Hardships and Trials, Resting in Christ, surrender

Peace in the Stress

I’m stressed—and I mean capital-S stressed. Do you feel me? Have you been there, too?

My to-do list overflows beyond anything I can comprehend. The days are blurring one into the next. I’m so frazzled. I can’t even remember what I need at the grocery store, let alone whether that event with my daughter is tonight or tomorrow (and I’ve checked my calendar four times today).

It’s enough to give anyone a nervous breakdown. (Oh, wait—maybe that’s what this is!) Kidding. Sort of.

I started out this year with one word in my heart: Peace. We’re not even halfway through February and I feel like a hypocrite. Who carries on about peace in one’s heart when they’re so stressed and busy they don’t even know what day of the week it is?

Is it even possible to have peace when we are stressed out?

Good news: we can have peace in the stress, in the crazy-busy, and even in the downright bad.

How? Because of Jesus.

We can have peace in the stress, in the crazy-busy, and even in the downright bad. How? Because of Jesus. Click To Tweet

This isn’t a platitude; it’s a perspective switch. I used to think I could weather storms by hanging on and “being strong.” Now I know there’s only one way I can make it through—by clinging to Jesus, who gives me true peace.

Every day we have a choice as to how we look at the world. Sometimes our view is near-sighted—all we can see are the details, the to-do list, the piddly (and not-so-piddly) concerns. Other times, we get a glimpse of the big picture, a “God’s eye” view. And that’s the key.

Even when we are caught up in the difficult daily details, such as a sick child or a looming deadline or a catastrophic phone call, Christians can trust there is a bigger plan at work—far bigger than what we are going through.

While my life might be out of control and stressful today, I choose to rest in an important truth: I am God’s daughter. I follow Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in my heart. That means His plan is my ultimate plan—even when I can’t see His plan.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV).

And in the Gospel of John, He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).

My daily life might be hard right now. But at the end of it all, it’s just a piece of God’s grand jigsaw puzzle. God’s master plan.

My daily life might be hard right now. But at the end of it all, it’s just a piece of God’s grand jigsaw puzzle. Click To Tweet

I can have peace even in the stress by reminding myself I am His. I serve a mighty, mighty God of heaven and earth and everything else in the universe. His way is the priority. When I can step outside myself and allow myself to know and trust this, I have true rest.

When I can step outside myself and trust I belong to Jesus, I have true rest. Click To Tweet

Do you have trouble coping with stress? How do you handle this?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below and make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!

And before you go … have you grabbed your free ecopy of our Bible study yet? If not, you can do so HERE! (You can get a print copy for just $5 HERE.)

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Faith, Hardships and Trials

Faith and Healing Amid Turmoil

Robrenna-Heal Post Quote 1(1)

A year ago, as I sat in a church classroom, trying to learn how to heal my wounds, I thought about the woman who bled for twelve years. She went from doctor to doctor, draining her finances to find a cure to stop the bleeding. The woman knew Jesus’s reputation for healing hands, so when she heard He was traversing through town, she wedged her way through the crowd. He was out of reach, and the woman lowered her body to the ground and reached out to touch a piece of His robe. Jesus felt something. The book of Matthew tells her story: Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.  Matthew 9:20-22 (ESV)

The woman feels compelled to touch Jesus to receive healing of her physical — yet invisible — trauma. The woman had become a societal outcast: in her day, women who discharged blood other than or past the time of their period were considered unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27 NIV). Although her wound was physical, I can only imagine what she endured emotionally.

Her wounds were unseen, and so are mine. My emotional scars hide in day to day interactions. No one would suspect the hurt I carry. Some scars are from my choices; others are from the decisions of those around me. My recent wounds stem from living during a pandemic, economic uncertainty, racial tensions, and divisions in our country and the church, not to mention the loss of routine and ability to celebrate life events.

