Heart Issues

The Redirection of An Emotional Heart attack

I cannot describe how outrageous 2019 actually was.  There were many days I felt I couldn’t breathe. I ended up in the emergency room because of the aching in my chest that I honestly believed was a heart attack. I’ve had all the tests; my physical heart is fine. It seemed that it was my emotional heart that was aching and broken. I felt I was endlessly searching for some truth and light in the midst of a torrential sea of darkness.  A shift came as I learned my need to be reconciled to the fact that things had to happen last year for me to become the woman God created me to be. Click To Tweet

I spent hours going over everything trying to figure out what had gone wrong. I released a friendship of five plus years for reasons I still don’t fully understand but have come to accept. I stepped out of leading ministry and a Bible study group, quit two jobs, was unemployed for several weeks, and felt a piercing loneliness.

Through all the pain, I found my comfort in God, spending hours immersing myself in His promises, searching Scripture for answers and direction for the future. Click To Tweet I’ve often encouraged friends when they found themselves in these places with verses I believed breathed life into them but none of those brought peace. The healing came as I breathed in grace-filled nuggets of truth I had not noticed before. Praise was on my lips day and night in an effort to reclaim all that I’d lost.

I found hope in verses such as “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Sermons that taught me about making dead things come alive. Genesis 28:16 says, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!” Seriously, I did not recognize His intervening on my behalf and this verse helped me remember God is with me. There were songs that resonated with my heart cry of knowing who God says I am that gave me courage to keep moving forward.

In sweet surrender, I finally laid aside all the angst associated with past pain and began to progress towards healing. The transforming work of the Holy Spirit became more prevalent, teaching me to relinquish control. Click To Tweet I’m grateful I serve a God who gently yet consistently nudges me towards the path He has for me.

As I look forward to 2020, I am ready to resume actively pursuing my journey in Christ, hand in hand with my Savior. Won’t you join me?

Where are you at in 2020? Are you excited for what God has ahead or are you feeling discouraged and defeated? What can you do to today to find strength, anticipation, and encouragement in Christ? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Make sure to check out our latest Bible reading plan, available for free on the YouVersion Bible Reading App:

Grace Reading Plan ImageChrist’s grace has the power to change everything. We don’t have to strive, to compete or compare, or question whether or not we measure up. We’re enough because Christ in us in enough. The cross of Christ sets us free.

Find it HERE.

 

 

 

Heart Issues

The Care and Keeping of Our Hearts

woman looking out the window at the night-time city(Taken from Wholly Loved Devotionals on Crosswalk. Find them HERE.)

My heart, when left unprotected, inevitably begins to decay. The busier I am, the greater my stress, the greater the threat. If I want to remain strong and filled with the love, truth, and peace of Christ, I need to guard against negative influences while soaking in all that is good and right and true.

When my daughter was young, I ached for adult conversation. She was an only child, and I worried she was lonely as well, so I began signing us up for low-cost activities and social clubs. I became deeply engaged with one group in particular. We met numerous times each week, for outings and park days or to simply sit in one another’s homes. Unfortunately, our discussions often centered on life’s difficulties and how terrible or inconsiderate everyone’s husband was.

I’d like to say I managed to listen without getting sucked into the toxic vortex, but I didn’t. I always left frustrated with my life and marriage.

Then, one day, reality hit. I realized I always left those interactions crabby and dissatisfied, with life and my husband. These “venting” women were actually harming my marriage. I needed to be selective with my influences—to guard against negativity while intentionally studying and contemplating and learning to live in truth.

The winds may blow, but the woman anchored in Christ has deep, immovable roots. Drought may woman prayingcome, and a heat wave may beat upon her branches, but though these outward challenges are unpleasant, they won’t and can’t destroy her, because she is continually fed by the sweet, pure stream that will never run dry.

Her fruitfulness isn’t dependent on her circumstances or outward influences but the strength, wisdom, and power of God’s Spirit welling up within.

This is God’s call for all of us.

If you found today’s post helpful, you may also enjoy Wholly Loved’s Christmas Bible Reading Plan, Preparing Our Hearts for the Holidays. Find it HERE.

Wholly Loved’s holiday devotion, Intentional Holidays. Find it HERE.

Join our private Facebook group by clicking below. We’re also gearing up for spring conferences. We’d love to come to you! Visit our Conference Page for information on some of our most popular presentations, and contact us HERE to book us for your next event.

