There’s nowhere we can go in this world where we will find another human being that has lived the exact same situations as us. An ally who totally and 100 percent gets it.
But we look, don’t we?
We love empathetic people because they’ve been there. Done that. Have insight.
If we are connected by friends and family, and we feel better.
We are bandaged but not healed.
As Close as We Can Get on Earth
Why can’t someone who has had similar struggles heal our hearts?
Because even if we lined our situations up on paper, there would still be one big difference: this person isn’t us.
They don’t have our mind or our heart. They don’t have our past or our future.
Unfortunately, that still leaves us broken and unable, trying to pull everything together.
It’s frustrating because we are always so sure that if we can just find someone who “gets it,” we can start to move past whatever is hurting us.
I know how this goes, because I have lived it.
When I speak to other women who have experienced miscarriage, they too have lost a child. I am in the presence of a person who has felt the same loss, so we chat. Offering hope. Offering understanding. Sharing our stories.
Sometimes it just feels good to tell another person who has lived it.
Because God made us to join in fellowship, not live alone.
And it does feel vindicating when I hear her hardest part was right before the baby was taken, too.
That even though she knew her baby was gone, that she also laid her hand on her belly and wept like me for the thought of not having her baby be a part of her body anymore.
Like I’m not the only one.
Like she gets it.
It does feel a little better to hear it.
But for all the mothers I’ve spoken with, it never healed me.
It was good for me to know I wasn’t alone, but it most certainly didn’t change me.
My babies were still gone.
I still wasn’t raising them at home with my other two children.
My heart was still shattered.
I was still confused and broken.
Why can’t the empathy of another person fix everything?
Because there is only One who understands everything.
When we’re feeling lost, hurt, lonely, afraid, worried, or broken, we do have somewhere to turn.
Someone who will not only empathize, but who will also heal us from the inside out.
I know it’s true because it’s happened to me.
To get me through the unbelievable pain of seeing our first baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound and then losing it three weeks later.
That held me after learning our twins’ miscarriage possibly saved my life.
Who broke down anxiety over scans that the cancer in my youngest is gone for good.
I have felt it. I know it.
And so I want to give you these.
When you’re unsure where to look, here are Words from the Bible that explain why Jesus is your best ally.
And why, when you’re hurt, you can turn to Him above all else to receive complete and total healing.
1. Psalm 119:130
The unfolding of your words gives light;it imparts understanding to the simple.
That’s how we feel when we’re broken, don’t we?
Raw and unsure and simple.
Looking for a reason. We’re unable to understand on our own.
The Lord shines light, over time, in big ways and in little, on every pain. Helps heal us through the process of leaning on Him for understanding.
2.) Psalm 119:169
Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word!
When we’re hurting worse than we could ever imagine, we can cry out to God.
We can ask Him to give us understanding according to His Word.
I can attest that He will. He is always who He says He is. He never lets us down.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
All it takes is opening our heart, and we can feel this very real, very present help.
The best way I can explain it is as an overwhelming sense of peace and clarity. Strength to face my problems because there’s an ultimate sense that I am not battling alone. Something I know couldn’t have come from anywhere else. It’s astounding and beautiful.
4.) Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.
This can be super difficult.
It is hard to trust someone we can’t see, especially if we don’t know Him. I get that.
However, if its come to the point where we don’t know what we’ll do if something doesn’t change, then we can open our heart to the Lord, and put our trust in Him.
Things will change. Not in our timing, but in His. So we are patient (or keep trying really hard…because it is difficult!). We keep trusting, praying, and going to the Lord, and we’ll start noticing things happening that can’t be explained any other way than by the God.
5.) Proverbs 3:19
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;by understanding he established the heavens
If He created the heavens and the earth in all its intricacies, then His wisdom should surely be what we seek.
To guide us.
To carry us through.
Why wouldn’t we go to the One who knows everything?
6.) Isaiah 40:28
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
We faint. Grow weary. BUT with God, nothing is impossible, and so while we are weary, Jesus carries the burden.
We can’t even look for how far His understanding goes because it’s too far beyond what we can fathom.
As children of a Father, we look toward Him, because He knows this world, and he knows our hearts.
If you’ve ever been forgiven for something or loved even though you haven’t been the best version of yourself, you’ll appreciate these habits.