Recently, a friend and I discussed over video chat what to say these days when someone asks, “How are you?” The customary polite answer — “Fine, how are you?” — doesn’t seem entirely correct. The unnamed woman in this story taught me that she knew she wasn’t fine or okay. She knew and admitted to herself that she needed healing. After years of trying to find a remedy, she made it her mission to touch the cloak of Jesus (or, as other translations state, the hem of His robe). She knew that He was the one who could heal her: the One who could provide what she so desperately wanted. I can follow her example and admit these times are hard, and I’m not always okay.I can touch the cloak of Jesus by taking my wounds to him in prayer, worship, and praise. Click To Tweet

As I think back to the church classroom, I now understand the steps I need to take to start the healing process. I can grieve and lament the losses and uncertainty. To heal, I must admit these times are hard, and I’m not always okay. When we hurt, we can cry out to the Lord and touch Jesus’ cloak by taking our wounds to Him in prayer, worship, and praise. I have faith that He sees and hears me, and I can accept the help of those Jesus sends to minister to me. Like the bleeding woman, I have faith that He will turn to me, see me, and say, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has healed you.” Robrenna-Heal Post Quote

A question to ponder:

What are you grieving in these difficult times? Name them.

Lament over each loss, fear, or anxiety.

Offer a prayer of healing to the Lord.

Meet the Author!

Robrenna's Headshot

Robrenna is a real, raw, no-filters, kind of girl. She went from an army brat to a military veteran. A wife to Troy and mom of two teenagers, she has served in women’s, children’s, and middle school ministries.

Robrenna wrote a Bible study for middle school girls based on Identity in Christ. She is the executive administrative assistant for the anti-sex-trafficking organization I’ve Got A Name. Robrenna is the friend you call to walk alongside you in hard, painful places of life as well as the joyful ones. Her passions include mocha coffee, dark chocolate, time with family and friends, and telling others of God’s love, mercy, and grace.

 

Make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

Cover for Anchored and Secure devotionalIf you’re seeking resources that will help you grow closer to Christ, make sure to grab a copy of our latest devotional, Anchored and Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace:

Thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come alive and find the power and courage to live as He intended. That’s when we experience true and lasting freedom. This sixty-day devotional helps women reflect on God’s grace and the freedom of living deeply anchored in Him.

Find it 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.

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obedience

Blessed Obedience –– Guest Post

God has exciting plans for each of us, and that journey begins with that first step. A step that might feel insignificant or that might require a great deal of faith, as often, we only see what is directly in front of us, not all God has planned ahead. But we can trust His leading because He is fully trustworthy! Speaking of trust and obedience, make sure to scroll down to watch a video regarding all God is doing in and through our ministry and how you can partner with us!

Blessed Obedience

Guest Post by Martha Rogers

obedience-

“You need a change!” I slammed my notebook on my desk and plopped into my chair. One more confrontation with a principal about something over which I had no control led me to this angry comment. I didn’t realize the impact those words would have on life or where they would eventually lead me.

I taught at a public high school and loved teaching, but the principal’s temperament and his behavior with another teacher troubled me. In addition, my responsibilities with school and family gave me no time to pursue my ultimate dream of being a published writer. As I prayed about the situation, God confirmed my thoughts. “Yes, you need a change.” The words were as clear as if He sat next to me.

Our church had opened a private school for students from preschool to high school, and I thought about teaching there, but it would mean a cut in pay whereas transferring to another school in the district or going to another district wouldn’t.

With more prayer for guidance, the Lord tugged on my heart and pulled me toward the private school. I still held doubts, but after more prayer, I could no longer deny the call God laid on my heart. In 1981, I obeyed, applied at the private school, was accepted, and resigned my position in the public school.

At the time, I didn’t think of it as obedience. Instead, I saw the opportunity to get out of an unpleasant non-Christian environment. I loved the new school and the people there. The teachers became good friends who were willing to help each other and pray for each other. The teenage students I taught were typical teens with all different behaviors and attitudes, but for the most part easy to teach. I even had time to begin work on a novel I had in my head and wanted to write.

A few months ago, our First Place 4 Health group began a study called, Seek God First. One of the lessons was on obedience. On one day, the writer discussed the blessings and the rewards of obedience. She asked the question, “Has there been a time in your life when you were obedient to something God spoke to about?” That question took me back to God’s direction to change schools. As I looked at my life since that spring of 1981, I began to see that if I had not followed His direction in obedience, I would have missed so much He had planned for my life.

