Be Still

Written by: Christianne Williams

Be still.  That can be tough.  When I think about being still, my children as toddlers always comes to my mind.  They would run about here and there from the time they got up in the morning until they laid their heads down at night.  One of my children in particular didn’t even really stop through the night.  There were constant trips to bathroom and pleas for water, hugs, and rescuing blankies that had suddenly vanished.  Taking them to places where being still was appreciated always made me anxious, because without fail they call upon some hidden energy store and need to be busier than normal.

I remember one time in particular one of my boys was being really loud and fidgety while a missionary was giving a presentation.  I got so tired of ‘shhhh’ing and trying to keep him still that I decided to take him to the nursery.  On our way he out, he asked very loudly, “Are you going to spank me?”  In this instance my son’s struggling got him where he wanted to be, in a place he could be free, not bound to sitting and coloring.  In life, though, struggling never helps us to achieve what God has for us, it simply wears us down.

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is getting closer to God and resting in His plan, asking Him for wisdom, and believing He’s going to work things for my good even if I don’t see evidence of it with my natural eyes.  It means being aware of how you’re viewing the situation around you, how you’re dealing with it, the action you’re taking.  Sometimes we feel like reacting instead of praying for wisdom and waiting until we get revelation on how to proceed.  Sometimes we try so hard in our own strength to change the way things are, the situation we find ourselves in, when what really brings peace is to say, “Ok God, what are you going to do here?”

I’ve had days when it really feels like everything is set up against me, like there’s no way good can happen, and I have to find a way to still my mind before the Lord and ask Him to bring me peace while He works things out.  Getting alone with Him and asking for a new perspective, for revelation about what you’re facing, that’s where we find perfect peace.  It doesn’t mean that the storm will pass right away, it may rage for awhile, but it brings an awareness of His nearness and the truth that He goes along beside us.

The more time you make to be still before Him, the easier it will become to trust Him to work things out for your good, regardless of the process He takes you through.  I’ve been in situations that make no sense, and quite honestly struggling through, trying to come up with a solution or a plan of some sort, has never worked.  What did work is realizing that my Father is good.  No matter how many people here turn against you, He never will.  No matter how many times we mess up with our reactions, He will always be faithful to help us back up.

I read something on social media the other day that I really like, and it sums up a new mindset I’ve tried to adopt.  “Instead of saying ‘Lord I don’t know how I am going to do this’, say ‘Lord, I can’t wait to see how You do this’”.  Be still. No struggling. Allow excitement to fill your heart over how He will work this out!

Embracing the Beautiful Valley

Written by: Christianne Williams

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 

Psalm 23:1-3

Our family recently loaded up the mini van and headed on a road trip to another province for a conference.  We had been looking forward to it for quite some time and even though there was a series of unfortunate events, it didn’t really dampen our enthusiasm for long.  We needed this family time.  With two boys rocketing  toward adulthood, we want to make the most of every opportunity to have fun together and make memories.

Speaking of memories, mine is very short.  I had forgotten the very long, very frustrating road trip from last year, the one in which we packed up the van and drove toward a new life.  We drove for over 50 hours actually, and no more than eight hours per day, and at least seven and a half of those hours each day were filled with complaints.  “I’m too hot!”  “I’m too cold”  “so-and-so is too close” “so-and-so didn’t brush their teeth!”  “I’m hungry!”  “I need the bathroom!”  And the ever popular, “How much longer do we have to stay in this van??!!”

That’s where my memory had betrayed me.  I didn’t really remember how bad it was until we were half an hour into our trip and the complaints began.  I tried to ignore it, I tried to answer it softly, I contemplated ear plugs, and I turned the music up.  Still they carried on.

With all the road blocks that appeared in the days leading up to the trip and all of the angst coming from the inside of the vehicle, I just felt that God was wanting to show me something this week.  Now there is an account in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah is crying out to God because all of the prophets have been killed and he’s left and being hunted.  The Lord tells him to go stand on the mountains because he is about to pass by Elijah.  While Elijah stood there, there was a wind strong enough to tear the mountains apart and shatter rocks, and earthquake, and then fire.  The Lord was not in any of those powerful things.  After the fire was a gentle whisper, and that was God speaking to him.