It’s the one thing any of us ever need to both give and to receive: grace.
This isn’t something that just happens. In fact, it’s quite purposeful.
There are habits that grace-giving people do each day, and because God’s grace is something we’re given, it only makes sense that we, too adopt the following:
1. Wake up enjoying Jesus
When I wake up it can be hard to think about enjoying Jesus.
To do anything more than obey my autopilot: shuffle into the bathroom, turn on the hot water, stand.
Beginning our day with a thankful heart is huge.
It can literally change our attitude, how we face our day, and what the outcome of that day actually looks like.
Once the fog clears, we can start enjoying Him.
Thank You for my home. For my children. For a job that makes our life possible. Thank You for this day you’ve given me. I praise You for a hot shower. Thank You for a new day. A new beginning. A fresh start.
Even in the middle of a pile of heavy junk, Lord, I have a new start today.
Thank You for mercies new every morning. For Your grace that is so big and so deep and so freely flowing that I can receive Your love even when it seems like all the odds are against me.
Thank You for knowing more than me.
For seeing the big picture so I don’t have to. Thank You for this life and this day, and help me make choices that reflect Your love and grace in it.
Beginning each day in prayer of thanks and even asking God for help with facing the challenges of the day, you open your life to His grace, and in turn are more able to spread that grace onto others.
2. Study the Word
It was a struggle for years thinking I didn’t need to do a Bible study.
Said that I knew what the Bible said, and I loved God. I was a good person.
My shallow view of studying the Bible only hindered my relationship with God, thus hindering my relationship with others.
Once I got over myself and became humble enough to think maybe I didn’t know everything (duh) my life began.
I start my day bundled in a chunky knit blanket with a cup of hot coffee next to me in the same spot each morning.
I curl up into my Bible study praying with an open heart that God will take these lessons, these words-His Word- and work it into my heart changing me to be more like Him. To give me something to dwell on and grow from within.
With each study, each page, each sentence, I learn little nuggets of what it means to be like Jesus, live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and I face my day thinking of Jesus.
We start our day with joy when we start our day with Jesus.
Joy opens our eyes to grace. It fills us with the ability to give grace to others.
Joy-filled people aren’t dishing out hate.
They’re giving love. Jesus. Grace.
Starting our day studying the Bible changes the face of our entire day and in turn shapes our entire life.
3. Sing Praise
This one is one of my favorite habits.
In fact, starting my day listening to a Christian radio station in the kitchen as I make breakfast for my family just reaches into my heart and sets me up for grace. I can’t help it.
Singing God’s praise, no matter how bad the morning or what kind of struggle I’m facing, rights my heart.
Really listen to the words and think about what God is trying to tell you about this Son of His that was given to us for our saving.
What He’s telling you about where you are right now and how to handle it. It’s all there.
In this experience of Jesus, you’ll start to even notice the songs that come on are just what you need. Just for you.
You’ll find yourself in awe of how big God’s love is for you.
When we belt out the tune and feel the tears welling up in our eyes from the overwhelming love of the Holy Spirit filling up our heart, we feel Jesus.
A heart full of the Lord breeds grace.
We feel His grace loving us even when we are unlovable. We turn that grace outward and love others through our day.
4. Pray through the Work Day
If we walk into work and face the negativity of the day’s tasks that bear their full weight on our shoulders, and we pray right when we think we can’t take it any more, “God, help!” we know Jesus right then and there.
When He comes along to pull us out of gossip and rudeness. To soften our hearts for our co-workers or a stranger on the phone, and we in turn give kindness when it isn’t deserved, we give Jesus. We give grace.
We’ve all had those days when we need something to pull us away from the negativity our environment throws at us. This is it, friends.
It’s a tried and true method.
It’s one of the biggest things that really solidified my relationship and understanding of just how powerful God really is.
Praying through your work day whether that’s in an office, in a field, or in the playroom with your children, you’ve got a mighty tool that can change how your heart views each situation and how your mouth reacts to it.
Your words are shaped by the truth of your heart.
If the truth of your heart is the Truth of who Jesus is (grace, love, patience, etc), then imagine what kind of a day you can have.
What kind of day you can give to others.
5. Speak Grace
If we come home to our spouse starting up again, bringing on old points of contention they know will lead to argument, and instead of fighting back, you pray, “Love is patient. Love is kind” to yourself, the result will knock you back a step or two.