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Additional resources:

30 Days of Emotional Health Bible Reading Plan by Wholly Loved

Cultivating a Thankful Heart Bible Reading Plan by Jennifer Slattery

Unclogging Our Spiritual Valves by Jennifer Slattery

The Anatomy of a Tender Heart and a Strong Voice by Amy Carrol

The Heart You Know and the Heart You Don’t by John Piper

Psalm 1: The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Ungodly, by Enduring Word Bible Commentary

Heart Issues

Cultivating a Thankful Heart

Image of colored leaves and text to 2 Cor. 9:11

Happy Thanksgiving from the Wholly Loved family!

Sometimes, I get so caught up in rushing about, I forget to pause and say thanks. But when I do, peace ushers in as my mind shifts off of all that could or maybe has gone wrong to all that has gone right. To all the abundant blessings God provides each day, and those are numerous. If I were to contemplate my relationship with Christ and all the spiritual blessings He’s provided, that alone would give me ample reason for praise.

I’ve been adopted into an eternal, inter-connected family.

I’ve been redeemed.

I’ve been washed clean–given a new slate and, each day, a chance to begin again.

I’ve been lavished by grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

But most importantly, I’ve been given the gift of intimacy with my Savior.

Pause this afternoon or perhaps this evening to contemplate all the gifts God has given you in His Son. Write Him a letter thanking for Him each one, and see if that doesn’t elevate your heart to praise and connect you, on a deeper level, with the Giver of all that is right and true and beautiful and eternal.

Then make sure to check out our holiday Bible reading plan, available for FREE on the YouVersion app. You can find it HERE.

Heart Issues

When We Can’t (Or Won’t) See God’s Hand

speaker image with quote

Have you ever poured out your heart, time, and resources to someone only to have them respond with ambivalence, perhaps even contempt? How long would your kindness last? At what point would you grow frustrated, or perhaps deeply wounded, throw your hands up, and walk away?

A few years ago, our family opened our home to a troubled teen. Initially, we knew very little about him. We soon learned our original perceptions were false. His issues were far more extensive than we anticipated, including deep-seated anger and contempt that caused him to lie and manipulate. Our efforts and sacrificial acts of kindness were deemed manipulative.

Nothing we did or said penetrated his bitter, cynical heart. Instead of responding to our care, he rebelled against us, unfortunately, to his own harm. He chose self-destruction over life and hope.

For centuries, Judah responded to God in the same way. He’d nurtured and reared them, providing for all their needs, but they refused to see His hand. Oh, they enjoyed the blessings, much like the resentful teen had ours, but their hardened hearts remained untouched. They drifted farther from their loving Father.

God pleaded with them to return, to consider their ways and His care, but they refused:

“I reared children and brought them up,” God said, “but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand” (Isaiah 1:2-3, NIV).

The NLT puts it this way: “My people don’t recognize my care for them.”

Were they too focused on the gifts God had given them or too entrenched in their sinful ways? Either way, they spurned the One who’d faithfully cared for them and slipped into ever-worsening rebellion. God’s kindness, which is intended to draw mankind to Him, had no effect. Before long, and after repeated warnings, tough love followed.

I may never have turned to idols or perverted justice, but I can easily Speaker image with quote on self-reliancefail to see God’s hand. I can become so focused on the blessings, so expectant and entitled, that what was meant to draw me closer has the opposite effect and fuels my self-reliance.

I think that can be true of all of us. It’s easy to get so caught up in life, so accustomed to all our blessings, that we fail to see our Daddy’s heart behind them. That we fail to understand or recognize the extent of His care for us, and before long, greed and entitlement seep in, pulling us further and further from God. This breaks our Father’s heart.

God issues the same pleas to us as He did to the Israelites so long ago: Lift up your eyes. Return to Me. Leave your rebellious, self-reliant and apathetic ways and let My faithful care for you nourish, strengthen, and protect your heart.

God’s blessings abound, and His love radiates throughout the world. If we can’t see God’s hand, it’s not because He’s not reaching but because we’re not looking, or perhaps refusing to acknowledge the truth. If we but stop and turn our eyes and heart to our loving Father, we’ll find ourselves deeply rooted in His embrace.

Let’s talk about this! How readily do you see God’s care? How often, in the middle of your day, perhaps even in the middle of the hard, do you stop to contemplate the love and faithfulness of your heavenly Father? When blessings come, do you focus more on the gift or your provider?

How might your relationship with God change if you consistently practiced the latter?

Share your thoughts and examples with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

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Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture also taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.