I have been guilty, as I was on this trip, of looking for the loud, big, in your face type of deal, not realizing that the very thing God wants you to hear, the very thing that will speak loudest to your spirit, is very small and gentle.

While the kids wailed on, and the day grew longer, and we were all getting tired of this 15 hour trip, my eyes were drawn to color in the valley below the highway.  It was stunning!  It was so green, so many different shades of green.  And the mountains rising majestically behind it, a sharp contrast to the valley below.  It really can’t be described, it has to be seen.  I felt in my spirit that God was showing me, in the splendor of his creation, what true rest and peace look like.

You see, we often spend our whole lives striving to live on the mountain peaks of success or triumph, but the fact is, there is not much growing up there!  There aren’t many trees on the high elevations.  It’s beautiful to look at from a distance and if you were up there you would have a beautiful view.  I’ll bet if you were standing up there though, at a high elevation, you’d be surrounded by rocks.  I was struck by how lush the valley was though, how much was in bloom and growing.  Even growing up the mountains to a certain point the vegetation was beautiful.

While we’re in the valley we don’t get to fully appreciate all the growth that’s taking place; and like the not so fragrant aroma of manure spread on the fields that we all “enjoyed” while in our van, it served as a reminder of how even the challenges we face in the valleys God uses to produce beautiful fruit in our lives. It’s more important who we are becoming than the height on which we stand.  Sometimes it feels we’re spending more time in the valley or ascending the mountain than standing on the peak, and we probably are.  Have you seen how small those peaks are in comparison to everything else?  But trust that from the heavenly view your life is producing a beautiful portrait, one that you’ll hang on your mansion wall someday and be in awe of!

He showed me that when he makes us lie in green pastures, refreshing our souls, it’s a beautiful place to be!

This Isn’t The Best For You

Written by: Christianne Williams

I found myself sitting in a chair, holding my baby girl while she sobbed.  She was crying so hard she couldn’t even tell me what was wrong.  She’s very easily  hurt so I wondered if someone had said something or done something that hurt her heart.  Whatever it was, I wasn’t going to find out until she had gotten all of the tears out.

Eventually the flood ended, and it all made sense.

The day before she and I had been wandering the mall while her brothers and dad watched a movie, and as we passed by a jewellery shop she made a bee line toward it. She pointed to a sign that showed ear piercing, and asked me to read it to her.  It pictured a little girl with cute little earrings and said that they were free with every piercing.  She decided that since she was almost 8, it was time.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big issue but my little girl is special.  As most know, because I’ve mentioned it many times, she was born with a serious heart defect that required three open heart surgeries.  Those  surgeries were what they refer to as palliative, they didn’t fix the problem, they just repaired what they could. It really is quite amazing what they’re able to do, and of course we know that God has worked many miracles in her life to bring her to where she is.  However, her cardiologist has always been of the opinion that we don’t want to take unnecessary risk for infection and therefore the ear piercing question has always been answered with a resounding, “no”.

She’s always taken that answer and been ok,  and this time she was satisfied with, “We’ll ask if anything has changed at your next appointment.”  This time was the same.  Until Sunday.  She noticed that day that her very best friend had her ears pierced, and that a younger friend had gotten hers done that week.  This is what led to the meltdown.  She was upset because she saw that other people were able to have something she so very badly wanted.

My heart broke.  I was sad for her.  I was also sad for me.  It’s hard to say no to things that mean so much to our kids.  It’s hard even when we know it’s for their own good.  We don’t like to see them hurting.  In this instance there was really nothing I could do or say, I simply could not agree to something that could put her health, and potentially her life at risk, even if it seemed like something very small.  And to her if seemed very unfair.

She begged, and pleaded, she wanted to have her little lobes adorned with tiny sparkly studs, and I held back tears as I told her we just couldn’t do it right now.  It was hard.  I knew the day was coming when this congenital condition would begin to separate her from seemingly normal girly things, but I guess I wasn’t fully prepared for how it would make me feel.

