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

Countering Fear With Praise by Virginia Davidson

 

Quote from post

The CD player in our minivan is broken. It plays the same CD on loop and won’t stop without ejecting the disc and starting anew. Often my brain does the same thing with thoughts that loop and loop until I have to deal with them either in quiet prayer time or if left unchecked, in a moment of anxiety.

When my thoughts spiral out of control, I need to intentionally focus on truth. Click To Tweet

Philippians 4 is full of encouragement. If you’re at home like most of the world right now, you have the time to sit and reflect. Verse four to seven say,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (ESV).

Let your gentleness, reasonableness, be seen by all! This isn’t always easy when we are feeling overwhelmed and out of control. We cannot control the virus painting our world sick and anxious. But we can tell our thoughts and fears to the One that can handle them. Click To TweetHe’s not shocked, He knows them already, and doesn’t turn us away. He’s our Healer, our Shepherd, our Savior. He gives us His peace, His wholeness, and guards our ever-changing emotions and thoughts.

Philippians four verses eight to nine can help us do that. It states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (ESV).

It’s easy to fall into the “What-ifs”, but we are called to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure ... Click To Tweet Quote image pulled from post

These verses are a great reminder and encouragement. God created us, He knows where we often let our thoughts take over and loop. But Philippians 8 tells us what to think about, what to loop in our brains, the true, the honorable, the just, the pure, the lovely, the commendable, the excellent, the praiseworthy.

So as we notice the thoughts that so easily get stuck in our minds, may God graciously eject them, and remind us of all of His lovely Truths.

Let’s talk about this! Do you find yourself looping the what ifs right now? If so, join us by sharing something lovely or praiseworthy below.

Let’s share a new playlist below, not of songs, but of something lovely, honorable, and praiseworthy you’ve seen this week.

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Ginny Davidson's author headshotGinny Davidson is an overcomer, brain tumor survivor, wife, and mother boldly declaring God’s hope and peace. After completing her M.A. in Education from Grand Canyon University, she speaks so others can experience freedom from anxiety and life change. Whether it’s a conversation over a steaming cup of chai on her couch or sharing with a group at a retreat or Bible study, Ginny is compelled to share the message of the peace-filled life to a world of women plagued by fear. In the evenings she can be found outside with her husband and kids, attending dance parties around the record player in the living room, or highlighting a great book.

 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, 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 is enough. The cross of Christ sets us free.

Find it HERE.

Make sure to join our private Facebook community, a safe place to share your struggles, doubts, celebrations, and prayer requests. We also invite you to join our private Facebook group where you can share your struggles, prayer requests, praises and celebrations with other women who love Jesus. Find us HERE.

 

Enduring Trials, Hardships and Trials, intentional living, living in grace, Resting in Christ, surrender, Video Devotion

Peace in the Stress, a Video Devotion

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Hardships and Trials, Resting in Christ, surrender

Peace in the Stress

By Jessica Brodie

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!

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Hearing God

Surrendering to God’s Timing–Guest Blogger Meredith Kendall

Jennifer here. If God assigned me responsibilities based on my timeline, I’d either delay to the point of irrelevancy or would quickly blunder ahead before necessary foundational components fell into place. I’m learning, like today’s guest, to turn off my inner stopwatch, turn up my hearing, and practice surrendered obedience more consistently. When I–we–do those three things, regardless of how things play out, we can rest in the peace of knowing we’re centered in God’s perfect will.

When God’s Assignment Comes Sooner Than Expected 

By Guest Blogger Meredith Kendall

Have you ever told God, sure I’ll do that, but it needs to be after…? If so, you’re probably already laughing. In 2017, my husband and I were talking about our future and told God that we’d be willing to move, but not for five years. We explained our reasons, which we thought were great; aging parents, three married children and five grandkids. We also told Him that we wanted to stay close so we could return easily. We felt for sure God would honor our plan.

I got a, “Really you think that’s how it’s going to go? Pack your bags!” from God.

As crazy as it was, I was excited to start this new chapter. Yes, I wished the timing would have been later, but in September 2018, my husband and I moved over 800 miles away from the grandchildren to plant a church. We knew with certainty this was our next big assignment, and if we hadn't moved, we would've been disobedient. Click To Tweet

Prior, I’d filled the first two weeks with appointments. I just knew that God would bless my efforts to start a second site of our 15-year-old non-profit while my husband got the church started.

All the meetings came and went. I followed up, and even though people were excited, all of companies had a reason why they couldn’t or wouldn’t work with me. My excitement turned into depression. Lord what am I to do? The more I would push trying to Quote from Dwight Moodymake things work the worse my funk became. I cried and cried. I felt rejected… Alone. I felt God had let me down. I was on my way home from church and I heard the word, “prepare”.

Not knowing what that meant, I started to pray. I still felt empty though, like I was not doing enough. You see I’m a High D on the DISC personality profile. That means I’m one who prefers to lead, rather than follow. I’m a risk taker, problem solver, and a self-starter. “D” also stands for direct, decisive, and dominant.

Knowing this may help you understand why I started to get depressed and why hearing, “take this time to prepare”, didn’t bode well with me. I wanted to be doing. I came all this way to do. If I needed to prepare, why could I not stay where I was, where I knew everyone. Where I was comfortable. Where I could still “do”?

Sometimes God needs to take us away from the hustle and bustle of life to prepare us. Click To Tweet

As I wrote those two letters D.O. in my journal, God spoke to my spirit, “Because that is why.  You would not sit still. You would get active in everything, and I would not be able to speak without yelling. I needed to take you away to prepare you, but I needed all of you, not just what was left over.”

God wants all of us, not just what's left over. Click To Tweet

A peace came over me. A peace to be okay with “preparing” instead of trying to manipulate God to do what I wanted done in my timing. Have you ever felt God telling you to stop, be still, and wait for His next assignment? It’s hard, especially when it’s not in accordance to how you would work it out. Is God asking you to be still and prepare for you next assignment? What will be the hardest thing for you to do?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or join the conversation HERE on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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Get to Know Meredith!

Meredith Kendall's Author PhotoMeredith Kendall had the dream life, but God had other plans. He called her away from a successful career to be the Co-Founder of Advancing the Gospel. AtG serves those who are often forgotten; those Jesus would call “the least of these”. As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. She uses that same ability to cut through the tough layer we use to protect ourselves and help people understand the root causes of their struggles and find freedom through Christ.

In January of 2011, Meredith was attacked by a gang member. She would quickly learn that it was a warning to stop offering freedom to those held in bondage of abuse, addiction and negative cycles. That attack made Meredith even more aware of the awesome calling on her life and how serious it is to be on the front lines for Jesus. After a few months of recovery Meredith was back in the jails knowing that her attacker, who was never caught, may one day walk into her class. Visit her online at www.meredithsagekendall.com.

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