I had the opportunity to go back to college and earn my MEd in Curriculum with an emphasis on Creative Writing. I thought seventh and ninth grade English and loved it. However, after ten years, a new headmaster came in and told me, along with a number of other teachers, that our contracts would not be renewed.

Although I was able to procure a college teaching position because of my graduate degree, I held disappointment and resentment against God in my heart for a year. During that year God brought circumstances into my life I couldn’t have handled if I’d still been teaching full time. Once again God spoke to my heart and I realized I’d been grieving the Holy Spirit while being in the exact place God needed me to be at that time.

I released my resentment and prayed for the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do and where He wanted me to go. Click To TweetI released my resentment and prayed for the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do and where He wanted me to go. He started me on the next part of the journey which would take me through major ups and downs until I finally reached where God wanted me to be.

While teaching at the college level, I worked on my novel, joined writing groups and attended writing woman writingconferences. I also battled breast cancer, but continued to write and teach as I went into remission. When the cancer returned, I sensed God wanted me to retire. I did and went through more treatment, and the cancer was healed.

Now I had the time to work on the novel, attend more writing conferences, and become more active in a local and national writing group. I met other wonderful authors and the woman who became my literary agent. I also had several magazine articles published, and stories selected for various compilations.

In 2009, another ten years after retirement, I received my first contract for a historical novel that led to six books in that series and two more four book series. In the next ten years I went on to publish over fifty novels and novellas.

If I hadn’t obeyed, I wouldn’t have had the time to return to school and earn my master’s degree. Without that degree, I wouldn’t have been able to teach at the college level when God took me from the private school. Then God gave me the time to work on my writing and attend conferences and to move forward.

Now, almost forty years later, I sit at my computer pounding out words in fulfillment of a dream I had as a child. God fulfilled my dream because I chose obedience to His call no matter where it led.God fulfilled my dream because I chose obedience to His call no matter where it led. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about this! Has there been a time when you went ahead with plans of your own without truly asking God what He wanted you to do? What was the result?

Why is it sometimes so hard for us to listen to what we know is right, but our hearts rebel against doing it?

Get to know Martha!

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and multi-published author from Realms Fiction of Charisma Media Martha Roger's Headshotand Winged Publications. She was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009. She is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. ACFW awarded her the Volunteer of the Year in 2014. Her first electronic series from Winged Publications, Love in the Bayou City of Texas, debuted in the spring of 2015.  Martha is a frequent speaker for writing workshops and the Texas Christian Writers Conference. She is a retired teacher and lives in Houston with her husband, Rex. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Visit her online HERE.

Check out her latest release, Legacy of Deception:

Cover image for Legacy of DeceptionA case of mistaken identity, a long hidden family secret, a plan to take away a woman’s wealth, and a determined young woman’s plan to stop it, all lead to a family showdown when evil is uncovered and deceptions are.exposed that will change lives forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Highlighted resource:

Anchored and Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace:

About the book:

Anchored and Secure Cover ImageThanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come alive and find the power and courage to live as He intended. That’s when we experience true and lasting freedom. This sixty-day devotional helps women reflect on God’s grace and the freedom of living deeply anchored in Him.

Buy your copy HERE

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Hardships and Trials, security

Steady Souls in the Face of Uncertainty

 

Two older women with quote from post.

Mark Twain penned, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” 

I hope that’s true for me. 

I’ve always smiled with my eyes. Or that’s what others tell me and probably why I have so many wrinkles showing around them. With all that is happening in the world I find myself struggling to not take it all on myself. I attempt to solve one issue, or mourn another, and cannot stand under the pressure. It’s impossible to live this way and my face speaks what’s happening inside. My brows furrow while my mind travels to tasks or worries. In place of smiles are scowls while impatience pushes aside joy.

If you’re finding yourself riding waves of concern and anxiety, you’re not alone.

The other day, months into the Coronavirus stay-at-home orders, my son started laughing in deep joy while crying tears of grief.  He swallowed hard, stopped, and said with shock, “Woah, that’s never happened before.” It hit me hard. Many of us are experiencing deep emotions washing over us.