I got a peek at what God’s heart might feel like when we ask for something He knows just isn’t right for us.  I don’t know for sure but I imagined that when we pray and things don’t work out the way we hope, God is saying, ‘I know how badly this is hurting your heart right now, but I know this simply isn’t the best for you.  I know you think it is, but I see the end, and I know this can only lead to destructive outcomes so I have to say no.’

It taught me a lesson sitting there hugging my girl.  The times I thought God was silent, or saying no because I had done something to make Him angry, the times I thought He was withholding something good, He was really protecting me from what could have happened.  Psalm 84:11 says, ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

If He says no, be assured it’s because He’s saving you from something that’s not good, not keeping you from something good.

Ask And It Will Be Given

Written by: Christianne Williams

Have you ever had something happen to you that makes angry and sad and not sure what to do?  Something that just seems bad with no way of any good coming from it?  I’m sure like me, there have been many of those times.  We had an episode a week ago.

My oldest is an avid BMX rider and has built his own custom bike using expensive parts that he’s paid for himself.  He’s done a really great job and he takes pride in it.  After he completed his, he bought one for his brother so they could ride together.  I was so happy for him, he went from loving video games by himself, inside, to being active for as much of the day as he could.

He always kept those bikes locked up in the garage but when we moved to a new rental we didn’t have access to the garage and I asked them to keep the bikes outside in the sunporch.  It was, in my mind, safe because their bedroom windows opened into that room I thought that if anyone were to try and steal them, the boys would hear.  My son was not convinced and asked over and over again to be allowed to keep them inside.  I wasn’t trying to be mean or say that his hard work wasn’t valued, there just wasn’t room in the house for them.

Last week I asked the boys to go out and tidy up the sunporch because the weather was warming up and I thought it would be a great place to sit on rainy days in the summer or on days there were lots of bugs. They hadn’t been outside long when one came in and said, “Mom, our bikes are gone.”  At first, I thought that he was joking, as if trying to get me to allow them to keep them inside, but I quickly realized that it was no joke.

I felt sick.  I felt panicked.  I felt responsible.  I felt angry.  I asked God why.  I asked Him why He was allowing something that meant so much to my kids, something they had worked so hard for, to be taken away.  I felt at that moment I should pray.  My oldest and my husband had called the RCMP and had gone to take pictures of the bikes to them so I asked the three kids who were home to join me.  I asked God to work this out for us, I asked that the bikes would be found in plain sight and that nothing would be destroyed on them.  I declared that God would bring back to them what the enemy had stolen, because they are God’s kids and looks out for us.

As we opened our eyes, I noticed my son coming up the driveway with his bike!!  Not one thing had been done to it and he had found it laying a block away on a front lawn.  I was so excited, one down, one to go!  They set out again to look for the second bike.  About half an hour later they arrived home with the other, again in an alley, not at all harmed!  I was so ecstatic, our prayers were answered and very quickly, both bikes being found in plain sight with damage done.

I felt like this was a difficult experience for the boys but it also showed them how God is concerned about them, even the things that we sometimes feel are insignificant.  He was showing them how He wants them to come to Him with their concerns, how He hears immediately, even though one bike was found earlier than the other, they didn’t give up looking for the second, and He did show them where to find them.

I thought about it a lot.  God hears, and He works on our behalf, not always on our time schedule, not always the way we would expect, but He does always answer.  Prayer is conversation with our Father, and it’s important.  It’s not an outdated concept, we’ve not come to some spiritual level where we no longer need this communion with Him.  His word says, ”ask and it will be given,  to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

He answered our prayer and He showed His compassion to our sons.  And the bikes are now kept safely inside.

Social Skills

Written by: Christianne Williams

I am an introvert.  I’ve always felt awkward and out of place in large groups of people.  I’ve heard it said the most lonely place on the planet is in the middle of a group when you’re an introvert, and I can relate. My early years I thoroughly enjoyed spending the entire weekend reading, alone in my room.  And when I reached my teenage years I was happier with a friend or two, any more than that and I struggled to fit in.  I have been know to turn bright red when someone looked at me and I had to answer a question.