When, instead of hate-filled, I-got-the-last-word spite, you hold your tongue, you’re speaking volumes.
If you walk in the door and your children are arguing, your husband didn’t do that one thing you needed him to, and your dog just barfed in the floor all at once (because that’s just kinda how life goes sometimes), you choose how you react. Yelling and anger and accusatory speech makes the situation the same.
Grace makes the situation very different.
Because you’ve been with Jesus all day, your heart is different. You’ve walked into a mess, but you’re prepared mentally to handle it because it’s just another bump in the road of the day.
Instead of yelling, you hug, you explain, you hold your tongue, you reach for thanks that you have a home and a crazy family and a loyal companion. You take a deep breath and turn to praise.
You give grace when you turn to Jesus.
Your home becomes more peaceful, situations diffuse more quickly, and you can give grace because all day long you’ve been giving and receiving grace.
And so, it just…fits.
6. Share Jesus
This one is tricky.
Not everyone wants to hear about your God. Or how beautiful His love is. Or what He’s done for you today.
In some situations, it’s perfectly natural to share that Jesus captivated your heart from the minute you opened your Bible that morning, but in others, it doesn’t feel like the right time.
And that’s okay.
When I’m met with these situations, I can’t help but think of Jesus meeting nonbelievers where they were.
He didn’t go in, guns blazing, knocking people over with a spew of judgement. He loved them.
Just simply, purely loved.
That’s how we give grace.
So, if you want to share the Lord, but you don’t know how, I can promise you two things:
1.) Judging, pushing, and acting holier than thou isn’t going to bring anyone to know God, sinner. None of us have it together. Even those who pray all day. We can’t. We need a Savior no matter which way we spin it, so just love. Love your heart out. Love like Jesus.
2.) Building a relationship with nonbelievers and believers alike and sharing how God works in your life from a place of humble praise is the only way to go. Acting like we had anything to do with our blessings is going to push others away from God, and that is just so not the point. Let’s love more and boast less.
Sometimes it takes showing others that we are empty without Love, that we are nothing without the Lord, and that because we are given His grace and mercy, we show it, too is all it takes to soften a heart toward the greatest gift we could ever give another human being.
Let’s love people with grace toward Jesus.
7. End the Day in Praise
Thank You for this day. For the opportunities, lessons, and people in it. Thank You for walking me through the tough situations and for holding me up when I needed it. For blessing me and for providing this life. Thank You for my inheritance as a child of God and for giving it all so I can have You. I love You.
In a world that tries its hardest to point us toward justice, judgement, and spite, you can be a light.
But it’s an intentional thing. It doesn’t just happen. It’s an actual, gradual change.
How does this apply to you today?
Maybe you start with number 1 and practice that for a couple weeks. Waking up enjoying Jesus is a pretty great place to start.
And it only gets better from there.
What a relief to know that His grace isn’t something I have to earn, but instead something lavished upon me in His ultimate love.
If you’ve never been a parent, there’s no way I can possibly explain that kind of love. That kind of inexplicable grace.
I can use words. I can try, but I’ll never achieve the exact feeling. It’s just too grand.
I’d like to compare it to the love of a spouse because when you fall in love it’s intense. However, this too will never compare to the love of a child because it’s so different.
I could compare it to the love of a sibling. Especially if you’re an older sibling, who feels it’s your responsibility to care for the younger child, yet that child was not created for you. It cannot be the same.
Fellow parents, why can’t we accurately tell this feeling?
I try so hard to explain everything else as a writer, and yet this one single thing I just can’t pinpoint.
Scratch that. Two feelings I can’t pinpoint.
The love for my boys is something I never expected, It was overwhelming. It crushed me in a sense. I didn’t see it coming.
And yet, the feeling of God loving me is far greater than anything I’ve ever felt in my life.
I have an end goal, and I either meet that end goal, or I will tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next week.
Whenever and however it happens, I know that it will all fit together. Nice and neat. Tied up in a little bow. Checked off my list with an immediate gratification.
Trust the Lord in all things——–
Trust the LORD
That’s a bit different. Let’s think: I know when I want it to happen: today, obviously. Okay, okay…maybe by the end of the week to give myself some grace. I do have a lot on my plate. Maybe I won’t get to all-out trusting by midnight tonight.
