of other boards.

Victoria received her Certification in Urban Ministries from the Dallas Theological Seminary’s Urban Ministry Institute in 2012. She has spoken at a variety of venues on matters of leadership, diversity, spirituality and faith– locally, nationally and internationally as far out as Damoh, India at the World Leaders Evangelical Conference. Recently Victoria was the recipient of two Congressional awards for her service by Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón and Nebraska’s Congressman Don Bacon during a floor speech at the US House of Representatives.

Victoria serves with Wholly Loved Ministries in numerous capacities, including functioning as one of their feature writers, writing articles on behalf of the ministry for iBelieve. She has two children, loves the Lord, reaching the lost and enjoys travel, arts and culture. Visit Victoria online at www.victoriaelizabeth.com.

Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.

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Faith

Accompanied in the Furnace

Image of Victoria Mejias and her daughter

My daughter burst through the door shouting she made the honor roll! My son trailed behind her with his head down low.

She is bubblier by nature. He has always been more pessimistic. But something was different. Something was off. He wasn’t his normal self. He didn’t even say, “hello.” Instead he strolled into his room, laid his stuff down, sat down and just stared off.

What was going on with my baby? My first born. I wanted so badly to console him but he wouldn’t let me in.

Two sleepless nights followed. Two consecutive days of no rest – not for either of us. I even asked my daughter what was going on but she had no idea. He was desperately trying to work through a struggle all on his own. But why? He didn’t have to?

On the third night, he asked to come into my room. We sat on the edge of my bed as he looked at me with tears welling up in his eyes. “Mom, can we talk?” My heart leapt hearing those words. “Of course, honey,” I responded.

There he unloaded a very heavy and unsettling story about a racist altercation in the locker room.

At first I fought back tears while I listened. It broke my heart. The whole situation was disturbing. I couldn’t take away his pain. But I decided to cry with him, to comfort him and stay by his side. I thank God he allowed me to share in his pain. Click To Tweet

I could relate. That seems to be my lot in life. Not to have my suffering removed but to feel relieved knowing God is with me through my toughest moments.

It reminds me of one of my favorite Bible passages. Scripture recounts the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – three Jews who refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar. These three men remained faithful. Each time the king demanded they worship him they responded that “…the Lord would deliver them.” And one of the most powerful statements yet, “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up,” as they rejected the king over and over. (Daniel 3:16-18, ESV)

They took a stand for what was right. They were faithful to God. Were they spared suffering? 

No, God didn’t swoop in on a magic carpet and rescue them. They were thrown into the fiery furnace. And did the door swing open? Were they saved from danger? No, instead, the king had the temperature of the furnace turned up seven times hotter.

Isn’t that how life works much of the time? You do the right thing and you’re punished. At least that’s how it goes for me. You pray for a break. But, no, the flames grow and the fire intensifies.

And that is what makes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s stance so powerful. They recognized they were in danger and still believed God would rescue them but “if not, be it known to you,” they said, they still wouldn’t bow down. The furnace would not break their faith. Click To Tweet And the story did not end there.

Scripture says, “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.’” (Daniel 3:24-25, ESV)

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“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!’”  (Daniel 3:26, ESV)

What an amazing testimony! That the Lord would accompany us in bad times. That we’d not be alone. That He’d be fully present in the furnace. And not only that but that we’d come out on the other side – freed! 

And “The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” (Daniel 3:27, ESV) The only damage the fire caused was to burn off their shackles. Click To Tweet

The truth is we will encounter good times and endure bad ones. But I praise God that we are not alone in our struggles. The Lord is available to us. We need only let Him in.

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Know that when you hurt, He aches and He wants to be with you in your roughest moments. Click To Tweet

Like my son, I think our tendency is to hide and internalize pain. But Jesus is waiting for you with arms open wide. He will see you through the suffering. Refuse to surrender to your trials and turn to Him when you’re hurting. 

So what battle are you fighting? Are you facing trouble or experiencing hardship? Have you let God in to comfort you in your pain?

Get to Know Victoria:

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Victoria Mejias is a graduate of the University of Nebraska – Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska College of Law prior to making a leap into public service. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, legal and non-profit sectors. She has previously served as the Missions and Small Groups Pastor at StoneBridge Christian Church and the Development Director for Open Door Mission / Lydia House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Heartland United for Puerto Rico and her past service includes a variety of other boards.

Victoria received her Certification in Urban Ministries from the Dallas Theological Seminary’s Urban Ministry Institute in 2012. She has spoken at a variety of venues on matters of leadership, diversity, spirituality and faith– locally, nationally and internationally as far out as Damoh, India at the World Leaders Evangelical Conference. Recently Victoria was the recipient of two Congressional awards for her service by Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón and Nebraska’s Congressman Don Bacon during a floor speech at the US House of Representatives.

Victoria serves with Wholly Loved Ministries in numerous capacities, including functioning as one of their feature writers, writing articles on behalf of the ministry for iBelieve. She has two children, loves the Lord, reaching the lost and enjoys travel, arts and culture. Visit Victoria online at www.victoriaelizabeth.com.

Also, make sure to visit us on Crosswalk to receive daily devotions sent directly to your inbox. You can find our devotions HERE.

Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.