If you’ve ever watched a movie that involved teenagers at a dance, that’s what my life has felt like.  While everyone else is dancing and laughing and having a good time, I was sitting by the wall.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  There are those of you reading this who have struggled to feel like you fit in, like you’re accepted, like you belong.  You feel like meeting new people is a recipe for anxiety where someone else looks at it as an exciting opportunity.  You’d rather spend the evening at home with family and a book and not out and about.

My husband is a pastor, and I’ve often said that God has a sense of humor.  Being a part of a pastors family has required us to move around, to attend social functions, and to do many other things that require social skills.  And yet, here I am.  Growth has been constant and second guessing myself and walking away feeling like I’ve said something wrong, even though I hadn’t, or that I should’ve said or done this or that, and not something else, has happened often.

I believe it all stems from feeling that you fall short in some way.  Everyone else is smarter, wittier, more interesting, maybe even fitter, has better skin, more fashionable, and many other insecurities that crop up.  It leaves you believing that you aren’t worthy.   I know, that sounds harsh, but isn’t that really the issue?  We sometimes don’t believe that we are deserving of relationships, of love, of being accepted for who we are.

In church a few weeks ago I was asking God about this.  I was inquiring of Him as to why I never feel like I fit in.  I still feel at times like the awkward teenager sitting by the wall at the dance, just waiting for it to be over.  He spoke to me about it.  You know what He said?  There are no wall flowers in His kingdom.  All who are His children are loved and accepted by Him, even when we feel alone in the world.  We are not alone by the wall, we are dancing with Him, enjoying the life He has prepared for us. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We are heirs, and that means royalty.

So while you may naturally be an introvert, you are surely not a wall flower.  You are not inadequate, you are a child of God.

EMBRACING FENCES AND GUARDRAILS

Written by: Christianne Williams

A few years ago, our family decided to adopt two beautiful dogs.  Our oldest boys were requesting a pet, and they were adamant that they could handle the responsibility.  Now, truth be told I’m a cat person.  They’re independent and social so you get the benefit of love from a furry friend but they can pretty much look after themselves.  No regulating food or walking necessary.  My husband, on the other hand, is a dog lover and so he sided with the boys saying it would be a good opportunity for the boys to learn responsibility and how others are dependent on our choices.

We brought the dogs home and the first few weeks were great.  The novelty of having them around ensured that they were brushed, fed, walked, cuddled, and cared for.  We made sure they felt the love.  But we began to notice that these furry kids had a wandering streak, one that compelled them to explore the far reaches of our community.  The problem with this was that they loved to go unleashed and seized every opportunity to escape our yard, leaving our children running through every neighbour’s yard trying to chase them down.

We decided that the only way to fix this problem was to put in an underground electric fence. We were certain that this would solve our problem, after all, one of our neighbors had one and his dog stayed within his boundaries. After the expense of buying the system and the labor to put it in the ground, we very quickly learned that the dogs were smarter than we thought.  One day, about a day after the fence was installed, one dog couldn’t get away from his wandering ways and so he decided to ‘jump’ it.  He started at one corner of our property and we could see right away what his intent was.  He began to run, and kept on going, right through the electric force, realizing that once he reached a certain point, he really was free.  The other dog was quick to follow, and so were the kids.

After a few years and many attempts to keep those dogs safe in our yard, we made the difficult decision to send the dogs to live on a farm.  We didn’t want them to be tied to a tree in the back yard, unable to explore and be free.  They had lots of space to run, and although we missed them greatly, they were safe.  We had done everything we could do to make them feel loved, safe, and cared for but still they chose to run outside the boundaries.  When they went outside, they were putting themselves at risk and our boys at risk, the boundaries were there to keep them safe.

As our children grow we similarly have rules in place that allow them to grow and become responsible while still keeping them safe.  We don’t do these things because we hate them and want to make their lives miserable, although that’s usually what they think, we do it because we have wisdom that they don’t and we want to give them a safe ‘yard’ to grow in.