I know how I plan on making this happen: Bible study, prayer, accountability partner.
I set forth. Bible open. Journaling pens poised. Hands folded and head bowed.
I feel great about the work I’ve done during quiet time on day one. Maybe I’ll meet that midnight goal after all. God, thank You for working in my heart! I love you!
Two hours later, I’m at work, and I get a call about making Hudson’s next ultrasound appointment. My heart drops but only for a second. That familiar feeling of “what if”.
I start thinking about the day I can take off that works with my schedule.
I think about how he’ll react to going NPO (not eating until the ultrasound is over).
My mind wanders over to how that first ultrasound looked when we confirmed our baby had cancer. What did it look like again? It’s hard to remember now three years out. Best to try to remember though, so I can watch the screen.
My heart flutters that familiar way it does every six months when I have to schedule the blood draw. The x-ray. Should I go for the x-ray? I hate the extra radiation exposure, but who am I to say I know more than Dr. Dole?
So much for that midnight deadline.
I take a deep breath. My heart settles. I lean on Him again.
My heart hasn’t changed! But I felt so great about my time with God this morning!
Why can’t I just check this off my list and move on? Even though I really want it with all my heart?
Because God’s not done working on me just yet.
He has lots of lessons. Lots of “Oh, I see…” moments just waiting for me.
To be perfectly honest, I both love and really really dislike this about walking the walk, friends.
I love it because I’ve been on the other side of a true heart change, and it’s huge.
Huger than huge.
It’s game-changing big and God reveals Himself in ways that knock me over.
I know what’s coming from Him is not just good but the absolute definition of awesome.
Not Me But Him
I don’t know when. I don’t know how. I don’t know what I’ll have to endure to learn the lessons He knows are best for me.
I don’t have control over this situation, and just like that the belief floats away in the breeze, and I’m left bare, raw, and insecure.
The only way to overcome this is calling on Jesus. My Savior. My Redeemer. My King.
And then I realize something.
Instead of rolling through the list of how this is so unfair, and can’t God just see I have good intentions?
Can’t He give me what I went for that morning during my quiet time with a pure desire to be better for His kingdom?
Can’t He just follow my timetable?
I realize that…simply put… it’s not about me.
And all about Him.
When I check off my to-do list, I’m the head of my life and my heart.
When I’m empty without Him and can do all things with Him, then and only then has He truly got my heart.
Pride: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
Why would anyone want to get rid of a pleasurable feeling?
Every time we get a sense of pride-of true unabashed pride-we are really saying one thing: “Look what I did.”
My son can speak at three months: look what our boy can do.
I spend two-and-a-half years getting my Masters degree: look what I finally accomplished. Look at how my hard work has paid off.
My husband makes a sale that affords us renovation: All of those long, hard days and sacrifices our family has made while my husband worked so hard is blessing us.
The 8th graders in my class create amazing projects: Look what my students did after a long quarter of perseverance.
All of these things, they’re good things, but pride isn’t the feeling we should associate with it because pride is a lie.
Pride is a Lie
We have been taught to believe pride. To relish it. To find our joy in it.
And frankly, no one likes to hear that something they like is a sin.
But it is.
If you read further down into the synonyms part of the definition, you’ll read the following:
Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect: Pride must have a fall.
Must have a fall.
Then why in the world do we tell our children, “I’m proud of you” or our husband upon that bonus check, “Babe! I’m so proud of you!” or to others, “I’m proud that I stuck with that degree, it’s really paying off”?
Because we’ve been taught to.
Child of God, when looking within ourselves, we must remember that we are living in this world, but we are not of this world.
In It Not Of It
Whether we particularly like it or not, we are set apart. Living in exile.
Which is why what I’m sharing today is most likely not sitting well with my readers.
How do we undo this prideful thinking?
We must trade in old feelings for new.
It sounds impossible, but it can be done.
We must change our view on how the achievement was made.
All things. Not some things. All.
And if this is our truth, if this is what we claim to believe, then we cannot ever take complete credit for accomplishments because that would be a lie. That would be prideful.
And pride, we know, must come with a fall.
These three words are all we need:
Instead of “I’m so proud of…” say, “I’m so grateful that…” or “I’m so thankful that…” or “I praise God for…”
Some Easy Changes
“I’m proud of myself for sticking with that tough course load and making it to graduation. That was so tough!”