We feel hope, grief, joy, frustration, and fear.  But we can stand firm knowing these emotions remind us of our need for Jesus. He is our anchor in the waves. We cannot anchor ourselves.We find our security in God and know He will fulfill His promises. Click To Tweet God is our certainty, our faithful anchor amidst the confusion and unknowns that flood our feeds and minds daily.

Hebrews 6:19a says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm, and secure.”

Anchor image with quote from post

When we place our hope in Jesus, we sit with confident expectation in God’s faithfulness, love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternity with Him. These truths steady our souls in the waves of uncertainty. 

When multiple emotions leave us feeling out of control, we must stand firm and anchor in God. As identifiers, our emotions can bring us closer to Him, letting us know when things need to be tended to, or surrendered. 

When multiple emotions leave us feeling out of control, we must stand firm and anchor in God. Click To Tweet

As my eye wrinkles leave coordinates of past heart conditions, I’m reminded that I can choose to praise God in hope and faith as He holds me firmly. I pray that my wrinkles of grief and anxiety are shallow, while my deeper wrinkles are of joy and peace, evidence of God’s love and faithfulness.

Allow God’s  Word to wash over you today as you cling to Him during uncertain times. 

“When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’

Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.

When the cares of my heart are many,

Your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:18-19, ESV).

—–

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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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20 Days of Relational Health Bible reading plan.

Our hearts crave deep, lasting connections–to know we are loved and belong. This Bible reading plan will help you grow in your relationships as you learn to love others well, speak and live in truth, and set the healthy boundaries that will allow your relationships to thrive.

Find it HERE.

 

Faith

Calling Out For Our Savior

Anchored and Secure Cover Image(Taken from Anchored And Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace)

 

Calling Out For My Savior

By Jessica Brodie

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.” Matthew 14:30-31a

Between kid demands and colossal work deadlines, I had a major case of stress overload, and my schedule wouldn’t ease soon. By Wednesday, I had a killer headache, and by Friday, I was catching ten-minute naps in my minivan during car line to stay sane.

“Mommy’s just a little edgy,” I’d apologize after snapping at the kids instead of counting to ten.

When I woke up with my jaw clenched tight from grinding my teeth all night, full-on dreading the day ahead instead of steeped in gratitude, I knew something had to change. My soul cried out: Help. God, please—just help.

Sometimes the last thing I think to do is turn to the Lord. In my pride, I think I should be able to handle the demands of life.

But I’m not my savior—Jesus is. In looking up, in reaching out, I find relief.

In the passage today’s verse comes from, Peter saw Jesus walking on water and wanted to join Him, and so, Jesus invited him to come. Peter began to do the impossible. But then he saw the strong wind and became frightened. He faltered and began to fall.

The same happens with us. We start to walk in faith, and at first everything seems fine. Then something happens—calamity befalls, or we lose our nerve—and we start to sink.

If I could only remember the example we get in the Gospel of Matthew, I know I’d save myself a ton of time, suffering, and aggravation. For right there in Peter’s reaction and Jesus’s response, we see what we’re supposed to do when we begin to sink: Not try to fix things ourselves, but call out to Jesus.

In Him find the relief we so desperately crave.

Grab a copy of our latest devotional HERE.

Cover image for studyWe also encourage you to grab a free copy of our Bible study, Becoming His Princess, based on Genesis 12-23. (Find it HERE.)

Do you ever feel insignificant or unseen? As if what you do or even who you are isn’t quite good enough? Does your confidence level vary based on who you’re around and how their bank account or how accomplishment list compares to yours? If so, this study, based on the life of Sarah from the Old Testament Scriptures, is for you.

For seven weeks, we’ll follow her uncertain and at times terrifying journey from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur to the land promised to her husband, and ultimately, the place of rest God beckons each of us toward. He met her in the middle of her pain, her shame, and all her striving, and rewrote her story—through grace. A grace bigger than her greatest failures and that proved sufficient for all her insufficiencies. Step by step, God taught this once-scorned woman to live as His beloved, His princess.

As we follow her journey recorded in the pages of Scripture, He’ll help us do the same. We’ll learn to center our identity in Christ, recognize His power and presence in our most challenging circumstances, find rest from our striving, and live daily in His grace.

We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and to join our private Facebook community HERE.