In the Garden of Eden God gave Adam and Eve the boundary of not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He wasn’t doing that to withhold good from them, but to protect them from the evil that would come from it.  Unfortunately, they felt the need to go outside the boundary God had set for them, and it cost them greatly.  There’s nothing harder as a parent than watching your child decide to go outside a boundary you’ve set for them and learn the hard way that you were only trying to protect them.

There have been times in life when looking at the boundaries God has set for us, we’ve likely felt the compulsion to push them a bit, to see what’s on the other side, like the cartoon I once saw that showed two people standing in the road with what looked like a fence in front of them.  One had decided that he didn’t want to be fenced in, he wanted to see what was so good on the other side.  The other was saying,

“It’s not a fence, it’s a guardrail” but it was too late because the other had already jumped over and was falling off the cliff that was waiting on the other side.

Let’s not despise the boundaries, fences, or guardrails that God puts in our lives.  Let’s embrace them, knowing that everything we need to go on in life is within the spaces God has allowed us to live in.  Learn from Adam and Eve’s example that God won’t withhold any good thing from us.  If it’s on the other side of the fence, perhaps then it’s not meant for us.

THE POWER OF TESTIMONY

Written by: Christianne Williams

A testimony can be a powerful thing.  I remember being young, maybe 4 or 5 years old, and sitting in the evening service at the church I grew up in.  My favorite time was during the praise service, when people would be invited to stand up share what God had been doing in their lives.  I heard so many accounts of God’s provision in the form of healings, financial needs met, family members who had no interest in God turning to Him.  It was an encouraging time, and I know that even at that young age, it left an impression on me.

Around the time my husband and I were entering into full time ministry, God brought two new friends into our lives.  They proved to be amazing mentors, encouraging us with testimonies of God’s faithfulness to them over their years preparing for and entering into His call on their lives.  They were obedient and made some changes, took some steps of faith, and I was in awe.  It seemed so exciting to hear how they experienced miracles of provision!  I looked at my husband and said, “I want stories like those, to share with others, to encourage people!”

At the time it wasn’t really registering that in order to have those wonderful accounts, you had to actually experience situations that required much faith.  You would have to be okay with not being able to figure out the answer to your problem with human experience.  You would have to leave every detail up to God and trust that He would actually meet every need because He says He will.  No alternative plans.

Think for a while about all of the accounts in the Bible that we read in their entirety.  We see that God did give Abraham and Sarah a son.  We see that God provided a lamb to take the place of that son when He asked for Abraham’s obedience in giving up said son.  We see that God did indeed send a flood after the ark was built, even though there had never before been rain.  We see that Joshua won the battle of Jericho, that David killed Goliath, that God freed His people from slavery, that He led them into the land flowing with milk and honey.  We see that He did send the Saviour of the world as a baby born of a virgin.  But in the midst of those circumstances, those people, who are just like us, had to chose whether or not to trust God.  We have the testimonies of those faithful people.

Looking at just one story, Mary’s, how must she have felt? To know that she was pregnant, not married, and had to expect people would believe that she was carrying the One they were waiting for?  It was a time when being with child and not married was just not accepted.  Think of how Joseph must’ve felt to be the one she was to marry, what would people say?  These two young people had the promise of God but not everyone would’ve believed that.  We see how it all turned out but to live through it would not have been easy.  Luke 1:42 says, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear.”  But I wonder if Mary felt that she was blessed during the whole pregnancy or if she may have had times when she felt terribly along, ostracised?

After my ‘I want stories like those!’ declaration, I was definitely obliged.  I went to a women’s conference one year and the speaker talked to us about the power of our experiences.  She asked a question that seemed rather harsh at the time.  “The things you’ve gone through, have they killed you? Because if you’re still here, pick yourself up and use that to help someone else.”  I thought about that long and hard.  I don’t think this in any way minimized bad circumstances, I think it’s the only way we can turn what the enemy meant to destroy us and use it for the glory of God.  The things we’ve gone through are truly our testimonies of how much God does for His precious children.  Just like you and I have been encouraged by the experience and strength of someone else, WE can do that for others.

So, when God provides for your need: a physical healing, a spiritual breakthrough, does a supernatural “God thing” in your life- don’t keep it quiet! Pass it on! Your testimony might be just the thing someone needs to hear to increase their confidence in the One Who can do the impossible!