“I’m so thankful God helped me through that course. That was so tough!”
“Babe! I’m so proud of you!”
“Thank God you were able to earn this bonus. I’m so thankful!”
“I’m so proud of you, son!”
“I’m really thankful God helped you through this test. I know you studied hard for it.”
What’s the Payoff for Ditching Pride?
It really is a switch in how we think about the end result of our hard work, but we must speak truths, especially to our children.
We are the only way they will know who’s truly at work within them allowing them the strength, courage, and perseverance to complete tasks.
Today, instead of falling from pride, we’ll fall to our knees and pray, “God, thank you!”
We will use the words with our children, “I’m so thankful God was with you through that assignment,” or “Thank you, God for my child. Thank you for his courage. His heart. And that I get to be his momma.”
Turn Our Hearts and Eyes
We will still feel joy, excitement, and happiness, but we will turn our hearts toward giving credit where credit is due.
While only God can change a heart, we do play a very specific role in how our children’s hearts are shaped. We play an active part in our own salvation and heart changes, too.
Because we know God wants our hearts, we know we have to make ours right and raise up the next generation to understand the driving force behind their life, too.
Thank you, Lord for being with me as I wrote this piece. I pray You are in my reader’s hearts so they can become closer to You through this post. I love you! Amen!
I write to you today almost nine years exactly from the day I decided to live for the Lord, and there are some things you should know, new Christian.
1.) Reading scripture is essential.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This is something I didn’t really understand until I began Bible study. To read, study, dig deep into what the Lord has left for us to live our life by is huge.
Every day, in big and small ways, we need Scripture.
One way to do this is to have a go-to every day. This is an app I have on my phone that serves me well.
It’s easy to personalize with different devotions, and I can even link up with friends who have the app.
2.) Community is Biblical.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Being a homebody who can sit and read for hours without socially interacting with anyone, I fought this one hard.
It wasn’t until I was urged by a friend and by Scripture that I began really being active in a community of Christians.
It’s been unbelievably special.
Our Bible study meets Wednesday nights, and we have something called House Church every other Sunday evening. It is basically a family study where the kids learn a lesson and play while the adults discuss a study or the sermon after we’ve had dinner together.
It’s a lot of Jesus in our life.
It was a big change, but it was so very worth it. If you’re unsure of where to start, your church elders can lead you into a community of believers.
3.) His mercies are new every morning.
As a new Christian, it can be overwhelming how great our God is. How He loves. How He lives.
This verse can help us:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Each day I need His mercies. I have to pray,”Lord help me be better than I was yesterday.”
This hope is what keeps me going. That we don’t have to live in fear of never measuring up to Jesus.
Jesus died on the cross so we can have a new start. Be forgiven. Washed as white as snow.
Live there. Keep taking in that while we will not ever be as perfect as Christ, we can be forgiven, dust ourselves off, and try even harder the next day.
4.) This is the path less traveled.
This will not be easy. In fact, it is written
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
They hate me? Because I am a follower of Christ?
For lots of reasons I both do and don’t understand.
Either way, like Peter writes about living in exile, it’s just the way it is.
It’s hard because for the most part, we like being liked. So when someone hates us, makes fun of us, casts us aside because we live in a way they don’t understand, it will be hard, new Christian.
Put on the suit of armor. It is a battle, but take heart. It’s the only one really worth fighting.
5.) This is a relationship.
Jesus longs for you. To be with you. Talk with you. Listen to you.
Just like any other relationship, in order for it to work, we have to show up. Every single day.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
With a childlike excitement He hopes I follow through with my promise to pray, study, and come to His feet each day.
I don’t want to let Him down.
He died for me! No one else in this world loves me like that.
What is the only way I can reciprocate that love?
By loving Him back. Showing up. Playing an active role in my relationship with Him.
Instead of feeling guilt when I sleep longer than my alarm or when I go a couple of months without starting my day in the Word, I pray, “Lord, help me put You first.”
I can do nothing without Him. I can do everything with Him.
New Christian, this is a journey. But this walk you will take is full of more rewards than you can even fathom right now.
Take this scripture and envision yourself each day as you are tempted to live your life outside of the Lord.
Arm yourself, sisters and brothers.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, …