Revelation 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him by the blood the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” 

For What It Could Be

Written by: Christianne Williams

This past week I went to have coffee at a friend’s house.  As I was standing in her kitchen my eyes were drawn to piece of furniture in the corner.  It was a cabinet, old, but beautifully refinished.  It was made of real wood, not the pressed together kind so much is built from today, and it had been painted white, still keeping its antique charm.  I commented on how lovely it was.  She began to share with me how she found it.

It had been in an old shed on her father’s farm, a building that was to be torn down.  This beautiful shelf had been covered in dirt and oil, and the droppings from small creatures  that lived in the abandoned building, and it was scheduled to be burned.  She looked at it and saw not what it was at the time, but what it could be with some work.  She rescued it, and then she went to work.  It was no small job and it took many hours to give it a facelift and reveal what beauty laid beneath the surface.  Looking at it that day I would never have guessed how she had found it.

She shared with me how it reminded her how God sees us, He sees what He wants us to become, the potential we have, the person He created us to be.

My husband also visited and had coffee with someone, a new believer, re-entering his walk with God. He shared about his life, where he had been, and the struggles he had faced, and the bad choices he made along the way. He also shared of how when he was reading in the Book of Romans, the Lord was speaking to him about different things in his life that needed to change. He saw that we are all born as sinners, but that because of the righteousness of Christ, and what Jesus has done for us, it spoke to him that if God would do that for us, we must have some measure of value to Him.

Too many times we look at ourselves, and others, as being too messed up, too dirty, too old, to be beautiful or useful.  We see the mess, the enormity of the clean up job, and we become convinced that there’s no way we, or they, can be redeemed.  It would so much easier to just forget it, throw it all away. But the eyes that know us best see the beauty that lies beneath the surface.  He can clean up the worst situation.  He lovingly sands off the dirt and oil, revealing solid wood that can be refinished anyway He chooses, and no matter what he chooses it will be stunning.

Just like my friend didn’t just paint over the dirt and stains, she removed them carefully so that there would be a new finish, God doesn’t just cover over our sin, he removes it as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).  He’s in the process of restoring us, creating a masterpiece of God (Ephesians 2:10), displaying His glory! God loves us more than we know. Like a craftsman, a painter, a sculptor; God is in the business of taking wood, old canvases, and even what others consider “junk”, and creating beautiful masterpieces! And the work He began, He will complete (Phil 1:6) so His glory will be revealed in us! (Romans 8:18)

WE NEVER WALK ALONE

Written by: Christianne Williams

I’ve been spending time in the Psalms lately.  Usually when I park there it’s because something is going adrift in my life and I feel some understanding pouring from those pages.  Life can be tough, it can beat you up a bit and knowing that people have faced troubled waters since the beginning of time can bring a measure of comfort.  Reading words penned thousands of years before our existence and being able to relate to them tells us that we don’t face anything new when it comes to the trouble life throws at us.

Being a Christian, an heir to Christ, doesn’t grant us immunity from difficulties, disappointments, or sickness.  What it does do is give us is the ability to deal with it differently.  We have a place to go when they do happen, and so, we never walk alone.  God will give us wisdom in situations to handle them with grace, He gives us comfort in the disappointments so they don’t turn into discouragement or offence, and He offers healing in our sickness.  We never walk alone; He’s the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

When things in life throw us off our game we can very easily take on a mindset of negativity and defeat.  We can turn our focus to how things never seem to work out the way we need them to, other people have better ‘luck’ than we do, we never seem to have a ‘happy ending’.  This creates an atmosphere where the enemy can turn everything into a negative experience and point the finger at how God is letting you down.  Have you ever found yourself there?  God must be unhappy with me if this is happening.  I must’ve done something to offend Him.  I must not have enough faith.

I’ve been there.  In fact, when our daughter was born with a congenital heart defect I had someone tell me it must be because I didn’t have enough faith, and I’ve heard that same thought repeated frequently in all aspects of healing.  One thing I know for sure: that one statement did a lot of damage because for a long time, it left me feeling responsible.  Holding on to that responsibility made me feel guilty. How could I have done that to my daughter?  And it left me feeling like God was punishing me.

God’s grace has brought me out of that mindset and has left me aware of how our thought patterns take us into His presence or cause us to run further from Him.  When I feel like I’m in a situation, for example, where people are spreading false accusations against me or someone I love, I ask God to show me how He can use this situation for growth.  He gives me wisdom in it and what I’ve found to be consistent in these times of trial is how my faith in His love for me grows.  I can choose to believe He’s against me or I can choose to believe that there’s a purpose in it, deeper than my natural understanding can see.

Psalm 5:3 says, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

God hears your voice, He hears your requests, and knows your struggles. He hears you ask for freedom, for comfort, for provision, for supernatural undertaking, for peace, and the list goes on.  Now, wait in expectation, wait and expect, tell yourself how good and faithful He is and believe that He hears your cry and will provide all that you need.

CAST ALL YOUR ANXIETY ON HIM!

Written by: Christianne Williams

It hit me all of a sudden, it gripped me, and I couldn’t understand why.  My heart started to race, my breathing picked up, and I got a pain in the pit of my stomach.  I felt like something bad was going to happen, like I was about to have my life thrown into a tailspin, and yet, there I was, sitting in a chair in my living room as safe as one could be.  I looked around and no one seemed to notice that I was being hit with the fist of anxiety. It is after all, a relatively silent thing.  You can become pretty good at hiding it all behind a smile because you don’t want anyone to think you don’t actually have it all together.  You don’t want to feel like you’re the only one on the block who sometimes feels this way, let alone the only Christian on the planet who has these moments hit them like a Mack truck at an intersection.

I refused to tell anyone how badly I was feeling at times because any time I did I was always met with the platitude of, “Christians don’t have anxiety, they have God.”  or “God’s got it all under control so you shouldn’t be worrying.”  Or my very favorite, “It shows a real lack of faith to have anxiety.”  Now, I’m not talking about worrying occasionally about something, I’m talking about the panic that hits you in the stomach and no amount of talking yourself out of it helps.  I know that God is good, that He doesn’t want us to suffer, and that He can deliver us from all anxiety and fear.  I know it’s not His plan for us to live in this prison.  But I also know that it can be really hard, from the inside looking out, to get this feeling to just go away by talking yourself out of it.

Anxiety and fear are a tool used by the enemy to cripple the children of God so they believe that they are powerless and thus, stay where they are, not brave enough to step out and try the things God is calling them to do.  Anxiety calls to mind the ‘what ifs?’, it tells us that bad things are in store if we proceed any further.  It’s the voice that tells us that God really isn’t for us, that He’s there waiting for us to mess up so He can punish us.  It’s the voice of a liar.   Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of a new direction, the list goes on, these are all things that will steal the joy from our journey and the fulfillment of our destiny.  Doing things for God will mean confronting these lies head on, even when we feel like running away, we must put one foot in front of the other.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you”

Lately I’ve been choosing to be more real about the anxiety I feel from time to time.  I believe that the struggles we face, we go through for a season and a reason.  One of those reasons is to help others who are facing the same thing.  I remember hearing the speaker at a conference one time say that if we go through a valley, even if it takes the stuffing out of us, we can choose to let it kill our testimony or we can use it as a platform to help others find refuge in God.  I really want to step past the fear and allow God to use my struggle to support others who feel that they can’t go on.  Another reason is because I find that if I can talk to someone about the thoughts in my head, it actually doesn’t seem so bad.    Memorizing scripture, truth, that you can repeat over and over again will help to redirect your thoughts, bringing peace to your spirit.

2 Timothy says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.”  Another of my favorites says, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  In my life I want to accomplish all God has for me, and I want that to be the cry of all our hearts, even those who are right now crippled by fear.  Let us allow God to have complete control of all of those anxieties, being completely open with Him and giving Him permission to deal with whatever hurts or events that brought us to this place.  Having complete freedom in Him is possible if we’re willing to lay aside our feelings and begin to make a concentrated effort to fill our minds with His words of truth.